201 The loser
Something many people didn't really know about Ellie, she always hated losing.
From the very first day since she entered school she always realized that she wasn't as good as the other kids.
She wasn't the most athletic at gyms class, she wasn't the best artist in drawing class, she was bad with numbers, she had trouble memorizing the names of countries, and she would often make many grammatical mistakes when trying to write.
Most of her family was very supportive and would just comment that she didn't need to worry so much and just keep trying. But the thing is, Ellie always noticed that most of the other kids didn't seem to have as much trouble as her.
They all seemed to have at least one skill that they exceeded in class while Ellie had none. Everyone had at least one good reason to look forward to school, one subject that they had some fun in doing because they could handle it with ease.
But for Ellie, school just sucked. She felt like she wasn't good at anything at all. And the more others succeeded, the more of a failure she felt.
She begged her parents to stop going to school many times, but they all just insisted that she would eventually find that one thing she was good at.
Ellie waited, and waited, and waited, just hoping that one day she would be better at something than the others, but nothing ever happened.
It reached a point where she eventually just gave up and assumed she would never be able to win at anything. Everyone would always be a little bit better than her at anything she tried.
That is until she got a score on one of her assignments that made her feel something she never felt before.
Once, while she was around the age of seven, her teacher handed her the result of a project and spouted words Ellie never imagined she would hear.
"Congrats, Ellie! You had the best score in the class!"
"... ... ... Wait, what!!??" Ellie gasped as she looked at the piece of paper she had just received. It was an assignment to compose a fantasy story for the writing class.
There were comments addressing a few errors in her grammar, but also addressing how the teacher was impressed with her creativity, storytelling structure, and ability to make her characters feel alive.
Ellie touched the paper almost wondering if that was even real. This was the first time she was praised for anything to this extent. She came home that day and wouldn't stop talking about her score to her parents who were clearly very proud of her.
She assumed that writing would, at last, be the course the gave her the motivation to go to school, but once she received her next score, her heart shattered.
"Miss Tulip...? Why did I get such a low score...??" the girl asked while wondering if the entire class was in the same boat as her.
"Sorry, Ellie... I liked your ideas, but this wasn't meant to be focused on fantasy this time... The intention was to write a drama addressing the conflict of being too attached to electronic devices... And while I loved your concept of turning the phone into a giant monster that devours the entire city... It didn't really tackle the issues we requested..." her teacher explained.
"Oh..." Ellie replied.
This was also a new feeling for her. Not only did she got her first victory, but she also got her victory taken from her.
She assumed she could just do the same thing she was good at over and over and people would just shower her with praise for it. But it turns out, that wasn't the case.
Something snapped inside of Ellie. She lost again, and not just that, she lost at something she knew she was good at, something she knew if she had tried a little harder, she could have succeeded. If only she had paid more attention, paid a little more effort to what she had to do, she could have done a better job.
This was somehow worse than losing for not being good enough. She lost while being good enough, but being too cocky on herself to do it properly.
After that, Ellie decided to try harder, to make sure she never would feel that same anguish again. If she failed, it would not be because she didn't try hard enough.
"Next time... For sure..." she whispered.
The same thing happened again to Ellie years later.
She found out about the actual existence of magic after hanging out so much with her aunt and even realized that she herself could be a mage as well. Not only that, but it also seemed that she was good at it. She had a skill that no other mage had, the ability to copy the skills from others, and use it herself, allowing her to utilize many different powers.
An idea began to blossom on her mind, the idea that she wasn't just good, but in fact, really, really good. Everyone just kept looking so impressed with the things she could do. She even met a talking frog that said she should be able to take on anyone in a fight if she wanted.
And with that concept stuck on her head, she just decided to go after the biggest threat she could find and try to take on her, which soon proved to be a massive mistake as she realized that, while she did have a lot of power, she was incredibly amateurish to the concept of fighting and got demolished in an absolutely one-sided battle.
To make matters worse, her defeat didn't just affect her, it affected pretty much the whole world. Once again she was over her head just because she wanted to feel the taste of victory one more time.
Ellie was demoralized. She started to think that maybe she just wasn't meant to be good at things and maybe should let others who know what they are doing handle it. People that can actually pull it off properly.
But her mindset changed once again after she entered the garden.
The garden was a gigantic place full of dangers that Ellie had entered in order to improve her skills in combat. She decided to enter it mostly as an obligation since she felt she needed to try and clean her own mess.
