Tondzaosha Police Station
Magic implements thrummed and throbbed with barely contained energies. Trapped souls, failed experiments, and creatures borne of dark sorcery, each more gruesome than the last populated Daisy’s laboratory. She regarded each in turn and her lips curled into a soft, innocent smile.
When she first came to this world, she’d lost decades of researched and hundreds of carefully cataloged magical artifacts, most of which had, no doubt, been destroyed after her defeat by Kruhl and Reesha. Her heart still seethed from the loss, but there was no hope of recovering what was gone. So she’d started anew. Most of her experiments were failures, but even when she mis-stepped she learned something helpful.
She moved past Amelia van den Broeke’s inert form sprawled across a stretcher wheeled in by one of her cronies and regarded the sweet-looking young girl in the mirror mounted on the opposite wall. So many had under-estimated her, and with all but a few exceptions they were dead or subverted to serve her.
She moaned, licking her soft feminine mouth, a shiver of excitement working up and down her spine at the thought of bending one more mind to her will. She bit her lip and gazed at the agent. Such an attractive woman, she thought. Perhaps Van den Broeke would make an able lover. She looked forward to finding out.
She moved to stand above the stretcher, planted her staff in the ground and slid her fingers across Amelia’s stomach. The sorceress shuddered in pleasure as her magic pulsated about the room.
She knew from her mole within AEGIS that agents underwent training to resist mind control techniques, but breaching the agent’s consciousness had been far easier than she’d expected. The sorceress had been looking forward to the challenge of bending and shaping a consciousness, and though she had yet to initiate the magics which would subvert the other, it was only a matter of time before she shattered the rest of her resistance and her mind would be hers to do with as she pleased. How very disappointing, she’d been expecting more of a challenge.
She stood, staff alight, her magic coursing through Amelia’s mind. Only a little longer and the agent would be ready. Then she would—
An explosion of shattering glass resounded in the distance and Daisy froze, craning her neck back toward the door.
Her mouth creased into a frown and then a scowl when two more explosions rang out, each louder than the one before. This could only Leoffa’s doing. She clenched her teeth and rushed out of the room, staff aglow. Amelia’s inert form all but forgotten.
Gunfire rang out all around them, and Kruhl grated her teeth, ducking in front of the Diadem’s bumper for cover. Teressa grunted and dove beside her, panting for breath.
A barrage of weapons fire had foiled their attempt to return to the car. Kruhl didn’t know whether it was blind luck or intuition, but the warriors of the police clan had hemmed them in, somehow navigating through the dense haze which Teressa summoned. Now the pair lay about like sitting geese, vulnerable to attack. Neither of the women carried a weapon, and though Kruhl had once been a formidable warrior, she did not like her chances.
Nevertheless, when the first police clan attacker came into sight, she leapt up and rushed him, hoping to catch the man by surprise. Kruhl dealt the first blow, but it barely seem to faze her opponent. The police warrior swung toward her and slammed the butt of his weapon into the side of her face. His attack sent her flailing and she fell, throwing her arms out to catch herself before her face hit the ground, but not soon enough to prevent her breasts from impacting with a sharp burst of pain.
Though her face and chest throbbed in agony, Kruhl rolled onto her side and scrambled back to her feet, bracing herself for another assault, but it never came. Teressa lurched forward, grappling with the man. Kruhl rushed toward her, thinking to help, but her companion kneed the man in the groin and he crumbled to the ground like a sack of turnips.
Teressa bent over, retrieving something dangling from his belt and held it before Kruhl, jangling a small ring with three narrow flat objects, which Kruhl supposed were keys.
Kruhl arched an eyebrow, “The locker?”
“Only one way to find out,” Teressa replied, arching an eyebrow.
She bent over retrieving the officer’s gun, before slamming the butt against the side of his head, and rushed away, making a beeline for the back of the evidence locker.
Kruhl regarded her with wide eyes, her face stretching into a grin as she followed suit. Magnificent! Teressa was indeed a warrior at heart.
The once-king found Teressa, knelt down on the floor, already trying the keys in the lock, but when the other woman cursed in frustration and tossed them over her shoulder, Kruhl’s heart sank.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Teressa gritted her jaw, her eyes burning with rage. “We can’t seriously be this close, and not—”
She stopped, staring down at the fire stick, the flames in her gaze burning even brighter. She licked her lips and raised the weapon. “Maybe… there’s still a way.”
