"Don’t think that it will be easy. More than just some subject of yours, I’m a wizard! And the garden is my home! I will never let you have it… not in milion years!”
With those words, Leila finally started the combat. Eden’s roots were quickly forming under the ground and traveling towards their target, only leaving the ground once they were close enough. But Julius was somehow able to see them all, jumping back before his limbs would be caught in the messy attack and restricted by their superior physical strength. And in a moment, most of the moments froze, ice blades suddenly flying towards the girl. Thankfully they weren’t too hard to dodge and a good roll managed to do the job, letting the ice shatter against a wall behind her.
”I think you have misunderstood. Or perhaps you were just not listening to me at all in the first place. In order to summon the tree that gave you birth, I had to gather vast amount of magical energy and knowledge. I too, am a wizard! And one that outranks you, Leila!”
Talking back, he would point his staff towards the girl and all of a sudden, temperature in the whole room would drop drastically. But this was not just an ice attack, there was more to it than just that. Spark suddenly started gathering around the end of that stick of his.
”Spell fusion: Voltage sword.” Uttering the name of his attack, a giant blade of ice suddenly formed, coated in lighting, and shot towards Leila who quickly grew a wall of wood in front of her. But just as he said, his spells were actually stronger than hers, shattering her defenses and even hitting her. It was not a direct hit, but her armor was slightly torn and her skin bleeding on her right hand. But with a small “tsk”, she would continue fighting.
"Winds of Eden! The rotten rose! Come to my aid, merge with my body and magic! Together, we shall obtain victory!” And as she said, blue petals suddenly started dancing around her body, enhancing her speed. And all of her attacks grew thorns filled with poison, only making them that much more deadly. And that was not the only help she could get. There was still so much more! Maybe she was outclassed by him, but she had the entire Garden standing behind her, supporting her at all times. Her hands moved so fast that they were nothing more than a blur, suddenly showing two different keys in her hands, one golden and the other one wooden. "Come to my aid, my spirits! Gate of Eden’s princess and gate of heavenly scales, I open thee!”
The magical circle was quickly formed and suddenly, two more figures were standing beside Leila. A little girl holding a doll and Libra, her trusty zodiac spirit. To that sight, even Julius had no proper answer. His eyes widened in surprise and the barrier around them started becoming visibly weaker, only showing how unfocus his mind was right now.
”A..another resident of the Gardens? How could you possibly be capable of summoning something like that? And… a Zodiac key? Since when do you have something so valuable? How…?”
But there was no time to be questioning to reality right in front of him. His body was suddenly thrusted back, colliding with the wall. Libra’s powers of controlling the gravity were quick and always ready. And Fleta, the other summoned girl was as well. With a cheeky smile, she would expend her magical aura and empower her allies, supporting Leila and Libra both. But their enemy quickly regained his composure and was ready to strike back. Suddenly, a giant shadow of a demon appeared behind him and was ready to strike with his fists. Libra tried to stop him with her gravitational field, but his dark magic was more powerful than hers. The two girls quickly jumped in front of their master and soon, all three of them went flying through the closed doors. The barrier shattered on impact, but all of them were hurt in the process. Trying to get back on their feet as fast as they could, steps of Julius coming outside of the room as well started echoing through the hall.
”I am sorry it had to come to this. But I cannot afford to lose here. Not after all the progress I made and effort I put into finding you. Even scorched, your body will be enough!”
With those threatening words, his staff would suddenly change element to flames, Leila’s greatest enemy. That was pretty bad. But by now means intimidating enough for her to give up. Instead, she used that moment for her own surprise attack, making a great spike rise from the ground and drill into the old men, sending him into the ceiling for a moment before he dropped back down onto the ground.
"I’m not done, not yet! Libra!” Responding in a clear “Yes!”, Libra moved her scales and pinned the dark wizard to the floor with her magic. In the meantime, Leila conjured her great silver bow, taking her aim and promptly shooting. The arrows itself dealt no damage to him, despite burying deep into his back. But it left a crimson mark that made all of his defenses disappear in a flash. Suddenly, the field of gravity shattered as he stood back up. His magical energy really was impressive if he was capable of fighting Libra’s spell with northing more than a pure energy within his body. But he was too late! Two trees were already growing around him and in a moment’s notice, they were squeezing his body between them, trying to crush him like a bug. It did the damage, but couldn’t keep him in place, as he managed to burn the spell away with his flames. And suddenly, those flames were also all around Leila with a great magical circle below her feet.
