Abi, Alex, and the vampires all filed out of their respective cars solemnly. It was truly an interesting sight to behold, having these supernatural beings who are able to move so quickly on their own – even faster than automobiles at times – travelling in those vehicles that run slower than they do. However, it was out of respect to Alicia and consideration for Abi that they did so. The deliberateness in travelling there by car and gradually approaching the Black Forest to come for the final send-off of the previous witch queen showed their esteem of Alicia.
By coming in an unhurried and slow manner, it showed that they were not in a rush to send Alicia off. It was not as if they were just there to 'get it over with' and ending the ceremony as fast as they could. Thus, the reason why they had opted to travel there by car. And for Abi, consideration was given to her as she was already overwrought and shocked by the news of her dear and close friend's passing, on top of being pregnant too. If she were to be further aggravated or agitated, there would be no telling if the child in her womb might be affected.
And knowing how Alex totally spoils and dotes on Abi, there would be hell to pay if anything unfortunate happens to her or their unborn child. Thus, travelling to the Black Forest by car was just killing two birds with one stone. It served both the purposes just as well.
The gathered group fully dressed in black entered the forest in silence.
As soon as they reached the Crystal Cave, witches clad in pure white garments were already lined up just outside the closed Cavern. So many of them lining up all dressed in white while having the breeze gently blowing through the thick trees made it seem as though there was a sea of white billowing in the dark greenery of the forest.
The group that had just arrived were greeted with that sombre silence and beautiful scene, making them feel the atmosphere of mourning even more deeply – all except for Ezekiel of course. Though he was appropriately sombre and seemed somewhat reverent of the occasion, one could tell after studying his face closely that he was still as calm, composed, and unaffected by his surroundings. That was Zeke, and everyone who knew him understood that this was just the way he is. Never had they seen this person lose his cool in whatever the circumstance, either good or bad.
However, in opposition to the unwavering mood that Zeke was presenting, the witches were in deep sorrow and that was very first time Abi had seen such a number of witches gathered together in one place.
Abi thought that this had to be the entire population of witches that existed. Abi could not have imagined that there were so many of them. Giving a quick scan of the area, Abi estimated that there were probably a few thousands of witches who were present in the forest based on the white clothing they were wearing. Even then, she had a sneaking suspicion that that would not be the total numbers as there were many who were behind trees and were standing further back in the shadowy sections of the forest further in.
But Abi could hardly care less. She was devastated and still reeling from hearing the news that Alicia was already dead. She even still held on a hope that maybe it was just a mistake or that there was still a way to bring Alicia back to life again. But again, as she looked around and seeing the mourning witches around them as they entered, Abi could only bite her lower lip at the sharp pain she felt in her chest, realising that Alicia was really and truly dead.
As the realisation set in, that sharp pain radiated from her chest to the rest of her, making her gasp and clutch at her abdomen.
It did not help that she had cried a lot the whole duration of the plane ride because she felt like crying again. She knew she should try and refrain from it as her already slightly swollen eyes would swell even further and worry her husband who was already hovering over her.
Alex's grip on her hand tightened at her gasp and then his thumb pressed soothingly on her skin as they walked forward. Alex was actually very worried for Abi as she was still early in her pregnancy. And if there were anything that triggered an even bigger emotional outburst from his wife, it might affect their child and even Abi herself. If it were up to him, he would not allow Abi to make this long journey here, much less go into the forest and even enter into the cave.
However, he knew how stubborn his little wife can get and how much she loved and cared for this friend of hers. Alicia was one of the rare friend that Abi had who understood her, as their experience had brought them closer and they had interacted with each other as though they were sisters at times.
When they walked right up to the front of the crystal cave and stopped, Lilith immediately came up to them.
Abi was surprised at the sight of a silver-haired witch that was not Alicia. She had heard about this girl – who was supposed to be Alicia's replacement – from Alex earlier so Abi already knew this young lady was now the new witch queen. As Abi looked at her, she mused within herself that the new queen was still very young.
Lilith came forward to greet Abi and welcomed her and the vampires. Then she looked straight at Abi and spoke. "You are the only one allowed to enter the Crystal Cave to see Queen Alicia and offer your greetings and blessings for the last time," she informed Abi and the whole group. Abi then looked over at Alex.
Alex only gave a small comforting smile before nodding at her. The other vampires did not react as they already knew that vampires were never allowed to venture inside the witches' Crystal Cavern.
They all just stood there, unmoving as their deep eyes watched Abi and Lilith both enter the secret door until both ladies could not be seen anymore. The secret door had closed behind the two ladies and was covered with streams of snow-white flowers which were in full bloom.
Once Abi followed Lilith into the cave she stood motionless for a few moments. Then she took a quick look to scan around the inside of the ccave. Abi's quick glance showed her that Zeres was standing unmoving in one corner of the cave, leaning his shoulder against the cool and smooth cave wall as his gaze was fixed on Alicia's body. He did not seem to have heard the arrival of either one of them. And even if he did notice, he pretended as though he did not and locked his gaze onto the body of the woman that he still loved so much, even in death. Abi's eyes trailed from Zeres' form to the spot that he had his eyes glued on.
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