Chapter 9:

Episode Nine: Once the Bubble Bursts

A Religious Witch?! How Incredible!


It took some time to get comfortable but eventually, Lilith grew used to being in the carriage for long hours. A few days had already gone by since they started that journey. To be honest, Lilith was worried that when she woke up, Deacon would abandon her and left her for dead at first. When she woke up though, she was relieved to find that she was still there with him.

She was delighted to wake up. On the other side of the carriage, Deacon slept peacefully with his collar undone - possibly signifying his abandonment of the cloth - Lilith blushed scarlet red. It was a bit of skin she’d never see of his and there’s only days away until her twelfth birthday. Lilith still didn’t quite understand why they left in the first place but she was glad she was here. That means that they were going to celebrate together and, better yet, without interruption from Emeline or any of the other nuns.

She continued to stay silent during the ride. She tried to study his sleeping face but she felt the awkwardness of her glasses pressed up against her face and she had to take it off. She squinted her eyes and pinched herself to help herself feel better. Lilith did her best to stay as quiet as she could. She didn’t want to disturb the ex-priest’s sleeping so she did her best to stay quiet.

Lilith relaxed, though, as she decided to look outside the carriage after she put her glasses back on. She did idly wonder who drove the carriage - did priests have any wages? But then, she didn’t see the box again after she saw him in the wardrobe. Eventually, she would conclude that he must’ve sold it to commission a carriage driver.

Wow… he keeps making incredible sacrifices… for me! For our relationship! The mere thought of them being together caused Lilith to blush a deep, deep red and she could feel her face warm up. Immediately, she put her hands on her face and felt immediately how hot she felt. How can anyone see us as anything but pure love!

She decided she needed to cool down. After the young girl looked around, Lilith eventually found the window and opened it up as quietly and quickly as possible. She tried to keep it cracked enough for them not to be cooled down too much by the changing wind but she didn’t want the carriage to become so stuffy that it would cause him to wake up and be bothered.

The air was indeed as cool as she hoped and she heard the horse nicker and neigh as they trotted along the dirt path. She had never seen a horse up close before - Henrik had once talked about seeing them at work but Lilith was never allowed to go and see it for herself. Even though she still didn’t get a chance to see the creature up front, for the fact she could see the giant creature from her corner gave her a sort of wonder. She couldn’t help but smile brightly at the thought of telling Henrik.

Henrik, Henrik!! I got to see a horse, finally!

Then she remembered what happened yet again. She could never truly go back, could she? She was the third member of her family to leave them behind. First her brother, because of the war, and then her mother, because of her illness; and now Lilith, because she was in love with a dangerous man. Once she realized that, her smile slowly dropped down to a frown. Her eyes narrowed and she leaned her head perfectly next to the cracked window.

Deacon continued to sleep peacefully, unaware of the sadness that sprung up within her.

We’re really leaving Frostkin. Is it really that bad for us to be together? Why can’t Emeline understand? Why can’t his father understand? … Why can’t my family understand? …

The deep sound of the horse’s noises and hooves, the sound of the creaking wheels, the creaking carriage, it almost pulled her to sleep again. She didn’t know what time it was but as she thought that, something seemed to glow next to her head. Her pink eyes blinked and saw that it was a clock - a clock that she was familiar with.

The clock that sat on top of the shelf of her study room. It was an analog clock that was supposedly passed down from generations from her father’s side but she would always remember seeing it in her dreams. It always ticked and tocked. It never rang - Lilith knew one could use it as a timer, but there was no point. Her father would yell if he was home to hear it, to turn that “damn thing” off.

And yet, it floated by her head with a glowy outline of it. She was so shocked that she let out a yelp and quickly covered her mouth. She nearly jumped back and it only came closer. The outline of the ‘clock’ was accurate in its time and its placements: 13:12. It was past midday.

Once she read the time, the ‘clock’ disappeared with a smokey streak. Lilith tried to ‘wipe it’ away because she could tell it was rousing Deacon up. But thankfully, all he did was turn.

Before she could be relieved though, the carriage suddenly stopped which caused Lilth’s small body to fall on the ground while Deacon was pushed around until he woke up.

His blue eyes were wide-eyed and his hair suddenly got messed up.

Normally, Deacon had his hair slicked back in an attractive style but since they had been on the road for a few days, it became greasy and out of place very quickly. They haven’t stopped to take a proper bath - sure, they were able to use the restroom and to eat, but the stops were often very quick and it became utterly clear that the two were on the run from something. Deacon never wanted anyone to ask them who they were or where they were going. Then again, they never stayed long enough.

Lilith winced in pain as she slowly tried to pry herself off the ground. Her glasses fell off her face but she could see it at a distance - it didn’t seem like it broke. If it broke, she would've been right out of luck! Deacon had all the money to help them survive but she would never know how much he had on his person.

“What was that?” he asked angrily as he tried to make sense of what just happened. All Lilith could do was groan in pain as a response.

The question wasn’t directed towards her. Immediately, Deacon made motions to unlock the carriage and stormed out while yelling and asking the mysterious driver what happened and why the carriage suddenly stopped. There was some yelling outside that Lilith couldn’t understand but she was busy crawling and trying to reach over to get her glasses.

