The glimmer of fascination that the gods had held over her once had long since disappeared behind that veil and flashlight. The gods were just as petty and dumb as mortals were. Maybe even more so. Because they lived forever and Shu-fang expected them to know better.
After years of fighting for one god, then being snatched up into the services of another, it had all become the same. Shu-fang was more likely to serve the god that gave her the most to do, or the most interesting thing to do. Sometimes that was the underdog. Sometimes it was the morally reprehensible one.
It was thinking about this yesterday, with her bottle of Dynasty Wine, that she had come up with the idea of retirement. She was tired. Tired of doing dumb things for dumb people. Of having lost her morals, her morale, and all of those other important things that started with the letter ‘m’.
“I don’t care if I offend them anymore,” she said to the empty room, waiting for a god to pop out and ask what she was talking about.
They didn’t do that. Often, anyway.
Just in case they needed further proof, she picked up her sword and broke it in half with her own two hands. The sword was nothing special, the most recent in a very long line of tools that she had borne. Shu-fang didn’t need anything special. The symbolism might be enough though. She hoped so. It would make up the fact that gripping the blade as she had cut into her hands, causing her to bleed.
It meant little to her. Her hands would heal. It didn’t matter what happened to her injuries. Here now, gone later. None of it would kill her.
Nothing could kill her. It was how Shu-fang had lived for thousands of years. Being immortal, being invulnerable.
Shu-fang wiped off her hands, picked up her small bag and left this apartment for good. Someone wouldn’t be happy with the state of how she left it.
She left enough funds behind that hopefully no one would mind.
The world outside went on as it had been before her decision had been made. The sun was bright, people were in a festive mood, and the vibration of the world continued. Shu-fang fit into the crowd easily. No one recognized her as anything different, which meant she could follow the flow and make her way out. Perhaps it would be enough to distract any eyes that were on her now. She bought some festival chains on her way through, placing them about her shoulders. From above, from below, she would seem even more like those around her.
“I am retiring.”
The room was completely empty, but for Shu-fang. She still put forth those words without hesitation, loud enough for every corner to capture her words. Because there might be someone listening. Shu-fang had long since been used to anyone being able to hear her.
Today though, she did not want to be misconstrued. The seemingly young woman rolled back her sleeves, tying them out of the way. She had bought a large paintbrush for this occasion, with candy apple red paint. Viewing the white walls of her canvas, Shu-fang dipped her brush into the canister, then drew it back out to write it on the wall.
Shu-fang covered the walls with her message. It was a simple one. I’m done. I’m retired. Don’t come for me. She wrote it in her mother tongues – it had been so long she did not remember which was actually her first language, but she was native enough in many of them it didn’t matter. She added in languages that she did not use as often, but was close to fluent enough in to write it casually as well. She found her tape recorder, her computer, her phone, and recorded the message on all of those as well.
There were many different ways to say it, but Shu-fang kept it simple. She would no longer do the gods’ will.