In a more ideal lifetime, I'm holding his hands, caressing them as delicately as I would the rose petals. We are resting under the shade of the tree, watching the river carry the fallen leaves to a destination unseen, where I can only dream about. Would the waters cross over different times, sharing those fallen leaves with the people who have once lived? Or who will eventually live?
It matters not, for the restfulness I feel by his side makes time stretch on to a rhythm that only pure contentment can encompass, dictated by our relaxed breathing. The cherry blossoms seem to dance about us, trailing down from above, five centimetres per second. I wish it would last forever.
In that ideal world, I see him smile for me, and I know I am in paradise, for I know love – the acceptance of one soul, being touched by another soul.
It will never happen for me.
My soul only finds darkness..
I've decided I would put my soul to slumber, quietly and eternally. So even now, this forest presents an unyielding rampart of briars, continuing to deny entry from the outside. And it will probably do so until the time of my death.
When the wyvern screams, the green fire encroaches the unprepared faeries caught in its wake, disintegrating them and portions of the buildings behind, causing them to collapse into ruins.
"Evasive manoeuvres!" Flora commands, and all the remaining faeries fly off, up and away from Maleficent's front. They attempt to jolt away at her armour, trying out varying elements to see what can break through – spells of fire, ice, air, and energy.
It is a lightshow of colours and particles against the night's darkness – the aftereffects raining onto the ground, those sparks and embers, the snowflakes and black petals. If it wasn't so dangerous, the sight would be a spectacle worthy of an exquisite festival.
Down below, Raki's only desire is to run away from the chaos of it all, his arms sheltering his head, running as far away from the terrible being that she's turned into.
"How could you be so despicably cruel?" It's easy, you just give in to your hate and negativity. Why would one resist embracing it, when all you are left with is the pain you've felt from others, one way or another? If you're happy, you don't resist making others happy. If you're sad, resentful, miserable – all you can ever do is hide it.. or unleash it like a scream, once you can't bear it anymore.
This insight comes to Raki, about the nature of sadness which he sees underlying Maleficent. He looks behind, seeing the wyvern fluttering upward, its wings beating, the wind whooshing over the whole square, and the flashes of energy from the faeries.
I was sad too, when all I had was Zaki to live with. I couldn't tell anyone.. they wouldn't understand how I felt trapped by him, except for Maleficent. Because back then, I just felt she would be the one who could actually listen.
She isn't like anyone else. Which is why she is at odds with this world, who values only what is like them – the trustworthy, the all-too-familiar kinds of people.
And the wyvern gusts out more flames all over, bursting the faeries and the Notre-Dame's spire.
But she's making everyone suffer for it..
"Nothing we're doing is working!" Fauna yells, clinging onto the wyvern's wings, trying to burn the bark away. "It's like we're throwing sticks at an armoured knight!"
This gives Flora an idea. "Knight.. that's it! We're too scattered if everyone's attacking her individually – if we get together, and just pierce through her thick hide, we can defeat her!"
The 13 remaining faeries break off from Maleficent, regrouping at a safe distance over the Seine river. They're going to charge their energies together, firing the Lance of Longinus (the fabled spear which pierced through Christ during his crucifixion) straight into the wyvern's centre.
"Far in the distance is cast a Shadow
Symbol of our freedom will bring us Salvation!
On the horizon our hope for Tomorrow
Sweeping across the land to give us Unity!"
Shimmering light emerges from the faeries' formation, verging on being blinding.
"Make sure we don't miss," Flora tells them. "We only get one shot at summoning it."
Distances away, in St Peter's Basilica (Rome) – the lance awakens within the tomb of the historical apostle, and with a magnetic swiftness, it shoots out from the stone casket, shocking the priests who are going about their nightly walks.
"Mi vida!" they exclaim.
And like a shooting star, the lance streaks over the horizons, traversing miles with an absolute urgency.
Maleficent is soaring straight for the formation – it is the ideal way to kill them all. Just one breath, and she'll wipe their existances out.. forever. And then..
