Friday, January 31

Chapter 11

The sun began to peak through the clouds, casting its light upon the rain puddle, which were left over from the previous day. Ripples fluttered through as Sinner made his way on over to the tent, where Fenix and Blazerine were resting inside. Even though the bandit camp was completely deserted now. He was on guard, knowing there's a possibility one could be still lingering about, or perhaps some unsafe straddlers might dare to pass through. 

"I made some brunch." He announced right outside of the tent.

Despite Fenix's time asleep, his body was not stiff nor was it fighting for him to get any more rest. Slowly he sat up to push the fox pelt aside. Looking down, he realizes his wounds have been dressed in tree sap. The sap had become a sticky tar-like substance when it is boiled. The astringent qualities in it help keep the wound from getting bacterial infections and also promotes healing.

He looked over to his right and saw Blazerine curled up inside of a wolf pelt. From a closer examination, he realizes she was asleep. Although he's not exactly sure how she can sleep so comfortably in a defensive position like that. 

Shortly afterward he stepped out of the tent and saw Sinner sitting little ways from a newly lit campfire. 

"You know..." He began to say, "That girl saved our hides. Who would of have known she had it in her." 

"I'm just as surprised as you are," Fenix replied, "It's like she becomes a completely different person in the heat of battle."

"All that adrenaline, it's bound to happen to anyone." Sinner told him.

Fenix slipped his clothes on while muttering, "No we've been in fights beforehand and she would just freeze up like a little mouse. She only put effort into the last two battles.

"Regardless... she was there for you when I wasn't." Sinner said rather bluntly.

'She sure does have an odd way of showing affection that's for sure, but she still means well.' Fenix thought quietly to himself. 

Sinner was starting to feel more guilty than ever because he knew there's nothing he could do to make up for the sins of the past. His eyes kept on the broth he stirred, watching the bite size pieces of boar meat twirl from the motion of his stick. 

Fenix tried rolling his shoulders to relieve the tension that's obviously building between them. He has so many questions to ask, but he doesn't have the slightest clue where to start. 

'My longings for a father have never felt so strong until now...' Fenix thought to himself,  'Maybe I forgave him already? And yet still I cannot deny who made me become - tough - tough as an anvil. I am who I am today, because of him. I don't know if I should be yelling at him or thanking him.'

Suddenly Sinner broke the silence by saying the soup was done. Fenix didn't actually say anything back, but he did get up to wake Blazerine. He pushed his way through the opening of the tent and stumbled across the bundle of pelts, which Blazerine seemed to have hogged for herself. 

He gave her a big nudge before he teasingly said, "Wakey wakey Blazey." 

The most reaction, he got out of her, was nothing but an unclear response of muttering. Clearly it wasn't going to be enough, so he yanked back the pelts and tossed them aside. Although he wasn't sure what to think after he saw her arms protectively bracing the front of her face. This led him to think she's desperately trying to ignore him at all costs. 

The moment he reached out to grab one of her hands, she ended up wrapping hers completely around a single finger of his. Fenix knew the intentions of the action wasn't forceful because to him it looked like a small child trying to hold onto a fatherly figure. 

An uncharacteristic chill ran up his spine when he saw an ugly black vein peeking through a tear from one of her leather gloves. He finally realized her strange clothing choice was to hide all the abnormality of her body. 

Slowly but carefully, he brushed the sleeve of her coat down pass her wrist, only to discover the hideous forearms that had been hidden beneath. It made him wonder what will she do once this illness of hers spreads to noticeable places. 

"Let's just hope Leo never finds out." He thought dully out loud.

Blazerine opened her eyes to the sound of his voice and blinked several times, trying to regain her vision to focus. 

"C'mon out here and get a bite to eat." He suggested

"I would rather sleep some more." She hoarsely replied. 

"Sinner told me what you've done for me when I lost... - well when I wasn't myself. The most, I can do now, is at least make sure you've eaten at least somethin'." 

Just as Blazerine's vision finally adjusted, she was wide awake, panicking at the sight of her forearm being exposed. Even though Fenix had already found out about it. She compulsively pulls down her sleeve to hide it.

Sadly Fenix can tell it has become a second nature to her now. 

