Chapter 3:

Chapter 3


Darkness engulfed the world around her. The surrounding area was nothing but an empty void, devoid of life, light, and matter. Elizabeth couldn't see, couldn't feel, couldn't think. Everything was just a staticky mess, not that she knew what static was. Her body didn't even exist, and her soul was nothing more than just a faint outline. Until, it wasn't. A flash of light and life beamed around her. A twisting network of waves and particles. Elizabeth became whole once again, she could finally see through the darkness.

"How tragic." A voice called from the Aether. Elizabeth looked around but could not find any source. That is until a large being emerged from the shadows. A towering skeleton floating in the great beyond, carrying an impossibly large book. "Name?"

"E-Elizabeth of Ethros?" She hesitated, too stunned to speak confidently.

"Let's see here, Elizabeth of Ethros. Elizabeth of Ethros." The skeleton began flipping through an infinite number of pages, scanning his bony finger down the text and lightning speed. "Ah! There we are!" The skeleton paused for a moment. "Hm. Well that's not right."

"What is?"

"I'm not expecting you for another couple decades! You're here rather too early, I'm afraid."

Expecting me? Couple decades? Too early? She pondered. "You wouldn't happen to be..."

"Death! In the nonexistent flesh!" Death took a bow, the resulting force and momentum spinning him around.

"Then that means... I'm... dead..."

"I'm afraid so, my dear. Although from the looks of it, you shouldn't be, not yet anyway." Death leaned in closer and scratched his mandible. "You're young, pretty, healthy, well-fed."


"You're kind, sweet, clean, and incredibly intelligent! There's no reason for you to be dead this soon! It can't possibly happen naturally, and it seems highly unlikely that any foul play were to be involved. Tell me, my dear, what were you doing this day? Remember anything out of the ordinary that might explain this little mishap?"

"No? No! I did nothing wrong! I worked all day in the castle's lab, making the plague's cure. I barley interacted with any infected specimens, but even when I did, I wore my mask and gloves. I only stopped working briefly to talk to Grimwald, but he couldn't have possibly gotten me plaguebound because he was wearing his suit the entire time. The only thing that was out of the ordinary is when that stupid mosquito-" Elizabeth stopped, she stopped dead in her tracks. "Is when that mosquito..." Death tried his best to raise an eyebrow as Elizabeth pieced together the puzzle. "Oh my god. There was no mosquito. Grimwald infected me! Grimwald is the one that made me plaguebound!" Death began flipping through his book again. "AGH! How could I be so stupid!? I should've known there was no mosquito! Mosquito season had already passed! He took my life away! He took it. And I'll never be able to enjoy it again..." Elizabeth curled up into a ball, tucking her legs to her chest. A single tear rolled down her cheek and back up into the void.

"Now let's not get too hasty."

"What do you mean?"

"These are very particular circumstances, very odd indeed. So why don't we bend the rules a little bit to set things straight, yeah?" Elizabeth perked her head up. "This Grimwald fellow, you see he's not in my book at all, and I hold a record of everyone who is and everyone who once was! Which can only mean one thing. He has cheated me before! He somehow erased his name from the book so he cannot die, but what if you forced him to die, huh?"

"You want me to... kill Grimwald?"

"More or less. I send you back to the realm of the living, and you set the record straight!"

"Sounds good to me. Let's do it!"

"Eh, we should go over some stipulations first. You see, once you complete your task, that being curing the plague and killing Grimwald, you will die. You may have died too soon, but you did still die."


"Furthermore, you could still very much fail and die anyway without completing any of your objectives. The most I can do is make you immune to the plague's effects, you would still be plaguebound but it wouldn't affect you and it couldn't spread. However, you'd still be very much vulnerable to all other forms of death; stabbing, starvation, old age, etcetera etcetera."

"I see..."

"So, do you still want to go through with it?" Elizabeth sat for a moment. She tried her best to process all the information laid out in front of her. Life and death. Sickness and health. Good and evil. Her own mortality was starring her right in the face, was she ready to confront it? How does one live when they know they only have a limited time left? Do they live life to its fullest, or do they live at all? Elizabeth would do anything for her kingdom, anything for the innocent lives of the everyday man, anything for revenge. But would the crushing reality of the ticking clock be too much for her to bear? Is she strong enough to carry that level of responsibility with that heavy of a conscience? And is she willing to accept death with open arms, willing to accept a dishonorable defeat, when she had the opportunity to at least try right at her fingertips? Elizabeth took in a deep breath and sighed.

"I'll do it."

"Alright! Attagirl!" Death exploded with enthusiasm, flailing around and waving his arms like a mad man. "Just remember, I'll be rooting for ya on the sidelines! I believe in you! Oh! And here's a little parting gift before you go." Death snapped his fingers together and old scroll appeared in Elizabeth's hands. "Everything you'll need will be in there. Now! It's showtime!" Before Elizabeth could react, or rather ask questions, she was showered in a blinding light. A radiating aura of life and destiny flowed over, around, and through her. She felt rejuvenated, reinstated, reincarnated. Soon the blinding white light faded slowly faded into the dark depressing grays of Ethros' sky. Elizabeth blinked rapidly and breathed heavily. She propped her aching body up and looked around. Scanning the area, she could see that she was on a large pile of bodies.

"AAH!" She screamed, tumbling over into the dirt. Elizabeth stumbled back up once more and brushed off the dirt and debris from her dress, nice to see they at least had the dignity to clothe her before dumping her like trash. Elizabeth brought her attention over to the scroll Death had given her. What could he possibly have supplied to her that would be so important? Ethereal equipment perhaps? Elizabeth couldn't wait to open it. She untied the string binding the scroll together. She unraveled the delicate paper and began to read. It was better than she could have ever hoped or imagined.

Inside the scroll was the recipe to the plague's cure.