"WHAT!" Michael exclaimed, his eyes wide. "Sire! Certainly you would rather your most skilled and knowledgeable spy to continue keeping an eye on your enemies?"
King Damon gave his servant a stern look. "I gave you your orders. Do you defy them?" he questioned.
" The spy was surprised by the king's challenge. "But
surely there is better work for me to do than to tag along with Luke and his troop?"
Damon lost his sternness. "King Morton speaks highly of Luke, but I'm not so sure I want to trust the boy the way he does. You said he entered Dark State when you rescued my son
Michael sighed. "So you want me to keep my eye on him?" he asked reluctantly.
"I question your decision on why I must take this task, sire." The spy said, sighing again. "But
as you command
The white-haired spy stopped a little distance from the rest of the troop. The unit chosen to retrieve the ancient ice weapon was made up of mostly Devidric soldiers, though he spotted three green-clad men among them, not counting Luke.
The only thing that even made this bearable was that he knew he would be traveling Rebecca again. Though even that thought was brought down by the fact that she was already in love with somebody else.
He walked up to Luke, who was exchanging words with the Devidric commander. "His Majesty says that the place where the sword is located should be around here." The commander pointed to a place on his chart.
"Looks like it would be faster to take a boat." The Aquatian youth remarked.
"We will, it's the fastest way to get where we're going."
"Good." The teen said.
"Excuse me." Michael decided to announce himself. Both the commander and teen turned to face him. "King Damon has ordered that I join your ranks. I hope this is acceptable."
"You don't look like you can even fight!" The yellow-clad commander remarked.
"I'm fairly good with a sword, actually." Michael replied calmly. "I have many skills that will assist you in this quest, I'm sure."
Luke snorted. "Whatever. Just stay out of my way!"
"Like I have reason to get in your way." The white-haired spy retorted, before turning around and walking off.
The troop was camping after their fifth day of travel. The Devidric commanderwhose name was Lamonthad already sent a few people to a nearby town for supplies, and the camp was not as full as it usually was.
Rebecca was speaking with Jake when she heard a familiar female voice, and she immediately dropped what she was saying to listen.
"I don't see why YOU didn't go with them." Kaneta snapped.
"I'm the leader of this troop!" Luke replied defensively. "Leaders usually give orders, not run errands!"
"Sounds like something a king would say." The orange-haired girl scoffed mockingly.
Alarmed, Rebecca hurried over to the two. She was always afraid that Kaneta's taunts would rile the teenaged swordsman into another Dark State.
"A KING wouldn't be fighting as part of an army!" Luke retorted, raising his voice.
Kaneta leaned towards him. "One disguising himself would." She remarked, her voice so low that only those standing next to them could hear.
"SHUT UP!" Luke snapped, stepping forwards threateningly.
"Stop!" Rebecca exclaimed, forcing the two to step away from another. "Kaneta, don't you have better things to do than to pick fights with our troop leader?" she asked calmly.
The orange-haired teenager glared at her for a second, then turned and walked away.
"I can't believe King Damon let her be a part of our troop!" Luke remarked, his voice lower than usual.
Rebecca didn't say anything as she watched the girl leave. King Damon had spoken to Kaneta shortly after Luke's report, and had apparently agreed to her being part of the troop he was sending
But Rebecca was skeptical of the girl's story. King Damon didn't seem like the kind of man to let a femalea teenaged one at thatbecome part of the military.
When the purple-haired woman turned back to Luke, she found him with head lowered and eyes closed. "Luke?" she said experimentally. Was he entering Dark State?
"What?" the teen immediately responded, his tone bitter. "I told you! I'm not talking to you about it!" he spun around and walked away.
She stared after him for a long moment, trying to figure out what had caused that reaction. 'Maybe he was thinking about his parents?' she wondered, glancing over at Kaneta. The orange-haired girl HAD just mocked him for his royal heritage.
seems to enjoy fighting with him." Jake remarked as he approached Rebecca. "That's the third time today."
She sighed. "I wish I knew why." She stated hopelessly. She had suspected it was because of a grudge, but if it had been, she hadn't brought it up yet. 'Maybe she's waiting for the right time?' Such a subject would have to be discussed when the two of them were alone and far from the ears of others.
"I'm honestly surprised that neither have killed the other." Jake said in a flat tone.
She nodded. She could easily see Luke turning on the girl upon entering Dark State
luckily, he hadn't done so since the boat fight. 'Actually, didn't he enter Dark Mode in Aquatos castle?' She suspected it, but she could never figure out a way to confirm it.
"At least he doesn't seem to mind you and I anymore." Her lover's voice called her out of her thoughts. "Or at least, I haven't caught him giving me the death stare recently."
"You're right." She blurted in surprise. She hadn't realized it before, but the teenager had stopped acting so contemptuous towards her relationship with Jake.
"I wonder if it was because of the talk I gave him on the boat?"
She turned to look into the man's brown eyes. "Talk?" she repeated, curiously. "When did this happen?"
