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Iceflame// Chapter 14: Song's Not Over

by SalisRuinen

She was in pain. More pain than ever before. Enough to lose consciousness.

It wasn’t because of her wounds, though.

Ulura Nightsong’s body had been hurt worse in the past.

She didn’t faint after her fight with the white-haired one due to the damage she had sustained.

The humiliation of the defeat she had suffered made her pass out. Her. The person with the most power in all of Sunbird. Daughter of the wealthiest deviants in West Barilia. Defeated by some unassuming no-name.

A defeat that shouldn’t have been possible.

This day was the first one since Ulura had deva output-augmenting implants put in her body, so she was dead-set on picking a fight with someone on at least an average level to see how much stronger she had become.

She had seen the news report about the fight Summerbolt and Blackscale had got in at a construction site and the ensuing fight with some ordinari at the police precinct. Then she noticed the girl who had fought beside the rivals had now become a student at Sunbird, Miss Nightsong thinking she would be the perfect opponent.

So she applied a tactic used many times before – she looked for an opening, snuck behind Miss Iceflame when the girl was in the heat of the battle at the canteen and made sure she would push her food tray to the floor to cause a fight between them.

Although her opponent’s chip was meant to allow her to use no more than 50% of her powers while on school grounds and Ulura could use 85% of her total deva output with the implants, the new student had still managed to defeat her. And she had used teleportation with a static deva, which was unheard of.

A day that was supposed to end in triumph had ended with utter disgrace.

The shadow of that disgrace haunted her after she woke up in the nurse’s office, so she decided to beat up some of the classmates that had come to check up on her in order to feel a bit better.

Two girls and one boy were targeted in particular, each of whom were answered with a barrage of green laser bullets after they asked how she felt.

The girls were thrown to one of the beds from the pair opposite the pair on one of which Ulura was lying while the boy was slammed in the wall behind that pair. Two of the other boys in the visitor group picked up the girls while that group’s last member picked up the boy.

All three were left on one of the beds, Neana Ilre, the school nurse, going to check on them as the classmates of the unfortunate victims went back to their fallen leader.

While restructuring them, though, the deputy headmaster’s eyes were focused on the tyrannical villainess instead of her patients, one of clearly discernible emotions in those eyes being anger.

(Neana) ‘-I’ve treated enough patients because of your bullshit today, Ulura. Stop with the violence.’

(Ulura) ‘-You’ll be the next target of that violence if you try ordering me again, Ilre.’

The school nurse was completely unfazed by the Queen’s threat. Something like this would’ve never happened before, what followed after – even less so.

(Neana) ‘-You really want to try your luck against me after the new student beat you and while still having superficial wounds? I can put you in a far worse state that the one you were in when they brought you here, so the choice is yours.’

A mere school nurse – a mere deputy headmaster – was talking back to Ulura now. It seemed like everything had changed while she had been unconscious. For a while she even wondered if it was dream. Unfortunately for her, it wasn’t. The reality of the things happening was confirmed by one of her classmates leaning over her.

(Student #1) ‘-Since you’re talking and acting like that, I’d say you’re fine.’

(Ulura) ‘-Yuki Iceflame … I’m going to kill her.’

(Student #1) ‘-That’ll be a hard thing to do. She gained a number of supporters after beating you. Some have even started calling her ‘The Liberator of Sunbird’.’

(Student #2) ‘-Meanwhile the students don’t look at us with the same fear as before. It doesn’t feel right and though I don’t want to be pointing fingers … you did screw up bad.’

(Ulura) ‘-I don’t want to hear about that right now. How long was I out for?’

(Student #3) ‘-A couple of hours. Neana made sure of that. We called the driver that usually picks you up from school but he said he’s been ordered to let you get home on your own today. You mom has told him you should be able to get back a lot faster in your current condition, whatever that means.’

(Student #1) ‘-Are you hiding something from us, Ulura? Something to do with the fight you picked today, maybe?’

(Ulura) ‘-There’ll be a time for explaining later. (she got up halfway from the bed) Right now I have to get home.’

