02 – A Soul Not Yet Departed

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Monarchs fluttered toward the group labeled Pheonix. Their leader and namesake had just been shot, and the rest of the group was griefstricken. Only one butterfly went down close enough to inspect the situation, to see if the legendary immortality of the Fire Pheonix had finally ended.

“Tali?” A surprised Ismaru kneeled next to the fallen leader, who had a single hole in her head. For such a wound, there was little blood. The teenager shook his friend. She should have revived by now. “Tali, please wake up!”

The wires of Askasa retracted with hisses into their leather coat. He looked toward Insom, who was staring numbly at the sky, as she always was. He briefly looked toward the moon, and noticed a shadow… Perhaps a passing cloud? He looked back toward his best friend. He couldn’t feel her soul anymore. He had not felt it leave her body, so he knew she wasn’t dead, but he couldn’t feel her at all. It was as if she wasn’t even there.

Why would someone do this? Why would someone attempt to kill his best friend like a chicken from so far away?! Why not face him, face to–
Askasa’s eye caught glimpse of a lone butterfly.
A butterfly? At night?

“Ismaru!” Askasa pressured. “Do you feel a Rez?” Wasn’t the Count supposed ot be able to turn into butterflies?

Ismaru was too busy crying over his surrogate sister to bother answering his elder.
Askasa scowled and began to extend a single wire toward the butterfly. But it was too late, it had flown over toward Insom, who silently reached up and grabbed it. A crackling was heard as she brought her enclosed fist down, her half-open eyes looking to her unopened hand with fake interest. “Oh…”

Askasa growled to himself and turned to the moon.

Back at the Castle, Q had begun packing up. His rifle was already in pieces and he was just closing the suitcase when a frantic flutter of butterflies rushed past him and reculminated into the man known as Edmond Dantes.

Q latched his case before looking up to his partner, who was never one to reculminate himself in a hurry. He was holding his hand with his other, breathing heftily.
The tailed man’s green eyes refracted the moonlight, and as they did, blood could be seen glistening from the Count’s injured hand.

Q gave a frown as Edmond hissed and picked up his suitcase. “I’ll wrap it up for you when we get home,” Q said softly. One could only assume this was the closest he would ever get to sympathy.

“You’re right to be interested in that Askasa kid,” Edmond grumbled. “He didn’t seem as worried that the Phoenix wasn’t reviving as he should’ve been.”
The pair walked back to the entrance of the castle, and as they walked, Q had a delayed response. “He can sense when a soul has parted.”

“Then it’s true, Tali isn’t really dead?” Edmond slammed the door to his mansion opened and walked into a marble corridor with a high ceiling. He immediately stepped to a leather couch and sat himself down in it, awaiting Q’s return from the upstairs.
It was a short vacation. Q had first put his weapon away before retrieving the medical tape and coming back downstairs to aid his partner.

“Who got your butterfly?” Q questioned. It was unusual that his curiosity was peaked. But then again, it was even more unusual for the Count to be bleeding. As he wrapped his partner’s hand, the superior gave a gruff, uninterested reply.

“The Zombie.”

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