Looking out the window, Nocte couldn't believe it was June already. Last minute projects were being handed out and exams were coming up, but it still didn't stop her from reminiscing. All year, it's been all action. So much drama that kept adding up, and truths being revealed…
"I'm regretting, Yōng," Nocte said, and then sighed.
Outside, a moon hung bright in the midnight sky, and inside, Deadwood had yet to return. It was fine with Nocte anyway, her former friend didn't have to come back – ever. If Deadwood had killed her grandmother, she'd never-
She rubbed her stomach, feeling it twinge and contract uneasily. She felt slightly sick, but she quickly steeled herself. It was Deadwood's fault. If she hadn't betrayed her, she would not have resulted in such… an action…?
Nauseas, she quickly retrieved her Divination books and headed for Daramulum, letting the change of scenery ease her mind. Guided only by the moonlight, she walked gracefully towards the observatory, going over some notes she had memorized over the past week. Then she thought of a book she had wanted to read, and told herself to go to the library tomorrow to get it.
She entered the large and dark enclosure, relaxing in the soothing ambience. However, she tensed when in the classroom. It was empty, and dark save for the moonlight. Had Meiou decided to move the session elsewhere and she had just forgotten? A flash of panic flooded through her, until her become aware of two figures at the front of the class. Her arms tightened around her books at the strangeness of it all, before she unwound from reading the auras.
"I will leave you with your brother," Meiou told her passively.
She barely noticed her professor leaving as she took a deep breath to calm her nerves. Slowly she walked to the front where her little brother sat and placed her books on a nearby desk. She grabbed a seat and sat in front of him. They faced each other, both expressionless.
I suppose Nocte should feel a bit baffled at her brother's appearance, but she was more suspicious. Did he not know that she knew he had lied? Did he not know that he broke her sisterly heart? Did he not know that she didn't particularly like him just about now? There was no doubt in her mind that he knew, but chose to ride it out until now.
She leaned back, eyes unyielding.
"Are you alright?" Dire asked, his voice echoing strangely in the empty room.
"I am well enough," she answered, perhaps a tad colder than she had intended.
The eight-year-old closed his eyes and breathed in. Did she not know he cared? Did she not know he had been suffering the past few months on her behalf?
Opening his eyes, he begun anew, "I was worried about you."
"You didn't need to," she said.
"But I did," he said with haste. "Because I am your brother."
"No brother of mine ever lies," she said with a slight frown marring her stony expression.
It had felt like a slap across his face. In fact, he would have preferred a slap than to her words. Words were harmful in that they sunk into your skin and stayed there, and then weeks later, you could read those words on your skin and the pain would be just as raw. He had heard from Occult that Nocte had denounced her as her sister… Would Nocte do the same to him? Gods, no.
"I'm sorry, Nocte," he tried to make amends. "I didn't-"
He was having a hard time swallowing.
"Is he alive?" she asked, ignoring his trip.
"Yes," he whispered, unable to meet her eyes.
He looked like a little, lost child, hand reaching out for someone… anyone… but Nocte would not be moved.
"I told you I disapproved of wars," she said, eyes steady on his hunched figure.
"Making war is what we do," he said.
"It is pointless," she told him, straightforward. "Expanding your empire until you can no longer keep it in control is what foolish emperors do. That's how they fall."
"Not me," he said, meeting her eyes in determination. "Not a Yin."
"What have you gained?" she questioned, her tone firm.
"Yhaemel," he answered.
"And what have you lost?" she inquired softly.
At this, he grew uncertain.
"T-Tell me not you," he whispered, agonized.
"You have lost men," she said. "Lives, Dire, lives."
He frowned and said, "They were meagre lives."
"They were lives just the same," she said, angered. "Don't you understand? Bright lights, smothered and then extinguished? Does life not mean anything to you?"
"Why?" he murmured, demanding. "Why do you care for those you have never met or seen?"
"Because someone has to," she said. "If the tears of their families can not move you, then perhaps I can."
"Sacrifices are needed for great things to happen," Dire insisted.
"But you are already great," she whispered affectionately, taking his small hands into her own. "Stop giving yourself more problems, more stress and more sleepless nights. Can you not be satisfied? Can you not be sated?"
