The final instalment in this short story collection.
They were both wary as the other approached. She drew a sword she had picked up along the way. He had no weapon but was still able to defend himself. They were both at the ready to strike any second.
Slowly, as they got nearer, the fog cleared and they faced each other. It took them a few moments to assess the situation, after which they had they seemed to come to a truce and relax a bit. She dropped her sword arm and held it loosely by her side. He released the magic he was holding at the ready.
They introduced themselves and in a few words summed up their reason for being there:
“I’m urgently needed in the village over the mountain.”
“I’m exploring,” she admitted. Her reason sounded so feeble compared to his desperate need to get to his destination.
She tentatively asked, “Shall we pool our resources and make it through the mountain together?”
He looked at her questioningly. He could not figure out if she needed help or thought he needed the help. He supposed it would help if he had a companion. It would ease the burden of travelling alone and split the duties needed in the mountain.
Gruffly he agreed.
Having met someone else, he suddenly felt very self-conscious. She was clearly a normal person. She also didn’t seem to have a care in the world.
He was neither.
He had been banished to this world from another. He had the burden of trying to earn his way back there.
In the meantime, he had decided to use his magic to benefit the people around him. He had wanted to fill his time and help people. He had always been set on helping others, but he had lost the right to do that.
He worked his way from place to place growing his reputation as a miraculous healer. He had never stayed long enough to make any friends. He didn’t want the added burden of making those connections and having to explain what he was.
But now, company was forced upon him and he didn’t know what to do.
He just had to get over the mountain without letting anything slip and they would be able to part ways. Just hang in there, he kept telling himself.