All of the destruction and death so far was to give Hilda a chance at the Goddess. A chance for revenge. Now Hilda stands at the ready to perform the act that she has dreamed of for a long time. The book’s pages have been turned.
I want to give special thanks to the patrons who’ve supported me thus far:
Hypermice, Sean Young, and Mister Artorias
The Last Witch: Part Four
Blackness enveloped her, twisting her back and forth. Streaks of white and gray zipped past her, giving a sense of lightning speed. More colors washed into her vision, becoming a menagerie that over saturated her senses. There was no smell, no noise, just a constant blur of colors.
The rainbow of colors stopped abruptly.
She launched out, arms and legs flailing for something solid. She landed flat on her back in a bed of grass. There, she blinked her eyes a few times, letting out an audible groan, and stared up at the dark blue sky above, where there was not a cloud to be seen.
Slowly, Hilda stood, eyes taking in the vast field with mountains far in the distance. “Beautiful…” she mumbled.
“Indeed, it is.”
Hilda twirled around to see Red, its single black eye focused on her. “I take that back, it isn’t beautiful with you here,” She growled. Her eyes spotted the broom close by, and her hands itched to hold it again. The book lay further beyond.
“A shame you’d think that.” Red uncrossed its arms, fingers kept loose. “I’m here on behalf of the Goddess. She requests you stop this madness at once.”
“Madness? I’m not the one who crashed an entire ship!”
“It proved to be a wasted effort.” Red slowly raised its arms, fingers curling. “I honestly don’t expect you to stop, but you still have one final chance, Witch.”
“I won’t stop until your ‘Goddess’ is dead!” Hilda reached for the broom but was forced back by a sudden flash of white. She stumbled back several steps and looked up at the cyborg.
Thin white ribbons flowed from Red’s arms. At its feet, a pool of red began to form, tainting the green grass a sickly color. “A common response for a human. It’s exactly why the world had to change.”
“The world didn’t have to change!” Hilda reached for the wand at her side, unsheathing it from its capsule. The thin rod erected itself with a brilliant flash of purple. “Nor do I care for your reason as I’m going to change it back!” She pointed the wand and lightning shot out.
Red moved its arms, and the ribbon flowed to create a white wall easily deflecting the lightning. “Another appropriate reaction from a stubborn human.” Still unmoved from its position, the red pool expanded further. From behind the cyborg, the red humanoid shape showed up, a white eye opening along its head. “Fortunately, between myself and my Shadow, we will finally wipe the last human off the face of this planet.”
Hilda took a step back at the appearance of the white eye.
Shadow jumped from behind Red, its claws extending.
The wand spun up, and a field of yellow shot into place, catching the claws in place.
Claws squeezed as the white eye studied Hilda with an intense glare. The yellow field cracked.
Red, taking calming steps to the side, saw an opportunity and pounced forward; the white ribbon whipped through the air.
Hilda sidestepped, eyes widening at the long, thin crack that formed a step away from her boots. She took several more steps before ducking as Red swung its arms at her, ribbons dancing through the air.
Sparks of purple expanded along the wand to form a thin blade. With the weapon in hand, Hilda dug her feet in the dirt and raised the wand toward a ribbon.
The ribbon met the purple blade, sparks emitting from the collision. Red’s black eye met Hilda’s own eyes. A smile formed on Red’s lips.
Hilda saw a flash of red out of the corner of her eye and jumped back to avoid the extending claws.
“Fast reactions as expected,” Red mused.
Shadow pounced forward.
Hilda sidestepped and swung the wand, the purple blade expanding for the attack.
Shadow easily twisted out of the way and reached up for Hilda’s wrist holding the wand.
She tried to pull away, feeling the grip tightening around her wrist. “Let go!” she demanded and used her other hand to fire off a concussive blast of air.
A hole was torn through Shadow’s head, wisps of red and white wafting off the neck.
White ribbon spun down to catch the back of the wand.
Unable to pull away from Shadow’s grasp fast enough, Hilda watched helplessly as the ribbon struck hard against the wand, splitting through the magic toward the rod beneath. The weapon shattered in her grip, and she was tossed back by the release of magic.
“An ancient weapon so easily discarded by the superiority of technology,” Red stated as he casually kicked a shard of the wand through the grass. “A predictable outcome.”
Shadow’s head reformed with a swirl of white mist as it stepped to Red’s side.
Quickly climbing back to her feet, Hilda brushed dirt from her hands. Eyes looked toward the broom past both Red and Shadow, the book near it.
“With no weapon, the next outcome should be just as predictable.” Red stepped forward; ribbons trailed with its step.
