Tales of Ore – Part 9

“My gods…”, Carmen started, almost in a whisper, “It’s been so long since I saw you last… How long exactly, two years?”, she asked, her brows furrowing as she tried to recall something.

“Yes, it’s been far too long,” replied the dark-haired teenager with a smile. “About two years now I believe. I didn’t think you would recognize me so easily though…”, he then added with a small pout.

“It’s your eyes that betrayed you.The same brown eyes as your father when he was younger…”, she replied, a large smile appearing on her face.

She moved towards him, opening her arms again so she embrace him once more. Even if he was expecting it this time, Thrista wasn’t anymore ready than the first time. She managed to knock the wind out of him a second time. But he couldn’t care less, he was happy to see the older woman again. He let his joy do the talking, embracing her in return once more, this time putting in a bit more strength and emotion.

“Wow, you’ve definitely gotten stronger!”, she commented as she let him go. “Could’ve crushed my bones there!”

The tavern’s owner chuckled as she said this.

“Oh, sorry!”, Thrista immediately began to apologize.

But she interrupted him.

“No, don’t worry, it’s fine! It’s good to know you’re happy to be back and to see you’re in good shape!”, she explained, still smiling.

“Yeah,” he nodded, “I’ve had the chance to travel in good company.”

“Good!”, was all she replied as she studied him.

The young man thought he saw concern in her eyes for a moment before it quickly vanished and was replaced with the usual cheerfulness. Suddenly she seemed to remember something important, she turned around without waiting for a reply and rushed towards the kitchen.

“Do you want something to eat or drink?”, he heard her ask from the other room.

“Yes I would, thank you. I haven’t eaten since this morning!” Replied Thrista as he put down his shoulder bag by the table nearest to him.

He also took off his cape, revealing a long staff-like object encased in leather and cloth and held to his back by straps . He hesitated to sit down but preferred to take a stroll around the room instead. The tavern looked a lot bigger from the inside than it appeared from its exterior appearance, the room was wide and usually luminous. A number of chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling in the center and several candle orbs could be seen on the walls, no light was emanating from them at that time of the day though. One could see the heavy beams made of old oak protruding from the walls to hold the ceiling in place, which gave an old but familiar air to the place. It also offered an unimpeded view of the room, giving it feeling of spaciousness. If the room had been emptied and the curtains opened it would have easily passed for a small temple, the carvings on the ceiling and the paintings depicting epic scenes hanging on the walls helped reinforce this feeling. The young man heard the innkeeper whistle a tune from the kitchen, he couldn’t help but smile.

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Tales of Ore – Part 8

The dark-haired teenager immediately recognized the slightly raspy voice of the tavern’s owner, which made him smile, but couldn’t place its origin exactly. He had to walk forward a few steps before finally noticing the silhouette of the small woman cleaning a table in the corner. All the curtains had been pulled making it difficult to see the room clearly at first.

“Hello.”, he replied as he looked around. “I hadn’t seen you Carmen, I thought the room was empty. It’s crazy, it seems like nothing has changed since last time, it only feels fresher.”

Thrista noticed the inside of the fine establishment had been renovated slightly, most of the tables looked brand new and the paint seemed freshly redone. But other than that everything was exactly the same, in the same place. Well, except for dirt: not even a trace of dust was visible on the ground.

“Ah, yes! I apologize for the obscurity. I’m taking advantage of the fact that there’s no customer to clean a little, and I hate to do it when the sun beats down like today. Plus its really hot out there so I closed the curtains to keep it cool inside. Isn’t it much more pleasant like this?”, the small woman said, her arm actively scrubbing the wooden table to make every last stain disappear from its surface.

“But do we know each other sir?”, she added, finally looking up smiling, seemingly satisfied with her work.

“So you don’t remember me? I do admit it’s been some time but even so…” asked the young man with a small pout.

