-Shadows on the heart -
It was late and everyone had gone home for the night after working on the repair job of The Sky Bastion, everyone that is but Penny. The mechanical girl hardly left the ship the past while, often times she would sleep in one of the holds if she needed rest but at all other times she was working on getting the ship ready for the upcoming assault.
The reasons why she would keep working were simple, her Patron had practically declared war and it was her job as his primary agent to see his will fulfilled, at least that is what she would say to those who asked. In truth Penny kept working so she didn’t get drowned in her own thoughts. Thoughts that revolved around Thalia, and Chloe and all the others that she had started growing attached too that inevitably left. The thoughts were still there, always lurking in the back of her mind, but she was able to force them to the side as she worked.
But Penny was not alone, as she would soon discover. Veronica stepped out of the shadows and into Penny's field of vision. “Seems things aren't going in your favor. Regardless, I'm here to carry out my part of our bargain.”
She lifted her hand, and the shadow behind her started to bubble and spit. Seconds later, several long lengths of metal emerged from the shadow and landed on the ground with a clatter. Four beams, three foot long, six by six. Exactly what Penny had requested. “Here it is, the enchanted metal you requested. It was not easy finding someone who could pull it off. You were fortunate to get this so quickly.”
Veronica moved her closed fist over the beams and opened it, letting a microchip and a piece of gilded metal. “And your military grade GPS, as well as your gold plated tungsten.”
Veronica examined her surroundings. “A lot can change in twenty-four hours, wouldn't you say?”
Penny set down the metal plates she had been installing when she noticed that she was no longer alone. ”Honestly didn’t think I would see you this soon”
She sighed out as she leaned up against the bulkhead she had been working on, her posture speaking plainly about her depression. She didn’t need to examine the offered items with anything more then a glance to tell they were what she had asked for, she could tell simply due to her magic. ”Thanks for the quick service, and rapid change in a short amount of time just seems to be my new normal”
she replied as she pulled her bargained goods closer. She stored the chip and gilded tungsten in her hip compartment, the same one she stored her phone in previously, before picking up one of the metal beams and giving it a closer look. ”My entire life got replaced in a twenty four hour period after all so it’s not like I should be suprised ya know?”
Penny had carefully started to form the metal in to a longer tapered rod as she spoke, her tone was joking but the effect was ruined by the tears that started to form in her eyes. “I suppose that's what your patron represents, no?”
The dark magical girl leaned her back against the ship and folded her arms. “Embracing constant, never ending change? I doubt you'll keep many friend with such a patron.”
Veronica looked directly at Penny. “Would you like to hear a story about magical girls in love?””That’s Laat in a nutshell alright”
Penny agreed with a bitter chuckle “Still doesn't make it any easier to get used to in addition to everything else”
She sat down as she continued to work on the metal slowly forming it by hand to the desired shape. She could have just popped the beams in to the ports on her back and let her regeneration take care of it all, but forming them first would cut down on the time it took for them to be fully working as well as give her a good idea as to how they would look.
She glancing up at Veronica following the question and took a moment before responding “Sure, is it a tragedy or a comedy?”
The cyborg had a feeling it would be the latter, but figured that she could learn something from it either way.“All romance is fated to end in tragedy. Mine included.”
The shadows started to twist about, turning into the silhouette of two young woman. They would act as actors for the story Veronica was about to tell. “I didn’t always work for Ebon mint. I was a Beacon girl once. I was tasked with taking down a monster girl who came into my sector.”
One silhouette raised a weapon over its head, only for the more monstrous shadow to raise its hands to plead for its life. “Or course the monster girl didn't want to fight. She only came into my turf while trying to outrun an Ebon girl. Who was actually watching us, waiting for the perfect moment to end us both. But her arrogance was her undoing, as we united to defeat her.”
The Ebon shadow was defeated, and the two remaining shadows looked at each other. “And so began a forbidden friendship between Beacon and Monster. Though it wouldn’t stay friendship for very long..”
