|Ashwings -2- Valentine|
I didn’t know falling asleep in an awkward, bent over position could be so comfortable and when I wake up, in the same alcove, the sun is warming my cheeks and I blink awake, about to yawn and stretch my arms over my head… until I see two people.
They’ve just shut a golden trimmed glass double set of doors, from the palace, wide and tall enough to… to…
I duck my head down before they turn and see me. I hide below the stone railing.
Oh, my god.
They had freaking wings.
Like angels – except the wings weren’t brilliant white… one set was ash, one set was a deeper ash.
And I can hear them talking quietly to one another.
“…it’s only accepted when it’s approved – you can’t just take any of the fairies.”
“Look, if she’s red, I’ll know the Artinite worked, then I’ll kill her and resurrect her as a demonic little pet… I love it when they get hungry… it’s so cute!”
“Let us wait until you start murdering innocent little fairies for your sick pleasure – if she’s not marked, she’s not worth it.”
“I told you, I’ll find another one.”
“…did you see Guzza or Myron leave yet?”
“Nah… did Valentine send them out early?”
“…if he didn’t send them… you know why, Alexios and December were caught selling one of his feathers for 100 thousand fucking pounds of gold – the whores are about to buy their way out of here if they get one more feather.”
“Why hasn’t he just killed them yet?”
“Oh, you know Valentine… he’d rather torture them for years on end then grace them with the Final End.”
“Maybe that’s all that is, they want the attention – he’s been awfully celibate lately.”
“Probably going crazy with the whores and their stupid games.”
“I think he should just purge them all, send them to Volcin and get in fresh meat.”
“You know some of us actually love them, you idiot – ”
“I wasn’t talking about the obedient ones.”
“December is usually sweet – !”
“When the fuck did you start crushing on the blue bloods?”
“…they cry a lot… the taste of their tears is fucking delicious –!”
I feel a gush of hot wind as their voices fade – up higher. I see an edge of a wing and the large feathers. Damn, they would be soft to touch… after the flap of their wings are no longer audible, I finally exhale and inhale a shaky breath.
I had been biting my tongue the entire time.
They said a lot of things, but killing those marked by Atrinite? I hold up my arm and see the red hue… but that’s not what I notice this time.
I turn my wrist in front of my face.
Pulsing a deep… deep blue. Not the usual turquoise. Was this related to that term… blue bloods?
And another thing.
If two of these flying angels had just exited the palace, that meant more would soon follow. I feel for the letter that has scrunched in half, under my butt.
“Oh, shite,” I whisper as I continue to lay on the bench, flattening out the letter as quickly as possible… I slowly raise my head and look for any other beings.
At least… not on the first floor.
The moment I relax my shoulders is the moment I tense right up again. This is because my eyes roll upward and I nearly piss my pants. Beyond the first floor… on the third floor, there is a stone balcony… and the first thing I see from the watcher, spying on me from up there – is the heavy and wide wings, weighed down by flickering embers, the right wing has a white scar, an ugly, jagged thing. The wings themselves give me an answer to what these creatures were… not angels, but fallen angels.
I meet his eyes and I know without a doubt that this is Valentine – because nobody could be him, unless they had eyes like that.
The iris beheld no definitive colour and there was no end – but I could see a vortex of nebulas, like multiple layers of a black hole. When I see his eyes and start drowning in them, his wings seem to disappear within a flash of light… and boom… my brain automatically assumes I’m the one that’s crazy.
I blink many times.
What I saw wasn’t real.
It couldn’t be.
In fact, it was my fault.
Why did I think it was my fault? What was my fault?
Now his eyes aren’t even what they first appeared to be.
Now, he looks different.
Aside from those loose, black leather pants and the bare torso, his face is cleanly shaven but his eyes are a simple standard blue, his hair a simple, standard black. Perfect, clean and presentable. Although he was rather handsome – it was a disguise for that power I mistakenly saw – I mean I did see – underneath.
Why did I keep doubting myself?!
