Chapter 85

“Do you think I’m wrong?” Stella asked, tilting her head.

“No. I don’t think so,” Vur said. “Might makes right. I know Mom and Grimmy have slaughtered countless people out of anger, Dad too. It’s their fault for being too weak. Those people wouldn’t have died if they were stronger.”

Stella smiled. “I had a feeling you’d understand me,” she said.

“But,” Vur said and sipped his tea, “that doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad for the people you’ve killed.”

Stella raised an eyebrow. “Well aren’t you unexpectedly kind? I didn’t expect you to be so sympathetic to the plight of the humans.”

Vur shrugged. “They have families,” he said. “People care for them and feel sad when they lose them, just like you did when you lost your children. I realized it in the dream Lindyss placed me in for ten years, how much it hurts to lose people who are close to you. I must’ve watched Tafel, Mom, Aunty, Grimmy, Yella, and everyone else die hundreds of times because of me.” Vur sighed. “You’d think it would hurt less after the first few times, but it doesn’t. It hurts just as much, if not more.”

Stella frowned and looked down at the reformed teacup in her hand. Images of her fallen children replayed themselves in her head. A tear sprang in the corner of her eye that she quickly wiped away. She pouted and looked up at Vur. “Don’t act so moral and righteous now, you hypocrite” she said. “The food you eat has family too, you know? What about all the bear cubs that’ll never see their mother again because you got hungry?”

“That’s different,” Vur said. “Killing to eat is necessary for me to continue living to keep my family happy. Killing to make others sad is just not nice.”

“I’m not killing just to make others sad,” Stella said and crossed her arms, “although it is a nice bonus. I’m getting revenge for my children.”

“You’ve already avenged them,” Vur said. “I know you captured the demons’ royal family. The other humans did nothing wrong.”

Stella looked down. The two sat in silence as they drank their tea. A strong wave of magic brushed over them and sent chills down their arms.

“Hey,” Stella said, eyes still downcast. Vur looked up from his empty cup. “If I die, will you take care of my children?” she asked and raised her head. “They did nothing wrong.”

Vur nodded. “I will.”

Stella smiled and raised her hand. A white rose bloomed, its roots wrapping around her arm. “A reward,” she said and extended her palm towards him, “for accepting my task.”

“I don’t need a reward for helping a friend,” Vur said and shook his head.

“Then a favor,” Stella said and brought the flower closer to Vur. Vur extended his hand and the flower’s roots crawled onto his palm, wrapping themselves around his arm. It crawled along his body until the rose migrated over his heart. “Take care of me in my next life, okay?”

Vur pat Stella on the head and nodded before standing up. The mist blocking the door dispersed as he approached it. He walked past the door and rounded a bend. A figure grabbed his arm.

“You’re not going to fight?” Lindyss asked, staring at the rose on Vur’s chest.

Vur shook his head. “It’s your fight,” Vur said and gazed into Lindyss’ eyes.

Lindyss furrowed her eyebrows, but let go of his arm. She walked past Vur and continued down the path until she reached Stella’s chambers.

“Friend, huh?” Stella said to herself and smiled as she watched Vur leave. “There’s just one more person I have to get rid of to avenge my children. You.” She stared at Lindyss who appeared at the entrance to the room.

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Vur sat with his back against the tunnel wall. His body shook as vibrations ran from the wall into his body as explosions and crashes resounded in the room behind him. He raised his head and saw Charon walking towards him with Rella and Bella sitting on his shoulders. Tafel dragged her feet as she walked behind him with her eyes locked onto the floor ahead of her.

“Hmm.” Charon hummed and rubbed his chin. “We’ve accomplished the tasks we set out for. Why do you two look like we lost?”

Rella and Bella flew off of Charon’s shoulders and hovered in front of Vur. “Is that-?” Rella asked and turned to look at Bella with wide eyes. They stared at the flower blooming on Vur’s chest.

“It is,” Bella said and gasped. She clutched her chest. “He feels like how Mom used to be, before she got taken away.”

Vur ignored the fairies in front of him and turned his head towards Tafel. She sat with her back leaning against the wall opposite of Vur. Her knees were bent in front of her chest and her head was buried in her knees with her arms hugging her shins. Vur stood up and brushed past the fairies before sitting down next to Tafel. He placed a hand on her head and started to smooth out the tangles in her hair.

The two fairies glanced at each other and then turned towards Charon. He shrugged. “I’m going to watch the battle,” he said as he took a step towards the chamber’s entrance. A flood of lava rushed out of the entrance and nearly engulfed Charon. He cleared his throat. “Never mind then. I will not be spectating.”

The group sat in silence as the ground trembled and the walls shook. Dust sprinkled from the ceiling. Rella and Bella draped themselves over Vur’s shoulders, admiring the rose on his chest, but not daring to touch it. Tafel and Vur sat next to each other with Vur’s hand still in Tafel’s hair. Charon worked on clearing the hardening lava away.

An hour passed in this fashion. The rose on Vur’s chest shone with a golden light and dimmed again. The rumbling in the tunnels stopped. Lindyss walked out of the chamber’s entrance. Her hair was frayed and charred. The clothes she wore were in tatters while dried blood caked her body. There was no expression on her face.

“Is it over?” Charon asked as he peeked his head into the entrance.

“Yes,” Lindyss said. She glanced at Vur and Tafel before she started to walk away. “It’s over.”

 

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