The shapes appeared to shake hands. “I was always a bit of a renegade, but even for me, having a monster girl as a friend made me uneasy. What if someone found out? What would happen to us? I suppose that bit of tension helped spur our relationship into one of love.”
The two shadows locked hands and walked side by side. “I remember our most intimate moment well. I cast every warding enchantment I knew on us, and we walked hand in hand around my old school. She was so nervous, and I was too, even if I didn’t show it. Before the night was over, we shared our first and final kiss.”
The shadows looked around awkwardly. Even with such simple shapes, it was easy to see their confusion. “The thought of losing her made me realise how much I really enjoyed her company. Our conversations, the gentle giggle she'd make when we met up. Despite my first impressions of her there was nothing about Kate I wanted to change. It was the world that needed to change, but I was too wise. I knew that would never happen..”
The shadows faded away, leaving nothing. “It was just a matter of time before Beacon discovered our relationship, Or the mint killed her. So I broke off from Beacon, and Joined the mint. I took on the debt she owed them as my own, and have served Ebon mint ever since.”
Veronica sighed and lowered her head. “But wait was too much for Kate. Even with all I was willing to do for her, she moved on.”
Her hands balled into fists. “That monster forgot about me.”
Penny kept silent as she worked on her new limbs as she listened to Veronica’s story. There were a few times that she went to make a remark but held herself back. just because she was hurting didn’t give her the right to snip at the old wounds of someone who did in fact seem to understand the pain she was in.”Sounds familiar”
she said softly after a moment, as it wouldn’t take much to change that story in to the one that Penny was going through right now. ”and I can understand why Laat would have chosen you to talk too, a change to the world is right up his ally”
Shaking her head she returned to the beam of metal she had been working. It now more closely resembled the leg of a giant spider. It was a couple times the length it had started, and no longer as thick, but was tipped with 4 splayed out points that looked like they could fold together to make a vicious looking point. The base had a large screw protruding from it that looked like it would be used to secure it in place. “I can say that I hope I don’t meet Kate, as I would be entirely too tempted to put my fist through her heart. Because if I had meet you when you were still running on the streets like the rest of us are…”
Penny trailed off to just breath for a moment, to push down the violent mix of emotions that were simmering just below the surface. After all she couldn’t let herself redline here, it would ruin all the work that everyone had but in to the repairs.
Veronica raised her eyebrows. “Oh? Now I feel embarrassed.”
she looked away from the metallic magical girl.
It took a few moments before Penny felt that she could speak safely “If I meet someone like that, I would do anything and everything to not lose them.”
swallowing thickly, she shook her head to clear it of the ‘What if’s’ and inserted her new limb in to its port. There was audible whirring as the port drew the screw deep into Penny’s back and she grit her teeth against the pain that caused. A moment later there was a loud metallic clang and the spider leg spasmed for a moment as her regeneration took care of the internal components and joins the leg would need. “And like that, my appearance has lost a bit of humanity”
she said with a sigh as she experimented moving it a bit before folding it up to let her regeneration finish working. In it’s folded state it looked simply like a line of dark grey plating going from the middle of her back, over her shoulder, and down her chest, with the point ending at her sternum. In a few hours the only proof of it being there would be a raised dark grey line as it would lay nearly flush with her outer layer when her regeneration was finished.“One down three to go”
Penny muttered to herself as she started to work on the next spider leg she got the feeling that she had asked for a bit more then she needed for this project. With an internal shrug she opted just just add some metal claws to her hands and use the last of it for another base port incase she ever decided she wanted a tail.
Veronica was fidgeting with her coller the entire time Penny was speaking. But she finally folded her arms again. “Penny, my story was a lie, as artificial as the word love itself.”
Veronica kept her eyes trained on the metal magical girl. ” I did not expect you to take it that seriously.”
