The Mirror Realms: Chapter 3: Little White Lies
Sabine noticed she had lost her father's attention and saw him start to move.
She didn't think after that, really. Her body reacted instinctively, heart leaping into her throat as she threw herself in front of the entrance to the kitchen. Her father came to a dead stop before her. He'd-of course-been heading there. His eyes looked down at her, hardened, and he seemed to know something was amiss.
"-Sabine. Move." His voice brooked no argument.
She was terrified, legs shaking, starting to sweat. Not of her father-he'd never laid a hand on her in her life-his scoldings had always been enough to scare the sense back into her. She was scared what he might do to her new friend if he got to him before she could explain, Demons weren't technically allowed in town, although the occasional one in disguise managed to slip by, Most who were caught were either imprisoned or killed. Perhaps bringing him hadn't been the most well-thought out plan..however, even if she'd contacted her mother and had her come outside the walls she wouldn't have been able to carry all the supplies she needed out there, and Kostya would die without a safe place to rest.. So even as her knees knocked and sweat beaded on her skin, she stood in place, shaking.
She put her hands up slowly, as if to appease her father's temper.
"-Daddy, I swear I can explain." She began in a low tone. His answering growl was barely contained.
"-let me explain first-please-"
"-what is there to explain, Sabine? Move out of my way so i can do my job or I'll ground you until you get your second growth spurt."
"-he's not mean, daddy, he's friendly! He's hurt and he needs help-" She pleaded, and realized her mistake a little late.
"-he?" The word was spoken with both incredulous tones and the beginnings of anger. She had a feeling he was misunderstanding everything right now.
"-n-no, it's not like that, dad, I swear-just take a second and hear us both out, I didn't bring him here for nothing-"
"-you're telling me you are the reason the wards were set off? Our wards alerted us to a demon somehow slipping through, and I come home during the search to make sure you're alright, only to find out you let him in?"
Sabine felt tears welling up, It was coming out all wrong and she just wanted him to listen to her for half a second without just assuming she'd screwed something up. She did it for the right reasons. She knew she had. She just had to get him to listen before he tried to tear into Kostya.
Caine chewed on his lip with his flat front teeth and steeled himself, pulling down the hood that still sat around his horns. He took a single step forward, just out of range of where they could see him. He hesitated more-they certainly didn't sound happy-but they were going to find him either way, and Sabine didn't need to pay for his mistake.
He put up his pale hands, the chains dangling between them and slowly crept from his hiding place, ears pressed flat to his head as he cowered at the aura of the man alone, even through the chains' muting ability.
"Please just...listen...please," He said in careful English, taking in the tall, frightening man in front of him as well as the petite blonde woman next to him as more panic swelled in his throat.
"Please..." he repeated, squeezing his eyes shut in an effort to not hyperventilate before this was over with. His hands were shaking and the collar around his neck pained him, feeling heavy and obvious.
Sabine still had the desperate look of panic on her face.
The man's hand flew to his gold wristwatch, but his wife stopped him with a light hand on his arm.
"Darling...why don't we give Sabine a chance to explain herself, and then perhaps this young man here?"
"But Giselle, he's the breach we were looking for-"
"I know, honey, but he's shaking like a leaf... Look how young he looks-let's take a moment, alright?"
Sabine's father turned cold, pale blue eyes on the demon. He assessed the chains and cloak dubiously.
"Fine. But rest assured if he makes one wrong move, I will take it as a threat."
Sabine cleared her throat, getting her father to focus on her-well, mostly. She had no doubt he was carefully watching Kostya from the corner of his eye as well. She made sure she was still firmly planted between her father and the demon-she wasn't taking any chances.
"So...while I was out gathering ingredients, I went to visit Cerulean Falls, because some travelers had tipped me off that Blood Lotus was growing there. On my way there, I sort of came across this demon guy in a military-looking outfit heading that way, and...well, I was curious, so I followed him. He went right to the falls, and then he sort of did some spell or something, and then there was this big iron door in the cliffside-well, sort of a door, but it was huge and had all these glowing purple glyphs on it. Anyways, he opened it and went inside, and then came out again not long after, and left..."
She smiled nervously.
"I, um, was curious as to why he went in, so I sort of went and messed with the door a little...then I kind of went inside and...well, I found him there."
She shifted her stance, playing with one long strand of hair over her shoulder as she thought of how to word the rest.
"I asked him who he was, and why he was in there...and well, he's pretty badly injured, mom...I mean-" She motioned at his feet and ankles visible under the cloak's much too short hem.
