Helen couldn’t hear her call. Her mind was haunted by the demons of the past.
Asaya’s heart further sank when Helen didn’t answer her. She grew up with Arianna. And she was clear that Arianna had done more than anyone else to make the family what it was today. Everything would have fallen apart if it was not for her.
She recalled the day Arianna had revealed her wish to have her be married to Shazan. But they both knew that it would have been unfair to the other girls if that happened. Arianna never brought it up to the family, she couldn’t, and Asaya couldn’t care less about having the title of his official wife. She was happy that Arianna had approved of them to be together. That was all that she ever desired. Her only wish was to forever be with Arianna, Karen, and Shazan.
The title of the official wife came with its powers, but more than that, it came with loads of responsibilities.
Even though Ilsa also had her wedding ceremony with Shazan, she never asked for the title of the official wife. Ilsa knew that she would never be able to take on those responsibilities as she desired freedom, and her focus was only on getting stronger.
Everyone in the Palace had their jobs.
Keira was his Queen to the Underworld. She was the Shadow of the Supreme Zero. She was his voice in his absence to the outside world.
Serafina handled all of the businesses of the Silverstein Empire. That not only included the businesses in the outside world but also included the businesses in the Underworld.
Karen supervised all of the intelligence networks of the Empire. Without her, no one else could perform their responsibilities efficiently.
The three of them were his official wives and had the power to use the resources and forces of the Empire.
Even though everyone here was like sisters, there was a clear distinction between the responsibilities and statuses of the girls. And all the girls here, except for Maira, had joined this family knowing what their life would be like. No one was truly compelled to stay here, but no one ever wanted to leave either.
“I can not be his Empress, Mother.” Asaya sighed and answered resolutely. “I do not deserve it, and nor do I desire it.”
Helen, who was still lost in her thoughts, sobered up after he heard her words.
She frowned and looked at her daughter with misty eyes. There was something she wanted to tell her daughter.
“Why…” But she could only weekly ask this.
“I am not like Renesme, and I am not like Arianna. I am also aware of my short-comings. And I just don’t have any desire for it.” She smiled at her mother. “I am not as powerful as them, nor am I as intelligent as them. It is not in my nature to have power over others. You can ask Serafina or Keira if they ever desired to become his Empresses.” She smiled. “They never asked for it, because they knew they could never match up to Arianna or Renesme.”
Helen opened her mouth to say something, but Asaya shook her head and said something that startled most of the girls.
“And I do not think it is appropriate for me to have the title of his Official Wife either. No one who isn’t an Azeros has the right to desire that title and power. Even though I know that I have awakened as well, but I still have not proven myself. I am weak and have a lot of things that I need to learn.” She said with some excitement in her voice. “Keira and Serafina had to go through Arianna’s tests to be approved as his official wives, and Karen had always been engaged to him and his world. She was born to be his wife.” She smiled at Karen and then looked back at her Mother. “You don’t have to worry about me, Mother. I am happy with how things are. And I have always admired Ilsa. She is married to him, but she never asked for the power in the family. She is happy, and she is content. Isn’t that a blessing? I just want to be with them, and be happy. That was all I ever desired.”
Her words caused all the girls in the room to brighten up with smiles. It was as if she had spoken the words they all had in their hearts.
Ilsa laughed heartily when she heard her words.
“He thinks I am not smart,” She glanced at Shazan and then looked back at Asaya. “But I am smart because I know what I desire and I do not allow anything to take that away from me. And you have spoken rightly. I am happy to have him as my husband, and I am happy to have all of you as my sisters.” She looked around the room. “I love you all!” She said and gave a thumbs up to everyone.
“But you still love training more than you love us… sad” Mina said confusedly, and Nina nodded at her words.
The actions of the twins made the girls burst out in soft laughs and giggles.
“Hmph” Ilsa turned her head away from them. But what she whispered was heard clearly by everyone. “I love to train so much because I love you all and want to protect you.”
