A loud crack filled the air as my fist connected with his face, splintering shards of bone from his mask and forcing him backwards. Even with the battle raging around me, my friends and enemies locked in a mortal struggle, and with my own life at risk, I could only focus on the foe in front of me.
And I would kill him here!
But he rolled with my blow, managing to retain his balance, and threw up his hands, crackling with magical energy, as he prepared to unleash his powers. But there was no way I was going to let that happen. Just as the first syllables of the spell left his lips, I slammed my blade into his unprotected side. He fell to his knees with a hideous shriek of pain, only to be cut short as my armored foot met his throat, knocking him onto his back.
Without wasting any time, I pinned him down, my foot on his chest, my sword positioned for the coup de grace. I could feel the years of pain, frustration, fear, and rage bubbling up from within me, ready to erupt in a gruesome, finishing blow!
But as I gazed down at my vanquished foe, I could tell that something was very, very wrong.
There was nothing but fear in his eyes. No sense of defiance, no rage, no hatred. Only pure terror resided behind the Hearteater’s cruel, grinning mask.
I felt sick. As much as I wanted to, I could not bring myself to kill my foe, broken and defenseless as he was. I had him, but I just didn’t have the guts to finish him off for good. Gods damn it all! I had been spending too much time around Varen!
“P-please Natalia…” the Hearteater choked pitifully. “D-don’t kill me…”
“Surrender first, you sick bastard! Then maybe I’ll think about!” I don’t know who disgusted me more: the Hearteater, or myself.
“I surrender! I surrender!” the Hearteater sobbed wretchedly. I felt about ready to throw up.
Slowly, I shifted my weight off of his body.
And that’s when I caught the glint in his eyes.
“JUUUUUUST KIDDING!” he screamed gleefully as he twisted out from under me, pushing me to ground.
As I struggled to regain my footing, he brought his hand up, and fired a dark bolt into my eyes.
My vision began to blur and darken as fell to the ground, and before I knew it, everything had gone black.
But I wasn’t about to let the Hearteater get the best of me this time. Even if I couldn’t see, I could still hear. I could still feel. I could still sense him. The sound of his footsteps in the grass, the way the wind broke around his body, the sound of his heavy, wounded breathing.
He was coming closer.
I could feel his feet through the ground, and the tensing of his body as he prepared to strike.
I had one chance.
“GOODBYE NATALIA!!” he shrieked with sadistic glee as he struck, his hand moving at an incredible speed.
But I was faster. Somehow, I managed to catch him by the wrist, stopping his blow as I pulled him down. Right onto the edge of my sword.
I felt his hot blood splash onto me, and I heard his last, futile gasps. I threw him off of me, and crawled back to my feet.
When my sight finally returned, the Hearteater had long since been dead, his throat slit by my blade. As I saw him, I couldn’t help but laugh out of exhilaration and relief. That, and the situation was funny in of itself, in its own little way. After all, if he had never blinded me during our last fight, then this battle may have had a much different outcome. I was positively giddy.
“No rules against that!” I laughed. “Keep your demons company in hell, you bastard!”
And then his body started to convulse, twisting and stretching with a horrific ripping sound. Soon, all that was left of the Hearteater had transformed into something tall, gaunt, and grey. Tentatively, I removed his mask, only to be met by the cold, dead gaze of the bulbous white eyes on his otherwise featureless face.
But that wasn’t the strangest thing. Upon his chest, was a small amulet, just like the one that my father used to speak with me while I was the Deathwind.
Could it be?
I took the amulet and held it my face. Sure enough, I soon felt the familiar buzzing sensation in my hand as the amulet made contact with its twin.
And then, I saw his face.
My father. But was it really?
“What is- NATALIA?!” he sounded frantic. “What is going on?! What have you done?!”
“What do you mean, Father? Isn’t this what you wanted? Everything is going according to plan,”