"What gives you the damn right to make a decision like this?" Odette was furious, not worried about how her voice echoed down the halls. "You weren't even supposed to be out there today!"
"I followed etiquette and protocol when making the decision, exactly how I've been taught by my fellow seniors." I stood at attention with my hands behind my back, but let my head roll slightly at my comment.
Odette grabbed my face in one hand, ripping it from side to side until I was looking her straight in the eyes. "DO NOT GIVE ME ATTITUDE!" She bellowed into my face, throwing my head to one side in disgust when she caught no glimpse of fear in my eyes.
Mitchel and Rodney on the other hand were not handling the situation well.
"And you two idiots," she turned her attention to them, fire raging in her eyes. "Why would you be stupid enough to follow instructions from this abomination." She threw a hand in my direction, looking at me from the corner of her eye to see if she could get a reaction out of me. She didn't.
"Well, you see, she is one of our seniors, and by that definition we have obligations to follow instructions issued by her, ya know." Mitchel tried sheepishly to defend the three of us.
"Your senior?" She scoffed, laughing in disgust. "This thing is not a senior to anyone. It still needs to turn eighteen before it can even be considered to go through the initiation. If it's still alive by then."
"She." I said it quietly to myself.
"What did you say?" Odette turned her attention towards me, fists clenched to her sides.
I sighed heavily, not in the mood for Odette's tantrum. "If you're going to insist on not using my name at least use my gender correctly. Unless you have difficulty distinguishing between male and female."
Odette hit me, so hard that it actually clicked my neck. I held my face to the side for a while, running my tongue along the inside of my cheek where she had hit me before slowly turning my head back. "You better learn some damn manners, she." Acid dripping from her tongue from all the hatred directed at me.
"Yes ma'am" I retorted, in no way respectful.
She pinched the bridge of her nose, seemingly not in the mood for my attitude as usual. "Get rid of them. I don't care how, just get them out of here." And with that she stormed off, pushing someone ahead of her against the wall to get out of her way.
I rubbed my cheek, feeling the warm burning sensation of the blood rushing back to my face.
"How can you stand her doing that?" Mitchel asked, concern filling his voice.
"I don't, hence why I don't give her the satisfaction of respect or fear." I turned towards them, filling my face with a smile. "Well come on you idiots, let's get the job done."
Rodney quietly walked up to me, taking my face gingerly in his hands, inspecting the spot where Odette hit me. I didn't question him and I let him do his own thing as he stroked my cheek gently.
"You're going to have quite the black eye tomorrow." He said, taking a step back, face completely void of any sign of emotion.
"More battle scars for me." I mock punched him on the chin, trying to reassure him. "Come on guys, let's go."
We were walking in the forest, about an hour away from the organisation headquarters. We remained silent and so did the intruders, the only sound was the birds chirping in the trees and our footsteps crunching the leaves and twigs underfoot. Eventually we arrived at a clearing near a stream, far away from any dangers of being discovered.
The three of us lifted our masks to cover our faces, our eyes being the only thing still open, and proceeded to take off the blindfolds of the intruders. It was the first time we had gotten a good look at their faces, my target being the only one that looked very familiar.
I took a step back, watching as he took in his surroundings and then let his gaze focus on me. He squinted his eyes out of disgust trying to make it very obvious that he didn't enjoy his time being wasted.
"What, no interrogations? Not even one little question for our effort of being caught?" He tried being as sarcastic as he could, now taking in Rodney and Mitchel too. "You three must be the lackeys then, doing all the little jobs. Couldn't even do this job right." He scoffed looking away from us.
"What were you doing at the Pardus wheat fields?" I asked, trying to sound as complacent as possible. Rodney and Mitchel looked at me in shock but kept their mouths shut.
"Oh so it speaks!" The leader getting a chuckle out of his bad of misfits. "And by the sounds of it he's hardly reached puberty, how sad."
As quickly as the laughing started it stopped, my short blade caressing the soft skin of his neck.
He lifted his chin, exposing his throat even more. "Go on, show us what a man you are."
My eyes caught a glimpse of his shiny chain, and I carefully lifted it from under his shirt, revealing a pendant of a wolf howling at the crescent moon. I let it drop, my eyes widening in surprise.
"Oh? So it seems like they're not here to mug us, only to try scare us." He smirked at me, enjoying the encouragement he was getting from his friends.
"The House of Lupus." I said more to myself than anyone else.
This immediately brought the leader to silence. "How did you know that?" Curiosity filling his voice.
I clutched at his collar, bringing his face near mine. "How did you get that? Only royals of a family bloodline received the Lupus pendant." I was struggling to keep my anger under control from the memories that flooded my mind.
"That's none of your business." He frowned in disgust, insulted that he was being assaulted over a necklace.
Suddenly it hit me. The green eyes with brown speckles, the small scar above his right brow, the kind of aura he carried around him and the seriousness he was always portraying.
"Braden?" My eyes went completely complacent, hoping that I was right.
He looked surprised. "How do you know my name?"
I pulled my mask down and let my hood fall back revealing my long brown hair that had been pulled back into its signature plait. I could detect immediate recognition on his face.
"Laila? Is that- Is it really you?" His face was caught between surprise and awe.
"You two know each other?" The butch man asked, obviously feeling very confused about what was going on.
