Saturday, August 31

Chapter 6

Fenix mind raced with unanswered questions, which made unable to stay still. He kept shuffling from one foot to the other while biting his lip, deep in thought.

Blazerine impatiently watched him pace about, before supporting her head up with a hand placed beneath her chin. Although she's in a hurry to get out of this place. The two of them were stuck babysitting Fauna together. Well at least while the others snooped about to see if there's a sacred orb. She re-adjust her sitting position, by allowing her back to relax against a half broken pillar from behind.

"Sleep", a voice whispered to Fenix, that's smooth as silk, yet held power. It commanded him to sleep, to rest his tired eyes, to let the dream world engulf him. 

"No." He spoke out in a calm voice.

"Fenix...?" Blazerine asked, "Are you alright?"

"I... I can't." He said, once his body felt heavier, and his sight started to blur. 

"Rest, and become one", the whisper was becoming stronger, louder, and most of all refused to go away. 

"NO!" He roared at the top of his lungs. 

Blazerine climbed to her feet when she heard a sweet heavenly voice calling out to her, "Garrett.. come here my boy. Come to mother." 

"Fauna cut it out!" Blazerine angrily snapped, "You need to get a hold of yourself. You need to learn to control your emotions!"

While lying there, Fauna began to relive every agonizing moment of her life all over again, the same emotions, the same reactions, the same sins; over and over. The ice beneath her body started to melt away, as her body temperature rises drastically. Her mind felt like it was about to explode. And it did, the second the burning images of her loved ones appeared. 

"I killed them, I killed all of them!" She repeatedly screamed. 

"It's not your fault!" Fenix tried to reassure her. 

A small spark erupts in her crystalline eyes, which flickered like a flame. It was so bright in the darkness, that it left a small glowing trail behind, while moving from one eye to the next. The color of red ink begins to overlap her eyes, once the flames started to surge through her hair. 

Blazerine had a feeling that Fauna's repressed memories were beginning to resurface, whether or not she likes it.

"Here goes nothing!" She yelled, after yanking her arm out of its sling. Then raising the bracelet high, she slammed her thumb down against the diamond, releasing an astonishing mystical wave of white energy. 

To their surprise, the energy dispersed into thousands of tiny little particles, that vibrate off her wrist, and fed the collar Fauna wore. In just seconds, her hair had changed to a see through color, similar to glass. 

Fenix turned to her and asked, "Did it work? How long is it suppose to last?" 

"What am I, an expert or something? How the hell am I supposed to know? It’s not like this damn thing came with manual or anything." She shrugged, "I'm just going off based what I can remember Yeldir saying." 

Dumbfounded, she glances down at the bracelet, to examine the gemstones. A black emerald, a red ruby, a diamond, a sapphire, and a pink topaz, shaped like a heart. It's pretty obvious what it represents, but what kind of power would stem off from love?

"Hey Fenix do you remember - " Her voice trailed off... the second she lifted her head up, and saw Fauna straddling herself on top of Fenix. 

Fauna's hips were rolling against his groin, once she began biting on his lower lip. Fenix couldn't help but squeeze her ass tighter. He was loving it. What was sex without some sort of kinky rough foreplay to start things off? That romantic shit, he thought. And the kiss was hot, far too hot. That was the second thing he had registered. But yet he still couldn't believe it...  Sitting on top of him, is the answer to every man's lustful prayer, but why did it have to be somebody so mentally unstable? 

"What the - what the hell are you doing!?" Blazerine shockingly gasped, "And why is her hair now pink?" 

"What do you mean what I'm doing?! She's doing this out of her own free will! I have nothing to do with it!" Fenix argued. 

"Well you're encouraging her!" Blazerine cried. 

Panicking, she started to bashing the jewels on the bracelet, causing Fauna's hair and eyes to change into random colors. The process didn't change miraculously fast enough, leaving her with a combination of a rainbow hairdo. 

"You're not fixing the problem." Fenix said, although his words weren't very understandable due to the muffling of the interlocking kiss. 