Suddenly, the yelling died down once she finally put them on. Before she could fully get up though, Deacon suddenly opened the door and he looked extremely distraught.

Frankly put, he looked nothing like how he usually did. His face was stretched to an annoyed look on his face. It was probably better to say that he was angry. He was extremely angry that it frightened Lilith. She attempted to let out a gasp but then he reached in and grabbed her.

Lilith was somehow quick enough to grab her bag in the meantime and fell again as he dragged her out of the carriage. She yelped and yelled in pain. The blue-haired girl couldn’t grapple with what was happening but she had to keep up.

Without regard to her body, Lilith fell down the carriage’s steps and onto the ground. He’d long since let go of her hand and had immediately gone towards the front of the carriage.

It hurt and Lillith could feel some blood fall from a gash of her face. She reached up to soothe it and tried to keep the blood from getting on her clothes, but as soon as she touched her face, she felt wet.

Not from the blood, but from something that glowed on her hand. The only thing that went across her mind had been Please not now! I can’t let him see me like this! After the glow disappeared, she opened her eyes - surprised she even closed them in the first place - and realized she wasn’t hurting anymore.

“Lilith! Get over here!” Deacon’s voice was much harsher than she’d like but she’d listen. She’d always listen to him.

Once she’d finally reach him, she saw there were a bunch of white horses with a very regal-like appearance. There’s no way this was any royalty, though!

She had always known how small she was but never this small. However, she knew she couldn’t cower. It had only been days since she saw the scary and shadowy tendrils of the shadow flowers - and she was right on the money knowing that she would have to face something much scarier.

But she had to be strong. She had to stand tall in front of whoever this was.

“This is the child you’ve chosen. This is who you’ve chosen to throw your entire priesthood away, Deacon.” The voice didn’t seem to be the type to ask questions. The white horse trotted in front of her and Lilith had taken a couple of steps back - horses were way bigger than Henrik originally described.

The man who rode the horse was way different than Deacon. Unlike his current state, this older man would’ve put the orderly Deacon to shame. His hair had strands of silver patched through it and even though his skin somewhat sagged and was almost a carbon copy of Deacon, something was missing.

“Father,” Deacon simply said. He clenched his fists in his presence but Lilith got the feeling she needed to take those steps forward. She had to stand by him but something held her back.

“Don’t you want to become a High Priest to the king one day? Why are you throwing away an entire career for her?” He never looked at Lilith. “That nun who sent me that letter had clear… how do you say… emotion about what’s occurring in Frostkin. Have you thought about the conversion numbers even once? She mentioned that the child here is also a witch! How splendid, you’ve done something that most witch hunters can only dream of!”

Finally, he gazed at Lilith. Unlike Deacon’s kind eyes, his eyes made her want to cower. But she stood her ground.

Witch hunters? Capture my heart…?

But she couldn’t back down. Her legs shook and her palms started to cover in sweat.

He stopped his horse and finally dismounted. He walked with a sort of grace Lilith read in stories - not the kind that would sweep her off her feet but the kind of darkness that would envelop her if she didn’t watch her feet.

This man walked around her and inspected her. Every movement she made was pronounced and especially the movements she didn’t make, Lilith tried to control her beating heart. Needless to say, she was frightened.

“Hm, I see, she is indeed a cute witch. She will grow into a beautiful woman if you feed her right, exercise her right.” Lilith blinked and was confused. “Have she started her flow yet?”

Lilith’s face became beet red. Suddenly, a giant bubble protected her and not Deacon. Deacon barely responded to the comment before this happened but she didn’t want it to happen.

The horses, humans, and even the carriage horse were surprised by the surprise magic before them. Deacon was knocked back and was angry. He let out a curse but Lilith was surprised how much this bubble kept everything out - every word was muffled, even that man’s laugh was muffled.

Because he was so close to her bubble, it was easier to hear him.

“Oh, you’ve picked a powerful one! I’m guessing she’s the only one in that hill-billy town you’ve managed to convert. Really, Deacon, have I raised you to be so weak? The singular witch you’ve converted is the one you fell in love with and she’s a child.” He poked her bubble. Lilith did half-expected it to pop but it bounced back to him like rubber. “Quite. Perhaps you do take after me after all.”

“I didn’t fall in love with her, Father! I-I was just going back to the convent to teach her to be a nun. That’s all!”

Huh?

“Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? Come, we’ll escort you. And once she’s old enough, and once we take out the devil’s magic, she can be a suitable wife for you.”

“A-and, what of Frostkin?”

“Well, it seems that its priest left his place to run away with his love. It seems it’s not a suitable place for Samher after all. Let us go back to the convent. It’ll take a few weeks longer to wash all this filth down.”

Huh?

And the bubble burst. Lilith didn’t know what just happened. All she knew that whatever Deacon said wasn’t true.

He did love her as she was, right?

Suitable wife?

Convent? But… I thought… he was against the idea of me being a nun…?

What’s going on? Destroy Frostkin? What is going on?!