"Eleanor..." Shira whispered with a tearful smile.
"You came back." Valery said incredulously. "You really owe us an explanation."
"Of course." Eleanor said. "But later."
She turned her attention to her brother, who cursed as he recovered from the surprise attack.
"You little wretch." He growled, rubbing his forehead as he stood up. "How did you get here?"
"I have my ways." Eleanor said vaguely. "But Brother, please stop this. It isn't right."
"Isn't right..." Oran laughed maniacally. "Isn't right...Don't make me laugh! Even knowing our history, how can you say that we don't deserve vengeance!?"
"Maybe we deserved it."
Eleanor brandished her knives, and took a stance.
"You may want to make others suffer for what happened to the Shadow Tribe, but I'm going to atone for our sins. I want to help people, no matter how dangerous that gets." She glared at her brother. "And if you want to talk about vengeance, then let me add my desire to avenge the Nightwatchers!"
"Hmph, so be it!" Oran held his sword forward. "En garde, my once dear Sister!"
Eleanor attacked first, rushing forward to slash her brother across the chest. Oran, surprised by her speed, staggered back as the attack connected.
Thinking she had the upper hand, the thief struck at his side. But Oran blocked the knives with his sword. He grinned at her, then retaliated with a slash, which she avoided.
But the man didn't stop there. He took the offensive, wildly swinging his sword. The attacks came so fast that Eleanor had trouble dodging them.
Finally, she managed to get behind Oran for a strike to the back. But he suddenly turned around and deflected the knives.
"Damn." Eleanor said as she jumped away. "He's too fast."
She gasped when her brother rushed towards her, quickly becoming too close for her dodge. She raised her knives as quickly as she could.
She slid back from the force of the blow then fell over. Her back hit the ground with a 'thud'.
Oran leaped towards her, intending to drive his Warsaw into her stomach.
Then suddenly a shield hit him in the side, making him fly off course. With a pained grunt, he faceplanted into the ground.
"What was-" Eleanor started to say.
Then she saw Shira offering her a hand. She took it, but didn't look grateful about it.
"This isn't your fight." The thief scolded.
"It is." Shira said firmly, summoning her shield back. "This started with my tribe, remember?"
Just as Eleanor was about to counter that, she noticed Oran getting to his feet. The warrior spat dirt out of his mouth, and gave Shira a look of disgust.
"You're really annoying me." He growled.
The Champion barely had time to raise her shield when he rushed in and slashed her. But Eleanor got in the way and blocked the attack with all the strength she had. Even then, she was still struggling to hold Oran back.
"Get away." She growled at Shira. "He's too powerful."
"But I can't-" Shira tried to protest.
A bolt of lightning struck the space between them, making Shira jump back in fright.
Eleanor looked back at her with a mixture of anger and fear. Her limbs were shaking from exertion.
"Crap..." The thief muttered. "Our curses..." She winced as a flare of pain went up her arms. "Need to...finish this..."
Then she noticed how close she and her brother were to the edge of the cliff. It would likely kill her, but...
"Shira." Eleanor looked back. "I'm sorry."
"Wait," Shira was confused. "What are you doing?"
Mustering all of her strength, Eleanor managed to move Oran's sword to the side, making it get stuck in the mud.
Oran tried to pull it back out, but his strength had driven the Warsaw too far in. His sister took the opportunity to tackle him, sending them both falling off the cliff.
"NO!" Shira yelled.
She ran over to the cliff and looked down.
She saw Eleanor and Oran struggling to get on top of each other as they plummeted to the ground below.
Then they crashed into the muddy dirt and went rolling in opposite directions. White particles drifted off them as their Aegises broke.
"Eleanor!" Shira cried frantically.
In an act of desperation, she switched to her shield and stepped back.
"Shira, wait!" Val warned.
But the champion was already jumping over the edge.
Down below, Eleanor was shakily getting up. But she grunted in pain when a foot pinned her to the ground.
"Nice..." Oran panted, looking rather tired and angry. "Try...but your efforts...were for naught."
He raised his Warsaw, and scowled.
Then the Stalwart Shield slammed into his sword arm, making a nasty 'crack' as bones broke. Then Oran screamed in pain, and was knocked back several feet.
Shira clumsily landed on her feet, and she flapped her arms to balance herself.
"Whoa!" She yelped.
She managed to avoid falling, and she sighed. Then she turned her attention to her friend, who was weakly standing up.
"You..." Eleanor panted. "Shouldn't have interfered..."
"It's my fight too, you know!" Shira said angrily. "As I said before, my tribe was involved in this. So don't even think that you're the only one with a grudge!"
Eleanor seemed to soften a bit, but she almost immediately tensed back up. She tackled her friend just in time for them to avoid a blazing sword strike.
