I watch Selene fall into gait with Artemis once more. Carefully, I create a barrier around my mind—although I doubt anyone would care to look at my thoughts—before immersing myself in the only place I am safe, my mind.
My feet move on their own accord as I follow the two of them. The two mingle and whisper as though the argument from moments ago had not happened. I can see the adoration in Selene’s eyes as she gazes at Artemis, practically melting into his arms.
As much as I do not believe in emotions, a heavy, sinking feeling is present within me. And try as I might, I cannot force it to leave my mind. I ease my thoughts away from me and back to Artemis and Selene. Perhaps thinking of something other than myself will ease the pain.
It does not. It may be my mind playing tricks on me, but the feeling only multiplies when I place my eyes on the two lovers once more… I cringe at my own thoughts. That is what they are after all, lovers, even though that breaks every rule for Destinies.
My mind turns back to facts, the only things I can count on. I am not alive. A fact. Eclipse is alive. Another fact. Selene and Artemis will only hurt themselves by immersing their minds in emotions.
My mind slips. Could they really be in love with each other? I pause in mid-step. Of course, nobody notices my absence from behind them. I ease down the pain that rises in me again. Destinies are not supposed to be able to love. Emotions interfere with everything we work for.
I glance at Selene and Artemis once again. He makes an odd face, and she laughs at—no, with him.
My eyes turn down to the snow, the constant reminder that we do not really exist in this world. To me, it is a blessing that we do not have to face the horrors within ourselves. It is a blessing to be able to know what I am doing all the time, and to do things for someone else instead of me. That way, if I make a mistake, I will not be the one getting hurt.
I shake off the feeling of guilt. I refuse to succumb to emotions like the other two have. I am here to do my job, and unlike them, I will do it right. Pride swells in my chest as I run after Selene and Artemis.
As I approach them, they do not even bother to acknowledging me. I immediately dismiss the feelings arising inside me. I will succeed when they fail. I live for facts and reality, not for emotions and hopes. The reality is that I am not important in the grand scheme of things. Eclipse is.
The thought of him warms me. He is my life. Good feelings bubble inside me, and I allow them to move freely through me. It feels right to be happy because of Eclipse.
“Quicken your pace, Selene, Artemis,” I say as I maneuver around and in front of them. “We need to get to Eclipse, Talon, and Rain!”
“Why the sudden burst of excitement?” Selene giggles, as she catches up with me.
“It is not excitement, but anticipation. I am eager to find Eclipse, and become complete. Besides, the sooner we arrive, the better we can fulfill the tasks the Saonis has given us.” I do not realize what I have said until after it escapes my mouth. It is another burst of information from my mouth that I did not realize I knew.
“Who is the Saonis?” she asks.
It is the same question I am asking myself. Fortunately, the answer comes up in my mind as well. “The Saonis is the group of six deities, one of each life form. There are two from each of the three Realms,” I pause. The words are all present, but I cannot piece together what they truly mean. I continue, trying to decipher the meaning of the words I am saying. “They are the ones who assign us our roles in the world. They write our destinies.”
Selene gives me a look of confusion. As much as I try to prevent emotions from racking my body, the sinking feeling is back.
Suddenly, her expression clears up. “That wasn’t confusing at all,” she laughs.
“Really?” I ask in surprise. Is it possible she understands something that even I do not?
The look on her face is sympathetic now. “It was sarcasm, Apollo. Surely you’ve heard of that.”
I nod. It is a hurtful, ironic taunt. I remind myself to keep an eye out for sarcasm. “I was simply acting in response to your sarcastic comment, as well. I was just playing along,” I lie.
A weak smile crosses her face, and she shrugs, “Of course.”
I grin back, but the moment she turns away, the grin disappears. I cannot believe they played me for a fool!
Still, I know more than the rest of them in the things that actually matter, and I find comfort in knowing what everyone else does not. Facts are the only thing that I can count on.
Everything else has let me down.
Continue to Chapter 3