Echidna

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I'm asking Rob, "Whaaat dooo youuu meeean, Daaark Wooorld?" as an echidna opens towards us, grinning her cheeks tight, like a flower-shaped woman spreading eagerly toward the sun; 

Except, there's no sun in this place; 

Except, as I hear myself ask, "What do you mean, Dark World," in what I feel is a perfectly normal passage of time, I see her spread from closed up to wide, open infinitesimal inch by infinitesimal inch, and the Slow spell isn't funny anymore—it's just adding to every moment of horror;

Except, this bio-luminescent bud has no sun to open her up; 

She's no choice but to reach for the next source of warmth—a warm-blooded passerby—

And I don't—know how to react—when my thoughts—

Are so incredibly—Slow— 

"Your relativity is all messed up," Rob says

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"Your relativity is all messed up," Rob says.

I can't tell if I like the mad grin on Rob's face or not. 

I'm stunned into an eternal loop of, Why are his hands moving like that, and, Why is he looking at me like that, as Shiva screams, "Protect!" and spheres bubble around us, iridescent with transparent silvers, mixed with translucent teals, opaque blues, an ocean-tinted rainbow.

Inundated by Slow, I can see the ripples of magic shimmering through the spherical surface around me, a spell that normally looks perfectly round and stable, and I begin to wonder where all the magic in the world comes from.

I turn to the echnida just in time to see her fangs bear down on me—

And I remember all the monsters in the wastelands outside Kaipo, the desert village where Cecil and I fled, after Bombs destroyed my home—

I remember, Cecil tried to defend me from them, yet sand worms and sahagin assaulted us too often, too fast, through curtains of sand storm, sheets sweeping across the dunes, and so by the time we made it to Kaipo, I was beaten and exhausted—

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I remember, Cecil tried to defend me from them, yet sand worms and sahagin assaulted us too often, too fast, through curtains of sand storm, sheets sweeping across the dunes, and so by the time we made it to Kaipo, I was beaten and exhausted—

I remember, Cecil tried to defend me from them, yet sand worms and sahagin assaulted us too often, too fast, through curtains of sand storm, sheets sweeping across the dunes, and so by the time we made it to Kaipo, I was beaten and exhausted—

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Why am I this helpless?

I don't want to be this helpless.

I want to burn the shit out of this echnida asshole.

So through the haze of Slow—it's not Stop, it's just Slow; I can work through this awful brain fog—I cast, "Fire!" and it's like a puff of smoke following along Ifrit's trail as he wallops the vampiric ceiling-dwelling woman in the chest.

The echnida screams and collapses out of a mess of stalagmites and stalactites as Ifrit rampages himself, and herself, into the darkness, where a soft red light glows on the horizon. I don't think my Fire spell did much of anything. I'm kind of pissed Ifrit stole my Thunde—

Well, not my Thunder, technically... My Fire.

Rob stops twisting his hands in weird ways and makes a funny face. I finally work up the nerve to ask him, "What are you casting over there?—it's a spell, right?"

He sticks his little Bomb tongue out at me. "It's a secret."

I'm glad Rob and I are friends. I'm glad, after my village was trainwrecked by that awful package Cecil and Kain brought to Mist, I didn't just decide, To hell with every Bomb.

"We need to be careful," Rob says, trying to fake seriousness through his incredible amount of sass. "Now that we aren't in town anymore, we gotta be careful of rabid monsters."

Shiva shoots a glance at Rob. "Whicharedifferentfromyouhow?"

"What's that red glow out there?" I stammer, fighting hard to form words into questions. Haste jostles my brain for a moment, then Slow, then Haste, until I feel nauseous.

"Oh, the Lava Sea does that," he replies. "Heats up the edges of caves. Watch your step, especially when the ground's glowing with green fire. You're okay though, right? You'd be in trouble right now, if Shiva wasn't hovering around you so much."

I can't figure out how to respond to him before he's on to the next question. 

"The Slow should be reaching it's half-life soon," he says. "Hey Rydia, before you snap out of it, I've been wondering, do you like red mousse?—because I really like munching on red mousse."

♥♥♥

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♥♥♥

Author's Note

I added pictures this chapter. I wasn't sure if they helped? Sometimes I think it'd be fun to make a whole fanfiction project just writing stories for the monsters in SNES JRPGs. Like what's the red mousse's story? (Before Rob eats him, anyway...)

First draft: July 18

Second draft: August 18

Word count: 804

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