Chapter 3: Lonely Souls
Lester sat on his throne holding the picture of his younger sibling. It has been three years since Dallas left but he can't still get used on living his life without that little devil on his side.
The light of the bright full moon shines through his throne room's windows illuminating his long blonde hair, and his paled gorgeous face, which was filled with gloom because of Dallas' absence. "I miss you kid," he groaned heavily.
He just recently received a report from Storm that some of the immortals that seeks asylum because of the ongoing war on their world are appearing in the mortal realm. And his reckless sibling decided to take a precautionary action on the situation.
Storm is there and he wholly trusted him to protect Dallas' life even though it means that he have to give his own. But he doesn't trust Dallas, that blood-thirsty immature kid who just fights for fun. Dallas' bloodlust always brings trouble.
This is madness. Dallas' existence as the Last Senphena is still in trouble to be exploited even when away from Mysto and Emera.
Great just great.
The door of his throne room opened to expose General Crimson, his third in command paced towards him. He inclined his head before him and speaks. "My Lord, I am here to account to latest occurrences."
Lester stayed immobile while staring on the picture. "You may speak." his voice was full of authority but dead and cheerless.
Crimson inclined his head once more and continues, "The Savages armies are rising in numbers. However our armies can still manage to seize them on gain the upper hand in the battle, the problem is . . ." he hesitated.
"The problem would be?" Lester prompted him to carry on.
"Even though our armies can still hold the Savages, some of our warriors haven't yet recovered from their previous injuries from the last encounter. They are appealing for foods and reinforcement."
Not the kind of report he wants to hear. More than everything he wants the Savages down as soon as possible, so Dallas can go home. "Send their biddings," he is willing to provide them everything they needed. Just end this war up once and for all, "And send more troops, I want the Savages all down as soon as possible," he glared on Crimson with his muddy blue eyes. "Do you hear me?"
"Yes, My Lord." Crimson inclined his head once more and exited the room.
As Crimson left, he rested his back to his throne and continues his grieving. He sighed heavily as he stares at his little sibling's picture. Since their father's death, he swears to himself that he will give his life to protect Dallas. For the last 18 years, he kept that promise.
But when those Savages started their stupid conquest on their world, everything was ruined. Anger rushes within him. If it weren't because of those animals, Dallas would have been here with him.
"You look anxious neus?" a feminine voice from nowhere and call upon him. 'neus means son'.
A tall and beautiful woman with long blonde hair appeared in front of him. She wears plain black gown that is covered with grayish mist.
"Anya," he said. 'anya means mother'.
Her face is full of concern brought by his sorrow, "What wrong neus?"
He instantly hid the photo under his cloak. "I miss my father," he lied.
"Poor child," her voice was soft and gentle. "But I am here now, wishing to soothe and comfort you from sadness my son.
"For how long anya?"
Lester's mother is no ordinary immortal. She is Alea, the Goddess of Vengeance.
Over 400 years ago, the Goddess of Vengeance had an affair with the Vampire King Lyon and the Goddess had born a son. Their relationship was kept in secrecy until this very day including his maternal heritage. It is a secret so great that it is only acknowledged within the Royal Family of the Senphena.
The reason's even though it is not forbidden for Gods to have affairs with the creatures of the middle world. The Gods cursed the Shadow clan and all those who are connected to them.
"Sooner or later Tadeos will summon you to return to Kaah."
The races in Emera are divided into two factions including the Gods. The Light-Bearers and the Death-Bringers. Light-Bearers are peaceful type of immortals that utilize the power of light and nature. Their complete opposites are the Death-Bringers like himself, immortals that needs to take lives in order to live.
With the Gods there are the Gods of Verdumia Temple, for the Light-Bearers, and the Gods of Mount Kaah, for the Death Bringers.
The Kaahns or the Death Gods were residing in a floating island known as Kaah. It is led by the Ocsinians, an assembly of the Eight Primal Death Gods of Kaah. And the Chief of them is his mother's brother, Tadeos, the God of Calamity who also bore the greatest hatred towards his clan.
"But I am here for the moment, isn't it enough to ease your sadness."
His mother's face was relieved knowing that even just a little she was able to soothe his troubled heart. She went closer to him. She knelt down to her knees and cupped his cheeks with her palms.
Lester breathed in to scent his mother's tender touch. How could a creature this gentle can be the Goddess of Vengeance. It doesn't make any sense. "Neus, you have to let go of it now."
