Chapter 44:

Chapter 44


Everyone in Ethros gathered around. They came out from hiding, put down whatever they were doing, and joined together. Whispers and murmurs of confusion and relief blended together and filled the streets. The softness of the kingdom was quickly broken by the cheers of Vera.

"Yeah! We did it! I can't believe it!! We did it!!!" She danced and jumped around Isaac. The two of them hugged each other tight, rocking back and forth in place, sprinkling in the occasional kiss. Elizabeth smiled. She looked down at the pile of mold before her. It's dullness suddenly began to sparkle. Sunlight hit the mass. Elizabeth quickly turned around. The sun was rising. It was rising on a new Ethros, just like she hoped. The butterflies in her stomach grew stronger. Her breaths became a bit more rapid and just a touch shallower. A bead of sweat dripped down her paling face. Her head ached slightly. Her skin felt hot, warm to the touch. She felt tense all over, while her soul finally relaxed. Her chest became tight. Her throat became sore. It was hard to breathe. Elizabeth felt sick to her stomach, nauseous, but she resisted the urge to vomit. She just took in this beautiful moment. A pattern of hives and rashes broke out over her skin. They webbed and ringed all around her body. But she didn't care. Elizabeth just smiled.

"The sun looks beautiful." She said to herself. Her legs buckled. She finally collapsed. Elizabeth fell to the ground, still smiling.

"Doc! Doc, we should go celebrate!" Isaac cheered, turning to look over at his friend. But it was too late. "Doc?" He said, looking at her body.


"Hey, come on now." The two of them ran over to their best friend. Isaac shook her. "Doc." No response. "Elizabeth!" He shouted. He continued to shake her, screaming her name, trying to get her to wake up from a slumber that would never end. Tears streaked down his face.

"Isaac, are you... crying?" Vera asked. It was the first time he cried in years.

"Of course I am! She was our friend! How else am I supposed to react?!" Vera didn't respond. She just hugged him. And the two of them cried together.

"Such a shame. She was truly a gift to this realm." A mysterious voice said from behind them. A boney hand was placed on Isaac's shoulder. He peaked at this comforter. He quickly recoiled and swatted him away, the Grim Reaper. "My apologies! I didn't mean to startle you."

"I don't want your damn apologies! I want our friend back!"

"I'm sorry."

"I said I don't want your sorry's! I know who you are! Skeleton in a black cloak holding a big scythe, you're Death! So you can bring her back!"

"Unfortunately, you are only partially correct Isaac. I am Death, but I cannot bring her back."

"You did it before." He argued.

"Yes but, those were special circumstances. Elizabeth agreed to go back to the realm of the living so she could stop Grimwald, but her life was forfeit after that task was done."

"So, she knew? Why didn't she tell us?"

"To my understanding, she didn't want you to worry. She wanted you to focus on the future of your own lives, not the past of hers. But if it's any consolation, the two of you made her life so much better than it could possibly be."

"I just... why? Why did she have to go? She our best friend, we loved her." Vera asked.

"Life without death is meaningless. Death without life is cruel. You cannot have one without the other. Together, they bring balance. While death may come for us all, it is what we do in that short time before then that makes life worth living. You can shape the world, change the course of history, all within your infinitely short lives. So why not live and make your death meaningful? It's a sentiment I'm sure Elizabeth came to know well."

"We went through so much together, I'm not even sure how to move forward from here."

"You can start by honoring her."

Several Days Later

A small group of people congregated at the beach. All the people the heroes of Ethros had met on their journey. The Council of Alchemy and Magery. Vera's grandfather. Nosferatu. Lenore. Willie. And the citizens of Ethros. All gathered to honor the memory of the royal doctor who touched and changed their lives. A small boat floated in the water. It carried Elizabeth's casket, no body pile for her anymore, she gets a proper funeral. Bushels of flowers decorated around the edge of the boat. Roses, tulips, lilies, carnations, orchids, and chrysanthemums, really any flower they could get ahold of; everything but lavender. Atop the boat was a beautiful painting of Elizabeth, showing off her warm, welcoming smile. Isaac and Vera approached the boat together, hand in hand. They planted their feet and kicked it off into the water. They then brought up the bow from the Dragon Graveyard. They drew it together. Vera used a spell to light the tip of the arrow.

"We love you, Elizabeth. Goodbye, we'll never forget you." They shot the arrow. Bullseye, it hit the boat. The whole thing went up in flames. They rubbed each other's backs and wept.

"Consider yourself lucky, not everyone gets to see their own funeral." Death said, standing off in the distance. Elizabeth chuckled. "You think they'll be okay?"

"Oh yeah, they might be a wreck right now, but they're strong. I'm sure they'll manage without me. They've done it before, and now they have each other."

"Ready to go? This will probably be the last you see them."

"Yeah, I think I'm ready."

"I mean, I could always take you with when I come back to them in a couple years."

"Elizabeth! Honey! It's time to eat!" A female voice called from the void. Elizabeth turned around excitedly.

"Coming mom!"