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412 The Life of a Tamawo, A Race Bound by the Emotion called Love

 Day 70 - 10:12 PM - Agos Bridge, Barangay Banugao, Infanta, Quezon

Inside the poorly made hut, Edzel continued to wrap Pearl in his embrace. She continued to cry until her eyes almost dried up. Not only her guilt and sadness but the tears that she was not able to let out in the times of her hardships flowed out.

After she realized her faults, she resolved herself not to shed even a single tear no matter how she suffered. What happened to her and the rest of the things that came after was something she deserved. The karma that she must suffer after listening to the devil and following his steps.

Because of that, even if she gave up several times and even tried to kill herself, she did not shed a single tear.

Feeling Edzel's warm embrace filled with forgiveness and love, her tears flowed like water from a broken dam. She did not want to, but it just kept on flowing.

It must have been the hardest she cried for her whole life. After she let everything out, she fell asleep wrapped in that warm embrace.

Edzel caressed her hair not minding how dirty it was. Looking at her face as she slept like a log, Edzel decided to just let her sleep. He did not mind staying in this place for the whole night.

***

\"These people...\"

Mark looked up. Although what he could see was the underside of the bridge, what he was gazing at were the soldiers above.

It seemed that they were rather concerned about Pearl, especially the female soldiers. They probably knew about her circumstances, and the reason she was living in this place rather than the temporary dwellings for evacuees.

They were worried that Edzel might have ill intentions and was paying attention to what was happening under the bridge. However, hearing Pearl's cries and what she had said, it was not hard to realize who Edzel was.

Some of the soldiers even shed a tear while listening as closely as possible.

Still, eavesdropping was bad.

With a sigh, Mark turned to Pefile.

\"What do you mean by love being poison to your race?\"

It was a question he was curious about. Although he had a vague idea about it, it was still better to confirm the truth.

Pefile turned to Mark and he could sense his brimming curiosity.

\"I will answer your questions. But, at least give me a favor.\"

\"What do you want?\"

There was no hesitation as Mark asked that question. He was given an opportunity to learn about a race that normal people deemed nonexistent. Who would want to pass this opportunity?

\"It's not something hard,\" Pefile said as he stared at the shabby hut. \"Take in Pearl as one of your people. Please, don't discriminate her for her past mistakes.\"

\"That's pretty surprising,\" Mark said while leaning on one of the bridge's foundations. \"She betrayed your son, you know?\"

\"I won't lie. I'm mad about her decision at that time. But, I think, she suffered more than enough because of that decision. That is why I want to give her another chance for my son.\"

\"Well, your son is pretty much my underling now. If he wants Pearl, it's not like I will deny it from him.\"

Mark replied which made Pefile's eyebrow twitch. Although what Mark said was not wrong, it ticked Pefile a bit.

\"Alright, I already agreed. Answer my question now.\"

Mark said with an annoying tone. It made Pefile consider backing out of the deal. He could only sigh in resignation.

\"When I said that love is poison to us, it meant both in a symbolic and literal way.\"

***

The Tamawo was a race composed of only males. They might be a race that was naturally good looking and had the charm that could make most women fall for them. However, that apparently had no value for a race that had no women.

Without women, their race had no way to continue their lineage.

Fortunately, they were a race that could procreate with most humanoid races. It did not only include humans but other spirit races.

No matter what race the partner was, any male child born would have the blood of a Tamawo while every female would inherit their mother's race.

If they had such ability to procreate with females of many humanoid races, they should have no problem maintaining their lineage. They could just make any female they were interested in fall for them and procreate. As they also had the magic to charm females, it would not be a problem if they took more than one wife.

Unfortunately for them, the truth was harsher.

The chance of a wife of a Tamawo bearing a child was rather low. Too low that it would not be surprising if a Tamawo could only have one child in his whole life. The most unlucky ones could not even have one.

And the worst part, they could only choose one partner in their whole life. Unlike humans, whose love was more something like mental and physical attraction to the opposite gender, to the Tamawo, love was more to a spiritual level. Once they fell in love with a female, that love would bound their souls to that emotion.

If they failed to end up with the female they fell in love with, even if they tried to forget, their souls would remember. For the rest of their lives, they would not fall in love with another woman. They would slowly lose their powers until they were not able to use it anymore.

Once the woman they loved fell from the passage of time without fulfilling the love the Tamawo had, they would suffer from a backlash from their souls harming them in the process. The mildest circumstance was the Tamawo losing his good looks and charms as his face shriveled like a plant that lacked water for ages. Their while shiny hair would fall in patches. Their skin would crack and hurt.

For the worst part, they could die after suffering from turning into a shriveled spirit.

Furthermore, there were even circumstances of some Tamawo that became evil spirits after losing the purity of their souls.

It was because of these things that no matter how much they wanted their race to flourish, they were never able to. Compared to other spirits, their numbers were much lower.

***

\"That's a bummer, isn't it? Your race is.\"

Mark could not help but remark after hearing those things.

