Hey guys. Sorry it took so long, but here I am with the next chapter. Hope you like it!
What's Done in the Dark
Fall, Day 1 - Witch Princess
I watched as the Goddess stared at me, waiting for my answer. Would I confess to a crime I didn't commit? Or would I refuse?
I think the answer is pretty obvious, don't you?
"No." I said bluntly. Seeing the Goddess raise her eyebrows in confusion, I clarified for her. "I didn't do it. I didn't kill the old farmer."
The Goddess' confused expression slowly transformed into a small frown. She still didn't seem to believe me, and honestly - I hate that I'm about to say this - I couldn't blame her. I mean, it was a page from my spell book, after all. Who wouldn't think that I did it?
"So." The Goddess said suddenly, snapping me out of my reverie. "You still claim you had nothing to do with the incident, yes?"
"Yeah, that's what I said, isn't it?" I crossed my arms across my chest. "Do I need to repeat myself?"
She shook her head. "No. There is no need for that." She held her chin as if she was contemplating something. Probably thinking about what she should do with me.
"So..." I said, getting impatient. Heh, waiting and thinking and all that? It wasn't wasn't one of my strong points, I had to admit. "What are you gonna do? Tell the Harvest King, imprison me, or what?"
The Goddess walked over to the window and looked out of it. "No... I think I have something else in mind."
"Then what is it?" I asked, starting to get irritated. I was tired of her beating around the bush. Why couldn't she just come out and say what she needed to? Goddesses are always such a pain to deal with, I tell you.
She looked back at me and glared. "I'm getting to that! Would you just let me talk?" I huffed and crossed my arms while she massaged her temples and continued. "Like I was saying... I have something else in mind for you. Instead of telling the King about this incident, I think I'll give you a chance to prove your innocence."
"Meaning... what?" I asked her.
"If you're serious about your innocence and not just lying, then I think you'll be just as serious when it comes to proving that innocence." She pointed at me. "I'll give you two seasons. If you cannot find evidence or at least some kind of way to prove your innocence, then I will report this incident to the Harvest King."
"But..." I said, smirking. "If you wait that long to report this incident to him, won't you be in hot water, too?"
She sighed. "Yes... I'm still trying to think of a way around that..."
I watched her for a minute and then found myself starting to laugh. The Goddess, my mortal enemy, was giving me a chance? Seeing how much we argue and hate each other, you would think that she would jump at the chance to get me in trouble.
Curious, I found myself asking, "Why do all this for me? Why risk yourself just to help me? It's got me confused and irritated because I don't need help from someone like you. I don't need your pity, because if that's what it is then..." I pointed to the door. "you can leave right now."
Goddess rolled her eyes at me. "Oh, it 's not pity. Hmph. Who would pity you, anyway?" She scrunched up her nose in disgust. "I guess it was just... belief."
"Belief?" I scoffed. "Don't tell me you actually believe in me? C'mon Goddess, you're starting to get soft."
She rolled her eyes once again. "No, I don't believe in you. It's just that... seeing the usually lazy and nonchalant Witch Princess actually get serious about something made me feel like... like you were telling the truth, that's all."
I was about to respond to that 'lazy' insult, but I figured now wasn't the right time for such antics. So, I just decided to raise an eyebrow at her in response. "Okay, if you say so."
The Goddess turned toward the door. "Remember, you have two seasons. And two seasons only." After giving me one last look, she teleported out of sight.
I sighed, getting up from my bed and walking toward the window. How was I going to 'prove my innocence' as she put it? Where would I even start? My eyes scanned the room for something that would give me an idea. Something that would help me figure out where to start... just something.
I immediately caught sight of the 'Explosio' spellbook page that lay forgotten on the floor. The Goddess said she found it at the farmer's house...
That's when an idea popped up in my head.
There's no better place to start my investigation than where the incident began, right?
Looks like I'm going to be paying the dead farmer a visit. Or, at least, his farm.
Fall, Day 1 - Jack
'Man, today was another tough day today.' I thought to myself as I walked home from my last class of the day. Studying to be a virologist did get a little difficult at times, but I kept at it because I knew it would be worth it someday.
