Valencian Prison, Yew
“You, my child, are a Bio Hybrid.”
“W…What?! You mean…I’m like Magnus?”
“Ah, so you are familiar with the term; good, that simplifies things,” Sephyrus said. Without any explanation, the man handed me a simple and ordinary-looking knife and a strange device. “Hold onto them; you may need them to protect yourself.”
“What? I don’t underst—”
“That woman, Victoria,” Sephyrus interrupted. “She doesn’t love you. She doesn't want you. She never wanted you; you were just the result of a tragic rape. Why would she want to keep something that reminded her of such an event? She was very pleased when they took you away to that lab...where they turned you into what you are now.”
“She...doesn't want me? She doesn't love me?” I asked.
“Correct; in fact, once you were gone, she soon replaced you with another child,” Sephyrus said. “One whom she truly loves and treats as her own...one who is not related to her by blood, but one whom she loves even more than a child who does.”
“No! You don't mean that! You can't mean that!” I yelled as tears began to well in my eyes.
“I only state the truth,” Sephyrus said. “Whether or not you believe it...that is up to you, Michalis. I’m quite sure she’s tried to replace you many times, in fact.”
“Shut up! Stop lying! Victoria…she…she loves me,” I said quietly. “I’m her son…”
“Yes, you are her son, but that does not mean she wanted you in the first place, as I’ve already explained to you. What may appear to be love and affection to you…is nothing more than a feigned emotion she feels she must show out of some sense of responsibility she clearly does not possess.”
As Thomas, Statuedramon, and Lector began attacking Magnus, who quickly and nimbly dodged each swing of their blades, Clive wiped the blood off his face and looked at his hand, glaring angrily when he saw how much blood he had lost.
“You’ll pay for that!” The floor around Renamon and me slowly and gradually became covered in ice, and just before the ice reached my feet, Clive was shoved to the ground by Victoria. The ice receded back into Clive’s shadow.
“You okay?” Victoria asked.
“Yes, I’m fine…Thank you, Victoria,” I said.
“Hey, don’t worry about it; I’m happy to help protect you. You’re a very important person to Thomas, after all,” Victoria said, turning to leave. “I’ll be back as soon as I find Michalis!”
“Shall we?” Renamon asked me as Victoria walked off.
“Yes…we need to help our friends,” I nodded.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment; Diamond Storm!”
“I don’t…I don’t believe you!” I shouted.
“As I’ve said, it does not matter to me whether or not you believe me,” Sephyrus said. “However, if it is the truth you seek…then you would do well to remember my words. That woman…she does not love you, and yet she is forcing herself into your life. The only way for you to be truly free…is for her to go away. Permanently. The only one who truly knows what is best for you…the only person who knows the real you, Michalis…is me. I’m the only one you can trust right now.”
“Michalis! Michalis, where are you?!” Victoria’s voice called out from around the corner of a wall. I turned around just in time to see her come running up to me. I briefly turned around, and when I did, the man calling himself Sephyrus was nowhere to be seen.
Where did he go?
“Oh, Michalis! Oh, I’m so glad you’re okay!” Victoria, sobbing, pulled me into a tight hug. “Why did you run off like that?!”
“I’m sorry…M—Mother,” I said. “If I had stayed there…Magnus would’ve kept hurting you…and Thomas…”
“Michalis…we have to get out of here,” Victoria said, finally releasing me from her choking but comfortingly warm embrace. “There’s an exit that way; come on, let’s hurry!” Victoria grabbed my arm and led me out of the door, and at long last, out of the cold, terrifying prison. “We have to hide somewhere…”
“Mother…there’s a forest over there,” I pointed.
“A forest right here? This wasn’t a good place to build a prison,” Victoria commented. “Well, it’ll do; come on!”
“Damn it…this is taking too long!” Magnus sighed, continuing to dodge my and Statuedramon’s swords, as well as Lector’s spear. “Clive…I think we need to go. This probably wasn’t the best idea; I didn’t think these three would be showing up to help out! I thought it would just be the knights we would have to deal with!”
“You’re making us retreat again?!” Clive asked.
“Just for now; I promise, this will be the last time!” Magnus said.
“We won’t let you escape!” Lector said, thrusting his lance into Magnus’s chest; the tip of the spear shattered into hundreds of pieces as, at the moment, Magnus’s chest had turned from flesh to pale blue, crystal gemstones.
“See you later!” Magnus and Clive escaped through the hole in the wall they had earlier created. We had attempted to follow them, but Clive sealed off their exit by covering it in ice.
“Damn it; now what?!” Lector asked. He punched the ice with his gauntlet-covered fist, but accomplished nothing but apparently injure his wrist.
