A Scholar, A Peasant and a King, part 4

She woke the next morning having slept through the night fully and felt on top of the world. Her newborn was no longer with her and she assumed that her mother must have put him in his crib. She got up and went to see her little hero. He lay there peacefully with a blanket over him and his back to her. She approached him slowly and lovingly.

But when she reached him and looked down into his eyes she no longer saw her son. Deep within his pupils she saw a glowing red fire and she felt that this fire was going to get her. She examined him further, moving the blanket from his naked body. She was struck by an overwhelming fear as she saw he had no belly button. She immediately knew that this was not her baby, he had been replaced. Ever since Dai had got that job she had felt she had been under a curse and now looking down on this small creature that had replaced her newborn she knew that this is what she’d been anticipating.

As the fear left her so did the remainder of her emotions. Her face appeared blank and lifeless and there was no spirit left inside her. She took the small creature from its crib and left her mother’s home silently, with no supplies. She walked for days and days drinking from sewers and such to keep what little life she had left going. Then she reached the desert. She built a small bonfire with some dry wood she had collected and eventually managed to get it alight. She held her baby creature by its ankle and stuck it out over the bare flames. It didn’t scream. It just accepted its fate and slowly burned away. Once the creature was dealt with Hao herself took one small step and stood motionless amongst the flames.

The king of the dead had finally got his way.

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