Chapter 12

“Lanvin, who was that?” I asked him, my eyes still frantically searching for the stranger. The puzzle piece. The unwelcome visitor. The attacker. Raven. How could I forget the name.

“I don’t know,” he replied, simply.

“Who was who?” Aniko asked. I turned around. Amara was not with her, and for some reason, I sighed with relief. I had not forgotten her strange conversation with me earlier. Aniko followed my glance and laughed.

“Amara is around…somewhere. So, what would you two like to do?”

“Perhaps we can introduce Monsieur Robin to some of our friends and acquaintances,” Lanvin piped.

“Yes, would you like that?”

I hesitated for a while, and then quickly nodded. “Thank you.” I had a higher chance of running into Raven again if we moved through the crowd. But, I was also afraid of seeing her.

Aniko stared at me, expectantly. The feeling of the sharpness of the knife at my throat came back to me. No, I must find her…when she can’t attack me. At the same time, I wasn’t in the best mood for socialising. But, it was an offer out of politeness and I had to accept. It was a social custom in Gratia, one did not refuse an offer of becoming acquainted with one’s friends. It was a strange custom for somebody who preferred to keep to themselves. But even out of respect, I could not and did not want to refuse.

“Perhaps, I can join you both later?” Lanvin indicated hungrily towards his bag of food. I laughed.

“Very well, then,” Aniko said, quickly launching herself into the throng. At the last moment, I grabbed the lose end of her coat to keep from getting separated in the throng. My eyes frantically darted through sea of people to recognise the face.

Are you looking out of fear or really to confront her?

I rolled my eyes. I began to answer the thought: She should be held accountable! But I bit my lip and sighed. Yes, I do have some fear too.

“Robin!”

I frowned and turned around to see Amara walking towards us. Aniko glanced sideways and smirked at me.

“What is it?” I whispered through gritted teeth.

“Nothing,” she laughed.

“Well?” I exchanged a quick, sideways look to see her struggling to keep an emotion-less expression. She began,“ It is interesting.. that for somebody who seems to have more secrets than the rest of us combined… for the rest of our lives, perhaps.. that you allowed yourself to be annoyed by something so trivial,”

“Did you call Amara trivial?”

Aniko’s eyes widened at the shock of what I had just said. I looked away, as I realised how I had made my comment.I tried to form a quick, coherent sentence to apologise for the depravity of it, but before any of us could say anything, Amara was upon us. She broke into a smile, a strange, inexplicable sweetness in her expression. For some reason, I was immediately reminded of a cat, with an evil sorts of nature. It was odd, I had never taken a strong dislike to somebody I had just met, and without a reason, before; but I could simply not think else wise of her at that moment in time.

“Friends, how about joining Father and myself for some tea?” she asked. Her invitation was directed at the both of us, but she only seemed to be looking at me. I looked at Aniko. Obviously, Amara’s attitude had not escaped her attention, as she was quite struggling..in a way.. to keep an emotion-less face. There was a new, certain sort of animation on her face now.

Before I could respond, Aniko nodded her head and said, “We would be delighted to,”

Amara led the way through the crowd towards an iron-wrung gate at the edge of the courtyard. We passed yet another courtyard, a garden of sorts, and then through another door, we were into her house. We entered a large hallway with multiple white doors lining it. Amara looked around the hallway and frowned. “Would you mind waiting in the library? Perhaps we are early, ” Aniko and I nodded. Amara pointed to the door to the left, and then suddenly gestured to Aniko to follow her.

Lady business, I supposed. I did not care too much to ask, anyhow, to be honest. I turned the knob on the door and entered.

I had never before seen a more whiter room. All the furnishings were covered in white- a white paint of sorts- which indicated the designer had very refined taste. Bookshelves stretched from the ceiling to the floor, covering all sides of the walls, except where windows provided a break. The room stretched, but it was smaller than Romanoff’s library. I contemplated scouring through the book collection, but knew that I would get undeniably consumed. Then, a better idea struck. I took out the book- that book- and took a seat on an arm chair, and opened it.

Yes… I had been carrying it around with me. It was too precious to be left alone, without watch. I had   considered opening it, in the past few days, but my attention was all towards Romanoff. Now, in the silence of Master Kono’s library, I felt an urge to see what was waiting to be found. I opened and first I only found those blank pages, and the poetry from before. Then, I saw something which had not been there before, I am certain of it. It was a diary entry.

2 November- 

Dear Diary,

       I do think sadness- this particular kind of sadness, is inescapable, irrefutable… it demands to be be felt and recognised but it has no end. I do not think a cure for this exists as it is so much a part of me, so very consuming of my person…

       I do not wish for it to be replaced by the entrance of any person or goal because it must not be replaced, especially not by another person, somebody who has not done for me all my family has…

       My sadness is- all prevailing. It hits like sharp-edged rocks at the edge of the cliffs in Maeror, and the aftermath of the pain feels as though one is drowning, screaming, losing air but always just enough to keep screaming… Only nobody hears me and that causes the pain to become worse. I am struck with loneliness, oh, has anyone else ever felt this way? I have felt it often and too much. I have felt it most when I am in a room full of people, this loneliness seats itself in the seat next to mine, drinks from my cup and drains it.. it reminds me of its presence even in its absence.

      I have thought of ways of ending this, my sadness, but I do not have the guts to kill myself… I am not sorry to admit this to you, as I write, that my pain is enough to make me wish death as an escape, even at the cost of causing my mother immense pain at what would be an early death…

How silly… my pain is one of homesickness- for where, I am not sure- yet I am willing to escape it…even if it causes my mother and my sister pain they will never forget for the rest of their lives.

I am not so afraid of dying as I am of the aftermath. I want to know that life;s worse will stay away from me and my loved ones.. I am… so tired.

It ended then. There was no year and no signature. Was the writing the same as those words that had appeared that other night? I flipped through the pages to recover them, but they had disappeared.  Only my entry remained.

I am not sure why I am writing this. I think it is because I need  somewhere to write my thoughts in, and you are here, all perfectly bound and with a nice, ancient look as well. I wonder if the frankness of my writing would ever come even near the graceful likes of the writers I have grown up with.

Surely, I had not imagined it all. Indeed, words had appeared that night! It seemed that there were new questions to be asked with each use of this book. Who was the writer of the entry? Was it the same… being… as that from the first night? Was it the compiler of the poems and the book, perhaps? Where was the sadness coming from? What happened afterwards? Was a solution discovered? Where was Maeror?

There was a knock on the door then. Aniko put her head through the door, a smirk on her face, “Let’s go. Master Kono and all his guests are looking forward to meeting you.”

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