The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter thirty-six: Foxglove Vs. Winifred

Foxglove was not sure how to react. Only moments ago, Winifred had been on her back, completely at her mercy. Now, Winifred stood in onyx-like armor with a look of complete confidence on her face; a look of utter terror residing on her own. Jamba and Darien had gone from weak to unstoppable after transforming. However, Winifred had already been pretty unstoppable to begin with. If this spell could turn harmless animals into seemingly invincible monsters, what would it do to someone like Winifred? Foxglove didn’t know, nor did she want to, but she had a pretty good idea.

“You know, I’ve never actually done this before.” Winifred said wryly, admiring her new form. She looked up to take in the look on Foxglove’s face: Foxglove looked so frightened, she wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if Foxglove fainted on the spot.

“Not that I’m complaining of course.” Winifred continued, putting her hands on her hips. “I just never thought that I’d actually *have* to do it.” She flashed her an evil grin. “I think our last fight was a bit unfair. Care for a rematch?”

Foxglove positioned her scepter in front of herself; on guard for any sudden attacks. Even though she was several meters away, Foxglove knew that Winifred’s speed had probably increased dramatically.

“On guard, ay?” Winifred asked, extending right her arm outward, as if she were preparing to shake someone’s hand.

Foxglove tensed up, gripping her scepter tighter.

Winifred chuckled at Foxglove’s reaction. “You should be nervous. You’re about to be blown to pieces.”

Foxglove knew what was coming; Winifred was preparing to fire one of her ‘energy blasts’ again. She bent her knees slightly, preparing to jump out of the way when the beam was fired.

However, this time, Winifred did something different. A small, black sphere, surrounded by a red aura, appeared in Winifred’s outstretched hand. Gently, she closed her four fingers around it, squeezing it into her fist. She then positioned her thumb over her fist, slightly digging it in front of her index finger, as if she were about to flip some kind of invisible coin; slowly tilting the top of her fist in Foxglove’s general direction.

“What the?” Foxglove thought to herself. “What’s she doing this ti—”

“BANG!” Winifred shouted, flicking her thumb outwards. As she did so, the sound of a silenced sniper rifle could be heard.

Winifred’s sudden “bang” had greatly startled Foxglove. So much so, that she leapt back in surprise. It was a good thing that she had however, as milliseconds after leaping back, the spot where Foxglove’s left foot had been, shattered; tiny bits of onyx scattering in different directions. “What was—” Foxglove began, but was interrupted by Winifred.

“By compressing energy into my palm, I can flick it out, a little bit at a time… LIKE THIS!” Again, Winifred flicked her thumb, making the sound of a silenced sniper rifle.

“Aah!” Foxglove yelled, jumping out of the way as a small, dark sphere whizzed by, missing her by inches.

“Hmm. You’re quick.” She said coolly. “…But let’s see how you handle this.” With that, Winifred began to release a barrage of “bullets” from her fist; her thumb becoming an almost invisible blur.

“Whoa!” Foxglove yelled as the “bullets” flew at her. Without even thinking, Foxglove raised her scepter and began twirling it in front of herself. Loud, rapid *pings could be heard, as Winifred’s pseudo bullets ricocheted off the scepter.

“Hmm.” Winifred said nonchalantly, show no signs of ceasing fire. “I wonder how long you can keep that up. It must be tiring to twirl your little ‘Zoniha rod’ that fast.”

As much as Foxglove hated to admit it, she was right. It *was* tiring. Winifred was firing at least a thousand shots per second, and to block that, Foxglove had to move even faster. Her arms were beginning to grow sorer and sorer by the second, and she knew that at this rate, she was bound to slip up soon. Even worse though, was the terrible feeling that Winifred wasn’t trying her hardest.

“By the way Foxglove,” Winifred said calmly. “I’ve noticed your friends have yet to arrive.”

Foxglove wanted to ignore her, but found herself unable to.

“There’s no possible way their fight with Darien could have carried out this long. If they haven’t shown up by now, they’re probably dead.”

That did it. Foxglove gasped as a shot flew past her scepter, striking her in the heart. “aAh!” She screamed, dropping her scepter and grabbing her heart. This was the worst possible thing she could have done. With the speed of several concords, the energy bullets began to strike Foxglove’s fur. “AAAaaaAAAh! She screamed in pain, stumbling backwards. It felt as if her entire body was on fire.

Finally, Winifred ceased her fire, grinning as Foxglove collapsed onto her back. “And so are you, it seems.” She finished.

Foxglove looked up at the black sky. “No… I can’t die,” She thought. “I have to beat her, I…” Gingerly, Foxglove reached up and felt her chest for blood. “Strange though.” She thought. “It doesn't hurt anymore. I can’t even feel any blood… Wait a minute.” She said aloud, sitting up, causing Winifred to gasp. “If I can’t feel blood, and it doesn't hurt…” She looked down at her body. Not a scratch.

“Impossible.” Winifred said in disbelief.

“Wow,” Foxglove said, standing up. “I’m still alive!”

“…That should have torn you to shreds.” Winifred said nervously.

“A guess you didn’t get as strong as you thought you would.” Foxglove said, sounding quite relieved. “Maybe I’m still stronger!”

“FAT CHANCE!” Winifred yelled, throwing out her right hand, and firing a ball of black energy at Foxglove.

“*Hup” Foxglove grunted, jumping up and out of the way, as the ball exploded against the ground. She did a flip in the air, before landing directly behind Winifred. Summoning all available strength, Foxglove swung her scepter like a bat (phrase works on two levels ^_^ ), at Winifred’s legs, in an attempt to knock her over.

