ONE

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I opened my eyes to find myself covered with snow. I groaned, and tried to lift my head. Something weighed it down, and my head fell back into the snow.

"Lift up your head, boy," a muffled voice ordered.

I tried a couple of times, and I finally succeeded. The lantern was still lit, and it was by my feet. The place where Greg was, he wasn't there anymore. The place where Beatrice was lay a girl. She was wearing a blue dress, and her hair was a dark orange. I crawled over to the girl, and shook her awake. She slowly opened her eyes, and our eyes met.

She screamed, and moved away from me as fast as possible.

"Wirt!" she yelled in a familiar voice. "What happened to you?!?"

"B-Beatrice?" I asked. "You're human again!"

"That's not the strangest part!" Beatrice yelled, pointing at me. "What happened to your head?!?"

"My...head?" I asked, placing a hand to my head.

"H-Here," Beatrice stammered, taking out a small mirror.

I took it, and stared into it. Out of the sides of my head sprouted two, long, branch-covered antlers. My eyes were black and soulless. Edlewood branches curled around my arms and legs, but besides that I looked the same. I couldn't stop staring. What did I turn into?

I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I dropped the mirror in surprise. Beatrice screamed, and started to run away. I turned, and looked up into the eyes of The Beast.

"What did you do to me?" I asked, trembling.

"You wanted to keep your brother's soul safe, didn't you?" The Beast asked. "I turned you into half of me. You will be able to roam the Unknown forever to do my bidding. Or else-"

He picked up the lantern, and handed it to me. I stared into the light. Watching it burn.

"-your brother will perish."

The Beast pointed to where Beatrice fled. Vines dragged Beatrice back to us, and I watched helplessly as she struggled to escape. The vines dragged her to The Beast's side, where The Beast put an arm around her.

"This girl will always be by my side," The Beast told me. "If you don't, then you don't want to know what happens to the girl."

He laughed, and I looked into Beatrice's terrified eyes. A tear rolled down my cheek, and The Beast disappeared, bringing Beatrice with him.

I'm sorry, Beatrice. I thought, holding the lantern close to my chest. I'm doing this for my brother.

I started to walk into the deep, dark, woods, the lantern lighting the way.

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