Chapter 38 ∞ Rampant
I wasn’t able to sleep immediately that night from the worry. My anxiety did well to keep sleep at bay. If it wasn’t due to my exhaustion, it probably would’ve been another sleepless night. Even then, I was plagued by uncomfortable coldness penetrating straight into my bones. I was now remembering bits of a faded memory—ice water and shadows with sharp teeth. This must be the memory Amber was talking about previously that I forgot about.
I didn’t know when morning came, but not even the sun, which would have usually coaxed me awake by persistently shining through my window, could make me roll out of bed. Although I grew more comfortable with the warmth penetrating into the room, my body was pinned tight to the bed. I dozed in and out of consciousness. I knew this wasn’t turning out very well.
I don’t think my body was taking well to the fact that my soul just left it for a while.
Within moments, panicked knocks landed on my door. “Evy?” my mother’s voice resounded. “Evy? Are you alright? Will you open the door, darling?”
I opened my mouth to answer but found my throat too dry to properly speak. I began cursing in my mind and rolled over, leaving the comforts of my blankets to try and stand. I felt the world spin the moment I sat upright and knew going to the door would be a daunting task.
I focused on my room and realized that the same frost had taken over once again. However, this time, it was a little worse.
Who was I kidding? It was way worse. I could see a row of icicles like an open mouth of beast looming from the ceiling and the corners. The frost was so thick it had turned my room into a little snow land. Upon exhaling, even my breath frosted a little.
No wonder it was so cold.
I looked down at my hands and found them so pale and blue that my nails were a bad dead shade of grey. Grey was already such a dead color. With just a little nudge, I probably would end up looking like a corpse.
Amber, that bastard. I’d like to blame him for this but it wasn’t like it would do anything good. I’ve been very harsh on him from the start because every trouble I’m experiencing seem to circle back to him. However, in the end, he was the only one I could rely on properly. I had problems that not even my capable mistresses could help me solve.
I steadied myself, trying to focus on the door as I found my balance. However, I underestimated how slippery the floor was and quickly lost control of my weight. I ended up faceplanting, the thud sending my mother into a frenzy.
“Ah, dayum,” I croaked out.
The door nearly fractured its hinges as my mother broke through. She didn’t hesitate in jumping through and traversing the frost-covered room but before she could truly step in, she was pulled back by Mistress Lili.
“Wait a moment, Lamia,” Lili said, holding her in place. “Don’t be so rash. You can’t be stupid.”
Both their breaths were fogging upon leaving their mouths. I looked up, tipping my head to the side as I tried sitting up once more. I used my shoulders to prop myself up, sitting up and rubbing off the frost I could see tipping my lashes.
“Don’t come in,” I stated quietly, remembering what happened to Mistress Marian last time when she came too close. Looking at the state of my room, I wouldn’t be able to predict what would happen to anyone who dared step inside. I forced my eyes open and stared muddleheadedly at my mother, whose trembling hands that had gripped the door just now was already frost-bitten.
“Evy. Tell me what’s wrong?”
My mother had knelt by the door, lowering herself to my eye level as sheer concern wrinkled her face.
“I’m okay,” I said, taking a deep breath. I looked around to see if Amber was there. He previously mentioned watching me every chance he got. If he was there, wouldn’t he show himself to help me at the very least? Or had the events of last night taken so much from him that even materializing as a shadow was too much? Was it the sun? Or was it both?
Wasn’t there a way I could take all of this under control somehow?
“Evy,” my Mistress Lili said calmly. Her silver dress pooled around her feet as she lowered herself similarly. “Take deep breaths, darling. You can do this. Can you come to us?”
“I’m good, I’m good.” I sighed.
I didn’t attempt to get back to my feet as that would just spell another faceplanting disaster. Even if I did, I did not have enough energy in my muscles to remain standing for so long. So, instead, I inched my to the door on my knees, maintaining a calm focus in case my vision doubled and my brain decided to take another spin. While there wasn’t a big fall to take while crawling, that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
The moment I managed to reach the door, my mother grasped at my cold hands and pulled me straight to her chest. She cradled me in her arms, inching back so far until her back hit the wall of the hallway. Her warm fingers traced my cheeks and her eyes seemed to ever so slightly rim with tears.
“Don’t worry too much, mama. This won’t kill me,” I said with a sheepish smile. “I’m just feeling a little…feverish in reverse.”
“Please don’t joke around too much about this darling. Do you see yourself?” my mother softly asked as she brushed back my hair. “What happened to you? Good gods, you’re colder than a corpse.”
“Bad dream,” I replied, my voice rough with weariness. I coughed a little. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.”
“It’s not your fault. Lili, go get Kora and some hot water, would you, please?” she calmly instructed.
Mistress Lili gathered her wits, nodding at my mother and bolting away. Just as she disappeared from around the corner, Maun came. His head turned animatedly, the woman rushing past him and hurrying away. He looked over and, almost immediately, a knit appeared between his brows. He padded over in haste, his small face wrought with sincere concern.
On the other hand, my mother was tearful as she brushed back my hair. “I’m so sorry, Evy. I’m so sorry. I can’t help you like I’m supposed to.” Her breath shuddered and it came away with fog.
I stared at her quickly paling face and realized being in contact with her like this might not be the best idea. I moved to stand, trying to gather energy and leave her embrace quickly. Nevertheless, she firmly held me down and maintained a tight embrace around my shoulders.
“Don’t move, Evy.”
I swallowed. “Mama, please…you’re…”
“Quiet down,” she told me firmly.
“Evy, are you okay?” I caught Maun signing.
“I’m okay, Maun,” I said.
