A Gift from the Goddess By Dawn Rosewood - Chapter 155
Book Two – Ch.# 46
I wasn’t sure how long had passed, but I did eventually awaken to the sound of violent coughing near me.
…A noise that instantly reminded me of my current situation.
“Wakey, wakey,” Clarissa said nearby.
And I groaned, rolling onto my side as the pain returned.
My entire body was aching, completely stiff along every joint and bone. I would have given anything for even the tiniest bit of pain relief medication.
“Come on, Rheyna,” she nagged. “You can’t stay in bed forever.”
…However, the more I did slowly wake up, the more I took in.
I could vaguely hear her shuffling around nearby, coughing every few steps she took. Clearly feeling a bit better despite her limp earlier. And not just that either. I could also smell… something. Food, of some sort.
…Was she cooking?
At that, I mustered all my energy to pull myself upright, hissing from the pain that shot through me. And, sure enough, there she was.
Like a little cave goblin waddling around a fire. It seemed she actually was making something to eat.
“Hungry?” she asked, crouching down to stir the pot.
I stared at her in disbelief.
“…How did you manage to find something worth cooking? I doubt you went out hunting.”
But she pouted a little and kept stirring.
“It’s just a soup made out of some plants I found. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far.”
I curiously got up to inspect the inside contents, discovering some sort of green… goop within. I couldn’t help but scrunch my nose at the sight of it.
Definitely not my definition of ‘food’… but I suppose it was better than nothing.
“Yeah, okay, would like to see you do better, princess,” she snapped, reading my expression.” Can’t always live off daddy’s five-star meals, like some people. Just be grateful you’re getting a meal at all.”
That was awfully… specific. Had I mentioned my father at the house?
Nevertheless though, I frowned at her attitude, my irritation already starting to quickly spark, and I hadn’t even been awake for five minutes by this point.
“I didn’t say anything,” I argued, sitting down by the fire begrudgingly. “Besides, I… appreciated the effort.”
“Yeah… yeah…,” she mumbled. “Like I don’t know what that means.”
But I was far too tired to put up with this today, especially since I was in so much pain right now due to saving her stupid ass.
“What the hell is your problem with me anyway, Clarissa? Like stop mumbling complaints all the time and just tell me already. Or are you just being a bitch for the sake of it? Because it feels like you’ve had it out for me since I first arrived.”
Her eyes instantly snapped up at me then, a quiet rage within her gaze.
“Oh, *I’m* the one with the problem?” she asked, her voice as cold as ice. “You have no freaking idea how ironic that is coming from you of all people. I’d laugh if doing so wouldn’t make me die from coughing. Think you’ve already killed enough of our kind for one day. Wouldn’t want to give you the satisfaction of another so soon.”
… That did it.
It hit a spot deep inside, hurting enough to make me stop caring who she was.
“You don’t know me, you stupid brat!” I yelled. “And even if you did, what good would knowing me as a five year old be? What… did I push your face in a sandbox too hard? Tug on your pigtails? Trip you during hopscotch? Get over yourself already. Imagine holding a grudge for sixteen years. Ridiculous.”
“I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU,” she shouted back. “In fact, I know you better than you clearly know yourself! The absolute audacity you have to say that to me when I’m not the one cowardly pretending as if nothing happened, Rae.”
“Don’t call me that!” I growled. “And how do you even know that name?!”
“Oh? Are we still in the disliking ‘Rae’ phase?” she mocked. “Then which name are we choosing today, huh? Rheyna Knight? Raven Reid?-.”
“-How could you possibly kn-.”
“How about what others call you? The Rogue Luna? Devil of the Mist? The Lycroft heir’s whore?! -.”
“I’LL KILL YOU.”
“—YOU ALREADY ARE!” she screamed back, taking a few seconds to cough before continuing. “…But don’t you dare say I don’t know you. I know EVERYTHING about you. *Everything* I know about your father and his abusive treatment. I know about Kieran, about how you still dream of him every night. I know about the day you were adopted, the children you hurt … I know about your first kill, how when your father handed you that manila folder, it caused you so much anxiety that you threw up in the toilet for hours afterwards.”
“Have you had someone spying on me this whole time?! What the fuck is wrong with-.”
“-I know about your wolf… your poisoning… I know about your greatest fears, your biggest regrets, and about every single secret you have ever harboured. And once you finally decide to wake the fuck up, we can stop these stupid pretences and get back to work.”
“How do you know all of this?!” I screamed, terrified. “I don’t understand how you could possibly-.”
“BECAUSE YOU TOLD ME!” she shouted. “YOU. TOLD. ME.”
“No, I didn’t!”
And she cried out in frustration, turning back to the pot in front of her with a look of defeat.