"What am I doing wrong?" Blazerine questioned, trying not to look as uncomfortable as she felt about this whole situation. 

Any number of worst case scenarios flipped through her head. At least Fauna didn't attempt to remove his clothes, which was a relief. But it still freaked her out nonetheless, considering she has had bad experiences with lude acts before. 

Suddenly she was pulled back, and a hand clasp over the front of her eyes. Overwhelmed with fear she struggled to break away until she heard Leon's voice. 

Leon took in a deep breath, and tried to ignore the fact, that it felt like a brick; had been elbowed into his stomach. 

"Calm down and quit being so meek." He instructed. 

"I'm not meek!" Blazerine retorted, even though it was a lie, she was incredibly meek, but she didn't like hearing it. As she raised her voice, she snapped her head around to make eye contact, trying to appear more confident than she actually was. 

Then she stopped, feeling spooked out, by how close they were to one another. Of course she could feel him pressing against her. However she never saw his face this close before. Even when he was carrying her through the swamp. She was more focused on the landscape... 

It was a little startling, his skin was pale and his features were somewhat childish, despite his adult like bone structure. His eyes were the worst though. A dark shade of brown that seemed to cut right through her. She looked back down to the ground, trying her hardest to avoid them. Then she backed up... Once there was a
clear gap between them, she settled down again.

Leon laughed slightly. The state of panic she was working herself into was adorable, he had to say. He'd never seen someone tremble so much. Getting closer, he went to pet her hair to hopefully calm her down, but she frantically scrambled back out of his reach. He knew she felt pissed off, and most of all, embarrassed. 

"Alright playtime is over, including you Fenix." He announced. 

Fenix tried prying Fauna off without doing her any harm. The more he did, the more her appearance started shimmering back to a faint pale blue. And the expression her face, made him realize, that she was on the verge of tears. 

"My husband has forgotten me..." Fauna softly weeps into her hands. 

Blazerine and Fenix both blurted out, "husband!?" at the same exact time.

(Blazerine; She's been so traumatized by her past. Perhaps she has created a false reality, or maybe she's so messed up, that she truly believes Fenix is her husband. Well I don't see any harm in it. I mean, why should we go out our ways to piss off somebody with so much power anyway?) 

She looked off to the side, before saying, "Your husband is suffering from amnesia. That's why he may act a little, well a lot more different than usual." 

Fauna lifted her head to glance over at her, and asked, "Is that what happened to you too Garrett?" 

"WHAT!? I'm not a boy!" Blazerine yelled in response. 

"That's not entirely fair." Fenix protested, "You even went out your own way to cut your hair shorter." 

Blazerine was slightly hesitant by his words, but shortly afterwards, she started patting her hair down to see if its true. It wasn't long before she quirked a brow, and her chin darted down, off to the side.

Leon knew her actions was a clear indication that she had no idea how her hair came to be this way. 

"Lyrist..." She grumbled, her tone is definitely portraying the realization now. "Where is he?" She asked.

"He'll be returning shortly." Leon said, "He's still searching for the sacred orb. I only came back, because you guys were making such a racket." 

Fauna looked down, when she felt Fenix's hand slip over upon hers.
Then he pulled her straight up to her feet, but unexpectedly she swayed off balance. Fenix grabbed her without giving a second thought about it. That's when she felt the blood rush to her cheeks, from blushing deeply.

"Frederick..." She softly spoken. 

Fenix watched her hair blossomed back to the light shade of a pink camellia flower. 

"Look..." He began to say, "You can lean on me, you know... until you're strong enough to stand on your own again." 

She had missed her husband's boldness to never be afraid to speak his mind. And that fabulous smile of his, along with those green eyes, the kind she could forever get lost in. But above all, his laughter was music to her ears. She began to speak, feeling as if though she should verbally express her gratitude. 

So gently she cleared her throat and said, "Thank you for saving me." 

"It's your turn to live the life you always wanted." He grinned, "What is it that you want to do?"

