Chapter 27 – Promises
When Haru finally came too, he was in Erith’s dojo. Although his body was still sore he could recognize these surroundings in a heartbeat. He expected to be hit by a wave of depression but instead he just felt sad. Sad his sister was missing.
Lifting himself up off the sheets that had been placed on the ground he found Erith in a glance.
“Where at they?” he asked with a knot in his gut at seeing his mother and father broken down at their loss.
Erith hestitated for only a moment as he followed through with what he had already decided. “They’ve left.”
“Left?” Haru stared at him in shock for a moment. His mind not certain how he felt, the previous grief already leaving him raw from the inside out.
Erith walked over and handed him a letter, “Read it and you’ll understand. I won’t answer any questions about it. When you’re ready we’ll resume training.”
His hands lighting holding the letter in his hand as his brows knit together trying to understand the situation.
He opened the letter robotically and started reading.
These words will never truly express how truly sorry we feel, I know you need us right now and now of all times we’ve chosen to leave you. I know Erith with his normally tactless personality probably didn’t even break this to you gently, nor will he comfort you.
I know all of this, and hopefully you’ll believe me when I say I love you. We love you.
First let me tell you this. You *must* go to the Spiritual Academy in East City. It is where you will be safest, and where you will grow the most. You must do this. MUST! Do not lose yourself and try to come and find us. You need to do this, this is how you will become strong, this is how you can find us one day. So promise me right now, think it to yourself and make me this promise. Promise me you will go to the Spiritual Academy in East City and become strong.
We were strong once upon a time. We were in the imperial army and stood at a rank that normal people don’t even know about. We came from influential families and had the means to become strong without even trying. It was something we took for granted. It is something all nobles take for granted. We took this for granted and even with our noble goals of protecting the weak from the strong, of stopping the corrupt people within the nobility from having their way with others and never paying for the cost of their actions.
We were even more naïve. It was our naivety that led us to being betrayed by our own people. Our own people betrayed us and in our darkest hour it was our enemy who saved us. He saved us, healed us, sheltered us and in the end asked for only one thing. He asked us care for and raise his only daughter.
You will likely think less of us because of this, but you have the right to know this much. Lily is not your biological sister.
She was given to us to raise as our own, and at the time. We accepted the task because were grateful, we thought it a burden but one that we would bear as it was what we considered the right thing at the time. We were childish then too, but not because we regret our decision. We were childish into thinking we could raise such a wonderful and innocent child, and not come to consider her our own.
Haru, Lily is not human. That is why they are after her. That is why you must never mention her. That is why if you come with us, you would be in far more danger. Why we can’t bring you with us.
I want you to make me a second promise, and that is to never discriminate the way we are all taught to do. There are many wonderful and magical races out there in this huge world. The reason they nearly all hate us and try to kill us, is our own fault Haru. It’s up to us to mend this broken wound.
We are going after her, we will find her and we will keep her safe.
We love you. We love you so much Haru. Erith will keep you safe. He will keep you alive until we can see you again.
Haru’s lips trembled as he thought about Lily. She was so warm, and gentle, even dazzling. Whenever he looked at her she felt like a warm solace, melting away his problems just like his mother. A mother whose warm hugs made his pain go away and left him happy. A father who had protected him a child, his entire life. His strong back a symbol to him, the type of man he wanted to be. These were the type of people they were; ‘they are my family’.
His tears were already falling on the letter as he smiled. He was worried, but he was also relieved. Relieved that he wouldn’t be a burden to them, and confident they would find Lily and bring her back.
Even still, even as positive as he felt and thought, it was not enough to simply wash away all of his grief in an instant. He was wounded and it was a wound that would take time to heal.
After the initial feelings wore down, Haru was left with a slew of questions. ‘Why did I not know this? How can I not remember us picking Lily up? Why did they have to keep this from me for so long? What other races are there? How can they look so much like us, I would never have imagined Lily wasn’t human how could I not even tell? What are the differences? Are there any at all?’
Once the emotions passed Haru realized how many more questions his mother’s letter had brought up. There was too much that he didn’t know, hadn’t been taught. It only made him feel ignorant that these were things he’d never questioned, and never even thought to ask or inquire about.