“You’re pathetic, Rheyna,” she spat. “I bet this is just your way of hiding from reality instead of facing the truth. You think I don’t want to do that too? Play ignorant? I already told you that this was it from now on. I’m not going to enable you in this memory loss crap.”
All of the screaming had done nothing except give me a pulsing headache, accumulating with my already painful muscles and joints. And now, on top of that, I was coming to the realisation that Clarissa was probably not quite right in the head.
“…You’re insane,” I said in a daze, staring ahead at nothing. “Like… certifiably insane. Weren’t you descended from that alleged crazy Silver Saintess? Was it hereditary? Your ability probably… I don’t know, gives you insight into people’s lives and now you’ve deluded yourself into thinking we know each other.”
My face instantly spun to the side, shocked more than anything that it had happened. Sure, it stung a little where her hand had connected, but her strength was far too weak to really do anything.
No… it didn’t hurt.
But it did piss me off.
“No, YOU don’t,” she interrupted. “You should know better than anyone how it’s exactly lies like that which are part of the problem. The reason we’re trapped in this dumb cave right now.”
And I did feel a little bad.
She was right. It was misconceptions and rumours that had apparently brought our pack to its doom, its fall from grace. Even implying it was true during the heat of an argument was too far. After all, so many people had died because of that very thing.
A thought that then made me bite my tongue, stubbornly looking away as she continued to stir the soup. Every few seconds she would grumble under her breath, doing so between coughs.
Truthfully, by this point, my vision was getting blurry, my headache only becoming worse. I probably needed rest more than I needed food. But before I could voice this observation, my ears did manage to pick up on something from her unintelligible quiet rambling.
…Something hard to miss.
“…Going through this again… suffering for nothing …,” she mumbled. “…Should have let her stay dead.”
“…What?” I asked, turning back to look at her. “… What did you just say?”
“Dead!” she repeated loudly, her expression completely serious. “I should have let you stay dead! I don’t have the energy to babysit you through this again. I needed you on your A-game, your peak, the infamous Raven who could make people shake in fear by just the mention of your name alone. Not… whatever this is.”
“…What do you mean… dead’?”
And I felt as another pulse in my head caused me to wince, needing to bring a hand up to touch my temple.
“So, you do know!” she accused. “I can see it all over your face!”
“No, I don-… ahh.”
My head started to flash with images that caused more pain. Pushing against the barrier in my head.
“Yes, you do,” she insisted. “You have to. Just think, goddammit!”
But the response had been automatic, leaving my lips without realising. A force behind it that remained adamant.
… Though I attributed it to her pushing this absurd narrative on me.
I quickly stood up and walked towards the bed, now needing to lie down more than anything.
“Don’t you dare walk away! Remember, Rheyna!”
“How have you been lying to yourself all these months? Haven’t you found it weird that you seem to know things that happen? Feelings of recognition with people you’ve never met? Echoes of memories you can’t seem to recall where from?”
So cold… I’d been so cold.
“Look at your back, Rheyna! You want to deny that too, huh?”
“There’s nothing there. Just a raven tattoo.”
“Is that so? You truly believe that?”
“Of course…,” I said, struggling to breathe.
Only, she didn’t seem deterred in her relentless quest.
“Then prove it,” she snapped.
And she shakily stood up, walking over to a corner where a blanket covered an old mirror. She pulled it off and simply pointed at it, gesturing for me to approach.
But I immediately felt as tears began to fall from my eyes, shaking my head slowly.
“No… I don’t need to. I don’t….”
“Do it, Rheyna.”
…And I cautiously stepped closer, the pain in my head increasing.
Because I shouldn’t look. I didn’t need to. I only had a raven tattoo, I knew that.
There was nothing there.
There was nothing wrong.
Clarissa was just crazy. She was….
And I slowly pulled my shirt up, turning my back towards the mirror… my tears continuing to fall….
“Rheyna, the infamous devil Saintess,” Clarissa said. “The Raven. Known as the harbinger of death. Marked in her rebirth, granting ultimate authority within her title. And yet, in all her glory, eventually came to a slow, excruciating end. One where she, despite her best efforts, was unable to prevent the death of our lineage.”
“…No…,” I whispered.
But she was right.
I could keep lying to myself, keep refusing to look… but there was certainly more than just a raven tattoo there….
It was almost like… bite marks. Semi-circles littering my skin, overlapping in their design to the point where it was almost impossible to make out what they were.
…Unless you knew. Unless you knew exactly what you were looking at.
And if someone is marked with a double crescent moon upon their rebirth then…
“…How many times?” I asked, the air choking in my throat. “…How many times have we done this, Clarissa?”
I couldn’t look away, my heart racing as I stared at the irrefutable evidence…
… The branding on my skin impossible to miss….
…And I proceeded to hear words I never expected to hear.
“…Seven,” she answered. “This is the seventh time… and it is the last.”