It sickened her. It sickened her to recall how when she opened her eyes, the first thought that struck her was, 'It would be satisfying to kill my twin brother'.
Seeing him act as if nothing had happened after she had run away from her fourth engagement made her want to kill him but she knew she couldn't—not even if she tried to. After all, her magic had been sealed after entering the real world. Her brother knew that and that might have been the only reason he wasn't trying to kill her either.
She glanced at him - six feet in height, blue eyes that resembled hers, broad shoulders. Just like her, he was called attractive, but his presence deeply irritated Cassandra.
"Give me my coffee!" Her eyes shifted toward the steaming paper cup in his hand as he dangled it in front of her.
It was black, with no sugar and no cream. Just how she liked it.
A smug smile appeared on his face. "Only if you remove that dead body… that cadaver to your left." He was staring at the body lying peacefully on the metal bed, covered by a white cloth.
"This is a morgue for crying out loud!" she fired back. "Corpses are supposed to be everywhere."
"Exactly! Is that why you are casually sleeping next to it? What are you, some kind of pervert or something?"
She growled and walked away from the metal table where she had been sleeping earlier. "It was research." To be fair, not many people would dare lie on the metal table while they were still alive. The only reason why she was here was because it is the only damn thing that was motivating her to write her horror novel.
Maybe to some people. But not her.
"You wanted to feel the table where corpses lie? Now… that research is just weird." He laughed and held the cup of coffee near his mouth.
"Don't you dare!" What upset her the most was the coffee. Oh, her coffee!
"It's my money! My coffee!"
"You don't drink black coffee!"
Carmichael La Roche, her twin brother, always knew how to push her buttons. He knew her too well.
"Give it to me!" she hissed.
"Only if you remove your white coat. It stinks!"
She frowned at that. "Jesus! It smells of detergent! The morgue smells of disinfectants and detergent! What the hell is wrong with you?" Her brows furrowed as she eyed the coffee.
"Can't blame me. I am not the weird one in the room, sleeping on tables meant for corpses." Seeing her face darken, Carmichael laughed. "Alright… here you go." He put the paper cup on the wooden table inside her office.
She took it and inhaled its rich aroma. Then she took a sip.
Coffee meant heaven.
Black coffee was just the perfect thing to start her morning or night. Whatever. "Time?"
"Six in the evening. Do you work here alone? Do you often…"
"Enough with the questions. Why are you here? Last time I remember, you were in Zealandia trying to kill demons and dark ones?"
"That was two years ago."
"It was?" She didn't realize that it had been that long since she left Zealandia, the eighth continent of the world.
Shrugging, she took another sip. "Why are you here then? It's been two years. Are you here to take me back?"
Carmichael stared at her for a few seconds. His jaw clenched and his eyes turned sharp as he nodded. He must have been anticipating that she would fight back.
"We need you."
"Not coming back."
"Look, about those engagements…"
"Can you just listen to me?"
"Nope!" Cassandra finished her coffee.
"Cassie… look. It's been tough."
She thought she heard a tinge of sadness in his voice. But she was done with Zealandia. She didn't want to go back.
"Not going." She stood and put the empty paper cup on her table before she surveyed the nine square meters office that she was given when she had arrived there three days ago.
After recalling where she had put her jacket, she took off her white lab coat and walked towards the door to retrieve her clothing. "I need to finish my book. I have a deadline."
She heard him scoff behind her.
"You are writing?"
"I always wanted to write."
"You're a warrior, you kill demons."
"Not anymore." She looked at the mirror just behind the door and examined her hair before combing the loose strands and redoing her messy bun. Then she smiled and grabbed her bag. "I'm leaving. Need to write. Don't bother me again."
"Michael… I'm not coming back." It took her months to finally find something to do after arriving in the outside world. Another few months to finally adjust to the fact that her magic didn't exist there. It was tiresome and frustrating. She didn't like it.
"You're in danger."
His words stopped her. She turned toward him, her eyes meeting with his. "What are you talking about?"
"They are looking for you."
"They don't know me. There are only three people who know about my ability aside from me. You, father and grandfather."
"Exactly. Grandfather told me this a few days ago, about the prophecy."
The mention of the prophecy created goosebumps all over her body. She shivered. Not from the cold, but from the thought of all the blood and fire that she had seen in one of her 'episodes'.
Just the thought of it made her face pale. "How did he know?"
She had heard about this prophecy when she was a child. At first, it was as simple as a small whisper. Until it had turned into a voice of a woman that would always call out her name.
"I can't tell you here."
She narrowed her eyes before she nodded and walked out of the morgue with her brother in tow.
After walking a few blocks, she led him toward the fourth floor of her apartment building where she was currently living.
"Make yourself comfortable," she said as she removed her shoes and grabbed her slippers. "Remove your shoes. I hate it when it's dirty."
"Your house smells just like the morgue."
"Unlike you, I clean my house every day." She took off her coat and sat on the three-seater sofa across the fireplace in her small living room. A small light from the lamp to her left created shadows of the sort that children were afraid of in the night.
"Speak… I want to know the details."
Carmichael, who had just finished taking off his shoes, lifted his gaze and eyed the sofa that she bought second-hand from the market.
For a few moments, she thought she had seen disgust in his eyes.
He took a step toward her. "They know that the fortuneteller exists but they are scared to put it out in the open because they are afraid that the empire would know who it is. Grandfather said, they would send an assassin. So, you need to come back as soon as possible so that we can protect you."
Cassandra scoffed, her lips lifting into a smug smirk. "Too bad… "
"You don't look scared." He frowned. Was he expecting her to cower in fear?
"Oh... I am scared. But then again… I can take care of any assassins on my own." Then she beamed, eyes twinkling as if she saw something that had excited her. "Just like how I am about to take care of you now… Mr. Assassin," she said in a sinister tone before her legs sprang forward.
She didn't know what was making her angry. Was it the fact that this Dark one was imitating her brother? Or the fact that they actually thought that she would be so dumb as to fall into their trap!
Like an agile cat, she launched herself at him. Just as the dagger in her hand glinted against the light from the lamp, he reacted.
But it was too late.
She already had him in her clutches.