DL listened with rapt attention as Lewis reported what had happened with Diamant the other night. Lewis had caught a cold from having to stay in the rain for a while. It annoyed DL that they had spent the night together and it further annoyed him that although this information pissed him off to no end, he was so curious to hear. He wanted to know it all.
He let his mind drift away as he imagined different things they could have done together, things they could have done while sleep didn't let Lewis watch. His mind boiled with rage and Lewis words seemed to make no sense to him again.
"Making babies, more slaves, making babies." He said in his head, trying hard to pacify himself. Or should he kill her right now? She seemed to have enjoyed life so far, death should be pain right now. Although he wanted her to feel like a part of her was being ripped apart from her while he killed her, he doubted his patience. He drummed his nails against his armrest while he tapped against his chin.
Should he wait just a little longer?
At that moment, someone barged in. DL rolled his eyes in anger.
"Looks like people don't care about their lives nowadays now, do they?" He asked, irritated.
"It is I, Goben." He bowed swiftly.
"What is it?" DL asked raising his head.
"The new guest has been poisoned. Sunain did it." Goben reported going straight to the point.
"A direct challenge! The nerves!" DL declared in anger, slamming his fists against the table.
"Where is she?"
"The dungeon, Dragon Lord."
"You are dismissed now, Lewis. You better keep a close eye on Diamant." He said, dismissing Lewis.
"Is Minister Nein safe?" He asked his eyes coldly staring at his fists.
"Greatly unstable, Dragon Lord. We fear that we will lose him."
DL clenched his teeth in anger.
"Has Nana heard of this?"
"Yes, Dragon Lord. She is with Doctor Rika as we speak."
He paced around in his office. This direct challenge was getting unbearable. He ran his hand through his black hair.
He turned to Goben, his eyes calculating.
"Make sure no one visits Sunain. I want to talk to her first before I conclude what to do with her." DL ordered and Goben found it surprising.
When did he start approaching things like this. This was more logical but with DL, it was never really about logical when it came to matters like this. It was about direct punishment, blood and cry of pain as he shredded their lives into pieces.
"The key. If I was Sunain where would I keep the keys." Diamant took a different approach to look for the keys this time. She had spent the whole afternoon searching for it and her efforts had been futile.
She needed time to think.
Unfortunately, that was one thing she didn't have. Okay, complied to the list of things she didn't have.
Sunain would only hide all these away from one person. Even if they had a room to themselves, she still kept everything hidden.
She had kept everything dangerous hidden.
Diamant thought more accurately.
The only person she could be hiding it all from was her, she had hid it all away from her because of her suicidal thoughts.
Her eyes widened at this realization and her heart purred with happiness. To find the key, she just had to look where she wouldn't normally look.
That place was plain sight.
Somewhere hidden but wasn't really hidden.
She started searching every obvious place till she checked under her very own bed and there it was laying on the floor.
Diamant took the keys and tried to feel with her legs for the secret safe on the floor she had remembered.
The floor creaked. She opened the hidden safe and there the box was.
She took the box out and opened it. It was filled up with different bottles.
How would she know which was which? She took a bag and emptied the box into it. She had to see Sunain but if she wanted to do that then she had to face him.
She had to ask the Dragon Lord for permission.
Goben hated this, watching guard. He knew that DL would still punish him for Lewis's careless attitude but he didn't know he would be patient about it and do it now. When did he learn to be patient?! And of all nights to be punished, it just had to be tonight when he had thoughts of alcohol on his mind...and Lily.
He saw someone running up the stairs while different guards followed her in a hot chase. The bag she hung across her body swayed her from left to right but she was determined to get to the door.
Diamant headed for the door with all her focus that she didn't see Goben standing right next to it. When she was about to get there, a hand stopped her and she ran into it. The obstruction made her stagger back and fall on her butt, her yellow flay skirt scattered across the floor with her. The guards chasing after her bent to pick her up but Goben dismissed them.
"Thank you." Diamant said with a large smile while she stood up but Goben's suspiciously cold eyes made her doubt his intention for stopping them.
"Why you are here?" Goben asked, his hands folded behind him.
"Well, isn't that obvious? I am here to see the Dragon Lord!" Diamant replied flatly while she walked briskly to the door.
She bumped right into his outstretched hand again. She muttered words under her breath and his frown deepened.
