Arc The Lad Fan Fiction ❯ Aftermath ❯ Chapter 11 ( Chapter 11 )
Ganz was waiting outside the Owl when they arrived. "How'd it go?" His brow was slightly furrowed in concern.
Paulette and Maru got out of the wagon and Paulette tethered the mule. "Not to bad, at least no one threw anything," Paulette joked, trying to smile, but it was obviously faked.
Maru was grinning. "You should have heard it, Ganz. Kharg really let them have it. He said if anyone attacked Darc they'd have to go through him first. We said us too."
Ganz frowned. "So they gave Kharg a hard time." He spoke slowly and thoughtfully as if he was just thinking out loud.
Paulette shrugged and answered anyway. She sighed in mingled exasperation and annoyance. "We figured they would, but who can blame them? Hate and fear can't be banished in a day."
Maru grinned cheerfully. "We saved the world, they'll get over it." He bounded off to find Bebedora.
Tatjana joined the group. "So are we going to Yewbell?" Serious blue-gray eyes studied Ganz then Paulette, waiting for an answer. They lingered longer on Ganz than Paulette, but neither of them noticed.
"We'll go," Ganz said. He glanced back at the airship. "Darc isn't fit to travel much more and we're all tired and hungry I'm sure."
Paulette looked herself over. "Let's not forget dirty. I can't wait to take a long, hot bath and change into fresh clothes." Her nose wrinkled slightly in distaste as she studied the mud, grass stains and spots of blood on her clothing, making her look like a normal eighteen year old instead of a savior of an entire world.
Just then the mule brayed loudly in panic and shied back. It tried to rear, but the tether prevented it from doing so.
"Damn, I should have thought of this." Ganz was angry at himself for not anticipating the mule's reaction to a certain member of their group. "Volk, stay where this damned beast can't pick up your scent. It thinks you're a wolf."
"Very well." Volk studied the mule and grinned, showing unsettlingly sharp fangs. "The stupid beast looks absolutely delicious. Can I eat it when we get back?"
"Sorry Volk, I don't think the villagers would like that. Besides why would you want to hurt the cute little mule?" Paulette jibed. She realized Volk was joking by his tone.
Delma came over, only to be forced to jump aside when the mule snapped at her. She gave it a vicious look. "That damned thing tried to bite me!"
"Well, maybe it thinks you look delicious," Camellia smirked from behind her, obviously enjoying the game.
Delma glanced over her shoulder at the sage before turning back to the Lupine. "We could eat it anyway, Volk. I could even carve it into steaks," she growled, jabbing her katar in the mule's direction.
Lilia walked over to the mule and stroked its nose. "Does it have a name?"
"Suzi," Paulette shrugged.
Delma watched Lilia pet the mule with anticipation, hoping it would bite her, instead it nuzzled her affectionately. It figures, she thought bitterly. "Is Suzi a female name?"
"Yes, why do you ask?" Paulette asked, looking puzzled.
Delma snorted. "Never mind." She changed the subject. "So now what?"
“We’re going to get a mattress from one of the cots and some of the spare blankets, so it will soften the ride. Last thing Darc needs is to be jolted around. Volk and I will take care of that. If the rest of you would please gather any supplies that might be useful then we should be able to reach Yewbell before nightfall,” Ganz said. Agreeing with the plans, everyone went to work.
Meanwhile Darc had fallen asleep and started to dream. He felt the agony of having his wings ripped from his back once again, felt blood against his skin. He moaned softly in his sleep. The memory faded and suddenly he was back in the Dragon Cave.
The stone carving stared at him, eyes glowing. “Come, I can make you whole, but you must take the first step, you must chose….. Come to me, children of wind...come." Darc jolted awake, barely suppressing a cry. After a minute he realized he’d been crying in his sleep, thankfully no one was in the infirmary to see it. He dried his face and shifted, trying to get comfortable. Great, so now I'm reduced to bawling, just like a weakling Human.
Ganz and Volk came in then and took the mattress off one of the cots then carried it from the room. They came back a few minutes later and took out some blankets along with a second medical kit. The next time they came over to the cot where Darc laid.
