Alma stampeded across the room with her furious claws in the air, venting her anger with an urge to pull at her honey blonde hair.
"Calm down, Alma." Said Ovelia though she knew full well that no word could enter Alma's head while her anger was at its peak.
"Calm Down?! At this moment, I am incapable of calm!! I feel like I'm going insane! He's ten times...no...one thousand times worst then Recon!!"
For the past few days, since Agrias's arrival, Alma felt like she had been placed into a cage of solid platinum. The knight had already caught her twice hiding in Ovelia's closet, three times under the bed in an attempt to skip classes, five times in her friend's room for a sleep over which was suppose to be prohibited and finally another two times during her nightly raids to the kitchen for desserts. Whenever she did something that was "inappropriate", he would be right around the corner as if waiting and being found in such places was not the most flattering thing.
" 'Lady Alma, go to class, Lady Alma, that's highly inappropriate, Lady Alma, blah blah blah'" she mocked. "Talk about attitude problem."
"You're just mad because he found you every time."
"No. I'm mad because he's an arrogant, conceited, antisocial, snobbish, weak little, stuck-up, idiotic loser who thinks he's all that!"
"Agrias is not arrogant or any of the things you said." blurted Ovelia, surprised by her own response. "He's just quiet by nature, that's all."
Alma's eyebrow rose in doubt and suspicion; her friend was actually defending the culprit of her anger and humility instead of herself.
"So, you're taking his side?"
"No, I'm not!" replied Ovelia defensively.
The slight embarrassment confirmed Alma's suspicion and, leaning closer with a twisted smile, she decided to share a little observation.
"You like him, don't you."
The princess immediately blushed.
"No, I don't!! I'm just saying that you shouldn't judge him so harshly. He's just doing his duty and think about it; among all the times he had found you, not once did Agrias report you to Ophion."
"You're blushing! You do like him!"
Alma was smiling triumphantly while poking suggestively at her friend's bright red cheeks.
"No, I don't!" denied Ovelia and it was true. The idea sounded absurd and not once did it cross her mind. She was only preventing Alma from being prejudice against the aloof knight. He may be quiet but her instincts told her that Agrias was a nice person inside but a little shy towards strangers.
"Ovelia's in Love! L-O-V-E !!Love!"
"Shut up! The whole world can hear you!!"
Ovelia made a grab for the pillow behind her and threw it roughly at Alma. Dodging it, her friend got up from the bed and continued her chant.
"Ovelia and Agrias sitting on a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
Just as Alma was about to tease her friend further about her little crush, a set of knockings interrupted her.
"I wonder who that can be." Grumbled the youngest Beoulve as she stopped to open the door.
"Lady Alma, it's time for--"
"Time for me to go back to my room and sleep even though I'm not even sleepy but still sleep since it's part of my duty." cutted Alma, with a hand waving in exasperation and sarcasm.
With her arms wide beside her, she purposely barged through Agrias even though there was enough room without contact. The knight blinked, as if confused, then turned his attention to the person inside. Their eyes met briefly and Ovelia blushed. She felt self-conscious after Alma's teasing, but not seeming to notice, Agrias bowed indifferently and left, leaving the princess to her feelings. Her whole being immediately relaxed and she slumped sluggishly onto her bed.
'Do-Do I really like him?'
Undeniably, Agrias was incredibly handsome and she had already caught herself staring at him quite a few times but aside from his appearance she knew nothing about him. How could she be in love not knowing anything about that person? That would be shallow.
'My extra attention towards him is probably just curiosity. Nothing more.'
But such assurance did nothing to keep the image of Agrias from lingering in her mind. She thrashed restlessly, crumpling the silk sheets underneath her but sleep will not come.
After much tossing and turning, Ovelia gave up and jumped to her feet for a walk. She opened the door but surprised to find neither Agrias nor one of her apprentices here. It had been a while since she had some time alone and Ovelia gratefully snuck into the open halls.
'Another eventless day.' Signed the princess.
Even though the monastery looked different compared to the day, the change was still familiar...too familiar. Every painting, every decoration was beautiful but sickeningly the same since the first day she came. Will they be the same until the day she died? The thought shook her entire being and Ovelia frighteningly dismissed it as she continued to wander aimlessly.
Suddenly, something grabbed her shoulders and Ovelia jumped back in fear as a shock of panic hit into her.
The princess let lose the breath she held and her body relaxed from the recognition.
"Alma! Don't scare me like that!"
The young Beoulve had a large grin across her face and that was more then enough to provoke a playful chase for revenge. As the two girls ran through the halls, an unfamiliar sound rang quietly and all sorts of possibility triggered their teenage imagination. With perked curiosity, they ventured towards the source with clumsy stealth, pretending that they were ninjas and their little mission led them to the garden where the disturbance blasted at full volume.
