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Bambi and the Duke 221 It is time

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Isabelle walked through the deserted forest, her steps on snow leaving imprints behind her as she walked forward. The lantern she had been carrying had exhausted and it being of no use, she had thrown it away on her way here.

She had come far from the land of Bonelake. Away and closer to where she once called these lands to be home. Her time was close, years that she had spent after being burnt, it was time for her spirit to depart as the body she was in was giving up on her. 

Isabelle heard the owl hoot above her as she made her way through the thicket of the forest. Snow continued to fall from the sky, some coming to settle above on the hooded hood she had pulled to cover herself. 

Her dagger was covered in an inky black liquid which now had dried and was hidden in its sheath. She had lured and killed as many black witches as she could who had come to reside along with the citizens of the villages and town. If it was a few years ago, her body wouldn't have felt this exerted but she wasn't the same as before. Bringing her hand up, she saw the way her right hand had come to discolour. The rate of decay was moving in a quick direction and before she would breathe her last breath she wanted to kill as many black witches she could by dragging them along with her. That was the least she could do. 

It wasn't only humanity but also the night creatures along with her fellow sisters who were being put in danger. The witch who went by the name 'Ester' she had heard that she would be able to catch her here. 

She wished she could have unveiled more of what was going on in the council but she had left it in the hands of the youngsters. There were the Duke and his wife, his wife especially. She believed them to discover what was going and had instead come on this little journey of hers on her own while leaving Connor in charge of the Church duties. 

It had been more than a week since she had left and by now the officials would have already smelt her absence and would have started a search of where she was. For the council, it didn't matter how much you worked and helped them. In the end, the white witches were nothing bu mere tools in solving some cases and aiding the folks. Due to this, the trust never came to form between the councilmen and the white witches. 

But that was least of her worries. 

She had hoped one day to meet her son Alexander who was now the Lord of Valeria. To sit down and talk to him, but she had no time for it. He was still in the process of making peace with the way he had seen her being burnt in the middle of the village. To lose her again, she shook her head, she wouldn't want to put him through it again. He would finally be able to look forward and he had a life now, she hoped one day he would find the woman he would love and share his burden with. Just like how his father had. 

Isabelle continued to walk forward, the little sides of her black hair coming to settle on her face which she pushed back with her hand which had begun to decompose. On the other hand, she held papers. 

Some of them were her own personalized parchments which she had written down the names of the witches she was yet to find. While there were some which had the curses and potion making which had been passed down through her ancestors. It was a hidden rare treasure where most of the black witches, white witches, vampires and also humans were looking for. 

She carried it along with her as leaving it in the church was unsafe. Though there were a few things she had left behind in the room she had been occupying all these years, this was the only one that was worthy to be brought along in this journey of hers. Rolling it back, she placed it in her cloak and at the same time, she heard something distinguishable behind her. 

Isabelle knew someone had been following her for a few minutes now since she had entered the forest. 

With a smile that came to fall on her lips, she stopped her footsteps and spoke, "For a witch, you aren't stealth at all," she chuckled to hear the footsteps turn more prominent. 

"For a white witch, you aren't so bad. Though I was expecting for someone younger," the black witch finally made her appearance, her bright blue eyes clear in the air. Isabelle turned around to meet the black witch's false form who was a beautiful young girl with blonde hair which was accompanied with ample bosom. 

Ester, the black witch didn't leave the opportunity to attach the white witch and threw her knife which was coated with venom. But the white witch held the knife in time right at her face, "Looks can be deceiving, don't you agree," and she used the same knife to throw it against the black witch who wasn't as quick as the white witch. 

Dodging with the nick of time, the black witch stared at the white witch, her eyes looking very curiously at the woman.

"Impressive. You have been killing my sisters," Ester stated, an unamused smile on her thin lips, "Not that I care. Weaklings should always fall down first so that they can make way to the higher being," she pointed out to herself, "I have to thank you for it."

"I am glad to be of your help...Ester," Isabelle spoke the woman's name to see it narrow.

"You know about me," the black witch laughed softly before her expression turned serious, "If you know my name, there must be a reason for it unless I am in that little strike list of yours."

"My, how did you guess. Help me out and strike it so that I can go on my way," Isabelle's words were polite but her intentions weren't and both the woman pulled out their daggers. Suddenly the quiet forest was filled with sparks coming off from their daggers being clashes and rubbed against each other. 

The black witch used both her hands while the white witch used only her left hand to fight her off. Ester didn't know why the woman in front of her was much more agile than her even though it was clear by looks that she was younger who should have more energy to fight. 

Isabelle made sure to keep a long-distance as they fought, keeping a good range before striking back as it helped her get back her stance which was at times slipping due to the snow that was unevenly spread across the floor of the forest. 

Just when the black witch came close with her dagger, Isabelle raised her leg and kicked from the back making the younger witch slide far down on the snow before getting up and attacking her. 

"Give up," Ester gritted her teeth slightly vexed that she was taking this long to take an old haggard woman who was using only one of her hand ot fight which was insulting her now, "Ah!" she clashed her dagger straight on to Isabelle's already weakened arm to draw blood out, "Actually you aren't that difficult to read."

