So if you guys hate intruders and other things related, DO NOT READ THE STORY. Well, the whole night intruder stuff will only happen in the first part of the story and more action and travelling will come afterwards, so I guess you’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks before you’ll reach to the part where there’ll be no more stalkers. Otherwise, I’ve stayed up until 1 AM to finish this chapter; if you hadn’t known or be aware of, I actually do A LOT of researches for my story – I did some mythological researches for Deus Ex Machina and a lot of geographical and medicine researches for Umbra so I feel a lot smarter than I was before I started writing these stories (yay for researches!) and all of these are for my stories to have a good quality and to make sense. Truthfully, I haven’t even taken IGCSEs yet and I still feel clueless about some trivial adult things, hence the researches.
Without further ado, enjoy the story and give feedback!
Deus Ex Machina
2 – Nunc scio quid sit amor
Jenny had never been Dea’s favourite family member, either. Like mother like daughter – Erin and Jenny were the reasons Dea’s life had been miserable. Well, Erin could be cooperative when she wanted to, sometimes helping Dea get off fishing hooks or participating in one of Dea’s revenge schemes on Dea’s enemies. However, Jenny would do her best to make sure Dea suffocate in her “motherly” bubble.
It all started with Zach’s affair with a lady name Lethe Peters, a middle-classed maiden with astounding beauty, moreover daughter of Cain Peters and Phoebe Peters, head of the Peters family, and sister of Aster Peters, a well-known Hollywood actress. Zach was attending the Peters’ charity ball, bored to death due to the Peters’ love of sticking to old laws, where he stumbled upon Lethe in the gardens during a walk. The Peters did mention something about having two daughters but Aster had only been the only known, while Lethe was confined due to her bouts of sickness; thankfully, she had gotten healthier because of her daily medications.
Zacharias Naitt was engaged to Jennifer, the soon to be Mrs. Naitt, but his need for fun and danger got the better of him and thus he neglected the whole marriage affair with Jenny. Zach had never mentioned anything about Lethe or what happened in the ball, weaving flamboyant tales to tell Jenny when he returned. Not long after Zach and Jenny got married, they visited the Peters for a blessings dinner, since it was the two families’ custom. Jenny was introduced to Lethe, who was jittery and jumpy throughout the dinner. When she excused herself, Jenny followed her out of pure concern, though when Lethe told her everything that had happened in the Peters’ charity ball, she was madly furious.
Even though they acted all civil, Jenny’s heart burned with anger and jealousy. In revenge, Jenny spread the rumour that Lethe was impregnated by her own foolish actions, bringing shame and humiliation upon the Peters. The Peters, of course, were at the utmost disappointed about this discovery and demanded Lethe to leave the house immediately. She was pregnant, exhausted and hungry; only a few doors offered food and shelter but no longer than a few days, while most shunned her for being a disgrace – there was no place for Lethe to be completely safe.
When it was time for labour, she panicked, for there was no place that would offer place to give birth to her child. She travelled from corners to corners, begging for a place where she could deliver safely only to be rejected without hesitation. Desperate, she snuck into a ferry going to the island of Delos, not so far away from the mainland, and gave birth in an inn full of accepting people.
Dea was the firstborn, her revelation into the world went as smooth as silk; unfortunately, it wasn’t the case for Abel.
Due to exhaustion from long travels and carrying the twins longer than she should, Lethe couldn’t take any more of the pain and passed out with Abel still inside. The people of the inn panicked and were about to perform caesarean birth when Lethe came to and insisted on giving birth normally. Through much difficulty, Abel was born, a healthy boy just like his sister. Deanna was named because of her golden hair looking ever so “divine”, while Abel was named to be the opposite of Lethe’s strict and ever-judging father.
That was all they were told of about their origins – they were never told of what happened to their mother after that or about how they had come to live with the Naitts. They never mentioned anything more about the Peters except that they hadn’t had a word from Lethe. When Abel asked Zach where Lethe could be, he simply said “She’s happy, at least.” However, when Abel asked Jenny about Lethe, she coldly declared “Dead as she could be, I suppose.”
Jenny had never been fond of the Peters twins; she would always pick on their flaws and display them like a promotional poster, only they don’t bring any good to the twins. She mocked Dea’s love of animals and the wild, commenting on how such behaviour was very peasant-like, and she sneered at Abel’s love of arts (especially music and literature), saying that he was the most unmanly boy she had ever encountered. These remarks were not true – Dea had dreamed of being a midwife because of her love and concern for children, and Abel was skilled in bows and arrows (courtesy of Dea) and a natural the art of swords.
