amadhay: (Default)
 Little Red and Her Wolf
In Which The Game Begins
In Which Amadhay is Rude
In Which Amadhay Meets Darach
In Which Atlas Slips Up

In Which Benjy is Hurt

In Which Amadhay is Compromised

In Which Amadhay Hurts Christein

In Which Riff Learns Something

In Which Alphonse is Angry

In Which Atlas Gets Punched

In Which Amadhay Fight Golems

In Which Johannes is Difficult

In Which Rea Trusts Amadhay

In Which Amadhay is Playing

In Which Amadhay Annoys Essies

In Which Amadhay Is Amaya
In Which Riff compliments Amadhay
In Which Amadhay Surprises Atlas
In Which Ben is Dumb
In Which Christein Deserves It 
In Which Amadhay Doesn't Panic
In Which Amadhay Thinks Hard
In Which Dreams Are Reality
In Which Amadhay Isn't Saved
In WHich Amadhay Ignores Atlas
In Which Amadhay Is Bouncing

In Which Ribbon Tells Stories

In Which There's A Deal

In Which Amadhay's A Worm

In Which Ribbon Sleeps In

In Which Amadhay Is Fickle
In Which Amadhay Makes Decisions
In Which Amadhay Isn't Kissed

In Which Amadhay Eavesdrops Some

In Which Amadhay Gets Hurt

In Which Johannes' Not Rea

In Which They Go Swimming

In Which Amadhay Asks Questions

In Which There Is Sparring

In Which There Are Reconciliations
In Which Amadhay Saves Herself
In Which Atlas Is Pissed

In Which Everyone Is Mad

In Which Stefan Hugs Amadhay

In Which Kimiko Is Annoying

In Which Amadhay Races Sha'adahk

In Which Atlas Is Playing

In Which Mayday's A Busybody

In Which Lots Isn't Said

In Which Tenshu's A Brother
In Which There Are Pegasi
In Which Amadhay Is Confused

In Which Palnoki is Phoegani

In Which Amadhay's Heart Breaks

In Which Atlas Washes Hair
In Which Ribbon's A Possession
In Which Atlas Is Truthful
In Which Amadhay Is Sneaky
In Which Amadhay Tells Lies

In Which Amadhay Keeps Promises

In Which Hands Are Forced

In Which Amadhay Breaks Promises
In Which Amadhay Chooses Wings
In Which Amadhay Is Alive
In Which Nolando Calls Christein
In Which She Could've Asked
amadhay: (Default)
Crimson Splashes
Red Cloak Fables

Little Red and Her Dragon

Little Red and Her Magician

Little Red and Her Wolf

Little Red and Her Monkey

Little Red and Her Unicorn

Little Red and Her Soldier

Little Red and Her Glider

Little Red and Her Hunter

The Dreamer’s Red Cloak

amadhay: (Default)
 in which she could’ve asked

 

 

Amadhay lay in the bed that Anne had given her for the duration of her stay.

 Nolando, Christein, and Anne were still debating over where she would stay and who would know. Christein had, when the two of them had had a moment alone together told her that he hadn’t told anyone that he’d heard from her. If she wanted, she could live under the radar from both Palnoki and the Phoegani. She had the choice that Atlas had been trying to force onto her for six months. She could completely cut ties with everything to do with the Phoegani.

But she couldn’t. She played with the chip, turning it over and over in her hand. She hadn’t yet told Christein about the chip or the Palnoki’s plans. There hadn’t been time. Anne and Nolando were big on not leaving the two of them alone, though for the life of her, Amadhay couldn’t understand why. She understood that they didn’t like Monkey too much, but she did. She loved him. Didn’t what she want have any kind of bearing?

Then again, it seemed her wants weren’t being factored into anything. She was still just a child in their eyes. She hadn’t been a child for a long time. She’d had to grow up quickly under Arne Riff’s tutelage. A child didn’t last long as an assassin, they were too weak-willed. A woman did because a woman could do her job and not flinch. Amadhay was a woman and she hated that her family didn’t recognize that.

No, she wasn’t the court appointed majority age of 19 or the standard aelfe majority age of 23, but she was more of an adult than most aelfe that were. She had seen more hardship and made more mature decisions in the past few weeks than most people did in years. She had killed her best friend, her lover, her only true equal. She had held the only truly pure and innocent person in her life, the only person who truly believed she could be good as he bled out on her lap. She had been betrayed by people she loved. She had nearly died, had died a little in some ways. She had even forced herself to get over her fears of horses and flying to get away.

She could make her own decisions.

She closed her hand around the chip, staring at nothing. Still, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to make this decision. Life would be so much easier if Nolando would just decide that she was staying there, if Monkey covered for her with the Phoegani. She could have a relatively easy life. She’d still have to hide, but she was sure that Nolando would smooth over the situation with Amaya and hiding wouldn’t be as important, aside to shield her from the Phoegani and Palnoki. She could have her family again. She wouldn’t have to kill. She could just be Amadhay. Atlas would be happy.

But she wouldn’t be.

She wanted to see Benjy again, even if that meant going back to the Phoegani. She wanted to question Rea about her healing practices, to see if they were truly friends. She wanted to keep Monkey and Benjy safe from the Palnoki. She wanted to keep Amaya safe from the Palnoki. It was her duty. She owed it to her sister, after having betrayed her more than once.

She owed the world to keep the Heralds out of Atlas’ hands. She may have loved him, but she knew he wasn’t nearly as sane as he sometimes seemed. He may have wanted her and might still refuse to hurt her, but the rest of the world? Everyone he didn’t want was seen as an acceptable expense. Even Arne Riff wasn’t that bad. He might see many people as expendable, but even he wouldn’t willingly kill as many people as she knew Atlas was probably going to. Atlas only cared about his handful. Arne Riff cared about power and wanted people there to rule over. Atlas only wanted what he couldn’t have and damn the consequences.

She couldn’t let him win. She wouldn’t let him win, not after everything he’d done to her, had planned to do to those she loved, had forced her to do. No, she wasn’t going to let him win, especially not with the fate of the world practically in his hands. And not only their world…

“What kind of things do you want?”

“World domination. The Heralds. Interplanetary exploration and then domination. You.”

She turned onto her stomach, pressing her face into the pillows. He’d listed her among conquests he wanted. She wasn’t going to be a conquest and she wasn’t going to let him have those other conquests either. She would stop him, no matter the cost. She had already forfeited her right to remain neutral the moment she had decided in the barn, the moment she had decided that having a life with Ribbon, that Ribbon’s life was less important than the good of the entire world. She’d chosen her side. She had finally made her own decision. Atlas would be proud.

So what she could do if she stayed with Nolando was useless speculation, because she couldn’t. She wasn’t sure how she was going to do it, but she was going to have to convince Nolando to give her over to Christein and then convince Christein to let her go back to the Phoegani. She didn’t want to, but she had a feeling that she was going to have to involve Arne Riff. He could force their hands. He’d want her back. She was an even better asset now that she knew the Palnoki.

Her fingers touched something underneath the pillow. Sitting up, she sat the chip onto her lap and picked the pillow up. Laying there, right where her head had been, was an unmarked, sealed envelope. She paused for a moment, wondering who it was for, and knowing that she should give it to one of the maids, but unable to fight her curiosity.

She opened the envelope. She pulled out the one slip of paper. She read it. She stared at it. She dropped it onto her lap and looked inside the envelope. Turning it upside down, she shook it until the last content fell into her hand.

It was her hair ribbon. The ribbon. It had blood on it, Ribbon’s blood, she was sure. Clutching the ribbon in her hand, she looked at the note once more, looking for more words where there were none. It only said five.

 

You could have just asked.



Next:
Little Red and Her Monkey (Crimson Splashes) [Series-wise]
Hot Chocolate (Coffee Shoppe) [Chronologically 'verse-wise]

amadhay: (Default)
 in which nolando calls christein

 

 

Amadhay didn’t have to hear the call between Nolando and Christein to know it had been awkward.

The brothers hardly ever talked to each other except in court functions when it was necessary to put up a front of a combined, loving First Family. In fact, if Amadhay had to guess which of Nolando’s siblings was his least favorite, she would say Christein, no competition. So no, she didn’t need to hear the conversation, but she had.

It was purely by coincidence (and though she’s not sure that she believes in coincidences anymore, she can’t imagine a situation where her hearing the conversation would benefit Atlas in any way, so she’ll say coincidence until she’s proven otherwise) that she happened to stumble upon an irate Nolando. He hadn’t left her bedside except when absolutely necessary in the four days she had been recovering in the medical wing. He and Anne had switched between themselves in engaging her with unimportant, prattling chatter, obviously shying away from the big questions like how she was alive, why she had pretended to be dead, where she’d been the past year, why she had come to them now, what had happened to her. They even shied around asking her where in the world she had found a pegasus, instead choosing to talk around the subject in telling her that he was being taken well care of and that she’d be able to see him as soon as she was well enough to walk far enough to go to the stables. So when she had awakened to see neither the king nor queen hovering around her, she had taken the opportunity to get out of the bed and let off some of her pent up energy.

She couldn’t even say that she was actually healed well enough to be running around or to jump on Grits and go back to a Phoegani base. No, she definitely wasn’t at a point where she could do the latter. Ribbon’s blood had managed to get into her wounds and it had done some bad things to her body and its healing. So, at the very least, she had learned that the next time she had to fight a blood witch not to get their blood in her body. But she was well enough to walk around at a leisurely pace without Anne or Nolando fussing at her.

Now the irate Nolando that she had stumbled upon had his back to the door, where she stood, and was talking to Arche Loralyn, his mother, who was trying to comfort him.

“Why do you need Christein, Nolando?” the sickly woman asked gently. The hologram of her was sitting in a low seat, her dark hair pulled back and her face concerned.

“I need to talk to the bastard,” he snapped at his mother, who didn’t look offended, though Nolando immediately apologized. “Sorry, Mother. It’s just, he’s been keeping secrets. And I don’t like it. So I need to talk to him immediately.”

