A girl hummed as she hopped around the flower beds. Her cream colored sundress fluttered in the wind as she raised her hand to her dark hair to tidy it. Birds flew around her playfully, nipping at her hair and nesting in it. She laughed, a sound that sound like wind chimes. She raised her hand and the birds rested on it as if on command. Drawing them close and pecking each one lightly on it’s head, she started singing a tune to them. Her voice like wind chimes. The birds that seemed to be soothed by it quietened down, as if to listen to her. She paused at what seemed to be a chorus, looked at the birds for a few moments and gently nudged the birds to take flight from her arm. Her melodic lullaby sailed from her lips once again as this time she started to spin, leap and twirl and twirl and twirl.
‘Asper!’ the pair of eyes that watched her called to her. She stopped for a moment and turned. Her enchanted green eye seemed to pierce through the viewer’s soul.
‘Cobalt! What a surprise!’ her entire face brightened up and her whole body seemed to glow in golden light. She started over. No, she seemed to float, as if the grass carried her weight effortlessly. ‘How was the meeting with Xavier? Do you like my dress?’
‘It’s beautiful, Milady.’ The voice answered. ‘The meeting went fine. We’ll be having a house guest.’
‘Oh?’ she turned swiftly, letting her raven locks tumble down her back. She skipped back towards the gardens. ‘We don’t usually get house guests. Is it a girl?’
The voice seemed to hesitate. ‘Yes.’ He said finally.
Asper turned to look over her shoulder. ‘That’s great! I could use a girlfriend who isn’t scared of me around here.’ she bent down and smelt a rose. ‘These roses are fresh. I could cut a few and give it too her. How about daisies, sunflowers or babies breath? Oh Cobalt, help me, I’m so excited I’m shaking!’
The vessel seemed to scratch his head. ‘I’m sure anything would be fine. Maybe the roses will do. She’s a princess after all.’
Asper perked up and her hands flew to her mouth, her eyes wide. ‘A princess! I’ve never met royalty before. Am I presentable? Am I worthy enough?’ she just kept going on ‘What’s her name? Is she pretty?’
The vessel tensed, drew in a breath and sighed heavily. Asper frowned.
‘What’s wrong, Cobalt?’
‘She’s the Princess of the Thunder demons.’ The vessel paused. ‘Princess Eliza.’
As if on cue, the sky around them darkened and thunder boom around them. Asper’s face immediately drained from her face. She suddenly went rigid and crouched down, clutching her wee pointed ears. It started to rain and her hair drenched to plaster on her face. It was only then that through the vessel’s eyes, it could be seen.
She shivered, maybe from the cold, maybe the thunder, maybe both.
‘Asper! Come to me!’ The voice of the vessel had changed. She whipped her head towards him and her eyes shone with something more. Betrayal. What did she see? What was wrong? She started to back up, away from the vessel, away from sight.
‘Asper!’ The vessel roared again. ‘Come back to me.’
She shook her head defiantly.
‘Not to you, no.’ Asper backed up even more. ‘Never to you.’ she whispered the last few words.
Just then, her back hit a wall. A very familiar wall. She turned to see what was obstructing her, for a few moments her damp hair shielded her face from view. When she turned back, the sight was next to horrifying. Her face was dirty, caked in dirt. Three deep gashes tore through the porcelain skin of her face, her eyes wide with fear, the look of betrayal still there.
Thunder and lightning stuck again and the vessel noticed the wall giving way. He screamed at her again, something that made her seem to changed her mind of running from him. It might have been the fear of dying. She pushed herself from the collapsing wall and leaped for him, hand outstretched to grasp his. But just as their hands touched, she seemed to shrivel up in pain in mid air. Her head started bleeding and the gashes on her face tore open again. A ghastly sight. Her eyes started to water and she panted. Or at least he had hoped she had.
It was her last breath.
Just as the wall collapsed on her, the scene changed in a black whirl. In a blink of an eye, the vessel was back where he started. In the gardens with the birds and blooming flowers. He glanced around frantically, looking for her, looking for Asper. Then he caught sight of her. She sat on the swing facing away from him, swinging like nothing in the world seemed to matter. She was back in her cream colored sundress, flowers weaved into her hair. As he approached, he stepped on a branch, alerting her.
She stopped and turned. She didn’t smile, not like before. Instead, she carefully got off her swing and backed away. Almost as if she was scared of him. Her eye revealed nothing. She was suspicious. Suspicious of him.
‘What do you want?’ She spat.
‘I just want to talk.’ the vessel’s voice was deep and velvety ‘To hold you.’
Asper looked away. Her eyes almost sad. She idly placed a hand on the swing and pushed it. ‘There’s no point in us talking anymore.’ Her reply was cold as ice.
‘I have to go.’ For a moment, she made eye contact with him, entrancing him to a point that he failed to notice a thick fog forming behind her. She broke the contact and he took a step back, blinking. She turned and rushed into the fog.
