|10.| ▪Torn Between Hate & Love▪
My body tumbles over Zion’s unconscious body as I try to lay him down in bed. He has been unconscious for the last twelve or fifteen minutes, which helped me.
I had to restrict his movements. Just the way he made me stay in that chair for a few days.
I looked around for something strong that would not be torn from the bedposts. Knowing Zion’s strength, he could free himself from a tug.
As I head down quickly, I rummage through some old and scattered objects that belong to the guards.
I glanced toward the enormous fog that covered the entire barrier, obstructing the outside view.
It seemed it was furious at what I did. But it was the darkness against my light, and I will prevail over it. No matter what it takes.
Finding some chains, I head back in and up to Zion’s bedroom. Thankfully, he was still unconscious.
Sparing him a glance, I quickly decide to change his clothes which he has been wearing for the last two days.
I wiped his body clean and put on the clean clothes. Once sure everything was in place, I chained him up.
My chest ached just at the sight of him tied like an animal. He didn’t deserve this; it wasn’t his fault.
Sighing, I backed away and close the doors. If my guess was right, he would wake up in an hour or two.
Now that he was secured, I turn on my heels and make haste to Ezekiel’s room.
I knocked twice before he opened the door.
“Mila?” Ezekiel greets in a worried tone.
“Are you doing well?” I asked. “It seemed you found clean clothes as well.”
“Yes, sorry,” Ezekiel said in an apologetic voice. I smiled and grabbed his arm.
“Let’s go,” I said, dragging him.
We both had walked back to the dungeons where Noah and the rest were. Ezekiel seemed skeptical when I first told him where we were heading to. But I need his help if I want to free everyone.
“Are you sure Zion can’t escape?” Ezekiel asked for the third time.
“Yes, trust me,” I whispered. “Now I need you to help me with this task.”
“Mila, I don’t know,” Ezekiel mumbled under his breath.
I stopped in my tracks and turned to face him.
“Listen, Ezekiel, it’s only you here who can help me. All we have to do is free everyone, leave this place and save Zion,” I explained. “I know it’s not the greatest of plans, but I know Noah knows his way out of this place without being spotted by my father.”
Ezekiel finally sighed.
“Fine, let’s move,” Ezekiel groaned while pushing me back.
We both finally reached the area where everyone was kept a prisoner in. I scanned the room and found Noah’s cage.
“NOAH!” I called aloud, making everyone know of our presence.
“Mila?” Noah said, frowning. Then his eyes quickly darted to Ezekiel, who waved at him. “What’s happening?”
“I’m taking you guys out,” I answered briefly to which Noah seemed confused.
I ordered Ezekiel to help me find anything to break the lock from the cages. We were right on time and it was now or never.
“Mila, where’s Zion?” Noah asked as Ezekiel finds a hammer and starts hitting the lock.
I remained silent.
“Mila,” Noah growled. I looked down at his hand on my arm, then raising my eyes, I look at him. “What happened to Zion?”
“He is unconscious,” I mumble and looked away. Noah furrowed his brows. Confusion and wonder crossed his dirty face.
It was best to skip certain things, especially when it was about Zion.
I know Noah would worry sick if he knew what had been happening out there.
“Done,” Ezekiel said, moving to the next cage. I quickly opened the doors and people looked scared to even take a step out.
“Listen, everyone!” I called, getting their attention. “I’m taking you all out of this place. I know it’s dangerous out there and we have an enemy lurking in the shadows, but I trust your king can guide you to safety.”
This time, Noah looked at me in shock.
“I need you, Noah,” I said as I help him up. “This is your only chance.”
“No!” Noah snapped, making me groan. Why was this man so stubborn?
“Noah please,” I said, studying his face. “These people will die if we don’t take them out.”
Noah sternly looked at me. He seemed conflicted, troubled by what I was telling him.
“My father is out there,” I muttered, looking away. “He knows I’m here, so that makes you all be in danger. Now you understand?”
“You must take your people out. I will handle my father,” I retorted in annoyance.
“What about Zion?” Noah finally asked. I shifted my eyes over my shoulders to where people were getting out of the cages.
The few children and elderly looked so bad that it worried me they wouldn’t make it out alive.
I sighed, pinching my nose.
“I will stay with Zion,” I answered. Both Noah and Ezekiel looked at me in utter shock.
“Mila you can’t!” Ezekiel said, joining us. “It’s only going to be you and him!”
“Enough Ezekiel!” I retorted. I heave in anger.
I know it would be only Zion and me. I didn’t need a reminder.
“I know what I am doing. So far, Zion hasn’t killed me. I trust there’s some humanity left in him,” I growled.
Ezekiel flinched. His pained face looked away from me.
“Are you sure about this?” Noah finally asked. His silence was frustrating, but I understood his worry. After all, Zion was the only thing left for him.
“Yes,” I said, glancing his way. “I know what I have to do.” With that said, I turned and headed down the path I dropped the books last time.
Noticing the dusty mess in a corner, I crouched and picked each book.