With no prompting, she took aim and opened fire. A loud bang rang through the air and Kruhl brought her hands up to her ears, too late to muffle the sound. She only took her eyes off the locker for a moment, but when her gaze again fell on it, Teressa was swinging the door open.
Teressa reached inside, drawing Waldere free from the metal enclosure and extended it toward the former king, its polished steel surface gleaming. Kruhl regarded the weapon, eyes wide, hand shaking as she clasped it about the grip. Her grip couldn’t even reach all the way around.
All this time she’d been so eager to retrieve the sword, but had put no thought into what she would do once she had it. Defeat Odalrik, sure, but she didn’t consider how she might accomplish such a task. How might she make use of the sword? It was almost as long as she was tall. It possessed magic, but such power was most effective when used with the weapon’s more mundane aspect, the blade itself.
Kruhl grunted, pulling the weapon up off the ground. Gods, it was heavy! She held it up for several seconds, her muscles burning, before grunting and setting it back down.
So weak… She scowled. Of all the forms she could have worn, why this one? Even if she were to train and strengthen her body, her frail little frame would never be suitable for combat. She was just too small. Even at her physical peak, anyone she was likely to face would be stronger than her. It was the most sobering realization Kruhl had ever made, and it hit as if it were an actual blow to the gut.
She released her hold, took a step back and peered down at her tiny hands. Her new body, with its wide hips and soft curves, was better suited to bearing children than combat. Kruhl met Teressa’s gaze, and swallowed, a pit forming in her stomach as she realized what she must do. The younger Van den Broeke sister was a better fit to defeat Odalrik, she’d survived for a long time against his repeated attempts to enthrall her and, if the way she’d carried herself against the police warrior was any sign, she would do well on the battlefield. She was tall for a human woman and well built. She may very well possess the strength necessary.
The weapon’s magic only permitted those deemed worthy to wield its power, but if Kruhl relinquished it to Teressa, it would recognize her as its rightful wielder.
“What’s the matter?” Teressa asked, her brows furrowed.
“I-I don’t think I am meant to bear Waldere,” Kruhl peered back at her, tears now streaming down her face. She gritted her teeth, rocking her head back and forth. “Not anymore.”
“You must take the blade,” Kruhl continued grabbing the handle and thrusting the pommel at Teressa. “It’s yours.”
Teressa gazed at Kruhl and blinked. Then a slow, malicious smile stretched over her lips and she erupted into a fit of hysterical laughter. She jerked the weapon out of the once-king’s hands. Kruhl realized at once something was amiss, but it was too late.
“That was much easier than I expected,” Teressa said, her voice seething with malicious glee as she thrust the blade out and through Kruhl’s abdomen.
Blood gurgled from Kruhl’s lips and she fixed her gaze on the other woman, her mouth agape. “Why?”
Teressa clenched her jaw and shoved the blade deeper. “You always were a little dense Kruhl, but I wouldn’t expect you to recognize me, not after all these years and certainly not in this body.”
The other leaned in, her lips brushing against Kruhl’s ear. “It doesn’t feel so good does it? Betrayed by someone you care about. All this time I’ve waited, hoping for a chance at revenge, and then out of the blue there you are again. You stabbed me through the gut and left me for dead. It’s only fitting I return the favor.”
Teressa jerked her arm back, sliding the blade free from Kruhl’s stomach and for the briefest of moments she remained standing, recognition marking her face before her eyes grew wide in terror.
Before she could topple over, Teressa grabbed Kruhl by the collar of her shirt, her face contorted in rage. “Say my name Kruhl.”
“Leoffa,” Kruhl repeated the name and a grim, satisfied smile crept across the other woman’s face. She threw Kruhl away from her and the once-king slammed into the ground, blood spewing from her wound. A shock of pain racked her body as she impacted the floor. Her head rebounded twice before it settled in place. A thousand questions were on the tip of her tongue, but Teressa turned away at the sound of footsteps.
“Well, what a nice little reunion this is,” a light, feminine voice called out.
Kruhl tried to prop herself up to get a better view, but fell back over, clutching at her stomach, attempting to keep her entrails from spewing out.
She could already feel the end coming. Soon Dohan would come, mounted upon her terrible black steed, and carry her away into the afterlife…