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Chapter 22 - Bittersweet betrayal

Jayden found himself all alone in a deserted town. Slowly, his eyes travelled along the ancient wooden houses; houses that stood tall and wide among the few scattered trees, and he came to realize, this was Rivandia Aesilas. The village that has once homed Aqua and her detrimental past.

Afar in the distance, he could hear the laughter of two teenage girls, who ran along a mudded path that led to a high fence. The fence that has kept the residents of Rivandia victims to its prison.

"You do know it's insane if we do that, right?" The girl beside Aqua laughed, following after her excited sprint.

"Yes." She panted. "But you do know all the memories we'd make, right?"

The two climbed up the gates, their hands almost losing their grip on the chaste metal.

Aqua had already made it far up, her friend unable to match her strength.

He observed them, able to notice the girl behind Aqua pull out a dagger from her poorly fitted pants.

"Aqua!" A deep voice called, urgency overpowering its tone. Jayden's head turned to it, just in time as Aqua's did to locate the boy.

"Walter?" The words barely had come out when with a sudden cry, her fingers began slipping. Her skin tore, blood pooling out of the gash.

"Hold on," he yelled, speeding up to reach her before she could fall. His efforts fell down to failure when another boy's hand covered his mouth and struck him down to the mud.

Now, Jayden stood before a scene that he deemed to be dreadful.

Aqua and Walter, each were on the ground, far apart.

The girl towered over Aqua's injured and aching figure, the necklace dangling from her neck, while the boy sitting atop Walter had already grabbed a rock, and bashed it down towards his head multiple times in a row, blood splashing all over his face.

Walter laid lifeless, having lost his soul to a murderer, and Aqua's screams of hurt towards her friend fell upon deaf ears.

"Ruth, what are you doing? Have you gone mad?" Aqua growled, raw emotion thick in her voice as she crawled away from her.

"You're oh-so powerful, not very much now." Ruth grabbed her from the collar and pulled her up to come face to face with her. "How does it feel to be a weak little bitch?" She pushed her down.

Aqua's pained groans were more hurtful to Jayden than he'd liked to admit. So much was happening before him and he could do nothing but watch as it all unfolds.

The boy has stalked behind Aqua, a needle in hand.

"Aqua, please move," Jayden screamed, squeamish, but unable to interfere. It was like watching a scene from a movie. A scene where the protagonist is tortured and none but their soon dead cries as remnants of what was.

He handed the needle to Ruth, and she was quick to act, injecting Aqua with a needle that soon had her whole body fall into a state of paralysis.

"No," Aqua cried. "Ruth, please. Why are you doing this?" Her distress was evident, as clear as the morning sky they stood under.

"Haven't you heard? When you kill a supernatural being, their powers get transferred to you." She placed her feet on Aqua's throat, pushing down hard to the point where Aqua's breaths came out ragged and short. "And I..." She said, giggling and stepping down harder. "Want your power." Her tone was so strict, and hostile, it sent shivers down Jayden's spine.

Aqua's heart swelled within her chest, as if a prick has torn through it with no signs of mercy. She screamed in agony, coughing up blood, incapable of taking a single breath in.

A realization dawned upon Jayden then. Ruth has injected venom into Aqua's bloodstream. And her body was reacting to it; fast.

The rock in between the boy's fingers was still held onto tightly and with a harsh blow to the head, Aqua went limp, no longer struggling.

Jayden cringed and shrunk into himself, his eyes closed shut at the sight.


It was horrible. And it broke his heart.

Aqua couldn't get past this part of her life, and now he could see why. She was betrayed by her friends. Even the only one willing to save her was murdered right before her eyes.

Ruth had left Aqua devastated.

Opening his eyes, he saw light gather around Aqua. Ruth and her friend backed away, confused, and gazing around like lost kids. The light grew stronger and brighter, accumulating in masses above her breastbone. And slowly, her body began floating, drifting above everyone's heads.

Her posture straightened, and her eyes shot open, glowing the most beaming blue he's ever seen.

Lingering in the air, Aqua smirked. "One thing you never knew about me, Ruth..." She lowered herself back to the ground. "Is that I am immortal." The light exploded, scattering around in waves, and struck Ruth and her partner, causing them to fall down on their knees.

Jayden squinted, desperate to catch what was happening but the aura shining around Aqua had him dizzy.

He watched Aqua constellate magic above her palm and hurl it towards them.

As fast as the events unraveled, the two had surely lost their lives, sucked out of them by a raging princess in despair.

In a moment of power, Aqua was ready to harvest their souls, but she knew that letting their filthy souls wander between realms was the best torture they could ever experience. She knew their souls never deserved reincarnation. And with that belief, Aqua stumbled to the mud, cradling herself. The moment of power didn't last long before her cries began to resonate through the town's silent air, now thick with fog.

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