Chapter 34 (Duke's POV)

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"What is this, Bertha?"

Bertha had led me to Winter's room. When we had entered Winter's room, I felt my heart tighten as I remember this room and all the times I had been with Winter here. Now it looked so cold and empty without her presence inside this room.

Bertha walked to a stone wall near the windows. I watched as she touched the wall as if something was going to open up if she succeeded. Her weak hands stopped at one brick and the other on another brick.

Suddenly the wall moved to the side opening to show us a wooden staircase going down. Bertha lifts her dress so she would be able to see where she was stepping before proceed to walk down the stairs. I reluctantly followed behind her as the stone wall closed behind us.

As we walked down it felt like the temperature was dropping to almost freezing. There was barely any light above the staircase only a bit of sunlight to help guide the way. Bertha stops in front of me.

I see an iron door in front of her. I hold on to the walls beside me as I watch Bertha. She takes out a key from her pocket. The key was silver though the handle of the key was the shape of fire, but it made out of ice.

She slots the key into the keyhole and turns it. It door unlocks and swings open. A cold wind sweeps through the door going up the staircase. I feel my body temperature dropping a bit. I look at Bertha wonder how she was still able to stand without going cold.

She enters the dark room and steps to the side. I entered the room, feeling the full force of the cold air as I come in. I could barely see anything inside the room because it was dark. I felt a chill go through my body.

"What is this, Bertha?" I asked Bertha.

"This room is Winter's heart." She replied as she walks into the room.

"I don't understand Bertha?" I said confused at what was happening.

I touch the wall of the room feeling something cold. I looked at the walls waiting for my eyes to adjust to the dark lighting and notice that it was ice. I look around the room to notice that everything in this room was ice. In the center, there was a life sculpture of Winter.

I walked towards the sculpture, placing my hand on her cheek. My brain switched back to reality as I realise that this was not Winter. It's looked exactly like her.

"This room reflects whatever Winter's is feeling."

I turn back to look back at Bertha, to see her caress the icy wall. At that moment, I hadn't realised how old she looked. Her eyes were so tired probably from endless amounts of sleepless nights. Her hair was everywhere instead of its usual neat style. Her face looked stressed rather than relaxed.

"This room was built by Winter when she was younger. I don't know why she build this room, but I think it had to do with me being constantly worried about her safety. She said that this room and its ice will always reflect how she feels. It cracks a bit when she injures herself. That's why you see a few cracks on the wall." Bertha said running her hands along the cracks.

"Whenever she was with you, the room didn't felt so heavy. It felt light and it wasn't cold and dark for once. That's why I know, you are the one that will save her. You are the only one that can change how she feels and bring her back to us. You are the one that would guide her home." Bertha whispered as I looked back at the fake Winter.

"But I failed to do so, Bertha," I whispered as my voice broke.

"I failed to convince her to come back with me when we found her in the City of Caliber. I failed to talk her out of it. I tried to reason with her. I tried, but I failed. I failed her and everybody who wanted me to bring her back. I failed you. I just couldn't bring her back." I whispered leaning my head against Winter's sculpture's head.

"You can't give up on her, Duke. She needs you more than anybody. We all can see that. We know only you will be able to get her back and away from that crazy man. You know it yourself. You can't just give up after one try. You just going to have to try and try again until you get her. If you give up on her then we would too." Bertha said.

"I'll try Bertha. I'll try to bring her back. I promise this." I whispered to Bertha, but I think it was more for me than her.

Suddenly the ice cracks...

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