And while you are sitting indoors
waiting for the storm to pass
I will be outside dancing in the rain
The last sickly gulp was taken. She removed the coconut shell from her lips, rubbing her tongue against the roof of her mouth in discomfort as the last drops of the thick mixture traveled down her throat. A shiver crawled up the slayer's spine, her body shrinking back in disgust when she felt the last bit of the liquid fall down into her stomach. But other than the incredible displeasure Astrid could not say she felt any... Different. All of her senses came back to her on the last drop, she no longer felt a disconnect from her body of mind. She felt, normal.
"I don't... Feel anything different?..." Then it hit her. Wait, how can dragon drool cause such a weird experience anyway? That didn't make any sense. He tricked her! He totally fooled her into drinking his spit! The nerve of that overgrown lizard. He just wanted to fulfill some sick, twisted joke on her. That was it.
"Sirius! I'm going to take that tail and shove it up your-!" Just before she could finish the threat she opened her eyes, only to be met with no sort of familiar scenery at all, taking whatever breath she had right out of her. Optics shone brilliantly. What stood before her was breathtaking to say the least. All around was nothing but blue. The sky, the clear water below. It was just... Blue. The water itself didn't even really act like water. She was standing on it, she knew that much. But the only times it rippled or moved at all was when she moved her feet across it. She wasn't falling through it like normal water would. It was as if it were solid...
No... This was a familiar scene. That time when she almost killed Izayuki, this was the place they were transported. Inside of her soul.
So this was her soul... Interesting to say the least. She didn't think souls had whole others would in them let alone anything close to this beauty.
Though something was quick to catch her attention when watching the ripples beneath her feet. Ceasing her test of trying to understand what exactly this water was, the liquid eventually cleared once more, and reveled a different picture from what she was expecting. Instead of silver locks and purple eyes the wizard saint fashioned blonde hair and yellow eyes framed behind thin glasses. Not natural blonde hair though, Astrid couldn't help but notice this was more pale than she had seen of most blondes. But it was tied up in a way she couldn't help but compare to Violet's own french bun. Actually, she just so happened to look a lot like her own other in this form.
She brought a hand up to her cheek, patting it lightly, as if she just had to confirm this was indeed her. Breaking her gaze from the reflection she scanned over her current clothing. A red scarf, a weird sort of blue school girl uniform, a black light jacket, a black garter belt, and to top it off some nice buckle boots. A... Strange look, given that this was nothing like her normal body. But yet, that body wasn't even really her body, so by this point waking up in a new body wasn't really that foreign to her. Though the question was, why? Why did she look like this? And, why of all people did this so closely resemble Violet?
A sudden gust of wind was enough to break the slayer from her thoughts. It snuck past her legs, catching her off guard and making her jump slightly from the cold feeling. A wind? In her soul? The entire time she had been here there was no wind. Why did it all of a sudden...?
Following the direction the wind was going Astrid looked behind her. The biggest mistake she could have made.
Behind her where three swirling winds filled with red petals. The petals floating dainty, riding the wind before they began to take a more physical form. They shifted and changed. One wind transformed into a fox-like figure. The other, a bear. The one in the middle, a rooster. Each one didn't take physical form per say, but the wind and petals continuously rushing about together made them loosely form into those identifiable shapes.
The blonde stepped back, mostly out of surprise from seeing them. In return they all stepped forward in unison.
She took another step back, they stepped forward again... Okay, she would admit, this was kind of creepy.
"Uh... H-Hey..." she greeted them sheepishly, starting to feel more and more uncomfortable by the second. They all gave of this powerful ominous aura about them, putting Astrid on edge. She wasn't sure if they were friends or foes. They didn't... Seem to want to attack her. But there was differently something very off putting by their strange appearance. The animals didn't move at her, they simply stared, their expressionless faces staring right at her. A cold sweat formed on the guild master's forehead, a nervous laughter sounding up from her throat. "Well okay then. I guess... I'll just be on my way." There was no use standing around here staring at these things. She was just wasting time, and she had no idea how long that concoction Sirius gave her lasted. She needed to act quick and find her guardian. "Au revoir~" she forced another nervous smile, saluting them off before turning her back on them.