"It's not easy for me anya, I'm not like you." Sadness visualize in his mother's eyes as he reminded her the time that she choices her godhood over his father's affection. Guilt tore over Lester's heart. "I'm sorry anya, I didn't mean to."
"No, you don't need to apologize, neus." She stood up and faced the full moon outside the window, trying not to him see her gloomy expression, "My relationship with Lyon would never be tolerated by my fellow Gods."
But Lester doesn't need to see his mother's face in order to recognize that she's crying.
Tadeos will never allow his sister to be tainted by any man, especially not from a Shadow vampire and a Senphena. Alea had kept Lester from the eyes of her brother from the time that she had conceived him and take him immediately away from Kaah when he was born and brought him to his father, Lyon.
The Gods will never accept that one of them had conceived a child from the bloodline that they forsake. That's why in the exception of Storm and Dallas, no one had ever known that he was a demigod vampire son of the Vengeance Goddess Alea.
"If I didn't leave him, my brother could have killed him. I'd rather not see him knowing that he's alive rather than together being dead," she paused and wiped her tears, "I let him go because I love him."
"But you're departure leave holes in his heart, which was only filled be a mortal woman who also caused him his life."
Alea gave a heavy sigh, "That's another thing I didn't expect. I know he's foolish enough to risk his life for the one's he loved. That's the other reason that I have to force him to leave me. Because I know that he would rather face Tadeos' wrath than to leave my side."
Lester stood up and pinned himself on his mother back. He wrapped his arms around Alea's chest. She holds his hands giving him comfort. He dug his head on his mother's shoulder trying treasured the moments he had with her.
"Anya, please stay with me for a while." he murmured on his mother's shoulder.
Alea starts sobbing. Like him, she is also mourning for the times that both of them should have stayed like this. He needed her touch every time he felt forgotten and alone, her kisses and hugs. Why does she need to leave him just to protect him? It's not fair. "Yes, I will stay here with you, neus."
For the rest, she may be a merciless Goddess of Vengeance and a killer. But for Lester she's just a mother needing her son's love.
"I thought you said you would take the entire night off?" Storm asked as he found Dallas sitting at the edge of a tall building's rooftop, playing through a harmonica the lullaby that King Lyon composed for his children.
Dallas stopped playing and turned to him. Gazing at him who's only wearing jeans with his bare upper body, he'd just transformed back from his werewolf form and his shirt got ripped. "Hey, what brought you here?"
"Should I be the one asking you that," he said sarcastically. "What are you doing out here? I thought you want to take the night off?"
Looking away from him and gazing back in front again, Dallas said, "I do. I just can't sleep."
"Can't sleep?" Storm raised his eyebrow. He crossed the distance between them and stood at the kid's side. "And you think that staying out here will help you drowse?"
"No. But it's better than staying inside my room."
He looked at Dallas' face. The expression is visibly gloomy. That Issue again? He thought. "You're thinking about it again, aren't you?"
He rolled his eyes and sighed, "How many time do we have to tell you this? It. Doesn't. Matter."
"I know. But I just can't help thinking about it sometimes."
"Tell me, why does it always bother you?"
"Because I'm a half-blood, neither a vampire nor a human, I'm an abomination unacceptable by either of the two realms. My life has costs my father's own. Our clans lost its leader and my brother was hurt beyond repair. Many had been sacrificed for me, and for eighteen years I tried to at least find one or two good things that my existence made
and I found none."
"That's not true. Every one of us has our own purpose that we have to fulfill in this world."
"If that's so, then what's mine?"
"I don't know, killing people probably. That's mostly what you're doing at the present."
Storm could not help but to break a smile. "I was joking. But seriously, on that question only you can find the answer."
"Easy," he whispered. "You need to live."
With that, a half smile spread on Dallas' face. "Thanks."
"A melodramatic child," Storm said as his own grief consumed him.
He was ignored and the harmonica plays the beautiful lullaby again.
Even for someone who was labeled as a monster in the world of the immortals for taking countless lives, Dallas is still a vulnerable kid inside that needs a family.
Storm looked away as the thought makes his eyes water. Dallas was just like his son. The son that he'd lost. It's been more than half a millennium but the wound that he carries inside his heart is still fresh and unchanged.
Dallas was wrong for saying those things. Just like his Lord, he's also a broken man. And if Dallas didn't come into his life, he might have lost his mind in grieving. The kid's arrival brought new joy to him. And despite all the troubles, headaches and beatings, the day that Dallas came into his and Lester's lives was the happiest moment that they remembered. The one that brightens up their dying worlds, a feeling that he thought that he will never experience again in his endless lifetime.
