CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 32 ♕ A Child at Heart
Faolan could not fathom what exactly in the world was happening as the three oddballs he let into the manor out of sympathy were making quite a ruckus. A manly pregnant woman, an effeminate looking son, and an overdramatic father . . . he did not know what he was supposed to think.
He almost lost his cool when they crashed onto him. But, he did not want to cause further trouble so he led them towards the nearest room—which was the servant’s quarters—and made the pregnant ‘woman’ lay on the bed.
“I will summon a healer to aid you in the birthing of your child. However, I will have to ask you to keep silent as I am not sure what the reaction of milady would be,” he told them, consciously sweeping of a speck of dirt that stained his immaculate clothes. “After that, you will leave the manor and not speak to anyone of this event ever happening, otherwise, I would have to see you go.”
“Oh, thank you!” The overdramatic man exclaimed. He grabbed the bed sheets and shoved it into the mouth of manly woman in a manner that seemed almost cruel as he whispered into her ear. “Did you hear that, my wife? You have to keep quiet.”
The ‘wife’ frowned and mumbled through the stuffing inside her mouth, nodding her head as she smacked the ‘husband’ on the back of his head.
As he turned to leave, he heard another loud banging on the door, making him frown once again as he moved to answer yet another disturbance. This time, it was even more frantic and urgent than the first.
“Calm down,” he said before opening the door, only to see a strangely dressed woman with purplish blue eyes stand before him. She was wearing horribly coordinated clothes—an explosion of all colors that hurt his eyes. Around her head was a turban and a mole on her inner upper lip.
“I can see it!” She yelled. “I can see it!”
She leaped forward and grabbed his face, staring into his eyes with her frantic ones.
“I can feel it!” Her voice then turned low as though she was being possessed. She shook Faolan, who looked more than confused at the suddenness of her appearance.
“What are you doing here?”
“Someone will be born to rid this world of all things bad!” she said. “The child is here! It is to be born here!” She then shook his shoulders. “You are honored to be in here. Where is the woman who shall give birth?”
“Are you a healer?”
“I am more than that! Where are they? Show them to me!”
“This way.” He then stirred her towards the direction of the servant’s quarters before shoving her inside and closing the door to block the excess noise.
What was with all of this foolishness?
The woman asked for lukewarm water, a couple of fresh cloths and other things she deemed necessary. Faolan provided all the things she needed and waited outside until such time when the child would be born. He was getting a little impatient and he didn’t know how long it would take for his lady to notice.
Besides, the woman was odd. There was something that did not feel entirely right about the situation and he was getting suspicious.
Moments later, he heard the cry of a child.
Thank god it was done. Was it a good thing she finished birthing after only fifteen minutes?
Faolan frowned. It was too easy. He heard the births usually take more than two hours until the baby was finally delivered.
As he went forward to check, the familiar knocking on the front door reached his ears. Now he was irked. Unlike the last two, this was calmer and much more composed. He took his time before he reached the main doors and opened it coolly.
“What?” He demanded.
Three men dressed in flashy garbs stood before him, a bright line shining at his eyes. He squinted and cowered away from the intensity of the radiance before covering his line of sight in order to properly take in the appearance of yet another disturbance.
“We come bearing gifts for the birth of the chosen one.” They crooned.
He hissed. “Who are you?”
“We are the three kings.” Answered the first voice. “We were guided by the light of the shining northern star. Ah, we traveled from afar.”
Light? Light? A star? What kind of atrocity?
“Please accept us into your humble home and allow us to deliver our presents for the young one.”
“What chosen one?” he asked.
“He is a miracle born into this world.”
“One who will rid this world of all things evil.”
“Guide the hearts of those who are lost.”
The light then dimmed slowly, allowing Faolan to regain his proper line of sight. He then took in the appearance of the so-called three kings standing before him and frowned. They come bearing gifts? Faolan scrutinized their appearances. One had reddish hair and auburn eyes with a gentlemanly smile on his lips, the second had blond hair and blue eyes with a knowing smile, while the last also had reddish hair that was shades darker and browner than the first. The last bore a mischievous grin—and that did not make him feel right.