There he was, sword at hand, looking cautiously into the night. Alicia and Lavian were with him, their weapons unsheathed as well. Alma and Ovelia hid themselves just behind the entrance to watch their late night practice however, it turned out that others were also there for "practice".
A black figure flew towards an unsuspecting Lavian but luckily, Agrias got there in time and slashed down the attacker.
Alma let out an involuntary scream as the body fell to the ground, bawling agonizingly. Ovelia clung to her friend in fear, too stunned to make a sound.
'Princess, Lady Alma?!'
The additional presence was immediately noticed as shurikens flew towards the startled ladies. Rushing like mad, Agrias blocked off the attack and was now standing in front of her charges, protectively.
"Alicia, Lavian, circle formation!"
They obeyed their captain's command, turning around in confusion to what the vague meaning of "circle formation" appeared to be. After some fretting, her apprentices smashed directly into each other, toppling over.
Agrias grunted in frustration, regretting to even try to rely on those two ditz. A few more sharp objects whizzed into the air, cutting into her left thigh as she blocked off two. The dark hid the assassins well, working in accord with their throwing abilities. Worse yet, moving was not an option due to she her charges' unexpected appearance.
A black shadow accompanied by a few more shurikens flashed across her eyes and she could feel a few more cuts as she parried off a blow. Alicia and Lavian finally managed to untangle themselves, but two figures suddenly emerged in front of them, striking hard with their knives. The knights clumsily bought their swords up to defend themselves but the impact sent them both falling backwards into a well.
Outnumbering the lonesome knight, a total of five ninjas came into view beneath the dim light of candles, inching slowly to savour their advantage.
"That wasn't much of a fight." One of them commented.
The other four laughed revoltingly to show their agreement.
"Surrender or face the consequence." Demanded Agrias despite her outnumbered state.
"Trying to play the hero? You're in no place to command us."
Agrias didn't bother to reply.
Even under such intimidation, their remaining prey kept a straight face and this aggravated them endlessly, determined to finish 'him'. However, reckless impulse was never her style.
'Closer...just a little more' thought Agrias calmly.
And they were about to pay dearly for their arrogance as they came in range. Summoning her powers, the blade shone blindingly. The sudden exposure to light stalled any moments as the assassins brought their hands up to shield their eyes, buying her enough time to finish the summon.
"Life is Short...Bury! Stasis Sword!"
A sudden chill bit into the air and large pieces of ice formed just above the uninvited visitors. With rapid speed, the large fragments fell ruthlessly upon its targets and holy energy invaded the front two intruder's bodies.
The expression on each of their faces changed dramatically, eyes wide in fear. It was a risky move but Agrias took advantage of their bewilderment and darted towards the left one. With one efficient and powerful stroke, the blade sliced through armour and guts with ease. Recovering from the shock, the remaining intruders noticed the unattended targets and charged with full force. She had expected this and immediately worked her mind and body into another Holy attack.
The attack got to them in time but due to the quick summon, it was much weaker, leaving them only half dead. Agrias immediately ran back to her charges and brought her sword to the trespassers' open throats.
"Who sent you?" She demanded, her blade supporting their weak chins.
"Do-Don't kill me!" one of them immediately pleaded. The Holy knight could visibly see him shake and his accomplice glared at him with hatred.
He looked like he was about to talk, but before she could question them further, the ninja pushed the trembling neck into the knight's blade and almost triumphantly bit into his tongue. Agrias was taken back by the rash act as blood seeped from his mask, colouring the black cloth which hid his face red. She shook him by the shoulder for any sign of life but his pupils were already wide and dead. The knight uncaringly dropped his body to the ground then turned around for the usual procedures.
"Are you injured, your highness?"
She purposely had her back before the bodies to keep the bloody sight away from the frightened ladies.
Neither of them answered. They have always craved for something new and unexpected but this was beyond their imagination. The princess looked almost as if she was on the verge of tears and Agrias silently awaited her wrath. Instead, Ovelia only pointed gingerly at the cuts on her thigh and left arm.
"You-you're bleeding, Agrias!"
No contempt for incompetence, no screams of annoyance.
"I'm fine." She replied.
"Are you sure?" swallowed Alma, her face squinting with pain at the cuts.
The princess nodded while the look of worry never left the young Beoulve. Their anxiety for such minor wounds baffled the knight. Are they not mad? She just had them scared half death and all these two girls fussed about was those little cuts. If this was Ruvelia, she might have even asked her for her head by now.
"Helllooo~~ Captain, are you up there? We're kind of still stuck down here!!"
Alicia and Lavian's pleas from the well interrupted the knight's thoughts as the priest of the church made his way to the scene. He didn't say anything but one thing for sure, he was not happy.
to be continued...