Arc The Lad Fan Fiction ❯ Aftermath ❯ Chapter 10 ( Chapter 10 )
Delma was delighted by the ride. She spent the whole trip at the window, watching the view. "This is even better than the Pyron, Volk!" She was practically jumping up and down with excitement. "I love it!" she crowed.
Volk groaned, looking sick. "Lupines weren't meant to fly," He glanced briefly out the window before backing away and turning. He looked more green then blue at that moment. "How far?" he asked, giving Ganz a rather pitiful look.
"Only another hour," Ganz said, giving Volk a sympathetic smile.
"You're such a wimp when it comes to flying, Volk," Delma mocked.
Volk snarled at her, eyes savage. "Shut your damned mouth, She-Orc!" he warned. The anger and tone of his voice even made Delma flinch back.
"Alright, alright," Delma grumbled. She turned back to the window.
Meanwhile soft footsteps woke Darc from a restless doze. He waited, having a good idea who it was. He was proven right when Lilia came in.
"Hello, Darc," Lilia smiled. "How are you feeling?"
Darc sighed. "Is that all you came to do? Ask me questions that you should know the answers to already?"
"No, I just thought you might like some company. It's annoying to be bedridden after all," Lilia offered kindly, smiling despite Darc's harsh words.
Darc sighed. He'd never had anyone ignore his temper so easily. Most people would have scurried out of the room if he'd used that tone of voice on them. "Can't argue with that. It's already annoying me."
"Delma is so excited about flying that she's nearly hopping, but I think poor Volk is airsick," Lilia laughed, obviously amused.
"Volk hates flying," Darc shrugged, already used to this fact.
"Obviously...." Lilia paused, biting her lip nervously. "Darc...I'm sorry I interrupted you and Delma. I saw the look she gave me."
"She'll get over it eventually, she's just got one hell of a temper," Darc told her. "Just stay out of her way until she cools off and everything will be fine."
"I was wondering if you had gotten over it," Lilia murmured. "You were angry too. I could tell."
"I was upset," Darc corrected. "It was the first time we'd talked without getting into an argument and I was disappointed we didn't get to finish, that's all."
Lilia knew Darc was lying, but she decided not to call him on it. "So is Delma pretty?" she inquired.
Darc blinked, caught off guard by the sudden change in subject. "What is this? An interrogation?"
Suddenly Lilia giggled. "I can't believe it...You're blushing!"
Darc gave her a withering stare. "I don't blush," he growled.
"You are right now, I guess you do think Delma's pretty," Lilia teased, obviously delighted.
At that moment Darc would have gladly thrown something at the annoying female, but there was nothing handy near by.
Just then Delma walked into the room. She stopped when she saw Lilia next to Darc and a frown spread across her face.
"Hi, Delma, I'll see you later, Darc. I think I'll go back to the bridge. We should be landing soon," Lilia said and left before either of them said anything.
Darc groaned inwardly, bracing himself for the explosion he knew was coming.
Delma scowled after Lilia then turned the scowl on him. "What was she doing here?" she growled.
"She came to apologize to me for interrupting us when we were talking," Darc said, hoping that would stave off the rant.
"She didn't apologize to me. Besides I saw how close she was to you for that so-called apology," Delma snarled, eyes narrowing. "I am so sick of everyone gawking at her, even you. Is she so perfect in everyone's eyes? She's nothing but a simpering weakling." Delma batted her eyelashes. "Oh help, save the fragile, innocent maiden from the big, bad monster. Eeekk!"
Darc had to bite his lip to keep from smiling or worse laughing at Delma's performance. She wasn't in a good mood and she still had her katar on. He didn't want to get stabbed again.
Delma spat in disgust. "She has no skill at all except her dumb music, but you and your dim witted brother fall all over yourselves trying to protect her." She batted her eyelashes again. “Oh, my hero, thank you for saving me!” she mock-simpered.
Darc sniggered before he could stop himself. He hadn’t even known Delma knew how to simper like that. Luckily Delma didn’t seem to have heard him.
Delma began to pace, tail switching violently. “That scrawny Human wouldn’t last five minutes in Orcoth. They’d tear her to pieces before she could blink. Then when she said she’d give her life to seal the ark everyone was so impressed…Well, we weren’t exactly picking daisies during that fight. We almost got killed. She didn’t do a damned thing that we didn’t!”
“But Delma….” Darc began, not really sure what he was going to say.
Delma didn’t give him a chance. “Idiots! All men act like idiots around a girl that’s sort of pretty! Am I so ugly?” She kicked angrily at the floor.
“No one has ever been prettier to me then you,” Darc said quietly.
