".. and I ran away from home," Raki goes. "I got so sick of Zaki's overbearing attitude towards me, and I.."
It is his seventh cup of poutrice, Maleficent has counted, and the sky is turning blue as morning approaches. She perches her head on her hand, still listening intently, never for one instant letting her attention waver from him.
He is always interesting to watch, when he crosses his legs after each pause, or when he grows teary-eyed about missing his parents.. or when he fumes about the way things are, like he's bottled up all this stress, and he's only now letting it out by her.
He is done finally, and when she blinks, he realises just how long he's spent here in the forest – how long he's been energetically awake, with little trace of drowsiness.
"Oh mira.." he goes, "has it been that long? It's almost morning!"
He feels like a petite child again, being able to stay up all night, feeling excited by the fireplace with his papi, and then finding himself sleeping through the entire day afterward.
Maleficent nudges his chin. "I think you should return home to your brother. It seems he does care about you very much, despite how you might feel about his brittleness. When I was younger, I never used to have a sibling who cared for me, besides that I would cry and all my sister would do is waver off.."
"You had a.. sister?" Raki asks.
"She is happily away, governing the land we're on, while King Charles is sucking her tit in the royal bedroom." Her frown is scornful.
"Ohh.." Raki is trying to orient himself around this newfound fact. "Odette's your sister.."
"I doubt she'd tell anyone about me," Maleficent goes. "If you had a brother or sister whose very existance embarrassed you, would you want to tell the whole world? I wouldn't imagine it."
"But I told you about Zaki.."
"You are embarrassed about him?"
When Raki sulks, she imagines how it might be to have this caring brother watch his every move, as if in obsession about keeping your loved ones safe – safe from the likes of her. If that were her own brother, she'd never have the chance to wander off, exploring the city, the outside wilderness and forest. "How stifling it must be.." she whispers. "I wonder if there is such a thing as the perfect sibling, who can love you – not for the way you act, but the way you are. He'll be there for you when you need him, and willingly let you be otherwise.."
"Yeah." Raki is doodling on the table with some chalk – a rocket spaceship aimed for the moon, made of yellow cheese.
"Gee, I sound like describing the perfect husband as well," Maleficent says. "Though you wouldn't ever believe it, I loved Charles."
"Eh?" He looks up.
"He had a little purple mole underneath his armpit.." she continues. "He was bored while his family took him to meet the right princess, so I was there, every evening. I showed him the city of Gaumont-"
"You lived in Gaumont-!?"
"Before I had these horns, I had long, flowing black hair."
"Then.. how did you become-"
"Because I ran away after Charles got married to my sister. Because I hated everyone and everything so much – I wanted to die. And so I became like this, somehow, the witch who everyone is bound to loathe."
Raki hasn't touched her yet; it looks like her gnarly arms must hurt, like the festering sores of plague patients, so he gently reaches out and finds that it feels like scales – smooth to the touch, moist, yet bumpy at the same time.
Then he tries touching her face – the only part of her that looks normal, and finds her skin cool, and then he runs along her cheeks to her nose, and then her lips.
"Ooh," he goes. He's like a baby again, innocently and curiously fondling someone else.
"You're blushing," Maleficent tells him.
It only makes his face all the more red, with warmth, which she cradles by his cheek.
"I don't want to go back home," Raki says. "I wish I could stay here, with you instead."
"But your brother will worry for you," Maleficent goes. "And if he doesn't find you, he could easily assume that I've abducted you, and give reason for more hostilities against me."
Raki frowns. She's right.
"But you can always visit me," Maleficent goes, "whenever you need someone to talk to about your problems, or anything. I'll be right here, and I promise to watch over you. You'll never have to feel lonely again. Now go, Raki.. the people are almost awake."
As Raki walks out of the forest, he sneaks several looks behind him – maybe to have last glances at that beautiful witch, or to see the lush surroundings that she calls her home.
He finds the kingdom walls – they gleam orange with the dawn, and he allows the guards to check him before he enters, a hopeful smile in him as he arrives back in those familiar streets, more welcoming under the sunlight.
