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Worthy

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Rise and Fall". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: REPOST: Sometimes we run out of second chances. When the Powers give someone one final chance, will she be able to fulfill her destiny? xover with Elfen Lied. Part of the Rise and Fall series.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Elfen Lied
Literature > Fantasy
BelisariusFR18413,326224,1367 Apr 087 Apr 08Yes

Beginning Of An End.

Worthy: Beginning

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the copyrighted material(s) herein.

Note: Due to popular demand from my many (one) reviewers, I now present this story in a complete format. They are now in chapter form instead of separate ficlets, with an unexpected bonus! An ending! Hooray!

Spoilers: If you haven’t watched Elfen Lied yet I suggest you put a hold on reading this story.

***

“Cmon, pinky… wake up. I aint got all day here, ya’ know?”

She stirred slightly, but otherwise made no move to rise. He frowned then, and with surprising cruelty, snapped a painful kick into her side. She gasped in pain, and lurched upright, trying to get away from the source of the attack. Finally awake, she stared at him and around her in confusion. All around her was a featureless white space, no floor, walls or ceiling could be seen, nothing for the eye to rest on. Vertigo set in almost immediately and she struggled to focus as the still blurry looking figure began to speak.

“First things first, toots. One, I don’t like you; I think you’ve already had more than one chance to redeem yourself and you don’t just miss the bus, sweetheart, but you scratch the paint when it goes buy, you catchin’ my drift here? I’m not the boss of me, though. So I have to be here and give you one last chance, doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“I don’t want anything from you, human!” she spat, and her body tensed. If something was supposed to happen, it failed and her anger fast gave way to confusion once more.

“Well what a surprise, you really aren’t helping disprove that you’re an irredeemable psychopath, here ya’ know? Which brings me to point number two, you’re dead. Kaput. Finito. Wormfood. Am I getting through to you here? You’re just a soul here, you can’t use your abilities to slaughter more people who don’t deserve it, fortunately for me. Oh and by the way? Not a human.”

The anger was back, but shame and guilt kept her from looking directly at him. Everything he had said about her was true. She desperately wanted to quell the urge to kill inside her, but her hatred for the humans that had tortured her for her entire life was overwhelming. She would still be doing her best to kill them all, if it hadn’t been proven to her that there were good people in the world.

By then it was too late, and she couldn’t control herself anymore. She was a passenger in her own body, watching it kill and feeling herself die a little each time. And then finally, she had her chance. She killed one last time, but this wasn’t out of malice or hatred, but to protect a man she had come to love, and even another of her kind that hated her.

The feeling was indescribable. For once, she was in control of herself and felt only the shame of becoming the same monster people believed her to be, and guilt for the pain she had caused the only living person to show her kindness. She said goodbye, and embraced her death in a storm of bullets. Finally ending her pain, and the pain she would cause others. Or so she had thought.

“Well look at that, tears. I honestly wasn’t expecting that. There might just be hope for you yet, but I doubt it.”

He sighed, dramatically and adjusted his leather coat and out of fashion hat, before continuing, “Look, truthfully you had the short end of the stick handed to ya’, but there‘re people out there who were in much worse situations than you could ever imagine who didn’t go on a killing spree when they escaped. You gave up, and now you’re paying the price… why am I even trying to explain this to you… ok, look, let’s cut to the chase.”

He got right up close to her, intimidating her despite being only slightly taller than she was, “My bosses, who you monkey-type folks basically worshiped as gods for several thousand years, have decided in their great wisdom to give you that second chance you were hoping for. But you’re going to have to prove you’re worthy of it. One mistake, and you’re going where I think you belong. I’ll give you a hint, it starts with an ‘H’ and the air-conditioning sucks.”

He paused to chuckle slightly, she resisted the urge to try and attack him, “But anyway… when you wake up you’ll have your old body back, with all its power. We’re not sending you back to your world though,” he added quickly, when he saw a flicker of hope beginning to burn in her eyes, “We’re sending you some place very different, where you’ll have lots of enemies just as dangerous as you are, maybe even a few friends if you don’t screw it up somehow.”

For a few more seconds after he stopped talking, she acted defiant, but eventually slumped to the ground in defeat. This was all too much to take in, but she tried anyway, “So… I’m not supposed to kill anyone… is that how I ‘win’?” she asked, her voice faint with exhaustion.

“Oh no, Pinky, something much more complicated than that. If you don’t kill anyone ever, you won’t last long there. The trick is going to be figuring out who you can kill and who you should just leave alone. Which is something you’ve clearly been havin’ some trouble with, haven’t ya’?”

When no response was forthcoming, he took it as the signal to begin. He waved a hand and she slowly faded from the white nothingness, still slumped in a posture of hopelessness. When he was alone once more, he sighed, “For what it’s worth, kiddo, I almost hope you prove me wrong. I’m just not the optimistic type.”

He turned and walked off, vanishing into the distance, leaving behind only his last words echoing through the white void.

