CHAPTER 45 - Of a Gemini Prince

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"The white light?"

"Yes, it's a powerful magic that Nova and Milan were working on. It helps a person travel from one place to another - a portalus," Lord Orlon said.

"Isn't that a mythical thing?" Ralph asked.

"They made it possible. My son, was forever interested in forbidden and unknown magic that was just theorized and never tried on. But that is the exact thing which..." Lord Orlon's face crumpled, and he sighed, "Well, Milan had a mind of his own."

"But why do you suspect Prince Nova?" I asked, urgency creeping me.

"Because, he came out of the experiment unharmed, but my son did not. Later I found some hidden notes in Milan's room about the process that they were carrying on. To make the portalus work, a strong source of fire was needed... to keep it running. And for days, Milan had used his fire element, but it wasn't enough. And one day son... didn't come out of the experimental room."

Doran put his head in his hands.

"Nova sacrificed Milan."

Silence punctuated everyone's thunderous heart beats.

"You knew." Doran raised his head at his father, his eyes red with anger. One of the parchments sprawled on the table, suddenly caught fire. Gaze stuck on him, I flicked a finger and it vanished.

"Doran, son, I did, but I am not sure, if this is what happened," his father said with an expression that I had never seen him directing at Doran. "I couldn't blame it on Nova, no one would have believed."

"You could have told me whatever you knew, anything you knew." Doran stood up, "All this time, I was talking to Nova, because I empathized with him, because all I thought after seeing him was that our pain was similar. He had lost his brother, too, his whole family and you know what Milan meant to him... But..."

"I told you to stay away from the Gemini Prince, but you never listened to me," the King said, nursing his forehead.

"You could've told me the reason, damn it!" Doran banged a fist on the table. "He killed my brother."

Ralph intermediated, "Orlon, how could you keep this a secret? Milan was my friend too - you could've told me. Told someone. Why keep it all to yourself? I just don't get it."

"I don't suspect Nova, but it's just... it's so unlike him... something is extremely shady."

"He has slaves," I said, my brain trying to fit in some loose pieces.

"What does it mean exactly?" Doran looked at me, his forehead furrowed.

The world around me blurred as I found myself reclining back in my chair, the pieces of an extremely dark puzzle shifting, the answers fazing in and out. A game of chess coming alive.

I had fainted in the mini-amphitheatre at the beginning of the Conquest and Prince Nova had worked a small healing spell on me, and later extended an invite to the royal ball.

His duel with Una, wherein he had put to use his white energy shell, and had turned around a losing match in his favor – in all his duels, there was always this portalus used - traveling from one place to another!

Lady Orella had won fair and square in their dragon duel. He did look genuinely happy for her victory. It wasn't a ruse!

But ever since then, whenever I met him, he had shown me his crooked side. A side that was so unlike Prince Nova.

Breathing quickened, I braced myself as the most horrible of my memories resurfaced -

He had killed three guards, because they had ordered Prince Nova around in the library. But it had taken him a reminder from me to punish them. He had made me forget it by replacing it with fear.

He, who killed the guards, had never known about the incident at the library.

My eyes landed on my sundial and then at Ralph's.

Prince Nova and master Nova.

"I need to ask Una something," I said.

"What?" Serena perked up at my side.

"She was friends with Prince Nova, but isn't anymore," I whispered again, talking more to myself than the others.

"So?" Ralph's voice fell on my ears.

"Because, she is wrong. That's only in her head." I shut my eyes and licked my dried lips, "There's a reason. There's a reason why I never felt like telling you about his evil side, because no one would believe." I looked at Lord Orlon, "His reputation had always been of a generous ruler, a brave warrior, and a boy who had lost his whole family. He is liked everywhere, by everyone. Who would believe that Prince Nova would do something like this?"

"Eleni!" Doran said, and I looked up at him. He understood.

And right then, the world went black.

Doran's face disappeared – engulfed by the wisps of darkness. Everything went black.

Not a trace of light, not a trace of magic in my veins.

I forgot where the windows were, I forgot where the table was, and for a heartbeat I forgot my own name. What was this sorcery?

Cold moist wind blew, and my veins warned me of a thunderstorm. I turned my head to the left, where I knew a window was supposed to be. Black. Dark. Nothing.

Had the whole world been tinted with this darkness?

I heard scraping of chairs and loud urgent voices of people around me. I wasn't alone. We were in this together.

A huge thunderbolt sizzled in the skies.

The evil Gemini Prince's magic was thundering.

A frantic hand clutched mine in the darkness. "What's happening?" Serena shrieked.

"Damn this, I can't use my power. Can you, Ralph? Anyone?" I heard Doran's voice and blinked back to reality.

I reached a shaking hand to where I knew my sundial was placed on the table and touched its center. It glowed and so did the other.

Ralph whispered, "What the..."

Right then a thunderous bolt of lightning struck in the skies again. My ears went numb being hit with the force of the cackling noise, eyes unblinking. Forbidden, dangerous, otherworldly – Ancient Sorcery.

A dark magic had come alive out of nothingness – a magic that was supposed to be dead – Someone who was supposed to be dead! Someone who had fooled us all!

In the unnatural dark, I stared at the two glowing identical sundials.

And the darkness went away.

The world swarmed into focus and I blinked again. The surroundings became normal, the afternoon's light swarming in, as if nothing had even happened, only the luminescence of dark clouds in the skies remained. The heavy drizzling sound outside synced with my pulsing heartbeats.

It had started to rain!

As my pupils adjusted back to the light, I sensed that Doran was by my side.

"Eleni, Serena, are you both okay?" Ralph asked leaning on the table. I nodded, dazed and out of focus.

Doran squeezed my shoulder once, and I looked up at him. His eyes shimmered with a mixture of thousand emotions.

"Something's happening," Doran's father said.

"Una..." I heard Serena whisper and my heart skipped a beat. I squeezed her hand, assuring her that Una would be fine.

My eyes were still affixed on the sundials.

The twin sundials!

I whispered into the numbing silence around us, my mind finally cleared after the mysterious darkness, "We have all been idiots." 

I looked out the window, everything in my head as clear as the skies of Spring Realm, everything making sense, the puzzle complete but the game of chess lost.

"Prince Nova is the slave." 

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