With Cleetus and his ruffian help taken care of, the patrons of Boar’s Head begin to collect themselves to resume their quiet morning meal.
“I apologize for me nephew, Sir Knight. He may not be the smartest cattle in the herd but he’s a good boy,” said Agnes.
“Ah, don’t worry about it. Besides, he kills the boredom,” Ecks says.
Agnes laughs at the young knight’s humor. “I ‘ave tae agree with yeh there,” she says. “I tell yeh what, since meh nephew has caused yeh so much trouble, how about I give yeh and yer girlfriend one night’s stay and a day’s meal—free of charge?”
“We just work together, that’s all. But I’ll take you up on that offer. Speaking of which,” said Ecks. Then he calls over to his partner, “Yo, Willow, we’re going.”
Willow downs the rest of her recent refill and sighs with content. She looks back the bartender with flushed cheeks and a wide grin. “Tee-hee, thanks for your service. It was really good,” she said with a giggle. “Bye-ee.” With that, she hops off the bar and trots merrily over to Ecks. The middle-aged bartender watches the young lady bounce away. The woman next to him stabs at the man with her eyes. Then she pulls out an iron skillet from the cupboard behind her.
A loud clang rings out just as Willow reaches Ecks’ side. “So what’s up?” she says.
“Agnes here just gave us room and board for free for a night and we have Cleetus to thank for it,” Ecks answered.
“Oh, how nice, thank you,” smiled Willow.
“It’s the least I can do after Cleetus gave yeh such a hard time. And besides,” Agnes steps toward Willow and grabs hold of her bosom. “You’ll get a chance to get more acquainted with this lovely young thing right here,” the stout woman giggled playfully while jostling Willow’s chest.
Ecks sighs heavily. “We just work together; that’s all.”
“Aye, like you haven’t had the chance to pet these hush puppies,” Agnes said teasingly, patting Willow on her bosom. Then she says to Willow, “Has he dearie?”
Willow responds. “No, he hasn’t, though I keep offering,” she teased with a giggle.
Ecks crosses his arms with a huff, “Whatever.” He didn’t have time to figure out whether this was Willow just being herself or the ale talking. They had to get back to Arcana Castle and along the way, sober up Willow. Ecks, knowing how his partner is when she inebriated, makes for the exit, grabbing Willow as he went pass. “C’mon,” he said.
“Whoop, gotta go. C’ya Aggie!” Willow sang as she is led out the door.
“Hold on to that one dearie, he’s a tough one!” Agnes called back.
“We just work together!” Ecks called back in protest.
Outside Ecks gently leads Willow to his cycle. It’s an elaborate trike, a three wheeled motorcycle, white with chrome accents, angle-cut fenders over the rear tires, and the front fender crafted into the shape of a shield bearing the Arcana crest. It rolled along on huge tires, specially designed for all terrain. Most of the Knights still use horses to travel but Ecks is part of a select few who use motorized transport. Plus, he had already tried riding horses. Several falls helped with his decision to have his own custom built vehicle.
Ecks helps Willow onto his trike, which he named Serenity. Willow slips back and begins giggling but Ecks is quick to catch her. Not only are they now late to rendezvous with Willow’s sister but Ecks has to find a way to sober Willow up before meeting her sibling. He helps her onto Serenity and he hops on afterward. The young Knight removes his shotguns from his back and slips them into the holsters built onto the sides of his trike. The names Grace and Glory are embroidered on the right and left holster respectively. Turning the key, Serenity rumbles to life. Ecks revs her up a couple times to make sure she is fully awake. Once Serenity was fully aroused, she thunders out of Syrus for Arcana Castle.
Ecks drives Serenity along an old goat pass after merging left at the fork some distance back. The road is extremely rough but he knows his trike can handle it. In fact, he revs the throttle for more speed. Willow held on tight to Ecks as Serenity is jostled by many the divots and bumps that line the road.
“You wanted to take this road just so you feel me bounce against you,” she says with a giggle.
“Look, this is quicker than taking the main road. You know how your sister is with time. Besides, you bounce enough on your own,” Ecks said back.
“Aw c’mon, you like it,” Willow teased.
