With the matter of Bultus over, Beatrice returns her attention to her sister who is gently rubbing her cheek against Amanda’s bust with a wide grin drawn across her face. She sighs and shakes her head while chuckling softly, finding Willow’s action to be a bit shameful yet adorable at the same time. “Amanda, take my sister to my chambers and draw her bath. I’ll be up shortly,” she says.
“Yes, Milady,” replied Amanda. She then guides a still intoxicated Willow toward the grand staircase. A couple times she informs Willow the difficulty of walking with her face buried in her bosom. Willow gives Amanda one more squeeze before playfully leaping onto her back and wrapping her arm around the almond haired girl’s petite yet buxom frame, giggling like a giddy school girl. “Ah! Miss Willow, you’re…too heavy,” Amanda said, straining to support her and Willow’s weight. Willow just giggles and squeezes her tighter. Amanda whines softly, knowing there will be no way of getting Willow off her back. She slowly makes the trek up the stairs with the intoxicated blonde repeatedly squeezing her bosom.
“You might want to inform the infirmary to send someone for Amanda,” Ecks said after hearing Amanda plea to Willow again from the hall at the top of the grand staircase.
Beatrice laughs lightly and says, “Don’t think you’re getting off that easy. I’m still not happy with you allowing my sister to drink. However, I’ll give your credit. At least she isn’t as bad as last time.”
“And here I thought you didn’t like me,” Ecks says with a brimming smile.
“Careful Lieutenant, I just might change my mind,” says Beatrice. “Now get the Relic to His Grace.”
“As you wish, Milady,” Ecks replies with his usual charismatic charm. He makes his way back toward the main entrance and heads down the left corridor.
Beatrice smiles and shakes her head. No matter how much he infuriates her, Ecks seems to be the only person she can’t stay mad at for long. There is something about his demeanor that puts her at ease. True, she is upset with him whenever he brings Willow back drunk. But for some reason his light-hearted approach to the situation calms her. She couldn’t explain it. Ecks is brash and can be insubordinate at times; however, he does complete his assignments and keeps Willow safe. He exhibits an aura that makes him easily approachable which has led to him being well-liked amongst his peers. Beatrice and Ecks had a rocky start when he was first partnered with her sister Willow. Over time, she has come to respect him as a fellow Knight.
“Ow, Miss Willow, please, you squeezing too hard! Lady Beatrice, please hurry up!!” Amanda’s cries came from the second floor corridor.
“I better get up there,” Beatrice says with a sigh. For a moment, her mind flickers back to another time when Willow was intoxicated. Willow leapt onto her back and squeezed her chest firmly. Beatrice reflectively rubs her bosom, remembering the week it took for the pain to completely subside. She heads up the stairs to save Amanda from the same fate.
Walking down a long spiraling staircase, Ecks makes his way to the castle’s lower level. At the bottom, he meets up with a young female knight dressed in armor similar to Beatrice except this girl’s armor is grey and purple. Her bright red hair is pulled back into a long braid that reached just past her waist. Two shorter braids hang from just above her ears past her bust. “Welcome back, Lieutenant Ecks,” she greeted him kindly with a high voice.
“Hey Brie,” Ecks said back.
Brie rolls her eyes with a huff and asks, “When are you going to greet someone properly?”
“Probably when you pull out that stick,” Ecks shot at her before starting down the hall.
“You got some nerve,” Brie shakes her head pitifully.
The corridor wound slowly in a circle. Blazing torches lit the cobble stone hall. There are no other guards or doors of any kind. Ecks looked around as he walked. He has been down this hall several times to bring found Arcana Relics to the White Sage. He, like all the other ranking knights, knows that the grooves above in the ceiling housed magical stone barriers that will drop into place to protect the Relics should the castle come under attack. It has been several years since the last time anyone has breached the walls of Arcana Castle but the barriers are no less maintained. Soon he and Brie come to a set of large wooden doors with a White Arcana Knight posted on either side. The White Knights serve the White Sage directly. They are solely for his protection and rarely, if ever, do they leave his side. They stand perfectly erect with spears clutched tightly.
Brie stands firm and addresses the White Sage’s personal guard. “Second Lieutenant Brie Auburn and First Lieutenant Ecks request audience with His Grace.”
The White Knights accept her request with a nod. Together, they turn sharply toward the doors. White glyphs appear along the expansive archway when they lid their hands against it. The spell lock in place is removed and the doors open. Brie and Ecks enter the room.
“At ease boys,” Ecks said. Brie sighs and hides her face in her hand.
One the White Knights shoots Ecks a look before they both remove their hands from the archway, closing the doors and reestablishing the spell. The White Knights look at each other, sigh and shake their heads pitifully. They take up their stoic positions again.
The expansive room Ecks and Brie entered is divided into two floors. The second floor is an extensive library. In it are various books on different types of alchemy, magic and historical records from various lands across Eiris. The bottom floor is where communications between the castle and the Arcana Knights deployed are kept. It is here that active Knights receive their assignments. It is also to keep track on the random rifts that periodically open to the Spirit Realm. Brie is Head of Communications. This is where she is assigned. She also plays liaison to His Grace the White Sage.
