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Chapter 12: Heading To A Final Destination

I know the truth, now,
I know, who you are,
And I don’t love you anymore it never was and never will be,
You don’t know how you betrayed me,
And somehow now you’re everybody’s fool...
-Evanescence: Everybody’s Fool

As Rinoa woke up to see the sun, shining outside. She got out of the bed and dragged her body over to the bathroom- to splash some cold water to her face.

“Another day, another mission.” Rinoa said to herself, as she noticed Squall was gone, “I wish Cid would just leave him alone.”

She walked back to the main room, and then remembered that, she had nothing else but her negligee with her. Then, remembering she left some clothes in Squall’s wardrobe, she started to dig in for some clothes.

After getting dressed and pulling her hair in a ponytail, she observed herself in the mirror. She was wearing a pink, slightly baggy t-shirt on top of black baggy pants, and her usual boots.

Nice clothing.”

Rinoa looked around, as her heart immidiately went up to her temples, pounding against the corners of her skull. In fear, she asked, “Who’s there?”
In my days, people did not have time to adjust clothing. Shame on us.”

Rinoa looked around again. Was she sure there was no one else in the room?

“Who are you?” Rinoa asked.
“Where are you?” Rinoa changed her question to.
You seek me? Then follow the chill running down on your backbone.”

Rinoa felt a shiver running down on her spine. She turned around, and faced herself. Jumping backwards with the sudden fear it gave to her, she stared at the mirror.

This is where I am.” The other voice replied to her, from her own mouth, in the mirror.
“You’re... Inside me?”
I am not. I am you. Or rather, I was you. Years ago.”
“What do you mean?”
Do you truly seek my true form?
“I do.”
Then, witness the power!

Rinoa’s reflection changed. Some dark grey and black swirled in the middle, and then, the vision started to grow clearer.

It revealed a woman with no face-paint or likewise. She was wearing a “womanly”, particularly sexist robe, coloured in blood red. She had raven-hair and glowing, orangish red eyes. Her wings were the blackest bat wings a person could ever see. The monster figures were soaring in the air of her dark purple background.

“Who, or what, are you?” Rinoa asked.
Behold the ultimate soul who had once been close enough to settling the war!!! I am Lichia. The one who has the power to make darkness prevail over light in this pitious world!
Do you not remember that a presence inside you was swirling? Do you not remember wondering why you were enduring blank periods of the day, with zero awareness of who or where you are, and what you might be doing?
“What does that got to do with anything?”
Everything. It was I alone that gained control. It was I who made you attack the man you loved.”
“You? But how?”
What do you think I am, miserable human? I am a sorceress. I behold the powers of magic, I keep them inside myself. I and I keep the only power that is equal to the Penultimate Force!
“But you-“
And now, I shall gain control. Yes, I have such little path ahead of me to walk on to. I shall gain the complete control of you!

Her hand reached out to Rinoa, out of the mirror. The claw-like hand of skeletal, dead fingers reached out to Rinoa’s neck, to grab her soul and rip it out.

But when the fingers touched her neck, they started to burn. Sorceress Lichia screamed and pulled her hand back.

How can this be?” she asked to herself, “I have been put away by a miserable, powerless human!?
“My love protects me. It keeps me strong.”
Makes absolutely no difference to me, mortal. Because, I do not try to achive goals which I am unable of achieving by myself, by myself. I will have help.”
“Wait. Don’t go anywhere!” Rinoa said, trying to irritate the presence within her while feeling fear pumping through her veins. She ran to the kitchen and got a knife. She went back in front of the mirror.
What do you intend to do with that knife?
“If I kill myself,” Rinoa said, with a triumphant smile, “You can’t use me to achieve your goal.”
A respectable attempt, I must admit.” Lichia said, “Not that it makes a difference. Your body can be animated by me. I don’t require your own soul to animate it.”
“But the body has to be alive.”
I am know curious about where you might’ve thought it was so. The body doesn’t need to be alive. It can be headless, armless, legless... It matters not. I can still animate it. This was why my power was feared above the others.”

Suddenly, Rinoa’s door was broken from the outside, and Galbadian officers stormed in. Rinoa tried to fight, but realised that, she couldn’t even move a muscle.

Your captivation is just to my advantage. It is going as planned.”

Rinoa felt her own body’s control coming back to her, but Galbadian soldiers were already onto her, holding her down. With slow steps, General Caraway entered the room, with his almost shining clothes and smile.

