In the beginning, only the Kingdom Empyrean existed, but, after the war, it divided itself into three countries. The Kingdom of Aldrich where the monarchy has all the power, and there is no Church. The Country of Velhoja where people are either magicians or merchants and where the Magic Academy of Velhoja resides. The Realm Sanctus of Nadezhda where the Church has absolute power, and magic is seen as a bad thing.

The Viscount Everleigh’s mansion is in that last country.   

That’s the reason why, when Adiel shows me his powers, my first reaction is to be scared. Not for me, but for him. I call him, and he stops his powers to come to my side.

“Adiel, have you shown anyone else this?” I ask him, worried.

“Just once to Indira, but she told me it was a disgrace and to never show it to anyone again, so I didn’t.” I sigh in relief. I am not sure why Indira didn’t tell anyone about it but I am thankful.

“So, you only showed it to me.”

“Yes, because you shared your secret with me first,” he says, smiling.

I hug him, and this time I do it to comfort myself. To convince me that everything is going to be alright. But there is one thing I am sure of and that is I will die protecting this kid if I need to. I won’t fail like last time.

“Thank you,” I tell him as Vian dances excitedly around us.

That fateful day began with Arthur Everleigh barging into my room and waking me up with a string of screams. I am barely able to regain my senses, much less understand what he is talking about. I raise my hand to tell him to stop.

“Can you please stay quiet for a minute? I am still half-sleep,” I tell him, and he complies, more out of shock under my rudeness than of free will.

“Irina Everleigh, I have been made aware by your siblings of your hideous behavior and how you broke the very specific rules I gave you.”

“Oh that,” I reply, stretching my arms and yawning.

“That?” I think now I make him mad.

“Yes, that. How was I supposed to stay locked in my room without anything to eat? I already told my brother that, unless you were planning to starve me to death, then it didn’t make much sense. Now does it? Or is that what you were planning to do all along?”

Arthur’s face turns all shades, from a bright red to a deep purple. He is trying to speak but he is so mad he can barely say a word.

“I know you don’t precisely like me, but isn’t letting me die a little bit much? After all, my mother was only a mistress, so my life is disposable or…”

I can’t continue talking because Arthur strikes me with one hand. I can feel the blood in my mouth, the pain on my cheek. I scoff and turn my head to look at him.

“Is that all you have?” I clean the blood that’s pouring from my lip with one hand. “Was the truth too much for you to handle?” I can’t stop talking. It’s like Irina’s lingering feelings merge with my own. The frustration, the pain, every raw feeling surfaces.

“How dare you speak about your own mother like that, how dare you talk about us like that?” It’s funny how that is all he got from what I said. Selfish much?

I get up from the bed and walk to him.

“But isn’t it all real, though? Isn’t that the reason why you are so mad?” I put my hands behind my back and raise my head to lock eyes. “Isn’t it?”

He looks at me like I have been possessed by some sort of demon. I may be a different person, a different soul. I may not be Irina, but these are all her real feelings.

The funny thing is he doesn’t know, he doesn’t understand. He could never understand.

Suddenly I hear a smack coming from another room. The sound comes from the east wing.


I sidestep and walk around Arthur. Then, I run to Adiel’s room.

“Where are you going?! We haven’t finished talking!” Arthur shouts, but I ignore him. He is not important right now.

I arrive at Adiel’s room and open the door to find a sight that leaves me with a taste of déjà vu: Isabella lifting her feet to strike a cowering Adiel on the floor.

“Answer me!” she shouts.


My mind swirls and something breaks inside of me. If I ever wanted to live peacefully in this life that opportunity is already gone. Not that I thought I could do it in this hell. In retrospect, this was the worst case of action, but at this time I can’t think of a better way. My mind tells me: end her. And everything turns red.

I create a strong airstream that lifts Isabella from the floor, keeping her from laying a single finger on Adiel. She screams, and I walk calmly towards her, heat emanating with each step I take. Adiel lifts his head and looks at me, but I can’t focus on him, not right now.

“What were you trying to do?” I ask Isabella, standing in front of her with a cold smile dancing on my lips.

“Let go of me right now, you witch!” she demands, her hair and makeup are a mess. It’s quite a sight to behold.

“I made you a question. It’s only polite to answer it,” I retort. But she ignores me and continues shouting to let her go. So, I grant her wish and disappear the wind magic with a flick of my wrist. She plops disgracefully to the floor.

Isabella holds her head and steadies herself. She looks at me with ice-cold burning eyes.

“I knew you were both monsters! I always knew it! I can’t do this anymore! I will tell your father that…”

She can’t go on because I lift her off the floor once again.

“I granted your wish, and you didn’t even answer my single, tiny question,” I say with disdain. “So much rudeness coming from the wife of Viscount Everleigh.”

She grinds her teeth, tearing up. Maybe she sprained her ankle when she fell.

I don’t know. I don’t care.

“Can’t I discipline my own son?” she finally answers me.

Isabella is not stupid, so she quickly understands by my expression she said the wrong word.

“I think I warned your daughter what would happen if I ever saw anyone disciplining my brother. I am sure she told you everything, so it baffles me why you would do such a thing.”

Isabella doesn’t speak, or maybe she can’t, I am not sure. The only thing I am sure of is the anger whirling inside of me. “Answer me!”

“Sis, stop!” Adiel shouts, hugging me from behind.

For a moment, everything stops. The anger, the pain, the swirling as I slowly come to my senses. I flick my wrist again to lower Isabella to the ground. This time, she lands softly.

I lower my head. I don’t want to look at her. I don’t want to look at myself.

“This is the last straw! I don’t care anymore! I am sending you both to the Church!” Isabella shouts and limps to the door, finally leaving the room.

Now I’ve done it.

Tears start flowing from my eyes but not because I feel sorry for shouting at Isabella or even hurting her. I cry because I ruined every possibility Adiel had to be welcomed on that house once again. They were slim, but now they are non-existent.

“I am sorry,” I tell Adiel. “I am really sorry.”

Adiel lets go and walks until he is standing in front of me. He gets on his toes and pats my head, just like I pated his.

“It’s ok. You were just trying to protect me.”

Pat. Pat. Pat.

He keeps on patting my head until I calm down.

This is no time for crying. I need to fix this situation as soon as possible. No, there is no way to fix this. Isabella was not joking when she said she would send us to the Church. If they get a hold of us, it’s the end. No one knows better than me the danger that institution means.

We only have one choice, and that is leaving this mansion. No, leaving this country. We have to travel to the Country of Velhoja and enter the Magic Academy. That’s the only way to keep us safe. That’s the only way to protect him.

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