When Niles brought me back to Ashenvale, I thought I'd never leave this home of mine again. I was content with the life I had settled into.
I could see myself alongside the other sisters, waking every morning, cleaning the church, caring for the helpless, tending to the gardens, eating together, praying and then repeating the entire routine for the rest of my days.
The simple life that I always wanted, surrounded by people who only judge me by the effort I put in to preparing a delicious dinner makes me passably satisfied.
And yet, somehow, he's able to convince me to abandon it all. Abandon it all and follow him back to a place which once meant the world to me, but now is only a shell holding distant memories.
Sitting down in the carriage, I take a final glance at the church—my home for the past four years—before closing the curtains.
Nero assured me we can visit often if I so please, but still, I can't help but feel somewhat sentimental.
However, I don't regret this.
More than a simple life, I want to belong. I want a family to return to.
Everyday since Nero appeared at the church, my days passed in anticipation of his next arrival. At first, it was me contemplating what to tell or not tell him.
And when there weren't any more to tell, he started asking questions about my life. He was curious about how I lived, whether I liked it or not, what I liked, and things of the sort.
Before I knew it, my mind would wander off in the day, wondering what to tell him next. One day when I couldn't think of anything, Nero began sharing stories of his own—stories of his childhood growing up as a Pureblood, living under the strict upbringing of family and strangers alike, suffering the pressure and scrutiny of everyone around him, going mad and almost losing himself.
He, surrounded by more people and attention, grew up lonelier than I. His flaw, unlike mine, was that he was born in perfection. A cursed perfection that cast him into a spotlight that can never be removed.
Nero is a Pureblood. Where he goes or hides, there will be eyes. What he does, people will talk. What he doesn't do, people will complain.
And at the end, no one cares about the harm their actions and words caused for the innocent child growing up. They even took away his mother in candid belief that it was the best way to raise him.
Whenever he spoke of such stories, there was no pain, no emotion, not even anger. Nero just kept an impassive face throughout. It wasn't that he had no tears, but rather he ran out.
In my entire life, I only cried once.
For Nero, I cried a second time.
As the carriage drew to a halt, I turn my attention to the grown Pureblood standing outside. He offered his hand and I took it as I stepped onto Argid soil for the first time in a long time.
In an instant, I could recognize the familiar scent in the air. The smell of humans, halflings, peasants, and nobles living together. Back at the church, all we had were female vampires who stuck with a rather strict diet.
Here, it's where the life was. And still is.
However, some things have changed.
The small bakery by the corner side where Alvena used to sit is no longer. A new spice shop selling rare herbs and drugs is there in its stead. The shop where my former Master bought flowers for Alvena changed to a pawn shop. I think I just saw someone get dragged to the back alley.