“Good luck, Lucy. You’re gonna need it.”

***

When she woke up again, she immediately knew something was wrong. After checking to make sure her eyes were open, she realized it was pitch black. They’d dropped her into a cave.

“Some second chance,” she muttered, and then tensed when her whispered words seemed to echo for an astonishingly long time around her. She relaxed at first, but tensed up even more when she heard a soft scuffing sound that was definitely not from her. As soon as she stood up, and gave an indication that she had heard the noise, it suddenly intensified. She sensed a presence right in front of her, and she almost lashed out blindly with her vectors. Whatever was in front of her, her invisible ‘arms’ would cut it into pieces in a blink of an eye.

But she stopped at the last second, indecision gripped her and she found herself dodging backwards instead. She didn’t want to kill something by accident that would damn her to the Hell her ‘saviour’ had promised. She almost regretted not attacking, when a voice cursed softly. The faintly glowing outline of a sword seemed to appear from nothing, appearing quite bright in the darkness, but not bright enough to reveal anything beyond the ebony hand which gripped the hilt.

She still couldn’t bring herself to dismember the person, even though he was in range. It could all be a misunderstanding, after all. She felt sickened and pathetic by her sudden helplessness. If this is what it meant to control yourself, no wonder she couldn’t master it before. She tried to speak then, to ask why they were attacking her, to offer some reassurance that she meant them no harm, to say something, anything…

Her hesitation cost her dearly, as a female voice cried out in a strange language. With a shock she realized she was surrounded, and had no where to go. She tensed, ready to attack and damn the consequences, but the unexpected surge of agony on her back made her collapse to her knees. The excruciating burning pain came again, and again, and many more times after that. Each one more painful than the last. The last thing she heard before darkness took her again, was the sound of her attackers congratulating themselves.

***

When she woke again, there was some light, almost enough to see fine details but not a fraction of the strength of even a single candle. Her back throbbed with agony, and she could feel blood trickling down her legs. The pain was almost as bad as some of the experiments the humans had done to her. Almost, so she ignored it and concentrated on her surroundings. The first thing she noticed was that she was chained to the wall, also familiar, and that it appeared to be a stone dungeon of some kind, not so much. She almost cut through the chains, recognizing that they were far weaker than the highly advanced titanium alloy the humans used; it was the only thing her vectors couldn’t cut through without incredible effort, which would have bought the humans more than enough time to kill or incapacitate her long before she could escape.

She stopped at the last second though, as a sudden flash of inspiration hit her.

Why escape now? She had no idea where she was, who her captors were and even if she could escape; she was underground with no light source, after all. She would starve to death before she found the surface. She relaxed then, her confidence slowly returning. She would wait, rest, heal… and the second she found a way to escape she would do so, and kill anyone standing in her way.

She made sure of the chain first, and used her vectors in a way she never had before. Carefully and gently, she sliced halfway through one of the links of the chain. This way it would still hold, and it proved to her that she could escape at any time.

Her planning was cut short, when the door to her cell opened. She had the first good look at her captors, and she was mildly shocked. His skin was black, not the dark brown that Africans had that she was used to, but as black as oil. In contrast, his hair was a shocking white. His eyes seemed to be glowing red, as well. She blinked, thinking she was imagining it, but the effect stayed.

He walked in with a cocky swagger, but quickly cowered out of the way when a female voice barked at him. A beautiful young woman, with the same features as the man, strode in. Lucy also noticed for the first time, that their ears were slightly pointed, something else which she filed away to think over later.

Suddenly she was being… inspected. The woman, dressed in some kind of skimpy but expensive looking robe, was looking her over like she was a prize cow. She felt her anger rising, and she struggled to control herself when the woman’s hands wandered where they were not welcome. She tried to keep the heat of her fury from her gaze when the woman looked into her eyes; whatever she saw there seemed to impress her. She smiled in haughty approval at the male, who visibly relaxed.

Without ceremony, the woman snapped a collar around Lucy’s neck. She felt a strange sensation and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.

“Can you understand us now, iblith?”

She hesitated before answering, which apparently was not a good idea. The woman’s hand cracked across her face with surprising strength, bringing with it the taste of her own blood. She didn’t cry out though, just as she hadn’t when they first captured her, and looked at the woman again. She narrowed her eyes, raising her hand further back, and Lucy decided to answer before things got out of hand, “Yes, I understand you.”

To her surprise, the woman struck her again, twice as hard. She struggled not to pop the woman’s head like an overripe melon, and listened to what she was saying, “Understand this then, iblith. You are not in a position of power, you cannot negotiate terms with us. The only terms you can expect, are ours. Our terms are simple, defy us and you will be punished. Next time, do not make me force you to answer, or I will cut out your tongue.”

Lucy nodded quickly, best to play along for now.

