I run full force towards the horde, dreading every second about what I am about to do. Just as the horde feels as though it can reach out and grab me I leap into the air, as high as I can.
Most of the horde is still constrained to the hole made in the stadium wall thanks to my efforts in culling those that entered, so to properly get into the thick of things I have to go even higher than the stadium walls with my jump.
The world seems to contort and my stomach twists into a solid knot as I watch the world get further and further away from me. I desperately will myself to calm down so I can assess the situation from the sky.
It’s far worse than I had previously imagined. Undead are absolutely everywhere. Not only filling out the streets from the breach in the outer wall to here but in all of the surrounding areas around the arena. No wonder that massive subjugation party fell, these numbers far exceed anything that was predicted.
I desperately look into those nearest the stadium in search of the pink glow that I had caught a glimpse of before. Thankfully it was not difficult to pick out of the crowd. The only gap in the shambling hordes formation was a strange circle they seemed to form around something decently large that gave off a bright pink glow.
The whisp I created was quite small, wasn’t it? Could this actually be something unrelated to me?
With this faint hope behind me, I begin falling to the earth once again. The closer the ground gets, the more my body tenses up. Before reaching the ground I all but lose my calm and cast a barrier around myself in panic.
I don’t know what was worse. The sound of bones and meat crushing under the weight of my fall, or the fact that casting the barrier caused me to bounce. After bouncing I once again landed on more of the undead, but not with enough force to do any damage. Instead, my barrier is rolled around on top of them as they attempt to claw at me within it.
As my barrier sinks into the river of undead, and the rolling finally stops, I lay there for a moment. There are a few things I could imagine would be worse than losing my lunch right now, so I collect myself before standing again.
I take a deep breath and prepare a spell before dispelling the barrier around me. As I do dozens of undead pour in from the sides, desperate to assault the puzzling prey before them. To their surprise, however, I disappear. By activating clear I can pass through the horde with little resistance, though they still react when touched. I quickly make progress towards the glow by jumping atop the heads of the undead.
At last, I arrive at the clearing around the pink glow, and my worst fears are realized as I get a good look at the creature in front of me. It appears to be a ghostly figure of a girl, not fully realized, made up of a pink whispy substance. She looks sad and lost as her eyes search the area around her.
Momma? Are you there? I can feel you.
She speaks into my mind as she reaches out her hand toward me.
This is, without doubt, the whisp that I created in that forest, but something seems to have changed about it. Did it rank up?
Clear deactivates around me, I no longer wish to remain hidden. I begin walking towards the phantom.
Momma! It’s you! I’ve been looking for so long!
As I reach her, my words catch in my throat. I know what I must do, but it hurts me so much even to consider it.
Momma, aren’t you happy to see me! Aren’t you proud of me?
The vestige of a girl asks, but the sadness doesn’t leave her eyes. It feels as though she knows the answer.
“Why… Why didn’t you return to me when I called for you?” I ask
The girl looks like she is in pain, but remains silent.
“Why did you raise these undead?” I ask sternly
She begins to cry but remains silent.
“Why did you hurt all of these people?!” I demand
“Be-Because y-you m-m-made me like this.” The girls voice trembles as she attempts to speak aloud
“I created you with the abilities to draw the mana from nature around you and heal injuries. Not create undead and attack settlements.” I argue, raising my voice
I feel as though I am scolding a child, which weighs heavily on my heart.
“E-ever Every day, I-i grew stronger. I took m-more from the c-creatures around me. I d-didn’t k-know better. By the t-time, I realized what I-i was doing. E-e-everything around me was… dead.” She says with incorporeal tears running down her face
With every word she stutters or trips on, her form seems to jerk in a disconcerting fashion.
The sound of a child whaling is broadcasted into my mind, as she continues to struggle with words in front of me.
“I-i tried to fix them… I tr-tried so hard-d! A-and I did! I brought one back!” The girl desperately argues as she begins to look around her
I understand immediately what she meant. One of the creatures that died to her over-active mana drain must have been the first of this undead horde.
She smiles as she looks at them as if they were special to her.
“Y-you called for me… but I w-was s-s-scared. I took so m-much, that I hurt things. I w-wanted to fix things first. I w-went around fixing p-people, and they b-became my friends! I fixed everybody that got hurt a-around me! S-since I fixed more than I broke, I thought you would be proud of me!” As she reaches the end of her sentence, her false smile breaks
She looks at me with a look of defeat, as if she already knows that the words she is saying are false hope. She wanted it so bad, that she said them anyway, even if it was only going to make things hurt more.
I resolve myself to do what must be done.
I walk briskly towards the girl.
She braces and closes her eyes as if she expects me to strike her.
As I reach her I throw my arms around her, even surprising myself that I could touch her in this form. As I embrace her I pull her close to me and say as earnestly as I can.
“I am so proud of you. I am so sorry that I made you go through that. None of this is your fault, it’s mine.”
My own words sting me. If I had properly studied how my powers work I could have avoided this entire tragedy. I not only cause all of those people to suffer, but I carelessly brought life into this world and left it to struggle all on its own. Every bit of this is my fault.
“R-Really? Momma?” The girl asks as she squeezes into me
“Really.” I say as she fades away in my arms