He rushes back to his cottage, where he undresses his cloak in his room, before he hears the door open behind him.
"Raki!" Zaki is so relieved at the sight of his brother, that he rushes over and holds Raki in a brotherly hug. "Raki! Don't you ever make me worry like that again! I was looking all over town for you! Where were you!?"
"I was.." Oh non – Raki can't just say he went out of town, or else Zaki will think of Maleficent. "I slept in one of the alleyways, where the guards don't notice."
"Really!? I could have sworn I checked every corner!"
"Apparently, not the one where I was staying. You might think you're sure of everything, but not necessarily."
Zaki sighs. "Yeah, you're right.. you know, I try to act so sure, but I do harbour a lot of doubts inside, if you haven't noticed already. Come, let's have some breakfast.. and then I'm going to take a power-nap."
So Zaki toasts some bagels, and brings out cheese and some tomato soup. "I was up all night, looking for you," he tells Raki, while hungrily munching on the cheese. "You couldn't imagine – my legs were shaking, and just the thought of you in harm, it kept me going and going.. I'd do anything I could if it meant you're safe."
"I'm home now," Raki goes. "I'm sorry that I ran away. Maybe if you can cool it with your concerns, it'll be okay."
And so as the days pass, Raki is a studious student in school. He gets decent grades on his quizzes, and he pays atttention, especially when his teachers start to discuss the lore of the forest, and the witch Maleficent. He lively chats with the other kids during breaks.
And all the while, whenever he sees a black crow, he smiles, and remembers his encounter with her, like it's from a beautiful dream he's had, a memory that sends a blush of warmth in him. He never knew that there is someone like her, who could make him feel that way – feel understood, like she's listened to every word he's said. Never impatient, never getting annoyed with him.. never the feeling of her just waiting for her turn to talk.
But he hasn't dared venture back into her forest – he only has the occasional crow, with which he could feel her presence, as he is walking down the streets.
It isn't enough though, and he finds himself yearning to speak with her again, wanting her to touch him like the way she did, when it made him feel accepted and electric.
Some nights, instead of dreaming, he'd lie up and glance out the window, thinking of her – only to feel terribly exhausted the next morning, and Zaki would start to worry if something is bothering Raki.
"Is anyone husslin' you man?" Zaki asks. "If so, I'm here, I'll pound them and they'll learn a good lesson."
"Non, no one's bugging me."
But despite what answer Raki gives, Zaki is pressing hard down on him again, and he'd see glimpses of Zaki tailing him behind on the streets (maybe Raki is having a girlfriend?), and Raki would silently wish Zaki would go away and mind his own business.
And then he'd see a few crows come and jabber around Zaki, driving his big brother crazy while Raki runs off out of sight.
Eventually, Raki decides to meet Maleficent again.
In the morning before school, he prepares an assortment of snacks in a knapsack, and gets a cloak by his bed – and wait as the uneventful hours of the day pass him by, before it is night, and Raki feels the unbearable excitement of going out of the city walls,
out of Zaki's reach.
"Raki.. where are you going?" Zaki asks, this concerned tone in his words – he's opened Raki's door, just as Raki is putting on his cloak. It's around 11 at night, and how is Zaki bugging him at this moment, when he should be asleep already-
"Zaki..! I'm.." Raki isn't good at faking excuses on the spot, and he'd blush, choke up. "Hey, why are you up anyways?"
"Because I saw the cloak on your bed, after I've noticed some food has gone missing. You're sneaking out, aren't ya? Where? Raki, tell me where are you going? Don't worry, I know you're growing into a young adult, and I should grant you a greater degree of freedom accordingly. Just tell me where, and for how long, so I know when to look for you."
"Zaki.." Raki is trying his best to suppress a fit of giggling; it can feel ticklish when Zaki pressures him down like this. "I'm going out to a friend's. An all-night study session with her."
"Her? Raki, is that your girlfriend? Is that why.. you've been having trouble sleeping?" A smile beams up on Zaki.
"Yeah, my girlfriend – Anita." Raki pulls that name from the top of his head.
