Chapter 20:

Darkness

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!


Because of the intense heat everything was windy. White steam was rushing in like a hurricane. It took me a while to gather my senses.

“Anne!” the voices of Martha and Arthur were coming from afar. Everything was cloudy and hazy.

Did I get hit? I looked at my hands. Anne was still there.

I ran and grabbed her before turning around to protect her. She was unconscious. I remember hearing a loud noise. What exactly happened?

“You stupid girl.” I tried waking her up, “You know how dangerous that was?’

I could finally see my surroundings. The dust was settling down. I turned back.

I saw my mother’s back.

The sword was on her shoulder, it had made a scratch on her dress. She had Ryn up in the air, grabbed by his throat. He was struggling around. He grabbed Mother’s hand to get out of her grip. It was impossible. Mother was in her zone.

I saw the sand surrounding me melt and turn into imperfect glass shards. Everything beyond me was like that. The heat must have been intense for it to melt the sand and turn it into glass. This brat really wanted to kill me. 

Only the area right behind the Mother’s back was normal. We would have been dead if not for Mother. I was glad I managed to draw Ryn away from the crowd’s direction. I can’t even imagine what this spell could do to people.

The arena was damaged by the impact. The soldiers of the Crowned Empire gathered around and came running towards us.

“Halt, please refrain from doing anything hasty,” Marlian shouted with authority.

Wow, now you want us to stop? Your kid could have killed someone. Heck, he could have wiped the whole town.

Mother was unfazed by those words. The soldiers surrounded her.

I pushed Anne behind me and stood near Mother. Our backs were facing each other. Mother wasn’t bothered by the enemies, so I had to protect her in case someone tried to attack her from her blind spot. Anne was in the middle. The soldiers had us completely surrounded. They were roughly 30 soldiers. What is the plan mother?

“Please let sir Ryn go, or else we will be obliged to attack.” Marlian was serious. He was pointing his staff at Mother.

“You think you can order me around?” Mother raised her finger.

Immediately multiple vines grew from the sand and grabbed all the soldiers and Marlian. The vines tangled their hands and legs, forcing them to kneel. 

In just less than a second, before they could even fight back, they were kneeling to Mother. I couldn’t help but gasp in excitement.

“Who- Who are you?” Marlian was trying to cast a spell but Mother’s blank face made him rethink his decision. He let go of his staff. 

Ryn was still above the ground kicking his legs in the air. Mother had no intention of letting him go.

Anne was waking up. I should take her to safety. I saw Martha standing in confusion. I pushed Anne towards them.

“Anne!” Martha shouted, Anne ran to Martha and Arthur. Good, she is safe now. They were standing quite far from us.

I put down my sword. I had no reason to aim it. Well, they are lucky mother didn’t kill them.

“Please reconsider this. We apologize on behalf of sir Ryn.” The vines were getting tighter, and Marlian was struggling to speak. Smart guy. He figured out they can’t fight Mother.

“I would usually stop Mother, but it was not just me, you put Anne’s life in danger.”

I turned at Marlian. Before I could say anything, I saw the Saintess running at us. She wasn’t holding her staff. She isn’t coming to save her comrades? 

She stopped right in the middle of Marlian and Mother.

“Please have mercy.” Her voice broke down with head bowed to Mother.

We can use this situation to our advantage.

“What will happen to Ryn if we let this go? Won’t he just get back in the wild? Murdering innocent civilians.” I stepped closer to Mother.

“I promise you as the Great Saintess, he will receive a harsh punishment, for breaching the duel and attacking a bystander. Please trust me, sir Vance.” She sat down on her knees.

“If we escalate this here, it might even spark a war between our nations.” Emma was still shaking and pleading with us.

Am I going too far? I was just thinking when someone else interrupted me.

The maid Eva came sprinting with her sword pointed at me. She was protecting the Saintess, while the Saintess was on the ground.

“Someone might think we are the bad ones. Having a small kid bowing her head while another kid is pointing her sword at us. Oh, not to mention this brat held from his neck in the midair. We definitely look like the evil here.” I was getting annoyed for some reason.

I scuffed at her. Eva growled at me.

“What are you doing Emma? You are the Great Saintess. Stop lowering your head to anyone but Goddess Stariya.” Eva shouted at Saintess.

Does she think she can fight with Mother who the court magician and the Great Saintess couldn’t?

“What would have happened if Mother hadn’t intervened?” I started thinking about Anne and my mind went blank. As if I was on autopilot.

I stepped closer to her. She was panicking, she must have never attacked a person before. Her sharp sword pointed straight at my head. Her sword grazed my face slowly, making a small cut. I kept going near her. She was frozen in fear, sweat running down her stern face. Her glasses had little scratch marks. I didn’t notice that before. It was like my emotions had taken over my body.

I was looking straight into her eyes. I could even feel her staggering breath on my face, like a prey waiting to get slaughtered.

“Tell me, Eva. What would you have done to save my sister?” My eyes had no emotions. With each passing moment, the darkness was muddling together. I could feel my sanity slipping away. It was just like the time when Kujo said something about my daughter. I was so close to losing my control. It was a weird emotional state as if I was possessed by my regrets. I tapped her shoulder gently.

“Take it easy, you need to know when to give up.” She fell on her knees. She must have been very scared.

The Mother let go of Ryn. He fell to the ground. The vines started to get away from everyone. Wait why would you let them go? Is she exhausted? I turned at Mother.

“Anne is fine.” Her calm voice whispered in my head. I came back to my senses.

He was shaking as if he saw a ghost. He tried to stand up but fell again. He was crawling away from Mother.

The soldiers took him while keeping their swords pointed at us. Marlian touched his neck which was tightened with his death just a few moments ago. He didn’t say anything. They started walking back. They took the Saintess Emma with them.

Eva was still on the ground with her eyes widened from fear. Did I do that?

I bent down and held her hand. She started crying like a child. Well, she is a 9-year-old child while I’m four times her age.

I helped her get up and walked her to one of the soldiers. He took her away. She was still in shock.

What happened to me? I can think about that later. First, I needed to see Mother.

Mother was walking away. I hugged her from behind.

“What are you doing?” She said that while stopping her feet.

“I’m calming you down.”

“I’m calm.”

“Are you? I thought you were Mother.”

Mother turned to me with a disappointed face.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“You are such a stupid boy.” She sighed.

“Hug?” I raised my hand.

“I thought big boys don’t hug?” Mother hugged me.

I felt shaking in Mother’s arms.

“I heard your thoughts. I felt as if I’d lose you. Your pain, your frustration, your nightmares, your regrets. How much are you carrying inside?” Her voice became hazy.

I saw tears running down Mother’s face. Guess she found out about remorse of my past.

“I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you everything,” I wiped her tears.