Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus Magical Aristocrat "Milly" Schulz Redux

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As it turns out, this bitch is stupidly good at throwing out lots of attacks really quickly. The first thing she does is hammer at me with her maces; each attack is charged with enough electricity to make my hair stand on end. I have to keep moving my spear to block them, and one of them smashes into my metal arm. That's the only one that doesn't hurt, even though I blocked all of them. Mace bitch manages to sweep my legs out from under me, though, and I'm kissing the mat soon enough, the taste of blood in my mouth. Fuck, that hurts.

Laying around bitching about it isn't going to help things, so I roll away, narrowly avoiding a blast of lightning that would take me out of the fight. Fuck, it hurts to stand now, too. She's got kicks like a fucking kangaroo. The stupid pantaloon things are sticking to my left leg; it's definitely bleeding.

Focus, Eleanor, FOCUS! Ignore the pain, you're good at that. It's just that this time you're focusing on laying the hurt on a bitch.

Yeah. That insufferably smug face of hers is pissing me off. Not as much as what she said, though. I'm going to beat an apology out of her.

I step back a little, looking every bit like I'm still on the defensive. As I'd hoped, the impulsive berserker comes charging at me again. Her mouth's moving, but I'm not paying attention to any of her bitching. In a heartbeat, I close the distance between us. The look of surprise and disbelief on butterfly girl's face... I kinda wish I could frame it over a fireplace. It contorts into rage and anger when I stab her in the foot. I try to follow that up with a sweep to knock her down, but she pulls off some acrobatic bullshit to jump away. I see her cringing when she lands, though. Red blood and black ink stains her pretty white high heel shoe.

She's pointing at me with her mace and shouting. Her voice is muffled and indistinct, but it sure doesn't sound like an apology.

Her yammering gives me an opportunity to dash up to her and make her other foot part of a matched set. She's hollering as I grind the tip of the pen into her foot, driving it deeper and opening a bigger wound. Not so regal now are you, you prissy, stuck up bitch?

"Apologize. Now," I snarl at her, the effect diminished by our significant height difference. I'm able to pick up the word 'mongrel' from her response, but otherwise can't make any of it out. Still not an apology, so I remove the spear and make to start skewering other things. Like her hands, which I should have been paying attention to, as I narrowly avoid both maces crashing together where my head was, sparks and electricity flying from their impact. Hopping out of their reach, I make to counter; there's no way she can avoid me now.

Except she avoids me anyway, by flapping her wings and going airborne. My stabbing attack just barely misses her. I forgot the bitch could fly.

She quickly flies out of my reach and hangs in the air like a fucking hummingbird. I can't make out her expression from here, but I bet she's pissed off. Lightning dances off her maces as they start to glow. A mix of blood and ink drips from her feet onto the mat. Butterfly bitch is injured, but she doesn't show any signs of slowing down other than her hovering being a little erratic. Is this what an Eversor is like? Being able to pretty much ignore what should be incapacitating injuries and keep going? I fall back, my own wounds dully throbbing as I start to feel tired. Fuck, I'm panting, too.

I'm... I'm just not cut out for this sort of prolonged, strenuous activity, at all. If I can't end this soon, I'm going to lose, and then I'll have another thing I'll never forgive myself for.

I grip the pen tightly with the stupid metal arm, and then I bring it back. Then I line up my shot. And then, taking a few steps forward, I scream, "FUCK YOU, WHORE!" before hurling the spear at butterfly bitch with everything I've got.

The missile screams toward Fuckerfly with deadly accuracy, making to pin her to the wall like a bug in a collection-

And she dodges it in mid air, the spear getting stuck in the wall between the weapons I don't care about.

No. No no no no no. That's not fair. That's not fucking fair at all.

But I should have seen it coming. I telegraphed my entire attack. I was a fucking idiot who fucking forgot the most basic fucking rule, and I deserved to have this shit happen.

Everything that was merely aching before, it all starts hurting at once. I'm acutely aware of burns on my left arm, and I think that wound on my leg is gaping now. I fall to my hands and knees in pain and despair, trying not to cry. I fucked it up. I fucked it all up. I can't make Fuckerfly take it back. I can't be an Eversor. I can't go home. I can't open a candy shop. And I was a fucking idiot for ever thinking I could.

"Did you really think you could win?" echoes Fuckerfly, her words biting harder than any of my wounds. "A worthless mongrel like you, an Eversor? Don't make me laugh."

