Surrendering the Key

Mika would have preferred it if Himiko hated her. At least that would have meant she'd been a threat, a worthy rival for Kaon's affections.

But here was Himiko crying for her – the stupid girl had always been far too gentle – and looking at her with terrible pity as she tried so futilely to raise the twisted metal from Mika's body. Both of them knew it was already far too late.

All her plans had meant nothing in the end, but that was no better than what Mika deserved. She'd taken the pain of her unrequited love and she'd tried to make it theirs; she'd tried to wipe Himiko from Kaon's mind over and over again, she'd burned her mark into Kaon's flesh, she'd forced Himiko to watch as she claimed Kaon's lips because deep down she knew Kaon still wasn't hers and never would be.

Mika hated Himiko. She'd die hating her, hating her because she was the one who'd go on to save Kaon, because she was the one who'd get the happy ending. The strength of the love Kaon and Himiko shared would carry them on in the world long after Mika's bones had bleached on the ruined hopes of her ambition.

They were destined and she'd made herself the obstacle, soon to be no more. Afterwards, in the bright flush of their happiness, they wouldn't even remember her. She wasn't even important enough for that.

Somehow, despite all Mika's bids for power, she'd been outdone by a mere servant girl, and she couldn't meet her end with the cold pride she'd always imagined she would, secure in the knowledge she'd spent every waking moment in pursuit of her lofty goals.

Her goals had been the problem all along, and no one had told her when she started all this that villains still got broken hearts.