187 Frozen heart III
Natasha hurried as fast as she could to the center of the city to find her daughter and Mafoo near the fountain. She locked target onto the two kids when suddenly-
"STOOOP IT!!!!!" Detra yelled.
The woman dropped on her knees as both she and Marcus found themselves back in the ring of fear after having been released from the spell the forest due to Detra's loud scream.
Marcus was drenched in sweat as he looked around feeling like he had just woken up from a deep sleep.
"What the hell was that...?" he whispered.
"Please... Please, don't show any more!!!" Detra begged while hugging her head and shaking her face in a desperate attempt to make her memories go away.
The forest, who was now communicating with them using the image of Marcela, walked forth and approached the desperate Detra.
"The truth really is scary... Isn't it?" the girl asked while gazing at the tormented woman.
"Truth...??" Marcus repeated, "what did you just show us??"
The forest pointed at Detra and began to smile, "her fear... the reality that she tries so hard to reject... that she tries so hard to bury in the deepest corner of her mind!"
Marcus took a long look at Detra and felt like there was no doubt of what he was imagining. That woman from the vision he just saw, Natasha, was his mother when she was a human, which means that the forest was right now taking the shape of her daughter.
"It seems this one doesn't want to see the rest of the story..." the girl then looked at Marcus, "but you already know how it ends... don't you?"
"Stop it, please!!" Detra whispered.
The forest just ignored her, "the brave mage Natasha rushed as fast as she could to her daughter's aid, fearing for her life after finding out that the mysterious boy was a demon this whole time!"
Detra tried to grab the girl but she just slipped right past her before continuing her tale.
"Her daughter was confused... wondering why her beloved mother was trying to separate her from her new friend!! Oh, such tragedy!"
Detra started to cry uncontrollably.
"The mother tried to explain... but the girl didn't listen", the forest continued. She then bent her knees and started to act like she was Marcela from her tale while looking at Detra with sad eyes, "Mommy!! Mommy!! Why are you attacking Mafoo!! He's my precious friend!!"
"Stop it!!!!" Detra shouted.
"The discussion went on, and the more the two of them argued, the stronger the demon boy began to feel... His words then started to evolve as well... He kept repeating... Mafoo... Mafoo... Humafoo... Humafoo... Human food... Human food... All while enjoying the show..."
"Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!!!" Detra begged even more.
"The poor Natasha began to glare at the boy. Her wrath growing by the second. The mere thought that a demon had slept in her house and was hanging out with her daughter was enough to drive her into a mad rage... when suddenly... she couldn't help it anymore... and threw an icicle right at the boy!!!"
"But the little girl didn't want to see her new best friend die!! So she jumped right in front of him, and took the icicle for the boy!!!!!"
"The girl died by the hands of her own mother... and the demon boy..." the forest looked right at Detra and grabbed her face, "released a wide grin... at the sight of the delicious agony the ice mage was releasing... Right before devouring her daughter before her very eyes!!"
"WRAGHHHHH!!!!" Detra began to shout louder than ever before, and a massive wave of ice magic was released while completely covering the entire area, making the image of Marcela vanish.
Marcus used his holy metal to avoid the attack, and before he noticed, the rocky terrain had been completely overcome by icicles all over it, turning the terrain into a deathtrap.
The forest reappeared again and just strolled around Detra one more time, who was now crouching on the ground and breathing heavily while trying to stop her tears.
"After that... the rest is history... The famous ice mage embarked on a mission to take revenge on all demons... Until she caught the attention of the gods who elected her to be a champion... and eventually, a goddess herself..."
The forest then came closer to Detra and raised her hair so she could whisper inside her ear, "and as the years went on... she kept forgetting her own humanity... her past, her family, her own identity... until the only thing that remained was her hattered towards demons, and her desire to drive them into extinction..."
Detra began to cry. The past that she had forgotten, that she was trying so hard to keep forgotten, had just been dug, mocked, and spit on.
The image of her daughter that she loved so much, alongside the image of herself killing the poor girl, all because she allowed a demon to get closer to her, a demon that played them like fools just to make use of her suffering to feed himself.
Her greatest fear, to remember her buried past.
Marcus stepped forward and confronted the forest, "how could you do this?? How can you just do that to someone??"
The forest then dropped her smile and glared at Marcus, "I would do a thousand times worse if it meant to keep invaders away from me... This is but a mere example of how much I can punish you if you are foolish enough to try and move further..."
The forest walked away from the two and just vanished among the fog, but not before parting with her final words of warning.
"If you understand who you're dealing with now... Then leave... And never return!"
Marcus was left alone with his mother.
At this moment, he didn't know what to think or what he should be thinking. He always assumed that the woman was just a cruel being who took joy in tormenting others and tried to mask it all by saying that it was for their own good.
But now? So many things about her were starting to make sense.
Her hate for demons was because of how much she suffered in the hands of one of them. Not only that, but suffering during a time where she tried to show compassion by taking him in as part of her family.
Her desire to rid the world of cursed beings was a sign of her devotion to make sure this kind of thing would never happen again, to stop kindness being repaid with misery.
Why she was so harsh on others was to make sure they would be strong enough and smart enough to not let themselves get fooled like she herself was, and at the same time, why she always tried to be so close to Ellie who probably reminded her of her own child, always trying to make her listen to her commands and her obsession on trying to make her strong enough to survive a fight against demons and monsters, was a desperate attempt to avoid seeing Ellie in a similar situation.
And to top it all of, the reason she refused to allow herself to try and get closer to those around her, was because she was afraid of going through the pain of losing them again by avoiding being attached.
The scar this demon created on her heart was deep enough to make her lose all of her humanity. To the point where when she became a goddess, her desire for revenge was so strong that it became everything she lived for... A world of peace without demons.
Marcus approached the broken woman and crouched as well to meet her eyes with his.
He could see it from her expression. She was more devastated than any person he had ever met, even more than his own father moments before he vanished from existence right in front of him.
Marcus tried to call out for her, but he didn't know what word to use. Mother? Detra? East? Natasha?
Not too long ago, he felt all he knew about this woman was how much he hated her and how much he wanted her out of his life. But now, he felt he knew so much he didn't even know what his feeling towards her were anymore.
He just kept looking at her, a mother mourning over the loss of her child, a sight he never expected to see from her in a million years.
The lad just lost himself in his own thoughts and decided to hug the lady. She tried to fight him. Tried to push him off, screamed for him to go away, bit his neck, but the young man just kept holding her without letting her go.
And before he noticed, he was also crying alongside her.
The woman finally stopped fighting Marcus, and decided to hug him back, now shedding tears and screaming even louder than before, as if her heart had been shattered into pieces.
They simply stayed there for a couple of hours until Detra passed out in his arms. Marcus moved the hair away from her forehead and gazed at her face. For the first time ever since Marcus had been brought into this life, the face of his mother didn't make him shiver in terror.
He then carried her in his back and walked out of the ring of fear to reunite with Ellie and Lilith.
Ellie spotted the pain being shown on the lad's face and tried to help them, but Marcus just explained that there was nothing she could do.
The group heard the whole story and just stayed by Detra's side for the rest of the day while she continued to sleep.
None of them had any idea how to face her once she woke up.