Arcana X 1st Assignment: Gunslinger Swordsman Ch.2 Pt.1

Arcana X title

In the forest a short distance from the ravine they just jumped, Serenity purrs her engine softly as Ecks reclined in the seat. Staring up into the canopy above, he takes a moment to clear his mind of the last assignment. He takes out from the small satchel on his waist a golden ring. Holding it up, he examines it wondering if it was worth the trouble he went through to get it. There was nothing special about it. No jewels. No decoration of any kind. It is just as simple gold trinket. Ecks places the ring and sits up, realizing how much time has just been wasted. They were behind meeting with Willow’s sister who, as he undoubtedly knows, is growing increasingly impatient.

“Are you done yet?” he says after a heavy sigh.

Willow was kneeling behind a large tree across from Ecks and Serenity. She had gotten ill immediately after their death-defying jump across the ravine. The wild ride her partner took her on may’ve been too much for her. Or maybe it was the six mugs of ale and a plate full of danishes that is the cause of her illness. After one final retch, she stands using the large tree to steady herself. “I…think that’s all of it,” she replies.

“It better be because if it isn’t, you’re scrubbing my bike, right down to the wheel wells,” Ecks says pointing a finger.
Willow staggers over to him. With the fruity pastries out of her system, the effects of the ale become more apparent. Her body was a noodle, loose and flimsy. She swaggered like a new born deer taking its first steps. The world around her grows hazy. Ecks and Serenity appear to be bobbing as if they were in the ocean though are standing perfectly still. A smile draws across her flushed, hazy face. Ecks sighs and shakes his head as his inebriated partner stumbles onto the bike and flops on his back. Willow snakes her spaghetti arms around Ecks’s waist and rests her chin on his shoulder. Ecks looks over his right shoulder to see her grinning like a child. She squeezes him tighter, rubbing her bosom against his back. With a roll of his eyes, Ecks sighs. “Your sister is gonna kill me.” He grimly turns the throttle.

The female Knight of Arcana gazes fiercely into the forest. Her eyes are like daggers; they could strip those trees bare if she willed it so. What remained of her patience is nearly depleted as she continues to wait for her rendezvous. Her young subordinate stands at her side with a worried expression. Her concern is for the ones who have upset her ladyship. A moment passes. They hear the sound of an approaching vehicle.

Ecks drives Serenity down the main road to Arcana Castle with Willow still pressed firmly against his back. He sees the two women—and the scowled expression of the female Knight. Oh boy, she’s pissed. He knows Willow’s sister too well.
Narrowing her eyes, Willow’s sister—the female Knight of Arcana—calls upon a powerful gust of wind and directs toward Ecks, stopping Serenity in her tracks. Ecks revs the engine to keep from being blown away. “Aw man, she’s really pissed!” he says straining to keep his eyes open.

“Ahh, what a gentle breeze,” Willow said with a content sigh, oblivious to her sister’s anger.

Serenity’s tires grind into the dirt as the relentless gale wind threatens to cast her passengers like boulders launched from a catapult. Ecks revs the engine as the winds become stronger. Being late has seriously upset Willow’s sister.

“Lady Beatrice, please!” pleaded her subordinate.

Beatrice, Willow’s sister, looks at the worried expression on the young girl’s face. She sighs softly and lightens her gaze. The gust she conjured up dies down. However, Ecks still has Serenity revved high and he begins barreling towards the two women. Split second reaction has him gripping the brake tightly and whipping his trike around. The treads dig into the dirt as Serenity’s rear right tire stops just a few inches from the lady Knight’s toes. Beatrice looks down on Ecks and her sister. “You’re late,” she says firmly.

“Don’cha you think over reacted a little. It could have been no more than five minutes,” Ecks said dismounting from his trike.

“Eight minutes,” Beatrice was quick to correct.

“Seriously?”

“Be glad it wasn’t ten minutes,” Beatrice’s subordinate calmly shot at him.

“Thank you Amanda,” Ecks sarcastically replied.

Beatrice says, “At any rate, you and my sister are back safely. That’s what is important.”

