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Chapter 13

Scarlet landed on the ground, a pain filled gasp escaping her mouth. “That was one of the worst defenses I’ve ever seen. Clearly Claudia has taught you barely anything on the matter.” As the last words fell from Pals’s mouth, a knife went whizzing by her head. It grazed her hair and landed in the padded wall behind her. Her golden eyes moved, her head following as she faced the knife. “I’m sorry I didn’t teach her your area of expertise, Pals. I was too busy teaching her how to throw a knife and swing a sword. Not to mention build muscle.” Claudia stopped at the edge of the padded rug, her sword still in hand. Renee remained behind her, frozen in the spot where they had been training. Pals pulled the knife from the wall, spinning the blade with quick flicks. “Of course, how rude of me. I’m not sorry though.” In a blink of the eye, the knife went flying from Pals’s hand. Scarlet watched with wide eyes as the blade came closed to Claudia’s face. Claudia did not duck or dash from the knife’s course. She stuck a hand out, and without losing breath caught the knife by the handle.

Rising from the ground, Scarlet had to applaud. The vampire and werewolf looked to her, as she signed to them. “That was amazing.” The two turned their attention to Renee, who nodded her head towards Scarlet. “That’s what she said. She thought it was amazing.” Scarlet glanced over, and gave a single nod to her friend. Renee refused to look at her. Scarlet frowned, and looked to Pals. “Thank you. Pals started it though, I merely finished it.” Claudia smiled, sticking the knife back into the holster on her waist. “Come on Renee, back to work.” Pals shook her head, watching Claudia leave before turning back to Scarlet. “Take your stance.” Scarlet rooted her feet into the mat, focusing on the prowling werewolf. “Now, remember, the key areas of weakness on anyone. Neck, shoulder, arms, legs and groin. Ready?” Scarlet barely nodded before the werewolf was launching herself towards her. Gasping, she flung herself to the side, and ducked. Spinning on her heels she latched herself onto the werewolf’s back just as she was turning to attack once more. Pals tossed her head back, hitting Scarlet straight in the nose. Her elbows went into Scarlet’s ribs, the sudden pain releasing her leg’s grips on the werewolf’s waist. Scarlet landed on her back, her hands to her face. Her nose was hot, but it was still intact as one piece.

“I wasn’t even trying. Get up.” Pals looked down at Scarlet, her face natural. “You know you could be a little nicer Pals, it is her first lesson.” Claudia, in the middle of battle with Renee, glanced over to the group. She blocked a strike from the human’s wooden sword, and then counterattacked. “I’m not nice Claudia.” Pals bent down, hovering over Scarlet’s face. The werewolf checked the human’s nose. “It’s your job to build them up, and it’s mine to tear them down.” Pals stood back up. “Your nose is fine, now get back up. It’s your turn to attack me.” Scarlet silently groaned to herself.

Their training for the day ended, and Renee left the room without a second glance towards Scarlet. Scarlet had watched her friend hang up her sword and quickly leave. Scarlet remained on the bench, resting her head in her hands. She couldn’t help but feel both anger and sadness. Renee hadn’t spoken directly to her since their morning lesson with the King. “There is something wrong. The air between you and your friend buzzes. What has happened?” Claudia took a seat next to Scarlet, sipping water from a glass. Scarlet lifted her head. She wanted to tell Claudia what was wrong, she had no one else to speak to on the matter. Besides, it was no secret to why Renee was mad. But the question of how was she supposed to communicate, was what stopped her.

Pointing to the door, Scarlet then pointed to herself and locked her pinkies together. Claudia tipped her head, giving a small smile. “I don’t know what you’re saying but I want to.” Scarlet nodded her head, and pointed to Claudia and then across the room to where Pals threw fist at a dummy. She locked her pinkies again. “Me and Pals?” Scarlet nodded and showed her pinkies once again. “We have a connection?” Scarlet motioned 50-50. She pointed to the two again, and then gave herself a high five, laughed at nothing and hugged herself. “We have a relationship? I’m sorry to tell you but Pals has been seeing someone very seriously for many years.” Scarlet shook her head no and pointed to the bracelet on Claudia’s wrist. She made the motion of exchanging and then held up their wrist. “Exchanging matching bracelets? Like friendship bracelets?” Scarlet bounced and shook her head. “Oh I said it?” Scarlet nodded, locking her pinkies once more. “The locking pinkies mean friendship?” Scarlet nodded, smiling slightly. “Okay so your friendship with Renee…”

Making an O on each hand, Scarlet interlocked them like a chain before breaking them apart. “Your friendship is broken! Oh I got it! I got it!” Claudia smiled at her advancement. Suddenly, she frowned. “Wait, why is your friendship broken?” Scarlet pointed to Pals, standing. “Pals?” She shook her head the vampire, before standing on her toes. Jumping slightly, Scarlet did the best imitation of Theo she could think of. “Oh, you mean Theo! Wow, you got her sway down.” Scarlet nodded, sitting back down. She pointed to herself, and then Pals once more. Claudia nodded, her voice soft and low. “Okay so you and Theo-Oh… You must have said yes to Theo’s offer, didn’t you?” Looking away, Scarlet nodded, blinking at the forming tears. “And Renee isn’t too happy about that is she? My cousin told me about the little spat between her and Theo in his office yesterday.” Scarlet nodded her head again.

