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Capitolo Secondo: Ambizione (24)
Something was wrong, and the blame lay on nightmares. Tendrils of corrupted taint reaching out for a quiet and calm mind trying to find peace and rest, disrupting any chance to be ready the next morning.
Kate had been having nightmares for almost four days now, and yet the latest one had been particularly intense. Previous instances were easy to 'suppress' through meditation as the unsettling nature they were born and nurtured was easy to face through some careful 'mental dissection'. Yet, as this dream came and formed, something odd unraveled before her eyes. An intense fight where a malicious entity brawled against a warrior shining a pure and fierce white light.
Their clashes caused quakes to spread all around, with cracks forming on the walls nearby on the ground and crashing windows in the process. The warrior, despite her impressive skills, was faltering with each struggle. Her strength waned, her hopes dimming, but a small smile that was barely visible on her face from where Kate was told that she didn't care. It wasn't her purpose to win that fight.
"This world is mine to destroy, fool." The monster proclaimed sternly, its edged hammer slamming away the sword the woman held and striking her down to the ground with the ensuing attack.
A cough, blood staining the white, but the glow remaining.
"You… may have it. But the real world- the one you failed to take, still lives on with those that live through this."
"I will hunt every single one of you. The gods? Your people? They will all fall before Chaos."
"You will… fall. To those that will- Will rise up to stand against you," She remarked in pure defiance. "My legacy lives… on."
The warrior died shortly after, the glow intensified as her body turned to pure white particles that dispersed as quickly as they formed.
A growl, the monster roared angrily at that weak yet strong proclamation, darkness erupting from within its core as Kate's senses were stormed by the darkest feeling possible. True fear, true horror… true loss. As soon as that happened, Kate's eyes went wide open and she woke up with a slight fever and inability to speak out her current distress. The others noticed, with Dio quickly asking her if everything was alright.
"J-Just a bad dream."
"Are you sure?" He pressed softly, noticing how tense she was in answering that question.
"I… I am."
"If you need to talk with someone about anything, we're here for you."
She cracked a tiny smile. "I know. Thank you..."
Everyone was keeping an eye on her during the small time left before the train reached their current destination. Zephy remained quiet, but Kate could tell from the bond she had with him that he was concerned too, just preferring to let her sort out these feelings on her own. Once they arrived at Albuquerque, she decided to do something unusual considering her previous interest to explore as much as possible of this nation considering how brief her previous exploration had been. With Dio around to guarantee her safety in case anyone tried to do anything bad to her on a legal standpoint, she had seen and learned about many things she missed the first time around.
But right now she wasn't in the mood to entertain that curiosity. Kate was out to wander around to a distant corner from others and try to deal with those uneasy feelings she had been experiencing for a while. Once again, this decision gained some perplexed looks and concerns from her friends, which was kind of heart-warming, but also annoying. Who would have thought that finding a time to be alone would be difficult with that bunch of good people?
It was the first time she studied the real 'issues' of having so many friends, but she didn't mind. Had it been someone else in the group, she would have been as worried as they were towards her. Yet, while Kate could understand and accept their reasoning to pester her with questions, that didn't mean she was exactly able to deal with that kind of questioning at the moment. She really needed to think about this on her own and find a solution herself.
She could tell she needed this to happen by her own hands and nobody else and… she sought to try and find a place away from people, but also not put her in any dangerous situations in the process. Much to her dismay, that wasn't exactly a feasible chance within a settlement like this one. People were curious, and she had little knowledge on how to speak proper Spanish which proved to be quite awkward the moment a few people started to whisper familiar and unfamiliar words.
Kate was slowly losing the hope of finding a place where to meditate when suddenly his attention was taken away by an old woman that stood right in front of her. She had come from the opposite direction. Old, weary, the elderly woman stood there while wearing some unusual outfit. It was a native dress, but different from the native Americans Kate had the chance to meet. She wore dark-gray cloth over her head, with her sleeveless gown having an intriguing theme that held as main colors purple and brown. Her skin was slightly tan, which was common sight due to the weather, terrain and heat all year. She whispered a few words, and yet those weak voices reached her ears.
"You seek the truth. Come forth."
It felt like a sudden request, but Kate knew that there was an incredible amount of truth in her voice. Something from within just told her so, and Zephy didn't see the woman as a dangerous individual.
"She is… tied with fate."
