Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 2 – Part 1

Part 1 of chapter 2… unedited, as always.

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Adelaide sneaked a peek at her bodyguard; he was still there, next to the door. Sighing, once again, she continued eating. She rolled her eyes. There was no way she could shake him off. That morning she found him next to the door of her room, sitting on a chair, reading a book. He followed her all the way to the bathroom, to which he stood outside, and into the dining room. He wouldn’t look at her but she knew that somehow, William was studying her every movement.

The door opened, a well-dressed man walking with a small bell. He rang the bell and announced his host’s arrival.

“Lady Margaret Emilia ViGrigori, twenty-second in line for the crown.” His voice was melodious and soothing.

“Your Royal Highness, may I partake in that delicious breakfast?” Emilia asked. She was short, compared to Adelaide. Her brown curly hair fell down to her shoulders, as her pink cheeks blushed at the sight of William. “Who is he?”

“My pest…” Adelaide replied.

“No, seriously, who is he?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Is he another suitor? That’s not fair. You already have Anthony!”

“He’s not my suitor. He’s my bodyguard or something.” She hastily grabbed a grape and ate it.

Emilia sat next to Adelaide, stretching her slender arms and plucking a grape from the vine. She smiled at William, as he looked away. Emilia looked back at Adelaide as she scolded her with just a quick disapproving gaze. Giving her a quick tug, Emilia looked at William and back at Adelaide. Adelaide couldn’t make out what she was trying to show her. Cupping her hands around Adelaide’s ear, she whispered: “He is handsome, though.”

Adelaide became flustered. “I wouldn’t know that.”

“Well, if he’s not yours, then am I free to court him?” Emilia looked at Adelaide straight into her eyes, “that is, if you don’t have a problem with it.”

“Oh God, take him away or whatever you want to do to him. He’s been a bother and I’ve only been with him for a few hours.”

“Then it’s settled,” Emilia placed a strawberry in her mouth.

***

They had made their way to the garden in the back of the building. A small path, covered in stone sheets and green, nicely trimmed, grass with a few tiny flowers growing from a few cracks on the material. Large rose bushes with beautiful red flowers dotted the place, as tiny drops of dew dripped from their petals. They sat near a small, metal table on small wooden tables and their soft, feather-stuffed pillows. The butler came in with a plate and on it, three teacups. William looked at them as they motioned for him to sit down. He was reluctant to sit so close to them but Emilia dragged him closer.

Adelaide and Emilia took a small sip from their cup and smiled at each other. William looked at them, puzzled. Emilia poured some honey on her teaspoon and mixing it with the tea, much to Adelaide’s disapproval. She looked from the corner of her eyes and smiled at William. Adelaide wouldn’t even make eye contact with him.

“So, Mr. William or would you prefer we call you Mr. Solt?” Emilia’s eyes glimmered with curiosity.

“Call me William, that is enough,” he coldly replied.

Emilia looked at Adelaide, confused at his reply. Adelaide just wagged her finger, “there is a great chasm between those who live for war and us.”

“Adelaide, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” Emlia replied.

“Yes, she is right. We view things differently,” William replied, unfazed in a monotone voice.

“How so?” Emilia asked.

“A squad is composed of men, soldiers, but everyone is different. Everyone is a distinct piece from the other and hence, everyone is a valuable asset in combat,” he sipped his tea, as Emilia glared at Adelaide. She knew Adelaide would not keep quiet.

“But what are a few soldiers to the countless lives that you have sworn to protect?” Adelaide replied, “30? 40? 100 soldiers die for the millions of inhabitants within this island. I think it’s a fair trade.”

“Let’s see… What would you do if one day, you were walking down the street and some mad man came and shot Emilia right before your eyes and the reaction of everyone around you was: things like this happen all the time?”

“But that’ll never happen.”

“And yet, that’s why I’m here watching over you.”

“That’s a totally different circumstance.”

“I do recall you being at someone else’s mercy.”

Emilia quickly placed the cup on the place. The sound startled everyone. “Children, this is a no argument zone. If you want to fight, take your fight somewhere else but know this: William, rule number one – never contradict royalty.” She took a sip, “even if you’re right, even if it’s just common sense; you’ll never win. In our veins flows a blood stained with a superiority complex that can never be washed away.”

