Epilogue: An Inconvenient Truth
Seok-Teng tied off the ends of the bandage and stepped back. “You will live,” she said.
“Unlike those poor blighters,” Anstruther commented, indicating the corpses of the Balinese warriors and the Dutch soldiers who lay all around, surrounded by vampire dust and the bodies of fallen demons. The hands of some of the Balinese still clutched the hilts of the daggers with which they had, under the influence of Rangda’s thrall, stabbed themselves to death. “A damned close run thing, as the Duke of Wellington once said.”
“Yes, it was,” Seok-Teng agreed. “If I had not become the Slayer we would all have died. It…” She broke off and stared at her Watcher. “I was Called and so the Slayer before me must have died at just the right time.”
“Indeed,” said Anstruther, “and, although her death was regrettable, we must give thanks to divine providence for the timing.”
“I will not thank the gods for the death of a girl like myself,” Seok-Teng said. “The timing was too convenient. How did she die?”
“Dash it, girl, I don’t know. She was thousands of miles away.”
“Yes,” said Seok-Teng, “too far away to help. Then she died, and I became strong, and I was able to defeat Rangda.” Her tone grew harsh. “How did she die?”
“I told you, I don’t know,” Anstruther repeated. He didn’t meet her eyes.
“But you can guess,” Seok-Teng accused. Her arm whipped around in a tomoi
elbow strike but she stopped short just before it would have smashed his skull. Instead she jabbed with one finger, in a sentuhan
pressure point attack to his right shoulder, and sent him reeling back to lose his footing and sprawl on the ground. “She was murdered so that I might win. Get away from me! I am finished with the Council of Watchers.”
“You have a sacred calling,” Anstruther appealed. “You can’t walk away from your duty to the world.”
“I have saved the world once,” she replied. “Let someone else do it next time.” She turned away and began to walk down the mountain path.
“Very well,” Anstruther said. He tried to move his right arm, failed, and awkwardly used his left hand to draw the Webley holstered at his right hip. He raised the revolver, took aim, and fired.
The shot hit her low in the back. She spun around, pulling out the kris with which she had slain Rangda, and her arm went up to throw. She hesitated with the weapon poised. “Why?” she gasped out.
“I’m sorry, my dear,” Anstruther said, “but there must be an active Slayer.” He pulled the trigger again and she fell dead.
Anstruther tried to holster the gun, fumbled, and dropped it on the ground. “The record will show that Seok-Teng fought bravely, and slew Rangda, but then succumbed to her injuries,” he muttered to himself. “Her Watcher wrote his report, despatched it to the Council, and then blew out his own brains.”