So sorry for my lack of updates, this has been an extremly busy month for my family!
Here we have the last chapter of Radiant Part 1, and depending on feedback I will decide whether to continue on to part two now, or wait until after I finish all of my other story Girl's Guide to come back to this. Because as much as I love both stories, working on two at once is difficult for me, and I would rather focus all my attention on one for a while.
So after this chapter, please comment your thoughts on this story so far, and if you think I should continue on to Part 2 now or after GG.
When Hana opened her eyes she was on the couch in the manor parlor. The room was dimly lit and warm, and for a moment she allowed herself to believe that everything was the way it should be. Soon Lady Amelia would tell her it was time to practice her violin, and then they would drink tea and read by the fire together until it was time for Hana to go to bed.
But when her eyes adjusted to the room and she saw Tristan kneeling in front of her, watching with worried eyes, she remembered what had happened. Her heart ached, but not nearly as much as her head. She felt as though her ears were stuffed with cotton, and her temples were throbbing.
"Hana, are you alright?" Tristan asked.
Hana nodded quickly and tried to sit up. "I need to talk to Dorin. Why did he leave? Has he come back?"
Tristan pushed her shoulders lightly, keeping her down on the couch. "You can talk to him later, for now you need to rest. It's extremely fortunate that I was standing underneath you when you fell. I don't even want to consider what would have happened to you if you hit the ground from that hight." He moved a hand to her forehead. "How are you feeling?"
Hana smiled and gripped his hand, holding it against her cheek. She sat up slowly. "I'm alright, I promise. I'm just weaker than usual and flying is difficult."
Tristan frowned. "Why are you weak, are you sick?"
"No, it's just..." Hana chewed her lip. "Without Lady to bring me blood from the butcher, I've had to fend for myself. I found a deer in the woods a few days ago but... it wasn't much."
"You need blood."
Hana nodded. "Yes, but I have no way of getting it. And I would never harm anyone in the village."
"There's no need," Tristan said. He sat on the couch next to Hana. "You can drink some of mine."
Hana blinked, shocked. "But why?"
"Because you need it and you're important to me. I want to help you." Tristan tilted his head to the side, baring his neck to her.
Hana swallowed and twisted her hands in her lap. "I'm not sure this is a good idea. What if I hurt you?"
Tristan shrugged. "I trust you. And I'm sure you couldn't do any worse to me than I've dealt with in training."
She could kill him. That was a very big possibility. Hana had read a lot about vampires, and she remembered her first experience in the market clearly. When a vampire smells blood they lose their mind— Hana was sure her angelic half made that easier to control, but she wasn't sure if it would be enough.
Still, she could hear the way Tristan's pulse sped up, and she was too thirsty to give it anymore thought. She shifted so that she was kneeling on the couch at Tristan's side and slowly brought her lips to his neck.
Tristan winced when Hana's fangs pierced his skin, but beyond that he made no sound. He remained as still as possible so that he didn't jar the little vampire in any way. It was a feeling unlike anything Tristan had ever experienced. He had expected pain and discomfort, but was surprised to find that it actually felt good... in an odd way. He closed his eyes, trying to understand the feeling.
Hana's mind was in panic mode. Part of her, much to her utter shock, wanted to kill Tristan that second and drain him completely. And though she was trying as hard as she could to stop it, her heart pounded in her chest and she feared that that part might win. She fought, forcing herself back and away from Tristan.
Hana slid away from him and gripped the arm of the couch to steady herself. She tried to level her breathing, steady her heart, make her thoughts return to normal. "Thank you... Tristan." She finally managed.
Tristan nodded. "Sure." He gently prodded the two little holes in his neck with a slight smile. "This will be interesting to explain to my mother."
Hana rose and excused herself to the washroom. She stared at herself in the mirror for an almost unending stretch of time. Her eyes were returning to normal, but the black of her iris was still larger than usual, which oddly enough made her look younger. She used a cloth to wipe the blood from her lips.
When Hana returned to the living room, Tristan had a hand stretched out to Annie, trying to coax the kitten closer to him. Annie swished her tail at him and moved to the chair on the other end of the parlor.
"Your cat hates me," Tristan noted. He stood when Hana re-entered the room and smiled warmly at her.
Hana smiled back and crossed the room to hug him. "I sometimes wonder if Dorin trained her to do that."
Tristan chuckled and sat back down, pulling Hana to sit on his lap. "That seems like something your friend would do." He rested his chin atop her head, trying to provide as much comfort as he possibly could. Though the funeral seemed so long ago, Tristan knew Hana was still in pain.
Hana had almost forgotten about the pain herself until the silence returned, and with it her tears. She listened to the sound of Tristan's heart and sniffled quietly. "I really don't know where I'm going to go."
