There was a light tapping on Min’s door about ten or twenty minutes later.
“Min…” A gentle voice came from the other side as if to try to take back the lewd dirty voice she had produced only a short time ago.
Min didn’t respond, but as the door had no lock, it creaked open a moment later anyway, and Alliana stepped into Min’s room. Min was lying on the bed at this point. She had stopped crying, but now she only felt hollow and alone.
“Min… I’m sorry you had to see that.” Alliana stated bluntly. “I thought you’d be out a little longer…”
She stopped as if knowing that that excuse was a bad one. Min mumbled something into the pillow that was unintelligible. Alliana took a few steps closer, cocking her head to listen.
“I thought you loved father.” Min’s voice only slightly broke when she said this.
“I do! Your father means the world to me.”
“How? How is that possible when you cheat so easily?”
“It wasn’t easy!” Alliana’s voice tightened as she approached, but she relaxed as she sat down at the foot of Min’s bed. “I didn’t decide to do this for my own satisfaction.”
Alliana gave a sigh. “I… I’ve always been… a beauty. From the moment I was born, I was told how beautiful I was. I was told I must marry a great man, because only a great man deserved to be with someone as beautiful as me. Even being selected by your father, it had more to do with my looks than anything else I could add to our relationship.”
“Then, you don’t love him?”
“Of course, I do! I love your father. That’s why…” Alliana seemed to be trying to find the right words. “Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. Everyone has a weapon for them to fight with.”
“What do you mean? L-like my bow?” Min asked hesitantly, finally looking up from her pillow.
“Yes, but not just a bow. Skills can be a weapon. Being good at talking can win a war. Being good at cooking can win a heart. Being good at sewing… I’m so proud that you have so many weapons you can fight with my little Min. You’re already better at sewing and cooking than I ever was. But me… I was never good at any of it. For years, I simply sat by and watched as your father fought to provide us with a good home, never doing anything to help.”
“You… raised me. Kept the home clean…”
“Yes…” she gave a sorrowful smile. “I convinced myself that was enough for a time, but as I saw my husband fight on alone, as I saw my daughter quickly become defined not by her beauty, but by her talent, I knew it wasn’t enough. But I only had one thing to use, one weapon.
“My body, Elmindreda. I could fight with my body. Do you understand?”
Min scrunched up her face and then shook her head while throwing her hands up. “No… No, I don’t get it at all. You looked like you were having fun and…”
“Do you have fun when you shoot arrows? Does Evan… does your father have fun when he brokers a good agreement? Just because you find enjoyment in something you must do, doesn’t negate the fact you must do it. A few years ago, Hectus was close to having your father ousted from the council. So… I used the only weapon I had. My beauty… my body… I slept with him, and he changed his vote.
“Hectus has continued to be Evan’s major opponent, but as long as we carry on this affair, he doesn’t try to go after Evan… or you.”
“M-me?” Min asked in alarm.
“Why do you think a marriage between you and Hectus’s son hasn’t been arranged? Dante certainly wants to make it a reality. However, I prevented this from happening… for you. It may be a bit untraditional, but I have used my body to give us, all of us, a better life. Can you understand that, Min?”
“I…” Min still tried to wrap her head around it, but she just couldn’t. “I can’t. Y-you’ve betrayed dad. You betrayed me!”
“No, Elmindreda. Stop, it isn’t like that.”
“I won’t stop!” Min was shouting now. “And I won’t stay here!”
“Min, please.” Alliana reached out to grab Min, but Min pulled away before she could.
“No! You… I thought… that our family meant something. However, you… you’re a whore.”
Alliana’s open hand had struck Min across the cheek. Alliana moved her hand to her mouth, surprised by her own actions, while fury slowly built across Min’s face.
“Min, I’m sorry, but you mustn’t…”
“Mustn’t? What mustn’t I do… mother? In a world where you spread your legs for any guy…”
“Min! Enough of that!”
“Don’t call me that. Never call me that again. It’s Elmindreda. The name you chose is dead to me. That’s an endearing name of a woman with family, and I have none!”
“Min… Elmindreda…” Alliana wore a genuinely hurt look on her face.
“I hate you…” Min growled before turning away.
“We’re not done, young lady.” Alliana stood up and made a grab for Min’s arm.
She immediately turned and shoved Alliana, who fell to bed in surprise. “I HATE you! Never talk to me again.”