The small woman put her tools away and walked towards him, eying his face curiously, her brows furrowed as her gray eyes carefully took in his features. She remained like that for a few seconds and Thrista simply stood there, his smile slowly getting bigger as he waited for the realization to kick in. He had changed quite a bit since the last time she had seen him, he had grown at least a good fifteen centimeters, his shoulders had gotten broader and his hair was a bit longer. It now fell down on his ears even though he used to keep it cut short. His face had gotten thinner and longer and his features slightly sharper, he was almost unrecognizable. Almost. The older woman tilted her head slightly to the right as she slowly voiced her thoughts.

“Your eyes…”, she started while narrowing hers,”Yes, I remember! Thrista! My gods, it has been so long, I hadn’t recognized you! You have grown so much!” she exclaimed as she pulled him into a tight embrace.

Despite her small frame the woman, who was now well into her fifties, possessed an otherworldly strength. This, coupled to her iron will, made it difficult to prevent her to get what she wanted. The young man found himself struggling to breath for a moment before responding to the embrace with a slight chuckle. He was happy to see her again after his long journey, he hadn’t realized it until now but he had missed her warmth. She had been part of his fond memories of Eneleïa since the first time his father had brought him. She was an old friend of his, dating back to childhood if Thrista had understood correctly, and had introduced the strong-willed but incredibly kind woman to him as soon as they had arrived. The young man had become attached to her very quickly. And this had been true the other way round too, Thrista realized this as he saw a small tear roll on her freckled cheek as she finally let him go. She quickly turned around to blow her nose and wipe her cheek.

“It is me”, he nodded with a smile.

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Tales of Ore – Part 7

If a huge crowd packed the streets of the fishing district and the harbor, the complete opposite could be said for the north-eastern side of the city. Despite being the biggest of the three main residential areas of the city of Eneleïa and being very densely populated, it attracted very few tourists during the day, and even less since the preparations for the festival were going full swing. It wouldn’t be the same during the festivities when every single inhabitant of the port city would be parading and celebrating during the next few days but the local residents relished this period of calm before the storm. They used it to decorate their houses and to prepare themselves for the wedding ceremony. Thrista was walking in on of the secondary streets, not very busy as it usually went unnoticed by the tourists and visitors, he strolled slowly through the scarce crowd going around the small market, looking at the multicolored decorations and the well stocked displays of the local shops. His destination was a small tavern he had already visited the previous time he had come to Eneleïa, it was supposed to be located between two large houses but it seemed to be well hidden as he had already been searching for half an hour without success. Finally after turning right at a crossroads he thought he recognized he noticed the old wooden front of the establishment.

Despite its small size and its plain appearance it was one of the best spots to eat and spend the night, renowned almost exclusively to the connoisseurs for its exquisite homemade cooking and its warm welcome. The owner had a secret recipe for a delicious minestrone made of fresh zucchini, carrots, pasta and minced meat. That was where Thrista had decided to spend the few nights while he was in town as he knew the owner, a small woman nearing her fifties and whose rust colored hair barely started graying, since his father had brought him there during his first visit to Eneleïa. « En Carménie ». The sign made dark wood hung over the front door, rocking slightly to the wind. The teenager noticed it seemed to have been renovated since the last time he had seen it, the horse sculpted and painted in the center seemed to have gotten fresh colors again and paraded in its black and white coat. Thrista pushed the large door and entered, greeting anyone who might have been inside. To his surprise, as his eyes adjusted to the half-light of the room he noticed it was empty, despite his memory telling him it used to be crowded with people the few times he had been there. There were usually clients drinking, eating, laughing and playing cards around on the tables, filling the air with noise, tempting smells and a thin cloud of smoke. He stood there, letting time to his eyes to adjust for a few seconds. Finally a voice greeted him from the back of the room and he turned towards its source.

“Welcome dear visitor. Please come in, come in. I’ll be with you in a moment.”

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Tales of Ore – Part 6

On a dock not far from where the Leikan had stopped a small patrol from the Eneleïan navy was waiting patiently. The soldiers were standing in close, well-formed ranks, their weapons beside them as they calmly talked with each other. A man with graying hair was pacing slowly in front of them, nervously looking around. Suddenly he stopped and turned towards the water inside the large circular bay.

Men, attention!” he suddenly exclaimed. “They are coming, stay in ranks and salute when given the order, is that clear?”

Yes corporal!” responded each one of them as they picked up their weapons and stood straight.

