“Oh my gosh,” Kimiko gushed, “The suspense is killing me. Did you and Atlas fight?” she asked, flopping onto Amadhay’s bed, where the other girl was sitting with a magic book.
Amadhay glanced up at her and then back to her book, turning the page. Kimiko only noticed because she was pretty positive that the girl couldn’t read that fast, considering she had only turned the page a click before. “No,” she lied.
Kimiko rolled onto her stomach from her back so that she could look at Amadhay right side up instead of upside down. “Okay, what about you and Ribbon?”
“No,” she responded even more tersely, once again telling Kimiko that she was lying.
“Were the fights about the same thing? Oh, wait, is this a lovers’ quarrel? Did Ribbon profess her love for you and you turned her down for Atlas, but then decided that you aren’t in love with Atlas either, but secretly only love Tenshu?”
Amadhay rolled her eyes. “No.”
“Oh, so you’re in love with me?”
Amadhay looked at Kimiko and Kimiko smiled to show her that she was only joking. She really just wanted to see her smile. Seriously, she had only been gone for two weeks and when she came back, everyone was either not talking to one another or talking too much to one another or being ridiculously polite. She had been back for about a week and apart from explaining that Atlas’ favorite twins had turned out to be spies for the Skouras clan and that they’d been attacked with minor injuries sustained, no one would tell her what happened. The taste of everyone’s emotions running high was a confusing and less than appetizing swirl that was beginning to make her nauseous. She thought she might go crazy if someone didn’t crack soon.
She was pretty sure that Amadhay was going to crack, though.
“C’mon Mayday. Please? Pretty please? I just wanna know what’s going on. I feel so out of the loop. Barely anyone is talking to anyone else!”
Amadhay heaved a heavy sigh before setting her book onto the bed and focusing on Kimiko. Kimiko waited with an expectant look upon her face. “Fine,” Amadhay started. “I helped Ribbon take out the twins and fix them Palnoki style. Atlas exploded about it. He took it out on Ribbon, who fucking took it. So I’m pretty pissed at him.”
“Okay…” Kimiko said, trying to think of a good response to that other than ‘What the deep Water pit is wrong with you?’
“Atlas has basically, I guess, grounded Ribbon to base and maybe from me, since I never see her anymore. I’m avoiding Atlas because he’s an ass. Atlas is avoiding me because he knows I’m right. I barely know anything about the other problems. Tenshu and Nico are fighting about something. Cowboy and Johannes had a falling out about a mission. Stefan, I think, sides with me against Atlas, while Scarlet sides with Atlas, so they’re all not on good terms, but talking to each other in fake polite voices. That’s all I know.”
“Well that’s more than I knew,” Kimiko grumbled, sighing. “I think Tenshu and Nico aren’t relating very well right now because Nico is spending a lot of time with the Fire Herald, Jazz, since he’s her regnant.”
“Regnant,” Kimiko repeated. She sighed at the clueless look Amadhay gave her. “You know the vampire-love structure?” Amadhay shook her head and Kimiko rolled her eyes. “Okay, this is kind of important, considering Vlad and Mitch are vampires and Nico tends to follow the power structure. Vampires, by nature, are one of three positions. They are either the dominant regnant, submissive possession, or a linsh and both. Every one of them is born into one of those positions, though if they’re outside of a camarilla, I guess personality would determine it more than birthright.
“Whatever. A vampire can either be a regnant or a possession, though just by nature of the changes death wreaks, most dead-vampires are only ever regnants.” Kimiko squinted thoughtfully, trying to remember the exact way Vlad had explained it to her, knowing that if she didn't hit all of the points, that Amadhay would stay curious and then ask Vlad or Mitch, who would be insulted because it was bad manners to ask a vampire, especially dead ones, about the vampire-love theory unless interested in engaging in one of the roles with them.
"A regnant is the highest in the hierarchy, being a vampire or similar equivalence like an…elf or, like, like—Nico, a reaper. They are in charge. A possession is submissive, but still a vampire and higher than a thrall. A thrall is a non-vampire under a vampire, though—I guess—some living-vampires call their thralls possessions. An obtainer is a non-vampire dominant, which is less than a regnant, but higher than a possession. Get me?”
Amadhay nodded. “Regnant is higher than obtainer is higher than possession is higher than thrall.”
Kimiko nodded. “Okay, and regnants are incredibly possessive and protective of their possessions and thralls. Living-vampires tend to have a minimum of three regnants and thralls at any given time, but they can survive on their own if the relationships go to shit. Dead-vampires always have one possession to keep them safe.”
