As soon as Tess finishes her little monologue, Helsing drops the cross and bolts, rather ironically, like a bat out of hell.
And, following Xihrae’s instructions, Tess grabs the cross, turns into bats, and flies away too.
Apparently staying would influence Lucy and company’s conversation too much. Or something.
And, with that nail now solidly in the coffin — I can’t stop myself, < … Are you sure? >
< Hm? >
< About leaving. >
Tess reforms at the edge of a particular pond in the cemetery, cross in-hand. She’s told me she likes this one because the way the moon and stars glisten off the water reminds her of Illunira.
< … You still don’t trust him, huh? You were even more nervous than me during all that. >
< Can you blame me? After everything he’s done, I’m surprised you do. >
< True, Xihrae’s come close to crossing the line.
< … A lot. But- >
< -But he’s never crossed it, yeah yeah. >
The wind has started to blow again. It breaks the reflections in the water, stirring it just enough to set the light swirling against the leaves on the trees above us.
< You’re still jealous, aren’t you? >
< … I’m not. I’m just worried he’s gonna break your heart someday. >
I manage to refrain from adding ‘That I’m going to break your heart someday…’
She smiles. < Heh. For a so-called “psuedo-demon,” you can be awfully sweet. >
She likes calling me that. “Pseudo-demon.” Says it contrasts nicely with “demon-eater.”
It’s not even remotely accurate to what I actually am. “Spirit,” “ghost,” or even “fairy” would be more accurate. But… I agree. I kinda like how “pseudo-demon” sounds.
Or… I guess maybe it just grew on me. After I got used to it no longer being an insult.
< You don’t need to worry. My heart’s not that fragile. You, of all people, ought to know that, haha! >
She likes doing this, it seems: saying something that’s true, but still misleading. My guilt rising again, I remember how hard I’d tried to break her myself in the past. And, in fact, how her heart is actually all-too-easily injured.
… But, indeed, nearly impossible to fully break. And, for a moment, I’m reassured.
< Well. I suppose you’re right. And if he ever does cross that line… >
Tess’s smile becomes a grin. She looks at the cross in her hand; the thing this entire project had been about.
The thing that can break Dracula’s curse-
-and let him roam the earth freely again. Without needing to return to the castle’s cursed ground.
She stares at it, appreciating the way it seems to belong here, in the refracting, dancing light.
< If that happens… We’ll BOTH show him what true HELL looks like! >
And with those reminders, those reassurances…
… I set my fears aside.
And choose to focus on my goal.
Let it be known that I’ll be the last person to ever get offended by the term “adrenaline-junky.”
Because what I had there, right then? That dead body in front of me?
Now that was a rush!!!
I knew “Jacob” would be difficult to kill. HE always is. That’s what makes hunting HIM, fighting HIM, fighting alongside HIM— SO fun.
And what made seeing HIS body — Gary Sue’s body — lying dead at my feet so, so satisfying!
Granted, finding a poison that worked on him, then finding a way to use it on him — OH, now THERE was a headache.
And a BORE!
I had so many things spoiled for me because of that guy! Life after life, timeline after timeline, wasted — and for what? To get rid of ONE DUDE?!
Oh, that is something I just couldn’t forgive.
“Sorry about this, ol’ buddy,” I said, pulling the body along, “Really, I mean it. You know I love playing with you. It’s always such a thrill!”
I only stopped pulling once I reached the hole I’d dug.
“But I just couldn’t have you ruining this chance for me. Sure, playing with you is fun and all — but I know I’ll get to do it again! This opportunity, though?”
I positioned the body and moved to stand beside it.
“I’ll never get this again.”
I shoved Gary’s body — that world’s version of it, anyway — into the hole.
Where it landed with a remarkably satisfying thud.
“And also, y’know…”
Finally, I picked up the shovel to start burying it…
“It really has been too long…”
“Since I’ve been in a war.“
… Tess wouldn’t find it.
And realize I’d broken my promise.