Last of the super short updates, folks. Necessarily short- perhaps I should have made it a two part chapter! Anyway, enjoy as always. Maybe I’ll spend some time working on another short story this week.
(22) More Bloody Time Travel
Summer gathers heat in her hand, but keeps it there, narrowing her eyes as her predecessor approaches. “What do you want?”
“That’s pretty simple,” Glory says quietly, her voice like leaves crackling dry in the sun. “I want you gone. I want you to go back to your own time.”
“In many ways we’re the same,” Summer points out cautiously. “Couldn’t we… work together?”
Winter cringes at the idea of that, but says nothing. Summer isn’t seriously thinking about that, surely.
“Don’t compare me with you, Summer! I am everything you can never be. I don’t want you dead- I just want you back where you belong. I’ve already paid our mutual brother a visit and convinced him of his own stupidity. I told him you were dead, and I sent your guard back to his original time as well. With a little luck, Fall can start down his own path soon.”
“You bitch!” Summer hisses. “Why the hell would you want Fall to become like Autumn?”
“It’s his destiny!” Glory snaps. “The power he’ll learn to wield will crush mountains and right wrongs- he must become the true embodiment of entropy!”
“Now hold on a second-” Casper starts.
“You’re insane. Fall can’t use that power and stay the same! You’re effectively killing the man Winter loves!”
Wait, I’m supposed to love him? Winter asks.
Shut up! Summer snarls.
“And what if I am? Winter is a spineless, worthless piece of fey trash, there’s no reason she should have anything! If Fall is too weak to survive without Winter, than maybe it’s time he evolved!”
Okay. I’d vote to kill her, but I’m not in the mood for suicide, Winter says dryly. I sincerely wish it was my turn, though.
Summer steps away from Casper, who just shrugs and backs off. Azzy steps back from Glory, who is now radiating heat like a barrier.
In unison, the two seasons begin to circle.
Summer clenches the Rose in her fist, digging sharp thorns into her palm.
“Who is Autumn?” Casper asks.
Glory answers. “Autumn is the final incarnation of the four seasons! His power has rendered Him immortal, and He has promised a world without conflict.”
“He’s a loony who tried to kill me and Winter, bound me permanently within Winter’s head. Now we have to trade places with some weird pill Spring has developed,” Summer replies grimly. “We’re trying to stop Him.”
Azzy shrugs. “It is not our business, then.”
Casper seems to think it over.
But the rest of the dragons seem to agree with Azzy.
The circling continues- now Summer stands near Azzy, and Glory stands near Casper.
Summer lifts her hand, takes a deep breath, and hurls a bolt of pure heat at Glory. In a flash, her twin grabs the power from the air as if catching a baseball, staring back at Summer with a smile. “Now, why did you think that would work?”
Heat flares around her suddenly, and Casper has to take a step back.
Summer takes a cautious step forward, and Glory lashes out, hurling the bolt back double- it leaves a hissing, smoking trail as it burns the air between them, an invisible blast of pure energy.
Summer catches it casually, curls it into a string between her fingers. She lashes the floor beside her with a flick of her wrist. It’s hot, but nowhere near hot enough, even as stone flashes into steam, and her heart snarls with anger.
“You’re a fool, Summer! All that power and what do you use it for?” Glory taunts. “We’re far from the same! The difference between a mere immortal and a goddess!”
She hurls a crackling blast of energy at Summer, a burst that would fry the meat from a normal human’s bones. Summer walks through it like a warm breeze, advancing on the self-proclaimed goddess. “You’re right,” Summer says calmly. “We are far from the same. You’re a spoiled little brat. I used to be just like you, not even two weeks ago. I used to want the same things you did, I remember what it was like to think the world was my toy.”
Summer narrows her eyes. “There’s a big difference between the two of us, do you want to know what it is?”
A second wild lash of heat energy glances off of Summer’s shoulder with more force than before, actually making her flinch. But she rights herself and strides towards Glory, who backs away. Casper has to shield her face from the heat.
“We both treat the world like a toy. I just don’t want to share it with filth like you,” Summer snaps, closing the remaining distance between herself future and past. Her slap flings Glory aside like a doll.
She pulls herself to her feet, brings her hand up to finger the bruise, rage fueling a wild snarl as she leaps towards Summer.
Summer steps back once and holds her hands up to meet the blows she’s sure will follow- but they don’t.
Spring, who holds Glory by the collar of her gossamer shirt, gazes at her amiably before turning a stony glare on Summer herself. “You really shouldn’t be here,” He says quietly. “Glory here has the right of it.”
“I have business here,” Summer says sharply.
When did this green-haired bastard show up? But then, that’s always his way. Spring can be anywhere at any time he wishes- but he always turns up exactly when things are about to get out of hand. It doesn’t seem to matter whose hands things are about to leave, only that he stops the things from leaving said hands. What a twerp.
“It was an easy way out of the situation back in the Barrier, I’ll grant you that,” Spring says cheerfully. “And it’s not that I don’t approve of running, you see. But I must send you back like I sent Thomas. Neither of you belong here. You could ruin the whole of the timeline this way.”
“What about Autumn?” Summer asks incredulously. “Will He be forced back as well?”
“Of course. He knows where you’ll next be, naturally,” Spring replies gently. “Since you were destined to visit His other self- Fall- here, He was inevitably drawn here as well. It is, after all, where He began.”
“What…?” Summer starts. “But-”
“Did you think that you could stop it?” Spring asks sadly. “Don’t be ashamed- such thoughts are common, but everything that has happened has already happened. It’s called the Cycle for a reason, dear Summer.”
“Then why must we go back?” Summer asks desperately. “Why does it have to be this way?”
“Because it has already happened this way,” Spring explains patiently. “Please, just let go. The past is the past- it is the future, which, while it too has already happened, is the only place you can possibly live.”
Spring smiles pleasantly, waves a hand, and vanishes from Summer’s sight.
Unsurprisingly, so does everything else, as Summer also disappears in a flash of cold spring dew.
Spring turns to Casper and frowns. His grip on Glory is like iron- she can’t move a muscle. “And what are you waiting for, little human?”
The one thing the Cycle could not possibly account for- the works of mortals are ever being written. Only the immortals are set in stone. It was, of course, always troubling to talk to someone whose ways you could not see.
Casper shrugs. “I could ask the same of you, you sad magic sod. You look a bit like an elf lambasted with quick-gro.”
Spring smiles briefly. “Did you want to go with them?”
Casper frowns, then shrugs again. “Just take me to somewhere with humans, if that’s in your power. I think I’ve had enough of being a pet.”
Azzy steps forward, looks as if he’s about to say something, and then doesn’t, dropping his hands to his sides and shaking his head ruefully.
Casper catches the movement out of the corner of her eye and turns slightly. “I don’t belong with you people,” She says quietly. “You’ll all outlive me, you all can’t care for me. I can’t live here.”
Azzy shrugs helplessly. “Go then,” He says, haltingly. “I’ll find you eventually.”
Casper feels an unfamiliar smile on her lips, and, sheathing her sword, steps forward towards Spring. “I’m ready,” She says confidently.
“No you aren’t,” Spring replies amicably. “So long!”
Casper vanishes. Azzy sighs and shakes his head, staring at the cavern floor for a few moments. The rest of the dragons- the gray-scale and Aura- wander or limp away.
Spring, after giving Glory a gentle peck on the cheek, shoves her forward one handed. She has time to pick herself up and launch herself back at him before, smiling faintly, Spring disappears as well, this time for good.
The dew left on the cavern floor from his passage makes Summer-Glory slip and fall on her butt.