That is why he is willing to do everything for the Last Senphena, everything to ensure the Dallas' safety and happiness. And he will do all that is necessary in order to attain that. Even though it means that he has defy someone or even disregard something.
Strumming on his guitar as he sings the chorus of one of his favorite song, Cast heard a feminine voice singing the same song along with him. He has no idea where it came from or if it is real, but the voice is perfect, beautiful, soft and sweet.
It had been a while since he heard such a voice.
A kind of voice which is very pleasing to hear.
No intension of ruining flow of the music, he continued to play the song. He paused on the lines intended for the female singer whenever the song was played in duet. The voice sings the lines that he didn't phrase, pause whenever the lines are intended for him and sings along with him during the duet.
Cast continues to sing the song with his invisible duet. Their voices were like mated rhythms that perfectly matched each other. At the end of the song, Cast roams his gaze around, looking where the voice was coming from. He shoots up from his bed and went through the balcony. He looked around but found no one.
Was it real? Or was it just his imagination?
But it sounds too real to be his imagination.
Cast returned to his bed and repeated playing the song that he just sang earlier, hoping that he would hear the angelic voice who duet with him. But on his disappointment, he heard none. On utter surrender, he replaced his guitar back to its rack and went to his table. He pulled out a sketch book from the drawer, placed it on top of his desk and starts drawing.
Unknown to Lina, he forgot to share to her that he also draw like what she does. But just like Lina, he doesn't see this as a talent. For him, it's just something that he is capable of doing.
He sketched Lina's face. Since he can't personally see her yet, he wants to make a portrayal of her so he can still admire her beauty even though she's not with him.
It's very peculiar almost crazy perhaps but he never felt something like this before. A feeling that he wants to enter into someone else life and be a part of it. Because ever since he was still a child, all he wanted is to be left alone. And as far as he remembered he doesn't want anyone to have a vital place in his life even his own brothers.
But since the moment that he saw the eyes of Lina Dawn. He started to feel the loneliness that he had numbed before inside his heart. And he realized how alone he is. Sadness consumes him and for the first time in his lifetime, he wanted someone to be with him.
When the sketch was finished, he tears down the page and pin it on the board in front of him. His eyes turn dreamy as he examined her face's features. Lina is exceptionally beautiful beyond any sane judgment. And in every blink, in every quarter of a second that she doesn't saw her, she looks more beautiful and stunning than the last.
This started to make him impatient for the morning to come so he can see her again. But it is still dark, and they still have an entire night between them. "Soon, milady," he desirably look at her, "soon."
After gazing at Lina's picture for the last time, he went to his bed and lay down to ease all his impatience and exhaustion. He relaxed his head and slid his eyes.
But slumber doesn't want to take him. Surrendering to his fully awaken thought, he went off from bed, change to his jeans and t-shirt and decided to go out for a walk.
Lina woke up by the irritating sound of her phone's ring tone. Still cocooned inside her blanket, she draws out her hand and reached for it at the bedside table. "Hello?"
"Hey Lina," Cairo's voice from the other line timbered.
Sitting up, she yawned and rubbed her forehead which she found throbbing in pain. "Hey Dad, you called. What's the sitch?" she asked in a weak voice.
"Nothing much," he said. "Just checking on you."
"I'm fine, just having a morning headache. How about you?"
"Oh you gotta know this," Cairo said excitedly. "Mimi and I are going to have dinner tonight."
Mimi is her Dad's on and off girlfriend. She's a nice and sweet lady who also treats her like her real daughter. She'd talked to her in the phone for a couple of times and also sent her gift with or without any special occasion. But she'd never met her personally. Mimi loves traveling and doesn't settle in a single place for quite long. "Really? Nice."
"You got no idea. Hey, did you sleep well?"
"I think so," she rubbed her forehead again.
"Okay, I'll just talk to you later, you're class is about to start so I don't want to bother you."
"Class, what class?" she bewilderedly asked.
"What Class?" Cairo seems confused too. "Hey Lina, don't tell me you're still in bed."
"I am," she admitted.
"What?! Do you know what time is it?"
She gazed to her table and sees the time in her alarm clock. 9. She screamed and eyes almost popped out of its sockets in panic, realizing that she'd oversleep again. She pinned down and leaves her phone on her pillow and jumps off her bed and hastily rushed to the bathroom.
"Hey Lina, Lina . . ." Cairo tried to reach her from the other line.
