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Cause [2.1.10]

The room was pure white. Not the white of snow, or of a cloudy sky, but the sheer pristine white of a sterile hospital. The white of emptiness. The mansion was pure white and it glowed with an almost ethereal power.

Inside one of the many rooms, one of the inhabitants was staring sullenly at the floor whilst Min reprimanded her.

“Aspasia. You need to apologise to Xerxes.”

“I already know how this conversation goes.”

“That doesn’t change the fact that you threw him down the stairs, does it?” Min replied calmly. He turned around and began to walk out of the living room. “Think on it, please.”

Aspasia sighed to the room at large, and as expected, the room did not respond.

Approximately half an hour later, Xerxes heard the shuffling of something being shoved under his door and sat up in bed to see a note in Aspasia’s smooth cursive. He stared at it, and nursing his head, walked over to the door.

Burning in rage, he punched the door and sent it flying off the hinges, clattering into the wall on the other end of the corridor. Aspasia was nowhere to be seen.

“How DARE you?” he yelled.

Min came running. “Xerxes? What’s the problem?”

Xerxes retreated into his room and pointed viciously at the note behind him. “THAT.”

Min knelt down, picked up the note, and stared at it. “…Ah.”

Xerxes sat next to his bed. The light was off, and the only light was that streaming through the doorway. Xerxes’ room was functional and sparse. There was a doll on the bed, and each post on the bed had a small 3D cake design carved into  it; the left leg at the end of the bed had been broken, as the cake design and most of the leg was nowhere to be seen.

Min walked over and sat next to Xerxes, then held up the note with a smile on his features.

“She did this on purpose.”

“No.” Min replied. “Remember – her omniscience is more limited when it comes to you and I. She… doesn’t know.”

“Hmph.” Xerxes growled, glaring at the note held in Min’s hand.

“It’s a note of apology. Shall we read it?”

Xerxes relented. “OK.” He stared at the note. “D… E… A… R… de… dear.”

“‘Dear’, yes!” Min replied, glowing. “Keep going!”

“X… E… R… X… E… S… Exer… Exerxe… uh… oh. Xerxes.”

“Precisely! ‘Dear Xerxes’.” Min said. He moved his finger to point at the next word down, and Xerxes stared at it, his magenta eyes squinting as he tried to fathom the letters.

“I… comma… no, apostrophe… M… I’m. I’m?”

“‘I’m’, correct.” Min said. “Let’s keep reading.”

“Reading’s hard.” murmured Xerxes.

Min placed a hand on Xerxes and gave him a smile filled with positivity. “As your elder brother, Xerxes, I won’t stop until you can read by yourself. That’s a promise.”

Xerxes mumbled.

“Pardon?”

“Thank you, Min.” the demigod responded.

Time passed, and the two demigods sat side-by-side on Xerxes’ bed, in the darkness of his room, and went through the letter, word by painstaking word.

In her room, Aspasia was the one feeling confused and angry. She’d ignored a lot of information about Xerxes that was stored in her head, and reviewing conversations between Xerxes and Min, she had only just realised why the young demigod was so angry.

His rage at her fake-reading books. His love of films. His ire at her genuine apology note.

She was whispering to herself. “How had I not realised? What kind of sister doesn’t even know- what use is my omniscience if I ignore the information I should’ve known?”

Aspasia lay back in bed and stared at the ceiling. It was barely past lunchtime, but she already felt ready to fall asleep.

No, she thought. I had to ignore that information. Xerxes isn’t ready yet, and I’m the only one who’s been training him. I am a good sister.

Aren’t I?

Cause [2.1.9]
Cause [2.2.1]

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