031 Those Who Watch the Sky - 31


31 – Children Changing with the Sky 6

“Look at you two. You’re both a bloody mess and have the blankest expressions on your faces.”

Finding the breath to speak between her persistent laughter Link commented on Elliot and Melody’s expressions as they stared at her in disbelief. Exchanging a look the both of them sighed and Link started laughing again tears streaming from her eyes as she began to complain.

“Ow, ow, ow! It still hurts! It’s just like Squawk said, it could fall apart at any moment if I’m not careful but you two are just too funny!”

“I don’t see what’s so funny Link. I could have killed you.”

“Elliot’s right Link. There was so much blood and Elliot looked so scary I thought I was going to lose both of you!”

“You both really need to relax and learn to have fun at times like these.”

Standing up with a smile to hide her pained grimace Link tilted her head and offered Elliot and Link both a bright eyed, broad smile.

“I mean look, we’re all still alive and well for the most part. I won’t be doing any fighting from here out though until my arm makes a proper recovery but if I keep practicing my healing magic that should go a little faster. Though it’s exhausting and now I’m absolutely starving– Huh?”

As Link commented on her own hunger Melody sighed and slumped to ground splaying the feathers of her wings and tail carelessly as she did. Looking down at the harpy curiously Link was met with her massive watery eyes and a terrifying growl form her stomach.

“Did you have to mention food Link I haven’t had anything to eat for days!”

“I’m so sorry Melody. I should have never lost myself like that. I just… Even now…”

Elliot could not find the words that he sought but was stopped in his attempt to do so as Link’s left hand and again cradled his cheek. Looking down at her bright and smiling face he was held captive in her gaze as she stroked his cheek with her thumb comfortingly.

“I don’t know what happened after you killed the White One Elliot, but if you did anything to hurt Melody you can make it up to her by getting her something to eat. You may want to tend to your own wounds first, though…”

Trailing off Link donned an inquisitive look as her attention was drawn to the torn flesh on Elliot’s cheek she had been unintentionally playing with. Curious about the wound Link more purposefully toyed with the torn flesh and grew horribly confused.

“Elliot, not to ask a really weird question… but where is your blood?”

“Eh–

“Huh–

Verbalizing their confusion Elliot and Melody looked at Link before Elliot became the focus of attention. Taking a step back and away from Link to give himself a look over the tattering of Elliot’s clothes and flesh from countless blade wounds and gunshots became horrifyingly apparent. As horrifying as Elliot’s injuries were however his total lack of bleeding and apparent lack of blood left the group on a whole too confused to properly react to the situation. Elliot himself seemed as curious as he was confused however and took his gun, which he had yet to release from his lefthanded grip. and pressed it against his right forearm. Aiming away from the others and towards the ground Elliot pulled the trigger and the proceeding gunshot made Melody jump back to her feet in shock and terror.

“E-Elliot‼ W-what are you doing‼”

“Just experimenting…”

Answering thoughtfully Elliot studied his arm and was joined by Link who pinched her chin thoughtfully. Melody did not like being ignored or Elliot’s answer and made a fuss about it.

“What type of answer is that Elliot  We’re worried about you being hurt and then you go and shoot yourself!”

“Well, he didn’t bleed from that either though…”

“HUH–

Unable to contain her confusion or disbelief Melody danced around Elliot to study his arm herself. Confusing and upsetting the poor harpy even more she was greeted by the sight of the bullet mark in the ground unaccompanied by any blood. Turning to Look at Elliot’s arm and the hole straight through it that he was holding up and letting daylight filter through left her not only upset and confused but also queasy and weak kneed.

“That’s… that’s just…”

“Really weird?”

“No Link! It’s wrong! He should be bleeding and in pain and–! And–!”

“It’s fine Melody.”

“How can you say that Elliot

Turning her indignant expression from Link to Elliot, Melody questioned him while trying very hard to ignore his injuries. Her indignation melted away however to a softer expression of befuddlement as she saw the smile on Elliot’s face. It was not just any smile however, but that calm smile of Elliot’s that he wore only when life was right and the light in his eyes only drove that point home further.