Delma whirled and stared at him, eyes wide and filled with shocked disbelief. “WHAT?”
Darc mentally slapped himself. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud. He just knew he was blushing again. Fool, why don’t you pounce on her while you’re at it? He didn’t answer, hoping to think of a way out of the predicament his mouth had gotten him into.
“Darc, did you say what I think you said?” Delma asked, her tail had stopped twitching and she moved closer to him. “Do you think I’m pretty?”
Darc looked up into her eyes, fully intending to tell her she was hearing things, but the pleasure and hope in her eyes changed his mind. He couldn’t bring himself to crush them. “I always thought you were pretty, Delma.”
Delma sank down on the edge of the cot. She was blushing too, which made things a little less awkward. “No one has ever called me pretty.”
“Then the other Orcons were blind as well as stupid,” Darc said firmly.
They were silent after that. Both of them were a little shaken by what had just happened. There was a lot of things to clear up.
“Delma, did you think I was a freak?” Darc asked, suddenly curious.
Delma fidgeted for a minute then slowly looked up. “I thought you were sort of handsome, still do actually. You were the first friend I ever had too.”
“Am I still a friend or are you angry at me for blurting that out?” Darc inquired cautiously, still not sure of her mood.
“No, you‘re still a friend….Damn it, Darc! You picked a lousy time to do this. I ought to…“ Delma began. She didn’t get a chance to finish the thought. Just then there was a heavy thump and the engines died. It seemed that the Owl had reached its destination and landed.
Delma gave Darc a fierce look and pointed her katar at him. “This discussion isn’t over, not by a long shot and be warned, would be king of the Deimos, if I think you’re actually flirting with that skinny little girl I’ll hurt you.” She gave him a smile that clearly displayed her fangs before standing and leaving the room.
Darc had the notion that he’d just had a very close call. He shook his head and closed his eyes. He had plenty to think about.
Ten minutes later Kharg and Ganz entered the infirmary. "Darc? You awake?" Kharg asked.
"No," Darc replied sarcastically. "I'm asleep."
Ganz laughed heartily at that one.
Kharg just rolled his eyes and sat down in a chair next to the cot. "We're ready to head into Yewbell," he said.
"If you think I'm going to be carried into town over your shoulder while every thrice damned Human in the place gawks then you can forget it," Darc said without opening his eyes.
"How do you plan to stop me?" Kharg challenged.
Darc raised his left hand and flexed his fingers, drawing attention to the sharp claws. He didn't say a word, not that he had to.
Kharg sighed. "Must you be so stubborn?"
Darc pretended to think it over for all of a minute. "If it makes trouble for you, yeah."
Ganz snorted then smiled. "Kharg, come on."
Kharg looked puzzled, but he shrugged and followed Ganz out of the room. "What's up?" he asked.
"You must have had a way to transport crates of spirit stones back to Yewbell. What was it?" Ganz asked.
"A cart, drawn by a mule, but what does that have...oh, I see. That's a good idea, but I bet Darc won't be thrilled with that idea either," Kharg sighed. "He seems determined to argue with me on everything."
"If he raises to much of an argument we can drug him," Ganz joked then sobered. "We'll probably have to do that anyway. I doubt the trail is very smooth."
"Afraid not, just the opposite if I remember right," Kharg replied.
"Three of us will go back to Yewbell to get the cart and bring it back here. I think you should be one of them. Also you should stay there while the others bring the cart back," Ganz suggested.
"Why do you want me to stay behind in Yewbell though?" Kharg asked, not understanding.
"As the leader of the defense corps you give the orders and it might be wise to let the townsfolk know the a group of Deimos will be with us when we return," Ganz explained. "You don't want someone to overreact and attack one of them."
Kharg winced at the thought. "I see your point, alright. I'll take Paulette and Maru back to Yewbell with me. Are you sure you don't need me to help with Darc?"
"I can handle him. Like you said he's determined to argue with you. He listens to me," Ganz smirked.
Kharg sighed. "I'll get them and we'll get going." He glanced back into the infirmary then walked off.
Kharg explained to Paulette and Maru why they needed to go back to Yewbell and they agreed to go along. Soon they were headed off down the trail.
Maru soon was a ways ahead of them, but keeping in sight in case something attacked.
Paulette kept one eye on Kharg then frowned. "Alright Kharg, what's the problem? You're touching your birthmark again."
"I was thinking maybe this is a mistake, that I should have let Darc go his own way. It's obvious he has no interest in going to Yewbell," Kharg sighed.
"I think not," Paulette smiled.
"Huh?" Kharg looked at her in puzzlement.
"I was talking to Volk on the airship and I learned a few things," Paulette hinted.