"No," he said, his face hardened. "No, I can not."
Her brows furrowed and she asked, "Is that you speaking? Or the clan?"
"Both," he said, certain.
It was too late. It was too late to change her siblings. They were already set in their ways. All she could do was accept them and move on towards the direction she wanted to go.
She dropped his hands, leaned back and asked, "How did you save him?"
"The barrier dropped and we moved in, as was according to plan," he said, face blank like a droid.
Her face scrunched up in confusion as she questioned, "How?"
"You've broken the pendant, just as father had predic-"
He stopped short, eyes widening. For a heart stopping moment, everyone was at a shock.
"What?" she demanded, voice vibrating.
"W-When we heard you had broken the key to Yhaemel's barrier," Dire said, blood pumping unsteadily in his veins, "we quickly reformatted our formations and invaded the country. Gash was in charge of rescuing Siyamak because he had access to ninjas and-"
"That's not what I wanted to know," she said, calm and yet holding back frustration. "What about father?"
"What about him?" he answered smoothly.
"You said something about father," she pressed.
"Did I?" he asked, acting oblivious.
"Do not lie to me, Dire," she whispered harshly. "I demand the truth."
His teeth clenched together, searching for options, but none came to him. Seeing her eyes begin to water, his mind failed him completely. What will he say?
"Father…" he began, flustered. "Father… had predicted that you would break the princess' pendant."
"So?" she urged, her expression full of anxiety.
"The pendant… was the key," he said, looking away from her. He did not wasn't to see her reaction. "It was the source of the barrier around Yhaemel."
A moment of thick silence filled the air as Nocte absorbed this new tid bit of information. She sat there, blinking in a stupor. She was the one who shut off the shield around Yhaemel, allowing thousands of soldiers to slaughter thousands more. She had unknowingly brought the death of thousands… and her father knew she would? But she hadn't even known about the war until half way through… she hadn't even known that the pendant was the key.
"You used me," she stated painfully, throat thickening.
He winced and tried to explain, "You have to underst-"
"Without my knowing," she continued, disbelieving.
"Am I that predictable?" she asked, tearing up all over again.
"I am a fool!" she shouted, erratic.
Why? Why would her family involve her in something she didn't want to be in? Why would they plan out everything and not tell her? Why would they use her? Did they not love her?
But she was already out of the room.
The tears and snot dripping down her face did not stop her from running. The brief thought of her leaving her books behind did not slow her pace. She ran like she had never ran before, eyes stinging in the night air and mouth tasting salt.
Any evil child would have seen it coming, or at least have expected it. They would have been peeved that their family had led them by a string, and then they would have plotted revenge. They would have been emotionless, just like Siyamak had told her to be from the beginning of the school year. But not Nocte. Never Nocte. She hadn't seen it coming, and she was more than just peeved, she felt violated. And she couldn't remain a flat face, even it she wanted to.
They loved her. And she loved them. So why did they lie to her? Why did they let her get hurt, fully knowing that Blackthorn would harm her? Why did they let her condemn herself… to be a killer?
Her foot stalled, rolling her onto the ground, collecting dirt and grass as she went. For a dreaded moment, a new questioned reared its head.
… Did they know about Savvy too?
"UGH!" she shrieked, pounding the ground with her fists.
Occult had told her that she knew Savvy had been untrustworthy, but had her sister told their family before her?
Nocte bit her lower lip in rage and frustration. What else did they know about that she didn't? More importantly… did Melissa know?
A pair of shoes stepped into her vision.
"You tell me not to hate you, but you're making it difficult."
Her eyes followed the shoes upwards to see Paine staring down at her.
"Because I'm crying?" she asked incredulously.
"Because you're pathetic," he said. "Because you are worthless."
"You don't even know why I'm upset!" she burst outrageously, pointing furiously at him.
"You family has used you without your knowing," he said, glasses glowing in the light of the moon.
"How the hell do you know?" she screamed at him. And then GASP! "You overheard us!"
He didn't say a word, but that was answer enough.
"But how?" she questioned, more to herself than him. "I didn't even sense your presence…"
"I'm a Paine."
"In my ass," she added, wiping angry tears away and standing back.
He didn't seem to find it funny, or very creative.