"How long have I been asleep?" She asked softly, her voice a melodious alto now that the mucus had been cleared from her throat.  

"Hell if I know." He blurted right out as he left the tent.

"How yah feeling?" Sinner asked once Blazerine staggered into the sunlight. 

"I have a splitting headache." She stammered.

Sinner held out a bowl of boar soup and said, "I've prepared a meal for you to eat."

"How do you expect me to eat when I'm covered in the stench of... - of blood?" Blazerine frowned.

'The realization of what she has done is finally starting to settle in." Sinner thought to himself. 

"Shouldn't you be used to it by now? Considering you being a girl and all." Fenix shot her a sly dog grin.

Blazerine eyes wander about as she replays his statement in her mind over and over. If anything it made her head feel worse. It did take a solid minute for her to realize what he had meant. "Fenix that's disgusting..." She finally replied. 

Blazerine didn't find his vulgar humor funny, not at all. And unlike her, Sinner did, he was laughing his ass off.  It was really to a point where he couldn't formulate a single syllable properly. So instead he just points over to a bucket nearby. 

She puffed out her cheeks a bit to conceal herself from saying what's exactly on her mind, especially when Fenix busted out laughing himself. She would rather deal with being irritated then stressing herself out any further by trying to argue with a pair of idiots. 

Calmly she walked over to the bucket, which turned out to be filled halfway to the top with water. It looked clear, but who knows if it's actually sanitary or not. Whatever the case is... she doesn't really care at the moment. Slowly she cupped her hands together and scooped right in to retrieve some water. Repeatedly this method was done in order to keep the water splashing against her flushed cheeks. 

Eventually, her clothing was soon to follow. As hard as she scrubbed her trench coat. She sworn the stench of blood wouldn't seem to go away. She wanted it gone no matter what. It would be a constant reminder of the lives she has taken. But deep down inside... she knows, she knows it felt good, ever last second of it. What was she becoming? Is this truly the person she once was so long ago? 

"What's gotten into you gal?" Fenix asked suddenly, while peering down at her from behind. 

Blazerine lifted her head only momentarily to look up at him. 

"Your hands - " He continued to say, "Their gonna end up raw if keep this up." 

"But the smell...." She argued, "The smell it won't go away." 

"Believe me when I say this gal, there is no smell." He reassured, "It's just your imagination." 

Blazerine tried her best to just ignore him and continued to scrub her trench coat, but her movement ceases up once a hand is placed upon her shoulder.  He was telling her to stop without even saying a word. She wasn't used to him being concern about anything she ever does. It's going to take a very long time to get used to it. Well, if she ever does manage to adjust to it anyway.

"Good, now all, you have to do, is take your clothes off." Fenix boldly instructed. 

"W-what!? How can you even say that with a straight face!?" Blazerine angrily snapped at him.

"I think he was going to suggest washing your clothes in some boiling hot water." Sinner explained.

"Yeah, I don't think so..." She nervously laughed, "Who wants to be naked with you guys hanging around anyway?" 

"You're a woman... and I'm a man. Look it's just the way things are. I mean... I'm pretty sure anyone would do yah without any candles lit." Fenix protested.

"Fenix!" Blazerine growled. 

"Then just take my word for it." He sneered. 

"Hurry up, ya'll don't want it to get cold now!" Sinner warned them. 


As they ate, Blazerine lost herself into the scenery. She never understood how people could navigate through the woods since all the trees looked the same. Nor was she well versed when it comes to predators, and the last thing she would ever want is to encounter some. And yet she can still admit it's a gorgeous sight. 

Out of nowhere, Sinner mentioned, "I think it will be appropriate if you held onto Feng's blade." He continued on before she had a chance to refuse. 

"You've freed many who were forced to fight beneath Feng's ruling. You must carry this blade to ensure others know of your heroic acts. For it will always be a reminder - a token of your deed."

She knocked the blade outta his hands and said, "No. I don't want anyone, ANYBODY to remember me for what I've done in the past. I want to be remembered as who I am RIGHT NOW!" 

Sinner didn't know how to respond and neither did Fenix. Still it didn't matter because their attention was suddenly diverted by the sound of a bark, follow by another then another. It was no ordinary bark; it was Argo. Apparently Lyrist and Leon used him to track them down.