“Miss Auburn, welcome back,” a young female knight approached and greeted her. She wore armor identical to Brie. Her blonde hair is braided and rolled into buns on either side of her head. Her bright blue eyes and brimming smile lit up her fresh face like a beacon.
“Thank y—” Brie’s sentence was cut off by the impetuous girl.
“Lieutenant Ecks, excellent job finding another relic.” She beamed at him with a smile brighter than the sun.
Ecks chuckles at the girl’s zeal. “As cheery as ever Caleigh,” he said. “How ya been?”
“Oh, I’m good. How’s Miss Willow? Drunk as a skunk again? Her sister was mad, wasn’t she?” Caleigh asked, her high voice ringing like a bell. She is always fascinated by Ecks and his exploits. To her, most of the other Knights are boring with the way they carry themselves. Always vigilant, always proper, they were never exciting to her. That was until she met Ecks. She saw he was not like the other Knights of Arcana. He was carefree, a rebel who follows his own rules. She became even more infatuated with him after he chased away the conceded Bultus Vangard. Bultus—arrogant, egotistical, womanizing Bultus—had pressed himself upon her, eyeing her like a hungry wolf. Caleigh ignored his advances but the stuffed shirted Knight refused to back down. Ecks was passing by when he came across them. He stood to Bultus with his usual charismatic flare. His ego crushed by Ecks’ battery of insults—which were not far from the truth, Bultus stormed away. Since then, Caleigh has become his fan. Like a child, she is excited to see him.
Ecks rubs the back of his neck sheepishly remembering Beatrice’s reaction. “Yeah, a little.”
“Why is she like that? I know Willow’s her sister and all but still Lady Beatrice can be so mean sometimes. That can’t be good for her complexion; she’ll have wrinkles before she’s forty unless she’s already forty than that would make sense, but that can’t be cause she’s not that much older than Willow so, yeah, being mad like that all the time is bad for her complexion because she really has a beautiful face and she has to maintain it otherwise…” Ecks listened to Caleigh as she began to babble. She has a tendency to speak without thinking when she is excited, to the point where she often times forgets her reason for being there… like now.
Brie has to stop her before she gets too wrapped up into her rambling. She clears her throat and calls her sternly, “Caleigh.” The impetuous girl kept going on with Ecks nodding and chuckling. Annoyance began to build in her. It bothered her whenever Caleigh would go on one of her ramblings. Her explanations had no structure, no direction, and no solid point. Or rather she never gets to the point. Her ire grew as she listened to the girl’s incisive chatter. She didn’t know what subject Caleigh is on. Neither did Caleigh. “Miss Oxford!”
Caleigh snapped and looked at Brie. The sternness in her glare reminds her of her position. “I’m sorry, Miss Auburn,” Brie’s subordinate said, standing at attention.
“Aw, and she was about to get to the good part,” Ecks mused mockingly.
“Don’t encourage her,” Brie shot, stabbing a finger at him. Ecks raises his hands in surrender. Brie gives him one more glance before turning to Caleigh. She inhales deeply, exhales and calms herself. “Now Miss Oxford, what is your status report?” she asks calmly. As expected, Caleigh doesn’t answer her correctly.
“Well, I’m fine. This morning I did wake up with a headache though. I don’t why…” she started with an innocent look.
“About the Spirit Realm rifts, you ditz!” Brie hollered.
“Huh?” Caleigh says with a lost expression. She then smiles, waves a hand dismissively and says, “Oh, those. None have been reported since the banshee incident in Zephyr. All active Knights are handling small but otherwise no threatening dilemmas in other towns. So we’re good.”
“Excuse me, Miss Oxford.”
Caleigh looks toward the right section of the room where a dark haired female Knight with round glasses flags her down. “Yeah, what Tami?”
Tami shies away as she nervously says, “Um, the spectral analyzer thingy, uh, I—it, hrm…”
Caleigh throws her head back, exasperates a disgruntled sigh and says, “You didn’t break it again, did you?” Tami fidgets, looking down at her feet. Caleigh sighs loudly again. She walks over to Tami.
“Later, Cal,” Ecks says to her as she walked by with her head hung low. She gives him a half-hearted wave.
“Knowing Tami, Caleigh’s going to be there awhile.” Brie said. She knows the situation all too well. Tamirei Knoxville is very intelligent when it comes to medicine and alchemy. But she is also extremely shy and quiet. Her awkwardness makes her clumsy and she has a knack of damaging equipment from time to time. The repairs fall on Caleigh who is a whiz at mechanics despite her childish, bubble-headed demeanor. It’s ironic that they would be paired together with Fourth Lieutenant Tamirei, who is serving under Third Lieutenant Caleigh.
(Have a look at my novel Defenders!! Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available for Kindle and E-book device!! Head to the J1 Bookstore and click the links!! Check my awesome fan fiction: Dante vs. Bayonetta and“Fury Rages On: Kratos vs. Asura!!”)
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