There was a hint of familiarity he knew he saw somewhere.
“We are surprised,” said the first one with the auburn eyes.
“You have a very sympathetic heart.”
“For a demon.” Added the mischievous-looking boy.
“A demon?” Faolan narrowed his eyes at them with suspicion. He stepped backward, his hackles rising as he drew the weapons he hid under his sleeves. He took a defensive position and glared at the three who stood at his door.
The smiles disappeared on their lips and the one in the middle harshly elbowed the one who last spoke.
“Firstly,” he started. “No one in this city knows that I am a demon because of the spell I put on the citizens in exception for a special few with strong magical capabilities—but I already took care of them. Those who were here during the day of the black snow can only see me as an ordinary citizen. Yet you . . .”
“It seems as though we were found out.” The blue-eyed blonde told his comrades as they shed their disguises and went back to their usual getup. “Took you long enough.”
Faolan growled as he felt a muscle under his eye tick in annoyance. “The Celestial Twelve.”
The blonde took out his glasses and put them on, rearranging them smartly over his eyes. He then brushed his locks into place, letting the partings fall back into their usual position. The other two did so as well, and he recognized them immediately.
Charles von Versailles de la Vernados. The one endowed with a manipulative mind and inherent skills in the areas concerning logic and other things—ranking fourth among the circle but first in academics.
Rowe von Valdemar de la Nevan. He who wore the façade of a gentleman and a well-mannered noble to hide his cruelty and selfishness—a man unafraid to do what was needed to be done for the sake of his people.
Zevlin Sabian. The oldest of the Sabian twins who held a firm conviction to protect those important to him—mischievous and a force to reckon with.
Then that must mean that woman who entered along with that wretched ‘family’ –they were all part of this plan.
He knew each and every one of these people. Charles preceded his reputation. So he was the one who set up this plan?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
So that was why it didn’t make sense! It was all too good to be true! A healer coincidentally at the door when needed the most? A child born after only fifteen minutes? An insanely bright star?
Now, Faolan knew why sympathy was not to be shown. Emotions were your downfall and should not be allowed to interfere with your original goal. How foolish he was to bite and fall into the schemes of this conniving bastard. So that was why the pregnant woman was manly and the boy girlish.
He allowed this guy to mess with him.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
“I was trying to test the extent of your naivety but it seems you were far easier to fool than I first thought,” Charles said as he opened the ‘gifts’ they were supposed to ‘present’ to the so-called ‘chosen one’ only to reveal their preferred weapons. “Tell me, demon. If you truly are what you are supposed to be, you should be far more aware and observant of these things. It seems to me that you are nothing more than a child seeing as you are very inexperienced.” He flashed him a grin that seemed to say he knew far more than he was letting on.
He felt shocked by his words and the double meaning behind it. How sharp was this Charles person exactly? “You . . . what do you mean?”
Charles smirked. “You played right on my trap. You were dancing on the palms of my hand this entire time. Not to mention that I have discovered your biggest weakness.”
He seethed at him like a cat as they advanced forward.
“You possess sympathy. You have your emotions,” Charles said, giving him a look that saw straight into his soul. “You aren’t a full-fledged demon. Real demons are outweighed by their dark side—their cruelty and their bloodthirstiness. You, however, are very attached to the positive side of yourself, which means that the darkness has not fully consumed your soul.”
Faolan backed away.
“You have many disguises that hides the true you.” He then said. “The spell of the ‘black snow’ is merely another cover up to safeguard another disguise safeguarding another disguise. You have layers and layers of skins covering up the real you—just in case that if one should see through one, they’d only see another. Tell me, demon, was I correct?”
How did he know all that? How did he see through everything? How did he even know in the first place? Who was this man?
“If you are wondering how in the world I got the information I have in my hands now, I’ll answer you. I have my ways, and you wouldn’t want to know what.”
“So that was why everything didn’t make sense!”
“A plan does not need to be perfect to work,” Charles said. “In this case anyway.” He then added. “I just needed the perfect diversion to distract you.”
“You tricked me!” Faolan yelled. “How dare you!”