Good.” he simply added before turning back towards the other side of the bay.

The docks were circular, surrounding the calm body of water, and extended on a diameter eight times wider than the docks where the Trinity had stopped earlier, it had been designed especially for the whole fleet to stay when it stopped in Eneleïa and was supposed to welcome the three ships that day. The Leikan, the Illilda and the Archeniss were scheduled to berth there after their stop at the harbor’s main docks to unload the civilian passengers and the cargo. The doors of the bay opened slowly, creating small ripples on the usually flat surface of the water, and the first ship, the Leikan, appeared and entered it, slowly positionning itself on the right side of the circular dock. It was soon followed by its two companions, each of them stopping in the center and on the left side which prevented any outsider from peeking inside the bay. As the bridges were lowered and the captains of the ships came down the corporal walked towards them to meet halfway. They were three, the young brunette woman from earlier, captain of the Leikan, a tall man with long white hair, captain of the Archeniss, and a smaller blonde man in his forties, captain of the Illilda, who was smiling.

Captains.”, the corporal saluted the three officers. “How was your trip? How may we assist you?”

The woman was the first to speak.

Fine, thank you corporal. As for the rest everything is taken care of, do not worry. Your job will be to secure this perimeter for as long as we remain here, which should be no longer than seven days. We only have to wait for the latecomers, as always…”, she added, shooting a look at the now still water of the bay.

The latecomers? Are you awaiting more ships than those three?”, asked the corporal.

Let’s say that we both are and are not.”, replied the woman in a mysterious tone.

But…”, the officer was about to ask for an explanation when bubbles and swirl started forming on the surface of the water in the center of the bay.

A dark shape started appearing under the water, getting bigger and closer to the surface, before finally revealing a large piece of white stone. The piece was quickly followed by the rest of the ship it belonged to and soon a fourth ship, smaller and with a round front and back, in the shape of a tube. It had no window anywhere. It stabilized at the surface and a door opened at the top of the first part to have come out of the water. A brown-haired man with a thin mustache and a blond woman came out of it one after the other. The man then saluted the four people watching them and smiled.

You should have waited for me before beginning the party!”, he shouted from the ship.

Hurry up Stone! We don’t have all day!”, exclaimed the captain of the Illilda, seemingly amused with his colleague’s attitude.

The cargo is with the Odenon,” then announced the oldest of the three captain present on the dock. “It is completely normal for you to be surprised corporal, very few people know that the Trinity is in fact a fleet of four ships, three cargo ships and a submersible.”

It can switch in mere instants from a cargo fleet to a fully operational armada capable of rivaling with a whole fleet but, as today, when our mission is simply to transport passengers and deliver goods it is not completely operational, which means it is vulnerable. This fourth submersible ship is undetectable and has been added to the fleet to protect it if time is needed.”, completed the young woman.

You may understand that due to its value and possible threat, this cargo must stay a secret for the time being, it will only be handed over to the lieutenant-general himself. It is very important, if not crucial, to the smooth progress of the preparations for the tournament.” Concluded the blond-haired man as his colleague from the submersible just joined them on the dock.

Of course!” replied the corporal once he got over his surprise. “You may unload it immediately, the special warehouse is fully ready for your arrival since this morning. It will remain our highest priority until transportation is ready.”

Excellent!” exclaimed the brunette woman. She then turned towards her men and started giving them orders to unload the cargo. “Men! Prepare to offload the Ortheus system!”

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Tales of Ore – Part 5

Thrista blinked a few times as he finally set foot on the solid ground of the harbor of Eneleïa. The sudden contrast between the cool shade of the clothed gangway and the illuminated docks was almost painful. When he got used to the brightness around him again, the young man was truly able to see the agitation that had taken over the docks and the whole harbor: people were shouting, running and transporting cargo everywhere. Though he had waited for the crowd to thin down a bit, there seemed to be an endless flow of passersby. One of the members of the crew saluted him and wished him an enjoyable stay in the city as he began walking towards the city center, to which he replied with a polite smile and a “thank you”. Slowly, and with great care, Thrista managed to make his way towards the outer rim of the harbor and to enter the eastern district. Passing through the huge building of the customs took much less time than expected, after all this wasn’t his first visit, he had come prepared. Soon he found himself on the other side. The eastern district’s streets were almost as crowded as the harbor itself and he had to smartly and swiftly navigate between waves of people going in every direction.

