Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 125,893,067 Issue: 254 | 25th day of Hiding, Y8
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Past Reflections: Part Eight


by smurfafied1800

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Monster Within

Mesbeto's eyes widened greatly. Hiterkuna looked like she was on the verge of tears. Yubioke, in sharp contrast to their terror, looked enraged. "Is this how you fight?" she demanded angrily, her every word ringing out her utter contempt. "By going up against little kids who can't even stand?" The two pets seemed greatly irritated by this comment; surely they hadn't expected fighting an Aisha with a bark just as bad as her bite. Her temper became so great that even the air around her seemed to correspond with it - it was becoming a dark, black shade. The ground beneath her feet was shaking, and tiny pebbles were jumping up and down. The grass within three feet of her seemed to wither.

      Both the Hissi and the Uni seemed to notice this, and they backed up a little. I saw Yubioke's eyes change dramatically - they were going from closed slits to open, red shards embedded in her skull. As she seemed on the verge of losing herself, the Uni bravely croaked: "Remember your brother. We don't need much from you..."

      Upon hearing this, Hiterkuna scurried forward. She placed a paw on Yubioke's arm, looking extremely worried. "Yubioke, please, let's listen to them..." Yubioke cast a quick glance in Hiterkuna's direction and seemed to wilt; her eyes closed, and the dark air around her brightened slightly. She still seemed poised to attack.

      "What do you need?" Hiterkuna asked, stepping forward to confront them bravely. The Hissi slithered forward tentatively, his eyes on Yubioke the entire time. It vaguely occurred to me that he didn't realize that Hiterkuna's and Mesbeto's power just about matched Yubioke's. The Hissi bared his fangs, but Hiterkuna did not flinch. He closed his mouth again briefly, explaining, "We need but a little blood from each of you..." And, without consulting her, he nicked her quickly with his fangs. Hiterkuna flinched and Mesbeto gasped, but the Hissi simply turned to his partner. Nodding his head multiple times, he threw the blood from his fangs and onto the ground near the Uni's hooves.

      Turning around, the snakelike pet noticed the worried looks on my siblings' faces. "Ah, don't worry, I didn't inject any poison into that bite."

      The process was repeated over and over, until there were three very small stains of crimson on the ground. I felt worry overtake me as I watched, helpless and feeling useless because of it.

      The Uni rose an eyebrow at the stains. "What now?" he asked the Hissi, who replied.

      "That little whelp, Kei, should be here any moment. Boss says he'll come with Kei to observe and tell his mistress about what has happened while she was gone."

      The Uni nodded blandly.

      The Hissi then directed his attention to me, flying up only far enough so that he could reach me. He wrapped his tail around my limp form and lifted me up, then tossed me at the ground near Yubioke's feet.

      The Aisha gasped slightly and knelt down next to me, checking me over for any wounds. "You big dolt," she muttered, but she seemed happy that I was alive. "What's going to happen?"

      If I could have spoken, I would have tried to comfort my big sister. But I could say nothing. The Hissi sneered. "Keep him for all we care - our business with you is nearly over."

      Then, as if on cue, a great blackness began forming. I was the first to notice it, because I was gazing directly behind the Uni when it happened. The Uni's shadow seemed to expand suddenly, and a paw gripped the grass. I saw the form of a young shadow Zafara pull himself from the shadow, and, following with far more grace and experience, the white Shoyru pulled himself out after. They're using a shadow as a gateway, I thought suddenly. Is that one of Tyne's powers?

      The Zafara child was younger than myself, but a little older than Hiterkuna. He seemed unknowing of the great danger that we were all in, for he wore a smirk on his face. The white Shoyru noticed me instantly, and seemed a bit smug, but he held his facial features with far more control than the child did. The Shoyru seemed annoyed that he was with Kei at all. The young Zafara bounded forward, whooping and cheering.

      "Heh heh, so this is the great MirrorEyes!" he sneered, looking down at me. He was about to kick me harshly, but Yubioke snarled and swiped at him, causing him to back off quickly. It dawned on me that this child knew next to nothing about MirrorEyes.