"Hey.. no worries. A girlfriend's a girlfriend, there's ups and downs with those kinds of relationships. But why so late? Why don't you visit her earlier – you could have let me known sooner – don't you think it is a bit late at this hour?"
"She prefers to study at night," Raki goes, "when her family isn't awake. I'm going to make my romantic entrance then, and-"
"Ohh.. yeah, you'll.." Zaki is nodding in approval about the idea. "So where's her place anyhow?"
"In the Northeast, along the Rue de Fleurs.."
Raki takes his knapsack, and the cloak.
"Raki.." Zaki says, before Raki leaves. "I'm really glad you're doing happily at school."
Raki is glancing behind himself – hoping his brother will not follow, hoping that the night's secrecy will shroud his pilgrimage to the unholy land, where the one he's met and remembered deeply in his heart will be awaiting him.
He is afraid that the forest is non-existant; all he could see is the black wilderness outside the castle, and then, to his delight, he rediscovers the forest's light, and makes his way through the luminiscent woods once more.
He smells the fresh pine and soil, the air noticably cool – the leaves glow gold and red this time, for the trees are wilting.
"Maleficent.." he calls out, his heart leaping, but his legs giving in to exhaustion after the fairly long trek. "You are there?" He rests his shoulder by a tree, panting, in hopes of recovering his energies.
In the coolness of mid-autumn, his face has gone chill, and he crouches down, huddling, rubbing his cheeks warm.
How long has it been since I've last met you? Four weeks? Almost the whole month..
He isn't getting any warmer.
Soon, he picks himself up, and finds the glade with the pool of water, but no smoke from her cauldron.
"Maleficent..?" he goes, arriving by the place where her 'kitchen' is at. She isn't anywhere to be found, but he softly hears the sound of her weeping, somewhere. Raki calls her name, amidst the counters, and the makeshift bookshelves with the worn-out tomes and manuscripts.
He gets closer to her weeping, until he trips over what looks like a black shroud that is draped over a mound, and he hears a voice yell "Oomphh!" interrupting the crying.
He realises that is Maleficent – she looks up, he sees her face; she's been lying on the leaf-covered ground the whole time, in tears.
"Raki..?" she goes. "You've come back to me.." She rises up, holding him tightly.
He isn't sure what to say; he just allows her to cry on his petite shoulders. Maybe she's missed me after so long.. I didn't know I meant that much to her.
"I was.." She sniffles. "I wondered why you didn't want to come back.. you looked so happy all this time, and you might have forgotten about me.. you might have even wanted to hate me all the more, knowing I was kind to you, while I killed.. your parents.."
"I thought of you," Raki goes. "Every day, I was happy to see your crows, and I relished how someone like you could exist.. to make me feel like I was being listened to. Nobody else made me feel that way.. I've always wanted to come back to you, but I had no proper reason to give to Zaki, so I could visit you again. Until now."
"I've never.." Maleficent sits down by her study chair, wiping her eyes. "Excuse-moi."
"It's alright. You looked so sad when I came.. I wasn't.."
"Wasn't expecting me to cry, or feel sad? Expecting me to stay in that calm, collected persona, like this is how I normally am?"
"I'm sorry to disappoint you, Raki," Maleficent goes. "Even witches like me, I laugh, and I smile, and I get upset and angry and.. lonely. I'm.. I have no one. You have friends, you have a brother, and I have no one but the forest, and the crows and toads to talk with. And if they do understand me, I'd hear only a chirp out of them. But at least, they won't hate me, or spit my name in disgust.
"I've always wondered about this paradox; how it is people are able to share love and respect with one another, but when it comes to me, they become like this one-dimensional caricature, where it's just their unbridled ability to spew bile towards me, if not treat me just as a distant acquaintance, or flat out ignore me in coldness."
"But all people have mainly known of you is that you're a murderer, and a nuisance to the towns nearby your forest," Raki says. "Won't you try showing to everyone that you can be kind? like you have to me-"
"That was before I've become a witch," Maleficent goes. "Every time I close my eyes, I could still see the smiling faces of all those people, and they glance at me, and their eyes show only cruelty. They were so happy at his wedding, and I show up – and I only wanted to know, if he loved me..