Fauna's eyes lit up as Fenix talked to her. No one has ever been interested in her dreams before. 

"I want an unpredictable adventure." She giggled excitedly, "Where nothing ever goes as planned! I mean that would go against the whole idea of having an adventure, right?" 

She continued talking with her hands now. It was something she always seemed to do, whenever she's talking passionate about anything.

"I'll make it up as I go along. I want to visit every corner of the world and have many different experiences. I want to meet new people, I want to learn the history of small villages and sleep out under the stars. I want..."

She stopped mid-thought. What did she really want? She looked up and stared Fenix straight in the eyes, "I want to know that when I die, I want to know that I did everything I could to live. Make a difference in someone's life, and my own."

"Sounds like you just figured out the meaning of your life, now all you have to do is pursue that meaning." Leon told her.

"You really think its possible?" Fauna delightfully asked. 

"We'll help you." Fenix promised. 

Fauna's whole expression became brighter as did her appearance. She was shining like an orange, eagerly waiting to be peeled.

"You really mean it?! I'm so excited!" Her adventure was finally going to begin, or did it start when she left home? She didn't know, she didn't care. 

Blazerine couldn't help but wonder what would happen, if Fauna knew the real reason why they're taking her with them. 

(Considering... she's just as much of a prisoner as I am.) 

"By the way." She whispered to Leon, "This bracelet only shows five emotions."

"So?" Leon said.

"So... what I'm saying is. We need to figure out the properties of her other abilities." She explained, "Well if we're going to try to keep her under wraps, because I believe they're not all elemental. Maybe we should ask Yeldir." 

"There's no need." He disagreed. 

She was quick to say, "But..." 

"We will know soon enough." He reassured.

"What are you stupid?" She snapped, "We're talking about somebody who can KILL us at any given moment. Who knows how long this charade can last." 

"We cannot rely on Yeldir for everything that occurs." He replied with a bit of irritation in his voice now. 

"You're just saying that, because you don't to distract him from finding out where all those other stupid orbs are." She argued, "I would think our lives would be a bit more important than that!" 

"You should of thought about this before saving her life." Her sneered back. 

"Whatever..." She said. 

Lyrist was quietly contemplating the current situation as he made his way down the stairs. (The emotionalist is indeed dangerous, but why doesn't Leon seem concern about it? It's only logical to find out everything she's capable of doing. But why won't he? Does he believe Yeldir would quit helping him for going against his wishes?) 

Once he had reached the end of the stairs, he announced, "It's not here." 

Frustration and anger exuded from Leon's body, along with his eyes narrowing with hatred.

(What a waste of time...) 

"So what now?" Blazerine asked. 

"Get out of here of course," Leon replied. 

But the only way out is to go back which they had came. Meaning they would have to endure all the madness of the maze once again. However it wasn't too bad this time around, considering they were all finally together. And it wasn't long till they were greeted by birds, chirping happily, while soaring across the open blue sky. It was a surprise for all of them to see life prosper once again. And Leon could only assume the ice had all melted, because they've awakened the emotionalist. 

Even though he wasn't exactly too fond of the new circumstances. He was still at least considerate. He offered Fauna a lift on his horse, but she refused, saying she wanted to be carried around in her "husband" arms like a princess. 

The clouds overhead made Fauna happy. She honestly had forgotten what its like to be outside the walls of the sanctuary. Fenix carried her part ways, before she insisted to be let down. 

As sickly as she was, nobody was sure how she managed to playfully dance about through the flowers. And unfortunately for Fenix, she had a gray wolf pelt on, that was pinned down enough to fit her like a tunic. Or otherwise... she would be running around completely naked. 

Every strand of her orange hair was glistening ever so brightly in the sunlight. It was quite beautiful, especially when she spun around, and around again, 
feeling the wind against her face, which only brought on another smile.

Out of nowhere Blazerine mentioned, "She might be a couple hundred years old, but she's still mentally a sixteen year old girl." 

"You're right..." Leon nodded. 

"Look there's trees!" Fauna shouted with glee and raced towards them. 