      "Master Kei," the white Shoyru said, his voice wringing with a bit of impatience. The Zafara sauntered over to him, and the Shoyru signaled down at the small prints on the ground. Obediently, the child walked over to the stains. His foot made contact with them and he seemed to shudder violently. Kei doubled over, gasping, looking as if he were on the verge of vomiting. Hiterkuna whimpered out her sympathy for him, something I found odd. He was our enemy. How could she be sad for him?

      The air suddenly darkened intensely, in an almost identical fashion to Yubioke. The pebbles danced inches above the ground near him, and the grass seemed like it was dying. Kei's features were changing slightly, also: his ears grew longer and he seemed to grow in height, making him look more like an adult than a kid. Multiple scars lined his arms and legs, although you could hardly see them because of the density of his shadowed fur. His eyes, which had been closed for so long, opened to reveal a drastic color-change: deep crimson.

      Kei seemed to shudder, then straighten up. The aura around him vanished immediately and the area around him returned to normal. But this time, he stood with more grace and control. His muscles bulged and his facial features took on a more feminine, yet lethal, expression. I knew that this was no longer Kei. It was Tyne. The white Shoyru seemed to know that beforehand, and he knelt down, his head bowed before his mistress. "My lady," he mumbled quietly.

      Tyne nodded towards him and he stood, then she directed her attention towards us. She seemed to be an identical of the Zafara I had been attacked by during MirrorEyes's remembering. Upon seeing me, the edges of her mouth curled over in a sneer. "It... is you, isn't it." She looked at the Hissi. "If you lethally poisoned him, you'll suffer."

      The Hissi shook his head quickly. "No, m'lady, he's just immobilized."

      "Then," Tyne hissed, the small smile looking deadly, "he can watch as I pick off his brother and sisters, one by one." I felt my heartbeat quicken immediately, and I blubbered helplessly. Tyne ignored my pleas and stood. She sauntered over to my siblings, Mesbeto and Hiterkuna being shielded by Yubioke. Tyne opened her paw, and darkness gathered in the palm of it. "I'll take you out first, Yalina."

      Instantly Tyne dashed forward, and Yubioke shoved Mesbeto and Hiterkuna out of the way. She grabbed her enemy's paw in an attempt to stop the punch, but was knocked back violently and fell to the ground. She picked herself up again, lunging back at Tyne with equal speed. The same transformation that had occurred minutes earlier was repeating itself. Yubioke slowly transformed from a skunk Aisha to a Darigan. The Aisha held out her own paw and darkness gathered at an extremely fast rate, then flew from her paw and slammed headlong into Tyne. The Zafara seemed frazzled from the attack, but nonetheless charge back.

      I watched with blurry vision as the two equally powerful dark witches fought each other for the upper hand. Every time they collided, my heart skipped a beat. Every time Yubioke was grounded, I strained to gasp. I couldn't sit by uselessly like this. My worries reached their peak when Yubioke collided with the wall of our house, slumping down. She seemed dazed from the use of so much power, and Tyne slowed down drastically. Darkness gathered into her paw and formed a point, aimed at the Aisha's heart.

      Move! I shrieked at my body. MOVE!

      Maybe it was because I had been poisoned and rendered so weak. Maybe MirrorEyes had called it forth. But what happened I cannot explain yet, and it terrified me above all else. I felt the familiar withdrawal that meant MirrorEyes was coming out. But, instead of transforming into a Draik, like I usually did, something else happened. I retained my Shoyru form. But I couldn't command it.

      Suddenly the effects of the poison vanished. My feet were moving on their own. From somewhere within me, unexpected power was drawn forth and pinpointed to Tyne's body. There was an enormous explosion and she was knocked down roughly, her body flung away like a useless rag down. Tyne seemed horrified by what had happened, and she looked at me with wide eyes. "You're not MirrorEyes..."

