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LP Chapter 28

Page history last edited by Volkes_Wagon 13 years, 1 month ago

They'll Be Alright 

 

     Jay sat in a kind of shocked trance.

     He had said it. Everything had just kind of poured out, by itself, against his will. He felt like a deflated balloon, shivering feably in the wind. What would happen now? [ha! if you only knew, my dear friend...]

     "Jay!"

     He jumped, snatching up his bow with jittery hands.

     "Oh, sorry..." Miley Vladimier leaned against a wiry rope by the top of the stairs, huffing and puffing, his face red as a Tonkla [looks like a red pepper, tastes like a tomato]. "Didn't mean...to scare you..."

     Jay dropped the bow. Where had he come from? "N-no, it's alright."

     Miley Vladimier took off his tophat to shake out his sopping hair. It looked like he had run all the way up the twenty-one flights of stairs without a break, and while using magic. The man's endurance whithered with his age. "What's the situation?"

     "Oh...Yera left through a trap door. I think an escape hole [what's it called...?]. Kucabara and a girl on our side followed."

     "What!?"

     "Her name is Kuchiha. I think they'll be alright."

     "And how would you know that, Jay!? What if Yera decided that he didn't need a hostage anymore, that he wanted nothing more than the satisfaction of revenge, and it's not even his [Kucabara's] fault! If Kucabara's stuck in a fight like that, Minister or not, his magic isn't strong enough! And that girl--why on earth did a girl follow them into such a death trap!? How do you always manage to make me so worried, Jay!?

     "I thought I told you to take care of yourself! I've told you more times than I can remember, and now look, the moment I don't stay glued to your back you run off and make Kucabara and a whole troop of suspicious strangers--"

     He suddenly stopped. Jay felt his heart skip a beat. He had grown accustomed to his guardian's frequent outbursts, but this new hesitation jarred his mind.

     Miley Vladimier turned away. For the first time in his life, Jay saw him at a loss for words. "...Are you hurt anywhere?"

     "Huh--no..."

     The Vice Minister of Angel City ran his fingers through his graying hair. He took a shaky breath, still winded from the climb, and when he regained his voice it was hardly more than a whisper. "I'm so sorry, Jay."

     Jay clutched the smooth wooden bow. His fingers were numb.

     "It's too late to apologize now, I suppose..."

     Jay stared straight ahead. If an answer was expected, he could give none. 

     "Many of the things which I prohibit, you are able to do. You have a strong mind. You have insight. You have abilities, some of which most people can only dream of. And...I fear I may have stunted your growth." His eyes turned back to Jay, following the turned down corner of his mouth to its turned down partner. "Though certainly not physically."

     It was rare for Vladimier to attempt a joke. Jay smiled for the effort, and as he did so he realized what had caused him to apologize. Just a little bit.

     "I don't deserve to be called your guardian."

 

     "Hey...'d that tophat guy run away?" Merl always slurred his speech, but it was far more coherent when he spoke in Southern.

     "Mm. He had business to attend to. Though I wouldn't call it 'running away;' more like 'chasing a necessity.'"

     "Ain't that what we're doing here!? Jeez, the moment he can see the Tent, off he goes at a full gallop!"

     Imaelka frowned. "You should be more worried about Jay and his friends. It's a good thing that they have another helper with them now."

     "Feh! They'll be alright even if it's just them against the whole army of Yandebaba [mythological evil witch famous for her ugliness. had an army of trolls]."

     They spotted the army and rode towards the thundering mass on Violet. Close up, Merl realized that there weren't many soldiers in the crowd; the Navi's population wasn't very voluminous. The army had 50 soldiers at most. But they had twice as many Sheemahs, carrying bundles of arrows and other miscellanious weapons, and together they made a fiercely intimidating opposition.

     Merl and Imaelka snuck up on them from the side. They reached the Commander at the head and veered to the left, intercepting the throng. The Commander and his subordinates reared their Sheemahs back as quickly as possible, surprised, and the leader signed the army to hold their positions.

     "Ashalem." He bowed his head. It roughly translated to "My Lady" in Northern. "You wish to join us? Our apologies, we had assumed you would be too mentally unstable--"

     "Modaro, do you comprehend the scope of what you are about to cause?" Imaelka said drily.

     "I see you still nurture a distaste for beating around the bush." Modaro's nose was running. Every few sentences he would pause and sniff the overflowing stuff back in, and it was starting to make Merl's stomach sick. It didn't help that his nose was painted like a white island in a red and brown sea. [btw, white is a symbol of nobility or high rank in the Navi. Red is a normal citizen, brown is a soldier. they would have had soldiers wear red, but they like being stealthy more than being flamboyant, so...oh yeah, and since nobody's just a soldier for their profession, everyone has mixed colors. except Yera.]

     "Answer me."

     He wrinkled his nose. "I am well aware. The world's balance will be shaken, and full-out war will begin between the two hemispheres. The Forest of Angels is the one and only path between North and South--it would become a path of blood eventually. If we take the City and allow the South clean passage to the North, the war would be over that much quicker. It's always best to plant your feet firm into the ground before the storm reaches you."