"Go back, prisoner. He doesn't have time for silly things like this."
Diamant's heart beat rapidly. She had to get across, she had to see the DL, she had to let him allow her see Sunain. At that moment, she remembered Sunain's bleeding nose and her heart clenched. What if she had drank it too? What if she was poisoned.
She turned back and started walking away. Goben relaxed and slouched against the door lazily. She turned back immediately and ran towards the door. Because of how distracted he was and how down his guards were down, he couldn't stop her when she hit him in his groins. He groaned in pain and she used that moment to run into the study.
She saw the DL who was focused on his work, look up at her.
Someone grabbed her immediately, his grip firm and tight that it hurt. She struggled, not planning to let her plans flop that easily.
"Goben," DL called out while dropping his scroll at one side of the table. Goben stopped his dragging and Diamant started breathing heavily.
"Let the lady speak, looks like she went through a lot of trouble to be here." DL said while he glanced at Goben hand that held a sensitive part of him.
Goben mumbled, feeling the heat of embarrassment. With his head bowed, he left the room.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" He mocked, although her visit shocked him. Still, he should have expected it. Had Lewis not said her and Sunain had formed a bond? Of course, she would be here for her. The heavy bag she carried across her body drew his attention but he made no comment on it.
"I plead that you allow me see Sunain." She said, the words of pleading like it burnt her tongue. How times changed. How love could make someone so weak! She loved Sunain like a sister and would do anything to save her.
DL did not fail to see that she hadn't paid him respect but there was something else he hadn't failed to notice too, she was actually begging. Pleading with all sincerity, he was taken aback.
"She poisoned a Minister of mine!" He declared as he left his chair and mindlessly walked closer to her.
"I dare to say that it wasn't her intention!" She shouted back.
"Who are you to dare? Still with your vigour, I see." He said, slowly getting angry. He moved closer with each word.
Diamant composed herself, she couldn't risk destroying this with her anger. Sunain's life was on the line.
"I apologise, just that I fear that Sunain could be poisoned too." She said.
He stopped dead in this track immediately, shocked.
"This was really surprising. How much power does Sunain even have over her?" DL thought.
"I really don't care about your friend." He sat back on his seat, returning to his scroll.
Diamant's heart raced. He was already uninterested?!
"She is the only one that can save him." Diamant said trying to catch his attention back. He had to listen, this was her only way.
DL scoffed, feeling insulted, "do you know how many healers I have in Alusa? What is so special about your friend?"
Diamant wanted to say something but her mind felt fuzzy. This wasn't working and her eyes became glassy.
"Please let me see her, I have to see her!" Her voice pleaded again but he didn't seem to have heard her.
Her teary eyes caught his attention and they drew him in. Those black glittery eyes reminded him of something. An image of his younger self immersed in drawing flashed before his eyes and he looked away suddenly. The image lost in the darkness that had taken over him.
His full black eyebrows drew into a confused line.
What was he doing?!
Diamant eyes bulged with shock.
She knew it wasn't going as planned but she didn't know it was that bad.
"I said, get out." He said clenching the scroll tightly.
Diamant held the bag tightly, refusing to leave but there was only so much she could do when Goben busted into the room and dragged her out.
An incessant knock forced DL to look away from his scrolls.
"Come in." DL said to the person knocking.
There were now lit candles in the study, he had been there for hours, working.
Goben rushed in looking tired.
DL smirked in satisfaction at his tired state.
But the look in Goben's eyes weren't lazy, they were the ones that screamed bad news.
"His condition is fast deteriorating. We are losing him." Goben said quickly after bowing.
DL jumped to his feet and started mumbling to himself.
"But, that can't be. All the healers? No!" Confusion ran through him, he needed the Minister alive. Unless there would be a war with Ravina. As much as he wasn't afraid, he was busy. He had uprisings to deal with and Alusa's economy. A war was no good to him right now.
"Is she still there?"
Goben looked into the hallway and saw Diamant who had already fallen asleep on the stairs, he turned to DL and nodded.
"Take Diamant to see her and let them do what they must." He ordered before sitting back in his chair, exhausted.
Diamant met Sunain and as she predicted, she was also poisoned. Thankfully, she hadn't taken enough quantity to destabilize her. She took the antidote and in no time, she felt better.
They left the dungeon immediately to see to Minister Nein. Sunain did have the antidote and she gave it to him but she feared that it was too late. It was getting dark now and Sunain feared that he would really die.