‘No. NO.’ The vessel followed after her. He walked right through the fog, right into a patch of daisies. Turning back, he watched helplessly as the fog cleared up. He fell to his knees and screamed.
Xavier shot up from bed in cold sweat. It was the same dream again. The one where he saw her happy, die and then happily leave him as if death had finally unshackled the chains of fate from her. He had tried to save her, somehow. But he never had control over the first part of the dream. The one where she had called him Cobalt. Xavier’s hands clenched into a fist. Even in his dreams, his bestfriend had won the love and adoration of his true mate. The bestfriend that was awarded with smiles, tinkling laughter and girly flower wreaths. Each time he dreamed of them, he’d see a happy time they had together. He saw their midnight tea session, him bringing her out to town and even her patting his head to sleep. On her lap. The memory alone had him shaking with rage.
The only time she seemed close to happy with his character in the dream was when she was leaving him. Other than that, he’d seen himself shout at her, scream at her. Even the slap, don’t get him started. His memories had tortured him, replaying it almost every other night. He pulled the blanket off himself and shuffled out of bed. Groaning at his aching back. The bed was too small for him, but it didn’t matter, it was her bed. He was sleeping in her room after all.
That’s right, he had lounged in her room ever since his castle had been restored, hoping that one day, if Oden would allow it, she would return to haunt him or take revenge. It didn’t matter, as long as he got to see her in the flesh or phantom state she may choose to present herself in.
Her room was also near her favorite spot in the entire castle. The garden, which was also where he had placed her glass coffin. A place where she was physically, or somewhat so, was comforting in itself and soon, it had become his favorite spot too.
‘Ma fleur cher’ he whispered to her through her glass coffin. ‘How are you today?’
She lay there, in a cream colored sundress, with flowers weaved into her hair. He had tried to recreate her from his dreams, from times she was actually happy.
‘I know you’re in there, ma fleur.’ He cooed at her, bringing his body down to the glass coffin, his forehead pressed against the glass. ‘Why won’t you come back to me?’
He stared at her intently. At her once again porcelain skin. He had hired a healer to have her body restored, in hopes she would come back to life but the healer said her soul had gone to the Gods and he had no control over that.
‘Ma fleur?’ his fingers clenched around a rounded corner of the coffin. ‘Why do you only smile at Cobalt in my dreams. If you only exist in my dreams then won’t you smile at me too?’ His anger was on the rise and his broad shoulder started to shake.
‘It’s been 300 years dammit!’ he shouted at her lifeless body. ‘300 years of the same memories. Of the same dreams! And then you show me your smile only meant for my best friend.’
‘I don’t deserve this!’ He pounded his fists on the glass. It was a good thing it was enchanted. ‘I have paid my dues to you. 300 years of due! And you torture me still, with my friend, a living reminder that I should have cherished you?’ his voiced softened a little.
‘Where is that bastard anyway.’ He got up, not caring of the funny looks he was receiving from passing servants and maids.
Xavier burst into Cobalt’s room.
‘How long had he been gone?’ Xavier thought out loud, flipping through photos and scrolls lying around room. He counted on his fingers. ‘The bastard’s been gone 27 years.’ Xavier swore out loud. Cobalt did disappear time to time, only saying he had some life actualization gig going on. He was never gone so long.
‘Maybe he’s finally dead.’ Xavier had mixed feelings for that thought. He did hate the fact that his mate favored his best friend more, but it was also Cobalt that took care of his mate when he had treated her with unjust. He also used his blood to save him during the vampire raid, which was probably also the reason why he had memories of Asper. Memories that proved to be both a blessing and a curse.
He flipped through scrolls and maps of all kinds. There were maps of the Kingdom of Dragons, Ghoul mountain, Siren’s cove, Harpy’s cave and Varrock. Xavier smiled inwardly at the map of Varrock. It was where he had first caught sight of her. She was magnificent, like a phoenix emerging from ash to live again, only that she had risen from an old willow tree that she had carelessly grown apples on. He never dared to harm her, something made her seem fragile, vulnerable. Important.
She had a kind heart and agreed to stay with him, though she had violently objected to it at first. She slowly grew warm to him and loved him. Probably more than that bastard Cobalt could have imagine. Xavier harrumphed at the conclusion. But he had taken her for granted, planned to use her and ultimately, let her slip away. Right through his fingers. Xavier sighed sadly. He had no right to be angry at either Asper or Cobalt. It was his mistake, his fault and his consequence to bare.
Deciding to stop nosing through Cobalt’s things, Xavier rolled the scrolls and maps up to set them aside neatly. The bundle toppled and took down a small shelf. In a cluster, Xavier noticed a particular book. It was Cobalt’s journal, something he carried around all the time since he was young. Curious about Cobalt’s life with Asper, he flipped through it.
13th half-moon by Saturn’s fourth orbit:
Xavier brought home a witch. Of all things, a witch. He’s going to curse us all.
