“Is this guy bothering you?” Lachesis asked. “Mm-hmm,” Lethe nodded, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Hah!” The demon laughed, “You’re such a dumbass you called the wrong Fate!” “Oh, she called the wrong Fate, alright,” Lachesis said, “For you.” “Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?” The demon sneered. He started laughing. “Oh, I get it now,” he said, “The punchline is that you think I’m afraid of you.” “No,” Lachesis said, “The punchline is that you aren’t. And trust me, it’s a real knee-slapper.” “Are you really so useless that you have nothing more important to do than… whatever it is you’re doing right now?” The demon asked. “Nothing is more important to me than keeping Lethe safe,” Lachesis said, I will protect her from you by any means, necessary or otherwise.” “What’re you gonna do?” the demon asked, sarcastically, “Measure me?” “I will tell you to sincerely apologize to Lethe for the trouble you’ve caused her, then leave this place immediately.” Lachesis said, deathly serious, “And if your life as any value to you, you will do exactly as I tell you.” “Y’know, everyone knows you’re kind of a loser,” the demon said, “But I really wasn’t prepared for how pathetic you are.” “I want you to remember those words,” Lachesis said, “When you’re begging me for your life, I want you to remember that you called me pathetic. I want to see your eyes fill with despair and regret as you remember that you signed your own death warrant.” “See?” The demon said, “You say shit like that with a straight face and it’s just… It’d almost be cute, if it weren’t so sad. You’re trying to hard to be tough and scary like your big sis but you’re not. Maybe you don’t realize, but she doesn’t dote on all of us like she does her precious baby sister. I’ve seen firsthand how cruel Atropos can be, and compared to that, nothing you say or do can faze me.” “My sister isn’t cruel!” Lachesis said, briefly betraying her anger before returning to her façade of composure, “She is practical. When someone working for her makes a mistake, she punishes them, so they never make that mistake again. This makes them more effective workers, which is the only value your life has to her. But I am cruel. I am not practical. And your death has more value to me than your life has to Atropos.” “Save your threats,” the demon said, “They won’t work. If you want me gone, you’ll have to remove me yourself. Or was all that tough talk just a bluff?”
Lachesis sighed as she removed her cape, and threw it up in the air with a dramatic flourish. She rushed at him and swung her rod at his head before he could react. Her attack landed, but he didn’t budge. “Is that all you got?” he taunted, “That almost hurt.” Lachesis said nothing as she deftly moved behind him and struck his legs to knock him off his feet. But he stood firm. She continued attacking, each strike and step part of a meticulously choreographed flurry of blows to strike from every possible angle and distance. The demon couldn’t keep up with her movements, but he didn’t need to; even as her attacks slipped through his defenses, they were too weak to injure him. Finally, she ended her assault with the same attack she started with. She swung at his head once more, but this time, he caught it, yanked it away from her, and headbutted her as she stumbled toward him, knocking her off balance. “That’s some real fancy footwork,” he said, “If you weren’t so weak, maybe I’d actually be afraid.” He swung her rod at her head, just as she had done, but when his attack connected, she cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground. “See, that’s how you do it,” he said, throwing her rod to the ground. Just as she got back on her feet, he punched her in the gut, causing her to double over, then hit her with an uppercut, sending her stumbling backwards. He continued punching her, again and again. His attacks had no rhyme or reason, only blind fury. He finished his combo by punching her in the face with all his strength, sending her flying back several feet onto the ground.
“I hope you learned a valuable lesson,” the demon said, “You’re weak. You think if you’re fast enough, or tricky enough, you can win a fight, but you can’t. Strength is all that matters.” As he turned to walk away, Lachesis stood back up. “I’m not done with you yet,” she said. “You still haven’t had enough?” the demon asked, “Fine. Say, if I kill you does that mean I become a Fate? Is that how it works?” “Nothing happens,” Lachesis said, “Or maybe anything? Doesn’t matter. You won’t kill me.” “You insolent-” the demon muttered, “I’m ending this! Ultimate Hell Fist!” Violet flames ignited around his hand as he threw his entire body into the killing blow, which landed with a loud crack.