Erith was ‘kind’ enough to give Haru time and space. He brought him his meals and made no demands of Haru other than giving him a day of rest and then telling him to continue his basic training daily until he was ready to move forward. Now that he had his recommendation letter and his parents were gone, searching for his sister. Haru had not even considered his classes at the academy. A few days went by as Haru went through the motions, his mind and heart still a mess.
The greatest thing that left him more than simply curious but feeling out of place was his memory. After getting past his initial grief Haru had begun to dwell on the memories of his family. It was as he did so that he came to realize everything became hazy and unclear whenever he thought about his childhood. He could not truly remember anything that didn’t seem as if it was a memory he himself was constructing based on what he thought he should remember. Everything before he was 6 was just a blur…
Considering he was only 13 now and had believed he’d lived in Eastesp City his entire life… It all seemed a little too suspicious. Even more so when he realized this was also something he’d never thought to question, something he’d never delved or probed but had absent mindedly considered normal without a single thought.
It was the first time in his life that he had begun to feel alone, questioning his past and his family. His mother had said quite a bit in the letter, but had failed to speak of the lies she’d omitted, and left too much unanswered. ‘The letter was never meant to give me answers. It was meant to let me know what I shouldn’t say and what not to do.’
Coming to this conclusion he realized it was not enough.
“It’s not enough.”
“Mmn?” Erith who had kept close to Haru all of this time but not broached the topic responded within seconds.
“It’s not enough. I need more. I need to know everything.”
“You won’t find answers here.”
“You have answers.”
“I have none for you.”
“Find them yourself. Get strong enough that you can even ask the question before you go asking for something you have no place knowing about.”
Haru looked at his teacher warmly. ‘Even with his attitude. He still cares about me. There’s no way he’d be here and doing something he didn’t want to do. Staying with me and helping me. That was his choice. I should be thankful…One day I’ll repay this.’
Haru’s strange look made Erith uncomfortable. “Your plans?”
“I am ready to continue training. I want to get ready to go to East City and enter a Spiritual Academy like my mother asked me too. I’ll figure everything else there.”
“Hmmm… That’s fine then. We can leave tomorrow. We will begin training while on the way.”
“Tomorrow?” the sudden departure date left Haru a little surprised as his teacher’s dojo seemed like something very important to him.
Looking at his gaze “This dojo is just a place. I have no attachment to this place and neither should you. You’re going to live, and visit a lot of places from now on. You shouldn’t get attached. You need to start looking forward Haru.”
Lacking any emotion Haru nodded his head in agreement. He understood and agreed but he couldn’t simply get past leaving his childhood home and never looking back. Erith had already brought him some clothes and personal items from his home, but it didn’t feel like enough.
“I want to go back home tonight.”
“It’s not safe you know” he should tell this wasn’t going to be easy even if he was no longer letting the depression weigh him down.
“I just need to do it. I promise to be careful” giving him a pleading look Erith only nodded unaffected. ‘I’ll just have to follow you and make sure no one sees.’
That night, Haru snuck along the streets trying to avoid anyone notice. Completely unaware of Erith’s presence and guiding hand as he cast a shadow on Haru’s movements.
Upon entering his house, Haru noticed it had already been ransacked by thieves. ‘Possibly even the neighbors’ he thought to himself.
Haru walked along the house, but everything was gone. ‘It looks so empty…’
Inside his bedroom he only found one simple thing, a scrunchie his mother had bought his sister only days after he’d had his bloodline awakening ceremony. It was the only reason he remembered. Looking at the last remaining proof of his sister’s existence and nothing else of his parents he grabbed it put it around his wrist.
His eyes reddened but they were bone dry. He’d already shed all the tears he could in the past few days, now he only felt empty like the house he was in.
Inwardly he reassured himself ‘One day I’ll be strong enough.’
His need for strength resurging within him. An ever present feeling he’d had as long as he could remember. Something he himself didn’t realize. Such a traumatic event, his sister being kidnapped and his parents now gone. Yet the reason he could bear it and not get bogged down by the pain was because the pain felt familiar not new.
A strange sensation of déjà vu resounded through his mind before it disappeared altogether leaving his mind clear for just a moment. A moment long enough for his eyes to brighten before dimming once again.
A voice echoed in his mind scaring him. “Not yet”
The fear disappearing as he forgot the last few moments altogether.