Shadow led the charge on all fours. Its humanoid, sleek body appeared monstrous in the glow of the silver moon. Shadow’s body left a trail of white behind.
She jumped, ducked, and rolled out of the onslaught of Shadow. The claws were always a step behind the swift witch. Her hands shot out blasts of air towards Shadow, creating holes in its body to no effect. White mist reshaped Shadow’s body. Spikes shot out from Shadow’s body; several missed but one struck the witch in her left shoulder. Blood seeped out from the wound as Hilda kept moving, biting her tongue to ignore the pain. There was a flash of white to her right, and she shot a concussive blast of air at her feet, sending her up into the air.
In the temporary safety of the air, Hilda saw the white ribbon strike the grass where she had stood a moment before. She ripped the spike from her arm with a cry and growled as she threw it back toward the ground, feeding the projectile with energy.
Shadow and Red jumped back as the area was pierced by the spike and engulfed instantly in an explosion of dirt and grass.
Hilda landed in the smoke, eyes blinking from the spray of dirt. I must reach the broom. Otherwise, I have no chance. She felt a pulse of energy flow through her injured shoulder, the comfort of the blue wisps again. Healed, she turned and struck the dirt with another blast of air. Smoke billowed outward to reveal Hilda for a brief second before more dirt and grass was thrown through the air in a long line towards Red.
Caught in the blast, Red was unfazed by the air and swiped its ribbons to clear the smoke. It spotted the witch jumping through the smoke and spun the ribbons around.
Hilda rolled low, the ribbons striking just above her hair, cutting off a few strands. She blasted the ground again at Red’s feet.
Red jumped out of the smoke, black eye studying the smoke moving across the field.
Hilda saw Red move out and smiled, continuing to run away. Her hands blasted more grass apart, the dirt expanding from the flow of magic into the smoky dust that hid her actions. There amongst the cover, she found the broom, its warm call guiding her.
The smoke was blown away, sun blinding her for a moment. A surge of energy coursed through her. Opening her eyes, she was surprised to find herself not standing in the field of grass but instead on a snowy patch surrounded by a frozen lake. Gray clouds above. “How…” She spotted the book floating in the air, glowing with a white light. Further beyond, she saw the woman with her staff held close.
Padded feet moving swiftly across the ice drew Hilda’s attention away from the woman in the distance. She raised the broom in time for the ribbon descending towards her.
“Your final weapon, let’s see if it holds up,” Red said and swung the other ribbon around for Hilda’s head.
Hilda ducked low and spun the broom around; a deep indigo colored lightning bolt struck out for Red’s legs.
Red jumped away, dodging the strike and slammed its fists down. The tips of both ribbons came down with their own display of speed.
She pulled away, her heart skipping a beat as the sharp points of the ribbons barely missed her fingers. Hilda rolled across the snow as she spotted Shadow descending on her location with claws.
Shadow impacted the snow pile and made a cloud of it.
Hitting the ice, Hilda bounced up and stabbed the curved point of the broom into the ice to steady herself. She waved her hands in the air and shot forth a bolt of indigo lightning again, purple flames leading the point.
Shadow was caught by the blast and shot across the icy lake. The trail left in its wake turned the ice black.
Red leapt forward, ribbons flailing behind as it extended its right fist.
Hilda raised her broom and dodged the punch and the ribbon that followed. She took another step back as several more fists were thrown her way before she lost her footing. The broom raised, and she smiled as she pointed the curved end towards Red’s face, lightning poised to strike.
The clouds above darkened, and Hilda found herself high in the air descending rapidly with Red.
The cyborg took hold of Hilda’s ankles and twisted her in the air; the lightning from the broom fired off into the air helplessly.
Twisting about, Hilda caught sight of the deep canyon below. The ground seemed to be racing toward her. She extended her hands and shot off a concussive blast, eyes closed as a surge of energy washed through her.
The blast of air sent sand to cover her body. An intense heat on her back. A salty smell filled her nose and gentle waves a peaceful tune to her ears. She twisted around, broom raised. “Stop teleporting me!” she yelled and swept the broom towards Red a few steps away.
Red ducked low at the blast of lightning and then jumped further back at a follow-up attack from Hilda. Sand blasted high into the sky. “I’m doing nothing, it is you.”
“Lies!” Hilda spat and ran through the sandy smoke to see the beach beyond and Shadow descending towards her. “Out of my way!” She stabbed the broom into the sand, a thick spike of hardened sand shot up from the ground to spear Shadow through the gut.
“It is not a lie.”
