Chapter 1: Loneliness
             People have said that patience was a virtue, but I was never a person of virtue. Rather, I believed that precision was an opportunity. There was a place and a time for everything. Now, the problem was finding that exact moment and then executing it as planned. There was only so much an excavator could do, yet there was just too much a constructor could make. As for me, a participator?

            I just waited.  


            Before waiting, however, I had a moment of mourning. After arriving at Beau’s home, I remembered collapsing in his arms with uncontrollable tears. Was it Morganne’s death that had caused me to cry or was it how she had died that had made me sob? She didn’t deserve to die nor was it necessary for the Queen to die. Then, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about Hendrick. Hendrick’s future too reeked of death.
            I remembered asking Beau, “Why? Why did they have to die?”
            He spoke in such a gentle voice, “It was their time.”
            I didn’t speak to him for days after what he had said. Call me immature, but I couldn’t look at him the same way anymore. He was just as cruel as Cael; it was no surprise that they were brothers. Blood couldn’t have been separated in the end through personality. I couldn’t believe that I had even trusted Beau, and so, for a while, I locked myself in my room. I tried to retrace all of my steps, yet I was only following a circle. I realized that I could not change anything. I was useless like before. I kept saying to myself that if I could go back to the past, then . . . Then, I was stupid for thinking that. I was already living another life, and still I was filled with regret. Even then, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to restart once more. Would they still be alive? Would the Oracle tell me more about my future? Would the Queen scorn at me or would Morganne complain about my annoyingness?
            Suddenly, I heard the sounds of a bird pecking at my window and once I saw this particular creature, I noticed that it was Morganne’s pet. She had called her owl, Mortimer. Mortimer was probably one of the few things that she loved.
            “He’s special,” she told me during our journey. “He was a gift from Orion a long time ago.”
            “How did you know that it was from Orion?” I asked her.
            “I bought a wooden flute from a market once, and when I played the flute, Mortimer flew to me,” she explained. Seeing my puzzled face, she included, “As soon as I saw Mortimer, I recalled that Orion had given me a bird so we could send letters to one another.”
            I knew I shouldn’t have kept a pet, but I still let him into my room. Like before, he had a message attached to its leg. Carefully, I unveiled the letter and by the handwriting, I knew who had written this. It had to have been Nestor, judging the disoriented, scrubby style of writing.
            I believe I have warned you before of the consequences, but seeing how you never listen, I can only wish you the best of luck. Next time, just forget.
            I laughed at his words; he was too late this time. Morganne would never know or maybe, she would never learn. I believed she would never rest until there was justice. Now, Mortimer had stared at me rather despairingly with his eyes forming a rounded shape and his beak grazing my hand.
            “She is dead,” I told him.
            Still, he persisted to nudge me with his beak.
            “She is dead,” I repeated with a louder voice. “I am telling you that she is dead, all right?”
            Even I was stunned by how thunderous my voice had become. There was not a peep or a squeak besides my noise. I was alone again. How many times did people have to leave my side for me to understand lonesomeness, to understand independence? I must have relied too much on them to feel despair.
            Next time, just forget.
            That was what I wished I could do too. If I could forget everything, then I would be happier. However, when there was a tiny bird pecking at you, I could never forget. Although Mortimer probably didn’t understand what I had said, he still experienced similar sentiments.
            “You are lonely, are you not?” I asked.
I jabbed at his forehead. He squawked once and even flapped his wings to fly towards my shoulder. He then pressed his head beside my cheek.
I scoffed, “We are both pathetic huh?”
            This had to have been the story of how Mortimer became my messenger owl. He needed to be by someone and I needed to remember. There was no sense in forgetting because no matter how hard I tried to disregard what had happened, I could never escape from my memories. In the end, I felt that it was better to remember vividly than vaguely because then, I would never make the same mistake again. Cradling the little bird in my arms, I felt my eyelids grow heavy and dreary. I was not afraid this time of sleeping. Instead, I even welcomed the fatigue. May Morpheus bless me with sweet dreams.
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            “You always sleep so easily and so soundly.”
            I opened my eyes, looking upwards to see a familiar face. Smiling had to have been inevitable when he was by my side. I had been resting my head on his chest while he had hugged me with his arms. I now turned around to hug him back.
            “I only sleep well if I’m with you,” I explained.
            I felt his icy lips press on my forehead, making my smile grow wider. A sense of familiarity warmed my muscles. I knew this kiss too well that I’d never forget about it. This was, after all, his kiss.
            “Do not worry, I will make sure that we will always be together,” he whispered so gently that his voice almost faded along with the wind’s blow.
Then, there was that rustling sound by the river banks. The two of us had glanced in that direction to find a girl watching us in disbelief. She must have cried for the moon was shining on her tears. She must have been enraged or distraught for she ran away too quickly. She even tripped on her own feet, and I knew because there was a large plopping sound onto the ground.  
Immediately, he murmured, “Gigi, forgive me, but I must leave. You understand how Hotaru—“
            “Just speak to her so she understands,” I interrupted him.
            Again, I felt his wintry lips on my forehead before he chased after Hotaru. I must have been aware of the disquietude from the harsh winds now raging in my path. I had chosen to stay at this spot, at the edge of the Draconis River. This was where we had first met, and this was where we always encountered each other. We bonded over water and we would eventually part over water. Both of us knew that this love was unfeasible, yet we wanted to guard it. We wanted to stay here forever. Burying my head in my knees, I knew that our time would end soon. It was always like that. He would leave to ease Hotaru’s mood and I could not blame either of them. She was supposed to be with him in the first place. I was not even supposed to enter his life.
            I gasped when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning my head, I grumbled, “Raph, do not scare me like that.”
            “Sorry about that.” He took a seat beside me, watching the river flowing with me. “I just saw Hotaru with—“
            “I know,” I cut him off, not wanting to hear him repeat what I had already known.
            He sighed, and shook his head. “He will only hurt you, Gigi,” he explained. “It is clear that he and Hotaru will not—“
            I didn’t want to look at him to voice my opinions. I knew that if I were to meet a pair of sorrowful eyes, I would eventually crumble, and succumb to weakness. I would end up pitying myself, and through tears, I would express my pains. Still, I wished that there would be a happy ending. Life . . . was supposed to be happy.
I uttered, “I know, Raph, that he probably cannot annul his engagement with her, but . . .”
            “You love him, right?”
            I remained silent, not wanting to admit my feelings for him. I had chosen this route. I had wanted to love him, so I would stay here. Maybe, he would drift with the river to the sea to be transported so far away from me, but I would be here, waiting for him to flow back to me. I believed in him, and I believed in us.    
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