“What secrets?” the lady asked worriedly.

Nolando looked away from her hologram, to the wall. “I’m not sure that I can—”

“That’s fine, I understand,” she cut him off, though her tone said otherwise. If anything, she sounded more worried about the situation now that Nolando wouldn’t tell her what was going on. Either way, she gave him Monkey’s contact information. He tersely ended the call with his mother to call his brother quickly, not taking a moment of pause between the two to calm himself.

Monkey answered on the first ring. “Who is this?” he demanded warily. He didn’t have the settings to give him a hologram, so it was just his voice that came through. Just the sound of Monkey’s voice made Amadhay feel a little better. But at the same time, she also tensed a little. She wasn’t sure that he would believe her when she said that she had escaped.

“Why the deepest depth of Water have you had Amadhay pretending to be dead?” Nolando demanded instead of exchanging false pleasantries.

“Excuse me?”

“Why have you been hiding her? What have you been doing to her?” there was so much accusation in his voice that Amadhay started to step forward, started to say something in Monkey’s defense, but she didn’t need to because Monkey didn’t let it bother him.

“Do you know where she is?” he demanded, sounding anxious. “Have you seen her?”

“She’s here. Safe with me.”

Monkey was silent for a few clicks. “She’s there?”

“She came here, battered and almost dead. Funny, considering I thought she was dead. And all I could get out of her about that was that you knew and not to tell anyone else. So what have you been doing to her?”

“If I was the one who did that to her, do you really think she’d have told you to tell me?” Monkey snapped. “I’m coming right now. Don’t let her go anywhere.”

“Where would she go?” Nolando snapped back, but Monkey had already hung up. “Bastard,” the golden aelfe muttered under his breath.

“He can’t be a bastard,” Amadhay said, announcing her presence. “You were first and you have the same parents.”

Nolando turned quickly to her, rushing to her side. She batted his hands away when he tried to brace her against him.

“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” he chastised her softly.

“I hurt my throat, not my legs,” she deflected, wincing when she had to cough. Her throat was still incredibly raw and her voice was lower, raspier than normal. It gave her a sort of sexy, husky tone and she hoped that she got to keep it. It made her sound more mature.

“And your ankle and your head. Come on, let’s get you back in bed,” he told her, putting his arm around her and trying to lead her back to the medical wing despite her protests.

“Monkey didn’t do this to me,” she told Nolando.

He gave her a confused look for a moment before nodding. “Christein,” he said. She nodded, having forgotten that other people didn’t call him Monkey. She had been away for so long from people who called Christein anything, that she almost forgot his real name most times.

“I know you care about him, but if he—”

Amadhay stopped, shaking her head. She placed her hand on Nolando’s chest to cut him off. “Monkey didn’t do this to me. I haven’t seen him in six months.”

Nolando’s eyes widened as he stared at her. “Where have you been?” he asked softly.

Amadhay was spared having to answer by a small boy running up to her and Nolando. His sandy blond hair and hazel eyes made her very much aware that she was looking at little Leondo. The last time she had seen him, he had still been trying to figure out what his feet were for. The realization that she had been away from her family for long enough that the little boy probably had no idea who she was made her instantly, incredibly sad.

“Hey there Leo,” Nolando said, scooping the boy up into his arms. The little boy squealed as his father tickled him and Amadhay smiled, watching the two.

“May-Yay?” the little boy asked pointing at Amadhay, making Nolando shake his head.

“Nuh-uh Leo, that’s Aunt Amadhay.”

“Mad-day?” he asked, making Amadhay laugh at the sweet little boy.

“Exactly,” she said. This was what family was supposed to feel like, she told herself. She had a family. She should never have traded that in for the Palnoki.

“Leo?” Anne’s voice came, echoed by a little girl’s.

Amadhay looked questioningly to Nolando, who was setting Leo on his feet. “Go tell your mommy that we’re going to the big room,” he told the little boy before nudging him in the direction Anne’s voice had come. Once the little boy was off running again, Nolando looked to Amadhay. “Come on,” he ordered, allowing her to walk on her own after him.

She followed, albeit slowly, as he led her down the hallway, and to an incredibly ornate door. The handles were in the form of two ivory elephants fighting. Inside was even more ornate, with maroon velvet wall hangings on every wall and a grand table in the center of the room, a polished cedar wood. The chairs around the table were cushioned, with one especially ornate chair at either end of the table. The ornate ones were where Anne and Nolando were meant to sit, she could tell by the elephant tusks inlaid at the head of the two seats in the Tierdormo family crest.

Instead of sitting there, Nolando led her to a smaller, more intimate table. There were only five seats at this one and the chairs were for comfort rather than grandiose spectacle like the other seats. He pulled out one of the seats for her and she willingly sat down, feeling a bit out of sorts as he pushed her seat in.

He sat across the table from her. “Let’s talk,” he said.

Amadhay swallowed, knowing that he probably wanted answers and that she owed them to him for taking her in and nursing her to health. She just wasn’t sure how much she could tell him. He didn’t understand things like Monkey did. She knew that if she told him too much, he would probably declare war on not only the Palnoki, but the Phoegani as well. He would go to war with his own father if he knew the whole truth.

She didn’t want that. While he had a pretty antagonistic relationship with Arne Riff already, the last thing she wanted was a war. So she was going to have to lie. She was going to have to lie a lot.

She smiled. “Sure.”

Nolando waited, but she didn’t say anything. She was going to let him lead this conversation. It was safer that way. When he finally recognized she was waiting for him, he narrowed his eyes. “Where have you been?”

“Over the Water. I don’t know where,” she lied.

“Why were you there? What happened, Amadhay? I thought you were dead. We all did. Why would you have pretended to be dead?”

She took a deep breath, knowing what she was going to say. She had been creating her story for four days now and thought it was pretty good. “I made some bad decisions, Lando. I did something incredibly dangerous because I thought I was invincible, but I’m not. When I realized that I wasn’t invincible and that people were going to come after me, I faked my death to stay safe. Monkey hid me, but six months ago, the people who wanted to hurt me, found me.” Until that last line, everything she had said was true if she stretched the truth a little. Now she was getting into the lies.

 “They found me and they hurt Monkey so that he wouldn’t be able to help me until it was too late. They took me Over the Water and sold me. I was a slave for four months until I got away. When they found out I got away, I guess they looked for me. I had been hiding out with this group of, I don’t know, they called themselves Wanderers, but I think they were pirates. They were the ones with the pegasi. The people who wanted to find me did and they killed most of them. They tried to kill me, but one of the Wanderers saved me, put me on Grits, and sent us flying before the people could get me again.”

Nolando stared at her for a long moment, his disbelief turning to horrified belief when she didn’t flinch under his gaze. “What did you do?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about that. It’s in the past,” she said. She could have thought up hundreds of things she had actually done that would have fit in her story, but thought that keeping Nolando guessing there would be better for her in the long run. It kept names out of the equations.

As she had expected, Nolando didn’t want to, but reluctantly took that answer. “How did you get here?” he asked.

Now she gave him a confused smile. “I’m not really sure, honestly. I think I must have told Grits to bring me here. He did all the flying, I was just on for the ride.”

“And barely that,” Nolando muttered. “I don’t understand why you had to hide from all of us.”

Amadhay shrugged. “If they had thought that I was alive and you, any of you knew, these people would have no problem attacking royalty or high court to get to me. I messed up bad.”

Nolando eyed her for a long moment. “Would this mess up have to do with why your eyes are red?”

Amadhay flushed, looking away from her cousin. She had forgotten about that. She was so used to it, that it didn’t even occur to her. The red eyes were an obvious sign to anyone looking that she was an aelfe practicing high dark magic. She nodded, choosing not to look at her cousin.

Before he could ask another question, they could hear a loud, angry male voice arguing with Anne.

“Tell me where she is!” he yelled. Amadhay jolted, recognizing Christein’s voice now that she was listening.

“If you would calm down, I would take you to her!” Anne yelled right back, never one to just take disrespect. “And if you don’t, I can have you escorted out right now.”

Both of their voices lowered and Amadhay and Nolando exchanged glances. Nolando started to get up to check on the two, but before he was fully out of his seat, the doors swung open to reveal a fuming Anne carrying a female toddler and leading an anxious Christein behind her, Leo following Monkey close behind at his reptilian tail.

Amadhay knew the moment Christein saw her. The tension in his face eased into a mixture of disbelief and hope. He moved forward even faster, pushing right past Anne, who glared after him. He didn’t even seem to notice, as focused as he was on Amadhay’s face. He started to gather her into his arms, but paused, holding back.

“Why do you call me the nickname you do?” he asked.

It broke Amadhay’s heart that he felt the need to check if she was really herself and not just someone pretending to be her. What hurt more was that if she had been a Palnoki double, that question could have been answered anyway. “You’re my Monkey because I was an incredibly confused child and thought your tail was a monkey tail,” she told him softly.

Before she even finished her final word, he pulled her into his arms, giving her the type of hug that he had only given her twice before: once when she was five, right after her parents had been killed and they had found her in the middle of a burning room, still holding her mother’s hand, and the second time when she had come back from her last mission with Maria, when she had almost been raped.

“Goddess, I thought we had lost you,” he whispered into her hair. “Ben and I have been trying to find some trace of you for six months,” his voice broke, “But we couldn’t find anything. We kept following the Palnoki. We tried to corner—”

“Shh,” Amadhay spoke, rubbing his back. She had to recognize the irony of the situation. She was comforting him after she had been missing for six months. “I know. I’m fine.”

“Fine isn’t what I would call you,” he said, finally pulling back from her. His eyes focused on the still puffy stitches on her throat. “What did they do to you?”

She shook her head, silently telling him that she didn’t want to go into it yet, not with Nolando and Anne around and listening. She glanced from him to her other cousin, who was watching them with wary eyes. She wasn’t sure why he looked at them that way, but also couldn’t find it in her to care. She hugged Christein again and he let her, though he didn’t hug her again this time.

