The Return Chapter 1

Unexpected News

By Firstborn Dragon

"I still can’t see why you would rather tramp through the mud with us instead of sitting in your castle.."

This argument had gone on a number of time over the last year. Rudy, as usual, just listened. Since he knew that Cecilia’s stubbornness would hold out as long as Jack’s. To make matters worse, it was always the same words.

"Lonely. There’s no one there any more. To the people I’m a queen, to the soldiers a person to be protected, and obeyed. And to every one else I’m important. Only with you am I treated as an equal. Besides, the chancellor is very good at looking after things when I’m not there, and they always have a huge party when we go back." Cecilia’s usual reply.

"Well a princess really has no business…"

Rudy listened as Cecilia gave the same response she always did to that comment.

"I have two great body guards with me. Are you saying that you can’t deal with any would-be abductors?"

"This is the world’s best swordsman that your talking to. What do you mean there’s someone I can’t take?"

"Well it’s just the way your acting. There’s nothing to worry about. The kingdom…"

Rudy rolled his eyes. When would Jack learn that noting would come of this. The same points, day after day, week after week. For the last year he’d been listing to the same argument. But they never learned. Jack’s usual comment would come…

"Need you. I mean you’ve travel with us for over a year, and have nearly gotten killed more times than I can count. When there was a need I could see the reason, but now…"

Followed by Cecilia’s…

"Now these monsters have to be kept under control or they’ll start attacking cites. So there is a need…"

Then Jack’s…

"You don’t have to be the one to fight them. There are several other people who would for the excitement of it."

"Like me?"

Rudy knew what would happen next. Cecilia always got Jack with that statement. He was ready to throw his hands up in the air. True, the two were his friends, and one of the few who knew the trust about him. But why did they always have to argue about the same thing.

"Yes like….No not like you. Like Rudy and I. A war will not erupt…" Rudy finally got tired of listing to them. He knew that if he didn’t intervene, he’d soon regret it. A lot.

"We’ve nearly reached town. Maybe you should stop your argument for the night. And we can stay at the inn. My ARMs need reloading too."

"All right." They both agreed. They always did.

They both halted their argument. Rudy wasn’t quite sure how it had happened, but somehow he had become the leader. Perhaps, he thought, it was because Jack wouldn’t follow a girl, and Cecilia wouldn’t follow Jack because he’d just try and send her back to the castle.

They approached the port town. But as they entered, there was immediate evidence that something was wrong.

"Where is everybody? Last time we were here it was a thriving port town. Now it look deserted." Cecilia asked, looking around puzzled.

"Everyone’s inside. I know."

"How do you know Rudy?"

"You forget what I am Cecilia. I can hear them."

Jack said nothing. He just shrugged.

The three entered the inn.

"Hello?" Rudy called out as he entered.

A timid voice replied from behind the counter. "W-w-w-who’s there?"

"Just some travelers." Rudy took the lead. He knew that with a puzzle before them, neither Jack, nor Cecilia would attempt to break out into the old argument. Or so he hoped. Still better not to take that chance.

"A-a-are you w-w-w-with the M-m-m-monster?" The voice asked, but there was still no body to go with the voice.

Jack immediately looked a lot more interested. He took over from Rudy.

"What monster?"

"The one with green hair who comes every night. He threatens to destroy the town." A man slowly stood up from behind the bar. Jack had an unreadable look on his face. Then he spoke again. "This monster with the green hair doesn’t happen to carry a sword, and claim to be the greatest swordsman, or perhaps the grim reaper’s side kick, dose he?"

"Jack what are you talking about?" Rudy looked at him puzzled.

"I’m surprised you don’t remember Rudy. It was about a year ago, outside Saint Centur? I sure do. It was you’re fault." Jack had a sudden I-told-ya-so look on his face.

"No. It couldn’t be could it?" Rudy suddenly figured out who he was referring to. And he didn’t like it.

"Well how many other warriors with green hair do you know?" Jack still had that look on his face.

"One question Jack. Why now? If he wanted power he could have taken it a lot easier after the war. And that ended over a year ago." Rudy threw that question at him, trying to nock the expression off of Jack’s face.

It was at this point that the inn keeper made his appearance. Cecilia was still watching the two warriors disuse the city’s attacker.

"You mean you know this creature?" He clearly appeared puzzled.

Rudy shrugged. "Well we thought we did. I’m not so sure anymore."

Jack shook his head. "I told you this would happen when you first suggest that we let him go Rudy. Since we didn’t end it then, we should end it now."

Rudy was getting desperate. So long as Zed was alive, he wasn’t quite so alone. "Jack we don’t know why he’s changed."

"But he has. Listen Rudy. Remember what we were told once a…." Jack didn’t notice the sudden look of fear on Rudy’s face.

Cecilia cut him off. "Sir. Is there a place where we may discuse a few things in private?"

"Yes miss. Only 10 coins a night."

"O.K." Cecilia handed the man the coins, and the three when upstairs. Once they were up, Cecilia turned to Jack. "O.K. Jack. Now you may continue."

"Why did you want us alone?" Jack was puzzled by this action. Cecilia, glad to have the upper hand for once, answered. "Do you really want the people to know the truth about Zed, assuming that he’s the one causing the trouble." Cecilia, glad to have the upper hand for once, answered.

Jack shruged. "I suppose you right. As for what I was saying, remeber how we were told "Once a demond, always a demond"? Well apparently it’s true."

Rudy looked up at Jack, suddenly feeling betrayed. "If it were always true, then what about me Jack? Are you saying I’ll suddenly go crazy and start distroying towns?"

Jack suddenly realised his error. "No, that’s not what I mean. Besides, you’re different from them."

Rudy walked up to Jack, and looked him strait in the face. "At times it’s easy to forget that. Perhaps that’s why I see this situation diffrently then you do."

Jack suddenly became a little concerned. "Well that dosen’t matter now. What matters now is that….."

But Rudy cut Jack off. "I have to resolve this. It was my fault I made the final disition to let him go, I’ll end this."

Cecilia knew how hard this would be for Rudy. She wasn’t about to make him do it alone. "No. We’ll do it together. I’m sure Jack would hate to miss this. Agreed?"

Jack nodded. "Agreed."

Rudy took a bit longer to agree. "Fine."

Rudy went downstairs, his bag of ARMs on his sholder. And the wating began.


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