Chapter 10:

Chapter 4.1: It Was Fun While It Lasted

The Last Light


The sun slowly climbed out of the horizon. It was supposed to be a calm scene, except it was disturbed by groans and grunts. Despite the ache from yesterday’s injuries, Jonathan was adamant about keeping his body in top condition. Because yesterday’s fight was a wake-up call. He could have died at every given chance his enemy’s had.Bookmark here

Ciara in a gardening overall and a sun hat brought him a glass of orange juice. Jonathan showed his gratitude to her before taking a sip. She seemed to be overly cautious of Jonathan. What Jonathan said to her must have affected her more than Jonathan realized.Bookmark here

“It’s rare seeing you here, so early.” Ciara took a seat on top of her toolbox.Bookmark here

“I’m trying to be healthy.” Jonathan sat the drink down and proceeded to do several sit-ups.Bookmark here

“Jonathan, do you mean what you said last night?”Bookmark here

Before Jonathan could answer, Eri stormed into the backyard and threw her trident at Jonathan. “Filthy creature!”Bookmark here

The trident left a cut on his cheek before planting into the ground beside him. Ciara stumbled back from her seat. Jonathan wasn't disturbed at all by the sudden attack. He simply stood up and turned to face the furious undine.Bookmark here

“Look, what happened yesterday wasn’t a part of the plan.”Bookmark here

“July 13, 2012. Bermuda.”Bookmark here

That date and location triggered a memory from the depth of his brain. His eyes widened, then relaxed back again. He let out a sigh before stepping closer to Eri. Barely an inch between them.Bookmark here

“You worked for them.” Her hand balled into a fist. “They were civilians. No weapons. There were children there.”Bookmark here

Jonathan glanced at Ciara, and back to Eri. “Are you sure, revealing your military secret in front of a civilian?”Bookmark here

“Why? Are you ashamed of what you have done?”Bookmark here

“Shame?” Jonathan chuckled. “It was a job and nothing more.”Bookmark here

Eri’s fist was a centimeter away from Jonathan’s face. It was too fast for him to evade anyway, but he didn’t need to. Between her trembling fist and the glare, she had on him was obvious. Eri was conflicted between her oath and her rage.Bookmark here

“Eri! I don’t know what’s going on, but don’t do it. We can talk about this.” Ciara took a step forward.Bookmark here

“So, I guess it wasn’t just some false promise.” A smile grew on Jonathan’s face.Bookmark here

“I’m bringing you to Commander Zey.” She gripped his collar.Bookmark here

“Right now?”Bookmark here

The trident flew back into Eri’s hand. She leaped toward the sky at tremendous speed. Her launch cracked the earth she stood on and left Ciara stunned. It didn’t take 10 minutes for her to land in the courtyard of A.S headquarters.Bookmark here

The undine’s guards pointed their tridents at the sudden guest. Eri didn’t waver, instead dragged Jonathan forward past the guards. They weren’t sure whether she was an enemy or not, but they did follow her closely until she arrived in front of Commander Zey’s office.Bookmark here

Eri kicked the door open and tossed Jonathan inside with force. His back slammed against the office desk and caused him to let out a small grunt. Despite the Commander’s desk being forcefully shifted to the left slightly, she still remained calm. Her focus was unfazed from the paperwork she had on the desk.Bookmark here

“There wasn't any doubt in my mind that there would be trouble after the headmistress made the deal with you. Still, I have to ask. Eri, may you explain to me, what do you think is going to happen after bringing him in here?”Bookmark here

“A trial. Punishment. I want justice for what he has done.”Bookmark here

“Jonathan, can you wait outside?”Bookmark here

“Give me a sec.” Jonathan stood up and stretched his back before walking toward the door. He was stopped when Eri placed her arm in front of his chest.Bookmark here

“Let him go, Second Lieutenant Eri Pacifica.” Commander Zey narrowed her eyes at Eri.Bookmark here

“You’re not my commander.”Bookmark here

“Do you want to take that up in your chain of command? Be my guest.”Bookmark here

Eri growled in anger, but she had no choice. She lowered her arm, letting Jonathan leave the room. With only the two of them left in the room, Eri rushed to her desk and slammed her hand. It almost tipped the cup of coffee.Bookmark here

“Him, here? Why?!”Bookmark here

“Headmistress Victoria wants him here, and I trust her judgment.” She continued her paperwork.Bookmark here

