SEVEN CROWNS | The Black Stone

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Chapter IX

The four confused young people leave the jewellery shop, they stand in front of the door, ignoring the crowd around them. Thoughts are invading their minds, torturing them and consuming them gradually. Elliot looks at the three friends with an angry face, he's breathing soundly and heavily, regretting to have listened to Nate and Ashley the day before. He could be in the kitchen now, preparing the ingredients to make delicious lunches to his loyal customers. But the usual large smile on his face disappeared, there are no people complimenting his cooking, no waiters stressing out because of countless orders. No, a frown replaced his grin when he realized life can't be perfect as he thought. The words can't be unsaid, facts can't be undone, his fate will destroy his dream. The green eyed leaves them without saying a word, they watch him disappear between the crowd.

"Let's go home darling." Lenna joins them outside and places an arm around her daughter's shoulders. She looks at her friends with a sad smile and whisper a quiet I'll see you tomorrow before leaving with Ruby. Nate runs his fingers in his black hair and lets out a heavy sigh, hoping it'd make him feel better but it didn't. There is nothing in this world that can improve their mood, not after knowing that every single thing around them is not real. The blue eyed looks at his best friend who's lost in her thoughts, he notices the dark circles under her eyes and her dry lips. He sighs again, wishing he could help her eat and sleep well but he can't even help his own self now.

His eyes don't leave the dark haired young woman and even in this moment of confusion and heartbreak, he finds himself happy that Ashley isn't the warlocks' creation, that she's real and all his memories by her side weren't to be forgotten. A smile appears on his face, he places his hand on her shoulder, interrupting her thoughts. She looks at him and raises an eyebrow when she sees him smiling. "No matter what's going on or what's fated to happen, just remember that as long as we're together everything will be alright." he squeezes her shoulder and pushes her back slightly to start walking. Ashley doesn't say a word, her steps are guided by her friend, she sees silhouettes in front of her and around but she can't see the faces, her heart beats faster as she tries to open her eyes wide, but the faces are blurred. She stops walking and turns around, scared that she can't see Nate either, she lifts her head to take a look at her tall friend and sighs when his smile looks clearer to her eyes. Tears block her view and she hugs him tight, her hands clutching on his shirt. The blue eyed lowers his head and his heart breaks when he watches all her sadness and worries fall as droplets on her cheeks and wetting his shirt, sharing the feeling between the two young people.

Nate places his hands around her back and rubs it gently, his chin rests on her head and closes his eyes for a moment. He rarely sees her crying, she's not one to shed tears easily but once she does, he knows things are really getting hard for her. "Everything will be alright." he whispers in her ear, "I'm here, alright? We said we're family, do you remember?"

Ashley nods and takes a breath to stop herself from crying, she wipes her tears and parts from her friend who's looking at her with a worried face. "Eamon said we'll be alone." she clears her throat and looks away. "We won't be together, Nate." she turns to stare at her friend, "We'll have to learn to raise our head separately."

The tall young man frowns and grabs her arm strongly, it hurts her but he doesn't realize it, he just knew about his silver arm and it'll take him some time to ge used to it. It hurts her but she doesn't complain, the pain she's now feeling in her heart can't compare to anything else. He walks her far from the crowd where there are no more unbearable voices to hear and stops. He faces her with a serious face and shouts, "I will find you!" he runs his fingers in his hair and looks away for a moment to calm his anger down, "I don't care how far our kingdoms are far from each other, but I will find you." he squeezes her body like he's trying to make his words enter her mind forcefully. "I can't leave you alone." he adds with a quieter voice. He looks down and sighs, "I can't imagine a day without you." this time his voice sounds more like a whisper.

Ashley can't to comfort people, even worse when it's someone very close to her. She knows what to do, what to say but something doesn't let her do so. The young woman gets jealous when she sees other girls hugging their friends and whispering nice words to them.

The only thing she manages to do now is to place her hand on Nate's arm to caress it gently, she keeps looking down, asking herself if she should say something or not. Ashley looks at her friend's eyes and gives him a small smile, "We will find each other." she speaks with a quiet voice. "I promise."

Ashley heads to her parents' house after Nate went back to his studio apartment. As usual, she takes the subway and keeps looking at people around her. Her eyes keep playing tricks on her, she can see some clearly and other faces are blurred. The young woman watches people always choose the corner seat, they sit in the middle only when they have no choice. She wonders why human beings like to be secluded from others, they prefer to sit alone and put a distance between them and others they don't know. Before she could argument about it in her mind, the vehicle stops and it's her time to leave.

The steps to her old house have never been this slow and lazy. Ashley is scared to face her parents and start crying again. Eamon said that they'll have to leave to their real world tomorrow and it's probably the last time she's going to see Lydia and Charles.

She still can't believe that her life is going to change completely once she leaves Moon City. There will be no more studies, part time jobs, subways or even worse... no more burger shops. A lot of questions are being asked; how is the kingdom of Diamond? Am I to be welcomed there? Will I be a good queen?

Once again her thoughts get interrupted, this time by her phone's ringtone. She stops walking, unlocks it and finds a text from Nate. She ignores the rest which are from the faculty and her classmates and opens her best friend's chatroom. She chuckles when a picture of his sleepy face appears, Nate has grown a small beard during the last days and it doesn't look so bad on him, thinks Ashley. His blue eyes are slightly closed and his mouth open, making him look quite funny.

Forgot to send u my daily selfie. I look handsome, right? Irresistible!

Ashley laughs for the first time since she knew the truth about her birth. She shakes her head and looks at Nate's picture with a smile. The things are difficult, the situation is getting complicated and her whole life is about to change, but she isn't really afraid anymore because she has Nate by her side and she knows he'll help her stay strong.

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