She opened her eyes slowly and found herself in Jessie's arms. Foce smiled and attempted some humor, "Wow, what a hit."
"Hah, is that what that was?" Jessie chuckled at the vampire's remark.
"Well...not quite, but since I think I must've passed out and there's some connection, I figured it was worth a try." Foce tried to sit up and glanced around. She was now in a tent, on a sleeping bag, and there was a conversation going on outside that was only getting closer.
"Yeah, she looked pretty worried." Sarah threw the tent flap open and didn't immediately notice that Foce was awake, "Hey, Jessie, you didn't have to stay so lo--ah, Foce, there you are! We were all pretty perplexed when Jessie said you'd passed out from a few hits with some snowballs, then she explained you were trying to remember stuff, I take it that plan worked?"
"I remembered...everything...but right now I can only remember a few things...when I...when I bit my friend, Lux...I killed her. She was already frail, she needed to keep all the blood she had, but I-I stayed too long...and I killed her!" Foce pulled a blanket up to her face and cried into her hand.
"Foce, I know we haven't known each other very long, but I know you would never have intended harm on anyone who didn't harm you first." Jessie made an extra effort to hold Foce closer, "I know it's not your fault, I know you never would have chosen this life for yourself."
"I just want her back..." Foce whispered hoarsely, "I keep hoping it's a dream..."
"I know, Foce, I know." Jessie laid Foce onto the sleeping bag and started to close it when Foce rolled off it and stood up, "You sure you don't want to rest?"
"No...thanks, but I want to finish this now...we were near the vault, right?" Foce turned to Sarah who nodded slowly.
"You and Feyerous brought us so far in just a few days, but you were both exhausted, so-"
"My magic's all back now." Foce replied, fists trembling as she recalled a major detail from her memory, "Vindicatus made me into what I am now, my life, my death, is cursed. His words echo clearly, I his madness needs to end...now!"
"Foce, we're all ready to wind down for the day, you were asleep for half an hour," Sarah explained gently, "the day's nearly done."
"I-I see." Foce nodded and turned away from her, "I could always move all this stuff downhill."
"That won't be necessary, we're packing this stuff up tomorrow at dawn after a warm breakfast, and then sliding downhill on a sled." Sarah reminded Foce of their return plan, "We all have teleporting crystals that are set for the area around the airship, so tomorrow's the last day we're hanging out here."
"R-right...I must still be in a rush, after remembering everything I forgotten in thirty minutes." Foce held her hand on her forehead and sighed, "I have no idea how to pass the time."
"Well, I'd suggest making a snow castle," Jessie smiled when Foce seemed to lighten up some, "but I don't think anyone wants us using their mugs."
"I actually still have a score to settle with you." Foce pointed out, smirking viciously at the hero, "You have three hits on me, right? Granted, I was standing still...but I want to see how well I can make that up."
"Oh, really? We should probably just wipe the slate clean here, I can make 'em about as fast as I can throw them." Jessie grinned and slipped past Sarah, followed closely by Foce.
"Right when I thought I'd seen it all...she says something about snow castles." Sarah chuckled as she entertained the notion, "Maybe Banshee could make some make some buckets for us."
The roles switched between them frequently, but as the sun started to sink behind the mountains, it was Foce chasing Jessie through the snow.
"What's the score now?" Jessie asked as leapt and rolled forward. She scooped up a handful of snow and packed it together as she rose to her feet.
"A hundred and seventy and a hundred and seventy-two!" Foce replied, pausing from her retreat to answer Jessie's question.
"We're both at a hundred and seventy?" Jessie beamed, giving the snowball a final squeeze before launching it.
"No, two! As in, I have two more hits on you than you have on-" Foce was surprised when the snowball Jessie had made nicked her shoulder, "Hey, I thought we were taking a break!"
Jessie stuck her tongue out and closed her eyes, giving Foce a chance for a free shot, which wasn't taken, "Hey, aren't you gon-"
"Hehe, yup!" Foce giggled as Jessie wiped the snow off her face, and threw another one that hit the hero's elbow, "I'm not counting those, by the way!"
"Hah, I wouldn't have it any other way." Jessie remarked, walking around behind a tree, "We'll resume on three!"
"Three!" Foce knelt down and started pulling the snow into large lumps on the ground, she'd scoop them up as she needed them.
"Two!" Jessie peeked around and saw what she was doing, and copied the strategy.
"One!" Foce remained on one knee and threw her snowball as soon as Jessie's face appeared behind the tree, the hero immediately took cover, and leapt out from behind the tree, threw two snowballs in quick succession, only the right handed one got close.
