Author's Note: To all my old readers who read His Choice, I'm sorry this took so long to write. Elika was a really hard character to nail for me. Seriously, this is like the 5th time I've written this and I finally feel that it's good enough for you all to read. Please enjoy!
Elika first feeling was pain. Pain was everywhere. She was sore and exhausted and yet she felt something was amiss. She felt pressure on her chest and a strange pounding going on at regular intervals.
She took a deep breath in and her body shook with the effort. Her mind screamed at her heart for beating, but her heart seemed to ignore her brain and continued to pound with new vigor. Elika couldn't believe it.
She was alive.
How could that be, though? She had run her plan numerous times before; she would return the energy that her father had given her to the tree and then she would die.
It was simple as that.
And yet, something had gone wrong. She was still clearly much alive as her mind and her heart told her. She shifted her aching body and felt a pair of arms strengthen their grip. She realized the she was being carried and that thought kind of freaked her out. She had no idea what was going on. Her mind was fuzzy on what had happened after she had given back her energy.
She forced herself to open her eyes and saw him.
The Prince was focusing his steely gaze on the path ahead of them. He was taking every step cautiously and making sure that Elika was safe in his grasp. Elika shut her eyes and it all came rushing back to her.
That idiot had brought her back to life! He had undone all the good that he and she worked so hard to bring about! He had committed the ultimate crime—
He had freed Ahriman, The God of Darkness.
Elika opened her eyes again and looked at the landscape. It was barren—filled with nothing with black corruption, gray skies, and no sunlight.
It was her worst nightmare brought to life. Everything she had fought so hard to protect, was gone.
It was all her fault. She had failed her people and she had failed Ormazd. Now, darkness would swallow the world and there was nothing she could do about it. She wanted to crawl into a dark corner and wait for death to come. She just wanted it to be over soon. She was a disgrace—unfit to be a person, let alone a Princess!
"Put me down." Her voice was quiet, void of emotion, but she knew that he could hear her. He stopped, but his grip did not lessen. "Put me down, now."
He didn't comply—just stood there, staring off into the distance.
"I heard you." He interjected quietly. She waited for him to let go, but he didn't.
"Put me—" She started, anger coloring her voice.
"No." He replied. His voice had lost the carefree tone that she was so used to. In fact, he looked a lot older than he actually was. His face had no traces of a smile and had been replaced with a grim expression. His eyes weren't filled with that sparkle that she had seen the first time they had met. She wasn't sure how long they had been walking, but she could tell that it must've been over an hour as corruption was starting to cling to his clothes and gauntlet. "I will not put you down."
She wasn't in the mood to argue with him.
"I'm ordering you to put me down." She tried to sound commanding, but pain entered her chest and made her sound weak. He sighed.
He dropped her onto the sand. If she wasn't so angry, she might've thought it was funny. She forced herself to get up.
They were facing each other now and her mind went blank. Her heart began to pound furiously and she felt a fluttering in her stomach. She cursed mentally at this development. After all he had done, she still had feelings for him. She just wanted to run into his open arms and be comforted by him . . . but that could never happen.
He had betrayed her and her sacrifice. He was a monster that had willing let the God of Darkness out and doomed the world. She opened her mouth to speak.
"Why?" She asked, but it was more of a plea. "Why would you unleash Ahriman onto the world?"
He didn't say anything; just met her gaze. That infuriated her more.
"Who in Ormazd's name do you think you are?!" Elika screamed. "Who gave you the right to doom the world to destruction!?" She clutched her fists at her side as pain flared up in her body. Her body was begging her to stop, but her mind would have none of it. "I should be dead right now! Not living in this nightmare . . ." Her voice trailed off as tears sprang to her eyes.
The Prince noticed this and Elika saw concern enter his eyes.
"Elika," He took a step closer, but she put her hands out.
"Don't come any closer," She warned. Her hands began to glow blue.
Her powers were back. Ormazd's light was flowing through her veins again. She was living only by the light which should've been used to guard Ahriman.
Her mind informed her that she was a murder for breathing, since Ahriman was killing anyone who opposed him.
That was the breaking point for Elika. Her knees buckled and she sank to her knees, sobbing. Why was she alive while so many others were in pain or dead?! What cruel joke was fate playing on her by keeping her alive?
Her vision blurred and she felt her body topple over and into the sand. She made no effort to get up.
