|The Ancient Prophecy
Part VII: The Quest for Loyalty
by Vipers ©
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
Yet their mood was cloudy. Atrus walked slowly followed by Anna and Maya. He had bandages all over his body from the wounds. Maya had bandages on her stomach. She was lucky, for the lance had missed her vital organs. Anna was walking limply, mainly because of exhaustion. Behind her the two slave girls walked side by side, supporting each other. Misty had survived the poison, but her body was still weak. Sonya was badly wounded by the Desmos, but she survived the fight.
They were all suffering from exhaustion. But a greater problem still tortured them. They all knew that the town of Blackwell was lost. Their task had been completed, but at a great cost. Misty was still shocked at the lost of her hometown, although she was relieved to be free from her current slavery. Atrus, however, took the loss badly. The loss reminded him of Gideon.
But then they heard somebody coming. Atrus readied his new sword, Rainbow Sword he named it. Then Anna reached out and held his hand.
"Atrus, wait... I can't believe it..."
"What? Are they demons?"
Suddenly, from the back of the hill, a group of men appeared. They were carrying weapons of many kinds, ranging from swords to spears. Atrus eyed them carefully before recognizing one of them.
"Atrus... they are the villagers..." Anna said slowly. "They survived..."
They waited until the crowd grew closer. Leonard quickly recognized them and ran after them. Suddenly Misty ran past Atrus and jumped on a man's embrace. The man had to be her father, he thought. Finally, father and daughter were reunited.
Leonard approached Atrus and gave him a bear hug. "Sir White Lion... I hope we're not too late..."
"I'm sorry about the village..." Atrus muttered slowly.
"What are you talking about? Where are the demons?"
Then he noticed the corpses lying around the castle. "There was a battle here... You killed all of them?!"
"Actually, Anna did." Atrus gestured at Anna.
Leonard quickly bowed. "We're in your debt forever, Priestess..."
"You're welcome." Anna answered gravely. "But your village..."
Leonard cut her off and shook Maya's hand violently, almost hurting the girl. "Miss Murdock, you're safe... Your father should be proud..."
"Eh... good..." Maya answered groggily. "B...but the village..."
"You're talking nonsense!" Leonard cried. "The village is safe! We are all safe, thanks to you!"
Maya suddenly remembered the conversation in the dungeon. "Wait... you abandoned the village last night, right?"
"What?" Leonard seemed confused. "We didn't go anywhere!"
Anna was more confused. "B...but the demons..."
"Which brings me another question." Leonard cut her off again. "How come we didn't hear the battle yesterday? It seems to me that the battle was a great one."
"I don't know!" Atrus answered, dazed. "Why didn't you hear it last night, then?"
Leonard glanced at the crowd around him. "We rested from out training yesterday a little bit early, since my men were all tired. Even out watchers fell asleep during his shift, and the next watchers didn't wake them up. It was strange... as if we were bound by a spell or something..."
"A spell?" Suddenly Atrus stared at Anna. "A 'spell'...?"
Anna remembered that she had reported her failed sleeping spell the night before. She couldn't believe it. The spell was actually brought out of the window and was blown by the wind to the village, paralyzing the village. That was why the demons thought the village was abandoned. Nobody was awake that night.
"I can't believe it... My spell worked...!"
"Your spell worked?! It was screwed up!"
"What do you mean? They fell asleep!"
"Yeah, but you might have endangered the entire village!"
"But they're safe!"
"I said you might have!"
The crowd was stunned as Anna slapped Atrus hard on his cheek. Her eyes were wet with tears. The hint of hatred was in her voice.
"I knew it... I knew you don't need me... I knew I'm not good enough... Well, go then! It's now your journey! You will do fine without me!"
Then she ran off. Atrus watched in silence as her form disappeared. What have I done? His grip tightened, and he felt incredibly stupid. A soft hand touched his shoulder.
"I screwed up again..."
"Go after her." Maya said softly. "Do what needs to be done."
