Perpetual Motion – Part 3

A new piece. Tiny due to the fact that I was brainstorming most of the time but I hope I´ll start adding more chapters slowly as I´ve grown infatuated with this story. As always, trigger warning: this is an unedited piece.

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“Good morning, Matheo,” Jill’s curly hair, tied in a ponytail, bounced from side to side as she merrily searched for the key to my locker, “I heard from a very reliable source that your rematch is today.”

“Wow, you sure are well informed but tell Alexander that this wasn´t a big secret or anything,” I inspected the blade of the sword, “everyone knows already.”

“Who said it was Alex?” Jill winked.

Sheathing my sword, I walked to the door, “I´m not sure myself. Minister Tatiana seemed so eager to watch us duke it out. I think she enjoys seeing me getting punched into submission.”

 

Every squire ran up to their respective floors, entering their classrooms. Their boots clicking against the floor, as the clanking of swords echoed across the building. I walked into the classroom but it was empty, except for one person who was sitting idly by, reading an old book. Alice slowly turned the pages, carefully caressing it´s texture. As I walked by her chair, she got up and walked towards me. Moving her hair from her face, Alice fixed her short golden strands, tucking them beneath her small cap.

 

Extending her left arm, Alice offered me her hand; the same way she did after she pounded my skull during our last confrontation, “I hope you don´t hate me because of what happened last time. Whoever wins, let the best mage win.”

“Sure,” I responded, ignoring her hand.

Taking off her gloves, her fair skin was as smooth as silk. Alice offered her hand once more. I shook it, “May the best magus win, alright.”

 

As Alice turned around, I noticed she wasn´t carrying her sword today.

 

“You must really think you´ll win if you didn´t bring your sword today.” I grabbed the hilt of my sword, “it´s common etiquette between mages to show some respect on the battlefield. A sword is a must or do you think you are better than your opponent?”

Alice slipped her hands into her brown leather gloves, “I´m not much of a swordswoman but when it comes to hand-to-hand combat: I have no doubt in my ability.”

“We´ll see about that,” I replied.

 

***

“Okay man, it´s all you. You can do this, Matheo. You can beat her.” Luther commented over and over, as he patted my back, “this is your day of reckoning.”

 

I stepped into the arena, as Minister Tatiana placed a small piece of paper on the ground. Muttering an enchantment, a seal burned on the paper, activating a larger seal that encircled the arena. A short magical barrier was erected around us.

 

I tossed my sword over the barrier, as Luther caught it.

“You´re not going to use it?” Luther asked.

“Alice won´t use a weapon and neither will I.” Fixing my collar, I scanned the arena.

 

Striking a pose, Alice readied herself.

 

“Ready, Squires? Begin!” Minister Tatiana shouted.

 

I ran towards Alice as my fists were blocked with a quick reaction of her arms, counterattacking with quick jabs. I evaded her attack and made some distance between Alice and me. Those jabs seemed normal but last time I learned what exactly they were: mana infused punches. One jab from those and Alice disrupted my mana flow and muscle control. That´s how she defeated me the last time we fought.

With a swift kick, I tossed Alice over to a side, yet she cartwheeled herself back to her feet. Not missing a beat, she ran towards me, pushing herself with an impressive force. There was no doubt that magic was involved. Her movements were graceful, as if she was dancing in front of a cheering crowd, as her dodges synchronized with her counterattacks – multiple knifehand strikes in quick succession; I blocked most but some hit me directly on the left side of my torso and on my right leg.

Perpetual Motion – Part 2

So, here´s part 2 of my current project. It´s been a while since I´ve written anything, I´m pretty rusty. I´ll be uploading more of this story throughout the week. As always, be warned, you are threading unto unedited territory.

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“You should have seen Alice today, she was awesome,” Luther commented as he quickly unbuttoned his shirt´s collar, “I mean, no offence Matheo, but there´s something about her.”

“The girl´s talented and it helps if you´re a big nerd, as well.” Judith added, all the while sipping her drink.

Rolling my eyes, I faced Judith, “well, if you´re done kissing her boots, shall I enjoy my lunch?”

“Matheo, I think you´re taking this competition a bit too far,” Elize grabbed my shoulder and sat next to Judith, “it´s all fine and dandy but this seems more of a grudge.”

“I have no grudges against her, I just don´t like her.”

“She seems nice,” Luther kept on struggling try to eat a chicken leg with a fork and a knife.

“Everyone I know says that she´s a great person,” Elize said in a whispered tone, “look at her, her smile seems so… so… so genuine, you know what I mean?”