They took her back to the dungeon while Diamant followed her.
"And if they ask why I was putting something in the drink in the first place, what will I say? What will I say?" Sunain cried silently.
The stench filled the air and the darkness didn't really help. The guards were further away and couldn't hear their whispers.
"Not a word about what you were actually doing or else you would be killed. Just say that you wanted to give him sleeping pills because you found him unattractive and wanted nothing to do with him but since you had a cold, you gave him the one for injuries." Diamant recited and Sunain blinked in confusion trying to catch up with her words.
"That isn't even convincing!" Sunain cried.
"Well how do you want it to look? Planned! Too convincing means planned and planned isn't what we are going for. I heard such things happened here sometimes back. People make decisions like that on impulse, without thinking." Diamant replied.
Sunain looked at her skeptically, "And from where did you hear that?" She said her voice coming out a little rough.
"Around. They talk a lot around here." Diamant said, dismissing the topic.
Sunain noded slowly, she agreed. She would have to stick with the story.
Sunain held Diamant's hand through the bars.
"Thank you." Sunain said and she wanted to say so much more but her tears choked her and she found it difficult to speak but Diamant understood and that was enough.
Goben came to take Diamant away and Sunain stared blankly at the wall while Diamant left. Goben glanced at the fair petite lady who sat alone in the dungeon, he locked the bars then he left.
Realizing that she was alone, she squeezed her necklace and brought her knees up so she could rest her chin on them. She felt her heart go empty, she missed them.
She sighed heavily.
One wrong move and here she was.
"The dead are gone and they are happy."
Diamant had demanded to see DL again before she took her leave. Goben assured her that he wouldn't see her, he hardly created time for people not to mention seeing them twice in one evening. Still, Diamant persisted.
When she was permitted to be let in, Goben announced it to her with a surprised look.
"I assure you that she just intended to give him sleeping pills." Diamant pressured.
"That, in itself, is a crime, Diamant." DL said, looking down on her. He stood some distance away from her and she sat on the chair.
He didn't fail to notice that she asked for no invitation to sit. He looked at her in amusement, she defiled everything he knew.
"You can hardly call it that, he isn't attractive." Diamant said with a twisted frown.
DL looked back at her, his lips pressed into a straight line.
The air grew heavy with tension. Suddenly, he busted out in laughter that echoed through the study, but as soon as he laughter came, it left just as suddenly. He agreed, Minister Nein was a father and he drank a lot. He wouldn't look attractive to a young lady like Sunain. He didn't find the story convincing but somehow didn't feel like pointing out the imperfections of the story. He liked her efforts in trying to convince him.
His laugh echoed in her ears and she caught herself comparing his with Aaron's. It sounded so cheery, so peaceful. She almost forgot why she came. He was still looking at her inquisitively and she felt uncomfortable.
"I am just saying, she wasn't trying to kill him." Diamant continued.
DL contemplated never setting Sunain free so that he could you with her like this. At least, this could be fun for him while he waited for a perfect time to kill her.
Then he stopped. What was he doing? What was he doing being close to her like this? Yes, she was on the chair and he was just here standing some distance away, yet he found them close.
He frowned and walked away from the table. He sat on his seat, mad at himself.
"What is wrong with me?" He questioned himself in his head.
That was the second time it was happening and all too, in the same evening!
Diamant sensed the change but said nothing. She didn't want to make it worse.
"If and when Minister Nein wakes up, your friend will be set free. Now leave, your presence disturbs me. Don't come back unless it is absolutely necessary." He said to her, passing the aggression he felt towards himself on her.
Diamant looked at him in confusion. Was he catching up with her lie? Or was it just a part of him? Shouting for no reason. This wasn't just her evening! She could still feel her butt ache from falling asleep on the stairs!
"I said get out!" He commanded through gritted teeth.
Diamant frowned, mad at herself too. For a moment, she had forgotten who he was, what he represented. She packed up her bags and hung it across her body.
"Your wish is my command, oh so mighty Dragon Lord." She said with an exaggerated sarcasm as she bowed then left.
He closed his eyes infuriated. Then he stared back at the wedding invitation letters. He didn't want to send them out yet but he should. Still he dreaded the union and wished it wouldn't happen.