"And his answer? Nothing, except to leave me behind to their hatred.."
"Maleficent.." Raki goes. "I'm here, with you right now. And I don't hate you. I don't want you to hate.. you were the most kindest person to me then."
"You haven't seen me kill. Mercilessly rip the whole forms of those people into shreds, taking their lives away-"
"No-" Raki reaches out to her, touching her chest. "I know that isn't you. The real you isn't the you who flayed my parents, or all those people I don't know about. The real you was giggling when I told her about stealing a kiss from a girl after I've tripped on an apple; smiled when I remembered how warm it felt by the fireplace with my papi; you held my hand when I told you how much it hurt, those months after my parents were gone forever.
"I've always known.. you're not the witch people make you out to be. You just never had the chance to love and be understood."
Upon hearing his words, my heart imploded. My heart has always been a frail feeling, always in pain, always in search of happiness and wholeness. In my privacy, I cry about the fact that I was once innocent, like every other young child - that I too had the absolute right to love, with my mere and pere.
That my mere once held me in her arms, and I stared at her beautiful face, her eyes never wavering from me, and all I felt was pure happiness.
I felt like I was jolted back into being that young girl again, and I held him, Raki.. as if he was the only person in the whole world who could return to me that love.
I never wanted to let him go; it is too much to bear that out of everyone I've known, he was the only one who ever saw me beyond the monster that I've become.
It is a beautiful feeling of total acceptance, shared together by those two of each other.
The lucid beauty of that moment, it carries itself as an internal blushing, all over Raki's body when he returns home to his cottage – he isn't certain of how much time has passed since he's left; only the certainty that he has stayed far, far too late for just a 'study session.'
Usually, Zaki keeps the rooms alit with candles, both to deter would-be intruders from entering the lonesome cottage (while he's out searching), and also so he could find his way back in the dark.
However, the cottage is eerily black. No lights have been lit.
Raki wonders if Zaki has decided to just sleep – miraculously placing faith in Raki coming home in one piece, safe and sound, and they could argue over it tomorrow morning. It doesn't seem likely.
In the darkness, Raki tip-toes over to his room, making sure to open the door in such a way that it doesn't creak – it usually does sometimes.
He begins to realise just how tired he is; the effects of Maleficent's poutrice are wearing off, and like someone who's endured several days' worth of consecutive hard work, Raki drops his knapsack and plumps himself onto bed, without bothering to change into pajamas or tucking himself into the bedsheets.
And he slips away into blackness, his thoughts of Maleficent, along with his worries about Zaki dwindling like fading echoes.
The next day, Zaki seems unusually non-chalent about last night, and when Raki tells his brother the excuse for his lateness (that he's just thought of upon waking up)-
"Oh," Zaki goes, munching half-stale bread at the table. "I'd figured as much you'd want to just chill with Anita."
"You weren't worried I didn't come back on time?"
"I was.." An anxious beat. Zaki wipes the crumbs from his mouth. "But I realised, you're the only family I've got, and I should place my faith better in trusting that you can tough it out by yourself. Heh. I remember all those times you've told me to calm down whenever I got on your case. And I'm beginning to see why; there's absolutely no point in excessive worrying, and all I can do is what's there in front of me, in the present moment. Because if there's something truly wrong, then that's when I can spring into action. So I'm not that worried Raki, if you happen to be just a minute late, or if you happen to not be in the right place."
Hearing all that, it surprises Raki. A feeling of relief comes over him, but he is careful not to visibly sigh lest he'd trigger Zaki into imagining that he's hiding something again.
"We're all we have.." Raki goes, mulling over that sentence. "I'm glad. And.. I think I should be more grateful to have you as my bigger brother. The times when I was in deep shit, like when I got caught out under Tyrion's bullying, and you showed him on my behalf how wimpy he actually is."
"Yeah!" Zaki grins, remembering how much his knuckles ached after knocking Tyrion's jaws out.
It feels like a sentimental moment between them – even though Raki isn't feeling so sure if he's really sincere about Zaki, or if he's just saying it to go along with the change in tone.