“No, I don´t.” I replied.

“I´ve talked to her a few times,” Judith continued, “and she´s a nice person. She´s got a great sense of humor, never speaks of her achievements, always looking out for everyone; Alice has even said, on multiple occasions, that she admires you but that you don´t seem to like her very much.”

That evening, I walked home with Luther and Alexander. The street was silent, as a few cars drove by, disappearing into the shadows of the overwhelming darkness. The sun was falling on the horizon as orange flames lit the clouds in a spectacular glow. The first start, the star of the north, shown brightly as the darkness enveloped the light.

The dusty, pot-holed streets were barely capable of accommodating any form of transportation. There was a bus that would circulate around the town, devoid of passengers, save for rainy or cold days. A few lampposts illuminated the way as they sometimes flickered on and off.

“Alexander, could you tell Matheo that that imaginary competition he´s having with Alice, is not good for his health?” Luther moved his hands out of his pocket, “it´s just so silly.”

Alexander stared at me, “this is still a thing?”

“I don´t want to talk about it,” I replied. Alexander was like a big brother to us. Being the only son in a long line of alchemists, he was expected to continue the family tradition. In short, he wasn´t a Mage like us but his heart was in the right place. “It´s like she intentionally mocks me.”

“How old are you?” Luther responded, all the while, looking bewildered at what I had said.

“Her sly smile as she tries to surpass me. It´s irritating!”

“Matheo, I didn´t want to say this but I do believe you hate her because she reminds you of yourself.” Alexander explained, “each time we find mirror images of ourselves, we reject them. I believe it´s natural, like having the positive ends of two magnets close to one another: they repel.”

I saw the bus stop a block away, with it´s like flickering.

“That´s dumb.” I parted ways and walked to the bus stop, staring at the night sky. Everything they just said, that couldn´t be true, right? I buried my head on my hands, trying to make sense of everything, trying to find something to shake-off that strange feeling that crept over me. The small metal bench was cold and uncomfortable, and the small tin roof above me, creaked with the passing wind.

That night, I fell into a deep sleep.

Perpetual Motion – Part 1

It´s been quite some time since I wrote anything, let alone, uploading anything to this blog. I´ll be more active these following days; uploading more of this story. As always, the warning: it´s unedited.

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The streets where silent, as they had always been in the past five years. A few people walking by, too little for the remnants of a once grand metropolis. The grey skies, whose colors seeped into the very material of every concrete building and every street it shadowed, soon darkened. It was probably going to rain, as a harsh breeze lifted the dust from the road, and into the very same skies it fell from.

Buttoning my jacket, I sighed. The academy lay just over the horizon, standing tall, it was a symbol of hope: a hope that someday things would go back to the way they were a few years ago. It´s windows were barred and the front gate was a one-foot-thick steel barricade. It had signs of weathering in the shape of massive gashes, some only superficial, others went right through.

Standing before the gate, were two men, wearing a padded armored vest on top of their uniforms. A large red cross running across a white background with small silvery straps holding the vest together. They grabbed their muskets and aimed them at me. I looked around, and sighed again.

 

“This is sometimes just so inconvenient,” I slid my hands out of my jacket´s pockets. “What if I was in a hurry? I´d really hope to make this a more of an easier pro- “

“Stop with the bullshit and answer these questions: Who do we honor?” One of the guards interrupted me as he raised his voice.

“His Holiness, Augustus Reig: the unifier of our forgotten city.”

“How do we honor him?”

“By upholding the law our god has blessed us with.”

“Why do we honor these laws?”

“To prevent another Falling of the sky.”

 

He signaled the camera, as the gate slowly slid to a side. Lowering his musket, he stepped to a side, “you may proceed.”

“You´re an asshole, did you know that?” I kicked some dirty on his boots as I passed by.

“I´m just doing my job, Matheo.” He grinned his teeth at me.

“Then don´t take it so seriously…”

 

The outside was dull and dreary but the inside was a whole other story. Carved stone tiles on the floor, painted in a gun-blue hue, with beautiful wooden walls decorated with large red flags with a golden cross in the middle. As I made my way down the hall, I turned right into the armory. There Jill, a friend of mine, was starting her morning shift.

 

“Matheo, good morning! Came to get our sword?” She was always so energetic, moving her head from side to side as her curry brown hair bounced all-over the place. “I noticed it has a piece missing from it´s guard. Should I send a repair request?”

“Nah, it´s fine. This is the third time this happened, the first time was an awkward mistake.” I replied, opening my locker with a key she had given me.