I am worthless. I am a mongrel. I am a fuckup who can't do anything right. I can't argue that at all. But I still... I just wanted her to feel the slightest bit sorry for insulting Checkers. For insulting my parents. For insulting other people. I don't care about me, but I wanted her to not mean those. And I couldn't even do that much.

Why couldn't I even do that much? I deserve bad things and slander, but they don't.

Fuckerfly's voice interrupts my thoughts. "As enjoyable as the sight of your groveling is," she sneers, "it's time to extract payment for your transgressions."

"Now scream for me!" she yells. There's a thunderclap, and I look up to see a huge lightning bolt strike the mat in front of me, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Fuckerfly... No, Milly, is laughing haughtily as my demise draws closer. I could run, but what's the point? I'll just get tired.

Please. Please just get it over with.

The lightning bolt fizzles out and stops just before it tickles my nose. I'm almost blind at the moment, but I hear something splatter to the ground a ways off. Looking up, I see Fuckerfly bent double, coughing and retching before a stream of vomit escapes from her lips. Her flying is even more irregular. She almost looks like she's drunk from how much she's swaying in the air. I wait and wait for her to resume the fight, but it's not happening. She's just barely hovering a few feet off the ground now. Is she okay?

Come on, Eleanor. You've been given a second chance. Don't waste it. It hurts like a bitch with the adrenaline gone, but I rush over to Fuckerfly just as she looks like she's getting over it. My power fist is pulled back for what I hope is a devastating hit.

Up close, I see her lips are stained black, and there's black veins on her arms and legs. There's a very sharp smell of ink in the air. Her eyes are red and bloodshot, too.

Focus, dammit! It doesn't matter even if it's the fucking plague! Focus focus FOCUS! I might be a fuckup, but if I try, I can still FUCK HER UP!

Fuckerfly raises her maces to attack again, but FUCK! THAT! SHIT! I smash my fist into her groin, uppercutting her with a cunt punch. There's a disgusting snap of bones breaking as her pelvis shatters, and Fuckerfly is sent spinning into the wall.

I'd swear even my mechanical arm is starting to feel tired, and I want to stop now. But Fuckerfly is sitting up and clutching her electrified weapons. So, even though it hurts so much that my vision is blurring with tears, I dash over to her as fast as I can go.

There's a lot of blood where she landed, with little swirls of black in it, too. Strips of skin and tendon barely keep Fuckerfly's legs attached to her body. I think that's a half-digested scone poking out of where her stomach was. And I can smell ink, though it's not nearly as strong as the stench of blood and other stuff.

God, I feel sick already.

"Y-you stup-" starts Fuckerfly, who immediately starts screaming when I pulverize her right arm, her mace clattering to the ground along with much of her useless appendage. She shakily raises her left mace, a bolt of lightning shooting out and striking the mechanical arm. I barely even felt it. Planting my foot on her chest, I grab her remaining limb just as she charges up for another shot. There's a popping noise, followed by a wet, tearing sound as I rip it off of her; her head bangs flatly against the bare metal floor.

I'm panting heavily now, I feel sick, and my eyes feel heavy, but Fuckerfly is in much worse shape. Her limbs are useless, and she's throwing up again. She's screaming curses at me now, too, most of them unintelligible, but I know what she's trying to say. More insults about me, whatever. I don't care anymore, she can't hurt me now.

Apparently, I was wrong. I forgot about the wings. Fuckerfly flaps her wings to launch herself at me. I think she's trying to bite me, but she's too slow. I grab her by the face and force her back to the ground. I make a fist with my left and try to punch her, but it just hurts when it connects with her ribcage and doesn't seem to do anything.

I'm going to feel awful about what I'm going to do next. But Fuckerfly's not staying down, and I'm still pissed about what she said about Checkers and my folks. Kneeling down on both wings to keep her pinned, I memorize where all the bits of her are, then shut my eyes so I don't have to watch what happens.

I bring my robotic fist down on her ribcage and crush it into pulp, the splashing and crunching sounds making me cringe as bits pieces of the girl splatter around. I feel some of it get on my face, and that makes me hesitate before I bring it down again. And again. And again. And again. Punctuating each strike by screaming "FUCK YOU" as I blindly reduce a living, breathing person into meat. Some of it even gets into my mouth, but I keep going.

The smell, the sounds, the exhaustion, the taste of blood, and the act itself finally become too much to bear, and I throw up my breakfast on top of the girl's corpse.

