A v a r i c e | T h i r t y S i x
T h i r t y S i x
❝The last day until the forsaken arise;
and before there are screams in the night.❞
I TOOK A STEP TOWARDS EDWARD. Edward quickly took a step back from me, his eyebrows furrowing together. By now I was standing, calmly trying to get him to listen to me. Edward had gone from being frightened of me to being angry in these few minutes. His eyes were watery with hurt, his face aflame. He kept on shaking his head, backing up as far away from me as he could.
“I...I can’t,” Edward squeezed his eyes shut shaking his head. I took another step forward.
His sword flung out quickly, just barely touching my chest. I stopped immediately, my body becoming stiff as I blinked at Edward. His face was tormented. I wanted to soothe the torment, tell him what I knew he needed to hear. But he wouldn’t let me. Edward’s jaw tightened and he gave a slight tilt of his neck, rolling his shoulders as he retracted his sword. “Not another word,” he told me levelly.
I bit my lip, but I nodded. There wasn’t much else I could do. I wasn’t really worried that he would actually kill me purposefully. I was worried that he was scared enough that he might do it accidentally. And I certainly wasn’t about to use my magic on him to keep him at bay. That would just make him angrier.
Edward left shortly thereafter. I sighed deeply. What was I going to do? I doubted Edward would say anything to anyone; not until he gets more information, at least. But I didn’t want him to be super angry with me, either.
Really, all that I could do was give him some space.
With the lycanthropes no longer trailing me, I went back into town and to my home. After a day like this, all I wanted to do was lie down and rest.
It seemed that Edward only needed a day before confronting me on what he had seen. Shortly after waking up and getting ready for the day, I was standing next to the table when there was a knock on the door. Mother, from her chair, motioned for me to go get it, to which I complied.
There stood Edward, an agitated and confused expression on his face. His hand was pressed against his forehead, as if he had a headache or something. His eyes were squeezed shut, but he knew that I was standing in front of him nonetheless. He sighed, opened his eyes and looked at me. “We need to talk.”
I nodded and stepped outside, closing the door behind me. “I know,” I agreed. “So talk.”
Edward stared at me, his eyebrows furrowed. Edward had aged so much this last month. His cheeks were more hollowed, and he was beginning to grow facial hair. He had bags under his eyes from a lack of sleep. I wondered briefly if he would have follow in his brothers’ footsteps, get an apprenticeship under someone smart and with a good job.
“I don’t understand,” Edward finally said, shaking his head. “You’re a witch, but you can’t be the witch. You wouldn’t hurt Lydia.”
I nodded. “I wouldn’t ever hurt Lydia,” I promised him, staring him intently in the eyes. “I could never do that to her.” Edward nodded, just as serious as I was. “However, I am not a witch,” I divulged. I glanced around, as if someone would be near in earshot. I leaned into Edward, whispering, “I am a seer.”
When I pulled away, I could see that Edward was frowning. “A seer?” he questioned.
“But...but you used magic-”
I nodded once again. “I did. But it’s not the same. I am a seer; not a witch.”
Edward stared at me for a good few seconds, scrutinizing me from head to toe before he nodded slowly in confirmation. “Alright,” he allowed. “I believe you. But what now? You’re a seer, so you’re powerful, right?”
I opened my mouth to oppose this, as I most certainly wasn’t powerful, but Edward didn’t notice and kept on talking. “Can’t you deal with the lycanthropes then, save my mother?” Everything in me paused at that. I stared down at Edward. I blinked. All this time, Edward had been saying he hated his mother, that she deserved what came to her. It was just a front; he was just pretending to be strong. But in reality, he was hurting deep inside. He had never looked more innocent than he did right then, and it hurt me to tell him the truth.
People began walking around where we stood openly. Sighing, I grabbed Edward’s arm and tugged him to the side of the house for more privacy. “Edward,” I said, looking at him carefully. His dark brown eyes had somehow gotten larger. And wetter. “There is nothing I can do for your mother.” Edward bit his lip, but nodded. He wanted to cry, but he held it back. “But,” I smiled at him, gripping his shoulders, “I want you to listen to me very clearly, as this is important. Can you do that?” Edward nodded.
And I told him everything. I told him all I knew about the lycanthropes, how they might still have humanity in them and how we could potentially save them. I told him about the plan Cain and I had devised, about the potion and what would happen if his mother were to drink it. When I was finished telling him all of this, I said, “So. Are you in? Will you help us go through with this?”
Edward stood up straighter, his shoulders back and his head held high. He looked me in the eyes, and swiftly nodded. “I will.”
From there, Edward and I remade the plan Cain and I had drafted. Now that Edward knew, he would be able to give me more time, to give me a sign before everyone came back down into the dungeon to say goodbye to Lilith. This way, I would be able to get out quickly, so as not to be caught. It was perfect now.