It sounded like an odd circumstance, but the young woman still advanced and tried to make sense of the whole situation. Fate? And did she really hold the truth she wanted? The young woman couldn't tell, but the urge to know, to discover something important about her past easily overruled any form of common sense. It just felt right.
The strange woman moved around with a limp, hence why she had a small cane made with a reinforced tree's branch. Her step was still quick, demanding Kate to keep a proper speed to not lag behind and get lost in the crowd. Eventually the trip led her to a small shop where the elderly woman was selling unusual objects meant to 'bring good and bad fortune'. It was the first time she entered a place like this one, giving little to no thought to religion in general. Yet their destination wasn't the main room, but the small back room behind the shop.
The modest-sized section of the building had a rectangular perimeter, with half of it, the one the furthest from the door, only a small circle that softly glowed a familiar white light.
"In there, you shall find answers. Those that are already there within yourself, but you can't find them until you face and defeat the greatest opponent within your soul."
It sounded so mysterious and 'right', and yet Kate couldn't believe it without some doubts. How could she know the answers to her many questions when she never had the chance to be near the truth? Once again, Zephy showed himself distracted, almost expecting Kate to go through this without hesitation. But what if this actually ended up being not what she was asking for? What if she was going to be disappointed by what she ended up getting. Regardless of the many doubts within her mind, her resolution proved to be opposed to any of that. She slowly walked up to the circle and calmly sat down within it. She felt a strange sense of lulling bringing her instantly out of her body as soon as she closed her eyes.
The blonde felt her breath growing itchy within her throat as she opened her gaze to find herself in a very familiar and very chilling scene. She was back in that room, the one she dreamed about, but instead of the glowing warrior fighting the monster… it was just her, Kate, and the monster. Zephy wasn't around much to her growing dread, and the entity smiled wildly, with his eyes glowing a burning red.
No words were uttered, but that laughter- that sickening laughter – persisted and terrified her. She swiftly removed her sword from its sheath, fast enough to block the approaching attack and noticing how incredibly powerful this creature was. Her strength, which she had long prided herself of having by training herself to this point, felt minuscule compared to that immeasurable power. She was instantly shoved away by that mighty strike. Her instincts kicked in and forced her to retain her footing as soon as she got back to the ground, her grasp over the Shin-aki tightening as she steeled her resolve.
"You shall fall, like the one before you."
It spoke, and its voice gave out a renewed wave of unease within her mind. Her mind didn't falter, but her body was slightly shivering at the pressure it was being subjected to. It was the worst fight ever and Kate felt like this wasn't what she had asked for. Where are the answers? Where was the truth? The beast attacked again, his powerful attacks forcing Kate to back away in a defensive stance which did little to cushion the ferocity of the assault her guard was subjected to. The laughing monster was too fast and his unpredictable pattern made it difficult for her stance to muster up a proper response to each strike. Her arms grew sore, her hands slightly bruised and Kate eventually was pushed away once more, this time out of a nearby window and into the abyss surrounding the enclosed room.
The silence of that horrible demise didn't last long. The monster's laugh echoed once more much to her chagrin and his voice reverberated loudly within the oblivion she was falling into.
"Pathetic. This is her legacy?" It questioned smugly. "Truly disappointing. So, she died with a false hope? Hahahaha!"
The taunting, so frustrating. She gritted her teeth, looking around for a solution- for anything that wasn't that laugh. Without anything in her physical proximity, she tried another route. Surely, if this is her mind, Kate could access another fragment of her soul. She closed her eyes, she sighed slowly and calmly and tried to reach out for any kind of place that wasn't this one. And it worked… a bit too well.
She felt her body shift again, but something felt different. She felt 'weaker', both physically and emotionally. The mental fortitude was gone as tears started to form and crawl down her cheeks and soon she was bawling her eyes out. Her wailing was loud but also… different from her usual voice. It felt squeakier like a child or a toddler. It felt so odd and confusing and it gained more perplexity out of her when someone approached her, her eyes still closed, and soon this individual picked her up, a soft and caring hum catching her attention. The humming turned in a lullaby, with someone shaking her in their arms like her father used to. Yet, while her father was a bit more clumsy about it, this one made it feel so… natural. It was right. This person was meant to do that because of their…
Kate's orange eyes finally opened, and she was met with a pair of similar orange eyes. The woman looked just like her, yet older and more mature… and more regal. She seemed to fit an authoritarian air with a suave touch of kindness that she rarely saw in anyone but her father's eyes. Her fur was as white as hers and she was blonde too, wearing a familiar armor, like the one the warrior that fought that nigh-invincible creature that she had failed to beat.