“Oh…” The twins opened their mouths in surprise and then rushed over to her excitedly and hugged her. “Ilsa! You are so cool!” Nina said to her with admiration and Mina nodded to her words.
It was clear to everyone but Ilsa that they were playing her.
Ilsa’s face was burning up in a blush, but she didn’t push them away and hugged them back with affection.
Helen looked at it all with a blank expression. There was still hesitation in her heart as she looked back at her daughter.
“But it is your right…” She clenched her fists and said in a deep voice. “It is your right to become his official wife!”
Silence shrouded the room when they heard her words.
Asaya frowned, and her heart lept in fear. She was scared that Arianna wouldn’t be so tolerant anymore if Helen said something that she shouldn’t.
“Mother… please understand my feelings…” She begged her in a crying voice. “You don’t have to ask for anything about this. You don’t understand that it is not what I desire?”
“It is you who does not understand what your rights are…” Helen glared at Asaya and answered angrily. “I won’t tolerate it if you give up on your rights!”
Her words confused Asaya. She couldn’t understand what had suddenly gotten in her Mother. Her mother had never before shouted at her in her life.
“Want to know what color your Aura is?”
Arianna smiled at her when their eyes met, and she lovingly caressed her hand to calm her down.
She didn’t know why Arianna would bring something like that up at this time, but she nodded in reply.
“It is the same color as mine, and as his…” She pointed at Shazan with her eyes.
“Just like yours?” Asaya asked confusedly but then her eyes widened as she realized something, and her mind went black.
“You are my sister.” Arianna gently kissed on her forehead.
The words thundered on Asaya’s mind, and her brain couldn’t process a proper reaction to the news.
“You knew?” Helen asked Arianna in surprise, and then when she turned to look at everyone around her, her heart suddenly sank.
“Have you forgotten that Azereus can see the Auras of the people?” Arianna mockingly smiled at her. “I knew the moment she sent Marcus flying when her aura burst out and awakened her.”
Helen worriedly looked at Shazan to see his expressions, but he had his head lowered, and was lost in some thoughts.
She was worried that he was mad at her for keeping it a secret from them, but what she didn’t know was that he was in pain right now. He had allowed the resentment to remain in Helen’s heart, and even to this day, she still held those desires in her heart.
Lyanna had warned him about this day. And he frowned at the memory that was passing in his mind. The eldest princess of the House of the Second was someone everyone feared. She could see the future even when she didn’t have any such ability. She could read people like they were created by her. It was her instincts that were frighteningly keen.
Shazan lazily looked at Helen.
“Have I ever mistreated you, Helen?”
His question sent a chill in her heart.
She wanted to clarify things to him, but she couldn’t find words and lowered her head, lightly shaking it.
“I am not mad at you, Helen.” He smiled palely. “I have no right to be mad at you since I have kept you in dark all these years.”
Helen confusedly looked at him, but then her heart skipped a beat as she realized that she had been living a lie.
“Did you think that you could run away from the Silverstein Empire?” He sighed. “My grandfather had always kept some people to keep an eye on my father. Some to protect him, and some to observe his every action. And of course, he knew about your affair with my father.”
He locked his hands behind his back and looked at the roof. He lazily closed his eyes and sighed.
His words were an Order, no one hesitated, and they all sat down on the couches.
Renesme came up to him and stood by his side while Arianna led the spaced-out Asaya to sit with her.
Shazan turned to look at little Rose. She was curiously looking at everything, and as intelligent as a child she was, she understood it was something serious. She jumped down the couch to prepare to leave from the room, but his aura caught her and pulled her to him in the air.
“Sit here…” He placed her hovering in the air by his side at his head level. “You can listen if you want to. But you should remember, it is not something that you are required to run your brains for.”
“Father, how did you do this?!” She asked curiously as she felt herself sitting on an invisible chair.
Shazan smiled and revealed his aura for her to observe its flow.
“Sit here and study this. I will ask you later what you have learned.”