"Well, he said he made the king angry...and he's really badly hurt...I couldn't heal all of his injuries on my own, and I thought it would be cruel to just leave him there, in pain and alone."
She neglected to answer his last question in case Kostya needed a quick and safe exit later, and instead tried for a distraction.
"He can probably explain the details of why he was in there better than I can...he's really nice, I swear. He's been perfectly pleasant and polite the whole time since I met him. He's better-behaved than most of the guys his age in town."
"What on earth made you think it was a good idea to bring him here? Better yet, how did you even get him in town past the guards?" He asked.
Sabine looked to Kostya.
"-He said he held out on giving the king research he'd found about the Great Seal. Something the King wanted to use for..well, to start a war. He's been malnourished and beaten and tortured, and he still hasn't given the king what he wants. It seemed cruel to just leave him there after he warned me...so I saved him."
Caine stayed frozen where he was.
"I owe your daughter my life, not this trouble. I swear, I mean you no harm, I have no magic and nowhere to go. I didn't even know this was a town of angels until well...a moment ago actually." he tried to explain, double checking the words in his head as he said them. His English was still impressive despite the time since he'd actually used it. If he hadn't been terrified the accent might have even been acceptable.
"She speaks the truth, that is what I told her and the truth it still is..." They seemed to be listening so he continued.
"I was studying to be a mage and in my research, I unearthed something to do with the seal, just a couple of lines of the spell and suddenly everyone was interested. It was a starting point and I just...had no idea what for. Then His Majesty the King himself tried to persuade me into telling what I had found...that it would be integral to the war effort. I agreed because you know... he's not exactly a man to be told no..." He put his hands down, his muscles too sore to hold out any longer.
"I burned them...I burned the notes" He slumped, staring down at the floor beneath his feet.
"I couldn't let him do that to our people or yours..." he trailed off, desperately trying to keep his hold on the present instead of the past that held his tongue with such finality. That was the truth, the only thing he'd lied about thus far was his name and that was for all and good reason still.
" I decided I would rather risk death than let them have it...and I think they were growing tired of me quickly... I've been imprisoned for the better part of a year if I had to guess...I owe your daughter my life." he repeated.
Sabine was sure, for the slightest moment that her father might actually listen. He had stopped-frozen, actually listening to what the demon said, harsh accent and all.
And then she felt herself quickly but gently and firmly maneuvered out of his way before she could protest or stop him. His eyes were cold and detached, the way that they often were when he shut his emotions down so he could think clearly. It made her heart sink.
"-if that is true, then I thank you for your sacrifice. Be that as it may, information or no, demons are not allowed in this town for a reason. I must bring you in to face judgement. I'm sure with the information you've given them they'll simply spare your life and release you outside the walls with a warning not to come back-" As his hand was reaching out, Sabine wrapped her arms around his waist, starting to cry.
"-Daddy, no! The king's men will find him and kill him if we make him leave! Look at how injured he is-he's barely got any magic at all-he'll die. He risked everything to do the right thing and they'll send him out to die!!! Is that how we treat someone who may have saved us?" Her voice was panicky and short, trying desperately to get him to stop. He was immovable from his goal, prying her fingers off of him as carefully as he could, his own strength far greater than hers.
Her mother, who had silently watched in awe til then, tapped up past her husband-who gave a start, watching her walk past him-and moved closer to the demon, studying him curiously.
"-what's your name?
Caine shrunk under her inspection, this lady knew something and he didn't like the looks of it either.
"K-Kostya" he studdered. He didn't know what else to say, he'd already dug that hole.
She looked mildly disappointed with that answer.
"-full name? You're a noble, yes? What's your bloodline?"
There was some look in her eye, a look that studied him like a hawk. Her eyes were startlingly green, a vibrant emerald that held most transfixed when animated such as now. She peered at him closer, now.
Sabine was glad for the pause, but was curious as well. He hadn't told her his family line, but....maybe she wasn't showing it to those who didn't know her, but she had a feeling her mother was onto something. She was being too calm, too politely curious. Something was off.
Caine was quiet for a long moment and he glanced apologetically towards Sabine before going back to her mother and sighing heavily.
"I...told Sabine that because I panicked and thought she was a demon." He admitted.
"My family isn't well liked by many commoners and I..." He looked like he was beginning to panic.
"My name is Caine..." He admitted finally, the fact his family name was the namesake of the capital made him cringe inwardly.
"Caine Alerix Leros, second son of King Majin Leros and the... Former heir to the Haelian throne" Each section came out slower now. He'd hoped that maybe she-ambassador or no-might have forgotten more of it than she apparently had. It had to have been years after all.
