|1.| ▪The Pure Light▪
The sound of water moving, the chirping of birds singing, and the warmth of the sun grazed my skin. It felt so peaceful.
It was only nature and me. Yet, being surrounded by all this brought a small smile to my dried lips.
“Saintess.” A voice called as my eyes fluttered open.
I looked over my shoulder to see the warm smile of the Archbishop. His tall and regal figure with those surreal green eyes that looked like the fresh spring leaves after a rain shower looked at me.
“It’s time,” he said as I nodded and lowered my hands.
Standing, I dusted my clothes and looked up at the blue, clear sky.
Following the Archbishop, I padded. I could feel his eyes studying me.
“You haven’t changed so much since you came to the temple,” his calm voice said. “You haven’t talked too much as well.”
I chuckled lightly at his words.
Every time he visited me, it was the same thing: the exact words, the same comments.
If I were with someone else, I would answer no shit. But I learned to refrain from myself. But, of course, the first months weren’t that easy, especially since my first kind words to the Archbishop was fuck you.
“The weather is pleasant, right?” the Archbishop says as he tries to make a conversation. But I didn’t need that. I knew him well, and that was his way of giving me some exciting news that required my presence.
“Go to the point, please,” I said with a bit of annoyance in my voice.
A peal of light laughter left his lips.
“Fine,” the Archbishop said, smiling. “The Pope has summoned you.”
I halted in my tracks and frowned at him.
“Don’t start making conclusions; just listen to what I have to say,” the Archbishop continued. “The Pope wishes to see you, but this time for a different reason.”
“Weren’t those the same words you used last time?” I asked with a pointed look.
The Archbishop blinked before he finally shook his head.
“It seems nothing escapes your mind,” he said, chuckling again.
“It seems you don’t have a huge dictionary on your mind,” I retorted. He laughed again, dismissing my rudeness.
“I don’t know the specifics on why the Pope has summoned you, but it’s about something serious,” the Archbishop explained as we started walking once again. “So please listen to his request.”
I sighed, tired of hearing those exact words. Was it so hard to use different words each time someone summoned me?
The Archbishop and I walked for at least half an hour before we reached the temple. As we make a turn, I notice the carriage that would take me to the Grand Temple where the Pope lived.
I felt my eyebrow twitch.
“Go on,” the Archbishop said as he pushed my shoulders.
I stubbornly stump my way up to the carriage. Once they shut the door, the Archbishop moved closer. There was a smug smile on his tan face.
“Have a nice trip,” the Archbishop said as the coachman said we were leaving. “Enjoy your stay in the temple.”
My eyes widened as I leaned on the carriage window.
“What?” I snapped as we left. The Archbishop waved with a smile. “You bastard!” I curse as we go.
I rubbed my temple as we started going uphill. Then, glancing to the side, I notice the Grand Temple come into view.
The magnificent pillars and grand entrance had me rolling my eyes.
I would not say I liked this place, especially since my only reason for coming was work.
With a sigh, I leaned my head on my balled hand and looked outside. Then, finally, the enormous garden started coming into view. This place was breathtaking.
The white buildings and the peaceful feeling they gave were something I always liked. But if I had to include anything else, there was nothing but the place.
I didn’t come over to the temple to work. I came to hide, to be away from my father and him.
My mind started wandering to Zion. A tugging on my chest has me gulping hard.
Every time I recalled his face. It made me want to cry. I missed him and more than I would have ever thought. It was like we both were destined. Like he was my air, the one keeping me alive in this world.
Moving my hand to my chest, I slowly rubbed on it until I calmed down.
I didn’t need someone from the temple to see me crying or depressed. I already had enough of that in the first months.
“My lady?” a voice whispered, making me look up in surprise. When did we arrive? “Are you all right?”
“Yes.” I furrowed my brows. “I will get down.”
The coachmen looked at me worriedly, but I ignored him and instead put on my deadpan face.
“Saintess.” A familiar voice I recognized said from the entrance.
I stopped and looked up at the person.
“Bishop Archer,” I greet with a slight bow of my head.
“It’s great to see you, Mila,” he said, approaching me. I gave him a warm smile. “Shall we? The Pope is waiting.”
Bishop Archer was one of the first persons who talked to me when I arrived at the Grand Temple. He is friendly and quite handsome.
I have to say he is one of the most handsome persons here in the temple. Anyone who sees him would think the same. I could even see how the eyes of the men and woman here followed him wherever he walked. So he had a presence, and he was so unaware of it. Or is he pretending?
“Mila?” Bishop Archer calls, snapping me out of whatever trance I was in. “Are you all right? You seemed distracted.”
“I’m fine,” I quickly answered. “So, do you know why the Pope called for me?”
“That’s…, it is best if you hear it from him,” Bishop Archer said. There was a small crease on his chiseled face.
“I have a bad feeling,” I groaned while waving at some passerby.
“Mila, please don’t start with that,” Bishop Archer sighed. “What the Pope will tell you might interest you.”
“Oh, I believe his words will be interesting,” I scoffed sarcastically. Bishop Archer chuckled and shook his head.
I liked Bishop Archer or better, said Brandon Archer. He was a royal who became a Bishop here in the Grand Temple. He preferred calmness over his work as a royalty.
