Narratives

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The Pillar of Memories

Another month passed. In the middle of the night one evening, I woke with a faint sensation of something being at my throat. When I raised my hand to touch my neck, however, there was nothing there.

That meant one thing.

Arula?

I’m fine. Prepare for the final stage.

The next day, news of Ellerie’s death came. It was said that, during her madness, she’d wandered to a tower and plunged to her death by accident during the night. It was the gardener who found her body early in the morning. Her funeral was set to be in two weeks. Although not explicitly stated, all lords were expected to be present.

I wished I could have done it myself, but Arula probably made sure she knew why she had to go before sending her on her way.

The funeral itself was uneventful. Lords paid their respects and exchanged a few words with Arula, all dressed in black. Under Remington’s burning gaze, I, too, behaved as everyone else did.

Arula must be overwhelmed with information right now.

But thanks to that information, when the service ended, he nodded at me, signalling that the other lords offered no surprises. I walked outside and stood near a tree, waiting for Remington to make his own exit.

As expected, when he saw me, he came to me.

“How are you faring?” Remington asked, not specifying anything.

“Quite well, actually. I am in charge of a land of simpletons,” I joked. “Actually...I found a way.”

He perked up then, perhaps thankful that I didn’t mention to what I found a way; even though we were alone, other lords were still somewhat present.

“In the far north, the Pillar of Memories. We can head there now if you don’t have other appointments,” I said, “I expected it would take some effort, but I didn’t expect it to be such a hassle; if you have changed your mind—”

“We can go now,” Remington interjected, “It will be difficult to make another appointment with our respective roles.”

The Pillar of Memories—a solitary towering pillar of eternal ice located in the far north, away from all of civilization; it contained all memories of the world, across time and space. If one wished to have a glimpse of those memories, a sacrifice was necessary—though I wouldn’t call it a sacrifice. There is no free lunch, and giving the Pillar something in exchange was merely fair business. Besides, it didn’t demand much, just some properties of a blueblood.

That was how Remington and I ended up standing in front of it later that day—in exchange for a selected portion of worldly memories, he would let the Pillar seal away his uncontrollable inborn ability. Normally, it would be a sacrifice—after all, what blueblood would want to seal anything away, let alone their special gift? But for Remington, it was something he had always wanted to do, because that ability was a bomb waiting to explode, and it refused to be manipulated.

Like I was, in my past life.

Of course, there was another reason why I brought him there.

“There is a specific portion I would like to see,” I admitted as we stood before the Pillar that virtually nobody made pilgrimage to.

“Go ahead,” Remington said.

He stepped toward the Pillar and placed his hand upon it. It shone slightly, an acknowledgement that it had identified its business partner.

“Show him my original life,” I said, my tone cold.

“What?” One second too late, Remington whipped around, alerted by the sudden change in my tone of voice. He’d turned to see if he had heard me wrong, hoping that he had, but found that he hadn’t.

During the time that the Pillar was showing him a replay of the events in my past life, I watched the stunned look on his face, enjoying every moment of it but not forgetting to make use of that unguarded period of time. I took from my sleeve a candle and a match. I lit the candle, and as I waited, I took a document prepared beforehand from my sleeve.

Then, I let some of the wax drop onto a particular spot and quickly took Remington’s hand to stamp his fingerprint onto it.

The wax dried quickly, and I had enough time to extinguish the candle, put everything back into my sleeve, and wipe his finger clean before the replay finally finished.

When Remington opened his eyes again, he stayed silent for a long time, unable to formulate words to say to me due to his shock. In his eyes was hurt—and that was the one thing I had worked so hard to see.

Ellerie had lost the most important things to her: her status, her lover, her life.

Remington was about to lose the same.

Arula.

At my call, Arula appeared right next to me, still dressed in black. “Greetings,” he said to Remington, knowing that suited the effect I wanted to produce best.

“You…” was the first word Remington said. He looked from Arula to me, having immediately figured out what it was that enabled Arula to teleport so effortlessly and quickly to my side. “What about your sister?”

“The rest will be handled by the servants,” Arula answered, his diplomatic smile still on his lips—and it carried a chilling effect now, under these circumstances. “It was I who ended her life. She never did lose her mind to the very end—and how she struggled.”

Without further ado, a light blue beam shot out from Arula’s finger, landing perfectly at the center of Remington’s chest. That was something only Arula could do—even though I had the abilities of a blueblood, I was not born one, and therefore could not seal with such immediacy another blueblood’s magical properties.

“I did not wrong you,” Remington said to me, his voice quiet yet trembling. In this life was what he referred to.

“Neither did I,” I replied, referring to my last life, which he understood perfectly. “But did that matter to you?”

He did not respond, merely staring at me—it wasn’t even a glare.

“So why should it matter to me?” I continued.

From my sleeve I pulled out the cursed amulet—the one that changed from protecting one’s life to taking it—and pressed it against his chest. While simply serving as a necklace, the amulet drained life slowly; when forced, it sucked life actively.

He gripped my wrist in an attempt to fight back, but Arula stopped him, whispering something under his breath and freezing only Remington’s limbs.

“Have you ever cared?” Remington asked, now that struggling was futile.

“No.”

Villains fail because they speak too much. Oftentimes, curt answers should suffice.

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