      "Who said I had to be?!" I hissed, but it was not my voice. "That weakling is immobilized by the poison... but I evaded it!" And, running forward, I aimed a violent punch at Tyne. She rolled from the attack and I hit the ground, creating a small tremor. From the sidelines, the white Shoyru seemed to notice my drastic change. He ran forward, eager to protect his mistress. I punched at him and he grabbed my paw with his, shaking in desperation the whole time. With one arm rendered useless, I aimed a kick at him and hit him harshly in the stomach. The Shoyru doubled over, and the Hissi, realizing the desperate situation, turned tail and began to run. My attention was instantly focused on the fleeing pet and I opened my wings, soaring after him. "You won't get away!" I roared, flying down on him.

      A strange silver light surrounded my paw and I brought it down on the Hissi's skull. He fell to the ground and didn't get up. From behind my eyes, I was horrified. But I couldn't help but recognize the sense of enjoyment that was spreading throughout my body. I knew that this wasn't MirrorEyes. He wouldn't enjoy it. Had I been harboring another monster, another "MirrorEyes"? Shock ran through the mental being that was me, but it did nothing to equal the enjoyment I felt also. My physical body turned and, sneering at my victory, sauntered toward Tyne and her protector. The Uni had already fled. But I didn't care; it had been the Hissi who had inflicted real damage on me, and he had been rewarded.

      When I attacked Tyne a second time, she was armed and ready. As I aimed a punch at her, she blasted me back with a wave of darkness. I fell to the ground roughly, but stood quickly, and ran in again. I swiped at her and she blocked it with her arm, using her other to attack again. Her eyes seemed wider and her brow was furrowed in concentration. She had to take me far more seriously now.

      "Who are you?" she yelled towards me as her darkness nearly struck me.

      I jumped nimbly to one side and sneered. "...I wouldn't tell you even if I did have one." The Zafara let out a small gasp and backed off nimbly as I struck at her with the silver magic.

      When I was backing her into the side of the house, I saw my chance to attack. I threw a false punch towards her and she ducked, during which I whipped around quickly and smacked her in the stomach with my tail. Tyne doubled over, straining to recover quickly from the ache I had unleashed upon her. The brief moment in which she took to recover was more than enough for me, and brandishing the silver light in my paw, I brought it down violently on her shoulder. The Zafara whimpered slightly in pain, but her eyes did not show fear. They brimmed with tears of pain, but mostly hatred. She loathed what I was and she loathed every scale that made up my silver being. The only feeling that countered that hate and challenged its magnitude was my own, but the hate resonating from me was, in a grim way, happy.

      Inside my mind, from behind the eyes that were slightly blurred over by whoever was controlling me, I glanced back to the Hissi, slumped on the ground. I had promised myself that I would never do this again. I had promised my brother and sisters that I never would. What good was a promise I couldn't keep? All it had given myself and them was a false hope that would be shattered in an instant. I hated this feeling of loss and guilt, knowing that if I had been stronger, I could have stopped this. This was hardly Tyne that I was facing, either. It was a child.

      Darkness enveloped me and I found myself sitting next to a silver figure, looking just like myself. But this was a Draik. I shuddered as I realized MirrorEyes's presence. Every time I had encountered him, it had been either myself or him dominant. I had never sat next to him like this, like he was an individual. I realized with a bit of guilt that I had never recognized him as an individual. From the guilty look in his eyes, I could tell that he felt the same way - never before had he treated me like I had my own body, my own soul.

      "I'm sorry, Kyradose," he said. "I shouldn't have picked you. I shouldn't have picked anyone, actually. I was better off dead."

      "You can't say it like that," I retorted quickly. But, despite myself, I felt that he was right. It was his fault that all of this had started. "You couldn't leave them," I said quietly, thinking about myself, too. "You didn't want to leave the pets you loved so quickly."

      MirrorEyes shrugged, a small smile on his face. "Yeah."

      "MirrorEyes," I said suddenly, the question flashing through my mind, "what did you promise Tyne?" There was a long pause, in which many expressions flashed past the Draik's features, all at once. Anger, guilt, confusion... sadness. I once again told myself that they had been friends when they were children. The question that was unanswered was the one asking what he had promised her... That question nagged me constantly now, and as I watched his face, I was sure that he wouldn't answer.

