06 – Fair Game

“…Thanks for that,” Q thought, pushing himself up and looking at his glasses in the sink. He turned the faucet on and waited for the water to wash away all of his crimson waste. When it was gone as much as it was going to be, he picked up his glasses and rinsed them off. He folded them and slipped them on the collar of his shirt before turning the water off, and looking down toward Opal, who appeared impatient.

“Come down here,” she ordered, holding out her hand. “I want to see you.”

Q kneeled for her. The woman, who appeared to be a child, was only about three feet tall. He took her hand and guided it toward his face. Her palm rubbed over Q’s tanned skin. She fingered the scar between his eyes, and ran her fingers through his long grey hair, which covered half his face. Her hand later went down his neck, over his collar, and slid down his red shirt, to stop at the middle of his chest. “Your souls are weeping,” she whispered.

Q, as if embarrassed, turned his face away and frowned. Only for a moment. He quickly, as if to change the subject, stood up and walked back to his bedroom. Once in his doorway, he stopped, waiting for Opal to follow. When she did not come fast enough, he called, “You came to kill the girl, did you not?”

He walked into his room and stood, looking down at Tali, at the small bullet hole in her head. Opal soon came inside, though she was slow about it. “Ah, now I see why she is crying.”
Opal approached the opposite side of the bed, and jumped up atop it, to look over Tali.

“Her Fire Pheonix is desperately clutching for life. It is confused. It keeps grabbing but cannot grip. Did you touch her?”
Q only hmphed in answer. How else could he have gotten her here?

“When you touch her, she takes life force. She is a large life drain right now.”

Q’s brow quirked. He had just heard something downstairs. Something wasn’t right. He looked toward his doorway, then back to Opal. He gave a silent growl to himself. “Can you kill her for good?” He wanted to hurry the process along, and figure out what was going on downstairs.

Opal stared at the body in silence. Q could feel the pressure in the room heighten. His instincts told him to be afraid, but his expierence told him to stay calm; this was only part of the affects of Opal’s Resonance Soul. The man’s tail twitched, and finally the air in the room felt less compacted.

“There is no way. You would have to deactivate her resonance soul somehow and cremate her body while she was powerless.”

Q crossed his arms over his chest. “Mercain may have som–” Q was interrupted by Opal’s glare. “You cannot trust Mercain. It would be best to handle this matter yourself.”

Q was confused. “Even if he is sketchy, we still have the same goal.” He shifted his weight. He was still uneasy about what was happening downstairs, and Opal’s dialogue only worsened the situation.

“Trust me when I say he does not. You can handle this situation by yourself. I am not needed. I am wasting my time here, if I cannot kill anything.”

Q perked up. “W-Wait, what about–”

Opal glared to the man as her image faded out of existence. “Please stop her soul from crying.” And then she was gone.
Q groaned to himself, gritting his teeth. Stop her soul from mourning. As if he had any control over souls.
But his ears perked up, and a slight shake in the castle reminded him of where his mind should be.

He hesitated for a moment, before going to his armoir in preparation for a bad situation.

Of course, ten minutes prior to the situation Q had been in, Shoy and Edmond had already worked there way to the basement of the castle, in the sparring room. The room was a large cavern, all the walls were natural from the cliff the building rested on.

Shoy and Edmond took their respective places at opposite corners of the arena, and each flicked their weapons in preparation for the battle.
“So,” Shoy smirked, joyously anticipating what was about to happen. “Shall we get started, then?”

Edmond got into stance, slipping his right foot forward. “Of course.”

At that instant, Shoy slashed his black umbrella in the air, from shoulder to knee. A wave of air came forward to Dantes, who immediately turned into thousands of Monarch butterflies, swarming toward Shoy, who’s grin spread. No warm up? Just like Edmond.

Shoy slashed his umbrella from floor to ceiling in a straight line, stepping back once to deploy his umbrella. The first gust pushed the butterflies back, only to separate and rush at Shoy – as predicted – however as butterflies do not have the best navigational skills in the world, most of them flew right into Shoy’s opened umbrella-shield.

