URSULINE TALES 04: SAINT BECAME A LUSH
Their union was like nothing either one of them had ever experienced before. Alexzander and Ursula shared a passionate kiss just afterwards, looking at each other with wondering eyes as they considered their sinful yet soul-satisfying communion. They knew themselves in different light now.
“I wish this moment could last forever,” Ursula opined pensively. But they both knew the actual folly of such a wish. Their time together should not have happened at all, but it did. The both of them locked gazes even more deeply, then Ursula whispered calmly, “If we become discovered by your people, it will be the end of both of us.”
She desired an ending to her own life, but he did not desire to yet end his. There was a moment of clarity as he realized this, and Alexzander appeared to intensely desire to speak. He held her flesh hand very tenderly as he spoke, “Ursula… come with me. Let's stop all this fighting and live in peace. We can coexist as symbiotic species. There is plenty of room in this world for all of us, if only you would cease this unprovoked attack.”
Ursula appeared surprised, then wistful, and then sad. “Oh, Alexzander… I can't. It's just not the Marsian way. And He…” She looked sadly at her spirit-arm as her sentence trailed, then she shook her head wretchedly. “You just don't know the power of The Black Beast.”
His heart became unbearably heavy upon hearing this. Realizing his strife, she then took his hands into her own gloved hands and beseeched him. “Leave with me, Alexzander. We could rule this world together, you and I. Your brethren will serve you beneath your feet. There is nothing we won't be able to do. The Beast will give us all our hearts desire.”
Alexzander then shook his head wretchedly. “That could never be, Ursula. I desire a peaceful world. He would never allow me to protect my people so long as we are together. I cannot allow Him to darken this land, no matter how ardently I may love you. It will not work between us.”
For a few moments, there was nothing but stunned silence. Suddenly there seemed to be an ocean in between them, even though they were close enough to touch each other. Ursula spoke first, her red eyes glowing as she spat, “How could you give up such a precious offering? You're such a fool!”
“How could you treat an entire species so shamefully? You're so heartless,” Alexzander retorted angrily.
Ursula appeared offended. “That is untrue. You know I have feelings for you.”
“Yet your love does not extend to other humans without my skin color! You love me only for my black skin, and nothing else. I love my people for their beautiful souls. I could never betray them for your sake.”
“I have been through hell for you! I'll never be the same again… we will always be connected.”
“But we will never be together. It is just not meant to be. I'm sorry, Ursula.”
After this, they didn't know what to say to each other. A moment of silence passed, seemingly for an eternity until Ursula whispered incredulously “So… this means we really are enemies.”
“I'm afraid so…” Alexzander replied solemnly. The war could be heard plainly outside as it grew closer and closer to the shrine. Each of them glared into the eyes of the other, and wondered which of them would dare make the first strike.
Suddenly there was a rustling amongst the blossoms as an offering plate of diamonds spilled its contents all at once, followed by a hushed exclamation and then silence. In one swift movement as quick as lightning Ursula lashed out with her poisoned shuriken into the wall of flowers without so much as breaking eye contact with Alexzander. A scream erupted and much to the human King’s dread, two human bodies fell to the floor with a thud, revealing themselves to be the mother and child who had wished to remain beside him as the battle came to fruition. Why did she refuse to listen when I had foretold her of the danger?!, was the first thought that raced through his mind once he realized who the victims were. The poor woman could not bear being anywhere not within close proximity to her talisman King, and it cost her not only her own life but the life of her tiny daughter as well. The simple fact that they never made it to safety felt unendurable to Alexzander.
“How could you?!” He cried furiously into Ursula’s stoic face, his hands forming into tight fists. “I was trying to protect them! Would you have struck at me instead of those innocents!”
“I'm sorry, Alexzander, truly I am. T’was an instinct, not a conscious decision. But if you will not join me, then you are against me, despite whatever connection there has been between us. I cannot disobey my Master any further.”
“Very well then,” he retorted angrily without so much as breaking eye contact, “Goodbye, Ursula.”
