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The Shades Journey

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every day, the shade walked past the cliff. every day for a year. 
the first time, he wandered curiously to the edge. he thought it was light. his heart stopped when he realized what it really was. 
every day, the shade makes the journey to the well at the beginning of the day  and every night, he returns to rest in his armchair. 
he doesnt want to escape. at least... he doesnt think he does. no, the shade just wants to know that he could. the king needs him alive and in the caves. 
to die now would be so useless. hed survived so long, waiting. now his home was comfortable, and the king so close. why would he die now? 
and yet, everytime he passed the cliff he was filled with morbid curiosity. what if he did jump? then the kingdom would crumble, and so would he. all for nothing. 
still. recently, the shade would sit by cliffside. hed stare at the void beneath his feet. certain death. hed been filled with such an ache for nearly 400 days. a loneliness. a longing. a longing for what, exactly? he didnt know anymore. a longing for the king? for a friend? a longing to escape, maybe. 
but he couldnt. the way was blocked. itd been his greatest disappointment yet. hed come so far, survived so much. only for the way to the surface to be blocked. 
it hurt to think about. maybe he shouldn't be thinking about this by the cliff. 
the king would reward him for his patience, surely. the shade wanted to believe that. sure, hed betrayed him by nearly leaving the caves. and sure, hed stolen golden coins for no real reason beyond curiosity. but the king would reward him... right? 
that hurt to think about to. that when the shade wakes the king, he might be angry. would death be preferable to the kings wrath? 
the first time the shade discovered the means of suicide, he was appalled. no, he couldnt. he was so close to escaping. not that he would. so close to the 400 days. 
hes closer than ever now. yet he spends a lot of time at the cliff. hes waited nearly 400 days. would it be worth it? the more the shade thought about it, the more he realized... no. the king would be angry. he couldnt escape, but he had tried. 
below his feet was an inky blackness that rivaled his own form. the king could be awakened tomorrow. it terrified him. everything hes worked for. it would all be useless come tomorrow. all he had to do was wait. 
no, he had to explore. had to make his home more comfortable for the time to pass by quicker. so his adventures hadn't been in vain... right? 
everything hurt to think about recently. would that hurt still be there when he woke the king? deep down, the shade knew it would. the king could not fix all of his problems. no, the king would surely have him killed or worse. 
if he was going to die anyway, what's it matter? the shade stood at the edge of the cliff, staring out into the abyss. what choice did he have, he wondered, as he took a single step forward. what choice did he have but death?