     "Were those Father's words?

     "Mostly."

     Merl opened his mouth, then decided against interrupting. The two Commanders seemed to know each other well.

     "Did it not once occur to you that planting your feet in the middle of a storm, no matter how firmly, will cause more damage than staying on the sidelines? Or perhaps, as a casual side note, not starting the storm in the first place?"

     "Ah, my dear Ashalem." Modaro sniffed loudly. "But the storm has already begun its course." He watched with interest as Imaelka's face, now clean of paint, turned as white as a Skelate tree's leaves. "You father witheld the news from you, it seems. It was a very stealthy business, reserved for the knowledge of those with more--stable minds." She bit her lip.

     "Bumbling stones!" Merl finally spat. He couldn't contain himself any longer. "Acting all high-and-mighty--just who do you think you are!? I'll bet I could shoot a couple arrows into your back and you'd look no more like a cock than you do now!" [that insult was a little...odd...lets just say it's a Southern saying...]

     Modaro wrinkled his nose intensely. "Who is this?" Merl felt a sharp stab of indignation at having been ignored. "Seated together with this ragsack, how indecent!"

     Imaelka's face went from pale to flushed. Merl blinked to shrug off the pain from the insult. It wasn't uncommon. "Know your place, fool, and then maybe I'll let you sweep the floor with your tongue!"

     "Merlaindalil."

     "What?"

     "He..." Imaelka grimaced. "He's my fiancĂ©."

     "...Oh." That put him as the future prince of the Navi. Once he and Imaelka married, he would gain status and rival her in power. And once the current leader of the Navi died...

     "Ah, yes, wonderful proposition by her father. So I assume you're prepared for the punishment of vehemently insulting the future leader of the Navi."

     Merl did what any repectable idiot would do in response: he spat on Modaro's face. "Bring it on, ragsack!"

     Blue lightning exploded in front of them as Imaelka screamed inarticulately. Immediately afterwards, something slammed hard against Merl's chest. The sky turned red and the ground turned black, and something constricted against his lungs as he struggled to breathe. His ears were pounding, and the thrashing trees and streaking black clouds rushed and whirled in a maddening circle.

     "What--"

     He choked on something bitter and tried to cough, but the movement sent pain shooting through his body. That arrow wound must be acting up again. He glanced down. The arrow was sticking out of his chest. That was odd, hadn't he already taken it out? It had hurt quite a bit too...

     It registered that he wasn't on Violet anymore. He was staring at the line where sky and trees met, the darkness of the storm blurring them together. Oh. So he was on the ground.

     "Merlaindalil!"

     Imaelka?

     She was screaming at him with storming rage streaked across her face. What, was teaching Modaro a lesson that bad? So she liked him after all...

     "I'll fix you, don't worry, I'll make everything better, just don't move-"

     Modaro was still there, sitting astride his Sheemah. "Cease," he commanded to his murmering army. "I can handle this domestic affair. There is still time to strike during the finale." He sniffed. "Though it is true that the finale is almost upon us. Ashalem, if you please--"

     Imaelka turned and screamed. "You shot him! You shot him! Yendalina, you've killed him! I'll never forgive you, I can never, I'll--" She broke down in tears. Modaro wrinkled his nose, gave one loud sniff, and dismounted.

     "You are not well. If you will allow me to escort you to the village, I will pardon your transgressions. I will even treat this...friend of yours here." He bowed almost curteously. "If you please...?"

     [i'm sorry i'm shoe-horning this passage in even though it's all in imaelka's head, not merl's] The village was where Jay was, and her father. If she went, she could stop him from using the Minister as a hostage. Merl would be saved. Perhaps she could even rescue Jay, and together they could run away from it all, forgetting their troubles, not having to worry about anything...She suddenly realized how Souiryuu must have felt when she had asked him to return to the Navi. She knew now that it had been wrong to speak to him in such a way. She had given him no choice but to say yes. But this time was different.

     If she consented, it would be nothing but cowardice.

     "I would rather die."

     Modaro's face contorted. He tried to swallow his reaction down and continued strutting towards them. "This is the absolute last time I will allow such impudence. I am your future husband, and I expect that you understand the consequences of disobeying me."

     "I am above you, poor fool. No matter who you marry, or what rank you cheat yourself into, the two of us are above you."

     Modaro froze. Imaelka watched him quietly, as if taunting him to deny it. His lips moved slowly, mouthing silent words as the rest of his face turned livid through the paint. He seemed to be contracting, stabbed in a way that escaped Merl at the moment. It must have been shame, the bitter concoction of guilt and humiliation.

     And then he exploded again, his blue rage lashing out all around him. Imaelka pounced towards a tree at the same time. With practiced motions, Modaro smoothly set an arrow and pulled the bowstring taught, training the silver tip towards her. She stopped in her tracks. All she had managed was one footstep away from Merl.