The young man’s pace was slower than he would have liked but it allowed him to enjoy the sights around him. Multitudes of multicolored pieces of cloth were hanging on the walls and from the balconies, hundreds of people walking all around, dressed in just as many colors. In some larger areas of the streets groups of musicians had gathered and were entertaining an ever-changing audience, small stalls accompanied by their merchants were also visible on the sides, tasty smells emanating from the food they tried to sell. Some chariots, which were being prepared for the great parade during the princess’s wedding, were even exposed here and there, still waiting to be completed. As he slowly progressed towards his destination he took it all in, a living and breathing rainbow of colors, tastes and sounds, animated by music and the city’s inhabitants. Thrista couldn’t help smiling at the memories this brought back.

Once he made it to the northern part of the eastern district the streets got quieter, slowly emptying themselves to leave a less dense flow of passersby. He let out a relieved breath, moving through that huge crowd had been more stressful than he had thought. Fortunately, this wasn’t the first time he came to Eneleïa, contrary to many a tourist, which meant that he knew his way around. Keeping an eye out for thieves was something crucial, a single second of distraction and one would find themselves dispossessed of the most valuable of their goods. He realized, as he had predicted, that the northern part of the city was more quiet than its counterparts. He paused a moment to look around at the indications, making sure he was in the right direction, before resuming his walk. The palace was visible on his left, tall and white in the distance. But his destination for the day was a small tavern a little bit more to the north.

He kept walking through the quieter streets, looking at his surroundings to check if he didn’t recognize something. The sun was beginning to set over the horizon when he finally noticed a few familiar facades, night wouldn’t be long to fall, an hour at most. A wave of warmth spread through his chest, it had been a long journey but he was finally coming back. The city of two worlds was slowly recovering the mysterious and charming atmosphere that had seduced him the first time. Yes, it was indeed time for him to come back. Thrista ran a hand through his short dark hair, taking his hood off at the same time, and let a smile spread on his face. This was where the voyage had begun and this is where it began anew.

Finally, he was back.

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Tales of Ore – Part 4

Don’t get too far away from me”, the older man warned him as they had just entered the city, “you would get lost very easily.”

Where are we going?”, Thrista asked, his eyes huge with amazement as he looked at the myriads of colors dancing all around him.

Oh, you’ll see soon enough!”, his father replied with playful wink, “but perhaps we might see the princess from up close…”

At the time, the young man hadn’t been able to tell if his father had been joking or not but he knew he hadn’t been able to help feeling very excited at the prospect of visiting such a magnificent city. The memory faded back into the far corners of his mind as he felt the ship finally come to a full stop. The crowd on the ground was still cheering and the passengers were replying with smiles and waves of the hand. Thrista looked around, people were already moving towards the bridges to disembark or back to their cabins to pack up their stuff before exiting the ship. He hesitated an instant before slowly making his way towards the most forward point of the Leikan, choosing to wait for the larger part of the passengers to have disembarked before getting off himself. This way he wouldn’t have to bear the rush of the crowd, both on the ship and on the docks, and he would be able to get to shore more calmly.

He turned towards the palace, a tall and large white building that stood above many of the surrounding constructions and was clearly discernible despite the distance. That was where he was going, to greet the princess, if she agreed to see him again. He let out a small sigh as his eyes swept over the rest of the port city, it didn’t seem to have changed that much since he had left two years before, if anything it seemed to have grown bigger. The elegant architecture was truly a beautiful sight, marrying myriads of colors to the white walls of the buildings, gracefully mixing wood and stone and alternating with tall and short, square and round structures. The city was a rich blend of many different styles and cultures, the diversity that it housed, both in population and architecture, but also in its economy, was what made it so wonderful in the eyes of its inhabitants and foreigners alike.