"Hey, slow down gal!" Fenix yelled while chasing after her. 

"Is it customary for humans to consume dirt, and in large amounts of it?" Lyrist asked them.

Blazerine and Leon couldn't help but give Lyrist a silent, yet puzzling look. Not one of them could decipher the meaning behind his question until they heard... 

"Fredrick look there's dirt everywhere!" Fauna declared with a mouthful.

"Hey, you're not suppose to eat that!" Fenix cried. 

"Nevermind what I said." Blazerine sighed, "She's like five." 

----

Later that evening, the air was numbingly cold and crisp. The clouds overhead threatened to burst any second, so they took refuge in a small cave for the night. The cave was chilly, but with the protection from the wind, it wasn't nearly as cold as outside. 

Blazerine voice rang through the darkness, shattering the silence that had uncomfortably settled there minutes earlier. "You think they'll really find anything in this weather? Considering its weird how it came on so suddenly. I wonder why it has to be so damn cold. What is even the point of cold weather anyway? Sure, it probably has to do with the position of the earth around the sun and its rotation, plus a bunch of other science-y crap, that I never learned about, or maybe I just don't remember, but still I hate the cold. It sucks. Warmth is the best freaking thing in the world. Okay, maybe not the best thing, but I definitely like being warm over being cold.

Leon didn't bother saying anything back; while he prepared the fire. 

Her hands were itching to pull out a gun. If only she could put a hole in the back of his head, for simply ignoring her, as if she was of no importance. How fortunate for him, she thought; if only she had brought back a weapon with her. 

"If you don't want to talk to me. You could at least say so." She angrily blurted out suddenly. 

Leon looked over at her slightly, noticing the glare she was giving him. If looks could kill, he would have been long dead by now. 

"The only times you ramble on like this, is whenever you're nervous about something." He finally said.

"I don't know what you're talking about." She growled, "There's nothing to be nervous about."

"My thoughts exactly." He replied, "However it mostly happens when the two of us are alone." 

She felt even more uncomfortable for being studied in such a way. No matter where she looked, she could still feel those eyes staring back at her, and instinctively she clutched her coat tighter around herself. 

"Who asked you?" She snapped, "You're the only who insisted for me to stay behind! Hell... you think the mentally unstable is even more capable than I am." 

"You would only slow them down." He explained, "Fauna might be crazy, but she still has knowledge of the world, and you don't." 

She buried her face half way down the collar of her trench coat, and said, "Must I remind you, she was eating DIRT. Dirt Leon, DIRRRT! You know what... you might as well just come out and say it. You think I'm useless. Admit it, you only gave me responsibility over Fauna, because it's the least important thing on your mind right now. And you could of went with them, but you stayed behind to make sure I wouldn't run away, right? Psh, I can't believe I thought you trusted me, even for the slightest second. The sooner we get to Ansell Fiore the better..." 

It wasn't long until the others had return with their findings. Lyrist only brought back some mushrooms, and nuts. Fauna gathered a bunch of berries to satisfy her sweet tooth. Fenix was really the only one who brought any game back. Somehow he managed to get three squirrels, and two rabbits. 

"It's not much." He announced,  "But I can make a mean stew." His breath fogged in front of his face, as if he were smoking. 

Leon quickly started up the fire, while Fenix surprisingly began to skin the rabbit with his own bare teeth. It's really the only other way he could do without the help of a knife. Although he didn't complain, everybody knew what he was thinking regardless. He was still pissed at the fact that Lyrist not only stole his knife, but broke it in the process. 

Blazerine stayed huddle in her corner the entire time. She wasn't exactly too fond of watching Fenix rip apart an animal, let alone with his own damn teeth. And she couldn't help, but cringe every time she heard the rabbit bones cracked. 

Despite the weather, a sunny side up Fauna had plopped herself down right beside Blazerine. She closed her eyes momentarily, after popping a berry into her mouth. 

"Isn't this fun?" She softly asked her. 

