Amethyst did not sleep that night, or the next. On the third day they made it back to the road only to find themselves face to face with a group of men.
“Just give us your money and no one will get hurt.” A boy no older than her stood with a sword trained on them.
“Seriously?” Ethan looked on with disbelief as the group of men encircled them. “I mean…” he gestured at his own armor, “you really think this is a good idea?”
“You think you can fight all of us while defending your ladies?” the boy thrust his sword forward, “we will take that fancy armor too.”
Fiori laughed as she patted Ethan on the back, “oh noble knight surely you won’t let the ruffians have their way with us.”
Ethan rubbed his temples; he was about to talk before Amethyst stepped forward.
The boy took a step back as she stopped just out of his sword's reach, “I couldn’t ask the last man but maybe you can answer for me. Why? Why do this, you have to know that eventually the guilds will send people after you, is it for money?”
“Listen little girl, I don’t.” his words were cut short as her sword appeared in her hands.
“I will not make the same mistakes twice,” she said calmly, her sword resting at her side, “I realize now that what bothered me about killing the last man was a simple miscommunication.” She brought her sword up, the tip of it brushing his sword in a challenge. She raised her voice, her words carrying through the forest as if she was declaring it to the world itself. “If you insist on this course of action, you will die. If you leave now, we will not chase you. But know this, I will kill you if you attack us.” Her threat was punctuated with a sudden release of mana that sent several of the men fleeing into the trees.
The boy staggered back, his sword falling to the ground as he held his hands up, “wait… it was… we just needed some money, ok?” He stammered as he tripped and fell.
Quick cut his fingers off! Hecatolite chimed in her mind.
“Quiet you.” Amethyst growled causing the boy to nearly faint as she heard a laugh behind her.
She turned to see Fiori quickly cover her mouth as she tried to stifle a laugh, Ethan shook his head before turning to the remaining men. “You heard the lady, go.” He waved his hand lazily, sending the rest of them scattering into the forest.
Mira stepped up beside her, pushing Amethyst's sword down as she smiled. “You don’t need to do all that, Amethyst.” She said softly as she turned her eyes to the young man on the ground, “As for you, I would give a lot of thought to your life before doing something this foolish in the future. Next time you may not be as lucky.”
“ye… yes ma'am.” The boy stammered before running off leaving his sword on the ground by their feet.
Amethyst sighed as she stored her sword, instinctively rubbing the bridge of her nose as her shoulders slumped.
“you know we wouldn’t have killed them, right?” Ethan asked, stepping beside her picking the sword off the ground, he inspected it by giving it a test swing before tossing the cheap blade into the bushes.
“I would have.” Amethyst said coldly as she looked back to them. “I will not let the decisions of others weigh on me any longer. If they decide to threaten me or those I hold dear, make no mistake, I will kill them. If they surrender, then I will aid them but that offer will be given once. If they think after that that the coins in my pockets are worth their lives then that’s on them.”
Her declaration, the words she chose so carefully over the last three days, the one she thought would be met with resistance was instead met by… warm smiles. She looked back to see Ethan chuckling to himself as Mira looked to her with the same care her sister gives her.
She looked to Fiori, the woman’s smirk instantly causing her heart to race as a faint blush formed on her face. “You're too kind, you know that.” Fiori said as a matter of fact with a faint hint of a laugh in her voice.
None of them told her they had been worried about her the last three days. She hardly spoke to them as they made their way back and the concern that maybe taking a life had affected her more than anyone had thought was a real fear they all shared. But to see her stand and declare to the world that she would offer help to those who surrender was enough to break their worries. Each one of them had seen people spiral out of control after killing a person, some drunk on the power, others so rattled by it they were forced to retire but Amethyst had come out in a way only someone hailed as a saint could. None of them knew at the time that the “offer of mercy” would someday become the signature of the "Twins of Twilight”.
Sitting in her own realm, Taika felt a tremor in the world. As the goddess of magic, she had a very sensitive connection with the world as a whole, this connection granted her second domain, divination. The ability of divination was a strange one, one couldn’t “see” the future in clear terms, but they could feel possible outcomes, the more likely the outcome the stronger the feeling.
A harsh tremor ran up the goddess' spine as her body was rocked with a premonition stronger than any she had ever felt before. her entire body convulsed as she felt… a threat… No a promise. The words clear in her mind as they burned into her very soul, “I offer mercy to any who lay down their weapons now, surrender and you will be absolved of your sins, all forgiven, and you will be welcomed with arms open as fellow man. However, I promise this to you now, continue your hostilities towards our lands and we will meet you in kind. Attack us and you will die.”
The premonition was so powerful it forced the goddess to her knees as the image of two women entered her mind, one wreathed in black standing tall with a silver sword held high above her head, the other white squatting next to her with an inhuman smile as the words rang out again.
“Madam?” One of her followers cautiously approached her with his hand out.
The goddess of magic sat shivering on the floor, a feeling she hadn’t felt since she was a human, forcing its way up as she fought the urge to scream… fear. Whatever that was, it wasn't a premonition, it was a fact. A promise so strong the world itself bent to it.