I watched, hidden in the forest as they danced around the enormous fire; the thief, carrying the crippled princess, the slave, and the tiny orphan boy clinging to her skirts.
They laughed as they danced, on the edge of complete happiness. Still, I sat and waited, concealed in darkness. The fire had died and so did the dancing. I gazed as the bandit and the slave strolled off together. The princess awoke from her spot on the ground, and gasped in pain. She rolled onto her side and became aware that she was alone. She started to cough, ruby blood spilled over her mouth, giving her a rather grotesque appearance. The crook and the servant returned in time to see the princess nearly collapse from pain and exhaustion.
“This is why I never leave the castle,” she said.
No, Your Majesty,I thought. The world is cruel, unforgiving, and unfair. You can’t be protected from it. At least, inside your precious blood red walls, they thought they could prevent it. Here, in cold reality, there is no escape. That is why you should’ve stayed in the castle.
I watched as the commoners of this ragtag village surrounded the ill princess. I watched as the slave attacked that ignorant peon. The villagers did not know how to deal with the strange ways of the slave, just like no one would know how to deal with me.
As the bandit and slave readied their things I took a deep breath and focused my energy. I could see brightness behind by closed eyes and when I opened them, I saw my fingertips on fire. Before they made way into the blackness the whole forest was set ablaze.
The raging inferno blazed as it consumed the forest. Screams echoed off the silence as homes were destroyed, and loved ones were trapped amongst the flames.
I smiled and disappeared back into the shadows. I knew that simply combusting the forest wouldn’t be a major setback. They would recover, but they could never be like they were before. That’s the thing. You can’t take everything away at once. You have to slowly break someone, piece by piece, until hardly anything remains. You have to weaken them until they fall to their knees. Until everything hangs by a thread, until they are forced to the edge and they finally see what they did to deserve this. Then you deliver the final blow, one they can’t recover from, one from which they can’t be saved. When the balance had to be righted, it didn’t care what methods were used.
The poor princess, her friend, and the thief don’t realize what they’ve done to warrant this hand of fate. But in time, they will. I’ll make sure of that. Even if it is the last thing they ever know.