A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. — The Hound of Death, Agatha Christie
TO THE RED LINE (CHAPTER 33: MOTHER)
"YOU’RE kidding me! A child that had been forcefully taken by Hameon was her child?!”
Mika stared in great disbelief at the words spoken by Leo. Her eyes moved from the older Spirit, to the Spirit Queen.
He wouldn’t lie. Surely he wouldn’t lie about something this significant! For as long as she had known her, Reza struck them as an opaque, cold, and bitterly mean Queen would only tolerate them if it’s in her own interest and benefit
— Makai was such an example mainly because she couldn’t get rid of him without stirring any troubles.
Though Makai was despised by many due to his so called prophecy that he was destined to bring doomed to the Spirit World, the late Spirit King had written a will to the Spirit community that should anything were to happen to him, the Queen or even the Princess, the Prince shall inherited the Throne and be crowned as the King.
With the way Reza had cruelly governed the Spirit World after Mika had gone missing over the years and Makai watched helplessly over the sidelines, the Spirit Community had reached to a point where they would want nothing more than to have the Spirit Prince take over the throne and governed them instead.
Better than the Devil you know, than the Devil you don’t, they said.
“How,” Makai’s sharp tone snapped Mika out of trance. She looked at him with a lifted eyebrow.
“How long have you known about this? Why haven’t you mentioned any of it to me? What else have you been hiding from me? Answer me!”
“Prince...” Leo sighed deeply. Looking from Makai to Reza, he lowered his head before speaking softly at him.
“Your Highness, please forgive me for not telling you about this earlier. I believe it is better for you to find it out through a reliable resource — Her Majesty herself. Ten years ago, on the night when Her Highness the Prince had been forcefully pushed into the portal. That very night, I’d found out about Her Majesty’s long missing child.”
Sound of gasps filled in the air around them.
“You traitorous bastard!” Makai in his rage, threw a hard powerful punch at the older Spirit.
The Prince repeatedly threw punches at the older Spirit who chose not to fight back and only covered his bleeding face.
“Makai, stop! Stop it!”
Mika struggled to keep her brother from beat the older Spirit to a pulp when she suddenly felt a presence standing behind her.
Shinji roughly grabbed Makai from behind and restrained him on his knees, while Guy rushed to Leo’s aid.
“Forgive me, Your Highness.” Leo spoke slowly with a bleeding mouth. “Out of respect for the late His Majesty Ferid, I’d promised him not utter a word about this to anybody — including you and the Princess.”
Golden eyes moved from the enraged Prince, to the silence Queen.
“His Majesty Ferid had told me all about it, but I want to hear from you, Your Majesty.”
Leo stiffened from the recovering wound he received earlier and gazed down. One hand raised to the back of his head, running his fingers through his hair.
“How much do you know?” Reza whispered with a snarl.
“I knew that you were once married to a commoner and even bore a child with him, before gotten married with His Majesty Ferid. And just recently, I’ve discovered that you are the granddaughter of Hameon —
also known as ‘H’, who had sent all of those threatening letters to the former King Lewis of Aquarius.”
Everyone gasped aloud.
“No way!” Rinda shrieked.
Leo cleared his throat.
“I’ve noticed the connection during our investigations on the missing Baron’s Portal and the Spirit Invasion. Your main target is not limited to Her Highness alone isn’t it, Your Majesty? You want her to secure your position as the Queen, no doubt. However, at the same time, you bore a deep grudge and hatred against two people, don’t you?”
“What are you talking about, Uncle Leo?” Mika asked.
“Two of the powerful men in this world. Unfortunately, they had the misfortune to mingle with Hameon and got dragged into his messed up plans. You’ve successfully making them crumbled to their knees, but not enough to get them killed. That must have been such a disappointment for you, am I right?”
Leo stared directly at Reza, whose cold glare slowly began to fade.
“Ferid had informed me once about your past and your troublesome relationship with your grandfather.”
Hearing about her grandfather, Reza quickly lifted her chin and glared sharply at him.
“You know nothing about my grandfather nor my past, servant! What you had been told by your late King were lies! All of it!”
“Then tell us.” Shinji spoke, out in the blue. “Tell us exactly what had your grandfather done to you that made your mind so twisted into the Queen that you are today.”
The White Wolf Prince had been in silence and mostly stayed out of the way of the battle. He had give a way and allowed the twins to seek their vengeance against the Queen until the very end.
Now that the battle was over, it was time for him to step into the matter and completed his mission.
Reza looked shockingly at Shinji’s words. Glaring at everyone in the chamber, she said, “Thirteen years. I’ve waited thirteen long years for this day to come so that I may execute my revenge on the Spirit’s Royal Family for ruining my life! For taking away the people I cherished more anything else in the world — the love of my life and my one and only son!”
“What are you talking about?” Makai spat ragingly at the accusion.
Reza gritted her teeth.
“It all happened on that one night — the night I’d met Ferid for the first time...”
HAMEON Enterprises was holding a special celebration on the Lunar Full Moon in order to celebrate the Coming-Of-Age ceremony for it’s one and only Princess and the future Heiress to the Company.
Young Reza looked through the glassed window in one of the many rooms of the huge mansion — her grandfather’s office. The servants had been slaving and working hard to prepare for her Coming-of-Age ceremony, something that her grandfather had insisted and planned on doing since she was a little girl.
