Chapter 7 : Night
“I held out for as long as I could. But eventually my mind was lost…” said Olivia in a soft tone “I don’t remember exactly when it happened, or what finally did it… But at some point… I was theirs… And they became my entire world… I wanted them. More than anything. I wanted to please them… I wanted them to want me, to touch me, to take me… I wanted them to hurt me… I even begged them for it… And they did. Everyday…”
Anton said nothing as he dropped his eyes to the table.
“This went on for months, though I barely remember any of it…” continued Olivia “And I suppose it would have gone on forever. Were it not for the fact that one of the demonic elixirs that they were using… Could force a soul-link to form…”
At this, Anton closed his eyes and shook his head.
“And that was when, for the first time in so long, I finally got a lucky break. If it had been any of them but him… Well, luckily it was just us that morning… When he laid his hand on me, and felt the tiny movements inside me… He didn’t get angry, instead he panicked… Knowing that the child, what could very well be his own child, would likely be destroyed as soon as the others found out. He did something that I would never have expected him to do… He used a charm to force me to sleep. And then he took me away from that place… He took me far away from there… And when I finally awoke, I was in a hospital, and was being put through a detox that would remove all of the chemicals and magical residue that was plaguing my body and mind… I was told, that I had been found abandoned outside of a fire station in the middle of the night. And that my detoxification would take a long while to be complete, as they had to be as gentle with me as possible… Because you see, I was pregnant with twin girls…”
Anton remained still as he kept his eyes on the table. He said nothing as Olivia finished off her glass of wine and refilled it.
“The hospital staff were understandably frustrated with me when I refused to tell them what happened. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to risk anyone getting to those men before I did.” said Olivia as she continued “When I was finally discharged. I pulled every cent that I had saved up out of my bank accounts, and bought a house far out in the country. In a place where I would never be found. And then I went into hiding, until several months later, when I gave birth to my daughters…”
Olivia paused for a moment to take a sip of wine.
“Once I was fully recovered, and had the girls safely hidden away, I was finally ready to go back to the company. My mentor was elated with my return, though he too was irritated with my refusal to elaborate on where I had been. Apparently, he had been told that I had left to join another company. He didn’t believe this though… In fact, he had actually reported me missing, and had even begun a private investigation into my whereabouts… Which I have to say, even if this was mostly monetarily motivated, it was still nice to know that at least one person did care that I was gone…” said Olivia around a faint smile “As for the other three owners, they were obviously apprehensive about my return. But a few pictures of the girls and a warning that if they did anything to me, then everything they had done would be exposed, was enough to keep them somewhat at bay, at least at first. Of course this wasn’t going to stop them forever, but having learned to always be on my guard, I was able to just barely stay one step ahead of them. And luckily for me, it turned out that they themselves no longer trusted each other. And I was able to use that fact to my advantage by sowing suspicions and inciting discourse between them. A very long game of cat and mouse involving all four of us soon followed. And the end result of this, in an effort to avoid me, was them having all moved on to other companies. Of course I still kept tabs on them, and after many years, I had finally gathered enough information on each of them to make my move. By this point I knew everything there was to know about them, their daily schedules, where they and their families lived, what security systems they had in place, their medical histories and most importantly, what undeath enchantments they had imbued themselves with. There was just one more piece of information I needed, and once I had it, I would be ready. And then, finally, after years of searching, I found it… I found that damned beach house.”
Clearly pleased with herself, Olivia paused for a moment to enjoy another sip of wine.
“Since there had been no formal interaction between any of us in years now, there was no reason for anyone to ever suspect me. But even so, I did everything I could to limit any evidence of my presence. I had made multiple plans that covered all possible scenarios, and with everything finally in place, I was ready… Years of careful planning had gone into this moment. So I reigned in my excitement, and moved slowly. I had been patient for this long after all, I could afford to be patient a little longer… And after nearly a decade and a half of waiting, that patience would finally pay off… Over the course of several days, I made each of them disappear… And just like that it was over… I had them, all to myself… I had won… Once again, we were all together at that beach house. Though this time, our roles would be reversed.”
