So, uh, hello. It's been a while. I picked this up again recently and started doing the on bits and pieces. Is anyone still interested? If you are, let me know and I'll try and work on it a bit more. Hope you like it! Sorry for this chapter being shorter than the rest, I mainly wanted to see if there was still any interest for it. Hope you enjoy!
"Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces."
- Melanie Martinez, Dollhouse.
Elizabeth faltered. "Others?" Something itched at the back of her mind. Didn't Summoner Lee mention 'others' like her? Others brought from her world to this, to train as champions. Lux began to rummage through what looked like a jewellery box, pulling out a small silver chain.
"Well, there has been one that was somewhat successful. And I use the word 'successful' loosely. Turn around."
Elizabeth obeyed and the chain was placed around her throat. "What are they like? The others?" When she turned back around to face Lux, her face was grim and stony.
"It is not my intention to frighten you. I only offer to take you because I wish for you to know the truth."
She frowned, mentally running through a list of all the champions she could think of. If one was 'successful' in becoming a champion, surely that would mean they would still be here? "Do they have a name?"
This is way out of my depth. I don't have a reason to be scared, if they're a champion, they have to be… okay? Elizabeth mulled this new information over as she was pulled out of the room. This whole experience still wasn't quite registering. A strong sensation of dissociation never felt far away.
Back out of the 'Demacia' building and into the endless web again. However, instead of going back into the main building, Lux lead her further outside. The thought that there might be a whole new universe outside of the Institute had somehow never occurred to her. Even from the window of her room, the view was limited to the little courtyard garden. The sky was a soft grey, holding the brief promise of rain. Neatly kept hedges lined a path to a huge iron gate, the metal pulsing with a delicate blue glow, infused with hextech magic.
A small town seemed to lie beyond the gate, peppering the landscape beyond with stone buildings. All of these things were put into perspective when her eyes lay on the mountains towering over the town. Far bigger than anything she had seen at home, they loomed overhead, the tops dusted with snow.
"The Ironspike Mountains." Lux murmured beside her. "They remind me so much of home."
She tugged gently on Elizabeth's arm and bade her follow once again. A tiny stone path ran off to the side. The paving appeared to still be new, hardly any sign of previous footsteps. The path descended and Elizabeth was beginning to think the whole trek might be in vain when tucked away, right into the corner of the grounds, was a building. It was a dreary looking thing.
Why would the Summoners keep anyone like this?
Lux stopped and took her hand. Elizabeth jumped slightly at the contact. "I have no desire to speak with that… creature. I will accompany you to make sure you are safe but please remember that what you speak with is no human. It is a monster."
"A monster? I thought you said that they were a human like me?" Her brows furrowed in confusion.
"They were human once, but not now. Like I said, I do not want to scare you. I believe it necessary for you to fight harder. Think of it as motivation." Lux smiled dryly. "This thing has killed people. Innocent people. The sword of justice must be swung."
She placed her hand on the seemingly empty wall in front of her. Blue sparks radiated from her touch, dancing like fireflies. The shape of a door manifested before Elizabeth even had a chance to blink. It was called Hextech but it looked just like magic. Lux pushed on the new door and it swung open with ease.
The inside was dark and dank. A putrid smell emerged, making Elizabeth gag. Against her better judgement, she followed Lux into the murky interior. The door left as quickly as it had been summoned, leaving it pitch black. A small ball of pearly light was cradled in Lux's hand, giving her eyes time to adjust. The smell didn't get any better.
"Just… a little bit closer." A raspy whisper in her ear.
She screamed, thrashing wildly to get the invisible assailant off of her.
Lux gave her a pained look and grabbed her arm. "It's alright. It can't get to you. See?" She forced her to look at the other end of the room.
Elizabeth rather wished she hadn't been made to look at all. There was what looked like a prison cell, the bars engraved with unfamiliar runes and sigils. A silhouette was outlined in by the light of Lux's magic. Its face was barely recognisable as human. Ugly and twisted into a permanent grin, the sight was almost enough to make her wet herself. Grime covered every inch of it, it was no wonder how badly the place smelled.
"March, march, march, march…." It muttered, rocking back and forth from its crouched position.
"Sh…Shaco?" She said, stunned. Lux nodded sadly, an almost pitying look in her eye. "But… he was never human, was he? He can't be like me. He can't- "
"This thing is nothing like you." Lux snarled. "It was brought into our world from yours and the transition drove it mad. It thinks it's some kind of lunatic clown and it murders without remorse."
How? How could this possibly happen?
She swallowed thickly, "How long has he been here? Why do you keep him like this?"
"Eleven years it's been kept in this cell. The first year it arrived, the Summoners thought it came from the void, although it resembled a man once. The moment it came through, it started babbling about pain and violence and hasn't stopped since. That first year, they tried everything to get it to live as a human and released it into the world, thinking it would help. The transition was just too much for it. Its mind is broken and its body began to reflect it." Lux sighed, shoulders slumping.
This new information was just too much for Elizabeth to handle. She promptly turned, and then vomited. Lux jumped back to avoid her shoes being splattered. She coughed and dry heaved for a good five minutes. Shaco cackled at her through the bars, as if it was the funniest thing to ever happen to him. It? Somehow, Elizabeth could not bring herself to think of Shaco as an 'it'. Memories of gameplay came back to her in between hacking coughs, although she couldn't remember any of his lore. Other than the fact he was mad and enjoyed killing.
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "Sorry." She said apologetically. When she turned back to Lux, the light mage was looking a little green.
She'll happily go to war but can't handle a little puke? Makes perfect sense. Elizabeth thought.
"Nobody brought Shaco any food today!" He said, banging an empty dish against the bars of his cell. "I wonder if this wonderful, fresh lady would bring an old clown some food?" This time, he ran at the bars. He hit them with a clang, pressing himself against them. "A tasty hero."
She shivered at the word 'tasty'. "He can't get out, right?"
Lux shook her head. "It's cell is reinforced. If he could escape, he would have done it years ago."
"No one wants to be around me." Shaco crooned. "You're not scared, are you? Are you scared of the dark?"
She flinched, hating herself for being so frightened. He couldn't hurt her, right? "I'm not scared." She mumbled. This sent Shaco into another unbridled fit of laughter.
Lux rolled her eyes, "There is no point in trying to make conversation with it. I doubt it's capable of any rational thought."
"There aren't even windows in here." Said Elizabeth. "It doesn't seem very… nice."
"It lost the privilege of luxury when it slaughtered whole villages." Replied Lux, a cold look in her eyes. "You should not presume things you know nothing about. You have been here mere days."
Elizabeth was doubtful of this. A day in this cell and she was likely to go mad herself. An argument for another day, she decided, not wanting to anger Lux further. She cleared her throat, "Thank you for bringing me here. Sorry for puking on you. Can we leave?"
Lux nodded. Shaco appeared to have gone back to his mutterings and rocking himself back and forth, no longer paying them any attention.
She dropped Elizabeth back at her room, saying "I'll have Summoner Lee fetch you when we're going out."
Once the door shut, tears were already streaming down her cheeks.