Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus Magical Hanzer "Milly" Schulz

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For someone who seems so eager to kill, Milly takes her sweet time advancing toward me. Each step carries that heavy, metallic clank I heard outside, as she draws closer and closer. While her face isn’t illuminated, I imagine she has an ugly, shit-eating grin right about now. Or a predatory smile. She probably is very pleased with how she’s found me.

Even thought I’m under the covers, I’m shivering. Every other time it felt like I was about to die, there was -something- there to mitigate the fear. Usually somebody was standing by for when things went to shit. But there’s nobody here to save me now. Tanis is fucking dead, and I’m completely alone with this psycho bitch, who I only beat last time due to a fluke.

Milly just stops at the foot of my bed and stands there, staring straight at me. Or I think she is, at least. I bring the covers up to my face, both of my hands clenching the sheet like it’s supposed to do a damn thing against her while she’s on a warpath.

“…Why?” I whimper. “Why are you doing this? I already said sorry-”

“Why?” Milly interrupts, her voice loud but still calm. “You really don’t understand why I’m angry?” I shake my head, and she actually sighs, setting one hand on her hips. “I’m angry because you took away my last vestiges of joy, you little miscreant.” She stabs her finger at me accusingly, growling, “and then you humiliated me, rather than accepting your just punishment. You denied me my deserved catharsis.”

Does she mean the garden? And the match she herself rigged so she could fight me? “I… I really don’t understand,“ I explain, adding an emphatic, “sorry.”

Milly slowly brings up her arms in front of her, the air sparking as her maces manifest in her hands. “Then die in ignorance,” she coldly orders.

I tear off the sheet and throw it at her as I fall out of the bed. I don’t wait for her reaction; I’m already getting my footing back and sprinting out the doorway as her maces destroy the bed in a deafening crash of metal on metal. I stop briefly to apologize to Tanis’s corpse (or hopefully just unconscious body) for getting her dragged into all this, before racing down the empty halls (where is everyone?!). I can see signs on the walls with arrows pointing to various locations, but I can’t tell what any of them mean. I need to find the exit. Gotta find somebody who can stop her-

“You’re not getting away this time, Eleanor!” screeches Milly from somewhere behind me, compelling me to run even faster. Her thunderous steps sound a lot quicker than the ones I remember from her last fight, but looking over my shoulder to check really isn’t going to help me in any way here.

Coming up on a sharp corner, I get an idea and will a spear into my power fist’s grip. I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know if this will help me at all, but my instincts are screaming at me to move as fast as I possibly can. As soon as I reach the bend, I jam the spear point into the ground, embedding it in the floor up to its handle. Like swinging around a pole on the playground, I let my momentum spin me around and launch myself from the spear without losing speed-

And slam into the wall hard enough for it to hurt like hell and make it crack. Fuck, this was a bad idea-

Something crashes into the wall next to me with tremendous force and a snarl of pain. Dust and bits of concrete explode from the impact site as if a bomb just went off, shrapnel flying down the way I just came. I don’t pause to gape at how narrowly I avoided annihilation; I throw myself from the wall and take off running again.

Soon Milly’s screams of rage resume, followed by the metal clanking sounds gaining on me. Holy fucking shit, what –is- she?

“Somebody HELP!” I scream, though my tormentor’s sounds of pursuit mostly drown it out. I barrel through a set of doors, and it’s another fucking hallway. This place is a maze. Which way is out?! A row of closed doors leads to the far end of the hall, and all of them look pretty much identical. There’s a set of stairs heading down at the end; probably not the way out, but I can’t just keep running straight ahead. I don’t know how, or why, but I think Milly is catching up to me.

Hauling ass over the railing, I drop down the flight of stairs to the level below. My hat falls off and flops down the steps, so I just leave it behind and dash off. Behind me, there’s another crashing sound as the railing tumbles down the stairs and clatters to the ground. Milly’s terrifying gait resumes shortly after that; I bought myself a few seconds, but she’s going to catch me at this rate. I’m going as fast as I can, willing myself to go faster, and it’s not doing a fucking thing!

Coming up on an intersection, I get another idea. And while my brain is screaming it’s reckless and stupid, my body is already performing the motions. I run toward the closest wall and jump at it, flat boots slipping on the surface from a lack of friction. I don’t know how they got so dusty, but this ‘kick off the wall’ stunt just ends with me once again slamming my face into the wall, rattling one of my teeth loose. Throwing myself off the wall yet again, I spit it out and try to ignore the salty sting of blood in my mouth. I awkwardly stumble back and try to pick up speed again, my pacing thrown off by vertigo. Then, I become terribly aware of some things that stop me cold at the worst possible time:

Milly is roaring a shrill, wordless battle cry. The clanking footsteps are slowing down. And they’re –right next to me-.

