The Lupine Saga 135

“Wait!” Va’il shouted as he came running through the door and towards the stage. As he did he looked around, and realized he had shouted before seeing just how many people were there. He had expected something, considering all the guards in the area outside that he had avoided, but it was still something incredible to him that he had stumbled into.

Va’il stopped when several guards appeared between him and the stage, the ones in the front rows. But before anyone could restrain him or instruct the guards as to what to do, a clear voice rang out with a simple question.

“Va’il?” Ruby asked. The guards looked back to see who had spoken, and then backed off slightly when they realized Ruby knew the intruder. Va’il looked around, his face showing shock and puzzlement.

“Ruby? What’s going on?” Va’il asked, still unsure, still wondering about why Darius had sent him. He walked past the guards, who were now unsure of whether they should stop Va’il any longer, considering he knew the bride they were there to guard.

Jane Melonscone, upon watching the whole commotion, looked furious. Her anger multiplied when Va’il, who was obviously not human, and was obviously an intruder, and had obviously interrupted her most important day, came face to face with Ruby. She could barely restrain herself.

“Vile interloper!” Jane said, barely holding back a scream.

“Mother, wait, please, I’ll take care of it. Just a bit, please, then it’ll be back to normal. I owe him a word, please,” Ruby said, pain in her voice. She knew that Va’il had just walked into a pit of lions, but she wasn’t going to let anything happen to him if she could help it. She knew her mother was furious, but she knew Jane would be restrained as long as it appeared the outcome would be unchanged. Jane didn’t say anything, and didn’t make another move. “Va’il, why are you here?”

Va’il nearly blurted out that Darius had told him to come, but Zeick’s words echoed in his mind. And he realized that he was in front of all the important people in Rising. He even noticed Jin near him. So he chose his words before responding to Ruby, though he tried to keep them relatively quiet so not too many people would hear.

“A person told me to come. To stop what’s happening. But why, what’s happening here?” Va’il asked.

“A person, Va’il? To stop this? To stop the wedding of Fidel’s son and I?”

“It’s, a wedding? Of you? And who?” Va’il asked. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t believe Ruby was in a wedding, and the other party was even more shocking.

“Of him,” Ruby said, and then pointed behind Va’il. Va’il slowly turned, and then noticed the white hair, the brown eyes, the youthful face, the immature stature, and the frown.

“Of me and her, you stupid lupus,” the boy said, speaking for the first time. “Now, I’ve restrained myself since you know my bride. As such, your life may still be spared if you realize the situation you are in, and if you take the appropriate action and make yourself scarce.”

“Are you truly Fidel’s son?” Va’il asked, unable to restrain himself. And for a moment, he was torn between happiness and sadness, hope and bitterness, relief and anger. But his own conflict would prove to be moot, he’d realize soon enough.

“Of course! Yes, I’ve had to be elsewhere for most of my life, a story the nation will hear soon enough, but I’m the heir to the throne, the son of Fidel,” the boy said haughtily.

“Then, please, when were you born?” Va’il asked. The boy stopped for a moment, but he was determined to answer, even if it was to what he thought was a stupid lupus asking silly questions, as he had to prove to the nation in front of him who he was without question. And he didn’t think giving away his birthdate would be harmful, since it would normally be useless information.

“The eighth day of the seventh month, of the year seven seventy-two, in our current fourth age, of course,” the boy said, and Va’il nodded in contemplation.

“Just a moment, then, please, first,” Va’il said, and then he turned around and faced Ruby again. She had a look of worry, one that Va’il understood too well. He smiled slightly, and then took a step towards her.

More than a few people were ready to shout and jump at Va’il for getting too close, but they, including Jane, restrained themselves. However, Jane did grip her light cane tightly, her rage only restrained by her curiosity. Va’il had asked a question that everyone had thought, but didn’t want to ask. Though they were all happy, there were still questions to be answered. More than that, Jane wondered about how Va’il knew Ruby. And then she realized a couple things, one inducing rage, and one furthering her curiosity. She recalled that Ruby was not alone the past year, a fact she had previously been willing to overlook.

The second thing Jane realized was one that made her take a step back. As she took another look at him, she realized that she knew Va’il, and that he was someone she hadn’t seen for a number of years, but still had a recollection of. His image was only recognizable to her because he had personally spoken with Fidel several years ago, and it did occur to her that Fidel had spoken to this boy words that no other person heard. Before she had just brushed it off as Fidel encouraging the child, but his appearance at this time made her stop, wait, and wonder. She couldn’t help but wait, now that she recognized him.

Va’il spoke in a whisper to Ruby, close enough and quietly enough so that only she could hear him. And though she knew that she should make him leave for his own safety, she couldn’t, not when he was here at a time she felt she needed him.

“Tell me, do you want to marry him?” Va’il asked her, and noticed her shoulders tense and shudder slightly. Ruby hadn’t wanted Va’il to ask. She feared that she’d tell him anything at that moment, whatever he asked. However, she was still mostly concerned with Va’il’s safety.

“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Please Va’il, you shouldn’t be here. You aren’t safe,” Ruby whispered in response.

“Don’t worry about that right now. First answer my question,” Va’il said.

“My answer doesn’t matter! Go. It won’t… it won’t change anything. It never will,” Ruby said, feeling like she was tearing herself in the process, hoping Va’il would run and prevent her from falling to shreds should anything happen to him.

“Ruby. No. Say what you want. Don’t be the lying Ruby. Tell me. Your knight, your chevalier, wants, no, needs to know the absolute truth,” Va’il said, his words chipping away at Ruby.

“The truth? The truth I’ll only whisper this once, and no more. Va’il, I can’t do anything about it. It’s been decided that I marry Fidel’s son. Fidel even wrote it! Even though, even though no, no I don’t want to be anywhere near that boy anymore. No Va’il, I don’t. This isn’t what I wanted. Knight, please, accept this last truth. Go, you understand now,” Ruby said, and then tried to shove Va’il away, weakly. But Va’il held his ground and spoke again, his words slow and filled with an emotion Ruby hadn’t heard out of him before.

“I’m sorry, then. You trusted me until now, Ruby. But I’ve lied to you. I’ve lied to you just as much as anyone else, more than anyone else you’ve ever known. I have to tell you two things. First, I still have an act as your knight to fulfill. And then there is the second issue.”

Va’il then backed off. He took a step back and looked at Ruby. He smiled lightly, with yet another look she’d never seen on him before. She looked him in the eye once, and then had to look away for a moment.

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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