Life is like a book. There are those who deceive us with their covers, but at times, there are also those who surprise us with their contents; I just learned that fact right at this moment, exactly at this point, in a very hard and unexpected way.
What hurt even more was the fact that I had unknowingly opened my heart to Kieran, slowly. I have a glimmer of hope in him, a father figure that I never had before. I know, I shouldn’t expect much from him; trust me, I know that, and he should be the last person I put my trust in. But he is a figure that I couldn’t even imagine existed before from beyond the darkness, the darkness that had enveloped me ever since only-God-knows when, which felt like forever. So out of curiosity, I carelessly made a mistake. A big mistake.
Who am I to blame though, when I couldn’t stop myself from feeling it that way and doing it anyway? In the end, he heartlessly crushed that trust and hope, while I could do nothing but cry, feeling hurt. Betrayed.
Ever since I moved to the Bay Wreath Palace on Kieran’s orders and stayed with him, believe it or not, we did become a lot closer but at the same time, I also cried a lot more than I did when I was abandoned at Iris Palace.
I subconsciously put one hand on my chest and gripped the cloth of my white pajamas tightly. It hurt in there, it throbbed painfully, and it felt very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t be able to get used to this throbbing feeling in my chest. So, I put my head down, I was trying to check whether I accidentally hurt myself while I was on my way here or not, but all I could see were my tears, falling like a waterfall.
Ah, I’m crying again…
These tears are very annoying. I have tried my best, but they were unstoppable, and they kept falling even though their presence wasn’t asked for.
Ugh, stop already!
I rubbed my eyes roughly hoping for the tears to stop, but it was no use. There is something wrong with me, something definitely wrong with me; how can I stop this strange feeling? Be it my chest or my eyes, they all felt uncomfortable.
Being like this… it’s suffocating.
It’s so uncomfortable…
I was too busy complaining in my thoughts that I forgot Asher was still next to me, and he witnessed everything.
I looked up. Could it be because Asher is in his original size? I could easily and clearly see that he was flinching. I didn’t want him to be surprised, I hurriedly started to wipe my tears away, but my efforts were in vain.
Hurry up and stop, or at this point Asher will get the wrong idea.
Asher briefly panicked as he walked back and forth before deciding to approach me.
“Please, don’t cry…”
A voice that sounded like a whisper but also seemed like it was on the verge of crying, begged me. I could hear it crystal clear inside my head.
I jumped a bit in shock to suddenly hear that light yet hoarse voice. However, it was also thanks to that that my tears immediately stopped, though they were soon replaced with confusion.
“Uh,” I let a hesitant voice as Asher tilted his head, “did you just… talk?”
Asher for a second, “You can hear me?”
He sounded just as confused as I was, but his tail was wagging excitedly. I haven’t answered yet, but Asher is already jumping on the spot with joy.
“Oh my!” He exclaimed, “You have no idea how much I tried to converse with you, in the end you can hear me! This is amazing yet also incredibly confusing.”
“You have no mana in you, yet you can actually hear me?” Asher gently brushed its face against my cheek, while making a purring sound. “This is confusing but I’m happy, finally.”
The intimate moment ended rather quickly, but now it’s my turn to tilt my head sideways.
“Care to explain?” I asked, trying to sound as innocent and harmless as possible.
Asher was about to open his mouth, before suddenly his ears flapped making him to look in the direction we had come from, “Someone’s coming, I think they are looking for you.”
“You have been gone for too long.” Asher lowered the upper half of his body, “It’s time to head back, little one.”
I involuntarily took a step back and Asher jumped in surprised before leaning his face right in front of me.
“What’s wrong, Keisha?”
“I don’t want to go back to that place.” I whined, for the first time I whined and showed a rejection and my dislike.
I don’t want to go back to that cold dark room, I don’t want to be reminded of Kieran’s cold figure and how he left me without even looking back. So, take me away, take me away to a place where I can never even think of that bastard ever again.
I wanted to say all that, but it was stuck in my throat and without me noticing, my tears started flowing down again.
Asher nudged my body softly with his head, “All right, stop crying. I’m not going to take you back to that place if you really don’t want to.”
Unlike Kieran’s, every word Asher uttered sounded very gentle and warm. Every time he spoke to me, the warmth sensations travelled far to the corners of my heart. It warmed my frozen body and cramped heart.
Asher lowered his body once again as he looked at me softly, “Come on, I will take you to a place far away from here.”
So, I put my trust in him. I climbed his big muscular body, closed my eyes, and hugged him tightly. I didn’t know if it was our surroundings feel quieter than usual because of the ceremony earlier or because Asher is moving too fast, well, it might be also safe to say that I didn’t care which one it was as long as no one notice our presence because I just want them to leave me alone.