Her eyes glimmered with excitement, “do tell.”

“The first time it happened, it slipped from my grasp and it fell all the way from the fifth floor. Everyone laughed so hard I was called Clumsy McFingers for a whole semester.”

She covered her mouth with both hands, hoping she wouldn´t burst out laughing, “and your recent misadventure?”

“Alice kicked my ass so hard, the sword hit the roof of the fourth floor and fell on the same spot.”

“Alice´s different… She´s real nice but still different in her own way.”

“That´s a funny way of saying that she´s a few cards short of a deck.”

 

As I walked out, I buttoned my jacket and sheathed my sword. My heels tapped on the surface of the stone floor, as I entered my classroom. I was late. Everyone stared at me and stared back at the Minister. He grabbed his attendance sheet, circled my name and motioned for me to find my desk. History, ah, the only place where I could feel alive.

 

After class, Minister John pointed out that this would be the last warning I´d get. I was not surprised but somehow he was. “You´ve been an exemplary student, what´s going on with you?” That´s the only thing he said. If I had an answer to this question, the I wouldn´t be feeling like crap every morning before coming to this place.

 

“Okay Squires, today we´ll see how much progress you´ve made with the technique. It´s a fairly simple technique, something you guys should be more than capable of doing on your own.” Minister Peter grabbed his sword, unsheathed it´s blade and buried it on the soft soil of the training ground. “Alice, you´re up. I have my hopes on you.”

“Yes, Minister Peter.” Alice walked in front of the class, unsheathed her sword and shouted, “Avibus Album.”

The blade of her sword briefly lit up and fired a beam of golden light from the tip of the blade. Striking the iron dummy before her.

As she fixed her small squire cap, moving the tassel to a side; she sheathed her sword, and returned to her place.

“Bravo, Ms. Crux, I was not disappointed. See Squires, that´s how you use the Avibus Album spell.” Minster Peter made a stabbing motion with his sword, “you imagine stabbing your enemy with a long sword. That sword is a materialization of your energy, your mana. Matheo, you´re up.”

Yes, right after miss perfection over there went first, I´m second in line. As I walked to the front of the classroom, I saw a slight grin protruding from her pink lips. It made me angry. I couldn´t let her shut me down like that.

I unsheathed my sword, raised it over my shoulders and swung it down into the floor, “Avibus Album!”

A crescent white beam collided with the dummy as Minister Peter smiled, all the while nodding in approval, “that was very creative, and a spot on strike, as well. You and miss Alice never disappoint.”

Adagio for Canon: Chapter 15 – Fragment-

(Credit goes to the owner of the image featured on this post. I couldn’t find who originally made it but it’s definitely not mine)

Yes, I’ve been gone for quite some time… I’ve been busy. Very busy. Mostly due to personal reasons but here I am, enjoy this tiny piece. It’s sort of rated R, if you dislike mild written nudity. Okay, maybe PG-13. I mean, seriously, who’d get offended by some descriptions… P.S. It’s not edited.

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I looked at the report but while most rejoiced, it baffled me. The report made no sense: to attack a location of little to no tactical importance when this base was the real threat. Was Amelia bluffing? Had our mole betrayed us? I couldn’t put my mind at ease.  Closing my eyes, I rested my head on the table, taunted by a strange feeling. Something was off.

A soft warm touch slid down my back; brushing my sides and up to my shoulders. I touched these soft hands that caressed my skin, as my shirt slid off my arms. Finger nails gently yet barely scratching the surface of my skin; it was like therapy for my stress.

“Why don’t we have our very own private meeting in my room?” Michelle whispered into my ear. Wrapping her arms around my chest, “it’s been a while since I’ve reported you… personally.”

I couldn’t open my eyes, my head felt so heavy, “I’ll need to freshen up a bit, if you don’t want me to suddenly fall asleep.”

“You worry too much. The report’s from a reliable source. I knew him personally, he’s a good fellow.”

“I know but still… something doesn’t sound right. Mother’s power hungry but that’s never gone to her head. This is clearly a red flag,” I muffled through my teeth as dust dispersed into the air.

“If you’re so worried, why don’t you with the next team? They’re going to monitor the situation from a closer vantage point. If you smell trouble, we’ll evacuate.”

I yawned, “That’s not a bad idea… it’s a pretty damn good idea. The best I’ve heard in a while.”

“What can I say? I kick ass,” Michelle kissed my cheek.

 

*****

 

The baby was still asleep inside his crib.

