Chapter 20 - Fire from Ice
By The Wandering Englishman
Burning. The smell of bubbling flesh and wood blew over the approaching SeeD as the marched up the hill near the port where Balamb Garden docked. Black smoke billowed up into the night sky, the orange and yellows of major fire lighting up the coastal town and the floating school.
Shadows danced in the valley.
Drew looked back at his group of SeeD, each with their weapons ready as they looked down at their home, their school, burning from the inside. Even in the dim light, fighting on the beaches, and on the Garden could be seen. Every so often a figure would fall, making the itch to go down the hill just that much more demanding.
"Jonas, Keller and Drummond; you're to go into the town and assess the situation. Stay on frequency beta. The rest come with me, we're taking back Garden. Everyone understand?"
The group nodded, standing ready to charge.
Pulling himself from the floor, Squall looked around for Lionheart, which clattered to the ground as he hit the wall. From all around him, the brunette could hear the mocking laughter of his smaller blonde friend.
Squall was beginning to feel the effects of Quetzacotl after the third blast from the thunderbird: his ears still ringing with the sudden shock. He hadn't even thought to junction before he left Balamb, a mistake it seems he would be paying for.
"Come on, Squall...come out and play." The cold voice called, an empty shell of Zell's former voice.
In the corner, or what the brunette assumed was the corner, Squall spotted his gunblade, glowing dimly. Pulling himself to his hands and knees, Squall bit back a moan, his muscles protesting every movement.
"Tut, tut." Zell laughed next to the scarred youth, opening his hand to reveal the beginnings of a thunder spell, the light from his fingertips casting shadows on both their faces.
Join me or die, Squall...
"You're nothing now, Squall. You have nothing." The blonde spat, trailing the spelled hand down Squall's bare chest, electrocuting the brunette as he finished casting.
Squall screamed as the pressure built, the electricity sending flashes of white before his eyes.
It had returned.
"Everything you had, I now have." Zell laughed again, picking up the gunblade and looking down at it.
"Your life, your boyfriend. Hyne, Squall...your father...even your blade." Lifting it up to show is point. Grinning, the blonde dropped the blade to his knee, snapping the blade on his knee with a loud metallic crack.
Squall gasped as he watched his beloved gunblade shatter on the marble floor before sliding back against the wall.
You've got no choice now, Squall.
"There's just one thing left that I haven't taken from you."
Remember, aim for the neck...
Let me out, Squall. Join with me...
"And what's that?" Squall asked, moving to his feet with renewed strength.
The tattooed youth glared at him, a smirk slowly forming on the blonde man's face.
Tell me your decision...
Cocking his head to the side, Squall laughed, his eyes darkening.
Lifting his hands, the room grew colder. Zell's face a mask of surprise and confusion as the ice spear pierced through his neck.
As the sickly wet thud of the blonde's head hitting the floor rung out through the empty hall, a gloved clapping sounded. Turning, the lights came on, revealing the watching figure of the sorceress.
"Well done, Squall." She called, her crimson lips twisting into a callous smile.
"I've never failed your tests in the past."
"No...you never did." Beckoning him closer, she stood from her throne, stepping down the velvet carpet to the floor. Squall walked slowly towards her, stepping over Zell's still warm body to approach the dark-haired woman.
Once standing face to face, Squall bowed, lifting his head when the sorceress placed a hand on his cheek. They looked at each other for a moment before they kissed passionately and frantically.
It was time.
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