"Like?" Kharg prompted.
"Well, Volk told me that the strongest Lupine in the pack is leader. A pack member must obey the alpha's every order. Refusal is not an option no matter what. Darc became Volk's alpha when he defeated him in a duel," Paulette said thoughtfully.
"So?" Kharg asked, not sure what Paulette was getting at.
Paulette sighed in exasperation. "So why didn't Darc just order Volk to prepare to return to Orcoth? If Darc had done that then there would have been no debate."
"You're right, but he didn't!" Kharg exclaimed then sighed. "Which leads to the question of why not?"
Paulette shrugged. "You'll have to ask him to get the answer to that."
"Good luck doing that in my case," Kharg muttered.
"Patience," Paulette reminded him. She smiled. "You and Darc do have some things in common you know."
“Come on, Paulette, all we’ve done since we met was fight, verbally and with weapons,” Kharg protested.
Paulette nodded. “You were both fighting to defend your people and for what you thought was right. You want to know what your problems really are? You’re to much alike, plain and simple.” She shook her head with a faint smile. “Darc hides his Human side behind Deimos fierceness while you hide your Deimos side behind Human civilization. Don‘t you see that?”
Kharg was silent the rest of the way to Yewbell, thinking about what Paulette had said. By the time they had reached Yewbell Kharg had resolved not to allow Darc to push him away or to give up no matter what.
Almost the moment the three of them entered Yewbell they were surrounded by worried villagers, all talking at once.
Finally Duncan got everyone's attention and they quieted down, realizing Duncan would most likely ask the same questions. "The machines just stopped except the ones that have emergency batteries. What is going on, Kharg?"
"It's a long story, Duncan and I promise to tell you all of it, but right now we need the use of the mule and cart," Kharg said.
"But Kharg..." Duncan began.
"Please Duncan, the cart, one of our group is injured. He can't walk and we want to get him here soon as possible," Kharg said.
Duncan nodded, looking embarrassed. He sent a boy to harness the mule and bring it to them. “Anything else?”
Kharg took a deep breath to steady himself, knowing what the likely reaction would be. “Yes, our group now also has five Deimos, one of them is my brother.”
There was dead silence for a moment then the villagers started muttering.
"You mean that freakish half-breed?" Someone called.
Kharg turned towards the voice though he couldn't tell who'd spoken. His eyes flashed with anger. "No. I mean my brother. You might as well call me a freakish half-breed as well or perhaps you'd like to skip the name calling and throw rocks at me again?"
"But Kharg, that Deimos killed your mother! Now you're defending it?" the same voice called.
"You mean he and he didn't kill her, she was shot by a Dilzweld soldier. Darc actually saved her and Lilia from the emperor’s airship, Lilia told me all about it." Kharg snapped He decided not to tell the whole story. "I don't care if you accept who Darc is or not, but anyone tries to hurt him will face me."
Paulette stepped forward. "And me!" she said.
Maru eagerly leaped forward beside Paulette. “That goes for me too!”
The boy arrived with the mule and wagon. Kharg turned to Paulette. “Alright Paulette, Maru. Bring everyone home.”
A bit concerned, Paulette glanced around at the villagers who had split into small groups talking quietly among themselves. “Will you be alright?”
“I’ll be fine, go on. Just be careful,” Kharg said.
Meanwhile Duncan went from group to group listening before going back to stand in front of Kharg. “None of us like the idea of a bunch of Deimos running around Yewbell. Are you sure it‘s wise to bring Deimos in here. They could be plotting some treachery.”
“When I explain everything you’ll all understand. I’ll do it first thing in the morning.” Kharg frowned. “Duncan, when I first visited mother’s grave there was no headstone, no flowers like there are now. Who buried her?”
Duncan cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Well, ah you see Kharg, we were all angry and well….”
“Who buried her?” Kharg demanded.
“The Deimos and Miss Lilia I guess,” Duncan said, obviously very uncomfortable now.
“I take it since you don’t know that you weren’t there,” Kharg stated coldly. “Were any of you?”
The gathered villagers looked everywhere, but directly at Kharg.
“Well, we fixed it up after Paulette made us see how wrong we were……” Duncan started to explain.
“Don’t bother, I know exactly what you’re getting at,” Kharg interrupted. “If you’ll excuse me I would like to go home and rest.” He could feel tears stinging his eyes, but he forced them back. Turning, he went to his mother’s, now his, house. The problem was that with his mother dead it didn’t feel like home and he was no longer sure Yewbell was home either.
Whew, looong chapter, I’m going try to make all of them this way, but it will slow down my updating a bit. I dedicate this tale to Sponge who helps me so much! Thanks again! R/R please!