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"So your telling me because you want me to know your weakness? Do you thinking I'm that pathetic that I need something on you?" Vanessa murmured. "No, I don't think you're pathetic. I just wanted to let you know that we all have our secrets and now you know mine." Ariana said pitifully as tears just poured out. "So I'm supposed to feel bad for you." Vanessa said sarcastically. "No... I just.... I'm breaking apart inside." Ariana whispered.
"Let's talk somewhere else." Vanessa said coolly as she walked towards the exit. Ariana quietly followed Vanessa out of the bath and back to the change room. Everyone in the change room was surprised to see the two together. The girls started to whisper furiously as they stole glances at the two. "Can't find anything else more interesting?" Vanessa asked with her head held up high. Ariana quickly pulled out her clothing from the locker and slammed it shut. "Don't you know that people bathing is a commodity? I mean naked women is the highlight in everyone's day so let them gossip." Ariana sneered.
The girls in the room started to give Ariana dirty looks while Vanessa was completely forgotten. Vanessa slowly got dressed, brushed and dried her hair. Ariana walked out of the changing stall. She looked around and saw that all the other girls had cleared out. "Vanessa..." Ariana called out but Vanessa just shot her a cold glare before walking out of the change room. "We've been in there too long. It's dark now." Vanessa said flatly as they walked out of the bathhouse. The night air was Crips, th stars in the sky where blinking while the moon was waning. "Let's head to the front quad. We won't see anyone at the school at this time." Vanessa said as she started to walk towards the school building.
"Is that why you have so many familiars?" Vanessa asked as they walked. "Duko?" Ariana called out and Duko appeared beside the girls. He walked along happily as his tongue hung out from his tiny snout. 'It's clear.' Duko responded. "They aren't my familiars. They are Lumas, given to me for a specific purpose. I was told to take some weird pill to suppress my magic but now I wonder. I mean Edlyn is loved by the magically creatures and I think that is why the Thunderbird visited the Capital so much. He was drawn to her but me... I'm feared, they respect me, they keep my secret but the terror they have because of my existence is unbelievable." Ariana said as they walked.
"Felix." Vanessa called out and the golden brown fennec fox came out. 'Master!' Felix shouted as he jumped around. "What do you think of her?" Vanessa asked. Felix turned his gaze to Ariana but quickly averted it. His body fluffed up in defense as he whimpered. 'I dare not comment.' Felix replied. "It's fine Felix. I will not be offended." Ariana said. 'No! I dare not! How can I say a bad thing about you! I know I was very rude to you earlier but please forgive me! My master really needs someone willing to be patient with her and I saw how you treated her while shopping. I felt how happy she felt, how she enjoyed herself and I just hoped... I wished with everything I had that you would be the person to help her become more honest.' Felix ranted.
"Even though I am a taboo?" Ariana asked. 'Ahhh!' Felix yelled as he jumped onto Vanessa's shoulder. "You can hear him?" Vanessa asked as she stopped walking and gawked. "Yes." Ariana answered. "How can you hear him?" Vanessa asked as she took a step back. "If I told you I don't think you would ever believe me. So at the moment no, I can't tell you." Ariana responded without batting an eye. "So you can tell me that you're a taboo but you can't tell me how you can hear my familiar?!" Vanessa shouted in disbelief. "Let's just say until we bond a little bit more I'll tell you but if you can't wait just ask Felix. Go ahead Felix, I give you permission to tell Vanessa about me." Ariana said with a gentle smile.
'No! I will never tell anyone anything!' Felix yelled as he curled around Vanessa's neck. "Too bad." Ariana said with a heavy sigh. "Felix, tell me." Vanessa commanded. 'You are my master but the one standing before you is someone we dare not betray. Not unless we want our lives taken from us.' Felix replied. "I would never take your life. You're too kind, too sweet. I'm glad you are Vanessa's familiar." Ariana responded with a brighter smile. Felix lifted his tiny, fluffy head and looked at Ariana with sparkling eyes.
"I don't understand what's going on anymore." Vanessa said as she grabbed her head in disbelief. "Let's keep going." Ariana said as she resumed walking. "No! I am not going anywhere with you!" Vanessa shouted as she slowly released her head and brought up her gaze. "Fine we can talk here." Ariana said as she crossed her arms over her chest and looked at Vanessa. "No! You are too much! How am I supposed to handle this kind of information?! You don't even like me! I don't like you! So why the h.e.l.l would you tell me such a huge secret?!" Vanessa shouted. "Because it won't change how you look at me!" Ariana shouted back.
"What?" Vanessa said in a tiny voice. "You're wrong about me not liking you. I think your reactions are adorable. Especially when Felix shows what your really feeling when he gives you his ears and tail. But I don't know anything about you so I can say that there will be love loss if you look at me like the monster that I am. So yes I think you are the best person to talk too." Ariana said with serious face but her eyes betrayed her. Vanessa could see the utter fear she had if she just voiced her thoughts about her being a monster. Vanessa averted her gaze and calmed down her temper.