Roselyn happily nodded and looked at the flow of the aura that solidified the air away from his body, forming a throne-like violet chair for her to sit on.
As soon as Rose busied herself in her study, he smiled at Helen who was still standing at her spot.
“Two n half years after the death of my parents, you walked into the office of my Grandfather. You asked him if you could get back a position in one of the enterprises of the Empire, and he agreed. You never thought about why he agreed so easily after you had gone missing without informing anyone?”
He smiled and laughed hollowly.
“You thought that no one would believe that the baby in your arms was a Silverstein because she did not have the powers. You had very little knowledge about the world of Amazeros, my father had never revealed much to you.” He smiled mischievously. “People of the same bloodline can feel and sense the presence of their relatives closeby. And you brought the child right back in the war zone.”
Helen’s body shivered when she heard those words.
“But that is not how he knew that the baby was his granddaughter. He had always been aware. He had kept someone close to you all the time to protect you. The doctor who was handling your delivery was sent by him as well.” He smiled. “My grandfather never neglected anyone from the family. How could he have neglected his granddaughter?”
Everyone listened calmly and Asaya was now also paying attention to what he was saying.
“He could have taken her away from you. But he had lost his son and had killed the other by his own hands. He was broken and didn’t want to see the child be separated from her mother. It would have only added to his regrets in life.” The sadness in his voice was heart-wrenching. “But he could neither allow you to keep the child away from the family nor could he allow the resentment and sadness in your heart to devour you and the baby. So, he sent you to work under the company I was handling at that time. You were made my secretary, and Asaya was under the watch of her brother.”
“Y-you…” She wanted to say something but her words were interjected.
“Why did you come back, Helen?” He smiled and asked. “You knew that my parents could have possibly been killed by his older brother. But you still brought the child back to the Empire. Do you know, if Grandfather had not sent people to protect you, and if by any chance Damien had found out that Asaya was my sister, what do you think he would have done? A part of your heart wanted to keep her away from all the bloodshed and the world of Amazeros, but you still came back. Why?”
Her body trembled when she heard those words. She could never understand why she had done so. Even to this day, she did not find the right reason for the decision she had taken.
“I will tell you.” He smiled at her. “It was your selfishness, your desires, and then it was the love of a mother. A woman touched by a Silverstein can never be sane again. The saying applies differently to everyone, but in your case, you were enchanted by the truth of the world. The baby in your arms was a princess, and a mother desired for her baby to have the life she deserved. So, you brought her back to where she belonged. But there was bitterness in your heart towards my parents. There was bitterness in your heart towards me and my sisters.” His voice turned grim. “Do you think only Lyanna could read people? I do too, but I neglect it. In your case, the expression in your eyes when you had first met me did not escape my attention.”
He smiled and waited for her to look him in the eyes before continuing to say what he had to.
“What were your first thoughts, Helen?” He asked. “Tell me what were your first thoughts when you entered my office and saw me kissing Lyanna.”
Helen lowered her eyes again. She didn’t answer him. Her heart was aching, and she felt dizzy as memories kept flashing in her mind.
“Sera” He didn’t take his eyes off Helen and asked his wife.
“She was repulsed, disgusted, terrified, but… She wanted to seduce you.” Serafina read Helen’s mind and voiced her memories before everyone to hear them.
“And why did she want to seduce me?”
“She has no clear answer for that. She wanted to do it because she wanted to get even with your mother. Some part of her desired everything your father didn’t give her, and she also wanted to give Asaya the life she deserved.” Serafina frowned as she read Helen’s memories. “But she dropped the plan…”
“Yes…” Shazan regretfully sighed. “Had she gone on with her plan, this day wouldn’t have arrived.”
Everyone surprisedly looked at him. They were all confused except for Arianna and Renesme.
“Lyanna wanted to kill her off and take away Asaya from her?” Arianna asked with a bright smile.
Helen’s body shivered when she heard those words, and to her horror, Shazan nodded in confirmation.
