Vargar – Part 1
It’s been a few months since that time of happiness. These passing days have been spent par for the course. The only addition to my day has been the studies.
On Rose’s insistence, I started joining Voltin in her lessons with him. Everything from reading, which is difficult, to math, which is largely the same as our world- once you get past the aesthetic difference. The main difference is, Voltin has to study with Rose once a month. I have to suffer her tutelage nearly every day.
However, by the end of month four Rose informs me that she’s requested I get a seat at the Academy, to join her and the others as they return to their studies. To be fair, it was only through great persuasion on my part that they finally gave in to returning. However, it was on the condition that I start studying as well; so it’s well worth it, to give them some semblance of their old lives back. And now it seems I’ve reached a level that Rose is happy with.
The night before we are to start commuting to the Academy, I’m unable to sleep. So I make my way to the back courtyard of Val Manor and keep walking until I reach a clearing about two miles in. I’ve been neglecting my forms since coming here and I can almost feel Grandpa’s disappointment from here.
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I’m surprised to find Mimi practically dancing under the moonlight. Though she’s beautiful and fluid, dancing is maybe an exaggeration. But it’s close enough to the truth- she’s practicing some kind of Kata. A stray moonbeam shines down on her, and I see the sweat glisten in the light as it flies off of her. I’m rooted where I stand as I watch her go through her motions. In all my time with her, Mimi has always been a “proper” lady. She’s gentle and sweet; she takes the smallest of steps when she walks and the tiniest of nibbles when she eats.
But here now, in front of me, is a woman I’ve never met. She’s wearing a gown with it’s top pulled down. Her modest chest is wrapped in bandages and shake slightly with her movement. She takes long, deliberate steps as she changes forms and swings her arms with precision; causing her muscles to tense and express themselves. Her purple hair appears midnight black under the moonlight. It sways to and fro as it dances free of her bun. With every strike against the air, thunder cracks and lightning flickers as Mimi speeds up.
Her form starts to waver in the air, making me think, if only for a moment, that the air itself was distorting. But more amazingly, she’s the one whose form is flickering. The sound of thunder snaps the air, and sparks erupt as her speed increases higher still. Her physical self seems to flicker in and out of being.
The forest itself is silent as Mimi goes through each of her Katas. Before I know it, an afterimage is following behind her, mimicking what came before.
I’m so stunned by the sight before me that I shift my weight from one foot to another. This causes the grass to ruffle under me and grabs Mimi’s attention. As she lays her eyes on me, her amethyst gaze flicks static within them.
I believe in that moment, only this accursed power of the Zeroth is what saved me. I was not able to see, nor hear what came next. My tongue sets alight and the air around me changes. I see Mimi looking at me, but she’s fading- an afterimage. Instead, the air shifts and I reach out my hand and grasp at what isn’t there.
However, a moment later, Mimi’s fist is wrapped up in my hold. She stands before me, lightning shoots off of her and flies pass me as wind around us continues even as ahe becomes stationary.
Mimi’s gaze flicks over me in a moment of recognition but before I know it, she’s gone. It was another afterimage. I turn around just in time to see Mimi’s fist within millimeters of my face. The look of recognition on her is clear, but she seems to be struggling.
Her face contorts for a moment but then relaxes. She sucks in a deep breath with her eyes closed. By the time she opens her eyes, the sparks within them are gone, and her muscles begin to relax. Once she “comes down” she stares into my eyes with irregular breathing. She slowly pulls her fist from my face and drops her arms to her side.
“My Lord…” she says quietly while staring at my hand. I didn’t realize it until now, but my hand is basically a mangled piece of meat. It’s charred and smoking. It hurts, but surprisingly, not as much as it could. Perhaps all the nerves have been fried. Or perhaps, the Zeroth is already taking care of it. I don’t know which thought scares me more.
“Mimi,” I call out, stretching the last syllable and then letting it drop.
Her face warps in fear and she drops to her knees, “My Lord. Oh god, my Lord Zero, please forgive me. You may strike me down for this. Please, just let my family have my body for funeral rites.”
With this, she extends her neck and closes her eyes- giving in to death’s sweet embrace. “Mimi, what is that you were doing? I didn’t know you still trained.”
“My Lord, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry for hiding it from you. But I couldn’t stop. I tried, oh god did I try,” Mimi says in a near panic, tears streaming down her face; she continues, “But I thought if I hid it, if I stopped anyone from learning, that I could continue. I thought maybe I could have this one thing but I see now that it was wrong.”
I lean down, and wrap my good arm around her head, and pull her into my chest. She cries, wails really, and sobs into my embrace. I hush her while rocking her in my arm. I kiss the top of her head and she slowly calms down.
“Mimi, you didn’t mean to hurt me, I know that. So you don’t have to worry.”
She peeks up at me through my chest and says, “It’s not about hurting you. I lost control and I know it. Of course that was a mistake, I would never hurt my Lord.”
Mimi buries her head into my chest and says through a muffled voice, “I have disobeyed a tenant and continued my trade after becoming your Valkyrie.”
I pull Mimi up and wipe away her tears, “Mimi, will you listen to me?” I ask.
“I would listen and obey, any and all things you prescribe my Lord.”
“Your Kata was amazing. Your form pure. You stood dignified and magnificent. You displayed power the likes of which I have never seen, and you were all the more beautiful for it,” I tell her honestly
“But my Lord I-”
“I am your Zeroth, am I not?”