“I suppose now would be a good time to talk?” Anne suggested, sitting down beside Nolando and bouncing the toddler on her knee. Amadhay reluctantly pulled back from Monkey, pulling on his hand to force him to sit in the seat directly next to her. He pulled the seat closer to hers and sat there, draping his arm protectively over her shoulders.

“Sure. Let’s talk,” Monkey answered for her, putting on his unpalatable mask in place of the true look they had all had into him a few clicks ago.

Anne gave him a long, disapproving look before looking to Nolando, who was eyeing the pair of them with concern. She forced a smile and focused on Amadhay. “Are you going to continue to pretend to be dead?” she asked, her bluntness a part that Amadhay normally liked about her.

“Yes,” she answered before either of her cousins could answer for her. Nolando frowned while Monkey nodded down at her. “I mean, the same people are still going to be after me if I suddenly come back and am alive. For right now, they think I’m dead. But if I announce my alive-ness, they will come for me and they might come after family or friends to get to me. It’s better if I stay hidden.”

Anne didn’t look convinced. Nolando looked ready to argue. Monkey jumped in to add to her argument. “You probably think you can keep her safe, but you can’t. These people came into a highly guarded safe place, just four of them, and took out me, two of my friends, and a handful of other, incredibly powerful and normally competent people. They took Amadhay right from us and hid her for six months with no trace even though we were looking for her from the moment we realized that she was missing, which was probably before they even managed to get out of the safe place.

“You can’t keep her safe. I can’t even keep her safe. They think she’s really dead this time. I say we keep it that way.”

“And in the meantime, she’ll just stay hidden wherever you put her?” Nolando demanded, his eyes narrowed enough for Amadhay to know that the problem he had with this plan wasn’t her staying ‘dead,’ but with Monkey being the one she stayed safe with. “If you can’t keep her safe, why should we keep her with you?”

“Because I choose to go with him,” Amadhay interrupted Nolando, crossing her arms over her chest. “He might have made a mistake once, but he won’t do it again. He’ll keep me safe this time.” She glanced at Monkey, who had a dark expression and wouldn’t look at her. He pulled his arm from her shoulders and crossed his arms over his chest as well.

“I’m sorry Amadhay, but you don’t really have a say in this matter,” Anne said, immediately angering Amadhay. “You are still just a child,” she stressed the word, glaring at Christein. “And given that the Arne Riff and Arche Loralyn are not privy to this decision, it lays with Nolando, as the eldest of your First Family.”

“That’s wormshit,” Amadhay cursed, choosing not to care when Anne gave her a warning look. “I’m no more a child than the three of you are.”

Both Nolando and Christein shook their heads. “She’s right,” Nolando said first.

“You haven’t hit the majority yet. Legally—”

Amadhay cut Christein off, standing up. Her anger made her flush as she slammed her palms on the table, shocking the dozing toddler, who started to cry despite Anne’s attempts to calm her. “Legally, I’m dead, so I’m pretty sure I can make whatever decisions I damned well please!” she yelled.

“I’ve made more important decisions on my own in the last six months than you three have made in the past six years so don’t tell me that just because I’m not nineteen yet that I’m not an adult. I’m not a child and haven’t been since I was nine.” She glared at Christein with her last sentence before leaving the room.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which amadhay is alive

 

 

Amadhay wasn’t doing so well by the time she got to Tierdom.

The ride had been long at nearly eight zoots, not counting the four times Grits had stopped to graze, drink, and rest. She was uncomfortable, which made plenty of sense, considering she had just ridden a pegasus for over eight zoots, only getting off of him when she had fallen asleep and the pegasus had somehow managed to get her off of him. It was a given that she wasn’t doing so well mentally. She had, ten zoots previous, killed one of her best friends—her lover—learned that her…whatever Atlas was, was planning to kill two of her other best friends, foiled a plot against her family and job, and been forced to ride, alone, one of the few creatures in the world that she could honestly say terrified her regardless of the good face she put up.

Physically, she wasn’t doing much better. Her neck still burned and she was positive that Ribbon’s blood had somehow dripped into the wound, which was why even though she attempted healing spells, the cut around her throat stayed. She was covered in Ribbon’s blood, even though it was dry and she barely noticed it any more. Her braid had come loose sometime during the flight and her curls were completely unmanageable as the winds battered at them. She was bruised and tired, and her legs were incredibly sore from riding Grits. Her leg was still partially burned where Ribbon had caught her and she was pretty positive that she probably had at one least black eye, considering they were both swelling so badly she could barely open them.

She knew that she should probably have tried to find a Phoegani safe house in Tierdom, but she didn’t. She was tired, scared, and sad and for once, she just wanted to be comforted. She didn’t know where Monkey or Benjy were, or even if they were still alive or would come for her. Atlas and Ribbon were obviously no longer the comforts that they had been not even a full day previous. With all of her normal options out, Amadhay did something she had sworn not only to herself, but to the Phoegani and Arne Riff, that she would never do.

She went to Nolando.

Or rather, she went to the Tierdom kingdom and hoped that he would be there, with his knot. By this point, Grits was doing most of the work to keep her on his back, keeping his wings up so that she wouldn’t slide off even though he was walking in the palace garden. A handful of horrified shrieks made her try to open her eyes, but she couldn’t get them much more than a crack.

“Is she alive?” a quivering female voice asked.

“I don’t know. What is she?”

“Did someone call the queen?”

“She’s coming. Should we try to help her?” the last voice gave another shriek after Grits gave a threatening squeal, stomping his feet. Amadhay clutched his mane, forcing herself to sit up.

“Princess Anne?” Amadhay asked hoarsely. Grits gave a soft blow before shaking his head experimentally. When Amadhay held on and didn’t fall back or down, he lowered his wings.

“Did she say something?”

“I don’t know.”

“We should do something.”

Amadhay took a deep breath and tried again, making her voice louder. “Anne?”

“I’m here,” finally a familiar voice said. There was the sound of shifting feet, and then Grits neighed in alarm, dancing to the side. “Amaya?” the woman asked.

Amadhay thought that she should correct the woman, but instead focused on calming Grits “It’s okay boy. She’s a friend,” she whispered into his ear. Grits moved in a semi-circle before blowing again. This time Amadhay knew he was blowing at Anne, because she heard the woman give a nervous laugh.

“I can tell you’re not alright, so I’m going to have someone come to get you off of the pegasus. Do you hear me?”

Amadhay nodded, but patted Grits’ head. “Let me down,” she ordered the horse, who was slow to do as she asked, but did eventually kneel forward so that she could slide down. She fell right into someone’s arms.

“Hey, I’ve got you,” Anne said softly, “You could’ve waited, but that’s fine. I’ve got you.” Grits pressed his head against Amadhay and the girl felt Anne shift her weight so that she was leaning more against the horse than her.

“Has someone found Nolando yet?” she asked softly of someone beside her.

“Yes, your majesty. His majesty is on his way,” one of the other female voices answered.

“Well someone might want to tell him that this isn’t Amaya,” she said in a low voice.

Amadhay forced her eyes open as far as they would go to see Anne looking at her with a mixture of fear, curiosity, worry, and confusion on her face. The blonde woman looked just the same as always, a golden tan color with dark blonde hair and round brown eyes, but the crown on her head was different from when Amadhay had last seen her. She had forgotten that Anne’s father had died, that she was the queen now.

“There you are!” Anne exclaimed, looking past Amadhay and Grits, to someone who seemed to be approaching quickly. “You need to get her on the lift and take her to the medical wing. She is to have immediate attention,” she ordered as a pair of healers in white garb came into Amadhay’s vision. She closed her eyes again, choosing to rest for the moment.

Grits made a soft nicker at Amadhay, which she responded to by weakly patting his flank. “Thank you, Grits.” The next thing she knew, she was being gently laid onto a stretcher.

Heavy, running footsteps approached and Amadhay forced her eyes open one last time to see her eldest cousin. Like his knot, he had dark blond hair and his light olive skin really offset his dark blue eyes, which went straight to her face. He was sweating and out of breath, making her wonder what he had been doing when the information of her arrival had reached him.

He gave a soft curse, and then as she was being lifted into the air, she felt a hand brush her hair from her face. “Amadhay,” he whispered.

“In the flesh,” she responded before the healers started moving.

“We have to get her to the medical wing as soon as possible, your majesty. I’m sorry,” one of them said, making Nolando back up. As she was closing her eyes, she saw Nolando begin to follow, Anne at his side.

“I thought she was dead,” she heard her cousin say.

“That’s definitely what I last heard,” Anne responded. “I think I might remember a funeral,” she added drily.

“But that’s Amadhay, isn’t it? It has to be.”

“It definitely looked like her,” Anne admitted.

“I’m Amadhay,” she added to their conversation, her voice scratchy. “I pretended to be dead but I’m not. But don’t tell anyone except Monkey. He already knows.”

“Why would you pretend to be dead?” Nolando wanted to know, his voice breaking for a moment. “Who did this to you?”

“Doesn’t matter. She’s dead.”

“You majesties, we really need her to stop talking,” one of the healers said. “The damage to her throat needs to be looked at right now.”

“Of course,” Anne offered, “We’ll talk after,” she promised both Amadhay and Nolando.

“I want to talk now,” Amadhay argued even though she really didn’t.

“But you can’t,” Anne stated matter-of-factly. “When you’re all fixed, we’ll talk. All four of us.”

“Four?” she asked, but neither the king nor queen answered her. Instead, one of the healers shushed her and began to work on her throat. She figured she probably should have told them it was useless, but figured they’d come to that realization on their own. Besides, she wanted to rest. For some reason, Anne taking control of the situation as well as she had was incredibly comforting and helped Amadhay relax.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)

in which amadhay chooses wings

 

 

Now that Amadhay knew that the teleport wasn’t going to work, she was stuck with a difficult decision.