She wanted to make the best choice possible. Her mother’s biggest fear was losing her daughter to a battle over her power or the curiosity of a laboratory. Her biggest fear growing up was that someone would discover her power and take her from her mother. The worst that could happened to her, had. She didn’t have to say yes to Theo’s offer, but Scarlet was desperate for answers. Growing up, she was never allowed to question why she was born Blessed. The facts were the facts dealt and she was to take them with pride. Yet she had the chance to get more facts, to understand. The science journals showed exactly what Theo had told her. The worst that could happen would to find nothing, but the best could lead them to places of the unknown. It was her life. If anyone would be getting answers towards her Blessing, it would be her. Yet, no matter how mad she was to gain and keep the knowledge of her abilities for herself, Scarlet would never forget the look on Renee’s face when she gave the thumbs up to the King. She had only seen that look once before, many years ago when she was child. There was a trial in town, everyone was to attend. Scarlet and her mother were not ones to go against a Town Calling. It had turned out that two lovers had been found together. Unfortunately the older pauper man was married and the wealthy young woman was promised to a rich tycoon. When it came the woman’s time to testify, she claimed all innocents. Without the courage to look the man in the eyes, she pointed her hand out to the side and called rape. The man’s face, the pure and raw emotions that coursed through it, could be matched to Renee’s that morning. The look of utter betrayal. The man was convicted, hung that afternoon. Though Scarlet had not been allowed to view the hanging, she felt as if her own body was currently hanging from a noose.

“If it’s in my consent to say, she’ll get over it. Being friends, best friends, does not mean you agree with each other. Or all the actions you each choose to do.” Claudia casted a glance over to Pals, giving a small smile. “Trust me, I know. Just, give her some time. She’ll come around. Until then, would you like to join me for dinner tonight? I’m having a small ‘welcome home’ dinner for Pals. My cousin, brother, and Theo will all be there. I feel that we have gotten to know each other over the past few days, despite the lack of words. And besides, what will one more mouth be?” Scarlet pointed to the door and shook a finger. Claudia shook her head. “No, Renee doesn’t need to be there. You just talked with me without her aid. You’re stronger than your realize Scarlet, mentally. We’ll get your physically strong soon enough. So will you come?” Scarlet nodded her head, and gave a thumbs up. Claudia smiled. “Wonderful. I’ll inform my cousin and you two can ride together.” Claudia watched Scarlet’s hand, smiling. “O-K; okay! I got that! Okay.”

My fourth fear, is love. I’ve never been in love, and the thought is terrifying. I had my parents love, and they had mine but it is not the same. I do not know the warm embrace of a lover, or the fire of emotions felt when two become one. I do not think I want to feel it though. It’s not fair that all I would get is their touch and voice. They would get all of me and I would only get a piece of them. I know that is a selfish thought, but since I will never fall in love- I don’t care. Which leads to my fifth fear, I am a man of many fears journal. I fear being alone. Even on the run, claiming names and jobs that are not truly mine, I remain around all. A very influential vampire mob, a pack of werewolf whose gang ruled the coast of two whole nations. I even spent time among the elfin ruins in Odin. I’m sure they were beautiful. I was alone during that time, and it was bad for the soul. No being is meant to be alone. We were all created to have lives that intertwine with each other. I fear that my Blessing might force me to be alone, and if that happens I do not know what will come of me.

The knock at Scarlet’s door startled her, her whole body seizing up where she sat. Closing Charles’s journal, she frantically opened up a bottom draw of her desk. Dropping the book in, she tore a few blank papers from her note pad and covered the book with them. Closing the draw, she grabbed a stylus with one hand and her bell with the other. Giving the bell a small ring, she dipping the stylus in ink. As the door opened she begun to draw out the alphabet in cursive. “Miss Scarlet?” Looking up from her looping L, Scarlet gave Vern a small smile. “The car is ready, the King is on his way to the Foyer now. She signed ‘okay’ and thanked him. He nodded once, keeping the door open for her. Putting everything away, she stood and left her room.

