Grace was once again in a state of shock. What had happened over the past couple of weeks brought her to exhaustion. She returned to the Academy, dressed similar to how she first arrived. Wearing a cloak and carrying a suspicious bag, she headed straight for her dorm room.
While in hallways of the dorm building, he spotted a cloak fluttering around the corner and he was immediately caught in suspicion. Who would be sneaking around at this time? he questioned internally. Curious, he followed them.
Unknowingly, her copy of a newspaper article dropped out of the bag. As she did not sense it happening, she resumed to find her dorm room. The newspaper article only just happened to show a big headline, declaring the death of Seth Edan.
She knew that someone was following her, so she wouldn't have time to lock the dorm room door behind her. She just rushed into her dorm room quickly and threw her bag in an isolated corner, slumping against her bed when she was finished.
"He was killed by the Mafia. I went to visit him, stupid mistake. He hadn't changed at all and resumed to assault me. Then he tried to do the unthinkable. I think you're smart enough to know what the unthinkable is. I managed to fight him off before he could do that, but it was traumatising. He said the prostitutes had become boring to him. So I escaped and travelled to Italy, to have a hit put on him. It's amazing what a bit of money can do." She replied, in a consistently nonchalant voice. "After that, Victoria kidnapped me and made me join her army."
Caelum's shock quickly turned to anger and he felt the strange urge to want to punch something. More or less Grace's literally dead beat father. "That bast***d deserved it. How the hell could he do that to his own daughter?"
"The son of a b*tch should be greatful he's dead or else I would've personally murdered him myself," he growled. Once he had calmed down, he remember something else. "Wait... You said Victoria kidnapped you? What, when?"
"I'm sorry. You're just an innocent person, and I'm dragging you into this mess." She sighed, before continuing. "It was a couple of days after I visited the Mafia. I remained in Italy, and she just happened to pay a visit to the place where I was. She had someone else with her, but I didn't recognise them. She managed to find me, and that's when she kidnapped." After finishing what she was saying, she stood up and took off her cloak -- revealing a black and red uniform. It was not the Fire Kingdom uniform.
"Caelum, I'm still trying to make sense of it myself. But I'm struggling. All I know is that Victoria is going to try and take over the Fire Kingdom and I've been dragged into it by force. I don't know why she made me join, and I don't even know if any of my relatives are involved." She replied. "I just want this stupid thing to be over so I can start a new, peaceful life. Now that my father is dead, I should finally be happy."
He laughed. "Hey, not all of you are bad. Just, 60% of you." He wrapped his arms tighter around her. "I don't know exactly... But he's in our dorm. He moved into Kyle old room. Haven't got a look at him though."
Seojun laughed, bringing the couple to be aware of his presence by the open door. He clapped slow and dramatically as he straightened his posture. "How have you been little sister? I never got the chance to meet you thanks to dear ol' dad."
"What? You thought he was pure before you were born? You guessed wrong kid. He's been having affairs for years now, probably has more children than he can count. The thing that's special about us," he paused and walked towards them, very aware of Caelum's deadly glare. "...Is he decided to keep us."
Grace's rare anger was building up. "I know he has had affairs! One of my Christmas presents recently was finding out that my gamer friend is also my half-sister from the Netherlands! I of all people know what he was like. Being his only legitimate child, I faced the biggest wrath of all."
"Did you really? Or is that what you've been telling yourself for years? That you're the only one suffering. That you're the only one who faces his cruelty. At least you had access to the rest of the world, you could've told someone. You had friends, distractions!" he took a deep breath to refrain from yelling at Grace. "I had nothing. I was locked away in a stupid mansion with only servants to accompany me. Do you know how it feels to go insane? Do you know?!"
"Looks like we are going to have to tell each other exactly what we went through, because right now, I only know that you are someone claiming to be my long lost half-brother who went through similar trauma." She then got off Caelum's lap, giving him a small hug, before preparing two chairs in the middle of her room and gesturing for Seojun to sit on one. "Firstly, who are you?"
He rolled his shoulders, to calm himself. Seojun sat down in a chair, but not before shooting Caelum a small glare of his own. The guy was bothering him, and he was trying his hardest not to flip him off. "Well since I already know who you are, how about you just read it?" He removed a folded piece of paper and handed it to Grace. "Go ahead, read lil' sis."
