She just had to do it where Sunain won't be implicated. She thought as she walked away furiously.
"A bridge, of course. I could jump into the river. It would take them sometime to find my body and I just hope Sunain would be safe. I can't stay alive anymore." She thought and she started asking about for a bridge.
They told her about one but it was just so far. She started walking, she inquired about for directions at every turn. Some people knew her and murmured about her instead of actually helping. Some did and finally, she got to the bridge.
The Death Bridge.
Rumour had it that once one falls from this bridge into the river, then the person would never be found. The water is a really tricky one and it takes only the best swimmers to pull their way out of this one.
Good thing she didn't want saving, she thought.
She walked to the middle of the bridge where she knew that if she jumped then that would be the end for her. The water below was gushing wildly and the breeze swept her hair in different directions.
Since this bridge was mostly avoided at all cost, there was no fear that she would be rescued.
She looked at the river and considered it as salvation. At last, she would rest. The water would accept her, it was already calling to her.
She jumped without thinking, there was no need for any second thoughts. The fall was a long one before she finally hit the water. The waves bashed her in different directions. She didn't fight it even as she was losing air.
She embraced death and finally, she was drowning.
"I later loved you." Diamant heard Gloss said. His voice shaky and tired, defeated just like that day. Everything was just like the day he was killed. She looked down and saw him laying his head on her legs while he looked at her, blood dripping from his mouth and his blue robe blood red.
"Just like that day." Diamant thought.
Everything was just like that day. The place, their clothes even down to the look in her grandfather's eyes. Those dark eyes hiding something. His head wasn't off his body but blood was dripping round his neck and her hands which held his head were sticky with blood.
Her heartbeat increased and his head went flying.
Just like that day...
She looked up immediately to see the Major General looking satisfied and blood dripping from his sword.
Time seemed to slow down, she could hear everything. She could hear the blood dropping slowly off the Major General's sword and the way it hit the ground and dried up. Could hear the way her grandfather's head swung in the air, hear the way her heart shattered at the sight of the bloody neck. It was just them, three of them. It was all replaying again but now with words she had slowly forgotten, with words that didn't make any sense.
Then Gloss head hit the ground and time froze.
The voice lingered in the air like a distant call that was gone with the winds as soon as it was said.
Time resumed back and everything faded away.
"She is waking up." Diamant heard someone said. Although the voice sounded so distant.
Diamant opened her eyes and felt strange. She blinked her eyes furiously trying hard to remember where she was, then her eyes met Sunain's.
They were cold. Diamant flinched then looked away but who she saw amazed her. Nana was here? But why?
She tried to get up but discovered she didn't really have enough strength, she rested on her elbow and looked at Sunain.
"What happened?" She questioned.
"You tried to kill yourself. Some people rescued you from the Death Bridge, it was really fortunate and lucky that there was a really good swimmer around then." Sunain replied as she carried away a bowl of water with a piece of cloth inside away. She went out of the room leaving Nana and Diamant to face themselves.
Diamant suddenly remembered everything, the argument with the DL and her journey to the Death Bridge. Who saved her and why couldn't they just mind their own business? Now she had to deal with this and she didn't like it.
"Your determination is one fancy thing, child." Nana said as she came closer to Diamant, breaking her out of her chain of thoughts.
"I will like for you to understand this." Diamant paused, her voice sounded dry and her throat itched. She easily reached for a glass of water that must had been put there for her and easily drowned it.
"I don't appreciate your punishment in disguise of a favour. I don't owe you anything and I really wished that you had minded your own business." Diamant snapped, feeling drained from every word but felt that they needed to be said.
Nana's face tightened in anger, her hands balled into a fist then she smiled suddenly relaxed. Diamant looked on confused, it looked like no one wanted to touch her. Why would they do that? Unless of course, there was an order!
"You owe me your loyalty and when the time is right, you will serve me." Nana said with finality.
"You do realize that your words are just empty to me, I owe you nothing! And I will never serve the Dragon Lord." Diamant fired back with finality.
"Who said anything about DL?" Nana laughed as she walked away back to where she was before.
"Planning to overthrow your grandson? Now that is a fancy thing." Diamant clunk her tongue against the roof of her mouth.
Nana dashed across the room and slapped Diamant's.
"Treason! Treason!" Her voice shook in rage, her face red with anger.
"How dare you accuse me of treason? DL is the King of Alusa and my loyalty forever remains with him. How dare you question that?! You are nothing but a stranger."
