Chapter 2. The Pendant
"Ari!" I shout out when I see Griffins duplicate in the living room.
"Oh, my... the Goddess of Chaos herself is here?" I love this person so much, both sides of her. "It's been too long."
She drops her phone on the sofa and immediately runs to my side to envelop me in her embrace. There's a difference between Griffin's hugs and the ones her duplicate gives me. While Arianna's hugs are warm and full of love, Ari's are radiating, filled with light and excitement. It might seem there isn't a big difference but believe me when I say that they're almost completely opposite.
"Now that is how you greet an old friend," I grin at Ari but my smile dissolves as soon as I feel Griffin's irritation, anger, and sadness.
"Eris, maybe you and Ari should go out. I don't feel so good, I guess it would be better for me to take a nap while you have some fun time together," Griffin mumbles under her nose and lies down where her copy was sitting a few moments ago.
I kneel down beside her to get a better feel of her condition. She's right about one thing--this cancer is going to take its time, eating her up, and the next year or so will be agony.
It's the first time a Mortis Auxilium is ill. Usually they're immune to all human sickness, bacteria, and poison. But Griffin is an exception, she chose this path, thinking her child would be safer. I never agreed with her, knowing too well that Nature loves its balance. When something falls out of balance... Well, it never ends good, most of the time I am the one to bring the equilibrium back to the world, but sometimes it happens by itself, like with Arianna.
I poof her into a sitting position so that she's focused on me again. Her gaze is tired and confused, I never thought that I would feel so bad for anyone, or anything.
"Arianna, look at me," I tell her, my voice melodically soothing. "I'm going to help you get through this."
I stretch out my arm in front of her, my hand balled in a tight fist. Since I started to live among humans I became overly dramatic, which made me love light shows and magic tricks. Only in my case, for humans anyway, it's real magic. For me it's not a big deal, I'm chaos and I can do almost anything I want if it doesn't alter Nature's precious balance.
My fist starts to glow from the inside, radiating a reddish gold light. When I open my hand there's a small amulet in my palm.
"Take this. I can't make the pain go away completely, I can't heal you, but what I can do is give you this necklace. Never take it off," Griffin looks even more confused, there is no surprise however. I guess you lose that quality after knowing me for as much as she does. Ari sits down beside her, staying silent. "But before you put it on I need to tell you what it actually does. How do I explain this so you can understand... I programmed this amulet to numb the pain when you most need it. It'll give you enough strength and energy to get through the last year of your life. But there's a catch and, sadly, I can't undo it once you put it on and I can't change it now. If you agree to wear this trinket, you agree to live only one more year. No matter how much you have left now, if you put it on, you'll have exactly one more year. And on the last month all the pain, that it absorbed over this period, will crush down on you. It will be excruciating. You won't be able to move at all. The pain will be not just physical but also mental. But on these terms I will also be able to kill you, in that case you won't feel anything, if we perfectly work out the timing."
They both look at the small pendant in my palm. I made it look neutral, to go with anything she might wear, to go with her beautiful wooden brown eyes. It has a little gem in the center that has the faintest glow of the universe I would love to explore so much. That image, of course, is only visible to me and Arianna. With a heavy sigh, she takes the necklace and puts it on.
"I hope that when I die I'll be able to find out what or who Nature is. I have a lot of questions for it," she then smiles, her cheeks regaining some color. "Thank you, Eris. You've always been a good friend. I don't want to risk anything, I want you to kill me a week before the time runs out. I'll make sure that by then I'll be ready."