I spin around and bring up my metal arm to block, just as a spiked mace smashes into it like the wrath of a hateful god.

I don’t just give up ground from the blow; the strike flings my body back, making it spin in midair and skip across the ground and walls. Each bounce brings agony as my bones fracture from the impact. I want to close my eyes until it’s over, until my vision shows something other than a tornado of whiteness. WHY THE FUCK WON’T MY BODY LISTEN TO ME?!

I crash into some kind of machine, plastic shards and bits of twisted metal raining down around me. I blink a few times, trying to make my world stop spinning. I can’t even summon the strength to stand or move; everything feels like it broke all at once.

A familiar shuffling sound makes my breath stop. Something white flutters into the edge of my vision, time seeming to slow down as the horrible thing descends. Scrabbling at the floor, I flip over and crawl away as fast as I fucking can. I keep my eyes to the ground, my heart drumming in panic. I bump into the corner of what might be a receptionist’s counter – I don’t care what it is. I don’t fucking CARE! I am NOT going to die from a fucking Vanus trance!

The booming sound of Milly’s slow, stomping footsteps gives my cowardice strength I didn’t know it had. Everything throbs, stings, burns, or aches, but, after falling down a couple times, I get back on my feet. I’m power limping down another corridor, looking desperately for some place to hide. All the doors are shut, though, and even my panicked brain remembers that an open door is suspicious as hell.

...I stagger towards a door at the end of an intersection and try to push it open, but it doesn’t budge. The handle won’t turn at first, but my robotic arm tears it out. With that bitch drawing closer, I throw the door open enough to make it slam against the wall. That brings her running.

I go around the corner and hobble through even more of the glaring white labyrinth.

Even over my heavy breathing, I can still hear Milly’s hateful screams. It’s starting to sound far away now, but not far enough for me to feel safe. Not when explosions and gunfire punctuate them. I hoped for a second that it meant security arrived to deal with her, but her angry shouting and cacophonic running resumes shortly afterwards. Everything is starting to take its toll on my body, but I keep moving. Any doors I try to open are locked up tight.

Fuck this. Fuck all of this.

I tear open the closest door I can reach, and toss the handle inside the room. Then do the same for another door nearby. And a third one a ways down the hall.

Okay, now… What was I going to do? I’m starting to get dizzy again, and I feel like I want to throw up, but I was going to do something. It’s… it’s something that I can’t remember the name of thanks to this lightheaded feeling, but it’s some kind of plan… starts with an ‘o’ maybe?

Well, whatever, the word’s not important right now. I tear open one more door between the last two, and then duck inside. Crawling through the dark, I bump my head into something metallic – fuck, fuck… it’s… it’s just a headache, nothing huge, keep going – and feel my way around it. I think that it’s another hospital bed. Those are things that you can hide behind, right?

At the sound of one of the rooms being ransacked – fuck, I thought I had more time – I move behind the bed-thing and look back. The light coming from the hallway is easy to see, and distressingly not obscured by anything but a few thin bars. If she turned on the lights, she’d see me right away. Gotta find somewhere else, something-

The destructive commotion is closer this time, and Milly sounds even angrier this time. I want to stop, but I keep looking for cover.

By now, her clanking is right outside this room. I drop behind what I hope is a nightstand just as she hurls the door open.

I can’t see shit from where I’m facing, though even with the blood pumping in my ears, Milly’s sounds of approach ring clear. I grab my knees and hug them as close as I can, curling up into the tiniest ball possible, and hope to anything I can hope to that this nightmare would end soon. Or at least end painlessly.

Milly’s erratic footfalls echo through the place. There’s a flash of blue light before a thunderclap erupts somewhere far too close to me. The stink of ozone fills the air as a jagged bolt of lightning dances across the wall I’m facing.

Fuck, I could have kept moving instead of hiding where she could find me. Maybe I’m too fucking tired for moving, but I still could have at least tried. Now she has me cornered and is going to kill me really fucking slowly. Why? Why the fuck have I been so FUCKING STUPID today? Why the fuck was I so stupid as to fight back during the Eversor examination? I could have just let her pummel me and gone back to business as usual until Checkers bailed me out somehow.

A shrill grunt of effort behind me indicates that she just lifted something up. She rips that ‘something’ apart with metallic squealing and hurls it at the ceiling. I hear it crash, and the sound of bits of… whatever the ceiling is made of, I hear that fall down and break on the ground.

I don’t hear the metal thing fall down.

