The Archduchess woke up feeling as if all her energy had been taken away. She slowly inspected her surroundings, without moving: in front of her, only sand; further away, the Sea. To her right, stood a creature she knew very well.
The Archduchess wrote:Why… why did you save me?
Michael was looking at the endless Sea. “So this is what the first part of not ending looks like.”
The Archduchess wrote:You shouldn't have brought me back. You should have let me die alone.
Michael replied by turning his head to their left. Some dozens of meters away, closer to the shore, a little child tried unsuccessfully to stop the Sea from crumbling her sandcastle.
Michael wrote:You can change your appearance if you want to. It's just a matter of will.
The statement made the Archduchess look at her hands. Or actually, at her paws. They were just like Michael's; in fact, she looked identical to him. She froze in shock until she realized what had happened: in order to reconstruct her original body, he would have to considers parts of her body that human customs considered private; in order to comply with these customs, he just left the actual transformation to her.
Of course, there was another possibility, and considering his gesture, it was the most likely one.
She got up. The cells on the edge of her body slowly started to disconnect from each other and spin around her center. As she moved closer to the shore, more and more cells joined the spinning dance, forming a cloud. The cells then started to reorganize themselves in a new shape, not of a dragon, but of a human adolescent, maybe just a few years older than the child.
The Archduchess remembered those old, almost forgotten times, when she learned that her family was the more evil of evils, and swore to destroy them all, as well as herself, to make the world a better place. She recalled the day she found a bridge to that world, and the experiments she made to determine the difference in passing of time between this world and hers. She recollected when she brought there the only innocent in her family.
On her world, almost sixty years had passed. On this, only a half dozen hours.
The Archduchess wrote:Aurore?
The little girl turned her face. She knew that voice.
Little Beret Girl wrote:Sis Claire!
The Archduchess had never expected living to see her sister again. She had never expected to have a future.
She turned to Michael to thank him, but he wasn't there anymore.
* * *
“Go, and sin no more.” With this though, Michael had vanished as smoke.
That wasn't the land the Source was connected to. That was his universe, but not his home.
His quest was not finished yet.