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Rated: E · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2190678
Follow My Feet

Follow My Feet


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Malcolm was sitting, quietly, still and alone in his room, in his dress uniform, sitting on his bed and staring at a table with a small pouch on it. A pouch that was just that, but to him, it was everything. Music floated in through his open window. It was so much bigger than just the object in both what it represented and what it felt like. It sparked so many memories of what he had accomplished with its help. The feeling of being invincible, strong, to have fire surge through your vains. In lesser doses, but still more than most would take, it gave him strong energy and confidence. He felt good and in control, as he had first started taking it to get over his nervousness and clumsiness when first getting promoted to sharpshooter and even as his fame continued to grow.

​He had been off of it for months now. Months. If he were to just take a little now before heading down to the Ball, hell, it would almost be even acceptable. Who would know? He was a hero now. Strong, lucky, proud. Hell, even Jace was taking it, even though he wasn’t clear on the reason. And he felt about that, misleading him like that, but really what was the harm.

​Still he stared. He had been counseled in his time since getting off of it, had weekly meetings with Creed who warned him how much more intense it could be if you relapsed back into the drug. How proud Creed was of him, but in that moment he just wanted that feel, he didn’t care about the consequences. He wanted that feeling, for get the side effects. The dry mouth, the occassonal headaches, the lack of appetite.

​He wanted to breathe smoke, and he’d earned it.
​He stood up, took a step towards it and then there was a loud knock at the door, just literally at the moment where his hand was outstretched to touch it and it froze just a bit away. He wasn’t expecting anyone.

​“Who is it?” he asked, perking his head up.

​“Senior Bowman Hawkins,” a familiar voice that surged his heartrate faster than even the herb at the tip of his fingers ever could have. “Are you awake?”

​Even in his excited, near panicked state he still smiled at that reference, and he swiped up the small pouch, pushing it down into his pocket and made his way over to the door. And opened it.
​Cleo was standing there, looking beautiful in a beautiful dress, her hair up, and on one of the little golden wreaths on the strap on her dress. He totally froze, but caught himself in time so that it wasn’t obvious. How beautiful she looked just added to the complete surreality of her presence.

​“Hello,” she said with an adorable smile. Using a tip told by Isabelle and we see her put it into practice, the reader know what she’s doing, Malcolm doesn’t.


​In order for Relic to gain entrance to the room Hazel Lien was sleeping in, Relic had to have approval directly from the King, who he met along with Jaden for the first time less than twenty minutes before. He had opted not to attend the Ball, but to come here instead when he heard about the situation, the Zarponda mission and various other aspects. He parted with Isabelle as he took Cleo into the city to buy a dress, crazy as that sounded, and now that the Ball started, he would let Isabelle and Jace enjoy the night tonight, this is where he wanted to be.

​So here he sat in a comfortable chair, casual dress, short sleeved shirt, inside the quaint room but with a view out of an enormous window, outside two Sindell guards were guarding, that looked out over the front of the city and out onto the plain over which they rode the last length after being transported by Foy’s cave. In his hand, was a rather worn book about the Bryce Mountain Range, originally taken from the Lornda Manor library the night before they left, intended to collect as much information on it for the powers that be in Veil’driel, only to find out that the High Council seemingly didn’t care, and Alesiter, upon hearing of Artemus’ betrayal, had already been told by Foy. Nothing, it seemed, worked out the way it was intended to when associated with Lornda Manor.

​He had been there since there since mid-afternoon, not long at all after his arrival, and he was only needed for a short period of time by Thean, who seemed much more concerned with talking with Foy than any of his outriders. Now there was a full pitcher of icy water as well as a large kettle of tea at his request. Both sat there, as well as a few other books that were on the table, that he had read and reviewed. He had just set down his cup of tea and turned back to the book on his lap, slowly turning the page when suddenly, shockingly, he heard Hazel’s voice.

​“Told ya I had a feeling we would meet again soon,” her cracked voice said.

​She was obviously pale, and weak, her lips having a whitish tint to them as well,

Relic looked over, astounded to see she was awake, and that her voice was dry and cracked. Then, letting his surprise fade he stood slowly and poured her a glass of the water.

“You did,” he said, walking over as at first looked surprised, but then slowly extended her hand to take it. She sipped it. Stopped and swallowed, took a more generous gulp and then handed it back to Relic who was there waiting, and he took it, placing it back on the table and then sitting back in his chair as if there were nothing out of the ordinary in this situation, whatsoever. “Promised me a rain check, I believe,” he finished as he sat.