She didn't know if Tristan had heard her until finally he spoke. "Perhaps... you could come back with me. You could live in the palace."
Hana pulled back to look in Tristan's eyes. "Do you mean it?"
Tristan nodded. "Of course. I love you. I never want to think about you unsafe."
Although Tristan's words were perfectly innocent, and not unlike something Lady Amelia would say to her, Hana could feel embarrassment rising in her. She dropped her head back down to Tristan's chest and buried her face.
"As a friend, of course. You're my oldest friend. Like a sister." Tristan amended with a cough. "But I'm sure my parents won't mind. They considered Lady Amelia a dear friend, and there's more than enough room in the palace."
"Okay, Tristan. I'll go with you."
The carriage was scheduled to return for Tristan the next evening, and together Tristan and Hana packed what belongings Hana wanted to take for her journey with him. Hana had never been outside the village before, and though she'd read about many far away kingdoms, she had never experienced them for herself. Despite the apprehension she felt about living in a palace, Hana was excited.
The morning before her departure, Hana went to Dorin's house. She wanted to talk to him; to find out why he had run away, and to tell him goodbye. She was sure Dorin would be able to visit her, so she didn't feel very bad about saying goodbye. However, when she knocked on his door, no one answered. There was no sound at all from inside his small home.
"They left, miss," The man with the fruit-cart said. "Completely out of the blue, last night. Didn't tell no one, just packed up their stuff and ran."
"Oh." Hana's lip trembled. Did they leave because of her? Or were they in trouble? Why had Dorin never said anything? She curtseyed to the fruit-seller, fighting back another barrage of tears. She'd never cried so much in her life. "Thank you for telling me, sir." Hana returned to the manor downtrodden.
As she rode with Tristan in the back of the carriage on their way to Central Kingdom, Tristan talked excitedly about all she would see and experience. "Just wait until you see the royal archives— it's the biggest library in Siaboras. And you'll get to dance at a real ball, and wear the most beautiful gowns."
"And meet your mother, and your little brother." Hana had heard countless stories about Queen Rhalia and Prince Sebastian, Tristan's brother, who had been born during the four years Tristan couldn't visit Hana. Sebastian was a toddler, just getting to the age where he could get himself into all sorts of trouble. Hana liked the stories about him.
"My mother will love you. Bastian will probably love your hair— he likes chewing on things." Tristan smiled.
At some point during the trip, Hana fell asleep. She woke to Tristan shaking her shoulder and telling her to look out the window. She gasped, staring in wide-eyed shock at the beautiful palace. She had to crane her neck to see the towers at the top.
Tristan pointed to one of the towers. "That's where the archive is. It's always been my goal to read every book. Now that I have to focus my attention on preparing for war, you can take on that goal for me."
"I would love to," Hana said seriously. The possibility of finding books she'd never read before thrilled her.
Tristan was right, his parents had no problem with her staying. In fact, they welcomed her with open arms. Queen Rhalia was just as kind and beautiful as Hana imagined, and Prince Sebastian quickly became Hana's favorite thing in the palace— followed closely by the royal archives. For the first few days, Hana rarely left the giant library, and the little prince rarely left her lap, much to Annie's discontent.
The royal butcher provided Hana with fresh blood whenever she needed it, and Queen Rhalia even enrolled her in dance lessons, where she served as Tristan's partner. For the first time since Lady Amelia's passing, Hana was truly happy.
Unfortunately, the rest of the nation was as far from happy as possible. The threat of war was greater than ever, and King Alaric was frantic. He and General Harken rarely left the map room, and often Tristan was there with them.
Hana didn't mind, she always got to see Tristan during dance lessons and after dinner. Other than that, she focused on reading and playing with Sebastian. One night during her third week in the palace, Tristan was late to dance lessons.
"He's probably still talking strategy with his father," Queen Rhalia sighed. "When Tristan was younger it was a struggle just to get him to listen during a strategy meeting. Now you can hardly get him out of the map room."
"That's alright, Your Highness. I'll dance with Bastian!" Hana scooped up the toddler prince and spun him around the ballroom while he babbled and cheered. His blond hair reminded Hana of Tristan, but Sebastian's eyes were more like the king's.
Rhalia laughed, but her mood quickly fell. "Hana, would you please go to the map room and get Tristan? He really should take a break from war."
"Yes, of course." Hana set Sebastian back on his feet and curtseyed to the queen. She was slowly becoming familiar with the layout of the castle, and it was no trouble for her to locate the map room. The door was slightly ajar when she approached, and before she could knock, something the general said caught her attention.
"What the demons are after is a myth! There is no such thing as a halfbreed. Two different species cannot produce an offspring, it's simply impossible!"
"Exactly what I said," the king agreed, "but they're claiming they've already done it— their ruler Lord Decimus has fathered a half-vampire."