Hilda raised her hands, a grin crossing her lips. The clouds darkened above, and a lightning bolt struck down. Her eyes glistened with glee at Shadow flailing in the display of electrocution. A thunderous roar rolled across the beach as sand was swept away from the blast. Shadow exploded, red matter splattering in every direction. All that was left was a charred spike of sand and a white mist.
Stepping past the spike, Hilda saw Red waiting with hands raised.
“It’s incredible how much energy you have within you,” Red began, its hands opening and closing in fists. The exposed wire along its arms glowed a bright red. “It should be impossible.”
Hilda laughed. “Maybe.” She raised her staff and fired off a blast of fire. She kept fueling the flames, only stopping after she noticed the sand around the inferno had turned into glass. Taking a step back, she smirked at Red who stood at the center with a red field of energy surrounding it, four small discs keeping the barrier up.
The discs flew back behind its shoulder and began to fire off small bursts of red beams while it charged at Hilda.
Hilda waved a hand and yellow barriers formed to catch the beams while she raised the broom to catch the ribbons. Indigo energy pulsed along the broom. A powerful wave of energy moved through her veins. The loose sand was replaced by stone as she looked through falling rain toward Red who was running up a rocky path for her.
Red swept one ribbon down, the white tip loosening and quickly wrapping around the shaft of the broom.
“These tricks frustrate me,” Hilda growled and fed more energy into the broom. The ribbon changed from white into indigo before shattering into brittle shards.
Red stumbled back and fell onto its back, sliding part way down the rocky incline. Its black eye opened in surprise, revealing more of its white center.
Hilda raised her left hand and stood over Red, firing off a blast of air.
The small discs flew to intercept, the red barrier forming again. One disc was blown into pieces, the remaining three fired off a salvo of beams while Red regained its footing.
Hilda stood her ground, the yellow barrier catching the beams. Between the burst of fire, she stepped forward, reforming the barrier into a dagger which she threw at another disc, blowing it apart. Keeping her momentum, she swept the broom outward, lightning following her. Streaks of lightning shot in every direction across the falling rain.
The remaining two discs moved swiftly around Red, catching sparks of the traveling lightning. Red raised its remaining ribbon to block the broom. It deflected the strike, but the lightning followed and blew apart the ribbon. Red was sent back further down the mountainside, disoriented.
The cyborg looked up, its once pristine white body becoming a sickly gray. Clothing stained with dirt and soaked by the water. The black eye focused as it forced itself to its feet with raised fists.
Hilda launched herself, lightning aimed for Red’s head.
The two discs flew forward and caught the strike with a flash of red.
There was a surge of energy, and Hilda found herself landing with tired legs in a shallow pool of water. Straightening herself, she saw smoke around her where both discs had exploded. She took a step forward and saw Red waiting for her.
“Strike me down, Witch. Then you’ll have your opportunity with the Goddess. Just like you wished for.” The cyborg raised its fists in a feeble display of power.
Hilda smiled and raised the broom. “I want you to die knowing that the rest of your kind shall be swept from this planet.” Fire bellowed out from the broom.
This time, there was no protection for Red. He took the brunt of the growing flames and were engulfed by them. Its skin melted off, exposing wires and organs beneath. Fluids flowed from bursting guts and quickly vanished from the intense heat. Muscles gave out, and Red collapsed, its once pristine white body now nothing more than charred remains as it splashed in the shallow water. The single piercing eye was gone from existence.
She turned away from the smoldering remains to see the woman still waiting in the distance.
The Goddess stood erect in the water, dress moving slightly with the gentle ripples. The lantern she held lit the glare she had focused on Hilda. “You succeeded witch. The book has trapped me here with you just like you wanted.”
“Your power is still active though,” Hilda said, waving her head towards the floating book which stayed locked in its place in the air. “You want to trap me here with you, don’t you?”
The Goddess laughed. “I’m completely helpless. I have no magic here.”
“You kept teleporting me around to try to give that cyborg an advantage.”
“Wrong,” The Goddess turned her attention to the moths attracted by the glow of her lantern. The stars above lit the shallow lake. Large trees with a great network of branches and roots surrounded the clearing. “You teleported us around. The magic you wield is getting out of your own control.”
“There is no need to lie when your death is so near, ‘Goddess’.” Hilda came closer; the curve of the broom drew a line through the water, leaving ripples behind.
“There is no lie.” The Goddess raised a finger for a moth to land on.
“If you insist.” Hilda shrugged. “With you here though, I want to learn something before I end your life.”
“Ask whatever you’d like my dear.”
“Why did you kill my family?”
“It had to be done. They sought to continue the devastating wars that shook the planet.”