 

I slowly slid my cover to a side. Michelle was sound asleep as her hair covered her face. I tried sliding off the bed but her arm suddenly wrapped around my waist, throwing herself on top of me. I wrestled with her till I found myself on top of her, holding her back against my chest.

“Where do you think you’re going?” She whispered, careful as to not awaken the baby.

“I need to get ready, Benque Viejo’s six hours from here. If we don’t get going soon, we’ll lose the cover of the night.” I wrapped my arms around her naked body, as I gently kissed the back of her neck, holding her long hair to a side. “I’ve always loved your neck, did you know that?”

“Love, I’ve heard that so many times.”

“It’s your fault for being so damn beautiful.”

“A year ago you didn’t like me.” She turned to me as her breasts pressed to my chest, “that little devil was the best relationship counselor nature could muster.”

“That little rascal’s got spunk like his mother,” I kissed her lips.

I could feel her soft leg rubbing against mine; gently holding mine, her heel on the back of my leg. Her warm embrace and the scent of the sweat running down her chest were intoxicating. She smiled as her lips slid down my neck, kissing my chest.

“Honey, I need to get going,” I slid off the bad and walked to the bathroom. “I’ll be back, don’t you worry. It’s just recon. I’d rather feel safe by seeing it with my own eyes than to walk into a trap.”

“Won’t we defend them?” Michelle asked.

“They refused to join us or our aid,” I slipped into my pants all the while searching for my belt. “We asked on separate occasions but they refused even to accept our letters. They’ve got some balls standing up to a whole nation, being only two towns and five measly villages.”

“Should I go with you? I could send the baby to the Corozal base.” Michelle seemed worried, probably scared that I’d do something brash if anything happened.

“If push comes to shove, we’ll retreat. No use staying if we’ve got no backup. Queen Sophia won’t provide support either.”

Queen Sophia. I could never stand that title, and soon enough, her name started to annoy me. It wasn’t hate; God knows I’d never hate her, but it was a distinct desire to forget her. After a while, seeing that neither of us would disappear for each other’s life; much to the dismay of Michelle and Janet, I had to focus on my family. Michelle was my family. Mother and father were never there for us; I had to become that person they should have been and Sophia had no place in my future. It was difficult at first, but after several months, I became numb: numb to her smile, her voice, her eyes, and her spirit but I was sure that to her… I was that unreachable star she’d never be able to hold.

It hurts if you pay too much attention to it.

 

*****

 

Anastasia stared at the rotating blades of the ceiling fan, passing by every second as the soft breeze brushed her skin. The bed was uncomfortable, the same could be said about the pillow. Stiff and cold; it smelled clean but cheap hotels were far from sanitary. She sat up and looked at the watch, it was still two in the morning. The sun wouldn’t be out for at least four more hours; not that she really wanted to see the sunlight. Today was the day. Today she’d get rid of that stain in her past, yet, why did it hurt so much?

Anastasia crawled to the drawer by the foot of her bed, taking out a small golden cross. Kneeling on the floor, she cried. Begging God to forgive her for ever falling victim to her jealousy. Praying for a miracle: that Alexander might escape the ensuing hell that would soon befall them.

She suddenly stood, bare feet on the floor, as her tears fell down her cheeks. Holding the cross in one hand, she tossed it against the wall. Closing her eyes, she continued crying. Anastasia wanted to warn him by any means necessary but she knew that it was already too late. A miracle comes to those who desperately need it but she was not more worthy than Alexander was. She was as guilty as he was of treason. Anastasia was an even bigger hypocrite and that was what hurt her the most.

 

Nuclear Winter

A short love story? I’m not sure. I did enjoy writing this piece. As always, this has not been edited so it’s filled with mistakes. You have been warned.

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Waving crashing on the road leading to the nearest town, tiny stars glimmering in the darkness of the night sky; mother was right – this was truly the best time to mend a broken heart. The leaves on the apple tree, rustling as a gentle breeze caressed its silky texture; slightly undulating grass blades bowing before the breeze, glistering underneath the sandy shores of the aether. Sliding his hands out of his pocket, he struck the ground with his pocket knife; holding his breath, he let out a long sigh. A light haze sprang forth from his mouth; his mind wandered into the past as it materialized into a voice. “Hope, Hope, Hope” it whispered. A warmth touched his shoulder as he turned around. Nothing. It was a warmth long gone.

