CHAPTER 163: THE GREAT FAREWELL
IN THE CASTLE
The sound of panting can be heard and sweats fill the empress dress. Outside two men look at the healer with worried expression.
‘Your grace I…I…I.’ The healer is stuttering in telling the emperor the news. Why? Because it is not a good news. That is why the healer hesitated.
‘TELL ME!’ Arial yelled clearly he is anxious to know about Helia condition considering his pale face.
‘Unfortunately they are no possible cure right now.’ The healer tells the truth. There is no other way of saying it.
Even he has the cure in his hand right now, he is not confident to administer it. The cure for the Blood Red Scorpion has its own way of administering it.
‘No cure! Are you telling me there is no cure for a Blood Red Scorpion? In the treasure room did I not have any?’
Arial refuse to believe the healer showing an angry expression, almost like he wanted to choke the life out of the healer right there and then.
Kyle on the other hand drop to the floor, his face is pale white out of fear.
‘Helia. Helia’ Kyle muttered. The healer in his fear musters his courage to tell his reason.
‘No Your Grace. It has a cure but it can only be concocted after many months and only a great healer can synthesise such medicine.’
Arial look at the healer for a while and his balled fist is dripping blood and the healer realizes it too.
Arial has been restraining himself to the utmost. How easy it is for him to lash out right now? Yet he remains calm and stoic.
‘ARGGH. IT HURTS’
The sound can be heard from inside the chamber, of Helia screaming in excruciating pain. Arial faces pale and his ball of fist tightened, as drop of blood fall to the floor.
And then he orders the healer….knowing that Helia only has little time. It is not like Arial doesn’t know of the Blood Red poison.
With the time he has……he could not save Helia even if he wanted to. It’s not like the poison he were inflicted with…a torturing poison. Blood Red is a fast acting poison.
‘Give her some relaxant to stave off the pain at least.’ Arial must overcome the fact…that Helia will leave him…..still no tears is falling. He refuses to cry. Not now.
The healer nodded and come to the room and begun administering the medicine. Getting out of the room he tell the emperor that the empress doesn’t have much time
Then suddenly Arial heard Helia voice from inside a whispery voice but Arial hears it and Kyle hears it. Kyle muster his strength and get up.
‘Kyle. Arial. Please….come in.’
Hearing this word the two men rushed into the chamber as they watched the frail figure of the woman….that they both love.
And it broke their hearts…….hurt them in a way only lovers could….seeing that the one they love suffers and knowing deep in their hearts, that there is nothing they could do.
This feeling is feel deeply by Arial.
With all his might…he thought he could protect everything, to bear the weight of the world on his back, to hold the apex of the sky with his powers….yet all he feels right now is powerlessness.
He has become emperor. He has formed an empire. Yet he could not protect the one he loves.
What wouldn’t he give to trade the empire for the life of his wife?
Powerlessness. A feeling he never thought he would feel again. And yet here he is. Looking.
Praying for a miracle. Praying that the hand of god will reaches down from the heavens and heals his wife.
And yet….there is no such miracles. He…looks. At his wife. As she lay dying…in pain, and it hurts.
It hurts knowing…..knowing that no matter how much he wanted to, he can’t save her. Not with his massive internal energy, not with his medical knowledge, not with his wealth.
Is this punishment? He ask himself. For all the killings? For all the wars? And for the first time, he questioned himself.
Has he chosen wrong? Is the path he treads is wrong? Has he…chosen poorly?
But he stands. He stands….looking. And praying ….earnestly for the second time, since that day in the basement.
Helia looks at the attendants and then she orders them away. She looks to be in great pains sweating, drenched in it.
Helia look at her husband pained expression and then she looks at Kyle, his eyes is already red, and his hand can be seen trembling.
And Helia knows…..she needs to resolve his today. Nothing like death, that could give the mind clarity.
And Helia finally understand…knowing truly what her heart wants.
This is her great farewell. This is the last time she could see these faces again. This is the end.
And it hurts.
Not only knowing that she have to leave them but also to know, that she will never gaze into their loving eyes again.