She laughed a little but it transitioned to a gentle cough before she refocused.
“Ah,” she said, and it was obvious her spirits were actually rising a little. She cracked a very small smile as she sunk her head back a little more in the pillow and looked straight up at the ceiling. “Yes, I do believe you’re right.” She shifted slightly. “Find anything of use in that one?” she asked. “Bryce Mountain Range, huh?”
“Not really,” Relic said. “the author obviously had no real idea about what those mountains really are. It’s a survey of the topical portsions and secret trails.
Hazel was in a little discomfort, but far from serious pain, she closed her eyes again and spoke as if using the conversation as a distraction.
“Written by pioneers of the Beacon Fleet in the time before they set sail for Emren. Some of those books are thousands of years old, they’re simply preserved by time shifting in that library. Which is why it was dusty and looked like no one had been in there. That’s what you wanted to talk about, right? The Beacon Fleet?”
“What exactly is it you know about it?” he asked.
“I know it could have been the beginning of something beautiful. The coexistence of Tears and humankind before it was the first of many botches by the Veil’driel government, the whole mission, like so much else, the truth lost hidden and covered up until historical fact fell into myth and legend. Based on joint meetings between Sindell and Veil’driel held exclusively at Lornda Manor. That ended with the relationships being sundered, covered up by Veil’driel, and Jaden making the decision that they weren’t ready, putting up the illusion barrier in Terrill Silva and Jaden diminishing the Sindell airship emerald powers so they couldn’t find too far away from the emerald grotto and not reach Lornda Manor. Until the time was right. But of course, after them covering up the whole Beacon Fleet mission experiment, the cycle of blocking enlighment and deception continued and perpetuated itself. It wasn’t until nearly a thousand years later my mother would think them ready to try again. And in those events, she would meet my father.”
She glanced at Relic, waiting for a reaction, but none came. They really were a like, she thought. He had obviously known the information before she told him, but it was still very new to him, and yet he just accepted it and moved on. Always eager for the big picture no matter how shocking the details were.
“Jaden,” he nodded. “A thousand years from the beacon fleet….” His eyes brightened as he made a connection. “The original point team,” he said, having want to know about these events from the time he could remember. “That’s when it would have been,”
Now Relic sat back down just as a warm breeze picked up carrying with it the scent of beautiful flowers, and the beautiful tapestry wafted ever so slightly against the wall, the depiction of the aft section of a mighty battle ship arcing up into the sky, with the front an early model of the fighter airships used, to mark the progression of the kingdom’s transition, then she looked away from it and back to Relic who she was surprised to see staring at her as if he sensed the inner reflection she had just gone through.
“I’m not interested in the war tonight,” Relic said. “The war is the present, and it’s the past I’m interested in. You were talking about how your mother met your father. You were talking about the point team of thirty years ago.”
Now Relic leaned forward towards the bed and looked deep into her eyes, a deep and beautiful shade of blue just shy of purple that were accentuated and even more piercing against the paleness of her skin.
“Look into my eyes,” Relic said, and he stared at her, holding it for seconds that seemed like little separate eternities. By the time Relic broke the silence, Hazel was so entranced that she flinched a little. “Now tell me. Is that what you think?”
They stared at each other just a little bit longer, leaning over their little piece of the Ball that wrapped up the capital city and them along with it. They were frozen, neither moving so much as a muscle even as she spoke.
“Have you ever heard of Operation Longstreet?”


