|| NOVA ||

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"Promise me, love." The woman said, "that you will always look after your brother."

The young boy narrowed his eyes playfully, "See, I always knew you loved him more than you love me. Also, shouldn't he be the one looking after me?"

The woman smiled her kind smile, "He will. I know, he will."

"Oh, mother, what are you thinking?" The boy crossed his arms, shaking his head like a ten-year-old-adult.

"He is... different, my child. Just promise me, that you'll always be there for him. And when the time comes, you will have to take up some... responsibilities."

The boy's brows knitted, and his bushy golden hair bounced with the pleasant spring breeze waltzing in the music room. He whispered, leaning in, "Mother, you do know that I am the younger twin, don't you?"

His wise mother chuckled. "Yes, you are, but you always cover for your older twin." She pulled her baby boy on her lap, "Just... just always be kind like you are. Always have your lovely smile. Always be good to everyone. Always be there for your brother." She kissed his head, before adding, "But above everything else, love, always be there... for yourself."

The boy tilted his head and looked up into his mother's beautiful silver eyes, wondering what had made her say this.

"You promise, my child?"

He blinked his hazel eyes and smiled solemnly. "I promise."

***

I was still dreaming, yes. 

One wakes up after two years, and there's a girl breaking starstones from the skies, a supposedly 'fight-or-die' kind of ancestral feud hung on loose threads, and a bloody mess awaited me to clean it up that had apparently come from my home.

Nothing can surprise you anymore, Nova.

There he lay, like one of many injured soldiers strewn on the plateau. His body was splattered in glowing burns from the brutal fire of the stars, blood dripping from his head, the Eclipses armor tattered, broken and dented. I take my eyes off him for one damned year, and he plans a whole 'steal-the-throne' heist. And blames me.

Now wasn't that convenient!

I felt Una beside me in a similar position. While I was blank, she was red with anger. She had all the right to break his bones. A wince left Neo's groggy throat and I cursed myself for heaving a sigh... of relief.

"Starlight, indeed!" Neo choked out.

And before I could react, Una punched him under his right eye. Neo simply laughed. His one good eye then landed on me, upside down.

"Hello, brother." He smiled.

To my ears, 'brother' was now a cuss.

"Are you done?" I frowned.

"Almost." His smiled turned into a grin, and showed his teeth coated in blood.

"Is this all worth it?"

"Isn't it?"

"One must know when to give up." Una said, with a clenched jaw.

"Only a fool would give up when the destination is so close." Neo wheezed and blood spurted out of the corner of his mouth.

Una looked at me, and I threw my hands up in exasperation. That was the worst and best trait about him – he never gave up. He'd train till his muscles were sore, he'd study until his eyes were swollen, he'd talk about his latest research until my ears bled with boredom, until my neck hurt from nodding at his every enthusiastic word.

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