She has been loved. By both of her best friend. Kyle. Arial. They are her best friend. One is her husband; another is a friend that understands her, in ways that even she does not realize.
‘Kyle’ Helia said urging Kyle to come closer. Kyle rushed to the bedside and hold Helia hand while Arial just watch in understanding.
‘AHHH’ Helia yelled again as her body writhed in pain.
‘It’s fine. It’s fine Helia. I’m here. I’m here till the end.’ Kyle said holding her hand tighter, hoping that the pain will go away and he try to smile even though his heart is in pain right now.
Kyle then sipped the medicine into Helia mouth and Helia feels the pain subside for a bit.
Helia lying down on the soft pillow staring deep into Kyle eyes and then she takes Kyle hand and she said.
‘Join me on the bed. Let me look into your eyes. Let me look at it. Let me see you. ’ she said.
‘Helia are you- ‘Kyle said surprised as he look at Arial.
‘Arial already knew. Didn’t you, dear?’ Helia smiles bitterly looking at Arial, a look of pain and regret….and shame.
‘Let me give my final farewell to him. He deserves it, Arial’ she said her eyes pleading. She has her own thoughts.
Arial feel that his heart hurt, but he takes a deep breath and nodded consented and leave the room giving them their time alone.
Kyle lie beside the dying Helia and hold her hands….tightly…like he is never letting her go, that’s somehow if he holds it tight enough, even Death will not claim her. Helia look at Kyle, and she tries to smile despite the pain.
‘I don’t have much time, Kyle’ she said and then she coughed a lumpful of blood. Kyle quickly wiped the blood with the towels.
‘This is more pitiful than I thought.’ Helia said smiling a painful smile.
‘No, don’t say that. There is still hope.’ Kyle said. Helia chuckles.
‘Did you think I can’t hear you arguing outside my room?’
Kyle is shocked and he says nothing. Then he looks at Helia and he said his face is full of terror but Helia could see…it was fear. Kyle hand is trembling with fear.
Fear of losing her.
‘I…I….I’m not ready to part with you Helia. I’m not ready to lose you.’ Kyle said, his voice is constricted and in as much pain as he can imagine.
The thought of losing her…..it is unimaginable.
Kyle and Helia look at each other, staring at each other eyes and feeling that unbreakable bond and then Helia said.
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘Hmm.’ Kyle just nodded. Helia then continue her words, mustering her strength to tell Kyle all that she could before she departs to the Great Beyond.
‘I have done many things to hurt you. I know you love me…..and yet I…’she said still looking at Kyle eyes.
Kyle keeps caressing Helia hair, marvelling at her beauty.
‘Don’t be sorry. I forgive you.’
Then Kyle said.
‘I know you love Arial and it will always be him. It will always be him. But I….I love you. I love you. You should know that’ he said, tears welling in his eyes.
Helia tightened her hold on Kyle hand. Helia has tears streaming down her face and she nodded.
‘I know. I know ‘she said slowly like a whisper nodding her head.
Kyle then smiles.
‘You should have met me a little bit later in life, Helia. When I have lost the awkward attitude, when I was be braver. If you met me then….maybe our fate would be different. I knew I would fall in love with you the first moment I met you just like when we were kids. When I first saw you in that grand dining hall, shining like the stars in the night skies, I was caught. I fall and I trip. And the pain, Helia. The pain and regrets. And I would not regret a moment of it. I never regretted loving you. Not a single moment. I knew it the moment I saw you Helia. Like a thunder struck me and shock me to my very core. You…you are the love of my life, this I declare. I knew it the moment I saw your face, like Heaven itself showing their Heavenly Gardens to me. If I knew…if I knew the short moment we would have, I would have abandon everything. The fears, the uncertainty. You would have liked me, maybe even love me.’
Helia look at Kyle and touch his cheeks, her eyes conveying thousands of meaning and she reply
‘I like you now. I love you now’ And coughing she said
‘Just the way you are Kyle. Just the way you are’
And then Helia leaned in close to Kyle arms and she kisses him, a farewell gift. Then they look at each other and Kyle eyes are already welling with tears and he kisses Helia in the cheeks and then he got up.
‘Thank you’ he said. Helia just nodded.
Then Helia just look at those eyes. That beautiful eyes. And she takes it all in.
‘I should go’ Kyle said shaken.
Helia then ask
‘Can you call…Arial for me?’ Kyle nodded. Kyle stepped out the room, each steps he remembers a memory about Helia.
But before he goes Helia grabbed his hand and he turns around. Helia with tears in her eyes, struggle to get the word out.
‘I….I….want you to be happy Kyle. Be happy Kyle. Be happy. I love you so much which is why I want you to be happy with a person that would love you, just the way you are. She would be a lucky girl. I hope you find …..you find an epic love. I hope…I hope you will get everything you want from life. I hope…..you will never give up. Ours aren’t meant to be….but someday I know…I know you will meet someone better. And when you do find her, one advice Kyle, love her like a raging storm and do not hesitate. You deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable.’
Kyle smiles bitterly. And then he turned back. It is so hard keeping his composure, as he wants to yell to the heavens, screaming of the injustice.
His tear has already fall down, knowing that he has to part with his love. And Kyle keep walking.
Each step he remembers.
Kyle remember Helia laugh, that pure unalderated laugh that always make him smile, the way that Helia lights up his day, the way that Helia looks at him that never fails to make his heart skip a beat, the way that Helia always know that he has a problem but most of all, Kyle remember Helia…..as the way she is….perfect in every way…..perfect for him….and the fact that they almost could reach that happy ending if not for his indecision.
Almost…he mused. Almost in love. Almost……isn’t enough. But if he was braver, Helia might be in his arms right now, safe and sound.
And thinking of this memories that passed him by, Kyle reached the outside of the room. Arial did not say anything as he just stares at Kyle dumbfounded expression.
‘Helia…ask for you.’ Kyle said as he sloped to the ground, leaning on the floor, and….sobbing, tears streaming down his face like a river, tears of sorrow and loss.
Arial just nodded.
And then he enters the room and he sit beside the bed and without a word he hold Helia hands.
‘How long did you know?’ Helia ask, coughing a little.
‘Long enough’ Arial said calmly.
‘Why didn’t you tell me you knew?’
Arial said nothing.
‘Do you love him?’ Arial said, mustering his courage. Helia looked down and then she looked at the celling and she nodded.
‘I do. But I..I never betrayed you physically.’ she said. Then suddenly she is worried about her daughter and she said
‘Ariadne is your daughter, you know that, right? She’s yours.’ Because of the posion,Helia is confused and suddenly she forgot that of course Arial knows.
Arial nodded. The Vermont’s have always birthed sons and daughters and they always knew if their child is theirs or not by the colour of their hair and eyes.
Pure white snow hair and piercing blue eyes, no matter who they married to, their descendants all share these same traits.
But Arial look at her coldly and then she stutter to said
‘You just love him.’ Arial did not judge her….because strangely he understands. And if he is to make comparison isn’t he is worse…..but that doesn’t make the pain any duller.
‘I….love you Arial. Never doubt that. I just….love him too, though not th-.’
Arial nodded again and quickly he says cutting Helia words short.
“I think you still love me, but we can’t escape, on the obvious fact that I’m not enough for you. I never was enough for you. I know you didn’t betray me like that. I don’t believe you would treat me like that. But I’m afraid, and I’m sick in my heart that you might look at him, then at me. And regret’
He said looking straight at Helia eyes, his eyes is red with some water welling in his eyes, sad at the separation, hurt at knowing, that he is not…..good enough for her.
‘You want someone there for you. Someone…who is always there for you. And I can’t be that man. I know it a long time ago in that white beach in Seren when I hold your hand. I knew it back then that we wouldn’t work. But I try to give it a chance. I thought this is…if only…the chance to my happiness. I knew this was going to happen. No…to be more honest I did not know. I underestimated….loneliness. So I’m not blaming you for falling in love with another man. I don’t. I’m not angry, either. I should be Helia….I should be, but I’m not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt when you admit to it, but I was wrong. It hurts, Helia. It really hurts.’
Helia is crying and sobbing and she hold Arial hand tighter.
‘I….I…I’m sorry, dear. I’m sorry. I’m sorry’ she apologizing, tears falling down like rain from her eyes.
‘Don’t be, Helia. Don’t be. I know I have to let you go. If you really love him, you should have told me earlier before this happen. He is my friend, Helia. My brother. Both of you…..’and he sighed.
‘Did you think of me as heartless?’ Arial said
But Helia shakes her head and her face turned fierce as she honestly confronts her husband on this matter.
‘That is the problem Arial. I love you too. I love both of you. Is that….impossible?’ Arial is shocked. These words….he once uttered it himself.
But Arial shakes his head.
‘You should be honest with yourself Helia. Your love….for me has long fades away. What you feel for me is lingering affection. I realized this. And maybe Kyle knows this too. I know it hurts. It hurts to let go. To let go all that can be, all that you believe to be true. But I know I have to let you go. Because if I don’t….I would hurt you, Kyle and even myself. If your answer is that you never love Kyle, then nothing on earth or heaven could force me to give you away. But because now I knew, I should let you go. If only you….if only you admitted to me…..now….now…it’s too late. You didn’t get that happy ending. And I….I wanted that for you, Helia. I wanted that for you. Before you were my wife, you were my friend. That happy ending could have been yours. I…I could have given it to you if only…if only you were honest to me from the beginning. I could….I can let you go, if that is what you wanted.’ and he sigh.
And he mused. If he knew it sooner, this tragedy could be averted. He then remembers in his timeline.
In the original timeline the Demon King fiancé die, in this timeline his wife died. Is this balance?
Then he continues.
‘Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of sinner for having felt, for having wanted it. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, puzzles you to no end, ruin you, because you think that your feelings is wrong and it makes you feel so small, worthless, because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t come back. You’re left so alone that you can’t explain. And that is how you make me feel Helia right now. You make me pathetic. Don’t mistake me. I still love you. And I will always love you. Love is eternal. And you will always be my moon. But I never wanted this……’looking at Helia he said,
‘If only you didn’t meet me. If only you didn’t marry me. If only-‘
‘If I never met you, Arial, I never would have learned what love is.’ Helia said gripping Arial hand tighter.
‘Arial, you were always thinking that we will crash down and burn. Do you know why I didn’t run to Kyle? Yes…I love him. I do. I will not deny it any longer. But why do I stay? Why didn’t you ask me why I stay? Don’t you think I have a reason to stay? Did you really think it is because of lingering affection? This has always been your problem. You never think that you deserve happiness. I stay with you because…..because I love you. More than Kyle. Because in the end….I want you by my side….not Kyle. I want you. How could you even doubt me? I stay with you because I have faith. I have faith that someday, my heart will once again only beats for you. Only for you. Not a lingering affection’ and she shakes her head.
‘Not lingering affection. Love’ she said.
‘True love.’ She said her eyes are fierce but Arial could feel the coldness in her hands. She is getting weaker.
‘True love, Arial, is taking the risk that it won’t be a happily-ever-after. That it doesn’t always ends with a happy ending. True love is joining hands with the one who loves you for who you are, and saying, “I’m not afraid to believe in you.” To have faith that….that love that we first felt could endure anything and everything. That…that love could withstand anything. True love…perseveres Arial. It endures. It withstands. That is true love and that is what I felt for you. I have faith, Arial. In this love, in this feeling that I feel. I have faith in you’
“And I’ll tell you something else, dear.’ she said, her voice almost a whisper now. She wanted to say everything, letting it all out
‘It never even occurred to me that we wouldn’t make it. And it never occurred to you that we would. You were just waiting for us to go down, to crash and burn. I thought…I thought we could get through anything. But you….you never believe it for a second.’
She said to Arial, her voice is hurt.
