Author: Ibteahal Jneidi
What happened after…
After the horrible experience, King Malaki couldn’t care less about the neighboring kingdom and what the aristocrats thought. He decided to go Machiavelli on them, and now the court does not dare oppose him and instead avoid his wrath by appeasing him. I attended one of the court sessions once, and I laughed so hard when I saw the looks on their faces. Give or take some good, trustworthy souls here and there that helped the king out, I thought he would be fine.
He asked one of the best doctors in the kingdom to come help his queen recover. She went along smoothly with her pregnancy after that and her mental health improved significantly. Despite some episodes here and there, her health and Keenan’s have gotten better.
I went to the castle library and found the scroll that woman spoke of. I discussed this with my son and tried to figure out the counter measures necessary to stop this.
While the schemer sits on her throne, waiting to bring disaster to all the kingdoms, ten heroes who had the same ability as me were found and recruited. Now, we were looking for someone with good leadership skills to lead them.
However, I had to go to the lake to heal my wounds. I thought after I heal I can continue my search for someone that is worthy of leading. I went to Lake Ruyi. Rongpei, the empress’s maid, struggled, but with some help from the scrolls found hidden in the castle library, she found it.
When I arrived, all I saw was an empty cave with nothing but a small lake inside. I struggled going through the veil, but once I did, I saw a woman standing at the edge of the lake and she was talking to the very Star Gazer that attacked my grandson. I came closer and noticed her say a name.
“You are Alexander, King of Macedon.” The minute she said the name, the Star Gazer turned back into a ghost.
“Madam Hyacinth,” said the woman. Her voice was familiar. It was gentle, but had a tone that was not just confident, but firm. Then, I realized it was the voice of the one that spoke in my mind.
“Glad I could finally meet you.” She said a couple of quick things to the ghost and dismissed him. “Ghosts who don’t get acknowledged become Star Gazers. King Alexander was one of them,” she said, as if noticing my curiosity about what she just did.
“How did you do that?” I asked her. She also had the same abilities as I and the other ten heroes. Except, her aura was not like the others. It had no color.
When she turned around, I noticed she had a strong confident posture and a small scar on her left hand.
“She might know martial arts,” whispered the empress. “She would make an excellent leader to the chosen heroes.” I nodded in agreement. The empress had a point. However, what astonished me the most, was the way she looked, she reminded me of…
“ Empress,” she said while slightly bowing her head in respect. The empress returned her greeting.
“I will try not to waste your time and get to the point. My name is Amara. I have a brother named Jake. Your daughter Layla was our mother.” I took a deep breath. She was the spitting image of her mother, my dearest daughter.
“The reason” she continued while walking a few steps towards me, “she disappeared was because she and my father were murdered 12 years ago by great grandmother, your mother.” She paused for a moment as if waiting for me to process what she said.
“I see. My mother was not the best caretaker and I vowed never to be like her as a parent myself. She was obsessed with the dark arts because she wanted to find ways to bring forth the dead. I never knew why, but it could be related to the death of my sister. My sister Marigold’s death was unexplainable, but I will not deny that she was involved in shady business, like trying to raise the dead, which is forbidden in this reality.” I paused. The horrible memories of the past slowly came back to me.
“My sister did horrible things and never had a limit. I think her death was a consequence that she could not avoid, nor be prevented.” I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts.
“Although I am angry at what my mother has done to my beloved Layla,” the thought of what she did made my blood boil, but I tried to keep myself calm. “I already knew that she was the one behind her and your father’s death. That is why I am not surprised at this bit of information. I just did not know she had children.” I looked at her and smiled.
She smiled back at me. “I never knew that I still had a family. Aside from Jake, I thought I had no other family.” She looked at me with tears in her eyes. Oh, the traumatic experiences she must have been through.
“Continue,” I urged her.
She wiped her tears away and took a deep breath. “I have the same abilities as you, except I do not want to fight in the war to come. I prefer to be a healer. The reason the Star Gazer was able to gain control over the Prince is because he had depression.” She paused for a moment as if to collect her thoughts.
“They target those that are sick because they know that the majority have mental health problems and hold emotions of resentment towards those in high society, while they suffer to live and fight for food and shelter.” She took a deep breath. “I believe the way to prevent your mother from gaining control is to help the poor, the mentally ill, and the sick. That is how she can be stopped.” She paused for a minute.
“Also,” she continued, “the more unacknowledged ghosts are out there, the more advantage she will have.” She looked distressed as she said this.
I walked closer to her. Once I saw her in the light, I knew what she said was true. Every word of it. She looked exactly like Layla.
“I want to say I am surprised, but I am not and considering the type of abilities you have, I think being a healer is a good idea. This society, and most kingdoms, in fact, lacks your type of assistance. Without you my daughter in law and grandson would not have recovered. Or my future grandson.”
I put a hand over her shoulder. “Thank you, Amara. I was truly grateful for your help. Also, don’t ever boss me around like that again.” I put my hands on my hips. “That truly annoyed the living daylights out of me, and I was left with a horrible migraine the day after. Never again! You hear?”
She chuckled. With a smile on her face, she nodded. “Since I am here in my physical form now, I don’t think that should happen again anyway. Unless it’s an emergency?” Despite her cheeky comment, I smiled back and nodded my okay to her request. However, I still had some suspicions.
“Amara? Although I trust you, and you showed me how honest and sincere you are, I still do not understand why your aura has no color and yet, when you were speaking to that ghost, it was as black as coal. When you aided me in fighting that giant beast, I did not see your physical form, but I did see your aura turn from white to green. Also, you were able to see my grandson while I was not. These things, I still know nothing about.”
Her expression darkened. She looked down at the lake.
“The reason I came to this lake is to remember. I not only recovered my memories, but also the ones my mother left behind for me and Jake to find.”
Her expression darkened even more.
“The reason my great grandmother came that day was because she wanted to take me and use my abilities for her own selfish gain. Me and my brother theorized that perhaps mother knew and that is why she fled from this reality in the first place and stayed in another, on planet earth. She wanted to protect us. She foresaw having a child with my abilities and knew that she would come for me. As you said, she was obsessed with the dark arts.”
I nodded. For some reason, a shiver went down my spine.
“I must learn how to better control my abilities before she knows of my existence here. She knows I have inherited Aunt Marigold’s abilities. I have already accepted this.”
“What abilities and why would she specifically want just yours?” I asked.
She looked up at me with a serious expression on her face that filled me with worry and dread.
“My abilities are the same as yours, and the rest of the heroes, but with one exception. I can bring forth the dead.”
I looked at her with shock. She looked back and smiled sadly. She did not seem surprised by my reaction.
“Also,” Amara continued, “since I will be busy learning, given my work as a female apothecary, you need a leader, correct?”
I was still trying to process what she just told me, but I nodded.