\"What can we do?\" Pefile replied. \"Our race is created like this. It's not like we are born this way because we wanted to.\"

A race of beautiful men that had troubles with procreation. It was such a unique story. They were gifted with one thing and forsaken with another.

\"Many of us are really envious of humans. Those that turned into evil spirits took humans as primary prey because of that envy.\"

Pefile added.

\"About those effects...\" Mark said with confusion. \"Edzel looked fine though, aside from having a bit of depression.\"

\"My son is still young. The blood of a Tamawo has not fully awakened in him yet. That is why it's still not late for my son to correct things. If it is not corrected though, he will start to feel the effects once he comes of age, the day of his adulthood.\"

Pefile looked at Mark who wanted more information.

\"Unlike male children born from mothers that came from other spirit races, male children from human mothers are this way. They would only become a pure Tamawo once they reach adulthood. We don't exactly why but we suspect that it is because of the humans, unlike spirits, had a looser bond to the string of fate.\"

\"The bond to destiny is it?\"

Mark nodded.

It might also be the reason why spirit races had more rules they could not defy. They were closely bonded to the string of fate, the rules of the world. Unlike humans that had a looser bond to fate and were able to influence their destinies, the spirits races had no capability of defying these rules.

This made them somewhat pitiful. Most humans might not have special powers like Spirit Races, however, humans were only bound by rules made by themselves. The Spirit Races were tightly bound by fate itself.

\"Are you not envious of humans?\"

Mark asked in curiosity. Although Pefile said that, he did not show any envy towards humans.

\"I'm not as desperate as others.\" Pefile looked at Mark. \"If I have something to be envious of, it's you.\"

\"Me?\"

Mark was confused.

\"The last time I saw you, you're a human not bound by fate. It's already strange. After a while that I did not see you, you don't even feel like a human anymore. You are now closer to demons and spirits but not bound by the rules they had. Your very existence is just unfair to everyone.\"

In response to Pefile's complaint, Mark shrugged his shoulders. It was not like he wanted to be like this anyway.

\"By the way,\" Mark suddenly spoke while looking at Pefile's whole body. \"You look good in your outfit.\"

Currently, Pefile was wearing a black leather coat that highlighted his long white hair. It was paired with a red shirt inside, black slacks, and black boots. With his handsome looks, he looked like a protagonist from a fantasy action movie. He just lacked a cool looking sword, probably, something with a thin but unreasonably long blade.

Hearing that, Pefile's face darkened. As a Spirit, he was not used to wearing human clothes and had no idea what to wear. He just looked for something with consistent color and took it without any other thoughts. To think that he would be teased by a brat because of it.

\"I'm leaving.\" Pefile decided. \"Please, take care of my son and his female.\"

\"Say, why don't you stay with us? I don't know why you are hiding from your son, but isn't it better to look after him without hiding?\"

Mark asked as Pefile turned to leave.

\"I can't. I would like to but I still had something else to do.\"

Pefile replied as he started to walk away towards the nearby tree.

\"Is it about Edzel's mother?\"

Pefile froze on his step as he was about to touch the tree.

\"I want to ask...\" Not minding Pefile's reaction, Mark continued. \"What will happen if a Tamawo fell in love with another Tamawo's wife?\"

After he said that, Mark felt a strong reaction from Pefile. However, it seemed that he did not want to talk about the topic. Pefile immediately touched the tree and vanished as if he was sucked into it.

Seeing Pefile leave, Mark shrugged his shoulders.

\"What a troublesome race of creatures.\"

He muttered.

However, he could not deny that it was both romantic and sad depending on what angle one would look at.

If the Tamawo succeeded in making a woman fall in love with him. There were bound to a happy partnership without any possibility of the man finding another woman.

However, if the Tamawo did not succeed, they would suffer from their unyielding love.

A poison indeed.

\"Looks like Edzel will spend the night here.\"

Mark said as he stretched his arms and back.

\"I'll leave now, I guess. I'll check on that narcissist first before returning.\"

With those words, Mark also vanished.

Both Pefile and Mark left the place as if they were not there at all before.

***

\"Is this what I'm lacking?\"

Edzel muttered as he watched Pearl's peaceful face. Before this reunion, he only wanted to grow stronger. It was because he was weak that Pearl left him and did not want that to happen anymore.

Looking back at those times, he realized. He wanted to grow stronger without even valuing his life. He just wanted to push forward without minding whether he was tired or hurt.

Furthermore, he followed Mark's instructions like it was the law and without asking anything. He never declined or questioned him. No wonder now why Mark did not give him any task where he was alone.

Now, looking at the scars on Pearl's face, his will to grow stronger was ignited further. This time, it was different. He did not want to grow stronger to prevent something. He wanted to grow stronger to protect something.

\"I don't know. But it doesn't feel bad at all.\"

Having something to protect, he should not fall and disregard his life.

Growing stronger while protecting oneself. That way, he would be able to continue protecting what he wanted to protect.

With those thoughts, a heavy weight was lifted from Edzel's heart.