When I saw Anor collapsed on the ground, my mind went blank. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. I stood like a frozen statue for a few clock rotations. His last word kept on playing in my mind. Until, Merna shook my body and guided me out of the room.
“I’ll take care of this situation for you. You did great, child.” said Merna.
My body went on autopilot after that. I couldn’t even remember who helped me back to the females building. Inside my head, I saw Anor’s lifeless body with white bubbles forming out of his mouth. His dead eyes staring straight at my face. His frozen mouth formed a small why. I heard people talking to me, trying to snap me out of my trance. I could barely hear their voices amidst Anor’s incessant why, the cacophony of their voices ricocheted like bullets in a distant land.
“We wanted to see how far you’d go in the uprising. We wanted to see whether you can take a life or not.”
It has been more than a summer since the day I killed Anor.
Yes, I…killed Anor.
The whole ordeal shook my life. I couldn’t accept the fact that I killed him when he didn’t even wronged me. He didn’t deserve that!
Merna told me that the uprising needs strong females, not weak ones. If I want to join them, I have to be able to do whatever it takes to reach their goal. I mean, our goal. Merna said the uprising day will be more gruesome that what I’ve experienced.
“How’s it going, child?” asked Merna.
“I’m going over the plans over and over again from different angles. We cannot afford any mishaps.” I replied while studying the map of vElves empire.
“You better get some sleep. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. ” said Merna.
After few clock rotations, I tucked the map inside my shirtdress and went to dreamland.
I watched from afar as Aexilia danced provocatively at a drinking establishment. That little minx knew how to reel in a crowd. As the crowd of males cheer for Aexilia, seven females came in with a tray of spiked shots. The plan was to get the males to pass out for the whole day. You see, males that frequented the drinking establishments were guards. We needed their outfit so that the females can impersonate as guards to scout the vElves empire’s defenses.
Just as planned, the males started to drop like dead flies.
So predictable. Males are simple-minded indeed.
I maintained a stoic face while I went back to the females building. Time to report to Merna. She’d be pleased to know that everything went as planned. Maybe the females will finally taste freedom after all.
Few steps before I reached the door to the uprising’s secret base, I heard voices. It was barely audible and that definitely peaked my interest even more.
“How’s it going, Ithil? The Sun is giving you a hard time again?” asked Merna.
“Other than having to bind my chest, being the Sun is not a chore for me. Actually, I learnt something today about the Vetales. One of the elders is stepping down so they need a young male to replace him. The Sun seems to be winning the majority votes. You know what happens if the Sun wins, right? The Sun needs to perform the sacred ancient ritual in his birthday suit.” said Ithil.
“You know we always have your back, right? You’re doing great as the Sun. In fact, we’re lucky that you’re his fraternal twin. That definitely makes information gathering easier on our part. For now, I want you to make an excuse to delay the ritual. Give us as much time as possible to make sure your cover stays intact.” replied Merna.
Before Ithil gets to reply, I barged inside the room. Banging the door to the wall as I entered the room with force.
“What the actual fuck, Merna? Why didn’t you tell me that Anor is still alive? And a goddamn female at that!” I spoke to Merna with a distrusting voice.
Merna being her usual self, doused down my anger by telling me everything. She told me that Ithil was Anor’s fraternal twin. The real Anor has been assassinated when he was ten. The uprising team planted Ithil in Anor’s place for information gathering. She explained that the water that I gave “Anor” or Ithil slows down heartbeat and makes the mouth foamy. So I didn’t kill “Anor”. They wanted to see whether I can follow instructions or not, especially one that involves ending a vElf’s life.
Everything, my ass. I was sad for no reason for almost two summers.
It was action day. Every female vElf has been briefed on their tasks and how to react. The young ones was tasked to act normal and run to a safety point when they heard the signal. The old ones has been transported first so they won’t impede any action. We didn’t want any deadweight.
The goal was crystal clear, leave no males alive.
“We’re not feeling you today, minx. How about we try something different for a change, huh?” said a male guard while he took out a rope.
“If you say so. Let’s go inside the back room then. We can have more privacy there. It’s going to be fuuun.” said Aexilia with a rather nervous laugh.
That’s it, Aexy. Lure them into the back room.
“Atta girl!” said one of the males before smacking Aexilia’s bum with his vile hand.
While Aexilia was inside the room with the males, I put explosives under few tables inside the drinking establishments.
This is it. This is my last explosive. Now, I just have to wait for signals from the uprising. Freeeedooom, I’m coming for ya!
