Chapter 16. // Training Days.
Time has flown.
At least, within the walls of the ruins.
It was almost like Tír na nÓg and the Seelie realms. Their time runs differently from the human world; sometimes faster, sometimes much, much slower. Grey wasn’t sure which it was at this point. Nor did she care.
It was what she had been dreaming about for so long. Her family, her friends; all together, living and training and happy. It was as if the threat of the Council was non-existent; she hadn’t thought about it for so long. She was too busy being happy.
Now that Grey thought about it, as she lay sprawled on the training mat, drenched in sweat, it has been a couple of years; three, maybe four.
The Royals have grown so much in that time. They’re more comfortable with their destinies and confident in their abilities. She was most proud of the Northern Kingdom’s future King; he was terrified at first, still reverting to his more humane self even after regaining some of his past memories. But after a few months, he settled in comfortably and now, Grey would admit that he would give Alice a fair fight.
With his cunning and Alice’s training... oh yeah, he would definitely give the General a fair fight.
One Grey would pay her left arm to see.
The thought made her smile devilishly. Maybe she’d run it by Alice...
"Mia regina? Why are you smirking?” his melodious voice pierced through her thoughts. Her eyes flew open and met his blue ones; though, they were beginning to grow more green specks by the day. The thought made her heart race.
Still so far, only Taj had reunited with the soul of his original self. Every other day, the two would switch places for a full 24-hours. Though, more and more, Tadhg was more present. As much as she loves him, Grey had grown a bit attached to Taj. But she should have been more careful and not gotten attached to him, knowing that it would only be temporary.
Grey was pulled out of her thoughts when she felt those comforting tingles that had grown more potent as well. “Come out, come out wherever you are.” Raphael sang lowly, and Grey snickered. “I’m here.” She said between breaths, and the Westie Royal smiled at her, adjusting himself so that he lay next to her on the mat.
“What’s going on in that gorgeous head of yours?” he questioned, and Grey inhaled, wrapping her fingers around his. “Just about how I’d give my left arm to see Six and Alex in a real fight against each other.” Raphael laughed. “Oh, yeah, definitely. I’d give more than my left arm to see them go at it.”
Grey quickly sat up. “Not like that!” he yelled once realization hit, and Grey laughed, Raphael joining her. Once their laughter died down, they lay next to each other in a comfortable silence with their fingers wrapped around each other and the sound of the rest of the group echoing through the ruins.
“Are you ready?” Grey asked after a while, squeezing Raphael’s fingers to gain his attention. He blew out a puff of air. “As long as I have you and May, I think I’ll be ready for anything. The idea of going out with you, doing what you did while here on this planet is pretty exciting.”
A soft smile bloomed on her face. “Is it really true you guys were pirates for a time?” he asked and Grey let out a stunned laugh. “Yeah, we were. That’s actually when we formed the Agency.” The Agency of Rebellious Guardians. ARG. It was pretty fitting at the time.
As the memories resurfaced, it felt like it was only a few days ago. The Guardians of Titania’s Royals; looting and sinking ships, getting into sword fights with humans, and hunting for ancient human artifacts, all while keeping an eye on the reincarnation of their assigned Royal and fighting off the Council’s hoard of Scavengers.
It was enjoyable at the time; magic still freely pumped into the human realm, along with those who used it. Then when realization hit that numbers were too low and humans were getting too greedy, everyone went into hiding and left the humans alone with their greed. Still, the Guardians did their job and followed the reincarnations around, whether secretly or blatantly.
“Man,” Raphael sighed, “that would have been fun.” Her eyebrows creased. “You don’t remember?” she asked as she sat up, then smacked herself for asking such a stupid question. Of course he doesn’t remember. Even after all this time, there were still some things the Royals wouldn’t remember about their time on Earth. The memories were slow to come.
“Remember what?” he stared up at Grey with concerned eyes, that soon clouded over. Before, Grey would be panicking, but now, it was simply what happened when he was regaining a lost memory. Grey watched him carefully, then leaned back as his eyes returned to normal and he shot up.
“HOLY SHIT I WAS A PIRATE TOO?!” Grey burst into laughter. “Yeah, you were.” She confirmed in between breaths, shaking her head at his outburst. “Cool.” He whispered in excitement, his eyes nearly sparkling at the revelation. Grey shook her head with a grin. ‘He’s so silly.’ She thought, gazing at him with love-filled eyes.
Raphael met her eyes with equal intensity and wiggled his brows suggestively, causing heat to flare up in her cheeks. Before either could act on the growing tension between them, Elle sprinted into the room, Genesis hot on her tail. The two sisters paused momentarily to put their fingers to their lips; a gesture for Grey and Raphael to be silent.
They dove into one of the closets where additional weapons and supplies were kept and silently shut the door. The soulmates exchanged looks, and not a moment later, Eleonora stormed into the room, her flaming red hair... flaming.
Grey slapped a hand over her mouth to keep the scream of laughter in. When her eyes darted to her soulmate, she saw that he did the same thing. The Northern Royal was breathing heavily as her eyes scanned the room, no doubt looking for traces of the culprits’ presence. Grey actually felt a bit frightened.
This was one half of the Troublemaker ડીયુઓ (duo) ; one third of the Prankster મસ્કેટીયર્સ (Musketeers); daughter of રાણી (Queen) Alexandra. Grey was hoping that the sisters somehow masked their scents enough to by-pass the raging Princess. It seemed that luck... was not on their side today. Raphael pulled Grey onto his lap, fitting her between his legs as Eleonora stormed further into the room, heading straight for the closet where the culprits were hiding.
