31 : Emilia

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[A/N: 5.4k reads guys ❤️ thank you for the support! Many of you have been messaging me about the latest cliffhanger and thanks for all your compliments! I'll do my best to ensure you guys keep on reading! Since this is the last chapter of the book, it'll be specially narrated from Gwen's point of view.]

[Gwen's POV]

When I was younger, and before I knew of my Dad's basement, I would always hallucinate the blurred image of a woman in red taunting me with words that pricked the depths of my soul, as if cursing my entire being in existence. She would always appear whenever my depression relapsed, and she'd drive me crazy from inside.

My psychiatrists dismissed her as a mere figment of my imagination, or what they say, the terrors one witnesses when their state of mind is unstable. Since Dad and Mum had separated when I was six, her voice was consistently either buzzing in my head, or she'd be sitting on the latch of my window, and she would just send eerie whispers inside my ears and planting suicidal thoughts in my mind.

"You're the reason why your parents separated..."

"You don't deserve to live..."

"You're the reason why everyone around you can never be happy..."

But now that I could even see her standing beside my father, and her face was no longer the blurry mess that my eyes could never make out when I saw her in the past, I realised that all along, I wasn't even hallucinating...

She was the spirit of Emilia.

And like my Dad, who expressed his hatred for my very existence, Emilia probably hated me as much as my Dad did, and she had always made me an emotional wreck whenever she confronted me: my hair would become dishevelled, and body would be drenched in perspiration, and I would tremble uncontrollably, gasping for air to breathe.

And right now, seeing her again was too much for me to handle. It was as though she knew my weaknesses so well that she could always strike whenever my emotional state was unstable and when I felt weak and lethargic. I fell backwards and eventually lost consciousness.

When my eyes fluttered open, I was surrounded by white sheets, and curtains and that characteristic antiseptic smell from pharmacies invaded my nostrils.

And a tinge of my man's smell.

"Justin?" I turned my head and saw him sitting by my bedside, half asleep as his muscular hands clutched my hands that were dry and unmoisturised.

He looked as though he had been there all night because dark circles had formed around his eyes.

"Hmm?" He looked up and his eyes widened when he realised I had regained consciousness. "Gwen! Thank God you're okay!" He gave me a kiss on the forehead and I gave him a small smile.

"How's Elaine doing?"

"Not so good," Justin shook his head in disappointment, "she's currently being monitored by the doctors in the ICU after surgery, and she's still in a coma right now..."

My eyes gazed up at the ceiling and I swallowed hard. A dolorous sigh escaped my lips.

Why did this have to happen? Why did all those whom I cared for have to suffer with me?

I tried really hard not to cry, but a few tears rolled down my cheek as I tightened my grip on the blanket.

"Hey, Gwen..." Justin held my cheek and looked straight into my eyes, "it's not your fault, okay? What's most important is that Daniel's been turned in, and I'm sure Kei has done a good job with Sanctuary and Winged Assassins to ensure that that cunning skunk won't escape this time..."

I exhaled deeply. "It's not my father that I'm worried about...it's her..."

"Emilia? Your dad's first love?"

I nodded slowly, still feeling weak and lethargic at the mention of her name.

"Remember when I said...I heard voices as a kid, and that I still do...telling me that I was the cause of my parent's separation and why my Dad became the ruthless murderer that we all know him as..."

"You heard the voices again, didn't you?" Justin stroked my hair gently.

"I...didn't just hear them..."

"What? What do you mean you didn't just-"

"It's her, Justin..." my voice quavered with worry as my brows knit together.

The realisation struck him and he lowered his voice.

"Emilia?"

Tears fell from my eyes as I confirmed his fears.

"She's the one...who's been talking to me all this while..." I muttered between breaths as my breathing became more intense. Justin gestured for me to sit upright, and he handed me a glass of warm water.

"Breathe, dear..." He patted my shoulder gently. "Breathe..."

"I saw her...beside Daniel...she's back...for me..."

Justin wiped my tears with his thumbs and embraced me in a hug. "Shhh...no one's gonna leave your side now, alright? You'll be safe with me around."

It was true. Ever since I moved in with the Lester Riddles, I felt a lot safer, and I owe it to the fact that Justin was always around to look after me and be here for me: the complete opposite of the bottomless chasm of loneliness that I had plunged into ever since my mother left us.

"Thanks, Justin," I wrapped my arms around him. "I'm just so...afraid that this ordeal isn't over..."

"Well, the Infinity Emerald got destroyed along with Eregor, so there's no trace of anything from that treacherous game that could haunt us now, right?"

"There are just some things that, don't quite add up..." I paused momentarily in thought. "I really don't believe the Emerald was destroyed..."

"It was a bomb, as Daniel said," Justin shrugged, "unless he lied to us..."

"He said something about reuniting with Emilia, and that she'd be in his arms again..." my brows furrowed and I shook my head, "I really didn't like the sound of that, even if it were mere lunatic talk..."

"Reunited, eh...?"

Just then, Sheila appeared in the ward and rushed over to my bedside.

"Gwen! You're awake!" She enveloped me in a hug. "I was so worried about you!"

"Sheila!" I hugged her tightly. Seeing her unscathed couldn't have made me feel better than anything else.

"Kei's parking the car downstairs.  Daniel's currently being interrogated by the authorities, so we're safe for now."

I heaved a sigh of relief.

"But in the meantime," Sheila hesitated on her words, and she seemed perturbed. "While we were reviewing the files that were transferred from Eregor as evidence to be sent to the authorities, Sanctuary's tech experts came across a suspicious file..."

"What was it?" Justin asked.

Sheila couldn't even form words on the edge of her tongue.

She pulled out her handphone from her pocket and showed us an image of the file.

It was as though I felt fulminations of thunder send shockwaves through my veins, torpefying me with fear.

"REVIVE EMILIA.ZIP"

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