The luxury of the Hall even amazed the girl who had spent her life witnessing the finest of the luxuries. The walls were lavishly covered in jades. The floor of the Hall was made of Coldstone and Bloodwood, giving it a raw and sturdy texture, and the red and black pattern was attractive enough for people to appreciate the Architect that designed it. The roof was adorned in sparkling jades, and the massive Chandeliers hanging on it shimmered in various lights that the crystals and gems on them provided. Each of these seven Chandeliers was equal to a lifetime fortune for some. The Spiral Pillars were full of carvings of all kinds of beasts that could be found on the two Realms. The art was mesmerizing and asked to be appreciated.
“Look here, Irina. There’s my sketch as well.” Nyxi excitedly said and circled around a pillar, marveling at the sketch of a Nightmare Lynx.
Irina couldn’t help but chuckle at this beast’s unexpected enthusiasm. It was evident that Nyxi had never before been inside such a mesmerizing place, but she had never expected a beast such as a Nightmare Lynx to act like a child. This beast had even neglected the presence of the man in front of them. Nyxi had taken the advice of Keira to be at ease here to her heart.
Keira stood by the side of Irina, and her eyes were fixed on the throne in the Hall. She was waiting for the Master of this throne to arrive, and in contrast to Nyxi’s excitement, her heart was tensed but determined. Her eyes shifted to the man who stood respectfully on the platform below that of the throne. In his hands was a Giant Sword that reached his waist. He held it with both hands, and in a guard-like posture. On the mail-like armor, a hauberk, of the man was the emblem of Red-Right-Hand that dripped of blood, the symbol of the Blood-Hand. He was a man with a massive built. He was nearly 8 feet tall, and his upper body muscles were ripping out of the armor that he wore. And the armor that he wore was golden, made out of the ore known as Ferrusus. A metal that was so rare that barely a dozen people in the Two Realms possessed an armor made of it. Its sturdiness and exquisiteness were only second to that of Primordial Metal, and its natural golden color that shined like a sun provided it with a beauty of its own.
The man stood there like a guard, but he was, in fact, the General of the Blood Hand. His name was Victorian, and the world called him the Mad Golden or the Golden General. He got the titles after cementing his power in dozens of battles he fought in his life. In his respect were various rumors in the two realms, and the widely known was that he had not a single scar of shame on his back, meaning, that he had never turned his back to his enemies and run from a battle. Victorian had Brown Hair, that flowed onto his shoulders. And his Blue eyes were vicious, yet beautiful. His gaze could send shivers down the spine of people, and his presence was over-bearing.
It was the first time Keira had met him, and she was impressed by his personality. He was a respectful man. His eyes had shined in admiration for their beauty when they had entered the Hall, but he had lowered his head after a glance and hadn’t raised it again.
His aura was hidden by him, and so Nyxi hadn’t realized how strong he was. Otherwise, that Lynx wouldn’t dare to act the way it was doing right now. Victorian was, after all, a powerhouse of True-Origin Realm.
Keira and Irina’s expressions turned solemn the moment an overbearing aura covered the entire Hall. It was too sudden, and then, before their eyes, the sword in Victorian’s hand vanished, and he went down on his knee, kneeling to the throne.
“My Lady,” His resolute and respectful voice resonated in the Hall.
Keira frowned as she looked at the empty throne, but the next moment, it was not empty. A lady dressed in a silver dress sat on it. Her lustrous Silver hair with Black roots flowed down her back, and her face was covered in a red-colored Half-Mask. And when Keira saw the crown on her head, her heart tightened, and her heart ached.
The pressure around Keira and Irina increased, and they both immediately bowed their heads to the Lady on the throne.
“Lady Arianna,” Keira and Irina politely said in unison and looked back again at the Lady on the throne. Their eyes didn’t hide their shock.
Arianna didn’t return their greeting. Her eyes from behind her mask scrutinized them, gazed them with a majesty that their heart tensed in reverence. There was fear palpitating in Irina’s heart, but Keira still fought against it and didn’t allow it to engulf her heart. She was prideful, and she was stubborn.
The silence in the room lasted for several moments, and Victorian still stayed in his kneeling posture with his head lowered. Arianna finally nodded in his direction, and the tall man stood up on his feet and returned to his post as a guard. His sword was back in his hands.
“Leave the Hall.”
A voice whispered in the Hall and the hearts of Keira and Irina were stirred in its beauty. However, the command that voice contained was full of majesty, that no one would dare to forget their place in her presence.
Victorian disappeared from his spot, and the main door of the Hall closed. Keira felt someone hide behind her. It was Nyxi, and its body was shuddering in fear. It had realized that the lady on the throne was powerful beyond its imagination.
“This Princess greets the Second High-Queen of the Star Palace,” Keira’s voice echoed in the Hall, “Congratulations, Lady Arianna.” There was no fear in her voice.
Arianna smiled when she saw the attitude of this little princess. She was impressed. The girl before her was exceptional.
