When You're Evil and Dead
Chapter 26: Showdown (FO: Part 5)
“So that’s him?”
“Of course I’m sure!” Zidane hissed. “I heard him say his name while he was doing his prayers!”
“I guess god really does listen to people’s prayers,” Kefka said wryly. Kuja rolled her eyes.
“So what are we gonna do?” she wondered.
“I think I have an idea…”
“Si renkan kuja zidoi quiy dane kam si dane zida…”
A fairly young man with long blonde hair and a long crème colored tailed was kneeling in front of an altar. The altar, notably, was very similar in appearance to the one that Kuja had recently destroyed in Alexandria.
“Quiy vamp Annel Torvel.. Si dane moreotai zidoi quiy dane… zenallo qui paoro quiy gesho… zenallo quiy dane… Si renkan kuja zidoi quiy dane kam si dane zida..”
His dark blue eyes were closed tightly shut. He was so focused in prayer that he did not see or hear the form materialize behind him.
“Quiy vamp Annel Tor—“
“I know what your name is,” Kuja said evenly, her still-masculine voice reverberating throughout the chapel. Annel Torvel gasped softly in surprise.
“Si dane moreotai?”
“Do not call me the Soul Destroyer,” she sighed in annoyance. “My name is Kuja. Use it…with respect.”
“A-as you wish…”
“Now get up and face me.”
Torvel obeyed swiftly, rising to his feet and turning to face the ‘demon’. His eyes widened.
“What foolishness is this?” he whispered. “You cannot be the Soul Destroyer!”
“And why not?”
“B-because the Soul Destroyer was male!”
Kuja narrowed her eyes. “Some facts are bound to change over time.”
“So the Soul Destroyer was female…” Torvel said softly.
“She is now,” Kuja snapped. “Got it?”
Torvel nodded his head respectfully. “Yes, K-kuja…”
“Now, why are you praying to me?” Kuja asked slowly.
“Did you not hear my words? I’m sorry, my Terran is not very good…”
“I heard your words,” she said. “But why do you want my aide?”
“To help me kill this regency’s ruler!” Torvel said with a smile. “It has been ordained by the King of Alexandria!”
“And you want me to protect you from the Soul Restorer?”
Torvel nodded vigorously. “Oh, yes, great Kuja, please protect me from the Soul Restorer. He will do everything in his power to prevent me from completing my deed!”
She tilted her head a bit. “What makes you think that the Soul Restorer is even paying attention?”
“You were paying attention enough to hear my prayers, weren’t you.”
“Not exac…” Kuja paused thoughtfully. “Not in the way that you may think.”
“But you came! It must be because you want to aide and protect me!”
Kuja sighed, shaking her head softly. “Why should I help you?”
Torvel paused, looking at her as if she was crazy. “I wish to destroy! You are the protector of destructive forces, are you not?”
“Well, no, I mean…” Kuja bit her lip.“You guys have misinterpreted me, I think…”
He shook a finger at her, brightening suddenly. “I know! This is a test, isn’t it?”
She blinked. “A test?”
“Yes! A test to challenge my faithfulness! To see if I’m truly worth of your protection!” His dark eyes glimmered hopefully. “That’s it, isn’t it?”
Kuja opened her mouth to speak, but stopped suddenly. The words caught in her throat, and her eyes rolled back in her head. She slumped to the floor in a heap at Torvel’s feet. The Genome gasped with a mixture of terror and surprise.
A fall form materialized, standing at Kuja’s feet.
Torvel’s eyes widened. “Th-the Soul Protector!” He took a few steps back.
Zidane shouldered the Angel Bless, narrowing his eyes at the younger man. He glanced down at Kuja’s motionless form.
“She will be troubling me no longer.”
“Please do not harm me!” Torvel gasped. Zidane’s lip curled in a sneer, causing him to look disturbingly similar to Kuja.
“You wish to murder the regent of Lindblum, and I cannot allow that,” he said in an even voice.
“But I have to! I’ve been ordered to!”
Zidane looked down at Kuja again, and then back to Torvel. He pointed at the altar behind them. “Tell me…”
Zidane stepped around them, going up to the altar. He studied the Terran inscriptions that covered the altar. Torvel turned, standing nervously next to him.
“Do you really kill all the violet haired children that are born?” Zidane asked softly.
Torvel blinked. “Yes, of course we do!”
A blonde brow arched. “But why? What good will it do?”
“The Soul Destroyer will attempt to the return to the world using the body of a violet haired child,” Torvel said. “It’s written in the ancient texts.”