She begun to walk down the hall, Vern closing the door and quickly catching up to her. “If I can say,” Vern broke the silence that had grown over them, not that Scarlet could do much to change that. “You look quite nice tonight, green suits you.” A warm blush grew over her cheeks and she thanked him. Unable to stop herself, she brushed back a strand of her hair and twisted the end around her finger. Rounding the corner, the two entered into the Foyer. The King stood in the center of the room, turning when he heard them near. To Scarlet he was more dashing in his formal suit, complete with a top hat, than when he was dressed in a normal suit. “Good evening Scarlet.” Stopping, Scarlet curtsied in greeting. “Shall we go?” He motioned to the door, and Scarlet gave a straight nod. She took the lead, and the King followed behind her; a hand hovering over her shoulder blades. They entered out into the cold night air, Scarlet holding her wrap closer to her shoulders. A black steam car waiting at the bottom of the steps, it’s engine rumbling. The driver waited, hand on the back door’s handle. Moving ahead of her, the King stopped at the door, holding a hand out. Giving a small nod of thanks to him, Scarlet too it and grabbed her skirts with the other hand. Sitting down, she slid over just as the King climbed in. The driver closed the door, and climbed into the front seat. Scarlet noticed the large glass panel that separated the small cab, giving them both complete and little privacy.

“You’re looking lovely this evening, I don’t believe you’ve ever worn green around me before.” Scarlet pulled herself away from the window, where she had been glued. Totally captivated by the city. The buildings were all so large, though bleak in the night light. She singled a thank-you to towards the King and turned back out the window; unable to help herself. “This is the first time you’ve been out of the manor. I cannot believe the thought has only now just dawned on me.” Scarlet nodded, looking back at the King. His face was neutral but there was an emotion in his eyes. “Well, if your training continues as it is, you’ll be a normal face among the masses here. You need see the city for all it’s true beauty, not like tonight. The rain is gloomy.” Rolling her lips, Scarlet attempted the most basic signs to get her message across. The King watched her, his pale eyes never wavering. “You like the rain? Really?” Scarlet nodded, making the motion for rain but not sure how to say beauty without confusing him. So she spelt out pretty instead. If you don’t know the word, change the sentence. “I do not mean to sound harsh but rain is anything but pretty, Scarlet. It’s cold and cruel. It weakens the body.” Scarlet frowned slightly and shook her head. A finger went to her ear, and then she swayed her body. “The sound is soothing, that is true. The bad outweighs the pleasant in the end.” Scarlet shook her head, knowing they would never agree on the subject. Casting her eyes back to the window, she watched the city pass in thick streaks of color.

The car slowed, and then pulled to the curb. Through the light rain, Scarlet scanned the building. It rose high, at least four floors if not more. But it was also narrow, matching it’s surrounding neighbors. The driver climbed out from the car, an umbrella in hand as he walked around it. Gathering her skirts, Scarlet climbed from the car. She remained under the shelter of the umbrella, watching as the umbrella was passed on to the King. Offering an arm out to her, Scarlet took it as they begun to walk forward. The stone steps leading to the front landing were slick and steep. Reaching the landing, Scarlet reached for the brass door knocker. The sound seem to echo through the near silent night. The door opened, light from within spilling out, and Claudia’s head popped out from behind. “Good evening! Come in, come in! Welcome.” The King motioned for Scarlet to go first. She gladly did, entering into the warmth of the room. The front room was tiny, with the whole space being nearly filled by the spiraling staircase. Behind her, after the King had entered, the front door was closed and locked. “May I take your things?” Coming from what appeared to be a parlor, a lanky man servant appeared. Slipping her coat off, Scarlet handed it to him, and gave him a small nod in thanks. “Come now, everyone is gathered among the second floor den.” Leading the way, Claudia appeared to almost float up the stairs in her gown. Scarlet had only ever seen the vampire in pants and boots; to which she was stealthy when in them.

Coming to the second floor, Claudia led them to the first door way. The den, as with the rest of the home, was cozy. A fire burned in the fire place, warming and lighting the small space. A small table lamp, settled between two chairs, was also illuminating. Settled on the two seats were Theo and a vampire Scarlet had never met. Across from them on the stretched out couch was Pals, sitting closely to yet another man Scarlet had never seen. “Everyone, look who just arrived!” Everyone looked, and stood. They all bowed to the King. “Klaus, come here.” Claudia grabbed at the vampire, pulling him over towards Scarlet. “Scarlet, this is my brother Klaus, baby brother this is Scarlet.” Klaus extended a hand, Scarlet took it smiling. “It’s nice to finally have a formal introduction. I’m the head of the intelligence team.” Claudia frowned, and swatted her brother’s arm. His eyes, matched his sister’s yet his slicked back hair was strawberry blonde rather than golden yellow. “No work tonight Klaus. I already told you!” Even in her heels, Klaus towered over his older sister. A bell’s ringing filled the air, and the lanky man servant was suddenly besides Scarlet. She inched slightly closer towards the King, the being closest to her. “Dinner is served.” Claudia smiled, clapping her hands together. “Shall we?”

