The Nightmare

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Chapter 31 - Memories

Copyright © DenGlemtePrinsesse, 2020


You're just going to talk.

I told myself for the 100th time since I followed the maiden out of the foggy room.

The Moon Princess just wanted to talk to me. When she addressed me earlier today and smiled at me, I made a plan to thank her later for her forgiveness at the first chance I could get. But now that I'm walking down the spiral staircase heading to her, I can say that somehow, my heart isn't very comfortable with the idea.

Somehow, part of me is tense and maybe a little paranoid. I'm guessing it has something to do with the way the princess summoned me. It reminds me so much of the time when the soldiers escorted me out from the dining room, saying that it was an order from the queen. I promised myselt not to let that happen ever again.

"I'm sorry but we're not going out of this palace, right?" I asked, looking around. Where is Eric when he's needed most?

"Of course not, mortal." I automatically exhaled at her response. I was instantly relieved that she's not taking me away from the castle. So relieved that I didn't let the edge in her voice affects me. It appears to me that she didn't like being around me, let alone talking to me.

We stop at the wide open area by the side of the castle. The part of the mountain that has been smoothen to look like a cliff instead. At the far end of it, the Moon Princess stood. Her flowy gown, dancing with the fresh wind.

You're just going to talk.

I pulled my cloak closer to my body. The breeze, colder with the altitude. The oceanview outside the castle, supreme.

All the paranoia in me vanished with the sound of the waves crashing against the rocky shore below us.

"Lunea Eiluthea." The maiden announced our arrival. I can almost see the princess in slow motion when she turned around to glance at us. Her hair floats as if I'm watching a live shampoo commercial.

"Mortal." She smiled again.

The princess is standing by a wide pond. The water is clear, shallow and has lavander flowers between the smooth stones that's guarding its edge.

Here goes nothing...

"You're Highness..." My tongue's still not comfortable with the words.

"I want to apologize for the way I behave last time. It's wrong. My actions are inexcusable. I'm sorry. And I also want to thank you, Your Highness. For your forgiveness." Finally. The words were spoken. This is all I want from the beginning, a chance to formally say sorry.

"Fascinating. Myself and thou ponder alike. My action as well had been both thoughtless and unkind. I opted to act on impulse, a poor choice indeed. For that, I express my regret."

"Oh no, no, Your Highness. You don't have to apologize for anything. I don't blame you. It was all on me." I almost grab her hands while saying that, thankfully I managed to stop myself. Who knows if I'm allowed to touch her or not. Worse, what if I turned into a stone if I touch her with my human hands. I should be very careful around the celestial beings.

"Aluthio Heldreth is right. There's more to thee than what meets the eye." I smiled at that. Did the Moon Princess just complimented me?

"Let us leave the unfortunate fate in the past, shall we?" I nodded happily. I couldn't agree more. Does that mean, we're friends now? Because I want to scream at the tip of the cliff now, figuratively of course. I can't even take another step near it.

"Your Highness, will I also get the chance to personally apologize to the Queen?"

"Thou has a brave heart, mortal. But I'm afraid I can not speak for the Queen." I nodded, understanding. I'm aware that the queen has more important things to do than spare a moment for me. Like my friends, the queen is dealing too with the pressure, expectations and a prophecy to be fulfilled.

"But it appears the heavens must have heard thee." The Moon Princess stares at the pond. Her irises glims as she glanced back at me, smiling.

"The Queen is truly fond of black pearls. One of the rarest treasures of our land." I was hesitant to glance at the pond, but thankfully, it doesn't show my reflection. There indeed a few black pearls scattered in it.

"Am I allowed to take them, Your Highness?"

"Certainly. Otherwise, I would offer not the idea." I don't know. Part of me is skeptical to take things that doesn't belong to me, let alone the things that belong to a magical place, regardless if it wouldn't be for me. I'm scared that the pearls are curse, or maybe the pond itself. I should ask Dave first before I take anything from this castle.

