It's been a while since I last updated. Oops. Considering how things are going to be busy for these next few chapters, it's probably best if I summarise what's been going on in this story in case anyone has forgotten because of my slow updates.

After three years, Eidan has finally returned to Jenna - only to find that she has a son named Vincent. And lo and behold, that son belongs to him. Because of the darkness taking over him three years ago, he had unknowingly raped her and left her with a son to look after. Now, the group are searching for a way to finally break this curse. Their only link to how to solve it is Lucan. And in a desperate plight to at last have normal lives, they decide to speak with the King of Cardamonia in the hopes of finding a way to capture Lucan once and for all...

Part VII


-in which light and darkness dance-

the darkness said it will win today.
just one more death to dirty his hands with,
and then freedom was promised.
the promise was all he had left.


Jenna was speechless.

She stood as still as a rock, staring at Mana with a blank gaze. Yet, deep inside, she was slowly starting to harbour feelings of anxiety, anger, confusion, doubt – everything from the negative spectrum of emotions. And it didn't help that Mana remained there, a large smile plastered on her face, unaware of Jenna's slow urge to grab her by the shoulders and shake some much needed sense into her.

"Let me… Let me try to understand this situation, Mana," Jenna mumbled, trying her best to remain as calm as she could possibly be. "You just spent over an hour trying to persuade the King into helping us with capturing Lucan-"

"Yes, and he agreed-"

Jenna held her hand up to quieten the elf. "But surely, Mana, there is a better way to capture Lucan instead of-"

"You don't like the idea?" Mana frowned. "I think it's a great idea! Lucan would hardly suspect anything!

Jenna sighed. "I think it's very unnecessary. We'll just be putting innocent people at risk."

"The King said he would be taking care of the people's safety. There would be enough guards around the palace to ensure that."

"Yes, yes, but it's still a reckless and ridiculous idea-"

Mana groaned, throwing her arms in the air in exasperation. "It's only a ball! We'll be holding a celebration in the palace. And as soon as Lucan realises that you'll be attending too, he'll obviously turn up as well."

Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Jenna tried to keep her voice composed instead of snapping at Mana – although it was growing increasingly hard to do that.

"What makes you think he'll turn up?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You told us that he's possessed by the Dark Abyss, didn't you? I think, in his state, he would just recklessly do whatever it takes to get you."

Annoyed, Jenna looked away and folded her arms. There was no use arguing with Mana over this. It was obvious that this blasted plan was already set in motion. Although it had only been a few hours since the King decided this, Jenna had already overheard several people excitedly gossiping about the upcoming ball in town.

A ball to celebrate the unity of the Earth and Air Kingdom. Or at least that was what they were advertising it as. Jenna refused to be charmed by such an ambitious declaration. No, the Earth and Air Kingdom weren't a unity. They were just being forced to cooperate with each other because if they didn't, both kingdoms would get obliterated. That was it. Still, if the naïve lie pleased the people of both kingdoms, then Jenna supposed that there was nothing she could do to stop that. Let them enjoy the deceit and think of it as a gift from the Gods above.

"It'll be fine, Jenna," Mana said, patting her gently on her back. "It's just a masquerade ball-"

Jenna shut her up with a deadly glare. "A masquerade ball!" she spat, now unable to keep her voice calm.

Despite the obvious anger now emanating from Jenna, Mana's face remained friendly – which only further irritated her.

"The King said he would deliver us our costumes next week. I know you're clearly very excited about the ball, but keep in mind that it's only in seven days time. Until then, you ought to polish up your dancing – you never know, someone might ask you for a dance."

Before Jenna could say anything, Mana turned around and left the room. She was lucky that she had shut the door behind her; for if she didn't, Jenna would have been tempted to throw something at her back.

Ugh! It was all so infuriating! They didn't need to do some publicised ball in order to lure Lucan into a trap. It would just complicate things if innocent people were in the way.

And it was another celebration.

The last celebration she had attended was her seventeenth birthday. And Jenna didn't need to be reminded of how successful that event went.

Tiredly, she sank back on her bed and stared at her feet. It was only a week away. She had no problem about being used as bait, but she couldn't shake of the foreboding feeling that something bad was going to happen. One way or another, they would run into something troublesome. It wouldn't be easy trying to capture Lucan. But even if they did, what would they do?

