The young friends are still in the back of the jewellery shop, trying to get all the information in their heads. Lenna and the warlocks are looking at them worryingly, hoping they could stay strong because the worst hasn’t even come.
Nate can’t stop looking at Ashley, the poor girl’s thoughts are full of confusion, deception and anger. Being a part of another world doesn’t surprise her as much as her parents agreeing to take her away from her original home and make her live a lie during fifteen years. Even when she tries to understand the reason behind their decision, she can’t help but feel angry because she wasn’t there for her people, she didn’t feel the same pain and struggle after the war was lost.
Ashley runs her fingers in her long black hair and closes her eyes for a moment then she sees them again. The piercing blue orbs appear once again and she feels like they’re seeing through her. This time the look on them is different, it’s not cold but they’re comforting. She doesn’t know who’s their owner but it warms up her heart to know that someone is looking after her.
“You saw something.” the warlock interrupts her thoughts. She opens her eyes and finds Eamon looking at her curiously, “What was it?”
“They were just eyes.” answers Ashley, “It’s my second time seeing them.”
Everyone looks at her with confusion.
“Describe them my dear.” tells her Eamon.
“They’re blue, but not just any blue.” she starts. “It’s... it’s a color I’ve never seen on someone here. They’re shining so bright and they look like jewels.”
“Maybe it’s Aywin or Kilyn.” Lenna looks at Eamon with concern.
Ashley’s chest tightens when she hears her parents’ names.
“Tell me my dear.” says the warlock. “Can you precise if it’s a clear blue like diamond or a darker one.”
The young girl rubs her chin, “They didn’t look like diamonds to me.” she presses her lips. “They... they looked like sapphires.”
Ashley watches Lenna and the warlocks quickly share a look. They seem to guess who the eyes belong to but they don’t say a word.
“Do you know who it is?” she asks impatiently.
Lenna shakes her head, “We can’t tell who it is exactly because there is a large kingdom full of the same beautiful eyes.” she chuckles. “Kingdom of Sapphire.”
“The second most powerful one.” Eamon sighs. “Diamond’s biggest rival. Your parents were never fond of King Eldwin of Sapphire, he is probably the second person they hated after Mávros.” he looks at the girl and sees that she’s waiting for him to explain the reason of this hatred.
“Jealousy.” he answers with a smile. “Eldwin was jealous of your parents’ achievements, their power, their courage. Sapphire is a beautiful kingdom but its king was never satisfied enough, he always wanted to surpass Aywin and Kilyn. His only ally is Ilthuryn, king of Gold.”
Ashley looks down and lets out a heavy sigh. Her head hurts from too much things to know and learn about her past life and her future. She wonders who’s the person trying to comfort her but she doesn’t give it much importance now because that’s not what she should be worrying about. Her people, her kingdom, her parents’ properties are under Mávros’ control and she can’t even stand imagining a dark person just like him to be ruling all over kingdoms that were never his before.
After leaving the jewellery shop, Ashley doesn’t say a word to her friends and heads to her parents’ house. She walks to the nearest subway station and gets lost between the crowd of people heading back home from school or work. As she’s walking to the railway, she watches the students, workers and tourists around her. Men and women wearing suits complain to each other about the amount of work they had on that day. Meanwhile builders and plumbers are waiting silently for the vehicle to arrive. Groups of young students with backpacks and lunchboxes arrive, they’re laughing about a certain professor who’ll surely make them regret it in the future exam. Then she sees an old couple walking slowly toward the bench, they’re holding hands and talking quietly. The black haired keeps looking around and gulps as she feels the tears forming in her eyes. She’s having a hard time to believe that everything she sees or hears is not real, it’s all made by the warlocks. It’s fascinating to be able to create such an immense world just with magic, but at the same time it’s scary.
Ashley arrives in front of her parents’ door and hesitates to knock. She stares at the wooden door and realizes how small it is. It used to be way bigger than her when she was still a child, her father would always place her on his shoulders so that her mother sees her through the peephole and starts making grimaces. She was five years old but then again, if her memories of the other world have been erased fifteen years ago, it means that Moon City was created until she was eight years old.
Most of her beautiful childhood memories are fake.
The young girl takes a deep breath to stop her tears from falling and knocks gently on the door. Soon her mother opens and welcomes her with a large smile. “Honey, look who’s here!” she exclaims.
Ashley kisses Lydia’s cheek and gets inside. Her father is sitting on the couch watching a TV show, he smiles when he sees her and pats the empty space next to him. “What brings you here?”
“I just felt like passing by.” she shrugs. “How are you guys doing?”
“As always.” says Lydia. “There is some leftover pasta, do you want some?”
Ashley nods, “I’m incredibly hungry and I missed your cooking.” she smiles and watches her mother leave to the kitchen.
Her childhood home is a small apartment a little far from the center of the city. The building isn’t luxurious just like where Ruby and Lenna live but the view from the balcony is beautiful. Ashley always loved to read outside because when she looks around she sees the beach on her left and the distant mountains on her right. Her parents never cared about the apartment being tiny because they thought that waking up to a beautiful sunlight and hearing the sound of the waves from far in the silent mornings has much more value than a large house in the middle of the center where there are neverending traffics and pollution.
Charles isn’t talkative especially if he’s watching his favorite show, so Ashley doesn’t disturb him and opens a book she finds on the coffee table. She starts reading with her eyes but not with her mind because it’s too busy with all the things she’s heard from Lenna and the warlocks. Just a day ago she thought Ruby’s name was Mary and hers was Ashley and now she feels a huge weight of responsibility and worry drop on her shoulders. She’s the queen of a large kingdom and her people need her there, her duty is to protect them from Mávros and end their suffering.
But is she ready to live the world she grew up in?
She spent fifteen years thinking that the biggest issue is the impossibility to find a decent job that pays her rent and food after graduating from college. She thought that dealing with her cheating ex was the worst heartbreak and finding someone who suits her is the biggest challenge. No, she had no idea of what’s more serious than basic human problems.
She closes the book and lets out a calm sigh, she looks around and spots the photo frame next to the TV. It’s a picture of the couple holding a baby girl wrapped in a sky blue blanket. Ashley looks down and hurries to wipe the tears falling uncontrollably on her cheeks. Lydia and Charles aren’t her real parents, everything is just an illusion, a product of magic.
Her whole life has been a lie.