With a glare, I watched the coach until it rounded a bend in the road and was out of sight. Did I really acknowledge that she was pretty? No, I couldn’t possibly have done that. On the outside I guess the girls are fair to look upon, but inside they are both just as abhorrently evil like their grandfather.
Still in the same rock-kicking manner, I trudged home only to find Zytriana waiting for me on the steps outside the house, “You are off early! How did you manage that?”
My chest instantly tightened as I forced a smile, “Lucky break, I guess. Why don’t you go inside. I’ll be there in a minute. You may go into the cellar and bring up the meat if you wish.”
She disappeared inside the house and I went next door to explain why Zytriana would be staying with them permanently from now on.
To my surprise my neighbors informed me they overheard at the orchard that Vyross has passed and Vyron has taken his place. That’s even more bad news. Vyross had strict rules for the town and it was no secret that his son wanted to change them.
Anytime a man is picked for the tournament it is a dreadful plague upon their souls, but now that he is in full power it is much worse. At least the neighbors have agreed to take in Zytriana. Her care and well-being will not be on my mind as I face my death.
At home, Zytriana had already taken it upon herself to start cooking. The meat turned out tender and the bread complimented it perfectly. It was probably going to be my last meal with her so I tried to make the most of it, but Zytriana is a smart girl. She knew I was hiding something from her.
While I washed the dishes, she sat on the counter beside me with a towel drying and putting them away. “So are you going to tell me?” She finally asked. I decided to play stupid, “Tell you what? How pretty you look today?”
She playfully swatted me in the arm with the towel, “No, Zakyrik, I mean what you are keeping from me. I could tell when you got home today that something had happened.” Yeah. Something happened alright.
Not having much of a choice, I recited the events from today and she gasped in horror, “No! I lost father and I can’t lose you, too! You can’t go Zakyrik!”
Reaching out, I tried to comfort her, but she pulled away and turned her back to me. I sighed, “You act as if I want to go. Zytriana you know the last thing I want is to be separated from you, but if I don’t go they will kill us both.”
Zytriana turned to face me with tears running down her face, “There has got to be a special punishment for people like them. Somewhere, some way, there has to be a reckoning for the Tamminalins. They are a greedy, evil, bloodthirsty disease upon Evanyl and if I could do magic I would wipe them off the face of this land!”
Gently I placed my hands on her shoulders, “Zytriana, I never want to hear you talk like that again. If you could take their lives then that would make you just as bad as they are. Now listen, no matter what happens from this day forward I want you to always have a good heart and keep it pure. Don’t let dark thoughts cloud your mind or dismal dreams corrode your brain. You are a sweet and loving girl, and I want you to stay that way.”
She was quiet for a moment, taking it all in. When she finally accepted the fact that she may never see me again she hugged me tightly, crying and telling me how much she would miss me. She also said she wanted to go ahead and move next door tonight because she didn’t want to see the guards take me away in the morning.
That was only fair, so we moved all of her belongings from my house into theirs. As I said my last goodbye to her, she made one last request, “Zakyrik promise me, if you win the tournament, you will come back for me and together we will leave this place. Please, promise me that.” I nodded my head in agreement though it tore me apart.
It broke my heart to lie, but I didn’t have it in me to tell her that even if by some miraculous event I do win, I would have to come back in five years and compete again or I’d be hunted down. They would drag us back here and then we would both die. I only agreed because I knew this would be the last time I seen her. I would never make it out of there alive.