THIS FANFICTION IS NOW CONSIDERED OUTDATED Survival of the Fittest is a Legacy Day fanfiction surrounding Airmid Valerian and her opinions on the event.
A certain British author once said, “expect the unexpected”. Another said, “to expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”
As the former author’s erratic and unpredictable book series paled in comparison to the wonderfully vivid works of the latter, I am ashamed to say my intellect was not thoroughly modern enough on Legacy Day.
Of course, few had expected the smashing of mirrors and the rip of the tome. And few expected the trigger of defiance to ignite in a mere second-year, whose face had been etched with dread only seconds before.
In the few hours preceding Legacy Day, I discussed wardrobe choices with my roommate, after we both returned from the dungeons, where we both had been presented with our precursor’s garments.
I held a plague doctor mask in my left hand, inspecting its smooth surface.
“That’s a certainly peculiar mask,” Luciana Carland, daughter of the Buried Moon, commented. She tilted her head to the left slightly, her tresses following the fall of the tilt.
“It was popularised during the Bubonic Plague,” I stated, running my hand along the beak. “Plague doctors donned them, and it has since been associated with similar emblems for death. It’s only appropriate for me, as the succeeding physician of Death, to exhibit this mask.”
She nodded slowly; as if she was trying to digest the information.
Luciana’s dress gave her a spectral appearance, the threaded beads illuminating the dimly lit dormitory. Opposed to her, I appeared formidable and daunting, with a long dark cloak wrapped around my shoulders and a plague doctor mask fixated on my face. Checked tights covered my legs completely dissolving into a pair of shoes with miniature skeletons as the heel.
“Well?” I asked, extending a gloved hand to my roommate. “Shall we make our way towards the podium?”
I found Scarlet Danseur, the next protagonist of the Red Shoes, soon enough. We exchanged a few polite words, the typical small talk, before advancing outside.
We filed into the seats orderly, first Luciana, then I, then Scarlet. We listened to Headmaster’s Grimm speech (which I was positive was a repeat of last year’s). I must have sneaked my phone out so many times during that speech, as it ran out of battery.
It had been incredibly uneventful until Raven Queen gestured grandly, before ripping out her own page, her own story.
“My own Happily Ever After starts now!”
The first to react had been the royalty. I heard death threats, vulgarities, shouts of distaste, and a few fainting bodies of princesses falling into the arms of princes. Raised fists rose from the sea of heads.
Commoners’ reactions varied. Some bit their bottom lip in nervous anticipation, others shrieked with delight. Nearby, a short blond boy, with rose motifs over his sleeves, was cheering, but streaks of tears ran down his face. “This is midsummer madness!” someone shouted loudly, but it was soon overtaken by a shout off "this is utterly spectacular!"
In both crowds, pinching was widespread. Yells of disbelief surfaced, followed by sighs of relief. “We hadn’t poofed! We hadn’t poofed!” Luciana said, a beam on her face. “Airmid, we’re still alive!”
I had always praised myself for my insight of daily happenings, but the next Evil Queen’s actions baffled me.
Didn’t she know how much she was risking?
Didn’t that girl have any sense?
Underneath my mask, my mouth dropped open.
That was when the sheet of ice hit us.
I don’t know how long it was until I broke free of the ice prison, but I returned to panicked shouts of Apple White and Raven Queen disappearing.
Never being too invested in the well being of the more famous tales, I frankly didn’t care. After raising the mask off my face, and levering it slightly above my eyes, I tapped Scarlet and Luciana on the shoulders and whispered a single word.
Thankful for my short statue, I stealthily ducked under arms and attempted to get out of the crowd as swiftly as possible. There was a high possibility that this could result in a riot, which could potentially be dangerous to my health.
Scarlet, Luciana and I all picked up our skirts, and rushed down to the docks, where the carriages and boats were awaiting. Us three all swiftly boarded one, and I silently locked the door of the boat behind us.
“So, what do you think?” Luciana asked nervously, her luminous eyes wide. “The only destiny-rewriting thing?”
Silence filled the boat, and all three of us awkwardly lowered our eyes. There was no doubt we were an odd group, all three of us subjected to painful destinies, such as a dying in a cave, being drowned underwater or having our heart explode.
While none of us had much of an intention following our predestined paths, we were all aware of the possible risks. Yet, as the young Evil Princess demonstrated, in front of the whole school, on that podium, today, such risks could be averted.
Perhaps. These things were unpredictable, erratic and seldom written in stone.
I grimaced, as the castle loomed closer overhead.
After the party, back in the dorm, I reached for my lighter, and pulled down on the lever. I lowered the flame onto a candle, before blowing it out. I focused on the smoke, watching it twirl in the air. I lit the candle again and repeated the procedure.
I breathed heavily several times, before sighing, finally calming down from the earlier calamity.
“I’m fine,” I whispered to no one. “I’m okay. It’s been a tolerable evening.”
I was far from fine. I wanted to see what my destiny held for me. I wanted to flip through the pages of the storybook. I wanted to hold my key – shaped like a skeleton crowned with flowers – and plunge it into the hole, securing my life.
I sighed again, rivers of thought slowly beginning to cloud my judgement once more.
However, wasn’t there also a possibility that I could still continue along the path destined for me while avoiding the menaces and hazards on such a journey. What if I could succeed to the role of the next physician on Death and somehow evade sacrificing my life to an ungracious prince or princess?
My eye’s flickered across the room. Luciana returned the nervous flicker of the eye. Scarlet, who was perching on Luci’s bed, imitated the expression.
“You’re afraid, both of us,” I said softly. “I’m on the same wavelength. I’m petrified. I’m scared witless! But life is simply a death match – survival of the fittest and whatnot. Furthermore, the only way species have survived this battleground was adapting, and I refuse to be deterred by change. I say, we’ll have to adapt to this unsystematic occurrence and cope with it.”
Yet another sigh escaped my throat. What else could I say?
This is where I bring my story to a close. This was the day when I began to question the harsh reality of my life, and the possibly occurring problems.
I never realised how little choice I had before today. It’s a shocking thought – and it disturbed me as I sat on my pillow, flickering my lighter on and off. The light of the flames danced on the walls, with a light resemble to wall paintings on a prehistoric cave.
I frowned. What if we were now moving backwards, away from the sense of order, which I had known and craved?
I placed my lighter now, before burrowing under my blankets. “If we are,” I whispered softly to myself. “I’ll have to adapt. It’s simply survival of the fittest.”