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23 Chapter 6 Reunion

 Orion stumbled into his room. His eyes had sunken and were threaded with scarlet so densely that they appeared pink. His actions were slow, and clumsy as he took shots of the wine the Chief gifted him.

He felt dead inside. His heart had shattered, and he didn't know if everything would be right again.

When his mind was a little sober, he went to the bathroom to wash his face with cool water. A sense of deja vu swept over him, as the phantoms of his past marched his mind. A reminder of what his sister told him, and he understood perfectly what she meant and how she felt.

~

"I'm a Beastman" He tried to approach her, but she moved away, almost falling off the bed. He could see a mixture of fear, confusion, and hurt in her eyes. With a blink, the smooth layers of tears trickled from her eyelids and slid down her pale cheeks.

Her lower lips quivered as words gradually advanced out of her mouth "Please tell me you're lying. You're not a Beastman! You're my spell caster! Rowan, please...this is not time for jokes"

Orion knew before she spoke, her love of yesterday was smothered.

The weight of the truth seemed to press down on her shaking shoulders, and it was too much for her to handle alone.

"I'm sorry" Orion felt empty. He didn't know how to express the torment in his chest, but to Anna, it looked like he was was taunting her for having passionate feelings for him.

"You lied to me! Everything you said was fake!! You're just like them, you're..." She covered her mouth to mute the wails that were going to spill out.

Orion's mind cycled through emotions with each of them vying for dominance. His head hung low, heavy with thoughts of his life without her around him anymore, without her voice, her care, and her touch. He heard heartbreaks hurt, but he didn't know what it felt like until the moment he found himself in.

What hurt him the most was the fact that he couldn't explain himself. There was no point in doing so. A beastman and a human being in an official relationship was forbidden. It was something like a transgression.

"Why aren't you saying anything? Because it's true right? You lied to me! You lied to everyone!! You're a monster. I HATE YOU! I WISH YOU COULD JUST...no, I wish I could die instead"  she cast her gaze onto the floor and her eyes darkened "I don't know who you are anymore...I don't think I can love a fake, an imposter, a deceiver..."

Her words resembled nails and mallets breaking Orion's heart apart. Never had he apologized before, but he was willing to say it, and write it as many times as possible.

"Leave...Go away. Far away from me! I never want to see you again!" The best thing he could for her was to walk and not look back.

He left.

As they parted, he had no regrets of meeting her. He learned a lot about himself. His emotions were still there, and they were about to burst open like a dam.

He wished he thanked her for the warm feelings of euphoria her memories brought, but there was no going back. It was over. He hoped she'd find someone that would listen to her, hold her hand and wipe her tears away. He hoped she'd be okay and be able to move on. She detested Beastmen, he hated humans as well, but he loved her.

"Rain?" He looked at his palm, there was a transparent drop on it. He raised his hand up, nothing. Another drop appeared once he lowered his hand and he realised it was coming from him.

***

Orion could barely recognise the person looking back at him in the mirror on the bed side table. It wasn't a pretty sight, but that was how much he was hurting. He plumped himself onto the cushioned bed and stared at the ceiling for a while, recalling that he cried.

His sister, Lilly must've cried the same way when she figured out she couldn't be with the person she loved, and see her daughter grow.

He wanted to apologize to her, but she was gone. She died a long time ago, and when she required his support the most, he walked out on her. He really was a terrible person.

***

"Hey, Orion, wakeup!!!" His eyes met with a closed up view of Artemis, and he turned to the other side. "Please, leave me alone. I'm mourning my heart."

Artemis concluded that whatever happened last night between him and his girl didn't end well. She remembered how Nadir used to feel about Aliah, but she couldn't relate to him back then, and she couldn't do so in Orion's case. But she thought, maybe it's like losing someone you cared about, dead or alive, you can't be with them again.

"We're leaving today, don't forget."

He didn't respond and Artemis made her way out of his room. He forced himself to his feet and started to pack up.

He was never going to see her again. Thinking about the bitter truth of things made his jaw rigid, and his fingers bury into the skin of his palm. He just had to deal with it. She was his first love, and his last.

***

Orion helped Artemis get on her pony while he got on his black stallion. The crowd, along with the Chief tagged along to the village gates to wave goodbye to the spellcaster and his delightful partner.

Orion looked around with hopes that she was around somewhere, but she didn't come.

"Are you sure you don't want to check on her?" Artemis was suggesting that he should, but he shook his head. It didn't matter anymore.

Meanwhile, the search for Orion and his companion continued. Virsa was the next place for the hired assassins, but a suggestion was raised for the place to be skipped.

"Do you think he'll be in this city?" Talwen, a lizardman of the reptile tribe asked the members of his assault team. The three of them stood in front of the opened gates of the fortified city, wondering the next step to take.