"Shit." Oran spat as he stumbled. "You're lucky I'm right handed."
The girls quickly got back on their feet and raised their weapons. Then Eleanor noticed her hands were empty, and she looked around frantically.
She spotted her knives on either side of her, too far for her to reach. She made for the one to her right.
Oran lunged for her, but Shira was there to block his attack. However, his strength made her stagger back. A second strike knocked her to the ground completely.
But Eleanor had just enough time to grab her knife. While Oran was still distracted, she leaped toward him, ready to strike his neck.
Oran turned to see his sister mere inches from him. For a split second, there seemed to be fear in his eyes.
Then suddenly, a pillar of darkness erupted from where he was standing, blocking Eleanor. She hopped back, surprised at this turn of events.
"What's happening?" Shira said warily, holding up her shield.
"Die..." Oran said, his voice distorted. "I won't die...YOU WILL!"
Before the champion could react, Oran was right in front of her. He had the most psychotic look she had ever seen, and a dark aura radiated from him.
The next thing Shira knew, she was blasted into the mountain by dark magic.
Everything went fuzzy.
She could barely hear Eleanor shouting for her. She could see the blurry figure of Oran approaching her, ready to kill her.
It was then Shira noticed her Aegis fading away. Her shield had disappeared too. She tried to summon it back, but it didn't come. She tried for the sword, but nothing.
She was too drained to fight. But she had to move...
But upon trying to go forward, she found out that she was embedded in the rock. She struggled a bit, but she was too weak in her current state.
Oran was right in front of her now. With a manic grin, he raised his Warsaw.
"Die, Champion of the Goddess!" He declared.
There was a blur of movement as Eleanor stepped between the two, right as Oran was swinging down.
The siblings gasped in unison.
Shira was horrified by what she was seeing.
Eleanor had stabbed Oran in the left side, driving a knife down to the hilt. However, in her haste...her left arm had been cut off entirely.
Blood steadily dripped from the wound, matching the rain that fell from the sky.
"Eleanor..." Shira gasped.
Her friend looked back at her with a painful smile. "Glad...you're alright."
Then she collapsed onto the muddy ground.
Shira stared at her for a bit, then Oran's pained screams got her attention.
He had pulled out the knife in his side, making his wound bleed heavily. But he didn't seem to care. Rather, he was even more furious.
"Stupid bitch!" He yelled, stumbling towards Shira. "I'm through being made a fool of!"
He raised his sword once more.
The warrior screamed again as a bullet pierced his stomach. He staggered back and doubled over.
"Who..." He muttered.
Then another bullet came, hitting his left leg. And one more hit his right. He fell face first into the ground.
The only sound left...was the heavy rain.
Shira's exhaustion finally caught up with her, and she slowly started to black out.
Then she saw Eleanor on the ground, with blood pooling from her wound.
She couldn't be left like that...
So the Champion steeled herself, and started to pull herself out of the mountain. Her skin was scraped, and she felt so much pain. But she managed to get out, and she fell to her knees, right beside Eleanor.
Shira took a few deep breaths, then grabbed her skirt. This would be embarrassing later, but she didn't care at the moment.
With what strength she had left, she tore off the entire skirt, leaving her legs and blue underwear bare to the world. She pressed the fabric against the wound, and let out a shaky breath.
Then she finally lost consciousness.
Only a minute after that, a masked man dressed in black came and stopped beside the bloodied Oran.
"Seriously?" The man said in disbelief. "You're just making my job harder..."
He grunted as he picked up him up, then turned around.
"Mistress isn't going to be happy, you know..."
After shivering a bit, he walked away. Leaving the two girls to lay in the rain.
Armand Copellia slumped into a chair with a tired groan. "I can't believe this..."
"Things have gotten really problematic, haven't they?" Professor Barnes said with a hint of worry.
He heard his tea kettle go off, and hurried over to it.
"Those damn Sorcerers." Armand said angrily. "The tricky little bastards were one step ahead of us."
Professor Barnes came back with a cup of tea in either hand. He gave one to Armand before sitting down himself.
"I do hope the Champion is alright..." The older man muttered.
"Yeah..." The Enforcer sighed. "Me too."
"All we can do is wait, unfortunately."
"Oh yeah, thanks for letting me crash at your place while I wait for the girl."
The professor smiled. "It's not a big deal. I'm glad to help in any way I can."
Armand grinned as he sipped his tea. "So, fancy a game of chess?"
At the house by the sea, Eve and a maid were serving dinner. The kids were happily talking to each other and laughing out loud.
Once everything was taken care of, the maid excused herself, despite Eve's insistence for her to stay and eat.
"Hey, Eve?" Daliah asked the woman sat down. "When do you think Armand will be back?"
"Not for a while, honey." Eve answered with a sad smile. "Just be patient."
