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She trembled and the book in her hand fell.

That was Blake Maxwell, her first brother. He called her Pumpkin, a name she disliked. Her full name was Cherrypumelina. She doesn't know why her parents came up with such name.

Each time she asked, they would laugh it off. She prefered to be called Elina.

But wait!

Did brother Blake see her!?

Realization suddenly hit her. She wasn't a ghost! She was alive!

Her eyes lit up and her lips curled into a brilliant smile.

"I'm alive!" She rushed to her brother like the wind and hugged him tightly.

His eyebrows knitted as he frowned at her action. He stared at her strangely.

"Are you okay?"

The question forced her back to her usual composure. Should she tell him what happened?

She was warned not to go close to that hill.

No! She would be grounded if she revealed the incident.

She hid her emotions, caressed his cheeks with her fingers and revealed a heart softening smile.

" Sorry brother. I was carried away". She pouted and blinked her watery blue eyes.

" I was at the library earlier. I was engrossed in the book that I didn't realize it was late. I'm sorry". She lowered her head and squeezed the hem of her blouse childishly.

He sighed helplessly, his gaze not leaving her.

" Hurry up and freshen up. You stink. Mom is in the kitchen and dad isn't back".

Why won't she stink? She picked the book from the floor.

"How did you get those bruises?" Blake strode towards her and lifted her hand carefully and observed the bruises.

"Ehm.....I tripped". Her head was lowered.

"Are you a toddler that can't walk properly? He was obviously worried.

" They're not serious brother. Please don't tell mom and dad. They would be worried"

" Be careful next time. You're a girl and must maintain a scare free skin".

Inside her bedroom, she heaved a sigh of relief then rushed to the bathroom to prepare her bath water which she ensured was of a suitable temperature.

Adding few drops of bathing liquid, she pulled her clothes and sank her entire body into the narrow bathtub.

The moment her body came in contact with the water, her entire body relaxed, though she could feel the stinging pain from her bruises.

She gently bathed and stepped out of the bathtub.

Wiping her body and drying her hair, she picked a clean dress from the closet, long sleeved to hide her bruises.

Bouncing down the stairs, she approached the kitchen and the aroma of steak caressed her nose.

In the kitchen, her mom was stirring what should be vegetables in a wok. She tiptoed towards her, arms around her waist and gave her a peck on the cheek

"M...o...m". Elina pouted.

Withdrawing from the embrace, she picked a cup, opened the refrigerator, took her favorite strawberry milkshake and filled the cup.

In one gulp, the drink was finished. She belched loudly, filled up the cup again and gulped down the drink. Taking a deep breath, she returned the rest of the drink to the refrigerator and turned only to see her mom strangely looking at her.

"Why would you drink in such manner? Where did you drop your etiquette?". Mom was obviously dissatisfied with her action.

If only she knew how what happened today.

If only she knew how many miles she ran.

" I'm sorry mom. I was too thirsty and I'm famished". Her stomach suddenly growled in agreement with her .

" Help with the dishes, I'll serve dinner in a while". She turned to scoop the food from the pot into a large serving dish.

* * * * *

In a large living room emanating royalty, several antiques were seen placed on beautifully carved and well- designed side stools.

There were several symbolic paintings hanging on the walls.

A carved sculpture of a beautiful lady endowed with jewelries and raising a staff of authority was seen on the wall directly facing the large entrance.

A large throne with striking features stood before the sculpture. The arms of the throne were carved into beautiful objects.

Three smaller thrones were placed beside the large throne, two to the left and one to the right.

Seated on the large throne was a man with a crown on his head exuding great authority.

An elderly man and a young man we're sitting on the thrones on the right side and second to the left side of the large throne respectively.

"Hmmm! Jason! Repeat what you told me before your grandfather". His voice was cold, firm and filled with power.

He was King Hemeith VII, the ruling monarch of Bernlus Kingdom and biological father of Jason, heir to the throne.

"I saw her dad! I really did". He said righteously.

"Grandpa! I saw her! The said savior! She appeared today".

Looking at his grandson, he could sense the sincerity in his words. He had ruled Bernlus for decades and had the ability to discern the truth from falsehood.

He took over power immediately his father, Barack Hemeith, King Hemeith V, devoted to guard the hidden clan.

He handed over power to his son, Christopher Hemeith after he had ruled for decades. He crossed his legs and relaxed his body in a noble manner.

Tapping the index finger of his right hand on the arm of the throne, his eyes gleamed and the corners of his lips raised into a smile.

"I see". He paused his lips and nodded his head lightly.

" Tell me more Jason". He turned his gaze towards his grandson.

Jason raised his head and narrated the whole incident. "Pa said you and dad should come in three days".

"Okay. You can leave now". He waved at him to leave.

Placing his hands on his knees and leaning forward, Jason got up and strode towards the entrance.

" Remember the oath Jason". His father muttered.

He can't forget the oath. Every male of the royal family and few commoners were made to take an oath of secrecy. The only female who took the oath was Serena Hemeith. The oath forbade them from revealing the secrets of the hidden clan.

"Of course dad. I won't forget ". He left the throne room in long strides.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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