William quickly bowed and apologized. Adelaide didn’t. Emilia had known Adelaide ever since they were little; Adelaide was a very clever girl but her pride proved to be her downfall.

The sun was shining brightly over the garden. Emilia wished to break the awkward silence that had settled over them. She didn’t think they were fighting; it was all about pride and responsibility. William knew he couldn’t disrespect authority and Adelaide didn’t want to lower herself to a commoner.

Adelaide looked down at her tea, not knowing what to say. She wanted to apologize but was too embarrassed to do so. He was her bodyguard; he was the only person who even managed to keep her company. Her home was a graveyard; not a single family member ever lingered there for too long. Anthony had captivated her with his constant support and warm presence yet, now that he had returned to his land, she was alone again.

“I must apologize for my behaviour…” she was hesitant at first, unable to continue. Emilia smiled and urged her to continue with a light tap on her fingers, “I didn’t mean to sound rude, William, and I failed to realize that not everyone shares my ideals but that doesn’t mean that what I said was untrue.”

It was an apology, even if she didn’t manage to solve the whole issue.

“Well, that’s that,” Emilia clasped Adelaide’s hands, “you two are so charming to watch; like little children arguing over who gets to play next.”

Adelaide got up, pushing her chair to a side, she fixed her dress. “I must take my leave, Anthony will be here soon.”

William got up but Adelaide promptly gave him a letter.

“Father has issued a restriction since Anthony’s family isn’t too fond of military personnel,” she grabbed a beautiful white, wide-brimmed hat and her bag, “You two stay here while I take my leave.”

Sitting next to Emilia, he grabbed the letter and placed it in his pocket. Emilia looked at William and back at the pocket, “aren’t you going to read it?”

“What for? It would be too elaborate for a lie,” he replied.

“So, you’re saying that you trust her?” Emilia smiled.

“Yes.”

“That’s cute, I like you.”

Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 1 – Part 2

Here’s part 2! As always, remember… it’s unedited.

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The taxi stopped at the palace complex, she was still a long walk from home. The lights from each of the lamp shone ominously over her head. Swinging to and fro as the winds blew stronger and faster; tucking her dress between her legs, she continued to walk slowly on the sidewalk. Her shoes’ heels clicked on the hard rock, as her steps quickened. It wasn’t long till she heard something peculiar: footsteps synchronized with her own. Swallowing hard, she took a left turn around the conference room, looking behind for anybody suspicious. Nobody appeared.

“Was it all in my head?” She whispered.

Suddenly, something cold grabbed her hand. She let out a scream as a familiar voice tried to calm her down.

“Adelaide! Calm down, it’s me: Anthony!”

She sighed, placing her hand on her chest, “Jesus Christ, Anthony. You scared the living hell out of me.”

Placing his arms around her, he kissed her cheek, “what are you doing so late in the street? Why are you so jumpy?”

“I felt like someone was following me. I guess it was just you… thank God for that,” she said, holding on to his arm. “Could you walk me home, please?”

“I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t.” They both made their way down St. Charles’ Cathedral.

Tall angels made of stone with golden spears and silvery eyes watched over them as they walked right below them; their shadows overwhelming their bodies. Anthony would look back, from time to time, much to Adelaide’s fear.

“Anthony, is something the matter?” She whispered into his ear. “You’ve been uneasy for the last ten minutes and awfully silent. This is unlike you.”

“I don’t mean to startle you but it looks like we have company. Someone has been tailing us and a minute ago, I saw someone hiding behind the angel’s feet.”

“What do we do?” She held on to Anthony, tightly. “Maybe we should go inside the cathedral? They wouldn’t dare do something inside a holy place.”

“It’s worth a try. Come on.” They both ran to the side of the stairs, running to the inside of the cathedral.

The inside was well lit with candle light dissipating the shadows; flickering as they walked down the aisle. Large arcs adorned the ceiling, as chandeliers and hung over their heads. Mahogany pews and golden candle holders at the altar; dotting its marble walls and floor – votive candles bellow a statue of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, illuminating their faces with the constant glow of a candle flame.  Anthony held on to Adelaide’s hand, walking her to the first pew, just below the altar, watching for any movement.