"Anyways," Raki says, "I have an exam to take today. I have to recite the meanings behind the nine circles of Hell.."
"Oh really? Mm, I suppose I'll have to wish you good luck on it – tell me how it goes, alright?"
Except there isn't an exam.. it's just to justify going out yesterday.
And for the rest of the day, Raki couldn't concentrate on the teachings, as his worries mount that his brother might be coming by to the school, to discover about the non-existant exam, or he might start quizzing him on the names of the nine circles – of which, Raki doesn't know any of them (besides that the deepest circle is a frozen hell).
That feeling of coming to an inevitable end, the ugly revelation that will surely devastate Zaki.. is that guilt?
The only other thought he can think about-
the black crow that is perched upon a dying tree, whose bark is like her embracing arms, a sanctuary from harshness,
is finding her again in the forest.
He still remembers comforting her amidst her tears. The only person in years who's ever come by her parlour.
I'll see her again.. I must! (Maybe she can give him advice about Zaki, or something.)
Upon heading home around evening, Raki quickly conjures up a reason to head out into the forest again. He's done so well on the 'exam,' and he wants to hang out more with Anita, his 'girlfriend' who's been so sweet with him.
Raki is wolfing down the dinner of sauted chicken, at an unusually eager pace that leads to him having hiccups. All the tensions seem to come through his eating – which Zaki takes notice of.
"Hey bro, what's the rush?" Zaki goes.
"I've.. mmnh.. Anita, I just promised to visit her again tonight." Raki wipes his mouth. "I told her I'd come as soon as I can – I don't want to keep her waiting."
"Oh really?" Zaki furls his brow, in what resembles suspiciousness. "You're over an hour late, coming home. What's been happening at school?"
"I.. I was having a long chat with her," Raki says, finishing up his dish. "I lost track of the time, hehe."
"And you're leaving so soon to be with her?" It seems that whatever change in Zaki's attitude this morning, it is only temporary. "Something's up with you, I can almost smell it."
"Zaki.. what's the matter with you?"
"I thought we were brothers, Raki."
"But we are-"
"You don't want to be around me anymore. You're looking for any excuse to avoid me."
"No.. it's- Anita, I.. last night, when we were together," Raki says, noticing Zaki's expression relaxing. "Anita's lonely. She's a misunderstood outcast, and I helped comfort her. I'm not going to leave her alone all of a sudden, when she needs me the most."
The very air between them seems to relax.
"Zaki, I'm going to her," Raki says, resolute in his decision. "I'll come back home to you after, alright? Please don't worry about me too much."
He leaves the dinner table, and heads over to the doors to grab his coat and knapsack – it'll be chilly outside.
"Raki.. wait. Wait-!" Zaki rises, about to stop his younger brother from embarking on a needless excursion outside. "Please don't go! STOP! STAY HERE!"
But Raki slips out into the cold night, leaving Zaki's pleas behind as he trudges on to the familiar and uncertain path of the drawbridge, and then the wilderness, with the trees like a landmark under the cerulean dusk. His very body seems to be lulled towards the pond, the bonfire smoke – towards Maleficent.
She sits, reading from a tome, and the sight of her is a soothing balm for Raki's eyes.
"Hallo.." Raki goes.
"Hello." Maleficent slips a bookmark in-between the pages.
He is light-headed; here in the forest, he begins to feel a new sense of total relief – where he doesn't have to think about his everyday worries. Like when he loses his sense of self during a good theatre performance, or in a deep dream where his feelings flow more readily.
"What are you reading?" Raki asks her, at a loss of a real topic, just looking for any excuse for a conversation.
"Orpheus and Eurydice," she goes.
"I haven't heard of it."
"Oh, it's.." She shows him the tome's cover, which is inscribed with a combination of Latin and Greek. "A tragic tale of love. The Greek poet Orpheus had a wonderful wife, Eurydice, and one day, he lost her to a satyr—"
"That's like a man and a goat," Raki says.
"Yes, and upon discovering the loss of his beloved, Orpheus sung such sad songs to all those around him, and it made the nymphs and deities weep. So moved were they, that they granted him a chance to rescue his wife from the underworld.
