"Alright, Naga, I'm here," Lilim said, with a calmness that never failed to irritate him. "What do you want?"
This time Naga had sent a messenger to summon her to his lair. The Vanity had returned, looking slightly charred, and had walked shakily up to Naga. She had just managed to say, "She'll…come…" before she collapsed.
Normally Naga wouldn't have cared what happened to one of his underlings, but it was Lilim who had harmed this one. Naga would go through any amount of trouble if it meant getting revenge on that little witch. He had ordered the Vanity taken care of immediately.
When she awoke, the first thing she saw was Naga's face looming over her.
"Master Naga!" she gasped. "Please don't be angry with me. I delivered your message to Lilim and she said she would be arriving shortly."
"I'm not angry with you," Naga said soothingly. "What's your name?"
"Kyoko," the Vanity answered, looking confused.
"Kyoko, what happened to you when you went to Lilim's cave?"
"She…she Gigaflamed me."
Naga nearly laughed aloud in triumph. Finally, he had an excuse to punish that little witch!
But back to the present.
"You Gigaflamed my messenger, Lilim," Naga hissed. "Do you know what the penalty is for attacking an ally?"
"I didn't know she was an ally, Naga," Lilim replied. "I just saw an unknown monster flying right for my cave. I thought it was only you and Moo who knew its location. For all I knew, your messenger was a wild monster, coming to attack me. Under the circumstances, I think I was justified in Gigaflaming her. She's not dead, is she?"
"No, but she could have been! And justified?! Didn't you see her Moo emblem?!"
"What do you think I am, a Suezo? If I had waited for her to get close enough so I could see it, she would have been able to attack me. By the way, you oughtta promote that one. After I Gigaflamed her, she dragged herself up to my cave to give me your message. As soon as I said I'd come, she took off to report back to you. And she managed to survive the whole thing."
Naga growled. "That's besides the point!"
Lilim, as usual, was unconcerned. "This entire conversation is besides the point. What did you summon me for in the first place?"
"Nemesis has escaped from Master Moo."
Lilim didn't look surprised. Could she…no, Lilim was unreliable, but she had never done anything that greatly harmed Master Moo's plans. And she had certainly never done anything that might give Naga a reason to have to kill her, much as he hoped she might. But the Vanities had told Naga that Lilim had stayed behind after they left…Forget it. There was no way he could prove it, anyway.
"Master Moo is going to inform everyone about her," Naga continued.
"Why didn't he just do that in the first place?" Lilim asked. It had worked to her advantage, but she still couldn't fathom why Moo had been so secretive.
"Think about it, Lilim," Naga said. "A monster who looks like a human. What better way to catch our enemies off guard? And the fewer who knew about her, the better. In any case, Master Moo now wants her destroyed."
"Destroyed?!" Lilim asked in alarm. If Naga sent her to destroy Nemesis…someone was going to die.
"I don't see why Moo doesn't simply turn her into a baddie if he can't control her," Naga remarked.
"It doesn't work," Lilim said. Naga looked at her questioningly. "Maybe it's because she's too much like a human. Or maybe it's because she holds no hatred in her heart. Nemesis always was too forgiving."
"Oh? And how would you know, Lilim?" Naga asked. "I was under the impression that he hadn't tried."
"He's tried in the past," Lilim replied. "And it's never worked."
But Nemesis had only reawakened recently. So "in the past" could only mean…no, that was impossible! Lilim couldn't have witnessed the Ancient War; monsters had about the same life span as the average human. Unless she had been frozen all this time in the ruins of one of the Ancients' labs, and Moo had found her and revived her. Either that or she was immortal. No, both of those explanations were highly improbable, if not impossible. She was probably just lying outright.
"Do you have anything else to say, Naga?" Lilim asked. "Because I'm getting bored."
"You are dismissed," Naga said, and Lilim took off immediately. Now that he simply had to destroy Nemesis, all he had to do was tell his troops to keep an eye out for her, as well as the rebels and the traitors. He didn't have to deal with that troublesome Lilim anymore. Naga grinned, baring row upon row of sharp, razor-edged teeth. The little witch was…expendable. With any luck, Master Moo would never know.
"Hey! For once, we aren't wandering through a forest!" I exclaimed. We were actually wandering through a bunch of hills, toward a bleak, forbidding mountain.
"Oh, be quiet," Pixie said, the reply practically automatic.
My name is Thorn, but lately people have been popping up and calling me Nemesis. And I'm starting to remember why.
I had wanted to remember so badly before, but now I'm not so sure if that was such a good idea. I was created. As a weapon. An object. A tool. Created to become little more than a puppet at Wyvlo's whim.
Pixie understood. She had been a slave to humans herself. That's why she hated me when we first met. She thought I was human. Until recently, so did I.
Big Blue seemed to understand, too, once I told him what I had remembered. I have no idea what his story is, and I'm not going to ask.
There are some things people don't want to talk about, let alone remember.