He frowned. “Then your ancestors were fools. Why would someone as powerful as the Soul Destroyer risk using a weak Genome as a vessel?” Zidane blinked slowly at the irony of his words.
“Because h-she is a demon, of course!” Torvel said.
“Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the Soul Destroyer and the Soul Destroyer were just two Genomes? Just like yourself?”
Torvel shook his head. “That is nonsense.”
“No, nonsense is using your religious fears as an excuse to kill children,” an angry voice rattled behind them. Torvel turned quickly, but Zidane continued to stare at the altar.
“Y-you! But he—“
“You are a murderous fool, Annel Torvel,” Kuja growled. “And you deserve to die.”
“Wh-what?! I thought—“
“You thought wrong!”
“Kuja, stop!” Zidane shouted. “What he’s doing may be wrong, but I can’t allow you to kill him.”
“Oh, thank you!” Torvel looked at Zidane with a smile.
“You cannot stop me!” Kuja growled. She leapt forward, but was swiftly intercepted by Zidane. He pulled a long dagger from his belt, stabbing it into the exposed flesh at Kuja’s midsection.
“I must stop you,” Zidane said softly. Their eyes locked. Kuja snarled softly, pulling back and fist and hitting Zidane hard enough to send him flying into the altar.
“Oh my!” Torvel retreated a few feet, looking for a safer place to stand. “Is this matter really so great…?”
Kuja pulled the blade from her stomach. There was no mark left behind. “I cannot be hurt with live weapons, you fool.” The dagger hit the floor with a noisy clatter. “But if you want a demon, you can have one!”
Zidane winced, getting back to his feet. “Suit yourself!”
Torvel shielded his eyes as both Genomes were bathed in an angry swirl of bright blue light. He dropped his hands as the light faded, staring dumbly.
“Wh-what trickery is this?!”
“Pink is so not your color, Zidane,” Kuja sneered, long red tail lashing at the air.
“At least I’m not all pale and red and…and…feathery!”
“Great comeback,” she said, tossing her hair.
Trance Zidane paused, looking at himself for a moment. “You’re right, it is kind of a funny color.”
“You’re not as stylish as me,” Kuja said with a wicked grin.
“Stylish? Ha! You’re about as stylish as a chocobo in heat!”
“Shut up!” she growled.
“And I may not me stylish, but I can still destroy you!”
“Not if I destroy you first!” Kuja balled her fists at her side.
“I’d like to see you try,” Zidane growled, raising an arm to attack.
He threw down the energy that had been gathering in his palm.
She flared her arms at her side.
It only took the smallest last minute adjustment to change the attacks’ course.
Annel Torvel never saw it coming.
“Miss Tribal, it’s alright. You can wake up now,” a soft raspy voice said. Kuja cracked her eyes open, looking up into the face of a demonesse. Kefka shoved the attendant aside with a giggle, leaning over Kuja. He gave her a lecherous grin.
“Don’t get started,” Kuja said weakly, sitting up. She rubbed her head. “Think we overdid it?”
“Naaaah,” Kefka giggled and shook his head.
“Are we back in hell?”
He nodded. “Yup. Got pulled back after you vaporized that Torvel guy.”
She laughed softly. “What about Zidane?”
“He sent a line… he’s planning to stay on Gaia for a little while longer, to make sure that the Alexandrian royalty doesn’t try the same thing again.”
“He always was a goody goody like that.” Kuja frowned briefly, rubbing her forehead. Kefka tilted his head curiously.
“You okay, doll? Zidane didn’t hurt you, did he?”
“No, no, I’m fine…” She looked up at him with a smile. “I’m feeling much better, actually.”
Kefka blinked. “Better? Were you sick?”
She shook her head. “No, not like that… I mean… All my life I was a failure—I never really got to do my job as well as I would have liked. And since I died… well…” Kuja’s fingers clenched briefly. “It’s hard to kill someone in hell, you know?”
He smiled. “The killing instinct lives on, eh?”
“Of course. I’m still si Kuja tan Tribal, after all…”
“Well, Angel,” Kefka chuckled, helping Kuja down from the transport table. “We’re supposed to head back to the Preventative Measures office to talk to Dr. Lerownzz, but…”
She looked at him as they exited the building. “But what?”
“You want to get a drink first?”
Kuja laughed and nodded. “Sure. I could go for a drink.”
They headed for the mall.
“So, what did you think of Gaia?”
“It was nice… a lot like my own planet, except…”
End chapter 26