"Orion is a smart man, I think we should move ahead. We've delayed enough!" The wolfman in the group suggested. He was eager to fight the prodigy fox, who's bounty was a gauge of fifteen thousand gold.

The last member was a Foxman just like Orion. He was calm throughout their journey, but now he was losing patience. He wasn't doing it for the money, he had a score to settle with his old friend who vanished from the battlefield to be spoiled by a woman.

"We all want to get our hands on Orion, but we have to go to Virsa. I have a strong feeling that a person or thing may be of incredible use."

The two other Beastmen weren't sure if they should follow the foxman's guidance again. Their search in Minse was futile, and the fox was the same person that recommended it.

Because The foxman was an Elite in his intellectual skill, they decided to give it a go again.

The three partners were grouped together as a result of their different aptitude levels. The wolfman as a result of his strength, the reptile due to his agility, and the Fox in view of his knowledge. It was an ideal match to bring down Orion, and what was thought to be a solid wellspring of power with him.

Before they wandered in, they switched to their human disguise. If they wanted answers, they had to be on the good side of the humans.

They made their way to the Chief's home, without asking for directions. They didn't fancy talking to humans, especially the peasants amongst them.

They barged into the large wooden structure, and everyone inside paused. The servant shivered by the looks of them. Intimidating and large with muscles that looked like they were going to reap their clothes apart.

Talwen, the lizard man was who they feared the most. He wasn't attractive, but scary. The scar that extended from his left white eye to his dry cheek, made them assume he must've been a bandit. Injuries like that must've been gotten from wars, or other sorts of battles.

"Who are you?" The Chief asked still on his chair of fine oak which was crested with a few gems and embellishing metals. The women around him scurried away, whilst his guards stood in a cautious stance with their swords pulled from it's clad.

Vikckson, the Foxman clasped his hands together and effortlessly forced a grin that looked lovely and beguiling, one the others could never mask.

He did it so the tension in the atmosphere would wave off.

"We come In peace" He took a step forward and the next thing that happens is he's encircled with sharp pointed blades at his neck.

He still had a smile on. He could've halved their bodies in a flash, but he had to put on an irenic attitude if he wanted to get answers. He waved a hand at Talwen and Foslight, signaling them to stand down. He would come to terms with the Chief one way or another.

"State your mission!" The chief commanded, and Vikckson playfully said "Of course. We are looking for someone. He goes by the name Orion, he must've stopped here right?"

The old man shook his head and it aggravated Talwen and Foslight, but Vikckson was shockingly still calm.

"Okay, did you come across foreigners lately? Did they have magical abilities?"

"Why should I confide in you?"

"Do not fret, he's my brother. I want to take him home."

The old man wasn't so sure about the strange men, but he commanded his guards to let the charismatic man be.

"There was a man, and he had a companion with him. A little girl, in her pre-teen years, while he looked very young and attractive."

Vikckson was sure Orion was the one.

"Do you know where he is now?"

The man had no clue "He didn't leave behind such information."

'DEAD END' that thought wafted through the minds of the lizardman and wolf. They wondered what else Vikckson could do to solve the problem. Tracing Orion was harder than they thought. But, Vikckson still had tricks up his sleeves. It was just the beginning for him.

"Do you think there's someone in the village that might have a clue about them?"

"There's Anna..."

"What's their relationship?" Things were getting intriguing.

"I'm not so sure. Everyone was thinking she was his lover, however he left our town without her."

"Where can I find her?"

"Before I tell you that, why don't you all settle for drinks and entertainment by the finest women we have here in Virsa"

The girls were terrified of them, especially Talwen. Even if they had to entertain guests, they wouldn't like to touch the unappealing foreigner.

"Bianca!" The man called and the lady trudged to his side "Yes sir?"

"This is Bianca, I suggest you talk to her and rest a little. My servants will prepare a room for you all to rest."

"Great!" The Foxman was sure he'd get his answers, one way or another.

***

"What's your name my lady?" He asked, handing a glass of brew.

"Bianca" she set the glass on the bedside table, then shifted her gaze to her shaky hands. Something about him was threatening, but it was better than being with the other two of his friends. He seemed safer, and less violent.

"That's a pretty name for a pretty lady like you" He drank from his cup and urged her to drink along with him.

"Don't worry, you're safe...you have my words."

She drank from her glass, then looked at him, eyes squinted as she closed the gap between them "Tell me Mister, are you a spell caster just like the white haired man that left not too long ago?"

He raised a brow at the word she referenced, but he knew best to not reveal his actual race "Yes, I am. My friends as well" the two kept on drinking talking casually, until Bianca reached her limits.

"So tell me what else do you know about the spell caster" He made sure he stressed on that word. The drunk woman struggled to compose herself, but she was failing at it.