Foce rolled to the side and threw hers, aiming for a point past the tree, pelting Jessie as she predictably darted for cover, "Yay, I tied!" Foce shouted cheerfully.
"Hah, still just counting my memory jogging hits?" Jessie remarked, jumping out from the other side of the tree, this time both snowballs hit Foce, but as unexpected as her position was, when she went back to the tree, Foce ran past her and flung three snowballs in a cluster, "Haha, you've got one point on me now! Tell ya what, land two more on me and I'll call it qui-"
Foce smiled down at Jessie as she dropped two lumps of snow on her back, "Win."
"No...not win! Those were snowlumps, that's totally against the rules!"
"Technically lumps are harder to throw, I disadvantaged myself...for you." Foce grinned and shoved Jessie's shoulder, sending the brunette into the snow. Foce picked up two snowballs Jessie had made and smiled, "But if you insist, I'll not use lumps."
"How'd it go, you two?" Sarah asked, grinning at beaming vampire.
"It was carnage." Jessie replied, crossing her arms indignantly.
Foce giggled and bumped her shoulder into Jessie's, "I made her a snowgirl, it was awesome."
"That's my vampire!" Sarah gave Foce's shoulder a congratulatory slap.
"She buried me in snow after I finally got my two handed throws down...I was retreating behind the tree and she dropped two lumps of snow on me, when I said it didn't count, she knocked me down...and used my cache of weapons against me. I hadn't expected such a bold move." Jessie shook her head and sighed, "If we ever play again, I'm burying you in snow."
Foce sneered and stuck her tongue out like Jessie had done before, "I'd like to see you try!"
"Don't be so sure." Jessie smirked and gently pressed her left fist into her right palm, "Now I have this...oh, hey, that reminds me of something!" Jessie curled her fingers around Foce's arm and pulled her back to the tent.
Foce wondered what the glove could remind her of when she had just gotten it earlier that day, but nothing came to mind, so she silently waited as Jessie's hand slid from her arm to her hand, and led her inside the dimly lit tent.
"It's in the sleeping bag." Jessie pointed down at the only closed sleeping bag in the tent.
Foce slowly unzipped the sleeping bag the hero indicated, opened it up to reveal a stretch of fabric that was purple on one side, black on the other, and soft but sturdy all around, "Jess, I...this...must be why she was laughing when I was learning to sew."
"Yeah, I always thought she was spoiling my plans." Jessie rubbed the back of her neck nervously, Foce was staring so silently she was afraid something was wrong, "Is it okay?"
"Mm?" Foce looked up at Jessie as she the clasp on it and smiled, "I love it. I didn't expect it to be a cloak."
"Well, I wanted to keep the sun off you ever since-" Jessie took a deep breath as Foce hugged her, and readily returned the embrace, "I'm glad you like it."
"Heh, now I feel like I need to make you another glove..."
"Oh, it's alright, one gloved hand only feels pretty stylish in a way!" Jessie assured as she closed her eyes.
"I suppose...but what if there's more poison when we fight him? Somehow I don't believe that he brewed it for as long as he said." Foce slowly stepped back, her cheeks tinged red.
"If there's more, he won't get close enough to you...I promise, I won't let him hurt you again, and one day...we'll find a cure for you." Jessie promised, closing her gloved hand tightly as she spoke, "I'll make sure that you can live the life you wanted, even if I have to walk the length and breadth of every world out there!"
"What if there is no cure?" Foce whispered doubtfully, "I'm cursed now to live this way...until someone ends it."
"If you were cursed, then a stronger blessing can dispel it; I'm sure of this." Jessie gave Foce's shoulder a gentle squeeze and a reassuring smile that made Foce feel like she was right, even if no one could know for certain.
That night, after dinner, Foce had a more pleasant rest than she thought possible. She couldn't remember anything she dreamed, but she woke up smiling in the middle of the night, surrounded by various smells and snores of the humans and demons. She turned to her right and found Jessie smiling in her sleep.
"So...what happens if she's wrong? Right now I couldn't give it another thought, she could be taken from me at any time in any battle, I thought once it'd serve me best to say 'I'll ignore my fears!' and focus on doing just that...but now I think it's best if I embrace my dreams, no matter what happens in the future."
Foce let out a slow breath and decided that she could do that, no matter how painful her lifetimes as a vampire got. She closed her amethyst eyes and drifted back to sleep, certain in nothing of the future except that she would do her best to make the most of it.618Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡUXpCCrv4NM