Chapter XXVII: To Safety and Beyond (6/14)Mature

It was incredible to believe that life returned to normality after what had happened. The professors wanted to emphasise the success of the rescue mission more than they did the tragedies that had occurred. All of the missing students had returned safely, including Lady Almara - who immediately took sabbatical off to deal with what Matron had diagnosed as severe shock. The students made it easier to joke over whether she was shocked about being kidnapped, or being denied a daily bath.

Over the next couple of weeks, Will tried to focus on the joy of having his siblings back, rather than the trouble that had befallen them. The year sped quickly into May, fleeting since their month underground, and as the hot weather returned, it gave the Avaric siblings time to escape, to go to the riverside at the far end of the White Forest with packed lunches, and simply talk about all they could think of. The thoughts about what had happened were clearly still there, it was apparent in their glances to each other amidst silence, but they said nothing about it.

Only once in their return did they sit together and talk about it, when Carmen's recovery treatment brought back flashbacks of what Sapphire had forced her to see, and when she'd been told that she would have mismatched eyes for the rest of her life. It wasn't the aesthetic side that bothered her, it was that she wore it like a scar. She could hide the leech's wound on her chest from everybody, but her silver eye was a reminder to everybody of what she'd been through, earmarking her as different and somebody who should be treated carefully at all times.

And it was a reminder to them all that no matter how much post-trauma treatment they underwent, or how much they tried to return to their old routines, it was useless.

In the end, they could never forget.

The End

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