This is a little bit of the second showdown in the Dieny saga. I wrote it about a year ago and saved it, and it's taken me this long to finally get to this part.
There is some stuff missing (in the middle) and, hilariously enough, I'm not sure how to bring about the ending. Pacifica can't actually die in this part, and I've not a clue how to extricate her from this. I dug this hole, and, well, xDDD she's fucked right about now.
I'll let you guys read and tell me what you think should happen.
Formal accounts of what happened during the following conflict are contradictory; good cinema at best. Court documents in Guardian archives appear to have been retroactively accounted for, as the work is cursory and full of omissions. Jauriel’s glowing essay on Phantom’s spotless integrity during the duel are suspiciously melodramatic and trite. Most biographical texts on Pacifica and Phantom either leave this duel out completely or barely gloss over it, and this is a shame indeed.
No doubt, Dieny’s words echoed harshly in both their minds. To one, “kill your opponent and I’ll grant amnesty to a prisoner of your choice.” To the other, “kill the challenger, and I’ll release you from prison and put you in the custody of anyone you name.” Neither fighter was named or allowed to speak, and both were blindfolded, but it was all mere formality.
Dieny propped his ankle onto his opposite knee and reclined on his throne. He scratched under his chin crudely and waved at the guards to leave the combatants alone.
Despite their states of emotional distress, neither one was a fool. Even before they were brought in to the main room to fight each other, they knew who their opponents were.
*boring details of the duel go here, lol*
*needless to say, Pacifica gets her ass kicked*
Pacifica stumbled forward, eyes wide and mouth gaping in shock. She stopped and stood clutching her wound; the large gash ran from her collarbone near the top of her right breast—the blood began to pour down her chest and arms. Mustering a whisper as her tears fell, she dropped to the floor.
Phantom’s arm was still extended from the finishing move of his strike, but he slowly relaxed his muscles and let his arm fall to his side. Pacifica’s blood from his dagger, like a brushstroke rapidly applied, colored his uniform in an exquisite spray. He had ripped off his blindfold, but Pacifica dared not look at her victor, and her blindfold remained tightly fastened.
With grimaced disdain, Phantom glanced over his shoulder at his partner and opponent, who had fallen to the ground and was panting heavily. His eyes narrowed and he could not muster pity for the woman he had just injured.
“Are you going to keep your promise, Dieny?”
Dieny shifted in his chair and bemusedly raised an eyebrow at his prisoner’s question. “Well, I was expecting a little more of a reaction from you two. Something along the lines of crying out in pain or screaming of anger at the irony of it all or vowing to unending devotion despite pains of death...” He didn’t bother to complete his thought as he noticed that neither Phantom or Pacifica had moved. Pacifica’s lack of movement especially grabbed his attention, the pretty little thing had gained a sliver of his respect and a great deal of his sexual desire, and he didn’t want to see her expire just yet.
“You are just horrifically boring, aren’t you?”
Pacifica collapsed into a growing puddle of her own blood. No one ran quickly to her side, no one called out her name in shock. Phantom turned away from her crumpled body and walked towards Dieny as Pacifica moaned in a lightheaded trance.
“I lost. I lost,” she gasped as her body trembled and shook in spasms of pain.
“Shut up,” Phantom fired back over his shoulder. “Dieny,” he bellowed. “If I kill her, will you keep your promise?”
Dieny yawned crudely and then smirked at Phantom. “Would you really kill her?”
Phantom did not hesitate. “Yes.”
Dieny’s smile melted into something more serious as he remembered the girl. He waved a hand at his guards, who ran up beside his throne in attention.
“Bring her here,” he pointed at the feet of his throne. His attendants ran to Pacifica, lifted her by her arms, dragged her to where Dieny stood, and tossed her at his feet. The king knelt to her level and put his hand on her face gently. Nudging her face to meet his, Dieny made a good hard look into Pacifica’s eyes. Before this day, he had always seen her in beautiful gossamer robes, diaphanous veils, and smelled her heavenly perfumes—of course, it was all for play. She was merely masking her true self, which was before him, raw, panting, sweaty, all a mess, in the ragged costume of his society’s detritus. While he could barely stand to see her, he was terribly amused by her deposition. Her eyes, they were tired and pained but still the same. Dieny kissed her eyes gently, and then lightly he kissed her lips, one last time.
“Goodbye, my sweet. You were a beautiful yet short burst of light in one man’s bleak life. If you weren’t such a deceptive cunt I would try and save you, but I’d say you deserve what you’re about to get.” He stood before her and kicked her back to the floor from the throne altar, and she cried out as she fell.
All were silent as Phantom descended upon his victim, seized her by the arm, and forced her to stand before him, her executioner.
He stood behind her, his right arm steady with the blade at Pacifica’s throat, ready to finish her off with one clean slice. Slowly he cupped Pacifica’s face with his left hand, his fingers firm across her lips and chin, his arm pinning her shoulder back to his body. He could feel her staggered breaths, her body trembling in fear and in pain as he held her against him, her lips quivering under his fingers.
Pacifica’s hands cradled the wound across her chest, whimpering. Phantom’s fingers over her lips didn’t allow her to speak, and she desperately wanted to. She needed to apologize to him and to beg him not to finish her off. Her partner had been tortured for days—it was obvious that he hadn’t rested in a long time, several days about—his spirit was as raw and beaten as his body. His hands twitched from exhaustion, Pacifica could feel his muscles flinching on her lips.
Every movement he made she could feel against her, and he was slowly moving his face closer to her ear, and his blade closer to her throat.
............... yea. She can't die xDDD And Phantom is not in the mood to be swayed by words or tears, only his conscience. I'm thinking he glances at Dieny practically drooling all over himself and realizes he's not as different from his rival as he'd like to think. And then, he steps even further back and goes "whoa, wtf am I thinking?" Does that sound too "convenient"? Honestly, any other alternative (someone coming in to save Pacifica, Pacifica somehow saving herself) doesn't work. Any ideas?
Just to clarify here, I'm not going for a nice neat Hollywood ending to this scene. IE the following are no-nos in my mind:
1) Phantom saving Pacifica ("I was just pretending, har har!") NO!
2) Any weird deus ex machina, like a tree falling through the ceiling or something O_o
3) Dieny is NOT going to go "NO WAIT I LAUF HER HNOOOOOOS"
4) And neither if Phantom, because he's not pretending to hate her. He really is prepared to kill her.
5) Pacifica is not, um, fake bleeding. Unlike what you see in crazy films, a deep slash like that that is bleeding liekwhoa! has her close to unconsciousness, no lie.
I know that eliminates the easy choices, but neither Ph or Pa are going to come out of this very happy with each other. And that's fine. It's not conflict I want to avoid, only Pacifica's early death xPP