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© 2003 Kyle Hoyt.
All rights reserved.
 Addie Conclusions Pt.II
Posted by: Addie Posted on: 11.28.03

Oh wow, I honestly forgot that yesterday was the Thanksgiving holiday! I guess I've lost all track of time with everything that's been happening. I was wondering why Sylvie was in the kitchen all morning cooking up a storm, when it's just the two of us out here. Imagine my surprise when she wheeled in a full turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. I started apologizing for being such a burden and making her miss out on spending the day with her family, but she just flashed me a grin and said that she was rather happy for the excuse to sit this one out. Well, despite being bed-ridden for the time being, I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for this year.

You see, the endless traipsing through the snowy woods a few days ago was just the beginning of my terrifying ordeal. After collapsing from exhaustion the night before, I was violently awakened as Diego pulled me from the ground and threw me onto his back like a sack of potatoes. Apparently, it was first light and he didn't want to waste any time in getting back on Pest's trail. I was too far gone to offer much resistance, and quite honestly, was just happy that I didn't have to go on foot. The snow had quieted down to harmless flurries again, but the assault of last night had left a deep blanket of white everywhere, so it was slow going. After a few more hours of fruitless wandering through the bitter cold of the early morning, Diego finally stopped in an open field and dropped me to the ground.

He hadn't said a word all morning, but I heard him speaking under his breath as he stood with his head down just a few feet away. After a few minutes of this, he made a cross gesture with his hands and looked at me with a new resolve, pulling a piece of cloth from his pocket as he approached. He quickly grabbed my head and made an attempt to tie the cloth over my face, but I used the last of my strength to throw myself down to the snow and he lost his balance. He tumbled a bit and let out a mighty curse, but before he could attempt again, a cry from just beneath the trees caught his attention. He grabbed his sword and sought for the source of the sound. I'm sure he thought that Pest had finally appeared to face him, as he brought his sword up to a battle stance and fire danced in his deep-set eyes.

Imagine his surprise (and mine!) when a black-clad Sylvie wandered out into the open space and leveled a sleek blade at him. His stance faltered for a second, and then he quickly scrambled behind me and held his blade to my throat, his hand shaking the entire time. Sylvie just regarded him with a determined stare as she came forward, asking him what he intended to do. He steadied his grip and brought the blade tighter to my skin, forcing my head back, and threatened to end my life if she came closer. Sylvie stopped about a stone's throw away from us and asked if he hadn't been intending that from the start. Diego raised his sword for a final blow and exclaimed that killing the monster was all that mattered now, whether directly in combat or in the only method left to him, by destroying the host.

Admittedly, my eyes were shut tight and my senses scrambled with fear, but I swear that Sylvie was across that space in a split second with her sword straight up against Diego's raised blade. Diego must have been as surprised as me, because the initial force of her attack knocked him back into the soft snow behind us, leaving him almost completely open for a finishing blow. However, Sylvie ran to my side and gently pushed me to the tree line with a warning to stay clear of the coming battle. I silently nodded, too exhausted to do much else. As I tried to stay hidden on a tiny outcropping above the field, the two combatants paced around each other in a circle with their swords held high. It seemed like they'd stay locked in that pattern forever until Diego finally ran forward and attempted to land a blow to Sylvie's side. She countered, and the fight began in earnest.

I don't know a thing about sword fighting, but I think I was front and center for quite an exhibition that day. They seemed evenly matched, as Syvlie deftly countered Diego's superior size and strength with unbelievable speed and agility. Indeed, I was hard pressed to determine who was winning after watching them engage for more than half an hour of brutal combat. Neither had even sustained a scratch during that whole time, but it was obvious that fatigue was setting in, as they fell back to defensive positions across the field from each other, circling once more with their swords at the ready. It was Diego who once again broke the calm, but not by running at Sylvie. Instead, he waited until he was positioned nearer to from where I was watching, and then turned suddenly and rushed with his sword ready to strike. I had inadvertently moved out into the open space as I had lost myself in the spectacle below, so I was an easy target. Sylvie dashed across the empty field to try to stop him, but it seemed too late to do anything. Then, the strangest thing happened.

A deep rumbling came from just inside the trees, and suddenly Pest rocketed out in a flurry of snow, grabbing me with such force that the wind went out of my lungs and I was knocked unconscious. Diego never even faltered as he jumped into the air for the final blow, driving his sword deep into Pest's exposed back. Of course, I didn't see any of this, but Sylvie witnessed everything and filled me in after the fact. Apparently, the blow shook the entire clearing and Pest, Diego and I were consumed in a blast of light and an inward rush of air that forced Sylvie to shield her eyes and run for cover to the swaying trees at the edge of the field. With a thundering clap, the whole field erupted into a rising column of swirling snow and debris behind her, rising up to an opening in the cloudy sky. And then, nothing.

Sylvie said she found me lying unscathed in the center of the field, but there was no sign of either Pest or Diego. In a state of disbelief, she fell to her knees and cradled me in her arms, too tired to even think of the long walk back to the cabin. Even she doesn't know how she found the strength to finally get us both of us back there later that day.

I guess I was pretty strained from the experience, because Sylvie said I stayed asleep for a solid two days after the incident, finally coming around early Monday morning. The first thing I asked for was some potato chips, of all things. It was then that Sylvie knew I was going to be all right, she said. Anyways, we've spent the last few days here resting up, with Sylvie trying to make sense of the whole thing. She says she knew that the key to sending Pest back to his home safely was in getting him to sever the link to me of his own free will. It's not the way she planned it, but Pest sacrificing himself for me achieved the same end, cutting our link and forcing him back. She said the giant blast of light was probably his retained energy transferring back to me, which is why I survived the whole thing. Diego, it appears, was just caught in the middle. When I asked if either could still be alive somewhere beyond here (I guess wherever it is that Pest came from), she just shook her head and said she didn't know.

In the end, I guess we'll never know what brought Pest here in the first place, anyways. Sylvie says she has all sorts of theories about incarnations of subconscious feelings and certain people's affinities to forces beyond our own world, but that they're just theories, after all, and she wouldn't burden a girl in her recovery bed with such wild guesses and pseudo-scientific conjectures. All I know is that, despite feeling a little weak at the moment, I finally feel whole again. And the lurking feeling of dread I've had ever since I came out here all alone is finally gone. That's got to be worth something.