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A v a r i c e | N i n e

N i n e

❝Inspire for them to be better;

Don’t think twice to get her.❞

I HAD SPARE TIME ON MY hands before I had to go see Lilith, so I ran some errands for mother and visited the Trill family to see how they were doing. As I suspected, they weren’t handling Lydia’s death very well, and Edward was still upset about his mother leaving town. I decided I would hit the tavern to see if maybe she was around, just like everyone was always talking about.

I didn’t reach the pub before I was stopped by the infamous Cain. Correction, I stopped him. I spotted him within a crowd of people standing around and simply could not help myself. It was outside of the pub, so I wasn’t really off-track. I just wanted to hear what he had to say, that was all.

It was a rally. He shouted about the lycanthropes just like the Irishman had. He stood on a chair outside of the pub, his hands cupped around his mouth and spurted everything I had heard before. The men and women around him were getting riled up, so it was obviously working.

“...let them kill off all of us? Or are we going to fight back?” he questioned his audience. The veins in his neck were strained and his face was red from shouting so much.

I managed to push through the crowd until I was right up front and had a good look of Cain. He was definitely older than me, but not by a ton. He was maybe 30 at the most. He had tanned skin. I suspected he wasn’t from here, then. The sun was hardly ever out. He probably travelled from the south. He had brown hair, blue eyes; pretty average. The only thing off of him was a lock of hair that was pure white. The contrast was fascinating and captivating. I couldn’t help but stare at it.

Did he have that at dinner with the royals?

He had to have, of course. Those things don’t just appear out of nowhere. But I could not for the life of me remember. Then again, I wasn’t truly seeing what he looked like then. I was more interested in what he had to say, and the mysteriousness surrounding him.

His eyes caught mine. Recognition didn’t flitter through them. His facial expression didn’t change. He just stared at me for a moment’s time before looking throughout the crowd again. He knew how to get on my nerve without even having a proper conversation with me, that was sure.

Sure, we had only had two encounters before this, but that should be enough for him to recognize me I would think.

Five more minutes into his rant and he was done. He jumped off of his chair, grabbed my wrist and whispered into my ear, “Wait for me,” and then proceeded to have private conversations with people from the crowd all within a few seconds.

I did as I was asked and stood where I was. It took another five or so minutes until he was done talking and excused himself from interrogation. He didn’t even look at me as he took my arm in his and led me away from town.

I stumbled at first, surprised and fought him from pulling me, but it was useless. He slowed down when we were far from the pub and then started talking. “You visited Ian.” He said.

I raised an eyebrow. “Was that a question?” I asked a bit sarcastically. He hadn’t put me in the best of moods.

He of course didn’t answer me. We had reached the part of town that was all houses and alleys, and he pulled me into the small wedge between one house and another. “Why did you visit Ian?” he asked me calmly, his eyes searching mine.

I glanced away. His gaze was far too intense. “I wanted to learn more about the lycanthropes.”

“Why?” Cain prodded.

“Sir Cain, I don’t believe that is any of your business.”

He laughed heartily from that and rolled his eyes. I stood my ground, my chin held up high. His laugh faded out, as well as his smile. His face darkened. “Oh, but it is. I want to know. Why do you want to know about the lycanthropes so badly?”

We were both silent, staring at each other and both of us fuming with anger. It pissed me off even more knowing he had information I wanted - needed - about those stupid creatures. It took him a while, but he softened up and took a step back. “I’ll tell you whatever you want so long as you tell me what I want.”

I nodded in agreement. “My best friend, Lydia, was murdered by those insufferable beings. I want to learn about them; how they came to be, how they hunt, where they are...I want to know everything about them. I hoped Ian would know something, so I went to talk to him. He didn’t have very much information for me.”

Cain nodded and rocked back on the soles of his feet. “I see.”

“So?” I prodded. “You said you would tell me whatever I wanted, right?”

Cain shrugged. “I don’t remember saying that.”

My anger overpowered me. I couldn’t help myself. I pushed him away and gave a low scream of rage.

Kill him. Something inside of me told me, but I restrained myself immediately. What the hell was that? I didn’t want to kill him. I was just angry was all.

Cain laughed about this all, finding my anger quite amusing. “There are words to describe you, but I am a lady,” was the best insult I could come up with.

Cain grinned mercilessly. “A lady says what she wants to say,” he poked at me.

I glared at him and stomped around him and out of the small alley. As I was leaving, Cain called to me, “I will tell you whatever. Just not now.”

I stopped and turned around to ask when, but he was no longer standing there.

I stomped the rest of the way home, no matter how unladylike it was.

“Welcome home, Cerise,” mother called from where she was rocking and knitting.

I nodded and shed my cloak, but she stopped me and frowned at it. “Where did you get that from?”

I paused in my tracks of putting it up on the coat hanger. “I, uh, father. Father got it for me. He gave me a gift to cheer me up.” Mother was doubtful at first, but it slowly sunk in and she nodded, going back to rocking.

I sighed a breath of relief. If she knew I had gone to see Lilith after she had specifically ordered me not to, I wouldn’t see the light of day for a month.

“Cain was at the pub today,” I told her, sitting down in front of her and the fireplace.

She raised an eyebrow. “Why were you at the pub?”

“I wasn’t. I was just walking past,” I lied smoothly. “He mentioned something about the seventh child. Have you heard of it?” Another lie. I was beginning to get very good at it.

Mother faltered. “I wonder why he would be talking about that,” she muttered under her breath. I nudged her. She sighed. “Honestly, Cerise. It’s just a folktale. Nothing to worry about.”

“Well, what do you know about it?” I begged her to tell me. I had a suspicious feeling Grandmother Lilith wasn’t telling the entire truth about it.

“Just the basics. The seventh child is the first female of six older brothers, and is a...magical being.”

“‘A magical being’?” I repeated. “What kind of magical being?”

“Why do you want to know this so badly, Cerise?” Mother frowned down at me. I shrugged. This served to be enough for her, because she went on to answer my question. “The seventh child can be many things. She can be a seer, a prophecy, or even...a witch.”

Lilith hadn’t specified what she was.

“What if she was seer? What’s so important about her?”

“Honestly, Cerise,” Mother sighed in exasperation and set down her knitting. I stared into her eyes, begged her to tell me more, and to my surprise, she did without any disagreement. It was strange. She stared ahead of herself, not quite into my eyes, while she said, “If she’s a seer, she can see the past and the future. Most seers can only see one or the other and not to the same extent. If she is the youngest seventh child in her living ancestry, then she is most powerful of all of them. She may even be able to time travel within her premonitions.”

“What about a prophecy and a witch?”

“Both the same when it comes to power; if she is the youngest seventh child in her living ancestry, then she is most powerful of all of them. Even if someone older is very powerful. The prophecy is much like a seer, and will often have premonitions. They have powers to help people. A witch...gains extreme power. She can choose between the light side or the dark side. Most of the time once she reaches the dark side, there’s no going back.”

A sudden sad tilt entered into Mother’s voice at the end.

I nodded. “Thank you for telling me this, Mother,” I smiled warmly at her.

With that I stood up and let her get back to doing nothing. I grabbed the cloak Lilith had made me and escaped outside so I could have fresh air to think about what I just learned.

I was focused on the seer part of our conversation, but my mind kept on drifting to think about the witch. What did it mean “light or dark side”? There were good witches? Where I lived, all witches were hung. They were satanic and worshipped Lucifer and everything to do with hell. Lately not many witches were being caught, but now I couldn’t help my curiosity.

I would ask Lilith about them as soon as I reached the cabin.

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