“O-of course my Lord!”
“Then if I tell you it’s fine, then it’s fine isn’t it?”
“But it isn’t my Lord! As your wife, I have no need for such things!”
“As my wife, you have needs to anything that makes you happy.”
“Who among you can judge you, any more than I can?” My anger at her stubbornness causes me to grow more stubborn as well.
“Noone my Lord,” she says with head bowed low.
“And I am telling you, my judgments are meaningless.”
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Mimi is in absolute shock and shoots out, “Never my Lord! You are all that matters!”
With a tint of anger in my tone, I spit out, “Then what I want matters!”
She nods energetically as if I’m finally getting it, and that serves to fuel my agitation. “Then if you agree with me that what I want matters, then you have to agree with me when I say what matters to me, is your happiness!”
She goes to open her mouth and then closes it. Her lips purse tight and she squints her eyes some. Mimi is always competitive, even in the smallest, most asinine things.
“My Lord, a proper woman has no needs of such things… but, if you insist that, truly my happiness is what matters then-” she pushes off of me and stands up.
Her entire countenance has switched, and she stares down at me with rage before shouting, “Then fight me. Show me you are worthy of ruling over me. You bested Fennis only because of your Zeroth power, and not because of your skill,” she tosses out while taking a step backward. ”You have disappointed me at every step. You are weak, and you are undignified. You lack knowledge, and have shown no proficient magiks.”
She takes the stance I saw before and points a fist at me before saying, “I- we are all Vargar, Zero; and contrary to the stories, you have yet to uphold your end of the deal. We have given up everything to be with you for the promise that we are serving a greater purpose. And try, try, try as I might, cling to you as much as I do, I simply can not get over how much I dislike you and all that you are!”
She finishes, screaming at the top of her lungs while the skies crack with thunder and lightning strikes all around us.
The air begins to smolder around me and I can taste her magiks on my tongue. I don’t want to do this. But she’s finally standing up to me. I don’t know why, I don’t know what’s pushed her. But just this once I won’t question fate, and I will do all I can to change the course of Mimelia’s story.
I take my stance, a good ten feet away from Mimi. It’s been months since I’ve used proper form, or fought hand-to-hand, but so be it. If she ends me here, she deserves it. Maybe this is how it was always supposed to be. Maybe this is how they regain what was taken from them.
I stand strong, ready to face the Vargar before me with all that I am.
As we stare at one another I allow the wind to carry my words, “I’m sorry Mimi.”
Her face softens for a moment before sparks take over her eyes and her face hardens.
“I am the Vargar of Lightning, Mimelia Gladus!”
She punches forward once, tipping the air in two. “I come.”
The sky cracks with a roar to signal what’s to come. The sky flashes and Mimi disappears before slamming her fist with the side of my head. I fly through the air before skidding and bouncing on the ground- tumbling across the ground, my world spins before coming to a halt. I try to move my body but it throbs in protest from what feels like a blow from a jackhammer. I try to raise my head but it falls. I try again, and my head feels like lead.
I’m able to just barely look at Mimi and see that she’s just standing there, her form tight. She’s looking down at me with her face smoothed blank. I’ve never seen her look like that. She usually has all kind of emotions on her face.
I’ve seen Mimi wear a face with paradoxical expressions before, but I’ve never seen this. This, sends a shiver through me and I slowly stand. I’m disorientated and the world tilts. Being discombobulated like this makes me want to throw up but I resist. I stand with weary legs and unsteady breaths. I calm my breath and retake my form. I can’t let that happen again. I will literally not live through another hit like that.
Mimi extends her fist and I push my body to roll to the side. Where I just stood is charred black and is smoldering. She directed a lightning bolt at me. I gulp.
Her hair is just now losing its glow from using such magiks. She extends her fist again and I zig to one side while zagging to the other after. I move towards her and take a swing at her face with a feint and then swing my fist up to connect with her stomach. But I realize my fist is in Mimi’s hand a little too late before my entire body is electrified.
She lets me go just as I’m assailed with the smell of burnt flesh reaching my nose.
“Let me help you,” Rei pleads but I simply shake my head and stand again, wobbly on two legs. I’m less than a foot from Mimi, I can see a small amount of pity on her face. I take offense at that and take the opportunity to attack her again but it lacks any real power.
She doesn’t even bother to counter-attack. She turns slightly and my fist sails past her. But I try again. And again and again.
Over and over I rain down pathetic blows that could never hope to connect with her. She shrugs her shoulders, shakes her head and dodges one last blow.
She lowers her stance and lets her power seep out. “This is over,” she says flatly.
I fall to my knees panting from the physical pain. However, that is only part of the real pain. The fact that she was right is what really hurts. I’m nothing and yet she’s been forced to give up everything for someone like me- they all have.
I’ve known it this entire time, but to hear it spoken aloud, and by someone other than myself, still breaks my heart. The tears fall and I slam my fist to the ground. I pound the ground over and over until my fists are bloody stumps and yet I pound even more.
When I finally stop, I’m breathing sporadically and am covered in mud, blood, and soot. My fists have become mangled stumps and hang limply from my wrists.
“I’m leaving,” Mimi says and turns around. I shout at her to stop. I refuse to allow it to end like this. I refuse to be looked down on. She can hate me all she wants but she will hate me at my best and that’s not now.
Mimi turns around to me and I force myself to stand. I turn to her with renewed determination, I give in to the promise of power offered by Rei inside my mind.