The Aftermath Chapter 4
Da da duuuuum. Nina drummed her fingers atop the desk while she hummed. She was bored. Since Shin and Teresa had left the city with Clive, Nina had nothing to do. Most of the time she spent sitting at the desk, she thought of why Teresa refused to let her come along to the Valiance Castle. She simply could not believe that Teresa would trust a nineteen year old girl enough to watch over a city and knew there must have been some sort of trick involved.
Maybe some one else is in love with Flik and shes trying to save me from the disappointment of finding out. She spent hours comtemplating what truth was being hidden from her. Maybe its Teresa! Maybe shes trying to keep me away so she can have Flik all to herself! Anger flared inside of her just at the mere thought of it. How could she do something like that to me!?
Miss. Nina, you really must stop making up these terrible stories about those that care about you. A young man peeked his head into the room. Teresa would never do such a thing, especially to you. She knows how much you care for Sir Flik.
Come in, Walter. She sighed, straightening herself in her chair as the red-haired man trotted slowly into the neatly kept office. What do you want?
I heard you speaking to yourself.
You were eavesdropping!?
Its rather difficult not to when your yelling so loudly that the entire school can hear. Walter stopped for a moment. He watched her slouch a bit in her chair, clearly embarrassed by what he had told her. Miss. Nina, I really do not think that Teresa would put anyone in charge of her city if those were her reasons for leaving. Shes a very professional woman.
Nina merely sighed. But she wouldnt even of hear it when I asked if I could go! She clearly wants to keep me away!
Please forgive my bluntness, Miss. Nina, but grow-up. Walters green eyes flared with rising anger. The statement caught her attention and she raised her eyes to stare at his pale face. Teresa trusts you, so of course she would put you in charge! It wasnt because she wanted to steal Flik from you and it wasnt because she didnt want you to see him. These are delicate times and she had to put someone that she trusted in charge of the city. She wasnt about to put anyone else there.
Silence fell over the two again, Nina unable to find words to respond to what had been told to her. Walter awaited her response but didnt expect anything to be said: he awaited for one of the books sitting on the desk to be thrown at him in some way. Nina was the outrageous, immature type to do so. However, minutes past and Nina had yet to move an inch.
Thank you, Walter. She muttered, finally breaking the silence. I guess maybe the stress of running the city in these times without anyone to guide me has really gotten to me. She released a light sigh while shaking her head. Has there been any news from Rockaxe concerning the rebellions or anything of the such?
No, not a word. Im debating whether that is something to worry about or not.
Tell me if you hear anything at all. Please.
Of course, I will. What would I do with such informa--
Walter was interrupted by the slamming of a door outside the door and the scream of a woman. Ninas eyes widened and she shot from her chair. She rushed passed Walter and pushed the set of double doors open. What is going on out here!? She declared, bright green eyes surveying what went on in the outside room. On the floor, she spotted the young secretary stationed right outside Teresas office. The woman had a look of pure fear and surprise on her face and tears were welled up in her eyes.
That man The secretary pointed a quivering finger up towards a large man. He was a buff, ragged looking man with blond hair sprawled all over the place. His clothing was mere rags, torn and tattered in most areas. A large sword was sheathed and hung at his back. He came barging in here, damanding that he speak with Lady Teresa
Nina stared at the man, whose size reminded her much of Viktor. Lady Teresa is not here, nor is her assistant. The two of them are currently in the Valiance, visiting Lord Ethan and their other friends there.
And who might you be!? The mans booming voice brought a sob of fear from the secretary.
I am Nina. Lady Teresa left me in charge of the city during her absence. She spoke while falling to the ground, next to the sobbing secretary. She wrapped a comforting arm around her and allowed her other hand to pat her shoulder gently.
I will speak to Lady Teresa! Not some child.
Walter watched from the doorway, expecting Nina to burst out at the mans comment towards her age. Her response surprised him. I apologize that Lady Teresa is not here. The business she has down in the Valiance is very important. If you could just calm down and stop frightening those in this school, Im sure we could sit down and speak about whatever problem you have.
Speak!? The mans laughter was carried throughout the halls of the school. I do not wish to speak with you or Lady Teresa. I wish to merely bring you news from Rockaxe. Walter pushed himself from the doorway and moved to stand by Nina who was now standing. Both were anxious for what the man would say. Lord Freed Y has been removed from his position. If you do not want us to execute him, you will surrender the city. If not, well execute him and take the city by force.
What have the knights done about this!? Walters voice followed the same angry tone that Ninas had only moments before. Surely they are not allowing this to just happen!
The knights Theyre weak. Freed Y doesnt care about training knights. They surrendered to the people without much force. Well spare them, since it wasnt them we were after.
What on earth has angered you and the rest of Rockaxe to the point where you must overthrow your lord, do away with your defense units, and attempt to gain control of another city!? Ninas voice was calm, but worry and tears were held in her eyes.
Quite frankly, were tired of a leader who does nothing. Were tired of a leader who only follows what Lord Ethan does simply because the two are close friends. Lady Teresa is no better, either! A weak-minded woman, only interested in flaunting off her citys marvelous school! Well, the people of Rockaxe are tired of it! Were tired of being outcasted because of Teresa and her power-hungry views. And were tired of Rockaxe being weak. Before Freed Y was given control, Rockaxe was a powerful city and now, it has withered down to nothing but a shadow of what Greenhill is.
You cant speak with Lord Freed Y about this? Nina inquired.
Weve tried. All of us had. He wont hear a thing about it! The man moved towards the doorway. Two days, Miss. Nina. Well be here in two days.