Grace grabbed the piece of paper and proceeded to read the birth certificate. "Well, I must admit that this certificate makes things easier. Alright, this confirms that you are Seth's son." When she had finally finished reading, she looked at Seojun. "Your name's Seojun and you're from Canada. Funny. My mother was Canadian. Alright, now you just need to tell me what Seth did to you. You said he locked you up?"
"Long story short, our father wanted to keep me a secret from the world. You know all those times your father disappeared for 'vacations'?" He leaned back in his chair, giving Grace a leveled stare. "He came to monitor me. Used me for whatever he wanted. He kept me in a mansion out in the countryside. Miles away from civilization. Paid people to stay with me, make sure I didn't get any ideas and run away. Make sure I didn't die." He laughed a little, but nothing was funny. "He had a habit of hitting me for every little thing I did. Practically carried a whip with him everywhere in the house. He even—" he stopped abruptly, holding his hand to his temple. "—how do I say this? Violated me, all the time. As if his interests weren't just limited to women."
Any sign of happiness in Grace died. "He...actually succeeded with you." She responded, referring to the fact that Seth was able to violate Seojun. She then closed her eyes and bent her head downwards. "I'm trying so hard not to throw up."
"Hey, want me to get a bucket? Trust me, if I told you anything else you would've started vomiting minutes ago," he asked. "Anyway. I told you my story. Now you tell me yours, let's see who had it worse off."
"I would question you further, but you could just go to the archives and find out everything about me, including my secrets, on my profile. Alright, I'll tell you my side of the story." She sat down on one of the chairs. "If you know me so well, you'd know that my mother died a couple of years after I was born. That's when his abuse towards me started. It all stemmed from the fact that he had been left as a single father to a child that was born purely to solidify his marriage and appease his father, the King at the time, so he used vices to try and cope. His vices started off as being drugs and alcohol, but because of his insatiable lust for women, he turned to prostitutes as well. Every night, I would be introduced to a new woman -- she'd stick around for a few days, before being kicked out. Some even got pregnant to him. A lot of the pregnant women would end up dead -- I'm sure you can work out what happened to them. Because I was a curious child, he became angry with me and started to beat me. You say that my status as a royal should mean that I could tell someone, but I physically couldn't tell anyone -- out of fear and shock. I was scared that if I did say something to someone, Seth would find out and beat me harshly. The beatings progressed in how much they hurt, to the point where I couldn't even attend school on some days. That's the beginning of the story, not all of it."
"I didn't come here for you to give me a five page essay on what I already know little sister. Don't think I didn't do some research of my own. You'll quickly learn I'm quite inquisitive... I like knowing the whole story." He leaned forward and lifted Grace's chin so he could look directly into her eyes. "What do you think I was doing for a week holed up in my room? I might've been given a tutor, but sweet sweet father forbid practically any information about the Edan family to be taught to me. I had to bend the rules a lot just so I could get a peek at the faces of our queen and king. The ones—" he paused to glance at Caelum and then came closer to her so he could whisper in her ear, "—Victoria is planning to kill."
He sighed and tentatively rolled his eyes but displaced his hand from Grace's chin and pulled himself away from her. "For your information Jeong, I'm older than you by a year, five months, and three days," he retorted with a harsh tone. Seojun switched his line of vision back to Grace and lowered his voice to prevent Caelum from possibly listening in. "Look, as my half-sister I have right to care about you and tell you things. I'll keep you safe from Victoria's wrath as long as you stay out of this. You're too innocent for this battle."
Grace's expression became more fierce, now. "You can think whatever you want, but just know this. I'm not going to be a bystander anymore. Also, did you know that I was the one who put the hit on Seth?"
"You?" he simply said, raising one eyebrow above the other. "What? Do you want me to clap or something? Tell you good job? Sure, you organized a Mafia hit, but have you ever killed a person before Gracie?" He smirked, tempted to laugh at her. "I understand you don't want to stand aside while things happen, but there is truth to my words and you of all people should know it better than anyone. You're not meant for this type of stuff. You're not a murderer."
"Oh, I'm not a murderer. You're right. Why bother when Victoria has so many enemies already? One of them is bound to gain an upper hand. However, I have a right to get involved - for the sake of the Fire Kingdom's safety and the safety of Elementrium."
