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ATOM: A Cruel Taste of Desire – III

Mina felt different in the new room, she was moved to. No more dark presence waiting for her, leaning over her while she slept – of which she was aware when she was falling asleep and waking up, even if it was retreating immediately.

The chamber was not big, but less overwhelming. She felt as half of the burden caused by the heavy atmosphere was taken off her shoulders.

The windows were open, letting in the chill, but not freezing air. The fey who came up to bring her food explained with a wide smile that the winter chill is kept away from interiors by magical barriers. One could enjoy the breeze, without being exposed to the real cold.

The fey didn’t play with riddles with her, like Oosel. She was up to the point and even open about her role here. She told her that Lord Ain’Dal will visit her soon, to see how she feels. The apple juice was taken differently by every human, some could react on it with hallucinations and mirages.

She didn’t experienced them… yet.

Mina knew that she didn’t want him to visit her… but at the same time, she was curious. With childlike curiosity – strong and stubborn. She wanted to know many things – most of all, catch him on a lie. To assure herself that this room, the new fey, all – is just another game.

She ate apples – normal, sunburnt apples, with slightly yellow skin – they were truly delicious. And some fruits, which reminded her of pears, but had a strange taste. But equally tasty.

When she ate, she felt better. No more starving. She ate that odd apple. Maybe that was all they wanted. When she asked the servant fairy about it, she laughed and said that the core apples have many magical traits and maybe she will like how it changes her situation in Dal’coler.

That was something she still pondered about. Just as she thought that this fairy speaks no riddle, here it came.

Without a scary presence in her room, she managed to relax, even if fear still was eating her from inside out. But fear won’t save her. Fear won’t make her stronger. Alina feared the fae, but she killed the fear – that’s why she was alive now.

She wanted to be as strong as her mother. Strong enough to make her fear her shield and form it into courage. Fight it.

She felt as her eyelids slowly close, tiredness crept in, the burden of last days and cruel nights paying its toll… when she heard the door to her room open. The fairy who brought her dinner came with water or more fruits? But they all always knocked.


It was him.

Him, as promised.

Her eyes fixed on him, this time without panic, If he wanted her dead, he would allow these fairies, winged horrors, to kill her in that corridor. Whatever he wanted, it was not her being dead.

His smile was like a sun descending from the sky, when he lightly approached, his moves as breezy as the slightly cold air coming from the open windows. He nonchalantly sat on the chair just in front of her and picked the pear-like fruit from her plate.

“You again” she spoke, trying not to fear.

Fear is a death wish. Fear is being dead before death.

“Indeed” he chuckled. “I assume you are not happy to see me. Your room is your fortress and I am an unwanted guest.”

His straightforwardness took her off guard. As always.

“I made sure you are not subjected to any pressure anymore” he continued, rolling the pear in his hand. “I told you I have what I wanted. You probably want to know why I desired you to eat the apple and why I need your brother. Maybe that will clarify your situation to you.”

“Tell me” her voice was not shaking.

“You are now bound to my land” he just said, and in a way, that at first, she didn’t grasp it fully. “I need your brother to stop events that endanger both us, and your people. Yes, humans will die too. Very soon, if I won’t use your brother’s powers for my cause. And he surely won’t agree to cooperate. That’s why you are here.”

She looked at him with disbelief.

“Tiyan doesn’t have power. He is human.”

“Oh, he is a human, ” Lorian smiled disarmingly. “But also something more.”

“I don’t think you tell me truth. Tiyan is normal.”

“For us, having magic is normal” Lorian’s eyes dug deeper into her. “And magic is a capricious lady. She can manifest in many ways. But… At the same time, I don’t want you and him dead. I need you both too much.”

Mina felt even more confused. Why does he tell her all of that? She vaguely reminded herself of the words of Noyd, Tiyan’s friend – no one tells you his secrets fully, if they count you will live to tell.

But he also told her that he needs her.

And Tiyan.

“Your situation is clear as a morn” , continued Lorian. And he bit the pear-like fruit, thick, silvery juice stained his perfect lips, curved up in a pure, beautiful smile. “If you want to oppose me, I can’t force you not to. Which very much annoys me. But they say truth can open hearts much wider than the threat. I decided to take a risk.”

Mina… she didn’t believe him. Or rather, supposed to want to not believe him. But it all fit into what happened so far. He might as well be telling her the truth, because he saw it as an easier way for her mind and heart.

Either way, she saw a chance for herself. If he needs them both so much… Maybe no one else dares to scare her anymore, or try to eat her. It was so terrifying that even her closed nature barely could stand the intensity of the threats she was subjected to.

Lorian was drilling her with a gaze that was neither pleasant nor hostile. Just bare reality, no sugar, no bitter herbs.

She wanted so much to catch him on saying lies.

As far as she knew, he was the king. And a king of these horrifying creatures had to be worse than them all.

“How can I know you will let us go after you…  do what you want from us?”

“After I use you both” he laughed. The juice from the pear trickled slightly on one his fingers, staining it silver. “We live in a world of awakening powers. Your brother is stronger than you or him think. I would love to bound him to me forever. But… this doesn’t depend on me fully.”

Again. Riddles.

Why did he never speak in a way that she could understand?

“I know my word is not trustworthy” he stood up, leaving the half-bitten pear on the plate. The fruit looked wounded, pouring silver blood. Did all fruits here seem like flesh? “And I don’t expect your trust. I expect you to follow my will. And… maybe the stay here won’t be so frightening to you anymore. This place hides many wonders. Only from you depends if you unlocked them… or stay in the shadows.”

Like to punctuate his words, the darkness crept from behind him. Strings of smoky shadows, like night following him, creeping in, swallowing the light.

“You are welcome to join me after the celebration of New Lunar Year, Mina,” he said before leaving. “This room may be safe… but it’s a prison, and prisons are maybe the best way to avoid danger… but they take freedom, just as fill with fear.”

Mina never felt so confused. When he disappeared and with him the smoky night, she sat on the bed with curled up feet… and stared at the window. The air filled with snow, falling on the magical barrier, disappearing when making contact with it. She shouldn’t. Shouldn’t allow him.

But she knew… that the fear is death.

And death was final.

She didn’t want to fear.

Alina would fear, yes, but she forged it into armor.

Maybe she could too.

As long as what he said was even slightly true… which she sensed was.

The wind blew into the window, but was captured by magic, which changed the snow it carried into a flurry of white petals, dancing to an unknown music.

2 Comments on “ATOM: A Cruel Taste of Desire – III”

  1. So Lorian put his plan into practice! Were they half-truths? I remember that he was going to use Mina to get Tiyan to cooperate, but I don’t remember if he talked about killing him later… So I think he’s telling the truth here. hmm🤔
    Another great chapter!!🖤

    1. Yes, he actually tells the truth 😉 Of course, Tiyan and Mina aren’t going to survive in his plans, but… that is only half-truth here. He knows that “truth opens hearts” :>

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