But their arrival wasn't exactly what you would call pleasant nor a humble welcoming. It was the complete opposite! Leon greeted Fenix with a hard right in the nose. The expression on Fenix's face showed that it must of hurt really badly, considering he wore gauntlet's. 

"I told you not to put her life in danger!" Leon outrageously yelled at him. 

Then it was her turn... at least he had the decency to take a gauntlet off this time. When he was about to slap her, Sinner had actually stepped in and withheld his hand back. 

"She should of have turned around the second she had a chance to!" Leon angrily protested. 

"I'm glad she didn't. If it weren't for her, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. Later on if you're still mad, punish her then. She's in no condition for it right now." Sinner argued. 

Leon swung his other hand, which is still covered by a gauntlet, at Sinner's face, while screaming, "How dare you tell me what to do after what you did!" 

Sinner fell back from the impact of the hit, but he never did bother to stand back up. 

"You left!" Leon went on, "You left us behind while ma was still sick. She DIED! DID YOU KNOW THAT!?" 

"Ma.... wait a minute." Blazerine started to ponder. 

Fenix blurted out, "Were brothers?" at the same time Blazerine asked, "You two are brothers?"

Blazerine couldn't help it, when she looked back and forth between Fenix and Leon. There really wasn't any resemblance there. Not in their faces, nor their personalities. Let's be honest here. It really does seem impossible for these two to be related at all. 

"Are you just going to sit there and say NOTHING!?" Leon's voice overshadowed everyone.

Sinner never did move an inch from where he had fallen. The most movement, he made, was to rub at his right cheek. Surely it left him a bruise, but it didn't actually hurt his pride, not one bit. As a matter of fact, he was actually laughing. And all, that did, was make Leon even madder.

"You haven't changed one bit." Sinner manages to spew in-between laughter.

"How would you know? You weren't even around long enough to find out!" Leon cried.

"Why don't you take that tin can off your head and say that to me again, face to face like a real man." Sinner sneered before he rose to the occasion.

Blazerine looked shocked when Leon took off his helmet. The lack of sleep was so apparent on his face. Those blood shot red eyes and those heavy dark bags beneath them. Was it from the long trip? Or maybe he couldn't sleep because he was worried sick about us. 

For a second Leon rubbed at his throbbing temples. His head was pounding for some reason. Perhaps guilt, his mother's face, he was reliving it again - watching her die - unable to do anything. It was still burning into his mind, like a glowing iron brand. 

Leon threw his helmet at him then yelled at him, "When you left... ma and I were okay for awhile. I took care of the house, I took care of her, I TOOK CARE OF EVERYTHING! But I couldn't save her... I couldn't save her from the black mark of death!"

After he had said that, Blazerine eyes crosses with Fenix's. He didn't say a word, but he simply just shook his head. 

'What would happen if Leon found out that I'm carrying a virus similar to the one that killed his mother?'  She couldn't help but asked herself,  "What if this virus was somehow carried over because of me? His mother's death would be my fault.' 

"You're really a spinning image of your mother, you know that?" Sinner smiled.

Leon wanted to knock that smile clear off his face and so he did. It first started off with one punch, then two, then three, but Sinner just kept on smiling and all, it did, was make him punch even more, and harder than before. 

Lyrist suspects Sinner is actually trying to help Leon by having him unleashed his pinned up anger that has built up over the years. 

Blazerine wasn't sure how much longer she could watch this go on. It's exactly what she had done to the prisoner... she had beaten him senseless. Then everything else, she has done, was soon to follow.  Although she didn't express it on the outside, Lyrist still knew what was happening on the inside. 

Lyrist placed a comforting hand upon her shoulder. She had almost forgotten about his ability to hear thoughts. But do they also paint mental images in his mind? For his sake,... she hopes not. 

"Leo that's enough, you're going to kill him!" Fenix intervened. 

Leon paused to say, "Fenix... you of all people should understand! He sold you off as if you were some sort of an animal. And yet a lifetime has passed and there is no remorse or regret in his entire being. Do you know what he's been actually doing this whole time, beside his so-called profession? Where his nickname truly ascends from? What does it stand for? Everyone from Maiden Hill was talkin' about it. How Sinner shared a bed with his own flesh and blood. Such a disgrace - a disgusting act can't be considered love -" 

"What would you know about love?" Sinner interrupted him, "You're just a Templar." 

