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Broken Lives : Chapter 1

"If you could have one thing, what would it be?"

"Hmm?" he asked. "If I could have one thing? Well, that's an easy one. But before I tell you, what about you? What would you want?"

"What!?" his partner gasped. "No, no, no, no, no, no. I asked you first. You tell me and then I'll tell you."

"I can't, otherwise you might be swayed by my answer," he laughed.

"No I wouldn't," his partner proudly spoke. "For nothing can change my desire for the greatest treasure of all! The lost riches of the kingdom of Endevous. Ha, ha, ha, ha- EHHH?"

"Well then," he chuckled. "I guess I can't sway you from that."

"HEY! THAT'S CHEATING!"

"Calm down, Vena. It's not that bad." He smiled at her and patted her head. "Since you did tell me what you wanted, I guess its only fair I tell you. The thing I want the most is more time. More time so I can spend it with you. More time for adventures, for having fun, and for seeing the world. More time for getting to know you and love you more little by little each day. More time to watch you and I grow and live our lives wherever they lead and with whoever they lead to. But most of all, I want more time because I love you. I love you more than anything in this world. More than even myself. I love you so much more than even the number of stars in the clearest night sky, more than there are grains of sand on this earth. More than anything imaginable. That's why I wish I could have more time."

Vena could feel tears welling up at the corners of her eyes. Her thoughts were suddenly in chaos and her heart was racing. She could feel her body growing hotter and hotter. She failed to understand what was going on when a quick smile caught her off guard, causing her entire face to turn bright red in embarrassment.

"I-i-idiot!" Vena cried out, hitting her partner in the shoulder. "Why do you have to go and say something like that? How am I suppose to answer that?" Tears were now streaming down her face uncontrollably.

"Why would you need to answer?" her partner said, brushing away the loose hairs and tears covering her face. "You're here now. That's answer enough."

Vena shook her head. She knew he was weird, but this was a side of him she didn't quite understand. "Why now though? Why didn't you tell me before? When you weren't dying?"

"You looked like you were having so much fun," he said. "I didn't want to worry you. I knew I didn't have long and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with you. I'm sure you would have left if I had told you before." He smiled again, this time leaning his full weight down on the bed. It was coming anytime now. But he wasn't scared or worried. He knew she would be alright. Vena was strong and plenty bright. She would find her way.

"Vena, please don't be upset," he spoke weaker. "Don't give up on your dreams. Go and find that treasure. Remember to be kind and help whenever you can. And don't forget to have fun doing it." A coughing fit interrupted him. He laid back down once it subsided and took a deep breath. "Hand me my bag."

Vena nodded slowly before reaching for a dull leather knapsack. It was quite light despite holding many things. Her partner reached within and withdrew a small box. He handed it to her and gave another smile.

"This is yours," he said. "I meant to give it to you when we reached Everpoint and rode the tram all the way up Gallinger Mountain, but it seems like that isn't going to happen." He opened the box, revealing a small oval-shaped silver locket with a stone on the front. He removed it and forced himself to sit up.

"Please," Vena said. "I don't deserve that." Tears were really bursting forth now, and she could do nothing to hide the sadness and pain filling her.

"Come closer," her partner said. "I can't reach that far." She did as he asked, drawing herself nearer until she was only inches from him. He unclasped the clasp and placed the locket around her neck, drawing himself even closer. They were only an inch apart now. Vena could feel his breath on her face, ragged and weak. Suddenly, she threw her arms around him and pushed her lips into his. He responded in kind, wrapping her into a tight final embrace and kissing her one last time.

After what seemed an eternity, Vena finally let go, feeling his body slip away, watching it fall back to the bed, lifeless. She felt something inside her break. The world began spinning, faster, faster, faster until everything was nothing more than a faint blur. Her head began pounding and sweat began pouring from her body, drenching her close. A ringing noise began playing in her ears, growing louder and louder. Darkness started swallowing her up, igniting fear within her. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped.

Vena looked around her. She was no longer in the cold, empty room. Darkness and fog surrounded her. She could feel chains binding her hands and feet. She pulled desperately against her restraints, only succeeding in driving the sharp edges into her skin.

"H-hello?" she cried out. "W-where am I-I? I-is anyone there? Can anyone hear me? Hello?" Silence responded, sending its deafening waves rushing all around her, drowning her. Fear was now the only thing coursing through her. She looked down. The locket was still there, the stone on its front glowing an ever so faint white and blue. She searched frantically, hoping to find someone, anyone who could tell her what was happening.

"Well now," a familiar voice spoke out. "What do we have here? Looks like the spider caught quite a prize, didn't she." Vena turned frantically, trying and failing to pinpoint where the voice was coming from. Suddenly, a figure drew itself out of the fog and closer toward Vena. She could feel something was wrong, terribly wrong. The figure walked closer until Vena could just make out its features. She gasped.

"What, darling?" the figure cackled. "You look like you've just seen a ghost." It laughed. It laughed a horrible, blood curling laugh and turned back to face Vena. "Don't worry sweetie. This time, I'm not going anywhere. You and I are going to have so much fun together."

"No," Vena gasped. Her body trembled. She couldn't believe it. There was no way it should have been possible, but there it was. "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!"

"Oh yes, darling," the figure said. "YES, YES ,YES AND A THOUSAND YESSS! ARAKNE IS BACK!"

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