It happened not too long after her 5th birthday. When she was playing with her ball, she found a ‘rabbit hole’, the one similar with the hole that she read on ‘Alice In Wonderland’. She wondered if she could enter the Wonderland like Alice if she threw herself into this hole?
Kid and her imagination, really.
Shaking her head, after she peeked into this hole and being smart girl she was, Gwen thought it was not safe to just throw herself into this hole when she didn’t know how deep this hole, neither she knew the exit nor she could get out of this hole or not. She shouldn’t make her mother and the others worry about her. When she decided to not go into this hole despite her curiosity, someone pushed her from behind and she fell.
“eh?”, Gwen felt herself falling into the deep darkness and screamed “KYAAA!?”, when she opened her eyes, she just remembered “oh, that’s right! I forgot that I can levitate now”, but strangely enough, Gwen couldn’t use her magic and she fell straight to the floor, losing her composure and she started to panic again “...eh? why!? It isn’t working?! I’m falling?! I’m falling?!”, when she dangerously barely hit the floor, Gwen felt herself regained her magic power as she started to float and fell slower. As her feet touched the floor, she dropped to her butt and sighed in relief “phew! But it surprised me, what happened I wonder?”.
Gwen was struck in awe next second.
First, because she just arrived on the... HUGE library within a tower underground. Yes, let’s just call this place as it. The underground tower was shaped as a cylinder, entirely was composed by books and bookshelves, with many layers of staircases and passages were built on the wall’s surfaces, myriads of bookshelves lined up on it. Somehow, just with looking around, unless you were nerdy girl who love read books like Gwen, you would feel dizzy even if just a bit for sure. In Gwen’s case, instead she just felt like she had found the greatest treasure. Just if she could have this place as her home and she had all time in the world or just stop the time for a while, she would lock herself to read all this book before she could go back home.
Only when this another presence spoke, Gwen just realized she was not alone “what a curious one, I don’t remind having granted you the access to here, so tell me how did you managed to reach this place?”.
Second, the people who just talked with her. She was, well... a girl that clearly looked a bit older than her. She had long flowing platinum blonde hair that almost reached her legs, petite height and thin limbs, smooth-looking snow-white porcelain skin and victorian-style dress using darker colors than lighter ones with frills, lace and ribbons along with a matching set headband accessory on her hair. What stunned Gwen as she locked gaze with her, was her eyes. This doll-like girl’s eyes looked exactly like hers, heterochromia eyes where one eye was emerald green and the other was sapphire blue.
Unconsciously, Gwen blurted out after stared to her for a few seconds “whoa... you really look like a living doll, big sister. so beautiful”.
“...I can say the same thing about you, but I will take it as compliment, thank you”, doll-like Guardian of Great Library led the way to the ceiling where there was a white round table with a few books placed on it besides the tea set and snacks “well, I know that you have your reason, but before having it, would you like something to eat?”.
After telling her to just sit, the doll-like girl who sat across her introduced herself as Trista and Gwen introduced herself properly. It turned out Trista serving chocolates, cakes and tea before Gwen thought warily if it was alright for her to just eat this? After all, daddy had told her to not receive something like eat and drink from stranger though Gwen felt Trista didn’t feel like stranger for her.
Still, she needed to ask “um... big sister Trista...”.
Looking up from the book on her hand, Trista blinked “what is it? Do you hate chocolate?”.
Of course, she loved it “no, that’s not it”.
Gwen was doubt if it would be alright for her to just eat these while Trista had not touched the food at all “are you sure that it’s fine to give everything to me?”.
"It is. It's a present that I have received from Zaratras, but things like food would be wasted on me so go ahead and it".
What did it supposed to mean? Did it mean Trista needn’t eat food or what? Whatever, since Trista was acquaintance of Zaratras, it meant she wasn’t stranger and it was safe to eat these. Clasped her hands, Gwen bowed her head “okay, thank you for the food”.
As Gwen ate the chocolate with happy smile, Trista just watched her eat without drink or eat anything. Maybe what Gwen predicted was right, but it was not her place to ask it. Gwen was aware enough that everyone had the boundary and it was best to keep standing on the borderline so Gwen didn’t talk about it. Instead, Gwen explained what happened just now, that she was pushed by someone and fell to the rabbit hole which leading her to here.
Looking around, Gwen leaned her hands on the table “say, big sister Trista... I felt someone else other than you here just now. Where are they?”.
Trista closed her eyes and sipped her tea, unimpressed “secret”.
Gwen tilted her head and asked once more “but I feel them no longer here now. Where are they?”.
Peeking through one eye, Trista raised her eyebrow “...you’re sure talkative, huh?”.