“That look in her eyes had not escaped Lyanna. She followed her and found Asaya. Of course, with how good her instincts were, she did not doubt the identity of Asaya.” He shook his head as he recalled that day. “Grandfather asked her not to act rashly, but you knew her,” He ruefully smiled, “She wanted to go on with it anyway.”
“What happened then?” Karen asked confusedly.
“I convinced her to give Helen some time.” Shazan shook his head. “But a week later, Helen still did not act on her desires, and to make things worse, she decided to run away with Asaya.”
He stayed silent after he said those words. His eyes were locked on Helen’s body as he observed her reactions.
“And so you raped me…” She whispered.
“Yes,” Shazan nodded to her words. “I forced your desires on you. Stopped you from taking Asaya away, and stopped you from forever be separated from your daughter.”
A pale smile crept on her lips.
“So it was never about you wanting me. It was only for Asaya?” She asked hopefully.
She wanted to hear him say no. She wanted to hear him say that he desired her as well, but Shazan was not going to lie to her.
“Yes,” He nodded, and her heart broke. “I only did it for my sister.”
A deadly silence engulfed everyone’s senses.
Mina, Nina, Ella, and Asaya were in tears. The rest of the girls felt a weight pressing on their hearts. Some wanted to go over to comfort Helen, who seemed to be on the verge of breaking apart.
“I made you mine. Lyanna backed off. But she warned me that I had made a mistake.” He smiled and clenched his fists. “Black had told us what had happened the day you had arrived at the House of the Second. My mother was willing to accept you in the family. Marilyn was present there as well.” He looked at his mother and then back at Helen. “But you refused to take the same status as Marilyn. You desired more. You wanted to be my Father’s Queen. And when he hesitated, you broke in anger and tried to force him to choose between my mother and you. You made the choice easier for him. And you ran away with the intentions of later conspiring against him. You hid the fact that you were pregnant.”
He shook his head. There was a grimness in his eyes that scared everyone.
“Lyanna told me that you might never change. And she warned me that I needed to keep Asaya away from you so that you wouldn’t influence her mentality. She told me that there would come a day when you would try to force Asaya to achieve everything that you failed to achieve.”
“But it was not like Master…” Keira frowned. Even after all these years, she still addressed Lyanna as her Master. “She wouldn’t have let you do as you please if she had deemed Helen as a potential threat.”
“She didn’t consider Helen a threat. The real threat was Asaya. If she grew up influenced by Helen’s mentality, she would have become a threat to the family.” Arianna smiled and answered Keira. “And she had faith in him. No woman can escape his charm. She let him do as he pleased because it was Helen’s punishment.”
She giggled and looked at Helen.
“How was it, Helen?” She asked. “How were these years of bliss, depravity, protection, love, care… But everything only made you feel guilty. Didn’t it? You always felt like you were the liar, but you were the one living a lie.”
The words broke the final line of defense in Helen’s heart.
“Lyanna never let anyone off if they held even an ouch of hostility to the family.” Arianna sighed. She stood up from her seat and walked over to Helen. She stood in front of her and waited for her to raise her head.
“What’s my punishment for the crime I have committed now?” Helen asked with soulless eyes.
“You didn’t commit any crime.” Arianna smiled at her. “Also…” She leaned near Helen’s ear. “I know my brother better than I know myself. He may have started it all for the sake of Asaya, but he did come to love you with time. And he still is in love with you.” She finished her words and turned around to look at everyone in the room. “Let’s go. We will talk about the rest of the things in the dining room.”
She said and left with Asaya. The rest of the girls followed her. and soon only Shazan, Renesme, little Rose, and Helen remained in the room.
The words Arianna had whispered to her had calmed her down a lot. She hopefully looked at Shazan and found him looking at her with care and affection she had felt all these years.
Helen realized that even though she had been living a lie, her place in his heart was not a lie. But she didn’t dare to remain in the room, she had no courage to face him right now, and so she nodded to him and left the room to where the rest of the family was.
♛ Author’s Note:
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