If you are a new reader, please take note that this is the FOURTH instalment in the Nocte Yin Series.
People tend not to know that and always end up reading the most recent instalment first and then they get confused. I try not to make it confusing to new readers, and I'm sorry if it is.
To new readers, this series is in this order:
1) Nocte Yin
2) Nocte Yin: How To Be Evil 101
3) Nocte Yin: Confessions Of A Villain-In-The-Making
4) Nocte Yin: A Hero Wannabe? (This one)
Now to readers who have stayed with me so far… THANK YOU!!!
You guys are the best!
So… by now you must know that I like to experiment when writing. Nothing too drastic for this instalment. I just always toyed with the idea of having quotes at the beginning of each chapter.
Anyway, this is the fourth (FOURTH) Nocte Yin: A Hero Wannabe?
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"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."
- Mae West -
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"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby -
The moth was dead; she had seen it die.
She had been reading the letter from her older brother, when it suddenly fluttered down to the edge of the desk and become still. It laid there for a moment with its delicate wings beating like a child's breath. She had watched it for a moment and caught a glimpse of energy jolting feebly. It had been a searing white energy that dulled right before her eyes and sank into an oblivion of black.
She had seen it die.
The wings frozen and its breath stopped.
"Well," Nocte said deadpanned. "That sucks."
It kinda did, considering that the moth (and Bob the dust bunny in the corner) had been her faithful companions for the last week or more.
At the age of 15, turning 16, Nocte had seen many things die before. With dark Asian eyes and long black hair, she was your average girl… kind of. Touching her tongue to her braces, she had to squint to get a better look at the insect in the dim light. Her braces were to be replaced by a retainer that August, and she had just been informed that she needed glasses. It would have been just fine if it weren't for her family being so perfect.
She was not a size 2, her head wasn't heart-shaped and her legs did not go on forever. She was, literally, the freak of her family.
Sometimes, it frustrated her – sometimes, it didn't.
Now was one of those times it didn't. She had more pressing issues to think of, such as the letter. Thinking of it, she dragged her eyes off of the moth and back to the paper, where each pen stroke had been careful and slow and hesitant.
July --, ----
I am not sure as to how to write this, nor am I sure of writing anything in general, so please bare with me.
The Elders have ruled for your disownment, and for your death on sight.
I don't know what to write now.
I don't think I can bear to write more.
Except, we are doing all we can.
Please, promise me that you will be safe, that you will not be reckless.
And know that to me, you will always be my sister.
Love, your brother – for always,
She lowered the letter with a hard look.
"I've been ready for a long time," she said.
A long time, indeed, perhaps even for all her life. The Yin Clan was one of the four Villain Powerhouses in all of Erisire. They were the very epitome of evil where even the worst of villains took precautions when dealing with the family. Nocte, born as the Third Child, Second Daughter of the First Family of the Yin Clan, had never had a choice as to what she was going to do with her life. Her family had already determined her fate: She was to be evil, like the rest of the bunch.
Except she never wanted to, and she made a grand deal out of it. To make matters worse, her parents had agreed to her decision of not being evil. They had thought it was a phase and was glad to send her to Athena Academy, the school for anyone who'd abide by their rules, thinking that she'd snap out of it.
Except she didn't.
Athena changed her greatly. It changed her entire perspective as to how people could act. They didn't have to stab each other in the back. They didn't have to scheme for anyone's down fall. They didn't have to poison, assassinate, blackmail or kill anyone. They were perfectly fine being… friends.
A foreign word that she had become accustomed too because she, too, found… a friend: Aman Rafiki. An African whose hairstyle consisted of braids pulled back into a ponytail, whose ears were pierced – twice on each ear – whose spontaneous, but still level-headed, whose a compassionate being and whose parents were heroes. Yet, despite the differences between their parents, Nocte and Aman had roomed together and, although it was difficult at first, they became the best of friends.
A best friend, unheard of in the villain community.
They had stayed together, at Athena, for a good five years… until Nocte's 12th summer where her parents sat her down in front of the cherry oak desk (probably stolen) and gave her a black-leathered folder. Sceptical, she had opened it and everything went downhill from there.