The town of Blackwell stood proudly among the hills. The town was indeed intact. The demons didn't even leave a scratch in it. The view of the small town with the forest as the background was very beautiful. The sun was setting, spreading the bright orange color in the sky. A lone hawk flew nicely in the wind across the sky. Smaller birds were flying in groups, singing their evening lullaby.
Anna Freesland tucked the cloak around her. The wind was getting cold. Her body shivered from the chill. She stood alone on top of the hill, enjoying the sunset. Or at least trying to enjoy the sunset.
She knew her heart was dreading. Her soul was cold, colder than the air around her. Her eyes were red from crying. She felt so alone. Loneliness had been her best friend before she joined Atrus, and now they had been once again reunited. She had no friend. She was unwanted.
She still couldn't believe Atrus had insulted her, right in front of the crowd, after all she had done. She knew she had screwed up, but she had saved the entire village! Can't that idiot appreciate me just once? She felt rejected, but she was confused. A part of her wanted to disappear from the realm and never see him again, but another part urged her to try again.
"I know I'd find you here..."
Her heart jumped as she heard Atrus' voice. "What do you want, Ranger?!"
She could sense Atrus' reaction to the sarcasm in her voice. "I want to talk to you."
A part of her wanted to brush him away, but another part wanted to hear him.
"There's nothing to discuss." She lied.
"Please, Anna... Hear me first..."
Finally her defiant gave way and she burst in tears. She looked at him with her pleading eyes.
"Why...? Why did you do this to me...?!"
"I'm sorry, Anna, I..."
"I admired you, Atrus..." she cut him off. "I respected you... You left me and I followed you... But you insulted me in front of those people! Is that the way you treat me?!"
"Anna, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I never want to hurt you."
"But after all you've done?! You don't know how much you've humiliated me!"
"I do." He answered. "I didn't mean to hurt your feeling at all. We've fought like that before, and I didn't know that I have humiliated you before the villagers. I just wanted to comment you, that's all, and I did that as honest as I could. If I hurt your feeling, then I'm wrong. I'm sorry."
Anna looked at his friend sharply, but her heart relented. Despite the hard manner Atrus had displayed numerous times, she could feel the sincerity in his confession. She could understand him. In fact, this was not the first time he did this. He had teased her in front of Maya before and she had always teased him back. Suddenly she felt guilty. She knew that admiration was all she asked from him. She felt so lonely, longing for a friend who could support and comfort her.
"Anna... I know I'm not good at saying this... but I want you to know... uh... I may not be able to say it, but I want you to know that I always admire you... I mean, with all your magical skill and stuff... and... you're always there to support me... and... uh... anyway, Anna, I need you for this quest... Please help me, okay...?"
Finally, after hearing the awkward request, her heart yielded and she couldn't help but giggled. "Now I understand why you're not good at complimenting somebody..."
Atrus' face brightened as he saw her laughing. "Anna... You will forgive me, won't you?"
Anna approached him and embraced him tightly. "Of course, idiot... You're my friend, and friends forgive each other, right? I'm just so happy that you still appreciate me..."
"Anna, I never underestimate you... I'm just not good at saying it..."
"I know, that's okay. You're just being honest."
Anna stayed in Atrus' embrace for a while, enjoying the warmth and comfort he was giving her. But then she felt something poking her ear and found Atrus twitching it.
Annoyed, she asked, "Atrus, what are you doing to my ear?"
"This is odd... You're a priestess, but your ears are pierced..."
"I told you before that I was not a real priestess..." She swallowed hard. "I was an orphan. My mother left me in front of the shrine door."
"I see." He smiled. "Because I want you to have these."
Atrus opened her palm and put a small black leather box on it. "Atrus... what is it?"
"There's only one way to find out."
She opened the box and gasped at the sight. Inside the box, two beautifully crafted earrings were arranged neatly on the cotton cushion. The earring consisted of three sets of stone with different colors, red, blue and clear, connected by tiny bands of golden chain. The two colored stones took shape of tiny balls while the last colorless one a diamond. The earrings would dangle at least one inch from her ears.
She gazed at the jewelry for a while before returning her gaze to Atrus. Her eyes were wet, this time with tears of joy. "Atrus... they... they're beautiful..."