Actually, it wasn’t all that difficult a decision. She literally only had one choice. She could fly a pegasus or she could stay. Now, considering she had just killed Ribbon, it was pretty obvious that the second option was out of the question, which only left her with flying a pegasus out of there. She had already done her best to ruin all of the other modes of transport so that no one could follow her or continue with their plans. She had removed parts and tossed different things all into the machinery of the automobiles and the teleport. She had broken apart the wheels to the carriages. She had even let the normal horses, Feral dogs and Feral wolves free, which they had enjoyed. Luckily, they had chosen to just run off and not make any loud celebratory noises as they ran.

That left her with the pegasi. She had already tried to convince them that they were free. Apparently the pegasi liked the Palnoki, which she supposed she understood. Atlas treated them well. He personally took care of all six horses, feeding them, washing them, exercising them, making sure they were happy. She doubted too many others would do that.

The problem was, she only needed one to fly. If she left the rest, then that would leave five ways someone could follow her, get Darach, kill Monkey and Benjy, or any of the other various goals they were planning. She couldn’t allow that. Considering her night had already put a strain on her morals, she was having a hard time convincing herself that killing five innocent pegasi was worth it. They had never been anything but gentle with her. They hadn’t reared at her or bucked her off like normal horses, they didn’t attempt to scare her off or intimidate her into doing what they wanted. They were just simple, gentle, nice horses with wings.

Atlas’ pegasus, Ludo, nudged her with his giant head. He blew on her. Ribbon’s pegasus, Grits stayed close to her too. She couldn’t tell if they thought she needed comforting or if the smell of Ribbon’s blood drew them near. The magic of the blood had to be a beacon to all manner of magical creatures. Ludo licked her face.

Almost immediately, his demeanor changed from mildly comforting to furious. The horse reared onto his back legs and kicked at her. Grits got between her and the attacking pegasus with a loud, challenging squeal. Both horses screamed, brandishing their forelegs at each other before Ludo dropped back down. Grits stayed in front of her protectively, neighing at Ludo. Ludo huffed out of his nose and Amadhay was positive that the two horses were arguing. Grits stomped his foot and Ludo seemed to calm down. That, at the very least, decided which pegasus she was taking with her.

“I can’t leave you here,” she told the pegasi, squeezing the blade handle in her hand, trying to convince herself that she could kill the five beasts before her. Ludo snorted at her before giving a relatively loud whinny that made her flinch. All of the pegasi aside from Grits followed Ludo to the door, which he kicked open. And then they just left. Amadhay was too surprised by their actions to stop them, but in all honesty, she couldn’t figure out what was happening.

On the plus side, she hadn’t had to kill five giant, winged horses. On the down side, they were probably just going to come right back once she was gone. She knew she should chase after them, but decided not to. Chasing after winged horses to kill them in the air while on a winged horse did not sound like something she really wanted to do.

Grits snorted and butted her head with his own, making her wince. Her head was still sore from when Ribbon had slammed it into the ground.

“Well, I guess we should get going, huh?” she muttered, patting his flank. She stared at the horse, really not wanting to get on his back and honestly, not sure how she was going to get up there until the horse knelt for her. She paused, trying to figure out some other way to get out of Palnoki without having to fly on the horse. It had been one thing going a short distance with Atlas tight behind her to keep her from falling, but this time she was on her own.

Grits gave an impatient huff to tell her to make up her mind, and Amadhay did. Getting onto the pegasus’ back was as difficult as she had expected, given she not only had to get onto his back (and even with him kneeling, their height difference being over a foot made it incredibly hard) but she also had to avoid his wings, which he tucked into his body as well as he could to get out them of her way. Once she was situated on his back, however, it didn’t get any easier for her. The pegasus moved as though she should be used to riding him. She wasn’t and held onto his mane as tightly as she could.

The only good thing about this was that Grits took direction well. She only had to whisper the word ‘Tierdom’ and he took to the air.


 Next Chapter
amadhay: (Default)
 in which hands are forced

 

 

A shrill whistle caught her attention just as she was about to enter the teleporting station.

She looked up and, seeing Ribbon standing in the doorway, watching her, she jumped right into the stall and tried to activate it.

It didn’t work.

Ribbon’s laugh was harsh. “You honestly thought it’d be that easy?” she asked, pushing off of the door and entering the transportation hub. The door closed with a decisive click behind her, telling Amadhay that she was now locked in there with the woman. “You need a password,” Ribbon explained, moving around the cars. Amadhay warily moved from the teleport, keeping a good distance between herself and Ribbon. Ribbon was doing a good job of circling her, but Amadhay kept her eyes on the woman.

“See, I would ask you what you’re doing, but I’m pretty sure I know,” Ribbon held something up in front of her face and it took Amadhay a moment to recognize her hair ribbon. “It’s weird, because when I went to check on you, all I found was this. Even weirder is that Kimiko and Tairyn are searching their room and the garden for the chip, worried that they must have lost it. But I thought it was strange that I remember her having the chip right before you attacked Tairyn. Funny coincidence, huh?”

Amadhay still didn’t say anything, keeping a close eye on Ribbon as she moved closer to the door. She pulled at it, but it didn’t budge. “Green sleeves?” she muttered, but the door still didn’t budge.

Ribbon laughed again. “Come on Red Bird. You have to do better than that.” She hopped right over an air cart and was eating up the distance between them quickly, but Amadhay rolled right under a carriage. She could see Ribbon through the window, but the width of the carriage kept them apart. Amadhay kept moving back, not wanting to have to fight the woman.

“You see, it’s funny, because I knew something was wrong with you the moment I found you in the garden. You were too calm, too sure of yourself. That wasn’t my Red Bird, who’d been curled up at my side for the past week. No, you see, that was much more like the Red Robin I first met. The calculating, manipulative Phoegani member.”

She gave another harsh laugh as she walked the entire length of the carriage rather than rolling under it, which would have been easy for her to do. Amadhay slid across a car. She tried the door, but it was locked.

“How long have you been planning this? Or was it a spur of the moment thing?” Ribbon paused for a moment, watching as Amadhay tried different doors, her green eyes turning paler by the click, a sure sign to the aelfe that Ribbon was calling all of her power to her skin.

“Because I figure that you’ve been planning this the whole time, only this was the first time the chip was somewhere you could get it, which in hindsight was probably a stupid idea. We just thought that with you all grief-stricken, that you might not notice us working. Should’ve known.” Ribbon moved quickly and stood on the hood of a car before moving to stand on the cab, jumping over to the top of another and then another until she was at the end of the cars. “Because you always notice everything. You always have. You are always watching. And we were idiots to let our guard down when you still hadn’t.”

Amadhay dashed back to the teleporter.

“Are you even actually sad about the golem-makers death, or was that all part of your plan too?”

“His name was Indigo,” Amadhay automatically responded, focusing on the way Ribbon had pointedly not attacked yet. She thought that maybe Ribbon didn’t want to hurt her anymore than she wanted to hurt Ribbon. “And don’t ever question my feelings about him.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Lying Bird, I just wasn’t sure what parts of you were real. Didn’t mean to insult you,” she drawled, circling around toward the teleport again. “It’s just you’re so good at faking emotions that it’s hard to tell.”

“I really don’t want to hurt you,” Amadhay whispered, more to herself, but Ribbon heard her.

She gave her a sharp smile. “I think we might be a bit past the time where we worry about hurting each other. That’s a fixed point. The real question is how much I have to hurt you.” Amadhay frowned, staring at her lover. “Am I going to have to kill you? It would be an incredible shame if I do. Atlas would never get over it. But if I don’t, how long before you betray us again?”

“Just let me go and no one has to get hurt,” Amadhay tried. She tried not to let it bother her that Ribbon was worried about hurting Atlas, but was completely fine with killing her. She had thought they were more than that, more than she was with Atlas.

I’m already hurt!” Ribbon yelled, allowing Amadhay to see that she was truly upset with the entire situation, even if she had tried to cover her own feelings by using Atlas as a focus. “I trusted you. I more than trusted you. I love you.”

Amadhay flinched. “I’m sorry,” she said, choosing not to move as Ribbon closed the distance between them.

“No, I don’t think you are,” Ribbon stated, looking her over.

She stood directly in front of her, still wearing her pajamas while Amadhay was dressed for travel, with her hair pulled back in one thick plait, wearing tight pants with boots, a loose black shirt and cropped red jacket. The jacket was Ribbon’s. The rest of the clothes were borrowed from Kimiko. On her, she had one of Ribbon’s ceremonial knives strapped to her thigh and a gun stolen from Atlas’ room holstered to her hip. Ribbon only had the hair ribbon and a thin, long wire that Amadhay had never seen before. Her eyes were wide and an icy color, lips pressed to a thin line, and her veins were a visible dark green all over her body, throbbing with power.

She had never seen Ribbon look more dangerous.

“But you’re going to be,” Ribbon swore, narrowing her eyes. “I hate people who break promises.”

Amadhay didn’t flinch, but she thought that Ribbon was talking about the promise she had given when she kissed her the first time. She didn’t want to break that promise. This didn’t mean that Ribbon didn’t come first. She wanted to tell her that, but she couldn’t form the words. It wasn’t something she could tell the woman standing before her, the one ready to kill her. This wasn’t her Ribbon. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she repeated.

Ribbon shook her head. “But I really want to hurt you,” she stated. She reached out and Amadhay let her. Amadhay let the older woman cup her cheek gently, rubbing her thumb in the pattern of her spoor. They both stood there for what had to be a whole clack, staring at each other. Some of the hardness eased in Ribbon. Amadhay pressed her cheek to Ribbon’s hand.

“We don’t have to do this,” she tried softly, encouraged when Ribbon didn’t move her hand. “I just have to go. I need answers and you know Atlas won’t give them to me. I have to keep Benjy and Monkey safe. I love you but I—”

“Are you done running?” Ribbon interrupted abruptly, dropping her hand to her side.

Amadhay stared at her for a long moment, her mouth still open to plead with her lover. But after a click or two, she saw it. There was a glint in Ribbon’s eyes that told Amadhay all she needed to know. She wasn’t going to convince her of anything, because the woman had already made up her mind. So, recognizing that the woman had no plans of them both leaving this fully intact, she nodded and took a step back.

