It was a long walk out of the dead forest. I had plenty of time to think.
The voice had given me great power, but there was weakness there as well. Its influence had made me emotional, foolhardy. I would have to learn to control my impulsiveness if I was to -
I had spared no thought for the future in the rush of the moment. What was I to do? What did I want for myself? With this power -
But no, I reminded myself. That way lay madness. I needed control.
Lucifer's soft laughter grated inside my head.
"Do you think yourself so strong, to gain dominion over me?"
I clenched my teeth and shook it off. I didn't need to outmatch the voice, only to claim some room for myself.
The voice cut at me, stripping away my defenses.
"Perhaps you are confused," the voice said. "You are not a mighty warrior. You are a puppet. Your strength comes from me, and to me it will return. Your thoughts are my thoughts, and your plans are my plans."
As he spoke, my mind burned. His displeasure was like acid, burning at my brain. He was scouring me, ripping my mind apart to get at my one spark of hope - the single, perfect grain of certainty that he was wrong.
I was no man's puppet.
At once, the pain ceased. "Very well then," said the voice, dissatisfied. "Enjoy your shred of freedom. You are lost without me anyway; had you considered that? Without your power, you are nothing but an ugly burned boy."
I said nothing, but a smile tugged at my lips. I had won something, that much I was sure of. How much it would prove to be worth, I would learn in due time.