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Chapter 24 - Open endings

To say Aqua felt vulnerable would be an understatement. She felt like the biggest part of her has been exposed, naked as a newborn to the eyes of a pitiful Jayden.

She looked anywhere but him, while his gaze fixated on her so intensely it made her insides squirm. They both sat on the bed next to each other, swallowed by a stiff atmosphere after having seen the weakest parts of one another.

"Why didn't you stop her?" he finally broke the silence. "You were still powerful back then."

"I couldn't," she said, her voice trembling. "I couldn't hurt her." A tear slipped her eye, and she immediately wiped it away.

"You must've really liked her."

"Our friendship went way back." She smiled at the memories that resurfaced at the mention of her. "I entrusted her with everything."

"But you didn't tell her you were immortal."

"I'm glad I never did." Aqua pushed herself up and started walking away, almost making it out of her room when Jayden ran after her, taking her hand in his to stop her from moving forward.

She turned to him. "How did you know Aurelia?" She couldn't help but have the question slip past her lips. It irked her having the knowledge of Aurelia killing his mother on his birthday.

"Aurelia? That was the name of the hotel five years ago. Before my mother..." He didn't finish the sentence. He knew she understood what he meant.

"The name of the hotel? I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the woman who was with you."

"What woman? My mom?"

"No! Ugh, just what are you hiding?" Her anger surged through her, undoubtedly making her sound like she was blaming him, which she wasn't. She was just so confused and wanted answers to the questions that swarmed her mind.

"I wouldn't hide anything from you. You're the one who's hiding everything from me." His tone sounded defensive, and maybe he was, because he felt accused.

"Can you let me go for a moment? I want to be alone."

He released her hand, and she gave him an apologetic smile before she exited the room.

She made it all the way to the fountain, and she couldn't help but notice that it was broken. After the night she's seen Brooke, for the first time, with the necklace she's once given Ruth, her magic involuntarily cracked the marble of the fountain due to its doubled strength in the moment of vulnerability.

She bit the tip of her fingernail, impatient. Her lack of answers made her anxious. She needed them. Now more than ever.

Just as she went into the left direction, Jayden emerged from the hotel and into the garden, watching as rays of light gathered around the fountain, mending it, piece by piece.

He stood in awe. He couldn't see who did it. But surely no one other than Aqua.

A smile made its way to his face and he shook his head. Deep down, she had a soft heart, she just didn't want to admit it.

Jayden left to his father's office. Before he could push the door open, he heard him speaking to someone, but no voice was responding back. He twisted the doorknob and stepped in, looking around to see his father alone.

He tilted his head, inquiring. "I thought I heard you talking to someone."

"Nah." He waved casually as if Jayden has been mistaken. "Just myself."

"You're gonna go crazy, old man, if you keep talking to yourself like that." He chuckled. "You were so respectful too." His chuckles grew to full laughter and Allen stared at him with adoring eyes. Watching his son be so elated had him satisfied himself.

"When you're my age, you'll do the same."

"No, sir, thank you." His laughter died down, making short appearances every time he remembered the incident.

* * *

"Aurelia was the name of the hotel..." Aqua repeated, pacing around her room, biting the cuticles around her thumbnail. "What did he mean by that?"

She stared at the necklace on the dresser for a while, before she spoke out again, "And if Ruth isn't Brooke, then who is she and where?"

Her hands balled into fists. So many questions left unanswered.

She remembered Igujin told her Ruth was stuck between realms. Which means Ruth was now a filthy soul just like Aqua had hoped. But that only makes her dangerous.

Filthy souls are souls who have done terrible deeds, unforgivable sins to be exact. They get stuck between Earth and Hell so to avoid Hell, they wander around Earth.

The thing about filthy souls though, is that they are very capable of inflicting harm upon living humans. Humans can never catch a glimpse of them, but supernaturals do. And so did the now dead Rivandia.

When Aurelia had killed Hedjun, the God of the underworld, Igujin cursed the whole town, including the mortals, with the ability to see and live amongst filthy souls. But that day, lived within Aqua's head uninvited. It was the very day Aurelia became the official queen of Rivandia. And the day Igujin granted Aqua her immortality.

Aurelia had killed him because her power-hungry self wanted as much power as she could muster. She wanted everything but gave nothing. And she truly did win. Such a greedy woman.

Aqua rolled her eyes. She's dead now. Serves her right.

As she wandered all around the room, her eyes caught a glimpse of a letter beside the necklace. She walked over to it.

Unfolding it, one phrase was written in ugly hand-writing.

'I finally found you.'

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