Mercy knelt by the riverside and held back bitter tears. They had chased her there, attacking her with fang and claw, tearing at her until they were satisfied with the damage. It was quite enough that her clothes were muddy and ripped, her hair tangled, and her flesh bruised and bleeding, but worse...her beautiful wings, her gift and responsibility from The King, were now in tatters!
She remembered how she felt when she first received the blessing. She had grown tired of life as a Shadow Person, and gathered the courage to approach The King. She had expected to fight and plead her way inside the palace to have an audience with Him, but to her surprise, she was immediately ushered inside. Even greater a surprise was when He smiled at her and called her name.
“Mercy,” He said, “do you really wish to serve Me?”
In a quivering voice she had replied, “Y-yes, Your Majesty.”
He smiled, and replied, “Then look at your reflection there in the glass corridor.” When she looked, her mouth dropped open in awe. On her back was a pair of the most beautiful wings imaginable. They were made of feathers so white and fragile that they looked like shining crystals, and at the tip of each feather was a tiny sparkle of stardust, glittering gold and silver in the light of the mid-day sun.
“They...they’re beautiful,” Mercy said, stunned.
“They are your blessing and responsibility, Mercy,” The King said calmly. “From this day forward, it is your duty to use your wings to serve Me, and to help and care for the Unfortunates who still reside in the Shadow Persons’ Realm. However, you must never again join their ranks and set foot on their ground. Do you understand, Mercy?”
Overcome with joy at her new gift, Mercy didn’t dare upset herself with the details of her new duty. She merely stated a polite, “Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you very much,” and made her way out of the castle.
It did not take long, however, for her to fall. She had tried to help the Unfortunates, but they wouldn’t accept it. They wouldn’t even look up at her. She saw former friend and foe alike turn her away, and soon she was so distraught over being so dreadfully ignored that in a desperate fit, she called out to a group of Unfortunates whom she once know quite well, and, upon being turned away once again, she landed beside them to join their ranks. (“Perhaps they would take more attention of me if I were one of them again?” she wondered.) Yet the moment her foot touched the ground, they surrounded her, beating her with stick and stone, claw and fang. She tried to fly, but suddenly she could no longer remember how. So she ran. She ran as fast as her feet could carry her, but it was not fast enough. They fought with her and broke bone and skin and, yes, even wing. Those wings were a hideous sight to them, and they would not settle until they had destroyed their beauty.
Finally, after hours of desperate chasing, they had succeeded. And now Mercy’s wings—her blessing, her responsibility—were broken apart. She had allowed herself to be broken by the inhabitants of the Shadow Peoples’ Realm when she had relied on her own abilities instead of The King’s instructions. As a result, her wings were in pieces; worse yet, she had failed The King, her King. The thought was unbearable, and as she looked toward His castle on the horizon, she stopped trying to be strong, instead letting herself break down completely and cry.
“I’m so sorry,” she choked through her tears.
It was then she felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking up she saw the face of The King. In His eyes were tears, and on his face was a warm, peaceful smile.
“Child, because you broke yourself to Me and repented of your misdeeds, your wings have been restored.”
Cautiously Mercy turned to her reflection in the river. Sure enough, her wings had been restored, even more magnificent than before!
Her joy overflowed and she could no longer contain her gratitude; she leapt into the arms of her King and cried tears of joy as lovely as her crystal wings.
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