"Do you think we'll be here forever?" Ulric asked curiously.
"Well...what do you think?"
"Hmm...To be honest...I wouldn't mind going back home..." The boy smiled. "But it's fun here! I want to stay!"
"Me too." Hearth agreed.
"Yeah!" Deliah chirped. "Let's live with Uncle Armand!"
Eve sighed. "Okay. We'll...ask him when he gets back."
As the kids cheered, she worriedly looked out the window.
(Please be okay, Armand...)
Shira groaned as she slowly came to.
When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was in a cave. She could see the glow of a campfire out of the corner of her eye.
She sat up and looked that way. There was Valery, tending to Eleanor with a damp cloth. The thin girl's breathing looked rather labored, and her face was flushed.
"Val?" Shira shook her head. "Where are we..."
Her best friend glanced at her. "Oh, you're awake." She smiled. "Feel better?"
"I think so. But...Eleanor?"
Valery frowned. "Yeah...wasn't doing too well when I reached her. Nearly bled out...If it weren't for you...Now she's running a fever..."
She pressed the cloth against the blonde's forehead.
"You were scratched up bad too, so I bandaged you. Also made you a new skirt."
Shira looked at herserlf and saw the bandages, as well as her new skirt made from leaves.
"I'll need a new dress..." She said with a blush.
"We'll get one later."
Valery dipped the cloth in a bowl of water and placed it on Eleanor's forehead. Then the gunner sighed and leaned against the wall.
"Have to wait a bit longer." She said tiredly. "She should be fine tomorrow...I think."
"How long has it been?" Shira asked as she went to her best friend's side. "And where are we?"
"Been a day. This is ths cave we went in yesterday, remember?"
"Ah...yeah, it is." The Champion smiled. "Val...thank you, for saving us."
Valery shook her head. "Hey, we're friends. I wouldn't let you die." She grinned, and mimiced holding a sniper rifle. "Just had to wait for the guy to stop moving for a sec, and BAM!"
Shira giggled. Then a thought occured to her.
"Uh...yeah...he was gone when I got there. Probably walked off..." Valery scowled. "I'm mad at myself for not making sure he was dead."
"It's alright. At least we're together again."
"Heh...yeah. To be honest..."
The gunner glanced at Eleanor. A smile crept to her face.
"I missed her."
"I did too." Shira said with a nod.
They watched their friend in silence for a while, then Valery spoke up.
"So...I checked the map. And..."
She took out the map of the world, and laid it out.
The continent of Rosch was not glowing anymore. This time, it was the continent of Rosa, to the southeast.
"So Rose is next." Shira said, perplexed. "Wonder what we'll find there."
"Don't know." Valery rolled up the map. "But if we're going there, we need to board a ship in Albion. Once Eleanor wakes up, we set out, alright?"
"Yeah." The Champion nodded. "Do we have enough supplies to last the trip?"
"I think so...If the scarecrow here manages to hold her horses."
That brought a laugh out of Shira, and Valery couldn't help but join in.
The next morning, Eleanor woke up, having apparently recovered from the other day's ordeal. Even Valery looked happy to see her condition.
Then it was shortlived when the thief complained about being hungry.
So after a hearty breakfast, the girls set out for the port town of Albion.
"I hope this will be smooth sailing." Valery said. "I don't think I can handle anymore of that dark stuff."
"At least we know what we're up against." Eleanor pointed out, frowning. "My brother...something isn't right about this..." She shook her head. "Either way, we need to be careful. As we are now, do not have the power to fight our enemies."
"We'll be fine." Shira said with confidence. "I know, because..."
She grabbed one of Valery's hand, and Eleanor's single one. She beamed at them.
"I got you two beside me." She finished. "As long as we're together, we can take anything!"
The gunner and the thief looked at each other for a moment, then smiled at their friend.
"You're right." Valery said. "If we stay together, nothing can stop us."
"We'll become strong enough to face the darkness." Eleanor said. "Let's do it together."
And so, our heroines walked hand in hand to their next destination.
They didn't know what would come next. But if they stood together, they could face anything that came their way.
And so the first part of this journey ends.
Hello Readers, FairReviewer here!
As always, I enjoyed writing this story. There were some difficulties, particularly where fights were concerned. But overall, I felt like I did well enough.
However, feel free to leave a review. They're really appreciated.
As for what motivated me to write this, I just have so many ideas that I want to implement. The Magica Academy universe is one where there's a lot going on behind the scenes, and Champion of the Goddess was made to bring some of those to light.
I hope to do well in my efforts to make a grand tale. It's kind of hard when you got so many places and characters to use. I'm afraid some might end up not getting the great moments they deserve.
But still, I'll give it my all!
Thank you all, for taking the time to read my works! See you soon!