I was walking with Freya, one of my friends who was an Accounting major.
"Jack, you should really get yourself a girlfriend, you know?" She said to me as we walked through the busy crowds. "You don't want to grow old alone, now do you?"
I laughed and shook my head. Ever since we met, Freya had brought it upon herself to act as my 'big sister' due to the fact she was a couple of years older than me. According to her, she had more 'worldly knowledge' than I did.
"Not this again, Freya. I'm just nineteen, so I have time. And I don't really see the point in getting involved in relationships now, anyway, with my school work to focus on."
She frowned, flicking a strand of hair from her face. "Ah, don't give me that. You come from the countryside, right? There must have been some girl there that you were sweet on."
"Well, I did have a best friend, yeah. But I didn't feel that way for her." Freya gave me a glare that clearly said that she wasn't buying anything I was saying. "Don't look at me like that, it's true! Our relationship was more of a brother-sister type of thing."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, and you always know how those types of relationships turn out..."
"Nothing." She smiled, all her skepticism from before gone. Once we made it to a street corner, Freya stopped walking. "Well, this is my stop. I would talk with you more, but I'm going somewhere with Ivan today, so I need to get ready."
"Oh, okay. See you tomorrow, Freya." I waved her off as she walked away, giving me a thumbs up and a wink.
"Later. And good luck with that girlfriend - ah, I mean 'best friend' of yours!" After giving me a sly smirk, she continued to walk off down the street without turning back.
With a shake of my head, I chuckled to myself. That Freya. It seemed like all she thought about was hooking me up with someone.
And speaking of my 'best friend', I wondered how Celia was doing back in the Valley, anyway. Grandpa John, too. I would have to visit them one of these days - probably during my next school break. Maybe I could take Freya and Ivan along too; they would appreciate the vacation.
I smiled to myself as I continued on my way home. I surveyed my surroundings, taking note of the bustling crowds of people trying to get where they needed to go. Heh, the city was always such a busy place. As I weaved my way through the crowds I bumped into something - or rather someone - resulting in a small yelp coming from said person as they fell back on their behind.
"Oh... I'm sorry!" I immediately apologized, not recognizing the person right away. "Are you alright?"
"I... I'm fine. Thank you for your concern." The person said. I looked down to them and immediately saw a familiar head of brown hair...
"...Celia, is that you! What are you doing here?" I asked in disbelief. Wasn't she supposed to be living back in the Valley with my grandfather? Why was she here in the city?
At my sudden outburst, Celia jerked her head up to look at me properly. Now that I could see her clearly, I saw that she was wearing a white sundress with sunflower designs on it with and matching white sandals.
"J-Jack!" Celia said in shock. "I finally found you!"
I smiled. It was really great to see her again - however unexpected it may have been. "Celia! How long has it been... five years? Man, time flies." I held out a hand to help her up. "I see you finally decided to visit me."
Not to mention that I was just planning on visting her only a few minutes ago.
Celia nodded, a weak smile appearing on her face. What was wrong? Was she not happy to see me? "Yes... I came to visit my mother, but..." Her voice faltered.
"What's wrong, Celia? Did something happen?" I asked, concern overcoming my senses. "Did something happen to your mother?"
Celia shook her head as tears started to form in her eyes. "N-no... it's not that..." She started to whimper and wipe away at the tears that were beginning to fall. What happened to her...? "J-Jack... I have s-something I need to tell you."
"Okay, what is it...?" I asked hesitantly. If whatever she was talking about had her this shaken up, then it must've been something bad.
She sniffled and calmed down a little. "I... I think it would be best if we went somewhere... p-private."
I dug through my pockets until I found a handkefchief. Afterwards, I handed it to her. "Okay, but... are you alright? You don't seem to be doing well..."
She shook her head. "I... I'm fine, really." She then looked down to the ground solemnly. "I have to be..."
I was confused by her last remark and was about to comment on it, but then let it go. She obviously wasn't feeling very good and I didn't need to make her feel worse by questioning her.
"Okay, well why don't we go to my apartment? We can talk there."
She nodded meekly, lost in her own thoughts. "Yeah... okay."