"You are a Yin, that I am certain," he mused. "But I don't understand why you don't act like one."
"Because I don't want to," she said, starting to calm down.
He was baffled. Why? A Yin had great benefits, so why didn't she want to be one? She must have read his mind because she turned to him and looked him straight in the eye.
"I don't want to be evil."
For once, Nocte could see emotion in those pale eyes of his: shock.
"Good night, Paine."
And just like before, she left him.
"Did you know?" Nocte asked, her tone bordering upon pleading.
"Yes," Melissa said, head bent in disgrace. "I had tried to give you a hint."
"The key," she thought out loud. "You told me the barrier had a key."
The auburn nodded.
Nocte turned away from her and back to the Alchemy project she was working on. Witley had known… and did not tell her.
"I now wonder…" she said sadly, staring blankly at her papers, "if I can trust you."
It stung. It actually stung.
Melissa bowed lower and apologized, "I will not fail you, mistress."
A tense silence replaced the air, playing on their emotions and plucking on their nerves.
"You may go," Nocte dismissed as she took up a pencil to start writing.
Melissa bowed once more before leaving.
Once the auburn was gone, Nocte dropped the pencil and held her head to stall a headache. How could Witley swear herself to her if she'd keep things from her? Did the older teen not trust her? Or perhaps Nocte was too young to depend on?
She looked at Yōng and asked, "Are you a spy for my father?"
The raven shook her head, not at all offended.
She sighed, ashamed of herself.
She was becoming suspicious of everyone.
"What am I doing?" she questioned herself. "What will I do?"
She looked at her hands, and all she saw was blood.
"I am a killer," she said, feeling tears. "I am a monster."
Sobbing, she hugged herself close.
When her lacrimal glands failed her, she gave up on crying and concentrated on studying instead. She hid herself in the Fiction section of Assaku with several books spread all around her so that every time her eyes wandered off, they would land on somewhere useful. She rested on her stomach as she fed her mind endlessly, and soaked her lungs with dust.
A tap on her shoulder joggled her out of Biology, and she quickly swerved her head to see-
"Siyamak!" she exclaimed, joy flooding her system.
"Hey," her cousin said casually, perhaps a bit thin and pale, but healthy nonetheless.
Nocte jumped to her feet and gave him a hug to make sure he was really there. Her cousin… safe. She hugged tighter, wanting to cry, but she had already dried up the well. Instead, she laughed and sobbed at the same time. He felt so warm, solid, and real. After being worried and mad, he finally showed himself, and now, she was relieved beyond words.
"Studying for exams?" Siyamak asked, looking at her books.
"Yep!" she said, feeling hyper.
He nodded, his face pinching a bit.
"What's wrong?" she inquired with a concerned tone.
"Nocte… I think we need to talk," he said in a serious manner.
She stepped back and surveyed his expression. Suddenly, her smile dropped as she began to make connections in her head. A frown appeared on her face when she finally realized it. How could she be so stupid not to suspect?
"You knew," she whispered. "You knew I'd destroy the key."
Siyamak was speechless.
"Did you know about Savvy too?" she asked, feeling horrible.
"We knew she wasn't dependable," he said. "We assumed that you could… deal with it."
"Deal with it?" she questioned. "Deal with betrayal?"
"I'm sorry, Nocte," he said, inwardly he felt so guilty. "But Yhaemel posed a threat to our family."
She shook her head and said, "Don't. Don't involve me in this."
"You already are."
She turned on her heel to see Gash looking at her.
Two on one?
"I didn't want to," she said. "I didn't want to kill."
"You did it without actually knowing," her brother said. "Therefore, it was more like… an accident."
"I don't want to hear it," she murmured. "I know what I did. I know what you did."
She bent down and begun to collect her books. She couldn't do it. She couldn't face them. Not now.
"I don't know what the big deal is," Gash laughed off.
"The deal is!" she yelled. "Is that you lied to me. Is that you knew that I would be hurt, and you did nothing to stop it! Is that you planned for me to be the one to destroy the barrier, and therefore killing thousands!"
Siyamak looked grief stricken and Gash was shocked.
"The deal is," she whispered, eyes hurting. "You let me kill Savvy's grandmother. And that was no accident. That was all me."
