Though Nightmare’s summoning of souls had been stopped by brave warriors and valiant heroes, his massacre throughout Europe did not cease.
Soul Edge’s grip on Nightmare had weakened considerably, and the knight underneath the dark armor had regained self-consciousness after submitting himself to the blade years before, but it was not nearly enough to break the hold completely. There was now a clear dichotomy that constantly struggled for supremacy of Nightmare’s body: Siegfried, the knight who ached for redemption and freedom from the wicked blade’s lure, and Inferno, the essence of Soul Edge who demanded the harvesting of lives to feed its insatiable appetite for blood and souls.
The massacres were allowed to continue because the blade that acted as Soul Edge’s antithesis, the Soul Calibur, had become damaged in the fateful battle that temporarily halted the summoning of souls. The Soul Calibur had only recently awakened when it clashed with its counterpart, who had been active for several years gathering its strengths. When Soul Edge found its current owner, it released a shockwave across the world that allowed its evil to draw forth potential hosts and victims for it to controle and consume. This phenomenon was called the “Evil Seed.”
Soul Calibur had no such influence, at least not at that time. As the spirit that powered Soul Calibur struggled against the evil taint that the more mature Soul Edge spread upon it, it realized that in order to counter the influence of the evil sword, it too would have to spread its influence. To that end, it was able to detect the youth that lay beneath Nightmare’s armor, and learn about him through the brief time it clashed with Soul Edge.
Although Soul Calibur had not yet fully awakened when it fought with Nightmare, it was able to stay evenly matched thanks to the purity of its wielder, Xianghua. Xianghua, like Nightmare, was a young warrior, only she was powered by kindness and compassion. Moreoever, the love she felt for her comrade Kilik further fueled her bravery, giving the Soul Calibur the strength it needed to put an end to Nightmare’s rampage, if only temporarily. With its power at its peak, Soul Calibur sent a shockwave of its own before it disappeared into the dark realm where Inferno dwelled.
“The Power of Love shall vanquish the Strength of Evil.”
Soul Calibur was the sister blade of Soul Edge, and thus, many of those affected by Soul Edge heard this decree. For most, the call was dismissed as something imagined...but something did heed the call and took it as gospel. It was not a human or animal, but a sword that had been given life by the power of Soul Edge, so that it may one day be used against it. This sword was the Ivy Blade, wielded by the countess Isabella ‘Ivy’ Valentine.
Ivy had taken arms so that she may one day annihilate Soul Edge, and the revelation that she had Soul Edge’ power in her bloodline did nothing to sway her from this quest. This made her a perfect candidate to test if Soul Calibur’s ambitions would work. The Ivy Blade listened to Soul Calibur’s final message before it was taken by darkness, and decided that it would follow the plan for the sake of its mistress.
Ivy had sworn a life of solitude following the death of her father, forsaking emotions such as love and mercy in her single-minded quest to destroy Soul Edge. But the Ivy Blade felt her heart ache every time she picked it up, secretly longing for the day that the curse would end and she could live life as a human woman once more. She might have put on a front of bloodthirstiness, but in the world she envisioned, she would have no need to pick up her sword or spent countless weeks locked away in her alchemy lab. Thus, the Ivy Blade decided that it would re-introduce love into her heart, determining it would please its mistress greatly.
Having been linked to her heart since it first breathed life into it, the Ivy Blade immediately knew what it had to do. Following her travels as one of Nightmare’s generals, she had seen glimpses of the man that lay beneath the armor: a fetching youth who would fondly refer to her as “my countess” whenever he had retained his consciousness. At the time, Ivy was unaware that the youth was the same wielder of Soul Edge that she once obeyed, as it was during one of the spells where Siegfried had attempted to distance himself from the blade, only to later fail.
It was only a faint spark of attraction that Ivy felt towards him, quickly forgotten about when they went their separate ways. But the spark still existed in her soul, and so the Ivy Blade took steps to ensure that spark was fanned into an uncontrollable flame. The sword saw Ivy as its caring mother, and so Nightmare was its father as he was the one who breathed life into it upon Ivy forging it. A child yearned for its mother and father to be happy together, and the Ivy Blade set out to do just that.
Ivy’s will was exceptionally strong, having resisted the call of Soul Edge countless times, so the Ivy Blade knew it could not sway her forcefully. Instead, the Ivy Blade waited for her to fall asleep, and then introduced to her pleasant dreams of being locked in a deep embrace with the knight who swore fealty to her. However, the Ivy Blade was not Soul Calibur or Soul Edge, and did not have the overpowering influence of the two blades. Therefore, the Ivy Blade’s good intentions came across differently.
