Venus Gospel Logos Part 4
By Princess Artemis
Cid stirred; he was somewhat perplexed to find himself awake when he didnt remember falling asleep. He blinked a few times in a valiant attempt to wake up completely. Catching a hint of a sweet scent, he inhaled deeply. He sat up with a start when he realized it was Shera. He was awake now! Promptly losing his balance, he fell back and attempted to break his fall by grabbing the couch, but ended up hitting his head on the hardwood floor anyway. "Ow," he muttered as he examined the situation to figure out why he fell. He realized he had fallen asleep on Sheras lap, so when he sat up so quick he ended up slipping on her white coat she always seemed to wear. This left him in a somewhat awkward position from which he found it difficult to remove himself. He needed the use of his legs, but right now most of them were on the other side of Shera, draped over her lap.
Shera yawned and stretched out her arms. She looked over where Cid was sprawled on the floor and giggled. When she tried to stretch her legs, she yelped, exclaiming, "Aaah! Pins and needles! Theyre asleep!" Cid snickered. It was sweet revenge for falling and hitting his head.
After a moments recovery from her numb and tingling legs, Shera asked, "How do you feel this morning?"
"Like a damn fool!" Cid answered. He felt just a little silly for having fallen, but more embarrassed for falling asleep in Sheras arms.
Shera smiled wide. "Good. Id much rather see you feeling foolish than how youve been for the last few days."
Cid groaned, having temporarily forgotten the events of the last week. He looked at the wreckage he had made of his house, seeing nothing that was undamaged. He felt shame begin to crawl up his face, turning it red. He looked upset, as if he might start crying again.
"No, Cid cmon, get up. Its done with. You cant do anything about it now just let it go," Shera said. She offered a hand to Cid. He took it, using it for leverage to sit up and shift his legs over then next to Shera. When he was finished, he kept hold of her hand. Shera was surprisedbut she didnt take back her hand.
Cid rubbed his face with his free hand. He knew Shera was right so he let it go. He did easily what so many had tried and, much to their continued misery, failed to do. There wasnt anything he could do but clean up his house and start over. A secret of the ages and I found it in my damn spear, he thought to himself. He smiled at the unexpectedness of it, the sheer unadulterated craziness of finding such a thing in his strange and colorful spear. All it took was a shift of vision, looking at things from an absolute perspective it was difficult, but at the same time the simplest thing in the world. The end of the relative was incredibly freeing.
Cid reached over, took the butt of the Venus Gospel, and pulled it onto his lap. He laid his hand on one of the yellow and blue handgrips, watching the light play on the vibrant haft. He felt the weapon send its spirit to find his magic. It did as it always had. The faint life he had always known was still there, but quiescent, quiet. Its stillness was a great contrast to the vitality, the inexorable force he felt the day before. Nevertheless, the serenity it had now was no more movable than it was before. When one resists the irresistible, it shows its fearsome power; it is gentle as the scent of the wind when one does not resist. He knew it was not the spear itself but the vitality of its spirit that was irresistible. Somehow, he knew that the real spirit of the Venus Gospel was a great deal larger and a great deal more alive as well.
Cid grabbed a cigarette and lit it, careful to blow the smoke away from Shera. He thought of her, what she had risked. He didnt deserve her. And now he was about to say what might turn out to be the scariest and most wonderful words of his life. They werent what he had always considered to be the most emotionally loaded words one could say, not anywhere near it. Certainly no cliché here. Only a declaration of what was true. He took another drag off his cigarette then removed it from his mouth, holding it between two fingers, then turned to face Shera. He searched her features, then sighed. "You saved my life," he declared simply.
Shera lowered her gaze, uncomfortable with such a direct statement. Was it true? She wasnt sure, but she almost didnt want it to be true. It was a monumental thing to save anothers life and she didnt know how to handle it.
He continued to gaze at her unflinching. "Shera, I owe you my life," he added. Cid took her chin gently in his hand and lifted her head, wanting to look her in the eye for his next words. His voice careful and steady, he continued, "I need to settle the score. You wanted me to live when I wanted to die, so because you love me, here I am. I love you, Shera and Im gonna live my life for you." He paused, then added in a less serious tone, a smile tugging at his lips, "Now yer stuck with me. Is that whatcha wanted?"