Winifred saw this and jumped, avoiding the scepter and causing it to hit nothing but air. While in mid-jump, Winifred did a one-eighty, and, now facing Foxglove, attempted to kick her.

Foxglove jumped back, avoiding the blow.

“Gotcha!” Winifred thought. Upon landing, Winifred kicked off and flew, wings outstretched, at Foxglove.

“Ah!” Foxglove shouted in surprise, involuntarily holding her scepter out in front of herself, the ‘bell’ pointed in Winifred’s direction. Suddenly, with a deafening high pitched ringing noise, a blue beam, one meter in diameter, erupted from the end of the scepter.

“What the—” Winifred yelled, jumping out of the way just in time; the beam just barely singeing the end of her foot.

Both Foxglove and Winifred watched in surprise as the beam flew off beyond the horizon, lighting up the dark clouds as it went. “…What was that?!” Foxglove asked, now staring curiously at her scepter.

“So,” Winifred said, sounding interested, “you’re capable of firing projectile blasts as well.”

“I guess…” Foxglove said, still staring curiously at her scepter.

“I see.”

Foxglove probably would have continued staring at her scepter in wonder, if she hadn’t noticed Winifred coming at her again out of the corner of her eye. Foxglove jumped out of the way, as Winifred’s fist struck the ground, shattering the floor underneath. This time, Foxglove made sure to land further away, so Winifred would take longer if she charged again.

However, Instead of charging, Winifred did something new. She raised both hands, parallel to her chin, palms open.

Foxglove wasn’t sure what kind of attack this was, but wasn’t about to take another chance. Quickly, she aimed her scepter and fired… or attempted too at least. Nothing came out.
“Huh?” Foxglove said aloud, looking at the scepter that had now betrayed her. “Why isn’t it shooting any light? Maybe it was something I did last time, or maybe…” Foxglove stopped, when she saw what Winifred was doing.

Red light was streaming into Winifred’s palms as if it were being drawn in, and collecting in their centers. Quickly, Winifred closed her left fist, and then her right. She turned her focus to Foxglove and gave a brief, evil grin. With that, Winifred positioned her fists to face each other, and slammed them together. The moment she had done this, the purple crystal on her forehead, became a blinding radiance. Foxglove was about to shield her eyes, when suddenly, she was hit by a strong, three hundred mile per hour gust of wind. Using all of her strength, Foxglove leaned into it. However, there was something odd about the wind. Not only did it burn, but also while it was blowing, she felt as if she were surrounded by Winifred’s presence. She endured the gale for thirty seconds, before it came to an abrupt end, causing her to stumble forwards.

Winifred stared at Foxglove, looking rather annoyed. “…Eh, soggy sponges; I didn’t think a direct blast of energy was going to incinerate you anyways.” She said to herself. “What a waste of power that was. I should just stick with the concerted versions”

“…What did you say?” Foxglove asked, a surprised expression forming on her face.

“If I want to incinerate you, I—” she began, but was cut off by Foxglove.

“No,” Foxglove said, her face still full of surprise. “You said, ‘soggy sponges’”

A horrified expression exploded across Winifred’s face. “…No I didn’t” Winifred said defensively. “I said—”

“No,” continued Foxglove “you did. You said it.”

Winifred fell silent.

“Don’t you see?” Foxglove began, now beginning to walk towards Winifred, “Even with your increased power, and your new abilities, and your new looks, you’re still the same person.”

Still, Winifred remained silent.

“Why do we have to fight?” Foxglove continued, “We’re both equal. And if you’re trying to get revenge on the world, don’t you think they’ve suffered enough already?” Foxglove stopped walking, now a mere two meters from the stunned sorceress.

“…No, I’m… I…” Winifred began, trailing off.

“You still have a choice,” Foxglove said, a solemn expression on her face. “You don’t have to kill people… You’re doing much worse to them, then they did to you.”

A saddened expression formed on Winifred’s face “… you’re right. They have suffered quite a bit, haven’t they?” She said, a small smile forming in the corner of her mouth. However, this smile was not an evil one, but… a happy one.

“Yes!” Foxglove added, her tone becoming slightly more confident. “So will you stop?”

“…I really have put those mortals through the ringer, haven’t I?” Continued Winifred.

“Yes…” Foxglove answered slowly. Winifred had said mortals; something didn’t seem right about that.

“You’re right.” Winifred said, taking a step back. “I have tortured them enough…” Suddenly, her evil grin returned with a vengance. “It’s time I finished them.”

“WHAT?!?!” Foxglove yelled in horror.

Spreading her wings, Winifred kicked off the ground, one hundred feet into the air. Slowly, she began to raise her right arm, tilting her hand backwards.

“NO!!” Foxglove shouted.

“YES!!!” Winifred yelled, even louder. Suddenly, her right hand began to glow black, a red aura surrounding the blackness. “It’s time I finished off this little mud ball of a planet!

“You’re sick!” Foxglove shouted in protest and anger. “Why would you destroy the entire Earth?! What do you have to gain?! What’s the point?!” Only moments ago, it had seemed as if Winifred had decided to stop. Why had her attitude suddenly changed so drastically?

The black aura, now began to carry down her hand, slowly surrounding her entire body. “Because,” Winifred bellowed, joy filling her voice. “I want to! That’s what I’ve wanted to do all along!”

“Because you want to!?” Foxglove repeated. “That’s not a reason; that’s evil!”

“You’ve fought well Foxglove,” Winifred began, pointing her right arm downwards. “Now, die with the people you love so much!!” With that, a beam of black energy, twenty meters in diameter, shot from Winifred’s entire body, directly at Foxglove, and ultimately, at the Earth.

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