Not only had the protocol of love and compassion been weaved into Ivy’s heart, but an overpowering lust for her knight’s affections and passion gave her desires a massive charge. By the time the Ivy Blade’s dream infusion was complete, Ivy had resolved to make Siegfried hers, and was fully confident that she would have absolutely no trouble doing so. She may have preferred to live in solitude, but she had been praised countless times for her magnificent beauty, and she knew what it took to use that beauty to her advantage.
Pleased with its work, the Ivy Blade then sent out a call to the Soul Edge that lay in Nightmare’s possession, knowing that the man that Ivy desired would be coming with it. As Nightmare made its way to the Valentine Mansion, Ivy sensed her lover’s approach and prepared what she determined would be her most provocative battle leathers yet. Ivy was not a woman who preferred to have a man take control of her in a relationship. She was a countess, and thus she would dominate her quarry before enjoying his succor.
Two weeks later, the doors of the Valentine Mansion opened to bring forth the curious knight that had somehow withheld his bloodlust long enough to arrive to Ivy’s doorstep without bringing a trail of bodies or vengeful villagers. This was not an accident, and was in fact another facet of Soul Calibur’s plan. After being cut down by Soul Calibur, Siegfried’s control over the Nightmare persona had grown exponentially, having stripped himself of the dark armor to reveal his majestic blonde mane and chiseled torso, marred by the mutated demonic arm that Soul Edge had given him as a way to brand him. Now Soul Edge only took control of him when the tormented youth succumbed to sleep, and the travel had made him weary.
But still, he remained focused as he entered the mansion, hoping to whatever God would listen that he did not cut down his host. The message that the Ivy Blade sent to him was one that promised him unspeakable pleasure that would to a cure to his ailments. If the message had led him here, than Siegfried was certain that such a message came from the countess he had encountered in the past. It seemed odd to him that she would summon him here, as she never seemed particularly enthusiastic about inviting him anyplace that she was going.
“Taking off your armor for me? Really, love, you know just what a woman wants…”
Ivy’s voice echoed through the corridors of the mansion, but it was different the haughty, condescending tone she usually used with opponents. Her voice was soothing this time, and rich with a seductive implication that made Siegfried’s spine shiver. “Countess,” Siegfried remembered his manners as a knight and knelt down as he saw the shadow of his host emerging. “It is...good to see you again. Forgive my indelicacy, but the wicked blade is too dangerous to-ACK!”
It was a moment of humane vulnerability that the Ivy Blade took advantage of, splintering apart from its hilt at his mother’s hip and ensnaring its father. The blades and the rope holding the blades together bound itself the young man, separating him from Soul Edge and forcing him to his feet. It was a strong binding, and Siegfried struggled mightily to get out of it...but only for a few moments. Once the Ivy Blade’s wielder emerged from the shadows entirely, he became far more hesitant to try and get away.
He had known Ivy as a woman of peculiar fashion, but Ivy’s attire this evening seemed to be chosen strictly to tempt him. Her already-indecent attires had been further reduced to a point where it was tailor-made to accentuate her curves and skin, to a point where she might have actually been showing more skin than the topless Siegfried. Furthermore, there was a curious odor permeating off of her body, one that made his heart flutter. Was this...a love potion?
It became difficult for Siegfried to not think about Ivy’s body, and instead he looked to her face. The countess’ visage was somehow even more breathtaking than the rest of her, and her lips seemed to glow with a blue tinge as she smiled at him while sauntering over to him. “Indelicate, you say? For someone who has taken so many lives, you still sound like a little boy.”
“C...countess,” Siegfried had difficulty forming words. For the past several years, his mind had been a constant struggle between his own consciousness and that of the wicked blade Soul Edge, but now his mind was completely his own...and his mind now told him to let Ivy do as she pleased in anticipation of something pleasant. “This is not...this is not necessary…”
“Oh, but I think it is, love,” Ivy placed her hand on Siegfried’s cheek and looked deep into his eyes, taking delight in how they wavered. “I am your countess, yes? Is it not the knight’s duty to tell the countess of anything that may interest her...like you being the wielder of Soul Edge?”
“...you don’t seem displeased,” Siegfried said quietly, his thoughts trailing off in her eyes.