"I am glad to hear that you're finally catching up. It was turning to be really mundane now," Isabelle's smile irked the black witch until her appearance broke down. From eh beautiful woman, the skin tore out to bring forth the black scales which were dry and her tongue slithering out of her unchapped lips.

"How dare you, mock me!" Ester cried, her blue eyes still radiant as they continued to fight, "I will make sure to burn you!"

"I would like to see that," challenged Isabelle before she came to ask, "What is your motive with the massacres?" this seemed to bring a satisfied smile on Ester as if she had come to realize something very intricate. 

"Wait a minute! You are that white witch we burnt," Isabelle frowned hearing this. It was the villagers who had burnt her but not heeding any expression on her face, Isabelle decided to hear out what this black witch had to say, "How are you even alive?" she laughed loudly, the echo of her laughter surrounding the forest and them. 

"You know about me," murmured Isabelle for the black witch to cackle.

"Who doesn't know you. But I have to say I am shocked. Tell me how you escaped your death and I will spare your life," offered Ester, her blue eyes more vivid than before at the thought of immortality for the black witch. But Isabelle didn't utter a word and stared at the mad black witch who looked a little more than ecstatic at the news of what she just found. About her being alive, "You won't say, will you? Such honour," the black witch tch-ed, clicking her tongue unhappily. 

"Are you trying to gather the red moon source? But you don't have all the ingredients now, do you?" 

"How do you know?" Ester narrowed her eyes before going for another swing of the dagger and every time Isabelle dodged the poison metal.

"You think you are the only old one here on these lands?" smirked Isabelle, sheathing back her dagger she walked behind the trees while keeping a good distance from the black witch who seemed to be interested in her talk than her intention to kill now. 

"I don't know what you are speaking of," Ester this time spoke very carefully but then there was no need to be careful as she was going to kill this woman here today. How could she not bestow death when a white witch came looking particularly to court death by her. 

"I am sure you know what I am exactly speaking of. Trying to perfect what the white witches once tried. How unoriginal," commented Isabelle, her cloak that had come off now had begun to collect the snow behind in its hood. To jog her memory, the white witch spoke, "Centuries ago, white witches tried to resurrect power as they were shunned away from their own lands. It was about the red moon, sourcing it with a few sacrifices very similar to the massacre which you have been demonstrating but haven't been able to perfect. But when a certain witch found the other sacrifices that came along with the power, the idea was dropped along with the lost ritual to gain power back again against the ones who had wronged them."

"So tell me, dear," the white witch probed the black witch who was walking in the same direction as her but in a circle which made it looked like they were on two different sides, "Are you trying to find the other sources as you haven't been able to get any of ritual right but had been under failure?"

"Hmph!" the black witch harrumphed, "Unlike the white witches, I am no coward to stop at the mere word of sacrifice. I will win back what was once ours before the night creatures drove me and my sisters away."

"But do you have everything that you need to perform it?" enquired Isabelle.

"You have it. In that parchment that you have been secretly carrying all this while," Ester pointed out with a grin, "But I doubt if that is all that is there. You don't appear to be an idiot to carry a treasure without protecting it. Unless...unless you have portioned those parchments somewhere else so that we don't find it."

"How intelligent. Then you should find all of them which I doubt you can," challenged Isabelle and suddenly daggers started to clash one after another, sparks flying in the air until Ester successfully ran her dagger deep into Isabelle's chest making her fall on the snowy ground. 

"For a woman of your age, you should know when to shut up," said Ester, before she forcefully searched the other woman's coat and pulled the parchments to tuck it in her pocket, "I don't know how you escaped death last time but I don't think you will revive back," said Ester glancing at Isabelle's hand which had turn rotten, "I will be gracious enough to leave you here because I doubt you can even move a muscle more," she chuckled and left the forest, leaving behind Isabelle where the poison was moving through her veins and blood.

In the black witch's eyes, it was her poison that had got Isabelle's hand rotten and so was her body giving up but what the black witch didn't know was that Isabelle had already started to die before her dagger had sliced through the white witch's skin. 

The black witch was right, she had only half the parchments while the other half was where it was meant to be with the rightful owner, her son. She doubted her son knew what the parchments she left for him meant but in a few years when Ester would start her move again, he would be wise enough to figure it out. With the council's on high alert and the need to eradicate any and every black witch, the woman would not be showing herself and her guess was that she would go under hiding. 

She felt fortunate to have spent her last few days like this, she was the wife of Zachary Delcrov and she felt she had done justice to both the title as the Lord's wife and also being a white witch. No matter what the humans did, it was her duty to protect them.

Isabelle felt her body weaken as time continued to pass. Her journey was slowly coming to an end and it would be only a matter of time before she would cease to exist. She saw snow fall down from the sky, a flake coming to settle on her cold forehead. 

She had lived long and she felt tired. Not the physical tiredness but mentally tired.

All she wanted to do was close her eyes and she did that.
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