“…That house, and the one you took the girls to?” questioned Anton in a soft tone.
“One and the same.” smiled Olivia as her eyes began to glow faintly in excitement “It’s gone now. Burnt to the ground, and then washed away by a storm. And good riddance to it. I hated that wretched place. But even so, I would savor my victory there. I wanted to enjoy every single second of it… So I was slow, and very methodical with my vengeance. And then, after a few months, I was finally satisfied enough to end it… And so I did… And from what I understand, you already know how that went…”
Anton said nothing for a moment as he slowly nodded his head.
“…Did you ever find out which one was the Father?” he asked softly.
“Of course not!” snapped Olivia “That’s the last thing I’d ever want to know…”
Again, Anton remained silent and merely nodded.
As the time began to drag, Olivia cleared her throat.
“Well there you have it then… I think I’ve told you everything of importance now.” she said as she tilted her wine glass back and forth “I do hope that you’re satisfied with your newfound understanding. And that your curiosity has been sated…”
“…No, not quite. Not yet.” mumbled Anton as he looked up at the dark elf “There’s still the question of why you would want the girls there that night? What was the point of that?”
“Ah, yes… That…” nodded Olivia “Well the answer to that is rather simple really. I wanted those men to see them before the end. You see, those girls were the only thing that kept those men from fully acting against me. I would have been killed, or recaptured if it wasn’t for them existing, hidden in the background. Unseen, but never forgotten. Those girls were a bane to those men, they were their ultimate failure. And I wanted them to see this for themselves. I wanted that failure to be the last thing those men ever saw, right before they died…”
Anton was quiet for a moment before he creased his brow in confusion.
“…Was that really it? Was that the only reason?” he questioned “All of your careful planning, and years of patience… Thrown away for something so petty? That still doesn’t make any sense. You had won, Olivia. You had gotten away with it. Why expose the girls to what you had done and then not even explain anything to them at all? You had no reason to create loose ends like that. You were about to end it. So then why when… when…”
His voice trailing off, Anton went silent as realization formed in his eyes.
“Oh, by the Gods, no… You weren’t going to leave any loose ends… Were you…” he whispered softly as he shook his head “You were going to end it all…”
Gazing at her wine glass, Olivia said nothing for a long moment.
“…It was finally over.” she whispered softly “I could be free of it all…”
“…How could you? How could you even consider such a thing, Olivia.” said Anton as his expression hardened in disgust “The men were one thing, that was understandable. But these were just innocent children, these were your own children!”
“My children… Don’t even start with that…” mumbled Olivia as she pointed her ears straight back “I never had any desire to be a mother, and I still don’t. But that choice was stolen away from me… ‘How could I?’ you ask? How could I not!? What do you think I see whenever I look at them!? Do you not think that the very sight of them isn’t a constant reminder of the worst nightmare I’ve ever lived through!? That they are not only the embodiment of the mistakes of those men, but symbols of my own weakness and stupidity! My children! They are not my children! They are not the children of those men! They are nothing! Nothing but living monuments to all of our failures!”
“Enough!” roared Anton as his anger spread throughout his aura “How dare you! They are innocent girls! They had nothing to do with what happened! They’re as much as victims of all this as you are!”
“Victims!? Hardly!” exclaimed Olivia “How can they be called victims when they’ve never even known a hardship!? They’ve lived in bliss their entire lives! Every one of their needs has always been met! Even now, they want for nothing! They aren’t victims! If anything they’re nothing but spoiled, rotten brats!”
Seething with anger, Anton went to respond but quickly stopped short. With a shake of his head, he balled his hands into fists and looked down at his section of tabletop. Taking a deep breath, he sat for a moment to recompose himself before looking back up at the dark elf.
“So why didn’t you do it then? What made you change your mind?” he asked in an even tone.
Olivia stared at him for a moment before dropping her own eyes to the table.
“…In the end, it was just as you said, they really were just innocent girls.” she mumbled softly.
The room went silent for some time before Olivia began to speak again.