In the crack of an instant Alexzander, with his sacred blade, made a deep laceration in Ursula’s chest and thrust his hand inside the cavity. With some effort he ripped out her still-beating heart and held it in his hand before her widened eyes as she caught her breath. The blood was warm and red as it streamed down his arm, but the heart itself was a mass of strange purple and black flesh unlike anything he had ever before seen. Ursula’s eyes became clouded and blood surged from her mouth, but a mysterious smile spread across her lips and she managed a wicked snicker before whispering clearly, “Not goodbye”. But instead of falling to her knees, to Alexzander’s shock the sorceress herself began to decay and disintegrate into an invisible wind. Her body glowed with heat and evaporated into granules of soot, leaving behind a steaming grey skeleton that soon itself disintegrated until every last molecule of what once was the sorceress’s body had vanished into thin air. Her heart and the blood dripping from it left no traces of themselves behind in his empty palm, leaving Alexzander alone with his stark confusion until he heard Chaltier hollering his name.
“...My King, can you hear me? We watched you slay the sorceress. Say something, anything!”
“She's gone… She's gone! I held her life within my hand, and now I've nothing to show for it!”
“You have spoken to me of such a phenomena, majesty,” Chaltier articulated in bewilderment, “but little did I believe until now.”
“The sorceress is not dead, then?” Scarmiglionet inquired.
“No, she only slithered away like a snake,” Alexzander answered gravely, “right before she died she told me this wasn't goodbye. And she smiled, as if she knew she would return to the flesh.”
The King rushed to the veranda with his fellows and witnessed the massive Marsian war machine still in action, stomping around spitting fire upon their homes and all they held dear. A Hellion atop his lion ran by screaming in flames. Many of the human warriors died fighting bravely, but Alexzander could plainly see that they were being slaughtered. “I made a terrible mistake today… these demon bastards are made from fire, they're not vulnerable to it. The sorceress may not be dead, but our fair city is. There are too many of them to purge Eden of this evil now. We must retreat at once if we are to live… Where is Ignatius?”
A fortuitous moment came to pass when Alexzander's war machine suddenly tumbled into view while entwined in battle with a flaming Malebranche. The machine grinded to a halt as the Marsian warrioress abruptly ripped the crystal from it’s breastplate and began tearing away at the metal to gain access to the human within. “Come, we must help him!” Alexzander shouted to his comrades, grabbing hold of the funeral shrine’s golden pail of holy water near its entrance before sprinting dauntlessly to Ignatius’ aide. Just as Malebranche meant to lay fiery hands upon the hapless and exposed Hellion, the human King came by his side and tossed the holy water into the Marsian’s face, hitting her squarely in the chin. To the Hellion’s amazement it had the effect of acid, eating away at her jawline so that she became utterly preoccupied with her own pain.
“How did you know holy water could do that?” Ignatius asked as Alexzander worked quickly to unstrap him from the dead war machine.
“I didn’t, t’was an instinct,” he answered, “now we must move rapidly -”
As soon as his arm became free, Ignatius gripped the King’s shoulder and gazed at him gravely. “We have failed, your majesty.”
Alexzander seemed intrepid even as he nodded in agreement. “We have lost this battle, brave Hellion, but we will not lose this war. Come with us now, we must move to the catacombs and bring the survivors along with us.” With these words the human band scrambled away in escape, leaving Malebranche screaming with her painful new wounds.
“Come with us if you want to live!” Chaltier bellowed as they made their way through the flaming streets, “Eden has fallen! Follow us!” All the human soldiers joined their King in retreat, fighting hard to keep the Marsians off their trail. As they neared the entrance of the catacombs, Alexzander made sure he left no human behind before triggering a pulley that allowed a massive stone to roll in front of the portal, blocking all access between the catacombs and the outside world. “There is no Eden left for us now, we must move on if we are to live!” he yelled at the top of his voice as he seized a flaming torch.
“Where shall we go? You’ve locked us in this dirty hole of death!” Brutus cried in dismay, mirroring a resounding sentiment amongst the room.
Alexzander remained sanguine as he began to lead his people down a pitch-black corridor, and he explained as he walked, “These catacombs belonged to our ancestors; they go on and on for days. As time has passed, most everyone has forgotten that these tunnels even exist. But as a boy, I used to explore them just to satisfy my burning curiosity. And I discovered that they lead to the other side of these Silver Mountains. There is where we shall find our salvation.”
Don't miss the next episode coming soon,
URSULINE TALES 05: CELEBRATION TIME