Reza did not hated her grandfather, or ‘Papa Hameon’, as she would normally called him. He had been her only relative to take care of her ever since her own parents died from a terrible disease when she had been merely three years old.
Reza cared and loved her Papa greatly. Though, there had been days when she would preferred other people’s company over his, as Hameon tend to be quite a pushover, at times.
Today had been one of those days.
Reza sighed heavily. Brushing her long midnight hair with her fingers, she looked at her reflection on the glassed window.
Her pale snow skin, blood red lips, and beautiful hair that was black as the night had gotten her plenty of admirers and suitors. None of them caught her eyes or captured her interest.
While she was deep in her thoughts, something had suddenly caught her attention. Reza’s eyes grew widen and immediately sparkled. Butterflies were flapping their wings in her stomach at the sight of her beloved, who was waving his hands at her while stayed hidden in the bushes, away from any prey eyes belonged to the strict patrolling guards.
Reza waved back at a handsome young Spirit male wearing a dirty patched clothes, who smiled shyly at her, in return.
Smiling happily, Reza quickly headed toward the door when it suddenly opened, and revealed the least person she had wanted to see at the moment.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting for me, my dearest one. Those mean investors have taken their time to mock our deals. Not to worry. I’ve taught them a thing or two not to mess with Hameon Enterprise’s CEO!” Hameon chuckled lightly as he closed the door while his two bodyguards stood outside.
“It’s quite all right, Papa.” Reza had forced a smile.
Hameon smiled fondly at his granddaughter.
“I can’t believe you’ve grown to become a fine adult, Rezalina.” Stroking her cheek gently, Hameon continued.
“Now my dearest one, I have something special to tell you. Oh, I should probably wait to tell you this, but I simply couldn’t. I’m too excited about it myself!”
Hameon carefully guided her to the two single couches and offered her a seat. Rubbing his hands together excitedly, he begun.
“I’ve invited the windowed Spirit King to your Coming-of-Age ceremony!”
Reza’s smiling face immediately froze. She had been completely taken by a surprise about the news that she went completely speechless. In fact, she was so speechless she didn’t even know how to properly react.
Meanwhile, Hameon had mistaken her reaction as an excitement.
Holding her hands, he gently rubbed them.
“This is such a great opportunity not to be missed, lovely one! We can use this opportunity to expand our company and be known to the rest of the world! With the King coming to your ceremony, people can finally acknowledge our creations!”
His eyes sparkled. “Perhaps you could even dazzle him tonight, dearest!”
Reza finally snapped out from her thoughts. Turning her head and looked at her grandfather, she firmly said, “Papa, I do not wish to do this.”
Hameon’s crooked smiled faded. “Whatever do you mean by that, dear?”
Reza inhaled deeply.
“Papa, I’m happy to have you by my side and I will always be ultimate grateful for your kindness all these years toward me after losing my parents... I am happy for tonight’s ceremony, of course. Really, I do. However, I do not want to be a ploy to seduce His Royal Majesty just so we could expand out family business! I’m... I’m already in love with someone. Someone who makes me really really happy. Someone who —”
“And just who is this acquaintance of yours, Reza? Is he from a Noble family? Someone I’m well acquainted with, perhaps?”
“N-No. He’s a commoner who works as a Blacksmith. But Papa-”
“A blacksmith?” Hameon shrieked angrily. “Dear child, have you completely lose your mind? Why would you want to be with someone like that?”
All the sudden, Hameon usual gentle demeanour changed drastically. Tilting his head to the side, his voice came in raw and thick.
“He seduced you.”
“Papa! Philips did not seduce me!”
“So his name is Philips, is it? He dared to seduce my one and only granddaughter and made her rebel against me like this?”
Reza looked terrifyingly at her grandfather’s sudden outburst. Never before had he raised his voice at her until at this very moment.
Swallowing the gulp in her throat, Reza slowly rose from her seat and bravely met with her grandfather’s hard gaze.
“He’s a young decent Spirit of whom I’ve chose to spend the rest of my life with. He may not have much, but he works very hard, has a heart of gold, and he loves me. For Philips’, and my future’s sake, I’m willing to topple everything including not inheriting the —”
Suddenly, Reza felt stung on her left cheek.
Eyes widened, she looked at her grandfather while trying not to wince or cried at the pain that he had just inflected on her.
For as long as she had known him, her Papa had never struck her to be someone who would raised his hands to strike a woman. Not even once.
Hameon exhaled sharply. Eyes glued on the ground, with face filled with shame and remorse, he walked toward the exit and slammed the door.
Reza broke down in tears as soon as her grandfather had walked out of the door. Heart filled with sorrow, Reza wiped her tear-stained cheeks, and just about to leave the office when something else had caught her attention — someone had thrown a pebble on the window.
Walking toward the window, her heart soared at the sight of the love of her life, standing there with a semi-guilty look on his face, hands in his pockets. He must had seen everything.
Smiled sadly, Reza waved her hands at him before making hand signals — telling him to wait for her at their secret place.
Philips nodded and made his way there.
Upon reaching their secret rendezvous, Reza immediately crushed and sobbed into her lover’s arms. She went on telling him what had happened just a while ago.
“Have you calm down yet, my love?” Philips asked, gently while stroking her long black hair. He had always admired how beautiful and soft they were.
Reza nodded slowly. They sat on the grass, underneath an Oak Tree. Philips had his arms wrapped around her waist, while she placed her head to rest on his chest.
Breathing in deeply, Reza stared into the grey eyes of her beloved.