Just then something flew towards her back, but she was not quick enough to turn back around before a blue blast crashed down upon the creature and tore it apart within seconds. Astrid only heard the sound of the blast, but nothing else. She turned back in place after the explosion, seeing the once so beautiful red petals turn black and crumble into nothing. She turned her attention towards the three animals, noticing now that there were only two. The fox and bear. The rooster was gone. And by judging what she had seen, the dark petals belonged to it. Looking beyond the destroyed petals the other two animals stood unmoving, the only thing changing being the bright red color of the petals turning darker and darker until eventually they were black. By which time, just like the rooster, they too sprung forward into action. Seeing this threat Astrid prepared to summon her magic, but as the seconds passed by, there was no flicker of light anywhere on her body. She looked towards her hand, trying harder to summon any light. But there was none, no matter how hard to tried to force it.
Great. This is what Sirius meant by not letting herself die. She should have been more careful.
In a fit of panic Astrid turned in place to run, only to remember without her magic there was no super speed for her. She was stuck. But still, she ran. Ran for her life. She could hear their paws hit the ground hard and splash up water, and they were only getting closer. Only within a few seconds into the chase and Astrid could already feel herself starting to get fatigued. Her chest tightened and her breathing became erratic, most likely due to the combination of lowered stamina and panic. Her body was already giving into fate, and was naturally trying to slow herself down. But Astrid pushed on into the endless, watery abyss. With no way to fight back and no way to run or hide was she just stuck here? She was, wasn't she? She didn't listen to Sirius, and now she was going to be killed. Why was she not more careful? What was there to do now? Run until she eventually got tired and gave up anyway? Or give up now and die sooner. Either way, she'd die... She would really die...
Her body grew heavier, and with it, she began to slow down. It was worthless. She was going to die. Why even try anymore? "It's useless... I can't outrun these guys... And i can't fight back... It's over."
These thoughts continued to enter the girl's head with every step, and with every step she got slower, they only seemed to get faster. But just when she was about to give into it all, another flash of blue light came from behind her. The two animals were shredded into tiny pieces, each petal fading to pure black before disintegrating into nothing. Feeling the presences behind her finally fade Astrid stopped in place and fell to her knees, only her hands stopping her from completely face planting into the water. She inhaled and exhaled sharply, trying to regain her breath and cease her out of control heart rate.
"Do not fear now, we are safe." A light, feminine voice sounded up from in front of her. Looking up Astrid spotted a figure just inches away from her. It was light blue, and semi transparent. She could see through it, though it did have a sort of solid shape. The shape... Of a dragon. Granted it was not as big as Sirius, it was only maybe a few more feet bigger than her. But still the way its frame shifted and pulsated with light, this was not normal. Afraid for this to be another encounter of those animals back there the blonde fell back onto her behind, scooting away from it out of fear, whimpering under her breath. But the wavering dragon lifted a claw, as if to tell her to stop. "No no, it's okay. I promise. I'm your guardian. I am you, you are me!"
her weirdly childish way of speaking and light voice caught the girl off guard, though did make her stop trying to get away. Instead, she became intrigued, her expression turning from that of fear to awe. Her... Guardian. So this was it? This dragon? She didn't think it was going to be... Well... A dragon. Though she guessed she didn't even really know what exactly it was she expected anyway...
"You're.. Me?" Astrid tilted her head, still a bit hesitant to trust this beast fully.
The blue dragon nodded vigorously.
"We are the same! I can prove it! I know all this stuff only we would know! Like i know you wet the bed until you were thirteen, and there was that one time you got that pebble stuck up your nose and grandpa had to take you to the clinic. Oh, and you also didn't know what sex was until that one boy in our class brought in that magazine with the-"
"Okay okay! You're me! You don't have to go any further." Astrid halted the dragon by raising a hand to her face, to which it stopped its sentence instantly. The dragon blinked its eyes rapidly.
"You're me, i believe you." She blushed, remembering quite well what that last memory was going to be.
"Oh thank goodness" the dragon sighed happily. "That memory was embarrassing."
Astrid, still slightly red from embarrassment readjusted herself so she was sitting up, staring up towards the guardian spirit.
"So you're my guardian..."
"Yep! That's me. Nephthys, at your service." The dragon dipped her head is a sort of bow.
"Nephthys?" The girl questioned, blinking curious optics upwards. Wasn't that the name of an ancient goddess? She could remember reading something about her way back in school.
"Oh, yes, well i assumed it would be weird if i introduced myself as Astrid also. So i took the name of that goddess we learned about in fifth grade instead. She's the goddess of death. There was something about her that intrigued us when we were younger, and it stuck even after all those years." Nephthys... That was right, she was the Egyptian goddess of death from when Astrid could remember. A bit of a strange reason to call yourself that, but she knew it would be better than having two Astrids. This was for the best.
Noticing that she was still sitting before the dragon Astrid pushed herself up from the floor and stood, gazing into the beast's blue eyes.
"Well, Nephthys. Thank you for saving me back there. If it wasn't for you i would be a goner... Well, i mean i guess we would both be goners..." After all, if one died the other died. It was only natural the dragon would protect her.
"You're quite welcome." Nephthys chirped, swishing her tail back and forth behind her. "Those were manifestations of your sins. They feed off your darkest thoughts, making you weaker and them stronger. It's my job to hunt them down and protect your soul from becoming overrun with them... But there's just so many of them nowadays. This place used to be so lovely before they started showing up..." At the last part of the statement Nephthys turned her head to gaze out into the blue abyss. Astrid wasn't sure, but she swore she saw a hint of sadness in the dragon's eyes, even from just out the corner. Astrid turned to look in the direction she was gazing into, staring at the never ending blue. Sins... They were her sins. And now because of her sins it was Nephthys' job to fight them in order to keep her soul clean. At least, that's what Astrid could gather.
"How do we get rid of them?" Astrid asked, tearing her eyes away from the scenery to look at the dragon. "There has to be a way, i don't want my soul overrun with those things..." Just the thought made her shiver.
"Repent." Nephthys spoke the same word as Sirius had, in equally the same serious way despite the female dragon's more cheerful tone. Blue eyes grew hard when they landed back on Astrid. "Repent for your sins."
"Repent..." Astrid repeated to herself. That word sure was getting thrown around a lot... "How?"
"How do you want to repent?" the dragon asked. "There is no true way of repenting. Some say to suffer is to repent, while others say you must do good. But that is entirely up to the person repenting. So, how will Astrid Foss repent for her crimes?"
How would she repent? It wasn't something so easily thought of. But for Astrid, there could only ever be one way to repent for the life she had taken.
"I will live" Astrid responded. The blonde smiled, looking back out into the distance. "I will live my life. I will live the life the other Astrid never got a chance to have. That is how i will repent."
The dragon rose an eyebrow.
"Living? Do you realize how long a Frankenstein of a being like you will live for? Part youkai, part unborn soul, part elf, and whatever that thing Elyx is. You could be immortal if careful enough. Are you willing to live with your sins for that long?"
It was her fault in the first place why things were like this. She did not mind living with her sins and repenting her entire life. In the end, it was what she deserved. And in a strange way, after witnessing everything she has up to this point, she was okay with that. If by just living she could repent and help Nephthys, she did not mind. It was the least she could do for the being that fought so hard to keep both of them alive.
Nephthys' lips curved into a smile.
"I had a feeling you would say that. We really are the same."
Astrid smiled. "Indeed, we are."
Upon those words, a cracking sound broke out like thunder and echoed through the abyss. Both females looked up, only to see a long crack in the sky, pieces of debris falling out and into the water.
Nephthys looked back down to Astrid, shoving something into her hand.
"Here, take this" she commanded. Astrid looked down, spying a bright blue lacrima within her grasp. "There is not much time before you wake up. Think of it as a parting gift, a way for you to remember you are never alone. I am with you. Forever and always." Nephthys smiled, pointing a claw to Astrid's chest.
Debris continued to fall all around them, the sky falling in on itself and shaking the very ground under them. Astrid could not move, but only simply stare at the dragon's smiling face until a sudden flash of light consumed her vision and the loud noises stopped.
"Take care of us, Astrid."
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