I stare at the illuminated night. The stars are so bright today, I think as I shift my gaze from the stunning moonlight to the electric atmosphere below. There she is, my heartbeat suddenly picks up. Even in an open auditorium, with so much light and music and people, she was still noticeable. But why is she here, I wonder as the answer slowly forms at the back of my head. It is the crowning of the prince today. The prince. Her boyfriend. A low growl ripples through my chest. Luke shifts his attention from the apt army to me. “Noah. What is wrong?” he says in a silent but chilling voice. I remember my purpose tonight and say in my husky voice, “Nothing Luke. I just can’t stand here while that filthy Arcadian puts a crown to his head.” Luke stares at me with his steel-grey eyes. Even from a distance, I can see the shining metal gold scar in his right eye. Symbol of allegiance. Allegiance to The Evil One. He then drops his gaze and says again but loudly this time, “I can’t wait either, Noah but we must work wisely. May victory be ours.” At this, I hear hushed voices say “To the Evil One” in the army.
I feel a pang of betrayal and guilt stab my insides as I focus my gaze to the event once more. I again see her. Arabella. As beautiful as I remember. Her dark hair was hung loosely around her shoulders, while on her soft skin, an exquisite red gown was draped. She held a champagne glass in one hand while the other held the prince’s hand. Jason’s hand. Overcome with feelings of longing, love, hatred and jealousy all at on, I close my eyes. And then it happens.
I see myself and Arabella in the lush greens beside the lake. A memory from a few months ago. Arabella runs in front of me in light jeans and a red shirt. Red. Her favourite colour. The colour of betrayal and blood for me. I run after her in jeans and a light blue sweatshirt. She looks back and laughs. How flawless she looks. Her warm brown eyes move in perfect coordination with her small nose and her wide smile. A dimple forms on her right cheek. I feel my desire for her and run with more energy. I am about to catch her when she falls down. I fall down beside her. Before she can move, I place both my hands beside her head and lean above her. She stares at me and asks in a clear ringing voice, “Do you have to go?”. I shift my gaze from hers and focus on my heavy breathing. My father’s decision that I need to fight against the Arcadians with The Evil One. No, I wanted to tell her but I return her gaze and say, “Yes, but I will come back soon.” I think she believes me for she says, “I know you will. I wish we can be like this forever.” She sighs and puts her head down. I remove my hand from her side and push her head so that it faces me. “We are, at least for now.” I say but I don’t mention that we might never in the future. With this, she smiles. I finally fight my resistance and bend my face to kiss her soft lips. She lifts her head and kisses me back. The memory starts to fade but I see us freeze in that position forever in my thoughts.
My eyes remain closed, but a new memory takes place. One month ago. Arabella is in my room. She is sitting next to me on the bed. She doesn’t move. I shake her lightly, afraid she might collapse. But her eyes remain fixed at a distance. I give up and recount what just happened. Arabella saw me. Saw me practicing sword fighting and ruthlessly killing an Arcadian. I noticed her presence when I heard her gasp. She started to walk away but I caught up with her. She demanded an explanation and I told her the truth. Now we were sitting with an endless silence between us. She suddenly speaks, her ringing voice now serious, “Its either me or this.” It took me a minute to realise that she had spoken. I feel confused and look at her. She senses my confusion and says again, “Noah, I can’t let you kill these innocent people but I won’t stop you also. It is your decision now. You can either leave this cruelty and be with me or leave me and be with your cruelty.” Her last sentence echoed through my head. I knew what I wanted but my father. I say in a small voice, “But Arabella, my father…” I trail off. Arabella then gets up and walks towards the door. I want to stop her but neither my hands nor feet can move. She stops at the door and says in a voice fighting to be steady, “Then let me go.” I lifted my head and stared in her brown eyes and realised that I couldn’t and will never let her go. She then turns and runs away, never coming back.
The image of her running fades in my eyes as I open them. They are a little wet. I wipe them and realise how much I love her. How it burns right through me when Jason touches her. But what could I do? I knew what I am doing is wrong but I can’t fight it. I am too weak. But she was always strong. I sigh and look at the sky again. In this limitless sea of stars, I am a star with no light of my own. At first, she guided me with her light but now I am surrounded only by hopeless darkness. Unable to see where am I going. Unable to think. Unable to have any faith.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. I hear the breathing closely. Luke. “It’s time Noah, time to overthrow the Arcadians and let the rule of Nefarious commence!” he thunders. I turn back and give him a half-hearted smile. He seems pleased and gives the signal for attack to the army. As unspoken words of guilt and remorse shower upon me, I jump sleekly from the terrace of the 32-storey building, I was standing on. I land on my feet and take out my sword. I begin to walk towards the coronation. Dear Arabella, I am afraid. Afraid for us. For you. For me. But I know you will forgive me one day. The villain with a reason. You will the one for me forever in my world, I think as I make my way with the words “The Heartbroken Lover” reverberating in my head.