"It seems my intention is being doubted." My head snapped up to the Moon Princess.

"Oh no, no, Your Highness—"

"Worry not. Myself merely offered what I believe could earn thee a way to my Queen's heart. If thou must, go forth and ask my princes. These precious treasure can wait." She smiled at me, but it didn't reach her eyes. I offended her. Above all the people, I should be the one to know how it feels like to be doubted even when one's intention is purely clean. I shouldn't be doing this to others.

"I'll do it, You're Highness." I dropped myself to the ground and pulled my velvet sleeves up. But my hand retreated the moment it touch the water. The temperature of the water is higher than warm but lower than hot.

"I thought the water will be cold, Your Highness." Simply because the environment is cold too. But I proceed.

Somehow, the water is tolerable if I let the my hand soak for a moment. I took out the first pearl within reach. It's black, but it's shinning. It is unbelievably cold, sending immediate relief to my palm. So I decided to use my both hands alternately.

"Treasures like black pearls require sanctuary. It might offers thee a little discomfort now, but it will be worth it. Above all, thou does it for the Queen, yes?" I glanced up at her, nodding as I keep the fourth pearl safe in my palm.

If the queen will see my sincerity with these pearls, then I shouldn't be complaining.

"Do tell, mortal. How did thou make do a bond with my princes?" I was taken a back by her question. It reminded me of the time when we're in the mirrored room and she accused me of casting a spell to the my friends.

I notice that today, the universe is giving me chances to tell my side. And I wouldn't waste any of that.

"In the world I came from, Your Highness, everyone is equal. Everyone can be friends and can freely talk to others. Sure there're still things that cause differences and misunderstanding. But at the end of the day, the greater half of humanity wins. My friends, your princes, they're part of that goodness even before they learned about their magical identities. Those five guys have been good people in my world. It wasn't hard for me to get along with them." Most of them.

"They are always kind to me, so it wasn't really hard to return that kindness to them. Friendship requires effort from their end and mine. That's how we built our bond, Your Highness." I borrowed her word. I'm hoping that I finally made it clear that my friends treat me nicely just because they're good people, no spells involved.

"I notice too, Your Highness that you'd grown closer with them. Especially Macforth and Jermond— I mean Prince Greil and Prince..." What is Jermond's name here?

"Prince Oren." She finished. "Myself had learnt the mortal names." The princess giggled, and I lost it.

"As thou had spoken, the princes are good men. It was hard not to grew fond of them." Of course.

I glanced back to the pond while eight black pearls are cooling in my palm.

"There's no black pearls left, Your Highness." I panic for only the white pearls are left. Should I return one so people in this castle won't notice?

"Worry not. The pond will offer more later. For now, keep them in a safe place." I nodded, standing up to stretch my knees.

"I'd been gone for long. My attendants must've been worried. I shall see thee later." I wanted to tell her that maybe we can walked back to the castle together. But I figured we just became friends and I don't want to overwhelm her with my presence. So instead, I just waved goodbye at her.

Oh, good Lord! I screamed mentally as I watch her divine existence leave me.

I can not believe we're friends now. I can not believe I have a princess friend now! And on top of that, she's magical! How can I blame by lips for stretching in the widest beam, and making me look like an absolute lunatic as I watch her pace away?

I am so blessed.

I reached for my hoodie to hide the pearls. It is deep enough to hold them, for my layered dress doesn't offer pocket. I returned two black pearls in the pond, anxious that someone would notice. Besides I still could get more later, according to my princess friend.

I headed for the stairs on the side of the cliff, back to the castle. It wasn't a dangerous path at all since it was perfectly carved, wide and with safety barriers. The only problem was, my hand repelled upon its contact with the handles.

My hands are pink and a little bit tingly. It doesn't hurt but it's uncomfortable.

"Eric?" I can't be sure given the distance. I could only guess because the clothes are familiar. I saw him sitting on the grasses. His back, leaning on the castle's wall.