"She's coming!" Few of the faeries are nervous, afraid of holding their positions.
Flora clenches. Will their combined magick be enough to fend off even one attack?
The wyvern can discern the finer details of their forms, the way their robes are fluttering in the high altitude. She breathes in the air and her acidic heart catalyses it into high-temperature fires, whose fumes melt away whichever material is in proximity.
And in one word screamed out – D E A T H – she goes to ignite the faeries-
The faeries see the fires blooming in her open mouth, and they erect a golden shield around themselves, shining bright like a beacon – the flames colliding and spilling over the barrier, like water over an egg. Even though the flames are blocked, the immense heat still pours through (like an arid sauna) and it affects some of the faeries from the Arctic regions, their wings beginning to smoke.
After what seems like a long time, the fires dissipate, the violet smoke wafting away – revealing an exhausted Maleficent who is struggling to keep flying, as her wings beat erratically, her neck swivelling down, panting.
With perfect timing, the Lance of Longinus arrives – a magnificent torqued gleam which freezes in front of the faeries, charged with holy energy.
The faeries are too disoriented themselves to be able to aim the lance correctly at Maleficent's wavering position, and when they fire, the lance goes through one of Maleficent's wings instead, tearing a hole and sending her tumbling down onto land – while the lance itself plunges into the river, violently exploding the water and collapsing the nearby Pont Neuf bridge crossing.
Raki sees all this, his lungs huffing as his legs carry him to the scene where she's crashed. An array of homes, abandoned, in darkness from the smoke.
By the time he gets there, the sky is starting to brighten, and he is so light-headed. It is like vividly feeling a dream – a part of him wishes this is all merely a dream.. and that he'd wake up back with Vittoria.
His chest seems to drop, as he looks around the ruins of the homes for her. He doesn't find the massive body of a wyvern, while the faeries are floating overhead, combing through the area with the same desire as him. It smells of burnt stone, and his eyes are watering like from onions.
He has to find her first, but he can't call out her name – they'll hear him.
Doing his best to hide from the faeries, Raki eventually notices a trail of translucent ink, not readily noticable amidst the dark gravel and detruitus.
There, he follows it down a short distance, leading him down a narrow back alley behind a pub, the smoke seeping from the burnt-out lamps, and the ink turning into the redness of blood. The weeds grow from the cracks, and bits of garbage sends ripples in the water puddles. His heart is palpitating, thumping with tense anticipation – he hears the faeries talking in the distance, and finds the blood ending at a modest courtyard, surrounded by apartments.
The naked Maleficent is halfway slouched over a bench, lying on her side with still an arm. As if she's attempted to rest herself on it, to lie on her back, but gave up on her effort. Her other arm is a tatter, broken off near the shoulder. Her long, flowing white hair partially stained with her blood, covering her body.
A tear escapes Raki's eye. This is how she might have actually looked like, if she'd have lived this long as a normal person.
And she's so frail.
Trembling, he heads to her side, and finds her body as light as a child's, her skin leathery, as he lies her down on the wooden bench like she's wanted.
Her eyes look.. not really sad, so much as tired after a whole life's journey.
"Ra.. ki.." she moans out in a whisper, her hand rattling, trying to move. "Is that.. you? I can't see your face.."
He moves to hold her hand, twinging his fingers with hers. It's barely warm. "Yeah.." He's holding back sniffles, not wanting to show her his sadness. "I.. I'm so glad I ever got to know you," he says – his throat catches on itself. "I never got the chance to tell you that.."
And his tears drip down on her face, like a soothing rain that tastes salty on her lips.
Her eyes are wandering, slowly looking around – not at Raki, but searching through her own thoughts for something. What was it.. that feeling, that has so eluded her since?
Maybe it was when she danced with him in that field of dreams.. or when she kissed his lips, and found that it – in all its totality – it made her heart leap. When she saw the gleam of his eyes, under that sunset, and she just found it so perfect and resonant that she felt..
.. it would last forever..