Just then Willow joyfully chimes out, “Hi sis—whoa!” Waving her arm combined with her drunken state resulted in a loss of balance as she falls to the ground. However, she quickly recovers and gets to her feet. “I’m ok,” she says grinning.
Beatrice senses something odd about her younger sister’s behavior and leans in close to her. Sniffing, she gets a whiff of ale. “Is that ale I smell?” she asks, frowning.

Remembering how Beatrice reacted for the eight minute delay, Ecks is fearful of how she’ll be if she finds that he allowed Willow to get drunk again. Her cardinal rule to him was to not allow her sister to drink and to stop her if she does. Sadly, every time the situation arrives, recently, there is always someone trying to kill him especially Cleetus Claymore whom he left to the fate of his aunt and cousin earlier today. Unfortunately, Beatrice found out all those times before which ended with him avoiding the shockwave of her explosive temper. But as always, Ecks regarded her the same way as he would anyone else—with sarcastic charm.

“Yeah, I got into a fight at the pub and someone spilled some on me. And you won’t guess who it was—” Ecks spoke light-heatedly but his hopes of defusing Beatrice’s frustration are shot down as the Lady Knight strolled by him and approached her sister.

Beatrice leans in close to her sister Willow who grins back childishly. She asks her, “How many?” The smell of ale permeated her nose. She knows her sister can drink a considerable deal of ale. There have been times when Willow has drunken herself into a stupor, barely remembering who Beatrice is or even her own name. But there have been more times when Willow has arrived before her like she is now—a bright, hazy smile drawn across her face like a fool faced child. The irony is her little sister’s consumption of ale has reduced since she has been teamed with Ecks for the past two years.

Willow looks at her older sister. Her face swayed back and forth in an unsteady rhythm when in fact she is one moving. Her eyes soon drifted down to Beatrice’s large bosom where they fixed into place. Eyes growing, she says in awe, “Oh wow, I never noticed how big they are!”

Blinking, Beatrice looks at Willow oddly. She wondered what her sister’s unpredictable mind is thinking. Before she could begin to figure that out, Willow suddenly throws herself at her, nuzzling her head in her bust. This act shocked and surprised Beatrice. “Willamina?!”

“Ahh, they’re like two satin pillows,” Willow says with content, rubbing her cheek against the exposed flesh of her sister’s breasts.

“You’re the one with the huge boobs,” Ecks casually shot at her.

Beatrice’s face immediately turned red. “Y-You! How dare you! Avert your eyes this instant! This is your fault for allowing her to drink!” she snapped, waving a finger at Ecks.

Ecks shrugs his shoulders and says, “Don’t look at me. I told her to stop.”

“I asked you to do one simple task: don’t allow my sister to drink! This is the fifth time you let this happen!”

During Beatrice’s outburst, Willow lifts her head from her cleavage. “You know, my boobs aren’t as big as yours,” she mused. The child-like attitude had disappeared. She stands up fully. Then, one by one, she undoes the laces of her bodice until her bare bust is exposed. “See, mine are pretty big but not huge like yours, Betty,” she says calmly.

Willow’s action is a shock to Beatrice and Amanda. “Miss Willow, please pull your dress up!” said Amanda who was red in the face from stark embarrassment.

Ecks drops his head into his hand, shaking it shamefully. He knows all too well what his partner is like when she’s like this. “She’s going to regret that,” he says, referring to what Amanda had just said.

Willow looks upon her sister’s young subordinate with a relaxed gaze. Her eyes drifted as she tried to focus in on her. She can scarcely make out the almond hair and glasses that framed her youthful round face. She stares at Amanda a moment longer before the childish demeanor returns and she smiling like a child on Christmas morning. “Okay!” she beamed brightly. Willow quickly does up her top, much to her sister and Amanda’s relief. However, that moment is short lived when she reaches down and lifts her skirt and says, “Ta-da!!”

Amanda and Beatrice’s jaws drop at Willow’s intoxicated indecency. Ecks, on the other hand, simply turned his back, reminded of that time in Boyer Village.