"What's that suppose to mean?" Blazerine asked as soon as she overheard Sinner's statement.  

"Templars are forbidden to have relations with anyone," Fenix replied.

"In other words... they aren't allowed to love." Lyrist further explained it to her. 

"Yeah that's right! One day you'll be just like your old papa. If it hasn't happened already. You will have to make the decision. The choice between your allegiance to God or being with the one you truly love." Sinner sneered.

Lyrist left ear unexpectedly twitched with the slightest little movement. There was a particular sound which seemed very awfully familiar to him, but he wasn't quite sure what. And the more he listened, the more it help him to determine what direction it's coming from. He pinpoints the noise a little bit north from where they're standing. The idea of creating an actual mental image had never crossed his mind before until Blazerine had mentioned it.  He was willing to give it a try. Slowly he closes his eyes while draining out everyone and everything nearby him. Through all the darkness, he imagines his father blank canvas. The one he used the beautiful swan feather. The ink bottle which is tied around the top with a blue ribbon.

Clank...Clank...clank...What is that? He thought.  Shortly after, he realized it was the sound of armor.  He probably would not have come to this conclusion so quickly, if at all, if it weren't for the fact that Leon was wearing his Templar armor.  The feather fluttered briefly in the air before dropping itself into the ink. Then right before his eyes the feather danced across the canvas, it created long and short strokes. Slowly the image became clearer and clearer until the image of a man appeared, a man in armor.  There was the illusion of motion as the canvas recreated the image repeatedly, making slight changes in each recreation to give the appearance of movement.

He was heavily armored with a sword in his right hand and a tower shield in the opposite. His brown eyes were scanning the area behind the slits of his oval helmet. Before him was a trail... a trail of blood. Someone or something must of have been injured here recently. He followed it without having no fear of what he might encounter. His pace discontinued when he notices a broken arrow in plain sight. This new discovery wasn't enough to hold his attention, at least not very long anyway. His head turned upon overhearing a couple of voices arguing not too far from where he stands.

Lyrist's eyes snapped open only to see a concerned face lingering up at him. Right there and then he realized his hand was still in the same position as before. The words embarrassment, confusion, and worry, were written like broad daylight in Blazerine's mind. Using this new information, he replaces her thoughts onto a blank canvas to recreate how she's picturing him. Surprisingly it was fantasizing to see himself in the eyes of a different perspective. And in her eyes... he was beautiful... truly beautiful.  

"Lyrist...? Lyrist are you okay?" Blazerine asked him several times. 

Lyrist gradually straightens his ears, all the while the corners of his lips curved into a smile. Then he leaned in close enough to whisper in her ear, "Thanks~"

"Huh?" Blazerine replied in a clueless manner.

Lyrist's hand slipped away, the moment he turned to face the rest of the humans. 

"Someone is approaching." He announced to them. 

If there was anyone who questioned his word, Argo made it all the harder to deny because he started barking furiously in one direction, creating a weariness of their surroundings. 

"How many?" Leon asked him. 

"Only one." Lyrist replied.

"Is he armed?" Leon wanted to know what he would be going up against if it's needed. 

"Correct." Lyrist responds quickly before giving additional details. "He's wielding a broad sword, a shield and he's fully suited in armor."

Frustratingly Leon unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Sinner's neck. 

He threatens him by saying, "I can finish this right now or we can deal with this later. It's your choice." 

Sinner didn't give much of a reaction, other than that wrenching smile of his, that's now covered in blood. 

"You would think a guy, who carries around a bible, would be more forgiving." Blazerine quietly commented. 

Leon lifted his eyes to look directly at her. "You better not be defending him Blazerine." He quickly snapped back. 

"Well, I'm just saying it would be more likely you would than Fenix. You know with the whole god thing and all..." She tried to explain. 

"Do you think this is a joke?" He bellowed, "No let me rephrase that. Do you think I am a JOKE?"

"I never said..." She began to say.

