Rei’s heart sank. The chest had been sitting there, unopened and gathering dust. Inside were her mother’s belongings – all the things Reina had left for her. There was a sense of finality in sorting the things inside, and Rei feared she was not brave enough to go through with it. But the flutter in her stomach reminded her, she was no longer a child, and she was no longer alone. Her belly had grown fast, and her appetite had nearly doubled since becoming pregnant. Viera was stoked to become an aunt, and had taken to following Rei around like a shadow.
“Can I help?” The little girl chimed from the doorway, obviously noticing Rei’s hesitance.
Rei smiled over at her, “If you like.”
She had enjoyed having a younger sister around again, though Viera wasn’t the same as Eirian or any of her other siblings at the castle. But her innocence and sincerity reminded her heavily of all the children she’d grown up with. The little girl bounced into the room with a smile on her face, and Rei felt a renewal of motivation. She motioned for the girl to come around the other side of the chest, and together they unlatched the lid and opened it.
Rei looked down into the chest, she saw jewels of red and purple, fine fabrics and linens, and at the very top of the heap, a letter. Her heart jumped a little in her chest as she reached for the letter, giving Viera the approving nod to begin sorting the other items. The letter was sealed with her mother’s crest, of the Mieko family. She swallowed hard as she stepped away from little Viera and broke the seal. Inside, there was a small paragraph, written in her mother’s hand.
I always hoped that one day I could tell you this secret myself, but fear and guilt kept me from being truly honest with you. After losing your sister, I realised that life is unpredictable, and not everything will always go to plan. It is for this reason that I want you to be the one to carry on this family secret, though I’m sure your uncle Raiden has already made arrangements to keep it from you. Unfortunately I cannot risk putting the words to paper, for any stranger to come across. I leave you with one task that will lead you to unveiling the truth.
Find Decla Kalan.
There was no signature to prove that the letter was in fact from her mother, but Rei was already familiar with her mother’s handwriting. And the fact that she had chosen to use the Mieko crest rather than Casimir showed that she wished to hide the letter from the royal family. Rei had known that her mother kept this chest in her later years, and had originally held three chests for each of her daughters. She also knew that her mother left strict instructions for those three chests to be kept under guard until they could be delivered safely to their recipients, so there was no way anyone had planted the letter themselves – or had the chance to read it. Her mother had gone to extreme lengths to deliver the message safely.
She folded the letter neatly, and tucked it up her sleeve before turning back to Viera. There was something eerily familiar in the name of Decla Kalan, as though she had heard it somewhere, and it had been in the back of her mind ever since.Either way, she would speak to Lucan immediately, and she would find this Decla, whomever she might be.