She was reaching for her Gift when Ribbon gave a dangerous smile. “Good,” the woman said.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 In Which Amadhay Keeps Promises

 

 

Amadhay was headed for the transport hub, moving as fast as she could without using her Gift.

Ribbon and Atlas always seemed to know when she was using it, and she didn’t want them to have any sort of warning. She was nearly to the door leading to the oversized barn used to store all of the Palnoki’s transportation vehicles. All she had to do was pass Atlas’ room, take two rights, and leave through the back door.

As she was making quick strides in that direction, however, she slowed at the familiar hallway. Seeing Atlas’ room, she paused for a few clicks. She knew she was tempting fate by not just leaving, but she wanted to leave one last message for him. With that thought, she sneaked as silently as possible without using her Gift, into his room. The door was open, which she knew to be an open invitation for her, but he was in bed and fast asleep.

Despite everything she had learned and all the lies he had told her, despite what a horrible person Atlas really was underneath it all, she still smiled at his sleeping form. He snored gently into his pillow, his mouth just slightly ajar. His polar hair was even more mussed than normal and his limbs were all askew, a stark difference from when he slept with her. When she was with him, he always slept with her in his arms, pressed tightly to his chest.

His glasses were set on the bed beside him, on top of a book titled Helping Loved Ones Through Grief. She shook her head to force the softer emotions away. Whether he was trying to help her through her grief or not, he had killed Indigo, she reminded herself, and had plans to kill Monkey and Benjy. He had plans to use Amaya, which wasn’t something she was going to allow him to do, not after he had already manipulated her. Steeling herself, she removed the extra red ribbon from her hair and set it beside his glasses.

She started to leave, but paused at the foot of his bed, before returning up to him. Leaning over the bed, she put her lips to his ear. “I told you that you wouldn’t be smiling,” she whispered, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek before leaving his room.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which Amadhay tells lies

 

 

She didn’t have to fake anger when she saw Tairyn.

She was furious. Just the sight of him, sitting on Kimiko’s bed, talking gently to the other teenager made her blood boil. She wanted to kill him. She wanted to maim him. She at the very least wanted to scar him for life.

But that wasn’t part of the plan. She had to stick to the plan. Her fury came with a strange sort of rational thinking, something she had to thank Arne Riff for. It was good for filing away all of the sadness and uncertainty she’d been feeling the past weeks. Tonight was the first time since Indigo’s death that she finally felt she had a purpose. She had a mission. Of course, she still needed to feel all of those emotions to feed Kimiko, so it was also a problem.

Ribbon was close behind her as they entered Kimiko’s room. The lovers had been muttering to each other when they entered and Kimiko jolted to her feet, standing protectively between Amadhay and Tairyn.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, looking at Ribbon. “We agreed that she wouldn’t see him!”

“I didn’t agree to that,” both Tairyn and Amadhay automatically responded.

Tairyn gave Amadhay a rueful grin while Amadhay simply stared at him. This was the hard part of the plan. If she veered too far on one side of emotion, any emotion that wasn’t appropriate for what she was trying to portray, Kimiko would know in an instant. So for now, she focused on feeling confused. That was easy enough.

“We made that decision without them,” Ribbon answered with a shrug. “She promised not to kill him.”

“Well that makes me feel so much better,” Kimiko spat, but Tairyn stood behind her.

“She won’t hurt me,” he said assuredly, looking at Amadhay from over Kimiko’s head. “Will you, Mayday?”

Amadhay flinched at his use of her nickname. He had lost all right to using it the moment he had first betrayed her. She was too late to clamp down on the rush of betrayal and hatred and Kimiko jumped on it.

“See?” the symmetrical teenager gestured at her adamantly. “She’s about to hurt him.”

“No,” Amadhay finally responded, shaking her head quickly. She focused on the chip to feed Kimiko the right emotions, emotions of confusion and curiosity. She needed to make it seem like she had questions, and she did have questions, just none to ask Tairyn. None that she thought he’d answer honestly, anyway. The calming of her emotions made Kimiko relax a little bit. “I’m not. I just want to talk. I promise,” she lied.

She had every intention of hurting him, but she couldn’t think about that yet. First, she had to figure out where the chip was and how to get it. She was almost positive that it was in one of Kimiko’s hands because she thought she had seen the succubus holding it up to the banshee when she and Ribbon had entered. If it was, then this was going to be incredibly easy for her.

“See? It’s fine,” Tairyn said, pressing on Kimiko’s shoulder to make her move from in front of him. Kimiko regarded her with mistrust, but she did move to the side, allowing Tairyn to move forward. Amadhay pretended to focus on Tairyn as he stepped toward her, but her attention was fully on Kimiko as the girl slipped something into the pocket of her plaid pants. It was definitely a chip. She just hoped it was the chip.

“I’ve been wanting to see you, Mayday, I just didn’t know what to say,” he started.

Amadhay glared at his shirt, no longer needing to hold back her anger with him now that everything else was in place. “How about telling me how you started selling information about me? Who else did you tell all my life to?”

Tairyn looked insulted, as though he felt vilified. “No, hey, it’s not like that at all,” he moved forward and she had to physically stop herself from hitting him when he put his hands on her shoulders. “I have always been loyal to you.”

She knew she wouldn’t get real answers from him. She scoffed. “You have a great way of showing it.”

“Don’t be like that. I didn’t tell them anything until I was sure that they didn’t want to hurt you,” he swore.

Amadhay shook her head. “You’re an idiot,” she snapped. “An idiot with only your self-interest in mind. You get some hot girl fluttering her eyelashes at you and you just drop everything?”

“It wasn’t like that,” he pleaded, reaching for her hands. She pushed him back. He took a step back and didn’t try to touch her again. “You have to believe me. What Kimiko and I have didn’t replace you. I didn’t just see her and forget my loyalty to you. Everything I did here was for you.”

She gave a shaky laugh. “You sound just like Atlas,” she said soberly. She took a moment to file that away. All of the Palnoki seemed to display Atlas’ characteristics, especially when dealing with her, but unlike the others, she knew that it wasn’t how Tairyn was originally. Taking note to look further into that at another time, she looked him straight in the eyes. And then she punched him.

For the first time since entering Kimiko’s room, Amadhay allowed herself to feel what she was truly feeling. All the anger and betrayal, hatred and sadness seemed to stun Kimiko for a moment, until Amadhay landed another punch. When the aelfe knocked the banshee off of his feet, she felt a sort of euphoria. At that change of emotion, the succubus moved quickly, but not quickly enough, because Amadhay launched herself at Tairyn and Kimiko wasn’t able to stop her. The man was too slow to move completely out of the way, but he did move enough that her fist didn’t connect with his face again, but this time his throat.

She was okay with that.

Ribbon tried to dive into the fray, but Amadhay landed a good kick on her, pushing her back. The aelfe was on top of Tairyn, punching, scratching, and biting him, and because Kimiko was in there, she was hitting her as well. It was ridiculously easy to steal the chip under pretense of pushing against Kimiko. Once she had it, she sent another loose punch and hit someone, but she wasn’t paying attention to whom any longer.

She allowed Ribbon to grab her by the waist and pull her back. Amadhay pretended to struggle to get back at them, but Ribbon held her steady against her own body. Kimiko and Tairyn got to their feet and Kimiko started forward, but Tairyn grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

“Don’t hit her back. That won’t help anything,” Tairyn told Kimiko. Ribbon shifted her stance so that she was holding Amadhay more protectively now as Amadhay kept her fists clenched and the chip tightly tucked to her palm.

Sensing now was the time to do it, Amadhay burst into tears, focusing on her last moments with Indigo to make it feel sincere. Ribbon turned her from the hold into a hug, stroking her hair slowly.

“I told you this wasn’t a good idea,” she muttered. Amadhay couldn’t see the other two, but by Ribbon’s relaxing, she guessed that they were probably looking sorry for her. “You should go sleep,” Ribbon suggested in a way that made Amadhay pretty positive that she was being gotten rid of. That only helped her.

She nodded shallowly, rubbing her eyes and choosing not to look up at Ribbon. “I’m going to sleep with Atlas,” she lied.

Ribbon nodded. “Alright. I just need to talk to Kimmy for a clack, and then I’ll take you.”

She shook her head. “I need to be alone right now,” she whispered, leaving the room so there would be no argument. Ribbon didn’t even start to come after her. The door closed behind her with a solid thunk and Amadhay was sure that she had been right. They were going to talk about something they didn’t want her to hear and while she was incredibly curious about what it might be, she was also just as aware that she wasn’t going to get a better time than right then to leave. Everyone was either sleeping or prepping for their individual missions. No one would even notice her missing until, at best, the morning since she had taken to solitary morning walks. She just had to get to the transport hub.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which Amadhay is sneaky

 

 

As a rule, Amadhay normally didn’t hurt animals unless they hurt her first.

But for Mayday, she was going to have to make an exception. The first part of her plan was to put the cat out of commission. She still didn’t understand how the Palnokians understood the cat, but recognized that since the cat made it a habit of following her since he had been brought over, he was a danger to her. She knew he was watching her somewhere and that he could ruin her plans surer than anything else could.

All she really had to do was put him out for, at most, a zoot and everything was a go. In fact, it was rather simple to do, surprisingly. Mayday practically ran to her the moment she set foot out of the building. He meowed urgently at her, butting his head against her ankle.

She laughed softly. “It’s okay, Mayday. I’m just going for a walk.” Mayday meowed at her, curling around her feet. “You can even come with me to make sure I don’t go and drown myself in the mud puddle.”

Mayday gave a meow that sounded positively unamused at her joke. She scooped him up into her arms. He kneaded the knit of her black top as if questioning when she had changed.

“I was tired of feeling like a five-year-old,” she muttered defensively at the cat. He rubbed his head against her chest. “And I’m defending myself to a cat,” she said to herself, shaking her head. She passed the mud pools. Remembering her way through the maze, Amadhay petted the cat to make him purr contentedly. She liked the sound of his false sense of security.