"Alright, Darc, we're ready to head to Yewbell now. Volk and I are going to help you outside. We have transportation for you that does not mean being slung over anyone's shoulder, so you don't have to use your claws on anyone," Ganz said.
"That's a matter of opinion," Darc muttered, but he allowed them to get him on his feet and help him outside. When Darc saw the small cart with a mule hitched to it he wasn't amused. "No chance in hell am I going to be hauled to Yewbell in that thing!"
"Why not? You aren't being carried at least," Ganz said, not seeing what the problem was.
"I am not trusting my neck to that ugly cross breed of a horse and a rabbit," Darc snapped. He glared at the cart. It looked like it was going to fall apart the first time they hit a rut to him.
The mule looked at Darc and snorted then gave the cart a kick.
“Easy, girl, it’s alright,” Lilia said, stroking the mule’s neck soothingly.
“Don’t worry, Darc. Suzi is a very well behaved, gentle thing,” Paulette added, sounding like she was trying to sooth a child. “You don’t have to be afraid of her. She won’t hurt you.”
Darc glared at the annoying woman. "I’m not afraid of that ugly beast. Don't patronize me! Gentle and well-behaved my ass. It’s playing innocent while it plans its attack, just waiting for me to drop my guard and get close," he rasped. He glared at the mule, like he wanted to tear it to pieces.
The gray mule turned its head towards Darc and brayed. It seemed to have an evil glint in its eyes.
"Well, Darc, there's two choices, either you ride in the cart or I carry you," Ganz shrugged.
Darc scowled. "Fine, the cart, but if that thing bites me than it'll be supper," he warned.
"Alright, someone get into the cart, so they can support him and help lower him to the floor," Ganz directed.
Lilia abandoned the mule and clambered into the cart. "I'll help."
Muttering, Delma sprang into the cart, her shoulder slammed into Lilia.
Lilia staggered and nearly tumbled out of the cart. "Hey! Be careful!" she protested.
"Darc's no lightweight, you won't be strong enough to support him and the last thing he needs is to be dropped," Delma informed her coolly.
Paulette got in too. "She's right, Lilia," she said.
Lilia frowned, about to protest then seemed to change her mind and moved out of the way.
It took a lot of effort, but finally they got Darc into the cart and settled as comfortably as possible. Unfortunately it wasn't easy and Darc was as white as flour and sweating by the time it was over.
Ganz scowled and pulled out the second medical kit. Opening it, he searched the contents until he found a small green bottle. "Someone raise his head and shoulders, so he can drink this without choking."
Delma slipped behind Darc and sat with her legs under her then arranged Darc so that his head and shoulders rested on her lap.
"Perfect," Ganz said. He pressed the small bottle into Darc's hand. "Drink, it will stop the pain. Just be warned that it will probably make you drowsy." He watched the Deimos drink down the potion then took the bottle. "You can let him down now."
Delma nodded, but made no move to do so. She took off her katar and laid it beside her.
Paulette smiled knowingly and climbed out of the cart. "I'll drive, come on, Lilia, you can ride up front with me."
Once Lilia joined her Paulette urged the mule forward and they were on their way to Yewbell.
They arrived in Yewbell by mid afternoon. Paulette stopped the mule in front of Kharg's house and she and Lilia got down.
"I'll get Kharg, so he can help us with Darc," Ganz said. "I could use your help too, Maru."
"Alright," Maru agreed.
Ganz went to the door and knocked. "Kharg, we're here!"
"Coming!" Kharg yelled. After a few minutes he opened the door and came out. "I got the guestrooms ready."
Ganz had Darc take another dose of the painkiller then Paulette and Delma helped Darc to his feet.
Kharg and Ganz helped Darc down from the cart and they headed for the house.
It was while they were doing so that Kharg noticed a group of villagers staring at the group with expressions varying from distrust to dislike and to hate. He glared at them and they self-consciously looked away.
Maru led the way to open doors and move things out of the way as needed.
"Let's go, Lilia and I'll show you around Yewbell while they get Darc settled," Paulette offered. She jumped down from the cart, gesturing for Lilia and the Deimos to follow her. She turned to Tatjana with a smile. "You want to come?"
