Chapter 29 – A Father’s Love
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After Cain left, Magnus' smile vanished and his brows furrowed. Although he believed Cain, it was not to the point where he did completely. He still had doubts about certain things that Cain pointed out. He immediately called the rest of the Austairs—Ophelia, Japhta and Donyeal—to his office.

He gave them a low-down of what Cain told him. Naturally they were surprised, it was really something that they found hard to believe especially Japhta who didn't know where and whom to direct his anger to.

"Brother," Ophelia said."Do you really believe him?" she asked in a tone full of uncertainty. The other two—Japhta and Donyeal—also shot Magnus inquisitive looks seemingly curious to hear his answer.

Magnus nodded, "To some extent yes, but it's not a matter of if I believe him," he hunched a bit forward and propped up his chin."I have to believe him."

He stopped there and didn't say more, they were smart and could figure out what he meant—with the exception of Japhta of course.

They discussed some more, about mundane things mostly, before they dispersed, leaving only Magnus in the office. After some time, he stood up and strolled to his desk. His destination, the compartment, his little getaway. He picked up another glass from there and poured himself another drink—he needed one—as he downed it in one gulp.

Still, that wasn't enough for him, he poured himself another swallow of drink, gulping it down again before he stopped and exhaled lightly.

This time he was done, as he carefully dropped the glass cup and picked up his Comu—the white circular communication device—which was no bigger than the cover of a bottle as he pressed on a button lightly.

After a few seconds a projection was displayed in front of him, a man on the other end of the projection, his imperial moustache the most eye catching feature, his short hair dyed in a metallic shade of brown and squinty eyes the color of the morning sky.

Magnus spoke, his voice calm and collected, "Hello brother."

"Magnus, what is it? You always do know how to pick the wrongest of times," he said. His voice warm, as a little smile was on his moon shaped face. Despite what he said, one could see the affection behind his gaze—maybe.

"Cain was here"

The man frowned heavily as his forehead creased almost to a crumple, his expression became stern as he stared at Magnus with a piercing gaze, a complete 360 from his previous demeanor.

Magnus knew it was his cue and continued, "Like I said, Cain was—"

"I heard what you said the first time," the man yelled in anger, veins shooting out on his temple. "Why exactly are you meeting my daughter's killer?.....Magnus"

Magnus shivered a bit but composed himself, although it was through the Comu, he felt like he could still feel his brother's presence, his anger was justified after all.

"Listen brother, hear me out first. You should know I'd have a good reason for doing so."

The man's faced eased a bit but his frown was still apparent. Magnus then proceeded to tell him everything that Cain told him without missing even a single word. The man listened attentively, his frown deepening but not in an angry way, it was more of confusion.

After he finished, the man rubbed his creased temples, "You believe him?"

"Sort of, some parts of his story seems fishy but for the most part I can tell he wasn't lying at least, he had no reason to waste his time by coming here and lying to me...most especially the part about his feelings towards his family" Folding his arms he continued. "You know what this means right?"

The man was silent, of course he knew what it meant, he never made a move against the Ashels all these years but like a tiger that hunted its prey, he was patiently waiting. Waiting for the right time to strike. Waiting for a confirmation to move.

As he was pondering, he briefly remembered his daughter's face, her smile always melted him. It shone in pure warmth and innocence. He remembered her nagging questions, though it irked him sometimes, he now missed them dearly.

He remembered her compassion, colossal and as vast as the wide continent. She didn't shrink when it came to helping others, quite humble to a fault. Her laugh made him laugh, her tears made his heart lurch, her happiness was his happiness. Whatever she wanted, she got. He never held back when it came to her needs.

Although he never loved to admit it, but she was his favorite of all his children. She was the most precious gift her mother gave him, priceless beyond doubt. His mind drifted, meandering through his sea of memories, it was clear to him, as bright as day, like it happened just yesterday. It came in flashes, just like the trailer of a movie.

He could see as he read her night time stories when she was much younger. How her beautiful violet eyes twinkled at the mention of a hero saving the princess, the winsome happy endings always brightened her mood. How she giggled so sweetly that her cute freckles were almost squeezed out.

How she was enamored when he casted simple spells in front of her, it seemed like that was how her passion for magic came about. He knew that she viewed the world like her little bedtime stories, heroes saving princesses, the sweet scent of love and romance acting like butter on bread, the perfect combination.

He knew about her naivety and it was too late to change it, his heart couldn't stand seeing her sad or telling her that the world wasn't like she imagined. That it was cruel, the strong ate the weak. That love was good but it only mattered when you had strength.

