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   Chapter 17 His Secret

Sanctum By JMFelic Characters: 20871

Updated: 2018-08-16 21:07


Father Azrael nodded and then went where Aurora stood. He felt her nerves on edge, but there was nothing he could do to calm them. Honestly, he found it silly of her to feel nervous. The Pope was just an old man, leader of a grand religion maybe, but still an old man.

"Aurora, the Holy Pope wants to meet you now, " he said, his eyes riveted on her.

In response, Aurora's hands trembled even more. She immediately stabilized them by clasping. After taking a long, deep breath and clearing her throat, she walked forward, summoning all of her confidence to help her face the Holy Pope. She however paused abruptly when she realized that Father Azrael remained still on the spot.

"Uh, aren't you coming with me Father?" she asked, worry printed in her face.

"No, you need to talk to him alone, " was his quick reply.

She wanted to plead, but knew that it wasn't proper, so she surrendered in the end and went her own way.

Once there, she immediately knelt in the Pope's front and kissed his holy ring. It was the one thing she mentally instructed herself to do after seeing Father Azrael perform it earlier.

"Your Grace, " she muttered tenderly, trying to sound as formal as she could.

"In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, " Pope Benedict uttered, making a sign of the cross near her forehead.

"Amen, " she replied. At least this foreign language, she was quite sure of its meaning.

"You are Aurora Alexis Clave?" Pope Benedict asked directly.

"Yes, Your Grace. It is I."

He smiled serenely towards her and then shifted his eyes on Father Azrael's way who looked stiff on the spot, looking at them.

"Come, let's chat my child, " he said, standing slowly while holding his papal ferula with his right hand. Aurora, in intuition, supported the Pope, holding his shoulder so that he wouldn't stumble.

From there, they strolled along the row of chairs towards the altar, leaving his papal triregnum in the wooden chair.

"My child, I apologize for hurrying you. I would have wanted to know more about you and your life in the orphanage, but I fear I wouldn't have enough time to listen to it all, " the Pope said in truthfulness.

"No, Your Grace. It is not a problem. I understand very well, " Aurora replied, clasping her hands down her abdomen.

"Azrael has brought my attention about you having that specific mark in your neck."

"Yes, Your Grace. I do have it."

She was calm and collected, but in actuality, deep inside, she was anxious and her heart drummed fast. Not only was she speaking with the Holy Pope now, he was also talking about the mark in her neck to which for her wasn't a normal subject matter to discuss.

"What do you feel about it?" asked he, looking at a certain fresco in the eastern wall. It was the Resurrection of Christ painted by Hendrick van den Broeck.

"Your Grace?" she raised an eyebrow, looking at his profile.

"I want to know what you feel about the mark in your neck, my child, " he clarified most tenderly.

Aurora looked lost for a moment, but she held on to his brown eyes and felt the aura of holiness surrounding him. Guess reliving the pain and sorrow for one last time wouldn't be bad at all if she were to share it with this man.

After a deep breath, Aurora drew her eyes towards the ceiling and then began, "Uh, well, ever since I was a child, I had this mark with me, Your Grace. Children in the orphanage would frequently bully me because of it. They would call me names like I am the daughter of a monster, a witch, a sorceress and such, and because of it, I used to feel forsaken. Left out. Feeling trapped in my own misfortunes." Her voice trembled for a bit.

He just nodded whilst listening attentively. This was almost like a normal confession except of course the topic wasn't the usual sins of a woman.

Aurora continued, trying to hold back tears from slipping in the borders of her eyes. "But luckily, Sister Cene and the other nuns were there to support me. They are my family, Your Grace. The only family I got. And without them, I would have been drowned in my own sea of depression. I first thought that this mark was just a birthmark, but Father Azrael had provided me the truth. Never had I expected it to be a mark of a demon - which, by the way, is definitely worse than a monster and a witch." She strained to add humor in her voice, but failed miserably.

Sensing that she wouldn't add anymore, the Pope stated gratefully, "Thank you for telling me what you feel, my child." He paused from walking and turned to face her. "It is always good to know the sufferings of others."

"You are the Holy Father, Your Grace. I want to know. Do you really believe this is a mark of a demon?" she asked in a stern voice.

"Yes, that is true, " Pope Benedict replied almost instantly. "That is a demon's mark and its name is Khronus. The demon who has the power to wield time and space."

"Your Grace?" Aurora was taken aback by his more-than-honest reply.

"My child, you are your parent's daughter and that mark in your neck is your family's... shall we say... curse from a forbidden union between a demon and a human."