But a voice inside kept whispering, what if she fails again? What if she makes things even worse? What if she is taking a job that is too big for her to handle? What if she ends up disappointing more people? What if it would be better if she just disappeared so she couldn't mess it up even more?
And then, she saw it. A new form of achievement.
She saw her aunt's maid, Detra, filled with pain and anguish and trying everything she could to distance herself from others.
At the time, Ellie wondered if there was something she could do for her, something that maybe could help ease her situation, as well as trying to improve the mood with her friends while they explored the garden. So she made a small suggestion to them, she asked if they could try to make peace with each other.
She wanted to try something, anything to help them, and to her shock, it actually worked. Detra apologized to Lilith and Marcus and they both accepted her feelings.
Ellie just looked at the sight of Detra and Marcus sharing a deep hug and couldn't help but feel a little proud of herself while thinking 'I did this!' as she kept thinking about how she helped create this moment.
It was another victory. Her victory. Something much more fulfilling than defeating a big monster or surpassing some projected image from the memories of the garden. Not something she was told to do and how to do it. It was something she did because she wanted and because it worked.
Ellie finally remembered what the feeling of winning was like. To look at something you wanted so bad but almost didn't feel you could ever acquire.
Her motivation returned after that. The burning sensation of wanting to see her family back once again, to see everyone she loved safe and sound. This was the next victory she wanted, and she had no intention of backing down on that.
"How are you doing this...??" Flora asked while gazing at the mirror mage and her army of golems made of diamonds.
"Doing what...?" Ellie replied.
"I can't feel any agony from you... No fear, no sorrow, no anger..."
Ellie just smiled, "that's because I have no doubt that I'm going to win!"
Flora glared at Ellie, "you think you can beat me?? By yourself??"
"Have you not seen my awesome diamond army?? I'm not by myself!!"
The golems began to charge at Flora, who tried to intercept them with her own army of clones of herself.
The giant plant women tried to grab the diamond dolls but they simply tore them apart with their silver weapons by either punching them of shooting their weak spots.
Flora tried to hold them down with her vines by tying them all down and throwing them off the mountain one after another.
"This is MY home!!! I'm not gonna let you defeat me like this!!" Flora declared.
Ellie then rushed through the grass while Flora was busy handling her golems and made a huge leap with her legs boosted by the power of the silver greaves she created to hop on the Flora clones as stepping stones until she reached the real one sitting on the core.
"Yes, you are!!" Ellie stated as she created a gauntlet made of diamonds and punched Flora in the face with all her strength.
Ellie began to fall but was suddenly grabbed by the hand of another Flora who was now holding her like a toy.
"Why must you continue to bother me with your endless resistance!!??" Flora asked while she slammed Ellie into the ground.
Ellie, however, covered her skin with metal to survive the impact and gave her reply, "because I'm sick of losing all the time!!"
She then slapped the floor and made a diamond pillar appear and stab Flora in the torso, forcing her to free Ellie.
"I lost everything that mattered to me!! I've been losing and losing ever since I began to think just because I have magic I could just do anything!! I don't want to lose ever again!!! I don't want to see the people I love having to pay for my mistakes ever again!!!" Ellie shouted.
She slammed the floor one more time and another golem appeared, one much bigger than before, about Flora's size.
"You think you had a bad day just because people barged into your house?? I've been getting monsters that shoot lightning, spirits possessing my family, crazy girls that don't age, and on top of that, even caused my own aunt to lose her body!!"
Flora then realized that Ellie's golem wasn't stopping growing. It actually began to tower her by this point.
"But I'm not going to run away! I'm going to face my problems and win over every single one of them!! Not just for me, but also for the people that count on me!! I have too much to lose to let you stop me now!!! I know I can be better, and I WILL BE BETTER!!" Ellie announced as her golem finally stopped growing.
It didn't look like her aunt thought, for the first time, her creation was looking like her, a giant Ellie made of diamonds. Ellie was no longer trying to just be like the people she admired, she was finally admiring herself and taking pride in who she was.
Ellie then began to whisper "I'm the weapon, I'm the weapon, I'm the weapon...", and took the form of a huge metal dagger for her golem to hold.
"You gotta be kidding me!!" Flora shouted.
The giant diamond girl then charged at the plant woman and slashed her body with the real Ellie.