Finally, when only a handful of people remained on the deck of the ship, the young man decided to move and to disembark. He went back to his cabin, a small room with a single bed and a window on the ocean, to pick up his stuff. He threw on his wide but light cape, placing the hood over his head to shield himself from the heat, shouldered his bag and made sure he hadn’t forgotten anything before walking back outside. As he was about to enter the corridor covered with blue cloth that led down to the docks he noticed the captain of the ship, a young brunette woman, and her second in command, a slim red-haired man, looking down from the upper deck. The second in command gave him a polite nod as he noticed Thrista’s gaze while the captain simply swept her eyes over him before focusing back on the unloading that was taking place below on the docks. The young man offered the redhead a slight nod in return, smirking slightly at both of their reactions. He had seen both the young woman and her first mate in action, none seemed to look the part at first, one was small and considered ‘too good looking to be efficient’ by some, and the other was pale and looked frail enough to faint at the first sign of danger. However, once they were in their post he had seen their ability to maintain their authority and the devotion each of the seamen showed to them; never were they questioned or disrespected.

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Tales of Ore – Part 2

The view was truly amazing. In the distance, the cliffs of Eneleïa cut across the ocean from one side to the other, disappearing far beyond the horizon. As the ships neared the city one could make them out more distinctly, it gave the impression they emerged from the depth of the water like an immense forest of rock. These gigantic walls of granite and limestone reached almost two hundred meter in height and had always been natural defenses for the port-city, allowing it to resist numerous enemy invasions. However, as the passengers slowly understood as they neared their destination, the cliffs weren’t the only reason for its reputation of being an impregnable fortress. The harbor’s giant gates also contributed to this greatly. Almost as high as the cliffs themselves, they had been built more than eight centuries before, barely a hundred years after the creation of the city itself. The one who had thought up and made build this titanic project had remained completely unknown, contrasting with the Gates of Eneleïa which, themselves, were known throughout the whole Alliance. On each of the three parts of the white-stone wall that served as access points to the interior harbor, one could notice a symbol that marked the location of the gate. They opened and closed depending on the needs but never remained in one state for long due to the intensity of the traffic that passed by the city of two worlds, name which had been given to it due to its status as bridge between the continent of Ore and the Central Seas.

Eneleïa had long ago risen to the status of greatest commercial city in the whole kingdom of Tebor, and was almost unrivaled in the whole of Ore. The Gates had greatly contributed to cement this reputation as a safe route along the coast of the continent and as an obligatory passage to and from the Karnines Archipelago or the other continents. The gigantic edifice allowed all types of ships and fleets to throw anchor safely in its harbor and thus insuring the development of trade and commerce. All this was thanks to the mechanism that allowed the gates to be raised and lowered at will; an ingenious combination of mechanical engineering and magic, built a long time ago by a brilliant mind whose identity seemed to have been forgotten over time. This prevented any assailant from even hoping to enter the harbor because once the Gates were sealed shut, it became impregnable by sea.

The Leikan had stopped before the central door while the two other ships from the Galaedan fleet halted in front of the other two, one on each side. This wide and space-consuming disposition was necessary due to the scale of the small fleet that arrived in the harbor, they had very little to envy to the Gates themselves. Any sailor having had the privilege to set foot and operate on one of the three ships had, at a moment or another, felt the incomparable feeling of power and invincibility. Each of the three ships had to go through a different gate and disembark the passengers and the goods they were transporting on different docks. This time the Trinity was especially laden with cargo as many passengers had come to Eneleïa in honor of the royal wedding that was going to take place a few days later. Countless merchants had also made the trip, preferring this more expensive but safer and more secure way to cross the seas compared to chartering a personal ship.

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Stanley – 32


Season 2

Part 32

Rated M for mature content.

Previous Chapter

She had the impression they had been running for hours as they finally slowed down to a normal walking pace. They entered the fast food, trying to act as normal as possible despite their heavy breathing and the fact that both of them were drenched in sweat. They sat down at a table after ordering something to eat; Michel had insisted he “fill his belly with the sweet delight of fast cuisine” and she hadn’t had the heart to say no, her stomach rumbling at the smell of those delicious fries. Her partner started devouring his meal immediately and she followed in turn, both famished after having to run away from that horde of cops.