“I do not wish to go to the ceremony tonight.”
Philips stared back at her. He brushed the bangs falling on her forehead and breathed in softly.
“You have to. You know you have to.”
Reza nodded sadly and before reluctantly, she sighed. Tightened his grip on her waist, Philips planted a kiss on her forehead and smiled lovingly at her.
“I’ll always be here for you. Anywhere and any time you need me, Reza. I will always be here for you.”
Reza smiled softly at his words. Despite the argument she just had with her grandfather, just looking at Philips could made her smiled brightly again. She loved him greatly because of that and refused to chose anyone else for that matter.
When the night of the ceremony came, it went rather quickly than everyone had expected. Dressed in an elegant ruby dress that contrasted well with her milky skin, Reza was the heart of the night.
Many had congratulated her. The male guests had all but lined up shamelessly waiting at the foot of the staircase as came down. Reza smiled at each and every one of them before politely refused their advances. She had not seen Papa yet, but was sure he was around somewhere.
After her little rendezvous with Phillips, Reza had made up her mind that she would entertained her guests for tonight and played her part as she should. The only thing Reza had swore never to do was to seduce and mesmerized the widowed King, just as her grandfather had wanted her to do. Though, she would still act courteous toward him, nonetheless.
Reza had been walking around the ballroom and mingled with other guests when the guard announced the arrival of the Spirit King.
Instantly, she felt a heavy lump at the pit of her stomach.
Masking her expression, she waited patiently for everyone to make a way for the King and his entourages as they approached her.
“Smile for the King, dearest.”
Reza nearly gasped aloud when Hameon had suddenly appeared behind her, before urging her to step forward to meet with the King.
“Your Royal Majesty,” Hameon bowed his head respectfully. “I trust your journey coming here has been wonderful?”
Ferid smiled warmly at the elderly Spirit.
“Yes, thank you. My entourages and I encountered a bit of problem with the carriage, but nothing that we couldn’t handle! Right, men?”
His entourages rapidly nodded.
Ferid grinned and patted the older man affectionately on the shoulder. His eyes moved from Hameon to the stunning and beautiful young female Spirit standing behind him.
“And who might this lovely one be?”
“Very eye-catching, isn’t she, Your Majesty? Allow me to introduce you to my one and only granddaughter, Rezalina.”
Reza bowed curtly at him.
“Ah, the heart of the evening!” Ferid smile grew widened. Taken her hand, he then planted a kiss at the back of her hand.
“Your Majesty.” Reza lowered her head, while maintaining eye contact with the handsome older King.
Ferid smiled politely in return. Releasing her hand, he kept his gaze on her.
While Reza had decided that while the King was easy on the eyes, her heart had already been taken and belonged a certain someone.
“If you will excuse me, Your Majesty.” Reza politely bowed her head and walked away.
At the corner of her eyes, she saw her Papa glared in disapproval and shook his head in disappointment.
“Please forgive her lack of courtesy and manners, Your Majesty. I’ll be sure to have a word with her later.”
Ferid flapped his hand in the air. “Oh don’t be, my good man. A young lady like herself shouldn’t be wasting her time talking to an old King like myself. She should spread her wings and sore up in the sky!”
“You are kind as always, Your Majesty. I thank you.” Hameon lowered his head.
“I must ask though, what is your opinion of my lovely granddaughter?”
Ferid raised an eyebrow at the given question. It was not unusual for Hameon, of all people to ask him such question. This was his granddaughter’s coming-of-age ceremony, after all.
“Well, Mr. Hameon. I think your granddaughter is absolutely beautiful. Any male would be very lucky to have her.” Ferid spoke, politely.
The older man couldn’t stop grinning. Internally, he had been waiting patiently and excitedly for this moment to arrive. When his dear granddaughter had simply brushed the King off, Hameon had been quite upset but maintained his compose. A drastic plan was needed if he was going to secure the Spirit King as his future grandson-in-law.
Clearing his throat, Hameon began to switch to different topics, mainly political and economical issues.
ALL the while Hameon was busily entertaining the Spirit King, Reza had an agenda of her own — one which she knew would displeasure her Papa even further. Walking steadily and smiling at the guests who greeted her, Reza made her way toward the back door of the mansion.
Glancing around for any guards on the area, Reza quickened her paces when the coast was cleared, and headed toward the small hill behind the castle where she knew someone was already waiting for her with a white horse — her knight is shining armour.
Beaming with a big smile, Reza quickened her pace until she came closed with the horse. Taking the offered hand, she climbed up, and together, the two lovers straddled away from the place.
The sound of giggling and chuckles could be heard miles away as the deeply in love lovers smiled warmly and chuckled at secrets intimately shared between them.
Reza sighed in content. She was truly in bliss and could not be even happier laying in the arms of her one true love.
Philips meant everything to her. He was the sun of her eternal darkness, the comfort she could never find when her Papa became too much to bear for her to deal with no matter how much she loved and cherished her.
With her head resting on the crane of his neck, Reza inhaled deeply. Opening her eyes, she giggled softly at the look that Philips were giving her with a broad grin.
One hand smoothing her raven locks, Philips leaned his head forward and kissed her forehead.
Their happiness did not last longer when the sound of horse paddling could be heard marching toward them.
The young couple quickly stood. Reza narrowed her eyes as the horse paddling getting closer.
“Your Majesty?” Reza gasped, once the person who dared to ruin her romantic evening had been identified.