“I would say that I was sorry for this, but that would be a lie,” she told Mayday as she paused at the center of the maze. The cat was slow to stop his purring and before he could meow a question at her, she tapped his nose a little harder than was strictly necessary for the paralytic spell to work. Once he was frozen, she hid him in the brush, tying his body to the base of one of the bushes. She wasn’t sure how long the spell would last, given it was her first attempt with it as a silent invocation. When she said the spell aloud, it always lasted fifteen clacks. She was hoping for more than fifteen with it having been silent. She was hoping for at least 30.

She had just barely made it to the end of the maze,  and was sitting down and finishing her plans when a worried Ribbon found her.

“Tired Escort!” the woman exclaimed, heaving a sigh of relief when she saw Amadhay sitting there. Amadhay looked up at her as blankly as she could.

“What?” she asked softly.

Ribbon ran a hand over her own bush of curly hair before sitting next to the girl. “Well considering how you’ve been the past few weeks, I was kind of insanely worried about your ass when I didn’t know where you were,” she answered, putting her arm around Amadhay in a half-hug, which the teenager forced herself to relax into.

“I just wanted to be outside,” Amadhay said, which was partially true. She had also wanted to go to one of the last places anyone would look for her so that she would have time to plot. The only better place would have been the meeting room, and that had still been occupied when she had stopped eavesdropping.

Ribbon nodded, looking out over the hedges, at the bloody sunset. “Is it helping?” she asked after a few clacks of silence.

Amadhay nodded. “I’m good today,” she claimed.

Ribbon gave her a long, disbelieving look that Amadhay feared meant that Ribbon knew she had been eavesdropping. It didn’t. “You don’t have to pretend to be strong for me,” the woman said.

Amadhay gave her a weak smile. “I know,” she responded, leaning her head against Ribbon’s side. She waited a few more clacks before she found an appropriate segue. “I want to see Tairyn.”

Ribbon sat up straight abruptly, frowning. “No,” she started. “Red Bird, that’s a bad idea. You’re just starting to—”

“I want to see him,” Amadhay said firmly. “He’s part of all of this. I need to talk to him.”

Ribbon made a sound to make it very obvious how much she didn’t like the idea. Amadhay didn’t care. “At least promise not to hurt him?”

“No,” Amadhay said with absolute conviction. “I can’t promise not to.” In fact, she could only promise the opposite. She had to. While partially blaming him for Indigo’s death was a part of her needing to see him, it wasn’t the most pressing point. She had so many different reasons to want to hurt him that she honestly couldn’t come up with one why she shouldn’t. Which was going to make that part of the plan that much easier. “I want to kill him.”

“Don’t. Red Bird, please? Do it for Kimiko?” Ribbon tried, apparently not realizing that the other girl held no sway for Amadhay any longer.

“I would if I thought Atlas would let me,” Amadhay breathed, testing the waters for her next actions.

“He probably would,” Ribbon muttered before thinking. She covered her mouth, looking askance at Amadhay. “But you still shouldn’t,” she added hurriedly. “It would break Kimiko’s heart.”

Then maybe I actually should, Amadhay thought. So she’ll know how it feels. But she shook her head, forcing herself to forget petty vengeance. She had a plan and she had to stick to it. “I won’t,” she whispered. “I just want to see him.”

Ribbon frowned, looking at her worriedly. “I really don’t think you should.”

“If you won’t take me to him, I’ll go on my own,” she stated. “But I’d prefer you went with me. You’ll stop me before I do anything horrible.”

Ribbon sighed, rubbing her brow before she nodded. “Fine. But if you do anything rash, I’m going to have to stop you.”

“I’m counting on it,” Amadhay said earnestly. She gave Ribbon another weak smile, completely playing the part Ribbon expected from her.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which atlas is truthful

 

 

If nothing else, it was waking up alone in Ribbon’s bed that made the decision for her.

The spot where Ribbon had lain was still warm, telling her that the woman hadn’t been gone for long, but the fact that she was gone was what gave Amadhay a moment to let the silent part of her mind speak. She had come here because she had seen something in the Palnoki that she hadn’t seen in the Phoegani. But the longer she stayed, the deeper into it she became, the easier she was seeing more aspects of the Phoegani in the Palnoki than she liked. There were still secrets, there were still innocents being hurt, there was still an ingrained hierarchy and a goal that she didn’t know furthered by pain she didn't understand.

The family aspect that she had once seen was starting to lose its finishing. Atlas was still very much in charge and he had no problem using his power to make the others do what he wanted. The faces were different, but the problems were still the same. She had traded in one evil for a newer one and while she wasn’t going to lie and say that she wasn’t part of the problem, she could honestly say that at least in the Phoegani, she knew where she stood. Here everyone kept changing their stories, everyone kept adding new dimensions to something she had thought to be a linear. The only thing she knew for certain was that Atlas hadn’t lied to her when he had explained why she was here.

“You are here because I want you to be.”

That was the only reason she was there. As much as she wanted to, as hard as she had tried, she didn’t fit into their tight knit community. No matter how much Atlas wanted her to be there, she couldn’t stay. As long as she was there, she would always wonder what they weren’t telling her. She would always wonder if Ribbon was only her friend, her lover, because Atlas wanted her to be. She would always wonder if they would target other people she cared about. She would always fear that one day she would open a door and find Monkey or Benjy or even one of her sisters being held captive, tortured, killed.

She wasn’t going to let that happen. Never again. She was determined that Indigo was going to be the last person she cared about to die right in front of her eyes without her doing anything. The thing was, she knew that going back to the Phoegani wouldn’t make it any better. Atlas had been right. There, she was simply another asset, another well-trained killer. She didn't know their goals, and doubted she would stand by them given a chance. She was just another piece of the puzzle, or worse, just a replaceable tool to be discarded when she was no longer of use. 

The true problem was that she feared that here, with the Palnoki, she was no better. Despite what Atlas and Ribbon, or even Tenshu and Kimiko told her or tried to make her believe, she couldn't help but to believe that there was more going on than she was seeing. And that was why she needed to go back. Not just for Christein and Benjy. Not just for her sisters and family. But because she needed to see more than she was. She needed to figure out what was going on, who was truly in charge, what everyone was trying to do. At least with the Phoegani, she could work her own agenda. She couldn’t be the Amadhay Atlas wanted, not while they were still killing people all around her and she didn’t know why.

Finally made up about what to do, Amadhay sat up. She set her feet on the floor and it felt strange. It wasn’t the plush carpet from the Ice Castle or the smooth wood from the Sand Castle. It was cobblestone and for some reason she couldn’t explain, that caught her attention. Cobblestone is so hard to wash blood out of.

Shaking her head to push away the strange thought, Amadhay got off of Ribbon’s bed. She paused at the wardrobe, momentarily thinking about changing, but decided not to. There was no point in drowning herself in Ribbon’s clothing when she was leaving her behind. It would only confuse her and make it easier for Atlas to convince her to stay. It was already going to be difficult in the clothes Atlas had dressed her in, but it would nearly be impossible if she were wearing Ribbon's. She would feel protected if she were wearing Ribbon's clothes and she didn't need protection; the weak needed protection. She had to be strong.

Purposely avoiding the mirror, Amadhay smoothed her hands over her hair, knowing that it was a curling mess and not wanting to see herself looking wild and untamed, especially since that was how she was feeling on the inside. For a moment, she almost laughed, thinking I bet I look just like Amaya. But then she pushed that thought back as well, leaving her hair in its natural form. Instead, she focused on what she could fix, straightening her purple dress so that the ribbons at the waist fell in neat bows at perfect points on either side. She ran her fingers over the lace collar to make sure it was all laying flat. The kitten pin that Ribbon had put on the dead center of her chest, she took off, setting it on the bed.

She nervously fixed the pinstripe stockings so that the lines were straight and the pattern was mirrored perfectly on both legs. Taking a deep breath to set herself, she left Ribbon’s room, closing the door softly behind her. For a moment, she paused, looking down both sides of the hallway to try to reacquaint herself with the set up of the building. It was different from both other Palnoki buildings she’d been in. She had mildly wondered if all the Palnoki buildings were different. Now she’d never know.

There were only three places she knew in this building, not including Ribbon’s room: Atlas’ room, the mudroom that led to the gardens, and the meeting room. She doubted that Atlas would be in the mudroom or the gardens, so she decided to try his room first. She wasn’t ready just yet to go to the meeting room, where Indigo had died.

Of course, however, she had to pass the meeting room before getting to Atlas’ room since Ribbon’s room was on the opposite side of the building, closer to the gardens than his was. It was purely by luck that she happened to hear voices coming from the meeting room as she passed it. In fact, she still would have passed it if she hadn’t heard Atlas’ voice, sounding angry.

“You are honestly telling me that you can’t get anything off of that chip?”

She paused, considering making her presence known, but Kimiko’s response changed her mind.

“I’m assuming that they had Base fix it.”

“And you aren’t skilled enough to break his coding?” Atlas demanded. “Maybe I should replace you. You haven’t been much of a help lately.”

“She almost had it,” Tairyn defended. “But then Ghost Sparrow and Red Baron got in the way. Again.”

“What were they doing there?” Atlas demanded. Amadhay moved closer to the door, listening more closely now that she had heard Benjy and Christein’s code names.

“I’m going to assume they were looking for Red Bird,” Ribbon stated sardonically. “Since they keep showing up. Everywhere.”

“They’ve shown up more than once?” Atlas was sounding even less pleased.

“I’ve run into them three times,” Ribbon admitted.

“They tried to corner me and Tenshu a few months back,” Cowboy added. She could hear a savage grin in his voice. “They won’t be trying that again.”

“Why is this the first I’m hearing about their interferences?” Atlas asked. Amadhay had to strain to hear him because his voice had gone low and quiet.

There was silence for a moment.

“They haven’t really been an interference until now,” Kimiko said slowly. “Just minor annoyances.”

“Annoyances large enough that they stopped you from being able to use Base Inventions mainframe,” Atlas reminded them in the same, even tone.