"Exactly, a stranger." Diamant smiled sickly as she rubbed her cheek. "Stop meddling in my affairs. I don't need you."
"We will see about that." A slow smiled played on Nana's lips and with that she left the room.
Sunain came in shortly and placed some bottles on the table. Diamant noticed a long cut on Sunain's hand as she picked each bottle and explained how she would use it. The cut looked fresh and really deep, she wanted to ask about it but got distracted with the words that floated into her ears.
"This is only good for your scars, they should not be swallowed." Sunain said then moved to other bottles.
Diamant zoned out, her gaze on the bottle which was poisonous to be taken in. Her heart raced over with joy.
This could be it...
She was so deep in thought about the bottle that she didn't hear Sunain leave. The bottle called her, called her to seek peace.
Aurora opened the door, allowing the light from the hallway to cast a shadow of her on the floor. The room was really dark and she could barely see but she could hear him breathing softly. She lit some candles.
"I put the boys to sleep, they are getting along very well." She walked up to him.
"I am worried about you." She placed a hand on his shoulders.
He looked up at her, took her hand then pulled her to sit next to him on the bed.
"You don't have to be, I am fine."
Not convinced, she lifted his chin so he could look up at her.
"You don't have to pretend to be strong with me."
He sighed heavily and looked away.
"Aurora..." He blinked vehemently.
"I am not pretending to be strong," he took her hand in his.
"I am just trying to be."
"Well, you don't have to."
There was silence for a while, he caressed her hands in his. He looked ahead distantly.
"How is mother?"
"She locked herself up in her room, she has been crying."
He stood up then, bashed his hand against the wall before Aurora came running to him.
"Stop! Stop this, Sol!"
He turned to her abruptly.
"You don't understand! I couldn't do anything! I couldn't protect you, our child, our people. The peace treaty is now plain mockery."
"Sol, please calm down."
"And him? He is my father, Aurora. Banishing him hurts me too."
"Sol, look at me, she isn't mad at you."
"But I am! I feel useless."
She pulled him into a hug.
"You are not." She whispered.
She felt his tears wet her shoulder.
"You are a good King, a good father, a good son and a good husband. It is not your fault, any of these happened. You can't protect everyone, Sol."
She could feel him nodding against her shoulder while he wept. She patted his back lightly, her own eyes turning glassy.
"I hate seeing you like this."
"You will never leave me, right?" He pulled away from her and look into her eyes.
"You will forever love me in pain, in agony and all those things you said, right?"
With tears in her eyes, she laughed.
"Yes, Sol. In pain, in agony and all those things I said, I will always stay by your side."
He pulled her into his arms and sighed heavily.
She wrapped her arms around him tightly, feeling him breath into her hair.
Diamant had left the room. It had been two days since the failed attempt at the Death Bridge, more people knew about her now. There was still a patrol every night coming to check up on her but they were already slacking on their job.
Although, she doesn't live in the palace, where they where appointed to was all camped with two or maybe more gates leading outside.
As she wandered along the pathway leading to the forest her mind roaming around aimlessly, remembering happy moments and the days of her baking, she blocked away the voices of the passerby who seemed not to be able to do anything else but watch and gossip about her.
It got darker but she was lost in thought.
She didn't notice that she had swayed too deep and she wouldn't even be able to go back on her own again.
Different thoughts ran through her mind while she convinced herself that death was certainly the only solution.
She only stopped when she heard a noise and realized that she had wandered too deep into the forest. The trees provided great shade and everything looked a bit dark. Before she could admire the beauty of the forest, she heard something.
An animal was running, her mind clouded with fear. She wanted to die, surely, but to be torn apart by an animal wasn't one of the options. Besides, she still had to admire the beauty of this forest first.
She ran too, not really sure where she was headed. What if she was running deeper into the forest?
She was meant to run away from the panting but no matter how hard she tried the panting got even closer. Now she could hear heavy footsteps, she looked right behind and saw a running wild deer focused on her.
Then it stopped when it was only few distance away from her. She edged back slowly till her back hit a tree.
Maybe she would just have to accept that death would come this way for her.
The wild deer prepared for a run and galloped forward.
Whatever held her from closing her eyes, she didn't know but when the deer became really close Sunain's beautiful eyes flashed before her eyes. For a split second, she missed her.