“So this is where you have been hiding, Miss Reza. You sure know how to give your grandfather a good heart attack!” Ferid winked with a sly grin.
Climbing down from his horse, Ferid greeted them properly. His gaze wandered from Reza to Philips whom glared at him, and had one hand wrapped protectively around his lady’s waist.
“At ease, mate. I am not here to steal your lady away. In fact, it is actually the opposite.”
Turning to Reza, Ferid cautiously said, “Your grandfather has sent his guards to look for you, after noticing your absent at the party. He was rather upset that you had left the party so suddenly. To ease down his temper, I’d offered to search for you. It worked out perfectly.”
Reza crossed her arms and looked away.
“I had already told him what to expect tonight. It is not my fault that if he could not accept the fact that I do not wished to dazzle the King!”
Words slipped out of her mouth before Reza could think. Eyes widened with fear, she clasped on her mouth.
“I-I’m sorry, Your Majesty. I-I didn’t mean to be so rude-” Her stuttering words were immediately cut out by the King’s roar of laughter.
“It’s perfectly fine. No need to apologise.” Ferid waved one hand casually in the air, still half-chuckling.
After a short while, Ferid managed to regained back his composure and smiled warmly at them.
“I like your spirit, Miss Reza. The fire in your eyes is truly astonishing.”
He looked at Philips and then did something that had caught both him and Reza unguarded — he grabbed the young blacksmith’s hand with both of his hands and shook it firmly.
Meanwhile, Philips’ eyes grew widened at the heavy weights in the palm of his hand which was still tangled with the King’s strong grip.
To his left, Philips heard Reza gasped out loud.
“Make sure you take good care of this one. Understood?”
Ferid looked deply into the blacksmith’s eyes. His grip on Philips’ hand tightened.
“Yes! O-Of course! I shall cherish her always and protect her with my own life!”
Satisfied with the answer given, Ferid released his hands from the blacksmith with a soft smile on his face.
One hand reached out and he stroke the manes of his horse before he climbed up.
“I shall informed Hameon that his granddaughter is nowhere to be seen nor found. And that she is most likely already be out of the kingdom. You should use the time to escape from here as far away as possible.”
“Wait!” Reza stepped forward. “Why are you doing this, Your Majesty? Why are you helping us to elope? You even gave us some golds!”
“Do you not wish to elope with him?”
“Of course I do! Still, I need to know why are your helping us.”
Ferid looked at her fondly, before he sighed.
“My dear, I knew beforehand what Mr. Hameon had planned to do the moment he sent out the invitation card. He wished for the two of us to be wed, correct? Truthfully, I’d objected to the matter the moment I received the invitation letter. Though as the Spirit King, I am obligate to attend and thus, I was hoping to tell him directly that I would declined his offer to marry you. Meeting with you earlier had made me changed my mind, however. You are truly, a beauty, Miss Reza.”
“Then why did you-” Ferid lifted one hand in the air, refraining her from speaking.
“It’s because the look in your eyes. It was the exact look thay my beloved Queen had once given to me before her unfortunate passing. My dear, love cannot be forced. It must be given and take, between two people who chose to give their hearts to one another.”
Ferid smiled warmly again at them.
“I wish the two of you the very best in life and good luck.”
MIKA could barely believe nor understood what she heard. Her father had told her the reason for his marriage to Reza had been an arrangement political one — in terms of strengthened the security of the Spirit Kingdom and it’s territories by having Hameon’s Company supporting them.
Though it was an arranged marriage for them, Mika knew how much her father had loved and cherished Reza so much, it had drove him enough to marry her.
Meanwhile, Reza had been staring down on the ground. Her eyes, that were previously filled with so much malice and hatred toward them had gone softened and replaced by sadness and grief from remembering the painful past.
Reza clenched and unclenched her fists several times and exhaled softly.
“True to his words, the Spirit King had informed Papa of our elopement. It had truly broken his heart, from what I’d heard. A couple of cycles went by since then. Philips and I formed a family, and we were undoubtedly happy living in a small cottage, raising our son. That was, until the third cycle of Spring came and it changed our lives... Eternally.”
THE countryside where Reza and her family had taken residence, was a beautiful place to live indeed. A small cottage, built made Philips’ bare hands, in the woods and on the top of the hills, surrounded by a lavished riverbank, and flowers of different colours, shapes and sizes.
Reza hummed softly a melody while she held the apple of her eyes in her arms — her two years old son, Damien.
Kissing him on the temple while he giggled happily, Reza smiled before she looked up at the incoming sound of footsteps at the front door.
Philips opened the door and smiled gleefully at his wife and their son. Pulling down the heavy brown bag he had been carrying on his back to the floor, Philips approached and affectionately greeted them.
“How’s my big boy this evening?” Philips brushed his son’s cheek affectionately before landing kisses on the toddler’s forehead. He had then turned to his lovely wife and kissed her softly on the left cheek.
Turning his sight on their son again, Philips carried on and playfully tackled his son to the ground.
“Careful. He just had his dinner.” Reza gently scolded her husband.
“Did you? Let’s see what Mama made dinner for us, shall we?” Carrying his son in his arms, Philips went over to the kitchen. His wife followed closely behind.
For the last couple of years, these had been her life living as a blacksmith’s wife.
Reza never minded, of course. It had been her decision to elope with Philips and build a life together — away from the constant spotlight and especially, under the constant watchful eyes of her grandfather.