"Fine... fine, so you're a real taboo. Heh. I don't think I can believe such a fairy tale and neither should you." Vanessa said in a tired tone. "You said it's a fairy tale but I have never heard of it." Ariana said pitifully as she brought her arms down. "Of course you wouldn't! It's only a tale that n.o.bles would tell their children. Would a commoner care if their child goes missing? Then again Edlyn was lucky enough to never be told about such a tale." Vanessa said as she pinched the bridge of her nose. "Can you tell me it?" Ariana asked hopefully.
"Sigh... I have no choice do I? Especially if you think you are one." Vanessa said as she brought down her hand. "They say that a child that belongs to n.o.bility must be exemplary in every way. From education, to manners, to personality. If a parent catches their child, throwing a tantrum, terrorizing other children, voicing their opinions or bringing shame to the house or n.o.ble name there is a man that they can seek out. One that will act with righteousness and provide you with a perfect child in exchange for your current child's soul." Vanessa said as she spoke in a eerie voice. Ariana could feel a chill ran down her body. She wondered how many n.o.bles wished for their child to be perfect and how many were willing to get said perfect child.
"They say on a cold, moonless night you can find 'the' man you need, standing out in the middle of a clearing out in the woods just outside of the Capital. His body and face shrouded in a purple cloak with glowing blue runes. The only thing you ever see is his dry, grey, scale like talon hands when he beckons you to step forward." Vanessa said as body started to tremble like a small leaf. "You tell him what you want your perfect child to be like. If you don't have what you want in mind or why your child needs to replaced it means you are wasting 'HIS' time. 'HE' will kill you right then and there. Everyone is bad, every child is wicked but how wicked?" Vanessa said as her eyes started to lose its light.
"Why would every child be wicked? Every child born is innocent. Parents, people and their interactions are what change them, shape them. So why hurt them?" Ariana asked. "That is why everyone is bad and he is justice. 'HE' exists to punish the bad and wicked. He will go out hunting, to satisfy he's need to purge the world. If you are ever caught walking late at night, all alone by the edge of the woods when you should be sleeping 'HE' will come at you. Screeching in hunger before he lunges forward and devours your soul! Be warned, there is a heavy price to pay if you call on 'HIM' to take your child's soul. The one who make a deal with 'HIM' will have to give up their own life for doing something so horrible. To kill a child is a sin, so to keep the balance of the world 'HE' will take the life of the sinner. That's why it's a taboo. Murder and suicide." Vanessa finished saying.
"Does 'HE' have a name?" Ariana asked. "Of course 'HE' does but there is no way in h.e.l.l that I will ever say it! It's dark, it's not a clear sky and the moon is waning, overcast and with you calling yourself a taboo. I don't need to be d.a.m.ned, thank you very much." Vanessa said with a strained, slightly higher pitched voice. "Well I can tell you the cloaked figures are real. Met a whole bunch of them a couple of years back but they were all human and as for the sinner who made me into a taboo... she was already dead before the ritual was performed. At least that's what I saw in my memory." Ariana said as she grabbed Vasu and looked into his eyes.
"That's insane! So dead people are the only ones who can perform 'make believe' taboo rituals? You're nuts, I'm nuts for listening, whatever I'm going to bed. I already remembered something horrible and I just want to go to bed. So goodnight and good bye." Vanessa said as she automatically brought her hand into the air and waved. "Vanessa, all fairy tales have a bit of truth to them." Ariana called out. Vanessa ignored her and continued to walk. "So there's a lead." Ariana said as Vanessa disappeared. 'So what?' Vasu said as he looked at Ariana. His body was properly held in place between Ariana's hands. "So that means I can track down this book at the school library but for now Vanessa had the right idea. Come on Lumas time for bed." Ariana said as she turned back.
The moment Ariana opened the door she was caught off guard. Halina was balled up in a fetal position, crying her heart out while Edlyn rubbed her back. "What happened?!" Ariana shouted as she quickly entered the room and closed the door. "She got a letter back from her brother Theo but it wasn't written by him." Edlyn said with a sad sigh. "Oh no... Halina." Ariana said as she walked over. "Get out!" She cried and she tried clutching her heart but could only grab the fabric of her night gown. "Halina?" Ariana whispered. "Get out!" Halina yelled again as she sat up. Tears left tracks on her cheeks as her face twisted with anger and disgust. "I was happy not knowing anything! But then you had to ruin my life! You're the reason Theo was killed! You're a murder! I hate you! Get out!" Halina shouted scaring both Edlyn and Ariana.