I sighed in relief as I noticed they’re fine and without a scratch. Once finished, I stood and turned just to find Noah standing right in front.
“What are you planning to do?” Noah asked.
“First, I’m taking you out. I need to know if there’s a secret passage out of this castle and the forest,” I muttered. “Then I have to head back to Zion. He will wake up soon, of course not before making sure my father finds you guys.”
“How sure are you he is out there?” Noah questioned. I peeked behind him. Everyone was almost out.
“He killed the knights and the temple bishop,” I whispered only to him.
“What?” Noah said, shocked. I nodded his way, eyes cast on my books.
“Ezekiel could escape, thankfully,” I brief him. “So, he knows I’m here.”
“Damn it!” Noah groaned. “I’m staying.”
“NO!” I cut him. “I don’t need you here.”
Noah looked offended for a second before he frowned.
“What are you not telling me?” Noah asked.
Do I need to explain to him every little detail?
Groaning in annoyance, I pull him to the side where we were out of view from the rest.
“The Pope has betrayed me,” I whispered. Noah gripped my chin, making me look at him.
“Are you hearing yourself?” Noah muttered. I pushed his hand away.
“Yes, why do you think I’m all alone?” I scoffed.
“Impossible, the Pope would never do that,” Noah whispered as he gets lost in thoughts. I shrugged while opening a book and going over it.
“Nothing is impossible, my friend,” I eyed him.
Noah clenched his jaw. He seemed confused, but angry. I didn’t know why I had a hunch it was with Zion and not me.
“We are ready,” Ezekiel said as he approached us. I nodded.
“So?” I said, looking at Noah this time. He tilted his head. “Exit.”
“Follow me,” Noah sighed. Ezekiel and I followed behind as he gathered everyone around.
The group of eighty people walked in silence down a passageway Noah knew of. It was a secret passage only the royal family and a few knights used in case there was an emergency like war or intruders. It was also the only path that guided you straight to an underwater cave and straight out to the waterfall I once visit.
I could feel the tension in the entire group as we walked in silence.
Before leaving, I made sure they had something to warm up and eat during the trip. I also healed them so they could have strength.
I didn’t know how long it would be for them to reach the nearest town or village, but with how they looked, maybe a few days or weeks.
Reaching a turn, I stop in my tracks. That got Ezekiel’s attention. Noah was at the front, guiding the people.
“Mila?” Ezekiel called.
“This is where I stop,” I said, eyes still on the group.
“Mila, come with us!” Ezekiel screeched. His hand tightened its hold on my arm.
“I can’t,” I whispered, so only he could hear me.
A lump formed in my throat as I watched them from afar.
“Go Ezekiel,” I smiled wryly. “Make sure everyone is safe.”
“Mila please, this is suicide!” Ezekiel voiced out loud. His voice echoed down the passage, making Noah turn our way.
I pulled my body away from him. My eyes quickly darted to Noah, who rushed back to us.
“Go, you need to go,” I repeated.
“Mila, it’s not late for you to come,” Noah intervenes this time making me chuckled.
“They sent here me to help Noah. I can’t leave and I can’t leave him alone,” I said dejectedly.
“Why Mila?” Ezekiel asked this time. A smile that didn’t reach the corners of my lips played on my face.
“I can’t, I promised Zion I wouldn’t leave,” I muttered. Both Ezekiel and Noah looked at me.
I took an involuntary step back.
“This is where we say goodbye,” I answered, smiling. I kept my head down, unable to face them.
“Mila,” Noah whispered breathlessly.
Forcing a smile, I keep my head cast down. But then Noah reached for my hands, holding them tightly as his life depended on it. I looked up, confused.
“If that’s what you want, then I won’t stop you,” Noah said, smiling back. I nodded and looked back down.
Ezekiel remained silent, making me uncomfortable. I know he was getting angry, but a promise to Zion is something I would never break ever again.
Without another glance, Ezekiel turned on his heels and left Noah and me alone.
I tried to call for him, but it was the best, for now.
“Don’t worry, he will understand one day,” Noah mumbled. I nodded with tears.
“Go, your people are waiting,” I said, squeezing his hands.
Letting go slowly, I raise my head to find him looking away.
“Noah!” I said, stopping him. Noah slowly looked over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” I choked. Noah furrowed his brows, facing me. “I’m sorry for leaving four years ago. I should have- “
“Mila?” Noah called. I shut my mouth and stared at him. “It’s not your fault. So, stop blaming yourself.”
I wanted to argue back, but he shook his head.
“What happened was inevitable. It was going to come back for Zion any moment, even if you were here or not,” Noah sighed. “Just make sure nothing happens to my brother.”
I straightened my back and gave him a firm nod.
Noah smiled brightly and, in a bow, he whispered my name one last time.
All this felt like it really would be the last time we would meet.
Wiping my tears, I watch them disappear in the corner. I turn slowly and walked back in silence. Only my thoughts joined me on my way back to the prisoner that awaited me.