Pixie and Big Blue had saved me from Moo, and not just because they carried me out of the castle. If they hadn't been there, I don't think I could have broken free from Moo's control. They gave me something to fight for; without that, I might have become a slave again. And after that, after learning what I was…the only reason I was able to smile again was because they understood. In short, I owe them big time.
"What's that?" Big Blue asked suddenly, looking up at the mountainside.
"Huh?" Pixie and I asked, a split second apart. I followed Big Blue's gaze and saw three huge, rocky figures who looked as though they were cornering someone against the mountain.
"Let's check it out, Blue," Pixie said.
Big Blue nodded, and we began heading for the mountainside.
On the mountainside…
"What does Naga want now?" Lilim asked.
The three Battle Rocks (Golem/Durahan) had materialized out of nowhere and surrounded her, trapping her between them and the mountain. Lilim got the feeling that they were glaring at her, although they had no faces to glare with.
"Master Naga has ordered us to destroy you, traitor!" one of them shouted in a deep, gravelly voice.
"Traitor?!" Lilim asked. "I'm no traitor!"
They advanced toward her, regardless.
Looks like Naga's finally decided to get rid of me, Lilim thought. If I don't survive, he'll simply destroy the Battle Rocks, and Moo will never be the wiser. And if I do survive, the Battle Rocks will have been destroyed anyway. If I took it to Moo, it would be my word against Naga's, and Moo knows better than to trust either of us. So either way that bloated purple snake gets off clean. But right now, she thought grimly as she dodged a punch, I'd better just concentrate on surviving.
Lilim flew up above the Battle Rocks. "GIGAFLAME!"
Two were engulfed by the flames and staggered backward, but the third reacted swiftly, grabbing Lilim while she was still finishing her attack. She struggled frantically in his grasp, trying to get free before he crushed her to death.
"It's Lilim!" I shouted. We were close enough to recognize her by the time she used Gigaflame, but everyone was too caught up in the battle to notice us.
"Master Pixie, those Battle Rocks also work for Moo," Big Blue said. "Do you think she has turned traitor?"
"Nah." Pixie shook her head. "Naga's probably just decided to risk getting rid of her. He's been wanting to do that for years."
"We have to help her!" I said.
"Why should we?" Pixie asked. "She'll probably just Gigaflame us for our trouble."
"She isn't that psychotic. She always repays her debts," I said, then suddenly wondered where that had come from. I shook my head. That wasn't important now. "Besides, she knows something about me…about my past. I want to find out what." Painful as the last memory had been, there was no turning back now. I had to know. "Please, Pixie?"
Pixie looked at me for a moment. "Hmph. Alright, just don't say I didn't warn you," she said. "Let's go, Blue!"
Back on the mountain…
Lilim struggled harder as blackness began to creep across the edges of her vision, but the Battle Rocks only squeezed her harder. She couldn't breath. She felt herself giving in, felt her body going limp. Soon it would all be over…
The unexpected attack hit the Battle Rocks in the wrist. He lost his grip on Lilim, and she dropped to the ground, gulping in air. For lack of anything better to do I ran to her side as Big Blue punched one of the Battle Rocks into the mountain.
"Ya okay?" I asked.
Lilim looked up, and her eyes grew wide. "Oh, shoot!" she said. I looked behind me at the pieces of a Battle Rocks, Tornadoing their way over to us. "Oh, shoot" was right.
I felt something awaken within me, and out of pure instinct I clasped my right hand over my heart. There was a flash of pale green light, and the Battle Rocks went flying in the opposite direction. "Did I do that?!" I asked stupidly.
Lilim took off and flew over to the fallen Battle Rocks. "GIGAFLAME!"
The Battle Rocks glowed and changed into a Lost Disk as the flames washed over it.
"TAKE THIS!" Pixie shouted, and I turned just in time to see a second Battle Rocks shrivel into a Lost Disk.
The third Battle Rocks was locked in a wrestling match with Big Blue, which Lilim abruptly ended by flying up behind the baddie and finishing him off with a Bang.
"Watch out, kid," she said to me, hovering in mid-air. "Naga's been ordered to destroy you." And then she vanished.
"Wait!" I shouted, but it was too late. Whatever she might know about my past, she was keeping it to herself. "She always does that!" I said, stamping my foot in frustration.
Pixie and Big Blue stared at me. "But how? Pixies can't Teleport," Big Blue said.
"And if she could, why didn't she just do that before?" Pixie asked. "It doesn't make any sense!"
I shook my head. "She can't, not when she's in danger. And know, I don't know how she does it, or remember anything else about her."
"Hmph," Pixie said. "So this didn't get us anywhere."
"Yeah," I sighed. "You're right." I had only gotten myself tired, and I was even more confused than before.
"C'mon, let's go, Blue," she said.
Big Blue trudged off with Pixie on his shoulder. I followed slowly, wracking my brain for any new memories of the past. I wasn't surprised when nothing came. Like my powers, my memories seemed to appear at random moments that I had no control over. Eventually, I supposed I'd remember everything. But I wanted to remember sooner than that. It was my life, after all. How could I have forgotten it?