Valerian fell unconscious. He battled strongly with himself to stay alive, but he had lost so much blood. He was going to die and Freya would be stuck as a tree forever if the witch plucked the fruits. Images of his brother lying dead in the form of a beast with his own sword sticking out of his body flashed in his mind.
His brother would have been looking up to him even as he was trapped in the body of a beast to save him. Whenever he ran into him in the city, his brother always passed by him like he was invisible. He had tried to stop him once or speak to him but when Valerian touched him, he felt nothing. He was only touching thin air.
The only time Slade could really see him was when he was a beast and that was the only time his body felt solid too. He would have trusted Valerian to free him from the curse, but instead, Valerian had plunged a sword into him and left his body to rot on the floor of a forest.
Not only had he failed him, he had also betrayed him.
He opened his mouth and tried to form words but wasn’t sure if any sound came out. He didn’t know if she heard, but he said “Wait!”
The witch turned around, she had heard. She cocked her head.
“You never give up, do you?”
“Take me instead of her.” Valerian said.
The witch laughed out cruelly.
“You don’t have to beg me to put you out of your misery, I already said you will die slowly.”
“Make me a tree and pluck my fruits instead.”
She opened her mouth to say something, then stopped. She looked at him with a strong face of serious determination as if trying to figure something out. When she couldn’t, she crossed her hands and said.
“Something smells fishy. What game are you playing here, dwarf.”
“Just take me please!” He begged, and coughed out thick blood. She chuckled.
“I don’t know what game you think you are playing, but just so you know, I’m a creature of magic and cannot be stopped except by one.”
Suddenly the large oak door flung open, and a man with a long sword appeared at the doorway.
“Like me?” He said.
No no no. That’s not possible! I killed him, I killed Slade.