The first signal, a war horn has been blown. That means they’ve managed to get inside the Vetales’ headquarters. I could hear the war cry of the female warriors. The clashing of their swords and shields, even the swooshing sound of arrows. I need one more signal before I can set off the explosives.
Wait, Aexilia is still inside with the males. What’s taking her so long?
Time was being such a meanie to me. It passed by so slowly.
“Vea! Veara! Help! Help me!” shouted Aexilia from the back room.
I rushed to the back room and twisted the door knob. The damn thing wouldn’t budge.
“I’m coming for you, Aexilia! Just give me a sec. The door wouldn’t budge.” I shouted back to Aexilia.
I used all of my strength to kick the door open. Thankfully, it opened on my second blow. I rushed into the room and found Aexilia hanging from the ceiling like a piece of meat. I felt the blood drained from my face.
I looked at my surroundings and saw a ladder. I propped the ladder to a wall near Aexilia and climbed up as fast as I could. Aexilia’s life was at stake so I had to move fast. I took out my dagger and cut the rope.
Aexilia fell to the ground like a sack of meat. I could see her chest moving up and down, which was good. My best friend was still alive.
“Hey, where’s the hanging girl? We wanna see her be a faireee” slurred one of the males.
DONG! DONG! DONG!
Three bells. That’s the second signal. Time to set off the explosives. Without much thinking, I knocked the male unconscious using the back of my knuckles. I took Aexilia under my arms and dashed out of the drinking establishment. I ran with Aexilia while I set off the explosives.
Like a chemical chain reaction, the explosives detonated one by one. I didn’t even look back and kept on running. I ran as fast as I could towards the top of a hill.
After catching some breath, I looked at the so-called vElves empire. It was raging with fires, even the forest surrounding it was blazing. I could feel the scorching heat from the top of the hill.
DONG! DONG! DONG! DONG!
Four bells. Come on, I need three more.
DONG! DONG! DONG!
Five, six, seven bells.
Seven has always been the holy number in the vElves empire. That day, it signified the freedom of female vElves. I simply did not care what happens to the males. All I care about were the freedom of us females.
I couldn’t get much sleep that night as I was busy chatting with Aexilia about the things that we will do. Future plans, some might call it. Other females were busy celebrating. Some were dancing to a tune. Some were crying, probably traumatized from the whole incident.
“Veara, come have your morning sustenance. You get to choose what you want for the first time. No more Vetales, remember?” said Ithil.
“Yeah, I’m up. Let me wake up Aexy.” I said while nudging Aexilia slowly.
“Surree. Just be quick.” replied Ithil while eyeing Aexilia.
Seems like she hasn’t seen another vElf sleeping. Probably her time as Anor has affected her brain. Bah, why do I care anyway?
After waking Aexilia, I grabbed two bowls of morning sustenance.
“You sure have a big appetite, Vea.” said the female while eyeing my bowls.
“Oh, it’s for me and Aexilia actually. She’s waiting for me under the tree over there.” I replied while pointing towards the tree.
“Ohhh” replied the female while scooping another bowl of morning sustenance in a swift motion.
— End of Part 8 —-
“Vea, I have something to tell you. It’s about your friend, Aexy. She…she died of asphyxiation. You…you tried to save her but she was already dead.” said Ithil, rather cautiously.
“What do you mean, Aexy’s dead? She’s right here beside me. You’re alive right, Aexy? I know you’re alive” I replied, a bit weirded out by Ithil’s words.
Aexilia smiled at me, a small tear rode down her rosy cheeks. Her dainty hands held my face before she shook her face.
“We’ve been wanting to tell you this but we wanted to make sure your mental is strong first. We can’t afford to lose you, Vea. Aexy is only alive because you couldn’t let her go. She cannot cross over to the other side. You need to let her go, Vea.” said Ithil, shakily.
Her eyes were brimming with tears, voice shaking after throwing the huge bomb at me. I casted my eyes downward before walking towards Ithil.
I…I’m…I’m sorry, Aexy. I cannot lose you too. Forgive me for wanting to be selfish.
Unsheathing my dagger, I hugged Ithil before stabbing her from the back.
STAB! STAB! STAB!
The more she struggled to break free from my hug, the more I stabbed her. Our struggle of power continued until she finally gave up and went limp.
I slowly let go of her body and wiped my bloody dagger with my shirt.
At least I showed her mercy. I’ll never let Aexilia go and no one gets to tell me so.
Face and body covered with blood, I walked away with my friend Aexilia.
—- End of Epilogue —-