“I may have lost myself in my bid to embrace my newfound faith, but it would seem that it wasn’t only Link who was saved, but me as well through her.”

“Eh–? Elliot, what exactly are you talking about?”

“It’s probably better that I don’t explain Link. I definitely lost myself in my zealotry and hurt Melody in ways I don’t deserve to be forgiven for. For now though I can at least try to make up for it like you said by getting Melody something nice to eat after I tend to my wounds. Though I may need you to patch me up if you have the strength left Link.”

“I might, but I don’t like you keeping things from me…”

Pouting as she implied that she may not heal him for his decision not to inform her, Link drew a laugh from Elliot.

“That’s fine Link. It’ll be good practice for me then. I’ve been putting off for too long what you’ve been trying to do since you were infected; making the Foreigner’s power my own.”

“I’m getting there! Forcing it’s Ambrosial Gate out is how I’m casting magic after all.”

“Is that so? Well, it looks like I have some catching up to do.”

Feeling competitive Elliot smiled cheerfully in contrast to Link’s pout and turned his gaze down the path of bodies leading back to where he had first engaged the ruffians. A melancholy fell upon Elliot as he bore witness to his handiwork and his smile fell from his face as his mouth fell open as he attempted to come to terms with his actions. Closing his eyes, he attempted to focus his thoughts.

[Don’t lose yourself now Elliot. Yes, I could have simply given in to their demands, but I had allowed myself to give up control and let this happen. Now they are dead because of me and even if they lived a life of villainy and would have been slain by others their lives still had value. Now that value is to allow me to grow stronger so I never lose control again.]

Opening his eyes once more Elliot offered the ruffians a smile that carried a quite thank you. He only dwelled on the ruffians’ fates for a moment however before lifting his head and taking a deep breath. Holding out his right hand he reached out for himself and the Foreigner blood that bound him to his fate.

At first nothing happened and Link and Melody exchanged curious looks wandering what Elliot was trying to do. Then there was a stirring in the air along the bodies of the dead and droplets of crimson red blood began to rise from the corpses and ground both. Willed by Elliot the blood swirled into the air and travelled by a wind of his making back to him. He did not immediately attempt to restore the blood to his veins however and instead let the droplets hang suspended in the air around them as he studied them. He was not alone in studying his blood as Link joined him, though infinitely more excited than him and poking away with a finger at the droplets of blood as one would a soap bubble.

“W~o~w! Look at it! This is so amazing Elliot, and I can sense the flow of Nectar through it which is likely why you haven’t died of blood loss! I can even sense an Ambrosial Gate which means that your blood is drawing off of it without your input yet you can still control it too without actively engaging with your gate which…”

Link continued to ramble on in an unending run on sentence of unbridled excitement. Elliot could not help but laugh at her yet Melody was again the indignant one.

“Li~nk! You shouldn’t be getting excited like that! What does it even mean that Elliot can control his blood How much has Elliot changed, and how much more is he going to

“Calm down Melody. It’s the nature of being infected by a Foreigner. We can’t stop the change on our own until we conquer it and make it’s powers our own so transforming is perfectly natural. I mean just look at me. I’m totally naked right now but unless you put your hands on me you couldn’t tell. Or I guess talons in your case Melody.”

Offering Melody a silly little laugh as she corrected herself Link was only met with the harpy’s best pout.

“I don’t like how much you’ve changed either Link!”

“I just wish you hadn’t reminded me that you’re naked…”

He probably could have avoided bringing trouble onto himself by not saying anything, but Elliot was too earnest for his own good. Looking away he had the good fortune of being drained of his blood so his face did not redden, but his embarrassment and discomfort was still plain as day. A mischievous look flashed across Link’s face in response to Elliot’s discomfort and she suddenly danced in front of hm doing her best to put her whole body on a playfully seductive display for him. He naturally continued to try and look away but Link kept dancing back into his view.

“What are you so embarrassed about Elliot? I may be naked, but you’ve already seen me naked when there was more to see. I even. Let. You. Touch. Me.”

“Link! Please! This isn’t the time!”