He’s watching me without any hint of what he’s thinking, which makes me think again… this was somehow my fault…
Oh, shite, oh shite – I’m going insane!
What was my fault…? Why did I keep feeling… like I was somehow in the wrong?
I slowly sit up and look away from him. I place the letter on the balcony, very obviously so he can see it.
Stay forever or leave forever.
Honestly, it wasn’t a hard choice; after what I overheard.
I force my numb legs to pick me up. I stand and consider walking slowly out of this E.W.
But then as the thought about leaving becomes a real option, and my brain disconnects from those eyes of his… my mind and will leaps forth, screaming run, run, run. Before he catches you in a trance again.
But… I had a job.
I… had to make it formal… don’t fuck it up. Do the job and leave.
“You have a deli –” very… I glance up as I say it… one more look wouldn’t hurt.
But he’s gone.
I face forward and prepare to take a step forward, when my whole vision shifts, back and forth, until that empty space on the walk way… transforms into him. A vision? A distortion?
Did he just teleport?!
I can’t see anything past him, especially since I’m dwarfed.
I look down, instantly to his feet. No. Not his feet.
The wooden planks.
Don’t look at him, don’t look at him!
I take a step back, holding up my hands, I quickly beg, “Please, don’t hurt me! I’m just delivering a letter – ”
“I can’t touch you,” he speaks calmly… calmly enough, but despite the words being ‘polite’ they were hiding emotions, I could tell, I could just tell he was a man of lies, or mysteries or something – “That is until I know your decision. Stay forever, or leave once and never return.”
So, you didn’t get asked by a sentry if you wanted to remain or not. Fucking Valentine himself intercepted?
Still, I do not look up.
“Never returning sounds fine to me, I don’t belong in a place like this,” I hiss this quickly and suddenly decide to hide my wrists behind my back.
Even though it’s too late – I can’t help myself.
I don’t look at him, just don’t look, don’t look… if I didn’t look, I’d stop feeling like every word I said made me feel like a murderer.
He steps to the side… allowing me to leave?!
I take a step forward, gulping when I’m slammed with… strange, forceful emotions.
One part of me wants to fall to his feet, kiss his hand and beg for forgiveness.
One part of me just keeps screaming to run.
The soul of me, the will of me, that is buried and being burned – is disgusted by the force of judgement rolling off from this fallen angel.
I step by him and without control, I add in a whisper, “Who the hell… do you think you are?” it just slips out as I walk by and now his relaxed demeanour… well, it stiffens and he turns to me. Even though I keep my eyes down, I can feel his question. Something along the lines of – excuse me, what fucking words did you just projectile vomit out in front of me…?
“Ivy, careful…” he drawls – already knowing my name, and now, he’s about to scold me for sure, “…don’t trip –”
The back of my heel lands, misplaced… and I start to fall.
My heart nearly bursts out of my chest as he leans forward and his hand clasps my arm, shooting red hot pulses through me. They fade and I finally meet his eyes again, briefly.
He steadies me.
“Thank you, Valentine.”
He pauses when I say his name. I watch him unhand me with an excruciatingly slow reaction. His fingers unclench and shift past my skin… and again… for a brief moment, I want to throw myself down and kiss his feet, beg… beg for something…
B-But he touched me.
And he wasn’t allowed to touch me.
“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t,” I whisper automatically, and it sounds childish but I just seemed to blurt my rawest thoughts around him.
I turn, this time watching my step as I power walk away.
I think… I think I hear him… scoff?
He makes some kind of noise… some kind of confused and underhanded noise of displeasure.
But… Valentine doesn’t follow.
I force my walk to turn into a sprint, back towards the E. Horizon.
I run because the way my heart is slowing… as if it’s giving up… or burning up… or both. It’s terrifying.
With every step I take away from the Lavent Ashwing and Valentine, the fallen angel, my spine crawls with a single feeling.
I. Am. Doomed.
It’s my final thought as I make it to the territory boundary.
And I succeed!
I do it!
I cross over the line.
My brain wipes as I enter back into Ora.
And I am free.
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