With tears in her eyes, Min turned and ran out of the house, racing off into the forest. At this point, it was already several hours into the night. However, Min couldn’t stop herself from running. She was so angry, so frustrated, and so lost, that she didn’t know what to do.
Part of her considered running straight to Danin and telling him everything. Maybe she’d give herself to him after. If her mom could spread her legs for anyone, then what sanctity was there left in elf traditions? She seemed to like it while that disgusting creep plowed her from behind, maybe Min would like it too. That line of thinking quickly made Min sick, and she stopped contemplating finding Danin. Sex was disgusting. Eventually, she collapsed by a nearby tree.
Min didn’t know how long she sat there by the tree. She might have drifted off to sleep, but when her eyes opened again she was still pushed up against the tree. It wasn’t particularly a cold night, but she shivered anyway. The night wore on, Min feeling like she had been hollowed out from the inside. She was an empty shell. Dead emotionally. Uncaring about the world around her.
“Min is this way, Mrs. Alliana.” The distant voice was followed by the sound of a branch cracking.
Mother? No… Min had no mother. The sounds of people moving a distance away caught her attention nontheless. Even though she didn’t want anything to do with her mother, the words she heard triggered something. They weren’t heading in her direction, and she was aware enough of her surroundings that she would have noticed had someone found her. So, where was her mother going?
Unable to help herself, she began to follow them. She finally got close enough that she was able to see the faces, and it was indeed her mother. The anger surged up in her once again. Alliana was still wearing the white negligee from earlier, but she had a cloak draped over it. It looked like she had left the house in a hurry. The person leading the way was none other than Danin. What was Danin doing out this late? Where would he take her mother?
She continued to follow the pair of them as they made their way through the forest in quiet. Then a clearing finally let out. She found a nearby bush and hid under it, peering into the moonlit field. Danin led Alliana directly into the middle of the field, and it was that point that a form emerged. It was Hector once again, still wearing that arrogant hateful grin he had on earlier, although it looked like he had changed clothing and freshened up.
Hadn’t he already had his way with her? Why was he meeting her now in the middle of the night?
“What is this?” Alliana was just as confused as Min was. “Hector? Why are you meeting me here, now?”
Hector nodded to Danin, who bowed his head and then turned around and left quickly while shooting back nervous looks. Once he disappeared in the shadows, Hector tossed something at Alliana. She caught and looked at the thing in her hand, although Min couldn’t tell what it was.
She ignored the item and continued to call out to him, “Where is Min, Hector? You couldn’t possibly…” He raised his hand to his eyes and pointed.
“You… a blindfold, is it? Please, I’m looking for my daughter… if I put this on, you’ll take me to her?”
He nodded with a smile, and she finally sighed and put the thing he had thrown at her on, a black blindfold that covered her eyes. Once it was firmly in place, she threw up her hands.
“I don’t have time for these games right now, Hector. Tell me, what did you do with my daughter?”
Although Alliana couldn’t see it, Hector put on a nasty grin. A second later, he nodded to his side. Someone else quietly emerged from the woods nearby. They started taking several steps towards Alliana, and by the time he was visible Min had to stifle a gasp. The person was Dante.
Min was already suffering heavy shock. Her mind was a jumbled mess, and nothing she was seeing made a whole lot of sense. As a result, she had no choice by to keep watching.
Dante made his way until he was directly in front of Min’s mom. He looked down on her lewdly. Even though he was younger than her by more than half, he stood a head taller than her, close in height to his father. Min had never though about it before, but the two did resemble each other strongly. Then, he reached out unashamedly and grabbed Alliana’s breast.
She gave a gasp. “Hectus! Right now… it’s a little… Please don’t make me do this right now. My daughter is missing and I… aaah.”
Dante seemingly ignored her as he popped a breast from her light dress and started sucking it roughly. Hector only watched with a slight smile on his face as his son violated Alliana, who had thought it was Hector.
Min only watched, frozen in place. In some part of her mind, she understood this was wrong. She knew that Hector was doing something violent and vile to her mother. However, all of this was too new. It was too fresh. She was too angry at her mother. The thought occurred to her, ‘it serves her right’. Let Dante have his way with her. If she wasn’t such a whore, then this wouldn’t happen.
The thought she had at that moment would haunt Min for the rest of her life.