Despite the horrible treatments from Jenny and Timothy – and later Erin – most of their half-siblings weren’t that hellish. Ace, who had always relied on brute strength and known for his rough mannerism, was a fierce protector as opposed to Annette, calm and calculating but can be frightening when in need; the two of them would always bicker because of their different views of certain situations; little Hiero was more or less like Ares but with more humility and wisdom; Brian was a drunkard but was strangely religious; Vivanne was a true beauty and she was extremely aware of that, and Vincent was a master of sculptures, his works would always be named the greatest masterpieces of the century by various critics. There were more of the half-siblings but most were old enough to fend for themselves, and they had always dreamed of the day when they need not to live in the same house as Jenny. Even though many of the Naitt children achieved almost impossible feats, Jenny had only loved her biological children more – Ace, Vincent, Erin, Anya, Beth, Angela and Lucia.
Another person Dea could deal with was Zach. No matter how indecent his actions might be, she still regarded him as a great father – some did have grudges against Zach such as Jenny (though it was more of fond jealousy) and Ace (because of how Zach would always get away with every enormous mistakes he had made). One day, Dea had climbed into Zach’s lap after one of Jenny’s awful speeches about how the twins were the product of a talentless woman and that they would be doomed to be as useless as her, and asked him for six things: to be as beautiful as Zach had described her mother to be, to have different unique talents so others could distinguish her from Abel, to always remain bright and cheerful no matter the situation, to have a bow and arrows like Robin Hood and to be able to start wearing shorter skirts (or possibly pants) so she could run better while chasing pests, to have a heavenly singing voice so she could join her school choir in the future, and to have magical guards to protect her Beagle, Arty, and her prized bow and arrows. When asked what the bow and arrows were for, Dea said “To hunt animals.”
“But I thought you love animals,” Zach said.
“Yeah, but I’ll only kill the evil ones so they won’t kill people.”
And so Dea had made boars and farm pests as her target practices ever since.
Dea had obtained her first bow and arrows from the mighty Ocean daughters who lived by the coast in a cosy mansion overlooking the endless sea. The Ocean daughters had heard tales about how Dea had singlehandedly exterminated a boar from her backyard (which of course was not true – Ace had beaten the boar to near death while Dea acted as a bait with her slingshot) and when Dea asked them if she could buy a bow and some arrows, they gave her the most expensive one for free. Dea had had this bow for some time and she had always used it but when Zach gave her his, she stored the Ocean daughters’ bow in favour for Zach’s.
She first practiced her archery skills by shooting arrows at targets drawn on trees and when she had felt as confident as a blossom, she moved onto shooting wild boars from great distances or from high trees where the boars wouldn’t be able to reach her or where she could easily escape if they were to notice. Soon, Zach paid for archery lessons at a hunting club for the twins; when a week had passed, the teacher declared her as one of his most prized students, alongside Abel.
Still, Jenny wouldn’t look at them as she would to her flesh and blood – to her, they were just leeches in her home.
* * *
Dea had learned from Ace that they had two uncles and two aunts: the faithful Admiral Nathaniel Naitt, the estranged Pietro Naitt, the fashion designer Dimitri Naitt and the architect Hester Naitt. According to Ace, they would seldom visit the Naitt household due to familial conflicts when they were younger, but Aunt Dimitri would sometimes send letters to Jenny, asking about everyone’s well-beings.
“I’ve only met Uncle Nate once and I’ve never met Uncle Pietro,” Ace continued. They were in the woods, sparring in sword fight. It wasn’t fair, though, since Dea was more experienced in archery than sword fighting so it’d be natural for her to lose to Ace, two-to-eleven. “Aunt Dimitri and Aunt Hester would always come for New Year parties but never in any other occasions – they said something about having more work in the other holidays,” Ace went on, dodging some of Dea’s strikes, “Truth, I think they just want to stay away from here as much as they could, but they still have the feeling or responsibility to check up on their family.”
“Why don’t they visit Grandma Rae or Grandpa Cornelius?” Dea asked as she dodged to the left.
“They still get – ha! – in touch with Grandma but I heard there’s still sparks between them and Grandpa.”
“What happened, anyway – gah! Can we stop talking while sparring? I can’t multitask that well!”
“Alright, alright,” Ace sighed. They went over to sit underneath a broadleaf oak, drinking water from stainless steel canteen and trying to even out their breaths. “Where were we? Ah, yeah – I heard Grandpa tried to kill them all or something –”
“What?!” Dea nearly choked on water on the revelation, “He tried to kill his own children?! Why?!”