Would she need to kill him?

Wasn't that what Eidan told her? Ethel said that the only way to break the curse was for her to kill Lucan and for Eidan to kill Grace. However, to further add complications, Grace also said that Ethel had been lying.

Jenna wanted to scream. Just how in the world could they break this curse? Was there even a way to break it at all? She was starting to doubt that she would ever be free from this ordeal.


Jenna cursed endlessly. One week had quickly passed – far too quickly for her liking – and now she found herself scowling at the mirror in front of her. This stupid costume was impossible to put on! Why did it need to have a corset? She hadn't worn a corset in about three years, and the thought of suffocating herself with the laces made her want to forget about this masquerade.

She sighed, staring at her reflection in the mirror. The dress itself was lovely, she had to admit, but that didn't mean that she still wanted to wear it. It was white. Very white. Sheer lace covered her arms, but left her shoulders and neck bare, scandalously low over her breasts. It hugged her bust and waist tightly – and the corset hadn't even been laced up yet! How would she be able to breathe when the dress was already tight enough? The bottom half was like a bundle of silk and lace stitched together in shapes of large petals, enveloping her in drowning material until she could no longer feel her legs underneath.

It was a pretty dress. But she felt like she was going to a wedding. And how was she going to be able to lace up this corset? Perhaps she should go and ask Mana? Oh, but wouldn't she be too busy fawning over her own costume-

There was a knock on her door.

"Jenna? Are you ready? We're leaving soon."

It was Eidan. Jenna stopped herself from sending a glare at the door. More than a week had passed since he returned and old habits lingered with her. Regardless that they rarely even talked, she often still felt uncomfortable knowing that he was back.

But that didn't mean that she hadn't been yearning to talk to him this past week. A part of her just wanted to swallow her stubborn pride and talk to him like the old times. She had missed him.

Taking a deep breath, she spoke up; making sure that her voice was steady. "Could you get Mana? I need her to lace up my dress."

There was a brief pause.

"Mana already left," Eidan slowly replied, his voice barely audible behind the door. "She and Zeph left for the palace a few minutes ago."

Jenna didn't bother to stop herself from swearing out loud.

There was yet another long silence in which she merely glared at her reflection. She hadn't even bothered to put her shoes on yet. Because of the heaviness of the skirt, she could hardly find her foot beneath all the material. She had been hoping that Mana would help her with that as well…

Confound it all! Perhaps this was a sign that she should not bother attending this ridiculous masquerade!

"Do you need any help?" Eidan said after a while.

Jenna's eyes widened at the door.

Was… Was he offering to help lace up her dress?

Her cheeks burned at the thought of him doing that. Ever since he had returned, Eidan had been careful not to touch her. She first began to notice it when he handed her a plate during breakfast three days ago. Her fingers had accidentally brushed his hand and Eidan recoiled away so quickly that he dropped the plate.

He must have noticed her silence. "Or I could run after Mana and-"

"No," Jenna almost snapped. "It's fine. Y-You can help."

It felt like an eternity until he finally opened the door.

Eidan froze as soon as he caught sight of her. At first, Jenna stiffened, thinking that she must have looked ludicrous for him to react like that. But his eyes hovered over every part of her body and his lips parted and she waited for him to say something – anything – but no words escaped him.

Jenna noticed his outfit now too. He was dressed entirely in black. The jacket that he wore was fastened with silver buttons and chains dangled from them, glistening in the light of the room. His pants were fitting, hugging his lean legs – which Jenna hastily looked away from. A cape hung by his shoulder, and it billowed whenever he moved, almost like a black shroud of darkness. His hair wasn't neatly parted, as she had expected, but it was messy; and Jenna had to admit that it actually suited his outfit better. He was like a dark prince, mysterious and hidden in the night.

In the end, Jenna looked away, feeling uncomfortable.

She turned her back on him, showing him the unlaced dress.

Thankfully, Eidan remained silent as he walked up to her. She watched his reflection on the mirror, studying how his hair irritatingly covered his eyes as he looked down at the laces of her dress. She almost let out a squeak when his fingers grazed her bare back as he held the laces.

Jenna clenched her fists. He was too close. She could practically feel his breath brushing over her neck and sending goose-bumps down her spine. Every time he tugged at the laces, she gasped, her body lurching back and bumping against his.

She didn't know whether she hated or liked this. There was that constant fear lurching beneath her, reminding her that these were the same hands that raped her that night.

But why wasn't she begging for this to stop?

Again and again, Jenna swallowed the lump forming in her throat. She couldn't see Eidan's expression on the mirror, but she could swear that he had begun to breathe faster; she could feel it.

When the last tug came and he tied the laces into a ribbon, all went silent. She could feel his hands trembling against her back. She herself couldn't breathe – and she didn't know if that was because of the corset or because of Eidan.

"T-Thank you," Jenna muttered.

Eidan only nodded, turning around to leave. Before he did so, he paused, his eyes catching sight of the shoes that lay untouched by her bed.

"Do you need help with your shoes too?"

Jenna nodded before she could stop herself.

He was kneeling by her feet in less than a second. Gently, he took her foot from under her dress. Jenna's lip quivered; his hands were cold, and she cursed the fact that her shoes had ribbons too. He tied the ribbons around her ankles, his fingers softly caressing her skin.

As he took her other foot, her eyes averted to the mirror. She saw him kneeling before her in the reflection, and she couldn't help but feel her heart quicken at that sight. He looked like a prince, and she a princess. A prince kneeling before his princess, and her childish fantasies burst from her imagination; like how she used to dream of her and Eidan always being together, how he would rescue her from her dreary world and protect her forever and ever until death parted them.

Then, memories of that dark night bled into her naïve fantasies; the darkness, the blood on Eidan's clothes, the hoard of dead bodies, Eidan's hands bruising against her skin, her unheard screams as he forced her onto the ground-

Jenna pulled her foot away.

Eidan had managed to tie her shoe in time, but she could still see the surprise in his eyes. She turned away from him, forcing herself to stop shaking before he noticed the obvious fear that she felt.

"Thank you," she choked out. "You can go now."

Eidan nodded stiffly, leaving her in the solitude of her room. Even as he shut the door behind him, she could still feel his presence over her. Her back and feet felt as if they were burning, as if his touch had left a hot imprint on her skin. And his scent! By the Gods, she could still smell the scent of forests and rain and Eidan.

She studied her reflection in the mirror. Her cheeks were still slightly pink from the moment, but at least she looked decent now. Earlier, she had twisted her hair into a bun, securing the short strands with a few clips. A large white rose was pinned to her hair, blending into the golden hue of her locks.

Her neck felt bare, she noticed now. For some reason, she remembered the necklace that Eidan had given her for her seventeenth birthday.

She didn't think; she only hurried to his room. He wasn't there when she burst inside, almost blind to what she was doing. Her own body moved on its own accord and she fell on her knees, searching the dark corners of his room for the necklace she had long thrown away.

A soft glint in the corner of her eyes-

And she found it. Gently, as if carrying a newborn baby, she cradled it in her hands and blew away the dust that covered it. She was thankful that Eidan hadn't found it before she did.

She remembered throwing it away as if it was yesterday. This used to be their room. After Eidan had left, she was blind with distraught and anger that she did the only thing she thought would hurt him back; she threw away the necklace.

With trembling fingers, she fastened the necklace around her neck. She looked down, her lips tugging into a smile that surprised herself.

Jenna stood up. Now all she needed was to put on her mask for the masquerade and hurry to the palace.

Despite the worry she felt for this event, she couldn't help but feel more at ease now that she was wearing this necklace again.


Colour blinded her senses.

As soon as Jenna stepped into the ballroom, her eyes were greeted by the overwhelming plethora of golds and reds and blues and greens and every other colour in the spectrum of existence. Countless feathers fluttered from the dresses of countless ladies, like wings beating in this claustrophobic room. She saw no faces; only glittering masks hiding the identities of a hundred or so strangers in this room. Thundering music enveloped her ears, louder and louder until Jenna felt the need to hold onto something for support. Instead, she clutched onto Vincent's hand. Unlike her, he looked enthralled by everything, excitedly pointing at anyone who walked past them. She tried to look excited too, but it was near impossible. No matter how much she tried, Jenna could not shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen in this party.