The deer suddenly stopped, it had been struck. It turned around to the new enemy and there was a struggle. The man was at an advantage since he was really skilled with his knife. He struck the deer at its weak points. By the time he was done, his chest was covered in blood and his shorts was covered in dirt and blood. His face had a cut on it but it wasn't bleeding badly. His bloody image reminded Diamant of her Grandpa and her heart squeezed with loss.
"You shouldn't be wandering out here in the forest where games live." He didn't sound threatening, just protective.
"I got lost." Diamant replied dismissively.
"I should do the introduction then. I am Aaron, the one you owe your life." He smiled, awaiting a form of gratitude.
"You mean the one that couldn't mind his business, you must be the "oh so great a swimmer". I am Diamant, the one who doesn't owe you anything!" She snapped, turning to leave but her eyes met the vast forest and stopped abruptly.
She mentally kick herself for forgetting that she was lost. She turned to Aaron who knew by the expression on her face that she didn't know her way out.
"I do not regret saving you, lady. It came to my knowledge after I saved you that a life is attached to yours. I wasn't serious about you owing me your life, you do not seem like one to care." Aaron smiled, his broad chest glistening in blood.
Sunain, Sunain's life. DL would not kill her truly if she died. That had happened few days ago and nothing had happened.
"Well, if the lady wants she can dine with me this fine afternoon." Aaron offered.
Diamant looked around quickly, it looked a little dark to be afternoon.
"You are definitely not one used to this forest all that much. The shade of the trees could confuse your timing. So are you going to dine with me? This is one huge game to be eaten alone." Aaron pressed again with a light smile.
Looking at him like this, Diamant noticed how handsome he was. He wasn't even bothered by the fact that she wasn't grateful for saving her life twice and that surprised her.
"You do not have plans to eat me or lock me up in your abode as a slave, do you?" Diamant questioned with open suspicion, remembering some instances in some of the novels she had read.
"You hurt me, my lady. I have no such plans. Maybe lock you up in my abode but definitely not as a slave." He chuckled but Diamant's hard face killed the fun.
He made her feel alive, like she was breathing. It confused her how this stranger made her feel so many things. She didn't even know him! She was mad at herself.
"Grandpa Gloss would be really disappointed." She thought.
Then again, she only had a few days to live and then she would be dead. Accepting this offer wouldn't hurt her.
"Well, you are right about something. It is a huge game, you will need some help eating that." She replied merrily and he gave her blinding smile.
He swung the deer behind his neck, over his shoulders and lead the way. Starting conversations about almost everything that made it really interesting.
Diamant laughed as she chipped in her part.
While they walked, she felt peace. A feeling that already felt lost.
"Happy birthday, my darling son." Aurora lifted Drako up in the air while he laughed.
"Isn't he getting too old for that?" Sol said squinting his eyes at him.
They were in the hallway and it was a sunny day.
"He just clocked eight!" Aurora gasped.
"Are we going to go see Clara this year? It has been a while." Drako begged.
"So? Are we?" He looked up at his parents who shared unsure glances with each other.
"Drako, I am afraid that won't be possible." Aurora cupped his face in her palms.
"Well, I can take him if both of you will be busy." Kalsara said from the doorway and everyone turned to greet her.
"Yessssss. Please, let Goben come with me."
Goben who was standing some distance away leaning on the wall, look up at the prince with eyes that sparkled in surprise. He smiled. He had also wanted to go.
"That is alright." Aurora agreed and Drako ran happily, grabbing Goben along with him to pack their boxes.
"Take good care of my boys, mother." Sol said, still watching the door they left through.
"I always do, Sol. Now don't forget to try that tea I told you about. It relaxes the muscles and..." She squinted her eyes "you look like you need it."
"You cannot kill the dragon!" Aurora shouted, getting down from the horse. She followed after Sol who took more furious steps into the forest, the specter in his tight grip.
"Shall I wait for more tribes to bring burnt skeletons from the sky to do what I must as the King?!"
"You don't have to." She rushed forward then, blocking his path.
"Step away, Aurora."He said through gritted teeth.
"No! The creature we speak is magical. Do you think it will allow you to kill it like that? What makes you think it wouldn't fight back?" She held both his arms, looking at him square in the face.
"I have the specter, it obeys the specter!"
"At the face of death? I doubt that. Also, what will you kill it with?" She glanced at the sword in his other fist.
"That can't even penetrate through its skin."
Sol looked down at the sword and he blinked in doubt, his heart fell.
