"Zero" - by Piro / shadwblitz
She was alone in that same room once again. It was one of those dreams that she had almost every night, but only once had it happened in real life.
She was the girl that huddled herself behind the door that separated her from the rest of reality.
Thud. It seemed that there were people outside, trying to force the door open, though it also seemed that she didn't care at all. Actually, she didn't care about what they were doing, or what had happened to them. She didn't care about how these series of events came to be. She didn't care about what was about unfold before her very eyes.
"Help, please..." One of the men outside called out.
"Please, let us in..." another one said.
I too, was not in the presence of the little girl at that time, but I was safe from the danger that was about to strike.
Despite their cries, she simply opted to remain motionless behind the door, sobbing...
It was about to happen. Although she knew that it would cost the lives of many, she wasn't able to do anything to help.
A shrill cry pierced the silence of the night.
Strong winds ruthlessly banged on the windows, and the cold breeze dissipated any sign of heat there was in the room.
The girl shivered in both frost and fear, but remained on the same spot, wondering when this catastrophe would end.
The door suddenly creaked open, inviting a rather chilly gust inside. The girl looked up cautiously; and it was to her horror to see not someone who had the capability to comfort her, but rather a figure of a person in dark robes.
As for myself, I wasn't in my right sense of thoughts, so I had to do what my mind told me to do.
The hooded man was carrying, in his arms, what seemed to be a wounded person. He appeared to be unconscious from the pain caused by a sever case of frostbite. The man trudged towards the bed, and laid the unconscious person down. The girl thought that the ominous figure didn't take notice of her, but she proved herself a poor prophet when he approached her, and brushed his thumb across her cheek.
The hooded person departed soon after, and had never appeared again to the lonely Luserina.
It was clear to me that I had no control of what was happening, but still, if I wished it, maybe I could've...
I faintly recall - that it was only a few hours ago when the light of the sun had rudely invaded her room. She was asleep at that time, and was having the same nightmare, no doubt.
It was from then that I realized my mistake; how stupid I was to not notify her of the fact that all the world's lies would be revealed on that very day.
"..by Aduro; Lucy, get up!"
It had been 13 years since, and the unconscious man had now recovered into the protective father of the small girl.
"Okay, okay, I'm already awake, Papa."
For 13 years, Dion has been living a life of secrecy, not for the sake of concealing himself from those concerned, but for the sake of his daughter's protection.
They were residing in a rather small cottage along the coast in Erimate, a place now renowned for its frozen ruins instead of the poverty-stricken place it once was. It was roughly 13 years ago, when the incident that caused the tremendous climate change happened.
If you ask me, I was surprised how Erimate turned out. As long as I was free, it was alright.
"Papa? I say, who's papa? I warrant, my girl, my name is Dion."
As for the two, each day unwinds like any other; for them to live in a cold, desolate place like Erimate, Dion still manages to pull off their daily needs.
Dion would wake up earlier than Luserina, giving him the time to be able to either cook or gather food; the latter if the time comes that they run out of resources.
Lucy, on the other hand, spends her time learning the various things about witchcraft and wizardry. Though Erimate had suffered a suitable amount of damage, the books in the house they were residing in, mostly about magic, stayed safe.
There were times, of course, when Luserina wondered why they were in such an abandoned place, though Dion would usually promise her to tell her some other time. He distract her with various tales about his mother, his adventures, and adventures that had only occurred in his mind.
With this, 13 years passed by quickly.
"Today's the day fifteen First Blooms passed since your birth! Being the mature adult you are, you need not call me Papa anymore."
Luserina, the once young lass who experienced too much for a person her age has now grown into a quiet, capable, and extremely kind young girl.
I was glad how things turned out. Even though I was close by, I really didn't have the time to observe how Luserina grew into a fine young woman.
"Shall we eat breakfast now? Come, I've made your favorite."
And so, they have seated themselves to one of Dion's most palatable dishes. Even though both of them knew that they were avoiding the topic, they knew still that it was inevitable.
Without looking up from his plate, Dion took the moment's opportunity.
"Now that you're old enough, I guess you'd be able to fend off on your own..." he said in a serious tone.
"...but before you depart, I must impart you with my final tale. I had promised you before, haven't I?"
He looked up, and gazed into her eyes with complete sincerity.
"In a time that was yesterday, today and tomorrow eternal..." he stopped to take a sip from his cup.
“…there was once a little girl, born to the son of thieves who became renowned for his magic. His daughter was of utmost beauty, having locks as bright as morning sun…” Dion stopped for a moment to reach out and caress Lucy’s hair.
She giggled for a bit before asking, “Was she pretty, Papa?”
“Yes, yes she was.” he smiled back at her.
“…her beauty came at a very terrible price, I say.” Dion said, shaking his head in dismay. “…when she was born, she was struck with a dreadful disease that prevented her from living normally. The disease was caused by a horrible curse that no one knew how to get rid off. Fortunately for her, her father was very skilled in magic, and knew how to get rid of the said curse.”
“Was her father able to cure her?” Lucy asked with great curiosity.
“I wouldn’t say that, but…” Dion paused for a moment to think. “…the spell that was able to purge the curse involved using the caster’s purity and sanity as a catalyst. As a result, the caster only had a small chance to survive, and even then, the person would have become insanely evil.” he explained. “Now back to the story, the girl’s father was fully aware of this, and because he loved his daughter more than himself, he decided to do it.” he continued.
Dion had abruptly paused once more and looked at Lucy in her eyes. “But I need to tell you one important detail before moving on.”
Luserina was confused by what Dion said, but allowed him to continue anyway.
“The little girl in the story, my child, is you.” Dion said in a caring voice.
She was puzzled. “Papa, it can’t be. You aren’t a ma-” she was rudely cut off.
“I’m not your real father.” Dion asserted, calmly.
Taken aback, Lucy was speechless. Somehow, she knew he was serious.
“Your real father was, as I said, a talented magician. He goes by the name of Piro Montague, a dear friend of mine. Now, if you please, allow me to go on with my story.” he smiled back.
Lucy was still shocked, but was able to manage a small nod.
“Well, anyway, knowing the consequences of the spell, he still continued; it seemed that he valued you more than his own life. However, the worse came to worst. Despite the fact that your father was able to live, he was, as expected, consumed by the darkness. Shortly after the incident, he disappeared. Everybody thought that he would never return, but we were wrong. Roughly two years later, he returned. I was able to talk to him for a moment, and it seemed that the darkness had taken refuge under his childhood memories. He had returned for revenge. I’m sure you’re aware of the Big Freeze, right?”
Lucy, who was now taking in everything slowly, managed to reply a small, “Yes, I know.”
“Well, your father’s what caused it. We were living here all these times since they accused me of helping him. As for myself, I rather stay here with you safe, than to venture out were no one knows what’s bound to happen. I don’t blame him; it was my fault for trying to stop him. I almost ended up killed, but for some odd reason, he still remembered not to kill me all the way. When I awoke, I found myself in this very house, with you.” he ended as he brushed his thumb across her cheek.
Luserina was holding back her tears when Dion spoke again.
“I need to show you someone as well. Follow me.”
Both of them stepped out of the cottage, and made their way to a small clearing in the middle of one of the nearby forests, where I was to be found. They were both silent as they strolled through the snow-covered pine trees; Dion knew that Luserina needed the time to absorb everything.
They finally arrived; my true friend that I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world, alongside my most precious daughter.
“Papa…” she meekly said.
She ran towards me and dropped to her knees, crying.
I believe that it was the most spectacular scene I have ever witnessed, as her tears gracefully descended down on my gravestone.