"It's alright, Katherine. It's not… your fault," The woman hummed quietly, caressing part of her small hair away. "This- this decision isn't your fault. We all have to make a choice, and I decided to risk this all for you and those of your generations. We can't hold him back and we will fail. It's going to be a fright, one I never had the chance of ever facing."
What is she… talking about? The monster? She had been afraid of that too? Then how did she hold him back much better than she did? How come her step didn't falter like it happened to me?
"But I will endure and my soul will luckily survive this encounter. I will always be there for you, my little princess," Her voice grew softer and more tired. Kate had for so long seen that on herself and those she cared about. In a way, she could only nod in approval when her younger self, from which she was looking through the perspective of from this memory, reached out and tried to cup the woman's cheeks. Her worry vanished, but tears started to roll at that kind gesture. "My sweet child, please… live to tell the tale. The tale of those that fell here today. Be the beacon of hope and Light that those people need in these trying times."
'My sweet child'? Is this… Mother?
That was her mother? She looked so… amazing. So brilliant, so brave… and she was gone. For her. For others- did she have siblings? Who were the others? She had new questions, and yet she couldn't speak or do much beyond allowing the woman to put her younger self in a small machine.
"This will take you to a safe planet. You will grow and train to become the warrior we need. That the innocents will need it. My child, attain your destiny and save your future."
The machine closed and soon Kate had to close her eyes as a blinding light exploded and shifted her away once more from the scene she had been in. She was back in the abyss and the blonde could now connect dots about what happened next.
"That's how I came to Earth? That machine and… the monster was behind this entire mess. So this monster- it will come for me- for us. For these 'others'."
A nod. "This is really a mess and I have more questions but… I think I can live with this. I guess that's the truth I have within myself and nothing beyond myself."
The abyss faltered and she was suddenly thrown back in the very room where the creature was still waiting. She landed on the floor and she glared at the grinning monster with absolute hatred in her mind.
"You're back. Are you ready to die?"
"No. This is where you shall face defeat!"
"Is that so? Weren't you the one defeated by me just now? You didn't gain any power out of what you did, except a degree of unhealthy bravado from the looks of it," The beast muttered in minor frustration. "But do tell, what do you plan to do against me?"
She smiled at that challenge. "Win with my friends."
A frown appeared on the red-eyed blob of darkness as it was suddenly struck by numerous bullets and some spinning balls slamming all at once onto its entire frame. it roared in pain as it was sent flying away. The ensuing explosion gave Kate the chance to sigh in relief at her correct assumption: this was her mind, so she could rely on creating copies of her friends to stand by her side and fight with her. In fact, she smiled even more when she saw Zephy nodding as it took a stance beside her.
"If you need to talk with someone about anything, we're here for you."
"I should have taken this approach before rather than allow my own pride to dictate my demise," She confessed in disappointment. "But now? Now there are no excuses. You shall fall against us!"
The monster roared once again, its power repelling the smoke before he rushed back to Kate. Dio moved quickly and used his Stand to paralyze the entity while Derek and Speedwagon favored long-range strikes before Bhediya and Bloody focused on quick attacks to disable its movements. It was a pure massacre, but not enough to stop the assault as the monster still managed to put some pressure against her. It was less than before, but it was still more than enough to demand her full attention. Her friends kept on supporting her and she felt that rightful confidence to push back the beast with Zephy. The Shin-Aki glowed mightily to match her resolve, the blade cutting faster as she prepared to end the beast for good.
"You think this is it, child? This is the beginning! I am but a memory and a false representation of the true demon you're going to face. We are Chaos, we are Destruction, we are God-Slayer, We. Are. The. Empe-AHH!"
Its monologue was cut short when she struck one last time with her sword. Mustering her inner strength and calling forth her own power, the katana burned off fierce light that easily tore into the pure Darkness before it. The monster tried to fight it off but it was too late. The beam of light shredded its form into pieces, leaving nothing at its wake once the attack ceased to be. The copies vanished as soon as he did, and the world around her collapsed as Kate felt her form faltering, possibly because she was being yanked away from her mind and back from reality.
She would wake up shortly after that victory, with her eyes slowly opening to gaze upon the room she had been meditating in for a while. Zephy had sat down in front of the circle, waiting for her return and he was quick to greet her.
"Welcome back. Did you find what you wanted to know?"
The blonde slowly nodded. "I got the more important things out, but I know little to nothing about what happened before that."
