Excalibur ~ World from Ashes

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Chapter 22

I wasn’t sure, but I think I had somehow managed to irritate Tristan. The car ride back to the manor was pretty silent. Before that, Tristan had looked me over quickly, noting the blood on my shirt and the tear where the metal had cut me. After asking if I was all right, he didn’t say much to me. I was worried, had I done something wrong? Was he mad at me because I had gone off on Ahmeil? I seethed though as I sat there in the back seat, Ahmeil between us. It hadn’t been my fault!

Ahmeil had been the one to stir me up, to piss me off with her fucking irritating speech. She was so damned condescending; I couldn’t comprehend why she would speak to me like that. I hated it, and the worst of it was to have Tristan call my name in that commanding tone of his. He’d never done that before, well except for when we first met and he hadn’t known me very well. Now, though, he spoke to me in kinder tones, a gentle voice that sent chills down my spine.

It was odd to hear that commanding tone again, directed at me. I knew I was sulking and being a bit childish, but at the same time I knew it hadn’t been my fault. The drive was taking forever, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the manor so that I could talk to Tristan privately. The last thing I wanted to do was make a scene in the car. That wouldn’t get any of us anywhere and it would most likely only leave me even more irritated and upset than I already was.

So, I kept silent the entire drive back to the manor. We were lucky not to run into Alik the entire trip, but I was definitely happy for it too. It also meant that no one was reporting to the asshole to tell him where our next move would be. It was a relief to know that we could move freely again and not worry about running into Titan and trying not to get killed almost every day.

The hummer pulled into the driveway of the manor and we all piled out of the car. I was too eager to be free of the small space and anywhere near Ahmeil who was officially on my hate list. She dropped down into the gravel behind me as I left the car and headed straight for the doors of the enormous house. In her hands was the case which I didn’t care about. All I wanted was distance. I would learn about the contents of the case later, I was sure.

I shoved the doors opened and stormed up the stair case directly in front of me. I had officially left behind the other four without a word. It was probably better that way anyway. Knowing my impulsiveness, I’d say something that would irritate them and be in trouble. Well, more trouble than I already was in I supposed. So I continued on down the hall and slammed open the door that was my room. I treated it the same way as I closed it forcefully and leaned against it for a long while. It took quite a while to settle my raging emotions. My breathing was quick in my chest; my face was hot with anger as I glowered at the floor. If looks could have done anything in particular, I’d swear I could have burned a hole in the floor.

I shoved off the door and threw myself to the bed. Bouncing slightly across the mattress, I lay on my stomach and hugged the pillow beneath me tightly, burying my face in it. My irritation hadn’t really subsided, but at least I was utterly pissed off that I’d snap at the first person who asked me a question. As I lay there, I felt my body beginning to shut down. The headache was still there from healing myself and I was seriously tired.

I supposed the only thing that had kept me going up to that point was my anger at that bitch. However, as I lay there, I was beginning to feel the effects of using Excalibur in that way. My head hurt something fierce and I thought for sure I was going to get sick. I groaned as I curled in on myself and buried my head, trying to get rid of the growing pain. The cool sheets against my forehead felt great.

A solid three knocks on my door startled me and I felt my body jolt at the sound. A rush of adrenaline coursed through me, followed by my previous irritation and anger as Tristan’s voice called to me from the other side of the door. I shoved off the bed and stormed to the door. I took a moment to calm myself just enough, but I wanted him to know that I wasn’t happy. Yanking the door open I looked up at him with narrowed eyes and a deep frown on my lips.

Tristan arched an eyebrow down at me, tilting his head a bit so that some of his caramel hair fell into one eye. The sight nearly simmered me down, but it wasn’t quite enough. I narrowed my eyes further as we stared at each other. Finally, I heaved a heavy sigh and turned away from him, leaving the door opened as I walked back to the bed and crossed my arms as I stood in front of the mattress.

“What?” I asked my voice cold and harsh. I winced inwardly. Shouldn’t have sounded like that… It wasn’t his fault, really.

The door closed softly, the click telling me that Tristan had closed it. I could feel his presence behind me, so I knew that he’d come into the room. Tristan gave a sigh and moved from the door to stand right behind me, sending chills down my spine.

“Why are you so angry?”

“Why the fuck do you think?” I shot back, turning around on my heel to glare up at him, “You yelled at me for no God damned reason, Tristan! That bitch-”

“Ahmeil, Valkyrie. Don’t refer to her like that.”

