Gathering and celebration, even the village chief himself arranged the party at the village square tonight. They villager bring their best culinary skills, sweet juice, local bread, exceptional wine, and fragrant meats were part where traditional music brighten the night.
It seemed that father and mother were helping this village a lot in the past. Even children knew them or heard their legend.
People also came to Ione and pinched my cheeks. Suddenly, I became a star of the show.
“I don’t believe I can live to see the young master.” Said an old man who lives his hundreds.
“Hey Old Man Benjamin, you should live long enough until the Young Master get married in the future.” Said an aunty beside her.
“Ai, I really want to witness it, you know. But look at me, do you think with this broken back and old age—I can survive another year or two?” The old man sighed.
“Old Man, didn’t you brag at us last week that your granddaughter who married to the son of neighboring village chief gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She can be an in-law of our Lady if she can marry this handsome Young Master. So, why do you want to die too early before you see their wedding?” The aunty teased the old man.
“Oh, you really right! Darn it, I almost forget that I have a great-granddaughter now, ho.., ho…, even she can’t become the main wife, at least a concubine would not be that bad.” He murmured.
And so, the conversation took a strange turn. People tried to find their family or relative member who just blessed with a baby girl, and which baby girl is the most charming to be my first wife.
‘Darn you all! Don’t you know that this young master is a baby, ups, a man that has his aspiration as big as the sky? How can you make him listen to some bullshit about finding a wife?’
Fortunately, that night didn’t continue forever, or I was afraid that the old man and the other would really run and return with some proposal of engagement.
Mother took us, Ione and me exactly, to our resident that was prepared before by the help of villager.
Mother put in a box.
‘Yay, a new baby box! Ho…, ho…, goodbye devil clutch, Viva la liberty!’
“Ione, please, have a seat. And make yourself comfortable.”
Mother took a lighter and manually lit the fireplace. The living room became magically serene with the dancing silhouette and the crackling sound of burning wood.
Mother sat near Ione, so both see face to face.
“You must have many questions. If you are not yet tired, we still have plenty of time.”
Ione stood up and gave a bow, “Aunt Flo, thank you very much for everything. Ione has nothing to give Aunt Flo in return, but let me stay with you always. One day, I’ll return all the favor you gave and will give me.”
“Lift your head, my little beloved. You are very strong, it is really hurting me to see you like this.”
“Aunt Flo…” Her eyes misted, “I don’t know if I may ask this…”
“Ask away my child, nothing you need to hide from me.” Mother gave her a smile.
“Why, you are so nice to me. Even the Holy Maiden of Eastern Purgatory Island was very nice to me. It was like that you know me. Even you look like a commoner, but I can feel that you are a great person with great influences. Meanwhile, I am but no one. You risk you—I think that you are traveling undercover—to save and protect us.”
“Yes, you are right. If you are just anyone, I’ll leave you for the Grandpa Kornel to take care of you, you will have a great future as a common woman. But because you are you, I can’t let you go. You may say, it was a part of my selfishness.”
“What is it about me, Aunt Flo?”
“Do you remember when I told you about me, my husband and Iole was members of a mercenary group?”
Ione nodded her head.
“There were two more, a godly-like archer, and a saint-like natural sorceress.”
Ione body suddenly shuddered.
“His name is Henricus Stewart Reiher, and her name is Karoline Alina Silje. You know them well, don’t you Ione Alina Reiher? Your eyes are showing confident just like your father, and you just beauty like your mother.”
Ione lost her strength, her knees fall to the floor, her tears flowed unstoppable, “Father…, Mother…” She cried broken-hearted.
“Four years ago, was one of our happiest moments. Under the star of Goddess Tara, a baby was born with her beautiful cry. I was there to hold her with my hand even before her mother. Her parents gave her name Ione, just like the gentle violet radiance of Goddess Tara’s star. She is a beauty that paints our souls with grace. My husband and I forged a magical instrument—a true-law tool as a star-shaped pendant for her protection, so the destiny of Edwena always protects her.”
Ione reached her chest, her hands found a star-shaped pendant was still there, the Tara Pendant, her mother, told her its name.
“A year ago, when my husband and I got married, your parent didn’t show up. We knew something must happen to your family recently since they accepted our wedding invitation a month before. A week after our wedding, we rushed to Aelfwine to find your family. But in the middle of our journey, an ambush of many Grand Magus, tens of Arch Mages stopped us. We should be able to retreat and find another way to search for your family. But we are not prepared for a peculiar poison, the same poison that hurt your big brother.”
Ione clenched her fists.
“To save my life, my husband used a forbidden technique. Not because it is dangerous, but because if it used, the nemesis of our family would find us, and it would be catastrophic. But he used it anyway. To avoid our enemy to find us, he ran and lured them somewhere else; I remember the last word he said to me. ‘Someday I’ll return, I’ll bring our brother and sister and little Ione, just wait for me, this small issue won’t able to stop me.’ But until today, he never returned. I was evacuated in returning to home by Lina and Mari to recuperate. Also, by further examination, I was pregnant with little Eiwa.”
Mother stopped for a moment, “I can’t move much for months, but Lina and Mari still could bring me the news. You were reported save with a family of your guardian, but not with your parents that were gone missing. Do you know, even Iole disbanded the mercenary to find your parents and my husband? Even with all our resources combined, we still see no news. I think she felt guilty to you, yet to find tour parents. She gave you the bracelet as a token of apology from her part. She knew you, but she just afraid to accept you. And I believe now she is rushing back to find more clues about the three. And now, it must be the way of heaven to let us meet. From now, please stay here with me. You are my family, my beloved. I am sorry I can come any sooner; it must be tough for you this year. I was ignorant to believe that you’ll be okay as long there was a guardian to protect you in your home. I am such a failure as a tactician. If your father and mother knew that I neglect you in such a way, they must be furious.”
“No, they won’t” Ione shook her head, “Aunty….”
“Come here, my child.”
Mother gave her a warm hug, and Ione cried silently in her bosom.