I rushed to him, a little worried because it seems like he's not moving.

"Eric." I shook him. My heart immediately calmed down, when I heard him snoring.

He must've been really exhausted, that his eyes couldn't wait to reach his room. Part of me is aware that I share the blame on his fatigue. He already told me that he's healing ability weakens him, and yet I still asked him a favor.

"Excuse me, Sir?" I called to a man who walked pass the entrance. I meant to ask for help to bring Eric to his room, but the man only glance at me and continued heading to where he's going. I'd like to think I didn't see him stared at me with disgust.

Frustrated, I just sat in front of Eric.

My resolve is to wait for him to wake up, after all I don't have anything to do. I only came here so they can have a look at Ali from my memories, and I'm done with my part. So I might as well guard Eric. Looking after him while he's asleep is the least thing I could do for him, because as much as I wanted to transfer him to his bed, I'm aware I wouldn't be able to move him an inch. I tried that before, so I know.

"Who would've thought that an innocent face such as that could be extremely annoying when awake?" It was Errol, beaming as he walks towards us. He must have taken a nap himself. His hair, dishevelled. His eyes, a little swollen.

I waved hello at him.

"Can you help me put him to bed. He might catch a cold out here." I'm sure of that. The wind is freezing, if it weren't for my layered clothes, I wouldn't be able to move a muscle.

"Sure. But do you want to draw on his face first? I won't tell anyone." He joked, before pulling Eric up. To my surprise Errol threw Eric on his shoulder, effortlessly, as if Eric weighed nothing.

People bowed to my friends as we walk into the palace.

"How do you feel now?" He asked.

"After the vision you saw, I know it can be frightening." He glanced down at me. His eyes reflect nothing but sincerity with his query. And there goes his strong irises again, expressing absolute attentiveness than I deserve.

Of course Errol would ask how I feel. He is always thoughtful. Sometimes way too much thoughtful and his bearing is more than I can actually handle, that he's making me confused.

"I'd been preoccupied since the vision happened. So it doesn't really bothers me at the moment... Maybe later at night." I tried to be funny.

He dimpled so I think it works.

But really, I haven't given much thought about it. I'm hoping that I wouldn't remember the image of the white lady before I sleep tonight. Heaven knows how hard it gets for me to fall asleep when my mind is preoccupied, let alone when I'm scared. I would need to keep all the lights on, so my heart will calm down, but at the same time, I couldn't sleep with brightness.

"May I know what this place has shown you?" Cautiosly I asked.

While I'm curious, still I don't want to be intrusive. If Errol won't share that information with me, I'll completely understand.

"It showed me my purpose." Oh. That's deep. I should've not asked then. I shouldn't touch this subject. Errol's just going to feel down if we keep on talking about their responsibility.

"Don't be upset. Everything is going to be okay." As much as I don't want to prolong the conversation about their duties, I couldn't just randomly talk about how beautiful this castle is. That would be disrespectful. Errol might even think that his feelings are not valid if I just dismiss them. I figured, if my friends always assure me that they've got my back, I think it's time I do the same.

"Can you call for lightning whenever you like?" I asked, because I notice his purple bracelet on his arm that's holding Eric's feet. It's glowing. Like a different universe lives inside it.

"Not at the moment. The Pantas said my element is a strong power that requires absolute preparedness, but I'm guessing, it simply won't answer to the substitute keeper of the stone."

"It's the first one I think. Eric too is yet to control his Earth element." I encouraged.

While Errol is not the original keeper of the stone, his heart is always kind and brave. I think that's more than enough to deserve the designation.

Errol smiled at me. His eyes are so strong, I immediately glanced away.

"Who decided to make you a keeper?" I asked quickly.

"My King. The father of the princess that I served." Her again.

"Remember when I told you that I was nothing but a protector of the original keeper of the stone?"

"Yes." I tried to sound attentive. I don't want to be disrespectful but part of me wanted to change the course of our conversation.

