sooo i was rereading overlord protocol (cause of quarantine) and completely forgot about shelby’s nightmares of wing dying and how alone she felt. i thought, hey what if those nightmares never stopped and one thing led to another ending in this short story being created...
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length; 1,760 words
pairing; wingelby (but shing or unconventional tactics is the better ship name don’t at me)
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The darkness dripped into an all-too familiar scene. Slow crashing of the waves against their wooden boat, the night sky painted with deep blues swirled into blacks dotted with glimmering stars, the overbearing salty smell of the ocean, the nightlife making their unique sounds all around them. His dark eyes catching the light of the sky, a peaceful smile that only grew whenever he caught yet another glimpse towards her, the white amulet standing out against the otherwise dusky scene.
Shelby loathed it all. The terror had driven her to despise this picture perfect setting.
A sigh escaped into the air before the most unpleasant moment unrolled. On cue, he reached for her hand gazing out onto the skyline as he did. Shelby gripped onto his hand tight, trying to conjure all the strength she had to maintain a solid grip he could not break from. Maybe just maybe if she held on, the story would play out differently. Tears were already finding their way onto her redden checks as her cloudy sapphire eyes looked up to him.
He was so content which made her already torn state more apparent. She should be grinning just like him, but that was impossible under these circumstances. "My mother used to tell me stories of the sea," he started as Shelby silently mumbled the familiar sentence. "Simple Chinese folklore you could find in any children's book, yet the way she told them never ceased to bring the characters out of the pages and into life."
Her heart ached as she realized the final outcome would still be inevitable even if she had a grip of steel. The evidence was piling up by the second: past experiences never changing, the destination, and worse of all were his words. Shelby could site his calm-toned sentences from having heard them rattle in her head for days on end before. So when the final sentence was delivered, her blood ran cold. "She would have loved to meet you," she said in sync with him, matching every detail of his sentence expect for the tone. While he had spoke a sentence laced with love only allowing a small pane of sadness to shine through, her rendition was much more somber.
The warmth that came from his hands was gone almost as quick as she dove into the deep ocean to follow him. She kicked as hard as her legs willed her, making sure to never let him out of her sight. Her lungs burned with the need for air along with her muscles now screaming from exhaustion. She could not give up, not yet. However, no matter how much she willed, he was disappearing into the shadows far too quickly for her to catch up with him.
"Wing!" she screamed allowing the water to entrap her lungs. Shelby reached for his hand and felt a small snap as he descended far beyond her reach, never to be seen again. She did not have any air and the water now clogging her airway only intensified the pain. Pushing through the overwhelming discomfort, Shelby made her way back to the surface and soon found herself back where their boat should have been.
As usual, the wooden boat was long gone and unable to comfort her crushing loneliness. This time, the loneliness came with an even more frightening moment. Sitting in her tightly closed hand was Wing's amulet from his mother. The white comma shaped charm stood out like a sore thumb against the pitch black water.
Why did she have it?
Shelby never got a hold of it. The scene usually went that he disappeared leaving her completely isolated, but this time differed. The amulet that sat in her hand spoke two messages to her. The first comforted her. Shelby's frantic mind jumbled together that maybe it was a sign of hope; that he would always be there for her. Yet as the thoughts arranged themselves the true meaning presented itself clear as day.
Wing would be gone and no matter what she did, it would stay that way. There was no saving him.
The tears returned as she slowly drifted with nothing but a reminder of her failure. Soon they turned from silent tears to full sobs as the loneliness set in like usual, only this time it was amplified by the amulet.
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Shelby woke with a start, immediately sitting up in her bed. Her irregular, quick breaths filled the room, over powering her roommates soft snores from across. Just as they were present in her nightmare, the hot, heavy tears were now tumbling onto her gray bed comforter making their arrival onto it present with small temporary stains. She swallowed hard as she tried to slow her rapid breathing, yet was unsuccessful.
'Just as I was in saving Wing' she thought trying to wipe away the tears before they overtook her bed sheets. Her eyes, still lingering with tears, drifted over to her Blackbox and slowly she reached for it. The time read 5:47 A.M. and she slumped into bed. There was way she was going back to sleep, so she was left there to wallow in her feelings of abandonment and failure. Shelby hastily thought of something to escape her feelings for a little longer. She knew that they were allowed to leave their rooms in a couple of minutes and Shelby already had a destination in mind.
