3rd Calendar, Year 673
Sarah leaned against the rocky wall as she dragged her body across the cave.
Her right hand pressed her abdomen, where a blade had pierced it, while the left one did a poor job of helping her move. Every step she would take demanded the entirety of the feeble strength remaining in her body, and breathing became harder with each second.
She had let her guard down, and would inevitably pay the price for it.
Just a little longer, she thought, I have to hold on just a little—.
Sarah's legs faltered and she fell to her knees. She stared at her bloodied hand for a few seconds, before inhaling deeply and summoning all her will to lift herself back up. A passage in the rocks ahead revealed shimmering blue lights, where Sarah knew lied an underground river.
Reaching the chamber, she threw herself at the river bank and buried her head in the translucent water of the river. She took the liquid in as if she had been traveling the desert for days. Failing to control the thirst, she choked and coughed, pulling her head out while gasping for air.
Sarah rolled her body and her back felt the cold ground of the cave as she faced the ceiling and marvelled at the bright blue illuminating the area. The fake glimpse of a starry night sky, she knew, was a result of the interaction between glow worms and the abundant oxygen in the cave, but it still transmitted a momentary peace to her.
Many times in the past Sarah wondered where her finals moments would be, so seeing the mesmerizing scene in the end gave her a small sense of comfort.
She pushed her body to the closest wall and leaned her back against it. In addition to her punctured abdomen several other wounds lined her torso and arms, a deep cut on her cheek throbbed and keeping her eyes opened had become more and more taxing.
Sarah reached under her shirt and pulled out her amulet. Staring at it with tearing eyes, her hands gripped the piece's outer ring, inside it a majestic phoenix arched its wings and screamed to the heavens
“I am so sorry.” Sarah muttered. “Looks like I won't be able to keep our promise after all.”
A strong wish to say goodbye grew inside her but she resisted it. It would only cause more suffering, or worse, put the one person she loved the most in this World under insurmountable danger.
As Sarah played inside her head the scenes where she had been the happiest, she felt water running down her face. She had fulfilled her dream and had become a powerful wielder—some would say one of the most powerful of her generation. She had lived according to her will and protected the justice she believed in till the very end. There was so much more she would have wanted to accomplish but her path had reached its end.
A voice she had long grown accustomed to spoke in her mind and Sarah removed the amulet. Following the voice's instructions she focused on the platinum piece and it shone radiantly as Sarah imbued it with the remnants of her anima. She didn't know if this last act would ever matter but hope was all she had left, so she clung to it refusing to let her efforts be in vain.
After placing the amulet inside a fissure in the rock, Sarah barely managed to adjust her weakened body into a cross-legged position. Her vision began fading so she closed her eyes and embraced the blackness. She focused once more while she still could and her anima reached out to her surroundings.
Energy particles in the air swirled around her body and a white glow suffused the cave, contrasting against its blue ambience. The particles skittered across the surface of Sarah's clear skin until the flow thinned to a trickle and stopped.
In a flash, white flames consumed Sarah's body from the inside. Painless, serenely, life slowly slipped away from her until darkness was all there was left. Her consciousness falling deep into an abyss.
She couldn't tell how much time had passed but suddenly she woke up and found strength had returned to her, or rather, there was no weight to her body. She tentatively opened her eyes and was struck with immediate surprise.
Sarah was in the middle of a garden, standing on a path of emerald green grass with contrasting colors from all kinds of flowers harmonically surrounding her. Tall trees and lush bushes appeared in her view to one side, only a small number of thin beams of light penetrating the canopy of leaves. On the other side of the stunning garden there was a pond where crystalline water fell from stone steps that formed a small cascade.
“Your fight is not over yet.” Said the familiar voice, only this time not in her mind, but behind her. “Welcome to the Garden of Souls, dear Sarah.”
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