She had lost. Again.
Failure was something that Noelle was used to feeling through her life, constantly reminded by her less than loving siblings that her failure to control her magic when growing up was a blight on the Silva family, compounded by the fact that her existence had cost them the greatest magic knight the Silva family had produced in generations. It was only her fairly recent joining of the Black Bulls squad that she started to feel as though she was worth something, and she had become a genuinely confident person, believing in her own power, as well as that of her allies.
What she was feeling now though made all of that seem like a distant memory.
Looking through blurry eyes, she could see the continuation of the battle she had lost, her brother’s powerful mercury magic being rapidly overpowered by the combination of blood and curse magic, Vanica seemingly losing interest now it was only Nozel left to offer her any resistance, and had decided to finish off her battle. The faint sounds that she had been hearing from the start of this battle had now also faded, and though she couldn’t be sure, the sinking feeling in her gut had her convinced the rest of the so called ‘elite’ squad had also been unsuccessful in their counter attack on the Dark Triad, the mission to rescue the two missing captains coming up short to say the least. A loud bang above made her focus, though she wished she didn’t, as she let out a pitiful whimper as Nozel fell off of his trademark mercury eagle, Vanica gleefully laughing as her attacks finally breached his defences.
All she could do was close her eyes as she thought about this monumental disaster. She had failed her mentor and friend, Loropechekia, her captain, Yami, her mother, Acier, and the entire world now that the Dark Triad had gotten their way. They would succeed in opening the gate to the underworld, and the world would end, just as Loropechekia had said. It had all been meaningless, the 6 months of gruelling training in the Heart Kingdom, her first fight with Vanica which had given her the experience and knowledge which she should have used to ensure her defeat, and then the further training with the elves to acquire their ultimate magic. All for nothing.
Closing her eyes, she could hear footsteps walking towards her, before stopping. Keeping her eyes open was increasingly becoming more laborious, but she managed to do so just as the hideous, disfigured face of Vanica and Megicula came into view. She tired her best to glare ate her, but the effect was mostly reduced be her battered and bloody body, not to mention the tears in her eyes.
“Hey, that was pretty fun after all Noelle-chan! I’m surprised you got so much better in just a little time, but I guess you are her daughter after all!” Vanica said, genuinely pleased with the result of her little experiment. Noelle said nothing, just continued to glare defiantly.
“Ohh, I really love that look in your eyes, you know? I wish we could let you get a bit stronger, you still have a long way to go until you were as strong as your mommy was that time, but I guess you and your brother were a pretty good compromise, though he was a bit too boring for me, even though I could tell he was super angry, but he barely even reacted. How boring right?”
“What the hell do you want?” Noelle attempted to say sharply, but the wheezing rasp that came out was barley audible to the Triad member.
“Geez, why so impatient?” Vanica teased, “Anyway, you’re about to die so I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I actually fought your mom twice. The first time was super boring, she was barely paying any attention, trying to protect all of her deadweight squad, but I could tell she was strong. So, the second time, I made sure she absolutely had to focus on me. It was actually kind of embarrassing you know? Megicula had to bail me out at the last second, with the death curse on your mom. Even then though, I was so beat up I couldn’t defeat her at the time, so I was really looking forward to our rematch. Though, I never was able to see her again, since we were pretty busy taking over the spade kingdom and all.” Vanica finished with a grin. Noelle couldn’t wrap her head around how such a vile person could be so friendly and seemingly genuinely affectionate to her, even when discussing how she had killed her mother, and casually mentioning her inevitable death.
“So yeah, I got really excited when I saw a chance to finally get that back against Acier-chan, and what better than to do it against her kids? You and that big bro of yours were a really good fight, so I’m happy I got to meet you Noelle-chan, even though this will be goodbye!”
Noelle couldn’t help but a feel a bit of disbelief, despite the situation she found herself in. Instead of just leaving her alone, Vanica made sure to let her know that she was the one who got the last laugh against her old enemy. Was she really that petty? Apparently so.
“Well, that’s that then, time to say goodbye for good now Noelle-chan, you were a really fun person to play with!” Vanica said, as she sauntered away, now that Noelle was deemed to have been used up, Vanica didn’t even bother to finish her off, instead just leaving her to bleed out in silence. She tried to move her eyes to see the body of her brother, but he was out of sight no matter how hard she looked.
With a shallow breath, Noelle closed her eyes, accepted her fate, and though about all of the people who she would never get to see again. She would never make up with her other siblings. She would never surpass her mother, like she had promised Mereoleona. She would never tell Asta that she was hopelessly in love with him. All of this was racing through her mind, as she took one final breath.
With a gasp, Noelle shot up, the silk sheets surrounding her being flung off. Looking around, she quickly recognised the room she was in as her own - that is from when she still lived in the royal palace.
‘What the hell?’ Noelle thought, frantically scrambling out of her bed and rushing into the hall way.
‘I’m dead’ was the only thought that stuck out in her mind right now, truly trying to see what the hell was going on. Making her way down the familiar corridors, she arrived at the room she had spent most of her time as a child, the place where her mother’s portrait was hung up. Only, it wasn’t there, nothing was. Breathing heavy, Noelle tried to calm her racing heartbeat, but she had never been a cool and collected person, so it was a struggle.
“Noelle? Is something wrong, I felt your magic spike, so I was wondering if something happened?” an unfamiliar voice said, jolting Noelle into spinning round, instinctually reaching for her grimoire, quickly discovering it was not there.
“Noelle?” Now moving closer, Noelle could clearly see the person approaching her. While she seemed a little older than the picture she had grown up seeing, there was no mistaking the signature silver ponytail, and the steely blue eyes, somehow even more beautiful in person.
“Mom?” Was all Noelle could get out, before promptly passing out.