"Orpheus, driven by the need to have his beloved at his side, fought tooth and nail to be in the presence of Hades, and sang his lamentations to his ears; Hades took pity upon the poet, and gave Orpheus back his Eurydice – under the sole condition that he never look back at her, until they were both at the surface again.
"The journey back was arduous, and Orpheus began to doubt if Eurydice was indeed by his side. So he risked looking back, and saw her for the last time, before she vanished forever from his existance. That about sums it up."
"Waw.." Raki goes. "That's such a powerfully sad story.."
"It's my tenth time re-reading it. Of course, it could have been written such that Orpheus and Eurydice could have had a happily ever after, but tragic endings linger more deeply in the soul. It's just how it is."
Raki is tearing up. "Maleficent.. I.."
"What's the matter, dear?" She notices Raki beginning to tremble and look peculiar, so she goes up to him.
"I.. I don't want you to suffer a tragic ending. I can't stop thinking about you, everyday. How you're so sad and lonely in the forest, with nobody who cares or loves you. And you're the only one I know who's ever been a real comfort to me. I don't care if everyone else hates you- I love you. I'm only 14-years old, my only family left is the brother who suffocates me, and I've never had a kiss from a girl. But I love you nonetheless, Maleficent.. I don't have anyone else to turn to in this life.."
It is an outpouring of emotion from the boy, out of control, and his sobbing is unbearable to witness.
"Don't cry, Raki," she goes, tenderness emerging from her.
"I love you so much it hurts.." He sobs onto her chest, clutching her with a feral intensity. She knows how he is feeling – this love borne out of hurt, out of aching pain. She lets him clutch her like a comforting blanket, feeling her gnarled limbs react to his grasp, and she puts a leaved finger by his teary eyes, his dripping nose, wiping away the wetness, like dirt and blemish from a cherished doll. "I never want to leave your side," he goes. "I'll be here, and you'll never be lonely again."
From him, it sounds almost like a futile promise, like vowing to invert the forces of gravity, or turning back time in order to change a tragic moment. No one had touched her in all these years since, and why should a young boy be any different?
Because he isn't afraid of her, for all her hatred and outward ugliness.
I killed his parents, like they were nothing..
"I'm sorry," he says, realising how he's covered her hand and dress with his snot. "I got you so dirty-"
She puts a finger to his mouth. "Shhh. Never mind that."
And in a kiss, she embraces him. Sudden and total. Blissful heaven contained between their lips. Raki finds it surprising, the sensation of her mouth, and her tongue. But he relaxes all the same, and closes his eyes, and lets himself go.
Hidden behind the trees, Zaki watches the whole scene unfold, his eyes widening to this goddamned nightmare between his Raki and that creature. All along, he's followed Raki from behind, rightfully suspecting that there's something worth hiding from his sight.
The last thing he's expected is to see the one he loves the most, falling enamoured with the one ultimately responsible for the misery wrought upon his family. Kissing like they're long-time lovers.
It's like the last foothold, crumbling away beneath him, sending him tumbling down into the abyss.
No.. I don't believe this! Tell me this isn't happening!
How can Raki betray him- how dare Raki betray him! For that witch!
"You've got him under your siren's spell, witch.." Zaki snarls, his shaking hand taking his father's hatchet from his belt. Then he runs towards them. "YOU DIE!"
Maleficent has her back towards Zaki, and she turns, just as Zaki swings his father's hatchet down – the blow glances onto her shoulder, slashing into her arm, where black bile streaks out from the injury.
"Zaki!" Raki's eyes widen in horror, realising his brother's presence, droplets of Maleficent's bile streaking onto his face.
She is howling with pain; her arm is nearly severed, and she's lying on the ground.
Zaki lands another blow on her chest, and another – he's going to sever her into itty bitty pieces, pouring every ounce of his hate into hurting her, humilating her body the same way she humiliated his dignity. And when she's begging for death, he'll shoot her in the nose with the matchlock pistol, already loaded upon his belt, but yet to be cocked.
"NO!" Raki screams. He thrusts himself upon Zaki. "STOP IT!"