I seethed, feeling my heart flip in my chest and my stomach twist into knots. What the hell was this? Why was he using that voice again? Was it really my fault? I felt heavy breathes begin to pulse through my chest and my arms uncrossed as I stared at him in disbelief. I shook, my face heating considerably and a burn along my eyes.

“Y-you… Seriously? You’re fucking serious?! She’s a cold hearted, demonic, self-centered, vulture!”

“Valkyrie!” Tristan’s voice deepened, his eyes narrowing and I took in a sharp breath. The blood from my face drained in shock. He… just yelled at me. He is… honestly angry with me… I can’t… believe it.

I took a step back, my knees growing weak and I dropped onto the bed. My voice shook uncontrollably as I felt the burning heat that I’d been fighting slowly start to take over in my eyes, “W-why… Did you not… hear what she’s said to me?”

“It doesn’t matter what she said, Valkyrie. I won’t allow you to disrespect her in that way.”

I gave a choking laugh, my anger growing, “S-so. You don’t care that she probably wants to put a knife through my back? That she didn’t ask me if I was all right when she pulled that piece of metal out of me? That she only cared about the fucking metal case when I fell? That she called me a dog? You’re telling me that I can’t call her a bitch for all of that!? And for what!? Is she your girlfriend or something!?” I was screaming now, back up on my feet and yelling at him in pure rage.

“Valkyrie! Stop!” Tristan answered me in kind, “She wouldn’t attack you, and she’s not my girlfriend. Why would you even suggest that? Yes, she lacks emotion, but that woman saved my life a few times in the past, so no I won’t let you disrespect her, at all.”

My body shuddered as I took in a deep breath, crying because I was so angry and there was nothing to be done about it. He wasn’t listening. So what if she saved his life? That didn’t give her the right to be a cold hearted bitch! Or maybe I was just too pissed off to think straight. That was probably it, but I couldn’t push back the anger so easily. Not like that. Not when she’d incited it, she’d gotten under my skin and she knew it.

Reaching up, I took two handfuls of my black hair and took a deep breath before I screamed at Tristan, “Get out! Get. Out.!”

“Valkyrie-”

I stepped forward and released my hair to shove at his chest, “I said get out!”My voice was sharp and hoarse I screamed again at the top of my lungs. I was pretty sure most of the entire manor could hear me. Tristan took an unsteady step backward, watching me carefully. Once again, I couldn’t read his face and that made it even worse. I cried hard, angry that I was crying in the first place and angry that he wasn’t going to do anything about her. It wasn’t like I was asking him to kick her out. All I wanted was her to not look down on me, or to treat me like a fucking dog.

I let out an enraged scream, one without words and Tristan took another step backward. I pulled my arms around my body, hugging myself as I cried, dropping my face down to my chest. The headache was so painful by then, the blood rush didn’t help in that at all either. I made a strange sound as my vision wavered and I stumbled a bit.

“Valkyrie?” Tristan’s voice was softer now and I heard him take a step forward quickly. His hand touched my shoulder and I pulled away, turning to glare up at him.

“Don’t… Touch me,” I growled and stumbled again. It was getting harder to keep standing and my head hurt so much.

Groaning, I reached up and put my hands against my forehead. A cold sweat had begun to coat my skin and I shivered from it. My breath was short as I fought to keep standing, to keep from dropping into darkness as it edged its way to corner of my sight. Panting, I felt his touch again and I tried to pull away but as I did, my body lost all strength. His arms wrapped around me as he caught my entire frame from hitting the floor.

“L-let go…” I mumbled and winced, moaning in pain, “Hurts…” I whimpered.

“Am I… hurting you?”

I ground my teeth, tears flooding my eyes as I lay in his arms. Yes, he was hurting me, but not in the way that he asked. So, I shook my head unable to answer him. Reaching up, I pressed the heel of my palm into the side of my head, right on the ridge over my eye. Hissing in pain, I was sobbing at the same time and I wasn’t sure if I was crying because of my anger or the pain. I felt Tristan move my body, his arm slipping under my knees and across my back.

As he lifted me up, I moaned in pain and unwillingly leaned against him. I was still so pissed off, I didn’t want to be around him, but I didn’t have a choice either. My chest shuddered as I took in sobbing breathes, “You’re… An ass,” I managed to choke out.

