The Apprentice Becomes the Master

Pandora let out an indignant huff.  “That’s crazy.  You must still be out of it from before!  Why don’t you get a good night’s rest and we’ll talk more in the morning.”

“Pandora, you know it to be true.  You’ve spent your entire life devoted to them.  Never once thought about yourself over the patches.  With each and every one of your apprentices, you never once thought about your own legacy or your own misgivings about them.  You even dropped your own name in favor of the patches.  When was the last time someone spoke to you and the patches weren’t the reason?”

She sat speechless, her mouth attempting to find a response, but it never came.  I continued.

“Besides Dahlia and Fianna, the apprentices aren’t even their true spirits.  They’re merely caricatures of their personalities, created entirely by your patches, and I can only see and hear them because a bit of your soul has been stitched into me.  They’re the only ones that have changed since their death, and they’re the only ones that ever will.  The magic wasn’t merely punishing them with their deaths, but also you with their fake ghosts.”

I dropped my eyes and retreated my hand, readying myself for her response to what I was about to say next.  “And now I’m here, your last apprentice, to mete out your final punishment.”

Pandora rose from her chair pulled back her hand, then let it drop weakly to her side.  The pink-hued tears I’d seen once before were now streaming down her face and soaking into her patches. She sat back down and placed her face in her hands.  After a few long, quiet minutes, she spoke.

“So you take my patches, and then what?  They’re all I have.  Taking them will leave me with nothing.  It’s practically a death sentence.”

I sat up and took Pandora’s face into my hands and stared into her now dull mauve eyes. “You have Dahlia, don’t you?  And don’t worry about your future. I still need to repay you for all your teaching.  Just let me know when you’re ready.”

She took in a deep breath, accepting her fate.  “Okay, I’m ready.”

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