"I wasn't just a protector of that princess. I was her protector. And she's my purpose." She's your purpose?

Oh.

"I was bound to keep her safe at all cost. It wasn't just an oath, it was imprinted on my very existence." He added.

Errol doesn't realize but his irises glow as he continue to speak about her. Consciously, he might not remember her, but his heart evidently didn't forget. I'm guessing, this princess isn't just a duty to him.

Without a doubt, she is the luckiest lady in the world. With Errol by her side, ready to throw himself at her against all odds; With his eyes, responding to the borrowed memories of her, even though he doesn't realize, clearly nothing else can top that. I envy her. She's blessed.

"But all those changed when the Alf'ru found her first before I did."

"Oh no! She died?" I immediately regretted my choice of words. They're too bold. I want to hurt myself because Errol just smiled sadly at me. I feel bad that I envy the princess. She doesn't deserve my ill thoughts.

I'm reckless.

"I'm so sorry. I should've not ask." I didn't know she died. I thought Errol was designated to be a keeper simply because it's a dangerous job, and the king didn't want any of that for the princess.

"It's alright. It wasn't your fault that our kingdom stood on the Alf'ru's way when it rose from the Underworld. Besides, it's not like I could remember the princess. Or my kingdom for that matter. The memories of her were just shown to me. Who would've thought that not being able to remember has an advantage? It prevents us from dwelling on the past." But his tone and his eyes say the otherwise.

"She must be beautiful." I said half-heartedly.

I wasn't asking a question but I paused, waiting for his response. Silly, but at the same time, there's a part of me that doesn't want Errol to say anything about what I just said. I'm curious to what he might say about my assumption, but I also didn't want him to agree with me. I just wanted to divert his attention. Sadly that's the first thing that my tongue uttered.

"The most beautiful of them all." That felt like a sharp blow in my back.

"As far as I could tell from the vision, she's the fairest inside and out." Oh.

We stop in front of a gigantic door in a hallway next to where my assigned room is. I'm thankful for the timing, I'm thankful that we arrived here before Errol could be any sadder. Or maybe I'm just thankful for my own benefit. Maybe I'm hoping that I didn't learn about her at all.

I opened the room. A lot of mahogany stuff and maroon color greeted my eyes. Eric's room is dimmed, the curtains weren't pulled up yet.

I kept the door open behind us.

"There you go." Eric rolled over the thick sheets instinctively, the moment he was laid on the bed. He looks like a huge cocoon.

"Seriously I'll draw on his face. This is my chance for vengeance." He joked again. His arms, crossed as he glances down at Eric.

"My emerald..." Eric said, almost a whisper.

"I lost it."

"What? How could you drop it, you—" Errol stormed out of the room. He's going to look for it.

I panic because Errol's reaction states it all. Those gems are the center of their powers, I'm guessing it should be kept with them at all times. How could Eric lose it?

On the second thought, should I really be taking it against him? It wasn't his fault that he's all drained like this.

Eric mumbled again, like he's protesting at my critical words against him.

I leaned closer to comprehend his words.


"I know a great way to burn off the calories in that drink." He's just dreaming?


I took the sheets off of Eric's head to see the other side of his face, and there's his earring. Secured and safe.


I smiled at his face. Even in sleep he still manage to fool people.


"What are you trying to do with the stone?" My gaze shot to the door.


I gulped seeing Jermond walking towards me.


"No-nothing. We just put Eric to bed." I nodded, immediately excusing myself for he had entered the room.


I'm sorry but I'm not ready yet to be alone in the same room with Jermond.


"I'm not done with you." He pulled my arm back, the moment I walked pass him.

I stumbled but his hold on me was firm to keep me steady in front of him. My whole body shivers at my proximity to him.


Jermond freed my arm. He crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes, glaring down at me.


"Please, Jermond. Kindly stop talking to me like that." I step back, away from him.

In my peripheral vision, I can see Eric's sleeping figure. I'm hoping he wouldn't wake up at this very moment. I don't want them to argue about who I am and who I'm not.