Shera laughed nervously, unsure what to make of all that. She was having enough trouble with the idea that she had saved his life. Now he owed her? Doubly worse he just about gave himself to her! "Oh ," she said quietly. Things were about to get very messy. She was, as he had just said, stuck. What had she gotten herself into? She needed and demanded his trust the day before she got it in spades. Did he really decide to go on and not to end his life for no other reason than because she wanted him to? Just because thats what she wanted?! It staggered her mind. But what Cid had now done, it was what she wanted It was exactly what she wanted. "Yeah ," she said, overwhelmed. She laughed again, terrified and overjoyed. She shifted a bit so she could lay her head on Cids shoulder. There was a road in front of her, unexplored, unknown, to be discovered by her, by them They sat in silence at the head of it.
After a long period, Cid asked jokingly, "So yer in love with a dragon, huh?"
Shera shrugged. "I dont care if youre a jackass"
"Obviously!" Cid interrupted.
"Or a dragon, youre still my Captain," Shera finished, squeezing his hand.
They sat again in silence for a long moment, enjoying the peace. "Uh, Shera ?"
"Yeah?" she responded quietly.
"Why the hell are you still alive? When I found your coat, I thought for sure that black-haired bastard had done you in," Cid asked in curiosity.
Shera looked genuinely puzzled. "What are you talking about?"
"Cloud got a funny letter from you in Kalm. Red XIII smelled Seirs slimy fingers all over it, and he smelled you on the envelope. We all thought you were in trouble thats why I came back," he explained.
Shera shrugged. "I dont know anything about it. Ive never seen Seir."
Just then, something caused Cid to turn his head toward the front door. He knew there was something outside. He felt the dark presence that followed him to Kalm and that left him the day before. He stood, taking the Venus Gospel as he did, then strode to the door. He put a hand on the knob, hesitating. Shera came up behind him, a question in her glance. Cid whispered, "Its that damn shadow thing that me an Red saw the other night. Red thinks its a parasite or somethin."
"How do you know its out there?" Shera asked under her breath.
Cid shrugged. "I dunno. I just do."
A distant and yet very near voice whispered, "Come out."
Shera shook her head. "Dont, Cid. Its a bad idea."
The distant voice chuckled, a cold hiss. "I want you back, dragon child." The two heard a scratching sound on their door. All the color drained from Cids face. Shera was shaken by the evil voice.
"I have to kill it, Shera. Its a parasite on me. I can feel it its trying to take me back," Cid said quietly. Shera didnt like the idea, but she knew Cid was an accomplished fighter; he would be no easy kill. She nodded slightly. Cid opened the door and stood face to face with the shadow. The dark beast moved away from the door, motioning for Cid to follow. He almost saw the creature smile when he stepped out the door, his spear in hand. Shera walked out behind him and shut the door.
The shadow held up its sharp hands and beckoned to Cid. "My dragon, sweet dragon, come back to me. Its right, Cid you know it is. Youve done too much." It almost sounded like a jilted lover trying to sweet-talk him.
Rather than answering it, Cid brought up the Venus Gospel and thrust it through the shadow. The creature howled in pain, but it didnt fall. Instead the shadow creature flew toward Cid, claws extended. They began to fight in earnest. The Venus Gospel moved with grace and power; it was as if it was an extension of Cids left arm, so naturally did he wield it. Cid also flew with gracehe possessed an incredible ability to jump; he never ran, no fancy footwork, just long leaps from place to place and for every attack. But it wasnt enough. The dark form would howl, but it never slowed. It looked more as if it were playing with Cid, trying to wear him down. Shera watched, suddenly aware of the nature of the creature, as only one who knew it well could. She did know it in her heart; it in itself was a separate entity, but its energy and form was made of Cids ruin. She knew Cids pain, and she knew Cid could no more kill it in a physical manifestation than he could kill it as it tore his soul apart.