“If we could just kill them it would be easier,” Tairyn said, making Amadhay clench her fists in anger. He had been their friend. How could he even suggest that?

“Then why haven’t you?” Atlas asked, almost conversationally.

There was another silence. This time Johannes broke it.

“You told us that they were off limits.”

“Did I?”

“Because of Amadhay?” Cowboy reminded him.

“Amadhay would never have to know,” Atlas said, his voice sounding tense. “She hasn’t heard from them since coming here, has she?” he paused for a click, but no one answered him. “She hasn’t. For all she knows, they aren’t even looking for her. Kill them. If she finds out, we’ll comfort her later. But right now, I need you to get them out of the way so that we can get the information we need.”

Ribbon was hesitant when she spoke. “Is that an order?”

“Yes,” Atlas said, “Kill the phantom and the Hakinato. They’re not in my plans.”

“I’ll do it,” Cowboy volunteered when Ribbon didn’t say anything more.

“No. Ribbon will do it,” Atlas stated. “It’s her job. I have another job for you anyway.”

“With Tenshu?” Cowboy asked, “Because it’s getting more difficult to bring him out. The Heralds are getting fond of him, enough so that they ask too many questions when he leaves.”

“Just you and Stefan. Don’t worry. I need him right where he is. He’s vital in bringing the Heralds to us.” There was a pause in which Amadhay imagined Cowboy nodded his head. “You need to bring me Darach. He’s been playing with the Hakinato’s far too long. He’s forgotten who he really belongs to.”

Someone laughed, and since Stefan’s voice was still amused when he spoke, Amadhay assumed it was him. “I was wondering how long you were going to let him hide out there.”

“Darach Devalier is one of us?” Tairyn asked in a shocked voice.

“The game with Darach goes much farther than this one with the Phoegani,” Stefan answered, giving another laugh. “Though I doubt he’d call himself one of us.”

“I don’t understand,” Kimiko said.

“You don’t have to,” Atlas snapped, causing silence to fall again. “You just need to get to decrypting that personnel chip. I need to know who else to bring from the Phoegani before we destroy them.”

“I really don’t think there’s anyone else worth your time,” Tairyn spoke, sounding sure of himself.

The ice in Atlas’s voice mirrored Amadhay’s own feelings toward Tairyn at the moment. “I’m sure I didn’t ask you.”

There was a loud thump against the door and an accompanying grunt, making Amadhay jump back, but the door didn’t open. Instead, she was able to hear Atlas perfectly, telling her that he was at the door.

“In fact, I’m trying to decide if you are even worth keeping around anymore. Your information is outdated. I have Amadhay. Really, the only reason I can see to keep you around is to keep Kimiko happy, since you being here makes Amadhay decidedly unhappy.” She could hear the sound of a series of flat slaps, which she imagined was Atlas patting Tairyn’s cheek.“So if I were you, I would be silent and hope that Kimiko is able to decrypt the files soon, because if not, I might not be so easily persuaded to keep you around.”

“Atlas…” Kimiko started.

Atlas gave a low chuckle. “Just playing, Sweet. I won’t hurt your banshee. He makes you too happy. Just know that I won’t be happy until you’ve decrypted that chip.”

“I get it,” Kimiko said in a tense tone.

“I hope you do,” Atlas said. Someone, probably Atlas, clapped their hands. “Everyone knows what they’re going to be doing?”

There was an assortment of different confirmations. Someone started to pull the door open. “Oh wait, wait.” Atlas stopped them from leaving. The door was closed again.

“Has there been any success with the Heralds?” he asked.

“Other than Tenshu becoming close to Amaya and Blu? Not really,” Cowboy answered. “If anything, they’re more closed off since the Feral wolf incident.”

“Closed off in what way?” Atlas asked.

“It’s going to be difficult to bring them here. More difficult than expected. They’ve settled in Ratigattan and the Pirate King has decided to become their protector. Any move to change that will be met with with extreme resistance. I doubt we can keep them and fight him and the Phoegani all at once.”

“We can wait,” Atlas decided. “If push comes to shove, we can have Amadhay infiltrate. They didn’t notice the last time, right?”

Cowboy seemed hesitant. “She wasn’t under much scrutiny then. One wrong move and—”

“You can train her on how to be more like Amaya,” Atlas dismissed. “But as I said, it’s our last case scenario. I’d prefer not to have to put her into this.”

“She’s always talking about wanting to help,” Ribbon mentioned. “I think she’ll be thrilled to know she’s part of the plans.”

There was a certain sarcasm to the words. Or maybe Amadhay just imagined it there because no one said anything about it. Amadhay backed from the door, feeling betrayed on too many levels to count. Atlas had played her. She had been the game. She had been the game and he had played her so expertly that she had fallen for it, for him.

No more, she decided.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which ribbon’s a possession

 

 

A week after Indigo’s death was the first time Amadhay left Atlas’ room.

She still felt wrong. She still felt sad. She still felt angry. But she was dealing with it. She was dealing with it and she needed time on her own, away from Atlas and all of his things to think about everything. Normally, she would curl up in her own room, in her own bed all alone and surrounded by her own things. But because they hadn’t returned to the Sand Castle, she didn’t have a room of her own, didn’t have a bed to curl up in all alone, and didn’t have any of her own things.

Because she had nothing, she went to the next best thing.

She knew, in some part of her mind that she tried not to use, that she was making no sense by leaving Atlas’ bed just to curl up in Ribbon’s bed. She knew that she should be angry with both of them. She knew that. She just couldn’t bring herself to be angry anymore. Not at them. She was angry, she wouldn’t lie about it. But she wasn’t angry with them.

She was angry with Maria, for messing Indigo up so badly that he been easy to manipulate. She was angry with Arne Riff for forcing her to send Indigo away when he had needed her. She was angry with Christein for giving her Indigo to begin with. If he hadn’t, Indigo wouldn’t have latched onto her. If he hadn’t latched onto her, Maria wouldn’t have hurt him to hurt her. If Maria hadn’t hurt him, he would have been mentally sound enough to not be so easily manipulated. If he hadn’t been so easily manipulated, the Palnoki wouldn’t have been able to take him and use him by simply saying her name. If the Palnoki hadn’t been able to use him, he wouldn’t have become a danger. If he hadn’t become a danger, Atlas wouldn’t have made the order. If Atlas hadn’t given the order, Stefan wouldn’t have killed him. If Stefan hadn’t killed him, Indigo would still be alive.

So yes, she was angry. She was angry with Stefan and Kimiko and Tairyn. She was even angry with Sebastian for not keeping Indigo safe. But she wasn’t angry at Ribbon or Atlas. Atlas had only done what he had thought was right. Ribbon had only tried to make the best of the situation. She, above all people, knew that Ribbon would keep a secret to her grave if she promised it. If Ribbon hadn’t mentioned Tairyn, it was because Kimiko had made her promise not to.

And while that tiny part in the back of her mind kept telling her that she wasn’t making sense, that they were the ones she should have been angry with the most, she just couldn’t do it. She needed them too much. They were all she had. It didn’t matter that Ribbon, who always talked about putting her first and claiming to love her more than anyone else, had kept a secret she knew would hurt Amadhay. It didn’t matter than Atlas, who always went out of his way to make her trust him and was always there when she needed him, had hurt her Indy and had him killed. It didn’t matter because she needed them.

That was why she left Atlas’ bed for Ribbon’s. Ribbon was hers. She might not have a bed or a fancy canopy chandelier or any knives or even her own shampoo, but she had Ribbon. Atlas was hers in a much less physical way. Atlas was hers just as she was his. They were in a circle of possession in which neither one would ever truly gain anything.

Ribbon on the other hand, was hers in a truly possessive way, had been from the moment that Amadhay had declared that Ribbon meant more than she did in her mind, from the moment she had kissed the woman. Ribbon was her Godesian heart, the only person more hers than she, herself, was. She was positive of that. In that way, her protective possessiveness meant that Ribbon was hers and all that was Ribbon’s was hers. So when she curled up in Ribbon’s bed, it was like curling up into her own bed. It wasn’t as good, but so long as Ribbon was there, it did what she needed it to.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Ribbon had asked when she had opened her eyes to watch Amadhay curling up into bed with her.

Amadhay had shaken her head and simply lain with her ear to Ribbon’s chest, listening to her heartbeat. It calmed her in a way that listening to Atlas’ didn’t. Listening to Atlas’ heartbeat only reminded her that Indigo’s would never beat again. Listening to Ribbon’s heartbeat reminded her that life went on. She may have failed Indigo, but she wouldn’t fail anyone else.

“I’m sorry,” Ribbon said. Amadhay listened to her heartbeat speed up. “I’m sorry that we hurt you. I’m sorry we kept Tairyn a secret. I’m sorry that I kept DuPreve a secret. I’m sorry that I didn’t ignore the orders and just tell you everything. You should have known. I’m so sorry about everything.”

“His name was Indigo,” was all Amadhay said, choosing instead to continue to lie there, listening to Ribbon’s heartbeat.

Most of all, she was angry with herself.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which atlas washes hair

 

 

Atlas didn’t know how long Amadhay had been sitting there with a dead body in her lap.

He didn’t know how much she had seen or heard. He couldn’t even figure out how she had found Indigo. What he did know was that as soon as he had left Stefan to do his job, he had been bombarded by Ribbon and Kimiko, who were simultaneously yelling at each other and feeling guilty for not having foreseen a chance meeting between Amadhay and Tairyn. He probably hadn’t been as gentle with them as he should have been, granted he hadn’t expected it either. He should have. They all should have.

They had all spent the majority of a zoot running around, trying to find the teenager. Just when they were about to think about the possibility that she might have left the base, Atlas had a sudden thought: Everything else seemed to have gone wrong, why not expect the absolute worst to have happened?