The group was escorted to the main dining room, just down and across from the den. If Scarlet was to be honest with anyone, including herself, she would admit to her nerves. For the past few weeks, ever since they were taken, it had been Renee and her. They had each other to lean upon in daunting new times. Tonight, on the eve of Pals’s welcome home dinner, she was alone. Entering into the dining room, her seat was pointed out by the notepad, stylus and inkwell. Sitting, she smiled and thanked Claudia. “You’re welcome.” The vampire returned the smile, taking one end of the table. The King took the seat straight across from Scarlet. Theo took the seat to her right, and Klaus was beside her. Across from them, sitting next to the King, was Pals and the mysterious werewolf beside her. “Scarlet,” Pals caught the human staring at the male. “This is my longtime business partner, and boyfriend Rony Loth. I can assure you he is trust worthy of your secret.” Rony smiled, a hint of joy gleaming in his glowing amber colored eyes. “I have to be, otherwise I would have never won over Pals’s trust. Or her heart.” He wrapped a tan hand around one of her own, their two skin tones melting into a near ombre. Pals glanced down to his touch, her face remaining neutral. Meeting his eyes, she lifted an eyebrow as something flickered in her eyes. “Though I do not consider my personal affair as proper dinner conversation; he is correct.” She looked back to Scarlet, entwining her fingers with Rony’s.

Giving a small smile, Scarlet grabbed the stylus and dipped into the inkwell. Writing quickly, but making it legible, she then passed the notepad to the King. He read it out loud, “If you trust him, than I shall trust him.” The King smiled, handing the notepad back to her. Pals nodded, and Scarlet was sure the werewolf was grateful towards her. “I believe, if you spoke, you’d be the most formal sounding human. You write as a poet would.” Theo turned to her table mate. “I like it! Oh, and thank you for agreeing to come and see me. I cannot wait, there are so many-”

“Theo!” Claudia’s voice cut the werewolf off, as the lanky servant came in with the first few plates. “There is no speak of business tonight. Tonight is a night of laughter, and merriment as we welcome home your sister. Now, let’s enjoy the meal.”

The next morning, after a breakfast taken in her bedroom, Scarlet dressed for the day. She would have normally taken it with Renee, as the best friends had been doing. Yet with her invite to dinner the night before, Scarlet hadn’t the chance to attempt to speak with Renee. Not that she was fully sure that Renee would be willing to speak with her.

She acts as if I’m the one who did something wrong. I’ve done nothing.

Coming up to the library doors for her lesson with the King, Scarlet slowed. At the same time, from a different direction, Renee did the same. The two stopped a few feet from each other, each looking at the other. Scarlet spoke first.

‘You and I need to talk. Now.’

“There’s nothing to talk about Scarlet. Even if there was, I’m sure you’d love to spill it with your new friends. Yeah, I know about last night.” Renee took a step to the side, and Scarlet mirrored her.

‘It was just a welcome home dinner. An intimate affair, nothing more. You’re treating me as if I’ve done something wrong.’

Renee scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Because you have Scar! Your mother worked her whole life to protect you and now you’re just willing to give it all up? For-for what? The fake friendship of the King and his lackeys or the possibility of gaining a sliver of information?”

‘You shouldn’t speak about the King in such a way.’

“I’ll speak however I damn please. Can’t you see they’re being nice because you agreed to those test?”

‘They’re being nice because it’s who they are. I’m choosing to do the test because I want answers. Is it so wrong to ask why I am who I am?’

“Yes! You are who you are and you should just accept it.”

‘No! All my life I’ve sat back and accepted things how they are. I was told if I did, then everything would be okay. I’ve never asked questions, I never fought back. Now look where we are! Thousands of miles from our loved ones. I did everything I was told to do and yet my life still turned out bad!’

Renee shook her head. “Scarlet, listen to yourself. You’re not you, you’re changing. Remember who you are! You’re Scarlet Solomon. You were born and raised in Tobus.” Scarlet shook her head.

‘No, I’m not. Remember that the King said? That Scarlet is dead and if you can’t accept me-’

“Then what? You’ll go running to the King, or to Claudia? These beings aren’t your friends Scarlet. They never have been and they never will be! They only want you for your powers. You’re just too stupid and naïve and caught up in yourself to realize it.” Scarlet was stunned by her friend’s harsh words, and took a small step back. Holding back the forming tears, she swallowed.

‘I’m not stupid, you’re just jealous!’

Spinning on her heels, no longer thinking about the lesson with the King, Scarlet ran from her friend. She got just a corner down before the tears came. This was not the first fight they had ever had, but it was the most serious. No matter what, though, they had never allowed their anger to control their words. Scarlet might not have been upset with Renee before, but as of now she was.

I’m not stupid.

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