Gwen crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks “don’t think so. Daddy always said that I’m quiet, calm and composed for children around my age but I can be chatty when I wanted it, not talkative”.
“yeah, whatever”, putting down her tea cup, Trista asked her “now, what do you want to do? since you accidentally got here, I can bring you back to your place right away. However, from your interest on the books here, I doubt you will want to go back home right away, at least not before you read some books here”.
“good idea?!”, Gwen exclaimed, swinging her legs up and down with sparkling eyes “if you don’t mind, can I wander around a bit and read some books before I go home?”.
Trista looked down, back to her book and flipped the page of the book “well, whatever. Do what you want, just don’t mess up—”.
When she looked up, Trista just realized that Gwen had wandered around to find books that she could read (actually, Gwen had fled right after Trista gave permission). Looking down to the little girl who floated on the air, inspecting the books on the bookshelves, Trista mumbled “...what a radiant child”.
Though, needn’t take too long time before Gwen came back with several books on her arms and Trista wondered if she could read it or not, especially considering the books that she had taken with her were difficult books. Trista had to pick some of these difficult books, ‘The Rare Magic Spells’ on her right arm and ‘Forbidden Ancient Magus Magic Spells’ on her left arm “...are you sure, you want to read this? I can show you the books which more befitting with children around your age”.
It was not without reason, Trista asked her dubiously because honestly, instead of picking books which normally children around her age would pick, Gwen had picked history books or magic spells books, some books even were written with ancient or foreign language like Ancient Welsh and Latin.
Lifting book ‘Old Belialuin Magic Spells’ on her hands, Gwen beamed up “don’t worry, big sis Trista?! I would not pick the books that I can’t read!? I can read books with Ancient Welsh and Latin language just fine because I’ve learned it and already mastered it last year?!”.
“how old are you?”.
“5 years old”.
Prodigy, Trista concluded. Ordinary people would scream for it though, Trista was sure of it.
Gwen lined up the books that she had brought on the table beside her. Trista read the title of the books with sideway glance and Trista had to admit she was surprised after looking at the title of some books, specifically to these four :
‘The Lost Metropolis Of Sages: Belialuin’.
‘Tragedy Of Cornwall’.
‘Dark History of Holy War’.
‘The Destruction Of Danafor’.
Either Gwen deliberately picked those books or not, Trista was utterly baffled so she asked “um, why did you pick these four?”.
Gwen stared back at that, she realized Trista had stared to her a lot but paid it no mind "I don't know. I was just curious and I felt like I want to read it, so I picked it. Say, say, can I borrow them? I want to show them to Mommy! I promise that I'll definitively return them, so!".
She was staring at Trista with expectant shining eyes, the spirit of a researcher was inside her. However Trista frowned.
"big sis?", Gwen looked at her with worried eyes, did she just said something she shouldn't or did it mean no?
Trista placed her hand on Gwen's forehead "If you would excuse me for a second".
Gwen blinked at the sudden action, not knowing how to react and unaware of what Trista intended to do. Speaking of which, Gwen wondered why she couldn’t see through Trista, just like what happened with her adopted mother, Meliodas and Tristan "...Big sis...?".
"I'm sorry. It's nothing", Trista removed her hand from her forehead as she apologized "you can read those books if you want, but you are not allowed to bring them back with you".
"Eh? I can't?".
"no, you can't, if you do so I would be really troubled".
"I see...", Gwen's shoulders sagged. As expected, she shouldn’t trouble other people like that. Although she was still a child, Gwen could be counted as mature for children around her age. It was not that she felt disappointed, she just felt bad for barely making Trista troubled.
Her daydream was interrupted by Trista’s sigh "however, I can recommend you some books similar to these ones, as long as you read them here".
At this Gwen immediately brightened up "really?!"
"great! I'm going to look for them!"
Suddenly, Trista stood up. When she came back with three books on her hands, Trista put those books on the table and offered those three to Gwen “you may see these as well, since you took those four”.
“huh? ‘The Infinity Children: Daughters Of Succubus Queen’, ‘The Birth Of Hydra’ and ‘The Unborn Child’? what are these?”, Gwen looked up with inquiring looks “why should I take a look on these three too?”.
“those four books you’ve picked, they are history books while these three I’ve brought are biography. ‘The Infinity Children: Daughters Of Succubus Queen’ is biography of the daughters from Succubus Queen within the history book ‘The Lost Metropolis Of Sages: Belialuin’. ‘The Birth Of Hydra’ is biography of the Chief Holy Knight who got cursed within ‘Tragedy Of Cornwall’ and ‘The Unborn Child’ is the biography of the daughter from the Cursed Lover within ‘Dark History of Holy War’. Unfortunately, for ‘The Destruction Of Danafor’, I haven’t found biography that related with it, though these seven books are related to each other, that’s why I suggest it to you from the first place”, Trista knew Gwen was prodigy child and she could read it just fine, but she still offered “should I help you to read it? Like from which book you should read?”.