"Wha—what are you talking about, Your Grace?"

"I don't understand it myself, child. I'm afraid I cannot explain more. That is exactly why you and Father Azrael should go to your family's residence to investigate about this further."

"My family!?" Her eyes bulged. "But I don't...I don't know—" She paused and suddenly, it dawned on her. She glanced at Father Azrael with disbelieving eyes and continued, "Does Father Azrael know where my real family is?"

"Yes, Aurora. He was able to find some texts in a book inside the Vatican Secret Archives pertaining to your family, and with the help of the Italy Census Records, he was able to find their address."

"Hu—h?" She blinked many times, confused on whether to feel happy or not. The ground-breaking information was just too fast for her to comprehend.

Pope Benedict held onto her hands to keep her steady. This immediately radiated a calming warmth on her skin.

"In all honesty my child, I do feel frightened with it even if I am not the one wearing the mark, " the Pope confessed, "But I do feel at ease knowing that Azr

rs, she looked at him with lazy eyes. "Yes, I'm—I'm fine. I am just feeling hot. It is probably due to the heat of the sun, " she deduced.

"You shouldn't have worn that turtleneck dress, " he commented crisply, throwing his arm around her and grabbing her waist. "Come, we should head back to the car."

In weak attempt, she pushed his arm away and frowned. "But, Marcus..." she started, "he still wants to go to the famous fountain of four rivers, Cirrus!"

The sacristan was busily viewing different tourist souvenirs laid on a carpet a few feet away from them. It appeared that he was too engrossed with the trinkets that he wasn't able to notice the current problem behind him.

Pressing his lips into a thin line, Father Azrael drew Aurora closer to him. "I will have the driver accompany Marcus with the rest of the tour, so don't worry. Right now, it is important that you get the hell out of these hot-pot cobblestones. Now, come!" he stated and this time, much firmly. He pulled her out of the railing and supported her weight with his own.

Yes.

Aurora was indeed on the brink of heat stroke and Father Azrael could see that clearly just by looking at her flushed face. Though they were under the heat of the sun, there was no sign of sweating in her forehead or temple — a clear objective sign of the problem. Her breathing was deep and fast also, and looking at her carotid artery, it was pulsing heavily under her skin. She would have fainted now if it weren't for the wind that he commanded to fan her until they reach the limousine parked outside of the collonades.

"Big sis! Father Azrael!" Marcus yelled when he finally noticed them leaving. He ran as fast as he could to catch them and saw Aurora looking very weak. "What happened to you big sis?"

"Nothing Marcus. I'm...fine. I am just a little bit hot and dizzy, " she replied, but her voice had thinned to a mumble.

"Marcus, " Father Azrael caught his attention and the boy drew his eyes on him immediately, afraid with how edged his voice was. "I need her to get inside the car asap. Run there and have the driver open the door for us."

"Ah, yes Father!" he replied and in haste, did as he was told.

When the two finally arrived, Father Azrael noticed the passenger seat open. He tsk'd and then motioned the driver to quickly open the door to the front seat. The man did so, but was confused.

He slid her carefully into it, turned the car air-conditioner on full blast, took the liberty of fastening the seatbelt for her, and then closed the door. Aurora felt so drained that she couldn't protest anymore with what he was doing.

"Sir Darrell, " he called and the driver stood in full focus, "I need you to accompany Marcus to finish his tour. Go with him and be back in the house after the two of you are done. Just take a taxi on the way."

Without questioning, the forty-six year old man gently nodded, but Marcus who heard what the priest said immediately objected, "But Father, I can go back with you. I don't need to finish the tour!"

Father Azrael shook his head with this. "Marcus, your big sis would feel that it is her fault if you cannot enjoy your tour today. Go ahead. Don't worry about us. I will take care of her."

Reluctantly, Marcus fell silent. He wanted to reason more, but sensed there was no changing the decision of the priest. It was inherent for Aurora to be thoughtful of others' needs and happiness — that much he knew very well while he was still staying in the orphanage house. If he will not continue with the tour, more likely Father Azrael's words would be right; she would feel guilty the next day.

Marcus gently nodded in affirmation. With this, Father Azrael left the two and quickly went to the driver's seat. Before he could stamp on the gas pedal however, he noticed Aurora already unconscious.

Shit. He cursed in his mind.

Time was ticking and it definitely wasn't taking sides on him at all. If he would drive back to his residence, it would be too late. So, he decided to drive to a nearest building he could find — the Relais Vatican View. A top-class building that accommodated his privately-owned suite.

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