“Thank you, little princess.” She accepted her greeting. “But you know the rules. You have come to my Hall uninvited.”
Keira’s heart thumped hard when she felt Arianna’s voice harden, but she managed to not show her uneasiness on her face.
“My apologies, Lady Arianna,” She answered, and nodded her head in apology, “I am aware of the rules, and I have brought you a gift.” She said and brought out a small chest from her Blood-Ring.
Arianna looked at it, but it was clear that she was not interested in whatever was in it, and Keira was keen enough to catch her disinterest. “If the Lady is not content after seeing what it is, I will present you more gifts.”
Her words brought a pale smile on Arianna’s face, and her gaze shifted to the dagger on Arianna’s waist partly visible under her cloak.
“That’s a pretty blade.”
Keira’s heart tightened when she heard the words. It seemed like Arianna wanted that dagger, and she was in no way willing to give it to anyone. It was precious to her.
“Don’t worry. I won’t take it away from you. I know how precious it is to you.” Arianna interjected her words before she could apologize. A mysterious smile was curved on her lips.
Keira felt uneasy under the gaze of Arianna. It was as if Arianna could see right through her feelings. But she didn’t forget her manners, and gratefully nodded to her. She opened the small chest in her hand, and what appeared inside it was a pink and white-colored round ball not bigger than a fingertip. It was shining is a pink hue, and there were several small markings on it that looked like vessels.
“This is the seed of Fairy Blossom Tree. I hope Lady Arianna would accept it and forgive us for coming to your Hall uninvited.”
The Fairy Blossom Tree was a mystical existence, and it was rare to see one outside the Fairylands. What was special about this tree was its blossoms. It would grow up at an astonishing rate, and it would grow up to several hundred feet and have a wide shade of blossoms. The scent of those blossoms held the power to calm the hearts of people, and its scent was restricted to only under its shade. Once a year, the tree would give birth to a few peach-like fruits, and these peaches of Fairy Blossom Tree were delicious enough to make anyone salivate for them. It was a beautiful gift.
Arianna lifted her hand and the chest flew to her. She caressed the seed with the tip of her finger, and then closed the lid before storing it away.
“Thank you, Little Princess.” Arianna smiled at her and nodded. “I will present it to my Husband. I am sure he would like the gift that Princess Keira had brought for him.”
Her words made Keira’s body tremble. And she lowered her head as her brows furrowed. Irina was shaking uncontrollably. Her heart was filled with fears. She feared Arianna, and she feared for her Master. Keira was not allowing Irina to feel her pain, she was blocking their bond, but Irina knew that her Master was in pain right now.
Arianna sighed when she saw the state of Keira. She had heard the rumors circulating in the Hand of Kosmos. All the families believed that Keira had fallen for the Morningstar. They were just rumors, but now she had ascertained it. This princess was indeed in love with her husband.
“What have you come here for, Keira?” She asked as she sank back on her throne.
Keira raised her head and looked back at the lady on the throne. Her eyes were fixed on the Crown on her head.
“Why, Lady Arianna?” She asked, and her fists clenched tightly.
Arianna smiled at her question but didn’t answer her. She liked the bearing of this girl and her stubbornness. She liked the emotions that were emanating from the heart of this little princess. It was her Law. She was the Lucifer. And Keira was too weak to hide her emotions from her.
The deadly possessiveness in Keira’s heart was a beautiful song to Arianna. The love in her heart was selfish, yet it was so strong that it had made her weak. Too weak, and yet, too dangerous. Arianna knew that Keira was a threat, and she knew it as well that Keira was mistaken about a few things.
“Aizen is Chaos, Keira. He is an existence that can never be controlled by anyone.”
She gave Keira a sincere warning. It was only out of the respect she felt for the love that this princess held for her husband. Yes, she was dangerous, and the deadly possessiveness was too big of a threat. But her love was pure. It was the curse of her Bloodline. A Zion would only fall in love with someone once in a lifetime, and they would love that person for the entirety of their lives. Yes, the curse made it so that they were dangerously selfish. They were too possessive. When the love of a Zion was not reciprocated with the same intensity, they had killed their love and destroyed anyone that surrounded them. And then they killed themselves. It had happened several times in history.
“I have the power to make all your emotions for him vanish.” Arianna lightly said and sighed. “However, it’d be nothing less than the curse that you are already suffering from. You would be incapable of ever loving someone again.” She looked at Keira and smiled. “Just ask, Little Princess. I can make all those feelings go away.”
The words of Arianna scared Keira. Her heart finally palpitated in fear. She trembled, and the words kept repeating in her mind. Not once had she considered taking Arianna’s offer. What was running in her mind were the thoughts of losing Aizen. She feared losing her emotions for him. The rage bubbled in her veins. Her eyes turned grave, and her Aura sharply rose to its Peak.
“Keira..” Irina scaredly called out. She knew what her Master was about to do. And she knew that it was a suicide.
Lightning thundered inside the hall. It ran berzerk, and the Purple Eyes of Keira shined.