The barrage only lasted for a moment, as Edmond reformed himself, his skin jade green. He smashed into the umbrella, his rapier raised and out of the way. Shoy brought his umbrella to the side, hopping backwards, quickly closing his tool and going to stab the new Edmond Dantes, who was covered with what was called the jade armor.
Edmond easily parried Shoy and went for a counterattack, but Shoy saw it coming and raised his hand to go straight for the heart. Edmond knocked it to the side and went for Shoy’s ankle. The sight continued in such a fashion until Shoy got tired of a purely fencing session.

He jumped up and gave a crescent cut from above toward Edmond. The resonant gust of wind proved useless against Edmond’s jade armor. As Shoy landed, Edmond shoved in with a piercing blow to Shoy’s heart. However, Shoy was just as fast as Edmond was, and the Count had missed again.
Edmond lost view of Shoy just for a moment, and found an umbrella coming down at his back. The Count quickly turned on his heel, slamming the hilt of the sword into Shoy’s shoulder. A hit!

Shoy didn’t seem to be too flustered, but was surprised that he had been touched. He swung his umbrella toward Edmond’s side, with a crushing speed and strength. It contacted. A crack was heard.

Edmond had managed to bring his rapier to try and block the umbrella, however, it had still contacted his side, beneath his ribs. The rapier was only meant to be a piercing weapon, so it didn’t provide much protection against the steel skeleton of an umbrella. His Jade armor had been cracked, but Shoy’s umbrella had also been bent out of shape.

“That’s never happened before,” Shoy proclaimed, blinking. He pulled his weapon away and examined it, stroking the webbing, and whispering some choice words, as if it were a baby. He then tossed it behind him, and pulled out a katana. Something he hardly ever used. Placing both his hands on the hilt, he assumed the Mu Shin Ryu stance, and Edmond, although injured, backed up and re-assumed his own stance.

Shoy came forward with a reverse crescent, and Edmond threw both his rapier and free arm into the strike. His rapier broke at the medio, the debole flying across the room and embedding itself into a far off rock wall. The Count dropped his broken rapier and was replaced with his hoard of red butterflies, who flew behind Shoy.
The katana, being a two-handed weapon, was not something Shoy was very proficient with. He was rethinking his choice of weaponry by the time he turned around to swing at Edmond’s ribcage again, only to find the man had used himself for a shield once more.
As they pushed at eachother, Edmond was grunting.

Shoy, on the other hand, hardly seemed tired. “Even your jade armor can’t keep up for that long. Can’t you see how much it is cracking already?” He grinned, and jumped away at the same time as mr. Dantes.
Shoy threw his sword behind him, and came in to punch Edmond in the gut. The Count however was able to sidestep, lock his hands together, and throw them down on Shoy’s back. It contacted and Shoy leaned forward for the briefest second from the hit.

But the briefest second was all that was needed for Q to come into the scene, raise his Glock, and fire off one shot into the base of Shoy’s spine. Shoy saw it coming and was able to backstep. But Edmond also saw this, grabbed Shoy’s coat and pulled the man forward. What ended up was Shoy being shot in the shoulder.

Edmond wanted to yell at Q, but didn’t have the time. He went to punch Shoy in the face, but the man had simply disappeared, and the Count fell forward instead from his own momentum.

Q let his arm fall to his side, gun pointing to the ground. His green eyes were narrowed, as if agitated.
Edmond went to his knees, breathing heavily. His skin went from the green to his normal skin tone, and it was clear he’d been injured more than usual. His clothes were ripped, and blood was seeping through his vest. One hand held himself up from the floor, while the other clutched at his side.

On the uneven flooring, the empty casing from Q’s shot rolled just past his black boot. the tailed man stepped forward, to help his friend, but Edmond glared at Q, gritting his teeth. “Stop.”

Q froze in his tracks.

A moment passed, where all that could be heard was Edmond breathing heavily, his blood dripping onto the tanned rock floor. Then William came in, shoving past Q and going to help his master. Q still didn’t move until Edmond growled, averting his eyes. When that happened, Q slackened his posture and quickly put his sunglasses back on. He gave a passing glance to Edmond from behind his new shields, then turned and went back upstairs.

Even though Q had, in his own mind, saved Edmond, he knew that Edmond was very displeased. He wasn’t supposed to interrupt duels like that. It wasn’t fair game…

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