"I hate him! He never gave me a chance. It was all about Anna, Anna, Anna...blah!" There was disappointment in her voice. It was funny to watch her struggle to gain control of her mind and body.

"She's not even that pretty. She's overused....and...and...I just hate her."

"Where can I find her?"

Bianca curled her hair with her finger as she took a look at the almost empty beer bottle, wanting more In her glass "Somewhere close to an Orphanage. I don't go to see her. I don't care about her. All that's on my mind is beer."

The sound of glass breaking resounded in the room, and the fragments of the cracked bottle rained down on the floor, Bianca collapsed afterwards.

Vikckson was enraged. Whenever he lost his cool, he'd act without deduction. He was unapologetic about what he'd done. She was a waste of his time, and she got what she deserved.

He noticed the cut his fingers had, and he squatted to tear a piece of her dress to clean the stains.

Bianca couldn't move. She was seeping from the rear of her head, and the agony pulsated making her eyes trickle with tears.

She couldn't make out words, but she prayed the man wasn't going to leave her in a state where she couldn't move or talk.

He flipped her over, and gave her wrists a squeeze "Goodbye dear"  A single-sided smile appeared on his dark broad face as he blew a kiss, and made his way out of the room.

The mirror against the wall showed Bianca how much her body had changed in short notice. She felt her guts twist when she realised it wasn't a revolting painting, it was an impression of what the evil man had turned her into.

Her once glowing skin was now coarse like sun-baked toad skin. Her full plump lips that loved to be kissed were hard and puckered to the size of a bean. She wheezed at the upsetting sights of her appearance. Her mouth that hurt to open was void of perfect white teeth. What remained was a few that were rotted to the core of yellow.

She looked at her hands that had a bumpy collection of warts and her nose crumpled to look distorted.

Her beautiful hair was no more. The thin strands had fallen off like flakes unto the wooden floor. Her beauty in general was gone. It was a nightmare. She was staring at her worst nightmare. There was no way she could go on living with such a body and face.

It was safe to say, she was now the ugliest in the whole village. Her anger forced her to grab the largest piece of the broken bottle, and she slit her own throat.

***

Anna leaned on the small table in her bedroom, her black hair lying over one shoulder of her ragged dress. She lolled her head to the side, pushing out her red lips just a little, drinking in silence, and searching for the answer to her unknown questions at the bottom of every glass she took.

She swirled the amber liquid in her glass, dwelling in the memories she wanted to forget.

She could hear someone banging on her door and screaming words that were slurred and senseless to her.

Zayn had been outside the whole time, and he regretted bothering. He wasn't there because he wanted to, it was all because of the promise his father made to the Spell caster and since he was the only one that knew her exact location and was available at that time, his father sent him to check on the lady.

"Open the door!!! The fuck are you doing in there?!"

Because it sounded like Zayn's voice, she didn't move.

The man angrily turned away, but bumped into a strong figure that hindered his movement. Before he could ask about the stranger's identity, a blade was jolted right into his mid-region. The tip of the blade sank deep into his skin until the shiny metal had disappeared inside him.

Zayn's guttural choke was a satisfying melody as he dropped to his knees, hands weakly trying to pull the knife out, but the rate at which his blood streamed like the ebbs and flows of a cascade, it left him completely frozen - still and quiet.

Vikckson smirked, staring at the bread knife in his now deathly pale victim. He speculated that the young ladies were simply to keep them occupied, but he was the only one that didn't fall for it.

From the start he knew his colleagues were futile, a lot of blockheads that utilized their muscles to think instead of their brain. That's why Orion was ahead.

Anna heard a loud bang, and she was forced on her flimsy feet. She wondered what Zayn wanted. She used the wall as support as she made her way to the living room to find the source of what cracked the tranquility of her calm air.

She was dumbstruck as she saw her door knocked out of it's frame and an intruder standing there with blood on his hands and dried drops on his face. From her spot, she could see what looked like zayn. He was lifeless at her doorway, his favorite brown shirt stained in red blood around the tear in the fabric.

She screamed, falling after attempting to flee. The alcohol was still having its effects.  Her stomach agitated, and in seconds her mouth puffed. She hated blood, she wished Zayn, Bianca, and everyone else that made her life hell, but she didn't want to see them die. She knew she couldn't handle it again, never again.

"Hello~" The man cooed giving her a cheeky grin as he skipped to meet her.

"Don't worry about that. I was simply disposing of obstacles in my path." Anna couldn't say a word. She knew something definitely wasn't right with the man in front of her. From the way he talked to the way he acted so ludic and calm after what he'd done. She had a lot of questions, but her present state couldn't get her to ask.

"I need you to come along with me. Don't fret my dear. I won't kill you..." He traced the lines of her jaw with his long nails before grabbing her neck "Yet."