But like a thunderbolt it struck him, he could use the cave of beginnings to show her the painful truth. It would shape her a bit, he was too scared of allowing his daughter's naive mindset continue. Nevertheless, like the doting and overprotective father that he was, he made sure she was properly prepared.

He gave her various top quality magically inscribed items, still that wasn't enough. He wanted his little princess to look at the world in a new light but he didn't want any harm befalling her. So he casted a high levelled augmenting spell on her, something that her body could bear.

It would be her trump card when she was in dire straits. He had Aaron be her escort, though he was a big womanizer, he still believed in his strength. He was sure that nothing would happen to her if he was there. As for what happened in the cave, it wasn't his business. He did all he could, his protection was over the top but he didn't care.

He remembered he was busy when she departed, he couldn't see her off, something he regretted to this day. His daughter was strong, extremely talented to boot so he didn't worry too much that she wasn't going to succeed. But the world had other plans for him and his daughter, fate sneered at his naivety, the very same naivety he saw in his daughter—quite ironic.

He remembered when he got the news, he was frozen stiff, his heart took the elevator down to the basement. The darkness seemed to embrace him, like a mother would her child. He suddenly became dumb, his words incoherent and flustered. He didn't want to believe what he heard, it had to be a lie. His little princess couldn't be gone.

So he scampered to the cave and waited. His mind refused to accept the reality. Now he wished the world was like the little bedtime stories he read to her when she was little, happy endings, he truly wanted a happy ending there and then.

But like he knew, happy endings were just a fantasy. After staying there for days on end, his family had to come get him. Her mother—one of his wives—spewed profane curses at him, hated him for sending her daughter to her death. She cared not for whoever or whatever killed her in the cave.

All she kept saying was, 'If you didn't send her there, she would still be alive.'

He knew she was right, he couldn't refute that statement. After days, he knew not how long, of self loathing and despair, like the flip of a pancake, his sorrow turned to anger. It was then he remembered, the culprit for all this were two people, himself and Cain.

He wanted nothing more than to send Cain's soul to eternal damnation, to flay his skin and purge his eyes. To pour his blood on the empty grave of his beloved daughter. His hate and anger was something that even the world feared. He distanced himself from everything and everyone.

He was ready to march to the Ashel territory and cause destruction—he almost did—but his cousin held him back. He too was in pain for what happened. Everyone loved Celestine, she was the flower that even the wildest beasts dared not step on. She was that precious.

The world didn't deserve her kindness and her heart. But unlike her father, they did not let anger cloud their judgements. The Ashels were powerful as well, and a fight would only lead to more losses with no victors.

The cousin eventually calmed him down, but his anger never subsided. So he decided, he wanted to see the Ashels drown, he wanted them gone from this world. He didn't care if they did not commit the deeds, his mind, riddled by sorrow, hate and anger blamed them for giving birth to the beast who killed his daughter.

That was when he discussed things with his cousin and family and they took the offer of the royals. He was willing to deal with the devil himself if that got him vengeance. Over the years he masked his anger and hate with smiles. A coping mechanism for him lest he lose himself to madness.

It was what kept him sane, it kept him calm and serene. His mind worked itself to smile in his daughter's stead, a sort of memento for her. So he always smiled, warm sweet smiles just like his dead daughter. But the hate, anger and madness was still there, waiting patiently to erupt fully.

But now he was hearing that the culprit wasn't Cain, he didn't know how to feel about it. His emotions which were fermented for years, directed at a single person suddenly lost their target. His mind was almost torn apart, chaos was ensuing in him. Was it really true? Was Cain innocent? Did he really admire his daughter's righteousness like he claimed? Did he hate the Ashels like he did?

Suddenly, like a veteran sniper, his target shifted, precise and accurate. His fermented and thick emotions found a new target, the Brunhilds. Those, he could do something about. He had blue balls of emotions, he needed a release, it felt like he was holding in an orgasm. And now he found one, it may be reckless but he didn't care. His daughter deserved at least that.

He looked at his brother, his expression contorting from frowns to smiles, a very strange display which could give shivers to anyone.

"I will handle it" he said. "I'll have to inform cousin as well"

The projection vanished, as silence stole the spotlight. Magnus knew his brother too well, he himself was surprised at how he endured and kept his emotions in check all these years.

He grabbed the glass cup again, now it was beginning to turn into a rather good friend to him. Pouring himself a drink, he gulped again. He then traipsed to the chair, glass in hand, he wanted to relax. He felt like he deserved it.

He held up the glass cup and twirled the drink within as he gulped again. That was the only sound that could be heard in the sombre silence.

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