A/N: Sorry for my long update. I am infamous for my slowness. Hope you people still remember this story exists. ^_^ I chose this date to post this chapter because it is cool! 10/1/2010

Thanks to those who reviewed the last chapter (ch 5): MiniMac, Cooked Juice, Shellbell10, BlaznFangurl, Narq, Calico Trayce, Lilacsun, PencilSketchS, Sydchan, Peacemaker, JigXsaw, Firestar267, Roya7, Somewhatcreative, Rocks Beneath the Water, Blo0d StaiNed Rose, Kata, Riku-Fangirl, Dyly, Sailorwaterprincess, Xfireworkzstarx, Caisele, Alshmee, ..., I_iz_seth, Miraakira.

My heart clenched so much when I wrote it a year ago and now that I reread the chapter, I feel equally bad as before.

Enjoy this sad chapter. T-T

A Tale of Woe

The Exploding Truth

by Kalista Jia

After his months surviving at the battlefield where every day, names of his deceased comrades increased, Lorewolf became gradually numbed to everything. What was left to fuel his desire to live was his memories of the past. His home, mother and lover were all waiting eagerly for his return. His beloved Craine should have master a few cooking skill by now and was waiting patiently for his news. He mustn't disappoint them in the cruelest matter. That was the promise he made to himself against all the odds that he might die the very second. The young man couldn't believe his eyes and ears when he learned that the war was finally over and he could, at last, return home to his loved ones.

His heart was hammering furiously against his chest as he took a deep breath and stepped into his old home. The trembling figure of his mother had distracted him from the unusual coldness in the house. - The abnormal lack of warm and presence.

"How is my Ma being doing?" Lorewolf walked over to Mathia and pulled her into an affectionate hug. "I miss you so much."

Mathia who was momentarily stunned as she furiously wrapped her arms across her son's back.

"Lore-Lorewolf?" She finally found her voice. Her grip around her son was as tight as a cobra. "Lorewolf?" She repeated firmly, not trusting what her eyes and skin told her.

"Yes, Ma. It's me, Lorewolf, your silly son." Lorewolf reassured his petite mother and he returned the loving gesture as to hug her small frame. "I am back." He whispered with a hoarse voice.

Mathia narrowed her eyes as the tears started to blur her vision. "Oh my god," she managed to choke out. "Oh my god, my son is back." She tightened her hug and cried. "He is still alive!"

Lorewolf patted his mother's back softly. "I know."

The little helper Bendy who was standing not far away from the mother and son smiled. "Welcome back, Lorewolf."

The brunet grinned. "It is good to be home." He took a deep breath and exhaled.

"I thought you were dead!" Mathia said between her sobs. "Dead and gone like the others. I thought I had lost you too, Lorewolf." Her tears staining Lorewolf's army uniform, not that he cared anyway.

The soldier smiled happily, trying his best to comfort his weeping mother. "I am here, Ma"

"You could be dead! I must be dreaming!" Mathia argued back.

"Nonsense," Lorewolf kissed his mother's forehead and wiped off the streaming tears with his fingers. "I am alive and home now. I am real."

"Oh my god, I don't believe it!" She screamed as she cried even louder.

"Ow, Ma, my injuries still hurt you know." Lorewolf said nervously. He knew Mathia would be nursing him like a baby if she saw his wounds. He rather not wanted that and would have preferred to keep them as secretive as possible but Mathia had just squeezed his injuries.

Immediately, Mathia let go and started to inspect her son's wounds. "Dear Lord, what happened?" She asked with a horrified expression plastered on her crying face.

"Well," Lorewolf scratched his head. "I got shot?" He diverted his eyes across the room. "Several times?" He added hesitantly. He really didn't want to tell her about his wounds at all, damn it.

"You got shot several times?" Mathia gaped and pushed her son on a chair nearby and started to order him to take off his uniform so that she could mend the injuries.

"Oh wow! Check those scars!" Bendy whistled, earning a smack from Mathia.

"Bendy! Don't admire these scars! They are going to be stuck on my boy's skin for life! Oh my god, my handsome son's skin is marred." Mathia cracked a small joke like she usually would.

"Well, at least I can show my masculinity better now. Men have scars to prove their manliness. One day, Bendy you are getting yours." Lorewolf grinned, him too earning a smack on the head from Mathia.

"Don't put stupid ideas in Bendy's head. You know how much he admires you. Imagine one day he will try shooting his arms to get those stupid scars!"

"I aint not going to shoot myself." Bendy denied with a snort. "And I don't even like Lorewolf."

Lorewolf pinched the boy by his cheek. "Oh I hope so."

"Crai-" Mathia paused in shock, covering her mouth in fear. "Bendy…" She corrected herself. "Bendy, mind you get me some clean water?"

Bendy dropped his cheerful smile and stared nervously at Mathia and Lorewolf. "Aye. Ya, I will get them right away."

"Speaking of Craine," Lorewolf smirked. "Where is he? I bet he is out riding Pegasus. I can't wait to cuddle my lovely sweetheart. How is he being doing while I was gone?"

Mathia pretended not to hear the question and continued mending his wounds.

"Lorewolf, would you… did you… would you like to have a glass of hot coffee?" She suggested, trying to distract her son from the devastating news.

The brunet eyed his mother's sudden trembling hands for an instant before suspecting something was off. "Ma, what happened?"

Mathia jerked backward, she tightened her lips and looked away. The old lady walked away from her son's piercing gaze and began to straighten her dress and preoccupied herself with other things.

Lorewolf frowned and got up. "Ma, where is Craine?" He asked doubtfully.

"I will go…get you a glass…" She tried to make her escape to the kitchen but failed when Lorewolf gripped her wrist.

"Why are you avoiding my questions concerning Craine?"

"Lorewolf dear… you just returned from the battle, you should get some sleep."

"Not until I know what happened around here while I was away." He narrowed his eyes. "I ask again slowly. Where is Craine?" His voice grew impatient.

Mathia, for the first time, feared her own son. "I… he-he he is…erm," her eyes soaked wet.

Lorewolf was getting irritated. He had a bad feeling about this. "Ma, what are you hiding?"

She tore her scared gaze from the wooden floor to look up at Lorewolf. She swallowed. "Listen, boy… Craine, he is… please, don't do anything foolish."

"What FOOLISH?" Lorewolf shouted. "DAMN IT MA, JUST TELL ME!"

Mathia shrunk backward. "Please, Lorewolf…Don't do this."

"What is this," the brunet took a deep breath to calm his anger, "that you find it so hard to tell?"

"It is HARD for me already OKAY?" Mathia burst. "Lorewolf! You have NO IDEA how I felt along!"

"THEN TELL ME! Perhaps you will FEEL much BETTER AFTERWARD!" They both raised their volume. "FUCK THIS! I went to that god damn war, nearly getting myself killed many times, came back all excited and happy to see you guys, in fucking good mood, and here I am, shouting like a mad man because YOU DON'T FUCKING WANT TO TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON!"

"Lorewolf!" Mathia yelled. "Calm yourself and don't act so rude with me, your mother!"

"Like I give a damn now, so mind you do me a favor and tell me the fuck happened!" Lorewolf slammed his fist onto the table, causing the mugs to shatter on the ground.

"CRAINE IS GONE, VOILA! HAPPY?" Mathia shouted, throwing a jar that she was holding in her hand on the floor.

Lorewolf remained stunned. "He what?" All anger dispersed into the thin air. Silence roamed the house as the two stared panting into each other's eyes. "What did you just say?" The brunet tried to control his ton of voice. "Repeat, what you just said."

"Craine is gone. He won't be back!" She slid down the wall and cried painfully into her hands. "We won't see him ever again."

"You kidding me right? Craine would never leave us." Lorewolf chuckled nervously.

"Ask everyone then! They will tell you!" Mathia shouted and pointed at the door.

The loud commotion had gathered many of the townsmen over to see the quarrel. Lorewolf turned around to stare at them with fear in his eyes. "Is it true?"

Those who remained in town during the war could not look into his eyes.

"What are you guys playing? Hide and seek? WHY CAN'T SOMEONE FUCKING TELL ME DIRECTLY?" He shouted at the crowd.

Everyone looked away. Some started to sob as well.

"Is this a joke?" The brunet denied.

"It is not." A child said firmly. Everyone turned to stare at her.

"What?"

"I was there when everything started." She explained. "A group of soldiers came when you were gone. They scared us. Attacking everyone and my grandma Beth and me."

"What?" Lorewolf's heart clenched. "The enemy attacked? When? What happened?"

"No, they were our people." Mathia said quietly. "General Kirheras's bastard son and his flirty men."

Lorewolf clenched his hands. "Weren't they supposed to go to war too? I don't understand. Why were they here?"

"Apparently not. Rich kids' privilege."

"Please, go on, Lily." He sounded as if he was about to cry anytime.

The girl, Lily, nodded and continued. "One night, grandma and I were attacked by three of the bad guys. Craine came to help us."

Lorewolf winced at the name.

"He came with a sword and killed the men."

"I thought I asked him to hide." Lorewolf said, defeated.

Mathia chuckled dryly. "You don't expect that pure child to stay cowardly aside when a child and an old lady were attacked, don't you?"

"After the men were killed, I thought… I thought everything was going to be alright." Lily said guilty. "Then the big bad boss came. I don't know what happened after because Craine asked me to take grandma home quick. I did so."

"AND?" Lorewolf shouted with his eyes tightly closed.

Mathia continued the story. "We didn't know what happened during the night with those two. All I know is when I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was to go to Craine's room and when I found him absent, I went hysterical. Then the leader returned with Craine." She sobbed. "Please… Lorewolf… I don't want to describe what I saw."

"SAY IT!" The fuming brunet yelled. He wanted to know every single detail he could possibly get.

"He… Craine he was… I mean… it was clear that the leader had done something to Craine." She eyed him fearfully. "Did something terrible. Craine… he was to say… broken…"

Taking a breath, Lorewolf placed his forehead on his knuckles. "He was raped, was he?"

Mathia nodded. "He was."

Lorewolf blinked away the tears that blurred his eyes.

He would not imagine the scene. It was too painful to do so. His Craine screaming and thrashing under a lust crazed man. He found it hard to imagine another man's dirty hands touching his lover's pure and flawless skin, another man's tongue licking his Craine, another man's flirty flesh penetrating the forbidden place that was reserved only for him and no one else.

"After that?"

Mathia lowered her sadden glaze and sighed. "They took him away the same morning. I couldn't do anything against them. I didn't know. I tried but it was useless. They were men, armed with those deadly weapons and I am nothing but an old woman, weak and unskilled. Everything happened so quickly and I didn't know what to do at that moment except trying to beg them to let him go. I couldn't make them. Craine was so close within my reach and yet I was not able to pull him away. I am sorry, Craine. I am sorry, Lorewolf. I am so sorry to both of you."

He couldn't believe a thing that was just said. It got to be a nightmare. His Craine was left alone to deal those bastards. That was something he couldn't forgive himself. He didn't know who to blame best. Blame the countries for going to war? Blame himself for going to war? Blame the war for going on for such a long period? Blame those attackers who assaulted his hometown and his beloved? Blame Lily and her grandma for wondering in the middle of the night where they know the evil was lurking in every corner? Blame Mathia for not stopping Craine on his suicidal mission? Blame Craine for being so stupidly heroic? Blame, blame, blame…

Grabbing the chair that he had seated on, he stood and flung the object against the window. The glass shattered into a thousand pieces and the bystanders screamed. Some out of shock and others probably were cut by the broken pieces. Lorewolf could care less.

Anger and sadness turned into a total turmoil within his soul.

"Did he say anything?" Lorewolf placed a hand to cover his eyes.

"Yes, he said that he got to go with them otherwise they will slaughter the townsmen."

"Anything other than that? Anything message for me?" Lorewolf chewed back a sob.

Mathia nodded. "Before I lost Craine, he told me to tell you that he will never forget about you. He will always love you no matter what. He wished you to move on and forget about him."

"That Craine, as if I can possibly forget about him and move on." Lorewolf let a trail of tear strolled down his cheek.

Mathia regained her strength and walked up to him. "Lorewolf, please. I want you to be happy. Craine is gone. You can't find him anymore. We don't even know where they are now. It will be impossible to find him."

"Are you asking me to give up on Craine?" Lorewolf snapped, pushing his mother away as if she was contagious or some sort.

"Please understand. I am sure Craine doesn't want to see you like this." She tried to change his mind. "Thinking about Craine now will bring you nothing but sorrow."

"I would rather live a life filled in sorrow with Craine than live a live living in fake happiness with someone else."

"I know it is hard for you now, but think about it. Please." She tried to comfort him only to be pushed violently aside. "Lorewolf!"

