The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter thirty-seven: Shadow and light

“Come on guys!” Dale called, several meters ahead of his friends. “It’s just a little bit further!”

“Golly.” Gadget commented, looking up the Endless flight of flashing stairs. “This sure is a long stair well.”

“Too right.” Monty commented through gritted teeth. He was still feeling massive pain from his injuries.

“Argh!” Tammy yelled in frustration. “There’s no end to this thing, it just keeps going!”

“No,” Chip said, looking up the stairs. “If Foxglove and Nimnul made it up, than it has to have an end.”

“Chip’s right,” Sparky added. “…Well, unless this is a mobius strip, in which case—” Sparky stopped in mid sentence, as the entire tower began to shake, causing Tammy to stumble backwards, and land in Chip’s arms.

“You saved me again Chipper.” She said flirtingly.

However, Sparky and the Rangers were very concerned. Zipper made a “What is that?” noise.

“I don’t know mate,” answered Monty. “But judge’n by the rumble, it’s come’n from the top ‘o the tower… or further up the stairs at least.”

Dale looked nervously upwards. His curiosity only being surpassed by his concern for Foxglove “What’s going on up there?”

Foxglove watch in horror as the black beam headed towards her. “NO!” she thought frantically. “If I dodge this, the Earth will get blown up, and if I take it head on, it’ll still get blown up. What am I supposed to do!?” Suddenly, Foxglove remembered what had happened earlier with her scepter. Quickly, she aimed it upwards, at the oncoming oblivion. “Please work!” She thought desperately, as Winifred’s beam drew closer and closer. “Please.”

“I wonder what I should do after the Earth is destroyed.” Winifred thought to herself as her beam drew closer and closer to Foxglove. “Perhaps I can continue the search for intelligent life…” Her smile widened. “…I wonder how good of a fight aliens would put up? They might be—” Winifred stopped in mid-sentence, shocked and amazed by what she saw.

About half way between herself and the tower, her beam ended in a torrent of purple light. On the opposite side of the torrent, was a brilliant, blue beam; which happened to be coming from the end of Foxglove’s scepter. “WHAT?!” Winifred shouted in confusion and anger.

Foxglove held the scepter high over her head. She had never felt anything quite like this before. It was as if her very life force was being pulled from her body, out through her arms, and into the scepter. Was this what Winifred was feeling?

“How can you possibly counter that?!” Winifred shouted above the din created by the two beams clashing. “You can’t possibly be THAT strong!”

“I WON’T LET YOU KILL ANYMORE PEOPLE!” Foxglove shouted, an unbecoming look of rage in her glowing eyes.

“Fool!” Winifred shouted, a look of rage over taking her face. “All I need to do is add more power!” Suddenly, Winifred’s beam increased in diameter by one inch. It wasn’t much, considering the beam was twenty meters wide, but never the less, the point where the two powers collided slowly began to make its way towards Foxglove.

“Then so will I!” Foxglove yelled, squeezing her scepter tighter. However, the size of her beam did not change; it remained the same. “No!” Foxglove thought, horror struck. “Why didn’t it get any bigger?!” Again, she tightened her grip, trying to increase the flow of energy, but to no avail.

The clashing point was only thirty feet away, and closing.

“Looks like you were wrong!” Winifred said tauntingly. “I AM stronger; you worthless sack of guano!”

“Why can’t I do it?!” she thought desperately to herself. “…Am I really worthless?” her ears began to lower. “How good can I be, if I can’t even save my friends?”

The clashing point was now only twenty feet away, moving fast.

Foxglove felt despair washing over herself, along with an odd sensation of déjà vu. “………………My friends!” She suddenly thought, her ears slightly perking up.

Ten feet

“I can’t be worthless, if I have friends!” Images of her friends, flashed into her mind. “Chip… Gadget… Monty… Zipper…… Dale…” Her expression slowly began to change from a look of despair, to a look of determination. “DALE!”

One foot

“I CAN’T LET HIM DOWN!” She thundered. Suddenly, the beam firing from her scepter increased in diameter by twelve inches. The clashing point between the two beams began to travel back in Winifred’s direction.

“WHAT THE?!” Winifred shouted, as the clashing point began to move towards her at an alarming rate. “Alright then, I’ll add even MORE!” Winifred’s beam increased in diameter by eleven inches, the clashing point only fifty feet away.

The two beams were now completely equal in size. The clashing point wasn’t moving in either direction.

“HA!” Winifred shouted, her beam increasing by another foot. Again, the clashing point began to head towards Foxglove.

“Ugh!” Foxglove grunted as the clashing point began to move towards her. Forty feet; thirty feet; twenty feet.

“NO!” Foxglove shouted, “Not like this!”

Ten feet; five feet; one foot; two inches

Foxglove could feel Winifred’s evil, searing her fingertips. “NOOOOOO!” Foxglove wailed in despair.

“AHHAHAHAHAHAAAA! Winifred cackled, goodbye, Fox—” Suddenly, the beam firing from Winifred’s body completely disappeared, being replaced by a short circuiting-like sound, and a few black sparks. “No!” Winifred thought in horror. “…I ran out of power agaiAAAAAAAAAH!” She screamed, as Foxglove’s beam hit her head on; completely enveloping her. She looked down, both angrily and fearfully, at Foxglove. “How did this happen?!” She thought to herself, her armor beginning to crack. “How could have possibly run out of… no!” She thought, suddenly realizing her many follies. “Destroying all of those cities… all of those needless magic-based attacks…” The arc surrounding her face broke off, instantaneously incinerating in Foxglove’s beam. “And then—” She gasped, as an earlier conversation reoccurred to her.

“Would you like me to kill her master?” Jamba asked calmly, as he watched Foxglove fly away.

“No Jamba,” She replied, “let her go.”

“Do you really think that wise?” Jamba asked with concern.

“Yes,” She answered “I think she’ll be more miserable after she witnesses what I do to humanity. After my plans are complete, then you may kill her… Assuming by then, she or someone else doesn’t do it for you! Ah ha ha ha!”

“NO!” Winifred thought angrily, as her form began to dissipate in the torrent of energy. “I could have prevented this! How could I be so stupid?!” Her face now began to disintegrate. “This is all my fault! I’m responsible! It’s all my fault! This is…” That was Winifred’s final thought, as her body completely disintegrated, leaving not even a speck of ash.

The beam coming from Foxglove’s scepter now shut off, as she collapsed to her knees. “I did it.” She said weakly. With that, Foxglove proceeded to collapse onto the cold, shattered floor, her scepter still tightly grasped in her hand, her wings drooping over her like a blanket.

“There it is! Dale shouted, pointing upwards. “I can see the end of the stairwell!”

“That’s weird.” Gadget thought “Why did the rumbling stop when we got closer to the top? Maybe— *oof” She grunted, crashing into Monty. “Monty, what is it?” She asked.

Monty said nothing, but pointed ahead, a look of disbelief on his, and everybody else’s

It was then that Gadget noticed what they were all staring at.

“FOXY!?” Shouted Dale.

Next chapter

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