Her face lit up for a brief moment, despite the grim news.
"-it is you! You are Serafina's son! I knew it had to be you! You look so much like her-a lot like your father, too, not that that's a detriment-but I couldn't be certain. I'd never seen your cousins, so I wasn't sure that you weren't one of Ravian's sons...for all I know, his wife could be a brunette, too. Never met the woman. Still, I pity her." She shivered some at his name.
She now looked more concerned but also at ease. She held her hand out.
"-my name is Giselle Dubois. I'm the former ambassador for this town-Paitamur. I was ambassador for a short time during the negotiations with your mother and father for a possible alliance and peace talks. Unfortunately, they didn't pan out, but your mother and I were good friends..." She knit her brow, seeing the state he was in.
"-what has happened? Serafina would surely not have let your father be so harsh to you, would she have? Why has she let him do this? She can't be happy. Her own son, imprisoned! Even for treason, she'd be livid, I'm sure."
Sabine blinked several times. It was processing in her head still.
So he was actually a prince-former prince?-and not just a noble. He'd lied about his name. He had been rather terrified when she'd come in, but it still stung some. And apparently her mother knew him-she'd known her mother had met the queen and king, but not anyone else. She looked at Caine with new eyes. A prince?
So all it took was disobedience for a king to desert his heir and son. How strange-she could never see her parents doing anything of the sort to her. She felt pity welling up. No one deserved to go through such a thing.
Her father now seemed conflicted. To see his wife so comfortable around what he'd seen as an enemy seconds earlier had him baffled as to what course of action to take. She hoped he stayed that way. Just in case, she wound her arms around one of his.
Caine was silent for a long, almost painful moment. The reality of it couldn't sink in for him, one moment he was being half interrogated and threatened with execution and now...she was asking about his mother? He didn't seem to know what to do with the hand and his own wrists throbbed painfully so he just took it in his own dirtied hands and stayed there.
"She..." he started, pausing again like he was unable to place her and how to put it. It /had been a long time, it seemed.
"Miss, she's...she's passed on. A long time ago." he replied quietly, looking up at Sabine with a look that said pain.
"She died when I was six and my elder brother Abelith -I mean, Abel- when we were 17... Marcus and I are the last of her children I'm afraid..."
Caine now had a few other siblings, it seemed that his father had much more luck with that than his own father had but his younger brother Marcus and himself had never been close-not like they'd both been with Caine's deceased twin.
"Both of them succumbed to a mysterious disease, the same one..." he said, this time with more of an icy edge to it that spoke suspicion mixed with regret.
"We all think he did it." He knew she'd know who he was talking about it and didn't care to elaborate.
"He's...unstable... to say the least. And I thought that if I could just hold out until I was king that I could make it right again but... I don't want to inherit a planet that loathes me, let alone two. I don't want to be known as the son of a man who committed genocide. My birthright died as far as I am concerned the moment I realized he was serious about it.."
Giselle seemed to wilt. She winced.
"-but....you think Majin did it? But even as infuriatingly coldly logical as the man was...even I could see how much he cared for her. And from what she told me, he cared even more for you kids....to think that he did this to you, might have killed her and your brother...and now you say he wants war? But...why? We may have parted on somewhat tense terms, but they were peaceful. We'd resolved the issue that ended the talks, but both sides agreed it would be foolhardy to keep trying right then. Why would he...? I don't understand. Him? Unstable? He never seemed like the type."
Mark moved a little closer-not attacking, but putting himself closer to his wife in a passively protective way. He listened, however, and held himself back.
"-how soon? Do you know how far off his plans are?" He asked, eyes calculating. He was now interested.
Sabine had followed him, but when he'd relaxed his muscles she let go of his arm and moved over to Caine to lay a reassuring hand on his arm. She wanted to tell him she was sorry for his loss, but the words seemed meaningless.
Caine was beginning to feel a tad boxed in and took a painful step back, bumping into the counter top with a badly concealed wince.
"What month is it?" He asked, completely serious. He knew it had to be either early summer or late spring but reworded his question.
"Actually, what year is it? I've been in prison for at least one...it was very cold when they first brought me to that cave and...I'd been arrested almost a year before that. He has quite the head start, I do know though that he was having some discontentment within the nobility..." He leaned back against the counter and coughed again.
"He's likely been solidifying his pull within the nobility... Each city has sort of its own forces and a mirroring organizational system... Without them he can't begin the drafts and without the drafts.." he motioned with his shackled hands tiredly.
