We come to the end of the Maze of Greed, with the defeat of Lydia- but the drama isn’t over. Bandit carries a secret within her that is bound to change everything.
Bandit let herself fall nearly limp in Habib’s arms, shaking still. Her heart beat quickly as all she could smell was the fallen angel, all she could see was him, too.. Eyelids fluttered until they closed completely, her arms reaching up to wrap around the fallen’s neck.. Though, despite how much she shook in fear, some part of her wished that it was not Habib that held her, but Raul. God, what was it that attracted her to the messed and broken? Perhaps, that it was that she herself was a mess, that she too was a broken soul, waiting to be put back together.. Another part of her wished nothing more than to drink this all away, and the final part wanted nothing but her death.. What further suffering could she be spared if she was killed now..? Her eyes opened slowly as she gazed up at Habib, head falling back to be against his arm – there was no in between, she could not hold herself up currently..
Her breathing was hard gasps, almost wheezing rather than actual breaths. Her heart beat seemed almost impossibly fast, echoing — wait a minute.. No. Her heart beat was actually quite faint and slow, but yet.. there was another sound, thumpthumthumpthump, rapid in tune and seeming to come from her lower abdomen.. Oh. Oh.. it was another heartbeat entirely.. Yes. Bandit was pregnant. And Raul was her child’s father.. But she did not yet know of this pregnancy, she did not yet know of the little being that she held inside of her, a child with magic as strong as its father’s and a will to live as strong as its mother’s… Bandit needed nutrition and warmth, she would catch a sickness remaining outside and in such a weakened state – in fact, she could feel the same waves of unconsciousness overcoming her, appearing to be faint for another time. This would not be good for her baby..
Scar was now beaming brightly as his beautiful Princess took his hand. In the change from coming back in the hat, he was actually taller now, and one might say better looking. Maybe it was his love for the young witch that had him appear this way. Then again, it was not how one looked, but what they were truly inside that made them worthy of love. Scar had been to hell and back…really, in order to save the girl of his dreams. He had been sent away in his own hat, and then brought back her family to her in order to help her. Little did he truly understand that in order to save her, she had to learn to save herself. It would be a good lesson for life and one that would be important in the coming days as the rest of hell figured out that Lydia was dead.
Wow…the evil bitch finally got what was coming to her and she had a particularly nasty end. But looking about them now, they would see nothing but beauty. The maze had come back full and strong – vivid and colourful. Gone were the evils that walked its many lengths, but instead there were brightly coloured flowers and singing birds. Maybe this was an unnatural phenomenon in a place like Greed, but it matched the new Princess perfectly.
Scar gave Mariela’s hand a squeeze as he gestured for Sam, Sean and Tessa to follow. The alp knew that the family deserved a reunion that made the whole adventure worth while. In the coming days, Mariela would have a lot of choices to make. For one…she must decide if her family was to return. Mariela might be able to visit them, but the truth was she now belonged in Hell, and Greed was her kingdom and her home.
“Wait till you guys see the castle. It’s probably still a mess from the ball. Hope they have clean up crews working on it.” No truer statement had been made. There had been magical fights up there and much destruction and death. Not exactly the kind of place you want to take your relatives. Walking past the great giant Douglas, you could see the ginger haired mountain was happy for the small couple, but he was also sad in a way. There was no going back to the Fallen mansion now, and even if he could….Quinn was not there. His only friend in the worlds. He had lost his family long ago, and had no one to call his….or a real home. Some were getting their happy ever afters and others were not. The biggest losers were those that chose to play their worst cards with little regard for the others. Raul…Lydia…both lost.
The giant wiped away a stray tear as he leaned on his battle axe. The maze in behind him was in full bloom and colour. Did it really need a gardener now? Slowly, he made his way out of the maze and continued his search for the hell hound…his only friend.
(TC – Douglas)
Further back, Habib was holding onto the very tired looking Bandit. Her breathing was still shallow and her gasping came hard and sounded dreadful. She needed rest from all that had happened, and the fallen held her very close to him as he started to follow the rest of the party. But it was during that first few steps that he felt not one…but two heartbeats. Strange. A human only has….Habib’s eyes widened at the realization. No…it can’t be. Was Bandit pregnant? He stopped long enough to let the others get well ahead before saying anything.
“I was going to take you away from this realm to a place where you can be healed…..but, it may destroy the life within you.” The fallen knew that if Bandit was indeed pregnant, and if the baby belonged to who he thought it did, that there was no way she could leave hell now. The fallen had to think quickly. The Princess and her family were just getting on with their lives, and now this. If Raul found out, he would bring about such death and destruction to get back Bandit and their child. Habib’s wings burst into life and without looking back, he pushed off from the ground, soaring into the air with Bandit in his arms. He needed to find her a temporary sanctuary from all that could harm her so he could think of what to do next.
Her life…and that of her unborn depended on it.
Mariela looked at Scar, realizing how much taller he was than her. “You’re taller now.” she stated with a small smile. She had always thought Scar was a charmer – but now he actually looked it. But she didn’t state this out loud, and instead bit the corner of her lip and gave a smile, before turning to Tessa and her brothers.
As they walked through the maze, Mariela took time to look around and notice how truly beautiful it was. Certainly much different than what it looked like before. It was a nice change, and Mariela admired how beautiful the maze was. Made her actually want to walk through it this time. Mariela looked down when Scar squeezed her hand, entwining their fingers together as he did so. She then looked up when Scar spoke.
“The castle is quite grand. It has everything you can imagine, and certainly fits for a perfect castle for Greed.” she said with a small laugh, looking at Tessa and her brothers again. “There was a… incident at the ball. We weren’t there to see what happened, but my guess is none of it was good. And if we walk and it’s completely destroyed, I apologize.” she spoke, turning to look ahead again.
“I didn’t think you could do it. Kill the Princess of Greed.” Tessa spoke, and Mariela turned to look at her. “I’ve killed once before, you know. That’s why I ended up in Hell.” she spoke. “That was different.” Sean spoke up. “You did it to protect us.” he spoke again, and Mariela looked at him. “And I killed Lydia to protect myself, and everybody else. The same exact reason I killed that man years ago. To protect the one’s I love.”
“Lydia was so… powerful. Yet you managed to kill her.” Tessa spoke, still not believing that little Mariela defeated the “powerful” Princess of Greed. Mariela just sighed, looking forward again. “Lydia may have been powerful, but that power caused her death. She may have been Princess of Greed, but there is such a thing as being too greedy.” she started.“Her Greed and ambition and desire to be the most powerful person in Hell caused her demise.” she said, then looked at the trio. “That, and the fact she had a really bad habit of underestimating people who were “lower” than her.” she said with a smile.
“So, you’re the new Princess of Greed. What are you going to do now?” Sam asked and Mariela shrugged. “Guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I know one thing. I’ll do a hell of a better job running this place than Lydia ever did.” she spoke.