“Congratulations on passing your first test!” said Merna, her face beaming with a smile.
“Yeah I passed the test! Oh yeah!” I said, half shouting with my fist pumping into the air.
After realizing the true meaning behind her words, I asked Merna, “Wait what do you mean by I passed the first test? There’s more?”.
“Indeed. Although you are very promising, you passed the test out of sheer luck. I told you, child. We are all watching you from afar.” replied Merna.
Dammit! I thought that was it. How did they even find out anyway?
Merna gave me a water bottle that’s full with well, water in it. There was nothing odd about it. I shook the bottle to confirm my suspicion. Definitely water. Merna said my final test is to let the golden boy drink the water. When I asked her why, she said she’s not supposed to answer as it’s part of the test.
What was so special about the water that I had to let Anor drink it?
After weeks of stalking Anor, I finally found a way to get to him alone. Can’t depend on my luck this time. I prayed to a non-existent deity to let me not screw this thing up.
There’s golden boy. Now I gotta act normal.
I walked rather clumsily with the water bottle in my hand.
I smiled internally while faking a hurt expression on the outside.
“Ouch!” I said, weakly.
“Shit! Are you okay? Did I hurt you?” Anor asked, his voice laced with concern.
Yup, golden boy is definitely taking my bait!
“I’m okay. My head just hurt a bit” I said while clutching my head.
“Let me have a look at your head. Wait, you’re Veara. Haven’t seen you for awhile. How do you fare nowadays?” said Anor.
I looked up to see his face. Still maintaining my charades, I gave him a weak smile before saying, “I’m doing okay”.
Anor led me to the white room again. He made me sit on a table to have a good look at my head. He said my head needed ice to swell down the bruise. As he went to get the cold substance, I opened the water bottle and threw some of it on the floor. I pretended to take small sips from the bottle as I wait for him to come back.
He’s coming! Quick, pretend you don’t notice him!
“What are you drinking? It’s already half empty, must be good” said Anor as he strode near me.
“Oh, it’s just a citrus juice that I made. You want to try it?” I asked Anor nonchalantly.
“Why not? I would love to taste it” replied Anor.
I handed the bottle to Anor while holding my breath.
This is it! One sip then I can join the uprising like Aexilia.
I watched carefully as Anor lifted the bottle near his mouth. My heart was pumping so fast as he brought the tip of the bottle to his mouth. Almost there.
Suddenly, Anor’s hand stopped moving.
“Do females usually watch others drinking like that? I feel self conscious a bit when you watch me.” said Anor with a light chuckle.
His hand started moving again. Inch by inch, the bottle gets closer to his mouth.
I watched him devoured the contents of the bottle in one go.
He must have been so thirsty. Maybe the water really did taste good.
Anor put down the empty water bottle and mouthed the word thank you to me. He looked puzzled when no sound came out of his mouth. My expression mirrored his. Anor tried to say thank you once again but still, no sound came out of his mouth. He held his throat and tried his best to talk to me. He managed to let out a small why before collapsing on the ground.