It was nearly dawn when a witch joined Alicia and Zeres at the top of the building.
"Find Ezekiel," Zeres ordered and the witch immediately obeyed. Alicia had agreed to leave. She had no choice but agreed because she realized Zeres wouldn't hesitate to send his minions towards the leaving humans if she continued persisting. And even though it was hard to accept, she had also understood that she could not change his mind anymore. He had made up his mind, and no one, not even her, could do anything to stop him.
"I found him, my king." The witch said to Zeres.
"Is he alone?"
Zeres frowned. His gaze remained fixated on the part of the city where there was heavy traffic. More than half of the city seemed emptied already. It would not take long, and this city would be completely emptied. "Watch him. Tell me once he's alone." Zeres said and the witch's crystal ball lit up again.
The sky slowly began to color when the witch finally spoke again. "He's finally alone, my king." She said, and after glancing at the crystal ball, Zeres sent the witch away.
He approached Alicia and then took off his coat. Without saying anything, he bent and dr.a.p.ed the coat on her before unceremoniously taking her hand. He put her arm around his neck and then lifted her with ease.
Not giving her any chance to speak, the two of them disappeared.
They materialized in the middle of an empty plaza where the city's famous blue tower was located. Police cars were speeding in the street, checking if there were still people left behind. Zeres had already cast a spell so the humans couldn't see them.
He put her down, but his hand was still around Alicia's back as he gave her the time she needed to steady herself. She had grown so weak she could barely stand now. But Zeres had been quietly trying to force even a little of his energy on her by using an ancient spell only he knew about for a while now. Her body kept rejecting it, but he kept on persistently forcing it, and it somehow stopped the trembling in her knees.
Zeres' gaze then whipped towards the empty space right in front of the tower, and a
Zeke stood there, staring back at him and wearing the same unfeeling expression Zeres knew so well.
For a long while, they stared at each other. Some kind of wordless conversation seemed to be going on between them that seemed to have turned the city's atmosphere even heavier and chillier until Zeres was certain Alicia could now at least stand on her own.
Averting his gaze from Ezekiel, Zeres looked at Alicia. His eyes were no longer cold but still extremely alert and dangerous.
Carefully, he eased Alicia away, gently encouraging her to stand on her own.
"Go," he said as he retracted his hand off her.
Alicia glanced behind her and saw a man's silhouette standing there. She could tell it was Ezekiel.
"Go to him now. If Alexander arrives, a fight will definitely break out right here, right now." Zeres added. He had waited for Zeke to be alone and away from Alexander because he knew that Zeke wouldn't do anything while the humans were still around. Knowing Alexander's recklessness, Zeres was certain that if he were in this place right now, he would've been attacking him by now. Not to kill him, though.
Suddenly, Alicia weakly hit Zeres' c.h.e.s.t. Her face was emotional again, miserable. But no word came out from her lips.
Zeres caught her wrist, and silently, he stared deep into her eyes. 'I'm sorry for all the pain I caused you… just a little bit more… and everything will be alright again…' he said inside him before he opened his mouth and spoke.
"I'm telling you this again one last time. Go." His voice hardened.
Staring back at him, Alicia opened her lips but closed them again. His eyes had been telling her this will be the last time she could speak to him and get close to him like this.
So she reached out and hugged him tightly. He didn't move. He simply stiffened like a log.
When she let go, a small smile flashed on her face. Weak tears were sliding from her eyes.
Zeres' throat worked. "I told you to go, not to cry." He said in a controlled, hard voice. His eyes wavering.
She wiped her tears. "I'm crying because I couldn't do anything for you," she said weakly. She had long realized she had begun to really care for Zeres. At first, she thought she just felt bad for him because she had seen all his sufferings… but during this journey, she had come to care for him even more, not out of pity but genuine concern. He was a good man. But he was so dangerously selfless. She always thought selfishness could be dangerous. She never thought selflessness could be lethal until she met this man. If only he would think of only himself for once.
Her gaze fell to the large wound on his cheek and her hand reached out but again, he caught her wrist, stopping her.
Alicia began to step back. "Don't forget Zeres… if you die… I will never forgive you."
She finally turned around and began to walk away from him slowly.
Midway, she looked back and Zeres was still there, watching her. Letting out a shaky sigh, she continued walking forward. She could see Ezekiel's stoic face now and she didn't know what to feel or even how to face him.
But she continued approaching him anyway. Just when she was about to reach Zeke, Alicia looked back again, but Zeres wasn't there anymore.
She nibbled the inside of her lips before she faced Ezekiel. Her body felt utterly exhausted and heavy.
"I'm sorry," she said, smiling bitterly, "I couldn't stop him. I couldn't even do that task you gave me."
To her surprise,Zeke's hand was suddenly on her head as he spoke. "No. You did your job... You did well."