“Who’s Vlad’s?” Amadhay immediately asked, just as Kimiko knew she would.
“Me,” she said with a smile.
Amadhay stared at her for a few moments, visibly trying to synthesize all the information. “What about Cowboy’s?”
Kimiko rolled her eyes at the nickname Amadhay used for Mitch. “Tenshu used to be Mitch’s, but lately he’s been relying more on Scarlet, which is weird as all get out.”
“I wonder why,” Amadhay muttered, before frowning. “Wait, so Nico is in charge of Herald Jazz?”
“I mean sort of. Not in an all controlling kind of way that I think you’re thinking of,” Kimiko tried to correct. “Sexually, he is in charge. And intimately, in their relationship. But…she can choose to give him more control, and sometimes she does. But normally, there are limits. She has, apparently made any Team decisions off-limits.”
“Ah. Sounds like at least one of the Wonder Girls and Co. has a brain. That’s exciting.”
Kimiko frowned. “Exciting?”
“Yeah. It’s always fun to fight someone with a brain,” Amadhay said, a dreamy smile coming to her lips.
Kimiko wondered if she even realized what she said. “Are you planning on fighting her anytime soon?”
Amadhay gave her a surprised look. “What? No. Of course not. I mean not unless I have to,” she shrugged. “I think it might be fun to try to beat a vampire.”
“Mitch would be willing to practice with you if you’re bored,” Kimiko pointed out. She wasn’t sure that she trusted Amadhay’s interest in besting the fire Herald. She decided to mention it to Mitch or Scarlet when she saw them next, since Atlas seemed to have a deaf ear to suspicions about the girl.
“Of course Cowboy would be willing to have an excuse to beat up on me again,” Amadhay hissed, clenching her fists as she narrowed her eyes.
Kimiko didn’t have to ask to assume she was thinking about the Madra mission. Mitch had told her about it, where he had beaten Amadhay almost into unconsciousness to keep her out of the way of his mission. “You know it’s not like that,” Kimiko scolded lightly.
“Nope, I actually don’t,” Amadhay replied, sliding to the side of her bed. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I was going to go see what Sha’adahk is doing,” she stated, shoving out off of her bed and getting tangled in the curtains of the canopy. She gave a disgusted scoff before untangling herself and stomping off.
Kimiko followed. “Oh, I’ll just come with you then,” she said with a smile, linking arms with Amadhay even though the other girl didn’t soften at all.
They were both silent for a few clicks before Kimiko started talking again. “So when did you and Sha’adahk start getting all buddy-buddy?” she asked, noting that she had seen Amadhay with Sha’adahk every day since she’d been back.
Amadhay shrugged. “We aren’t,” she said. “He just likes to race me and I like to talk to him sometimes.”
Kimiko frowned, but covered it up with a smile when Amadhay looked at her. “Well that’s cool. Getting to know everybody?”
“Nope,” Amadhay answered, staring straight ahead. “Just Sha’adahk.”
“And why Sha’adahk?” Kimiko fished, tugging on one of Amadhay’s low ponytails.
Amadhay moved her head to the side to pull her hair from Kimiko. “Because I knew him.”
Kimiko made a face, looking down at her friend as she fixed her hair back into two points low on her head, almost perfectly symmetrical from behind. The irritated look on the younger girl’s face was a regular expression lately, as far as Kimiko could tell. She had been bugging her for three days and hadn’t seen Amadhay smile a single time. It was killing her. And considering Amadhay had been her main emotion smorgasbord for the past few months, it might literally kill her if the girl didn’t start giving her something that wouldn’t make her sick.
“He was the one who convinced me to help kidnap Amaya,” she said.
“You kidnapped your own sister?” Kimiko asked, raising her eyebrows.
Amadhay gave her a look to tell her that she thought the question was stupid. “You all kidnapped Amaya. Remember? A year ago?”
Kimiko shook her head, honestly surprised. She hadn’t known that, though now that she thought about it, it made sense. Atlas, Stefan, and Sha’adahk had disappeared for a few months all around the same time, and when they had come back, Tenshu and Mitch had been sent out to befriend the Heralds. She had known that there had been some talk about kidnapping one of the Heralds, but had never heard any more on that. She had known that Sha’adahk had been sent on some sort of mission to retrieve something from the Ha clan and that somehow, the mission had been a failed one. She also knew that Sha’adahk had been really hurt on that mission. There had even been the strangeness where Ribbon had completely disappeared a few months even before that, worrying everyone out of their minds, but come back at the same time as Sha’adahk. That was when, as far as Kimiko knew, Ribbon and Atlas’ had started fighting about the ‘Hakinato lady’ that had turned out to be Amadhay.