What? There was someone else like her? Hana lowered her fist and stepped closer to the door. She stayed silent and out of sight, listening carefully.
"Half-demon and half-vampire? It sounds like a nightmare, not a child."
"And now the demons are after a child that is half-vampire and half-angel. They claim it exists and is hidden somewhere within our borders, that's why they plan to invade!" The king answered.
Hana's heart pounded. They were after her. The entire demon nation was after her. That must be why her parents sent her away.
"Well if it's in our territory, send out a search party, make an announcement— anyone who turns the creature in will get its weight in gold— We'll find the thing and give it to the demons!" Harken shouted.
Hana wondered if she might faint.
"It's not that simple." She could hear the king pacing around the large table. "What do they want it for? And if its hidden in our territory... why are we just now hearing about it? It could be a trick on the demons' part, a reason for them to invade."
Harken scoffed. "I still think the idea of a halfbreed is too farfetched."
And then Tristan spoke up. "A-actually..." he stammered.
There was silence in room.
"Yes son? What do you have to say?"
Please, Tristan. Please don't tell them. You promised. You swore. But Hana already knew it was hopeless. He would tell them, because there was a chance that telling them could stop the war. Tristan was the future king, the fate of his people mattered more to him than the fate of his friendship with her.
"Hana. She's the one they're looking for. Hana is half-vampire and half-angel."
Hana thought she could accept his reasoning, but as the words left his mouth, she found herself dropping to her knees outside the door.
General Harken laughed loudly. "Very funny, boy."
"She is. I've seen her wings and she... she's drank my blood."
"Is that... Is that true, Tristan?" King Alaric stammered.
There was silence. Tristan probably nodded.
"As soon as this meeting ends, Tristan, I want you to bring her here," the king said quietly. "We can negotiate a deal with the demons and end this war before it starts."
"Just... don't hurt her," Tristan insisted. "And you have to make the demons promise not to kill her."
Hana bit her cheek and wrapped her arms around her stomach to keep from sobbing.
General Harken cackled. "Oh, this is great, Alaric. Your son's in love with the halfbreed!"
The king sighed. "Tristan, bring her to me."
Hana managed to get all the way to her room without screaming, but once she was there she collapsed again, her legs too weak to support her. She was dizzy and heartbroken. She needed to leave. Immediately.
Hana held herself together the best she could and hurried around her room, throwing whatever she knew she'd be able to carry in a bag. She had to leave nearly all of her dresses and all but three of her favorite books. She pulled the bag over her head straightened the strap across her chest.
"Come here, Annie," she sniffled. Her kitten came over slowly, mewing. "I'm confused too. But we can't stay here anymore. It's not safe." She stroked Annie under the chin and then lowered her into the bag. Hana turned to exit the room—
"What are you doing?" Tristan asked, his voice unsteady. He stood in the doorway of her room.
Hana shook her head, keeping her eyes down. "I'm leaving. Please move, Your Highness."
"Hana...?" He stepped toward her and reached out his hand.
"Don't." Hana flinched out of his reach.
"My father wants to speak to you. Hana, tell me what's wrong. Are you hurt, sick?"
"Yes!" Hana shouted. Tristan stumbled back at her sudden intensity. "Yes! I am hurt! I am sick!"
"I heard you! You promised, and then you told them! You're going to let them give me to the demons!" Hana's entire body was shaking with rage. She backed toward the window.
Tristan's expression was a mixture of shock and guilt. "I-I made them promise not to hurt you. You would be safe, it would just end the war! Hana—"
Hana closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She smiled sadly at Tristan. The tears sparkling in her eyes almost made her look human. "Do you remember the story of the Fox and the Robin?"
Tristan nodded, though he was confused. "Of course."
Hana stepped back, up onto the windowsill. The room they had given her was in one of the towers, high above the kingdom. "Then you remember how it ends. The Little Robin flies away, calling down to Mr. Fox: 'Oh my friend, my friend, you are my friend no longer. You have betrayed me, and for that you can never be forgiven!'"
Now that he understood, tears fell from Tristan's eyes. "Hana... Hana please... I'm sorry..."
Hana shook her head and fell backwards, extending her wings. "Goodbye, Mr. Fox."
Tristan watched helplessly as his Little Robin shrank into the distance.
It took Hana days to get back to the manor, she could only fly for short periods of time, and she was even slower on foot. She was only home for a week when the demon army invaded the village. Though the manor windows, she could hear the screams and see the smoke rising from the village. Hana hid under Lady Amelia's large bed, clutching Annie to her chest and praying that the demons wouldn't come to the manor.
Eventually, the screams died into silence, the smoke was carried off on the wind. For the first time in her life Hana was truly alone, and neither Tristan nor Dorin would save her this time.