Lyrist unleashed his nails when the heavily armored man approached. Argo did the exact same thing, but instead with claws.

"Templar you are quite bold, just like what I've been told!" The knight sang beautifully.

Lyrist and Argo tilted their heads at the same time to express their confusion of the situation.

Blazerine made an awkward expression when she said, "Talk about a tension breaker." 

Despite everything, her and Fenix started laughing among themselves. All, it did, was make Leon suspicious, not knowing what might have taken place between the two during his absence. 

'They couldn't have... could they?' Leon shook the thought off by redirecting his attention back to the knight. 

"Who are you exactly?" He asked him. 

Emanuel sang an introduction, "I~ am Sir Emanuel, the Knight from the land of Kenelem Kingdom~" 

Then his choice of words changed as soon as his eyes settled upon Blazerine. He could have sworn his heart had skipped a beat. He gracefully knelt down on one knee in front of her, and softly took her hand, while bursting out into yet another song,

"Oh, what fair maiden, so rightful, such a delightful to meet thy rightful one and only true love."

"Leo this guy is a frickin' lunatic." Fenix bluntly said.

"I think he might be high." Blazerine shrugged.

Leon anger has now reached beyond its boiling point, so he aimed his sword at Emanuel instead of Sinner and yelled, "Get away from her!"

Emanuel backed off and sang - painfully once again,

"My~ beloved daughter~ has a bad cough, 
Thus, I ran off to retrieve a special rare cocoa leaf -"
to mix a brew of a chocolate drink,
But, unfortunately, the village of Calgeen,
Has put a singing curse on me~e~e~e~! "

"A singing curse?" Blazerine repeated. 

"Singing curse or not. It still wouldn't stop him from bringing those chocolates back to his daughter." Fenix pointed out. 

"Why wouldn't it? If Emmanuel is caught, he surely would be prosecuted - if he's lucky. Most likely he would be burned at the stake. Personally I've witnessed several of these trials beforehand. It doesn't matter if you a willing participate in the arts of dark magic - being associated is enough to bring anyone down. 

And as for his family.... - Well - withholding information or hoarding a black magic user still falls to the same fate as the accuser." Leon explained. 

"What's he's doing all the way out here then?" Fenix muttered. 

As soon as Emanuel's lips departed to sing, Lyrist made a cat-like hiss and said, 

"Don't, you, dare. Let me handle this~. He was going to bargain with one of the bandits to help sneak in the rare cocoa leaf that his daughter needs. He already had many failed attempts with regular bystanders." 

"I can see why." Sinner laughed, "Unfortunately for him, Blazerine went on a rampage and slaughter whoever she could get her hands on. And the rest ran off somewhere. I doubt they'll ever come back - isn't that right Blazerine? But we know it's not because you killed their leader." 

Fenix was quick to say, "You've already dug a deep hole, now you're flooding it." 

Leon immediately edges his sword back to Sinner's neck and sternly said, "Nobody gave you permission to speak. And I wouldn't be laughing if I were you. You're going to be trialed for every single bad deed you've committed." 

And as for you Blazerine, I hope this isn't true. You better pray to god that they don't remember your face."

"Yeah well, it'll be hard for them to not to," Fenix muttered.

"Why does it matter?" Blazerine wearily asked.

"These bandits - this is just a fraction - a portion of an area this group was assigned to control." Leon paused only to shake his head out of dismay, 

"You didn't even THINK. You never tried looking at the whole picture, did YOU? What are you going to do if the whole clan comes after you!? What then!?" 

"It's not like I had a choice!" Blazerine cried. 

"There is always a choice!" Leon screamed at her, "You should of have waited for us to arrive!"

"Waited?" She almost laughed at the thought, "We would have been dead. So I'm sorry for choosing to live!" 

"If you think you're a hero - believe me you're damn wrong, because all, you did, was make a bigger mess out of everything." Leon disappointingly looked away before he presume, "And no I'm sorry - I'm sorry you can't rely on anyone but yourself."

"I've tried it your way before Leon. I said to myself that I have friends who are there to support me, but when push comes to shove, in the end you are always alone. It's reality... When things get ugly and there is no one there to help you; it being a matter of life or death, maybe even perhaps own sanity. There is only one solution; yourself." She calmly explained. 