Gwen gladly received the help “yes, please?!”.
It turned out Gwen needed to read ‘The Lost Metropolis Of Sages: Belialuin’ before she could read ‘The Infinity Children: Daughters Of Succubus Queen’. Gwen found it interesting when she knew that the Succubus Queen had given birth two daughters from brothers who ruled over the Sages. Last Chief of Sages had a little brother who become the Advisor of Sages Councils. Every 1.000 years, it had been the tradition for the Chief of Sages to marry a Succubus, to earn the child prodigy who would born with possessing the magic of Infinity. The Chief of Sages did the tradition, he married the Succubus Queen named Lilith then a miraculous child prodigy was born possessing the magic of Infinity. Unbeknownst to him, his little brother was also having mate with Lilith and the second daughter was born. Unlike her older sister, the second daughter was much more like her mother, Lilith. Although the second daughter was born with Infinity magic power like her older half-sister, because she had wings and horns like her mother, Lilith took the second child as her heir while the first child belonged to Sages of Belialuin but when Belialuin was destroyed by Demon King and Supreme Deity, due to the second child’s request, the Cursed Lovers came to save the first child so they could bring her to hide on her mother’s hidden Kingdom for a while.
“interesting!? So, read someone’s biography was just like reading story of someone’s life?”.
“yeah, you can say it like read novel for adult”, Trista shrugged before Gwen offered ‘Dark History of Holy War’ to her “alright, it means we will read ‘The Unborn Child’ after this”.
There were many things she learned of ‘Dark History of Holy War’ like how Mael’s death had affected the Holy War to the point the Goddess Clan had no choice but to seal the Demon Clan, how the Cursed Lovers (daughter of Supreme Deity and son of Demon King who fallen in love with each other) were punished for their crimes and how the Holy War had ended after demise of Cursed Lovers.
Gwen exclaimed in upset “Demon King and Supreme Deity are truly evil?! How could they curse their own children, even killed the unborn child of the Cursed Lovers?! Why should be having the baby was counted as the crimes?!”.
Trista patted Gwen’s head before lifting book ‘The Unborn Child’ to her face “yosh, yosh, that’s why we need to read this. ‘The Unborn Child’ of the Cursed Lovers is alive, after all”.
Gwen chirped “really?!”.
When they read ‘The Unborn Child’, Gwen fell deadly silent because too focused on listening to the story. They had moved their spot to the couch so Gwen could lie down and hugging the pillow as Trista read the book. It turned out that right after the Cursed Lovers died, the Infinity children (the daughters of Succubus Queen) found their corpses and cried, mourning for their death before they found out that their child, somehow, miraculously was still alive although it was still a fetus in its mother’s womb. If they just let her be, it would die. Without even knowing the unborn child was a girl or boy, they brought the Unborn Child to Lilith. Lilith only could give a more proper body, a baby girl’s body but even with Lilith’s help, the baby was dying due to the incapability of controlling its power. Lilith had told them to prepare themselves for the worst but first daughter refused to give up and carried the baby to another sacred place that known as Avalon, the place of all magic and the home for the Lady of the Lake. The Lady of the Lake possessed powerful strength like Supreme Deity. The different was, if Supreme Deity was the one who govern the Goddess Clan, the Lady of the Lake was the one who had full control over the Land of Britannia as one of Gaia’s descendants.
The Lady of the Lake also wasn’t sure if she could help the unborn child or not, because this child was special case. The unborn child was not only having dark magic power from its father but also the light magic power from its mother. It was just like double-edged sword for the baby, for having such powerful magic power but the vessel was still too fragile considering its was still a mere fetus within its mother’s womb before its soul was transferred to another body by Lilith. But thanks to its powerful magic too, the baby was still alive even though its mother passed away already. If they let it be, it would die sooner or later.
Normally, Demon and Goddess couldn’t have children but they could. The Lady of the Lake considered this interesting, not to mention this case was rare and she just couldn’t let innocence soul who hadn’t born to this world yet, to die meaningless. The first daughter and the Lady of the Lake made the pact, where the first daughter should find the wielder of Excalibur and trained him to be the King who was destined to rule all over Britannia while the Lady of the Lake would do her best to keep the unborn child live. The Lady of the Lake needed to stabilize its magic power and energy first. It was hard enough to keep its alive, the more so to stabilize two energy and magic power which collide against each other into one. If dark magic or light magic was too strong, the other side would be diminished or worse, the unborn child could be weakened or even perished if it couldn’t survive without one of its magic which it was born naturally with it.
