Part Five

            The chains that bound Tristan dissolved into dust.

            “You may go.  I allow it,” the keeper said, trying to hide the vibrato in his voice.  Tristan didn’t move, waiting for the trap to be sprung.  This was too easy. 

            “Take her and go.”

            Tristan didn’t move.

            “Go!”  The word was ripped from the back of the keeper’s throat.  “Leave now, before I change my mind!  Go!”  He was in Tristan’s face now, snarling.  Tristan stood, drawing himself to his full height and looking down on his enemy.  After a tense moment, he picked up Ari’s body and walked out.

            What happened?  Am I dead?  Oh my God, I’m dead, aren’t I?  The second that Tristan left his prison her thoughts flowed in.

            “No, love, it worked.  You’re safe,” he whispered so that only she could hear.  He didn’t even need to say it out loud, but it made her seem solid again.

            What did he do to me?

            “He broke your neck,” Tristan replied, shuddering at the memory.

            Can you fix it?

            “I can, but I don’t know how bad it’s broken.  Therefore I don’t know how long it will take to heal, which puts your soul at risk.”

            Can I help you?

            “Be silent, and love, if this doesn’t work…”

            Yes?

            “I love you.  I love you with everything I have, Ari, and I will do everything I can to make sure you survive,” he promised.  “You have my word.”

            He felt her smile.  I love you too, Tristan.  You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  With that she was quiet. 

            Tristan set to work on repairing her body.  One of her vertebrae was shattered and two others were cracked.  It wouldn’t be too difficult or time-consuming for him to fix.  A half hour later, he was preparing for the soul transfer.  Tristan hesitated, something that he shouldn’t have done.  It would be so easy, keeping her inside him.  She would be safe forever and they’d be together forever.  He wouldn’t have to worry about her when they were apart because they never would be.  As he thought this he felt her connection to her body grow weaker.

            Tristan?  What are you doing?  What’s happening?

            He set her body down and stood.

            Tristan! she mentally screamed at him.  Don’t walk away!  You can’t keep me inside of you!  He could feel her anxiety. 

            “Love, calm down.  I know what I’m doing.”

            No, you don’t!  Do you know what you’re sacrificing?  You’ll never hold me again.  You’ll never kiss me again.  We’ll never dance again.  You’re giving that up for what?

            “You don’t understand, Ari.  If only you understood what it was like to have the person you love put at risk, all because of you.”

            You’re wrong, Tristan.  I do understand.  And I also know what it’s like to have your loved ones die because of you.  My parents were killed that day because I asked them to go get me something.

            And then she took over.

The End

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