Once the shock passes, Beatrice collects herself. “Willamina Ashcroft, stop being a spectacle and straighten yourself out this instant!” she said sternly. She was red in the face with embarrassment. Thankfully none of the other Knights were around to witness her younger sister’s behavior. Willow soon stops her laughter. Pouting, she obeys her older sibling and drops her shirt and reties her bodice all the while tears begin to form in her eyes and her lip begins to quiver. Seeing her sister squeezing her face and knowing what is about to come, Beatrice desperately tries to calm her down. “Willow wait, just calm down, alright? I didn’t mean t—” she pleads, waving her hands in a feeble attempt to relax her.
But it was too late. Squeezing her eyes hard, Willow bursts out crying.

“Well now you’ve done it,” Ecks shot at her casually.

“Me?! This is your fault! If you had done like I asked, my sister would not be in this state!” Beatrice yelled back.

“Lady Beatrice please, you must calm down. Yelling is only making the situation worse,” Amanda pleaded. Beatrice looks at her subordinate and then at her whining sister. Amanda is right. She’ll have time to scold Ecks later; right now she has to tend to her sister.

Taking deep breath, she relaxes enough to be able to calm Willow. She issues a final warning to Ecks. “We’ll discuss this later.”

“My office or yours?” Ecks quipped.

Beatrice scoffs and rolls her eyes. She should’ve known exactly how he would respond. She approaches her sister whose outburst crying has quieted down to loud whining. Beatrice is known for her sternness as a Knight of Arcana which has generated respect. However, when it came to Willow she was just a like any other big sister—kind, caring and gentle towards her younger sibling. “Willow, honey, it is okay, I’m not mad at you,” she says with a warming smile.

Sniffling, Willow brings her whining to a quiet whimper. “But…you yelled at me,” she said in between sniffles.

“I’m sorry for yelling.” Beatrice rests her hands on her sister’s shoulders and gives her a reassuring smile. “Tell you what, how about I have Amanda draw up a bath and you and I can bathe together, okay? We can have a little sisterly quality time, alright?”

“Okay,” Willow replied, wiping her eyes. “Can Mandy join us?”

“Of course she can.”

“Uh, Lady Beatrice, I—” Amanda started to protest until Beatrice reminded her of her place.

“Of course if Mandy doesn’t join us as per my sister’s request, she just might find herself cleaning the stables,” Beatrice then looks at Amanda with a beguiling smile which the Lady Knight’s subordinate knows all too well. “Without the aid of a shovel or barrel,” said Beatrice, finishing her treat. “Right, Mandy?”

“A-As you wish, Milady,” Amanda responded, knowing full-well to not question her superior.

Willow, upon hearing Amanda’s agreement, leaps at the young woman and hugs her tightly. “We’re gonna have a good time Mandy. Hey, it’s been a while we bathed together. How long’s it been?”

Amanda sighs. Willow tends to babble when she is intoxicated and Amanda ends up being the one with the open ears. She deals with her superior’s sibling the same as she would even if she isn’t intoxicated—with respect. “It’s been two days, Miss Willow,” she replies.

“Two days, really? We should bathe together more often, you know. You’ve got a really nice rack. Maybe not as wonderful as mine or Betty’s but still, you have a nice set. You should show ‘em off more often, you know. You just might land a guy—ooh, what about Edward, that lieutenant you have a cru—,” Willow says patting Amanda on her bosom.

Amanda quickly spins Willow around and guides her toward the castle. “Ok Miss Willow, how about I draw us that bath, okay?” Willow continued to babble incoherently, jumping from one subject to the next. Beatrice follows behind them.

Ecks stays back a bit and then shakes his head and laughs. “Looks like Beatrice is getting soft in her old age,” he says. Beatrice is known for her sternness but she is known more for her temper. Before, she would have laid Ecks flat on his back without as much as a second thought. When he first was partnered with Willow, Beatrice voiced her displeasure and dislike of Ecks. She treated him like a peasant rather than a lieutenant ranked Knight for more than the first year of their partnership. He recalls the first time he and Willow came back from their first assignment and Willow was drunk, and how her sister nearly beat him to within an inch of his life. Over time, he has managed to warm up to Beatrice. After witnessing his skills first hand, Beatrice has learned to respect him though she will never admit it. Hopping on Serenity, he revs her engine and slowly drives her through the castle gates and into the courtyard.

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