“Why did you marry him?!” Keira’s voice resounded in the Hall. She didn’t care about how strong this woman was, she was mad now. Arianna had dared to threaten her and dared to say that she could erase her feelings for Aizen. It was unforgivable. She would rather die than lose her feelings for him.
Arianna still wore a pale smile on her face. She was not mad at Keira’s outburst. On the contrary, she was pleased. No one who had a weak heart and Will ever deserved her respect. And this princess in front of her had won her respect.
“Enough…” She whispered.
Keira’s aura shattered like it was a wall of air. Her strength was suppressed. There was an invisible pressure engulfing her, and her emotions calmed down. It was only a moment of surprise, and then there was endless despair, a fear that made her shake uncontrollably. Keira realized at that moment that she was too weak. She was too weak to save herself from Arianna, and she was too weak to protect her feelings for Aizen, should Arianna decided to erase her emotions. In her life, she had never been afraid of anyone. She had never feared anyone, and she had never felt so powerless. But at this moment, she feared this lady. She feared her because she knew she was incapable of protecting her love.
A tear spilled out of her eyes, and her legs got weak. She staggered and then her legs gave up. An arm supported her. Her misty eyes looked up, and she found that the one supporting her was Arianna.
“Love makes a person weak.” Arianna gently smiled at her. “But it has the power to give an unimaginable strength as well.”
Irina came forward as tears spilled out of her eyes.
“Forgive her, Lady Arianna.” She begged for her Master.
Arianna shook her head and smiled at Irina.
“Come.” She gestured Irina to come close, and the girl came forward without hesitation. She supported Keira by the other side and wiped away her tears.
“You are staying here,” Arianna said to the terrified Lynx that was cowering in fear. And then she vanished from her spot together with Irina and Keira.
Nyxi was too scared to even wet herself. It stayed right where it was and didn’t even dare to move a step.
Arianna brought Irina and Keira inside a bedroom and then gestured Irina to help Keira lay on the bed. The time Irina took to settle Keira on the bed, Arianna contemplated what she should do next. Keira was a threat. She could not harm Aizen, but she could harm the people around him. And that would then hurt him. However, she had a premonition that Aizen had plans for Keira.
Aizen had keen senses, and Arianna was certain that he was aware of Keira’s feelings for him.
“Lady Arianna, I apologize again for my Master’s rudeness.” Irina bowed and sincerely said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Arianna sighed. She had made up her mind.
Keira had calmed down, and even though she felt weak, her senses were clear now.
“You didn’t answer me, Lady Arianna.” Keira asked in a desolate voice, “Why did you marry him?”
“Keira!” Irina reprimanded her. Her question gave her another scare. She didn’t know why Arianna was being so gentle to them, but she was certain that they could not afford to offend her.
“I like him, I want him, and I need him,” Arianna said and smiled. “That’s why I married him.”
“Do you plan on harming him?” Keira asked again, but this time there was a resolution in her voice, and there was a threat.
“No,” Arianna shook her head. “Now tell me, why did you come here?”
Keira remained silent for a while.
“I have a deal for you,” Keira said.
“And what’s that?” Arianna asked curiously.
“A divine fragment”
Her words loomed in the room, and Irina looked aghast.
“The fragment that is in possession of Zions?” Arianna asked with seriousness.
“Yes,” Keira nodded.
Arianna considered her deal. It was something that she needed. It was beneficial to her, and also to Aizen.
“What do you want?”
“Help me get close to Aizen, and if I succeed in winning his heart, you won’t create problems for us.” She said and looked at Arianna.
Arianna smiled at her. And then her eyes turned grave.
“I cannot make Aizen develop feelings for you, and all I can help you with is to provide you with an opportunity.” She said and then her smile ceased, “And whether you succeed or not, trust me, if you would harm him, or anyone around him, or even create problems for my family, I will make you suffer a fate worse than death.”
Keira didn’t falter under her threat. She smiled brightly and looked at Arianna in the eyes.
“I won’t create problems for anyone, as long as they don’t create problems for me.”
Silly girl. Arianna smiled in her mind. She wished that this girl wouldn’t provide her with reasons to hurt her. And she had some sympathy for her as well, Keira didn’t even know how dangerous Aizen was. This princess was doomed, the moment she fell in love with him.
“Tell me, where the Zions keep that divine fragment.” She asked.
Keira looked at Irina and nodded to her.
Irina just looked at the two girls in front of her. They were both crazy in their own sense. And they were terrifying. The game that they were playing was too dangerous, and yet there was no hesitation in their eyes. She was helpless here. Who asked her to be the shadow of such a terrifying girl.
“It’s on the Silver Star, in the Silver Palace.”
She said and observed Arianna’s reactions. She was not surprised when she saw no hesitation or fear in this lady’s eyes. Seeing her nod as if the Silver Palace was nothing in her eyes, she realized once again how fearful this Lucifer was.
♛ Author’s Note:
Women are crazy creatures! Beware!.
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