Passage Chapter 7
Sir! Commander! Theyre retreating!
Right... Fully alert, Wilhelm looked in the direction of the soldier. How many did you see?
We counted about five, he replied.
How many did we take down?
If we count what Sir Mueller and the others have defeated...about nine. Nine Nether Gate assassins down.
Hmm... Wilhelm lowered his sword with caution and looked around, his expression thoughtful. There were twenty-two to start, so now we have fourteen less to worry about. That leaves...oh, seven or eight?
Five, to be exact! shouted another voice, one vaguely familiar.
Huh? The commander turned as Shigure, Sagiri, and Raven--a white-haired, mischievous young man--approached. Oh...hey. Glad to see youre safe, but what do you mean, five?
Raven lifted up a long, steel claw, a strange grin on his face. We took out three on the way over here.
That makes things easier, Wilhelm said, feeling more of his stress vanish. So, five retreating and five still hanging around. It shouldnt take us long to--
Commander! the soldier interrupted. Ive just received a report confirming that another five are retreating!
Wilhelm, as well as everyone else, turned around. Really? he asked, his expression unchanging. Thats good news. Confirm this report and then send a messenger to the palace.
So...its over? asked Raven, looking somewhat disappointed.
No... Sagiri said quietly. Those who retreat may come back another day. We must be alert...
Shigure uttered a groan. Cant say I didnt see that coming...
M...my hometown? Richard repeated to the attentive Lymsleia, and then smiled. Hahaha. Any town is my hometown! As long as Muellers there, thats where I feel home!
Er... The queen wore an uncomfortable expression at his response. But...Muellers not here, she said with a nervous half-grin. Are you saying you dont feel home now?
Well, to tell you the truth, I do feel a little odd in this uniform, he mechanically began, but then stopped. N-not that I mind wearing it! Believe me, its such an honor to!
Across the audience chamber, standing at the double doors, were Miakis, Kyle, and Galleon, all of whom were studying the two.
They seem to be comfortably acquainted for only having known one another a few days, Galleon commented.
Im not surprised, said Kyle. Theyre kind of required to spend a lot of time together, the queen and the commander. At least, thats the case when the two get married. But, uh... The uneasiness finally manifested on the young mans face. These two arent even engaged, let alone married. So is it just me, or does she already have him whipped?
Miakis let out a giggle. Oh, its only temporary. But I, for one, am glad to see them getting along. And hes a pretty good leader so far. I like this commander way more than the last one, dont you?
Sure, but I also prefer a pat on the back to a kick in the balls.
Kyle! scolded Galleon.
Kyle shrugged. Just tellin it like it is, Galleon. Gizel had skill, but he was a constant threat to all of Falena. The only thing Richard is a threat to, aside from the enemy, is Muellers ego.
Hmm. The older man shifted his weight back, crossing his arms. Thats true, he said with a brief nod. But that is another matter that has had me bothered since the war. Why does Mueller push that young man so hard and never give him credit? At least here, we acknowledge one anothers strengths.
Maybe they do things differently in Zelant? Kyle suggested. But forget that. His expression turned curious. I want to know why a tough soldier like that not only puts up with it, but worships the guy in return. Never mind the fact that Richard probably could kick Muellers ass. How could he remain blissful about someone who treats him like crap?
Miakis tilted her head. That is weird, she remarked, her eyes studying Richard. But I dont think its our place to ask. There probably is more to the story than what we see, but from what Ive been told, neither one of them will talk about it. Sooo...its probably some big secret thats none of our business.
The blond knight turned to her with a smirk. You mean you arent the least bit interested? I find that hard to believe.
No...Im just saying that I can respect that. He seems pretty trustworthy, and I dont think any secret of his is going to jeopardize Her Majesty or the Queendom.
Whatever you say, Miakis. I think youre just as curious as any one of us--
Your Majesty! a voice interrupted.
Huh? The three knights moved away from the door and turned as another uniformed guard entered the room.
Richard and Lymsleia broke away from their conversation and looked in the guards direction; Lymsleia then stood in greeting.
Yes? she asked. What is it?
Your Majesty, a messenger has just reported that over half the Nether Gate forces have been defeated, and that the rest have retreated!
Really? asked Kyle.
Is there confirmation of this? Miakis demanded.
Yes, Lady Miakis. Sir Wilhelms men spotted two groups of assassins escaping within minutes of each other.
Oh, thats good news. The female knight turned around to Lymsleia with a relieved expression. Your Majesty...!
Lymsleia nodded in response, her young countenance weary. Uh...yeah...
Miakis looked at Kyle and Galleon. Im gonna go see Wilhelm. If any of the Nether Gate comes back, Ill make them regret they ever set their sights on our precious Lymsleia!
W-wait, Miakis! Kyle called as the young woman ran out. He then shook his head, chuckling. Im going with her. You coming, Galleon?
Well, Im certain Silva wont mind the additional help. The older man turned to Richard and Lymsleia. Will you two be all right?
Of course, Galleon, the queen responded. Please help Miakis and Dr. Silva!
Galleon gave a salute, and then directed his gaze toward Richard. Then...please take care of Her Majesty!
I will, the commander replied, his smile confident. Ill swear my life on it!
Accepting the response, Galleon headed out after Miakis, but Kyle took a moment to look back at the teenager, his expression mixed. He then pushed his thoughts from his mind and also exited the chamber.
Its great how things are turning out, Richard remarked cheerfully, turning to the queen. Huh? He noticed her look of apprehension. What is it, Your Majesty?
Oh... Lymsleia shook her head. Im...just tired, I suppose. I feel so strange all of a sudden. Im not sure what it is.
The Nether Gate, right? Thats got to be it. Just because they retreated doesnt mean they wont be back some other time. We cant let our guard down.
Yes, I suppose youre right... The young queen forced a brief smile before turning away from him.
But...that doesnt explain why I dont feel any sort of relief now...
All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition
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