Penny paused in her work to meet veronica’s gaze ”The word my be artificial, but the emotion isn’t. If it was Laat wouldn’t be getting ready to summon It against the Visceral’s in case this assault fails”
Penny turned back to her work as she continued ”I wouldn’t have agreed to your deal if it wasn’t. I understand exactly how it feels to be without emotion. So you can’t convince me that Love doesn’t exist, your story may be a lie, but I would still do everything in my power to hold onto the person you depicted in it if I ever found them. Because Love is worth it, and I would sacrifice everything for it.”
Her voice was shaky with emotion as she spoke but the naked conviction she spoke with was plain as day. “I take it you were trying to teach me something different with your story?”
Penny asked after a moment to once again calm her emotions.
Veronica melded with the shadow behind her. ”Hmph.”
Her voice seemed to come from every direction. ”Do not proceed to think you know me. You only reveal how little you actually know, Jason Oliver.”
Penny could feel a pair of hands resting on her shoulders. She didn't have to look to know it was Veronica. ”The only point of my story was to show you how gullible you are. We've met twice, and you assumed I would share something that personal with you. You're too trusting. What you had with Thalia wasn't mutual, and could have killed you. If you were more cautious, you wouldn’t be heartbroken right now.”
She took her hands off Penny's shoulders and walked in front of her. ”Now, I have brought you what you desired, and I have better things to do than spar words with you over something like the word love. If you didn't witness any interesting developments, I'll take my leave.”
At the mention of her old name Penny went absolutely still, and maintained that stillness until she could once again see Veronica at which point she continued working on her next limb. Her eyes were near complete pools of bloody red light as Penny stared at Veronica, yet they seemed emotionless beyond a flicker of shock and perhaps pain. “Justine has taken another girl, one of Beacon’s hideouts was been destroyed and Laat is preparing to wipe this town off the map.”
Her voice was as flat as her eyes, lacking near all inflection and emotion as she spoke. “So feel free to take your leave Coinbroker, as anything else I am sure you know of already.”
Penny did not blink or turn away after she was done speaking. She kept her eyes trained on Veronica, even as her hands worked on crafting another metal spider limb. ”Interesting.”
Veronica wasn't phased by Penny's cold gaze. ”So Laat wants to destroy Penrose, do you know how or why he plans on doing this?””He is preparing to awaken The Beast, The sole monster he commands, for he is not willing to allow Justine’s plan to be completed, as it will bring about the end of change.”
The red in her eyes shifted away from their bloody hue they were now a more vibrant crimson but retained their empty appearance “He has done so before, and will not hesitate to do so again.””I don't doubt it. Though in the future, you will be required to provide proof of your claims. It makes getting the attention of interested parties much easier.”
Veronica examined Penny for a moment before going on. ”Now that you have what you asked for, I'm going to start expecting more from you. Though for the time being you can continue to gather information.”
Veronica turned around, and her blond hair swayed like a cape. She was going to walk away, but something held her feet in place. It was not long before she turned around to face Penny again.”I feel I need to say that while I don't believe in love the same way you do, I do believe that connections are important.”
She spread her arms and... smiled. ”There are relationships that are so pure and wholesome that the word love couldn't possibly be used to describe them.”
She stepped backwards into the shadows and disappeared. ”Perhaps one day you will make such a connection.”
Penny returned her attention to her work as Veronica moved to leave, barely acknowledging the warning about requiring proof in the future with a slight nod. Her emotionless mask didn’t falter even in the face of the shadow users unexpected admission, she just kept working away, as if she were nothing more than a clockwork doll.
It would be several minutes afterwards, when Penny was sure that Veronica had truly left, that the red would start to fade from her eyes. Washed away by silent tears as the heartbroken girl sought some slight solace in the task of fashioning her new limbs, hoping all the while that tomorrow would be a better day.
The bates were not the only one's observing the chaos at the train station. One of the police officers had long, blond hair, and seemed relatively cool compared to her erratic companions. She casually walked behind a police car others were using for cover, and spoke into her wrist watch.“Get ready.”@FamishedPants