“…I had told them to stay still, and just watch. But of course they didn’t. They ran away, and left the house. At that point I didn’t care though. Their appearance had been made, and I knew there was only so far they could go.” explained the dark elf as she continued to stare at the table “When I was finished, I went after them… I had a gun. So I could end it quickly… I found them next to a big rock, not that far from the house. They had been hiding, and had fallen asleep… I could tell they had been crying…”
Pausing, Olivia took a large swig of her wine before continuing.
“I leveled my gun at them… 2 quick shots and it would be over… They would cease to exist…” said the dark elf “But while standing there, staring down at them… That was when a thought occurred to me… These two were just children. Stupid, naive children. They would never say anything. And even if they did, the only person who would have even come close to believing them, was already gone… I didn’t need to do this… So I didn’t… I lowered my gun, and I walked away…”
“…Who was this person that would have believed them?” asked Anton as he raised an eyebrow.
“Their nanny. But she was already dead.” said Olivia.
“Ah, right. Their Nanny Ma…” said Anton as he narrowed his eyes at the dark elf “You didn’t happen to kill her as well, did you?”
“No. Though I admit I had planned to. Just to clean up loose ends. But the old troll had already died on her own by then. And I had nothing to do with her death. Though I was the one who found her, dead at the kitchen table. Apparently she died of natural causes, at least according to the people that came and took her away…” said Olivia as her expression became thoughtful “It’s strange… I’ve always had this feeling, that if she hadn’t died when she did, I would have pulled the trigger that night… I don’t know why, but sometimes I think about that…”
Unsure of how to respond, Anton merely remained silent as he stared at the dark elf.
“Just silly, pointless thoughts though…” mused Olivia as she commenced to finishing off her glass of wine “…So then, was there anything else you had questions about? Or are you finally satisfied now?”
“…Were those three men the only people you’ve ever killed?” asked Anton after a moment of thought.
“Yes.” said Olivia immediately.
“…Hm. …And what about had killed?” offered Anton as he did his best to gauge how truthful the dark elf’s words were “Aside from myself, how many others have you had targeted by assassins?”
“Believe it or not, none.” said Olivia “Though there’s plenty of other people that I’d love to see be gone forever, you’re the only one who has so far pushed me to the point of action.”
“…Really?” questioned Anton as he raised an eyebrow “I have to say that’s a little difficult to believe, Olivia. Considering how quickly you were willing to act against me, I can’t help but to be left with the impression that you’re fairly comfortable with deploying assassins. It certainly doesn’t seem to be something you’d hesitate to do.”
“Your impression of me is flawed then.” said Olivia “Despite what you may think, I’m not nearly so rash as to immediately attempt to solve all my problems with violence.”
“Then why were you this time?” asked Anton “Was it actually out of concern for your daughters? The very same daughters that you’ve allegedly considered nothing but a burden up till now?”
Pointing her ears straight back, Olivia narrowed her eyes in annoyance.
“…Well?” prompted Anton.
“…You filth. You may not be a perfect match to any of the men that I dealt with, but as far as I know you’re still a human man, just as they were. And no one knows better than I do just how cruel you human men can be!” growled Olivia through her clenched teeth “Despite how I may feel about my daughters, I’m not so heartless that I would ever wish them to live through the same fate that I did! Or to go through the same horrible nightmare of trying to live a life, all while knowing that their abuser is still out there, somewhere, ready and willing to happily put them back into chains… No, I’ll spare them from that life. A life I know all too well. A life of suffering, paranoia and pain… And since I know that those idiots will never be able to achieve vengeance on their own, or hide their guilt, I’ll just get rid of you myself…”
Anton stared at the dark elf for a long moment before dropping his eyes back to the table and nodding slowly.
“Hm… I see… Well, while I can sympathize with why you would want to believe them, we both know that your notions of me are wrong.” he said softly as he looked back up at Olivia “I am not the same as the men who harmed you. I do not want to destroy the girls, or force them to live in suffering. Quite the contrary. I want them to be powerful, capable and happy. And you know this. You’ve seen the evidence of this yourself. And you’ve heard it in their voices… I am not their enemy… I am the one who is helping them to grow.”
