Chapter 48:

Betrayal

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World


Instead of attacking the woman I had been fighting and ending the struggle, I launched a beam of fire at the man next to Alena. Bookmark here

I tried to hold back enough that it wouldn’t kill him. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I felt like I probably succeeded. He was knocked backwards and hit a nearby tree before then falling down onto the ground, and it looked like the whole thing hurt for sure, but he was at least still breathing… Hopefully. Bookmark here

Alena was safe. That was what mattered. Bookmark here

Had I hurt her? I couldn’t tell. If I did, at least it couldn’t have been too badly. She seemed mostly fine. Bookmark here

Alena stood up. I didn’t have time to pay more attention to what she was doing. Bookmark here

My opponent had time to recover. This time she had two targets to choose from, but that only made things harder for me. I also had two targets to protect now. The cost of messing up had suddenly become twice as highBookmark here

A voice came from somewhere beside me. Bookmark here

“Don’t I recognise you from somewhere? Hey, Maria, have we met this woman somewhere before?”

I couldn’t spare the mental effort to muster up a response. There would be plenty of time for talking later. Bookmark here

I just… Needed… To win… First. Bookmark here

Defending was about all I could manage. I no longer found any openings to counterattack, too busy with keeping track of where magical lightning would be launched at either me or Alena. Bookmark here

I needed an opening. Bookmark here

Alena created one.

Bookmark here

A pillar of fire appeared next to the woman I was fighting. Not one I had made, or in other words nothing more than an illusion. It made her stop her assault on us for a moment in order to protect herself. Bookmark here

Plenty of time for me to do something. Bookmark here

I launched my fire at her. Bookmark here

She narrowly evaded it. Bookmark here

The woman realised the fire next to her was nothing more than a fraud and counterattacked. Bookmark here

Her lightning flew far wide of me.Bookmark here

It wasn’t aimed at me. Bookmark here

I turned around to see where it went. Bookmark here

Alena was hit. She fell to the ground, and didn’t move. Bookmark here

For a moment I feared she was dead. Bookmark here

Only for a moment. Bookmark here

She was still breathing. Bookmark here

She wasn’t dead yet. There was still hope. Bookmark here

But she also didn’t move. Was she unconscious? Or just hurt? It didn’t matter. I didn’t have time to consider. Bookmark here

And I still needed to protect her. Bookmark here

I took a deep breath, and waited to see what my opponent would do. Perhaps letting rage control me, lashing out, and throwing all the firepower I had at her would have been a more normal reaction... But I had never been one to feel much in the way of anger. Bookmark here

She didn’t attack. Instead, she spoke. Bookmark here


“I have a suggestion.”
“I’m all ears.”Bookmark here

It’s not like there was any particular reason I shouldn’t listen, and in case what she wanted to say ended up not being important? Then I’d be able to finish the fight while she was talking and distracted. Bookmark here

“It appears as if both of us have suffered some damage, as has our… Friends. It’s clear to me that I won’t be able to get what I came for at this point. And if we continued this fight… I’ll just say that I sincerely doubt there would be any merit to either of us in doing that. So why don’t we both just step down here, and go our own separate ways?”Bookmark here

“Sure”, I shrugged. Bookmark here

Did I agree too easily? To some it could probably have seemed that way. To me it felt like the reasonable choice to make. Bookmark here

As she walked away from me and went to pick up her fallen ally, she turned her back towards me and was left defenseless. Bookmark here

You see, trusting someone to honour a deal just because they were one of the “good guys” wasn’t a particularly smart decision. Bookmark here

Letting her go her own way would surely have been the more noble choice. Bookmark here

But was the noble decision also the right one? Bookmark here

This woman didn’t have the same hesitance I did when it came to killing and causing harm. It would be better for everyone if our fight didn’t just end in an uneasy truce and a chance to recover from any damages we suffered, but instead had a more conclusive ending. Bookmark here

So I summoned up one last bout of fire. Used my magic to take her out. Knock her unconscious, or at least weaken her enough that she wouldn’t be able to strike back. Bookmark here

She fell to the ground, and I had won, the one woman still standing. Bookmark here

Depending on how you saw it, it was either a selfish act of betrayal… Or exactly what was needed for the greater good. Bookmark here

I chose to believe it was the latter. Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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