Life was incredibly hard when they had first gotten married. They did not have much money and could barely lived. With Philips monthly incomes, they could only afford to eat yesterday’s heated up meals, or if they were lucky enough, hot meals given by his generous employers and colleagues.
Even so, never once did Reza sighed or regretted leaving her luxurious life behind and led a hard life with Philips. She finally understood the meaning of ‘barely living’.
Nevertheless, she could not be any happier.
As time passed by, Philips had managed to earn more incomes and able to support the them by taking a second job as a bartender for an new Four-Stars Inn on the opposite side of the town. He would worked there every weekends, and his shift would start from late evening to midnight.
In addition on helping out her husband financially, Reza had managed to find a simple job as a part-time librarian at the small town they lived in.
On their second year of marriage, in the middle of beautiful Spring, Reza had realised her period was overdue. When she went for a check out, it was confirmed by the town’s doctor that she was indeed pregnant with their child.
Upon hearing the joyful news, Philips had been so overjoyed that he went to the hills and shouted his heart out to the whole world that his lovely wife was pregnant — to Reza’s great joy and embarrassment!
Eventually, the couple had settled down to a new lifestyle: Philips had quitted his second job and found a new one closer to home, while Reza continued to be working as a librarian until she could no longer able to walk on her own feet without needed an escort.
Nine months had passed by in bliss, and eventually, a son was born in the first week of the cold Winter. Reza and Philips became proud parents to their newborn whom they named Damien — ‘to tame’, in Ancient Aspaniac Language.
Another cycle went by peacefully with the new arrival of the family. By the third year of their marriage, an unexpected guest came knocking on their front door.
Reza abruptly stopped chopping the onions on the wooden board in the kitchen. Turning to her distraught looking husband, who had taken a seat at the dinner table with hands at the back of his head as he faced down, she said,
“What do you mean someone had stolen the Mullets’ wrought irons?”
Reza quickly washed her hands before she approached the empty seat and sat next to him.
Philips sighed heavily, massaging his throbbed forehead.
“The Mullets are obviously unhappy with this outcomes. We’ve suspected it was an insider’s work.”
“Oh, that’s not good at all! Well, won’t you want to tell the Mayor about this?”
“If only there’s a proof. Without any solid proof, we can’t do anything about this!”
“Oh, darling.” Reza said gently, clasping his hand and fingers intertwined.
“It will be all right. What did Mr. Mullet said about this? There has to be a reason why you are feeling this distraught?”
Philips brushed her cheek with the back of his hand gently. He sighed heavily again before saying, “Mr. Mullet has requested for me to go with him for a three days trip to the other town — to place an order and bring home some wrought irons supplies. We’ll be leaving at dawn.”
“I don’t see why you need to be so gloomy about? It is a good opportunity for you, isn’t it? You’ve been working for him for so long, he’s trusting your judgement!”
“I know, darling. It’s just that I... I have a bad feeling about this trip. A very bad feeling. I do not wish to leave you and Damien behind.”
“You’re not going to leave us behind. You’re just going for a short business trip.” Reza brushed her fingers through his hair. “You’ll be coming back home sooner than you could imagine.”
Philips let out a helpless sighed. Pulling his wife closer to him, he wrapped his hand around her waist.
“I still don’t feel like going.” Philips murmured sadly.
“You have to. For Damien’s sake. I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.”
“I sometimes do wonder if you’re not worry enough about me.” He tightened his embrace on her.
Reza chuckled softly. “I do. But I know that you’ll come back to me. You always come back to me.”
Dawn finally arrived as Philips finished unloading the last of his luggages onto the horse-wagon. Turning to look at his wife, Philips reached out for her and pulled her for a tight embrace.
“I love you,Reza. More so than my own life.” Philips softly whispered.
“I love you too. Not once did I regret us eloping that night three cycles ago. You and Damien are my world now. Nothing else matters.”
With one last embrace and kiss, Philips had reluctantly and gently pushed Reza away and hopped onto the wagon.
“I love you, Reza! I’ll always love you! I promise I’ll be back home!” Philips waved his hands frantically as the horse began to move.
Reza waved back, trying so hard not to tear up.
It’ll be all right. He will come back soon. Reza told herself for the thousandth times since last night when he’d told her about the news.
Truth be told, the moment the words had slipped out of his mouth, Reza had a bad feeling of him leaving them.
Nonetheless,she shrugged it off and told herself to be strong and positive.
At times like this, Reza knew she needed to be a supportive wife to her own husband and a strong mother to her child. She couldn’t afford to have ill thoughts invade her mind.
With that in mind, Reza took a long deep breath and exhaled. She did repeated the exercise twice, before making her way back to the comfort of her home.
Unknown to her, several pairs of eyes were watching her every moves from afar away distance.
Grey clouds covered the usually clear blue skies. Reza had just finished washing the dishes. She wiped the little sweats on her forehead and frowned slightly at the cloudy clouds outside.
Her heart felt heavy whenever she thought of her husband. It had been two days since he’d left.
Shaking her head, Reza tried to push all the negativity thoughts to the back of her mind.
“He’ll be home tomorrow night. There’s nothing to be worry about.”
Her thoughts was disrupted by the sound of Damien wailing in the living room.
Quickly wiping her hands with a clean cloth, Reza rushed to the living room to see what was bothering her baby boy when she stopped abruptly and gasped sharply at the three figures surrounded Damien.