Seojun was half tempted to inform his younger sister on just how many people were on Victoria's side. There were millions from other kingdoms behind her and her future monarchy. Victoria was much more influential than one might think, and can change a man's opinion in a blink of an eye. He kept his mouth shut anyway. "Such a brave little girl, aren't you?" he hummed. "Let's make a deal, shall we?"
"I'll give you missions, things you can do to help stop Victoria, and protect you from any threat her army might pose to you. In return, you get me a meeting with the full royal court, including all the duchesses and dukes. And before you ask why I don't do that latter myself, they know you better Grace."
He shook Grace's hand for a few seconds before releasing hers and letting his drop to the side of his chair. "Another thing, keep your boyfriend under control when I'm around. He seems keen on splitting my head open."
He scowled, "Well, it's annoying as hell when he's burning holes in the side of my head. There won't be a sense of trust between us if you can't even talk to me without having your bodyguard in the room."
Caelum instantly wanted to say know, but Seojun had a point. There would be no trust if there was no foundation to build that trust on. "Alright, but don't you dare think about hurting her," he threatened.
She took one quick glance of despair at Seojun, before closing the door behind her and Caelum. "I can only make sense of things with you around me. Alright, I have a plan of my own. I don't trust Seojun, but if there's one thing that I've learned from being a duchess, it's that you have to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I will have to play my part in the civil war. But I am not on Victoria's side. I'm on the side that is willing to keep peace in Elementrium. After all, Cecil Edan tried being a usurper, and his plan was unsuccessful. Victoria's plan will be no different. I am probably going to be enlisted by Victoria as a messenger, as she thinks that I am weak. Yes, I am weak but I am not entirely weak. I will use my position to gain information, but I will be feeding back information to the, well, "good" side. I'll ensure that I do not get into danger, and if I do, I know you're willing to protect me."
He nodded in agreement after she finished. "Of course I'll be willing to protect you Gracie, you know that. The one question is, how do we monitor Seojun? If he's as dangerous as he comes off as, he'll be difficult to keep track of. But I also realized something. Helping Victoria wouldn't get Seojun anything, and he seems to be the type of person who would only help someone who is obviously for a bad cause, for his own benefit. I already have a suspicion Victoria sent him, but there's something about him that sends out a 'I could care less' in neon lights. He could be useful, if we play our cards right." He glanced at the closed door before he remember something again. "And... where has Anneline been? I've heard nothing from the other Edans, which is surprising, whatsoever."
"You're right. Seojun is highly suspicious. As of the others, I know that Branton recently graduated, so I assume he's going to be on Earth somewhere with his girlfriend. Anneline not contacting is strange. I think something may have happened with her."
"No. That's odd too. If the circumstances were normal, I would assume that Anneline was moping about the fact that the Trinity she so loved was gone. But the circumstances aren't normal. Caelum, I entrust you with finding Anneline. If we can find Seung, we can detect Anneline's whereabouts."
She smiled a little at Caelum, before giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Well with everything that I've just learned, I don't think I'm gonna go to sleep. I'm feeling hungry, so I'm gonna head to a restaurant. And now that my father is dead, I'm gonna have to pay a couple of visits to Monaco soon -- since he was forced to put me in his will."
Instead of opening the door to Seojun sitting in his chair waiting patiently, Grace opened the door to a messy room, two burning chairs, a trail of blood, and a message in the wall that clearly wrote 'YOU CAN'T HELP HIM'. Caelum cursed aloud and dragged Grace away from the doorway, as if physically seeing her room would somehow hurt her.
Finding an excuse to travel to Earth was troublesome enough, but getting tickets for an airplane ride to South Korea took even more long annoying nights and struggles. Finally Caelum sat in a chair next to Grace, scrolling through his phone as he waited for the plane to show up.
"It borders France and is close to the Mediterranean Sea. I travel there from Nice, which is 13km/8 miles from it," Grace informed Caelum. "When all of this blows over, I think it's fair that I take you there. It's a beautiful place."
"So, you excited Gracie?" he exclaimed. "I can't wait to show you my hometown, Daegu. Oh, and I have to take you to Seoul too, and the Taebaek mountains! We can go hiking and—" he glanced at her. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"
Grace giggled in a way that was reminiscent of when she first met Caelum. "I am excited, Caelum. Anywhere besides Elementrium right now sounds good." She responded in the innocent voice she was known for.