I curl up even tighter, pressing my eyes into my knees until I start seeing colors. My leg is starting to fall asleep because my metal hand is gripping it so hard. This is it. This is how I die: curled up in a ball, far away from home, after struggling hard… and accomplishing absolutely nothing. Tears of indignation and shame well up in my eyes, mixing with the cold sweat dripping down my face.

I know I deserve bad things. I know that, but… but this is just too much.

Checkers… Suzi… Russ… Jael… Crunch…

Somebody please help. I don’t want to die like this…

…Milly’s plodding, metallic footsteps move away from me, and back into the hallway. The pace picks up as they run toward the last room I opened. I swallow hard, the metallic tang of blood reminding me just why I’m hiding from her this time, and lift my head up to rest it on my knees. I try to breathe in and wait for the spots and blobs of color to go away.

…Oh. I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath until just now. I let it out with a gasp as chaos breaks out in the next room. Milly is smashing stuff, electrocuting things, and shooting everything from the sound of things. She lets out a long, frustrated scream after the din dies down – I haven’t heard her use words in quite some time. Does she even remember how to do that?

Finally, FINALLY, Milly’s warpath heads away from me; her sounds of indiscriminate destruction fade out as she stalks the halls again, not even running at this point. Maybe she’s tired. Or maybe she just wants to draw it out. I don’t know, and I don’t fucking care.

First things first: After I catch my breath, I quietly limp to an unopened room and break the handle as gently as I can. This time, after I go in, I shut the door behind me and feel around for a light switch. My shaking hand finds something promising and tries to flip it, but it’s not moving… oh, it’s a button. I press it, and find myself in a room that is pretty much identical to the one I woke up in. Now, if it’s the same kind of room, with the same kind of bed, that means they have an emergency call button thing. I stumble over to the bed and fight the instinct to lie down and rest. It’s late as fuck, and I’m tired as fuck, but I have to do these things.

I push the button, and a little light comes on. I... I don’t know what to do next, but I hope that this means somebody’s coming to help. I hope they can deal with Milly better than me or Tanis could.

…Fuck… Tanis is dead because of me…

I mull this over while going to the sink. Before now, before –this-, whenever I was at my absolute worst, I could take solace in one thing. I could remind myself that at least nobody’s –dead- because of me. And now I can’t even fucking do that.

…I grab a cup and fill it with water, and take a big sip. As tempting as it is to drink, I swish it around in my mouth before spitting into the sink. And I keep doing so until the water is no longer stained red, so that can I drink it up without choking like a moron. Yeah, it hurts to drink water on an empty stomach, but everything hurts anyway. What difference is it going to make? And I’m going to need a lot of fluids anyway, for all the crying I’m doing.

…Jesus Christ… you’re crying like a little bitch again. Grow the fuck up, Eleanor. No wonder everyone treats you like a kid. You can’t even stop yourself from crying anymore.

I finally have a chance to look myself over and see what kind of damage I let Milly do to me. There weren’t as many broken bones or sprains as I had thought there were, but holy fuck… she put a spike-shaped dent in the battle arm. Crunch spent her own savings on it, and the people at the Second seemed so proud of it when they finished, talking about how strong and durable it was… and I’ve somehow gone and ruined it. Fuck me.

I remove the bits of clothing covering the sore parts and break out the first aid kit. It shows that I have no fucking idea what I’m doing when I’ve finished attempting to patch myself up. The bandages don’t feel like they’ve been put on right, and I’m completely sure I forgot to do something important, but it’d probably be a waste of good medical supplies. They should be saved for somebody who needs them. I leave the kit out before putting my costume back on.

My heart’s not pounding like a jackhammer anymore, and my breathing’s gone back to normal. I did what I could with my injuries, drank some water, called for help…

…So what now? What do I do? Hell, what the fuck –can- I do? Saying sorry isn’t going to bring someone back to life. Even capturing Milly isn’t going to fix this.

It’s my fault. It’s my fucking fault. Because I didn’t let Milly vent her anger in that duel, when there weren’t any important things at stake-

No, before that. It’s because I let my own anger get the better of me and trashed something she cared about. I destroyed something she worked hard at, just because I was having a bad day. Sure, she was mean to me… and everything was awful… but that’s no excuse to hurt someone and break their things in a fucking temper tantrum.

And now, in spite of everyone’s help, this is all I’ve managed to do. I just… I just make everything worse for people. Even Crunch didn’t deserve the kind of guilt that my inability to defend myself brought her. Even if it was shortsighted… she really thought she was doing the right thing. And if I wasn’t so fucking weak, it might have worked.