Jermond keeps walking towards me.

I know he wouldn't hurt me, but still, I found myself taking a step back after another, until I stumble against the mahogany table behind me.

My eyes widen, when he suddenly grabbed my jaw, pulling me back towards him.

"It's just you and me now. Tell me what you're up to." The words, escaping through his gritted teeth. His hand on my jaw tightened. My fingers automatically ran to his hand, trying to loosen his grip for his nails started digging into my skin.

"I'm not going to do anything. Please believe me."

"You can toy them with that innocent act of yours for all you want, but that won't work on me anymore."

"But I never meant to harm anyone." I stared at his eyes, pleading, asking him to understand.

"Did you now?" The hostility in his smile, evident.

"Then how do you explain your memories? I'm curious for your next entertaining story." Jermond had already seen my memories? Then why is he still suspecting me? My memories should've made my name clean by now. It's a proof that everything I said is true. Did they find anything suspicious there? Did my memories raised more questions than answers?

"Talk." He scowled.

My jaw hurts.

"But that's all it. Everything I told you is the same in my memories, right? It means I'm not lying. Why are you still angry?"

"You failed to mention one important detail, you liar." I flinched at that.


What important detail?


"You're suppose to bring her in, not interrogate her yourself." It was Macforth, staring boredly at us.

Jermond glanced at him for a moment, before looking back at me again, leaning closer.

"So, that's how you wanna play?" He whispered.

Harshly, he let go of my jaw, shoting a glare at me before walking towards the door, purposely bumping Macforth in the process.

My hands clung to the table, supporting the weight of my entire body that my knees had totally abandoned.

I stared at the empty space before me, shaking.

His physical action, stupefied me.

That's not Jermond, he's never been violent to anybody. He's never been crude to anyone, to me. So why?

But more than anything else, more than his actions, I was quivering at the thought behind the treatment. Why did he do it? Why did he act like that? What did he see in my memories?

"Come with me." I'd never been more than willing to follow Macforth. Whatever this interrogation is about, I will always cooperate with them. Isn't that clear yet for Jermond? Why does he always have to be angry when he's talking to me?

While I wanted to be mad at him for being unfair, for taking sides and believing only what he sees, I couldn't. Part of me is very much aware that he's doing nothing but to be vigilant, standing up for the safety of our friends and protecting the people that's important to him.

But am I not one of them?

I glanced around and notice that we're walking through the same path towards the foggy room again. Maybe this time, I can see my memories now. I can explain it to them, frame by frame to clear the misunderstanding.

Behind us, I heard footsteps. It was Jermond and Errol, walking to the same direction like us, talking. He'd probably catching him up about what he'd seen.

"Thank you, Macforth." I said, before the two guys reach us, and before we reach our destination. If it wasn't for him butting in, who knows what critical words I'd probably be taking in now.

But, Jermond isn't the bad guy here. With his supernatural strength, he could've easily crushed my jaws earlier, but he didn't. There's still probably a part of him that believes I'm a good person. I only need to make that part bigger.

"I didn't do it for you." Macforth said, opening the door. It wasn't the door to the foggy room though, but the one next to it. This is probably where they'd vanished earlier.

"I am utterly curious about you, mortal." Prince Gamette stated the moment we walked into the white room. He pulled a chair for me to fill in.

In front of us is a giant monitor of some sort, the video was paused, showing my mom and Pie, back when we're still in the hospital.

It feels like we're in a cinema, only that, the video in front of us is the exact way how I perceive them as they happened. We're all watching from my point of view.

"Pria, your memories are very limited. What happened?" Dave asked, looking so serious again. I wanted to massage his forehead, but his tone requires an urgent answer.

I see now. That's probably the reason for the interrogation.

Errol said that the pond could only show what the conscious mind remembers.

"Are you thinking that I'm lying because of that?" I glanced at them, at Jermond.