Lorewolf eyed her for an instant before storming up the stairs and slammed his bedroom door shut. The room looked so empty now with Craine gone. He gazed at the unoccupied bed where he used to lay onto with Craine cuddling next to him. Everything in the room remained where they ought to be before he left yet now everything seemed so unfamiliar. The once warm feeling that possessed this room had vanished, leaving only the feel of emptiness and hopeless nostalgia.

He found a letter on the table and eagerly jumped to read it. It was written by Craine. His heart beat so furiously he swore he was having a heart attack. His eyes traveled down quickly the letter only to find big disappointment. It showed no indication of Craine's current location nor how he was going presently. The letter was written before he was taken away.

That tiny letter was so cheerful, telling him about the peaceful life Craine was having, telling him how much everyone missed him while he was at war, telling how much life felt so insignificant without him. Lorewolf took the letter and lay his back on the bed. Placing an arm over his eyes as he tried to suppress his miserable cries, that letter was simply too blissful for him to read. In the end, he could no longer hold in and the choking sob escaped his lips.

He woke up and rubbed his eyes slight, thinking that everything that happened until then was nothing but a nightmare and he would open his eyes and be greeted Craine's lovely green eyes staring at him cutely. However, Lorewolf was totally devastated when his wishes didn't come true. He awoke alone, in his room, with the letter crumpled in his hand.

The outside was dark and obscure. The thick clouds were crowding the sky, blocking the stars from emitting their soft tiny light.

"Ha! More black, as if my life is not dark enough." He chuckled ironically to himself.

He sat up and walked to the door. Pausing there for a brief moment before turning the doorknob opened and went down the stairs quietly. He turned to spot his mother in the lounge room's table, sleeping with her face buried between her arms. He sighed. Grabbing Mathia's shawl that was placed on the counter table, he placed it gently over Mathia's shoulders.

"Ma, I am sorry. I figure, I am not the best son one mother would dream to have but I know I am not half bad, right?" He smiled weakly. "If the sky was not so gloomy today, I would make a wish to a shooting star. I wish so much, so, so much that we could return to the time where pa, Craine's parents and us everyone were together. That was the best moment in my life I guess."

Hoping that Mathia would wake up and start give him a heart to heart talk, Lorewolf sat watching the lounge like the day he left for the war.

"I am leaving, Ma." He decided in the dark. "I am going to find Craine. I don't know how I am going to do that but I rather set myself on a searching mission than sitting here and get even more miserable."

Lorewolf picked up his luggage that he left at the door when he first returned home and swung them over his shoulder. He gave the house a last glance before taking a decisive step out the inn and wondered down the street in the middle of the night.

"Your Ma will be very upset to see you gone as well." A voice said to him from a dark alley.

Lorewolf shrugged nonchalantly. "Jen, please. Don't stop me."

Uncle Jen blew his smoke from his pipe and crossed his legs. "Not stopping you, just telling you what your action will lead to, that's all."

"Yeah," the brunet agreed in defeat.

"Well," Jen got up from his resting spot. "I am just disappointed by the fact that I didn't get to have the warm dinner tonight. Remember the little chat with Egal during patrol? Yeah, I was really looking forward for that kind of happy ending. This is just sad." He shook his head and blew another breath of smoke.

"Sorry for that." Lorewolf made a sour face. "It can't be helped."

"It really can't, didn't it?" Jen sighed. "Go West, kiddo, to the city of Maspo. You may find some information there about that bastard's son's whereabouts. There is a tavern under a large oak, head in there. The whole place is full of informants."

The young soldier turned around and stared with wide eyes at the old man. "Jen… you…"

"Don't thank me. I just want a happy ending, that's all. I am still expecting a cute niece or nephew from you lovely-dove birdies in nine months." Jen laughed.

"Thanks for the support, Jen. I owe you one."

The old man snorted. "Told ya not to thank me, it makes me feel like a fairy godmother." Lorewolf gave him a grin. "May the luck goddess be with you."

"And here you say you don't want to be compared to fairies. You do sound like one."

"Kid, you better get going or else I will go fairy wuss your sorry butt." Jen threatened with an amusing smirk.

"Alright, alright, I get it." Lorewolf widened his grin. "Thanks for cheering me up, Jen." The young man said as he disappeared into the darkness.

Jen looked up to the sky as he dragged another string of smoke. "The imprisoned princess is waiting for his prince charming, huh?"

If only the prince could make it there on time before the princess is forever tainted…

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