Pained, she quickly left the scene, tears in the air. The truth was out. A thousand Yhaemel people died because of her, but it was an accident. She hadn't done it purposely. But Savvy's grandmother? She had done it purposely. She gave out that order with the intent of killing the poor, old woman. And her family let her.
They let her be evil.
She shivered, dropping her books. She looked to Savvy's bed to find it, like for the past month, empty. Which was worse? Savvy plotting for her demise and almost succeeding, or Nocte plotting for Savvy's grandmother's demise… and in reality succeeding?
She breathed in a shaky breath to calm her nerves.
The worst part was… she had liked it.
Nocte liked the power she had over people's heads. One small command, and those heads could be rolling on the ground. One small command, and they could either live or die…
"Stop," she told herself, quivering. "Stop it."
She was afraid of herself.
Dead-like, she wrote out the exam. Spiritualism wasn't hard. It was quite fascinating actually, but Nocte wasn't feeling it today. Instead, she put in the correct answers almost mechanically, eyes dull and dim. At first, she was thinking she could answer wrongly to spite her family, but that would be going against her principals.
She wanted to do well.
Finishing the last page, she raised her hand robotically. Kieve came over and collected the exam, allowing her freedom, until that afternoon when her Combat exam would take place. After that, it would be over. The whole fuckin' school year would be over.
"Are you paying attention, Yin?" hollered Aadi as she flew a fist towards her.
Gracefully, and not caring much, she took one step to the left, allowing the fist to fly past her face. Nonchalantly, she grabbed Aadi's fist in mid air, twisted her wrist and threw her to the ground hard, creating a crater. She watched mutedly, as her professor got up, and then back down when she drove her foot to her face.
Nocte was hollow inside. Her eyes were taking in her surroundings, and she let her body respond in any way they wanted to. She wasn't there anymore. She had wrapped herself in the tight confines of her mind. So she wasn't really thinking when she Iron Palmed Aadi out of the circle, close to knocking the Arabian unconscious.
Bowing, she left the area to retrieve her already packed belongings.
It was time to go back and pay her father a visit.
She wavered when she saw Deadwood in her dorm, assembling the things she had left behind. Nocte thought of her plan and quickly just took her suitcase, ignoring the strawberry blonde, and lifted her arm for Yōng to land on. She looked at her former friend, whose back was to her, and she felt bad.
"I'm sorry," she said hoarsely and then quickly left the room.
The rest of her stuff can wait. Evil would send it back to her house.
Sure of herself, she entered the elevator, not once looking at Darkhour.
"Leaving so soon?" he asked.
"I'm done with my exams," she answered monotonously.
He nodded, quiet with thought.
When the box opened, she quickly walked out of the building and towards Virgin Cage, the stables of Evil. On her way, she passed several people, Paine, Noir and Blackthorn just to name a few. It was strange. She was leaving, and she seemed to be saying good-bye to those who've wounded her.
She passed Pyralis, the goth girl, and they nodded farewell.
Virgin Cage was a large stable, housing thousands of steeds and mares of the students of Evil, and some of them were Evil's to lend out. She didn't wait for a stable hand to help her as she stood before her warhorse with a saddle. The horse snorted at her and walked away, ignoring her.
Not here to play games, she threw the reins on him in a speed he could not register until she put the saddle on him. He threw his legs, not letting a little girl get the better of him. His eyes, wild, glared at her as she pulled on the reins to steady him.
"You are my horse," she said confidently as she forced him to stop trampling. "You will listen to me."
He shook his head in annoyance. Who was she to order him?
"I am your mistress," she seethed. "And you will listen to me."
His eyes flickered at her tone.
"Now, don't move," she ordered.
She let go of the reins and went to get her luggage. When she came back, he hadn't moved, just like she had expected. She quickly strapped her suitcase and then got on. He jumped a bit and wanted to throw her off, but she held strong, her hostile and wronged aura pressing down on him.
She walked him out of Virgin Cage and waited till Yōng saw them. Once the raven spotted them, Nocte snapped the reins and they were gone, a trail of dust behind them. She had decided not to return home on the carriage, not with Occult. She was sick and tired of her family. It was amazing what a year could do for you.
It didn't take long for her to arrive at the entrance of the castle, she had run her horse tired, but he had more pride that to show it. Her eyes narrowed at the image of her "home" and got off of the horse.