He felt helpless and drained.
"I must do something, Aurora, I am King."
"Lock it up, it is safer that way."
He stepped away from her, looked up in the sky, raised the Sceptre of Fire then started chanting into the air.
"Blue Dragon Born of flames,
I summon you.
I, Sol King of Alusa, bear the Sceptre of Fire.
Hearken to my voice,
Wherever you are,
Obey my command."
The blue light from the Specter stroke a blue lightening in the sky then it all went quiet.
At first, it looked like nothing would happen. The dark sky was still peaceful and it was so quiet that they could hear the croaking of the frogs in the woods.
Then suddenly, they heard it. A loud flapping in the air.
It had been a week since she saw him last. She avoided the forest like a plague for the fear of running into him. She hardly even left her room. Sunain spent more time away and her coldness towards Diamant was still there, Diamant didn't even care to ask why. She assured herself that she couldn't be the reason, even scolded herself for caring.
The guilt of enjoying her time with Aaron disturbed her. It was only just lunch but the fact that she thought that she could love only to know him taunted her.
Her grandfather would be disappointed. How quickly she had forgotten them! Rider and her grandfather, oh her grandfather!
For a moment on that day, she had been selfish. Will he forgive her? What about Rider?
Her guilt haunted her more.
She feared that DL's punishment would become real on her and she would eventually not want to die anymore.
So before it gets to that, before her mind finds any reason so strong for her to stay, before she even creates a connection with this stranger, she had to end her life.
End her life now that she still could, end it now that she still wanted to.
With that thought, she ran to the table beside her bed. She let the bottle roll into her palms.
This bottle, this salvation, this freedom.
With that thought, she drank the poison and she felt burning inside her. Her body subjected to full blown pain and her eyes shut at the force total agony. She growled but her throat tightened.
This would be a really painful death.
The boys dropped their boxes and ran up the stairs while they called out to the King and Queen. They bumped into some servants along the way, they shouted a sorry and hurried along while Kalsara called after them to be careful.
They just arrived from the Star Tribe and it was at night, not only that, the rain was beating furiously against the ground. The breeze whoosed and the warness in the palace felt like heaven. The dark sky lit with lightening that was always shortly followed by a deafening thunder. Although the torches were bright enough, she was worried that they could trip and fall.
"Daddy! Run faster, Goben!" Drako called out trying in vain to push the large throne room opened. Goben caught up with him then and together, they pushed the door open.
They started running towards the throne, leaving mud stains on the clean floor. The torches in the throne room were burning out but they could see their them sitting on their thrones.
The closer Drako got, the more he felt something was off. His parents held hands, facing each other and sat in awkward positions.
When he got to the stairs, he stepped on something sticky. He looked down slowly, his eyes filled with curiosity. Blood was trickling down the stairs, he looked up slowly to see the source and at that moment, lightening flashed.
On the thrones, were his parents covered in their own blood. He could hear his heart drum loudly in his ears, everything faded away and his mind was finding it hard to understand what this meant. He knew it meant something, something really horrible but he just couldn't remember what it was.
Someone ran pass him, hitting him along the way, while calling out to his parents in excitement. He staggered and fell on his hands making them come in contact with the sticky red liquid. He felt something slice through his leg like glass yet he felt numb. The smell filled his nose and he started breathing heavily. Tears dripped from his eyes. He suddenly could hear everything, the rain beating against the roof, the wood burning at one corner to provide light and his own breath. It felt like time slowed down.
The voice of excitement from the person that ran past him soon turn into a loud cry of grieve.
He saw the tip of Kalsara's gown sweep the blood as she moved up the stairs hurriedly. He could hear her crying out, her voice filled with hopeless denial.
"Ring the bells! Get Doctor Rika! Aurora, Sol, oh my God! My son..."
Then the lightening flashed again, he saw his hand dipped in the blood on the stairs in a flash, he saw the red liquid oozing through the space in his fingers and suddenly his heart squeeze with the grieve that minutes ago, he couldn't understand.
When thunder struck this time, it felt like it awoke his brain, everything resumed back in its normal pace and it all started making sense. He felt strength leave him and fell flat into the blood. He brought his hands up to his chest, staining his clothe in the process, then he cried out in pain. It felt like a danger was been driven into his heart, his throat felt so tight that it hurt so much.
He could feel darkness take over him but before he surrendered completely, he heard people bursting into the throne room and the ding dong of the bell in the distance.