Neither Neana, nor anyone else made an attempt to stop the black-haired beauty as she exited the nurse’s office, going down the corridors of Sunbird and through the streets of Deckstoru after that. She didn’t use her deva to cross the distance faster, though, because she considered it too risky in her current condition. And there was also the fact the high-school student wanted to delay what was coming as much as possible.

The Nightsong mansion on the outskirts of the city stood out amid all the other structures around it with its imposing shapes. The most distinctive parts of the building were the two gothic-style towers at both ends of the two-floor building, at the central part of which stood another smaller tower.

From a certain angle it looked like a bat spreading its wings to protect some treasure. In this case that treasure was the number of violet wisteria-covered archways over the lane with rhombus-shaped stones that led to the mansion’s entrance and the gardens full of purple devil’s trumpet flowers on both sides of the lane.

Four lined-up maids were waiting for Ulura when she entered the building.

‘-Welcome home, Miss Ulura.’ said the quartet in unison while bowing and not making any mention of the young mistress’ superficial wounds.

They knew it wasn’t their place to make such comments and they were to stay away from her whenever she was in a mood like the current one – the ready-to-kill type.

The black-haired beauty didn’t go to the mansion’s central tower, which was her domain, to take a relaxing shower as she usually did after coming home, nor did she go to the right tower, where she knew her father was.

Instead she went straight to the left tower.

At the very top was a room with big rhombus-shaped windows, all of which were covered by blinds to not let a single beam of light enter the room.

A circular pool stood in the room’s center, filled with a liquid that seemed too dark to be water even in the dimmed environment around it.

Ulura went to one of the blinds and rolled it up, seeing the last rays of the sun as it set over the horizon beyond Kisdeya River, which passed through Deckstoru.

When the last ray of light disappeared, she heard a splash of water.

‘-You can open the blinds now.’

The high-school tyrant went aside and pulled a lever that caused all the blinds to be rolled up, turning around to see the silhouette of the naked woman that had come out of the dark liquid.

She stepped outside of the pool and closer to Ulura, spreading the dark-purple bat-like wings growing out of her back and flapping with them a couple of times to help them dry faster before folding them in.

The woman then sat in the dark green armchair next to the pool, driving a hand through her black hair to move all the wet strands of her fringe away from her face. Her hair was longer and shinier than Nightsong’s and two dark purple middle-length horns that were slightly bent inward were sticking out of it above the forehead.

The girl stood silent and looked at the floor while the house’s real mistress made herself comfortable.

(Ulura) ‘-Mother …’

(Ukris) ‘-No. Don’t start talking just yet. You know I like to have a drink after a bath.’

Ulura nodded and went to the small table next to the armchair where a bucket full of ice and a single wine glass were placed, taking out a bottle of red wine out of the bucket, opening it with her laser-enveloped nails and filling the glass up.

She handed the glass to her mother who had now crossed her legs, drinking pretty much all the wine in the glass in one gulp.

(Ukris) ‘-Mmmmm … that’s more like it. (her violet eyes moved from the glass to her daughter as she got up and left the glass on the small table) Go on. You can tell me how you wound up in this condition while you dry me off.’

Ulura opened the small wardrobe at the other end of the room and took out a towel from it, going back to her mother and starting to dry her hair.

(Ulura) ‘-I found a suitable target to test my increased deva output on.’

(Ukris) ‘-And? Did it feel great releasing all that power?’

(Ulura) ‘-It was great … until my opponent … until she defeated me.’

Ukris didn’t say anything in response, so Ulura kept on talking and drying her hair.

(Ulura) ‘-Although limited to a 50% output, she managed to counter me. And she used a teleportation with a static deva.’

(Ukris) ‘-What kind of static deva?’

(Ulura) ‘-Ice.’

(Ukris) ‘-You didn’t pick a fight with that brat from the news report, did you? The one that’s staying with the Summerbolts?’

(Ulura) ‘-Having seen what she’s capable of, I thought she’d be the perfect choice for today’s test.’