"Okay Dad, I'll just talk to you later." she said while making her way inside the bathroom.
After having a shower, she didn't bother choosing what to wear. She just wears her usual jeans and t-shirt. She tied her hair into a ponytail as always before she grabs her backpack and jacket and dashed downstairs. Kelly was on her way up to her bedroom when she went down.
"Good Morning Kells." she greeted as she darted pass her. She skipped the kitchen and went directly outside.
Kelly followed her. "Lina, you haven't eaten your breakfast." she called at her from the door.
"I'm late. I'll just take a snack at school." She assures her and hopped into her bicycle. She lean back and watch Kelly wave her goodbye. She waved in response, before she returned her eyes on the road and rushed her pedals as fast as possible.
Their class was not yet starting when she arrived. Good thing that Mr. Hudson had decided to be late that morning and he wasn't there yet when she reached their classroom.
Today she is certain that he'll give them a pre-test before their scheduled exam the day after tomorrow. She gets inside and went to her seat. Just as the moment she seated, Mr. Hudson arrived holding a pile of test paper.
"Good morning class," he greeted before he put down the test papers on his desk. "Okay class. Keep your books and notes, we're having a pre-test."
"Ow!" The class reacted in unison. Some give an angry stare, some cursed and some even tried to complain. But for Lina, she just wants to get over this and get out of this hell hole.
A gorgeous man is waiting for her and she's not planning to keep him waiting.
Mr. Hudson throb his table repeatedly ordering the class to put their voices down. "Class this is not intended to torn you into pieces before your exam," he reasoned out, "this is an additional credit because I know that most of you will surely get a low score."
How ironic. The Monster has heart after all.
He starts to travel around handing the test papers one by one to each student on their seat. When everyone already has a test paper, he gave them one and a half hour to finish it.
Five minutes before the expected time, Lina passed her paper and exited the classroom. A few minutes later the rest followed. Lina glanced at her watch, it's already passed 10am and she only had Calculus left for the day. She giggled in excitement. Just two more hours left and she's out of here to spend the rest of the day with Cast.
Just wait for me.
Lina's thought got distracted when she heard Anna's voice calling her from behind. She turned around and found her half-running and carrying a mad face as she approached her. Damn! Lina exclaimed inside her head. She might have angered for leaving her yesterday. "Hey Anna," she waved nervously to her.
"Where have you been?" she asked, sounding more like a demand than a question. "I told you to wait for me but when I came back you're no longer there where I left you."
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "It totally slipped out of my mind." She was too diverted that time that she completely forgot about her.
Anna's face frown, "Slipped out of your mind?"
Lina nodded in agreement.
Anna shook her head in dismay, "Since when did you become this unfocused?"
"Yesterday, I guess."
"Yesterday?" Anna crossed her arms on her chest and started to interrogate her, "And can I know why?"
Lina wants to tell her the truth but she remembered that Anna didn't even believe her when she told her about Cast. She even think that she just knock her head too hard that it makes her see things which are not real. If she only knew, she will freak out, that's for sure. So she decided to give her the most perfectly sound reason she can make up. She sighed and braced herself. "You wanna know the truth?"
"Yes, I do," she answered eagerly. "And this time, give me a saner reason."
"Well, I'm having insomnia."
Anna made an expression of doubt, "Insomnia?"
"Yes, insomnia. I'd been having difficulty of sleeping for the past two weeks. That's why I'm a little bit wrecked."
Anna's expression shifted from mad to sympathizing but she didn't lower her tone. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I thought it's not going make a big deal so I kept it to myself. But since it started to bother me and you, maybe it's time for me to say something about it. And I'm sorry that I left you yesterday. I didn't mean to."
"Okay Lina, apology accepted," she said giving Lina a warm smile.
"But how about your necklace, we still haven't found it. After reporting your lost necklace yesterday, I checked back at the school's lost and found earlier if there is any progress but they said they had none. The facilitator said that it's very rare for students to surrender lost items at the lost and found nowadays especially if there are jewelries. So I kind of doubt if we can still found it."
"Actually I did," she told her, showing it placed back on her pale neck again.
"Where did you find it?"
"Outside," she lied convincingly again, "near my bicycle. It must have fallen there."
"Oh thank God you found it," she breathed in relief, glad that the conflict on her lost necklace was finally over.
Thanks Cast you mean. "Yeah I know. I was grateful that I had it back." With tons of bonuses.
"I'm grateful too. At last it's finally over now. I know how much that necklace means to you."