I collected myself, taking the seat in front of them, showing them I'm ready to answer all the questions they have. All they have to do is to ask calmly.

"Ten months ago, I acquired a very bad head injury from an accident. My past memories were forgotten. That's why it's limited. But the memories where Ali is in, still shows, right?" I asked, staring at the monitor in front of me.

Ali is the reason why we're here in the first place. They wanted to know who he is, and if my stories were true.

"The events that I told you, it's all there, right?"

"The mortal lives that we borrowed for this mission, they ended in a plane crash ten months ago. Were you there too?" They're in an accident too? All of them? I didn't know that.

Oh, I understand now why Jermond is suspecting me again. He's probably linking my accident to theirs.

I dont like where this is going.

"No. Mine happened with a sixteen wheeler truck back in Andorra." I answered Errol.

Their accident and mine were two different things. They couldn't be related.

"Exactly, when did you arrive at Ciopova?" He asked again.

"October 22."

"And there you have it, everyone. The truth." Is Jermond mocking me? But why?

"What do you mean by that? I have nothing to do with the plane crash. My family only brought me to Ciopova for my medical needs." And for my father's investment.

"Let's send our men to visit her family. They'd probably been busy spying on us. We have to congratulate them for this solid alibi they had concocted." Jermond had put emphasis on the word family.

"Why are we talking about my family? I'm tell—"

"Which family? The one on Earth or the one that's here in Utovaj?" I can't believe that came from Macforth. I can't believe he also entertains the idea that I'm with the evil people. He'd known me longer than Jermond. Then, why?

"If her presence in the mortal plane is indeed a ploy, I bet the ones that sent her on Earth didn't know she would lose her memories in the process. Perhaps Pria is no longer a threat?" Even you, Errol?

I can't believe it. I can't believe he also considers the idea that there's a probability that I'm with the evil people.

I'm feeling light-headed. It's like my world is twisting upside down.

"Who knows how much time we still have until they can get their hands on her. For all we know she's just waiting for the perfect opportunity to do what she's told."

They are already hurting me. It's not just about the suspicion anymore. Once they accepted the posibility that I was really sent to Earth, that would only mean that I'm not human. That my family isn't real. That this life doesn't belong to me. They're stripping my identity off. They shouldn't do that to me. That is so unfair.

"I can prepare a cell for it if you want." A cell?

"That won't be necessary, Prince Gamette. I'm willing to look after her."

"As if I would depend the safety of my home to the words of a mere soldier whom failed to do the one job he was entrusted."

"Dave, I want to go home." I grabbed his arm.

"Why hurry?" Jermond laughed. "Is your secret easier to unravel here?"

"Everyone, enough." Dave finally spoke. "I will go to the Kingdom of Ojat'e and find Ali."

"What the hell, Dave? Do you wanna die?"

"Do you have a better plan, Jermond? You said so yourself. Instead of debating whether she's telling the truth or not, we should be finding answers. Unfortunately those answers can not be found here."

"That debate is over. We got the answers that we want. Let's start from whatever information we can get from her. Or her family for that matter."

"What information do you want? I have nothing."

"Dave's right. We can't stay inside Helmithio forever."

"What, so you agree with this, Errol?"

"Dave, did you think this through?" Macforth asked.

Everyone stared at Dave, waiting.

While I'm unaware of the danger outside the kingdom that everyone is talking about, still I know that the warnings were made for a reason.

"Prince Gamette, I'm afraid I would be needing your aid once more today." Dave simply said.

"What? Dave that's insane!"

"Count me in then."

"Seriously, everyone?! You're willing to gamble your lives just to prove her innocence?" Jermond had darted his attention to me.

His forefinger, pointing me. His face, red. His narrowed eyes, radiating with rage.

"If anything happens to them, it will be on you." I couldn't take it anymore.

I was out of the room before any of them could speak again. I meant no disrespect, but I won't hear another word.