“You allow yourself to get tricked by a stupid plan.” He then answered. “There were a lot of flaws and unrealistic elements in it to make you suspicious. But you did not act at the most crucial moments and you allowed yourself to be fooled. Yes, very much like a child.”
Faolan clenched his fists as he moved to attack.
“I’m only waiting for the others to complete this little scenario,” Charles said told him, not moving to evade whatever he was going to do.
As if on cue, a large explosion took everyone by surprise from upstairs, sending tremors through the whole manor. Faolan looked up to see small rubbles the size of pebbles raining down on them. He also felt the sealing enchantments he placed on certain doors disappearing, leaving him panicked.
“Milady!” he exclaimed.
He had forgotten about Asthore!
As he moved to run, someone blocked his path. It was the pregnant woman and the oddballs from earlier. The ‘lady’ wiped off the lipstick, letting it mess up his face before he dropped the bulge on his stomach. It was a blanket carefully rolled into a ball which hid a weapon inside. He coolly brought it out, unsheathing the blade.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Said the cross-dresser with a manly voice. “Gods, that was horrible. And to think that Valeriana saw me that way. I don’t think I can ever face her again. My pride is gone.”
The blue-haired lad kicked the ‘husband’ painfully. “And you are horrible,” he told him. “You don’t treat a wife that way! You’re all words!”
The fourth-ranker assigned Genevieve and Aden the task of taking Asthore while the demon was distracted and bring her out when the time was appropriate. They arrived just in time, really. Valeriana was tasked in bringing Tamara and Courtney out of their prison afterwards, they would find the others still locked up somewhere.
“And there we go. Just in time.” The fourth-ranker continued.
“Did you have every step on this planned out?” Rowe asked him, raising a curious brow.
“Not really. I was taking chances in certain areas, but it went well.”
“You’ve given us enough time to do the things we needed to do. Twenty minutes was enough time to hold that girl into custody and break out the others. The stupidest plan I thought wouldn’t work was actually the greatest. It was very entertaining to do, although I was hoping I would get to set the list of alternatives I procured when trying to figure out what exactly would work best into action.”
“You made more?” Zevlin questioned.
“Yes.” He then brought out his notebook and began writing furiously. “I was quite looking forward to setting Plan Eighteen into action after this, but it seems I lost my chance.”
“What’s Plan Eighteen?”
Charles gave a ‘mad genius’ grin.
“Okay, I don’t want to know,” said Zevlin.
“Do not worry, I will be reserving this plan for another situation should it ever be needed. I will need to only tweak it a bit to suit the problem.” He then snapped it close, only to realize that the demon he was talking to a while ago was not paying his full attention towards his words. Instead, he was bent solely on working his way around Zion and the others.
Charles fixed his glasses as a new thought dawned on him. “I see. So, that’s another question answered.” He thoughtfully stated. “You must have some sort of attachment to this girl.”
They then heard a scream. “Faolan!”
This was when he snapped.
“Get out of my way!” He growled.
Waves of anger and utter darkness radiated off him. Zion and the others backed off, trying to avoid the burst of overwhelming aura. Charles and Rowe were already immune to it, considering how long they already stayed in the academy.
Faolan’s eyes glowed red and he broke into a sprint, throwing Zion back when he blocked his path. His eyes shifted into a haunting color, black bleeding into the whites of his sclera until no other color was left in exception for the crimson glow of his pupils.
“Stop him!” Charles exclaimed.
They all ran forward with Zevlin tripping a little. Faolan fought Elfre off and kicked Raziel away before he burst into a speed that left only his afterimages.
Zion showed a hard time running in a dress—which he complained about the rest of the way while pulling the skirts and hiking it up to allow him to move freely. When he got full of it, he ripped it to shreds, letting it fall around his mid-thighs that showcased his muscular legs. He then ran after the others, who already were more than few steps ahead of him, and joined the chase.
Faolan, however, broke into Asthore’s room as fast as his feet could take him. He banged through the doors to see Asthore being held captive by Genevieve and Aden. The mere sight of the girl being bounded by ropes and gagged made him feel angered, so he rushed forward to set her free.