She was being sent to Evil Academy, the school for villains-in-the-making, and then a quick phone call to Aman, she found that her best friend was being sent to Hero Academy, the school for heroes-in-training. They were to be separated, going two different directions that had threatened to destroy them.
Her parents had never wanted to force her to a school she did not wish to attend, but there was a threat looming above all their heads. If Nocte did not become evil, she would be disowned from the Yin Clan. Therefore, Nocte obliged to Evil Academy, to ease her family's hearts and minds.
Unlike the rest of their clan, Nocte's family loved each other. They'd gladly die for each other. However, as much as they loved each other (a blasphemy to all that is evil), their love could not fend off the strict orders of the Yin Council – the Elders.
Within two years, Nocte had begun to sink deeper in the world she had been desperately trying to escape for five years. Schemes, vengeance and lies suddenly came from her mind as easily as… say… imaging bishonen taking you off to a far away place.
Seeing this great transformation, the Elders decided to test her. They sent her to Hero Academy. To be with Aman was the greatest of wishes that could be answered… but going to Hero Academy would be playing into the hands of her clan – a clan she despised. Knowing that she wouldn't fall easily, they had enlisted the help of her bestest friend, and Aman was ready to jump in – she had wanted Nocte to be close to her. And thus, Hero Academy had a Yin on her campus.
The Yin Council had hoped that, perhaps, Nocte would become more powerful. With both the education of Evil and Hero, Nocte would surely become a force to be reckoned with. For you see, Nocte had chosen the Path of a Necromancer. The Elders had thought that she could also master skills in the White Arts, the very opposite of Necromancy, and become resistant to any White Mages that might befall her powers.
What they didn't think of was, simply put, hormones.
She had met a boy. A boy who had irritated the hell out of her. A boy who just wouldn't leave her alone. A boy who… swept her off her feet. I know, cliché, but what was a girl to do?
Love was not permitted in evil society. One married to form alliances and to continue the bloodline – not to live happily ever after. Since the Elders had given her father and mother leeway to their marriage out of love, they did not view Nocte's fantasy of a knight in shining armour very gladly. And to make matters worse, the boy was no normal boy… nor was he a normal hero-in-training… no… the boy was a Yang. No normal Yang either, nope, he just happened to be their heir.
The Yang Clan was one of the four Hero Powerhouses in Erisire. Heroes and heroines fell to their feet, committing themselves to them. Even the greatest of villains flinch at their name. So great are they that they are the greatest foe of the Yin Clan. They were the Yin Clan's arch-nemesis.
Yep, she knew how to pick 'em.
Everything had gone fine with Delano. They danced in the moonlight. Had expensive dinners. They were, simply put, besotted by each other… until he found out. Until he aimed a gun at her, denouncing her as a Yin and that she had lied to him.
Her heart lurched at the thought and she tore her eyes to the moth in search of a distraction.
There had been a gunshot, but it hadn't been from Delano. It had been Axelia Ramiro, Delano's fiancée and Headmistress of Hero Academy (imagine that). Someone had been hit, but it hadn't been Nocte.
It had been Aman.
Nocte placed a handover her heart, hoping to still it. She could still remember all the blood, all the tears and all the desperation. She could still see all the life energy and death energy crawling over her body, threatening to suffocate her best friend. Aman had saved her life at the cost of her own and Nocte hadn't been ready to let her go.
Nocte swallowed painfully as she remembered how she desperately churned her chi and chakra into Aman's life and death energies. How Delano courageously came to aid her. How she had somehow performed a successful resurrection with much effort. Somehow, amid all the chaos, Aman was able to live. A resurrection in which she had no time to celebrate for because a moment later, she was arrested by the servants of the Yin Clan and was put under house arrest.
Needless to say, the crime of falling in love with a Yang deserved the greatest of punishments: Death. The Elders had ordered for her to commit suicide – a kind of seppuku of sorts.