“Another lie,” Hilda sneered. “Why did you change the world? The magic flowed so strong back then.”
“Because those who saw the war as everlasting thought embracing technology could give them the edge to snuff out the greed of magic users. They asked for my help and gave me all of their magic to perform just such an act.”
“Like anyone would willingly throw away their magic.”
“But they did. Everyone you have killed wanted it. They saw a chance at leaving behind their medieval lives for a future of peace and prosperity.” She watched the moth open and close its wings slowly, her own wings mimicking the motions. “With technology they could achieve that, as everyone’s lives would be improved.”
“A lie yet again. And anyways magic could do exactly what your supposed technology can do, but better!” Hilda stopped several feet away, hands bringing the broom close to her chest.
“If magic could then it would have already happened, but it can’t. Magic is unfairly distributed. It promotes war.” She watched the moth take off and flap into the night air.
“Magic does not! It’s because of monsters like you who cause those wars!”
She met Hilda’s eyes, “You know that to be false, child.”
“It isn’t!” She cried, her grip tightening on the broom. Indigo streaks flowed around her fists. “Enough of this, I’m tired of you monsters! I want my home back!” She raised the broom and stepped forward.
“Have you ever considered.” The goddess turned back to the candle, enjoying its glow behind the glass. “That maybe you are the monster?”
“True, many caused great damage in their acts to stop you. But, you created just as much devastation. What makes you the monster though I’m sure you are thinking. Well, it’s because I see in your eyes joy in the slaughter.”
“No…” Hilda whispered.
“The opportunity to kill those around you, to see their blood flow, brings warmth to your dark heart.”
“It isn’t true…”
She looked up and met Hilda’s gaze. “Let me help you, my child. I can pull you away from the evil path you are on right now.”
Lips quivered, as Hilda’s grip on the broom loosened. “You… you can’t! I have to do this!”
“You don’t have too. You always have a choice.”
Hilda took a step back, all her senses going numb, eyes frozen on the Goddess’ gaze. “Why… tell me the truth… why did you kill my family?” Her grip tightened, “Why?!”
The Goddess looked away.
“Look at me!” Hilda yelled. “How can I trust you if you continue to deny me the truth! Is it because you did it out of cold blood and you fear my wraith? Is that it?! Tell me!” Her hands began to turn purple; the sparks seethed with rage around the broom.
The Goddess looked up with her green eyes and met the tears in Hilda’s. “I did it because they asked me to.” She shifted on her feet, ripples of water danced around her dress. The moths all flew away. “They understood that the world had to change too and feared they would take action. They asked for their deaths including your own. They knew individuals with such a strong sense of magic would be too dangerous in this world. No matter how much magic I took from them, they’d always get it back. It was in my weakness that I spared you, but just a child then.”
“Liar!” Hilda screamed, her body shook with rage.
She took a deep breath; the flame within the lantern grew. “I hoped you’d come around, but I see how foolish of a choice that was on my part. Not only did you gain back your magic, but you gained back your family’s, and you continue to suck up the magic that I could not.”
“Enough! I can’t take these lies anymore!” Hilda swung the broom, a crackle of thunder and the lightning struck out.
The lantern raised, and a flash of light followed. The indigo sparks were deflected, and pure light struck out towards Hilda.
Hilda was caught in the stomach. She looked down at the hole there, and shock crossed her face. “How?” Her hands shook.
“I only lied once, child. I lied about being magicless here.”
Hilda fell to her knees, blue wisps formed along her body as they tried to close the gaping hole.
“Know, my child, that this does not make me happy, but it is necessary for the world.” The Goddess raised the lantern high into the air.
Hilda looked up with wide eyes of fear.
“With your final breath, the world will finally be at peac—.” The Goddess paused and looked down at the curved end of the broom sticking out of her chest. Her gaze turned to Hilda to see the eyes of fear turn to fury, a grin on the witch’s lips. “Even in the end, you’d rather forsake the entire world if it isn’t made in your way?”
Hilda began to giggle, the blue wisps starting to fade as they couldn’t keep the wound closed.
“A stubborn child to the end… A monster…”
Lightning struck down from the sky, its bolt instantly incinerating both Witch and Goddess. The magic exploded outward from both bodies, sending bolts of purple and white energy to strike across the entire forest. Trees were lit ablaze, animals were blown apart, distant mountains cracked to their core. More lightning bolts struck down from clouds that quickly expanded across the night sky. Bolts struck where the two corpses lay, digging deeper and deeper into the core of the planet. There the magic flowed within and began the collapse of the very world itself.