Sabine looked to him worriedly and kept still. She answered before her mother could.
"-It's halfway through Parter...wait, do you know enough of Angelic calenders to convert? Late bloom. Before the sun gets really bad, while it's still rather bearable and the thaw has been over a while..."
Giselle interrupted her.
"I believe your world is mostly through Maham...and it's been 2045 years after the Great war, if that is any help to reference."
She seemed to sense his discomfort and casually shifted a few paces back, her husband having to move back some so she wouldn't run into him. He seemed to notice what she was doing, but didn't comment or resist.
Sabine's thoughts were still racing, whirring from the several new discoveries in the past minute. She waited with bated breath to see how long they had to save themselves.
"I see..." He replied after a moment, trying to make his sluggish brain work out the math required.
"I've been gone for...a year and 5 months then... By my world's time in any case." He seemed distressed by this revelation and looked for something to he could sit on before continuing. He pulled the dining room chair out after a moment and sunk into it with obvious relief to be off his abused ankles. He just wanted this to be over, none of it seemed real anyway.
"The first 6 months they just tried to scare me. Then I had my trial and that..." his words caught in his throat.
"That was my banishment as well. After that they just... Left me to Ravian's whims..." He hesitated with the name like it was the name of a monster, a curse that would follow him at the mention of it.
"I wasn't a Prince anymore. I didn't matter."
Giselle sucked in a breath.
"-then...you've been...Ravian heads torture, doesn't he?" She winced. "-by the goddess, he gave his own son over to that sadist-"
Mark hadn't been distracted.
"-if that's the timeline, have you any clue how long we have to prepare?" He asked, tone commanding but also calm.
Caine looked tired, his hands in his lap and his head against the back of the chair.
"I'd need more information... If he's convinced all of the Providences then perhaps months to a year to begin the the drafts and train whoever isn't fodder for the front lines... The planet is massive but my father has little patience for bureaucratic nonsense or peasant upheaval... It's a hard call.
Giselle looked to her husband.
"-Mark...he's incredibly informed even for someone who's been in prison for over a year..."
He seemed to be worried.
"-are we considering-?"
"-we can run it by Morgan. I'm not going to keep it from him...but look at him. He's injured and beaten down. He needs the help. He may even prove useful to our temple later...please?"
Mark looked extremely put-upon in that moment.
"-but, the law-and Sabine-"
"-has been helping him and near him this entire time and is fine. Morgan can excuse us if he believes the cause is just...don't you think it'd be useful to have some insight on Majin? I'm sure the boy knows his own father rather well, compared to any of us. I only dealt with the man a couple times."
Mark sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"-I'll...go make the call. But don't bet on anything-"
"-if I know my old partner, he wouldn't pass up a chance at inside information that will possibly save us."
The demon sighed with something close to relief, even if it was a momentary comfort. He live to see another day at least, and that he was thankful for. Even if he wouldn't die regretting what he did didn't mean that he wanted to die any time soon, not now that there were options.
"I'll do what I can.." he nodded, the collar's singular hoop clinking against the metal. He'd help however he could, both for them and himself. Given more intel on the current state of things he could probably tell them something more useful but for now he couldn't have told them many details if he tried.
The older blonde woman frowned at the collar and shackles.
"-in the meantime, those must be incredibly uncomfortable...why don't we see if we can't get them off?"
@Blackbird if you're still reading and if anyone else wants to, feel free :D
Yaaaay! I get to know what happens!
So I read the three chapters in the car this morning and
Go finish the next chapter. It's too good to wait.
Go finish the next chapter. It's too good to wait.
This. I support this.
Also, apologies for my lack of feedback. I've been pretty tired this week. But I have read it. And I am enjoying it. And please keep posting these. ^^
Also, apologies for my lack of feedback.
I also feel bad about this. I was in the car like, "I need to come up with some feedback..." but my brain hasn't been wanting to get into a critical mode lately :P Pretty much the only thing I can comment on is sometimes the way the POV swings around was hard to keep up with, particularly the way it usually changed with dialogue, but not to the point it was disorienting or anything.
@typical_demigod I'm gonna cry.
We're working on Chapter 4 guys :D We've just been busy and our schedules have been hectic lately
<3 thanks so much for reading! Even if you can't give feedback all the time it's nice just to know someone actually wants to read it, lol
@typical_demigod I was thinking so myself. I'll go through eventually and rewrite it more novel perspective-I was thinking once we finish the first book I'll do that, just one fell swoop of fixing the POV
It's because we rp to write it, then edit and fix it to make a story format