Diamant surprisingly got to Aaron's abode without getting lost. She felt so proud of herself considering that it was already late in the evening and it would soon be nightfall.
His alcohol-filled eyes had greated her welcome. Diamant found it surprising that he was drinking, maybe he was thinking of something dear. Someone special, maybe his mother.
When she came in, he pulled her into an embrace. The room felt cold.
How long exactly had he being drinking? She went to the fireplace and prepared a fire. He just sat on the bed and stared on blankly.
He was looking more sober now but then, he was still drunk, was still filled with the smell of alcohol.
"She loved him." He whispered breaking the silence and Diamant looked up at him from the fire.
"Loved him so much that he could do no wrong, loved him so much that she was blinded." He continued, his eyes stormy.
Diamant sat next to him as she caressed his hands. She had come here for a different reason, to talk about Sunain and discuss how she could help her friend but this wasn't the right time so she would do what was best. She would listen.
He stared on blankly and sometimes he would shut his eyes and squeeze her hands lightly.
Whatever he was remembering, it didn't look good.
"I love you." He whispered.
"Again. He is saying it again." Diamant thought.
Then he traced her lips with his hands, a smile lit up his face.
"I am so happy you are here. Here with me." Aaron said, his eyes storing in every feature of her face.
She moved him in ways he had discovered that only she could. Was it too fast? He couldn't think straight with all this alcohol in his head but he had one clear thought.
He wanted her.
It baffled him that she didn't say it back. Was he pushing too far? Too fast? He was worried. Yet, staring at her like this, banished away all the worries.
The time was short but still he was sure, he loved her.
He leaned in slowly and Diamant sat fixated on the spot. Too many emotions were running through her and she wasn't really sure. She didn't have time to be but she at least wished she was sure.
He kissed her. Slow at first, like he wanted to know how she would respond but then he couldn't wait anymore. The kiss filled up with urgency and became rough. His hands travelled too quickly across her body and Diamant's heart skipped a beat.
No! In the books when it happened this way it always ended up bad. Maybe not in all the books but most of them! Even in those books, it wasn't this fast!
Too fast, too soon...
She started trying to pull away from him and when she did, with her hands on his chest, she said
"No." Her voice was full of determination.
"Why?" He asked as his eyes darkened.
"The books! Too fast, too soon." She said the words in her head, her voice coming out a little breathless.
She didn't even bother to be certain about him again. He was doing this all wrong, not like in the books with lovely endings.
Yes, she felt something for him. Peace and even that was fading away right now.
He stood up and walked away from her. He paced around for sometime before turning his eyes filled with rage to her. Her words sounded meaningless, he didn't understand what she was saying about the books but he knew the rest and that was what he was concerned about.
"What? Why? I am not good enough? You are rejecting me? I want you and you are rejecting me?" He said and his hands started shaking uncontrollably.
"No? No? You can't reject me? Everything I want can't just reject me." He said as he scattered his table in anger and somethings smashed against the floor.
Diamant was shocked, she felt like she was seeing a completely different person. Her heart was beating wildly and she was terrified of him. He walked closer to her and drew her up to him.
It all felt like it again, like that night with the Major General.
Aaron's eyes darkened with lust and possession. Then he pushed her to sit on the empty table.
"You can't say no to me. Diamant, you are different. You aren't like the rest of them." He rambled as he kissed her roughly again. This time, his hands were trying hard to get rid of her gown, tearing it if necessary.
Diamant was scared, she tried hard to push him away but he wouldn't budge. She felt her hands against the wall for anything that could help her, she prayed that there would be someone to help. His hands dived into her clothes and she felt disgusted, he was just like the Major General.
Her hand touched a vase on the wall and she struggled to pull the vase away from the wall, as he pressed her closer to himself.
She kept on struggling, she pleaded to him but her pleads fell on deaf ears. His hands torn her gown at the front, revealing little of her breast. He cursed the fabric for been too strong. He tried to tear it even further but she hit him at the back of his head with the vase she had been struggling with.
The vase broke and he fell to the floor. Blood dripping from his nose.
Diamant looked at him on the floor, her heart beating wildly. She immediately got off the table and bolted for the door. She ran and didn't look back.
She felt disgusted with her body, she could still feel his hands upon her skin. She was running again, just like that night.
Although she couldn't really tell what love was but she could at least point at some things that love wasn't and what happened tonight, wasn't love.