Chapter 33 (Duke's POV)

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The doors behind me slam shut as I stumble into my room like a drunkard. My body feeling quite heavy as I walk towards my clean bed. Falling onto the bed backwards as the comfort of the bed takes me in.

I look up at the ceiling and raised my hands to try and touch it, but I can't. I sighed at my weak attempt. I felt my eyelids started to feel heavy from riding. So I closed my eyes, trying to relax into the comfort of the bed.

"I'm sorry, Duke. I'm so sorry."

I quickly opened my eyes and looked around. My eyes searching every part of my room for Winter. I soon realise that I was just remembering things. I felt my heart sank as reality drops in. My hands tangled themselves into my hair in frustration.

"Duke?"

I looked towards the door. Seeing a form of a shadow at the bottom of the door. I didn't move towards the door as a knock came through the door. I didn't want too. I didn't have too.

"Duke? Can you please open the door?" Bertha said knocking the door.

I didn't want too but what choice did I had. I hopped off my bed and reached the door handle. Opening the door to see a worried looking Bertha.

"May I come in?" Bertha asked me.

I stepped aside to let her through. She walked into the room while I closed the door behind her. She walks towards the small seating area in my room and takes a seat. I head over there and sat across of her.

My leg started jumping up and down. Whether it was nerves or not, I couldn't stop my leg from jumping up and down. I watched as my thumbs played a thumb war against each other. One going over the other.

"Don't give up." She said

I look at Bertha. She looked at me with a serious face. I clamp my hands together and stop my leg from jumping. I felt my chest get heavy.

"Don't give up on her, Duke." She said with more seriousness.

"I won't," I said.

"I had always feared about this happening. That one day, she would leave." She said causing me to look at her again,

"As you know yourself, Winter is a very kind hearted girl but her kindness has never been appreciated. It has been misunderstood by people. That girl puts a lot on the table but never gets anything in return. All that anger of not being appreciated and misunderstood would one day feed her angry towards people. I guess that was one of the reasons why I didn't allow her as much freedom as I should. I just didn't want to see such a pure person turned into a horrible being because of humanity." She sobbed.

"Ever since she was young, kids from the orphanage were always teasing her on how she was different and would run away from her. She tried being friends with them, but they just looked at her in fear. She had always been isolated in there. Charles was always busy working out of the orphanage to get some money to buy anything Winter wanted to make her happy. As her brother, he always thought of making her happy. Sometimes it did work but that didn't stop the seed of loneliness from sprouting in her." She said.

"I feared that the seed would grow and grow if she hanging around people. In turn, I made her hate me so that if she does turn one day. All that angry would be directed at me." She sobbed.

"I'm more dangerous and if I get out of hand. I could hurt one of you and that isn't what I nor the Elders want. I don't want to hurt anybody this way."

"Bertha I don't think Winter hates you. I'm pretty sure she understands what you were doing for her. She didn't want me to get too close to her. She feared of hurting me one day and anybody this way. It may seem like I have given up on her, but I haven't. I know she would never do such a thing. She had always been careful around me sometimes because of her powers, but she knows that I don't care. Winter is a very beautiful and pure girl. I just really miss her." I whispered feeling my throat contract.

"She was always happy when you were around." She whispered to me with a weak smile.

I send a weak smile back at her for her comfort. Feeling my chest getting heavier and tight. I didn't want to let my emotions out. Silent tears spill from the corners of my eyes.

"Please promise me that you will bring her back. Please promise me this, Duke. Even if it's such a selfish request." Bertha cried out.

"I swear on my mother's grave, Bertha. I will bring her back even if I were to die doing so. I will bring her back." I said trying to reassure her.

"Thank you, Duke. Thank you so much." Bertha cried out as I grab her old hands.

"We will get her back Bertha. Just be patient and it will be rewarded. Right now, we can only hope for the best and hope that she is safe and sound." I said rubbing her hands together in reassurance.

Bertha smiled at me for getting up. She walked towards the door but stops at the handle. She turns around to face me. I sat there, arms on my knees, watching her. She looks at me with a serious face.

"I need to show you something, Duke. It has to do with Winter."

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