Chapter 39:

Revelation Pt. 2

Code: Zero Defect

What should I say? What can I possibly say? Nothing comes to mind. Here I am, standing before Mother, and yet I'm speechless.

The shouting of coatsmen suddenly brought me back to reality. Mother took that chance to grab me by the wrist and drag me away.

"Wha- wait... M-Mother!" I protested.

"Shut up, and follow me," she grumbled.


"Solas De Leux."

She turned around and met me with angry eyes. I've never seen her so mad before, but that's to be expected.

"You're not safe here," she said.

"Mother... Don't... P-please..." I mumbled. "If they catch you trying to help me... you'll be in danger, too."

"And leave my child all on his own? Never."


I pulled my arm away and stood back. This is the first time I've ever blatantly disobeyed her, but I have no choice. I can't...

"I can't drag you into this," I said with my voice shaking. "Please..."

"... So what do you want me to do?" she asked." You're bleeding. The coatsmen are after you. Should I just turn a blind eye to my child in distress? I... I've already done that once, and I've lived to regret it ever since. I will not let another one die. Not on my watch."

I bit my lips in anger. She's talking about Nelia. Of course she is. It's part of the reason why she never let me stay out too late. Because there's a chance that I'd do something dumb like this... and now, it's confirmed that I do.

"Say not another word," she demanded as she continued to pull me along.

Eventually, we made it back to our house. I never thought I would set foot in here as 'Strider,' but here I am. Mother sat me down on the couch and began dressing the gash on my hip.

"Mother... I... I'm sorry," I muttered. "I don't even know... what to say to you..."

I was met with silence. She continued to wrap my wound in bandages but neglected to look me in the eye. I knew it... I mean, how could I not? I'm Solas, her son, and a wanted defect.

I disappointed her. I failed her. I...

"Sol," Mother said.

I looked over, and the moment I saw her, my heart immediately sank. The most beautiful smile in the world dashed across her face. Even though her expression remained calm, I knew better than anyone that behind the facade was nothing but sorrow.

Do you remember all those times I told you to live the way you wanted?" she asked.

A violent heartbeat sent a ripple across my entire body.

"I meant it, you know. Defect, or whatever... You're still my son, through and through."

I covered my mouth as the tears began rolling out. "Mother..."

She picked me up and wrapped her arms around me, careful to avoid touching my wound. I cried upon her shoulder the same way I would when I was just a child. I didn't wanna make a fuss, so I tried to keep my mouth shut to keep in what foul wails would surely come out. Even then, I couldn't stop whimpering and gasping.

Mother began caressing my hair like she used to when I cried every night after Nelia's death. At the time, her pain far outweighed my own, but I was oblivious. I was selfish. I didn't care about anyone else's feelings but mine. And Mother... She sat with me through the whole thing. She doesn't even know how much I began to appreciate her for it.

"Let's sit down, Sol," Mother said. "Otherwise, your wound will reopen."

Gently, she rested me back on the couch and sat next to me. It took a while for the tears to run out, and by the time it did, Mother was already looking better.

"So... Strider, huh?" she chuckled. "I didn't take you to be the edgy type."

"It's... just a codename," I mumbled, slightly embarrassed.

"Couldn't have picked a better one? Like your brother. Chevalier. Sounds cool, doesn't it?"

"They should've called him Asshat. Fits his character better than a word that means 'knight,' in my opinion."


I broke into laughter, which made Mother giggle as well. Moments like these are some of the most cherished in my entire life. When Mother and I can both smile together, it makes me happy to no end.

"What led you astray?" Mother asked.

"Astray? You mean... why I defected?" I said.

"More or less. I don't recall having raised you to be a defect."

"I... Hah... Well, let's just say... Maybe, just maybe, I should've listened to you that day."

About two years ago, I was given an assignment in my biology class. I was supposed to collect samples of plants all across the city and study their physiology and genetics. I hated that class, but I had to make a lab report that was worth a huge chunk of my grade.

A couple of the plants I wanted to add to the report could only be found in the undercity. When I told Mother about it, she demanded that I do something else. The undercity wasn't safe, but I went anyway. That was when I saw what was happening to the people down there.

I never told Mother about it when I came back. I didn't want to worry her.

"I... I saw a lot of things down there," I said. "The way those people have to live on a daily basis. The constant fear of being dragged away just because. I couldn't stand to watch it... so I decided to do something about it."

I told her everything, and she listened attentively. From the day I began my journey as Strider to my sudden meeting with Ex, who turned out to be Astrid of Calypso. Then, my involvement with Calypso ever since.

"Nelia... She... She was their captain..." I said.

Mother remained silent, but her face spoke volumes. I debated on whether or not I should've told her, but she deserves to know.

"I was wondering when you would find out," Mother suddenly said.

"... Huh...?"

She giggled. "What, did you think I was oblivious to how she truly died? Surprised as you are, my dear, my little girl told me everything."

I couldn't even say anything. This whole time, Mother knew about Nelia being Nemesis.

"How come... you never told us?" I mumbled.

"How could I? How could I possibly explain to my little boys that their beloved older sister was marked as a defect of the city? That... That their father was the one who ended their sister's life?"

I clasped my hands together and interlocked the fingers, resting my mouth on the top as I bent my body down.

I can't believe this, but at the same time, I can't necessarily blame Mother for not telling us. She's right. There's no way me and Caelus would've understood the meaning behind her words... that Father killed Nelia.

"You know, your sister... was so excited when she was appointed captain of Calypso," Mother said with a smile. "She told me all about the girls she had to lead. All the times she went out to battle in the outer lands. She was so happy that she could follow in your father's footsteps. I..."

She took a deep breath and turned her head away as she began to cry.

"I just wanted for her what I wanted for you and Caelus... to live her life the way she desired," she muttered. "I never thought... it would turn out like this."

I quickly pulled myself up and wrapped my arms around her. To think that she had been shouldering this all by herself for the past nine years... It's tearing me apart.

"Calypso told me about Nelia," I said. "They said there was no one else in the world they respected more than her. She was calm and collected, but at the same time, she was the most joyful person in the world. She died... to give them a chance to escape. Don't worry, Mother. I'm sure she lived her life exactly the way she wanted."

Mother buried her head on my shoulder and wailed. I can't even begin to imagine the burden she had to carry all these years. I just wish she had told me sooner. That way, I could share that burden with her.

I have to be extremely careful from now on. By being here, I've indirectly involved her in my life as a defect. Come what may, I have to be ready to protect her.