Change of Heart - Part 4

Date Posted: December 19, 2018

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

A flood of relief Amon didn’t expect washed over his body, leaving him laughing loud and long in his trademark way. He’d really not expected to get out of that in one piece… and here there had been no real danger at all in the end!

“S-such irony!” The Elezen laughed so hard he could hardly speak, gold eyes focused teasingly on Scylla’s frustration. Sure, that might land him in trouble, but it was worth it.

“My props to your former master… whomever he may have been.”

There were no words.

Just a scream of piercing unadulterated rage, directed at the laughing bard before her. He always had a way of getting out of things. And in the end his feelings of heartfelt remorse were simply falsehoods to get out of the latest bind.

Any rational musings that Scylla had were washed away in a red wash of pure anger. She didn’t even think about the fact that she was pushing into her life-aether reserves as she unleashed a wild wave of biting wind energy within the enclosed space of the lab.

There was pleasure as the node smashed against one wall, and rebounded against another. Pure relief as debris was lifted all across the room, and crashed into the Elezen’s prone form.

She didn’t even notice it leaving hairline slices into her own skin, until she felt the panel smash into her ankle. She could hear the internal snap as her already weakened bones broke, sending her unceremoniously crashing down to the floor.

There was darkness broken only by a small flickering of light, from the crushed and dented node. She could see in the distance, it playing a damaged vid-image from the deepest storage memory over and over again, struggling to remain powered as dynamic-aetherfluid seeped from the seams. A soft, familiar voice spoke from the light, which became suddenly recognizable.

“We still -nuuuur- have another 6,842,341 flavor combinations -bzzt- to try at the confectionary! Come on, my little dragonbait! Let’s go!”

It kept repeating over and over.

It was her Dad’s image. Horror filled her as the realization clicked. The node belonged to her father. Her long dead father.

She couldn’t remember if she screamed before the darkness took her.

Amon was seeing stars yet again. There had to be a pattern to all of this.

He’d not expected his relieved laughter to spark such rage in Scylla – shouldn’t she also feel relief that she didn’t have to make such a dour decision? That had all been lifted quite promptly off her shoulders!

But no. She hadn’t been happy.

And he hardly had the chance to throw his arms over his face before he was pelted with almost anything not nailed down in the room. This hurt… but in her rage, she’d taken herself down as well.

And then, it stopped.

Amon groaned and brushed himself off, a bit battered, still bleeding some from the back of his head. But his hands were unbound now, and he was free… just as the node said.

His attention turned to the node and to the curious display it put on repeat. The Elezen knew that voice. It was Scylla’s father. Had this lab been his?

Even more irony.

Amon dragged himself up with some effort, and tapped a few times on the screen, working to turn off the repeating display. The little machine had taken some damage, and running what was left of its battery to nothing would only make things worse.

Then, the Elezen turned to look down at Scylla where she slumped unmoving on the floor.

Ambivalence wracked his body. After having been so angry at her for so long… only to find that the vast depths of that anger was formed by lies… lies that he had believed and acted on.

What could he say? What could he do?

His own hands had carried out evils too dark to speak of. Worst of all, he had taken pleasure knowing of her suffering.

What a twisted, terrible thing he’d become.

Amon rummaged around in the under cabinets and managed to find what he was looking for. A fairly well-preserved lab jacket of Allagan design. It had likely belonged to Scylla’s father.

The Elezen gathered what was left of his strength, and wrapped Scylla in the coat. Lifting her, he carried her limp form into an adjacent room, cleared a space from what had once served as a bed, and looked into finding the medical kit that every lab should host by regulation.

There wasn’t much left to the one he found. Certainly none of the liquids were intact. But he could make do with some of the aged cloth for bandages. While he was no healer, he knew enough to bind basic wounds.

In the silence of the dark lab, that’s what he did.

It couldn’t fix the wounds he’d inflicted on her long ago… but… maybe it was a start.