22. The Mysterious Father
My blurry eyes don’t allow me to see well as I try to struggle with the person who’s hovering over my body. Pushing and kicking, I try to free myself.
“STOP IT!” the person ordered.
I tensed and stopped moving.
“I will let go, so don’t scream and calm down,” the person explained. I shook my head as he slowly removed his hand from my mouth.
Gasping for air, I turn and start crawling away from him, but he grasps my cloak and keeps me in place. I looked over my shoulder in fear. But once I see his face, I stop moving and instead frown.
“Calm down,” he repeated. I pant as he lets go, but I still backed away until I felt the bookshelf behind me. “Geez, can you calm down? I won’t hurt you.”
I study his face as I nervously shake like the coward I was. Yet, I kept my gaze on him, watching his every movement.
“Are you calm now?” he asked, scratching his head.
“W-what do you want?” I stuttered. The man raised his head, and as he met my eyes, I gasped.
Why did this stranger look like me?
Seeing the surprised look on my face, he sat down and crossed his legs. A smile plays on the corner of his lips as he shakes his head.
“Hello, my dear,” he smiled, and it wasn’t any kind of smile but one that made me feel emotional.
Shifting my eyes, I noticed his dark hair, just like mine.
He had several braids with some golden ornaments on them. He looked like me.
“Dear?” I asked as my mind finally registers what he just called me. “Do I know you?”
“Hmm, yes and maybe no?” the man said, chuckling.
“What do you mean?” I asked, annoyed. Strangely, I was calming down, but why?
“Let’s say that we met a few nights ago?” the man smiled. I blinked stupidly. Did we meet?
“It seems you don’t recall. The night of the welcoming ball in the river?” the man pointed out. I furrowed my brows.
“You’re not that person,” I growled.
“I am,” he said, snapping his fingers, and his appearance changed, making me look at him in surprise. “Now, you see?”
“Who are you?” I asked, confused.
“I’m your father,” he suddenly blurts. I stared at him and then started laughing. It was big laughter that even brought tears to my eyes.
He was joking, right? Was he joking before killing me?
I waved my hand as I held my stomach with the other.
“You know how to joke,” I answered, but he just stared back—his lips in a thin line.
I stopped laughing and turned serious. The surrounding air turned heavy, like something eerie was surrounding us.
I waited for him to say something, but he stood up and dusted his clothes. I remained on the floor, observing him. Then, thinking about what to do, I noticed he was heading to the desk. It was my chance to run out and flee the house. The horse wasn’t that far.
“This,” he said, distracting me. I watched as he grabbed some letters and turned to face me. I dug my nails into the wooden floor. “Here, you were reading this, right?”
“Y-Yes?” I stuttered nervously. He flipped through several until he found one in particular.
“Well, it states here that I’m your father,” he said, approaching me. I moved back as he crouched in front of me and showed me the letter. “This is me.”
I frowned and shifted my eyes to the word he was pointing. My eyes widened in shock as I looked between the letter and him. A shudder ran down my back as I connected dots.
“Now, you see?” Frey answered and lowered the letter. “I’m Frey, your father.”
“Frey…” I breathlessly repeat. “Frey as Prince Frey?”
He beamed at me with a smile and stood up once again.
“Yes, and you’re my daughter, as well as Aria,” Frey said, putting the letters back down. “All these are letters your mother and I exchanged while I was away.”
“I-Impossible!” I screeched. My body started shaking uncontrollably. “My father passed away!”
“Yes, I did, but only according to the people here,” Frey said in an indifferent tone. I snapped my head and stared at his face.
“What do you mean?” I asked without taking my eyes off him.
“What I mean?” Frey repeated as he spared me a glance. His almost white eyes met mine. I gulped down as a feeling of authority made me look away in fear. “Don’t you know the answer already?”
I blinked, confused. What was he talking about? Did I know?
I struggled to understand what he meant by that.
Hearing his boots click against the wooden floor, I kept my eyes cast down.
“You see,” Frey said and crouched again. His hand gripped my chin, lifting it to face him. “Your beloved sinner killed me.”
I shuddered in his grasp. Then, without a single ounce of emotion, he lets go of my chin, making me gasp for air.
“That bastard killed me and almost my entire clan,” Frey groaned with hate. “That’s why he is the way he is.”
“Y-You, you’re the one at fault?” I muttered. His eyes dart to the side, glancing at me with anger.
“Fault? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows,” Frey shrugged.
I move my eyes back to the open door. I need to escape, but I’m rooted to the spot. His presence is making my body submit. Was he my father?
“It’s a long story,” Frey said as he offered his hand suddenly. I looked between him and the hand. “We can talk all you want once we return.”
“Return where?” I asked.
“Home,” Frey smiled. “Your actual home.”
I looked at him in complete shock. He wanted me to go with him? What about mother?
Realizing it, I slowly face him.
“My mother and Aria, they’re over there?” I asked, stunned. He smiled and started organizing the letters.
“They’re safe, so don’t worry. I could never harm the queen of my clan,” Frey answered.
“Queen?” my voice asked, barely a whisper.
“Yes, and you’re the saint, the future queen,” Frey said as he moved back to stand in front of me.
I put my hands on the bookshelf and stood calmly. It was hard as my legs were shaking awfully.
