CHAPTER 50 - The Promise (3)
“Holy shit, Bro! That shouldn’t be legal, I’m calling hacks!”
Quinn blinked, confusion spreading across his chiseled face. He stared at Alex as the soldier set Treya on her feet. Despite the… was that an insult?... Alex seemed to be happy that he was there.
“I do not understand, Ser. Is my presence an issue?”
“Nah, fam, not at all! I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be able to sneak up on someone like me despite your size. Were you some kind of ninja in a past life, or something? Wait, does this world have ninjas?”
Treya covered her face with her hand and sighed, shaking her head softly as she did so. Quinn continued to look confused as he sought the words to reply to his friend.
ALICE wasn’t so patient.
“Can we just get to the point, here? I’d rather not be stuck out in the forest at nightfall when there’s a perfectly good set of beds a short walk away.”
“You don’t even need a bed, so why do you care?”
“What, if a girl doesn’t have a body, it means she can’t enjoy some comfort?”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what that means. Can you feel the difference between a bed and a patch of dirt?”
“How rude! You little son of a-“
“She has a point, Alex. I have an idea of why you’re here, but can you hurry and say what you will? We’re scaring off the fauna.”
Everyone fell silent as the attention was focused solely on the soldier. He returned their gazes with a troubled expression as he struggled for the words. He had been trying to think of what to say the entire time he was tracking her, and it was go time.
“Treya, I heard what happened from ALICE. I’m not going to try and make excuses, even though I totally think those guys deserved far worse.”
He paused, looking at her to see how she’d react. She just nodded once, as if she had expected those exact words and was waiting for him to finish.
“What I will say is that I won’t turn into that again. I lost myself, and it was bad. I know that. I’m the kind of guy who will make a lot of mistakes, but I’ll only make each one once. I learn and adapt from my screw ups. Can I ask you to trust me on that, at least?”
Treya sighed. It wasn’t exactly what she had thought he’d say, but the premise was similar enough.
“Alex, have I told you why I left the Honor Guard in the first place?”
When he shook his head, she continued.
“You might want to have a seat. This is going to take a while.”
“If you have come to distract me, please leave. With the entire governing body of this village dead, it falls to me to oversee the reconstruction efforts. I have little time for your antics, dragon.”
Celia tried to grab some papers from the table and return to her work, but Aundell moved her hand to block them from being lifted.
“I think you’re going to want to make time for me, Princess. After all, my kind remember what your family did during the Drain.”
Celia froze for a few seconds before looking at Aundell and folding her hands in her lap. She adopted the fake smile she had learned to make from a young age as a part of royalty. The kind of smile that showed she was anything but happy, even if she couldn’t say so.
“I am listening.”
Aundell stood straight and half-turned to sit on the edge of the table.
“Very good. I knew you humans were not as stupid as you make yourselves appear. Given your position, I’m sure you’re aware of the things that were happening in this village, so I won’t insult you by asking. Instead, I’m going to tell you that this is only the beginning. That man? Do you honestly believe he will side with you once he finds out the truth?”
Celia gritted her teeth, and her next words were hissed, rather than spoken.
“I do not know what you are getting at, dragon, but I suggest you watch your tone.”
“Or what? Little old you is going to take me out? Do not forget, I can destroy what remains of this village, yourself included, if I unleashed my original form.”
Biting her tongue, the princess remained silent. She knew Aundell had her backed into a corner, and Alex wasn’t around to protect her if this being decided to go on a rampage.
“That’s better. Now, I would like an answer to my question.”
Aundell’s smile finally fell away as she leaned closer to Celia, her tone more serious.
“What do you think will happen if someone tells my husband what your sister did to call a hero? What will he do when he learns about the demons your family sacrificed, to no avail?”
“What do you want?” Celia’s patience was fading quickly.
“I want to know why you’re so interested in him. What’s your goal, Princess?”