Stone Warriors

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Chapter 7

My bedroom balcony, to some people, would seem like a dream come true. It has white French doors that lead out to a full patio, equipped with a firm, stone ledge with our red family crest etched into it. Stained glass had been ingrained in between the ledges that make a beautiful display of dancing colors across the balcony when the afternoon sun is overhead.

Looking out in the distance, almost all of Evanyl can be seen from where I stand. The town square plus the River of Evanyl stretching far and wide until no longer discernable in the horizon. The cursed stadium where unnecessary blood would be shed in the morning and most of the peasant lands which Axrenorian owns.

The sunrise, with all it’s vibrant red and orange hues, covers me with warmth as soon as the light reaches here. At night, the most picturesque sunset can be viewed unhindered. The blue, lavender and violet mixed sky calms me. Nature and all it’s beauties help me forget, if only for a few moments, all of my troubles.

It would seem like I had it all.

Whatever.

On the contrary, I live in a permanent nightmare in which I never wake from. Constantly acting as if I’m the happiest girl in the world is taking its toll on me. That damn tournament is supposedly the best thing that ever happened to our family, but to me it is a blight on my soul.

There was a knock on the door and I rolled my eyes. It was more than likely my sister and I didn’t want to hear her plans for Cicatrix tonight. I braced myself for details that can never be unheard as I turned to force my best smile at her.

Who actually did come into my room was a breath of fresh air. “Jyrixi!” I exclaimed as I threw my arms around her neck.

The barely five foot tall, green eyed and pink haired girl was the competition’s announcer and referee. She’s also my best friend. I only get to see her every five years, but she’s the only person I don’t have to be fake around. She knows how much I hate everything about the bloody competition and how I dream of the day I can finally leave Evanyl.

She comes from the exact city my grandfather won his first fighting tournament in. She’s been coming here for the past thirty years and even has her own penthouse right next to the stadium. She grew up with her parents taking her to fighting tournaments, too.

The difference between us is she loves the blood, guts and gore. However, she respects my decision and does not rub it my face. “Hey Xori! Girl, I’m starving! Let’s go to that massive kitchen downstairs and get your chef to make us something to eat before I shrivel up and die.”

In the dining room, I sat at the table next to Jyrixi, while she sat in a chair to my right practically inhaling her food.

After she was done she leaned back with a satisfied smile on her face, “I wish I had a personal chef back home. I have to order out all the time because I have still never learned how to cook! So how have things been around here? Your sister still a shameless slut?”

Grinning, I hushed her in case my nosey sister was spying on us, but Jyrixi waved her hands, “Oh, please girl. She’s not listening to us. Cicatrix arrived right after me so she’s entertaining him right this second the only way she knows how.” We both laughed as we headed to the entryway.

My father was coming out from his study and said, “Ah, Jyrixi! Always a pleasure dear. Hope your trip here was well?”

She nodded, “I was sorry to hear about your father by the way. My family and I send you our greatest sympathies. I’m sorry I missed the funeral, too.”

Father bows, “Thank you so much. His passing was dreadful, but the competition must continue. It’s what he would have wanted. By the way, later tonight I have a few changes I want to make to the rules. I’ll come by your penthouse after I greet the warriors.”

His eyes then shifted to me, “Speaking of, Xori will you please go find your sister and get ready to meet our guests. They should be arriving any minute now.” I groaned internally, but nodded and said goodbye to Jyrixi, who looked as if she was going to self-combust from holding in her laughter.

After dragging a half-naked Xera out of Cicatrix’s guest room, we hurried up the back entrance to the grand staircase and waited for our father. I had just finished smoothing down her dress and hair when he appeared. A guard called from the entryway announcing the warrior had arrived.

“Wonderful! Let’s go down and greet our warrior, my beauties. Remember, Xera, be nice to him.” She huffed out of irritation. She loved antagonizing the contestants, reminding them that they are about to die.

As I looked down I was surprised to see it was the same handsome peasant that glared at our coach with such hatred. His eyes widened slightly when he looked my way and then he recovered himself by narrowing them.

He was so strikingly good looking, standing there with an air of defiance. He’s either a top notch fighter or he has a stout, poker-face. He raised his chin a little and his lips pressed into a thin line.

Dammit Xori, stop staring! It will do no good because he will be dead soon! Cicatrix always desecrates the other competitors. He does not stand a chance.

Aggravated, I scolded myself internally, but despite my inner pep-talk I still couldn’t look away. Father cleared his throat and welcomed the warrior. He introduced himself, then to Xera and I.

Once again, his eyes met mine and I felt a tug in my lower abdomen. Those piercing, cinnamon brown eyes seemed to paralyze me so I couldn’t look away. Thankfully, my sister sauntered up to him and it broke the trance so I could look elsewhere. After that I tried not to look at him again.

Luckily Axrenorian requested that his warrior be brought to the guest quarters so he may rest for tomorrow. The guards took him and I quietly sighed a breath of relief. “So where are the other two?” Xera asked.

Father waved his hand, “They will arrive in a few minutes, but they are scrawny and weak. They’ll die in the first preliminary match and are not even worth me speaking to. That one, however, is the last male of the Ruequal line. His father and uncle were both powerful warriors and I’m sure that boy will not disappoint.”

Father set off to Jyrixi’s penthouse while Xera and I were left alone. My mind was still reeling over what just happened. No man has ever affected me that way, before.

She smirked, “I hope he does win because that boy is deliciously hot and I’d love to sink my claws into him. As of now though, Cicatrix is the only man for me. Speaking of, I have unfinished business to attend to since I was interrupted a few minutes ago.”

She picked up the hem of her dress and hurried off. I know she’s my sister and I’m supposed to love her, but sometimes I can’t help to be absolutely disgusted. How does she seriously hop from bed to bed and be perfectly content with herself?

Mulling over what she had just said sent a flash of jealousy through me at the thought of her touching the warrior. For a split second I seen myself decking her in the face and warn her to keep away from him. Then the moment was over, and I decided that maybe the best course of action was for myself to steer clear of the warrior.

Of all the men who have tried to catch my attention over the years, this one finally did it and he didn’t even have to try. I gave myself a mental shake and went to my room. I’m sure after a good night sleep this unwelcomed interest in him will be over.

Bet I won’t even remember him by tomorrow.

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