Infinity Blade: Redemption (Page 20)
The words bubbled to his lips, but he did not speak them. So many people would die . . .
What were they to him? Worms? Insects? He should take this chance, as he always had. The chance to live, to struggle on another day. Perhaps get his vengeance.
The world is a broken, ruined place . . . Whispers from another time. Another world. Make it better. Make it better . . .
Be a king, son.
He looked up and met the Worker’s eyes. “I cannot defeat you,” Raidriar whispered. “I don’t have to. For I know who can.”
He twisted, grabbing something on the desk. The datapod, filled with the Worker’s plans and mysteries. Then, as the Worker roared, he turned and threw himself off the dais with the throne, tumbling past the steps.
He cradled the datapod, grunting as his body crashed to the ground, bones breaking. The Worker shouted, scrambling around the desk, running for the steps.
He should have jumped.
Raidriar disengaged his armor’s disruption field.
THE MIRROR on the table in Siris’s cabin winked on.
Siris looked up, straightening from his slumped posture. Raidriar lay chest-down on the shiny, metallic floor of the Worker’s base. His helm had been removed, and he was bleeding from the corner of one lip.
“Ausar,” Raidriar said, fiddling with something in his gauntlets. “I’m going to send you something. I have my own teleportation ring. You need to find it.”
He held something before him. A datapod he struggled to attach the ring to.
“I cannot explain,” Raidriar said. “I haven’t the time. All is soon to be lost. Everything. You have to stop him. You can stop him.”
Siris picked up the mirror. Behind Raidriar, he could make out someone barreling down a set of steps. The Worker, carrying an Infinity Blade.
The datapod flashed in Raidriar’s hands.
The Worker bellowed in rage.
“I trust you can find it,” Raidriar whispered. “Think, and you will know where it is. Get there before him—it has information you will need to beat him. Once you have it, you will need to find him—he will go into hiding after this, as is his way.
“Know that he can be wrong, Ausar. Even about me. He thought I’d betray my people, leave them to die. But he was wrong, so wrong. I will do my duty.” Raidriar smiled. “For I am a king.”
THE WORKER ran up, howling.
Raidriar turned on him and smiled.
The Worker rammed his Infinity Blade down into Raidriar’s chest, yelling obscenities.
Raidriar’s last emotion was pleasure. He could surprise the creature after all.
He looked upward, smiling toward the light, as the Blade sent him into the infinite.
“HELL TAKE me,” Siris whispered, rocking in the ship.
On his mirror, Raidriar died the final death, killed in a flash of light.
Impossible, Siris thought. Not that Raidriar had died. But that he . . . the creature that Siris had been born to fight, the oppressor and tyrant . . .
That man had sacrificed himself.
Oh, hell, Siris thought, slumping backward. I tried to betray him, and he sacrificed himself. I was the villain. And Raidriar . . . Raidriar just became a hero.
The Dark Self stirred.
“No,” Siris said. “I don’t have to be you.”
It shook within him, writhing to break out.
“No,” Siris said. “No.”
It thrashed and struggled, like a trapped rat. Siris clamped down on it and squeezed until . . .
Until it was no more.
He stood on shaky legs and looked at Isa, slowly healing on the bed. He left the cabin, passing TEL at the doorway. Siris walked up onto the deck, each footfall stronger than the one before. In the distance behind, rain fell over the ocean. But ahead . . . ahead was light.
Siris turned away from the storm and walked to the prow of the ship. The Sacrifice was complete. His ancient purpose, to defeat Raidriar, was no more.
And in the end, they had fulfilled one another’s roles, to an extent. He felt guilty, but soon found even that emotion evaporating. Replaced by awe.
If a man like Raidriar could be a hero, what did it mean for Siris?
It meant freedom.