"Fun...? Yeah sure... I guess." Blazerine mumbled absentmindedly.

Unlike Fauna, her heart felt empty, and she knew her emotions had to be playing clearly on her face. How ironic... She thought, considering hers are always displayed by the tone of her hair. 

"Frederick told me," She began to say, "I should be nice to you, because you're the reason why I am here."

Blazerine eyes shifted slightly enough to glance over. "I.." She struggled to respond since her emotions had almost poured out through her words. The sound, the desperation to find something, or someone that would save her from this world, she has come to know. 

Unexpectedly, Fauna leaned in close to smear the contents of a squeezed berry over the front of Blazerine's lips.

"Don't hide..." She smiled, "You don't have to hide from us." 

And before Blazerine could say anything back, Fauna returned to the small camp fire to await for dinner. 

(Blazerine; What a bizarre way of trying to comfort somebody.)

Closing her eyes, she took a steady breath, hoping the others would think she's asleep. So maybe then they would just leave her alone, to allow her mind to tick away... for what seemed like hours, until she is disturbed by Lyrist. 

Opening her eyes, the first thing that she noticed is the eerily quiet, despite the abundance of noises; the occasional crack of the fire, the wind outside, and the odd scuffles of the others adjusting themselves as they rest. 

"What's wrong?" She asked him. 

Lyrist set a bowl of stew in the middle of her lap and whispered, "Quit pretending, everybody else is asleep now."

His ears twitched slightly, as soon as the rain came down in hard pelts. 

Blazerine looked down at his hand, still clenching onto the bowl. She's surprised by how whitened his knuckles had become, especially once his fingers shook. 

------

Silence. That's all there was. Silence beneath the idle chit chat of the thundering sky. 

Heavy heaves exhausted from the Fenix's nostrils as he released a heavy sigh. He grunted to himself, trying to rub the sleep out from one of his eyes. 

Everybody expect for Blazerine; who seemed weary from lack of sleep. It didn't really bother her much since she's used to functioning off hardly any. Either way, they had to abandon the cave after just a few hours because the rain began to flood it. 

Ansell Fiore wasn't too far from now, but they frequently kept stopping, because of Fauna vomiting. Lyrist suspected that the berries she ate could have been poisonous. Not enough to kill her, just enough to make her sick to her stomach. 

Yet again, on the other hand, Blazerine thought it might be from eating dirt. Who knows what kind of bacteria she could have digested? 

Eventually, their feet met with a road made of cobblestone, once they've entered Ansell Fiore; an old English styled town, built with mostly expensive homes, compare to the fewer average ones. The merchants in this town lived just upstairs, right above their business


The upper portion of the town is marked by a big beautiful tree, where the best and most popular of the shops are. As captivating as it was, the weather was still quite dreary from all the rain. And not a single soul lingered the streets, except for one..

Leon took another step closer to the bookseller's stall, looking over his array of books, seeing if anything interested. The old man manning the stall only seemed vaguely aware of Leon's presence, as he was enthralled in his own book, except this one he was writing. The innards of the book were barely visible, but it seemed the old man was penning a ledger of some sort, no doubt the side work he does in order to complement his profits from selling books. Well, that is if the man made any profits at all. He had a good variety in terms of books, but most of them were second-hand copies and fifth editions written many, many years after the original piece. Some of their covers looked like they were magically transcribed. Meaning they were illegal. Still, he knew now wasn't the time to be sidetracked over something as petty as this. 

Shortly his attention was diverted to laughter, which exploded from the local tavern; The Ironclad. The others waited outside, while Leon and Blazerine made their way through the door. 

Leon's eyes shifted behind his helmet, only to see the room filled with elderly men enjoying each others' company, getting drunk, not to mention all the body heat they all produced. It was too warm in the tavern with all these people. The noise of their laughter didn't help much either. But the question still remained; why was he still here? Then he looked to his other side and saw her; Blazerine. 

"I'll be asking the questions, so keep your mouth shut." He instructed. 

"Alright..." She quietly replied. 

