Chapter 9

“I thought I’d take all of this with me to the grave. I intended to never tell you, Elysia, but it seems I can’t avoid this.”

Within the few seconds’ break of her mother talking, the chamber is so quiet that the breathing sounds are so loud to Elysia’s ears.

“He was from the Ikcendas.” The consort looks away.

“From the East?”

“As our kingdom and the East had a friendly relationship during those years, our two kingdoms exchanged diplomatic gifts and messages regularly. Children only know humans with magical abilities live in the East, but it is not strictly true. There are ordinary humans, humans with magical powers, and lastly the ones more than humans: they are the royal family and some highest nobles.”

“Aside from being an ambassador, he was a distant relative of the royal family. Your father and I, it was love at first sight, but still, we kept our distance during his visits for more than a hundred years. We did nothing more than having friendly conversations, only secretly in love with each other.

“Finally, his visits came to an end. Our kingdoms had discord about the border and he came here to negotiate that in vain, leading to a complete hostility between the two kingdoms. There would be a bloodbath on border towns after his visit. To say farewell privately and to admit what both of us never openly did before in one hundred and thirty years since we first met, he came to my chambers at night.

Sumerie stops talking. Maybe she is thinking about how to proceed. Or maybe she has lost the will to finish her story but either way, this is a long pause before she starts again.

“I did not expect to get pregnant because of our race’s extreme difficulty to conceive a child. I am sure neither did he. It was an accident. Nonetheless, you are not a mistake, Elysia. You are a gift. I want you to know that.”

Although Sumerie’s eyes are gazing at the walls, Elysia is sure she is seeing much farther away than this chamber. Deciding against the sudden overwhelming desire to comfort her mother, she looks down at her toes on the dark purple carpet.

After a long silence, the consort seems to remember where she is. “I heard he passed away shortly after he went back to his kingdom. I don’t know how that happened and I am not sure I want to. I only got to know battles erupted when he was on the way to his capital.”

“Unlike our race, they have the last name since most humans do. Your father’s name is Awen Lessianus.”

“Awen Lessianus,” Elysia pronounces softly.

“Do you know why I am telling you all of this after all these years?”

Sumerie’s sudden change of tone and the question itself cause Elysia to look up at her mother. “Why?”

“I know you’ve always hated to own a slave, because you are my daughter and I know about you more than anyone else would do, though I don’t know where that weird thinking of yours has come from. I guess because you are too naïve and too kind.”

Under different circumstances, Elysia would have argued with her mother and would insist that she was neither too naïve nor too kind. But now, she is too occupied with everything she just listened to; she doesn’t know how to react.

“We do crazy things or things we’ve never done before when we are in love. Look at what I had done in the past. I don’t want you to repeat my mistake. You are not married as I was, but he is a powerless human, unlike your father. Otherwise, why would he have become a slave in the first place? Even without the dangers and the complications, he will die much sooner before you.”

This finally wakes her up from the daze. “What are you talking about, mother?”

“I understand how you would have fallen in love in love with him since I’ve met him. Nonetheless, he is a slave.”

How has her mother reached to this conclusion? It is so amazing that she is almost speechless. Almost. “I HAVE NOT FALLEN IN LOVE WITH HIM!”

“Quiet down! Elysia! Are you announcing it to the whole tower?!”

“Right. You don’t have to worry about me, mother. I don’t even like him,” Elysia whispers shouts.

Her mother eyes her suspiciously.

“Anyway. There is one thing though.” She is pretty sure this is a bad idea, but she’s going to try. “Mmm…I was thinking if there was a way to free a slave, secretly.”

“You mean him.”

“You could say that.”

“You—you really are something, Elysia. After so many times I’ve told you about our situation, even after I just let you know everything, you still suggest this. You are not in a position to free anyone. We can’t trust anyone but ourselves. With that human girl Clara, you’ve brought yourself enough trouble. And you said you are not in…”

“Please stop, mother. I would not endanger many lives for him. Don’t worry. I only wanted to know if there was a chance. And also, I won’t fall in love with him or anything.”


It is thick, bound by dark brown leather, and quite plain without an inscription. On the first page are bold letters: the laws of sorcery and neutral spells. Four years ago, her mother gave her this book as a gift unexpectedly and without an explanation. Elysia might find this useful, she had said. Whether her mother had known she had inherited the ability to learn magic from her father, she does not know.

Turning the papers carefully, she considers if it might have been from a black market, because that is the one place where you can buy books other than history books and biographies of the royal family and such. There is one bookstore in the city and she has visited more than a few times; the books there are quite boring. Finding that book on the street the other day was almost equal to finding a treasure, really.

She has learned the invisibility spell from this grimoire, but only barely, after two years of practice. Whether this speed is slow, she does not know; she has met no one who can turn invisible—even if they were, they wouldn’t have told her about that, anyway. To admit honestly, she was proud of herself when she finally achieved it.

After walking to the side of her chambers, she stores the book back inside one drawer. A few feet away, the twilight glow is coming through the tall window, the violet curtains turned into pinkish. After her conversation with her mother in the morning, she has spent the entire afternoon locking herself up inside these chambers.

Once on the streets, she has overheard two females talking about how princesses get all they want conveniently and how they themselves still have to work even though they and those princesses are from the same race and so they should be equal. Elysia has to say they are partly right, about princesses’ lives are easy and convenient. Because now she is getting bored and wants to have fresh air outside this suffocating palace. Poor her, she thinks sarcastically.

The wardrobe is full of gossamer gowns she hardly ever wears; moving them aside, she chooses a belted sleeveless shirt, tight-fit and black, and a pair of fitting black breeches. For the shoes are soft-leather calf boots. Usually, princes and princesses have maids to prepare the clothes for them, but Elysia mostly prefers to do that herself except for special occasions. Not to mention, this is for of those secret evening strolls.

She likes herself in this outfit; it makes her look braver than she actually is. They go with her black wings as well; she spreads them out, checking herself in the mirror. Even so, what’s the point in all this?. Self-consciously, she touches her black horns, growing above her hairline and curving to the back. She wishes those things are not there on her head. She wishes she rather not look like a ‘demon’ as humans would call her behind her back.


Guards are patrolling the garden but there is no one near the tower, Elysia has double-checked. Earlier, she saw a movement in one of the lavender beds, but it turned out to be some animal, a cat perhaps. This time she has locked the doors to her chambers to prevent her mother from entering like the last time. She flies down through one window in her bed-chamber. It is inadvisable to fly all the way through unless she wants to be shot down by arrows.

She can be invisible for several meters, at one time, if she is running or flying fast. Before the next time, she will have to take at least a few minutes, for the spell needs a complete focus and concentration.

Near one corner of the tower, she casts the spell. Elysia has had lots of practice to run without a sound, and besides, she knows which types of grounds cause loud footsteps. Having complete confidence in herself to bypass everyone silently, she turns the corner. Suddenly someone throws her down to the ground.

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