Again, my tears started to fall down.
I’m tired of crying and I really hate how I couldn’t stop it. This shouldn’t have ended like this if I had been more careful and closed my heart tighter; the wall I built wasn’t strong enough, that was why it could be easily knocked down by Kieran. Now all I can think about is what ifs; I was just too weak and hoping for something impossible. In fact, Kieran didn’t even do anything special, instead all this time he just acted like a jerk through and through throughout this short story we shared between each other, a father and daughter.
Even so, his actions somehow left a deep impression on me; the way his careful touch landed on my skin, the look in his eyes that I sometimes fail to fathom and describe, and the times when he blurted out words, I couldn’t really understand the context about. I just couldn’t forget how he freaked out when I got sick. But at the same time, it also seems like it was all a lie.
A perfect lie, and I just want this all to stop.
I’m worn out so please let me rest, even if it’s just for one day.
While saying the same prayer over and over, I fell asleep cuddling Asher’s thick, comfortable fur. I didn’t know where he would take me, I just put my trust in him, and tried to calm my chaotic mind. I didn’t know if I let down my guard because Kieran was no longer in the palace or because I was too tired, but just like that I rested peacefully for the first time without a care in the world.
Yeah, exactly like when I was beyond the light, only accompanied by silence and darkness that tightly warped me, my solace.
The sound of the door in the hallway being opened and closed one by one was accompanied by the sound of footsteps alternately being heard getting stronger and closer, and now came the turn of this room being visited.
A creaking sound rang out as the door slowly and carefully opened, as if they had done it on purpose—not wanting to startle or frighten anyone in the room. Meanwhile on the other side—from within the darkness, a pair of eyes opened and slowly an eerie golden glow crept out of it. He attentively watched as the door gaped even larger, and his razor-sharp eyes made him look as if he was ready to pounce on the intruder, the moment they took a step inside.
However, even though Asher gave a ferocious and rude look; his movements were actually limited because he was lying on his side and a baby was fast asleep in his mid-stomach area.
Keisha had just fallen asleep after finished sobbing loudly, her eyes were still puffy and swollen and Asher didn’t want anyone to disturb this little baby’s rest; that was also the main reason why he brought her back to the palace that had become abandoned after that woman, her mother died, to the palace where she had been abandoned before, the Iris Palace.
He gave a low growl in warning to the intruders. After a short silence, a woman gasped could be heard, she took a step back before dashing out of the room and announced to her colleague, “Ruth, she is here.”
“But why are you looking so scared, Daisy?” The woman Daisy called Ruth questioned her in a rude manner.
“U-uh… that…” Daisy agitated, as if she couldn’t find the right words to describe what she had witnessed, the situation inside the room.
“Ck!” Getting impatient with her slow friend, Ruth clucked her tongue as she put on an exasperated expression. “Move! I will drag that girl back myself and-”
Daisy tried to hold her back, but they already saw Asher getting angry, and it was already too late, both of them shut their mouth almost immediately the moment they stepped in and feeling the threat to their life; feeling like it might not enough to only gave them a low growl as another warning, Asher also showed his fangs to make it more threatening and everything could be seen from a distance, his golden eyes shone so eerie bright along with his fangs that already floating in midair, it’s menacing, and instantly sent shivers running down their spine.
“Let-let’s go, we need to inform Estelle and the Head Maid.” Ruth said, stammering. “We can’t deal with the Great Beast.”
Ruth acknowledged that she couldn’t be able to deal with Asher, but deep down in her heart she cursed, ‘How could the beast still be here? It was supposed to be on the battlefield with the emperor, after all, it never leaves his majesty’s side!’
‘I won’t be able to do anything as long as the beast protects that lowly-born young lady!’
While Asher could hear it all, a voice deep inside the rotten mind of a human being—after all, that’s what it means to be a spirit; Not only his contractor’s—Kieran, but he could listen to humans’ mind and feel their feelings. The difference between the two was that he and Kieran could communicate and understand each other because they are tied with a contract; other than that special case, he could hear everything crystal clear, especially a human’s deepest thoughts that are filled with hatred and disgust with no apparent reason, just because of their jealousy and grudges.
If he could, Asher would’ve pounced on and killed that woman named Ruth right then and there for daring to look down on Keisha, but he had promised Kieran that he wouldn’t cause any trouble during his absence in the empire. A promise Asher was forced to make because he selfishness to stay by this little baby’s side, Jeremiah’s one and only daughter.
Enjoy the ride~!