They had been halfway through the second rooftop when they had heard the shouts of police officers telling them to stop coming from the stairway behind them. How they had managed to get up there so fast was something Stephanie couldn’t explain but they had managed it. Of course neither of them had hesitated even a single second before starting to run faster, she couldn’t get caught, especially not after what she had done. She didn’t manage to stop herself from cringing at the thought, it had all been for naught… Plus she didn’t have a very fond memory of prison cells. Apparently Michel wasn’t too keen on letting himself get caught either because he lead the way without slowing down.

Where the shouts of the police officers had not even fazed her a bit, the first gunshots had almost made her freeze on the spot, almost. It had been surprising, she had never heard a gunshot from such little distance and the whizzing of the bullets as they rushed past both of them was quite surprising too but, since Michel didn’t skip a beat in his run, she didn’t stop and kept running. They had cut it close, very close even, she had to admit that. Even with all her good will and the energy she put into moving her legs one in front of the other at the highest speed possible she couldn’t help but being a little scare, or, more precisely, a bit apprehensive. Being on a rooftop wasn’t that dangerous in itself if one knew how to keep one’s balance and not to do anything stupid. The problem is that they were doing all the stupid possible at that moment: running at full speed, not caring where they stepped, running away from cops and being shot at. Not the most clever thing she had done in her life…

She had barely felt anything as the bullet had grazed her on the right side of her chest, making a hole in her jacket, it had been the feeling of wetness and the dizziness that had come after that had alerted her that something was wrong. She hadn’t said anything though, not before they had managed to get back down to the street. Then, and only then, as the cries of the police officers on the rooftops could still be heard, she had told Michel.

“Let’s get to the car first , we’ll see that then,” she had replied as he had advised to check her wound.

They had driven off as quickly as possible, somehow evading all the police cars on the way and had finally ended up in the commercial zone. Michel had parked the car near a mall and had bought a few supplies to treat her wound while she was evaluating the damage. In the end it hadn’t been to serious, a gash on her side and nothing more. Still hurting but with a clean wound and a reassured mind, they had walked in the nearest fast food to grab a quick bite. And here they were, unsure of what to do next, if they had been tracked by the police or if they were now fugitives. After all, the cops hadn’t been close enough to get a look at their faces so they most likely were safe, but one never knew. Stephanie was starting to relax, thinking back to the apartment and the clues they had found as she ate her chicken burger, when she saw the three men in black suits walk in the room.

To be continued…

EoP – Part 116

Echoes of Power

Part 116

“You are late,” was the first thing the teenager heard as he approached the man he had met just a few days before.

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry I-“, he began his reply but was interrupted.

“I told you not to be late,” he heard Damian say, cutting him in the middle of his sentence and

Alexandre looked at the older man, frowning as his surprise slowly passed. He almost grunted. Almost. The only reason he managed to refrain himself from doing so was that he had a feeling that in doing so he would earn himself another snarky remark. He was realizing too late he had been right in his negative premonition a few minutes earlier, almost regretting his decision to have come. Damian’s face was an unreadable mask as he sat on the ground, his blue scarf around his neck and his legs crossed. His hands were on his thighs and he was visibly doing something akin to meditation. The man hadn’t even opened his eyes or moved to greet the teenager even though Alexandre was sure he had heard him approach and recognized him. The light-haired teen was beginning to regret his decision to accept someone like that as his teacher, whatever the odds of him being killed by dangerous creatures in the future…

“Do you regret your decision?”, suddenly asked Damian, still in the same position, as if he had read the teenager’s thoughts.

“Uh…”, Alexandre began, his surprise making him hesitate, “no, no! I don’t regret it, I just…”, he paused again, unsure of what to say.

Damian remained silent, as if he was waiting for his student, inviting him to explain himself. Alexandre’s hesitation didn’t last long though. He had been prepared to anything when he had accepted Damian as his teacher, well, not anything, as he didn’t even know what would happen next, but he knew it wasn’t going to be something ‘normal’… Plus, despite the thoughts that had crossed his mind, he wasn’t ready to die yet and if that weird dude, sitting on the grass in front of him, could help with that he wasn’t going to say no. Plus he wanted answers, he needed answers. Whatever I have to do, he thought as he opened his mouth again, no matter if this is a bad decision.