I think I can stop now.

I try to crawl away from the mess I've made, but everything hurts too much. Even the robot arm hurts, or maybe those are just phantom pains. Either way, I flop onto the ground and land in a pool of viscera and gore.

Don't look at it. Just don't fucking look at it.

A pair of firm hands pull me up from the ground and onto shaky feet, dragging me away. Even though I'm not looking at the mess anymore, my eyes feel almost too heavy to open.

...Fuck, Eleanor, you didn't even get hit that much. How can you be this tired?

Because I'm weak. If I didn't have this stupid arm, I'd be a little smoking stain on the mat right now. But that doesn't make it okay to do the same to Milly.

"And the winner, by total body destruction," calls out Kai from somewhere close, "be Eleanor Abbot Slam!"

"Congratulations, kiddo, you murdered a person" Madge quips dully. "Aren't you proud of yourself?"

I force my eyes open to look at them, and make the mistake of glancing back at the carnage. From this distance, it's a red and pink splatter against the wall, with some bits of white, yellow and black thrown in. I don't feel sick, though. I don't think I have any more sick to feel at this point. Instead, I feel...

...I feel tears forming in my eyes. I feel tears flowing down my cheeks. Fucking hell, you're just going to drag everyone down with you, Eleanor. And I just can't stop them. This whole thing is surreal and disgusting. I feel like I'm still stuck in that witch barrier.

"Don't cry now, lass, we'll have you patched up and shipshape in no time!" Kai reassures me as she pulls out a first aid kit, readying gauze and ointment to treat my injuries.

"I'm... I'm not proud..." I murmur quietly.

Madge sounds confused when she asks me, "What was that?"

"I'm not proud of myself..." I sob aloud. I turn back to look at both of them, feeling shame and indignation at their clueless expressions. "I... I... I went too far! Why didn't you stop me? She couldn't even defend herself at that point..."

"And it was right brutal, it was!" cheers the asshole pirate, earning a misty-eyed glare from me. "Ye make a fine Eversor, Slam!"

"Miss Cress," Madge says slowly, smiling at me, but in a way that doesn't feel like a real smile, "why don't you tend to her injuries while I do the talking?"

Pirate shark thing laughs it off noisily, but still asks, "Are you sure-"

"Yes," Madge insists, adding, "that's an order."

"Very well then, your Majesty," Captain sharktail concedes, shaking her head in bewilderment. While she's applying something to my arm that stings enough to make me wince, Madge - oh, she's the one who's holding me up - starts talking.

"Miss Slam," she asks, voice suddenly much gentler, "why were you applying for the Eversor program?"

"To... To go back home," I answer, sniffling a little afterwards.

"To go back home?"

I nod, explaining, "to the Eighth Officio." That makes Madge wince, but she doesn't interrupt me. "Russ said I had to... Had to be strong enough to protect myself."

I wait for a response, but the woman isn't saying anything. The only sounds are those of the pirate captain rummaging around the first aid kit. Madge is glancing at her watch every now and again.

I break the silence first. "And... And I was told... That she'd help me open a..." I feel my cheeks redden as my voice dips to a murmur, "...a candy shop."

"Am I correct to assume you dislike fighting?" Madge asks suddenly.

"Oh!" I jerk back as something taps my soul gem; gun shark lady holds up a grief seed full of black mist.

"I... Yeah," I answer, "I don't, I don't really like hurting people." Kai gives me a weird look, but says nothing.

"Miss Slam, you're what Miss Russ would refer to as 'terribly good-natured'," explains Madge. Despite her smile, her voice is cold enough that it makes me shiver. "While I can appreciate that you're not as bloodthirsty as the other crazed killers around here" Kai sniggers at this, earning a glare from Madge before she continues speaking, "how do you expect to earn your keep?"

"I could do paperwork like before..." I respond sadly, all my progress in the past few days starting to crumble like sand in a tide.

Madge is skeptical, "Can you really, though?"

"Hate paperwork," I mutter, shaking a little. "Paperwork hurts. Mentally. Physically. Even in my witch barrier, there was paperwork..."

"So you're the one that Crazy Crunch-" starts fish girl, but Madge hushes her.

"So," Madge summarizes, "you don't like hurting people. You don't like doing paperwork. What can you do, then?"

I glance at my feet, starting to cry at my own uselessness. "I... I don't know," I sob, "I just want to help..."

