Monday, 26 October 2009

No Respect For Elders -- Mana Khemia fanfiction (627 words, spoilers)

This is probably the saddest thing I've ever written. If you've played MK1 and/or 2 you should be able to figure out when it's set.


"...When I grow up, I want to be an alchemist," Claire proclaimed loudly, holding Penny's beribboned majorette staff aloft and twirling it in the air. "Like this, see-- swoosh, swoosh! And I'll do magic."

Penny snorted. "You're so freaking stupid, oh my gods. People don't be-- like, they don't even have alchemy schools any more. That sort of stuff doesn't exist."

"Oh, yeah? Well, why'd they have 'em in the past, then, if it doesn't exist?" Claire tapped the end of the staff on the ground, like she was preparing an incantation.

Penny snatched it back. "Don't do that with it, you'll get it all dirty. Anyway, it's like... oh, gods, how am I even supposed to know? I guess they just discovered it was all made up or something. Anyway, it's stupid, and you can't go to school for it. Just because you hate chemistry."

"It's not that I hate chemistry!" Claire snapped back. "I mean, yeah, Ms. Hartog is kind of a pain, but it's not like it's just that, or anything. It's just.... Oh, you wouldn't even understand! You're just dumb!" Throwing out her arms in a gesture of defeat, she turned around and stomped off. "I'm going home!" she added over her shoulder, unnecessarily. The words betrayed the tears in her voice.

"...Yeah, well, you're dumb!" Penny called after her, not caring. Great, now she'd have to wash off her baton. Well, if Claire wasn't going to hang out with her, she might as well go home and do that, before mom saw it and got mad....

"--G-gah! Sorry!", she said, flailing as whoever she'd accidentally bumped into sent her teetering off balance. She'd thrown out her arms instinctively, but it turned out not to be necessary; a thin, frail hand caught her by the elbow and, with some difficulty, guided her back to a standing position.

"Gee, thanks. Wasn't looking where I was going." She brushed off her dress, and looked up into the face of her benefactor. He was an old man, short and withered though still taller than her eight-year-old stature, with a receding shock of silver-grey hair. His ice-blue eyes were crinkled with pain, and remorse flickered in her heart. "I'm sorry... I didn't hurt you, did I?"

For a moment, he just stared at her, blankly, and she began to wonder if he was crazy. A lot of old people were crazy, especially ones who used to be so-called alchemists. She'd lost count of the times she'd overheard some toothless woman at the market rambling on about the "good old days", as if life had been better back then. You'd needed someone who'd locked themselves in a basement for three score years and ten just to make a healing potion, when nowadays anyone who'd done some half-decent scientific study could turn out medicines. Sure, they didn't shimmer like gold when they caught the light, or all that junk people talked about, but who cared? All that mattered was that you got better. It wasn't like pretty made a difference in healing someone up.

"...No, it's all right," he said eventually, in halting tones. "These days, what you say is quite true. ...I only wish that it weren't." Making an uncomfortable attempt to smile kindly at her, he continued off in the opposite direction, the way Claire had gone.

"...Wow, that's not even what I asked," she muttered, shaking her head as he doddered off. "Really was just another crazy old guy."

I only wish that it weren't. Was everyone she was going to run into today really this dumb? You'd have thought an old man would know better. "Yeah, well, if wishes were horses," she said to herself. As if alchemy, or wishing, had ever got anybody anywhere.


Vayne as an old human man is so horribly horribly sad. D: This image just got into my head and wouldn't go away....

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