This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Scylla sat down on the foot of the bed, turning the glow-lamp up, speaking with a flat voice.
“The pain is nothing compared to the hatred I have for you.”
Her eyes opened as she looked up under a darkened brow, swallowing back tears. “I hate everything that you are, everything that remains of you. I hate how you marred my father’s name and his work, and manipulated his kindness for you.”
She pointed over at the trashed node with a bitter moan.
“Father was even fooled in the end that you had any care for anything other than your own ambition and greed.”
Once again, she looked at Amon with a snarl as her voice became louder.
“Most of all, I hate that there is nothing I can do about it. Short of bringing this ship down, you will be brought to justice, and manipulate your way out just to do this again… and again …and again!”
“So, Amon?” She waved her arm with some pain, holding a bedsheet as if a cape. “Who will be the next tragic player in the great act? Who will be the next to meet some terrible fate at your twisted court of justice?”
“Twisted court of justice,” Amon echoed slowly. “That is where my hate began.”
Everything she said was justified. In fact, he knew exactly how she felt.
“Oh, I do know that undying burn. That rage. That desire to lash out.”
His gold eyes flicked over to Scylla, focusing intently on her facial features. He wasn’t sure how she’d recreated herself – likely a clone – but she’d done a good job in making herself as he remembered from a long time ago. Before his own hate transformed their rivalry, turning it into something more… torturous.
“I had to make the call in that twisted court of justice,” the Elezen let the sheet slip away, and cared nothing about it. Scylla knew his past. Knew the depth of his sins. Her seeing his face did not make him flinch.
“I was backed in a corner and the only logical way to proceed was to make the vote.” Amon ground out the last word with sharp spite. “I was too much of a coward to stand up for her… to figure something out to stop the situation. I watched Clio go to her death instead. And oh… that self-loathing that festered within me after… I would have done anything to be rid of that guilt.”
“That’s why, when I was informed that you were involved in handing her over to the court, I was livid.” His eyes narrowed sharply as he drew himself up to his full height. “Insanely livid. Yes, I understand the depths of hate. And what it will put into a person’s mind… especially one that was as deranged as mine own.”
“So I brought together all the things you despised the most… to drag you down to join the depths of my misery… to create my own twisted justice.. my own revenge… yes… that idea pleased me immensely.”
A slow, sadistic grin slipped over Amon’s face, just for a moment, as if falling back into old ways of thinking. Then, it faded as his eyes focused on Scylla again.
“But… I made a mistake.” The Elezen’s voice lowered, almost rasping. “To place factual belief in something that was not factually proven… and to seek no proof. My misery overwhelmed my logic… and I acted on my own hate without questioning.”
“It never occurred to me that… that what I was told might not have been true.”
Amon looked away, unable to speak the words directly.
“What I did to you was… wrong. There’s not even a word to prescribe to it that will do it justice. And there’s not a thing I can do that will ever erase it.” He closed one fist slowly. “So hate me if you must. Because I understand hate. I have lived it, and it has driven me to depths I did not know I was capable of.”
“Wrong, is it?” Scylla gave a cry. “Which part was wrong?”
“Was it the part where you held it in your mind that I was guilty without being brought before even your corrupted court?”
“How about the part where you lured me into your laboratory under false pretenses only to mutilate me, and declare me dead to my loved ones?”
“Or maybe when you left me to madness, barely clinging to sanity, tortured as your personal hell-hounded monstrosity for eternity?”
“None of that matters to you, even now.” Scylla shook her head. “The only thing that matters is the one little error of judgement you made.”
“A mistake, a wrong… you call it.” The white mage sat up straight. “The fairytales of Amon of Allag speak of it more accurately. They call it evil.”
Scylla looked aside.
“Clio really was a fool, all the way until the end.” The white mage curled her lips in, grasping her shirt corner. “How much she tried to convince everyone that despite everything, that the same little innocent hound-eared Elezen was still in there. I wonder if in the termination facility that she finally realized what you really were.”
Amon didn’t expect Scylla to accept anything he said. He already knew there were no words that could encompass the enormity of the guilt, hate and pain that lingered in that room.
For all of his time spent on the stage, acting out parts, manipulating the scene, and carelessly putting his pawns in the right places… None of it did him any good now. When what he needed more than anything was a way to express sincerity.
Years and years of lies revoked his right to be believed. That was his own fault.
At a complete loss, Amon just sat down at the head of the bed, putting space between him and the fuming archmage. His hands hung between his lanky knees, head down as he stared at his feet… as if something magical would appear to give him any clue of how to handle the mess he’d made of her life… and his own.