“What about Mille?” Kalion asked Erna softly as they lay in bed, having washed up for the night. Erna sat next to him, brushing Mille’s colorful hair as the little girl slept soundly beside her.
“She just fell asleep,” Erna replied, her voice trembling slightly. After Mille had disappeared, Erna had searched the entire Grand Castle, her heart pounding with each passing moment. She had used her magic to search for Mille, but the little girl was nowhere to be found. The thought of losing her daughter had nearly driven Erna to the brink of madness.
Kalion, always the voice of reason, had calmed her down and urged her to think rationally. It was then that Erna remembered the magical marker she had placed on Mille a long time ago, just in case. With renewed hope, she had tracked the magic and found Mille crying in a warehouse in the forest behind the castle.
At first, Erna had thought it was a stranger’s child. But when she heard Mille’s wailing voice, she knew without a doubt that it was her own daughter. The pain in her chest was unbearable as she raced to the warehouse, her only thought to hold Mille in her arms and never let go.
Erna gazed at Mille’s tear-streaked face, who had fainted in her arms from the shock of being locked in the warehouse. Although she regained consciousness after returning to the Grand Castle, she continued to cry and refused to leave Erna’s embrace. Tonight, Erna didn’t want to put Mille to bed separately. So, after bathing together, she brought Mille to bed and held her in her arms. As the small, warm body snuggled into her embrace, the sound of whimpering gradually subsided, and turned into comfortable breathing. The child had finally found peace in her mother’s arms.
When Erna noticed Kalion still gently stroking Mille’s hair, she quietly left the room. A little later, she returned with Lionel sleeping in her arms. Erna carried Lionel into bed and covered everyone with a blanket. “Let’s all sleep together tonight. The whole family,” she said.
After turning off the lights, the room was filled with only quiet breathing sounds. The room that had always been filled with the breathing of only two people, now had the sweet and lovely sounds of two more people mixed in. Erna turned her head and met Kalion’s gaze, who was also not asleep. Erna spoke first. “It feels like everything will be okay.”
“What do you mean?” Kalion asked.
“Just… like this. I feel like we can keep going like this,” Erna said, smiling and closing her eyes.
Despite the unknown future, Erna believed that they could overcome it as a family. She held Mille in her arms and reached for Kalion’s hand, who was holding Lionel. Although they were not sleeping as close as before, Erna didn’t feel like she was separated from Kalion. There were children sleeping between them, connecting Kalion and herself as one. A new family.
Erna’s consciousness slowly sank into darkness.
* * *
Erna stirred from her sleep to the sweet melody of birds chirping in the morning. She yawned lazily, feeling an unusual lightness in her body. She wondered if she had slept well, but her thoughts were soon interrupted by the absence of her children.
“Mille? Lionel?” Erna searched the room, but her kids were nowhere to be found. A sense of panic crept over her as she frantically pulled off the blanket, hoping to find them sleeping underneath. But there was no sign of her little ones.
“Kalion! Kalion! Wake up!” Erna’s voice trembled with fear.
“Hmm, what…what’s going on…?” Kalion, who was still sleeping, woke up startled.
“Why aren’t Mille and Lionel here?” Erna demanded, her voice shaking.
Kalion’s expression mirrored Erna’s as he searched for the children. He pulled off the blanket, checked under the bed, but there was no sign of them. Just then, there was a commotion outside, and someone knocked on the door. It was Orpé.
“Both of you are awake!” Orpé exclaimed, relief evident in her voice.
“Orpé! Where did Lionel and Mille go?” Erna’s heart was pounding in her chest as she bombarded Orpé with frantic questions.
“What? Who are they?” Orpé looked at Erna in confusion and grabbed her arms.
“My daughter and son!” Erna cried out. “I need to find them.”
Orpé’s confusion only deepened as Erna continued to ramble on. “What are you talking about…did you have a hallucination from the pillars?”
“Pillars?” Erna repeated, her mind reeling.
“Yes. Both of you fell asleep under the pillars, and we brought you to the bedroom…are you okay? Do you feel any pain?” Orpé’s voice was laced with concern.
Erna tried to process Orpé’s words as she slowly looked around the room. It was the couple’s bedroom, but there was no baby bed like she remembered.
And then it hit her. Erna’s eyes widened with realization. Both she and Kalion had returned to their original time.
* * *
A week had passed since Erna and Kalion returned to their original time, but the joy that had lit up their faces was long gone. Orpé and Vanessa couldn’t help but notice the change and asked them what was wrong, but Erna always put on a bitter smile and told them not to worry. Kalion was no different, wearing a stern expression all day long, ignoring Cedric’s attempts to get him to open up.
At night, they lay in bed, a distance between them that hadn’t been there before. The silence stretched out between them until Erna spoke up.
He turned his head towards her.
“I want to see Mille and Lionel,” she said, her voice choking up. Kalion didn’t say anything, but he reached out and held her shoulders. “I couldn’t teach Mille magic,” Erna continued. “And I couldn’t hear Lionel calling me Mom.”
She broke down in tears, and Kalion pulled her close, holding her tight. “It’s okay,” he said softly. “We’ll teach them in the future and be together.”
Erna couldn’t respond, but she found comfort in Kalion’s embrace. The children who had once felt like strangers now left an empty void in her heart.
“They were our future,” Kalion said, his voice low. “We’ll meet them again if we live together.”
Erna looked up at him, and they locked eyes. They held onto each other, their embrace growing stronger.
“Kalion,” Erna whispered, hugging him tightly. “Let’s do our best to meet them again.”
Kalion nodded, gripping her tightly. As they held each other, they could almost hear the children’s laughter in the silence of the night. They would wait for their future to come to them, living every day happily together.