Sirens off shore, echoing in the distance; he tried to listen to its warning. It sang of an impending danger, it sang of an uncertain future but most of all… it sang of a long forgotten past. As a small firecracker set off, his instincts sprang forth. Turning around, grabbing a hold of his knife, he saw her: dressed in a striped, long, flowing dress, she grabbed a hold of her sun hat. He could barely distinguish her face amidst the darkness but it was that scent. It was the way she moved. It was the way she held her bag. It was her intoxicating spirit that called to him.

She stopped a few steps away from him, taking off her hat. A powerful wind threw her off balance as he sprang towards her, holding her side. She looked up at his face, gazing at his eyes; he smiled back as his flustered face tried not to waver.

“Do you always hold on so gently?” She asked, grabbing her long dark hair as it covered her face. Holding it with one hand, her lips formed a smile, “I remembered you were the clumsy one.”

Holding on to her, he grabbed her hands, helping her to her feet. “You didn’t stay long enough to find out, Hope.”

Hope turned away, looking at the road as it snaked its way along the sea. Waves crashing on the road, agitated, scared; something had intimidated Poseidon. She remembered almost as it was yesterday: she was standing in this same spot, holding her weight against its rough surface. It was cold, no, it was freezing. She couldn’t feel her finger tips or her legs. Her breath raising through the echoes of a feast. Firecrackers and booze; it all clouded her judgment. Hope couldn’t remember what words came out of her mouth but she knew what they meant.

“It was my fault… all of it,” she held the tips of her fingers, it wasn’t cold. “Francis, it was entirely my fault,” tears fell down her cheeks, “it’s funny how I’m still crying at he same old spot.”

Francis looked down at the road, the same road he traversed twelve years ago. He was young and fooling; madly in love with a young woman as foolish as he was. He walked that cold road, barefooted, as waves crashed and water splashed before him. Feet wet, pants soaked; he trembled from cold’s frigid embrace. A cigarette in his right hand, it’s fire had long since been dozed by the salty spray. He remembered being so disheartened, so ashamed of himself. How he begged and cried but not even God listened. Words that still echo in his head – don’t chase that which you can never obtain.

“You seemed pretty happy at that time.” He said. “I guess love’s never really been a solution to anything.”

“The next day, you left without saying goodbye.” Hope replied.

“I didn’t have anyone to say goodbye to.”

“You had me.”

“I had nobody.”

“I waited for you here, I asked you to stay.”

“I asked you to come with me, that’s why I never came.”

Francis remembered looking out his window and seeing her standing beneath the same tree, crying. He knew it was for the best. He knew Hope was a pillar that would soon collapse upon him. Smiling, Hope looked at the carving on the tree’s bark, caressing the shape and the initials inscribed within it. Francis knew he’d only have one last chance.

“Francis, isn’t th-” Hope’s lips made full contact with Francis’ cold lips. As cold became consumed by the warmth, she held him in her arms, slowly sliding the tips of her fingers along his back as he caressed her sides down to her buttocks. Her eyes reflected the stars in the darkness of oblivion as she became hypnotized by a bright light. Looking back, Francis gazed at the horizon as it light up in a spectacular golden hue. Several bright spheres of light slowly falling down the earth, farther away from the mainland.

“What do you think that is?” She whispered.

“Not a clue.” Francis replied.

The sirens sounded in the distance, as he finally understood why they rang. Bright red flares rose from the mainland as sirens soon invaded the silence of the night. The surrounding towns and cities contaminating the night with their desperate plea for help. Flare rose from even closer settlements. The siren from their hometown shattered the remaining silence as flares rose from the town hall.

“What’s going on?” Hope held on tightly to Francis’ arm, “Is something the matter?” She looked up at Francis’ face, he had grown pale as the bright red light illuminated his face.

Large explosions were heard on the distance as a bright flash engulfed the nearby city. A bright dust cloud came rushing over the water as the sea receded. Throwing Hope into the ground, he kissed her forehead one last time as the light consumed them both.

*****

“And then what happened?” A small child’s voice whispered into her old ears, “Did they survive?”

“That is a story for another night, okay?” She replied.

“But, if the nukes fell sixty years ago, then… they must be old right now.”

A young woman walked into the room, holding a small pillow. “Honey, go to sleep. Your grandmother’s tired, she needs her medicine.”

“Okay…” The little girl muttered.

“I’ll continue tomorrow, okay?” Her grandmother reassured her. “After all, not even fire could keep this strong body down.”

Happy 2016!

I was going to continue on with the story but I forgot the chapters (I’m home, visiting my parents) and the guide to even try to take-off from where I left. So, to make it up, I might write a few short stories. 😀

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.”