Lachesis stood entirely motionless as the demon cried out in pain. His hand broke as if he had just punched a stone wall. “What the Hell?” He asked, “How did you-” Lachesis’ cape, which had remained in the air since she threw it at the start of the fight, drifted down onto his face. It began to unravel, its threads moving on their own to bind him. In mere seconds, he was bound in a cocoon with only his face visible, suspended by a single thread. “Wh-what have you done?” he asked. “Won the fight,” Lachesis said, regaining some of her cheerful demeanor, “Obviously.” “But how did you survive my Ultimate Hell fist like it was nothing?” he asked. “Probably because, to me, it was like nothing,” Lachesis said. “I… I don’t understand,” he said. “I don’t understand why you don’t understand,” Lachesis said, “It should be very easy to understand that I, one of the most powerful beings in the universe, can take a punch. Unless…” She gasped in mock surprise. “Hold on a second,” she said, gleefully, “Did you think you were actually hitting me? And that I was hitting you? Did you think we were fighting?” She laughed maniacally. “But… but I was hitting you!” the demon said, “I could feel it!” “I mean, kind of?” Lachesis said, “But it was more like your fist touched me and then I moved exactly the way that I would if you really had, y’know, hit me.” “But… but how?” he asked, desperately. “I can measure your movements exactly,” Lachesis said, “It’s kind of my thing. And it should really go without saying that I stopped all of my attacks before they actually hit you, yeah?” “Why?” He asked. “To hurt you,” Lachesis said, her voice suddenly devoid of any emotion, “And to demonstrate how far I am willing to go to hurt you. I could have destroyed you at any moment, but I went along with that whole farce, put up with all that humiliation, just to build up your hopes a little more, so that it’d be all the more painful when they were dashed. Would Atropos do that?” The demon was too scared to speak. “Luckily for you,” Lachesis said, back to her bubbly self, “I’m more merciful than her. I’ll let you go if you apologize.” “I’m-”
Before he could say any more, the threads that bound him shifted, constricting his neck and pinning him to the ground. “What was that?” Lachesis asked, cupping her hand to her ear, “I can’t hear you!” He desperately struggled to speak, but the knot around his neck was too tight. “Seriously, after all that, you still won’t apologize?” Lachesis asked, “Talk about stubborn. Well, I guess it can’t be helped.” As the sounds of his struggle started to fade, Lachesis undid the bonds with a snap of her fingers. “I’m sorry,” he sobbed, after several seconds of gasping for air. “That’s too bad,” Lachesis said, “I kind of already made up my mind about killing you. If you didn’t want to die, you probably would’ve apologized sooner, y’know?” “Please, no,” he begged, “Please. Please don’t kill me!” “Don’t you hate when you remember that you were supposed to remember something, but you don’t remember what it was?” Lachesis asked, “That ever happen to you?” Lachesis smiled as she saw his eyes fill with despair and regret. “No, please,” he sobbed, “I was wrong! I take it back! Just, please let me live.” Lachesis burst into laughter. “Lighten up, dude,” she said, “I’m just messing with you.” “R-really?” The demon asked. “No”
Lachesis cracked his skull open with a single blow from her rod. She couldn’t tell if he was dead. She didn’t care. She struck him again. And again. The threads that bound him, now stained red, slowly wove themselves back into her cape around her shoulders. All the while, she kept hitting him. Again and again. Until he had long since stopped moving. And again. And again. Until she could no longer see what remained of him through her tears. And again.
She only stopped when she heard a muffled sob. Her heart dropped as she realized its source. “Lethe…” She dropped her rod as she ran to Lethe. The sight of Lethe recoiling from her hurt more than any of the demon’s attacks. “I’m scared,” Lethe said. “It’s OK, sweetie,” Lachesis said, reassuringly, “He’s gone, now. He can’t hurt you.” “I’m scared of you, Auntie Sis,” Lethe said. “I will never hurt you,” Lachesis said, “Remember? It’s OK if you forget everything else, just… please remember that I will always love you. Your aunties will always protect you.” “But…” Lethe cried, “But why did you…” “I’m sorry I made you see all that, sweetie,” Lachesis said, “I got so angry at him, that I just…” she realized the terrible significance of her next word just before she said it. “forgot you were here.” “You forgot?” Lethe asked, “Does that mean that it’s my fault?” “No, of course not,” Lachesis lied, “none of the bad things that happen to you are ever your fault. But it’s all over now. Everything is OK now.” “Then why don’t I feel OK?” Lethe asked. “I…” Lachesis hugged Lethe tightly. It was the only answer she could think to give. Lethe hugged her back. “I remember now…” Lethe said, “right before I forgot, you told me that you would love me forever. And I said that I would too. I love you, Auntie Lachesis. Forever.” “That’s right,” Lachesis said, “That’s why everything is going to be OK. All of this was just a bad dream. Just close your eyes and fall asleep. And when you wake up, everything will be OK.”