“I hope Pricia managed to take care of it on her own.”
Anxious and distressed, Shion paced along the beach, gazing out at Shangri-La. From here it all seemed so peaceful. Perhaps the only peaceful place on Attoractia at the moment, as when she turned her gaze in the opposite direction, towards Yggdrasil, her eyes were met with dark clouds and a forboding black orb hanging in the sky. She was sure her fight for Shangri-La and whatever battle was taking place out there were connected, it could not be mere coincidence.
A voice called out to the young woman. It was a voice she’d heard before, but carried a strange pattern, as if spoken by someone else.
A short ways away, up the coast line, Pricia was sauntering over to the songstress.
“So...you did it then?”
“Yes, of course. I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t.”
Something was off. Pricia seemed to have lost her usual energy. She acted far more reserved, a calm smile on her face. Perhaps she was shaken by her clash with Valentina? Shion knew that taking a life could be taxing on one’s spirit, even a life as horrid as Valentina’s.
“I see. That’s good. I was worried about you.”
“Shion, I was wondering. Could you sing a song for me?”
“I, ah, suppose so. I didn’t know you had such an interest in my singing, Pricia.” Shion knew Pricia was no hater of music, the girl carried a powerful flute regalia with her, but she favored more wild instrumental songs than Shion’s melodious recountings of Attoractian history.
“A song of praise for a conqueror. Please sing ‘The Ruler’ for me.”
“Eh? But that’s...”
By the time Shion had realized what was happening, it was too late. ‘Pricia’ had lunged forward with blinding speed, thrusting a clawed hand forward. The sharp claws lanced forth, piercing Shion’s stomach.
“Th-that’s not...you...Valen...tina...how...” Shion managed to gasp out a few words between bouts of spitting up blood.
“I told you long ago, this world, you, this rat’s body, everything is my plaything. I admit the dark brat’s betrayal and intent to destroy this world were unknown to me, but it is of little consequence. Soon he will unknowingly reveal to me the secret of travelling to other worlds. I will find a new toy to play with, I will subjugate a thousand worlds, take all that is beauteous from them and make them mine.” Valentina’s expression widened with sadistic glee, her pupils turning thin like a snake.
Shion’s body fell lifelessly to the ground, before dissolving and being absorbed into a memoria Valentina was holding.
“Well, now that’s done with. Alright, little Lapis, what world will you lead me to?”
■At Yggdrasil, the World Tree
“That’s...the moon that summoned the cthulhu!” Kaguya suddenly had a clearly memory return to her from her previous incarnation.
“Tch. I wouldn’t have guessed you worms would’ve been the ones to force me to use that power again.”
Calling upon an ancient source of magic, Lapis cast a spell the likes of which the three heroines had never imagined. To say the attack was fast would be improper. Rather it seemed to move independent of the normal flow of time. From the black moon, a powerful malevolent beam seemed to simply appear. It did not fire forth, the entirety of the beam seemed to appear all in the same instant. Alice was caught, helpless, in this black moonbeam.
Kaguya and Charlotte called out at the same time. The two weren’t sure what happened, something had seemingly struck their friend faster than they could see.
“Stop fighting me! The only way we’re going to live is if you let me take over!”
Alice lost consciousness. Unable to restrict her other side, dark splotches quickly appeared on Alice’s body, coalescing into a shadowy cocoon. Wrapped for only a moment, Dark Alice burst forth.
“Time’s up kids! Time to beat all your skulls into the ground!”
Dark Alice let loose a terrible dark power. It scattered, and destroyed much of the surrounding area that was still standing. However, Alice had simple suffered too much damage, and Dark Alice, now in the same body, quickly felt the result of that. Her power quickly started to waver and she fell to the ground.
“Kaguya, you know that spell? I could barely even see it.”
“Huh? Wha? Did I say something? Sorry, we’ll worry about that later. Right now we need to get Alice and get out of here. We’ve got to run to a different world. My ship can take us.”
“Another world? There’s such a thing? But I can’t leave my home...”
“Sometimes it’s best to run away, and fight another day. We can’t save your home if we’re in the land of the deadies. For now, we need to make sure we live to see the next battle.”
Alice, having reverted back to her original form and falling to the ground once again, was picked up by one of Kaguya’s rabbits.
“We might have lost this world, but at least we got one back.” Kaguya clutched the regalia ‘The Earth’ tightly.
“But what do we do with it?” Charlotte was struggling to comprehend the situation.
“Leave that to me. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. For now, it’s time for a high speed bunny evacuation!”
“O-okay!” Charlotte tried to match Kaguya’s confidence. The two appeared close in age, but could not be more dissimilar in personality.
“I may have lost The Earth, but it’s no trouble to me now. This planet will prove far more powerful, thanks to you.” Lapis cast a menacing expression towards Yggdrasil. “But that doesn’t mean I’ll let you get away.” Lapis turned his gaze to the fleeing Kaguya and Charlotte. He exhaled a shimmering ebony orb that speed towards the female duo.
“Oh boy that doesn’t look good.” Kaguya grimaced at the hastily approaching attack.
“Kaguya, give me a moment. I think I can handle this!” Feeling the power of the sacred spirit within her, Charlotte channeled that power into the memoria the unconscious Alice was holding. With the last bit of power left in the world, the memoria constructed a glimmering magical barrier. As it’s only capable effort, this barrier managed to repel Lapis’ magical attack, dissolving it into the air.
“Charlotte, I’m all good here! I got Alice in too! Let’s go!”
“Okay!” Charlotte turned back to Kaguya who was sitting in a strange vehicle hovering a couple feet above the ground.
As Lapis finished his ritual, enveloping the world in shadow, he lost sight of the three pests who had tried to stop him.
“So they got away, huh? Oh well.” Lapis, having completed the ritual, now watched as the planet began to shrink and compress itself. As he gazed down, he caught the shape of an unfamiliar figure in the corner of his eye. Lapis was not used to people sneaking up on him. He turned, ready to attack.
“You let them escape I see.”
“Valentina? I was unaware you could assume other shapes.”
“There’s plenty you needn’t concern yourself with, little prince.”
“Don’t forget who’s in charge here.” Lapis held his hostile stance.
“Yes, yes, grip your sand as hard as you can and watch all the grains slip through your fingers.”
“Did you come here to anger me at the height of my power?” At this comment, Valentina let out a condescending laugh.
“I came to thank you actually. Thanks to you I can see the way to the many worlds beyond.”
“Do with that what you will, I have no need for you anymore.”
“I wonder if you’ll live long enough to regret that, little prince.” With another confident chuckle, Valentina disappeared.
Shortly after, all resistance from Yggdrasil faded, the world had shrunk and stopped, frozen in place as if now made of some stone. Lapis gripped the regalia tightly in his fist.
Attoractia, the World of the Seven Kings