He enjoyed being here, and that made me wonder why did he leave his place for this.
As I shifted my eyes to the side, I noticed the small group of people gathered close by the fountain.
“What’s happening there?” I asked curiously.
“They are sending some people to missions. So they are being announced,” Bishop Archer explained. “Don’t worry about that. You should start thinking about how not to insult the Pope once you see him.”
I snapped my eyes, facing him and glaring hard.
“I have never done that!” I groaned while his eyebrow went up.
Bishop Archer stopped walking and turned to face me. Getting closer, he looks down at me. He was tall; I had to throw my head back to see him straight into his blue eyes.
“The last four times you’ve seen the Pope, you’ve cursed him, insulted him, and called him an old fox.” Bishop Archer whispered while he kept his intense gaze on me. “Do you want me to tell you what else?”
“NO!” I said and pushed him. Walking straight towards the hallway where the Pope’s office was. “Hurry, let’s not make his excellency wait.”
Bishop Archer chuckled but didn’t say more.
As we finally reached the enormous white and golden doors. I took a deep breath and fixed my long white dress.
Bishop Archer knocked twice before someone opened the door. I rolled my eyes once I got a glimpse of who the person was.
“Hello,” I mumbled, annoyed.
I followed Bishop Archer into the enormous place. Looking around the area, my eyes fell on the Pope near one of the vast prism windows. His white and red cloak with his long mitre over his head.
“Oh, Saintess Mila! Nice to see you again,” the Pope said as he slowly turned and faced me.
The corner of my lip twitched as I saw that face.
“Pope,” I said, forcing a smile.
Chuckling, he waved a hand, dismissing everyone else that was in the room.
The double doors closed with a loud thud that echoed in the room. Once we were alone, I looked up.
“It’s been a while, Saintess,” the Pope said with a smirk. He knows I hate coming over. “Though thank you for coming with short notice.”
“Pope, say why you called me. I don’t wish to waste time,” I said sternly. His smile disappeared, and instead, thin lips looked at me.
“I told you before there’s no need for you to address me as Pope, right?” he smiled once again.
“I should keep the respect no matter what,” I answered. Then, with a sigh, he took a seat.
My eyes moved to the stack of papers over his table. Everything was stacked neatly, as expected from someone like him. Then, moving my eyes around the place, I noticed that it’s the same as the last four times I’ve been here. Nothing has changed.
“Mila, I called you over for an important matter,” the Pope said, sounding calm. I spared him a glance while my hands toyed with each other behind my back. “I need your help.”
“In what?” I asked softly. I don’t have a good feeling about this.
“There’s been something happening in a familiar place, you know,” the Pope said. I frowned. “You need to return to your home.”
“Excuse me?” I asked as my heart thumped against my chest. My hands started shaking as he looked straight into my eyes.
Wasn’t he joking?
“You need to go back to the kingdom. Someone there needs you,” the Pope mumbled.
My hand goes straight to my nose. I shut my eyes and massage that zone.
“Sorry, I’m not understanding,” I said, feeling annoyed. My hands were shaking now. “Someone needs me?”
“Yes,” the Pope said, his lips in a thin line.
My breath became erratic as an awful feeling crept into my chest.
“No,” I answered. My voice came out shaky.
The Pope stood and walked over to stand right before me. His glistening blue eyes pierced me like seeing straight into my soul.
“You need to go back, Mila. You have a mission,” he said. I looked up. “Don’t be afraid, my child.”
I took a step back.
“I’m not going back. Why did you think I summoned you, people?” I snapped.
The Pope remained silent, like thinking on his following words.
“But King Zion needs you.”
That single phrase made my entire reason for coming here crumble.
I started shaking my head. This was not happening again.
“Something is going on, and only you can help,” the Pope said as I took another step back. “You will return at once.”
“NO!” I yelled. My hands covered my ears as I kept my eyes shut. I could feel my pulse thumping loud in my ears. “I’m not going back!”
“But you have to if you want to save him.”
I slowly opened my eyes and lowered my hands.
As I lift my gaze, I see the angry face he had on. His handsome face now ruined all those nice features.
I know I was saying something out of line, but what can I do if he is quite the eye-catching man?
Also, he wasn’t an older man as anyone would expect. The Grand Temple Pope was only twenty-eight years old. But, still, I see him as some old guy.
“I won’t,” I repeat. “I’m sorry, but I’m not returning, not for him or anyone.”
“Not when everyone there is dead?” the Pope blurts, making me tense. I looked at him. “Yes, Mila, everyone is dead.”
“No,” I said in repeat. “No, that’s impossible.”
“You will see it once you arrive. Bishop Archer will accompany you,” the Pope explained as he returned to the same spot near the window. “You are leaving tonight. You’re dismissed.”
I stood there watching him. Was he serious?
Lowering my gaze, I turned and left the room.
I didn’t know when I started running, but I ran and ran away until I was in the private garden. Then, with a loud gasp of air, I leaned on a pillar and gripped my chest.
This was not happening. How could I return to that place with him?
Feeling tears roll down my cheeks, I slid down until I hid my face on my legs. Silent cries left my lips.
Welcome to Fallen Queen!