(Ukris) ‘-But instead she ended up defeating you. That probably means her deva is genuinely stronger than yours or that she has some form of equipment that allows her to use a higher output in her own right.’

(Ulura) ‘-But how can that be? I though we’re the only ones who have access to such …’

(Ukris) ‘-The world is a big place. We don’t know where she came from or what she actually is. And after what’s happened today, I’m even more suspicious of that girl. You made a mistake by choosing her.’

(Ulura) ‘-I know, mother. And I am …’

Ukris spread her wings, pushing Ulura back and grabbing her by the hair then, throwing her inside the pool where she landed seconds later, keeping a tight grip over her head as she started drowning her. Mad anger burned in her eyes and twisted her face while she did all this.

(Ukris) ‘-Apologies can’t make up for what you did! You life is the only thing that can!’

The younger Nightsong tried holding her breath but knew that wasn’t going to last, so she started fighting her mother in order to be released.

Using just her arms and legs wasn’t enough, which is why she released a number of green laser beams from her body, blocked by twice as many black laser beams created by the mistress of the house.

Ulura’s attempt to teleport aside was also thwarted as black lasers disintegrated the green lasers meant to be used for that teleportation.

Her daughter could hear Ukris shouting some things, but couldn’t make out what they were because of her focus on the liquid that had started filling up her lungs, all efforts to escape turning out to be futile.

The girl’s vision became blurred and darkness started gathering around her as she stopped fighting back with her deva and her arms and legs, surrendering to what was inevitable at that point.

Suddenly the grip on her head loosened and she was allowed to come up above the liquid. Ulura spilled out as much of that liquid as she could, but continued coughing some time after, taking her a while to fully regain her sense of awareness.

When she did, she realized there was now a third person in the room – her father, Rale, standing next to the pool and looking at the mother and daughter, Ukris throwing the girl to her husband with a disgusted expression.

(Ukris) ‘-I told you we should’ve tested the implants on one of us and not this child! You put too much faith in her and all we have to show for it now is her failure!!’

(Rale) ‘-I know what happened at Sunbird today. Lawell called me. Don’t be too quick to condemn our daughter, Ukris. Her failure may provide us with a great opportunity.’

(Ukris) ‘-Tell me.’

(Rale) ‘-Everyone’s attitude towards Ulura’s class seems to have changed in the span of the same day she was defeated. The students no longer consider them to be such a threat and are more willing to stand up to them. While Zoran’s assured me Yuki Iceflame’s class will be punished, Ulura’s classmates will want to take revenge. They will want to beat those rising starts to prove they’re still the strongest and most dangerous ones in Sunbird.’

(Ukris) ‘-And you want to use this clash between the classes to our advantage?’

(Rale) ‘-This girl Yuki is clearly going to be a problem. Even more so because the Summerbolts of all people have taken her under their wing. If we set things up well enough, we’ll be able to get rid of both her and them in one fell swoop.’

A smile full of dreadful glee passed through Ukris’ face. She went to get a towel for her body from the small wardrobe, but also took out a small orb-like device from there while Rale helped Ulura get up.

(Ukris) ‘-I see where you’re going with that. I’ll run it by command and if they approve, we’ll proceed. (her gaze focused on her daughter now) You’re very lucky, Ulura. If this works, you’ll have a chance to prove you can be of some use one more time. So don’t drag our family’s name through the dirt again … (Ukris pressed a button on the orb and a pale green hologram of a person was projected from it) … or I’ll have to drag you back in that pool and finish what your father stopped me from doing now.’

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Wed May 25, 2022 7:37 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

A new day, a new review! I don't know how many of these I'll actually be able to do today as I'm in the office but I'll do my best to get a couple out of the way before my day gets too busy.

Ulura's character is certainly very sure of herself (up until Yuki defeated her in the fight, that is). The fact that she doesn't think the defeat should have been possible really makes it feel like the loss is probably good for her. The implants sound dangerous, and I'm left wondering where she could have gotten them from. I think I'm still unsure of the deva vs ordinari dynamic... presumably these implants are illegal? Is nobody able to tell she's got them?