Out of those three, she recognised one immediately, despite not meeting for years.
Hameon had Damien in his arms, cooing the young toddle with baby noises, who had reduced from wailing to sobbing.
“Hello, Rezalina. I see you’ve wedded the low life and even gotten yourself a family. Tell me, when are you planning on telling me about my great-grandson?” Hameon spoke calmly.
Snapping out from her shocking trance, Reza cautiously approached her Papa. She knew Hameon like the back of her hands — beneath the usual calm exterior, there lies a firecracker ready to burst for what she’d done to him.
The betrayal and humiliation he had to endure.
“Please, Papa... Hand Damien over to me.”
“So Damien is his name, huh? My father’s middle name. I see at least you still kept me in your mind when you named this little one.” Hameon said amusingly, looking at his great-grandson.
“It was Philips’ idea. He had wished for our child to have my family’s name at the very least since he’s an orphan.”
“Thus, you’ve chosen my father’s middle name. It is befitting. My father was after all, a charismatic Spirit.” He cooed the toddle again, making Damien to wail once more and even louder this time.
Reza’s maternal instinct kicked in when Damien’s wailing increased. She took few steps forward toward him.
“Please Papa, let me have Damien. He needs his mother!”
“Does he? Perhaps he’s just hungry. When was the last time you fed him?”
“Hand Damien over to me. Now.” Reza spoke, more forcefully.
“My dear, does your son means the world to you more than your own life? What would you do if one day something terribly bad happened to this child?”
Reza froze completely.
He won’t dare.
A wave of great desire to protect her child from her grandfather sudden overwhelmed her.
Reza’s heterochromia eyes grown brightened as electromagnetic waves surrounded the entire room.
“You won’t dare!” Reza barked.
The small table lamp near the coffee table exploded.
Tension rose in the air as Hameon’s bodyguards aimed their guns at her. Damien’s wailing had now turned to a full rage. It was his crying that snapped Reza from going berserk.
“Now look what you’ve done. There, there. Shhhh... Here.” Hameon handed the distressed toddler over to the mother.
Reza quickly took her baby in her arms and gently cooed him.
“Ease down, dear child. Even I know not to pick a fight with you, especially now that you’ve become a mother.” Despite the calmness of his voice, Reza would not allowed herself to let her guards down.
“You’re not welcome here. Leave.”
“I will, old girl. However before I leave, allow me to ask you one thing: I have yet seen your so-called husband around the field. Where is he?”
“He’s out on a business trip. I’m warning you, Papa. If you ever lay a finger on Philips or Dameon, I swear I will hunt you down.”
Hameon looked at her from the corner of his eyes, but said nothing at her threatening words. He left her home in deep silence.
Despite being the wealthiest Spirit in the Spirit Kingdom, when it come to strength and abilities, Hameon knew very well his granddaughter could crush him to pieces with her power if only she was aware of it.
Hameon knew he had to work extremely hard to make sure that he’d gained her love over the years and trust and to make sure that if ever she grown to hate him in the future, at the very least, she would be kind and dared not to kill him.
What had happened earlier was a solid evidence.
As his mind began to form a plan, Hameon could not help but to smirk.
Soon... Soon, she will be coming back crawling to me and beg for mercy. When that time comes, I will have the Spirit King as my grandson-in-law!
ON the opposite side of the town where they lived, Philips and his employer, Mr. Mullet, had just finished purchasing the wrought irons and other necessarily supplies they might need for the trip back home.
As they were in the middle of loading the goods onto the wagon, they were approached by five individuals wearing a black mask.
Without warning, the five assailed them.
Two of the thugs threw a powerful punch on old Mullet, caused the older Spirit to fell on the ground with a broken nose and bleeding face. Meanwhile, the rest had engaged in a fierce battle with Philips using deadly weapons.
Philips deflected each assaults using a Spade. One of the attackers thrust a spear at his neck, which Philips quickly dodged and countered with one of his own. Another assaulter came in and attacked him with a pitchfork.
Again, Philips deflected the attack and kicked him hard on the face.
One down, two to go.
“Who sent you?” Philips demanded, angrily.
“It doesn’t matter who sent us. You’ll be dead soon anyway!” Spat one of the attackers.
“Yeah, the man who hired us promised great fortunes after we kill you!” Stated the second attacker,excitingly.
Philips’ eyes grown widened with realisation.
“Hameon. The man who hired you thugs, was his name Hameon? Answer me!”
The two thugs exchanged looks with each other. When they didn’t answer him, Philips knocked them out using the Spade.
After he had done dealing with those two, Philips went on rampage and dealt with the rest of the thugs.
Philips quickly scanned for his employer’s whereabouts after defeating the last of the thugs.
Philips helped out the older Spirit who had slowly regained his consciousness.
“Mr. Mullet, can you hear me?”
Mr. Mullet let out a painful groan. The heavy blow Mullet had received from the assault earlier was a gruesome sight to see.
“Damn!” Philips swore.
Carefully, he helped the older Spirit got up to his feet, before hurriedly making their way to the nearby inn for a medical treatment.
As they passed by the streets, Philips frowned deeply at the pedestrians who did not bothered to offer them a helping hand, nor did they spared a glance at them or the public humiliation that had happened in broad daylight!
Walking steadily on his feet while half-carrying and dragging his employer by the arms, Philips was unaware that there had been several eyes were on him.
One of those eyes belonged to a man holding an old firearm.
