Darius was in his best mood as he walked through the hallways. He was smiling from ear-to-ear without so much as a care in the world to everyone he passed by. It was honestly kind of refreshing.
Feeling himself, he was on his way to visit his mother when he passed by Freya’s chamberlain.
Well, since he was there, he might as well ask. “Where’s Freya?”
“She’s with the Queen Mother, Your Highness,” the chamberlain explained. “They went straight to the Great Chamber after picking up some flowers.”
With a nod, Darius promptly dismissed the chamberlain. He then let out a deep sigh as he looked at the path leading to the Great Chamber where her mother would usually hang around with Clara and some of her friends for tea, casual talks, or some flower arrangements.
[Are you going to talk to them now?] Zeus inquired.
[Yes,] Darius mentally nodded. [Xen and I will leave come midnight, and we’ll both be gone for a week. I don’t want Nasser brainwashing my family while I’m gone, especially Freya.]
[Good,] Zeus agreed. [It’s about time they know the truth.]
With a singular purpose, Darius walked towards the Great Chamber, the guards announcing his presence with the usual fanfare. Humming in content, he looked at the guards and instructed, “Make sure no one will disturb us inside.”
With his instructions followed to the letter, Darius entered the room. Inside, his Mother and Freya were already inside arranging flowers in vases together with other servants. As soon as his presence was noticed, he quickly signaled for every servant to leave.
“What’s wrong, Son?” his mother worriedly asked, their servants having already left.
Instead of answering, Darius looked at Freya, who only gave him the cold shouldes as she said, “I should leave too.”
“Stay, Freya,” Darius sighed as he stopped his sister from leaving. “You and Mother need to hear what I have to say. I’ve been keeping this information from the two of you for so long already, and it’s time that you two know the truth. Please sit.”
Taking their respective seats, the two stared at him intently, waiting for him to speak. Neither dared to speak as they attentively waited for him to say his piece.
“What is it?” It was Freya who finally broke the silence as she asked with a frown.
Darius let out another sigh.
“Son, tell us,” his mother encouraged. “What is it that’s making you weary like this?”
“It’s… It’s about father’s d-death…” Darius stuttered, his emotions getting the better of him. It was still hard for him to open up this topic to them, and the lines on his forehead only deepened as he clenched his jaw. The sudden tightness on his chest was making it hard to breathe…
[You can do this,] Zeus encouraged in his mind. [It’ll be alright…]
“He… He kept uttering out a name before his tongue had been completely paralyzed by the poison,” Darius started, his gaze straying from his mother and sister. “I… I can’t forget the look in Father’s eyes that day… How his tears continuously p-poured out his eyes…” He swallowed… “That… That look of b-betrayal from someone you t-trusted the most… I will never forget that…”
And awkward silence settled between them, the tension between them palpable as each one of them waited for the other to break the silence…
“Who is it!?”
It was Freya’s sharp voice that broke through the tension, her tone striking the chamber’s walls like a thunderous clap. Darius lifted his head, only to see that both his mother and sister were sobbing. Her mother’s hands were trembling, holding onto the armrests of the chair as if it was a lifeline.
“Who is it, Son?” her mother’s voice spoke out, soothing him as she looked at him in understanding.
“Nasser…” Darius weakly uttered.
“What… H-How can you keep us in the dark like this!?” Freya shouted out in disbelief.
“I’m sorry…” Darius weakly muttered out, but Freya had already stood from her chair and rushed out of the room sobbing. Hearing his sister stomp off, he could no longer help himself as he cried, all as he kept on muttering out one apology after the other.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
His eyes widened as he felt his mother’s embrace, hugging him while she patted his head. Holding onto the lifeline thrown at him, Darius hugged his mother back as he sobbed.
“I’m sorry that you had to carry this alone, my son,” his mother soothed into his ear. “I truly understand why you did it. You knew how Freya often reacted on impulse, and took her feeling into consideration. Don’t worry. I’m sure she’ll come around. It’s just that she’ll need some time to process this sudden revelation. She’s someone who’s very much acquainted with Nasser’s son and the man himself. She respected the two of them, and even looked up to them….”
“My poor son… How much pain did you endure to keep this to yourself?” his mother gasped.
“It’s alright, Mother. I didn’t want you and Freya to share this burden, but Nasser left me no choice once I saw him trying to use Freya against me,” Darius explained, feeling his trembling mother in his embrace.
“Right now, you and Freya mustn’t let your guards down, especially whenever I’m not around. Don’t let him be suspicious that you know, but always be on guard around him.”
His mother nodded, “I understand what you mean, son. I will do what is needed.”
Darius could only smile in appreciation as he added, “That’s all I can ask for… Until now, it’s been hard to prove exactly how he was responsible for father’s death since he immediately killed the helion soldier who freed him in the crime. Still, it’s obvious that Father was stabbed on the back.”
He growled, his voice cracking the more he talked, “We all knew Father… He’s not that careless, and wouldn’t be simply killed by that… I truly believe that he was fighting against that Helion soldier. And while Father was fighting, Nasser might have picked up that poisonous dagger from the Helion soldier, and stabbed Father with it. But until now, we can’t find any supporting evidence for my theory.”
“In that case, we need to look for someone with the power of clairvoyance,” his mother whispered with a sigh. “Someone who could see into the past…”
“I’ve tasked Calypso to find one, Mother. But so far, there were none that fit the criteria…” Darius helplessly informed.
“Is that why Calypso was always away?” the Queen Mother inquired.
Calypso was his cousin who had decided to be a wanderer months after his father died. He was shattered into pieces at the news of his Father’s death. And unlike him, he couldn’t control his temper in that he might’ve ended up killing Nasser with his two bare hands if he didn’t decide to leave on his own.
As such, Darius had to keep the man in check, if only for Calypso to not have a drastic mood swing that could end up with him take Nasser’s life… To that end,, he purposely told him that their only hope in finding out the truth was to find someone with the gift of clairvoyance. And like he expected, Calypso volunteered for the task. At least, in that way, he could keep him away from the danger of killing Nasser before the time was right.
“Yes, he volunteered for it, Mother.” Darius admitted with a nod. “You knew how he looked at Father like his own father… He was so devastated that he vowed not to come back until he brought some good news with him.”
He then added, “This is also one way to keep him away from Nasser. You know Calypso… His life wouldn’t matter to him as long as he can avenge Father, and I don’t want him to lose his life just because he couldn’t control himself. I will not lose another family because of Nasser!”
“While I strongly believe that Nasser deserves it, he will be punished according to his crime. I don’t care if it will take time. If getting the evidence to prove that he did it will mean that I can give him the punishment he deserves, then I’ll move mountains just to get them!” Darius’s continued with gritted teeth.
Ten years… He spared Nasser far too long already…