“so, for years ‘The Unborn Child’ had fallen into comatose sleep and its time had stopped, just like the Sleeping Beauty? Why could the unborn child not able to survive with just one magic power?”.
Trista contemplated “hm... a bit different, I will call it as ‘Stagnation’ instead. For your question, since it was born naturally with those magics, there’s a chance it would die instead if it lost one of its magic. In the end, once the Unborn Child was stable enough to survive and start to live, the Lady of the Lake entrusted her to a marriage couple, King and Queen of certain Kingdom who desired for a child but not able to have it yet, thus they came to the Lady of the Lake for asking a child. The Unborn Child become princess of that Kingdom, married the prince of other Kingdom and they live happily ever after. The end”.
Gwen clapped her hands “I like the end of the story, though it sounded cliches to me”.
“you’re picky, eh?”.
Considering the background of this book was taken post the Holy War 3.000 years ago, Gwen read ‘Tragedy Of Cornwall’. After that, she read ‘The Birth Of Hydra’ before she read ‘The Destruction Of Danafor’.
In the end of the story-telling, Gwen was crying mess and cried herself to sleep after eating the entire box of chocolate and read close to ten books.
When Gwen stirred to wake, she realized that she was not only with Trista this time. Rubbing her eyes, Gwen blinked innocently “Mr. Tristan? What are you doing here?”.
“I can ask you the same”, Tristan took Gwen from Trista’s sofa “now, let’s go home. I bet Merlin and your dad would get worried sick if you didn’t go home right away. It’s the dusk already on the outside”.
Looking down to Gwen who smiled brightly on Tristan’s hands, somehow Trista remembered her own narration.
“The Unborn Child become princess of that Kingdom, married the prince of other Kingdom and they live happily ever after”.
“thankfully it’s a story about you and not me”, narrowing her eyes, with disheartened looks on her eyes, Trista mumbled “...I hope the life will not get too cruel and hard on you anymore... well...”.
Gwen turned her head back to Trista when she couldn’t catch what Trista said the least “huh? Did you say something?”.
“no”, Trista reached out her hand and touched her forehead "it seems that an acquaintance came to pick you up. I'm sorry but I'll have you forget what happened here for a while".
Gwen closed her eyes slowly and fell asleep. When she opened her eyes, she found herself was being carried by Meliodas on their way back to home “oh? daddy?”.
Looking down to her, Meliodas grinned broadly “yo! You’re awake? Seems like you were having too much fun, playing with Elizabeth and the princesses today, eh?”.
It was dusk already. Merlin explained that they found her sleeping soundly under the tree, surrounded by books around her. Even Margaret, Veronica and Elizabeth were sleeping by her side. Elizabeth and Veronica curled into ball on each of her side while Margaret leaned her back on the tree bark, sleeping with opened book on her lap. Gwen just remembered, she was indeed playing with the princesses before they got bored so they read the book and did story-telling until they fell asleep. Meliodas and Merlin who found them in that position, thinking it was really cute before they asked the nearby guards to bring the princesses back to their room while the Seven Deadly Sins went back to their home, with Meliodas carrying Gwen who slept soundly on his arms.
So, her meeting with Trista and Tristan must have been a dream too, right? Oh well, maybe it was because of Veronica’s tale about the Witch who lived under the Castle. Besides there was no way such place like that library did exist under the Castle of Liones? If it did exist, she would do her best to find it.
Gwen tilted her head “nee, daddy, Mr. Tristan didn’t come here today?”.
“of course not, why do you ask?”, Meliodas blinked in confusion before showing new books for her “ah, but he indeed sent the birthday gift for you”.
“new books?! Yay?! Let me see?!”, Gwen snatched the book from Meliodas’ hands before inspecting the books that she earned from Tristan “eto... ‘Hidden Kingdom Behind The Mist’, ‘The Lost Kingdom Under The Water’ and ‘The Necropolis : The City Of The Dead’. Are these a folklore?”.
“sort of”, Meliodas smiled and ruffled her head “now, what you should do when you get the gift?”.
“good girl”, Merlin chuckled and patted her head “don’t worry. I can send letter to him to send your thanks for him”.
Unbeknownst for them (except Meliodas and Merlin), Tristan watched them from far distance as they went back to home. A bitter smirk plastered on his handsome face “I wonder how you will react after you find out our past? Mine, with my siblings...”.