Zaki's much more strongly built than his brother, and he easily tosses Raki aside. "She's bewitched you into loving her, my little brother! But I, Zaki, will put an end to this madness, once and for all! She is evil! And I'll KILL THIS EVIL!"
Ugly sounds come from Maleficent – the gurgling of her blood, rousing from her punctured innards, seeping outward.
An idea comes to Zaki, and he thrusts his bare hands into Maleficent's wounds, feeling the moist, tender flesh within, and claws inside with his fingers – relishing the scant pain that is reflected upon her face, contorting in agony, while her body writhes helplessly. He is the executioner, drawing out her death as long as he could muster.
Raki can't stand it any longer. "Evil..? You're the one who's EVIL! ZAKI! Leave her alone!" And seeing the pistol holstered on Zaki's belt, Raki yanks it out, and holds the gun towards Zaki.
Zaki pauses, his fingers still enmeshed within her. "You gonna shoot me Raki? I'm the one who's doing justice! I'm killing the one who's hurt other people without any concern! Who's taken our mother and father away! You going to shoot me, you little wimp?"
Raki pulls the trigger, but to no effect.
The pistol has been the family heirloom – it's been passed down to his father by the blacksmith, for winning top prize in a festival shooting contest. A distant memory now comes to Raki, where he's shown how the pistol's firing mechanism works.
After the pistol's loaded with the pellet and powder, you must first light the match, and hook it to the serpantine lock. Then you pull the trigger..
But Raki doesn't have a lighter on him – there's the caultron atop the burning bonfire though.
"You don't know how to even shoot," Zaki goes, taking his hands out of Maleficent, going to reach for the hatchet.
Raki runs to the cauldron, hastily putting the match to the flames, where it ignites.
Zaki's fingers wrap around the hatchet.
What's next? Put the match into the lock, and tightening it in place with the turnscrew..
"You'll end!" Zaki exclaims, crawling to the perfect position over the lain Maleficent's head.
Raki sees the hatchet in Zaki's hand, rising, rising to its peak- it's going to fall- have to aim-
The trigger is somewhat rusty, but upon being pressed, the pistol explodes, a thunderous echo rippling throughout the forest, and halting the motions of Zaki.
For a moment, nothing seems to happen, but then a grimace shows on Zaki's face, the eyes widen with a terrible shock, and then the hatchet slips from Zaki's fingers, clanging on the ground, and Zaki wavers, limping a few steps sideways before he plunges onto the pond's waters, staining with his blood.
Raki pants. The cloud of fired smoke is wafting away from him, smelling fresh and burnt.
He lingers still, feeling utterly disoriented.
And then his awareness comprehends Maleficent's torn, bleeding body on the leaf-covered ground, and Zaki, who once lived and breathed for all these years, and now he's dead.
Slain by Raki's own hands.
Slain for the sake of Maleficent, who by typical standards, has every reason to be killed.
"I.." he utters out, as a wave of anguish comes tumbling over him. He throws the pistol out, away into the dark distance. "I AM FORTUNE'S FOOL! Maahuahhhhuhh-"
Raki is laughing uncontrollably – no, sobbing at the pathetic fate he's put himself into. He is truly alone now, as a murderer of his own remaining family. If he'd come back home, people will notice Zaki's absence and it will come crashing to Raki's murder.
No, he's not alone. Maleficent..
She's so rumpled.. how could he heal her?
Raki thinks of the poutrice he's drunk from her – maybe it could heal her from such a damaged state; how else could she have kept lively in the woods? Without hesitating, he rushes over to the cauldron, and pours a cup of the mixture, and kneeling by Maleficent's side, he gently pours it down her mouth. Some of it spills out the corners of her lips.
To Raki's astonishment, the effect is immediate as Maleficent's body swiftly regenerates itself, the slice holes shrinking, and the sinews of her arm sewing up together with her shoulder again. As if Time itself is rewinding all those inflicted fatalities. The colour returns to Maleficent's face.
And when she gets up, she cradles Raki – unable to thank him enough, unable to make up for the grieving loss of his brother.