“Good,” the woman smiled without it reaching her eyes, “Due to the skill you showed in the tunnels, we have decided to test you to see if you are worthy of fighting in the gladiatorial matches. It has been some time since our House has entered a gladiator, and our prestige has suffered because of it.”

The woman stepped back, and surprisingly formally, introduced herself, “I am Matron Mother Maliara Freth, of House Freth.”

She paused, as though waiting for something, and Lucy suddenly realized what she might be waiting for, “I’m Lu-,” she began, but was cut off by the hardest slap yet. The woman was amazingly strong for her size and Lucy groaned slightly when she felt some of her teeth wobbling in her gums.

“You are a slave, you will answer to that or, if you prove worthy, to gladiator. Win enough battles and you will be allowed to choose a name.”

Lucy spat some blood out of her mouth, to the side away from the Matron of course, no sense in calling down another beating, and nodded. This seemed to satisfy Maliara for now, and she stepped back, of course now that her point was made it was time to satisfy her curiosity.

“Tell me, slave, what manner of beast are you? You are no Tiefling, despite the horns, for you lack a tail. Tell me, do you have innate abilities which will be of use to me?”

Lucy immediately realized it would probably be a bad idea to let her know about her vectors. She decided to try and hide them as long as possible, “I am a Diclonius, I’m faster, more agile and slightly stronger than most humans my size. We also heal quickly, and can sense each other at short distances.”

Maliara simply nodded, filing all this away to be examined later. “Tell me one last thing, then before we start your training and evaluation, do you breed true with other races? Or do you produce half-breed spawn?”

Seeing the confusion on Lucy’s face, she laughed unpleasantly, “If you prove successful, it would be re-miss of me not to attempt to breed more like you, I assure you that if that were to occur I would send only the strongest and most attractive males to you.”

“I-I can only… breed, with males of my own kind,” Lucy stammered, shocked. Technically it was true, she’d found out that she could only become pregnant by a male Diclonius, but she could also infect male humans with her DNA using her vectors. They would then only be able to conceive Silpelits, sterile Diclonius’ with subtle differences from the ‘pure’ race.

Maliara, however, was obviously not buying it, “We shall see, eventually, slave,” she purred, “But know this, if I send a male to you, you will mate with him. Even if I have to hold you down myself.”

With that chilling threat, Maliara strode from the room, the door shutting behind her. It took a few moments for her to realize that she was not alone. The cocky male had stayed behind. For a brief moment she thought she would be forced to try and escape in the dark, but it vanished when the male, apparently noticing her tension, spoke, “Do not flatter yourself, iblith. Matron Maliara would only send low ranking members of our house to you, and I would rather be sacrificed to Lolth than mate with you.”

He strode up, and before she could react, had unlocked her chains. She had barely had time to be surprised at this sudden turn of events when he stuffed a foul smelling drink into her hands, commanding her to drink it. She hesitated for a moment, which was a moment too long for him. He grabbed the vial, then her throat in a grip like iron, before forcing the contents down her throat.

“Your people must be truly backward if they do not know what a healing potion is,” he smirked. Once she had stopped choking, she realized with some surprise that not only had all her aches and pains disappeared, but the damage had apparently been repaired as well.

She stood, wearily as well as warily, wondering what surprises her ‘redemption’ would spring on her next.

“I am Dabun Freth, Weaponmaster of House Freth. I will be overseeing your training, and will be the one to kill you if you prove a disappointment. After seeing how you dodged a blow from my sword in the tunnels, in total darkness no less, I am cautiously optimistic. First lesson; when the Matron Mother speaks to you, you will refer to her as ‘Mistress.’ If she doesn’t speak to you, keep silent.
You will call me, ‘Master.’ You may ask me questions, but only in here and in the training room, and if I think they are worthless I will punish you for being stupid enough to ask them.”

“I have a question.”

He was suddenly right in front of her, moving faster than she any human she had ever seen. She flew back into the wall with the impact of his fist. She struggled to breathe through her shattered nose, and it was only a few seconds later that she realized her vectors were out and fully extended. The invisible arms hung a scant inch from her attacker, only barely outside their two meter range. If he had been any closer he would be dead.

This time, she drank the potion he tossed to her without complaint.

“Lesson number two,” he continued, “Do not ever, ever, interrupt me again, iblith. I will tell you when you may ask a question. Is that understood?” At her nod, he smiled almost pleasantly. “Good! And now for the third lesson, which will take up most of your time and happens in the training room. Follow me, rothe.”

Lucy shuddered as she followed him, the drab grey tunic they had given her already chafing at her skin. She felt like she was almost literally boiling with rage, but at the same time she was shocked at how easy it had been so far to avoid ripping anyone into bloody chunks of meat, no matter how much they actually deserved it.

As they made their way through the confusing maze of tunnels, they happened to pass by a room filled with ominous chanting. She glanced inside, and even she paled at the obscene ‘ceremony’ she saw inside. If this was what she was up against… she was wrong. This was going to be far from easy, after all.

***

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