Olivia merely gazed back at him for a bit before looking away.
“Those two are idiots. Easily fooled.” she said dismissively “They wouldn’t even know how to recognize an enemy that was standing right in front of them…”
“…Right.” said Anton in a tired tone as he shook his head and sighed through his nose “Okay then… At this point, I think it’s safe to say that both of our impressions of each other are clearly flawed…”
“One man’s opinion…” mumbled Olivia as she eyed her empty glass.
“…Ugh, this has seriously turned into such a long night.” sighed Anton as he leaned back in his chair “There’s a lot to take in here…”
“Oh, please. Don’t act so worn out all of a sudden…” grumbled Olivia as she refilled her glass yet again “You were the one who insisted on knowing the truth after all. Well now you’ve got all the understanding you wanted… Careful what you wish for and all that.”
“Yes… Careful indeed…” mumbled Anton as he closed his eyes and let his thoughts wander as he began to go over everything he had just been told.
As he sat there thinking, one decision quickly became resolved in his mind, and that decision was in regards to writing a book on dark elves.
Here was a perfect example of exactly why he would write his book.
So many things would have been different if those who had been caring for Olivia had known how her kind worked. If they had the knowledge about her that they needed, they could have helped her, they could have made her whole. But they just didn’t know.
And as a result she was left helpless.
He would see to it that in the future, a source for the information that was needed would exist.
He would make sure that a scenario like this would never happen again.
But that was a problem for another day. Right now he had more pressing issues to deal with.
Cracking his eyelids, Anton found the dark elf gazing off to the side and sipping her wine. He blinked open his eyes fully when she suddenly spoke.
“So is this going to be the part were you tell me you’ve changed your mind about trying to blackmail me?” said Olivia as she gave Anton a sideways glance “Or should I just be expecting a visit from the authorities instead?”
“…Authorities?” repeated Anton “Why would you be expecting a visit from the authorities?”
“Come now. Don’t play dumb.” growled the dark elf “Lets not pretend like we weren’t just discussing the fact that I murdered three men… Not that calling anyone would do you any good without proof beyond hearsay…”
“Oh, that. Right. No, I’m not calling anybody about that. You were completely justified with what you did there.” said Anton nonchalantly “You didn’t murder three men, Olivia. You put down three sick animals. And as far as I’m concerned the world is better off for what you did.”
Seemingly taken aback, Olivia went still as Anton dropped his aura and began to rise from his seat.
“No, the only issues I have with you are centered on how you’ve treated your daughters.” said Anton as he stood up “Well, that and I’m also not happy with your attempts to kill me. Which on that topic, you seriously need to stop doing that before I fully loose my patience with you…”
“Where are you going?” questioned Olivia as Anton began to make his way around the table.
“Home.” said Anton as he stopped to stand in line with the sitting dark elf “I’m tired. The girls are waiting for me. And I’ve got a lot to think about now… Namely whether or not I’m going to tell the girls the truth about their Father… Or Fathers… And I also need to consider what, if anything, I’m going to do with you…”
“Do with me?” repeated Olivia as she narrowed her eyes “And what exactly is that supposed to me?”
“…You shot me in the head, Olivia.” said Anton as he returned the dark elf’s glare with his own tired look “Do you honestly think I’m not going to consider returning the favor in kind?”
“Oh, please. Don’t act as though anything even came of that.” grumbled Olivia “You certainly don’t seem to have suffered much from it, if at all.”
“Just because it wasn’t effective doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.” countered Anton “This may be a surprise for you to hear, Olivia. But I generally don’t appreciate it when people try to kill me. And I normally don’t let such guilty parties live… Though it seems like more and more I’ve been making a habit out of doing just that lately… Oh well… Anyways…”
Easing away from him, Olivia pointed her ears straight back as Anton stepped up close enough to loom over her.
“I’m going to be honest with you, dark elf. I don’t want to have you as an enemy, nor do I have any desire to kill you. At least not at the moment. That’s not to say that I can’t kill you, or that I won’t. Just that I don’t currently want to.” said Anton as he stared down at the glaring dark elf “Now that being said, you really, really need to stop giving me reasons to change my mind about that…”
Olivia stiffened as she felt the sharp pinpricks of Anton’s aura concentrating around her.