Xavier raised an eyebrow at his entry.
18th quarter-moon Mars’s tenth orbit:
I know her name now, Asper. What a beautiful name. I’d love to get to meet her, but look at the way she stares at Xavier, I stand no chance.
‘You got that right.’ Xavier inwardly thought.
30th eighth-moon Jupiter’s second orbit:
Xavier brought Eliza back today. She brought thunder with her. Lady Asper doesn’t seem too fond of thunder, she’s terrified and won’t leave her room.
34th eighth-moon Jupiter’s second orbit:
Lady Asper was spotted around Princess Eliza’s quarters today. She was spotted with burns and what looked like lash marks. I wonder what happened.
‘Why didn’t you ask?!’ Xavier wanted to shout at Cobalt of being so sodding dense. Xavier flipped quickly, in turn finding out that Asper had been being abused by Eliza. He frowned and his hands shook. ‘And I slapped her and threw her into the dungeon.’ He almost couldn’t carry on reading.
18th full moon Venus’s seventh orbit:
Lady Asper is dead. I saw it with my own eyes. She was crushed by the dungeon walls. She seemed to put a curse on me. She seems to really hate me.
Xavier smirked, though he couldn’t think of any reason why Asper would come to hate him.
19th full moon Venus’s seventh orbit:
I found out what Lady Asper did to me. She hexed me to never tell anyone about her till she died. I’m ‘censored’ as Xavier calls me now. That can only mean one thing… right?
Xavier stopped. ‘Impossible. She’s right there. Lying in my garden!’
27th half-moon Pluto’s last orbit:
After visiting Varrock, I had a dream from the Gods. They seek me to go to Isatine. I see flashes of Lady Asper in a strange attire. She looks funny, but still beautiful. She’s happy too. I will go to her. Even if it means me dying. She’s alive, probably reincarnation. She’s a miracle. I can’t wait to see her again. I wonder what it’d be like, to stroke her face as she sleeps at night again?
‘Again? AGAIN?!’ Xavier roared at the journal. He’s been in her room, watching her sleep. He’d been trying to get her to allow him to do that but she never let him, saying it was ‘weird’. Why did she allow him to do that? What was their connection? ‘No, don’t tell me.’ he paled. They were lovers?
‘That was why Cobalt got so pissed off when I had slapped Asper. Cobalt would never had done something like that.’ Xavier frowned at the memory his best friend sucker punching him. “They had midnight tea, she only smiles at him, he’s ready to die just so that he could be with her.It all adds up now. Asper and Cobalt are in love. They’d run away into suicide with each other. Somehow, Asper had cheated death with her magic and hexed Cobalt so he could never spill the beans to me. Cobalt, being in love and all, has no choice but to go to her. She’s perfectly guarded by her hex on him and escaping into another plane made sure I could never track her!’ Xavier finished and held his head. It was too much to take in for the moment. At first he was happy, happy that he finally had hope that he could see Asper again but it quickly burned up and boiled into anger when we remembered how she had run away with his ex-best friend.
He turned and rushed from the room back to the garden to where Asper’s lifeless body laid. He bent down.
‘Ma fleur, you’ve been very smart. Scandalous too.’ He traced the outline of her face with a finger through the glass. ‘But don’t forget that you will always be mine and no matter what you do, I will always find you. This time I will claim you. Nothing will stand in my way.’ His claws unsheathed and he clawed the glass, leaving his engraving.
~.~Meanwhile on Earth~.~
A glass Asper was polishing slipped out of her hands and shattered onto the floor.
‘Hey. That’s priceless China you just broke.’ Cobalt lifted his head from the couch and taunted. ‘I know I’m here and all but you don’t have to get all excited.
Asper sighed. Since the coffee session, she had called it truce with Cobalt and since he wanted to be around to protect her, she let him put up in a guest room. She had to be ready when Xavier came for her, probably to force her to love him again. She shuddered at the thought.
‘It’s not even my fault. It was the wind.’ Asper bent down to pick up the pieces. She could have always used magic but this time she had to do some cleaning. She had to think.
‘The wind doesn’t knock things out of someone’s hands.’ Cobalt sat up on the couch and frowned. ‘I have a bad feeling.’
‘You really shouldn’t be so superstitious about these things.’ Before Cobalt could say anything, she interrupted him. ‘We’re immortals. This things kind of don’t apply to us.’
Asper stilled and pushed the voice out of her head. She knew that voice. She heard it almost everyday. She had to put up her walls just to keep that taunting voice out of her head.
‘I will always find you…’ she shut her eyes and concentrated. He was getting stronger somehow. ‘This time, I will claim you.’ The voice rang in her head. His deep, velvety voice. Almost as if he was right beside her.
‘Nothing will stand in my way.’ she froze, taking everything in. Just when she thought everything was over, she heard a loud screech, like someone was scratching the metal of every iron bean she had in her house. This time, she was the one to fall to her knees and scream.