Birdsong and brightening earth alerted Mako to sunrise. He tested his wounded limb and winced, leaving it to heal. The substance spread over the cracked bone had paled and dried overnight to a creamy white matching the pigment where it was placed. He poked the rough surface of the bandage and hummed curiously.
He forced himself to stand, wings stabbing the ground and keeping him upright. The argument from the night before played over and over in his head. Every time he felt worse. The shelter she took wasn’t invaded by light just yet. Mako looked aside in thought and slowly perked, a smile gracing his malleable teeth.
The forest’s dappled vegetation was easily his favorite morning sight. Not only was it a fairytale sight, but it was also a prime condition for the exact present he needed. Mako crouched and brushed over all the small plants. A small bundle of red, heart-shaped flowers bloomed in the low light. He picked them up from the ground and mixed them with assorted wildflowers. The burning hearts became the bright centerpiece to the bouquet.
“I wish I had some peonies, but I think this will get the point across,” Mako muttered to himself, giving the bundle a once over. White sweetpeas, some violets, and a good amount of burning hearts. Mako pushed the bouquet into his cloak and returned to the ruins, taking a deep breath.
Hey, Saphira. I was taking a walk and I thought of you… No. Uh, hey Saph. I found these and I… killed them for you. No, definitely not that. Though, maybe she’d find it funny? Probably not so soon. Mako whispered under breath, trying to find the right way to offer his gift and ask for forgiveness. He lowered his head and groaned. Given his lack of social experience, just swinging with whatever is better than overthinking it.
“Hey S-” He froze. A figure made of pure pitch searched the standing buildings, hands in his suit pockets. The bright, burning red visible from his distance. Anger clouded his skull, but something gripped his chest as well. His lights flickered to Saphira’s hiding place, the grip tightening.
Mako dove into the shelter and lowered himself to the ground, but she was nowhere to be found. Her sword standing against the wall with no owner. He took it and sent it away, into the crypt on the other side. He sat back on his knees and looked around, confused, and worried. The hold was almost strangling. Another mistake was made, one he couldn’t afford to make. Mako reached into his cloak and retrieved the small shell.
As accurately as he could, he wrote the name onto the surface.
Halal strolled up to the crumbling stone he crouched behind. Mako growled. Halal was just the ass to do something to her and Mako was having none of it. Mako summoned his scythe and swiped at Halal the second he came into view. Halal’s head fell from his shadowy form, both of which dissipated.
The reaper squinted, watching the shadows and backing into the sunlight. The dark chuckles echoing through the air announced his presence.
“What a kind hello,” Halal said, reforming of inky darkness and stepping into the light. His fires had sparks of amusement, his brow raised. Mako paused, giving a confused noise and an annoyed glare at his scythe. It was ineffective, what was Halal?
“Where is she?” Mako growled.
“You lost her already? Oh, you hopeless fool.” Halal chuckled, raising his hand to his mouth in a catty gesture.
“Don’t play with me! What did you do with her?” Mako fumed, slashing furiously at the specter as he roared. Halal slipped past the slashes with his hands behind his back. His cocky smirk never faltered, swift stepping around Mako with little care.
“I’m disappointed you couldn’t keep an eye on her for more than a few days. This only makes my job harder.” Halal said, yawning and reforming cleaved parts of his body. Mako glared, stepping back and panting. He furrowed his brow and grit his teeth.
“What are you talking about?” He grumbled. Halal shook his head and put a finger to his lips. Mako looked around the ruins, faint blue shreds flitted on the wind, leading over the trees to the graveyard beyond. Mako sighed, glad she was elsewhere without Halal’s knowledge. He brandished his scythe.
“You’re a wanted man, Mako. Reviving someone, a Fracture even? Is there no limit to how far you’ll go upsetting mother Maut?” Halal chided, sanguine smile proud to add insult to injury. Mako wasn’t in any shape to fight and Halal wasn’t leaving without completing his task.
Mako shot into the air and tried to flee, his wing beats lagging from the pain of uncommon wounds. His shoulder, the only break aided, was all he was willing to reveal to Saphira. In actuality, his spine and wings were also wounded. Both with even bigger cracks. He forced himself to stay airborne
Halal vanished below without a trace. Mako searched for him, wishing he could gulp something real. A hidden hand took Mako’s cracked humerus and dug into the marrow.
“You’re not going to get away that easily,” Halal growled, clinging to Mako’s back and piercing the open wounds. Mako cried in pain through gritted teeth, glaring daggers at the specter and trying to rip him off.
“Tsk, tsk, you have no grace.” Halal chuckled.
Mako thrashed, his attempts failing without getting any closer to the goal. He could hold them both up anymore, falling and crashing in the grass, his wings creaking and cracking further. Halal whistled, placing a foot on Mako’s back and swaying his head with a thin grin. Mako groaned, his anger second chair to the pain immobilizing his entire form. He continued to thrash, slow and weak. Halal forced his heel between Mako’s ribs, the choking, and coughing music to his ears.
“I appreciate you making this easy for me. I’m sure Maut would like to take care of you herself.” Halal decided.
“Get off me. I have to find Saphira!” Mako barked, struggling to no avail. Halal raised his head to the sky, reveling in his victory with a joyous sigh. He ignored the reaper’s pleas and split a doorway to the other side.
“You don’t need to do that. I’ll look for you. I have to dispose of her, after all.” Halal explained, “Maut is too kind to you. Offer you a deal, hah! Disposing of you is the only viable option.” he threatened, Halal carried Mako through the doorway, dropping the dizzying height to the spirit world floor, starling a group of spirits.
Mako had no strength left. He extinguished his eye lights, head down and body limp. He hurt all over. Despair fogged his mind as he realized he may never earn his revenge for Nocci. That he may never see Saphira again.
Halal, despite his objections, did what he was directed. Mako was alive. Spirits stared in awe and wonder at the specter carrying off a reaper. Insubordination was a rare sight among the spirits. Their questions and gossip were too quiet for Mako to grasp, but he already knew what they were saying. It was all they ever said.
“Why would he do this? The afterlife is so peaceful. So fun. So relaxing.” Mako grimaced. His complaints fell flat on the spirits. On anyone. Maut did her best to make the afterlife something to enjoy since the dead were stuck with it.
“I haven’t felt anything like that since the war…” Mako said, lowering his head. Petals crumpled out of his cloak. He frowned and watched the leaves flutter to the ground. The severed blossoms dropped from him and littered the ground.
It was a stupid idea anyway. Mako grumbled in his head.
Halal ascended the stairs to mother Maut’s hollow. The imps awaited at the doors for his arrival. Mako didn’t look at them. The beasts he looked down on. His jaw tightened. He knew what was coming for him. He would be dissipated. Forced to fade from the world, his soul eternally obliterated. Maut would have no mercy for his actions. Saving a fracture.