…I don’t even care that I’m crying right now. The only one who can see it is me, and if my day getting worse means I’ll finally be out of everyone’s hair…

I will the blue gemstone around my neck to appear in my hand, and take a long, hard look at it. The soul gem’s pretty, azure blue color is only slightly tainted by corruption. I run my metal hand over the smooth, polished surface, and make a fist. If I could just break this thing, then all this shit would be over. I mean, people might be sad. But they’d get over it, I’m sure.

…Really, it’d be doing them a favor.

…It’s the nicest thing I can do for them.

…The gem reappears around my worthless neck as I glare angrily at the awful person in the mirror. You goddamn coward. You selfish piece of shit. You should have broken the goddamn thing already. You could have –helped- people.

I splash some cold water on my face and wipe off some of the snot with a paper towel. I guess all I can do is sit tight until somebody shows up. IF somebody shows up, that is.

I study my reflection one last time, for what good it will do me, and frown even harder. Something feels off, but I don’t know what it is. It’s just me though. And all the self-deprecation aside, there’s nothing unusual to look at – it’s the same curly lavender hair, same amber eyes, same childlike complexion, same soul gem-

The soul gem in the mirror is black.

I tear out my soul gem in shock. It’s black. It’s fucking black. It’s turned black and it’s starting to crack. How? Why? Whywhywhywhywhy? HOW? NO! I don’t want to hurt these people! I DON’T WANT TO BE A WITCH!

I try to put the gem back. Put it back and everything will be okay. But it’s not okay. My soul gem just shattered, its gilding left completely hollow.

I immediately clutch my head in agony as sharp points puncture my skull from the inside. Bits of metal force their way through my skin, the buzz of corruption drowning out my thoughts. Blackness drips out from the metal pen nubs, the horrible, nauseating smell of ink becoming my world. I cry, and my tears become ink. My nose leaks ink. My mouth fills with the bitter poison that is ink, spilling from my lips like drool as I start to scream. The same scream that my witch form acknowledged me with.

“NO!” I cry out, and smash the mirror into pieces.

...Like waking from a bad dream, my awareness returns. The pain from before is gone, and the air just smells like antiseptic. There’s no buzzing in my head or anything, and… yes, my gem is still the same color it was before.

My heart’s beating like crazy again, though. Sounds like-

“FOUND YOU!” screeches Milly triumphantly from the doorway, making me jump in surprise. Oh god, my outburst just fucked me over in the worst way.

Whatever happened to Milly, it hit her bad. Her normally braided hair is in wild disarray, and the part of her outfit that covers her stomach shredded and burnt. She doesn’t look like a magical girl anymore. With the crazed, hateful look in her eyes and tight-lipped smile, she looks like a monster. A monster that’s come here to tear me apart.

An uncharacteristic giggle forces its way out of her lips as she shambles over. “I’m going to wash away the disgraces you dealt me,” she murmurs, voice carrying a slight singsong quality to it. “I’ll wash them away with your –blood-, Eleanor.”

I take a step forward and bring up my arms in a show of surrender. “Please-“

“SHUT UP!” she barks, grabbing my normal arm and yanking me over. I stumble forward and bang my head against her stomach. There’s some kind of metal plating there, concealed beneath her skin. “Do you see now what you made me do?” she snarls, pulling her face close. “I had to sacrifice parts of my own body for these augmentations; parts that were perfectly serviceable, but not strong enough on their own.” Milly narrows her eyes at me. “You made me compromise my own beauty for the power to crush fools like you.”

I shake my head at her accusation. “How is that my fault?” I ask her. I mean, I blame myself for a lot of things, but you did this to yourself.

“And, unlike the pitiful little heap of junk those fanatical zealots tossed together for you,” she continues, ignoring me completely, “-my- augmetics were created by the Mechanicus of the Fourth Officio.”


Milly giggles oddly again. “You really don’t know anything, do you?” she taunts, releasing my arm. “They make the most cutting-edge machinery of any Officio. Of any organization. This is only fitting for one such as me.” The tight-lipped smile returns as she looms over me, asking, “Do you understand what that means?”

I shake my head and slowly back away, hoping to distract her with more conversation. But she isn’t having any of that, and grabs me by the wrist. I struggle against it, tugging until my boots slip on the ground, but I can’t budge an inch. Now my arm’s sore, which is probably the least worrying thing.

“It means new legs! New arms! Toxin filters! Automatic weaponry!” she exclaims, crushing my toes with her foot stomp and making me scream in agony. Worse pain joins already horrible pain, as she starts squeezing my flesh and bone arm in her grip. I try to pry it off with my robotic arm, but it won’t budge! Why won’t it move?! Is it because it’s made of metal now?