The Ivy Blade loosened its grip so that its mistress could wrap her arms around the knight, pressing her ample bosom against his chest with skin making contact with skin. Her hand placed itself on his rear, and her leg wrapped around his to make it clear that she was now in complete control. Ivy fully intended to enjoy Siegfried, and she didn’t doubt that Siegfried would enjoy her, as well...so long as she made it clear that she was the one dominating him and not the other way around.
“Of course not, love...because you’re still a boy, and boys let their pride get in the way of propriety,” she hummed before leaning in and focusing on Siegfried’s lips. “I bind you because it’s for your own good. Soul Edge took you when you were still a boy, and a boy you have remained. Now...now I will turn you into a man…”
Ivy’s lips gently pressed against Siegfried’s and locked him into a deep kiss. As she did so, she took amusement in how hesitant he was in accepting it, not entirely sure what to do when her kiss started to dancing across his mouth. As a warrior, he as scarred and corrupted, but as a lover he was untouched and unbreached. Ivy delighted in how she would be the one to claim that purity, to completely tame the heart of the so-called Nightmare and turn him into the dream she had about him.
Siegfried sank into the daze and finally returned the kiss, and it was here that Soul Calibur’s decree took effect. By fanning the spark of love into a flame, the traces of Soul Calibur that were etched into Siegfried’s flash reawakened and quickly went to work, driving out Soul Edge’s curse to make room for the rush of emotion and passion filling his heart. Further expediting the process were Ivy’s lips, having been cleansed of Soul Edge’s will by the Ivy Blade that now housed Soul Calibur’s purifying light.
Ivy deepened the kiss further as she gave herself completely to her passion, and forced Siegfried to match her while his mutated arm slowly reverted into a form that resembled something human. He could feel his heart race against her breasts, and the Ivy Blade’s binding around him loosened so that he could wrap his own hand around her bottom. The Ivy Blade had successfully severed Siegfried’s link with Soul Edge, not wanting the wicked blade to get in the way of his parents’ happiness.
When Siegfried wrapped both his hands around Ivy, the countess knew that she had won. She slowly broke the kiss and opened her eyes, smiling at how her quarry had become so enamored with her that it took him a few extra moments to realize the kiss had ended. As he opened his eyes, Ivy ran her fingers through his long hair and whispered another seduction in his ear. “You do realize I’m a lady, yes? If you want more, I have a bedroom chamber waiting for us, or a large bath if you’d prefer…”
Still, Siegfried was in no rush to end the embrace, so Ivy placed one of her hands around his and lifted it up to show him her handiwork. Instead of the hand being a deformed monstriosity, Siegfried’s right hand was now a clearly human as hers. He briefly snapped out of whatever pleasure high Ivy had given him and realized that, as the fog of desire was fading, that Inferno was no longer a presence in his mind. He opened his mouth to say something as his eyes filled with jubilance, but Ivy pressed a finger on his lips.
“I told you, dear knight, that I would turn you into a man,” Ivy hummed while her Ivy Blade released Siegfried entirely, allowing him the freedom to completely wrap his arms around her and laugh in joy. Before this encounter, Siegfried and Ivy were little more than acquaintances, and they would have probably been enemies if given enough time to contemplate their links to the hated Soul Edge. But the Ivy Blade’s plan had worked marvelously: its parents were now happy, and soon they would be able to look forward to an eternity of devotion to one another.
Siegfried broke the embrace and kneeled in front of his countess, swearing fealty to her in gratitude. Although Soul Edge had been dropped to the floor not far from them, it was now the farthest thing from the young man’s mind. What mattered now was pleasing his countess that freed him from his nightmare, and Ivy seemed most pleased indeed with how willingly he allowed her to work her wiles on him.
“Follow me, love. I’ll have my butler prepare a bath for you before we continue our waltz…”
Remembering propriety, Siegfried nodded his head before following Ivy deeper into the mansion. In her eagerness to reap the affections of the man she had ensnared, Ivy had left her beloved sword behind, and it sprang to life once more once it no longer detected the prescene of its parents. Using the holy power that Soul Calibur granted upon it to begin, the Ivy Blade constricted itself around Soul Edge and froze its evil soul solid with cooling holiness. Soul Edge was the reason its mistress was so tormented in the first place, and thus the Ivy Blade wreaked vengeance in her name.
As Soul Edge’s evilness faded, rendering the blade dormant and harmless, the Ivy Blade also fell into a slumber, content that it had fulfilled its mission and waiting for the day that it could serve its parents again...