“Call off your assassins, accept my offer of peace, and most importantly…” said Anton as his features began to faintly darken “Do not ever, and I mean ever, shoot me again… Do you understand me?”
Olivia’s jaw tightened as her glare intensified.
“…I said. Do you understand me?” repeated Anton.
“…Fine.” hissed the dark elf as she smiled wickedly “I guess I can promise that I won’t shoot the poor baby again… Moot point that it is, considering the people downstairs will never let you leave this place alive…”
“They will if they want to keep themselves and their building intact.” said Anton as he straightened up “I guess we’ll find out soon enough how wise they can be with their decisions…”
Startled, Olivia couldn’t help but to jump a bit as Anton reached over and disabled the rooms ward by tapping on her disc.
Turning away from her, Anton made his way towards the exit.
Following him with her eyes, Olivia went still as he paused at the closed door.
“…Before I go, I do want to thank you for sharing with me tonight, Olivia. …I know that had to be a difficult thing to do.” said Anton as he kept his back to her “And while I don’t want you to take this as mere pity on my part, because it isn’t… For what it’s worth, I do want to apologize on behalf of my kind… I am sorry… I’m sorry for everything that happened to you…”
Taken aback, Olivia said nothing as her eyes remained fixed on the back of Anton’s shoulders.
“Truly, I am sorry…” continued Anton “…Goodnight, Olivia.”
Watching him as he made to leave, Olivia sat up straight in her chair.
“Wait…” she said softly.
Stopping short, Anton went still as he waited.
“…No, I refuse.” said Olivia “I don’t want your thanks, or your apologies… And I refuse to live in your debt… I don’t want to owe you anything anymore.”
“…Anymore?” said Anton “What do you mean by anymore? You don’t owe me anything?”
“No, I do…” mumbled Olivia as she looked away from him “I owe you my thanks… Whether you meant to or not, you’ve given me a great gift… One that I didn’t even know I wanted, until I saw it…”
“…What are you talking about?” questioned Anton as he tilted his head slightly back.
“…I’m talking about my daughters, and their magic.” explained Olivia as her eyes seemed to go distant in memory “Seeing them, like that… Seeing them… So powerful, dangerous, and unstoppable… That was beautiful… They were beautiful… And now they won’t ever be like I was. They won’t be helpless. Or trapped. They can fight back, they can free themselves… They can kill if they need to… And it’s all thanks to you… You did that…”
“Yes, but I didn’t do it for your sake though. You don’t owe me any thanks for that.” said Anton.
“No, I do. Whether I like to admit it or not, I do. But I refuse to owe you anything. So here is where we stand. You keep your thanks, and your apologies, and I’ll keep mine.” said Olivia as she grudgingly looked back over at him “And in that way, we’ll now be even…”
Anton stood still for a moment before slowly nodding his head.
“Very well, that’s fair enough I suppose. Fair enough that I can agree with it at least.” he said as he continued to nod his head “There is one other thing that I want to give you though. And you’re going to take it, whether you want to or not.”
“…Excuse me? And what is that?” asked Olivia as she tightened her eyes at him.
“My word.” said Anton “You have my word, and my solemn promise, that the girls will never suffer through the same trauma that you did. And they’ll never know the pain that you know… You were right when you said that they wouldn’t ever be like you. They won’t. I won’t allow that to happen. They will never need to make the same decisions that you had to… Forced to become murderers, just to keep their sanity… No, not those girls. That will never be them. And had I known at the time, that would never have been you. You would have never even have a chance to kill those men, Olivia. Not before I did.”
Olivia said nothing as she merely stared at him.
“That is my promise to you. Accept it or don’t, it’s yours either way…” said Anton as he opened the door and paused before leaving “…Despite everything, this was still a lovely evening, Olivia. …I appreciate our conversation, and I wish you a goodnight.”
With that, Anton left the room.
