MIDNIGHT PRINCE Empire of Sin
CH 5: I NEED YOUR HELP
The air was slightly cold, clearly autumn was in full swing. To Adam, the world couldn feel any colder than it did now.
All throughout the University campus, halloween decorations could be seen hanging off different objects— on the buildings, cars, or other infrastructures, it was practically all around him. The atmosphere was a festive one but for him, nothing mattered. His world was crumbling down before his eyes so he didn have the leisure to pay heed to his surroundings.
Having received the ominous phone call, subsequently becoming aware of his mothers distressful condition, Adam ran out of the campus as fast as he could while filtering across the road, searching for a taxi. He never felt so disconnected with reality, as he did now. All he could think about was how to reach his mother as soon as possible.
Thankfully, it seemed that luck was with him this time around as he was able to hail a taxi faster than expected.
Watching him calling, with a hint of desperation in his voice, the taxi soon stopped in front of him, heeding his call. The driver told him to enter and enter he did. Once he hastily entered, he was met with the cheerful eyes of a tanned old man with graying hair.
”Hello, young man! Where can I take you? ”
Adjusting himself in the seat, he leaned back and promptly informed him of his destination, the tinge of desperation mixed with agitation couldn be hidden from his tone. It was apparent that Adam was quite shaken up at the moment.
”Hello Please, I would like to go to the university hospital of Los Angeles. ”
”Aye! Aye! ”
Answering in a jovial tone, the old man turned his attention back to the road and stepped on the accelerator. Fiddling with the GPS, he set the destination to the University Hospital of LA and drove towards the intended hospital.
His driving was faster than normal, without going over the legal speed limit. It seems that…despite how he acted, he had understood the urgency in Adams voice.
The driver was silent on the road which surprised Adam. He was a good judge of character and he could see from his jovial behavior that the driver was probably a chatterbox. To be honest, this was the typical case for most LA drivers.
Him being silent was weird but Adam presumed that he had been able to pick up on his mood, choosing to not talk much as a result. He was truly grateful for that consideration of his.
He needed that silence now. He needed to get his head on track.
Sitting in the car, Adam blankly looked down, hundreds of thoughts flying in his mind.
Thanks to being a scholarship student, his life in school was not that bad. It was manageable since he didn need to pay any fees whatsoever.
But he was barely scraping by even then. His financial state was very poor.
Being raised by a single mother was not an easy fate. It came with its set of cons. Some worse than the others.
All his life he was forced to watch as his dear mother fought tooth and nails to create a better environment for him. She tried her level best so that he could lead a comfortable life without struggles.
So, how could he talk about stress and lack of sleep when his mother did so much more for his sake? Even now, even with the deteriorating condition of her body.
Working three or four jobs at the same time. Raising him into becoming a decent human. Well, as far as she was able to at least. She even took up her precious time, time she did not have, to train him in the art of self-defense to a fairly high level.
Every step of the way, his mother had always silently watched over him, like a Guardian Angel. No, he was sure that she was the guardian angel of his life. She played the role of a father, a mother as well as a close confidant. She was his everything, the reason for his living.
Even during his dark hours during the puberty-ladden high school, she never stopped caring for him even once.
She was eventually able to convert him back to the right path through the painful power of her fists of love. Adam still flinched whenever he remembered the power packed in each of her punches.
Still, despite her obvious overwhelming strength, her body had always been extremely fragile and she was prone to sickness. Particularly at the time of this year, her sickness aggravated and kept her bedridden or seriously weakened.
He supposed that it was the cold or flu at play but his mother never went to get herself checked despite all his begging. Every time she would say that she knew her body more than anyone else.
It seemed that she didn know it so well, after all, seeing that she had finally collapsed. Her body mustve reached its very limit already.
”We have arrived. ”
Opening his lightly shut eyes, untold agony brimming in them, he looked at the tall building of the hospital and sighed once again.
”How much is the fare? ”
”No need, young man ” Waving his hand, the old man smiled at him.
”Now, shu, shu! I hope that whoever you are visiting is fine and dandy. ”
Smiling lightly at the encouragement of this overly kind stranger while inwardly feeling a little weird from a sort of dissonance he couldn point out, Adam gave a polite bow in thanks once he was out of the car. As mentioned, Adams financial status wasn the best and taking this taxi ride wouldve put a large dent in his coffers. Not having to pay was a godsend for him in this scenario.
The knowledge that not everyone in this world was money driven always warmed his heart. But it could change nothing to the sad reality.
No matter what era, money ruled this world.
Now alone on the streets again, the car already vanishing from his sight, he turned and faced the hospital.
Well, lets go. Lets hope that shes alright.
He silently prayed in his heart, as he entered the hospital entrance, eager to see if she was alright.
Adam had always hated the atmosphere of the hospital. He hated it even more now. He had come to see someone dear to him in this wretched place, after all.
However, as he passed through the door, none of the distaste could be seen. After all, while he absolutely hated hospitals, he appreciated the ones working in them.
Not all nurses or doctors were necessarily altruistic, but this did not change the fact that their job was to save lives. They were worthy of respect and he didn want to show them a scowl.
”Hello. ” Putting on his brightest expression, even through the pain he felt, Adam entered the hospital and greeted the nurses that were on standby.