"I know," Lina agreed in a dull tone. For others it might just be a gem but for her it's a memory of the family that she'd lost. "I need to go," she snapped out as she perceives her sadness emerging again. It is true that the necklace has once just held sad memories of her life. But after what happened yesterday, those memories are just a part of it now. Someone had installed fresh and happy memories on this piece of gem that she will treasure from this day on along with it. "I still have a class."
"Sure," Anna kissed her on the cheek. "I'll see you later."
Calculus had ended fairly for Lina. Even though her anticipation for the class to end up more swiftly makes time appear to run slower for her, still she's grateful that her waiting has finally come into an end.
And at the very moment that the bell rang signifying the end of her class, she immediately makes her way to the exit and dashed to where she and Cast agree to see each other again.
When she arrived at their meeting place she immediately looked for him but Cast was nowhere to be found. He wasn't inside the store or even at the table where they have their ice creams yesterday. She didn't even see his car nearby, signifying that he might not be around yet.
Where could he be? "Maybe I came too early?"
"Actually you're quite late," Cast whispered against her ear.
Startled, Lina whirled around so she can face him.
She found Cast standing there in a proud silhouette with both his hands slid inside the pockets of his jacket with his heart-melting stares locked on her.
"Cast?" Lina flinched with a gasp then starts hyperventilating. It's only been 24 hours since the last time she saw him but it feels like that during those short period of time, his appeal's effect on her doubled.
Cast's face looks surprise too. "I thought you will never come."
Lina fought to regain her fainting consciousness and replied, "Not going to happen." She hid her astonished reaction and makes her expression look more casual, "I always keep my words."
In respond, Cast gave her a sweet smile, the sweetest smile that she'd seen from him so far. "Great, so am I."
Lina also smiled in return. And for a few seconds she treasured the silent moment with him.
"Shall we?" Cast offered.
She nodded, "Yeah."
Cast led her to their table and like a gentleman that he is. He dragged a chair for Lina before he went to his own seat. "How was your day?"
"Fair," she responded briefly. "How about you?"
The server arrived for their orders. Cast ordered the same one that they have last time. When the server left Lina resume, "Did I make you wait?"
He shook his head, "No. But I don't mind if I have to."
Lina gave an odd half laugh. "You're really a weird guy."
Her words and action makes him gave a confused expression, "How so?"
"Because only a weird guy would be willing to waste his time for someone like me."
The confusion on his face deepened, "Sorry, I didn't get the hitch on that."
"What I mean is that most men of my age don't find it interesting to hang out with me. So I find it awkward for someone like you asking for my company."
"I don't find it weird if I wanted to spend my time with you. I'm even grateful that you're willing to do the same."
"See!" Lina exclaimed. "There it is! You're acting weird again."
Cast was laughing now, "I think the one who's acting weird here isn't me but you."
Lina narrowed her eyes to him.
"If you see yourself that way, that's your problem. But on the contrary, I don't see you the way you see yourself."
Lina was brought into silence. Could it be that Cast can see something on her that is beyond her façade? That would be impossible. He'd barely know her. Even Anna who had been her close friend for three years didn't been able to uncover even the slightest part of her which she conceals from the rest, not even something close to it. "Okay, you lost me."
"What I see right now is not a tedious girl but a brave young woman who would rather choose to meet up again with a man she doesn't entirely knew, agree to have a meal with him not caring that he might be a psycho, a criminal, or someone very dangerous. A kind of woman who will do all of that and risk her own safety just for the sole reason that she wants to keep her promise. For me that's more than an enough reason to long for woman's company. And if other people don't appreciate that, then they are more foolish than I give them credit."
Lina was greatly stunned by his words and became silent again. It took her some times before she'd able to speak once again. "Wow." That was all she could breathe by the moment. Tears started to pool at the back of her eyes and she'd almost cried if she didn't control her emotions. "Thanks. This is the first time that someone said something that nice to me."
"I'm just telling the fact," he gazed at her solemnly. "I'm not good at saying nice things to other."
"And yet you're saying one to me."
"I told you, I'm just telling the fact."
"Telling the truth to someone is also a nice thing to say," she reasoned out.
"I find it hard to believe though. People nowadays lie just to say nice things to others. They even say the opposite of what they truly feel."
"True," she agreed on that. "But you don't."
"I'm not like the most."
"I already knew that," she grinned, flashing those white teeth from her pinkish lips. "That's the other reason why I find you weird."
END OF CHAPTER 3