The familiar nodded, but as he approached the now-standing young woman, she added something else.
"I also saw my mother."
And that had him pause and look at her in surprise because of the unexpected news.
"My last memory of her. Before she went on to fight that monster."
The critter deflated. "I'm… sorry. That's not a sight I wouldn't have expected for you to see."
"It's alright," Kate assured, smiling at him. "I actually see this as a warning for the future. I will be prepared for him."
"I'm glad then. I hope you will find the strength to do so."
"I will not do this alone. We will not lose again if others can join us against that entity."
Zephy could only nod as they both left the store, finding out that the elderly woman had left without saying a single word after she started meditating and that the door was open for them to leave at that moment. They decided to get back to the train and see how things were with the others. They found all of them waiting for her return as the vehicle was ready to go. Dio looked ready to take a step and greet her cordially and in relief as she hadn't gone missing, but he was stopped when he was suddenly pulled close, Kate's arms wrapping around his neck as she forced his chin on her shoulder. It was an unexpected move that had the young man tense for a while.
"Did something happen?" Dio asked, slowly completing the hug as he tried to make sense about that sudden embrace. He still moved up to finalize the hold with his own much to Kate's relief.
"Everything's alright," She jovially replied, chuckling at his reaction as she tightened her hold. "But I think I owe you all an explanation about the mood."
"Aye," Derek mirthfully agreed as they all looked at her with expectations about what happened to her and where did she go while the others were occupied with visiting the city.
There wasn't much relevant about it… except for Bhediya fighting a weary Derek and 'kicking his butt' as Bloody said before getting chided by the cowboy himself. Soon they all retreated to the train to discuss the interesting day that Kate had experienced and of the cryptic steps forward she made regarding her past and origin. About the fact she needed to train even more as the challenge of the future was far more intense than she could have imagined. There were many questions about this entire matter, but they all conceded to the fact this was as much as Kate knew about this matter. And this was also a good enough reason to get back into training and refining what they got.
If this monster could hit anytime soon, it was best to be ready in case this unfolds right as they were done with Vins. They all spent the rest of the day training hard within the limitations enforced of staying confined within the train and while they were all making progress, Kate could already tell that all that they came to muster out from these exercises was just barely going to be enough for the monstrous beast that will attack Earth.
They needed to be ready… and they needed to be united for what was coming their way once the current threat was dealt with.
"Do you believe they will do it? This generation, I mean?" A spirit hummed quietly as she stared at the very elderly woman who had approached Kate. The human soon glowed yellow and her form reorganized in the looks of a golden orb floating beside her. They were currently standing in the distance, staring at the retreating train as they commented on what happened today.
"They will. She has the potential and the drive. She knows of the truth she needs and I know this will make the difference where we failed," The orb conceded softly. "She will lead them to victory. And I can tell this world has the chance to stand up when Prism couldn't."
"The Gods believe this planet will perish too even if we win. A battle of that magnitude-"
"Will not happen if they can intervene before that bastard can use his full power."
"He will react to them. Order will always bring out the worst of Chaos," The spirit argued and the orbs hummed in agreement. "You accept this, and yet you believe this planet will survive?"
"Kate is not alone. And I am not referring to the rest of her generation. That young man… a pity that he is already set to marry, wouldn't have minded to have him paired with my daughter."
"How- How does that even matter?"
"It was a personal case of dismay. Anyhow, the young man might not be Light, but it's the Earth's equivalent to that Crest. He is strong and his growth is astonishing considering his upbringing. I'm invested in his future as much as my daughter's," The orb admitted mirthfully. "They will both bring changes to this place. They will save it, I can already tell this much."
"I will believe you just because I know how attentive you are to this… Earth. What about those others living here? Why not bring them together earlier?"
"Ah, Apogeo… it isn't that simple. They are all going through their growth and they need to do this on their own. It's their life and, once he will come forth, they will be ready for him."
"I will trust you. From the very day you were crowned by your mother to now that you bring me the comfort of companionship."
A chuckle. "I'm glad that I can still do this much, my old friend."
The spirit nodded back in agreement.
"Likewise, my queen."
Another character gets some extra background and growth. Let's see who's next? Bhediya? Bloody? Who knows!
Omake 39: Bizarre Displacement (Diamond is Unbreakable)
Morioh City was once a quiet city, a certain serial killer would say.