Shera shouted, "Cid! Stop!" just as the shadow knocked him down. The Venus Gospel flew out of his hand, landing several yards away from Shera. The darkness set its sharp claws around Cids neck while it wrapped its long sinuous tail around his legs. It pinned his arms under its feet. The dark shadow lowered its snout close to Cids face. "Come back to me, my heartless dragon. Come back and I will spare your life."
Cid tried to squirm out of the things grasp, but to no avail. "You said you just waited and grew. Whats all this spare my life *&#$%@&? You said youd never harm me."
The creature growled low, its cold breath chilling Cids face. "I am not growing any longer. I am not finished. I do not wish to harm you, my dragon. Listen to me ," the shadow hissed. Listen to me Cid felt weak, all the strength he had left from the fight draining away. Was this shadow beast responsible? His will was fleeing again. He felt his chest tightening, finding it increasingly difficult to breathe. Falling away retreating it would be so easy to give up, to close his eyes and leave
The shadow removed one thin hand from Cids throat and ran it through his hair in an almost affectionate manner. Like that listen to me I will not hurt you go far away let me finish everything will be fine that way Cid was breathing very shallow now, his eyes half closed and without expression. He couldnt thinkthe shadow had clouded his mind with its slow, whispering words. So easy so easy to let go
Cid jerked his head, weakly trying to clear his mind. Let go? He couldnt. It would be easy, but he had already decided not to go that way, already decided that he wasnt his own that he could just die because it was easy. He groaned, still shaking his head.
The shadow dragon hissed, angry that Cid would not give up and let it finish growing. In its anger, it let up on its mesmerizing words, allowing the fog to lift from Cids mind. When the shadow looked down and saw his blue eyes glaring defiance, it cried out in rage.
"You worthless creature. Why do you fight what you cannot hope to win? You cannot kill me, no more than you can direct the wind. I am your destruction! You cannot defeat what is your defeat!" The shadow creature tore out a clawfull of Cids blond hair, prompting a cry of pain and a long string of loud curses. It threw the hair into the wind then returned its hand to Cids neck.
Cid clenched his teeth in anger. "I dont give a damn! Youre gonna get your #$% kicked all the way back to Hell just the same!" He was in no position to back his statement, but it wasnt a false bravado. He felt no fear.
The creature tightened its grip, enraged. "I will have you back ," it growled. It intended to choke Cid until he reached the same state of semi-consciousness his shadow words had induced so it could make another attempt to insinuate itself back into his soul. Cid continued to stare the darkness in the face.
While this was happening, Shera was sneaking forward, one cautious step at a time, until she was within reach of the Venus Gospel. She didnt want to draw the shadows attention to her, although it made her ill to see it try to mentally rape Cid. She thought that she might be his only chance. She carefully extended an arm and wrapped her hand gingerly around the blade. She was shocked to find it as dull as a butter knife. She grasped it firmly and slowly dragged it toward her. The shadow dragon caught the movement in the corner of its eye and swung its head in her direction.
"What do you think you will do, $%&*#?" the shadow whispered in its distant voice. It had no time to wait for an answer because Cid was making a nuisance of himself below its feet. It looked down to see such complete rage that Cid was able to free his arms. He struck the creature in the face with surprising force for someone who was suffocating. It shook off the sting, glaring down with its empty eyes. Its sinister voice cried, "What is wrong? She has been called that before. That and worse by your own tongue, my dragon."
Striking the creature again and clawing his fingers into its dark snout, Cid gasped out, "Never again ! Wont let any body !"
The darkness was now too angry to even try to finish growing. It wanted nothing but to kill Cid, to ruin his body the way it had almost ruined his soul. The shadows sharp fingers pierced his flesh, it had so tightened its grip.
Shera picked up the dull-bladed spear, weighing it in her hands. Even to her inexperienced arms, it felt unbalanced and clumsy. She briefly wondered how Cid could wield it to such startling effect. She felt the weapons faint life tickling her hands, raising goosebumps. The tickle snaked up her arms, searching her; she realized it was seeking Cids magic. When it touched her spirit and magic, the faint tendrils it had sent snapped away, almost causing Shera to drop the weapon. There was no way she could use it the way it was meant to be; it was Cids spear in a truer sense than she had realized. It sought Cids spirit and Cids magic, needing Cids hands and Cids strength. The Planet made the Venus Gospel for Cid Highwind and it was no one else but Cids. Shera couldnt even keep the weapon steady. She looked down at it, hope almost gone. But it was all she had.
