Chapter 16:

Epilogue: Regardless, I Wish to Bloom

The Curious Case of Clemsey

“I am curious Sir Bisca—,” I said, looking at the ever impeccable de facto Head Archivist of the E. Stussa Depository.

“Well, aren’t you always?” he said, looking at my questioning face. “What is it my dear Assistant?”

“The “E” in the E. Stussa Depository, what does it stands for?” I asked. It has never crossed my mind to question that, even during the time I received the letter from Ashke, asking me to apply for the job.

“Who knows… No one survived to tell the tale,” Sir Bisca replied. “This depository is an ancient figure. Even the story of its foundation perished in fire from a very long time ago. The only information that made it to the present is that “E” is some sort of a mythical creature.” **

I see, so even the depository’s history has gone missing, I thought.

“Anyway, aren’t you going to travel with the Prince and the guys to the highlands? I will excuse you for now, so, go and prepare. And also—“ he paused and let out a sigh. “Please bring Ashke Mashima back.”

With that, I exited the depository with a determined outlook. The day after tomorrow, we will be traveling to the highlands of Stussa, following a trail left by my close friend Ashke. I was told by Van, that his trusted friend, who surveyed the area beforehand, gave a positive report. A big possibility, that our hunches might be right. As I was walking with my mind brimming with thoughts, a young man, swiftly appeared before me, catching a vase, inches from hitting the floor.

“Woah… I am so very sorry and thank you—“ I bent down and my eyes met his. Suddenly, I felt a tear flowed down to my cheeks. A tear full of regret and apologies and longing. Everything around me turned silent. I can only hear my heartbeat. Or perhaps, it was his heartbeat— awake and alive and well. Somewhere deep in my mind is a face and a name I couldn’t recall, but an existence which my soul recognizes.

“Oh— Missy, don’t worry, that vase is intact. Please don’t cry,” the young man said.

“Ah— ah s-sorry,” I said, wiping my tears. “I didn’t notice the vase. Thank you for catching.”

“Yeah, sure. Master said you’re always lost in thoughts. I see now, this what he meant.”

“Sorry… Master?”

“Hmm. yeah, Prince Vaugn,” he replied. “I’m actually on my way to E. Stussa to deliver a message, Prince Vaugn would like to meet you and Bisca later tonight at the depository’s botanic garden. I’ll be off now Miss Clemsey. See you later and be careful.”

“Uhm sorry, may I know your name?”

“My name is Enid. I just came back from the highlands. Ashke seems to be in a safe place for now, so, don’t worry.”

“Enid…,” I said, repeating his word. Hearing his name and an update on Ashke gives a sense of hope in the air.

“I gave a part of my name to Prince Vaugn. It’s incomplete but it sounds about the same with my original,” he said with a flat countenance.

“Enid, I feel like I’ve met you before and I’ve always wanted to have a younger brother. I hope it will be all right with you if I treat you as one,” I said with a voice filled with happiness.

“Yeah sure… okay,” he answered with a blush in his face.

Afterwards, I went back home to prepare my things for the upcoming journey. I didn’t have much, as I am still fairly new to the Kingdom. On my way back to the depository, I stumbled upon a familiar flower growing along a Royal Court’s open hallway.

Timeless Hana, I thought.

“Enid planted it there,” an unfamiliar voice behind me said. “He said this is his thank you gift to the Second Prince. Anyway, Prince Vaugn would always take a flower from this plant to bring to his sister’s grave.”

I looked at the lady beside me, wearing large spectacles and a royal uniform.

“Theodessa Findlay. You can call me Theo. I am a court Pharmacist. I believe, you are on the way to E. Stussa. I will walk there with you.”

For some reason, a different atmosphere in the air welcomed me, as I entered the depository. When we reached the botanical garden, I was startled with sight in front of me. Theo, however, didn’t exhibit the same reaction.

“Welcome Clemsey, you can take a seat anywhere,” Van said. I sat beside Sir Bisca, somehow perplexed.

“Clemsey, these people in front of you, are under a specialized group I formed, in supervision of my brother, the First Prince of the Kingdom of Stussa, Prince Valour Ark-Zenith,” he cleared his throat and continued. “Lowen Fujiro is the right hand of the operation. Blanca Zonata is our secretary. Ashke Mashima, the Mechanic. Every member of the group assumes a role, they specialized at.”

“I’m actually a cartographer,” Sir Bisca said, to my utter surprise.

“I am the Court Pharmacist and also, the pharmicist of the group,” Theo said while pushing her spectacles up.

“I believe you met Enid before,” Van said, gazing at the young man, I found myself to be very fond of. “He is very young yet, a highly skilled operations officer.”

“Then… this group, why was it formed?” I asked.

“The group was formed to aid the Kingdom’s defense and well-being. But we don’t just operate here. We work in partnership with various Kingdoms who share the same goal as us— to protect and to give aid to the people,” Van said. “Clemsey, it is not an easy tasked. This group is newly established. But our conviction is solid. Currently, we are looking for someone who would fit the role of an Intelligence Officer. Ashke said, that it would be right up your alley. And, I believe, he is right.” He straightened his back and took a step closer.

“Clemsey Akisa, I would like to invite you to join The Meliora.”

Since my eye sight developed, I always get a feeling that everything which appears familiar to me, really did exists at one point in my memory. And that something, somewhere, beyond distance or time or some unforeseen circumstances, made a stranger out of us. Apparently now, as my horizon is starting to expand, I feel like everything is coming back again, though this time around, in an entirely new light, simultaneously blossoming into new found hope and purpose.

“Prince Vaugn, I would like to be a part of The Meliora,” I said, and my soul never felt so free, after a very long time.