"Halina... you don't mean that. I read the letter. He's fine, he's alive, you said so yourself. It's his handwriting." Edlyn said awkwardly as she tried to pacify Halina. "It's not him! Someone must have mimicked his hand writing!" Halina shouted as more tears cascaded from her eyes. "Because of you my whole family will be wiped out... I hate you." Halina said darkly as she glared fiercely at Ariana. "I don't understand." Ariana said as she looked Halina in the eyes. "Theo is going home tonight." Edlyn said pitifully. "Theo has never gone home since he's gotten involved with the church. Not once! Then I send my coded letter and now.... There is no time to save my family." Halina said flatly as her glare intensified.
"I can fix this." Ariana shouted in a panic. "How? You dove head first without a real plan, you doomed my family, and now, all there's left is to hate you." Halina sneered. "Ariana, maybe you should leave." Edlyn said as she got up from Halina's bed and walked over to Ariana. "Give her some time to calm down. It might just be a misunderstanding." Edlyn whispered. Ariana nodded her head as she paled. "Alright, I'm leaving." Ariana said in a strained voice. "Go to h.e.l.l." Halina spat as she watched Ariana walk towards the door.
"Good night." Ariana said awkwardly, trying her best to not choke as she inhaled. Ariana placed her hand on the door handle. "F*ck you." Halina hissed and Edlyn dropped her gaze. Ariana swallowed back the cry that wanted to escape her mouth. Ariana then pulled open the door and saw Talisha standing right behind it. Talisha couldn't look her in the eyes as she stepped to the side, making way for her. "Good night to you too." Ariana muttered under her breath as she walked past Talisha.
A thousand and one thing's ran through Ariana's head. She didn't know who to turn to or what to do. Halina's family was in danger if they weren't already dead. "Loralei." Ariana called out as she picked up her pace and headed towards the exit of the door. 'What are you planning?' Davita asked as Loralei jumped in front. "I'm going to go save Halina's family." Ariana said as she exited the building. 'Mirela told you to think before you acted? Have you thought things through?' Duko asked. "I have and it's the only thing that can be done." Ariana replied as she continued to walk. 'What do you need me to do?' Loralei asked.
"I need to travel through the shadows and go to the Nahia Estate." Ariana answered. 'You don't know where they live. All you have is her last name! You haven't thought anything through!' A familiar voice shouted from behind. "Aroha?!" Ariana shouted in surprise as she turned around. 'Just rush, rush, rush into everything without thinking of any of the consequences. What will you do when you get to that girl's family? Protect them? Do you realize how weak you are? You can only handle one grown adult with the bare minimum of magical attacks and now you think you can just rush in and fight off a horde of church members? Has it ever occurred to you that this a trap?' Aroha ranted.
"Then tell me what I need to do?! I can't sit idle Aroha! I need to fix this, I can't let her family die because of my suggestion!" Ariana yelled. 'No you are looking for a way to not be hated!' Aroha shouted back. "So what if I am! I'm an adult, I know what I'm doing and I need to do this!" Ariana yelled at the top of her lungs.
'Some adult. Your soul is someone who lived as a shut in! Your an woman trapped in a teenager's emotional body! You've never experienced your own teenage years so how can you even have a handle what's going on now? You are too afraid to lose what you gained but what about before? In your first life you couldn't even stand up for herself! You never went out into the real world! You stayed at the dorms, practically as a shut in! You wanted to be a good girl, always the good, quiet girl who never made any trouble for your parents. Did whatever they asked to you to do. Now that you have your own will, your freedom to do what you want, with no biological parents to disappoint, will things turn out like before? Will the past rear it's ugly head? Will everything happen like the very first time you tried to play hero? Do you still blame yourself for the first-?!' Aroha was ranting before she was suddenly interrupted.
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"No! I know what you want to say! Aroha your playing absolutely dirty! You don't get to bring that up! No one does! I am an adult! I make rational decisions based on what's given to me! I do not let my p.u.b.escent emotions get the better of me I won't let anything happen to her! Never again will a family be torn apart because of my actions! I will save her family! Even if I have to drag ever piece of sh*t church member into the abyss! I will murder." Ariana spat. 'Well, that is an idea.' Aroha said smugly.
'If you're willing to listen to my plan and follow all of my instructions perfectly. No deviation, no improvising or revenge taking, I can promise you we can save that girl's family. Every single last one.' Aroha said with fire burning in her eyes. "Why are you helping me now? You have been avoiding me and practically boycotting me. So why are you helping me now? Are you telling me I am finally worthy of your help?" Ariana asked suspiciously. 'I am testing you. If you pa.s.s, I will rejoin you and tell you about my past. All my secrets, hopefully unlock the potential in you and stay beside you until the bitter end. If you fail, then I will do what I want. I will join someone else and watch you destroy everything you hold dear.' Aroha said darkly. "Deal!" Ariana shouted without hesitation.
'Gregory' Aroha said firmly. "Will he even see me?" Ariana asked. 'We won't know until we try.' Aroha answered as she lead the way towards Gregory's location.