"Yeah we do." He still hadn't taken his eyes off of me. "We go way back."
I backed up, turning towards Rodney and Mitchel. "You two head back. If she asks tell her I went hunting."
They looked at each other, unsure of what they should do. Eventually they nodded in agreement and silently rand off.
"I see you still have the boys running around for you." Braden chirped, obviously in his catching up mood.
"Now is not a good time Braden." I began cutting the bands restraints off, all of them rubbing their wrists in satisfaction.
"I haven't seen you in, what is it, ten years and you say now is not a good time?" He approached me wearily, a hand hovering near my face which he eventually placed on my cheek, still not sure if it was all real.
"It's really you." His face was one of awestruck wonder. "My but you've grown."
"Yeah I'm not a little kid anymore." I punched him on the shoulder, grinning at him.
He clutched his shoulder, a little shocked. "Wow, you really can pack a punch now." He tried throwing one back but I dodged it with ease, moving ever so slightly out of the way. "Well that's not fair."
"What? Just because I can look after myself now and don't need a man to protect me it's unfair? How typical of you to think that." I scoffed at him, a sly smile underlying my comment.
"Oh now you're Little Miss Independent, no more Little Miss Sunshine." He threw it back, enjoying our little banter like old times.
"Damn right." My smile faded and my head dropped slightly, reality sinking back in. "Things have changed a lot since then." I looked back up, taking in all three faces in front of me. "So I ask again, what were you all doing at the Pardus wheat fields today?"
They all shifted their weight uncomfortably, looking at each other to see who would answer. Obviously it would be Braden. "We don't know if we could trust you with that kind of information."
I raised an eyebrow to him, not enjoying his lack of trust in me. "And why not?"
Again they eyed each other, this time the scrawny man answered. "Well ya see miss," He had an odd accent, heavy from an ancient time. "We be working for our own people, and our people may or may not be your people. So by obvious default, we be in the wrong position to disclose such information to such a person much like yourself." He lowered his head, almost as if he were bowing his head in shame for not being able to do more for me.
I nodded my head slowly, taking in what he had just said. "Okay fair enough, I can respect that." I stood and thought for a while. "Could you at least tell me more or less where you guys are going so I can point you in the right direction?"
Braden smiled slightly, enjoying the hospitality I was showing. "We were heading over Maris Anguis, that's all I'm saying."572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgyWA8blHyW
I looked at him wearily knowing that the route from Pardus over the river Maris Anguis leads to Melis, a well known advisory of the nation Lupus. I pointed in the direction that would lead them to the easiest passing across the border. The scrawny and butch man nodded and started in the direction.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡZEcO2lM4oY
"I'm Alistair by the way." The butch guy held his hand across his chest and did a slight bow, and continued.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡj6ZvJfD15q
"And I be Delbert." The scrawny man grabbed my hand and kissed it, trotting off happily after his friend.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiauArDN2j4
Braden waited until they were far away for him to speak again. "I've really missed you."572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡKpzzI0Knoa
I turned to him, still chuckling at his odd band of brothers. "I've missed you too." 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡoGmw0Hx15d
We stood for a while in awkward silence, not sure what we should say or do. 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6BApinCius
"You know," Braden swallowed hard, obviously fighting back some heavy feelings. "We all thought you were dead." 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7Tv64dT3Sb
I looked away, not ready to face those demons from the past. "I wasn't sure if it would ever be safe for me to return home." 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡp4HcTXKuLa
He took my face in both hands. "But it is now." He looked closer at my face, noticing the bruise that was forming fast now. "What happened?" Concern filling his voice.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡeFSTz7VQlf
I took his hands from my face and held them in front of us. "It's nothing for you to worry yourself over." I smiled reassuringly, "But it is a sign that things are not safe for me just yet." 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡsoNX9X2IDB
"Come with me." He smiled with a boyish charm, letting his excitement get the better of him.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡTQfBye9bbN
"I can't Braden." I let go of his hands and started walking away.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡY7nzyoW7yX
"Wait!" Braden called after me, trotting up to where I had stopped. "Please don't just leave." He looked so hurt, all I wanted to do was make that feeling go away.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡDSxGtGj2dq
"I can't Braden." My voice was barely a whisper, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening. 572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ2vdGsc7PZo
He looked at me searchingly, trying to think of a solution. "Meet me at the west base of Parvo Monte in five days. We can go visit everyone together." He looked at me hopefully. "How does that sound?"572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡhVMVNz8Een
I looked at him, wanting to share in his excitement but keeping to my training of having a level head at all times. "I can't promise anything. That's all I can offer."572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡOJmdxcyOBZ
He gave me a huge grin in response. "Good enough for me!" At that he grabbed my face and kissed me hard, completely catching me off guard. "I'll see you soon!" He called back as he ran in the direction his friends had gone.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡtO0wUVKPAA
I stood there stunned, not sure what to do with myself again. "You really need to stop doing that!" I called back, struggling to hide the smile from my voice.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡaMNwtIiAbX
"Never!" Was the last thing I heard as he disappeared into the treeline.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡduXEheliZJ
My hands shot up to cover my face, unable to believe how my luck had changed.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgiiRuhTHGb
"Well this is going to be fun." I mumbled to myself as I started back to the hide out.572Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSpvkoKEIKh