Chapter XXII

The Sadness of every Matter


Bird tweeting is joyous, sun is shining bright, wind is caressing skin softly as the party lead by Ary is heading on. Niko kept her hands crossed in front of her, as she walked. Knight kept himself next to Erick at all times, just like Yuki did, they were too pressured for recovering their Rose, and for keeping him safe.
They all had shared the story among themselves at some point, but now is now, and then is then.
Destination they keep their sights on is already half a day away. It took them time to get here as they had used horses, then ship, to cross river Nila, but for most part they just walked.


Adrian kept fiddling with his tie: “Can you just bloody get in?!” – he lost his temper – “Double Windsor my ass!” – He took off tie and threw it aside, then unbuttoned top of his shirt.

Bitter aftertaste was left by the new coffee he drank barely ten minutes ago, and getting ready right now was getting purely irritating.

This board members meeting was not in his plans today. Nowhere near the original plan of having sleep and being in lab for the rest of the day. But knowing that Merin would be one to meet board members and as she does, she’d make things worse, Adrian did his best to keep his tantrum at bay and deal with this issue at hand.
“Shit, have to notify Kriss about it.” – he said as he got the phone in his hand and was about to click on Kriss’ name, but the call from Merin appeared before it could happen. “On my way! For god’s sake!” – answered Adrian then cut the call and threw his phone on the bed.

Car was roaring like a beast, as it was on the highway driving towards headquarters. Adrian was well dressed, ready to meet the pompous board members, that have the oblivious idea that they rule over the world.

“Call lab” – He spoke to an automated system installed in car. Sound of beeping and ringing began, few seconds later – someone replied.

– Ah, you’re finally calling, Sir. I was getting concerned.

– Kriss, get the docs ready, Merin is being pain in the back, having me do sh*t work, so you shall have to proceed with plan by yourself for now. I’ll get to the lab once I’m done.

– Alright, shall be on with it then. Oh and… Good luck, Sir.

– Thanks, that’ll be needed.

Call gets cut off. Adrian takes a breath. Highway was surely crowded today, as he got stuck in a traffic jam. But maybe that was for the best.


Mountain air and mist that covered land below was truly magical. Sounds of waterfalls, rustling of leaves and single growl of dragon flying by; she was walking downhill to greet the herbalist, that wishes for Goddesses assistance. Her pace was steady, she breathed deeply to capture the freshness of air in her lungs.

From moment she appeared in this forest until now – in this world had passed a lot of time. She got to mature more, discovered new things, learned a lot from Goddess herself and her subordinates. Tasting food here was quite “out of this world” experience for her and through these experiences she gasped new self. She too discovered that things are not what they seem and for some reason Goddess has this obsession of keeping close watch over this “Witch”, although nobody knows who the Witch is. It got to some point that Elyon realized that perhaps there is more to this “Witch”, more to secrets that Goddess keeps, more to the legends that seem untold.

She knew that Orin was at Davids place. Yet knowing that, sharing what she went through here with Orin seemed too difficult, as for Orin time was going slower, way-way slower than here.

Sun shined through tree tops, with its light reaching earth, grass, shimmering in morning dew. Each step Elyon took was light, floating even, she learned to move like river. On the mountain base Elyon met an old Elvish man, the herbalist from town Sier it seemed. She bowed as she approached the man, as it was required of her for she was also one of the Goddesses priestesses. Being under Goddesses wing meant its duties and responsibilities.

– Darling, – Goddess walked inside the Elyons room, – I must ask of you to get ready. You have few hours to prepare.
Elyon nodded, got up and started preparing items she needed to be along with her on journey.


Kriss was worried about this next step in research. Having all subjects receive pain stimulants with new type of drug that Adrian has developed, made skin crawl. Knowing that it would surely kill all subjects made Kriss stress out even more, but there was no way that Adrian would change his mind.

Stress was bursting over the top horribly. Taking enough time to think Kriss called David, notifying about the changes, but his dear friend seemed exhausted and with mind off someplace.
Situation was hard to deal with, hard to avoid or escape.
Right now Kriss just mustered one thought that would delay the horrid end, pulling time as much as he could – change drugs.


Adrian met Merin in the hall right in front of doors that lead to meeting room, that’s right now is full with stuffed and pompous men and women. All waiting for something new that’ll let them control people more, take out of them last of souls. AIO was never about prosperity for them, it was always business at the end of the day.

No matter how, but people were fed the lies of this worlds beauty, prosperity, generousness and so much more to navigate each step they made, get rid of troublemakers, spoon-feed the needed information through media, but yet Adrian, with all this going on, was one crazy man who built this nature filled reserve and motivated people to work, with their thoughts onto the greatness and righteous beauty.

Right now the pompous freaks must taste their own medicine they produce and push out daily – endless lies.


Town Mavur greeted all travellers with two giant statues, which looked like ancestor built mechanisms that were now frozen in stone. The two giants were tall and bulky, but somehow made you feel safe, as if they waited for you to return home, so they can protect you.
Mavur, if looked at it from above, reminded of a giant octopus spreading its streets all around it, keeping its great body always firm and beautiful.

Place that the travellers lead by Ary sought for, was empty place for most, guarded by monstrous creatures. All who knew about the place had been avoiding it, going around, being afraid from the darkness that lured there.
But for those who doesn’t know that it is: it was just a castle in the middle of a gloomy forest, built by unknown man, for reason unknown, with magic protecting this place.

Path that leads towards the castle was grown over with grass, making it hard to see. It was all the harder for the matter that it was getting dark.

– We should stay the night in some motel. Then during day we’ll be on our way again. – Gabriel proposed.

Ary kept his hands in sleeves, just like he does most of the time, he eyed everyone as he turned around. Erick looked exhausted. His body barely kept up with everyone else, with all the walking and feet dragging, it was hard on him. He was not like before, and by the look that Erick gave, he regretted not having the power he once had, surely if he’d recover he would have been able to fight the witch back. Yuki held Ericks hand, feeling that his friend needed it to keep on going.

– I agree with Knight. – Ary spoke. – Some things must be prepared in order to get inside that place. We stay the night in town.

With the way they all were, Niko had no option but to agree with their proposal. She clearly saw the suffering of Erick, but due to some grudges, even the “love” she developed for him was no longer holding her or him from being who they are.

They found nice place of stay right nearby the forest. For some reason many motels were gathered here. Perhaps it was due to the road that lead to the mouth of river Lea, that did attract many travellers, surely a lot just passes by here.

All had divided their rooms, leaving Niko alone with herself, just like it always were. This time it was something different. Usually when alone there was nothing wrong, but his time Niko had strange pain throughout her whole body, more intensive than usually, leaving her sitting on the corner of a bed, gasping for air.
This pain was always with her, but it was not as bad, so she would just bear with it. Not this time it seemed.

Strange feeling were overflowing her, head was splitting from this pain. Right then a little something sparkled her interest all of a sudden – in the corner of her room, near window, stood someone. By the features she could make out it was a young man with white hair, crown gleaming in moonlight. Niko got startled. Few seconds later, just as she mustered herself to take a better look – shadow was gone.

“No, it can’t be you…” – she muttered.

This night held much more to it than any other night.


– This dragon will take you to the castle near Mavur. Soon you’ll meet the friend of yours. Be prepared. You’ll know what to do. – Goddess was sending off Elyon, while she was mounting the dragon. – You’re journey will not take long, but adventures may just begin. Take care.

Goddess bowed to Elyon as she flew away on a back of a dragon into the dark of the night.


Doppel and Cat held bags with them, each containing research that was done in the Forbidden City. They were meant to drop off the bags in designated area, which they spoke about with Adrian.
After the hard day of travel, both ate close to nothing and were tired and mad, but it all will end soon, just as they reach Mavur.


Early morning brought along Ary. He was the one who still dared to come and wake up the one most hated person right now – Niko. As always – three knocks on the door, then he would come waltz in, in his particular way. He stood next to Nikos bed and shook her shoulder.

– Wake up. We must get ready to be on our way. – His voice beautifully devilish.

Niko turned around, dragged her feet aside to hang from the bed, as she sat up. She looked at the floor, then onto the spot where she yesterday saw shadow.
– You’re even paler than before. No matter how much I hate you and your guts, but seeing my enemy this miserable makes me pity you.
Ary put his hand on her shoulder. She raised her face, looking into his eyes.
– Don’t you dare tell them about it.
Something ticked her off and she coughed, covering her mouth with hand, then as she pulled it away to look – she coughed blood.
– I’m fine. – She said, taking short breaths, – I’ll get ready now, so you can go wake up others.
– Ehh… Just how long will you last like this? Hikaru would be really unhappy if he would see you right now. – Ary purred.

Niko grabbed pillow and threw it at Ary.
– How dare you mention his name in front of me?! You sully his name as you speak it! Get out!

In return to this tantrum Ary just shook his head, then walked out of the room, closing door behind.
Few tears fell down Nikos cheeks:
“How dare he say his name…”

They were standing outside, waiting for her. Niko felt their anger, their pain, displease, and one demon pitying her.
When they noticed her, Ary gestured to all to move. Their destination awaits them.

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