‘Are you hurt dear?’ she asked looking at Arial contemplating Helia words. Arial nodded
‘Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. And of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter.. To love…is to hurt. To love…is to burn. We will hurt, and we will burn. We will hurt each other and we will console each other. I never wanted you to know, not only because I don’t want to let go of you but also because I know how it will hurt you. I know it will hurt you and that hurts me too. ’
Then she looks at Arial eyes, knowing she doesn’t have enough time. And that pains her more. Knowing she has little time to spend with her husband……knowing she has so little time to atone.
Then she said.
‘I wish I could have lived my life without making any wrong turns dear, without making any mistakes, without tripping, without getting lost and strayed. But that’s impossible Arial. I always wish I would never have disappointed you. Because you are not only the man I love but also a man I admire. I hope you know that. Because you always choose the right choice. Always. There is only one thing I fear for you. I fear someday when you pick the wrong ones you will not be able to get up from the fall and I’m not going to be there, to pick you back up. I want you to know, a path like that doesn’t exist, dear. We fail. We trip. We get lost. We make mistakes. And little by little, one step at a time…….we push forward, doing the best we can, the hardest we can. It’s all we can do. That’s the only thing I can do. I fail you….I know….and I’m not making excuses dear, I just hope you could forgive me.’
‘I..I ‘Arial is lost for words.
‘Never doubt that I love you, my fierce dragon’ she said…slowly her pulse weakens and she looks at Arial with a smile.
‘I never want you to remember me crying. Remember my smiles, my dear. And protect our child…but don’t spoil her too much. She will grow too impulsive if you do that.’
‘Helia, wait….Wait.’ Arial desperately said. Helia just smiles knowing her moment is near. The Hooded Man is coming to claim her.
‘The Hooded Man waits for no one.’ She said
‘Come here’ as Helia grab Arial hand. Arial come closer and she whispers something into Arial ears and Arial reply to her last request whispering with ‘I will’ and then she kiss Arial forehead and then she kiss his lips feeling it for the last time.
It was like the room falls away as Arial could feel the cold lips of his wife and he could feel his own trembling and feeling his heart beating so clearly like a pounding hammer and Arial tears burst, knowing that this will be the last time he would kiss her.
Arial hugged her and Helia pats his back
He has so many things to tell her, many things to share. Then Helia pant in exhaustion and look at Arial face and with a faint voice and a smile on her face she said.
‘Kissing you…..is always like tasting a slice of heaven’ she said her voice becoming fainter and fainter.
Then knowing that she only have a few moments she look into her husband face and she knows at that moment, a hundred years won’t be enough time with him.
One lifetime is not enough. Helia wanted eternity with him if she could.
‘Are you ready for this?’ she ask her voice is but a faint whisper by now….weakened and exhausted but still a smile on her face.
Arial hold back his tears and said with his voice trembling, his expression on the verge of madness, he look into those eyes and remembers all their good memories
‘Ready to spend my whole life without you? Who’s ever going to be ready for that?’ Arial said, already tears once again welling in his eyes and tears streaming down his face as Helia smiles and slowly she use her hand to wipes the tears and said
‘You will be fine, my dragon. You are strong.’
And then her body become stills and she fall to the bed, no longer breathing, but on her face, there remains that beautiful smile and seeing it Arial heart feel like it has been pierced by a spear.
Arial quickly hugged her, her corpse in his embrace, cold and lifeless. This is painful like that time he was inflicted by the poisons.
No…..it is harder than that.
It is painful then all the pain he has ever experience. Arial clutch his chest in pain, losing her…..losing his wife, his companions, his friends, the mother of his child…..losing his moon that guided him in the darkest of night.
Then slowly Arial kiss her goodbye in her forehead and close her eyes with his hand. And Arial knew, he would never forget Helia smiles…forever.
‘Goodbye and farewell my moon. One day we will meet again. And I promised this. By all the Gods that have ever existed, I would avenge you.’
And then he yelled.
Arial wail and scream can be heard all over the region like a dragon yelling to the highest heaven.
But one could not see the tears he shed, the pain that he feels that day, the anger, the wrath.
That day the Empress of Eden, passed away at 1 Aria 01 Edenian Era marking the first day of the new year with a tragic event.