The dark beast shrieked in rage. Still, still, this hated dragon child defied it, still he stared it in the eye, still he refused to give in! That dragon son was so close to death, so close! The pilot weakly pointed one finger toward Shera, a faint smile on his pale face. The shadow growled and looked toward Shera. It let out a shrill scream at what it saw.
The scream was the last sound the shadow creature ever made. It fell dead even as it tried to take Cids life. Its dead fingers were still tight around Cids throat, drawing blood, but the creature was no more. The golden blade of the Venus Gospel had sunk deep into the shadow dragons head, the point extending past the creatures twisted horns and the flared wings jutting out of either side of its face. Shera let go of the haft, grateful that her inexperience and the spears dull edge werent enough to stop it from killing the shadow. She kneeled down next to Cid and pried the claws from his throat, allowing him to breathe. The claw marks werent deep; the shadows attack had left more serious wounds, but nothing that put him in any immediate danger. Cid looked up at her, gasping and coughing. He closed his eyes and smiled broadly despite the pain he must be feeling.
Still catching his breath, Cid took a few to say, "Da-amn, woman wont get in yer way ." They both looked toward the shadow as it began to smoke, returning to vapor. There was no evil in it; the black spirit that inhabited the dark smoke had already been banished. The black smoke caught on the wind and was quickly dispersed. The Venus Gospel clattered to the ground behind Shera, several feet way.
Seir watched in growing despair as the shadowy form of his dark servant evaporated. What had gone wrong? He had watched the battle. The flyer was much more experienced with that weapon and it shone in his hands. The woman could barely keep it from wobbling and dipping. It was absurd. But it had happened; with one blow from that beautiful spear, that woman had destroyed the flyers demon. He stepped over to where the spear had fallen, examining it. The blade was dull. Seir nudged it with his foot, then jerked back from the jolt he felt run up his leg. So that was it. It wasnt the dull blade that had killed, running through the shadows head, but the vital spirit in it. He briefly considered destroying the weapon, but he knew it would be pointless. He could toss the Venus Gospel into the Lifestream, returning it from whence it came, but nothing could destroy its spirit. The real Venus Gospel would never absorb into the Lifestream; the Planet had only made the spear, not given it life. Seirs quest was over before it began. He had other servants, their hosts ruined in mind and dying but the dragon sons was to be his strongest. Even so, he knew it was over; it was only a matter of time before the others were slain in the same way by other men and women who knew about the Venus Gospel. His servants would be found. However, Seir realized, he could still carry on his futile quest for some time. It would be a long time before anyone else would learn of what the flyer and his friend had accomplished, and not everyone could stand in the same power. There would be no ultimate ruin, no rule for Ancalagons children, but there would be ruin as long as he lasted. He looked once more at the spear; ruin yes, but futile nonetheless. Seir turned from that awful, beautiful spear and began to walk aimlessly away from Rocket Town.
"Cid? Is that Seir?" Shera asked, just now seeing the back of the dark man as he turned to leave.
The pilot lifted his head from the ground and looked in the direction Shera was pointing. He grit his teeth, anger rising. "Thats the bastard."
"Well then ," Shera said in a voice of deadly quiet. She brushed some brown hairs from her face and reached for the butt of the Venus Gospel.
A howling wind, a high pitched whine the long green wyrm, the fearless dragon, circled itself around Seir, surprising him and enveloping him in light. The dark man felt his life sucked out of him, knowing the flyer had summoned his dragon spirit. He stumbled back then spun around in anger, his black hair flying. Time slowed, the fates granting him one last vision the dragons son lowering his right arm from the summon his blue eyes angry yet not enraged. The dark one beheld the woman, Shera, running forward tears spilling down her cheek in indignation at what he had done fire in her eyes, determined to have vengeance for Cids pain and an inexplicable joy, knowing Cid would be the last, that this was the end. The golden point of the Venus Gospel a hands-breadth away the beautiful, terrible spear.
Seir closed his dark eyes forever.
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