'Then why are her actions the complete opposite of what she says?' Leon wondered, "We can rely on her, but she can't rely on us?' 

"Enough, this conversation is over." He concluded, "Now someone go fetch me some rope." 

"What for?" Fenix questioned his sudden demand. 

"I'm tying him up. What else would it be for?" Leon squared his gaze, glaring coldly back at him. 

"You're not serious are you?" Fenix questioned him once more, "You might as well just kill him now." 

"How could you even say that?" Blazerine butted in. 

"All the bandits get hung in the gallows, that's why," Fenix answered. 

'All the bandits....?' Blazerine cringed at the mere thought of it. "If I ran away... would the same thing happen to me?' 

Leon pretty much hogtied Sinner, before shoving him down into the cell, which Blazerine had so desperately escape from. Still she thinks it's unnecessary to tie him up if he's going to be locked down there anyway. She can only assume it's Leon's way of giving him some sort of humiliating punishment.

"How long do you plan on keeping him down there?" Fenix asked him. 

"Until we've returned from investigating the curse of Calgeen village." Leon debriefed him.

"Wait what -" Blazerine blurted out, "When did we agree to do this!?" 

"Yah know Leo when you hear the word "curse." It usually.. no it most definitely means walk in the opposite direction!" Fenix pointed out. 

"Before you even give us the whole Templar duty routine speech." Blazerine began to say, "Aren't you forgetting something? The whole reason, why we were here in the first place, was to find Fauna. Are we really going to abandon her just like that?" 

"Is that truly concern coming from your lips or is it your guilty conscious talking?" Leon asked. 

"Look its simple - why don't we just split up?" She suggested. 

"Are you so eager to get away from me?" Leon grumbled, "Are you wanting to be alone with him so badly?" 

"W-what? What the hell are you even talking about!?" Blazerine cried out of frustration. 

"You heard me!" Leon shouted as he walked over to Sir Emanuel. 

He instructed him to stay behind to ensure nothing will happen to Sinner while they were gone. 

All these precautions made Fenix realize how much hatred Leon has towards their father, but he knows there's a difference between making someone pay for their mistakes instead of sending them straight to death's door. This is - no this is an outcry of revenge.... 

Blazerine just stood there for awhile, lost in her own thoughts. She'd always been good at retreating into her mind in order to keep sane. It was easy for her to build walls that kept the noisy and stupid world at bay. At times, it made her think her humanity was slowly diminishing. And yet at the same time it's not far from the truth, because the virus, she carried, was doing just that. It led her to ponder who would win the race. Who she is now, who she once was, or the parasite, which might as well be called a death sentence. 

"All your thinking is starting to give me a headache." Lyrist spoke.

For a second his voice startled her, because she didn't even noticed him when he approached. 

"Yeah, sorry about that..." Blazerine shrugged, "It's just - you know. 

"He's very complicated individual." Lyrist nodded in agreement. 

"He didn't have to react the way he did, that's for damn sure." She sighed.

"Although it looked like he was angry towards you, he wasn't. He's just afraid." He told her.

"Afraid of what?" She asked. 

"He's afraid because he looks at you the same way you look at me." He answered. 

"What's that suppose to mean?" She frowned, "I don't understand."

"It's probably best if you find out on your own." He smiled softly. 


About half a day's walk through the woods, they come across a sign which read, "BEWARE." 

Another one ahead had written, "STAY AWAY!" 

The furthest one said, "NO I'M SERIOUS!" 

"I wasn't sure about the first two, but the third one sold me." Fenix halfheartedly joke. 

Calgeen village.... is just a small collection of straw-roofed cottages, but it was sparkling clean. It's the most cleanest place Blazerine has ever seen so far. Some of them were running around playing with farm animals, chasing after pigs and chickens - like children, except there were none to be found.  And the villagers seemed happy doing their chores. Okay, they seemed awfully happy, a little bit too happy. 

Then the weirdest thing that could ever happen, happens. Out of nowhere music began to play.  It was an orchestra, but without any key players. Well, actually without any musicians altogether. Although there wasn't any general direction the music seemed to be coming from.  It was just all around, lingering about in the air for everyone to hear. 