He sat over there helplessly, looking at me with wide and worried eyes. His lips curved down into a small, crescent moon as his eyes gravitated towards the open doors that led into my room. Shock painted his face when he saw the thick frost covering every nook and cranny. From what I knew, he should be at least aware of what I could do. I heard Aunt Safia talking to him last time about it, so why was he so shocked?
Maun turned to me, his mouth flapping close and open. I returned the bewildered gaze with an eye roll as I shifted to a more comfortable position. I looked at my mother, feeling my worry surge up further the longer I gazed at her paling face. If I had the strength, I would have already stood up and supported myself, but I was currently crippled by my weakness and was already having trouble breathing properly as it was.
“Don’t worry about me, Evy,” my mother told me, sensing my distraught. Her soft fingers brushed back my red locks. She laid a small kiss on my forehead reassuringly. Nevertheless, I couldn’t really remain calm. “Don’t think about anything else. It would be fine,” she insisted.
I realized the depth of love and care I knew my mother had for me—I underestimated it very much. What was keeping her from thinking of herself in this situation? My dangerous abilities made me a monster with a human face. I was still unfamiliar and not in control over what I can do. The unpredictability, not to mention the nature of what this frost could do, was like a bomb waiting to go off.
I have gone through enough pain and I had seen enough of life to be concerned with happens to me. I was more worried about what would happen to the people around me. Until now, I didn’t understand how my mistresses could put up with me this much. Ever since I’d known them, save for the initial wariness and shock at having me, they had only shown me unconditional love and kindness.
“No matter what happens, you’re still my daughter,” I heard my mother whisper. “I know you didn’t come from me, Evy, but even if I didn’t have you in my womb, I still have you in my arms. And no matter how long, I’ll keep you with me. You don’t mind that, do you?”
I shook my head. The coldness surging inside me was suppressed by the warmth of her words and I gave in to her persistence, snuggling into the warmth of her arms. At the same time, small and scarred fingers wormed their way between mine. I lifted open my heavy lids and tipped my head slightly to the side to see Maun grasping tightly at my numb fingers. His hands were not any bigger than mine but they were definitely much, much warmer.
Just as I was wondering what got into this idiot’s mind that he held my mind in spite of knowing what was happening to my mother, my mistresses finally came around. Among them was Erenol, who had stepped forward with both confusion and worry as she saw me.
Mistress Kora, on the other hand, swept past everyone else and knelt to check on me. Two of his fingers alighted on my wrist and briefly paused there to check on my pulse.s
“Evy, are you awake, little flower?” he endearingly reached out to me.
“I’m good,” I replied, my eyes heavy-lidded as I watched him.
“Good. Give her to me, Hellen.”
My mother wordlessly surrendered me to him. His strong arms hooked around my shoulders and under my knees. Meanwhile, Mistress Marian came to my mother and wrapped a thick blanket around her shoulders while Mistress Lily lifted her to her feet. My brows scrunched up as I caught my mother’s blue lips.
“You’ll be fine, Evy,” she said.
With a small struggle, Kora rose to his feet. Maun’s scarred hands promptly slipped off from mine.
“Evy?” I heard Erenol’s voice break.
“Come here, dear one,” Mistress Neilly came forward to tug Eren back, caressing the unruly locks on her head. “Evy will be fine. Kora’s taking care of her.”
After walking a while, Kora finally reached his personal chambers. The door made a squeaky turn on its hinges under Mistress Marian’s hands. Upon opening, the scent of herbs immediately assaulted my nose. It was almost therapeutic in there, actually.
“I’ll need some time,” Kora told the rest as he had the door shut behind him. Marian nodded and pulled the door close before proceeding to herd everyone back.
He put me on the bed and patted my hand affectionately. “Tell me if you’re uncomfortable,” he said. “Try to stay awake with me for now, alright?”
“Good girl. It just seems like your domain is acting up. It’s very normal,” he told me. “Much like wetting the bed.”
I sighed, muttering, “Not that again.”
“It’ll be alright, little flower,” he said with a laugh. “It is quite true. I know someone who set his whole house in fire while his domain was awakening. For growing children, Conduit children, this is really quite the troublesome phase.”
With his attitude and positivity, all the things that seemed serious began to feel a little more…not so serious. He went around the room gathering all sorts of herbs from small cabinets. Some of them were dried some sat in bottles, soaked in oils or whatever it was in there.
With swift and skilled hands, he began mixing and grinding together all those stuff. The sound of him crushing and mushing everything together became a calming, ambient noise. I would have probably fallen asleep if he didn’t ask me to keep myself awake.
Minutes later, he came to the bedside. He dipped his two fingers into the concoction and smeared them on my palms. I felt the searing heat punch right through my skin, clearing the coldness so swiftly that every hair in my body stood up in shock.
“Does that hurt?” he asked.
I clenched my teeth. “It’s okay.”
“Your domain is out of the ordinary, Evy,” he told me. “Your body may be in conflict with it, so it may be very uncomfortable. What I made you is a blend of herbs with high vitality and affinity with the domain of life. It’s made so that you can combat this energy for now until you’re able to get in under control, but this is only temporary at best. You can’t rely on this too much, alright? One way or another, you’re going to have to know how to properly wield it.”
“Good. Let’s let the herb settle in for now. You can rest here. I’ll have you brought up some food. Can’t let my little flower grow too thin.” He kissed me on my hair and stood back.
As soon as the door closed and Kora disappeared from view, I let out a sigh as the warmth from the herbs purged the rampant and cold chaos surging inside me. Within just a few breaths, I said goodbye to my foggy exhales.
“Amber, you bastard,” I whispered. I could have at least gotten a warning beforehand.
It seemed I would have to tell Eren about this and confess I didactually have a domain.