Even though it had been a long time since he came to this place, he had already become rather familiar and friendly with most of the working staff in this hospital. At least all of the staff other than the new hires.
”Adam! Welcome. ”
The one greeting him was an old nurse with a kind face. She had always been very helpful to him and her mother in the past. She was also someone he had been acquainted with for some time already.
Looking around, he could see some halloween decorations hanging in the hospital as well as other nurses or doctors wearing disguises.
”So… What is going on? ”
”Ohoho~! It seems like our chairwoman thought that making a party to help the patient feel better would be a great idea. I have to say, she is pretty right. We will hold it tomorrow. ”
The chairwoman was relatively new in her post. It was a family hospital in a way anyways; led by a powerful family who were renowned in LA.
Adam sneered at the memory of the previous chairman. In the past his mom had been working here as a nurse. That was basically how he was able to get acquainted with the people of the hospital. It was a pretty alright job and she liked helping people.
Sadly because of the chairman subtle sexual harassment, his mother was forced to abandon her post, leaving the job for good measure.
He learned that a few days later, all the proof of sexual harassment and worse that the bastard did were brought to light and he easily lost his job. He even went on to become sentenced to prison.
A fitting end for such a bastard.
”How is my mom? ”
The old nurse gave a strained smile, ”Cecilia is… *Sigh* I believe its better to go see her. ”
He did not insist. He was already preparing himself for the worst inwardly. The world couldn feel more bleak, thought Adam with a despairing heart.
From the greeting hall to his destination, the walk didn take too much time.
He finally stopped in front of a door. It was a single room.
When he opened the door, soft instrumental music sounded from the television fitted on the wall.
Stepping inside, he focused his full attention on the red-haired woman lying on a bed beside the window. Her chest peacefully heaved with her eyes closed. Her lips curved in a smile as if seeing a warm dream.
He took a deep breath and sat on the chair beside her bed.
Looking at her from up close, it was easy to see that she should have been a stunner in the past. She still was in a sense.
However, the weight of years, stress, and the disease were simply too much for her. Her current face looked a little gaunt, and her skin was extremely pale. Still, it gave her a new type of charm. That of a fragile and sickly beauty.
He would have been content with simply observing her, for he did not wish to disturb her sleep. But as always, she seemed to have a sixth sense for feeling his presence. Her smooth breathing was disturbed and her eyes slowly blinked away.
”Mom… ” he whispered painfully, however he soon caught his bearings and spoke again in a peaceful tone.
”Mother… how are you now? ”
”Im the same as always. What about you? Is my genius son able to keep up his rhythm at university? ”
Her voice was calm, and her concern was heartwarming. Even though she was sick, her first thought was still about his well-being.
Adam smiled. His mother was strong
Stronger than anyone else.
Even in such a situation, she was still able to laugh and crack jokes.
He still remembered how she punched the light out of him when she began teaching him how to fight.
Adam would have never believed that a woman could hold so much strength in a body that looked so soft and frail.
But now, looking at her frail body… Immeasurable guilt rose in his heart.
Everything is my fault.
Refusing to put a damper to her mood, he answered simply.
”Professor Shuri gave me a recommendation letter. Did you forget? With her help, my acclimatization went rather easily. ”
”So even that old hag can see the bright future of my son, huh? Fufufu! ”
He smiled wryly. ”She isn that old. You two are from the same generation. ”
”Looks can be deceiving in this day and age. ”
”Thats what you always used to tell me. ”
”Indeed, you never know when a young woman would turn out to be a century-old witch. ”
Adam gave a forced laugh. His mother had always been a fan of the supernatural.
He was not particularly interested in such topics, but since he was young, she had always forced him to read books about the occult.
This was the sole topic where she would never budge on, and Adam did as he was told since he did not wish to make her unhappy.
He knew that his mother loved him more than anyone else in the world. So, if reading some old book made her happy, then so be it. And its not like he really hated reading about the supernatural either.
After switching the topic, their talk went on for an hour, from daily life to talks about his potential girlfriends, crushes, or interests. His sick mother asked him everything she could about him.
”*Cough* *Cough* ”
Seeing her cough like that, Adams expression crumbled a little as it became filled with worry, but he hurriedly put back his smiling facade in order to hide his anxiety.
”Mother, it seems you are tired now, I will let you rest. ”
But just as he was about to get up. Cecilia suddenly caught his arms, looking at him with intensity.
”Tomorrow is your birthday, right? I am sorry that I can be with you. ”
”What are you saying? You know it isn a problem. ”
”Then, please… Adam. Tonight, I do not want you to be out, okay? No matter what, you must be home before midnight. ”
Adam was born on the 31st of October at exactly Midnight.
It has become something of a tradition during his birthday. She would never let him leave home on the night of this day. Be it when he was a child or even after he became a delinquent or now a University student.
”Mom. Why do you make me abide by this rule? ”
”You know its my way of honoring her. I need you to promise me. Do not get out tonight! At the very least, be at home and pray in front of the altar before going out but you still need to be home by midnight. I beg you Adam, just…listen to me. ”
Her expression was grave and frantic, showing how important this was for her.
Adam could only silently nod to her his thoughts unknown…
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