Chapter 23:

Questions: Return, Rest, Answer


Hours have past, and only then Xadulo woke up. Seril, Kyshanne, Jack, and Deneb all seek answers for their questions Carnelia couldn’t respond to.

“If ‘all humans’, then how do I still remember you guys?” Jack asked. “Because the fog hasn’t reached you. You still have access to the human world right now, but I don’t suggest you going. About less than 20 provinces by now, I guess, had been covered by the fog,” Xadulo explained, calmer than she had ever been. “That’s wide!”, “And Fast!!”, “It goes faster and faster by time…” a carefreely calm smile appeared.

“Then, what about the other humans that are still here?!” Deneb asked. “They’re a goner the moment they stepped back home.”

“How about the necromancers in the human world?!” Seril asked. “The fog will also make them fall asleep. Only that it will make their bodies rot while they’re unconscious.”

“How long will this take?!” Kyshanne asked. “Not longer than two years”, “Two years?!” the four shouted. Carnelia and Pablo just watched them from the side. “Well, I guess I’ll just watch them ask questions. I’ll understand just by listening,” Pablo said.

“How’d that work?”, “Like in a coma”, “And the food?!”, “Will go bad, of course. The world won’t be sleeping, just the humans”, “I mean, I don’t care, bad won’t it be terribly bad if all humans were asleep for at most 2 years?!”, “No, I don’t think so. Maybe some will wake up immediately after three months or so,” the four were impatient for answers. In contrary, Xadulo is really chilled and calm.

Pablo couldn’t help but smile as he watched over the food Seril was supposed to be cooking but totally forgot when the questioning started. Even now, he’s still gripping onto the wooden spoon. “How’s the food doing?” Xadulo asked, and it made Seril shout “AH!” and glanced behind, only to see Pablo handling it. “Still not cooked,” Pablo said as took a taste and continued stirring the stew. “Don’t bother, just continue the questioning I’m enjoying this shit myself,” Pablo tailed his sentence. “Do you mean my food?!”, “I meant the rash questions.”

“Oh, yeah. Pablo, you seem you’ve changed,” Xadulo changed the subject. “Did you finally realize?” she smirked. Confused Pablo replied, “Realized what?” Xadulo slightly laughed and said “It’s nothing!” Pablo wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but he was relieved she returned to her usual self.

“…turns out it was an acquittance of my father who kidnapped me and took me in the Centre when I was young,” Pablo was sharing what he had learned from the meantime they were separated. “He wanted to take revenge so bad he poured it into me after my parents were gone,” they were discussing about it. “So, the merchants could be a group of humans who had resentment towards necromancers?” Deneb theorized. “Not all merchants were bad. Just some of them. Most bad merchants were the ones in hoods. Item merchants and traders were actually friendly,” Xadulo explained. “Are there anything else you can share?” but no one answered her. It was because Kyshanne was doubting if she shall tell the others what she knows.

Pablo noticed that they were running out of wood. He stood up and said, “I’ll go get more firewood”. The sun was already setting, so he said he’ll be quick. Carnelia tailed after him to make things quicker. “Hey,” Pablo called. “I’m sorry for how I acted earlier. I was just… kind of emotional”, “Don’t let it bother you,” she replied, and I made Pablo felt relief. He remembered his discussion with the merchant. Deep in his thoughts, he didn’t realize Carnelia went before him, and is now in front of him. They started entering the woods.

“…Carnelia,” Pablo called, then she stops to turn and respond, but Pablo hugged him from behind. He relaxed his body and rested his face on her left shoulder. “…what’s the matter?” Carnelia asked. “I feel like I’ve been stuck in that place for a long time”, “The dark dream?”, “Yeah. Like years had pass for me,” Carnelia placed her hands on his arms and sincerely listened. “Am I really here? Or am I still dreaming?” his voice was weak. “Want to test it?” Pablo nodded in response. “You are the most important person to me” he heard the voice of the Carnelia in that dream.

“…how important am I to you?” Carnelia didn’t respond immediately, but it also didn’t do it too late. “Considering every creature I hold dear, you must be second,” Pablo raised his head in shock. “Dissatisfied?” Carnelia asked. “No,” Pablo smiled and laid his head again in her shoulder. “That was more than enough.”