“Rinoa... My dear daughter, you have changed...” Caraway smiled.
“You!?” Rinoa asked, struggling to free herself, “What’s going on here!?”
“Yes, my dear, me.” Caraway said, as Rinoa shivered. This kindness wasn’t part of him. He never was this kind. Caraway went on, “Me, me, me, me. It have been me, always.”
“Yes, that’s why my mother couldn’t stand it!” Rinoa spat.
“Your mother...” Caraway said, “She didn’t die because she couldn’t stand it.”
“Wh-what? She hanged herself!” her eyes filled with tears.

I remember, Rinoa thought, I found her, hanging from the ceiling. She was dead. I tried to wake her up... She didn’t wake! Nobody was there to hold me. Nobody told me it was going to be okay, even after G.L.E. came here. The only person who told me it would all be okay one day was the detective who had just questioned me!

“Yes, she did. Because she had found out something she wasn’t supposed to find out.” Caraway smiled, sickeningly, “A classical Bluebeard tale; ‘Don’t go to the room that’s on top of the stairs’. The foolish girl wasn’t satisfied with the other two hundred and seventy rooms.”
“You...” Rinoa asked, breaking down even more ”You killed her.”
“Indeed, I did.” Caraway said. “It was me. She told me I was a monster. That I was just a killer, her disease! After all I had done for her! She threatened me...”
“And that shook your ego.” Rinoa said, grudgingly.
Caraway smiled, maliciously, “Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I hanged her. My gloves helped me out. No fingerprints, no suspect, no clues. A dead end for any and everyone who would investigate it, I daresay.”
“While Lichia is alive and well, you can’t.” Caraway replied, “If you kill me now, then, Squall will die.”
“Yes. He came to me. Found out the things he wasn’t supposed to find out. And he’s in the dungeons.”
“Dungeons? And... Quistis was with him, right?” Rinoa asked, a tiny sparkle of hope in her voice.
“Yeah.” Caraway said, “Quistis is under the soil now.”

Rinoa bent her head down. So, Quistis was dead. Her best friend, eventhough she loved Squall as well. Rinoa felt a great surge of hatred rising inside her, against the man in front of her.

“Now, we must blind you for some time.” Caraway said, taking out a black piece of cloth, “Your mother has made this.” He added, holding the piece of cloth, while gently fondling it, “I’m sure she wanted it to pass to her daughter.”

Rinoa tried to turn away, but she had already been blindfolded, and lifted off her feet to be carried.

At least I’m not walking.

“Are you going to kill me?” Rinoa asked.
“Yes.” Caraway replied.
“Why?” Rinoa asked.
“Because...” Caraway said, “There is no meaning to life than what we make it. Because the meaning of my life was your mother and power. Because I can have only one of them at a time.”
“Because you chose power...” Rinoa said.
“Yes.” Caraway replied.

They walked in silence, and Rinoa felt herself lighter than ever. For the first time, she really felt Lichia inside her, moving, crawling.

When she felt she had been put on top of a chair, she demanded her blindfold to be removed.

“I can’t do that. Do you wish to do so, Sorceress Lichia?”
Yes, I do. My own eyes are not sufficent enough yet, Caraway.” Lichia replied, from Rinoa’s mouth.
“Of course.” Caraway said, reaching out to get the blindfolding off. As Rinoa looked around, she noticed that they were in some kind of a vehicle. No chains, not even handcuffs were on her. But she knew that, Lichia was too far into her to allow her to break out.

Has the preparations been completed, Caraway?
“Indeed, they have been.” Caraway replied, “The Sacrifical Blade is already at our hands. Solomon’s Ring is in my ring finger, even now as we speak.”
And, the most important ingredient?
“That part, Sorceress Lichia, is yours, I’m afraid.”
Let it be. I will give you my blessing, Caraway. So far, your loyalty had been above all others. You shall be rewarded with whatever you wish.”
“I am not worth such rewards, Sorceress Lichia.” Caraway said, with a play-act of modesty.
You are.” Lichia replied, “After The Ritual has been completed, the only danger to me will remain to be The One Who Grieves. Is that been taken care of?
“What are you talking about!?” Rinoa asked.
“Oh, you don’t know. Shall we tell her?”
We shall. She will learn in either way.”
“Very well.” Caraway said, “The Ritual Of Reviving Blood, my dear daughter, is the ritual we will perform. I will get The Sacrifical Blade, put on Solomon’s Ring, and bless the blade with Demon’s Tears. When I shed your blood, Lichia shall awaken, and her seal shall be broken!”
“Yes, you most probably will die, as a sacrafice.”

Rinoa bent her head down as silence fell.

Squall, she thought, where are you?

Where are you?

Chapter 13

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