Chapter 31: Soul in the stone (Part One)
Pothos felt so uneasy that she couldn’t even weave. She sat before the window blankly and looked out from the window from time to time. She didn’t know why Hyacinth worked against her father’s will and helped the youths from an alternate world, but she trusted him and knew what he did must be right. Meanwhile, she was scared. After being imprisoned by her father for so many years, she had become more afraid of her father than anyone else. She dared not to think of the punishment that her father would inflict on Hyacinth. She could do nothing but pray silently for him.
Ever since she was imprisoned in the tall tower when she was only a little girl, Hyacinth had been her only source of happiness and hope, the only reason that she was still alive in this lonely and void world. She couldn’t imagine her life without him. Even though they couldn’t touch each other, they had become each other’s emotional support.
Xia Qiu understood what she felt more than anyone else. As she walked toward the tower with Hyacinth’s last objects in her hands, her heart grew heavier with each step she took. She couldn’t help thinking how grieved she would be if fate took Ouyang Xiaoleng from her. At this thought, she looked at him. He must be grieved, too; he was still expressionless, but his face looked less cold and his eyes were misty and not as sharp as before.
Qianqi’s sorrow was more obvious. He walked with a gloomy face and the dim world of the Yellow Spring Kingdom looked darker in his eyes. Wind brought up dust from the ground; his eyes turned gritty and he had the strong urge to burst into tears.
When they appeared below the tower, Pothos’s eyes brightened. She searched for the figure of her lover but couldn’t find him. Her eyes dimmed and knew something had happened to him. Still she refused to accept it even though she saw Hyacinth’s possessions in Xia Qiu’s hands.
She felt nothing but a pain that threatened to tear her heart apart. She opened her mouth but couldn’t utter a word. She yelled and stuck her hands and upper body out of the window; then she lost her balance and fell from the tower.
Ouyang Xiaoleng and Qianqi ran over to catch her, but it was too late. Terrified by the sight, Xia Qiu’s pupils expanded and she screamed Pothos’s name in agony.
At this moment, a huge blue butterfly flew out and attached itself to Pothos’s body, becoming her wings. As the wings flapped powerfully, her falling slowed down until she landed like a feather. Then the butterfly lay by her side motionlessly as if it was exhausted.
Xia Qiu snapped back to her senses and ran toward Pothos and checked on her with Ouyang Xiaoleng and Qianqi. Seeing she was unharmed, they relaxed. Then they turned their eyes toward the blue butterfly. To their surprise, it shrank before their eyes until it was the size of an ordinary butterfly. After resting for a while, it flapped its wings and began to fly around Pothos slowly.
The butterfly reminded Xia Qiu of the colorful crystal stone that Hyacinth asked her to give Pothos. She looked down at the stone in her hand and found the butterfly in the stone had disappeared. With sudden understanding, she blurted out, “Look! The butterfly in the stone flew out and rescued Pothos. It must be part of Hyacinth’s soul since it retains his will!”
She knew Pothos was the most important person to Hyacinth and he wanted to stay by her side in this way. At this moment, Hyacinth must be very happy. Without the restraint of his body, he could stay close to his beloved girl. Maybe this was true happiness for him.
Pothos sat up and reached out her palm, letting the blue butterfly land on it. Lights returned to her eyes as she opened her red lips and began to speak fluently, which was surprising since she had never learned to speak. “I don’t know why… Oh! Hyacinth’s soul is living in the butterfly from the colorful crystal stone.” She lifted her palm and continued, “He’ll stay by my side as a butterfly. His soul can speak to me and he’s teaching me how to speak! He told me you’re looking for the land rune; he’s worried that my father might break his promise and refuse to give the land rune to you. Indeed, my father always goes back on his words!”
Ouyang Xiaoleng asked her, “Can you help us?”
“I know where the land rune is. Did you notice my father’s throne when you were in the Yama Palace? The land rune is hidden somewhere behind his throne! I was locked in the tower and couldn’t talk to anyone, but I could occasionally see things that my father sees or thinks about.”
Pothos had a complicated expression on her face. This was the first time she showed people her unusual talent. In fact, the strongest emotion she sensed from her father was resentment of her mother, the Flower Lady; but at the same time, she sensed flashing tenderness for her. He wanted to shelter her and make her stay by his side forever, but the method was wrong. He mistakenly thought that he could keep her so long as he took freedom from her. In his father’s mind, she saw her mother’s image many times; she looked very much like her mother, which was probably why her father loved and resented her at the same time.
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