|9.| ▪The Shadows Within▪
I stood behind the shadows of the forest, watching diligently how my beloved daughter begged the people of the temple to stay.
How foolish can she be in believing that they would stay?
It’s a betrayal of what they just received, and the Pope won’t let his men know how he works for me.
I smirked and pulled the hood over, disappearing into the shadows of the forest.
Moving away from the castle, I followed the group of knights. Finally, they were truly leaving this forsaken place. And though the Bishop had said all those words, he still seemed hesitant to go.
I smiled, knowing that his faith and belief wavered for my daughter.
Following them quietly, I wait for them to reach the open fields on the outskirts of the town which lead out of this place.
I stood in the middle of the misty road when their carriages and horses halted in their tracks.
“Hello, Bishop Archer,” I smiled as the black fog appeared and engulfed them.
Someone commanded orders while the Bishop used his powers to keep everyone protected from my little beasts.
I laughed as one got inside his barrier and attacked him.
“Bishop Archer, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” I said, walking in his direction. He snapped his bleeding head and looked at me with a frown.
“Sorry, let me introduce myself,” I said, beaming a smile and pulling my hood down. “I’m Frey, Mila’s father.”
It’s been an hour since Bishop Archer and the knights left. I’ve been crying my heart in frustration.
What was I supposed to do now that I was alone?
All my plans were ruined thanks to that Pope. How dare he betray me? Wash his hands like he never knew about me.
Since the moment I summoned him, I told him my reason for fleeing this place. Who I was and what I had.
It was enough reason for him to reject the offer I made that time, but instead, he accepted me as part of the temple. He made me a saint.
Gripping the hem of my skirt, I hide my face in my knees.
I had to come up with another plan if I wanted to save everyone who was still alive. I didn’t know how long Zion would keep them alive. Every passing minute is critical.
Sighing, I lean my head when a scream makes me jolt up.
I leaned on the tower window and glanced around the dark forest.
I heard the same scream, and then a figure appeared. I blinked, confused.
“Ezekiel?” I said breathlessly.
“Mila, help me!” Ezekiel said, sweating.
I started thinking of a plan, but to be honest, there wasn’t but only one choice. Open the gates and let him in, but I would need to make the fog disappear for me to do that.
“Wait, Ezekiel, I’m letting you in!” I said and disappeared from view.
Rushing down the stairs, I barge the door opened and summoned my powers, making a small protective dome around me.
The thick, black fog screeched as it backed away in fear.
I smiled but focused on my goal, and it was to open the gates at least for a second so Ezekiel could step in.
I moved my head around the gates until my eyes landed on the enormous latch that held the chains from the gates.
It was stupid even to try since I needed help from more people. I couldn’t open this thing with only one pair of arms. It requires the strength of eight to make it roll down.
Cursing under my breath, I keep looking around. Finally, I stopped when I noticed something on the corner of the wall. What was that?
I rushed to the wall and saw a loose tile. A smile played on my lips, realizing what this was.
Mustering strength from within, I pushed on the loose tile until a loud bang was heard and the wall moved.
“No way!” I said breathlessly. The wall was a secret door to the outside walls of the castle.
Hurrying, I peeked and waved at Ezekiel.
“Hurry!” I said and grabbed his arm.
We both groaned as we fell to the dusty ground. Coughing, I push Ezekiel away and stand to lock the secret door.
Once I secured it, I turned to look at Ezekiel, who lay on the ground, panting.
“Are you all right?” I asked, offering my hand. Ezekiel peeked under his arm, nodding. “Come, we have to go back in.”
Ezekiel frowned but then realized why I was suggesting that. The fog was surrounding us, and it looked mad.
“No way,” Ezekiel said as he stood nervously.
“Calm down. It won’t hurt us as long as I keep this barrier,” I explained.
Ezekiel nodded. I reached for his hand and made him follow me.
It didn’t take long for us to reach the entrance of the castle.
“Finally,” I sighed. Ezekiel chuckled.
I glanced his way and met his smile.
“It’s been a while, Mila,” Ezekiel whispered.
“I know; it’s been a while,” I said. “What happened? I thought-“
“Your father,” Ezekiel muttered, making my blood run cold.
“W-what?” I stuttered.
“Your father attacked the caravan of knights,” Ezekiel repeated.
“What happened to Archer?” I asked, grabbing his arms. “Are they dead?”
Ezekiel cast his head down, staying silent. I took a step back, letting go of his arms.
Did my father find out I was back?
My hand rested on my head as I continued feeling shocked by the news.
I was about to ask Ezekiel how did he escape when a loud bang made us flinch.
Ezekiel looked at me and then behind me.
“Come, you need to hide,” I whispered and dragged him out of view.
We ran to the opposite side of the castle where Noah’s chambers were. I knew there were some empty rooms where Ezekiel could be safe.
I was pushing on a door on the far end of the hallway. I let Ezekiel in and locked the door.
“Listened, I don’t have time to explain, but you must stay here,” I said in a hushed voice. “Under no circumstance, you’re to leave this room unless I come.”
“What, why?” Ezekiel tried to ask, but I covered his mouth with my hands.
Listening to our surroundings, I motion him to stay silent.
“You can’t go out because of Zion,” I mumbled. “If he sees you, he will take you down with the rest.”
That made Ezekiel frown.
“With the rest?” Ezekiel asked.
I nodded, worried Zion might be close and hear us.
I remained silent as Ezekiel seemed lost in his thoughts. Once I was sure no one was close by, I sighed.
“Listen, we can talk later, but right now, I have another issue to deal with,” I said, looking over the door.
“What, Mila?” Ezekiel asked. He seemed worried for me.
I smiled at that and patted his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, just Zion,” I answered and turned to leave.
I stopped near the door and looked behind.
“Remember, don’t go out or make too much noise. We will talk later. I will bring some food as well,” I explained, to which he nodded.
I closed the door and headed back down in silence. My light footsteps hid me from Zion’s presence.
Reaching the grand stairs, I peeked down where a small fog was forming. I frowned.
Why was it coming back in?
It confused me, but then I realized why. Zion stood on the castle entrance, staring blankly at the enormous fog that moved from side to side.
I rushed down and to his side.
“Zion?” I snapped, grabbing his arm.
Surprised, I let go of his arm. Zion’s eyes were pitch black while his stone hand went stiff with the rest of his body.
“Zion?” I called again, shaking his body. “Zion!”
The fog around us is approaching, trying to protect its owner. I wasn’t about to let that happen, not when I could defeat it.
Groaning in frustration, I turned and summoned my light powers. Then, creating an enormous barrier around the castle, I stepped forward and sealed the summoned print.
The crossed swords appeared as an image on the entrance of the doors, blocking the bangs of the dark fog.
I pant softly. It would take all my will to keep it up for a while, but I needed to. It was the best for everyone still alive.
“ZION!” I yelled, slapping him.
Zion’s face moved to the side. His long dark hair covered his eyes from me.
“WAKE UP!” I snapped louder.
Angrily, I grabbed his face and made him face me. Tears welled in my eyes as I looked into the lifeless eyes of the person I love.
“Please, Zion, wake up, my love!” I begged, but he was not reacting.
Looking at my hands on his arms, I glance at him under my lashes and, biting my lips put my hand over his chest and quickly use my healing powers.
Zion blanked out as his eyes rolled back, making him faint.
I tried to hold him, but the use of my powers and his weight made me tumble down as well.
Holding his head safe in between my arms, I cry. I was getting tired of this. I didn’t even know how long I would be able to endure since now I was all alone.
The only person I hoped would help me left me all alone.