Finally, finally, finally, after four days and just a little over as many thousands of words as that, this fourth scene of the twenty-first chapter is over and done.
So we get to the end of this cavalcade of blood–and it was bloody, and probably done that way for a reason, because my kids do know how to make a point when they put their minds to it–and Helena is one happy Mistress of All Things Dark. Well, she’s almost completely happy, and you’ll see why–
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Helena waited for some silence to return—and for the multiple instances of retching to subside—before speaking. “That wasn’t expected.” She gave the boy a lopsided smile as he turned towards her, the lightning sword still glowing in his hand. “Quite the move, too: I’d never seen that.”
Annie clutched her hands and rested them against her tummy. “He stared working on that beginning of December.” She appeared quite proud. “Said he wanted to have it perfected before the end of this month.”
“I’d say he’s succeeded there.” Helena approached him slowly. “Guess we’re going to have to get you some Jedi robes.”
Kerry made the sword disappear. “I actually learned that from an old anime—” He looked down, away from Helena. “I’ve only seen Star Wars a couple of times.”
“Still, it’s a good variation of Electrify.” Helena shook her head, chuckling. “You can always use another weapon—” She stepped between Kerry and his levelmates: the only one who could see them clearly was Annie since she was standing a few meters away from the others. She lowered her voice so Kerry was the only one who could hear. “You okay?”
First off, the fact that Kerry hasn’t seen Star Wars that much may seem strange, but there are some of us in that bucket. (waving hands here). Second, he’s right when he says he got the light sword from an old anime, because–of course–I know what anime he got it from. That would be Tenchi Muyo!, the story of the most sexually repressed teenage boy in Japan and the extremely attractive and slightly psychotic girls who want to be his OTP. It started out as an OVA, which I have, and then branched out into several variations of the same story, which is not all that unusual when it comes to anime.
He got the idea from Ryoko, the aqua haired–yes, again with the aqua hair!–space pirate who, in the OVA, is imprisoned inside a cave on Tenchi’s grandfather’s property, and who is eventually released and who is probably responsible for ninety percent of the crazy shit that happens to the boy. She can make swords out of energy–check for Kerry–and throw energy balls–another check–and can fly–okay, not so much a check for him, but right up Annie’s alley–
She’s also deeply in love with Tenchi, and wants more than anything to be with him–a check for Kerry in relating to Annie–and is extremely open emotionally–another huge check for Kerry.
By the way, until I found this gif I’d forgotten this scene–the OVA is from 1992 and I haven’t seen it in fifteen years–and I realize that’s a pretty good approximation of Annie’s “kill shot”, though Annie needs to work up the power a bit more than Ryoko and she uses both hands to focus and fire. By the way, Ryoko’s name is spelled using an unusual kanji, and generally translates as “Bringer of Demons,” though in the OVA it’s stated as meaning, “The Devil Caller”. That’s not a check for Kerry because he’s not a devil caller–yet.
So why all the concern, Helena? Well . . .
His gaze shot up from the floor and froze upon the sorceress’ face. “Yeah, I’m good.”
“You sure?” Since Kansas City Helena made a point of reviewing all of the training video of these two, paying particular attention to Kerry’s training. She was aware he’d “had a problem” during the fight on the Link Bridge, and she accepted Annie’s explanation that Kerry had over-thought the situation and tried to split up his actions instead of going on the attack.
Since then she’d watch him learn when to defend and when to attack, and Helena was satisfied that any situations like the one that arose in Kansas City wouldn’t happen again. However, she’d seen his reaction after he set his sights on the girl homunculus, and it puzzled her. He hadn’t froze out of indecision; Helena felt it was more like the homunculus had triggered something, though she couldn’t imagine what— I have to be certain he’s okay: I can’t have this being a problem, not if The Guardians decide to renege on their promise and whistle up a field op this spring.
Kerry nodded. “Yes, Professor.” He glanced over his shoulder at the headless body of the homunculus. “For a moment there—” He looked down, though he was chuckling instead of appearing pensive. “It was like I flashed on something for a second that kinda just . . . pulled me away.” As he looked up he nodded slightly. “It’s not a big deal; it’s not gonna happen–” He nodded towards the wall to his left. “–out there.”
Helena didn’t question what had happened—at least she wasn’t going to do so now. Annie saw this; I know she’ll ask him at some point. She patted him on the shoulder as her voice returned to a normal tone. “Okay, good job.” She tossed her head to the left. “Go join your SO and give her a hug.”
“Thank you, Professor.” Kerry did as ordered and carried out both request.
This is the first indication that Helena is monitoring their progress, that she not only aware of what went down during the Link Bridge Battle and that she’s spoken with Annie about it, but that she’s concerned that Kerry might do the same thing again were they out in the field and the shit hits the fan. But she trusts his explanation, and she also knows Annie will get to the bottom of this as well, and give Helena a report. Not because Annie’s a little snitch, but because, once more, her eyes are on the prize, and that means training up here Dark Witch to be the best.
This leaves up with nothing but cleanup and the notice that not everyone in the room is cut out for the Sorcesses’ Life–
“There you are.” Helena turned her attention back to the rest of the students. “That’s how you do Morte, and one day some of you may be able to do the same as my minions.” She turned towards Lisa, who was doing her best to slide unseen into the background. “Once again you questioned the abilities of your levelmates, and you got your ass handed back to you.” Helena flashed two fingers. “That’s your second strike; there won’t be a third.” She finally noticed Gavino, the Italian boy from Blodeuwedd, lying on the floor. “He fainted? Really?”
Shadha Kanaan nodded. “Yes, Professor.”
“Okay, get his feet elevated—” She finally noticed the students who’d thrown up, the various sports of vomit on the floor, and the head of homunculus laying close by. “Everyone who got sick, lay down against the wall.” She flicked the head away, sending it to rest next to its body. “I’ll get a nurse down here to see to you.” She turned to Annie and Kerry. “While we’re waiting head over to The Manor and get cleaned up. I’ll have Housekeeping—”
“That’s okay, Professor.” A satisfied smirk settled upon Annie’s face. “I’m fine like this.”
Helena’s right eyebrow shot upward. “What about you, Kerry?”
Though he wasn’t quite as messy as Annie, his face and clothes were covered with their fair share of blood. “I’m okay.” He smiled broadly before shrugging. “Blood’s kinda of an occupational hazard for some people in The Foundation, right?”
It took every gram of willpower the Head Sorceress possessed to keep from laughing. “Yes, that is certainly true.”
Never let it be said Annie and Kerry haven’t started coming into their own by (1) getting ready to help out in the class, while (2) being bloody as hell, (3) learning this same Morte spell at the same time–assuming they haven’t already–and (4) probably chuckling darkly at the mayhem they helped create. And they got Lisa in trouble again, which is always a plus.
Now on to the Penultimate scene, and it shouldn’t be that long, at least I don’t think so–
I’m kinda up in the air about it.