Tatjana shrugged. "I have no pressing business to attend to, so I might as well."
Delma glanced towards Darc then shrugged. "Why not?" Picking up her katar, she leaped down from the cart.
"Many souls, many colors to see," Bebedora said. "I want to go."
"I think I would like to see the town," Camellia agreed with a girlish giggle.
Volk shrugged and tugged at the collar of his red cloak. "Might as well. We're going to be here a while."
"Good, follow me," Paulette said and led them away.
The tour finished, they headed back towards the house. Camellia, Lilia, and Delma ended up lagging a bit behind the others and walking together.
"So Delma, dear, did you enjoy snuggling up to Darc?" Camellia giggled.
"What? I wasn't snuggling up to him!" Delma protested. She glared at the sage.
"Hmm, you looked like you were getting awfully cozy to me," Camellia hinted slyly, giving Delma a little sideways smirk. She turned to Lilia. "It's obvious Delma's sweet on our dear Darc. It's also obvious that she's jealous."
"You miserable old hag!" Delma yelled, clenching her fists in rage.
They were close to the lake by then and that gave Delma an idea. She lunged at Camellia and gave her a hard push.
Camilla let out a little shriek and waved her arms, trying to regain her balance then toppled into the water with a splash.
Unfortunately Lilia was next to Camellia and she was knocked into the water too.
"You horrid little bitch!" Camellia cried, trying to pull herself out.
Delma was doubled over laughing then she realized she'd shoved Lilia in too. "Ooops," she sniggered, but she didn't seem to care much. Giving Camellia a smirk, Delma hurried after to the others who were far enough ahead that they hadn't noticed what had happened.
Paulette gave Delma a puzzled look when she caught up to them at the top of the stairs near the shops. "Where's Lilia and Camellia?" she asked, a little concerned.
"Oh, they're enjoying the lake, but they'll catch up soon," Delma said, trying hard to hide her smirk.
"Gold yellow of satisfaction," Bebedora said, looking at Delma with interest.
Delma just headed up the next flight of stairs. "I wonder if Darc choked anyone yet." she snickered.
When they entered the house Maru and Kharg were sitting at the table talking. Ganz was sitting in a chair he’d brought next to the bed in the far corner of the room putting a clean bandage on Darc’s left arm.
“Everything alright, Ganz?” Tatjana asked.
“Everything’s fine, right Darc?” Ganz said.
Darc snorted and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right, just fine," he agreed sarcastically.
Ganz just laughed. He stood after clapping Darc's shoulder. "You'll survive."
Just then the door opened and Lilia and Camellia entered. They were soaked to the skin.
"What happened to you two?" Kharg asked, looking confused and shocked. He looked at Paulette.
"I don't know anything about this, Kharg." Paulette turned back to the two women. "Delma said you were by the lake, not that you were swimming. I thought..." Paulette looked at Delma suspiciously.
Delma shrugged. "They were, it's not my fault they were so clumsy that they fell in." She glanced around and spotted a bowl sitting on the counter full of unfamiliar objects. She pointed. "Is that food?"
Kharg glanced over at the bowl then gave Delma a puzzled look. "Yeah, it's fruit, apples, bananas and pears. You didn't know that?"
Delma snorted. "If I knew then I wouldn't have to ask, you fool."
"Heh, heh," Darc sniggered.
"Shut up," Kharg muttered, scowling at his twin.
Delma swaggered over to the bowl and picked up two of each. "So which is which?" she asked, examining them.
"The yellow, long one is a banana, the red is an apple and the green one is a pear. You need to peel the banana before you eat it though," Kharg explained. He got up and came over. “Here, like this.”
Delma watched and nodded. She took the fruit over to Darc and sat down on the edge of the bed. She handed him the peeled banana then peeled the other one for herself.
Kharg shook his head. Fetching a couple of thick towels, he handed one to Lilia and one to Camellia.
Just then someone hammered on the front door, even though it was made of very heavy wood the force of the pounding rattled it in its frame. Frowning, Kharg went to the door and opened it.
It’s my first cliffhanger! Evil Smirk R/R please!