“The same old Commander. Anything she asked, you delivered like a dog. Even if it means betraying your own kind, and you dare call yourself an undine.”Bookmark here

Zey stopped writing but didn’t raise her gaze to meet Eri. “Second Lieutenant.”Bookmark here

The young undine covered her mouth. She had gone over the line with her last statement. Though the Commander hasn’t shown it yet, she was furious. Eri had dug her grave. “Commander, I’m一”Bookmark here

The Commander raised her hand to stop Eri’s apology. “You work for me now.”Bookmark here

“W-What? That’s not possible. My Commander won’t allow it.”Bookmark here

“This goes above your commander rank. Colonel Porto himself has given you to me. This is the order. See it for yourself.” Commander Zey placed a piece of paper in front of Eri to read.Bookmark here

Eri took the paper in her hand. After reading it, she lowered her chin in despair. It cannot be. She doesn’t believe it, nor wants to. “How?”Bookmark here

“I permitted them to release Jonathan’s unredacted file to you. Since you will be acting as his commanding officer on the field. To keep him from getting into any more trouble. It was the plan, but now...”Bookmark here

Eri straightened her posture and kept her hands at her side in a military fashion. “I apologize for my behavior, Ma’am.”Bookmark here

“I questioned your discipline, Second Lieutenant. Someone of your rank should know better. Perhaps you could learn proper etiquette back at the training school as a private, don’t you agree?” Bookmark here

“No, Ma’am.” That was the single most terrifying experience for Eri. She never saw Commander Zey this furious before. Bookmark here

The Commander would scold others, but never once threaten them. If she didn’t know better and kept fighting back, Eri was sure she couldn’t leave this room with his body intact. Commander Zey was known for her fury back in the war, she had heard rumors about the numerous creatures she had slain with only her bare hands.Bookmark here

“Good. It would be a shame to see you climb up rank again after one outburst. If you could climb again after I send my report to the Colonel.”Bookmark here

“Please don’t, Ma’am.” Eri’s voice squeaked a little.Bookmark here

“I’m not a fan of a second chance, Second Lieutenant Eri. However, luckily for you, Headmistress Victoria is.” Commander Zey shook her head and continued writing.Bookmark here

“Thank you, Ma’am.” A wave of relief washed over Eri.Bookmark here

“Do you believe in this place? The idea of this place. A place where every species and race in the world could understand one another, learn from each other, and live in harmony and true to themselves. Answer truthfully, please.”Bookmark here

“I don’t, Ma’am.”Bookmark here

“Explain why you chose that answer.”Bookmark here

“Every species has their agenda. We do not share the same principle or believe. So, we cannot put other species’ needs before our own.”Bookmark here

“Good answer. It’s the same as mine, but the Headmistress doesn’t share our opinion. She truly believes this place she built could do it.” A smile escaped Zey’s tight lip. Bookmark here

“I may not believe in her ideal, but I do put my faith in her because she has proven me wrong, time and time again. I won’t ask you to do the same, Second Lieutenant Eri, but I do want you to do the job. Keep Him out of trouble, but do not interfere in his work.”Bookmark here

“Affirmative, Commander Zey.”Bookmark here

“Good. Here is his mission file.” She placed it on the table. “Be familiar with it. You are dismissed.”Bookmark here

Zey saluted the Commander and left the office with the file with her.Bookmark here

***

A few minutes earlier.Bookmark here

Jonathan exited the office, groaning at his sore back. He leaned against a column in front of the office with a sigh. People turning against him wasn’t something new. It has always happened when they found the truth. What he did in the past wasn’t something he was proud of, but it is not like he has tremendous regret over it. It was a job for him and nothing more. The same as a housekeeper or a banker. He doesn’t understand why someone would make a big deal out of it.Bookmark here

After shaking his thoughts away, he spotted a beautiful, pale woman with curly black hair. Though her skin tone is a bit brown, she reminded him of Olivia, one of his housemates. She was wearing mismatched clothing of different colors. It seems random, but at the same time colorful like an abstract painting.Bookmark here

The odd part about her was the black fabric covering her eyes. She tapped the cane in front of her to find her way, but despite the help of a cane, she still bumps into things. However, everyone seems to be ignoring or outright avoiding like a plague.Bookmark here

It's hard for Jonathan to see her bumped into things. He wanted to help, but if people were ignoring her, they must have a good reason. The old Jonathan would have ignored her, but he’s not him anymore, not after he quit being Memory’s cub.Bookmark here