Jake's wide eyes hinted that he hadn't intended on saying that aloud. "I
had an exchange of words with him on the trip to Aquatos." He stated hesitantly. "I
was only talking about how worried I was about you."
'So that was what led Luke to giving me the order to guard the boat!'
"On second thought, it might have been your reaction when he attacked me." Jake stated hastily, as if changing the subject.
" she replied thoughtfully. 'Or maybe his mother's death has mellowed him.' she glanced over at the teen, who was a little distance away with his back to the camp. It had been almost two weeks since his mother's death, and he still seemed to be suppressing some kind of emotion
though his behavior now was nowhere near as bad as it had been during the trip home.
'Home!' she realized with a jolt. 'I consider Demetria as my home now?' The thought made her sad. She wanted Aquatos to be forever known as her home
"It's getting dark." Jake commented, looking up at the sky. The sun had already disappeared beyond the horizon, and now light was quickly fading, the warmth going with it. "I hope the unit the commander sent out comes back soon."
"We need to quicken our pace." Rebecca said. "The days are getting colder
and we certainly don't need to be in the Wasteland of Ice during its harshest months."
"I agree. Perhaps you should suggest it to the commander?" The red-haired knight asked.
"Who am I to tell him what to do?" she replied, but then she had an idea. "I'll get Luke to suggest it to him."
It was very early the next morning when noise from outside her tent roused Rebecca from her sleep. The light coming from outside was very faint, telling her that the sun had not quite come up from the horizon yet.
After putting her armor on over her clothes, she climbed out of her tent to find the camp in a semi-panic. "What's going on?" she asked a soldier who was hurrying by.
"Volstonite troops!" he replied. "They're marching over the hill now!"
"So early?" she blurted, though the man had run off already. She looked around to see Luke sleepily rubbing his eyes outside of his tent. Though he was wearing his armor and had his sword sheathed at his side, he seemed as if he had just woke up. 'He always has been a slow starter when something forces him to wake up.' She thought, starting to walk over to him.
But Kaneta beat her to him. "Aww, you're so cute when you're half-asleep!" Her tone was contemptuous. "Too bad the bad guys won't think so when they see you looking like this!" She flicked a stand of hair from his face, causing him to flinch.
"I just woke up, sheesh!" Luke remarked, his tone showing only a fraction of his usual bitterness.
"Well wake up faster! Volstonite soldiers have spotted us and will probably attack us soon!"
"Find a place to hide, then!" The sandy-haired teen snapped.
"Heck no! If YOU can fight, I can fight too!" The orange-haired girl lifted up her bow.
"The only thing you can hit with that is a dead horse!" Luke retorted, before turning his back to her and walking up to Rebecca. She could tell he was still sleepy, but he was hiding it now. "Let's go find out where the enemy is." He stated.
"Has the unit you sent to get supplies returned?" Luke asked the commander as the two joined the rank of armed warriors.
"Not yet, but they should arrive soon. Our best strategy is probably going to be to hold out until then."
Rebecca looked around to see Jake staring at the distant troop with a grim look in his eyes. She glanced at the sandy-haired teen, who was still discussing battle strategies with the commander, then maneuvered her way to the red-haired knight. "Jake
is anything wrong?" she asked.
"That troop is about twice the size of our entire troop put together!" Jake remarked, his voice anxious.
"We'll make it." She reassured him. "We've fought off large numbers of enemies before, haven't we?"
His brown eyes locked with hers, uncertainty still in his gaze. "Rebecca, I know you'll protect Luke at all costs
but please don't get killed." He said, emotion audible in his voice.
"I'll do what I have to." She stated sternly. "But you know I wouldn't try to get killed for no reason."
He nodded and began to speak, but the commander's voice drowned his words. "Attack! But remember: we're stalling for time!"
As the army broke free from their positions and raced forward into battle, Rebecca lost sight of Luke. She frantically began to scan the chaos for him, but was forced into a battle with a Volstonite warrior.
She jumped to the side to avoid his spear, then jumped forward to retaliate with her own attack. Her sword struck her enemy's arm but did nothing more than a scratch.
That scratch was enough to irritate her enemy. He hastily lunged at her without aiming his weapon, and it bounced off of her armor.
His attack had left an opening, and she took advantage of it. She quickly circled around him and stabbed the man where his armor did not protect him. As the man collapsed, she looked around for Luke again.
A heavily-armored man came after her next, but she swiftly dodged his attack and looked around for an opening to run. She wasn't afraid of this skilled-looking warrior, but her first priority was to find the youth she was supposed to be guarding. A break opened up in the warriors around her and she dashed through it. Where was Luke?
She froze as she saw a trail of blood across the withering grass, constant like a very tiny stream. 'Whoever this blood belonged to must be fatally injured!' she realized with shock. She followed what she could see of the trail with her eyes, curiously.
Then her eyes came upon the source, and she gasped in pure horror. She suddenly felt the world collapse around her; the sounds and sights of battle faded to nothingness. "No! Not him!" she exclaimed, her eyes watering.