Royal Arcanum (The Royal Arcanum #1)

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Chapter 21. Fallen Stars

She breathed the morning air in Patagonia Lake State Park. There was no sound but the rustling winds. Her eyes locked at the lake scenery that had reminded her with the longest river in the world—Danube River.

The tranquility contained her mind with a perpetual thought, and she caught that complicatedly. This was the last week she could spend each day longing the heat around Arizona.

Cathy chose to stand between the shady trees. There was no one but herself who stared blankly at the shallow river. She drowned into a silent reverie. Her eyes opened slowly to catch the bright blue sky where birds flew high through those cotton clouds.

Someone tickled her waist. Her eyes bulged out surprisingly to see Josh from behind.

“Hey loner!”

“Stop it!” He obeyed her words though, and they giggled for a moment. “Let’s make a farewell.”

“I never like the idea. No it’s not yet,” he muttered and denied. “I’m waiting for random letters from universities in New York, likely near to New Rochelle.”

“What… you have applied more than one?” She looked astonished.

“Come on, who knows my chance to meet you in the future—” he raised his eyebrows while talking mischievously, “is beyond our imagination.”

“Shut up,” she annoyed with his idea as she thought how ridiculous for him to follow her path. “Don’t do this just because of me. Think about Martha.”

“How stupid if you thought I would be following you, well, it’s not the only reason,” he still giggled in this serious conversation. “Don’t you know that New York have many great bars to start a band concert?”

“What?” Cathy gawked, surprised. She crossed her arms reflectively to feel defensive. “Have you left the baseball thing?”

“Baseball is my way to get a scholarship,” he admitted. “Mr. Clark proud of our team’s victory a few months ago. I was sad back then that you didn’t come to see the game. I know, you just woke up from coma.”

As the word coma was being said, she managed to smile while her head might start to feel dizzy. “Tell me as soon as you receive the letter.”

“Sure.”

They were staring at the same shallow river. The air was still cold. Even though they stood side by side, there was something she couldn’t accept. In this silence, they broke apart to feel unsure.

“Josh, I just don’t want you to make a burden for yourself,” she said to convince him again. “I’m going anyway.”

He sighed. “May I hug you?”

Cathy stared up at his face. They gazed for a moment.

“This is unlike any farewell party, huh?” He muttered. “At least, I want you to know how I’ll be missing you later.”

There was no witness except the view of this morning lake. Cathy flurried to say anything. At the second of her confusion, he grabbed her shoulders closer. They hugged to touch each other’s warm skin behind their tartan clothes. A few seconds felt like forever. He loosen his arms to kiss her cheek, instead accidentally got slipped at the corner of her lips. She surprised and pushed him away, but he grasped her wrist unexpectedly.

“You almost kiss me!” Cathy snarled.

“Okay, let say it’s how I express my yearning,” he said solemnly.

“Thank you.”

“For the accident kiss?”

She shook her head. “For sharing your sorrow feeling.”

The atmosphere went like a blank canvas, it was sedated. He went silent still.

“I’d wish New York is an hour from here, but that’s not the case, you’ll just need to focus with what’s in front of you, I’ll be okay,” he convinced her in return.

“It’s like trying to start a dead engine, you go back and forth for the yearning, and it end up as a sorrow,” Cathy murmured. “It’s never my plan to leave Bisbee. I’m sorry, Josh.”

“Come on,” he opened his both arms to hug her like a long lost old friend. “We don’t want to kill the farewell.”

“I know, you’re my best man after all,” she whispered.

They giggled at this precious moment that wouldn’t be replaced by anything. Their happiness was eternal from the inside. They didn’t want to break apart, even of becoming fragile. It was not a choice to make, but it was beyond a decision.

“Oh, God,” he sighed when his cellphone vibrated. “My grandmother wants me home, I think I’ll see you later,” he kissed her forehead lightly.

They snapped a goodbye wave at each other. It was a short time for a long yearning. Soon after, Josh went toward his blue bicycle that was parked in a lake shore. She couldn’t even count on to his step as he left her alone in here.

A few minutes had last, she astonished when Elle appeared so suddenly behind her. She wore a very neat clothes that apparently formal and classy—an orange velvet blazer. Cathy noticed that it was the first time for this white hair angel appeared with bright clothes.

“Any special occasion?”

Elle glanced at her. “No.”

“It seems like you want to visit a special place,” she kept on guessing.

“Indeed, but later.”

Now she felt odd with this quiet atmosphere. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

“Some things are just not end. It’s not on the road,” she spoke of something that Cathy couldn’t understand immediately. “As you see, there’s nothing to leave behind, you need to be settled and focus.”

“You’re telling me about the journey,” she guessed it correctly. “The eternal dimension and demons, both are complicated things I have got through besides the story of blood and stone.”

“The idea of blood and stone in your family is what fallen stars are all about,” Elle snapped. “The incident wasn’t crystalized as a chaos—the empire.”

“My family—” Cathy shook her head. “I want to meet them someday,” she stared up at the angel who was way taller than her. “Fallen Stars seems like a catching arrow, the angel army whom you have referred as the Chandelier that actually comes to protect the Sapphire, aren’t they?”

Elle smiled, “The royals as well.”

“My mom still pretends like everything is normal,” Cathy recalled. “Unless she speak of the conviction—the unseen world is real.”

“Accordance.”

They glanced concurrently. There was a moment of turbulence within their conversation. Cathy knew about something unspoken as their eyes met as if this was the first time, it was her recurring dreams she remembered, where the girl still had the same sharp eyes. Her wonderment from the start was resolved—for only a little part.

She sighed. “I wish to live a peaceful life, can’t I?”

“If you ask so—” Elle said and stared away to pause her eyes at the lake.

Cathy waited for her answer while they were gazing at the same unruffled view.

“You can’t guess it,” Elle murmured. “This is only the beginning.”

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