Secret of the Tenei Star Chapter 1
The man stood, motionless, by the front entrance of the city, pondering about his present condition, and his purpose in life as well. It hadn't been too long since the fall of Barbarosa and the kakistocracy. The town of Gregminster was finally showing signs of progress as it had been starting anew. Only a few months had passed since the end of the war, yet the battle wasn't quite over for one man, and one man alone.
He took a few steps and lifted his face to the skies, which were setting after the long day. As the light wind set his long golden strands aloft, he brought his head down, and the series of painful events once again played throughout his mind.
The man cursed himself for the umpteenth time. Why did he keep on doing this to himself? Why couldn't he break free from the guilt he felt from years ago? Why hadn't he moved on by now? It had been so long already; in fact, maybe too long. So why did he so hopelessly hold on to what was since long gone? Was it because he still felt responsible for the unfortunate disaster that had occurred years ago? Was it because he still believed that there might have been something he could have done to prevent the tragedy that took place in his darkest hour? Was it because he still thought that, if they hadn't stayed out there for another damned minute, the both of them would still be alive today?
He let out a strange noise, something that sounded like a cross between a groan and sigh. He then brought his hand up to his face, absentmindedly touching the hideous blemish covering a great deal of the skin on his cheek. How gruesome did that injury begin, yet how perfect it turned out to be; so perfect indeed. It perfectly reflected to the world how weak he had been, and how foolish he was to have believed that he could have handled everything in that forgotten predicament. As he gently glided his fingers over the grooves of the scar for the millionth time, he thought back again to the incident, or rather, incidents, that would confine him to a long, horrid, pain-enduring path of sorrow and heartache for many, many years of his young life.
"Gremio?" The voice came out nearly inaudible, a sound almost concealed by the noise of the wind.
The man spun around to see a young woman staring at him in concern. He only blinked at her, gazing blankly until she spoke again.
The woman grimaced at him. "Gremio, are you all right?" she asked him.
He lowered his eyes to the ground. "I don't. . .know, Cleo," he told her quietly.
Cleo's eyes remained locked on him. "Gremio, what's wrong?" she asked, her tone softening. She reached out with an arm and put a slender hand on his shoulder.
"Well. . ." he started. He turned away from her, letting out a sigh. Then, taking in a deep breath, he lowered his head and continued. "Tomorrow marks the day that. . .it happened."
Cleo's mouth fell open in shock as she understood what he was talking about. "Oh, Gremio," she said softly. "I completely forgot about. . ." She covered her mouth with her hand as she tried to find the words to comfort her friend. ". . .oh, I'm sorry, Gremio."
Gremio remained still. "It's okay," he sighed, welcoming her sympathies. "I had almost forgotten myself. . .but when I took notice of the date last week. . ."
"Gremio. . ."
". . .I realized that tomorrow, it would be ten years ago. . .that she left my life for good."
Cleo gazed at him sympathetically. "Gremio, you know you can't blame yourself for Emily's death," she told him. "You couldn't have prevented it; you didn't have any way of knowing."
"I know," he whispered. "But I just wish that things had been different. If they had been, maybe she'd still be here. . ."
"Gremio," Cleo interrupted, "we've told you time and time again; don't beat yourself up over this."
He nodded. "I know. . ."
"It was not your fault. This was something that was completely out of your hands."
"Yeah, but still. . ."
"Gremio," she cut in again, taking a few seconds' pause, "I know you loved her deeply, but I think that it's time that you buried your past. Why don't you just forget about her and move on?"
His arms tensed up at her words, then his voice came out muffled. "I-I can't."
"I don't understand," Cleo said, confusion covering her face. "Why not?"
Gremio lifted his head, then slowly turned back around to face her. They gazed at each other for a moment, when finally, Gremio opened his mouth to reply. There was a certain stillness in the air as he answered Cleo.
"She was carrying my child."
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