She looked to her left. Eidan was beside her, scanning the room with narrowed eyes. Like her, he was wearing his mask now; it was black and it covered the top half of his face so that only his lips were visible. Despite the mask, she could still recognise him if he were to stand in the other side of the room. His presence was far too strong.

Taking her eyes off Eidan, she only noticed now that Caelum stood nearby. His outfit was very similar to Eidan's – however, Caelum was dressed entirely in red. The cape that hung by his side was the richest shade of red that Jenna had ever laid eyes upon, like gushing blood from a fresh wound. Whenever he moved, the cape brushed the floor, as if blood touched every limb in his body, trailing and crawling after him. His mask was grey, like stone, and it covered half of his face in a permanent grimace.

"I don't think Lucan's here yet," Eidan said under his breath.

Jenna nodded.

Vincent tugged at her hand, pointing enthusiastically at something.

"Mommy! Look! Look!" he said. "Mana and Zeph!"

As Vincent rightly declared, Mana and Zeph were indeed now in sight. From their distance, it looked like Mana was trying to persuade Zeph to dance with her. The elf was yanking on his arm, but Zeph, stubborn as he was, refused to budge from his chair.

Jenna didn't know what was more amusing; the sight before her now or the fact that even though Mana was masked, she was still very recognisable because of her green hair. Her dress was olive green and white, and it was slim, fitted close to her curves and trailing the floor in a train of leaves and flower petals. Numerous flowers were pinned to her hair, like a crown, and her mask was white porcelain, covering the top half of her face. She looked like a princess who ruled over the kingdom of nature.

Zeph, Jenna had to admit, looked quite dashing too. His suit was grey; although his pants faded into black, as if slowly being engulfed with dirt. The shirt that he wore looked torn and ragged, and yet it didn't look odd. It was not buttoned all the way to the top, and he wore no tie or ascot; no, instead the shirt was ruggedly open. The sleeves were torn, and tattered shreds of cloth hung by his hands and arms. The black mask that he wore covered the right side of his face, and his hair was tied into a small ponytail. Compared to Mana, he looked the complete opposite of her. He did not look like royalty. He looked like the epitome of rebellion.

It looked like Zeph finally relented and allowed Mana to lead him into the spot where everyone was dancing. The thief was glaring at Mana's back, as if cursing her for forcing him to do this. And yet, Jenna smiled as she watched them. The music slowed into a calm waltz and Mana guided Zeph's hands around her waist, grinning when she saw how uncomfortable he looked.

Observing them, Jenna felt a pang of jealousy stir in her heart. Before she could stop herself, she found her eyes averting to Eidan. He was still looking for Lucan in the large room, unaware of her eyes upon him. For this, she was thankful.

All of a sudden, Vincent dropped her hand.

"Vincent!" Jenna hissed as her son ran through the room. She gathered her skirt, about to run after him.

Vincent barged right into Mana and Zeph, grabbing hold of Zeph's leg, much to the thief's irritation. Jenna calmed down, sighing both in relief and exasperation. Thankfully, Mana didn't look annoyed at Vincent suddenly interrupting her dance. If anything, she looked pleased to see him. She picked him up, gathering him in her arms and spinning him in the air.

Jenna smiled. At least some people looked like they were enjoying this masquerade. She turned back to Eidan and Caelum, finding that they too were watching Mana and Zeph. Eidan's eyes were fixed on Vincent, and his expression was unfathomable. Caelum, on the other hand, soon turned away and sighed.

"I'm going outside," Caelum muttered. "I'll look for Lucan there."

Nodding, Jenna watched as he left the ballroom, his red cape billowing from behind him.

Eidan tore his eyes away from Vincent. He looked at her for a second before turning away as well, focusing his eyes back on the couples around them. Unable to do anything else, Jenna made her way towards the closest table, grabbing a drink of wine.

She saw her reflection of the red drink; a rippling image of a young woman stared back at her. Even with a mask, she could still see how tired and lifeless her eyes looked. Even with make-up painting her cheeks rosy and pink, her skin still looked pale and pallid. Even with the multitude of people in this room, she still felt strangely alone.

Jenna narrowed her eyes at that last thought. She downed the drink in one gulp, pushing her stupid thoughts to the back of her head.

A hand lay on her shoulder.

Surprised, she spun around to face Eidan, who was looking at her with slight worry in his eyes.

"You shouldn't drink so much," he scolded. "You need to be on your guard if Lucan appears."

Jenna stopped herself before she glared at him. Just this once, she listened to him, setting her empty glass down on the table. Afterwards, she raised an eyebrow at Eidan, who continued to watch her.

"Well then," she said. "What do we do now? Wait for him?"

He shrugged.

Jenna sighed, folding her arms and looking around the room instead. Having a conversation with Eidan was not possible, therefore she tried her best to just block him from her mind altogether.

"Would you like to dance?"

She stared at Eidan with wide eyes. He was waiting for her answer, his hand stretched out to her. Looking down at his hand, Jenna was very, very tempted to turn away and forget that he even asked her to dance. But no, she couldn't make herself act that spiteful.

Jenna looked up at his eyes. Although the mask obscured his face, she could still see the clear blue in his eyes, shining out against the dark leather that covered them. She nodded, never taking her eyes off his. Taking his hand, Jenna allowed herself to be led into the heart of the ballroom.

She nearly gasped out loud when he held her, his hands trailing her waist and pulling her body closer against his. Gulping, Jenna wrapped her arms around his neck and tried to control her breathing. She refused to let him know just how much this affected her.

And yet, what was the effect? Was she scared… or did she like this?

"Are you breathing?" Eidan asked after a while.

Jenna frowned.

This was like her fourteenth birthday. She remembered having a celebration like this. She danced with Eidan for the first time. He had asked her the same question back then as well.

Jenna swallowed, forcing her eyes away from his penetrating look.

"Stop it," she snapped.

He didn't say anything.

The music rose, and Eidan spun her so that her skirt twirled in the ballroom in a swirl of white and lace. In the heart of the music, she only noticed now that his outfit was a stark contrast to hers. She was dressed as if she were the true creation of light, and he was dressed from head to toe in the darkest of black, as if darkness was his very being. Together they danced and Jenna allowed herself to enjoy this moment. For once, she forgot about everything and she smiled and held him close and rejoiced when he smiled back. Memories of their childhood seemed to glide with the music, drugging her until she was enveloped in thoughts of Eidan and nothing but Eidan.

She missed him. And she had him back now. And in that precise moment, she refused to let him go.

But the music dropped in pitch, dropping lower and lower until it rumbled dangerously in her ears. It reminded her of thunder, shattering through her dreamlike state and crashing her back to reality.

She froze in Eidan's arms.

"Let go of me," Jenna hissed, prying herself away from his grip.

She tried to ignore the expression on his face. If she saw the hurt and disappointment in his eyes, she knew that she would weaken and allow him back into her life. But no. She couldn't do that. Not now. Not anymore. Not ever.

Jenna took a step back. She gripped her skirt tightly, still feeling a slight tingle from where he had held her waist. She kept her eyes on the floor, unable to face him.

"You need to stay away," she forced herself to say to him. "We can't keep doing this. I can't-"

"Jenna, I never meant to hurt you during that time," Eidan interrupted. She sensed urgency and desperation in his voice, and it surprised her that he actually spoke against her this time.

She shook her head. "I know, Eidan. But I don't want to go back there-"


His question surprised her. She looked up, finding his eyes fixed on her.

She wanted him to stop talking. She wanted him to stop trying to win her back. Why? Because she knew that she would accept him again – and she was scared. She was terrified of losing anymore people. If she had Eidan again, she would know what true happiness would be like again – only to have it surely taken away somehow. If she had Eidan again, she would return to being weak and naïve and lovesick. If she had Eidan again, she could lose what was left of her life.

Or worse; she could lose him all over again.

And so, she forced out words which she would forever be ashamed of.

"I don't want you in my life again, Eidan. It's not because I can't forgive you or because of what you did. When you left, I realised just how much I relied on you. For three years, I was forced to look after myself without you to support me. And I'm fine now. I don't need you anymore."