Leon recognized the tune right away. It's the type of music played when a grand opening of the king's palace welcomes the arrival of his royal guests.

A woman stepped outside of her home and cupped her hands together as if she was about to pray, but instead she bursts out into song. 

"My, oh my, didn't they see the signs?"

Soon to follow behind was her husband; who chimed in as well. 

"Perhaps they're blind?"

A neighbor from the opposite side of the dirt road delicately joins in. 

"No the Templar has traveled from afar... to save us all!"

"Oh man... are you sure this wasn't some sort of horrible rhyming curse?" Fenix whines loudly. 

Randomly out of nowhere, a young man skips directly in front of their path. 

"I just love singing!" He vocalizes. 

He looked about at least sixteen or seventeen. The appearance of his hair was wild, but yet it looked kind of tamed in a way. And his dreamy blue eyes seemed to pierce right through your soul.

Then dramatically he dropped down to his knees and sadly sung, 

"Don't take it away from me~e~e~e~e~e~.

I plead desperately...

It's the only way I can feel free.

Free as can be~e~e~."

Suddenly a villager screamed out his window, 

"Shut the hell up, I can't sleep!" Then he slammed the shutters shut. 

The young man threw his arms up in the air as if it was some sort of a grand finale of a performance. Many villagers gathered around him and started dancing while singing a chorus.

"He wants to be free~

Free as can be~!

But the rest of us do not agree!

NO, we do not agree!

We just do not agree~!"

Somewhere in-between the chorus, they found themselves entering the local pub. It was a small cluttered tavern with only one barrel filled with ale. Most of the tables and chairs appeared to be barely intact. Every step felt disastrous because of the loosen wooden floor boards below. Even as poorly constructed as this place was. 
Lyrist felt relived to get away from all of that god awful singing.

There were a few villagers hanging around at the counter, but most of them looked too drunk beyond comprehension. Fenix thinks he probably would of have done the same thing. If he had to listen to this shit on a daily basics.

"It's going to be hard to get information out of anybody. If all, they do, is sing." Leon mentioned.

"Yeah no kidding.." Blazerine utters out of annoyance, before slumping back against the wall. 

A new saggy tune started up, and the words slowly began to flow steady from Fenix's lips, as he reaches for a bottle of alcohol off the nearest table. 

"This bottle has never,

push me away.

It wasn't the reason why I've become,

crazily insane.

Even at times when I just sat down,

And began to cry.

It never questioned.

It just stayed for awhile,

and listened.

To all of my sorrow -row-rows~..."

"Fenix if this is a joke -" Leon began to say. 

"NO, this bottle has always listened!

This bottle has given me so many wet kisses!

This bottle has washed away all the doubt!

All the pain I've ever felt!

Haven't you ever been so unwell before?

Well, this bottle will help!

It's the cure, haven't yah been told?"

A few men at the counter clinked their mugs together and joined in.

"This bottle has given us so many wet kisses!

This bottle has washed away all the doubt!

All the pain we've ever felt!

So how can you tell any one of us to put the bottle down?"

Fenix jumped on top of a table and danced with his bottle held high in the air. 

"So what,

If we drink till,

we feel no more.

What else would you rather be doing during a war?"

A drunkard man toasted at that very minute and shouted, "Hell its better than feeling a sword!"

The man toasted chuckled in agreement. "That's for damn sure!"

Fenix suddenly crouched down low and quietly whispered, "Gather around all you blokes."

 And they did...

"Sssh, all 'em other folks pretend they know,

Psssh, like they know everything! 

Saying the bottle will do us in!"

Blazerine couldn't help but laughed when two drunkards collided into each other, knocking each other out cold, when they tried dancing around the tables. 

"How did he get infected already?" Leon calmly asked Lyrist.

"Perhaps~ the music?" Lyrist guessed. 

"If that's true, wouldn't we..." Leon's voice trailed off after he noticed Blazerine is beginning to tap her boot against the floor in a rhythmic beat. 

"Keep an eye on Fenix for me," Leon demands. 

Before Lyrist could even give a response, he grabbed a hold of Blazerine by the wrist and forcibly pulled her out of the pub. He wanted to avoid a possible love ballad between her and Fenix at all costs.

© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019