A pillar of flames devoured her whole body, dealing heavy damage. But with her enhanced speed and help from the spirits standing next to her, she managed to get out of it before being completely incinerated. It was clear that he was dangerous at this range. So she went for some close-quarters combat. Using her signature spell, she teleported right in front of him and pushed the old man to the floor.
"Just give up… you will never be able to control Gardens of Eden, no matter how hard you try!”
She expected several answers to her words, but the one she got was not one of them. A grin, wide and filled with confidence appeared on that old man’s face, clearly disagreeing with her on that statement.
”Oh? Sure, before I said that results of my experiments were hardly ideal, but I never said that it all failed.”
And with those words, he moved his hand up into the air, letting the cloth that was covering it fall and reveal that his arm was just like parts of her body. The skin that was covering it was barely human anymore, looking more like a surface of tree. But it was still different from Leila’s. Her corruption was of gray color with dark veins. His was almost pitch-black. And then it all clicked inside of her mind.
"The corruption that humans caused in the Gardens… by amplifying it, you-” And before she was able to finish, several black roots shot from the ground and restrained her, draining away all of her strength. It was also at that moment that the gate between worlds was closed by force, making Libra and Fleta disappear. He himself got back up and stared at Leila with a smile. ”Yes, and only by unleashing that force I was finally able to catch you. The curse of humanity itself flows through these roots… it’s like a poison for the Garden. Hence why all of your powers are gone now. I was hoping that it would not come to this… it takes a great deal of energy to anything with this magic right now. But seeing how I managed to finally capture you, that won’t be the case for much longer. You are mine, just how it was meant to be.”
But instead of listening to his words, Leila started whispering certain words to herself, quiet enough for the old man to not understand them.
”Hold it together, birds of a feather, Nothing but lies and crooked wings. Oh. Fly over me evil angel. Open your wings evil angel.”
It was something that she did not use in a very long time. But right now, it was the only thing she had that was not connected to the Garden. And thus, the only thing she was able to use. And before Julius noticed that she was activating magic, a pair of great black wings spread across the hall, breaking all of the roots and setting Leila free.
”An evil angel?! How? You were born from my magic, you should not posses any linea-” The angel’ hand grabbed his face with great force, sending him flying back into the room they originally flew from. The poor girl was kinda scared of her own angel after Elyx’s last request to collect a certain mirror, given the fact that Xiolan nearly killed her back then. But right now, she probably shaved her life. That said, something like a black laser suddenly flew out of the room where Julius was and burying itself in the angel’s chest, only to explode and completely destroy the fallen being. With his legs shaking, the enemy was still standing, moving back into the hall. But that was only momentary, as he soon fell to his knees in front of Leila.
”Damn… the Garden… took too much energy… why?”
Judging by his words and his whole appearance, it was clear that he had nearly not magical energy in his body left after that one last attack. He was completely on her mercy and the fight was over. However, the sight of him kneeling there, it awoke something within Leila. And without any warning, her eyes turned a crimson red from that lovely and calming blue.
"Finally… we are finally here. Standing in front of this man. YOU! You fucked everything up! EVERYTHING! Our plan was perfect, it was going to work. But because of your magic, everything fell apart! I deny you any mercy! Pay for your errors, now!”
As those words echoed and Leila went into an uncontrollable rage, Julius finally knew what was happening. In that one instant, everything came together, the whole picture. He was looking at it all wrong. And after this, he finally knew the whole truth. He knew that what he had said before was actually not correct.
”You… I didn’t create you. You are the original… Eden’s cr-” He did not finish. Instead, several roots went right through his body, lifting him into the air and tearing him into a bloody mess as he screamed in pain. That was his fate, his end. Soon after, Leila regained consciousness again, seeing the mess in front of her. She had no idea how it happened, but had a hunch as to who did it. In any case, her job here was done. Her revenged finished. There was nothing more inside of her that would interest her. And so, just like that, just as hollow as she was when she entered, she left. And the corpse remained in the ruins along with the laboratory. This story was simply over, just like that.