As she got out of her bed, Laura's almost quite snores once again reigned over the room. Shelby gazed over to her roommate and a comforting smile found its way to her face.
A textbook for Advanced Villainy Studies sat open in her lap with one of her freckled hands rested on the pages along with her Blackbox, now with a black screen, sitting right beside it. As she made her way towards their bathroom, Shelby thought of Laura and Otto's most recent project: a secret channel just for them to talk on. It would take a genius to accomplish it, so it was a good thing there were two geniuses working on it. Both of them knew if they were successful, there was no possibility to keep it hidden for longer than a week.
The painful memories of her nightmares began to catch up with her as she quickly turned into the bathroom with her uniform in hand. When Shelby caught a glimpse at herself in their mirror, her gloomy feelings only worsened. Her messy blonde hair now being accompanied with puffy eyes and streaks along her cheeks where her tears were still carefully gliding down.
As if it were any morning, she got her uniform on and brushed out her bed head. Leaving the bathroom, she grabbed her Blackbox and headed straight for the door.
The sound of water from the waterfall in the accommodation area immediately sent her back to her previous terrors in the ocean. The strong emotions haunted her as she stepped out into the hallway to take her to the huge cavern that was accommodation area seven.
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The LED light in the room strained her eyes, just a little as Shelby stepped into the room full of equipment for training. Her hand traced the seem of the punching bag before she got into a ready stance. Just like she had done many times over, her fist collided with the bag swinging it back just a little.
The loneliness, sadness, and fear had finally reached her and there was no possible way of outrunning them now. She concentrated on her blows to the bag as if it was her nightmares that she was beating instead of the punching bag.
She wanted them to stop pestering her. The previous emotions swirled into anger as her punches became faster with more power behind them.
The peaceful look he gave her as he told his story and eventually his final line.
Another strong hit to the bag.
The chilling water engulfing the both of them and soon taking him away from her reach.
One more powerful swing at the equipment.
And that stupid amulet taunting her failure.
As she went to deliver another hit, a hand cut in front her causing her to punch that person's palm rather than her target. Her breath hitched as she prepared to tell off the person for getting in her way. However, once her fiery blue eyes met his she recoiled back a little.
"Your poor technique caused these," Wing told her mentioning her bloody, scraped knuckles that she had not even noticed. Shelby has been so focused on her nightmare that she had neglected the pain now coursing through her hands.
"Guess Ms. Leon is not going to be happy her best student is suffering an injury that will effect her results on the test today," she joked trying to distract him from her distant state, or her tear stained cheeks.
Although a small smile found its way to his face, his eyes still were serious and full of concern. "Shelby, what happened?"
How could she answer? There would be no way to convey her hidden pain and concerns of her terrifying nightmares to him. The overbearing loneliness she felt after he disappeared or fears now surrounding that pendent hanging from his neck. Her nightmares have now ruined something she has to see every day; it's mockery from her night terrors carrying over to real life.
"Well..." she began as her eyes trailed down to the floor. While looking at the floor she noticed him still holding her scraped hand with the same determination she had in her nightmares. Along with this, she became aware of the warmth from his hands and remembered how in the boat it disappeared right before he left. Anticipation built up as she waited for it to leave, just like it always did.
But it didn't. He was still there, patiently waiting her response to his question.
She felt that loneliness lift off her shoulders along with all the worries she had been escaping from all night and this morning. Shelby felt able to breathe normally, felt her senses return, and more importantly felt trust in the fact Wing was going nowhere.
Well until some psychopathic villain with a most likely well deserved grudge against the school came again.
"Come on big guy, I'll tell you as you bandage up my knuckles." Shelby let a smile along with a giddy feeling overtake her as she held onto his hand and led them out of the room.
Party was tasked with finding out what happened to the previous adventuring party. Upon finding them dead in a swamp. Conversation between Lizardfolk Warlock and Warforge Cleric.
Warlock: Well we should bring their bodies home, right?
Cleric: Of course. Best to lay them to rest at home.
Warlock: We can't carry them all but they can carry themselves. Are you okay with that Cleric?
Cleric: What now?
Warlock: I can make them carry themselves back to town. Are you okay with that?
Cleric: *befuddled* I guess.
*Warlock casts Danse Macabre and party walks to town*
Town Guards: *cautious* Stop! What are you doing?
Warlock: Bringing back your adventurers.
Cleric: *claps hand on guards shoulder* some people handle death differently. *smiles*