Ecks ignores the comment and focuses on meeting up with Willow’s sister who is very punctual with time. He also remembers what she said to him before they set out to find the newly discovered relic they now possess. Do not let Willow drink too much ale. With that in mind, he has to find a way to sober her up enough so her sister doesn’t get too upset, which means she’ll actually think before meting out punishment. Ecks drives over a large divot that causes Serenity to bounce high.
“Uh, Ecks, can you slow down a bit? I’m starting to not feel well,” Willow asked. Bouncing along the goat pass combined with too much ale and Danishes is beginning to make her ill. Hearing the news sparks something in Ecks’s mind. He may have found a way to not only get Willow to sober up but also make the rendezvous in enough time to keep her sister’s temper to a minimum. Coming up on another fork, Ecks veers right, going off the goat pass. Willow becomes concerned. “Ecks, where are we going? I thought you said the goat pass was a quicker way,” she says.
“It is, but this way’s more fun,” said Ecks. The road he has taken is far rougher than the goat pass. It is a road with sharp turns and winding twists as well as a couple of large drops. It had served once as a hidden trade route between the towns and the kingdom of Arcana before its use was restricted due the enemy ambushes upon merchants bringing supplies to the land. The path hasn’t been used since. Ecks reaches a steep drop that leads to a ravine a few hundred yards ahead. The remnants of a bridge sit on either side of it. With a brimming smile, Ecks revs the engine and accelerates.
“Ecks, what are you doing?” Willow asked. Ecks chuckles lightly as he coaxes Serenity to pick up the pace. With the ravine growing closer, so does Willow’s frightened curiosity. “Y-You do realize that bridge is gone…r-right?”
Serenity increases her speed further with Ecks’s beckoning.
Willow wraps her arms tighter around her partner. “Ecks?” The ravine draws ever closer, further deepening her worry. “Ecks?” she says with a whine. One turn of the throttle coupled with a steep decline dramatically brought the ruined bridge to view. Squeezing Ecks tightly, Willow cries out as Serenity screams toward the gaping, water carved canyon.
The kingdom of Arcana sits in an enormous hollow basin and at its center stood the symbol of virtue, strength and just—Arcana Castle, home of the White Sage and his protectors the Arcana Knights. It is a beautiful and elaborate totem of architecture. A fairytale structure built on the imaginings of the skillful architects and artisans who conceived its design. There are only a few kingdoms that can match Arcana Castle and the beauty of its surrounding lands. Surrounding those lands is a great wall that was constructed soon after the war with the Dark Priest Carnello had ended. The area inside the wall serves as an expensive courtyard that also serves as the training grounds for new recruits.
Just outside the gate of the wall stood two people—both female. The one female is dressed in a black and red outfit similar to Willow except her shirt is red satin. Her almond hair was up in pig tails with the bulk of it draped just below her shoulders. A pair of glasses framed her young freckled face, giving her a studious appearance. The other woman towered above her small frame. The armor she wore was tailored to suit her. She wore only shoulder guards, gauntlets, greaves, and a breastplate, which was cut to show her full cleavage. Her long golden locks shined in the mid-morning sun. Shimmering strands of her hair fluttered in the light breeze along with the white satin skirts that hung from her waist. On her breastplate just above her left bosom is the same blue and black crest with the ruby star cross that Ecks has.
The female Arcana Knight gazes intently at the main road leading to the castle that runs through the surrounding forest. She has been standing for some time and her patience is growing thin. Her heavy bosom lifts and drops as she sighs heavily with contempt. “They’re late,” she says, crossing her arms.
“I’m sure they’re on their way, Milady,” said the almond haired girl. No sooner than when she finish her sentence that a gust of wind suddenly blow from behind them. She fights to hold down her skirt while the female Knight keeps her resolve and stands firm. Just as unexpectedly as it appeared, the wind dies down. Blinking, she looks up at her statuesque companion.
“They have five minutes,” said the woman Knight.
Milady is really upset. The almond haired girl turns her eyes toward the forest and the road that runs from it. Concern shows on her freckled face.
(Click HERE to check out my first fan fiction “Dante vs. Bayonetta!!” And have a look at my novel Defenders!! Volume 1 is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Xlibris!! Volume 2 coming soon!!* Also check out my other fan fiction “Kratos vs. Asura!!”)