"Good, Xiōng," she said.
His head snapped to her. A name. She had given him a name…
"Milady," a servant came up to her, bowing.
"Take my horse to the stables," she commanded, voice hard and thick as Yōng came to a stop on her shoulder. "Where is my father?"
The servant was slightly taken aback by her tone. Everyone commanded the servants, but never young Lady Nocte. But here she was, expression sardonic and pose severe. He bowed respectfully once more and answered, "His garden, Lady Nocte."
She nodded and walked away, Yōng perching on a windowsill. Her parents had a garden, a huge one, but it was divided into two sections. Her mother's was filled with naked men and women constantly at it since her mother was a sex fiend. And her father's was dark and morbid with twisted plants and life forms. Upon entering his father's dark skied garden, she nodded to Vendite, the man-eating plant.
Her steps were even as she got closer to the table were her father sat, drinking his tea calmly. This man… this man screwed her life up.
"Father," she spat, giving him a mock bow.
"You are bitter," he said calmly, as if not noticing her tone.
"I sometimes think to myself," she said conversationally, eyes angry, "that you are the perfect father, despite your flaws. But there are times I think to myself, that you are no father at all."
He did not respond, just sipped on his tea.
"Say something," she demanded, his passiveness getting to her. "Don't you feel anything?"
"I feel disappointed in you," he said, looking her in the eye.
"What?" she hissed, fisting her hands.
"You should feel honoured to have helped us," he said, setting his tea down.
"Honoured?" she said incredulously. "I killed many."
"Which is why you should not be acting this way," he reasoned.
"Father," she scraped. "Do you even love me?"
"Of course," he answered naturally.
"Then why did you do it?" she asked, saddened. "Why did you let me get hurt? Why did you lie to me? Why did you make me evil!"
"I did not make you evil," Umbra said. "Evil was already inside you."
"I don't care!" she screamed furiously. "Why? Father, why!"
"To make you stronger," he said, eyes compressing.
She shook her head, holding back a sob.
"I don't want to be evil," she whispered, almost begging. "Stop trying."
He blinked as she cried, unfeeling.
"I do not want to be your pawn," she continued, tears falling.
"What did you learn at school this year?" he asked.
Her eyes narrowed and her voice came out as acid.
"You can trust no one."
Without waiting for his dismissal, she walked out on him. There was no reasoning with that man. Alone, in her room, she slid down against the wall, her body racking with sobs. She looked at her hands again, and they were still covered with blood.
"Aman," she breathed, and wished she were dead.
Truth be told, I finished this three weeks into summer. All 13 chapters and 176 pages… only. I mean, compared to the first one, this one is small. But there's a reason for this. If you take the first letter of each chapter and put them beside each other in this format:
() - ()()()() - ()() - ()() - ()()()()
: you'll get a message.
I had to accommodate the whole story on that one line… cool, eh? Anyway, I actually planned out all the chapters before writing them, and that was a bad idea cause it felt like I put myself in a cage in which I had to follow whatever was on paper. And at first, I thought 13 chapters weren't enough, and the next thing I know I had to invent a lot of filler crap. Like the first fight with Savvy over Noir? That just came out of nowhere, I swear.
And I felt like I haven't put enough of Darkhour in or not enough of Paine.
I just rushed the whole damn thing and I can't rewrite it cause after reading it, it's not so bad…
Good news though, I already have a sequel in mind. Like I said, I have big plans. So the next ones called…
Nocte Yin: Confessions Of A Villain-In-The-Making
(Insert trumpet flare!)
But be warned, it's actually going to be in the first person point-of-view, meaning I'd be writing with "I", "me", "we" and stuff. Hence, the "Confessions" part of the title.
Hopefully, that doesn't repulse you or something, cause I find it kinda cool to see everything from Nocte's view.
Okay, whatever, still not famous so can't really rant (but if you want to read my rants, please go to my website at my profile page and go to Comments).
Oh, and before I forget (not that I can), I want to thank all those who've reviewed.
all things in life
And special thanks to those who have me on their Favorite Authors list!
I think that's it...
So ciao, seeya in the next installment! :)
( w w w . t h e - . n e t . t c )