My feet took over, running through staircases and hallways back to my unfamiliar chamber. Where else could I go? If I did manage to cross the narrow bridge by myself, I don't know how to ride a horse back to the other castle. Or maybe I can just walk back? I'd done that before, I could do it again. And while I'm not sure if I can still remember the way back to the passage, I could still try. Right. That would be my Plan B.

I ran faster, because in the middle of my forethought, Plan A popped up in my head.

All the things I consider moral and ethical vanished as I sped the remaining distance to the wooden door, and surprisingly bolted it open without even knocking, totally disregarding the curious stares around me.

"Eric, please wake up!" I can't believe I'm depriving my friend of sleep when it's my fault that he's worn out to begin with. I can't believe I'd jump on a guy's bed with him on it. I can't believe I didn't take my shoes off. I realized my desperation at this moment.

"Eri—" He had jolted himself on his feet in an instant, looking around, alarmed.

His consciousness dawned back to him when he saw me.

"What the hell?" Eric protested, defeated. He jumped back to bed, annoyed.

"Pplease, Eric help me gg-go home. Convince Dave and Macforth nn-not to go out of the kingd—"

"Who's going out? What are you saying?" Eric sat up straight. All the sleepiness in him left instantly. His eyes adjusting to the brightness of the room.

"Theey'd seen my memories. Jeermond doubts my memories. I explained that I'd lost my pp-past memories, bbut he connected that ttt-to the plane crash and he ssaid my bb-being on Earth a-and meeting you all w-were planned, so Dave is going to Ali's k-kingdom to find answers." Eric grab both my arms.

"Pria, why are you shaking?"

"Ppp-please ff-focus. He is angrrry at me bbbecause Dave and Macforth will be in danger. If anything happens to them, he will make me acc-countable for t-that." I couldn't help my chattering teeth. My heart is tense and my body is cold.

"Where is he?"

"In tthat roo—"

"Stay here. I'll be back." Eric rushed out. I didn't have the chance to ask nor stop him. Why would he go? I need his help.

I inhaled deeply, calming my heart, swallowing my ugly sobs.

I glanced around and through the massive window next to the bed. Should I execute Plan B now?

I pulled his blanket around me, helping myself with the cold. If Eric says he will be back, he will. Maybe he'll agree with me. He's my only chance to go home. Once home, I can say goodbye to Aunt and Uncle and head for Carlo's place, just as what my parents originally planned.

Maybe my destiny is to really live with my brother. And all these things happening to me now are just faith's hard way of letting me realize that. Maybe life is teaching me a lesson because I tried resisting it earlier. I tried to disobey my father.

Okay, so that is my resolve then. I will transfer to Carlo's as soon as possible.

This magical place, I don't belong here. I don't think I even deserve my friends. Because, come to think of it, what do I have to offer to receive this gift of knowing that the magical land exist?

While I'm so grateful that my friends became my friends, I'm afraid there's too much consequences that comes with it. I'm not sure if I'm ready for any of that. I just wanted to go home right now.

And how could they suspect my family too?

"The plane we're in was an outbound flight from Ciopova..." Eric is back, just like he promised. He's panting as he walks towards the bed.

"It crashed, minutes after it took off. Everyone died in that accident. That's when we borrowed their lives." I nodded but part of me doesn't want to listen. I just want to go home.

"Why are you telling me this?"

"That plane crash happened on the 22nd day of October. The same day you arrived at Ciopova. I'm afraid my brother is right."

"Stop..."

"But still, doesn't give him an excuse to talk to you that way. It won't happen again. I promise."

"He can't be right, Eric." My eyes, hot.

"Hey, hey, hey. It's alright. The fact that you're on our side, makes you one of us now."

"Yyou ddon't understand, Eric. If I am to look at it t-that way, it means e-everything I know aa-about myself isn't true. I don't want to let go of my life for a battle I know nothing about." My lungs craved air.

"Hey, no one's saying you have to let go of anything."

"But it feels like it. Because with all those circumstances that Jermond pointed out, I'm starting to doubt myself too."

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.