A door opened, as a priest walked in. They both let out a deep sigh, as Adelaide smiled at Anthony’s worried face. There were three people kneeling, deep in prayer and a priest lighting a few candles whose flame had flickered beyond existence.

The priest walked down the altar, gently swinging open a small metal door, and stood next to where they sat.

“My children, must I ask why are you not praying? Is something the matter?” His eyes were deep blue, like the ocean, but lifeless and still. Unfazed by human emotion, that’s what Adelaide saw as he sucked the living daylights out of her. “Is something wrong, Your Royal Highness?”

“Who are you?” She slowly slid closer to Anthony, “I come to this church every Thursday and Sunday. Not once have I seen you here. There is only one priest and he’s a family friend…”

Searching through his garments, he took out a gun with a silence attached to it. He smiled as he signalled someone on the distance. Immediately, everyone stood and took out their guns, “pretty damn smart for a Crownie.”

“What do you want from us?” Anthony replied, shielding Adelaide from view, “you have no shame… even going as far as doing something this low before the eyes of God!”

“God? Son, where I come from there is no God. There is only me, you, them and us… No God to step on our dreams and today: no God to save you, boy.”

No sooner had he said this than a bullet grazed the right side of his neck, as he fired back. Anthony and Adelaide fell to the floor, hiding beneath the pew. Several gunshots were heard, as the fire fight seemed to move away from them. No sooner had it all started than it suddenly finished. Silence ensued.

Footsteps echoed on the distance. Clenching her fists, Adelaide dared not peak but if this was going to be her end, she would face it with honour. Looking out into the aisle, a tall man stood before them. A silvery well-trimmed bear, black eyes as dark as the deepest trench and as cold as the loneliest night; a black coat covered everything with the exception of his shoes.

“I don’t know what you want but I won’t give in to terrorist threats. Do you worst!” Adelaide said.

Anthony looked back at the man, both now sitting on the pew.

The man smiled, “God is definitely with you two. Had I been a minute later, you’d both be dead.”

“Who are you?” Anthony replied.

“General Ignatius Solt at your services, Your Royal Highness,” as he bowed before her, she saw the royal guards step in, armed and ready. “Let me take you to your father, he’s worried about you.”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

***

Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table; her father had been gone for half an hour now. He had told her to wait but was not informed why. She had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt and the ring leader had vanished. It was reckless of her to walk home with no escort and even endangering the life of another royal.

“Crownies, huh?” She whispered. Looking at her half-empty bottle of water, she realized that God was on her side.

The door opened behind her as a young man stepped in, followed by her father and the general. They were all discussing something but the young man just stood nearby, firm and unfazed, he was probably a soldier or a bodyguard.

They both grew silent and sat opposite to her, with the solider standing near the door.

“Adelaide, you already know General Solt,” he pointed at the same man that had saved her a few hours ago. “He is a war hero, the man who singlehandedly crushed the southern rebellion and now: your saviour,” taking a sip from a glass of wine he continued “I have a great deal of enemies both outside and inside our family. You are the youngest and with that a lack of experience. Your mother and I have tried shielding you from the reality of the outside world, to save you from the hardships that your siblings have endured.”

“They are all experts at what they do best,” she replied.

“Experience does not shield them from the unforeseeable; your mother had taught me that.” Motioning for the young soldier to come closer, he looked at the general, expecting him to take over the conversation.

“Your Royal Highness, your father believes that you need to be taken care off by having a watchful eye following you wherever you go,” he cleared his throat, “This is Second Lieutenant William Solt, my son, and your bodyguard.”

“Bodyguard? I don’t need a bodyguard. I am not some porcelain ornament to protect, I can manage on my -,”

“-and yet here you are, shaken and sacred. I almost brought you back in a body bag!” Her father interrupted. “I am not asking for you permission, Adelaide, I’m telling you that from now on, you won’t even go the kitchen without Mr. Solt.”

“Father-“

“-Your Royal Highness to you. I am still higher than you’ll ever be, don’t disgrace me before a hero,” he got up and walked over to the general. Tapping his shoulder, they both walked out of the room, leaving only Adelaide and William.

Fifteen minutes had passed as silence ensued.

Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table, looking back, from time to time, only to meet William’s watchful stare. Turning around quickly, he continued on for the next ten minutes.

“I’m not sure what someone like you is supposed to do rather than harassing me with that filthy stare,” she said.

William didn’t answer.

“At the very least, they could have afforded someone with more experience and higher ranking than you.”

Again, he didn’t respond.

Annoyed, she got up and hastily made her way through the opposite door, with William right behind her. She sped up her pace but William still managed to keep up with her. Around corridors and halls covered in fine paintings and beautiful flowers, she soon got tired.

Upon reaching the door to her room, she grabbed the handle and stood still. William was right behind her. “I won’t allow you to enter my room; I am not fond of strange men watching me sleep.” She didn’t even turn around.

“I am your bodyguard not your stalker. I will stand guard outside your door till morning breaks,” he replied. His voice was soft, softer than what she had imagined.

“And what if someone breaks into my room?”

“Your room is safe, I have seen the design, and there is no way anybody is getting in without going through the royal guards bellow.”

She scoffed, “smartass.” Adelaide slowly opened the door, looking back at her bodyguard as the light slowly dissipated into the darkness of the room. His blue eyes were the same as those of the priest: cold.

Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 1 – Part 1

*This is a story I was writing for Nanowrimo 2015 but was unable to finish it due to some family troubles and final exams. It’s not edited so beware.

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He took off his hat, looking around at the place; White walls and the slow hum of the ventilation system- that was enough to put him off.

“I didn’t think your father would buy this dump.” Touching a small green parrot, he sighed, “just look at this place, animals and plants… might as well call it a zoo.”

“Father isn’t dumb, you know. Unlike the rest of the family, he actually has a brain and thinks on his feet.” Adelaide rang the bell on the front desk. A few seconds later, a lady appeared on the counter. She was dressed in white, with a small blue tie and a small blue hat on her short blonde hair. Her brown eyes scanned the two visitors.

“Miss, would you happen to be the inspectors who were scheduled for today?” Her voice was soft.

“Yes, we came by under orders from His Royal Highness DiGrigori to inspect his latest acquisition.” Firm in his grip, he greeted the lady with a handshake as Adelaide looked around.

A door to the right opened as a man covered in from head to toe in a protective suite, stepped out. Taking of his gloves and head gear, he smiled at both and shook their hands. “Welcome to Garton’s Biological Research Centre. This is the central lab were we do most of the top secret research formerly sponsored by the Wellington Family and now His Royal Highness.”

Adelaide greeted him, her hands shaking. She was nervous; it was her first time inspecting anything for the family. Usually her eldest sister was entrusted with these tasks but she was out of the Kingdom. “It’s a pleasure to be here, Mr. ummmmm… I don’t think you’ve introduced yourself.”

He smiled, “I’m so sorry, where are my manners? I’m Dr. Leon Garton, the eldest son of the Garton Family. I’m a geneticist and I focus primarily in what you would call the ‘taboo’ science of cloning.” Taking off his suit, he continued, “I had heard that the DiGrigori were a family of warriors, cunning and strong but the rumours were true, after all.”

Adelaide stared confused at Dr. Garton, “What rumours?”

“They said that the youngest daughter was as beautiful as a diamond and as delicate as a rose. Bless my soul; I never thought I’d meet the legend herself.”

She blushed, “Thank you for those kind words, Dr. Garton, but may we proceed with the tour so that Mr. Dee can inspect the facility?”

***

“Well, that was a waste of time,” Mr. Dee howled. “Your father sure loves to waste his money on pointless investments. Last time it was a mechanized research centre and the time before that… an agricultural research centre.”

“I don’t see what’s wrong with research centres,” Adelaide fixed her hair, “I personally admire these people.”

“It’s not these people or what they do; it’s the whole research business. It provides no profit. He should buying manufacturing facilities and such; that’s a better investment. A guaranteed gold mine.”

“Father’s investing for the long run. You wait and see, he’s up to something… he’s always three steps ahead of everyone.” Looking at her watch, she let out a long sigh. Five hours had passed inside that facility, her afternoon was gone. Seven in the evening and she was already late for father’s announcement. “Mr. Dee, I’d best be going or father will have my head.”