Passage Chapter 7

Feelings Unsettled

“Sir! Commander! They’re retreating!”

“Right...” Fully alert, Wilhelm looked in the direction of the soldier. “How many did you see?”

“We counted about five,” he replied.

“How many did we take down?”

“If we count what Sir Mueller and the others have defeated...about nine. Nine Nether Gate assassins down.”

“Hmm...” Wilhelm lowered his sword with caution and looked around, his expression thoughtful. “There were twenty-two to start, so now we have fourteen less to worry about. That leaves...oh, seven or eight?”

“Five, to be exact!” shouted another voice, one vaguely familiar.

“Huh?” The commander turned as Shigure, Sagiri, and Raven--a white-haired, mischievous young man--approached. “Oh...hey. Glad to see you’re safe, but what do you mean, ‘five’?”

Raven lifted up a long, steel claw, a strange grin on his face. “We took out three on the way over here.”

“That makes things easier,” Wilhelm said, feeling more of his stress vanish. “So, five retreating and five still hanging around. It shouldn’t take us long to--”

“Commander!” the soldier interrupted. “I’ve just received a report confirming that another five are retreating!”

Wilhelm, as well as everyone else, turned around. “Really?” he asked, his expression unchanging. “That’s good news. Confirm this report and then send a messenger to the palace.”

“Yes, sir!”

“’s over?” asked Raven, looking somewhat disappointed.

“No...” Sagiri said quietly. “Those who retreat may come back another day. We must be alert...”

Shigure uttered a groan. “Can’t say I didn’t see that coming...”

* * * * *

“ hometown?” Richard repeated to the attentive Lymsleia, and then smiled. “Hahaha. Any town is my hometown! As long as Mueller’s there, that’s where I feel home!”

“Er...” The queen wore an uncomfortable expression at his response. “But...Mueller’s not here,” she said with a nervous half-grin. “Are you saying you don’t feel home now?”

“Well, to tell you the truth, I do feel a little odd in this uniform,” he mechanically began, but then stopped. “N-not that I mind wearing it! Believe me, it’s such an honor to!”

Across the audience chamber, standing at the double doors, were Miakis, Kyle, and Galleon, all of whom were studying the two.

“They seem to be comfortably acquainted for only having known one another a few days,” Galleon commented.

“I’m not surprised,” said Kyle. “They’re kind of required to spend a lot of time together, the queen and the commander. At least, that’s the case when the two get married. But, uh...” The uneasiness finally manifested on the young man’s face. “These two aren’t even engaged, let alone married. So is it just me, or does she already have him whipped?”

Miakis let out a giggle. “Oh, it’s only temporary. But I, for one, am glad to see them getting along. And he’s a pretty good leader so far. I like this commander way more than the last one, don’t you?”

“Sure, but I also prefer a pat on the back to a kick in the balls.”

“Kyle!” scolded Galleon.

Kyle shrugged. “Just tellin’ it like it is, Galleon. Gizel had skill, but he was a constant threat to all of Falena. The only thing Richard is a threat to, aside from the enemy, is Mueller’s ego.”

“Hmm.” The older man shifted his weight back, crossing his arms. “That’s true,” he said with a brief nod. “But that is another matter that has had me bothered since the war. Why does Mueller push that young man so hard and never give him credit? At least here, we acknowledge one another’s strengths.”

“Maybe they do things differently in Zelant?” Kyle suggested. “But forget that.” His expression turned curious. “I want to know why a tough soldier like that not only puts up with it, but worships the guy in return. Never mind the fact that Richard probably could kick Mueller’s ass. How could he remain blissful about someone who treats him like crap?”

Miakis tilted her head. “That is weird,” she remarked, her eyes studying Richard. “But I don’t think it’s our place to ask. There probably is more to the story than what we see, but from what I’ve been told, neither one of them will talk about it.’s probably some big secret that’s none of our business.”

The blond knight turned to her with a smirk. “You mean you aren’t the least bit interested? I find that hard to believe.”

“No...I’m just saying that I can respect that. He seems pretty trustworthy, and I don’t think any secret of his is going to jeopardize Her Majesty or the Queendom.”

“Whatever you say, Miakis. I think you’re just as curious as any one of us--”

“Your Majesty!” a voice interrupted.

“Huh?” The three knights moved away from the door and turned as another uniformed guard entered the room.

Richard and Lymsleia broke away from their conversation and looked in the guard’s direction; Lymsleia then stood in greeting.

“Yes?” she asked. “What is it?”

“Your Majesty, a messenger has just reported that over half the Nether Gate forces have been defeated, and that the rest have retreated!”

“Really?” asked Kyle.

“Is there confirmation of this?” Miakis demanded.

“Yes, Lady Miakis. Sir Wilhelm’s men spotted two groups of assassins escaping within minutes of each other.”

“Oh, that’s good news.” The female knight turned around to Lymsleia with a relieved expression. “Your Majesty...!”

Lymsleia nodded in response, her young countenance weary. “Uh...yeah...”

Miakis looked at Kyle and Galleon. “I’m gonna go see Wilhelm. If any of the Nether Gate comes back, I’ll make them regret they ever set their sights on our precious Lymsleia!”

“W-wait, Miakis!” Kyle called as the young woman ran out. He then shook his head, chuckling. “I’m going with her. You coming, Galleon?”

“Well, I’m certain Silva won’t mind the additional help.” The older man turned to Richard and Lymsleia. “Will you two be all right?”

“Of course, Galleon,” the queen responded. “Please help Miakis and Dr. Silva!”

Galleon gave a salute, and then directed his gaze toward Richard. “Then...please take care of Her Majesty!”

“I will,” the commander replied, his smile confident. “I’ll swear my life on it!”

Accepting the response, Galleon headed out after Miakis, but Kyle took a moment to look back at the teenager, his expression mixed. He then pushed his thoughts from his mind and also exited the chamber.

“It’s great how things are turning out,” Richard remarked cheerfully, turning to the queen. “Huh?” He noticed her look of apprehension. “What is it, Your Majesty?”

“Oh...” Lymsleia shook her head. “I’m...just tired, I suppose. I feel so strange all of a sudden. I’m not sure what it is.”

“The Nether Gate, right? That’s got to be it. Just because they retreated doesn’t mean they won’t be back some other time. We can’t let our guard down.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right...” The young queen forced a brief smile before turning away from him.

But...that doesn’t explain why I don’t feel any sort of relief now...

Chapter 8

All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition

This Page © Copyright 1997, Brian Work. All rights reserved. Thanks to Sax for his help with the layout. Do not take anything from this page without my consent. If you wish to contact an author, artist, reviewer, or any other contributor to the site, their email address can be found on their index page. This site is link-free, meaning you don't need to ask me if you'd like to link to it. Best viewed in 1024x768.