Fan fiction:The Mage Academy of Gea Kul/Chapter Nineteen
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To my surprise and relief, Zia remained on the blankets, her legs and back still white with ice. I could sense no power building in her, and I did not wait for that to change. Picking the shortest sword from the weapon rack, I held it before me as I advanced on her. She heard me, and was conscious enough to turn her head and claw at the furs with her hands, though her lower body remained unresponsive. She lifted one arm to fend me off, but I swept it aside and drove the sword at her face as I collapsed to my knees beside her, expecting to see terror in her eyes.
I did not, and Zia didn't even flinch. She faced the blade fearlessly, almost welcomingly, and that attitude was what stayed my strike. I almost killed her by accident, my body so exhausted that it was hardly under my control, but I managed to halt the blade with the edge just pressing against her throat. She did not shrink from it, but laid still, even as blood seeped from the cut and dripped down to the edge, still pressed against her skin.
A moment passed, long enough for the fire to return some warmth to my bare feet. We remained motionless, my right hand gripping the pommel of the sword, my left clenching Zia's leather tunic, giving her no chance to wriggle free. Blood continued to ooze from the cut I'd made on her throat, but she made no move to staunch it, or to resist me in any way.
"So, Yun. You have me in bed at last. Will you stake your claim on the prize that so many of your peers have already tasted?"
I lifted my head, only then realizing the position we were in. I was too tired, too ragged to feel embarrassed, so I merely shook my head and tightened my grip on the handle of the sword. My eyes kept returning to her blood, and when enough of it had pooled on the sword to coat the blade, I felt my head clear a bit. I shut my eyes tightly and shook my head, then lifted up a bit, rising to my knees.
"Your protectors are finished," I said, unnecessarily.
"I know." Zia replied, her voice as calm as if we'd been sipping tea in my office. "I could sense your magic. An impressive feit, the one you used to kill Korth and Harl. You did not teach me all you knew."
I felt strangely complimented by her words, but replied critically. "I would have taught you. Though I've never shared that spell with anyone else. But you were slow to learn the teleporting techniques."
"And I thought you held it back since I held back from you?" Her voice was sarcastic now, weak as it was. Again, I could only shake my head. I felt a sort of revulsion for the woman Zia had become. How had I thought her innocent and pure?
As if determined to destroy my illusions entirely, she spoke again, her voice yet more angry and cynical. "Those Barbarians taught me more than I learned in your Academy, Yun. And I paid for my knowledge the only way I knew. They shared me, in their bed. All three of them every night. All three at once, sometimes."
I listened, more confused than offended. She was trying to shock me. Was she trying to anger me? With my sword at her throat? I couldn't understand it, until suddenly it came clear. I'd spent months with my head hung low, waiting for a chance to die at Zia's hands. It appeared that I was not the only one so afflicted. Zia wanted to die. That was why she fought so fearlessly and recklessly against the demons. That was why she'd spared my life. She'd known I would escape those bonds. She'd wanted to die by my hand. And still did, to judge by the words she was speaking.
Zia might have expected death, since she did not meet my eyes for a moment. When she finally lifted them, meeting my gaze, she extended her chin slightly, baring more of her throat to my blade. More blood trickled down, and I waited, motionless, unsure what I was going to do next. Zia's hand shocked me back into motion when it crept down and grasped the dirty, blood-splattered tip of my penis. I nearly beheaded her in surprise, then lifted up, trying to move out of her reach. I could not, but it took several seconds before I realized she was not attacking me. She was caressing me!
"They were wonderful lovers, those Barbarians. As gentle with me as they were ruthless with the demons. With them I found a compassion and acceptance I never knew in your Academy."
As she spoke Zia continued sliding her fingers over the length of my dangling penis, until I finally managed to react. Releasing the hold I had on her leather jersey, I ripped her hand away and slammed it down into her chest, turning my right wrist and striking her jaw sharply with the side of the blade. She grunted and jerked her head back, but reacted no more than that, and I managed not to finish her when I pressed the blade back against the side of her neck.
"Your mind has been poisoned, Zia. I never wanted that from you. I would never have taken that from you."
I meant it, and I could see that my words and actions had stunned Zia. She opened her mouth, then merely licked her dirty, blood-flecked lips while her wide, shocked eyes searched my face. I was hardly less overwhelmed than her, both by her revelations and my own reactions to them. I'd spent months wanting to die, and had expected to do so tonight. Now, I was no longer sure. Zia's confession had shocked me into anger and given me the drive to murder her and to defeat those Barbarians. I'd spent my rage in that confrontation, and as soon as I reentered the tent, my old fondness for Zia had returned, just in time to stop me from beheading her.
I no longer knew how I felt about her. I did not want to murder her, well though she deserved that fate. The fond, protective, friendship I'd always felt had been ripped away by her vile words, but the fact that she so clearly wished for death at my hands, as I once had at hers, was shocking.
"I stole from your Academy. I killed your students. I killed your friends this very evening."
Zia's voice pulled my attention back to her face, and I saw that she was crying again, tears running down her face in almost as rich a profusion as the blood that streaked her neck. And at that moment, I knew what to do.
"Zia." I said, my voice steady. She started at the sound, the words she'd been about to speak lost with a sudden exhale of breath. "I love you. You are the daughter I never had. And I forgive you."
With that I stood up and pitched the sword away. Though my legs were unsteady I stepped back to stand beside the fire, pulling a soft pelt off of the bed and wrapping it around my bare shoulders.
She did not move for a moment, then was on her feet in a blink, fire swirling around her in a cloud. Her eyes glowed, a faint trace of silver in them, but as the flames descended around me, she shook her head and flickered her fingers, dispelling the blaze before it could do more than singe the hairs on my head and on the fur I'd taken to cover my nudity.
"Defend yourself!" she cried, flames licking over her hands and up her arms. I shook my head.
"You hounded me from your Academy! You killed my lovers and only true companions! I will kill you!" I shook my head again, and at that gesture Zia screamed in frustration and hurled her flames up and out. They rose up all around us, and the tanned hide of the tent was incinerated in a blink by a column of fire that erupted into the sky, turning night to day. I squinted at the conflagration, but took no other action, and when Zia strode towards me, silver in her eyes and killing energy in her glowing hands, I stood motionless.
She was upon me in an instant, her hands reaching up to wrap around my throat. I felt the heat of them, painful but not scorching, and expected to feel my heart burst as the blood boiled through my chest. It did not, and after a moment the heat faded entirely as Zia collapsed, sobbing as she clung to me. I held her then, tears rising to my eyes as the ashes of the tent swirled around us and starlight shone from the sky above.
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