It was the perfect setting for his existence, for his hobby and obsession. Especially since no one could stop the unique power within himself. He was unbeatable, invincible even- and yet as of recent times, the city was no longer quiet. 'Noisy' people had started to flock out of nowhere and tag along, creating a very troubling instance where he, a brilliant murderer, was now cornered by the enclosing nature of so many infuriating individuals trying to overwhelm him and stop his spree.
What a foolish notion. Why would he want to stop? Why would they think he would stop at this hassle when he was set for victory? He was Kira Yoshikage, and he would never concede to any form of defeat. He was so confident of this, and yet his confidence had started to waver as he noticed something was wrong with the latest trick he applied to Hayato. 'Bites the Dust' shouldn't have allowed him to keep any memory of the past, and yet some particularly intense fragments went through the loops. The only reason why he could justify those to remain was the implications behind those. Each time Hayato would end up triggering the bomb and resetting the timeline to the beginning of the day, someone would just rush up to him with deadly intentions.
It was sudden, it was terrifying and it bore orange eyes. He didn't know who it was, or why it did the things it did, but while it had a young man's appearance, the demonic essence was enough to make him question its humanity. Something about it was wrong, and it was proven that each day the murderous creature came close to decapitate, dismember and even gut him down. It was ferocious and maliciously entertaining for the monster, leaving a quiet man as Yoshikage shivering at the idea of what will come next. In a move that he would end up regretting, he decided to remove the bomb, to alter the habit of the creature and see if he could get it on the spot he wanted it to go. He could do it, he knew he could. He was Yoshikage Kira, and victory was at hand.
He blinked just once that morning. He was on the way to his workplace. To get his job done properly, to make money to sustain his alibi and current identity. He could feel eyes watching him, studying his moves, and then… 'attacking' as he thought he was in the safest place to be. His boss came by, the entity closely walking behind him and Kira's attention alternated between the older man telling him the news that this investor, this Dio Joestar, was here to 'speak with him for a promotion'. 'Dio' had been interested for 'many years' now about this part of the company and wanted to raise someone that had been hard-working up to this point to a higher position. For Kira Yoshikage, that would have been a solid no. But for Kawajiri Kosaku, this wasn't a deal he could refuse. And from the smug glance on this predator of killers like him, this was the basis of this attempt.
He is good.
Yoshikage had to admit it was a good plan, but one that didn't take into account a small particular element.
"Apologies, chief. I don't believe myself to be able to stand up to these expectations."
"Yoshikage now, you know better than me that these are rare opportunities," His boss reminded sternly.
"I understand. But also for this point, I have to keep in mind my current skills at work. I don't believe I am qualified just yet to go for a promotion."
The boss looked ready to give him a piece of mind at that polite refusal, but 'Dio' interrupted by fake-coughing.
"Apologies, but I think he isn't wrong. If he believes that he isn't ready, then no one should push him like that."
The old man wasn't expecting that, but he sheepishly conceded to that as they went for the next candidate. While at first Yoshikage thought he had won this round, he could tell from the amused look on Dio's face that he had been expecting this. Especially when he had been the one to help him out by accepting that lie as a reason to 'ignore his promotion'. He had been expecting this, and Yoshikage had fallen into this trap… or tease.
A tease? It would definitely be annoying that it was all to 'tease' him into a mess of nerves. Yoshikage was no prey, but he couldn't think of any idea of how to free himself of this grasp just yet. He needed more information, starting with his family as he was sure he heard it before. Same for his name… wasn't it one that his father used to bring up when Yoshikage was younger? He definitely needed to dig more into this.
Sadly, his plans were halted by an unexpected issue that he had no means to defend himself from.
A truck ended up killing him in a rare case of car accident in Morio City, one where there were no drivers tied to the vehicle. His Stand might have been strong, but it was no match for a sudden attack like that one. And with his death, a certain individual sighed before getting teleported back to the train he had been staying on for this adventure, holding another ring that he was well familiar with, of what those were all about.
"Seriously, why is someone leaving Heaven Ascension DIO's arm rings?"
It was already becoming a hassle to keep track of these sudden dreams with how sudden and distant they were from each other. Maybe it was a trophy? A side mission to his current affairs? Maybe… or maybe there was something more sinister about all of this…
Regardless of that, I wasn't planning to let anyone try to resurrect that version of DIO. Not when I didn't have any means to beat him.
Heaven Ascension DIO when?! XD
Sino-Soviet: I have an account in AlternateHistory, the handle is in my Profile bio. My stories there have been linked in the signature.