A cold wind began to blow and Elika found her body shivering, but she didn't care. Nothing seemed to matter now. The world had fallen into Ahriman's hands and it would only be a matter of time before all life was wiped out.
Two strong hands pulled her into a sitting position.
"Elika," He whispered, placing her against his chest.
"It's all over," She muttered. "Ahriman has won." She lifted her eyes up and glared at him. "Are you happy?"
His eyes flashed with anger.
"I don't regret saving you!" He yelled. "I'll never regret anything I've done for you, so don't even start with your guilt trips!"
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, she could tell he wished he hadn't said it.
A long pause came, filled only with the wind blowing through the dead trees.
"Why did you do it?" She asked again, softly.
He looked away for a moment and then met her gaze again.
"I did it . . ." He paused, unsure of himself. "I did it for you."
"For me?" She echoed. "What do you mean?"
"I couldn't let you die." He answered.
"What—what do you mean?" She questioned as her heart skipped a beat.
He helped her up and leaned his head closer so that an inch was separating their faces.
She ignored her heart and stepped away from him shakily. Her mind told her to run, to get as far away from this maniac as possible, but her heart wanted her to be embraced by him and to kiss him.
"I . . ." She started, unsure of how to go on.
"I won't let you give up your life." He said, forcefully. "You have so much to do with your life, Elika. You have to go see the sea—"
"Don't you get it!?" She snapped. "There is no sea anymore! You got rid of it when you brought me back to life!"
"We'll imprison Ahriman again, Elika." The old spark entered his eyes and she couldn't help but believe him.
"The only way is for me to die." She said quietly. "Do you not get that?"
"No." He protested. "We'll find another way that doesn't require self-sacrifice."
He walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"I promised you that I would take you to the sea, didn't I?" He asked. Remembrance of that conversation which seems like it took place eons ago, flashed in her mind. They had changed so much since that conversation. Both now realized that they had to imprison Ahriman or the world as they knew it was going to be destroyed.
"I . . . I would like to see the sea." She finally replied. "But, my duty is to—"
He closed the gap between their faces and kissed her.
It was a gentle kiss, but full of longing and relief. When he pulled away, she saw another spark of that 'devil may care' attitude on his face.
"Elika, I saved you because I'm in love with you." He told her frankly. "So, no matter how many times you try to kill yourself to imprison Ahriman, I will keep bringing you back."
She wasn't sure if she should be flattered or angry. Her mind is outraged, demanding that she knock him unconscious, go back to the temple, and imprison Ahriman again. Her heart, however, is telling her to go to him, forgive him, and work with him to stop Ahriman.
"Ormazd," She thought. "What should I do?"
"I want to believe you, but—" He grabbed her hands and held them in his.
"Then, believe me, Elika!" He urged. "We can stop Ahriman and then after that, I'll take you to the sea." His eyes are full of sadness and hope intertwined.
Elika sighed and looked up towards the sky. Storm clouds were starting to form and soon it would start to rain black corruption.
She then looked at the man who had doomed the world to save her and she couldn't help, but feel her heart flutter. She silenced her mind and wrapped her arms around his chest.
"Promise me," She started, silent tears flowing down her face. "That we'll stay together and stop Ahriman."
There was a pause as the Prince wrapped his arms around her. He placed chin on top of her head and gently began to rub her back with one of his hands.
"I promise to you, Princess, that we will do just that." His voice was serious, devoid of all joking tone and Elika believed him.
Ormazd help her, she believed him.
And she knew that no matter what happened from now on, she would be by his side.
No matter what.
"We should get moving." She told him, loosening her grip on him.
"Yeah," He replied. He looked behind her and he flashed a smile before pulling out his sword. One of Ahriman's minions had appeared and was now looking for a fight. Elika held her hands up, letting the energy build.
"I see four more," She contributed frowning.
"And there's six over there," The Prince pointed out.
"I don't like where this is going . . ." She muttered. The Prince grinned.
"Well, ladies first." He told her, grinning from ear to ear. He bowed dramatically and she couldn't help but chuckle. She saw the fire in his eyes again and that gave her confidence to fight. She took a step towards the creatures and pointed her hands to them.
"Well, if you insist," She replied, smirking.
They both sprang into action.
Elika knew that it would be a long time until they succeeded, but she knew that one day, Ahriman would be destroyed.
And then she would go see the sea with the man she loved.
That was a promise.
Author's Note: Well? I love reviews! They help me improve my writing! Please review!