“Oh~! – Ow, ow, ow!”

Elliot’s efforts to avoid looking at Link resulted in him outright spinning around and Link’s efforts to chase him resulted in her putting more effort in than her collar bone could handle. Grabbing at the injured bone Link came to stop but was quickly given reason to pout at Melody.

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~ You brought that on yourself Link ~ Not only did you forget you were hurt, but you were totally acting the opposite of when you used to try to figure out what type of clothes I could wear ~

“When did you get so mean Melody

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~

Melody’s laughter and weak attempts to run away from Link who herself could not properly chase after the harpy brought a smile to Elliot’s face. Somehow everything seemed to be fine again, yet Link’s words ate at Elliot. Lifting his right hand he looked down into it and his smile grew melancholic before he sighed and pressed his finger tips to his chest. Closing his eyes and sighing he spoke softly to himself lower than Link could hear.

“Honestly Link, I could have done without that reminder. Though, now you have me feeling glad that I was lost in my zealotry and desire to get you to a town. It would seem I’ve even been protected from myself to an extent.”

Lowering his hand back to his side Elliot opened his eyes while raising his head to the sky to offer a prayer of thanks but stopped. Noticing Melody’s ear twitch as the harpy picked up some distant sound time felt like it came to a stop to Elliot. Color drained away before him save his blood hanging in the air around him and he could make out intensely beating hearts fast approaching the group. They were coming from numerous directions and Elliot clearly remembered the ruffian leader’s words about having more explosives at his disposal.

[No! If they attack know while we’re away from our swords and Link and Melody are so weak… Or if they’re going for the Dolmen…]

Gritting his fanged teeth Elliot reached out with his senses as best he could for those beating hearts. He could hear them so clearly, but he needed to hear more than just their beating. He had to know what emotions made them beat so and he could tell the more he concentrated. Anger. Fear. Wrath. There was no doubt that not one of the heartbeats belonged to anyone other than the small army of ruffians that had attacked them. Knowing that Elliot allowed himself to relax and exhale his subconsciously held breath.

[Forgive me, but you hold nothing but a desire for death in your hearts and I can not let harm come to Link and Melody.]

Neither Link nor Melody noticed when several droplets of blood shot out into the woods around them. The ruffians that came with their explosive headed arrows also did not see the droplets of blood coming for them until after they had been pierced by them. Elliot did not simply intend to just pierce the ruffians however and as his blood joined theirs in their veins his became as a virus forcing its nature onto theirs and making it his own. As their blood became his he tore it free from their bodies rending the remaining ruffians apart with appalling violence. Elliot did not flinch from the atrocity he committed as he had already resolved himself to what it meant when he chose to attack them. His expression had grown grim however and Link and Melody both noticed.

“Is something wrong Elliot?”

“It’s nothing Link. I was just recalling some blood I sense further into the woods.”

“Why would your blood be any further than here?”

“Because I chased off the ruffians he was fighting when I caught up with him Melody.”

Though Link had an answer for Melody’s question, much to Elliot’s relief, she herself was growing concerned for Elliot and turned her attention to him.

“Though, if it’s so far away are you going to be able to retrieve it? I mean, controlling your blood is putting a strain on your Ambrosial Gate, and while I can’t really say, I would think that like Artificial Gate Generators that too much strain will be damaging to you. That, and I was exhausted just for casting a healing spell and sustaining it for so long so I’m sure there’s a limit to how long you can keep your blood under your control. You should probably get it all back in you before then so you don’t die on us.”

“I’ll do that Link, and while I’m waiting for my blood to get here you and Melody can check the Dolmen for bandages That or you can make some from the ruffians’ clothes, though I’d rather you didn’t. Either way it won’t do me any good to put all of my blood back in me just to bleed it back out through all of these wounds.”

“I doubt there’ll be enough bandages but I ‘ll see what I can find. Are you sure that Melody shouldn’t stay with you though?”

“It’s fine Link. Besides, you’re both weak and will need to be there for each other in case something happens. Hopefully I won’t be long though.”

“All right, if you say so. Come on Melody, let’s hurry so we can get back.”



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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