They fought on, locked in combat. One living, one a spirit.
He was bleeding from several cuts, but did not seem to notice as he fought himself. His shadow appeared unharmed.
He stabbed out at the shadow, like he had done several times before.
The dark form jumped on the blade, like it had done several times before.
But this time he was ready. He pulled the sacred blade out from under the shadows feet, and swung it round in an arc that should have decapitated the figure garbed in shadows.
The sword connected… and passed through a mist that faded away.
He spun round, ready for another attack.
This wasn’t just another dark creature that was being fought, it was a dark version of him, embodying every dark thought that he had harboured, every wish to have abandoned this quest and have had a normal life.
It was himself that he had to conquer.
It was himself that he had conquered.
The bars on the doors rose up, releasing him from his ordeal. And the infinite water faded away, leaving a room, with an solitary island in the middle, the branches on the tree moving in an imaginary breeze.
An illusion. It was all an illusion.
He now knew that he could not abandon the quest. The others depended upon him. It had to be finished, one way or another. And throughout that silent battle with himself, he had been shown the other way. The easy way.