With that, we both started to walk towards my house. As we walked, there was silence. Celia stared at the ground as she walked, and I was silently watching her. From what I remembered of Celia, she didn't cry too much. She was a sweet, but also strong-willed girl. When something didn't go her way, Celia wouldn't whine about it like most girls her age - no, she would actually do something about it.
And when something bad would happen to her, she would stay strong and smile even when she was feeling horrible.
Just like when her father died.
I remember her smiling back then, like she usually did. Most of the villagers thought she was heartless for smiling and acting nonchalant toward her father's death... but I knew. I knew she was feeling so... devastated on the inside - she just didn't want to worry anyone. She didn't want to feel pitied.
That's the kind of girl she was.
And I admired her back then because of that.
But now... to see her cry and break down like this... what could've happened?
When we arrived in front of my apartment complex, I tapped her shoulder. In response to the sudden contact, Celia looked up at me.
"What is it, Jack?"
I pointed towards the towering building before us. "We're here. Come on, my apartment's on the second floor." I walked toward the stairs and she followed me quietly. We climbed the stairs to the second floor; once we got to my door, I took out my keys and unlocked the door. Holding the door open, I let Celia walk inside first and then followed, closing the door behind me.
I watched as Celia walked around the apartment with hesitation. It looked like she was looking for a place to sit, but didn't know if she should.
Hah, I see she's still as polite as ever.
I let out a light chuckle, hoping to lighten the somber mood. "It's alright. You can sit anywhere! My home is your home."
Nodding, Celia went over to the couch and sat down. She then put her hands in her lap and took a deep breath. "Jack... I-I... have something important to tell you... please, listen."
Noticing how serious she was, I nodded and sat down next to her on the couch. I had a bad feeling... I don't think I was going to like this news. "Okay... tell me."
Tears began to fill her eyes again. "J-Jack... it's... y-your grandfather...G-grandpa John is... he's... d-dead!" And with that, Celia began to cry into her hands.
It couldn't be... Grandpa John... Grandpa is... dead?
I shook my head furiously. He couldn't be dead! He couldn't! The only reason I came to this city was because of him! I was going to become a scientist - a virologist! I was going to help find cures for incurable diseases! I was going to find a cure for Grandpa's disease... he couldn't have died from it already!
"How...?" I whispered under my breath, looking down to the ground. "How could he have died from his disease already...?"
Celia must have heard me, because she responded. "N-no one... knows." She sniffled and wiped at her eyes - poor girl, she really treasured Grandpa John like he was her grandfather. "They say... it's a murder..."
I gasped. A murder...? But who would want to kill Grandpa? Who would want to kill such a kind and caring old man...?
"How..." I looked back up to her, terror consuming me. "How was he murdered?"
She used the handkerchief I gave her earlier and wiped her eyes. "It was horrible... I didn't see it for myself since I was in the city at the time, but Vesta called me and said that yesterday... Grandpa John was... blown up by somebody... from the inside."
I grapsed my head to calm down the headache that was forming. It was just too much information at once and I... I couldn't take it all. He couldn't be dead. The only family I had left... couldn't be dead! First it was everyone else... now him too? Was I truly alone now?
"Jack! Are you okay?" I heard Celia say from beside me. I heard her... I wanted to tell her something, but I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to say anything. It was just too much... my head, it was hurting.
"Jack!" I felt her touch my shoulder gently. "Jack, you should lie down... you aren't looking well at all."
I shook my head. My headache was getting worse and didn't even have the energy to get up. All of a sudden, I felt myself falling back into the couch. I just felt so... tired.
"Jack...? Jack!" Celia called once again.
I was so tired... I just couldn't believe it... it happened again. Someone important to me died again. Why did it have to happen like this?
I closed my eyes as Celia continued to call me and shake me. Her calls seemed to sound farther and farther away as I slipped out of consciousness.
Eventually, there was silence.
Decided to end it there. Next chapter will consist of Witch going to the farm to start her investigation and Celia's reaction to Jack's pass out/emo episode.
And sorry for making Jack a little emo there. But I mean, what else would you do if you found out your only other family died? And considering Jack's past... oops! Nope, no need to spoil you so early in the story. That is something you will find out later on.
Well, till next time!