     Modaro was striding towards them again, this time with a thirst for blood in his eyes. Merl grabbed a nearby tree root and jerked his body away from Imaelka. He needed to put distance between them. It twisted his insides worse than the arrow to do it, but he had to. With each straining of his arm his goal grew more and more distant, and he had to strain as hard with his mind to remember where he was, what he was doing. Everything was so fuzzy...

     Completely disregarding Merl, Modaro swished his robes past. He was hardly five arm-lengths away. Imaelka tried for one last, desperate dive towards the tree, and he pulled back the string tighter during the briefest moment of preparation.

     Cutting through the dull pain and delirium, Merl's mind suddenly leapt into action. His eyes honed[?] in on Modaro's notched arrow and the blue static surrounding him until they were all he could see, in perfect, crystal detail. Danger was here. The red-haired South [oh and i dunno if i metioned it before, but ruru has red hair] had taken his quiver, but he had a bow. Putting his hand around the potruding arrow shaft to keep if from moving, he slowly slid his feet into position and raised himself up. His body was numb, he would never be able to hit the target, he was too slow and had wasted too much time. But none of it mattered. There was no hope, there never been; but that wouldn't stop him from trying.

     He had to protect her.

 

     Runo dashed to the village wall and climbed to the top, approaching the two stunned guards. He knocked them out and let them fall, then listened for something to help him. The screeching wind and booming fireworks drowned out most sounds, but he could faintly hear a buzzing like a million small wingbeats.

     "You are not a North."

     He turned towards the voice. The two Navi stood side by side on the roof of a nearby tent, their bows down harmlessly. They beckoned to him, and he made his way to another rooftop.

     "You speak Southern, and yet the Norths understand. How is that?"

     Runo made no reply.

     "We have heard your conversations. You speak fluently. Yet the Norths do not understand any Southern."

     They waited expectantly.

     "...At least tell us which Tribe you belong to. We've never seen those marks before."

     He fingered the white beads dangling from his headband [okay i still can't decide if i should give him earrings instead. what say you?]. "...You won't stop even if I tell you, will you?"

     "We may decide to leave you unharmed."

     "Just the fellow South?"

     "Perhaps even your companions."

     He smiled. "They're not my companions. Besides, they'll be alright without my bribes."

     They were discouraged. "This is your last chance."

     He nodded, slid back his feet, and let himself fall off the edge of the tent. He landed with a muddy splash, still upright, and shot forward to where the Navi were. If the girls leaked this out to Kuchiha, she probably wouldn't take to it peacefully. No choice but to temporarily silence them. He leaped onto the tent where they had stood.

     It was empty.

     From the corner of his eye he saw a silver streak. Time slowed. He crouched down to leap back to the ground, planning to let the arrow narrowly miss him. It didn't.

     A stabbing pain burrowed through his arm as he threw himself back to the ground. That arrow had been dodged, he was sure of it, but he had been hit. Was he mistaken? He twisted around and found one Navi perched on the corner of a wall. She set a second arrow, mysterious blue light flickering around her.

For an instant he thought he heard a harsh rasping sound, like skin against rough wood. He turned sharply. The other Navi was running up the beams of the giant Tent. Thwacking sounds told him that she was propelling herself by digging arrows into the wood, pushing off on them, then pulling them out to set them somewhere new. On the top of the Tent, something silver flashed. Jay? No, there was somebody else with him. The voice sounded familiar. Regardless, he would have to defend against the second Navi.

     A whistling in the wind brought him back. He glimpsed another shivering arrow and ducked down, giving it plenty of room. It lurched towards him, almost dancing with the currents in the air before clanging against the wall.

     It was like the Navi could control the wind.

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 27

Chapter 29

Comments (3)

Volkes_Wagon said

at 9:35 pm on Nov 6, 2010

so...tired...
i'm almost done with the arc! i bring a notebook to school now, so i've actually already finished half the battles! it's great~ <3 i plan to have everything up by the end of thanksgiving break (which is depressingly short for us Westlakers). ah well. we *are* having a meeting, right? it won't flop like the ak meetings, right?

Volkes_Wagon said

at 7:48 am on Nov 11, 2010

...right?
whoever's in charge, start planning NOW. it there's nobody in charge, i say meet at mokona's house at 3 on the day before thanksgiving and do whatever it was we were gonna do until 5:30. or 7 if mokona doesn't mind us eating her out of house and home.

Volkes_Wagon said

at 7:08 pm on Nov 11, 2010

aw shucks, it's gonna be a long chapter...
i'm gonna rant now, cuz i feel like it. i can't get merl's character down. imaelka's tricky, too, but since she's quieter i can just shove the problems under the rug. but merl...how do you make someone dislike someone, and at the same time feel connected? - 3 - he's one of those lame and worthless-to-the-ppl-surrounding-him type, but he deals with it by being twice as smart-lipped as everyone else. he hates being ignored. not so much the insults. the "fact that he's worthless."
*sigh...there're lots of discrepencies, since i changed the Navi from being evil to being misunderstood/misunderstanding cuz i love them too much (and they hold a really important political and plottical location of this story). but oh well.
darn it, no more scanner...

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