But even after quitting being a mercenary, he still ended up doing a job for other people, instead of being free. Jonathan violently shook the thoughts away. Dwelling on it won’t help anybody. Screw it, he's going to help anyway.Bookmark here

He approached carefully. “Good morning, beautiful madam. May I walk you to your intended destination?”Bookmark here

“Who is that?” She turned her head around.Bookmark here

“My name is Jonathan. I’m a passerby. I couldn’t help but notice you are having difficulty walking.”Bookmark here

“Oh, you shouldn’t be near me. Didn’t someone tell you who I am?”Bookmark here

“Nope. Not one. Unless someone told me that you’re beautiful because I already knew that.”Bookmark here

She covered her lips as a way to hide the giggle underneath. “You are a sweet talker, but I’m fine. You should stay away from me before you catch my bad luck.”Bookmark here

“Lucky for you, I don’t believe in bad luck. Here, let me hold your hand.” Jonathan took her hand.Bookmark here

Her body jolted in surprise, but she relaxed again. Jonathan’s touch was strangely familiar. It was warm, akin to a sense of home. It doesn’t make sense to her. She thought she lost it a long time ago. She tilted her head, confused. “Odd… I can’t see you.”Bookmark here

“I mean, you do have a piece of fabric over your eyes. That could be the reason.”Bookmark here

“That’s not what I meant.” She waved her other hand, dismissing it. “Please ignore what I just said. What was your name again?”Bookmark here

“Jonathan Jameson, at your service, mademoiselle.” He beamed a smile at her, though she could not see it, she could sense it.Bookmark here

“Jonathan, a spry young man such as yourself makes me feel at ease. I can tell you have a bright soul, though a bit tainted.”Bookmark here

“Wow, we only met, but you already sound like you’ve fallen for me. I never knew I had that kind of game.”Bookmark here

She giggled some more. “You are forward, but that's just a front. I sense a timid you in there. I wonder what will happen if I push further.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean by that?”Bookmark here

The woman snuggled around Jonathan’s arm. He felt her soft breast pressed against his arm. Jonathan immediately lost his cool attitude. He accidentally let out a quiet squeak, not loud enough for her to notice. Even his cheeks had gone red.Bookmark here

“My, my, has my young knight gone mute? Was I too much for you?”Bookmark here

Jonathan coughed. He tried his best in a deep, manly voice, and asked, “Please forgive me, mademoiselle. I was lost in my thoughts. I was just wondering where are we heading?”Bookmark here

“Forward.”Bookmark here

Jonathan shrugged his shoulders and started leading the woman forward as carefully as he could. It was certainly a good morning to stroll. Jonathan had enjoyed the walk he had with this woman, whose name he hasn't asked yet. That realization finally popped into his head. He hasn't even asked for her name.Bookmark here

“It seems awkward now, but I never asked for your name.”Bookmark here

“My name is Diana Donovan. It’s a pleasure to meet you, my young knight.”Bookmark here

“If I’m your knight, then you shall be my princess.” Jonathan grinned.Bookmark here

Jonathan may not know how much those words meant to Diana, but it was enough to make her go quiet. She lowered her chin while her grip tightened around Jonathan's arm. It was quick, but she felt her heart skip a beat.Bookmark here

Jonathan worried about her sudden silence. “Did I say something wrong?”Bookmark here

“No.” Her head perked up with a smile. “You reminded me of someone.”Bookmark here

“I did?”Bookmark here

“Indefinitely. Take a right here. Through the training ground.”Bookmark here

Following her direction, Jonathan led her around the corner into the training ground. Not far from him, Bor was running toward him with a worried expression on his face. Bookmark here

Bor was sweating heavily as he ran toward Jonathan. He had to leave his training early after hearing the news about her sister and a strange man she forcibly brought here. There’s only one man who fits the description his fellow workmate gave him, so he rushed here as soon as he could.Bookmark here

Diana tugged on his sleeve. “I sense a storm in your heart.”Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry, Miss Donovan. Someone I know is heading toward me.”Bookmark here

“I see.” Diana let go of his arm. “I’ll be fine from here. You should talk to him. Whatever the outcome is, I find it better to have closure.” She nodded her head and smiled before she wandered away from him.Bookmark here

Jonathan watched as Diana left his vicinity. The strangest thing happened, he never saw her appear like this before, the golden woman. Not when he was around people. Furthermore, she wasn't appearing beside him, instead, she appeared beside Diana and walked beside her. She stared at her, and Jonathan felt the longing she has for the blinded woman. Perhaps they knew each other.Bookmark here

And of course, she was only visible to Jonathan. Odd indeed.Bookmark here

“I came as soon as possible,” said Bor, he calmed his heavy breathing. “Are you hurt?”Bookmark here

Jonathan looked at the undine, surprised by his genuine concern. He chuckled and looked away. “You don’t have to pretend anymore.”Bookmark here

“Pretend? I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.”Bookmark here

“You know, like being nice to me and whatnot. You must have known by now about all the things I did in the past. I understand if you want to cancel the oath and stay away from me. It’s not like it never happened before. I’m perfectly fine, you know… No hard feelings, yeah?”Bookmark here

Bor had never seen that kind of smile on Jonathan before. It was gut-wrenching. It’s the kind of smile that’s been beaten and whipped to near death. He was about to say something back to him when they were interrupted by Eri.Bookmark here

“I’m your commanding officer starting today. Let’s go. I prefer to spend as little time with you as possible.”Bookmark here

“As you order, Ma’am.” Jonathan slipped his hand into his pockets before he followed her.Bookmark here

Bor was left behind. He knew something had happened because he never saw Eri that angry before or Jonathan in that kind of mood. There was only one person he could ask if he wanted to know: Commander Zey. He marched in the opposite direction from Eri and toward his commander’s office.Bookmark here

Eri glanced behind her. There was something wrong in the way Jonathan was staring. He wasn’t staring at her, so it wasn’t meant for her. However, there’s a certain coldness in those gazes. It only amplified her belief that Jonathan was too dangerous to be left alive. Those were the eyes of a killer, and finally, he revealed his true nature.Bookmark here

Jonathan was in a bad mood for a reason unknown to him, but in truth, his broken friendship with Bor had affected him more than he realized. He doesn’t want to think about it anymore because there’s only one goal for him now: getting out of here. That’s why he needs to solve this case as fast as he can.Bookmark here

After taking the stairs, they arrived at a creepy room with a strong smell of death. There’s only one place that fits the descriptions, it was the morgue. Eri left Jonathan’s side and talked to the person in charge.Bookmark here

Jonathan’s sight wandered until he met with a familiar woman, sitting alone in the waiting area. He admitted that she scared him a bit, he thought she was a ghost. It seemed she hadn’t noticed him there, so he got closer to her, and suddenly, she turned her face to him. Jonathan’s footsteps must have alarmed her.Bookmark here

“It’s me, Jonathan.”Bookmark here

“I know, so how did it go?”Bookmark here

“Uhm…” Jonathan chuckled. He prefers not to answer that question. Deflection is the best strategy after all. “What are you doing here?”Bookmark here

Diana sensed something off him. She understood it well. “I’m actually waiting for you. You see, I’m the Seer that will be helping you with the case. The Headmistress personally requested me.”Bookmark here

“Oh, a Seer?”Bookmark here

“Yes, I am. Is it strange?” asked Diana with a curious look.Bookmark here

“I actually don’t know what a Seer does.”Bookmark here

“A seer has several abilities. One of them is the ability to see any object’s past.”Bookmark here

“Cool, how does it work and how far can you see?” Jonathan took a seat beside her.Bookmark here

“My sight doesn’t tread that far at all. I’m only able to see certain events that were so powerful that they scarred the object’s essence. If I were to describe how it works.” She tilted her head slightly. “It would be like following a trail of breadcrumbs until I found the bread itself.”Bookmark here

“Woah, can you teach me how?”Bookmark here

“Learn my abilities? Why?” The very question Jonathan proposed was odd even for her standard, and she has been alive for a long time now. And saw so much strangeness during it that she thought nothing could surprise her anymore. However, it was quite refreshing to be blind again. Perhaps meeting her again, even though he wasn’t her, was perhaps the best thing that has happened to Diana for a long time now.Bookmark here

“Hello?” Jonathan waved his hand in front of her. It was stupid for him to do so, she probably couldn’t see it, but he needs to snap her back from her trance. After thinking hard, an idea popped into his brain. Suddenly, he tapped the tip of her nose.Bookmark here

Diana snapped back to reality with perked-up shoulders and a flustered face. “What was that?”Bookmark here

“Sorry, you kinda spaced out there, so I boop your nose.” Jonathan scratched the back of his head with Bookmark here

“Don’t do that again,” she pinched my thigh.Bookmark here

Jonathan winced at the pain and chuckled. “Okay, okay, okay. Ouch. Stop. Please. I won’t do it again.”Bookmark here

“Hmph,” She pouted. Her anger wasn’t out of hate. It was more of a sense of surprise. What he did to her had caused her heart to skip a beat. She doesn’t like it at all. It made her feel like a young maiden again. It’s one of those feeling a woman her age shouldn’t have, at least not to a young man like himBookmark here

Jonathan booped her nose again and quickly backed away with a grin. Diana became furious and wailed her arms around, trying to find him. The young man teased her to catch him, but he was too fast for Diana, to no avail. Every time Jonathan led her with his voice, he would simply step away. A while it just became a game of tag mix with Marco and polo along with a bit of teasing.Bookmark here

Their playtime came to a halt when Eri got closer to them. “Lady Diana, it’s an honor to meet you. I presumed you would be joining us for the inspection.” Even though she looked at Diana with respect, it was colder than before when her gaze turned to Jonathan it was colder than before. It had nothing but resentment and hate for him.Bookmark here

Diana straightened her posture and dress, then nodded. “Ms. Eri Pacifica…” Her sentence suddenly trails off, as if something had disturbed her. She shook her head slightly when she returned to reality. “I’m sorry. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”Bookmark here

“Shall we?” Eri turned and started walking further into the room.Bookmark here

They were walking side by side, but Eri seemed to distance herself from Diana. Jonathan noticed it, then leaned closer to Diana. “Uhm, I noticed lots of people---”Bookmark here

“Distance themselves from me?” She finished his question before him. “It’s actually common sense to stay from a seer. That’s why it came as odd to me when you said you wanted to learn how to be one.”Bookmark here

“I mean, it is a cool ability to have. It’ll also make my job easier.”Bookmark here

“It certainly will, but my abilities come with a terrible curse. Besides, you can’t learn it by natural means. Only a Banshee can gain these abilities, despite that only a few dozen can be a seer.”Bookmark here

“A curse?”Bookmark here

“Yes, a curse every Banshee has. It’s pretty scary, are you sure you want to know?”Bookmark here

“Uhm, sure…” said Jonathan, uncertain if he wants to know or not.Bookmark here

“We don’t only see the past, we can also see the future, but at a specific point. We can’t prophesize big events. The only thing we can see in the future is death. Our end. Every Banshee can see how they will die, and a seer can see the death of everyone who came in contact with her. We’re basically walking bad luck.” A sense of coldness permeated from Diana as she turned her face to Jonathan. “Now that you know, do you want to know how you die?”Bookmark here

“Nope.” Jonathan’s answer was common to Diana. It’s an answer she always got when she asked someone else the same question. Usually, by then, they started to stay away. However, Jonathan got even closer, he wasn’t scared. “I don’t really care how I die. I could die just by taking the stairs or going to the bathroom, or heck, eating something I shouldn’t have, or even walking right beside you. I don’t care how I die, but I do care how I live.”Bookmark here

Diana smiled as she leaned against Jonathan’s arm. “That’s really a good answer.”Bookmark here

It surprised the young man, but he kept his nervousness in check. The smile she had wasn’t brought by happiness, but of melancholy, loneliness, and perhaps longing. It must have been a lonely existence with all the people keeping themselves away from her and quite frankly frightening, she can see how she died every day. Bookmark here

“It must have felt like insanity, always seeing how you die. How do you do it, keeping yourself sane, that is?”Bookmark here

“Easy, we had the same answer. Care for the living and not for the dead. Cherish every moment and encounter. And today, I cherish our encounter. It was a fun day. Thank you, my knight.” This time her smile was more genuine than before, she meant every word she said and believed in it.Bookmark here

“How could you say that? Our time together hasn’t ended yet.” He booped her nose again.Bookmark here

She bit her bottom lips and pinched his arm, once again Jonathan caved into her pinch. He never thought someone like her was good at pinching. They shared a laugh and even enjoyed each other's company. However, from the side, Eri looked at them with disgust, not at Diana, but specifically at Jonathan. She hates how normal and loving he can be, she knows under all that facade is a disgusting murderer.Bookmark here

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