Genevieve, however, readily intercepted him. She moved to block his path, bringing out her weapons as she motioned for Aden to take Asthore away. She drew the long sword she specialized in and attacked the demon head on, letting her ferocity seep into each of the strikes as her weapon collided with his.
“No! Unhand me this instant!”
Aden nodded and hauled Asthore, slinging her over his shoulders as he moved away. Faolan attempted to go after them but Genevieve forced him to stay in place.
“You are not going anywhere!” she exclaimed, forcing his attention on her solely.
Faolan growled at Genevieve, recklessly letting her weapon sink into his flesh before calling upon his abilities. He pushed her away with a blast of wind, making her gasp as she hit the wall. The demon pulled out the blade that bit into his flesh before throwing it at Genevieve’s direction, who bit back a shriek as it missed her by mere inches. The blade had sunk into the wall, vibrating slightly.
Genevieve had her breath caught in her throat.
The demon rushed after Asthore. The younger twin speedily recovered from the life-endangering experience. She rose and pulled her weapon free before running after them, stumbling slightly as she followed the trail of blood that Faolan left behind on his pursuit.
“Genevieve!” Zevlin exclaimed, running up to meet his sister.
“I’m sorry,” she said, pausing to look at him as the others arrived. “It looks like I’m no good working alone.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have left. I’m sorry.” Her brother told her.
“Never mind,” said Charles, pushing the two apart. “Where did they go?”
“The trail of blood.” Genevieve said.
“It’ll be idiotic to chase them in a group. We’ll split up. Rowe and Aneeka, go after them now.”
The two didn’t need to be told what to do any further. They ran to the direction where the trail led.
“Alright . . . Zevlin, Genevieve, you go right,” Charles told them. “Make sure to block all the possible routes they can use to escape.”
The twins nodded before heading off towards the direction they were told to take.
“Elfre, drag Zion away and guard the area around the stairs.”
Elfre glared in complain. “Ugh! Why do I have to—whatever.” Seeing as this was no time to argue, the girl merely rolled her eyes before going back to the direction they came from and meeting Zion—who was a little late—and pulling him away. When the guy started asking questions, Elfre merely hit him to get him to shut up.
“Raziel, go and find Corvan and the others and meet me outside. I’ll go and fetch Valeriana.”
“There’s no need,” said a voice.
Raziel seemed momentarily shocked by the sudden appearance of the first-ranker. Charles speedily changed the command.
“Go fetch Valeriana and the others instead. Take Keelan with you,” he said, before turning to Corvan as Raziel went off to obey his instructions.
“We’re gonna see Valeriana?” Keelan beamed with childlike enthusiasm before he jogged after Raziel to catch up.
“Good for you to join us.” The fourth-ranker said, eyeing the ones who recently arrived.
“It was easy enough breaking out,” Corvan told him coolly, flicking back his slightly messy hair and brushing his stained clothes. ”Only a barrier will be able to keep us in. Sealing enchantments are nothing.” He then gave Charles a glare. “What about Valeriana?”
“Mm.” Charles hummed. “I asked her to find Tamara and Courtney.”
His brows shot up. “So she wasn’t taken?”
“No. She found a way to escape and came to tell us everything. Not really how I planned it to be, but still convenient—especially when I figured that Rowe actually sent Courtney to join you. There’s a reason why I divided the groups by even numbers, you know.”
“I figured that Rowe meant for Courtney to join us when he sent an empty package,” he said. “I know the problem between Valeriana and Courtney is quite unsolved, so I guess he must’ve been trying to find a way to get the two to at least dissolve their misunderstandings.”
“Anyhow, it doesn’t matter.” The other replied. “Although things didn’t go quite clearly as you planned.”
“No. It didn’t.”
“Now, we should get going.” Charles began to move. “We’ve been playing with that child long enough.”
“I’ll take the pleasure of letting him know how hard it is when we’re actually serious.” Corvan answered, his eyes glinting with eagerness and a hint of malice.
Charles gave him a smile of his own. “It’s time for the main part of the show.”