Eventually, Keesa had finished eating the small fruit. Tero waited anxiously. He listened carefully for any shift in the overlaying music, hoping to discern Keesa's destiny and, ultimately, his own.
There were no changes.
Tero didn't like the way Keesa's expression betrayed her pain. The next few minutes, or hours, or however long it was, felt like an eternity.
The only perceptible change in time was in Keesa's demeanor, because after a while, Tero had to admit that it looked like she was – very slowly – deteriorating. When her breath began to catch in her throat, his mind gave in to despair. Not only was she going to die, but she would be doing it slowly, for him to watch in agony.
This was the way things had always gone here. You either won or lost. Emotional grey areas didn't really exist.
The game was going to make him suffer, and why? So that he would grow and develop as a character, at the expense of his team's deaths? He couldn't stand to see this bright shining life be eradicated just for that. To him, it would never be worth it.
A tear ran down Keesa's face as her breathing began to make strained noises.
Then he knew what he had to do.
Tero looked down at his pouch and took out all of his potions. When those were gone, he unstrapped his three most simple and intuitive weapons and his complete collection of ammunition for them, and placed them all next to the pile of potions. Lastly, he began removing his items. He put down rings, a wristband, and two necklaces for Keesa's use, and kept only a single ring and belt for himself. Then he let himself look at her face again.
It almost broke him.
“I have to do this,” he whispered to her. “It's the only way you'll have a chance.”
He feared to embrace her because of her injuries, so he closed his eyes and touched her shoulder tenderly instead by way of a goodbye.
Then he stood and turned his back to her. He knew himself, and in order to do this, Tero wouldn't be able to look at her again.
He walked away into the darkness, slow but determined, prepared to take on the world alone.