The Endgame

The world has always relied on him to save them, but who will save him?

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1. The Beginning of the End

The papers always seemed to say the same things, just using different words to disguise it all as being new. However, they seemed to share a likeness in their distance for the word ‘retire’, instead opting for synonyms such as break and vacation that don’t really mean retirement and allude that I will come back. But I won’t come back. There’s only so much a body and a mind can take. People often joke about feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, but if only they knew. If only they could feel the burden forced upon me, the expectations that restrain me. 

 

“Are you ready, Sir?” The girl had an air of pride to her. She was jittery, unable to stop moving. To speak plainly, she was excited. I couldn’t find it in me to blame her. I remember my first job, my first interview… My first kill. It all seemed so overwhelming. I finally had power, and my own will to wield it. At least, that’s what I thought. I don’t have the heart to tell her that for the rest of her life, she will be controlled by the public who claim to care about the safety of their people, but are unwilling to change anything to gain it. They’ll rely on you. They’ll rely on you to be everywhere and nowhere, to take risk after risk with nothing but criticism as a thank you. 

 

“Sir?” The girl was shifting anxiously, nervously waiting for her debut. Despite her doubts, I could feel the energy radiating off her. She was powerful. More powerful than I had ever been. Even in my prime, this girl could wave her hand and wipe me off the map. I stood up, ignoring the jolting pain in my knees. A life of sacrifice and all I had was the body of an ancient temple to show for it. Full of potential, falling apart. I gave her a smile, and gestured for her to come forth. I rested my hand on her shoulder.

 

“You’re a good kid. Do good things. Do good things for the world, for the people. Do good things for you, even if that means you’re not doing good things for the people. Look after yourself first. The world will always be miserable. But you… You can be happy.” She seemed taken aback by my words. By my honesty. Humbled by my sacrifice, but not scared. If anything, she seemed more at peace with herself. I couldn’t help but bask in the glow of my prodigy, my legacy. The girl who would carry on my work with more ease and poise than I was ever able to. The future of the universe, and all the universes beyond. She watched me evenly, intimidatingly considering she was exponentially younger than I.

Lights flashed and people gasped as we entered the room, all eyes on on. She held my hand, an act of respect. A gesture of pity. A plea for acceptance. I took my place at the head of the table, preparing to address my adoring public for the last time. I shuffled my notes, clearing my throat and turning to the girl beside me, gesturing for her to take a seat. 

Then, with a smile more malicious than any of the villains I had conquered in my lifetime she spoke. 

 

“Get up. You’re in my seat.”

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