      When he spoke, his voice was cracked and dry. "Tyne was born in a different village from myself. But when the leaders in my village heard of her... special powers... they requested that she be trained under professionals. Anyone with powers considered special were valued in those days because of the constant turmoil," he explained when he saw my confused look.

      "I was also trained under the village leaders. Tyne's power and my own worked very well together, so our teachers devised a plan in which we would work together on various missions. As they had thought, it worked perfectly. We were simply children, but..." He paused, and a small, proud smile overtook his mouth. "...we were competition for even the greatest warriors. It was soon thought that our near perfection was because Tyne's power rested in death, while mine rested in the essence of life. It was partially because of that power that I could find another body so quickly without my soul fading away.

      "Unfortunately, other countries that we were at war with sought to destroy our power. Even at our young age, Tyne and I were targeted for assassination. We were constantly traveling with guards, and we found it a blessing when we could escape them. We took the fact that we were targeted too lightly.

      "One day, we ran away from our guard. We were playing by a stream, trying to catch fish, when an assassin fired an arrow at us. Our guard found us just in time to block it, but..." He looked down sadly. "It cost him his life. During that moment when he collapsed, we realized the true danger we were in. Tyne grew enraged and attacked the assassin, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the guard's face. He had given his life for us. Those moments will be burned into my mind for an eternity, if not longer. Tyne managed to defeat her foe, but soon after the incident, we were separated. They found that it would be safer if we were kept apart and watched separately. During the time when we were separated, our powers grew all the more. The enemy countries found this breaking up as an opportunity, and they attacked Tyne's village. We came to their rescue, and as soon as I found Tyne, I promised her that I would come back for her. We would continue to be fighting partners, no matter what anyone said, and we would grow even more powerful."

      I blinked. "That's why she's after you?" I said blankly. "It hardly seems like a good enough reason for her to hold a grudge against you."

      "I'm not finished yet," the Draik said a little coolly, and I silenced myself. MirrorEyes went on.

      "Tyne was kidnapped during the battle, despite her powerful attempt to escape. They had special magic workers with them who specialized in harnessing her powers. If I had been there... that wouldn't have happened.

      "After she was kidnapped, I persuaded the villagers to follow them. It took us very long to finally catch them, because they were nomads, and they were used to traveling. It took us..." he paused, deep in thought. "...a year."

      My eyes widened. One year was indeed a long time, and it was easily guessed that MirrorEyes had lost a majority of his followers during this time. The Draik nodded, as if reading my mind.

      "When I attacked the enemy, I only had thirty loyal pets with me. Each one had been trained to show any powers that they had, and, much to my surprise, a few did have some useful traits. The attack went relatively well, until I was struck in the side by an arrow. I was taken from the scene of the battle quickly, and when I woke up, our number had decreased. I was unable to protest as we began the long journey home.

      "I didn't find this out until later, but a white Shoyru who had participated in Tyne's kidnapping spoke to her the night after the battle. He lied to her, telling her that I had arranged the first attack in the village, all those years ago, because I had felt threatened by her power. Tyne had questioned him about the attack last night and the white Shoyru lied again, telling her that it had been her few loyal followers alone. Tyne didn't want to believe him, but as she waited for me to return, her heart grew heavy with the fact that I would not come. She soon gave up and believed the Shoyru, thinking that I had betrayed her."

      "Why didn't you go back?" I asked quickly, narrowing my eyes. "You could have."

      "The battles increased after the failed raid. I was called off to fight in another country as soon as I healed up. That country..." he looked down sadly, "is where I met my sisters and brother." I watched him intently as he continued. "But I thought about Tyne for such a long time," he said. "I felt guilty and alone for so long, but as I began to grow fond of my new family, my memories disappeared. I feel even more guilty, now that I'd forgotten.

      "And," he said, concluding his story, "you know the rest. We both grew up, Tyne attacked my village, and I was, well..." He glanced over at me. "...killed."

      "So that's where the white Shoyru is descended from," I mumbled, more to myself than to MirrorEyes. "The one who deceived her, all those years ago." MirrorEyes nodded.

      "That lineage is considered sacred, because Tyne helped that country in many times of strife. It was, most likely, because of her that they did so well after the war."