Heading to the bar, they passed a scrawny little guy; who made Lyrist look masculine in comparison. Though he seemed young, he surely was no older than twenty. He wore a brocade vest accented with antique buttons; it also had an adjustable belt in the back. Along with his set of boots that have a large fold over cuff which can be worn up or even down. He exuded the air of experience, like nothing could surprise him as if he had already seen it all. And for whatever reason, he was staring Blazerine down like a hawk. 

Once they reached the bar's counter, the bartender greeted him with; "What can I do for yah?" 

"Word around here says, there's a guy who's gotten their hands on a special weapon," Leon mentioned to him. 

"Ah, you mean Gallet." The bartender said, "I haven't seen him in a couple of days." 

"Did he say anything in particular about where he was going?" Leon asked. 

"He claimed he was going to visit somebody at the Mournful Moon Inn, but I advise not going there unless you have to." The bartender replied. 

"Why not?" Blazerine butted in.

"There’s a rumor going on around about the owner; Mary Sue. Some of her customers were never seen again. Some say they've moved on to another town. Others say it's something rather grizzlier." The bartender was about to say more, but somebody interrupted their conversation. 

Leon recognized him straight away, it's the same guy who was staring at Blazerine on their way in. 

When arose to his feet, he clutched onto a staff, made from a gnarled tree root, which he used to support himself while walking with a limp. An expression of annoyance was painted on his face, along with a sigh of frustration following soon after. 

Approaching closer, he exclaimed, "I work at that Inn! Mary Sue is nothing but a saint; I can prove it to you that those rumors are false." 

Then his eyes quickly glance over to Blazerine, before he casually swipes a few strands of hair out from the front of his eyes. 

“I didn't come here to dispute rumors.” Leon sternly said. 

Charles dabs the tip of his staff against Leon's surcoat, purposely to irritate him. "It's a Templar duty to disclose matters for the public isn't it?" He sneered. 

Leon kept a straight face even though it couldn't be seen through his helmet. He knew Charles probably had some sort of relationship with this Mary Sue woman, due to the fact he's being so persistent. 

"There are more important obligations to handle." He simply replied. 

(Blazerine; Does he really mean that?)

"More important matters such as?" Charles voice was smooth, chill, and faintly mischievous now, "Oh wait!" He continued, "Gold for your coin-pouch?"

Leon's tone didn't change one bit, when he responded. "If you're trying to say I put my own needs before fulfilling my duty as a Templar, you are wrong. Do not pass your judgment so hastily Charles. If this is such a concern for the town, then I will find the solution. NOW would you so kindly show me the way?" 

Blazerine looked around the bar, noticing that they were getting a lot of unwanted attention.

Charles remained silent for a moment, looking Blazerine up and down as well, contemplating everything from the slight grime on her boots to the way her hair stopped right at her shoulders. He had a hard time trying to figure out what was covering her eyes. What is it armor?  He felt his eyebrow lift instinctively, feeling both confused, and curious. 

"CHARLES, I will not ask you again!" Leon stated, "This is ridiculous." 

Charles didn't intentionally move, even though he's aware that Leon yelled at him. The most he did was raise his hand in front of Leon's face then wiggled his fingers. "Ridiculous? RIDICULOUS!?" He repeated. 

Leon starred Charles in the eyes and never waiver from them, even when he told Blazerine to wait outside. 

But right before Blazerine was out the door, she overheard Charles yelling, "It's ridiculous for a Templar to be accompanied by a beautiful companion, disguised as a boy." 

Outside, she unexpectedly witnessed Fauna collapse out of nowhere. 

Fenix quickly lifted her limp body out from the wet streets. Her petite body shivered involuntarily, and her plush lips had turned an interesting color of blue. Her eyes flickered behind closed lids, and her feverish mind was clouded with memories that mixed together in no consistent pattern. Glimpses of the night she had lost everything, the moment when she had first laid eyes on the stranger with her beloved husband. As the cold, and the rain seeped further into her body, she unconsciously snuggled in close, seeking the warmth that rolled off from his strong body. 