“We have to find Victoria,” I said.
“Oh, yeah; where did she go?” Statch asked.
“She went to find Michalis,” Zelda said. “She went down that way; come on!”
“You coming, Lector?” I asked.
“I think that would be best; if any other knights find you, it would be problematic,” Lector said, and we all began to follow Zelda through the straightforward hallways of the prison.
“You...are really my mother…aren’t you?” I asked.
“Yes...though it's been eighteen years, I am certain you are my child,” Victoria said as we headed deeper and deeper into the woods behind the prison we had just broken out of. “I'm so glad...I'm so happy we can finally be together again, Michalis...and now, all of us can live together as a family...”
“All of us?” I asked, slightly puzzled.
“Yes; you, me, Thomas, Statuedramon...and based on the way things are going, maybe even Zelda…” As she spoke, Sephyrus's words echoed in my mind.
She doesn't love you. She was happy you were taken. She tried to replace you...
“Also…one other,” Victoria interrupted my thoughts. “It’s probably too early to see, but...” Victoria turned to the side and placed her hands around her belly, which had a very small, almost unnoticeable bulge I didn’t see earlier. “In a few months, you're going to have a little brother or sister!” Victoria smiled down gently at her stomach, gently caressing it.
She's replacing me...again?! For reasons I could not explain, I felt myself growing angrier and angrier by the second…but why? Did I believe what Sephyrus said to me earlier? I am not sure…
“Give me your hand; you need to feel this!” Victoria excitedly reached out for my hand, which she placed on her stomach. It was quite soft, and the small amount of skin of her belly I could feel was smooth and pleasant to the touch. For a split second, I felt the anger I felt earlier disappear for it to be replaced momentarily with wonder, curiosity, amazement… “The baby’s father left when he found out I was pregnant. I was sad at first, which was I went to find Thomas about a week or two ago. When I found him and Statuedramon…I felt all that sadness go away…” At this point, my anger returned.
She went to find him…she didn’t even bother to look for me! Was…was Sephyrus right?
“I had almost forgotten what it was like…to carry life inside of me like this,” Victoria said.
“Was I…like that once too?” I asked.
“Yes, you were,” Victoria smiled gently. “After nine months of carrying you around in my tummy, you were born…and you were…taken away from me…”
“You…were you happy they took me away?!”
“What?! Michalis, what kind of question is that?!”
“Why would any mother want a baby like me around to remind them of what happened to them?!”
“Oh…Michalis, please try to understand; what happened to me will haunt me for the rest of my life. I admit, I was scared when I first found out I was pregnant with you; I was only about sixteen at the time. But with each passing month, as my stomach grew larger and more round before my eyes, I was so…happy. I felt truly blessed to have you in my belly…when they took you away, I just…I couldn’t stop crying. Even after I found Thomas and Statuedramon, I cried every day thinking about what they said. They had told me you died…I never got the chance to cradle you in my arms, Michalis…” As Victoria spoke, tears began streaming down her lovely face. “Michalis…I love you…”
What may appear to be love and affection to you…is nothing more than a feigned emotion she feels she must show out of some sense of responsibility she clearly does not possess. Sephyrus’s words continued to ring in my ears. I couldn’t take it anymore. She does not love you, and yet she is forcing herself into your life. The only way for you to be truly free…is for her to go away. Permanently. My mind snapped; everything seemed to be a total blur, and my body seemed to move on its own, as if someone else was in control of me. In spite of this, I was completely aware of what was happening; my hand reached for the knife Sephyrus had earlier given me, the blade of which found itself stuck in Victoria’s chest. Victoria opened her mouth to scream; whether no sound escaped past her lips, or I just couldn’t hear anything, I am unsure. Her blood flew through the air as I — or whoever was in control of my body — continued to stab her over and over, creating stab wounds all over her chest and her belly…she had stopped moving a long time ago, and yet, I continued to stab. I continued to stab until all of the anger inside of me vanished. I was left alone, standing in the middle of the woods, holding the bloody knife as I looked at Victoria’s unmoving and unbreathing body.
“Sephyrus…this is what you wanted me to do…right?”
“Well…I can’t speak for Sephyrus…” The voice startled me, and I turned around, holding up the knife, prepared to stab whoever spoke. “You did a wonderful job, killing her.”
“Who are you?!” I asked.
“Just call me Abigail,” the woman said. “You’re ready to come with us. Michalis…our most advanced Bio Hybrid…even more advanced than Magnus…come with me…” Abigail held out her hand, and to my surprise, I took it, without even knowing where she would take me.