Nina spent that evening alone. Walter had taken on the task of comforting and calming the secretary that the farmer from Rockaxe had first faced. The woman was nearly hysterical due to fear that the man had brought onto her. With the problem that now faced her, Nina felt that she might be the one to follow secretary into a hysterical fit of fear.
She laid awake under her two blankets for most of the evening, skipping her dinner and refusing to see anyone. She tried to sleep but she could not and when the large clock atop the school tower chimed one in the morning, she gave up her attempts at trying. It was worthless to think of sleeping when she knew that she could not and when she had much more important things to think about.
What on earth could she do? Walter had a messenger sent to the Valiance Castle to inform them of what happened but it wouldnt do any good. It was a day and a halfs journey to the Valiance and they simply did not have that kind of time. At least theyd know of what situation she was put in.
Teresa put me in charge Im going to fail her She said those two sentences to herself so many times. The words haunted her and hung over her ever since her options were given to her. What on earth am I do!? She finally yelled out her frusteration. Tears began to stream down her cheeks but she shook her head, trying to rid herself of them. Teresa wouldnt cry. She told herself. She would be thinking of a way to save her people.
Dont compare yourself to Teresa. Shes different than you. Older, much more mature. She agrued with herself for hours, not about what to do but actually making the decision. And she has more expierence. Shes been doing this for a long time, and she held up the city during the war
It struck her so suddenly that she cursed herself for not realizing it to begin with. Walter! She yelled as she dashed from her living chambers and down the short hallway to bang on his door. Wake up, you sleepy-head! Wake up, NOW!
Okay, okay, Nina! The grumpy cries of Walter followed her yelling and his disheveled appearence appeared as he swung the door open. What is it!? Do you know what time it is!? I know youre stressed out but youre only making it worse for all of us by depriving us of sleep!
Im being a fool, Walter! When she saw him arch a single brow in confusion, she continued. Ive been trying to figure out what Teresa would do and how she would handle the situation. And then I suddenly remembered what she did do! What worked out so perfectly the first time all of this happened!
Im still not following you, mdear. Walter leaned against the doorway, his eyes half open.
Remember when Highland took over Greenhill three years ago? And Lady Teresa went into hiding in the forest?
Yes. I dont suggest you try it. Theyll be expecting that to happen and
No. I dont plan on doing that! Im going to hand over the city!
What does that have anything to do with what Teresa would do? If you remember correctly, she didnt willingly hand over the city. It was taken from her and Shin.
Well, Lady Teresas main focus was not the city, but the people within the city. If they keep the people safe, and allow it to run in the same way, Ill hand it over. If they dont, then I wont.
Then what about Freed Y? Hed be facing an execution, then.
She bit her lower lip. Oh yes I forgot about that Well! At least I have half of our plan ready!
Good. Come up with the rest of it at an later hour. Ill be prepared for this excitement then. The door was shut, and the two both returned to their beds. Neither of them were able to sleep, however.
The two days past slowly and on the morning of the third day, Nina, Walter and the rest of the city of Greenhill were awoken by the sound of an army of men tramping down their street. Dragged along by the same man that appeared in Ninas offices two days earlier, was the poor Freed Y. When his appearence reached Nina, she could not help but feel a bit of pain and guilt tugging at her heart. Here was a wonderfully powerful man, who was usually well-respected wherever he went. Now, he was being dragged along by his own people, his clothing ripped and torn, his face unwashed for days, and his valor and pride completely striped from him.
Looking farther back into the crowd, Nina also saw Yoshino. Freeds wife was in the same condition as her husband was but instead of being dragged, the woman was shoved mercilessly along by a group of men who insulted her every step or so. It took much effort for Nina to keep the tears out of her eyes. She was determined not to let a single tear fall. If neither Freed Y nor Yoshino had the strength not to shed a single tear, than Nina felt that she didnt have the right to cry.
Miss. Nina! The man stopped. He grabbed Freed and pushed him onto his knees in front of him. You were given two days! The shouting brought people to their windows and into the streets. And now, we are here. We expect an answer now!
Nina carried herself from the school house and walked with her head held high down the street to meet the ragged, large man. Walter was only a step behind her. You gave us two days, sir. Her eyes met his as she approached him, but only for a moment. She quickly looked away and sent her attention towards Freed. The man looked up to her with pleading eyes. For a long, silent moment the two stared at one another but Nina eventually broke the stare. And that is all we need!
You came to a decision then? What is it?
We will agree to hand over the city She glanced around for a moment, grimacing at the fear she saw in the faces of those who watched. under three conditions!
You are in no position to make any deals, Miss. Nina. You might as well just stick with the offers we brought to you.
Hand over Lord Freed Y and his wife to us, safely, ensure the safety of the people of Greenhill and promise Lord Freed Y, Lady Yoshino, myself and my assistant will be allowed to leave the city without harm and the city shall be yours.
Silence befell the crowd. All eyes watched Nina and the man carefully. Im sorry, Miss. Nina. Each eye of a Greenhill citizen widened. I can only promise one of those: the safety of these people.
You wont even promise the part of the deal you brought along with you two days ago!? Walter broke in.
The deal was that we would not execute Freed Y. We shall not do that because he is still needed. A strong hand reached down to grab Freeds shoulder and pull him to a stand. As for you two, you shall not be allowed to leave this city, on your own anyway. Two men stepped forward, taking firm hold of both Nina and Walter. They roughly pulled their arms behind them and despite the fact that the two were struggling fiercely, they managed to tie their hands. Desperate green eyes turned to Freed, who was being pushed off to another man. She then saw both him and his wife fall limp in their capturers arms. A light grunt from behind her caused her to snap her head around, trying to see what had been done to Walter but she could not. Her own world had gone black.