She hadn't died, as we all can certainly tell. Her family, her beloved, beautiful family, had saved her. Out of that adventure she came out relatively unharmed, except perhaps breathing in too much smoke from her sister's charm.
Nocte sighed and sobered at the sight of the moth.
Aman had died last year. She could have stayed dead if it weren't for Nocte. She could have stayed dead if it weren't for Delano. For the truth was that Nocte could control death energy quite easily, but it was the life energy that was the problem. Without Delano to help her churn the life, Nocte wouldn't have been able to resurrect Aman.
And it was that thought that truly scared Nocte. Aman could have stayed dead because of Nocte's inept ability to control life energy. What would happen next time if someone Nocte knew died? Would she able to save them herself?
The answer was a definite: No.
But the solution was obvious: She needed more practise.
Practice… on the moth?
She thought it was a good idea, but she was still a tad sceptical. When she had resurrected Aman, life and death energies were already in place for her to munipulate. But the moth had been dead for a good five minutes – no life or death energy flailing for her to command.
Activating the Healing Sight, she grew disconcerted when she saw nothing. She swallowed and decided to do the best she could. She touched the moth and envisioned energy to come forth. To see the white of life and the black of death, and to guide if back into the body. To put breath back into the lungs and to put pulse back to the heart. She slowly pushed her own chi and chakra into the dead bug, flowing her life energy into the corpse.
"A life for a life."
Startled, Nocte jumped up from the chair.
Standing before her was a being in a black hooded robe. He had a scythe in one hand and there seemed to be a non-existent wind blowing on him. For a moment, heart leaping to her throat, she thought he was Thanatos, the God of Death, but his hand was of flesh, not bone. The entity was not a god, but he had appeared before her unexpectedly.
"I request a life for a life," the grim reaper said. His voice seemed to echo ominously, causing Goosebumps along her arms for no particular reason.
She was wary of the character, but he seemed to be the genuine thing. "Mine?"
He did not answer.
Carefully, she offered, "How about another life instead?"
He remained silent.
"Okay…" she said calmly, eyes flickering every which way to find something. "How about…"
Suddenly, her eyes fell on a beetle.
"A beetle!" she said brilliantly with a smile. "How about the life of a beetle?"
He did not reply.
"Okay," she said, nodding and warming up to the subject. "Do I – just… sacrifice it?"
The word "sacrifice" left her feeling dirty. It was something her mother would do. It was something every villain would do 'cept her.
"A life for a life," he repeated, just as dull as before.
Clenching her teeth together, Nocte looked at the beetle with scepticism. She wondered if it would work, and she wondered if the beetle would forgive her. Wrinkling her nose in disgust, she lifted her foot – and stomped.
"Done," he said with finality, and then vanished.
She frowned and looked at the moth – still lying motionless.
Confused, she quickly activated her Healing Sight, and felt her breath stick in her throat. Life and death energies were flaying around the corpse maniacally. Quickly placing her hands into the substance, she moulded and twisted and stretched it into position. She pushed her own chi and chakra into the matter, and moved it with difficulty, sweating at her brow.
She couldn't handle the life energy, her bones aching, but she strove and strove and strove-
"Ah," she moaned, a backlash of life hitting against her.
Gritting her teeth, her bones jarred, her muscles strained and her knees knocked. She was losing – and losing fast… There was no way she could hope to tame the life energy. She was a companion to death and only an acquaintance to life… she never had the chance to familiarize herself with it.
It was something Delano was good at.
She cringed and with one last effort, she willed the energy back into the corpse, heart threatening to break through her ribs. All the strength drained from her veins and her brain felt like it would implode any second. She collapsed onto her knees and took giant gulps of air to fend off the fatigue and the pain.
And just before she fell to the floor… she saw the wings flutter.
And then black.
She was a healer.
She was a destroyer.
She was a necromancer.
And Nocte was a Yin.
No one could ever change that.
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P.S. I want to dedicate this chapter to Arianna for convincing me finally to look up the difference between "further" and "farther". Thanks a billion
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t - h - e - p - o - i - n - t . l i v e j o u r n a l . c o m /