Jenna kept her eyes on him. She saw the pain wash over his face, but she forced herself to keep her eyes where they were. If she was going to hurt him for her own selfishness, then she at least needed to feel the full impact of guilt.

"So you just expect me to walk out of your life now?" Eidan asked quietly. "Is that what you want, Jenna?"

She only nodded. Words abandoned her.

"What about Vincent? I know I wasn't there for three years, but don't you think that I want to be part of his life too? Do you think I'm emotionless, Jenna? Do you think I don't care that he's my son?"

With ever word that he said, his voice rose until she was tempted to cover her ears and begin sobbing.

Eidan continued on. "Don't you think Vincent deserves to know about his father-"

Jenna snapped. "No! You haven't even known him for two weeks! How would you know what my son would deserve? You have nothing to do with him!"

Eidan's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I'm his father!"

"You are nothing to him. I refuse to let him be part of this curse. You'll only bring nothing but darkness in his life."

Jenna saw how Eidan winced at her words. He didn't argue back with that last statement. His weak spot was his hatred for the darkness. Ruthlessly, Jenna used that against him. Even after all these years, Eidan still despised the darkness that claimed him. Even after all these years, he was still the same Eidan that she fell in love with.

And yet, she had changed too much. She didn't know why she had to push him away, but she knew that she was just too scared and too prideful to allow him back into her life.

"I don't want darkness in my life, Eidan," she said. "I deserve better than this curse and everything it has put me through. My father's dead, my kingdom's fallen, and everyone I grew up with has turned to stone. I just want a normal life. And I can't have that with you."

He wouldn't look at her anymore.

Jenna clenched her fists. "You can stay to fix the curse, if you want. But after this curse is gone, I will not be returning to you. We belong to different worlds. We were naïve and young and blinded with love, but we were never meant to be. So please, just let me go."

Trembling, she unclasped the necklace she wore. Her heart thumped madly against her ribs until it began to hurt. However, she did not stop. Jenna took Eidan's hand, bringing the necklace to his palm and closing his hand over it.

"You belong with the darkness, and I belong with the light," she told him, holding his hand in both of hers. "It's better if it stays that way."

Then, she left. Jenna gathered her skirt and fled the room before Eidan uttered any words of protest or before she could even glimpse at his face. She held back the tears or the immediate regret that flooded her. She didn't deserve to cry after saying all those things to him. She had only said them because she wanted him to stay away.

But why? What was she scared of?

Was it because of Caelum and Celeste? Their relationship mirrored Jenna's and Eidan's – and now look where that led them. Celeste was dead and Caelum looked like he no longer had the will to live. If anything, Caelum, too, was dead.

Jenna ran into the palace's corridors. At least in here, everything was silent. She could still hear faint music in the background, but she felt at peace here. Shivering, Jenna wrapped her arms around herself and tried to calm down her jumbled emotions. Without the necklace, she felt naked and strange. Had she really returned it to Eidan? Had she really said all those things to him?

What had she done?

She closed her eyes, biting her lip as a useless way to stop herself from crying.

No. No, she couldn't cry. She didn't deserve to cry.

Wiping away the treacherous tears that escaped her, Jenna prepared to return to the ballroom.

But she froze.

When she looked up, she was met with a figure dressed entirely in white. His clothes were majestic, as if sewn by the most talented of seamstresses. Gold lined the edges of his sleeve, like drunken rays of pure sunlight. However, his shirt was stained with red, and she was unsure if it was just the design or if it was blood. A tattered cape hung at his back; torn wings from a fallen angel, white and grey and stained with crimson.

Despite the strange purity that he held, it was his mask that sent shivers up her spine. It looked like a skull, and only his lips were visible; the rest of his face screamed death. His blond hair was tied into a ponytail that dangled over one shoulder, and it was the hair that made him instantly recognisable.



the darkness will take everything.
it has no mercy,
no compassion,
and it refuses to lose.
he will be its slave,
in order to be free.

Thank you very much for the reviews and follows for this story. I'm happy that people are still reading this and it's always nice to see some new readers too. Therefore, I finally forced myself to finish writing this chapter. So I hope that you all enjoyed this chapter! Reviews are always appreciated as I love to read what people think of this story :)