Fallen Saint #2

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|20.| ▪A Masked Garden▪


Mila

After our night argument, Zion and I had not even exchanged a single word. It has been like we both set things clear in a way that made us just stay away from each other.

I would lie if I said I’m not mad, I’m furious with him. But what can I do? I have to keep going forward and complete my mission.

Looking around us, I notice the change in scenery. The beautiful, green, and lush forest was being left behind and replaced by a dark and eerie one.

The dried trees with mist reminded me of when I arrived at the town. The entire place looked like it, except that it felt different.

It didn’t give that vibe that people had died, instead; it felt like it was pulling you, making you walk more into it until you’re lost on it.

As I glance towards Zion, I noticed he was no longer by my side. I looked behind to find him frowning.

“Is something the matter?” I asked, confused. Zion looked at both sides as he pulls the reins of the horse and get closer to me.

“We are taking a detour,” Zion answered. “The place has shifted and the barrier as well.”

“What?” I asked, surprised. Just as Zion had mentioned, the forest was shifting.

It was hard to notice at first glance, but now I could see the minor details. Like the trees changing sizes, the mist turning denser, and a cliff appearing a few feet from us.

Surprised, I yank the reins and put some distance from the cliff.

“Follow me,” Zion ordered, to which I complied.

In silence, we rode down the path Zion had taken. It differed from the one behind us. This one was darker and creepier and I didn’t like the feeling I was getting.

As we continued down the path, I notice the green mist that rolled towards us.

Panicking, I halt and look at Zion, who as well had stopped.

“Is that what I think it is?” I asked worriedly. Zion nodded without a word, so I quickly pulled my bag from the backpack and looked for my pendants.

Before leaving the temple, I had brought three important things with me. The two holy crosses and the dagger of holiness.

All of them had the pope’s blessing and had holy water on them. They were as well gift from the pope, which now made me confused.

If he lied and practically sold me, why did he even gift me this?

I know he had something to do with my father, and still suspect it. Though It wasn’t confirmed completely, I know my father has something against his holiness which made him betray me.

“Here,” I said and handed Zion the golden cross.

Zion looked at it skeptically, but he still took it. Once I saw it around his neck, I followed suit.

I didn’t know if it would work against the garden’s poison and soul, but it was still something I had to try.

If this didn’t work, I would have no choice but to use my powers to put a protective barrier around us.

“Are the horses going to get hurt?” I asked. Zion nodded.

I cursed and quickly summoned my powers to build the barriers. Once sure, we moved closer to the murky mist.

I kept my horse close to Zion’s. It worried me they might get scared and try to flee and though I was good at horse riding; I was afraid of getting hurt, especially for the sake of the baby.

“We are close to the entrance,” Zion muttered.

“How do you know?” I whispered. Zion spared me a glance.

“How do you think I lived here?” Zion scoffed.

I didn’t answer back and continued watching my surroundings. By the time we had reached the entrance, it was nighttime, and I was getting freaked out.

“We have to get down and walk from here…,” Zion commented. My eyes bawled out.

“What?” I screeched. “We walk from here?”

“From where else Mila? The place is dangerous and is surrounded by poisonous plants that have sharp thorns and all,” Zion argued.

I cursed internally and did as he ordered. Once I had my bag strapped to my chest, we tug on the reins to make the horse follow us.

It worried me they wouldn’t survive in this place. It was dangerous for them, meaning I let them die, or I keep my barrier between them for the time being, or until I can get Zion free from Elios.

“Mila,” Zion called. I snapped my head at him, who was looking at me with a frown. “Coming?”

“Yes,” I said and rushed.

Zion guided me through the eerie place. The closer we got, the denser the mist got.

Not only that, but the trees and plants looked alive. Like they could attack us any minute.

“How did you walk into this place the first time?” I asked curiously.

It’s been something I’ve been wondering about for a long time.

I knew Zion had lived with her for some time and that he alone decides to come and seclude himself from everyone. But I was curious to know how did he even stepped foot here without dying?

“The temple,” Zion blurts after a while. I crooked my head.

“The temple?” I repeated. Zion nodded and continued walking.

“The temple gave me a holy object that would protect me. They were also the only ones apart from my brother that knew I was coming here,” Zion explained.

That surprised me.

I never expected to hear the temple had helped them. That they would even agree to save a sinner like him. Didn’t the holy temple have something against Zion?

I wanted to ask him how come, but my words were taken away when I saw something dark and tall covered by vines standing regally in the middle of the place.

Stunned by the strange building, I let go of the reins and move to the front.

I could feel Zion’s gaze looking at me curiously. Waiting for some sort of reaction.

“This is the place?” I asked, looking at Zion. Zion’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

“Um, yes?” Zion mumbled. “Why?”

“Nothing, I expected something different,” I answered and returned to my horse. “Let’s go. I need some rest.”