"You don't have to hurt people when you fight," Madge tells me, raising my hopes. "If you go witch hunting, that is."

...Fuck. Fucking hell. I don't think I can go through that sort of thing again without having a permanent mental breakdown. One nobody - not Russ, not Checkers, not my folks, not all the Culexus in the world - could snap me out of. Is this really the only thing I'm good for?

"Think of it this way, Miss Slam" explains Madge, as Kai finishes bandaging my legs, "Witches are magical girls who have been twisted by rage and grief into monsters. They are pitiful creatures, but still violent and dangerous. They're like once beloved pets who have become rabid, and infect everything they sink their teeth into. The most merciful thing you can do, then, is put them out of their misery."

Madge holds me by the head with both hands and looks me dead in the eyes. Her touch is freezing cold.

"Do you believe that you can do that?"

"...No." I answer flatly.

Madge looks disappointed. "Then I-"

"But," I interrupt, "I still want to try."

Madge's smile comes back. "Very good, then," she responds, letting me go to my stumbly feet, and glancing at her watch. She looks back to the shark girl, who has finished putting her stuff away. "Miss Cress?"

"Aye?" Kai pipes up.

"Please escort Miss Slam back to her quarters," Madge orders, adding, "I believe she's earned a rest."

Kai makes a little mock salute at her, grinning and calling back to her, "Aye aye!"

After that, Madge briskly walks toward the exit at the opposite end of the room. She's probably in a hurry.


"...Miss Madge?" I ask timidly.

Stopping and turning on her boot heel to face me, her half-cape swishing, Madge quirks her eyebrow in minor annoyance. "What is it now?"

I shrink back at this, feeling terrible for holding her up.

"Um... Thank you," I squeak. And just as to not delay her any further, I add, "That's all."

With that over and done with, Madge swiftly leaves Kai and me behind. She waves briefly, and I'd like to think that made her day just a little brighter.

Kai shakes her head and grumbles, "I can't understand this whole 'not wanting to hurt people' nonsense." Putting a clawed hand on my shoulder, she speaks up encouragingly as she leads me back out the way we came, "Still, I'm sure ye will make a fine witch hunter."

I feel myself going a little red in the face from such praise. Or maybe I'm just that tired. Either way, I tell her, "thanks."

The walk back is mostly uneventful. A lot of people glanced at us, but nobody stopped us or really said anything. It gave me some time to think, which caused me to remember something I should have asked about much sooner: "will Miss Schulz be okay?"

Kai laughs that odd laugh again. "No need to worry about Moneybags!" she reassures me, then snorts, whispering, "From what I heard from Her Majesty, she's been needin' to be knocked down a few pegs for some time now."

"In any case," she says aloud, no longer making a weird conspiratorial whisper, "the lass will be fine with some new prosthesis."

I just nod back. I guess it's okay... But I should send her a card or something. Probably won't apologize in person, though. That can't end well.

We stop in front of my room, just as something else hits me. "Wait," I exclaim, "what about work? I was supposed to be at Sundry Offerings later!" Jael's going to be so mad if I'm not there in time.

"Arr, me apologies, lass!" Kai says with an embarrassed smile while scratching at the back of her head, "I meant to tell ye that ye have the rest of the day off!"

...Huh. Okay.

"But startin' tomorrow," she warns, "ye be in Eversor trainin'!"

And with that said, she leaves me alone. Her tail thing is still glaring at me, right until she rounds a corner and disappears.

Put key in slot. Turn knob. Pull open door. Remove key. Go in. Shut door. Lock door. The room's just as I left it not too long ago. I don't know why I thought it'd be any different.

I'm hungry again, but more than anything else, I'm tired. Deactivating my costume makes some of the mess, and some of the smell, go away, but I'm too exhausted to shower the rest off. Too much hassle. Plus I don't know what I'm supposed to do with these bandages. Are they waterproof?

I pick up my pajamas off the floor and slip them back on. The sun's still out, so I close the curtains on the window, leaving the room... Relatively dark, before flopping onto the bed.

Oh, remove arm first. Turn this way, then that way... It comes off with a click. There's a lot of blood and stuff on the fist.

I'll clean it up later. I'll call up Checkers later.

Right now I'm just so sleepy.

But... I think I'm going to be okay. Yeah. It's not great, it's not ideal, but I think I might be okay. And so is Milly. She'll be okay. Things are going to be okay. I'm sure of it this time.

...I really hope things are going to be okay.