​A few airships zoomed overhead on regular patrol and Cleo looked up for a second, not used to them. Malcolm’s eyes never left her as she looked up and looked at them, but when she looked back down to him he quickly diverted his eyes so she wouldn’t know he was staring at her the entire time.
​The courtyards they were walking through were beautiful, a parklike environment with fountains and hedges and things and stunning architecture all around.
​They walked around the sidewalks and up a sweeping causeway that led up to another little level with a bunch of open grass fields and statue of one of the ancient kings looking out as if the beautiful wall leading into another one of the dazzling courtyards were some epic, foreboding landscape instead of a wide bed of flowers.
​“When did you get here?” Malcolm asked, quick to look away when she looked back down to him so she wouldn’t know he was looking at her the entire time.
​“Late this afternoon,” she said, brushing her hair behind her ear. “Gotta admit,” she said glancing down off the courtyard plateau they were on at the festivities below and the huge Ball room off to their right that towered high and brightly above. “This is not exactly what I was expecting.”
​Malcolm looked down referring to her dress.
​“Could have fooled me,” he said.
​She smiled, suddenly appearing to feel a little self conscious, and she looked down and picked up the skrith of it a little and moved it around.
​“This city has no shortage of places, and I was given this one for free by the royal dress makers (tailors?).”
​“You look beautiful,” he said, and it was something he would not have probably said months before, and she knew it. Indeed, she could see quite a few changes about him.
​“Thank you,” she said kind of seriously.
​“Senator,” he added as a joke, and then continued it on as if it was amusing only himself. “Senator Cleo Bright,” he said out loud, that cocky kind of joking tone she was used to, and he put his hands down into his pockets, looking up to the king statue.
​The bottom of the statue was supremely lighted in flickering purple lights so that the bottom of it gave off a beautiful, almost haunting aspect to it.
​But when, in that space he was looking at the statue, she took a full step towards him so that she was nearly pressed up against him, all cockiness fled in one panicked instant of excitement, disbelief and terror. His pockets were stuck in his pockets as if held there by cement, as if he not dare take them out. As if it was a security blanket of sorts.
​“You,” he stopped again and cleared his throat. “You … you uh, never told me how you got here,” he managed but the look in his face now twisted so that he was, on some level, aware even himself how stupid it was.
​“Mmm… must have forgotten,” she said, smiling, and knowing the effect she was having him, just as she did that night on the Fairlawn Monument. “So are you gonna kiss me or not?”
​She reached up and put her arms around neck, and there in that moment the fireworks started bursting like beautiful dazzling sparks in the air, and then a particularly large blue one seemed to explode directly over them. And while she looked up at them for just a second, Malcolm’s eyes never left her, watching the colors splash over her features, and then she refocused on him, beaming with a wide smile.
​“Cyclic circles,” she whispered.
​Malcolm was way too nervous.
​“What?” he asked, and by the looks of him, he probably wouldn’t even, in that moment, remembered where he was.
​Then the smile left her face, slowly as she focused in on him.
​“Nothing,” she whispered, and now her voice was shaking a little as well. They kissed, and slowly, Malcolm’s hands came out of his pockets, rising ever so delicately up to her sides.
​The fireworks blazed overhead.


​“So this is your room?” Isabelle asked.
​“When I’ve been here,” Jace said. “They used my knack to see through Artemus’ illusions since I got here. Been on a bunch of missions.”
​“Yeah? Did you have a part in this last one? The one this Ball is celebrating?”
​“Small one.”
​She smiled knowingly.
​Jace walked to the far corner, climbing halfway up the stairs and opening a latch at the top.
​“But the room does have its perks.”
​He climbed up, and disappeared out of the portal above. And she just stood there, looking up. And she could see the dark sky above and the slightly blue tint of the forcefield protecting the city. Then she saw Jace’s hand come back down through it and she smiled, climbing up it.
​Before she knew it they were up on top of the flat downer, a little railing around it, it was breathtaking looking over the entire city in the dark, warm night filled with stars. And even more as soon as they were outside, the music from the ball floated back up to them, and it was quiet. And he put his hand out. Fireworks were blazing all around them, it was simply the most breathtaking moment she had ever experienced, the most beautiful scene she had ever seen.
​The music, while slow and casual was louder to match the grandeur of the fireworks display. It was a beautiful song.
​Jace slipped the jadeite necklace from around his neck and put it around her neck, as he promised he would do when they last departed.

“May I have this dance?”

​They started dancing.

​“You’re really tan,” she whispered, laying her head on his shoulder.
​Jace smiled.

“So … do you want me to tell you what that meeting was about?” he asked, and they were dancing casually as if formally.
​She had her head on his shoulder, pressed up against him and slowly bobbing. Then she said sighed.

​“Not right now,” she said, not wanting to disrupt the moment. Then she whispered.

​Though they were dancing and he was just lost in the moment, absorbed into her, smelling her neck, he found himself, though hesitating because afraid to look, at her neck all around her. She didn’t move, there was no way to tell that she had perceived what he was trying to do but then she whispered.

​“I’m fine, don’t worry. Whatever that plague is that effects people using those passages it doesn’t effect me. And obviously it doesn’t effect you, either,” she said, soudning relieved.

​Now Jace stopped moving a bit, confused, and he moved his head back far enough so he could look at her.

​“Don’t think I didn’t secretly check you out in the same way,” she said.

​Jace smiled with genuine amusement, only because he thought it was funny that she had checked him like that without his knowledge, and that was probably the only reason why she believed him when he smiled and nodded as if to confirm that he did not have the mysterious plague as well. She must have perceived that, otherwise she always knew when he was lying.

​“But still ….,” she started again, pressing herself a little closer against him. “Just to be safe, just to be …. She bent her arms and rested her elbows on his shoulders, placing her hands on the sides of his face. “absolutely sure, I think you’re gonna have to inspect me for the scars.”

​Jace nodded, a look of sarcastic seriousness on his face in a fluctuating pulse of firework orange, then red, and blue.

​“Yeah, I think that’s smart,” he said, his mouth moving ever closer to hers to where they were almost touching. “Can never be too safe.”

​She didn’t say anything just shook her head, her mouth opening into the duel purpose of smiling and kissing him.

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 Chapter Fourteen  (E)
Fate Don’t Know You
#2190679 by Dan Hiestand
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