Alone now and sitting motionless, Olivia stared at the closed door that Anton had disappeared though for some time before the sound of a small explosion coming from somewhere below her, brought her mind back to the present, and she turned back to the table as she listened for any more commotion.
Minutes later the huli jing, who was suddenly looking quite disheveled, entered the room and gave her a fresh glass of wine. Which was courtesy of the man who had just paid their bill before leaving.
Correctly assuming that the fox girl was talking about Anton, Olivia grudgingly accepted the wine before shooing the girl away.
Placing the glass on the table, Olivia rose from her seat and gathered herself together before turning to leave. Glancing back at the glass of wine, she sighed in annoyance before quickly downing it and slamming the glass back on the table.
Her irritation clear on her face, the dark elf made her way through the building, ignoring a cordoned off section of heavily burnt walkway as she did, and stepped outside to stand beneath the porte cochere.
Putting off summoning her chauffeur for a moment, Olivia looked up at the night sky and took in the mesmerizing sight of the Life Stream swirling high above her.
As she stood there, breathing in the cool night air and gazing up at the twinkling lights, she began to go over her conversation with Anton, and this just worked to annoy her even further.
She had no idea why she had told him as much as she had, as she certainly hadn’t planned to ever tell anyone about that particular aspect of her life. Such things should have been taken to the grave after all. And yet, here she was, spilling everything out to what was essentially a complete stranger, or really what was in all actuality even worse than that, an enemy. Her enemy.
Although he apparently didn’t see her as such… Or at least he claimed he didn’t want to…
Why did she tell him everything… Why did she tell him the truth…
Because he asked… Because he wanted to know… Because he was the first person who has ever cared enough to try and find out…
Why did she feel so comfortable while talking to him, insulting him, and even threatening him… She knew he was dangerous just from the fact that he had apparently taken out several of her assassins… And yet not once did she ever feel like she was in any actual danger while with him…
Nor did she ever sense a single drop of fear in him at all…
Who even is this man…
Glancing over to the designated portal area, Olivia began to wonder what Anton might be doing right then. He had said he was going to go home to the girls, which meant that he was probably still at the house she had bought to keep her daughters in. Meaning that the bastard was currently in her house, right now, with her things, and her daughters… Well he could keep her daughters if he wanted them so badly, and that house, really. What did she care anyway. She had already taken all of her things out of there. Well, all her things except for…
Olivia’s eyes widened as her mind suddenly jumped to the vault in her room, and the items she kept hidden away in there.
“Crap.” whispered the dark elf to herself as she made to walk to the portal area.
Anton was smart, or at least as far as she could tell he seemed smart. She could admit that much. And it wasn’t unlikely that if given enough time that he would find her vault, and then he’d… he’d… He’d do what, exactly…
Slowing her steps, Olivia began to consider why she was so concerned with Anton finding her vault. It wasn’t as though he would even know why she had those items. Though, he did know enough about her past to possibly figure out why… Still though. What would it even matter if he knew… Why did she suddenly feel the need to explain herself to him… Why did she even care if he thought less of her… He was her enemy… Right…
Coming to a stop just before the portal area, Olivia felt herself wobble a bit as she found her footing.
The wine had definitely begun to affect her, though she did still have her wits about her, at least for the most part.
She hesitated for a moment before looking down at the small clasp purse she held clutched in her hand. As she stared at it, her resolve suddenly hardened.
She had no reason to second guess herself here. This was her house after all. And she could visit her house if she wanted to. Whenever she wanted to. And no one was going to stop her. Not even him…
Opening her purse, Olivia quickly pulled out a small collapsible mirror that once opened would float in the air in front of her. Checking herself over real quick, she straightened her bangs a bit, dabbed at her lip gloss and adjusted her bust by bending forwards and maneuvering the top of her dress back and forth until her cleavage was once again being showcased just right.
Satisfied with the way she looked, the dark elf put her mirror away and commenced to rummage about in her purse until with a tiny cry of excitement, she pulled out a small, coin-like portal token.
Her mind now racing to try and figure out what she was going to say when she saw him, Olivia activated the portal, and after taking a deep breath, stepped through it.