“Well, as you might’ve already known, Grandpa had a large enterprise – the Olympus Enterprise – that was worth billions of money. Before this, it was Great-grandpa Ulrich’s company but Grandpa assassinated him. Since Grandpa believes in fortune telling and such – he’s a self-proclaimed medium – he believed that his children would kill him and take over his fortune, just like how he killed his own father. Out of fear, for every child born, Grandpa would give them to the orphanage not far from here. Zach was the youngest and Grandma didn’t want to lose him like she did the others so before he was born, she made sure that only Great-grandma Gilda was around for the delivery.
“When Zach was born, Grandma told Grandpa that Zach had died during infancy, when actually she had instructed Great-grandma to raise Zach. When he’s old enough, Zach was told about his family and he planned on revenge, because he felt that Grandpa was definitely insane – and I totally agree on that. Firstly, he got help from Great-grandma to adopt every one of his siblings into the Naitt household; second, he took a gun from Great-grandpa’s study, marched off to see Grandpa and shot him as soon as he saw him.” Dea asked whether or not it was also the reason Zach had been avoiding Olympia Mansion, in which Ace answered “No, not really – he’s just really busy, is all.”
“Is Grandma Rae still affected? Like, is she also trying to avoid the mansion – is that why she’s living in another mansion?”
“From what I’ve heard, yes; she had lost her children because of her horrible husband and then she had lost that said husband, so of course the place would be her Hell on Earth.”
“Why is she sad that Grandpa died? I thought she thought he was horrible…”
Ace took his time before he answered, and he hesitated before he said “…I guess there are times when you’d forgive even the biggest mistake made by someone you truly love.” Dea didn’t really catch the meaning of the phrase but she soaked them up anyway because despite being pure force, Ace could be wise when he wanted to be.
But that had Dea thinking, for had Jenny loved Zach so much to forgive his mistakes? Whenever they crossed paths, they would often bicker – it would only be Jenny who’s doing the yelling while Zach would throw in remarks at necessities – but Vivianne had once told Dea that fights only occur when couples worry over each other’s well-beings. Thinking back on it, Zach did had some accidents during some of his trips and Jenny would yell at him over the phone, going on and on about keeping his moronic head safe even without a helmet and other things. So, yeah – Jenny loved Zach.
As much as Dea had wished she hadn’t, because then they would soon get divorced and everyone’s lives would be like living in the Castle on a Cloud.
* * *
After dinner, Dea told everything she’s learned from Ace to Abel, who took in all of the information with various expressions: quizzical eyebrow lift, the high-brows, and even lip-biting worry. “Wow, that’s so… intense…” was all he had for a comment. Dea had pestered him into giving a more detailed comment, because it had been Abel who was dying with excitement when she had told him that she knew something about the family. “I don’t know what to say! It’s like watching Saw without actually watching it – and I’ve never watched it, for your information. I mean, he killed his own dad! – wait, they killed their dads! And then Grandpa tried to kill all of his children over some stupid prophecy? Who believes in that, anyway?”
“As said before, Grandpa was a self-proclaimed medium, meaning he had some sort of psychic powers that enabled him to do weird stuff – such as seeing the future.”
“Really? That sounds like something out of those reality shows on TVs where a group of people claim to have superpowers and stuff.”
“They might be real – you’d never know. Anyway, I’m going back to my room, now. And by the way,” Dea added, turning slightly to look at Abel, “Vivianne’s coming tomorrow and we’ve decided to go to town afterschool.”
“When did you all decide that?”
“Dinner – you were asleep?” Dea smirked playfully before closing the door gently behind her, and just as she was about to take a step towards her own room, an unexpected figure appeared. “Erin, if you’re planning on throwing me off the floor, I’ll make sure you’ll go down with me.”
“Make sure to lock your window,” Erin warned in a frighteningly low voice, “I can tell it’s broken, judging from the way the intruder must’ve got in, so I brought you this.” Erin handed her a duct tape and kitchen scissors that Jenny would use to cut up various food. “I don’t have any scissors, by the way, so I just take what I saw,” she explained.
Dea took the objects warily, eyeing the objects with narrowed eyes and doing the same to Erin. “You know something no one else knows,” Dea said, “and I bet you’re not supposed to know it, either.”
In turn, Erin gave a weary sigh and said “You wouldn’t know how much I wish I hadn’t known. To confirm things, I’m keeping you alive for my own selfish purposes.” Erin patted Dea lightly on her shoulder before descending the creaking stairs, being as quiet as she could. Dea watched her wiry figure disappear before she muttered “So much for showing your concern.”
In her room, Dea did what was advised; she went over to seal the broken window with duct tape, putting a safe amount of layers so that it wouldn’t be so easily accessible from the outside. What she didn’t know was that this intruder was prepared, and if Dea heard the ripping sound of duct tape and soft padding of footsteps, then she might have brushed it off as something else.