The End Justifies the Means

By Sol Dente, TIWP Student

“You bastard.”

Crimson drops stained the floor around the boy’s shaking shoulders, blood dripping past his lips as he struggled to keep his fragile hold on consciousness. His chocolate brown hair was messy from the fight and normally bright green eyes were clouded with pain. Next to the boy’s kneeling form was a broken sword, snapped cleanly in two, and a twisted lump of metal that barely resembled the shield that it had once been.

“Running out of insults yet?”

Green eyes met gray as the kneeling boy tilted up his head to meet his opponent’s gaze

“Fuck you,” he spat, red spraying on the ground beneath him.

The curse was met only with a tilted head and a smug smirk, daggers glinting in the firelight as practiced hands twirled them with ease. As a sharp contrast to the bruised fighter on the ground, this boy was nearly untouched after the battle. A cut just above his collarbone and a couple strands of hair lose from his bleached white braid were the only scars he wore after that fight.

His defeated rival was still on the ground, not nearly wounded enough to be dead, which was such a shame, but he did need some kind of moral code.

“I can’t believe you!” It seemed that the brunette was not done with his fight just yet, unable to stand but still functional enough to run his mouth. He might have to do something about that, the blonde mussed.

“Oh, it seems like you did believe me. Very much so, in fact. Why else would you be in this position in the first place?” The dagger-wielder responded in a light tone that could almost be conversational if it wasn’t drenched in frigid ice.

“You-“ A grunt of pain cut off the defeated boy as he attempted to struggle to his feet. “How could you! I thought-”

“You thought wrong,” came the breezy reply.

“Are you really that heartless!?”

“You were in my way. It was nothing personal.”

“Nothing personal my ass!” The brunette nearly screamed. “You rip out my heart and it’s nothing-“

It seemed the blood loss had caught up to the boy, as he was cut off in the middle of his sentence by a grunt of pain and collapsed onto the floor.

“It seems my work here is done.”

“They’ll never accept you after they find out what you did,” the bloodied fighter snarled, arms straining as he tried and failed to lift himself from the blood-soaked ground.

“Oh I think they will,” the blonde replied loftily. “After all, the end always justifies the means.”

With a snap of his fingers, the torches hanging on the cave walls went out, leaving the beaten boy in the darkness and stepping out into the light of the midday sun.

A crowd of villagers were waiting outside the cavern entrance, their faces gaunt with worry as he exited the cave.

“The deed is done!” He declared. “The demon is no more!”

The crows around him erupted into cheers, hats thrown in the air, and laughter ringing out like it was the best day of their lives.

“All hail the hero!” The crowd shouted, a woman grabbing onto his arm and raising it above his head as the crowd broke into applause.

“Take him to the king!” The crowd exclaimed in unison, and the hero let the masses lead him forward, not even sparing a glance back at the cave where the demon lay broken in a pool of blood and tears.

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