He aimed at Philips — directly on the chest.
As Philips struggled to carry another pounds of weight, all the sudden, he felt a sharp pain pierced into his skin, on the chest. Before he could registered what was happening, the blacksmith found himself laid on the ground, with the extra weight beside him collapsed beside him.
Eyes bewildered, Philips rose a hand from the ground to his chest. He felt thick red substance from a small hole on his chest.
Only one thought came to his mind.
“How truly unfortunate things have to end this way.” An old crooked male voice and tapping sound of a cane, forced Philips to look up from where he was laid on the ground.
Philips’ expression changed to several degrees. From bewildered to shock and despair, and finally, raged.
The proud millionaire businessman stood at the centre, surrounded by his bulky and oversized bodyguards.
His eyes were emotionless and cold as he stared down at the blacksmith.
“I’d warned you, sonny. Since the first day that we met, I’d warned you not to come anywhere close to my granddaughter — she’s too good to be with someone like you — an orphan and a bloody blacksmith. She was born from a noble family. Her blood is pure and should not be tainted by a mere low life such as yourself, a blacksmith. But oh no, you didn’t listen. You just had to steal her from me, don’t you? Insolence thief! Now because of you, a taboo child has born! A defect!”
Philips roared as he got up from the ground to tackle Hameon, only to be slammed back down to the ground by one of his bodyguards.
Cringed at the pain and wound on his chest, Philips shouted at the top of his lungs.
“I LOVE HER! I love Reza more than life itself and she knows it! She loves me as much and there’s nothing that you could ever do that will ever change us! We have a wonderful family and a beautiful and healthy boy that is the solid proof of our love!”
“Or is it?” Hameon grinned wickedly. “You’re bleeding profusely, son. With that wound, you won’t survive in,” He looked at the pocket watch he often carried with him wherever he goes, “Less than twenty minutes. The bullet that is still intact within your skin is a rare bullet that no Spirits would survive. I’d make sure of it.”
“You son of bitch!” Philips huffed and struggled to catch his breath. His eyes were getting heavier as well as his breathing. Tears were gathering in his eyes.
“Reza...” Philips murmured. “Please forgive me... Forgive me.”
Trembled hands reached out for the inner pocket of his jacket, Philips taken out a small photo of Reza holding and infant Damien in her arms. He gripped on it tightly like a lifeline until his knuckles turned pure white, and let the tears fallen on his cheeks like waterfall.
“Damien... Papa will always loves you.” Philips bought the photo closed to his lips and kissed it.
“Reza... Meeting with you... Was the best thing that had ever happened to me... I will never forget it.”
The next second, his grip on the picture loosened and his hand dropped on the ground, lifeless.
A moment of silence passed by between everyone who had witnessed the whole tragic incident. Hameon went down on his knees and gently closed the deceased blacksmith’s eyes, before he picked up the picture laying on the ground.
His old winkled eyes looked at the pure joy of his granddaughter holding her infant. How happy and bliss she seemed to be in the picture. Part of him felt incredibly guilty and sad for what he had done. Another part of him —the dominant side — felt it was a necessarily to punish the formerly blacksmith for tainted his family’s rare bloodline.
The offspring between the Spirit and Dragoon must be kept noble. This was the only way for them to survive in this cruel and ugly world. In order to preserve his family’s lineage, certain measurements needed to be taken, even if it meant to get his hands dirtied.
Because of Reza’s betrayal and even sullied their family’s name, Hameon had to do what was right — he had to get rid of Philips and the son.
One down. One to go.
Hameon crooked a smirk. He knew exactly how to get rid the other one.
“Nothing happened here. If I ever hear a wind of someone reporting to anyone, be prepared to have this town burned down. Understood?” Hameon’s sharp eyes gazed on anyone who dared to defy his order.
Fortunately, Hameon had make sure the residence here knew who owed the properties they lived in and depended on. Which clearly explained why nobody had even bothered to help the two now dead Spirits, even if they had wanted to.
They had be warned earlier not to, least to suffer the consequences.
MIKA knew she wasn’t the only one who let out a loud gasp and tears flowing down her cheeks. Her heart pierced after listening to the tragic tale. Never before had the Spirit Princess expected that the Queen’s tragic past would have effected her like this.
Looking away to hide her weakness, Mika glanced at her brother, who was still standing on her left side with a devastated look on his face. Gone all the rage and hatred he had been holding over the Queen’s head all these years. Despite his constant noble arrogance, Mika knew deep down, her brother was a lot fragile that he cared to show.
“What happened next?” Shinji’s calm voice filled in the deep silence between them after a moment.
Reza frowned deeply.
“I didn’t received the devastating news until a couple of days later... When Hameon and his goons showed uninvited at my front door.”
IT was a late Saturday evening when Reza had returned home from taking a stroll with Damien, found that her house had been intruded and trashed by none other than Hameon and his goons.
Several glasses broke and walls were severely damaged when Reza had unleashed a mild electromagnetic wave throughout the house, which hit and killed Hameon’s goons instantly.
As for Hameon, he had survived the attack upon summoning a protective barrier to be placed around him and his toddler great-grandson.
“Things have change, unfortunately, my dear child.” Hameon stated calmly. “There comes a time where a drastic action need to be taken in order to persevere what has been guarded properly for generations.”
“What are you talking about?” Reza whispered lowly.
Her heart suddenly beating rapidly fast, and her pulse quickened. She felt as if someone had put a piece of rock at the pit of her stomach.