“You’ve told me before.”

“Fuck off…”

“Valkyrie. Please don’t do that.”

I reached up with my other hand and curled the fingers in my hair tightly as I hissed in and out, “Why? Why are you so angry with me?!” I sobbed harder, it was pathetic really, but I couldn’t help it. The journey down the stairs was rather painful as each step jolted through his body and rocked my own.

“Enough, Valkyrie. You’re hurting, I don’t want to make you any more upset than you already are.”

“Like you care,” I ground out and squeezed my eyes shut tightly, “God… Fuck this damn headache.”

Tristan heaved a very heavy sigh as he finally got down the stairs and started to carry me to Kilia’s medical room. The door opened and I heard Kilia’s voice, her heels clicking across the linoleum floor rapidly. Her cool fingers against my skin felt amazing and I moaned when she removed her hands.

“What happened to him now?!” She sounded irritated.

It’s his fault, I almost blurted out but knew that wasn’t quite right either. No, this headache wasn’t his fault, it was mine. I bit my lip as he laid me down on one of the bed. I slowly peeled an eye open, squinting against the bright light that seemed to make my headache even worse.

“I don’t know, Kilia. I have to go, take care of him for me,” Tristan said, his voice was strained and he turned, leaving the room quickly.

My heart was tight, a painful stab straight through it as I watched him walk away. Of course, as he left that only served to make me cry more. Kilia looked to be at a loss as I turned my gaze on her. Finally, she heaved a sigh and sat next to me, her hands gently removing mine from my head.

“What happened?”

I grit my teeth and tried to look away, but her hands cupped my face and forced me to look at her. Scary… I swallowed a bit as her eyes narrowed and her pretty face took on an irritated look. She was always pretty scary to begin with when she got angry.

“I… Got angry at Tristan. Well, I got angry at her and he’s protecting her,” as I started talking, my anger rose and with it the pain of my headache and I winced.

“Not that, tell me later. What’s wrong? Why are you burning up like you have a fever? What happened to make you like this?”

“O-oh… When we went to get the case,” I felt like an idiot as I explained slowly about the explosion, the injury and what I had done to heal the injury. Kilia’s eyes grew wider by the second as I explained how I healed myself and then the headache right after I had finished.

She frowned at me, “Why didn’t you tell him you had a headache to being with, Valkyrie?”

“I was a little pissed off, Kilia! Why the hell would my headache matter? Why the fuck would it matter to him anyway!”

“Valkyrie! Stop that, this instant!”

I closed my lips tightly, wincing as I stared at her. Kilia sighed heavily as she watched me. What surprised me next was her fingers gently rubbing along the side of my face. The cold touch felt so good against my heated skin and the painful throbbing of my skull.

“He does care about you. You have no idea how much he cares. He comes in here every day to ask me if I know anything else about Excalibur, if it’ll hurt you in anyway, if you’re going to be all right with it inside of you. You know he checks up on you all day? He even checks on you at night because he’s afraid that Alik is going to take you away from him in some way.”

I blushed heavily. No, I hadn’t known that at all. Of course, why should I? He was pretty good at keeping those kinds of things to himself. Most times when I saw him was when we were training, or talking about missions or in his room. I blushed even more as I thought about his room.

“Then why is he protecting her like that?” I moaned, feeling like a child. I hated it. Reaching up I wiped at my eyes as I started crying again.

Kilia shook her head, “That’s not my place to say. But he has a good reason to, all right? I’m not saying she’s completely right to treat you as she did. I’m pretty sure Tristan agrees too, but you can’t start off a conversation by calling her a ‘bitch’ especially in front of Tristan.”

“He doesn’t agree at all. That’s the problem!”

Kilia sighed, “Take this,” she said as she stood up and poured a cup of some sort of liquid and handed it to me. It was green in color, “I will put a cold cloth on your head, but you need to sleep. You’ve exhausted yourself, Excalibur has burned you out and I’m really worried about you.”

I refrained from saying anything else and took the medicine as she ordered. Settling back against the bed, I felt her place a cold, wet cloth across my forehead. I sighed a bit as I lay there, “Kilia… I’m… sorry,” I hiccupped.

I felt her fingers on my face again and I started to slip into a deep sleep, dragged along by the medicine in my body, “Don’t apologize to me. Save that for Tristan. Now sleep.”

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