“I just have so many questions that I don’t know where to begin,” he replied as he walked the few paces that separated him from the strange man who had agreed to tell him about what was going on.

“Alright then!”, Damian exclaimed as he finally opened his eyes, looking at the teenager with his unsettling blue eyes.

“I will answer your questions, that I have promised, but before we begin anything I must ask you, are you willing to let me teach you about the art of Empirium?”, he then said, still looking straight at Alexandre, before adding, “You know why I am asking that, don’t you? This is not going to be easy in the least, learning to read and use the flow of mana will come with a price, do you accept that?”

“Yes.”, replied Alexandre with a nod, not even letting himself a moment to think about it.

He wanted to know and he saw no other way, at least none in which he could keep it all to himself… Damian looked at him silently for a moment, as if he was evaluating the teenager’s resolve, before nodding and standing up.

“Very well. From now on you are my student, I am your master and that is how we will refer to each other. You will do as I say, no question, no complaint, just follow my orders. I will answer your questions, if you have any, when the time comes, that is when I decide so. I will do it then and only then. In the meantime you will know only what you need to know. Is that understood?”

“Yes!”, replied Alexandre, looking straight back.

The teenager saw Damian frown slightly, the man took a few steps towards him, their gaze never breaking off.

“‘Yes master.’, that is how you will reply to me from now on, only in that manner. Once more, is that understood?”

Alexandre almost froze again, the intensity of the gaze was barely sustainable as it became clear he hadn’t been wrong about Damian. This was not going to be easy.

“Yes master.”, he repeated, straightening slightly at the words.

Damian nodded, seemingly satisfied, before sitting back down.

“Now sit, there are things you need to know before we begin…”

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Stanley – 31


Season 2

Part 31

Rated M for mature content.

Previous Chapter

The dark-haired young woman and her more-light-colored-hair friend were about to move out of the apartment towards the staircase when they suddenly heard the police sirens that had been in the background since a few minutes ago ring out much closer and tires screeching as cars came to a halt in front of the building. They both stopped in their tracks as they were about to walk towards the elevator and looked at each other.

“Do you think we should go check it out très chère?” Asked Michel after a few seconds spent trying to figure out what was indeed happening.

Stephanie simply nodded before rushing back into the apartment and looking out the window. She immediately froze as she saw almost a dozen policemen in uniforms rush out of their cars and enter by the front door. The young woman somehow immediately knew they were coming exactly where they were, how she knew that would remain a mystery but somehow she did.

“Damn it!” She swore as she backed away and looked at Michel who had looked out the window too.

“What do we do maintenant?” He asked with a tense expression.

“I don’t know…” Replied the young woman as her brain fumed, trying to come up for a solution to get out of the hellhole they were trapped in.

They couldn’t leave by the front entrance, it would seem to suspicious but they couldn’t very well stay there either because it would almost certainly insure their capture and their prosecution as The Duck’s murderers. No one would believe them if they tried to explain what they were doing here, especially not her. Plus everything would come to light, everything she had had to do. The young woman shivered at the thought. No, it couldn’t happen, they had to get out.

“This way?”

She turned towards the bearded man as she heard his voice, he was pointing towards the window. As her eyes followed his well muscled and tanned arm she imagined herself being wrapped in it and relishing the moment as her mind went back to the previous night. Then she saw the staircase and it all became clear, the fog clouding her mind seemed to go away and she let a smile spread across her face as she understood what he meant. Of course! She thought. The emergency staircase! 

“Yes, you’re a genius!” She exclaimed as she gave him a kiss on the cheek before rushing towards the red metallic structure outside the window.

Michel followed her closely after closing the window as best as he could behind him. They ran as fast as they could up the stairs, hearing the sounds of policemen entering the apartment soon after they had exited it. The young woman thanked the upcoming summer and all those sessions at the gym for her cardiovascular system’s good shape. They finally arrived on the roof after a few seconds of silent effort and she didn’t have time to catch her breath as they started moving again.

To be continued…

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