The Aftermath of Mount Woe Chapter 24
A Critical Decision
"Your majesty, are you all right?" A servant nervously banged on the door to the royal bedroom.
"I'm fine. I just wish to sleep in a little longer." Zeal replied through a strained voice.
"But, the sun is already high in the sky."
"Leave me alone!" Zeal ordered imperiously. Actually, she had failed to rise yet because she felt that, if she did, last night's dinner would end up on the floor. Zeal hadn't felt this sick in a long time. In fact, she hadn't felt sick at all since they had discovered Lavos. 'What can be the problem?' She wondered to herself for the millionth time. Feeling frustrated, she slammed her fist down on the sheets. The action tipped her forward slightly, and she found herself being sick over the edge of the bed. "Damn." She said out loud. "What can be going on here?" 'It almost feels like not all of my body is... my... own. No, that's impossible.' She tried to reassure herself. 'Its just odd being sick again after all this time.'
However, she was not so sure when she felt all right just fifteen minutes later. In fact, she felt as fit as when she- "Oh god, I'm sorry Vigo." She covered her face with her hands. Getting out of bed, she immediately vaporised the mess on the floor with a small fire spell. No point in letting the maids see that. Slipping into her clothes, she leaned out the door. Instantly, a servant sprang to attention. "Please cancel all my previously scheduled meetings for the day." The servant nodded and ran off. Zeal sighed weakly and stepped out the door. Despite the fact that she wasn't even sure of it herself, she had to go warn the father.
"You're pregnant?!" Karak asked incredulously. "No way! Its not possible! Well, okay, it is, but it just seems impossible that we..."
"I know, I know." Zeal felt a headache coming on. "I can't believe it either. I mean, Schala's old enough to get pregnant, for God's sake! But the morning sickness doesn't lie."
Karak smiled. "Wow. Now we can finally have an excuse to get married! The people won't object when they hear this. They're not going to hold me in too high esteem, I know, but..."
Zeal managed to set up a light smile on her face too, even though she was far from happy. "Maybe."
"Maybe?" Karak looked dismayed for a second, but then his smile came back. "Oh well, even if you still won't get married again, now there's some gossip fuel for the maids, I'll finally have a kid of my own! I was starting to think it would never happen. None of the Earthbound women ever stayed with me for long enough, I don't know why-"
"Its 'cause you're too damn rough sometimes." Zeal mumbled.
"Huh?" Karak looked back at her.
"Nothing, nothing." She sighed. "Karak, to be perfectly frank, I don't know if I want to have this kid."
"What?" He gulped. "Oh, come on now! You can't assume it'll be like-"
"Don't you remember what I told you three years ago? No child is worth..."
"..the trouble of childbirth. I know what you said. But I didn't think you would just... abort."
"For you, I'll consider it." She frowned. "But don't set your hopes too high." Seeing the ashen look on his face, she stepped forward and embraced him.
'Yes!' He thought. 'She's weakening! I never expected her to give in so easily. My chance to attain the throne of Zeal kingdom is in sight!'
Zeal pulled back immediately. "What the hell was that?"
Karak jumped back apprehensively. "What?" Zeal clearly heard him think, 'No one ever told me she was telepathic!'
"So that's all you were thinking this whole time? First you would try to get me to fall in love with you, and if that didn't work, you would knock me up and see what happened?!"
"No, no! Of course not! You were all that I ever thought about!" 'Oh no, she's on to me!'
Zeal's face contorted in rage. "If you're going to succeed in lying to me outright, I would suggest that you stop broadcasting your thoughts so clearly!"
"Zeal, you've gotta believe me!" 'How the hell am I gonna get out of this?'
"All this time, all you cared about was power." She said in an icy voice. "Well, I'll show you power!" Zeal's right hand took on a red glow.
"Zeal, what are you doing?! You can't be serious!"
"I'm finishing the job Vigo started twelve years ago!" She shouted. An extremely sharp icicle flew forward, impaling Karak in a manner similar to when he had killed the two Earthbound men. It immediately burst into flame once inside him. From there, lightning coursed through his body, and finally a wave of Shadow energy washed over him. As he collapsed to the ground, a black portal opened behind him, sucking what was left inside.
Zeal was surprised to find a tear in her eye. 'That does it, no one is ever getting close to me again. I've only let it happen twice. Once, it was worth it. Once, it wasn't. In both cases, they died and left me to raise a kid by myself.' "Damn you both!!" Zeal screamed to the air. 'I don't want another kid! I would rather die right now than...' Zeal looked at her hands, where a few wisps of energy still danced between her fingers. 'Die right now...'
She immediately placed her hands on her midsection, and began to concentrate again. A low hum filled the hall, and her hands pulsed with a red light. Suddenly, her tightly squeezed eyes jerked open again. "That's the first time I've ever killed someone!" She gasped. As she sank to the floor, the huge blast of energy she had been preparing ripped into and through the outer wall, shooting out into the sky. The gold gleam of that section of wall shifted to a dull brown. "Except for Serges, but he doesn't count." She slowly stood again, looking out the hole. "But, bastard that he was, Karak did count." She looked down at her midsection. It was still flat now, but she could practically feel the bulge already. "I guess evil and sin doesn't die so easily. Well kid, whatever pain you put me through, I guess I deserve it, after that." Zeal took one last look out the hole, and walked away.
After turning a corner, Zeal nearly ran into Melchior. "Oh, I'm sorry your majesty. Have you seen Karak? I have some weapon designs I'd like to discuss with him."
Melchior was surprised at the odd look that came into Zeal's eyes. "No. I don't think I've truly seen him in a long time." Then, she continued down the hall.
Melchior scratched his head. As he walked around the corner, he was amazed to see a huge gap in the wall, and scorch marks on the ground. "What the hell? Sound the alert! Look for a possible intruder in the west wing! There's been a breach in the wall!" As the sound of many feet rushed to answer his call, he was pretty sure they wouldn't find anyone at all.
"I'll just tell the emperor I had to exterminate a traitor!" - Kefka
Nanaki: I'm pretty sure I'm going to get some e-mails about this one. I originally didn't plan to make the chapter quite this intense, but this is just the way it turned out. You'll notice the characters use more slang and profanity than normal when speaking, but this isn't the kind of subject where everyone says please and thank you. So if I've offended anyone (I'm looking at you, Dark Magus!) I apologize profusely. Now stay tuned for Chapter 25: A Meeting of Minds!
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