Mevolent ordered the Grand Mage to return- God only knows what he'll have her do. Then he left. For a while I stood there, staring at nothing. I don't even know what happened to me when I let all of that out in front of Zafria. It was like that made it official- they're all dead. I killed them. And maybe I would still have some reason to fight- to keep my faith, at least, or continue to care- but I was only Mevolent's slave. The only thing I was good for was dying, and I couldn't do that either.
I didn't see the point of standing anymore, so I let myself collapse into a small heap on the floor. All of a sudden heard a small thud and footsteps running towards me. I still didn't move, though I anticipated being kicked or stepped on. Instead, I found myself staring at boot-cut jeans and worn black boots. Someone not exactly well off financially, but still trying to look professional. And then whoever it was knelt down, and Rosa Evergreen's face was bent right next to mine.
"Oh my God! Aretha, are you ok? Can you get up? Can you speak? Are you dying? No... Don't you dare die on me... Aretha!" She started shaking me lightly. Clearly paniking.
"No, I'm fine," I muttered lazily, "I just don't care enough to stand."
She stopped shaking me, shocked that I had responded, and adjusted herself so she was sitting more comfortably. "Why?" Her voice was light and weak. I wasn't sure why, but she seemed so... Crushed.
I didn't answer- just closed my eyes and let my head drop down so it tapped the cold stone floor.
"I don't mind if you ignore me- I'm used to it, I guess, and it's not like I ever do much good anyway... But I just don't understand... Why?"
"Why not?" I said after a while. "There's no good reason for me to stand. Or care. Or breathe."
"No," she said, paniked laughter entering her voice, "You're not like that. You don't do this."
"Sure." I didn't move.
"Seriously. I know you. And this... Isn't you! Snap out of it!" Her voice was getting a tad desperate now. I might've felt sorry for her if I had a heart.
"It is now. Deal with it." I said bluntly, my eyes still closed.
"I don't believe this... Aretha, I liked you. I... Well, I liked you a lot. But you're talking like you're dead! I'm even talking like you're dead! Who was that man in here, anyway?" After a few moments, she continued in a shaky voice, "What did he do to you?"
"This. His name is Mevolent and this is what he did to me." I chuckled lightly without emotion. "Look, Rosa, your hero is dead. Ok?" Why did my words start to sound familiar? That whole manner of speaking- and I was half tempted to start calling her kid...
Tears were pricking at her eyes now. "Wait... Wait, that was Mevolent?" Her eyes were wide with fear. "Does that mean you just handed the Grand Mage over to Mevolent?" She was all but shrieking.
"Yes, it does. I did. I betrayed the Grand Mage. I also killed my family, and the only person in the world I could really trust. What of it?" The complete lack of emotion in my voice was amazing.
"Tha-that's horrible! Why would you do that?!?! Why are you even telling me this?! I can't... I don't... No! This kind of thing just doesn't happen... Only in stories, like those old Shakespearean tragedies... Maybe I'm just dreaming!"
"Then wake up. Or leave, and just pretend you never saw anything. I won't care." And I meant it- I really wouldn't. "Why did you even come?"
She seemed taken off guard by that question. "I just... You shouldn't be alone."