I gulped, eyeing my sword sitting mockingly at the end of the Spirit Guardian's cloak and the start of the tips of the grass I had accidently burned.
"You don't need to fight me Flame Thrower,” said the Spirit Guardian, pronouncing each word as slowly as if it were directed at a child.
"Why? Are you afraid I'm gonna burn your ancient arse," I grinned, daring to take a small step forward. She shook her head.
Rolling my eyes I jerked forward to grab the hilt of my jewelled sword.
"Arrogance is a gift of bravery," I laughed as I pushed the weapon into the Guardian, almost nicking her fair skin only to see her disappear into a thick cloud of emerald green smoke.
Behind me this time, I thought mechanically as if I was a part of the machinery they used in the grand clock towers in the capital rather than a normal human being. I guess I was a cog in that sense, something replaceable in an enormous network of something beyond my understanding. I twisted my body as fast as my reactions and wandering thoughts could manage, only to slash the blade again into thin air.
“You don't need to fight me Queen Of A Hundred Years."
But I did need to fight her. I was a queen and my duty as queen was to protect my people. To protect my people I needed the key to life and she held the key. She was refusing to give it to me. Reminding myself of my motives, I lunged forward again.
"You don't need to fight Masked Immortal..."
"My name is Amara Howare and I do not appreciate these stupid names," I shouted. In reality, I knew I didn't care about her names. People could call me ‘Queen Ximena’, ‘The Robber Amara’, they could call me ‘Witch’ or ‘The Devil’ but it didn't matter a bit because, in the end, they would all end up under the same blade.
Somewhere buried within the deep chasms of my head, the thought did flash that all I was doing was trying to stop her from stating the quite obvious truth that I so very much was not willing to hear. However, quickly enough I locked the thoughts away and threw away the key, reapplaying the smirk upon my face.
I fumbled for another dagger hidden in the cloth of my ceremonial dress.
"There is another way," she replied.
"Your blood and the key in my hands is the only way for thousands of generations who have and will be dead because of me to live. I need to die and I'm sorry, but you need to too. Huh... I take that back. I'm not very sorry," I grabbed the collar of her silver silk tunic and spat, "You were the one who made me immortal in the first place."
"Open your ears Amara Howare," said the Spirit Guardian gently unaffected by my vicious tone of voice, "Listen to me."
I stayed silent but let my dagger waver over her pale neck.
"Inside there is a hero," she smiled.
"Heroes don't exist."
No-one was pure enough to be good and be noble in all of their actions, I thought, pushing the dagger on her skin until it allowed a faint line of glowing white blood to form. Pure black or white didn't exist, just different shades of grey.Besides, the very definition of me was that I wasn't a hero.
Remembering the moment Elias, my former husband, reluctantly showed me the prophecy from Delephia, I reminded myself that I was doing the right thing.
Darkness will grasp the Immortal's heart and she will rise from the flames until all that will be left is ashes.
I couldn’t kill anyone if I am dead. Elias would live, so would my friends and so would my people.
"No... No. Amara Howare,” the Spirit Guardian said shaking her head full of a flock of long black curls, ignoring the fact that this very action caused more blood to seep down from the cut I created in her neck.
“ The true hero is not someone who is pure at heart but someone who can admit their weaknesses and their many faults. Someone who can not only accept them but also learn to live with them, to do good with them. The true hero is the one that can fight the darkness (because everyone is dark) and make that midwinter night into a day brighter than anything." she explained, as if she were listening to my thoughts- though I wasn’t nearly as angry about her invasion of privacy than I would have been a mere hour back.
"There is still another way,” she repeated before disappearing into another thick cloud of emerald green smoke. The masked grin I had been wearing for so very long turned to a delicate, almost childlike frown.
The knife dropped and I let the rattle of it against the stone echo an eternity lost in running.
Of course there was another way. There was always another way. I was not defined by anything, why should I be defined by a prophecy. I could be good, I had morals. I could be a heroine. How could I be so bloody stupid? I already was half a one.