Edward was still visibly saddened that I couldn’t help save his mother, but I knew his spirits had been lifted with my news. Although he couldn’t save his mother, he could fix what she had broken. Edward was in on the plan now.
I needed to tell Cain.
I excused myself from Edward and went back inside of my home to get my cloak. “Who was that?” Mother asked curiously from where she was, not even bothering to look up at me.
I shrugged on the cloak. “No one,” I told her. “Just someone selling things we don’t need.” I didn’t stay to hear Mother’s response. I immediately left after that, all but running towards Cain cabin to tell him the good news.
I was elated. I was ecstatic. Tomorrow I would do good with my new powers. I would bring justice. I would save the lives of over six people who had torturous experiences as of late. I would bring them back to their families and we would be rid of the evil witch that wreaked havoc on our kingdom. Tomorrow would be a good day.
The lycanthropes followed me through the woods until they realized I was going to Cain’s cabin. I still wasn’t sure why they never got near to it. Perhaps Cain scared them off, or they knew not to harm him or something. I wasn’t exactly sure, but I was thankful for it nonetheless.
I quickly entered his home. He wasn’t anywhere in clear sight. “Cain?” I yelled out, searching for him in the living room and then the kitchen. I went to his private room, knocking on the door and waiting for an answer, but there was none. “Cain?” I called out again, this time opening the room. No one was inside.
I stepped back out, into the kitchen when the front door opened.
A sweaty Cain walked inside, obviously from practicing fighting or chopping wood. He raised an eyebrow when he saw me. He must’ve heard me calling for him from wherever he’d been and came inside.
I couldn’t help the big grin the crossed my face as I ran over to him, swinging my arms around him. “Edward knows,” I told him, pulling back so I could see his expression.
Cain frowned. “He knows what?”
“That I’m a seer, that I have magic. I had to protect him from a lycanthrope,” I explained. “Yesterday.”
Cain blinked at me, and I let go of him, taking an awkward step backwards. “Why did you hug me for that?” Cain asked in amusement, raising a questioning brow.
“Because,” I smiled again, “He’s going to help us with our plan. He’s going to give me more time in the dungeon, and he’s going to give us a signal. It’s perfect now. The plan is perfect.” I sighed and sat down in one of the chairs in Cain’s main room, staring up at him.
“Right,” Cain laughed and rolled his eyes at me in spite. He went to the kitchen and filled the pouch he was carrying with water. “Why are you so happy again?” He glanced up at me, an eyebrow arched. “I must’ve missed that part of your story.”
I rolled my eyes at his sarcasm and stood up, walking to the kitchen to stand across from him, the counter between us. I leaned on it. “I’m happy because tomorrow is the ball.”
“No, really?” Cain gasped.
I ignored him.
“And tomorrow is when we save the lycanthropes. It’s going to be wonderful.” I smiled at him. “Aren’t you happy?”
Cain shrugged nonchalantly and took a drink from his pouch. “It might not go well,” Cain told me skeptically.
I rolled my eyes at his disbelief. “What could possibly go wrong?” I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
Cain raised an eyebrow at the challenge. “Many things could go wrong. The potion could not work-”
I shook my head. “No. It will.”
Cain ignored my interjection. “Marquise Trill might not even drink it. We could not have enough time, or get caught. It just could not work, as we hoped it would.” Cain sighed, leaning across from me against his counter. “A lot of things could be ruined.”
I shook my head stubbornly. “I refuse to believe that.” I told him, looking him in the eyes. “We’ve got to be optimistic about tomorrow, otherwise I’m going to be a nervous wreck.” I gave him a small smile at that. Cain didn’t respond to me, instead watching me.
My breath caught in my throat.
Cain’s usually stiff demeanor was not present; in its stead was relaxation, and maybe even a bit of happiness. Since I had met him, I had never seen Cain so calm. He didn’t smile or smirk or frown, but instead just stood there with a neutral expression on his face. I felt naked under his gaze, but I didn’t look away from him.
Cain was rugged in his appearance. He skin was slightly damp from sweating, some his hair sticking to his face. His eyes were soft in comparison to their usual intenseness. His dark brown hair was pushed back and was long enough to just reach his ears with waves. That gray streak hung down in the front, away from the rest.
I couldn’t help myself.
“Where did it come from?” I asked.
Cain raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Where did what come from?” A smirk formed on his lips. He stood up straighter, resting his hands against the wooden counter. He pushed his hair back, almost knowingly.
“The gray streak,” I elaborated, “In your hair.”
Cain glanced up, as if he would be able to see it. “This?” he asked, grabbing the gray hairs. He relaxed against the counter again. I nodded. Cain sighed heftily. “I was given this on my first lycanthrope hunt.”
I frowned. “A lycanthrope did that to you?” I had heard that being frightened turned your hair gray, but I hadn’t thought it to be literal.
Cain shook his head. “No,” he told me somberly, “A witch did.”