“I’m not a queen!” I spat angrily. Frey blinked but then burst into laughter.
“Dear daughter, yes you are, and a strong one,” Frey laughed. “Your royalty. My blood.”
Frey moved his hand close to my face, but I slapped it away.
“I’m not the daughter of a murderer!” I spat with hate. Frey smiled and lowered his head.
I looked at the door and then back at him, who seemed distracted. Finally, mustering courage, I dash towards the door, but a strong tug has me yelling.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Frey growled near my ear. I coughed as the hood tightened around my neck.
“L-Let go!” I ordered, but he dared to laugh. So then, turning, I hit him on the stomach and tried to run away, but his grip didn’t lose up, making it hard for me to run away.
I wiggle my arms and head out of the cloak as he mumbled something. Then, freeing my body from the cover, I ran down and straight out of the house. I didn’t look behind and just ran away until I reached my horse.
I untied the horse in a hurry and got on it. Galloping down the path, I look over my shoulder. No one was following me. Letting a sigh out, I continue galloping until I see the intersection that takes you straight to the castle. But, again, no one was around, and that made me nervous. Why was it so empty?
Where were the guards on that patrol?
Cursing under my breath, I pull the reins and head straight to the castle. The narrow path made me worried as I was rushing in a hurry.
From afar, I could see the castle. Unfortunately, it would take me at least ten minutes to reach the gates. Looking once again over my shoulder, I noticed I was all alone. But I couldn’t let my guard down.
Distracted, I don’t notice a shadowy figure standing right in the middle of the road. I gasped loudly and pulled the reins, making the horse whine and cause an abrupt stop.
I pant hard as I notice the hooded figure. When did he?
I was confused and worried—panic seeping under my skin.
“MOVE!” I ordered the person. I know it was him.
Clenching, I prepare myself to hit the person with the horse. Then, raising his head, I finally see his face, and with it, a smile plastered on it.
Tears started spilling as I looked around. This was the only way to the castle.
“Please, let me go!” I said in tears, but his smile only widened.
Moving his hand, I noticed he whispered something, but I could not hear his muffled words. The horse started whining as he somehow panics for something. I couldn’t understand what was wrong. That’s when I noticed a black mist appearing under us.
It was scaring the horse.
“Easy boy!” I ordered it, but he was out of control. Worried he might do something, I tried to get down, but the horse threw me to the side where the slope was.
Letting a scream out, I fall and tumble down the slope. My body rolled down, hitting everything in its path. I covered my face with my arms, but it was in vain. Something wounded my arm, making me scream in pain.
Once I reached the bottom of the slope, I coughed and cried from the pain I felt.
Hearing some rustling, I snap my head up. A black shadow appeared out of the dust. I immediately backed away, but he grasped my hair, yanking it and making me scream.
“Quite stubborn little thing,” Frey said as he turned my face his way. “It’s all right; we can teach you back at home.”
I kicked him and tried even to slap him, but he was too strong, and I was in pain. My body and head ached.
“We shall go,” Frey said, dragging me along the dirt.
I screamed, struggling for an escape. Then, praying for someone to help me, I unconsciously summoned my powers, and it was something different from anything I’d ever used before.
The yellow ball of light made Frey yell in anguish. Finding my chance, I push hard and try to run away. I could hear Frey’s cries as I dash deep into the woods I’ve known for so long.
Trying to keep the pace, I dash straight to the castle’s grounds.
“YOU UNFILIAL GIRL!” Frey yelled from behind. Crying, I continue running. My body ached, and I wouldn’t be able to last long.
Looking to the front, I notice the garden from afar. All I needed to was to get there and catch the attention of the guards.
Mustering my last strength, I push myself forward until I finally reach the top of the slope that leads towards the garden.
“HELP!” I yelled hard for anyone to hear me. “HELP ME PLEASE!”
I continued running. My breath caught in my lungs as I saw black dots. Something warm trickled down my head, covering one of my eyes. What was that?
I looked behind and saw Frey closing up. As several voices caught my attention, I turned and screamed for help once again. I could hear the rushing footsteps heading my way.
Stumbling, I fall, wincing in pain as some thorns pierce my legs and arms. I’d finally reached the garden; I was safe.
Crawling, I tried to scream once again, but something caught my ankle and started dragging me. I yelled, scared as I noticed the black mist wrapped around my leg.
“No, no, please!” I said as my nails dug into the soil. “NO!”
Once again, the blinding lights appeared, and the mist scurried away. Then, tiredly, I fall flat on the ground. I can’t wait anymore.
“Zion!” I cried in pleas. I wanted Zion by my side right now. I wanted him to help me.
Hearing my name getting shouted, I try to distinguish a figure running up to me. My eyes were hazy from the dust and tears.
“MILA!” I heard my name finally being called by the one I yearned for.
“ZION!” I cried as his arms wrapped around me.
From a distance, I heard Noah’s voice shouting orders. Nervously, I looked over my shoulder and saw the black mist backing away. Searching around, I finally spot him, Frey, my father.
He was furious.
Shuddering in Zion’s arms, I hug him and hide my aching face in his chest.
“MILA!” Zion yells, but I lose consciousness.
“Please!” I whispered as my eyes closed. “P-Please…”