Lyrist moved in front of Blazerine, the moment when Charles set foot outside the tavern.  

Behind him, Leon announced; "They're with me." He didn't want to explain their presence with any further details. 

"Leo..." Fenix began to say, "Fauna... she's..." 

"How long do you tend to carry the injured woman around? I reckon you should let her rest at the Mournful Inn until she recovers fully, or else she'll be a burden for that Templar acquaintance of yours." Charles commented, before continuing to limp ahead of them. 

"There's something weird about this guy. I think we should forget about this whole thing, and get the hell out of here." Blazerine suggested. 

Lyrist was quick to say, "I agree for I cannot hear a single thought from him."

"Really?" Blazerine frowned, "What does that mean exactly?" 

"It means he's not human." Lyrist explained. There was one thing he kept close in mind, that this man for some reason was eager to get them to that Inn. 

-----

The Mournful Moon Inn; appeared to be a worn out tavern, which suffered over the years from lack of maintenance. In some areas, the wood has buckled in from water absorption. 

"The outside may look like nothing," Charles claimed while motioning with his free hand, "But the inside can make one step back and look twice." 

The others headed inside first, leaving Blazerine standing outside alone. Wearily she stared at the two-story building, before she shook her chills off and proceeded inside. 

Standing at the entrance, she noticed the place was littered with a handful of dusty old tables, waiting for occupation. Off to the far side, there're several stools, for those who decide to dine off the available bar counter. However, it looked as if it hasn't been used in few years. 

And at the very top of the staircase, is Mary Sue, leaning to the side with her elbow resting atop of the banister. Purposely she leaned in even further to show off the curving slope of her profiled torso, which elegantly drew out from her provocatively displayed adorned assets.

Slowly a brilliant, and yet almost most promising smile coursed over her full painted red lips. Softly she clapped her gloved hands together, in order to signal a small barrage of women, dressed in similar brothel outfits.  

One by one, they lined up along the stairs, a few leaning their back against the side wall, a few others leaning forward, a leg draped over the railing. The women held many statures some short, and some tall. A few slender ones, curvy ones and a couple plump ones. Their hair colors all varied; blondes  brunettes, red heads, a few nicely done, tactful, but clearly dyed shades. The women looked to be healthy and well pampered. Their bodies were all gently scented in their own signature smells, though oddly enough as they all posed, the combined scent was sweet. All of them had a seductive smile wrought on their well made up faces. 

Fenix knew Charles meant most men wouldn't think to look twice at the selection of ladies roaming this shitty building.

Lyrist was annoyed since his nose is too sensitive to handle the overwhelming stench of cheap perfume. Although he never had smelled anything of the likes before, it made him believe that some human females have unbearable scents worse than Fenix. 

(Leon; This is no Inn... this is a brothel house.) 

Mary Sue finally departs her lips to ask, "Which one of my girls do you prefer?" 

"Lovely, what a lovely performance girls!" Charles cheered by waving his staff in mid-air, "But unfortunately it was all for naught." 

Mary Sue flipped her hair slightly, "What was I thinking?" She laughed, "Surely a Templar is only here strictly for business and not the pleasure of my establishment. How unfortunate for my girls." 

She dismissed them with the snapped of her fingers before she made her way slowly, but surely down the stairs. At the bottom, she stopped only to give Leon a curtsey. 

"So what brings you here Templar?" Her voice flourished with a rather seductive tone. 

"I'm here to investigate the whereabouts of your customers. It is rumored that many of 'em have gone missing after visiting your "establishment.'' " Leon declared. 

(Blazerine; But that's not why we're really here. What's he trying to do?)

She glanced briefly at Lyrist; who acknowledged her thought by giving a simple nod in return. 

Mary Sue blue eyes were staring right up at Leon. She had a serious look on her face at first, but then she ended up smiling again. "I can tell you're an intelligent, resourceful young man." 

