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|Sweat, Blood and Tears|
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A/N: So this is ITTT! Teh end! Tahnks to al my loyla readres and everone who has enjoyed SWEAT, BLOOD AND TEARS.
Jaycacia the Staflower turned slowly to face the rear wall of the room - or rather, what had been the rear wall, but was now a pile of rubble, slowly settling around the dark form of the Sub Rosa. Well, well, said the evil Head of Intelligence. I believe this is what they call an opportunity.
Only an opportunity to perish, the Sunflower Official said defiantly - and then stiffened as the Tiger Lily, unnoticed until now amid the commotion, touched a leaf to his blossom.
I have him, ma'am, she said, nodding to the Sub Rosa. And the Hyacinth, crippled though it is.
Excellent, the Sub Rosa said. They will make the most perfect toys.
No! the SO bellowed - but he could not move. It was as if invisible chains bound him to the spot. The Sub Rosa chuckled as Architeuthis and the traitorous Tiger Lily joined her.
As if I would let you go free after this defiance, she said scathingly. You should have pledged yourself to me voluntarily, Sunflower.
"No... true PPCer... ever would," said a weak voice, and Jay Thorntree elbowed her way out of the rubble to stand, defiant, before the Sub Rosa. The Flower almost seemed to flinch back at the sight of her.
The Assassin? she asked. But what can you hope to achieve? You are weak!
"I may be weak and pathetic," Jay said, "and I know I'm not all that bright - but I won't let you take over the PPC. If you want HQ, you'll have to go through me."
Oh, is that all? the Sub Rosa sniffed. Her vines flashed out, throwing Jay to the ground - and that was enough to break through the Starflower's shocked paralysis.
Jaycacia ducked beneath the Sub Rosa's swinging tendrils and dove towards her mother's crumpled form. Husband! she cried using the psychic voice she got when she became a Flower. Help me!
The Sunflower Official strained against his bonds, but could not move. I'm doing all I can, Jaycacia my love! he called. The Sub Rosa laughed a deep, booming laugh.
You cannot defeat me, child, she said. I control your father's soul, and that means -- I control YOU!
There is only one way to control someone's soul, Jaycacia told her firmly, and that is love.
The Sub Rosa's laugh echoed from the ceiling, joined by those of her subordinates. Love? What good is love? Can it save you from my inevitable victory? Her tendrils whipped at Jaycacia, slid away, and came back to cling, pulling her in. The Starflower struggled - but perhaps not as hard as she might.
Saving me isn't the plan, Jaycacia said as her enemy drew her close. It never was.
Jaycacia! No! the SO cried, realising in anguish what she was about to do. Jaycacia closed her mental ears to his pleas.
You forget who I am - what I am, she said, quietly but in a voice that filled the room. I am no ordinary Flower, Sub Rosa - I am the Starflower. I have the Power of Origin - and that power is drawn from the very dawn of time.
"She's stalling," Architeuthis hissed. "Just kill her and get it over with."
This isn't a stall - it's an explanation, Jaycacia snapped. The beginning of the multiverse, when the very fabric of space and time burnt so bright a star would be like midnight. That is where my power comes from - and I can send it back.
Sending us along with it, I suppose? the Tiger Lily mused. Don't think us naive, Jaycacia. I know enough to know that the Starflower can never be separated from her powers. You would go with us - and you too would die.
But that's the thing, Jaycacia announced, throwing her tendrils wide and siezing the three Spies before they could flee. I am filled with love, she said, and what greater love can there be - than to lay down my life for those I cherish? Goodbye, husband - I love you. And with those words, the power of the Starflower blazed hotter than ever before, engulfing her and the three Spies. When it faded, all trace of Jaycacia Thornbyrd was gone.
"... she actually finished it?"
"Huh. I never would have guessed."
"You learn something new every day."
"... think she'll stay dead?"
"Not in a million years."
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