"I kind of ran into them in Stromgard, so I thought they might match well with your red ribbon... don't they? I mean I'm not very good at matching colors, so I..."
She quickly circled her arms around him and embraced him tightly. Atrus did the same and she began to sob in his arms.
"Atrus... I... thank you... I'm so happy..."
"Happy birthday, Anna..."
She looked into his eyes in disbelief. "How... how do you know...?"
He just smiled and planted a passionate kiss on her lips. She was in heaven. She no longer felt lonely, for her best friend was with her.
"Make a wish..." Atrus said after he broke the kiss.
"Atrus... promise that you will never leave me..."
"Anything you say, Anna. Anything you say."
Then they sat on the grass, gazing at the sky as the sun went down. Atrus pulled his cloak around them and Anna stopped quivering as warmth enveloped her body. The sight before them was marvelous. The pale yellow color filled the sky, decorated by the strips of orange clouds. The wind played her hair a little, and suddenly she realized how tired she was.
She could feel Atrus' hand softly stroking her hair. "You're tired, Anna. Go ahead and rest."
"I'll be fine." Atrus told her. "Rest now."
She smiled at him then lay her head against his chest. The warmth slowly soothed to sleep. As she fell to the land of dream, she could hear him whisper.
"I've always admired you, Anna... And I always will..."
Maya Murdock stood alone on the castle courtyard. The creepy exterior of the abandoned castle accompanied her in her mourning. Before her two pieces of plain stone lay, surrounded by green bushes with beautiful purple flowers. A small basket of white flower, handpicked by her, stood before the stones.
Silence crept upon her as she remembered the days she had gone through. The entire castle seemed to mourn together with her. She knew that her search was over, as she was standing before the grave of her father and mother. Baron Stoke admired her father so much that he actually had buried him in his castle. That was why Leonard and his men never found the grave.
Leonard couldn't believe that the evil baron had saved her life by sacrificing his. He couldn't believe that the man could return from his wicked ways in the final moment of his life. He couldn't accept him as a hero of her life, but he was willing to forgive him and not to disgrace his name.
The baron had personally given her father the proper respect he deserved, although he had made her hate her father. Even in his wicked ways of life, there had been a piece of humanity in the baron's soul. However, the entire kingdom would look at him as a traitor, and he would not receive the honor and respect her father was receiving. Perhaps only a handful of people knew the real story behind his betrayal, but that was enough for him. Your forgiveness means everything to me, he had said. She knew, deep inside, that he had made peace with her father, and his soul was at peace.
She could feel a lone man approached her, and was pleased to find Leonard coming toward her. He held something in his hand, which he showed to her. It was a pendant, or more like a talisman. A simple rectangular metal plate with strange writing on it served as the main part of the ornament. A small blue diamond-shaped stone dangled in front of the plate. A simple band tied the ornaments together.
"This is your father's last memory. He always wore it during his action." He said gravely. "He would want his daughter to have it."
She put the band around her neck and tied it. Suddenly she felt a strange force flowed through her body. "I feel strange..."
"Your father always wore it as a charm." Leonard said. "He didn't wear it in his last battle."
"Thank you for keeping this..." Maya said slowly. "I will always wear it."
"Wear it with pride, Miss Murdock." He nodded. "Wear it in his memory."
She nodded as tears welded in her eyes. Together they gazed at the anonymous grave before them, recounting the days that had gone, along with their father and friend. Around them, the wind played a sad lullaby, yet celebrating the victory of the good.
"Father..." Maya said slowly, her voice heavy with sadness. "I miss you..."
Deep inside her heart, she could see the image of her father, smiling at her.
"Thank you for keeping me alive in your heart, Maya... and I will be with you... always"
** End of Part 7 **
There are some comments about the lack of enough sex scenes in this story. Sorry, folks, but I can't write a sex story without a nice plot. This story is intended to be a romantic story after all...
sorry for the delay. For those people who had sent their comments and
critiques, I thank you. I hope you liked this one...
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
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