As Eleonora yanked open the door, the screams and squeals of Elle and Genesis filled the room along with Eleonora’s war cry. Raphael stifled his laughter in the crook of Grey’s neck, making her shiver with each puff of hot air that blew across her neck. They were still screaming as Eleonora tackled them and they ensued a round of play-fighting, all while her hair still held a flame.
Grey figured it was magical and not chemical. Magical flame of any kind wouldn’t affect anyone of the North. It was their natural element after all. Which reminded Grey; she had a training session with Raphael and the rest of the Western Royals for their natural element: earth and flora. She faced the chuckling man, her chuckling man. Gods, she still got tingles from just thinking that he was hers, all hers.
“Training session.” Raphael nodded absentmindedly, attention solely on the roughhousing girls. “Now, Vasilakis.” Grey chided, tugging on his earlobe, eliciting a soft groan. “Now is not the time to get kinky, mia regina. There are witnesses, innocent ones.” Heat rushed to her cheeks again.
“Get your mind out of the gutter Vasilakis, and get your ass off the floor.” Raphael chuckled, shooting her a boyish grin, then stood up, with Grey still in his arms and exited the room, leaving the now laughing Northerners to their fun.
She’ll always relish the feel of their bodies pressed together, relish his scent and warmth and his hot breath fanning across her skin. She’ll always relish it because she doesn’t know when it would be her last time, last moment with him. As they drew closer to the end of their training period, more and more she was considering Alice’s train of thought:
Shatter their bond, portal the Royals home with Jude and Swithun, and become a sacrifice to the Council; for wherever General Alicianne goes, she would gladly follow.
The breeze was cool and salty. The Western Kingdom’s Royals stood before her in a line, while the Northerners and Guardians were to her back, watching on curiously.
Now, with the natural element of the West, one either has a stronger connection to the ground beneath them, or the flora around them. The Queen and/or King would be well connected to both, in order to properly run the kingdom. Which was why she paid twice as much attention to Raphael.
Their surroundings weren’t as heavily forested as it naturally was in the Western Kingdom, so flora practice was done on a cluster of trees near the ruins and earth practice was done near the cliffs. She worked with the earth-affiliates second, showing advanced techniques and perfecting basic ones and advanced alike. Flora practice was easy enough; it was simply connecting with the flora's essence, and willing it to grow to your aid.
Tadhg was out today, and he joked around with Grey as she helped Circe and Rayne perfect their advanced techniques. “ઠીક છે, સામાન્ય” Tadhg said in Tynia with a grin, “કેવી રીતે તે વિશે એક?” he pointed out at the open sea, to a cluster of stumps. The largest one, specifically. (“Alright, General, how about that one?“)
Grey smirked. “ઠીક છે, મારા પ્રિન્સ” (“Alright, my Prince.“) Cracking her knuckles, Grey faced the stump that Tadhg wanted her to manipulate. She relaxed her shoulders and shut her eyes, allowing her magic to seep and spread out. It brushed past everyone to her back and sides, and touched the floor of the ocean before her. She reached the cluster, and licked up the sides of the largest one. ‘Gotcha.’
Once she knew where it was she retracted her magic all together and focused, having its location memorized. Being a Westie, you have a natural affinity for manipulating the ground beneath you. Given that the stump of Tadhg’s choice was out in the ocean, she needed a little extra help. Once she had it, it was hers. With her eyes shut, she imagined that the stump was right in front of her.
She imagined its molecules like her own, like a part of her DNA. Those molecules were also very easily tampered with. It was like drawing on a whiteboard, or making shapes in wet clay; it makes whatever your hand creates. Her eyes flew open.
Stretching out her hands she willed the stump to rise above the water; it moved fluidly at her silent command. She moved the stumped to far extremities, manipulating its shape as she did so. Tadhg laughed to her side, and the Northerners to her back shouted shape requests.
“An elephant! An elephant!” she could hear Annora and Beth yell, along with “No! A giraffe!“, and, “A panda! Make a panda!“, and, “A koala-no! A dolphin! Please!”
Grey fulfilled their requests, earning cheers and applause. However, she almost lost control of the stump when Alice screamed, “A DICK! THE BIGGEST ONE!” Tadhg sputtered out a laugh then shouted, “હું આ રીતે તમે સામાન્ય લાગે છે!” (“I like the way you think General!“)
She thought for a moment then grinned, manipulating the stump into the desired shape. Guardians and Royals alike screamed with laughter when the head of leader of the Council of the Order of Guardians, Councilman Horace, took form in the rock. She could almost feel Alice’s gratitude through their bond.
His companions chuckled evilly, drowning out the sound of the two creatures, one of Light and one of Darkness, whining and whimpering within their confinements. “We certainly are ready for you.”
The sapphire head turned away from her companion, the smile slipping off her face as she stared straight ahead, as if she were looking right at them. “Bring it, તમે પુત્ર એક કૂતરી." ("you son of a bitch.") Her voice echoed off the smooth, damp walls. Then, with a flick of her wrist, the projection sputtered out and the room was filled with darkness.
The silver haired man was shaken. She knew. "No matter, Horace," on of his male companions said, stepping forward and placing a hand on his shoulder, "we are still many steps ahead." Horace nodded at Uzziah's words.
That they were. The abomination would finally be killed. Then those spawns she created with that incompetent future king of that blasted Northern Kingdom. Titania shall be theirs.
Then, all of existence.
~ Greetings from the Void.
I’m planning on ending this book in a few more chapters. 😔
This book; this series is my literal baby.
I’ve had this idea from 8th grade (Form 2), and after battling with school and taking a year off before going to University, I’m really happy to bring it to life.
There’ll be editing and rewriting but for now, she’s as good as my writing abilities allow her to be.
Thanks for the reads so far! ❤❤