“Allow me to be forward with you then. My dear, you are my one and only blood relative. Thus, you are still the next heiress to the Hameon’s legacy. As such, I refuse to let anything happen to you. Be it good or bad.”
“I reject! I disinherited any rights belonged to the company the moment I’d decided to elope with Philip that night!” Reza argued.
“True. You did, sadly so. However, the fact still lies that you and I shared the same blood. Thus, you will obey my orders. Otherwise...” Snapping his fingers, in a blink of an eye, Damien disappeared from Reza’s hands and into his arms.
“Damien!” Reza gasped.
“At ease, child. Damien is in good hands. You think you are the only one born with special abilities?” Hameon said in a mockingly tone while maintaining his composure. His voice was deepened.
His eyes glowed in dark amber. Like Reza, there was an electromagnetic spark surrounded him.
“What do you want from me, Papa?”
“Do you still remember the widower Spirit King Ferid? Rumour on the streets has it that he is still in search of a new bride, even after all these years. Though it seems the Senators are the ones forcing him to remarry.”
“I wish you the very best in life and good luck.”
Had been the last words said to her by the Spirit King before they parted ways.
Lifting her chin at Hameon, Reza narrowed her eyes.
“Whatever it is that you are offering, I have no interest to be any part of it. Besides, I am already married and a mother of that child you’re holding. What would my husband said if I run off with another, even if it is the Spirit King himself?”
“He will not be saying anything. I assure you.”
“What are you talking about?” Reza frowned deeply.
Hameon grinned broadened. “Have you not heard?”
“Heard about what?” Reza demanded. “What have you done to Philip?”
Just then, someone called out to Reza from the back door. It was Mister Mullet’s wife, who was sobbing uncontrollably.
“Madam Mullet?” Reza rushed toward the older woman who could barely walked on her own feet.
“What’s with all these tears?”
“It’s horrible! Something devastating and horrible have happened t-to...”
Reza’s heart raced wildly the moment those words came out from her mouth. Hands trembling, she tried her best to comfort the older woman the best that she could.
“Madam Mullet, please try and take a long deep breath and tell me exactly what’s going on?”
Please. Please don’t say it.
“I-It’s David and Philips! A-A messenger from the other town has informed me that... That David and Philip have been killed in an accident!”
The whole world had suddenly turned into a deep silence as Madam Mullets continuously broke down in tears. Reza dropped on her knees, with one trembled hand covered her mouth.
Madam Mullet shook her head.
Stricken with the grief of the news of her dead husband, Reza had unleashed her long dormant and powerful Electrokinesis throughout the whole household, which also killed the grief-stricken Madam Mullet.
“Enough!” Hameon barked. In his arms, Damein continuously to wail loudly.
Reza sucked in air the moment she realised what she had done.
“M-Madam? Madam Mullet? Oh no, no, no!"
Trembling hands shaking out to cup the older Spirit’s paled cheeks, with widened eyes from being electrocuted. Reza’s heart broke once again as tears flowed down on her cheeks. The world blurred out of focus, and the only thing remained was the stiff cold cheeks she was holding.
“There, there, child... ”
Footsteps approached her before familiar warm hand gently tapped her the back of her head. Softly stroking her long beautiful braided hair. It had taken Reza a while to finally realise her grandfather was standing behind her.
Turning around, she met with a pair of gentle eyes, looking back at her.
She hated it whenever he used her proper name.
“Sometimes in life, you must chose what is the absolute best for the sake of your family, even if in the end, you would be the bad one. Everything that I have done, I did it all for you — our family’s future. You shall carry on the family’s name and legacy. We will pretend nothing had happened in the previous three cycles, with an exceptional that you had gotten yourself foolishly impregnated and thus, bore a child.”
Reza quickly spun her head at her grandfather with a grief-stricken face.
“I loved him, Papa. I loved you!"
“At some point in life, you will learned that love does not conquered all, my dear.”
“You are absolutely the worse kind I have ever met!” Reza growled. Once again, her eyes glowed brightly.
The tension air around them increased rapidly.
“Are you planning to kill me, your own kin?”
“I am nothing of a monster like you! Hand over my child to me right now!”
Reza taken a couple of threatening steps forward.
“Do not let me repeat myself, Papa. I will take Damien and we will flee from the Kingdom, away from your filthy hands. Hand over my child to me right now. ”
“I doubt that would happen, dearest.” Hameon began to walk away, still holding Damien in his arms.
“Do you really think I would allow you to walk away with my child right before my very eyes?!” Lifting her hand in the air, aiming at Hameon’s direction. Reza glared at him with a killing intention when she was stopped by the calmness in the older Spirit’s voice.
“Be careful, Rezalina. You wouldn’t want to accidentally missed your target. That would be extremely depressing, I believe.”
Reza pulled back her hand from shooting an energy bolt at him.
“You bastard! Hand over my son to me!”
“I shall, with a condition — you will marry the widowed Spirit King. You shall earned his trust and became his Queen. Once you’ve done that, I shall hand over Damien to you. He will became the next heir to the Throne. Until then, you will not see a hair of him. Good day, my child.”
“Damien! Please don’t take away my baby! Please! Papa! Damien!"
Damien’s wailing echoed loudly as he was taken away, while Reza watched helplessly. It was the last sound that still haunted her until now. Heart shattered, Reza had been left alone, crying in agony, on the cold hard floor.