That obviously leads to the question of did she lose because Yuki was stronger, or are these implants defective? It does however make it clearer why she picked a fight with Yuki over something so small; she wanted to test herself.

It doesn't sees she's learned much from her fight though, given that she's still beating people up after she wakes up. I hope in time she'll learn to use her words instead xD

I found it odd that these students all have numbers, whereas before they had names. Is this to reflect that Ulura doesn't learn any of their names even though they know hers? She must be very lonely. Especially given her relationship with her mother. To begin with, you could be forgiven for mistaking their conversation to be friendly as I didn't really notice anything in her mother's tone or in Ulura's reaction to indicate it was anything but.

I now feel sorry for her character, so I'm hoping for some kind of redemption arc!

Hope this was helpful.


SalisRuinen says...

Thanks for yet another review!!
Ulura's implants and others like them are illegal, yes. I think Seiren mentions back in the third chapter of the story that there are people who use illegal implants to increase their output. The difference is Ulura's implants are very high-tech and thus cannot be detected by any of the sensor systems currently in place. And she lost to Yuki because she's stronger. The implants work without fail as they are of such high quality.
The students having numbers was a way of avoiding the introduction of more characters at this point of the story, even only by name. Ulura does know their names, but they're simply not mentioned here.
There is supposed to be tension during the conversation between Ulura and Ukris on the daughter's side before things escalate, but I suppose I need to better describe her emotions to make that clear. And about Ulura's future ... I'll leave you guessing!

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Wed May 18, 2022 6:31 pm
VengefulReaper wrote a review...

Hey, just here with a quick review!

This chapter covered a decent amount of ground when it came to Ulura's character. I thought she'd be the average bully character that is one-dimensional and just serves as an obstacle for Yuki, but it seems I was wrong!

You added a lot to her character with the introduction of her parents (especially her mother). Her defeat really highlighted her insecurities and how she uses power and influence to control people. It's a trait that often creates really dynamic character arcs since you can take that one flaw in so many different directions. I'm interested in her character a whole lot more now than I was before.

The younger Nightsong tried holding her breath but knew that wasn’t going to last, so she started fighting her mother in order to be released.

Using just her arms and legs wasn’t enough, which is why she released a number of green laser beams from her body, blocked by twice as many black laser beams created by the mistress of the house.

Ulura’s attempt to teleport aside was also thwarted as black lasers disintegrated the green lasers meant to be used for that teleportation.

Her daughter could hear Ukris shouting some things, but couldn’t make out what they were because of her focus on the liquid that had started filling up her lungs, all efforts to escape turning out to be futile.

The girl’s vision became blurred and darkness started gathering around her as she stopped fighting back with her deva and her arms and legs, surrendering to what was inevitable at that point.

Great paragraphs here and probably the highlight of the chapter. You really created tension and made me worried for a character I didn't really worry about before. It's suspenseful and you hold it for just the right amount of time.

The first portion in bold could be cut and that paragraph can be split into two sentences. The shorter your sentences, the quicker you can build tension. The second portion in bold feels a little clunky and could do with some rewording.

Also, Ulura's parents are definitely winners of the 'worst parent award'. It's certainly awful that Ulura is subjected to that kind of abuse. It probably heavily influences her treatment of others at school and her insecurities. I sense the start of a redemption arc for Ulura (sort of) xD.

She's probably going to have to comply with whatever her parents demand of her since she's basically being given death threats by her own parents which is awful. It stunts her growth as a person so seeing her overcome them whether physically or psychologically will be something interesting to witness (if it goes that way).

Lastly, I do love how every. single. side. we've met has found the silver lining in this fight and manipulated it to their advantage. Seems like this one fight has sprung a bunch of changes to the overall plot which I am glad to see. The best fights are always ones that enhance the plot or the characters. I wonder about the 'command' Ukris speaks of. Maybe it's time for an introduction to a higher, long-term antagonist?

As always, take what you find useful and discard the rest! Keep writing!
The reaper sends his regards...

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Mon Apr 11, 2022 12:09 am

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
— Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"