Settle down, children. It's storytime with Nicki in which I give you part two of my short story A Chance at Death.
“Why would I believe you?” I ask again, my voice much quieter this time.
“Because I spoke the truth,” he says at last. His voice is soft as ever. A mere whisper.
Perhaps the reason I trusted him was because I didn’t think a monster could be so soft spoken.
I grit my teeth. “Do you truly expect me to believe that? Truly? After everything that happened? After you betrayed me? And you want me to believe that you had not planned to all along.”
“I hadn’t,” he says softly. “But… I couldn’t let you go through with it. I couldn’t let you sacrifice yourself-”
“Don’t pretend that you did this for me!” I cry surging to my feet.
I was born to die so that others could live. That was the destiny of my path. It had always been set out clearly before me even on the darkest of nights.
I may not have wanted it, but I had accepted it.
Now I had to accept the fact that it was gone. My destiny was gone. I am now no better than those with the soulless eyes. The ones who don’t have a destiny but are forced to wander through life, destroying everything.
Because how could anything good come from a person who has no true purpose?
“You’re right,” he says quietly. “I lied. I did not do it for you. I did it for myself. I am a selfish worthless creature, but I couldn’t lose you. So I saved your life.”
I pause in my steps, taking in his profile, praying for something, anything to show that he is lying. It would be so much easier to deal with the person who betrayed me for his wicked plans to succeed, than the person who betrayed himself for the girl to live. The person who let innocent people die at a great personal cost. It would be so much easier for me to believe that Hade is truly the person he seems and not the person I’ve come to believe he is.
But the truth of the matter is in the time that we have worked together to end the carnage before it could begin, ever since he came to my cottage and asked me to help him find a way to save my people from his people, we had become something more than simply companions. Than simply partners.
I’d hated him at first, when he barged into my quiet life like a harbinger of my death. He had claimed that his people, the Tibernans, were moving to war against my own peace loving people. His father the king had been assassinated and my people were blamed for it. He hadn’t realized until it was too late that it was his own power hungry counselors who had killed his father and blamed my people in the hopes of going to war. They wanted to ravish our lands and to steal our glowgems from under our earth. By the time he realized this though, he had already declared war and ordered his army to muster.
When he tried to rescind the orders, the counselors claimed that he had gone insane because of the grief. Everyone already knew that he had been born with a tempestuous type of magic. The headaches were because he tried to keep it in, tried to keep the magic from consuming everything in our world, including him. It was the perfect excuse to get him off the throne just long enough for conquest.
War was coming and he couldn’t stop his own people. So he came to me, his enemy, to help him find a way to stop the bloodshed.
I was considered the guardian of my people. A girl with rare magic that flowed through her veins. Magic that could be spread by blood. Mostly I healed people by giving them a drop of my blood, but I had always known what my destiny was.
When I was born, a mage with magic that could see into the future, saw my fate. I was to save everyone, but only by destroying myself.
It was obvious what that meant. I was to bleed out and thus completely release my magic on the world. I could save them, but only if I died.
And so I was my people’s protector because they knew as long as I lived, I could save them. And that was why the Prince of Tibernan had sought me out.
Naturally, I hadn’t wanted to die. I had considered him my villain for forcing my hand. For being the person behind my ultimate demise.
But he was fighting just as hard to save my people as I was. And as we spent more time together, traveling as I tried to find some way to save my people without having to die. I started to fall for him.
I think the moment that happened was when I heard his laugh for the first time. The thrill I had felt knowing that I was the one to make him laugh was unlike anything that I had ever felt before.
I had fought to ignore my rising feelings, constantly reminding myself of who he was, of who I was supposed to be. I was the sacrifice and he was the person who made it so that I had to be such. But it was no good.
I saw that there was good in him.
I hadn’t been ready to die until I met him. Until I realized that dying would save this kind but lost boy from becoming a monster.
When the time came that the Tibernans moved against my people, I had been ready. I had gripped that knife in my hand and I had buried it into my stomach. I’d closed my eyes and prayed for my spirit to be quickly carried to the underworld. Then I’d bled. But apparently somewhere along the line he had decided that my sacrifice wasn’t worth it. And so he had healed me instead.
And that’s what the problem is. I believe him when he says that he saved me because he couldn’t lose me. He didn’t do it because I was a fool and trusted the wrong person. He did it because we were both fools and we had trusted ourselves to do the right thing even when it was hard. And somehow that made it worse.
To be Continued...
Don't miss next week when you get the third and final part.