      We were both silent for a moment, letting the monster in dominance control my body. It was as if we were looking through a mirror that had been glazed over by fog and ice. My body parts felt heavy as I stood, staggering. I placed a paw on the cold glass, shivering. MirrorEyes observed my actions from his seat.

      "I promised them," I said quietly. "I promised myself, after that stupid massacre. I would never kill someone again. Now, look at me. I've broken that promise. I'm useless with my promises so easily broken."

      "When I entered your psyche," MirrorEyes said logically, "something else entered you, too. This being must have something to do with me, but...." He sighed, sounding exhausted. "I fear that the contract I made with you when I entered you is breaking."

      "Contract?"

      "You most likely don't remember it," he said. "You were only a child, but I promised you that if you let me stay inside you, I would protect you. I have failed to protect you and the ones around you, so I must pay the price."

      I blinked in confusion. 'Price'? Before I could further question him, MirrorEyes placed his paws on the floor of my alternate reality, his eyes closed. His claws glowed with a silver light, and I felt, within my body, a lightening affect in my head. I staggered, feeling slightly sick.

      "I'm not long for this world," MirrorEyes said, looking exhausted. "I'm sorry, but this can't go on. I'm not going to let Tyne's life end this way... even if it costs me another host."

      My eyes widened at his words. The MirrorEyes that had been speaking with me only moments ago had been kind, but the one sitting before me now had a completely different tone in his voice. He was willing to sacrifice anything to finish this, even though he didn't have enough time to do it himself. He was willing to put others in danger to end the problem he had started. He was willing to put me in danger.

      MirrorEyes's body began glowing, and he shuddered when it began pulsing. I looked down to my skin to see, to my surprise, that it was glowing, too. The Draik stood, walking over to me. I felt the urge to run, or to hit him and make him stay away. But I couldn't move a muscle.

      "You are in my reality," MirrorEyes hissed, grabbing my paw with his own. "You cannot move when I say so." I narrowed my eyes in a glare towards him, feeling betrayed. Then, my body shuddered with the violent amount of energy flooding into it. It seemed like there was a vast reservoir that I could simply reach into and pull an amount of power from it. Any amount. An infinite amount.

      "It is not everlasting," MirrorEyes said, reading my thoughts through my face. "But it will help you against Tyne. You will be unable to use this power for your own needs. You will use it... simply for the purpose of fighting her." Then, he released my paw, and I felt the power draining from me. It was like he had put a barrier around it.

      "You will fight her in my place," MirrorEyes hissed. "Don't murder her stupidly, like you did those bandits. If you do, you will have me to fear in the afterlife. And..." He quickly slashed a claw across my arm, creating a long line that did not bleed. "This curse mark will remind you of that. If you defeat her in hate, in rage... if you kill her cruelly... then the one that matters the most to you at that time will also die."

      Then, before I could question his words, I felt the power surging through me again. This time, its true purpose was to free me from the prison that was my mind. The first obstacle was the monster controlling me from outside. I inhaled deeply, power coursing through my veins, and I let loose. There was a mind-shattering explosion all around me. I felt a tug of resistance that represented the monster, but before it could manifest into something more powerful, I screamed at it.

      "Get back!" I roared, forcing more power into it. All my rage blasted the creature into the back of my mind, back into the shadows. There was no more resistance for a while, and I knew that my body was without dominance. It would be vulnerable in the next few seconds. I seized my chance and rushed in to take back what rightfully belonged to me. My body. My host.

      In the next second, I was seeing clearly again. Tyne stood a few yards away from me, panting in exhaustion. The body that she was using could not keep up with her fighting demands, and she had not expected such a challenge to come from me.

      I faced Tyne. This time, I would be fighting her with my genuine power. I would not have anyone helping me. I would defeat her. MirrorEyes was gone, so I would have to fight my own battle. It was the legacy he had left me.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Past Reflections: Part One
» Past Reflections: Part Two
» Past Reflections: Part Three
» Past Reflections: Part Four
» Past Reflections: Part Five
» Past Reflections: Part Six
» Past Reflections: Part Seven
» Past Reflections: Part Nine



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