“IT MEANS I AM STRONGER THAN YOU!” Milly snarls, and with cruel irony and a crueler smile, rips out my normal arm with a loud pop. I crumple to the ground, unable to stand.

“IT MEANS I AM FASTER THAN YOU!” she declares, kicking my shin until it snaps with a loud crunch. I’m starting to lose awareness of anything but the pain.

“IT MEANS I AM BETTER THAN YOU!” she screams, grabbing my body by the waist. She hurls me back at the wall. My body hits with a loud splat, and my insides paint the walls.

…I can’t feel anything anymore. I think everything just broke.

“DO YOU SEE, ELEANOR?” Milly asks, dashing over with heavy footsteps. “THE BEST AUGMETICS IN THE WORLD ARE –MINE-! AND YOU! ARE! NOTHING!”

…I can’t see her anymore, and my head refuses to turn. Then everything goes dark, and Milly’s bragging muffles to the point that I can’t understand it. The only good thing to come of this is that I can’t feel how much everything hurts now, but it’s starting to get cold…

…This can’t be how it ends. I can’t accept it. It’s not just unfair. It’s… it’s stupid. That… that bitch is blaming me for her own bad decisions. And I have to die because of it?

…Fuck… I don’t want to die…

…I don’t want to die…





…I don’t know how long it is before the world comes rushing back to me. I’m staring at a puddle of blood between my legs that hasn’t even dried yet… can I move? Yeah, I can move. I can turn my head and see the signs of my recent mutilation all over the wall.

…What the fuck? Wasn’t I just dying? While my blood and guts still decorate the walls, somehow I’m okay. I’m not even hurting anymore. I’m not even –tired- anymore. How did this happen? Didn’t my arm get ripped off? What the fuck?

I can see Milly sprawled on the ground, her wings laying flat. Her teeth are clenched, her eyes are shut, and she’s groaning in pain. There’s a double-headed axe buried in her spine; it’s surrounded by several wounds of similar shape. Somebody got in a few sneak attacks on her. Next to Milly is a pile of something translucent and brown, covered in blood. It kind of looks like... skin.

“I told you,” murmurs a determined, if quiet voice, “visiting hours are over.”

She looks… completely uninjured. She’s in much better shape than I thought she was before. As in, she’s alive, moving, and breathing. And she’s shed the surgeon’s gown for what can generously be called a bandeau, and a bow around her neck.

I groan a little as I pick myself up, and Tanis looks over at me. Her expression falls into nervous concern. “Are you okay?” she asks. “Can you walk?”

Taking a few steps forward, I nod dumbfounded.

Tanis smiles again. “Then, uh, we should probably run,” she informs me, removing her axe from Milly’s back. I couldn’t agree more.

Unfortunately, Milly has other plans. Already back on her feet, she brandishes her maces at Tanis. “I don’t know how you’re still alive, freakshow,” Milly growls at her, hefting her weapons, “but I won’t let you interfere again!” Tanis has enough time to turn around just to see Milly swing down to split her skull.

...With Milly distracted, I could make a break for it. I mean, Tanis came back from certain death before, and I’m pretty sure she brought me back from the brink as well. So she’ll be fine. I keep telling myself that as time seemingly slows to a crawl, Milly’s mace heading straight for the crown of Tanis’ head.

…Fuck. I’m going to die if I fight here. I’m actually going to die. I don’t have my soul gem safely tucked away in a little box, it’s still right here with me… maybe Milly would stop hurting people if she got to kill me?



Fuck that.

Fuck all of this bullshit.

But most of all, fuck you, Milly.

I spring forward and bring my metal fist back. Milly isn’t quick enough with her strike; not slowing down at all, I punch at her mace head and deflect the attack. The weapon hits the ground heavily and embeds itself in the floor with a crash. My body is trembling in sheer terror as I pull Tanis back. Both Milly and Tanis gape at me, Milly more in shock, while Tanis is in awe.

I can’t believe I just did that… no, no I can believe I just did that. I know why I did that. I don’t give a fuck what happens to me, but Fuckerfly can’t drag other people into her meltdowns. Tanis was just taking care of me because it was her job.

“Milly,” I growl through clenched teeth, making her lip twitch in displeasure at the name, “even if I wronged you…”

Making a fist, I will a large spear into existence in my metal hand, which forces my fingers apart as it appears. I grasp it, lower it, and point it at Fuckerfly in challenge.

“…that’s no excuse for you to hurt other people!” I exclaim with indignation.

Fuckerfly scoffs at me, ripping her weapon out of the ground. “Do you earnestly believe that you can win, you worm?” she sneers.

I shake my head. “No,” I answer with brutal honesty, “but I’m gonna try anyway.”