Biest was already leaping at me again. I hadn’t anticipated the speed of his recovery and took a slash on the arm. I spun with Biest and ranleapt at him as he landed. My blades were out and spinning ferociously as I swung at him. I landed a glancing blow that didn’t really do major damage, then jumped as Biest swung a leg around in an attempt to trip me. I shoved him backwards and off balance. Then I launched both of saws.
One missed Biest as he spun out of the way, but the other embedded itself in his thigh with a meaty thud. Biest roared in pain but held his ground and remained standing. If anything, it made him push harder. He was on me again in a matter of seconds, claws swinging and teeth gnashing. He bit me on the shoulder and I had to punch him in the stomach six times, with blade and all, before he released his hold.
My vision was going red and black and I was starting to sway. I had to end this and do it soon. I would have to use every trick I knew.
As subtlety as possible, I morphed one of the blades into a boomerang shape and then let them both fly. Then I ran forward, propellers already reformed and powering me up into flying punch. I descended rapidly towards Biest, who simply smiled. I knew before he did anything that I had assumed once again.
And this time it would cost me.
Biest’s shroud took the form of a long spear, something that you’d see a hunter carrying, and without hesitation, he rammed it up into me, even as I fell down onto it.
It passed completely through my body.
I sank to my knees in front Biest. My mouth was moving, but no sound was coming out. I looked up at Biest’s smug face and while my body just wanted to fall over and die, my mind was waiting. It was begging my body to hold on just one more second so I could see the-
Biest’s smile had changed into a look of surprise. His head slowly turned down to look at the sharp edge of the boomerang blade poking through his chest just to the right of where his heart was. What Biest did next surprised me.
He started laughing, then gradually began to fade away.
Pailadyn. She pushed through the crowd of motionless Thralls and fell to her knees beside me.
“Oh no… no no NO! Juewuhl! Why couldn’t you have waited!”
“No! I don’t want to! You stupid… heroic… brave...” her words trailed off into sobs.
“Pailadyn… please, listen to me…”
She looked down at me through tear-filled eyes.
“Bring me… outside… to bottom of… hill. Find… boulder.”
“Kill me… with… boulder!”
Understanding dawned in her eyes along with a deep sadness and… hope… and love?
Pailadyn looked up at Traynur who had pushed through behind her.
“Tray-… Fyter… could you go find a boulder outside please? Bring it to the crest of the hill in front of the house.”
“Of course Pailadyn. Anything for the master.”
”Is he… back?”
“Yes… he kept his memory… but… it doesn’t matter now does it! Why did you-“
“I had no choice… it was… either that or… we died.”
“But you’re going to die anyway! What if something goes wrong?”
“Then I guess we have to tell each other now don’t we?” I whispered.
“What? Tell each other what?”
“Bring me… outside first…” Skrybe had gotten up as well and he helped Pailadyn bring me to the foot of the hill.
Fyter joined us a few minutes later.
“The boulder is in place Juewuhl.”
“Thank you… all of you. I wish… I had known you… before I lost… my memory… You are all… great people. Your sacrifices… mean… so much.”
Skrybe and Fyter bowed their heads in respect but Pailadyn grabbed my hand and leaned in close.
I cut her off with a twitch of my hand. I nodded at Fyter who began to climb the hill. Skrybe backed away, and Pailadyn leaned still closer to kiss me one more time.
“Thank you… Pailadyn… I was… wrong. You… truly love me. And I… love… you.”
“Pailadyn! Stand back!” shouted Fyter.
With a fresh wave of tears, Pailadyn squeezed my hand, stood, and shuffled away.
There was a rumbling as the stone descended down the hill. It grew closer and closer, picking up speed as it rolled. I closed my eyes one final time and waited for the end. I hoped, for my sake and Pailadyn’s, that my idea would work. I had to take care of her, and I had to confirm that Biest was dead. There was still so much to d-
And then I woke.