She had just never put it all together.
“So wait,” Kimiko shook her head, trying to understand the current situation. “You’re hanging out with the person who tricked you into helping us kidnap your sister?”
“He didn’t trick me,” Amadhay snapped. “I made the decision on my own. I thought the Heralds might get rid of you.”
When Amadhay shrugged, Kimiko stopped. She knew that the Amadhay in past tense had wanted to kill all of them, had been a Phoegani assassin and deep into the mindset, but it still stung to think that the girl she knew in present tense as a friend could have wanted her dead. It also bothered her how easily Amadhay talked about it. While Tenshu and Amadhay had a ‘sure, we tried to kill each other and people each us of care about, but it happened in the past and we’re friends now’ kind of relationship, but she and Amadhay didn’t. Kimiko had told Amadhay how it upset her when the girl talked about times where she had tried to kill any of them. Which meant that Amadhay was purposely trying to upset her.
The thing was, Kimiko wasn’t sure why. She hadn’t been a part of the initial fight, or even any of the other fights. She wasn’t mad at anyone and hadn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. She wasn’t even taking sides in any of the arguments, though if she were, she would have taken Atlas’ side.
Amadhay’s cutting, cursing, and magic styles were all incredibly noticeably specific to Red Robin. She needed to be lying low, not doing anything that might leave a trace, especially with her two ‘friends’, Red Baron and Ghost Sparrow, on the lookout for any sign of her. If somehow word got out that the Phoegani’s Red Robin was working for them, they could get a lot of trouble coming their way. The Phoegani wasn’t bothering them right now, aside from minor annoyances, mostly because they were still licking their wounds from when they had been infiltrated.
Not only could the idea of Amadhay defecting hurt Amadhay and the rest of them should the Phoegani decide to declare a full-scale war instead of their current polite stand offs, but it would hurt Tairyn. Kimiko couldn’t stand the idea of someone realizing that Tairyn was a rat and killing him. That was actually part of the reason she hadn’t let Tairyn see Amadhay yet. She was worried that if Amadhay knew that Tairyn was there and had told them personal information about her, that she would try to kill him. Kimiko couldn’t imagine what she would do if that happened, but she was pretty sure that the situation would devolve from there, with her trying to hurt Amadhay and either Amadhay or Atlas having to hurt her and then Tenshu would get involved and if Tenshu got involved, so would Mitch. It would just be bad. So, until she could figure out a way to soften the blow for Amadhay, she was going to keep Tairyn a secret.
But Amadhay didn’t know that. Amadhay couldn’t know any of that, so Kimiko was still unsure why Amadhay was lashing out at her.
“Well that’s…cool,” Kimiko called before rushing to catch up to Amadhay, who raised her eyebrows in question. “You’re making more friends. You’re getting more in the family.” Kimiko flashed a bright smile when she saw a dark look come over Amadhay.
“Yeah. More of the family,” she muttered, and Kimiko couldn’t help but to notice the way her fists clenched.
“Okay, I’m just going to ask,” Kimiko said, deciding that being blunt was the only way to go. “What is wrong with you? What did I do to you? Why are you so mad?”
Amadhay gave her an incredibly fake smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about?” she said with a shrug and a slight shake of her head. “I’m not mad. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Kimiko rolled her eyes. “Oh please. You’re acting like my presence is physically harming you, so what did I do?”
“Nothing,” Amadhay replied shortly, pursing her lips. “I just don’t feel like playing fifty questions with you. I’m going to see Sha’adahk and I’d rather do it alone.”
Kimiko started, taking one step back before continuing to keep up with Amadhay. “I just want to know what’s wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong!” Amadhay yelled, finally stopping. She turned to face Kimiko head on, which was what Kimiko had been waiting for all along. “I’m fine! I just don’t want to rehash everything that has gone wrong with you. I want to go and run and not talk for a while. I can do that with Sha’adahk because he’s fast and can keep up with me and won’t force me to talk and won’t let me get lost. That’s why Sha’adahk. So leave me alone, Kimiko. Just leave me alone.”
Kimiko stared down at Amadhay for a few clicks, completely unsure of what she should say. Instead, she said nothing, taking a few steps backwards and nodding before she left Amadhay alone.