Blazerine looked away, the moment Mary Sue slithered a hand across Leon's helmet. This is when she found herself aligned with the sight of Charles, so she quickly lowered her gaze to the floor. 

Leon ignored her actions further by stating, "You're required by law to insist me. All, I ask of you, is to humbly spar a room for one of my injured companions, until I am done deducting my investigation." 

"Of course..." Mary Sue replied,  "Up the stairs, third door on the left. And while we're at it, why don't you pick something out, that's more appropriate for her to wear." 

Leon turned to Blazerine and said, "Stay with Fenix. We'll send for you when we're ready to leave." 

Blazerine felt her body shivered purely out of natural survival instincts. She wanted to leave NOW, right now. It felt as if her life was depended on it because the way Charles has been looking at her. It was a reminder.... a reminder of something dark and sinister from her past. 

"Leon..." She began to whisper, "I want to get out of here." 

He patted his gauntlet on her shoulder, "You'll be fine." He reassured. 

Blazerine looked over at Lyrist before she followed behind Fenix, up the stairs. The first door they passed, was wide open, as the women who occupied the room with another man. She quirk a brow with her chin darted down off to the side. An action that clearly meant ‘I know’ as he confirmed his lack of heart, shifting her legs so they spread teasingly wider as though she begged, and ached, needing more of the hand that coaxed the finger up her thigh. 

The second room's door had been left opened as well, a woman had her hip skating the mattress, with her elbow supporting her weight both booted feet touched down and legs extended to right her slender form once more. "So bored, wanna play with me?" She asked airily, her tone definitely portraying it. 

The third room was empty, thankfully, Blazerine thought to herself. Inside there was simple furnishing, a bed, a nightstand, and a rug that covered only the middle of the floor. She stood beside the window and looked out while Fenix tucked Fauna into bed. 

"It's raining even harder than ever now." She told him. 

For a second she pinched her nose slightly in order to stop an oncoming sneeze. But the moment she lets go it happens anyways. It was a bit of a weird sneeze, since it, in fact, sounded rather high pitched than normal. So it was enough to startle Fenix. 

"Don't DO that, I'm already jumpy as it is, considering this place is giving me the creeps." He angrily snapped. 

"I'm sorry," She laughed a little bit, forming a small smile, which pushed out a prominent cheek dimple. "I'm glad I'm not the only one." 

Maria, one of the brothel girls, came into the room. She was wearing a red under bust corset that begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Her arms were covered pass her elbows, by a long black pair of gloves, which matches her stockings. 

Smiling brightly, she speaks in an elevated and cheerful tone. "I've brought a selection of clothing for your companion. This is a gesture of kindness on behalf of Mary Sue." 

It reminded Fenix of the old days, when he too was a Templar, and everybody pretty much tried kissing your ass. Either out of fear or trying to get on your good side. 

"Which one should I pick?" Fenix asked Blazerine.

She didn't even bother to turn around since she seemed more interested looking out the window, than paying attention to him. 

"Pssh, what would she know anyway?" Fenix grumbled to himself, "She doesn't even know how to dress herself."

The only thing, that came to mind, was the light peach burgundy - cotton velvet dress. It gives a well-fitted appearance and it’s exquisitely accented with a beaded gold trim. The sleeves have sheer soft netting and are finished with three matching burgundy bows on both sides. And elegant hat tops off the look, since it’s designed to match the dress. 

He couldn't help but stare at the stiff interior, that's made out of a cotton velvet exterior, with a peach edging. It’s probably the most expensive of all three dresses, but it also the least revealing.

"I can see Leon and Lyrist," Blazerine mentioned, "It looks like they're snooping around in the garden. I wonder why..." 

Slowly, and carefully, Maria removed the glove from her right hand, to avoid making contact with a green-yellowish sap from the palm. 

"I think this is the one - " Fenix couldn't even find the strength to finish his sentence. It also felt almost impossible to keep his eyes open any longer. He took one staggering step, before plummeting into the floorboards. 

Blazerine turned around when she heard the thud, and gasped Fenix's name. 


© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019