Moving away, I walked until I reached the small gate that divided the trees from it. Pushing on the old metal bars, I make the horse follow me.

I looked around and heard a few cawing sounds coming from birds.

Confused, I looked back at Zion.

“I know it’s odd, but they seem unharmed by the poison,” Zion shrugged.

“Anything else I need to know?” I interrogated with annoyance.

“The water is drinkable. There must still be some food left from what I had before and there’s also a cat,” Zion explained as he tied the horses.

I shook my head but ended the conversation there.

Turning away from Zion, I walked to the double doors. The old, once beautiful doors were now worn and broken from being in a place like this.

I put my hand on the handle to push when the cawing of a bird made me halt.

I snapped my head to the sky, where all I could see was darkness. Now I wonder if there would be any sort of light once morning arrives.

***

The last few hours I’ve been trying to get some decent sleep, mostly because my body ached from the long ride. I felt exhausted to even get up and deal with Zion, who was making some noise down the hall.

This place was enormous enough. There were four different rooms, a small kitchen, a library that had tons of old, dusty books, two bathrooms, and a balcony room that had the south view of an old garden that once looked glorious.

After stepping in, Zion showed me around and told me to use his old bedroom that had everything it needed. I had no energy to argue, so here I was trying to rest, but it was impossible.

I didn’t understand why. Maybe because the place was strange, or the sound of those damn birds cawing around me had me on edge or simply the fact Zion could flee any moment.

Sighing, I sit up, massaged my face, then calmly leaned on the wooden headboard.

My eyes shifted to an old dusty table and a stool. A lot of paper stacks were scattered around it. It had me curious to see what Zion had been working on.

Sitting up completely, I get off the bed and walked towards the table. My eyes skimmed all the papers on it. To my surprise, some papers had drawings of a garden, castle, others about plants.

Was Zion drawing what he saw in this place?

Curious to see more, I shuffle a few papers until a notebook comes into view. I looked up to see the bedroom door still halfway opened but Zion was not in view. Though I could hear him still from a distance, I know he wouldn’t come over to bother me, since I should be sleeping.

Letting go of my shawl, I opened the notebook. Flipped a few pages before I noticed Zion’s handwriting. It was a diary and one detailed.

I frowned. Taking a seat, I read. Zion had annotated everything that had happened long ago.

I felt shocked by what I was reading. The gruesome details on it turned my stomach, making me sick.

It confused me to the point of having doubts Zion wrote this. What if it was Elios?

That’s when I remember Elios used to belong here. This place was his.

Getting up, I put the diary down and head out to look for Zion. I glanced around me, the place a complete mess. Looking from side to side, I notice a few important things as money and food.

“Zion?” I called, pushing on a door. Zion halted as he dusted his hands.

My eyes moved around the small place. It was another room but with a lot of boxes and old furniture on it.

“What are you doing?” I questioned as he stands. Zion sighed, as his hands fall on his shirt.

He was a complete mess.

“Is something the matter? I’m putting things away,” Zion muttered without looking at me.

I grumbled, annoyed by the way he acted.

“Come and sleep with me. The noise and this eerie place aren’t letting me get a rest,” I explained, to which he frowned.

“Come on,” I insisted, but he didn’t move. “Zion please, I know you’re mad, but let’s get some sleep.”

After debating, he finally sighed, grabbed his things, and followed me.

We both walked in silence as we approached the bedroom. But as I pushed the door, a sudden pain shoots down my belly.

I bent over, holding for dear life.

What was happening?

“MILA!” Zion’s panicked voice yelled.

I shut my eyes as pain shot all over my body. Was something the matter with the baby?

Picking me in his arms, Zion carries me to his bed. I was panting and sweating. I felt everything around me spun.

“Mila, do you hear me?” Zion called as his hand rubs my back. I slowly nodded as his voice reached me.

“Tea,” I mumbled weakly. “Please make some tea.”

Zion understood and grabbed my bag. Rushing to the small kitchen, I laid down and tried to understand what was happening.

It took me a while before I could finally calm down, the pain slowly dispersing away.

Once I felt better, I relaxed completely.

I tried to sit up when Zion walked into the room with a warm cup of tea; I asked him to make it.

Zion handed it over and watched me as I drank it. His eyes studied my sweaty face.

I know he was full of questions, but what I least wanted right now was that. To be questioned about something not even I knew of.

“Thank you,” I muttered, handing the cup back. Zion nodded, set it aside, and turned back to face me.

A small crease formed on his face. I averted my eyes slowly until I laid down, ignoring him.

Zion just sighed. Feeling him behind me, he wraps an arm around me, pulling me to his warmth.

“It gets freezing here, so it’s better to stay together for tonight,” Zion whispered. I nodded and tried to relax in his embrace. Without thinking too much, I drifted into my sleep until the following morning came.

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