Even as he hoped against all hope, he knew that she was in there. When he opened the door, he could smell the magic before he saw it. It hung around her like a cloud, still glittering even as it smelled stale and broken. What hit him next was the smell of death. She was covered in it, sitting there on the floor with the body cradled in her arms. Not only was she covered in the stench, but the girl was covered in blood. He had a brief moment where he wondered where her raincoat was before he knelt in front of her.

Her eyes didn’t focus on him, even though he was right in front of her. Instead of looking at him, she continued to stare at nothing. “Amadhay,” he said softly, gently, staring her in the eyes. She shook her head, but her eyes still didn’t focus.

“Amadhay,” he tried again, reaching for her hand. While she didn’t flinch back from him, she did tighten her grip on the catboy. “You have to let him go,” he told her gently, placing his hand atop hers. “He’s gone.”

“I know,” she said softly, still staring at nothing. “Just let me hold him a little longer.”

“No,” Atlas said, using no more force to his tone than before, but still he saw her eyes begin to focus on him. “You can’t keep holding him. He’s gone.”

“I know,” she whispered, staring at something on his shirt. Atlas didn’t dare look down, worried that if he did she might go back to where she had been. “I just can’t let go.”

“You have to,” he told her, giving her hand a light squeeze. She still didn’t loosen her hold. “Holding his body won’t keep him here any longer.”

Her eyes slowly travelled from the low point, up to his face. “Why?” she asked.

He knew what she was asking, but didn’t answer her. “Let go, Amadhay.”

She shook her head slowly, looking away from him and down to the body in her lap. “My Indy,” she whispered. “He’s gone,” she looked back up to Atlas, sounding incredibly childish even though her eyes didn’t shift. “Isn’t he?”

Atlas nodded slowly. “He’s gone, so you have to let go,” he told her gently pulling her hands up. She let him, lifting her hands up so long as he held them. When he tried to let go so that he could move the body, her hands went right back, clutching tightly to whatever her hands fell upon, be it hair, arm, face, or torso.

“I’m just going to move him off of you,” Atlas promised, lifting her hands once more. “I won’t hurt him.”

She let out a shock of laughter, sounding decidedly hysterical as she kept her hands up in the air. “You can’t hurt him anymore. Don’t you know? He’s gone away from us.”

Atlas nodded. “That’s right. He’s gone on from this plane,” he agreed, taking care to be much gentler than he wanted in moving the body.

He wanted to toss it off of her and pick her up, but there was a glint in her eye, just enough of a glint to tell him that he had to do everything slow and gently or she would explode. So far, she was much calmer than he expected of her, allowing him not only to touch her but to touch and move the body. So long as he stayed within whatever guidelines she set, they were fine. The problem was, he didn’t know what the guidelines were, so he was playing another guessing game with her. He was always playing guessing games with her.

Once he set the body away from her, having been careful to lay it out of her easy reach, he turned his attention back to her. She hadn’t moved. Her hands were still up in the air and she still had a questionable smile on her lips. Only once he was in front of her did her eyes leave the body and fall on him.

“Why Indy?” she asked softly.

Again, he ignored her. “I’m going to help you up now. Can you stand?”

She shook her head slowly. Her hands were still in the air. She tilted her head back and stared up into the cloud of purple. “All the magic and it did nothing. I did nothing.”

He could see her composure starting to crack and he moved before he thought. He scooped her up into his arms and just stood up. He expected her to scream at him or try to claw away, but she didn’t. Instead, she immediately clung to him just as tightly as she had the body, so Atlas didn’t say anything, just carried her from the room, kicking the door closed behind him. He didn’t as much as glance at Ribbon, Stefan, Kimiko, or Tairyn as he passed them by, instead focusing on his goal. He had to get her clean.

With that as his only thought, Atlas moved quickly to his suite, heading immediately to his bathroom. Once there, he had a moment of uncertainty, but pushed it away as he knelt on the tile before his bathtub. Instead of making it easier on himself and putting her down, he allowed her to settle on his lap and reached over her to the faucet. She whimpered, holding tightly to him when the water started and he rocked her slightly.

“It’s alright, Amadhay,” he told her softly, murmuring into her hair. Even her hair reeked of death and magic. He couldn’t imagine that she had somehow found a way to get blood in it as well, but planned to wash it thoroughly all the same. Once the water was warm enough and he had tossed the plug into the tub to keep the water in, he stood up again, cradling Amadhay in his arms, pausing only to kick his shoes off.

After that, he just stepped into the tub. It was already starting to fill with water that was turning red just from his legs. He slowly knelt again, keeping Amadhay in his arms and trying to settle her onto his lap. Like Mayday when it was time for a bath, the girl moved further up his body, trying to avoid the water as much as she could. He wasn’t sure if Amadhay was doing it consciously, or if the cat of her aelfe took over in her traumatized state. Either way, he didn’t let her get out of the water. She fought him weakly for a moment, but after she got nowhere, she seemed to give in to the idea of getting wet, calmly moving down to his lap, which was now covered by water.

Atlas stretched out his legs but Amadhay didn’t move anywhere, continuing to sit still on his lap. He could tell that she had lost focus again, but didn’t push her this time, knowing she would come back on her own. Instead, he focused on the washcloth, wetting it before he washed over her face. It came away red and he dipped it into the water, wringing it out and then going back to her face until the washcloth came back clean. She still didn’t speak, didn’t do anything but sit there with her eyes closed and mouth partly open.

Her black dress was soaked and Atlas couldn’t tell if it was from the water or the blood, but he didn’t remove it either. He continued with the same movements, wetting the washcloth, pressing it against her skin where it was bloody, wiping until the cloth was red, rinsing it, and continuing in the pattern until all of her exposed skin was the correct sandy color and the water of the tub was a deep red.

She still hadn’t moved when he reached around her to the plug for the tub, letting the water out. Worried, he prompted her for a reaction. “Amadhay, your hair is still dirty,” he said. When after a few clicks, she didn’t respond, he continued, “I’m going to wash it. Is that alright with you?” He made no move for three clacks, hoping to let her know that he needed her response. At three clacks, almost exactly, she nodded. He slowly unbraided the pigtails, setting the ribbon keeping them tied on the edge of the tub.

“I don’t have any of your shampoo here,” he told her, trying to keep her engaged, “So I’m going to use my own. You’ll smell like me for a little,” he half-joked, also meaning it as a warning because he wasn’t sure what smells would do to her in this state. It was another three clacks before she nodded again and he lifted her from his lap,  setting her down, and shifting so that he was sitting on the lip of the tub.

Atlas nodded to himself, hoping that he was doing the right thing for her. He knew that once she got over the trauma, that she would be angry with him for any number of things he’d done this night and the days before, but he just wanted her to get to that point. Once she was there, he would worry about what he’d done and how she felt about it. Right now, however, he was only worried about when she would be alright.

Just as with everything else he had done, he was gentle but thorough with her hair, possibly more so. He knew how much care she put into it, knew that she was incredibly vain about her full head of raven curls. She had every right to be. Every springy curl slipped through his fingers like silk.

Stepping up for a quick moment, he grabbed the showerhead from its position on the wall and turned it to the lowest setting for a gentle spray before sitting back down. He was careful to let the water fall on her head, waiting to see if she would jerk at the new sensation, but when she didn’t, he gave a soft exhalation. He glanced at his shampoo but then decided to first rinse out the dead magic. Once there was no more purple coming from her hair, he set the nozzle aside, turned off the water, and poured shampoo into his hand.

He washed her hair not once, twice, or thrice, but four times to be sure that it was clean, knowing that she needed it to be clean for her to be able to sleep, not that he really expected her to have much trouble sleeping. If nothing else, he was sure that she was going to pass out from the leftover shock coursing through her body. Even if nightmares did come, he was sure that she would sleep, given the exhausted state she had to be in, having used up all of her natural magic.

“Why Indy?” she asked for the third time since he had started taking care of her.

He was going to ignore her again, choosing instead to towel dry her hair, but she turned her head to him, staring at him with a certain focus. “Why my Indy? All the golem makers in the world and you chose my Indy. Why?”

She wasn’t angry yet, in fact, rather than angry, she simply sounded resigned, as if she should have expected what happened. Atlas wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not, but he decided to answer her either way. “He was the easiest to get to, easiest to manipulate, and by far the most powerful,” he said.

She shook her head. “I don’t understand. How? How was he the easiest? You couldn’t have found him without finding his brother and Sebastian would never have let you just take him.”

Atlas gave her a probing look. “Do you honestly think a single dragon would stop me from getting what I want?” he asked.

Amadhay shook her head in horror. “No. Not Sebastian too. Don’t tell me you killed them both,” she started to sound hysterical, getting louder with every word, but when Atlas started braiding her hair into one, thick, plait she calmed as if it were an off switch for her.

“No. We had no need to kill the elder DuPreve. We only needed to mention your name and the golem-maker came of his own free will.”

“He had a name,” she said softly. “You killed him. You at least owe it to him to remember his name.”

Atlas nodded even though she couldn’t see him because he was behind her, taking his time with her hair. “We were able to convince Indigo that you wanted him to build a golem army for us,” he explained to her.

She nodded softly. “Until he realized that I had no part of it. And so you killed him.”

“There is a bit more to it, but yes, that is the crux of the situation. We could not control him, so we had to get rid of him.”

“And you didn’t ask me because you want me innocent,” she whispered accusingly, but with no real fire to her words.

Atlas neither nodded nor shook his head, choosing not to respond to her statement. “He was a threat to all of us,” he told her instead.

“Indigo was never a threat to anyone but himself,” she retorted in a soft tone, a tone too soft to be an argument.

Atlas again chose not to respond to her statement, finishing with her hair. Picking up one of the ribbons he had taken from her hair earlier, he tied it tightly to keep the braid together.

“Why do you do it, Atlas?” she asked softly.

Atlas wasn’t sure what she meant, so he stayed silent, pressing the towel to her hair to soak some of the water from her braid without ruining his work.

“No, how do you do it?” she asked instead.

He still didn’t know what she meant and once again decided not to answer, so he instead stepped away from the tub, pulling a large towel from the pile by the sink. She stood up on her own but allowed him to lift her dress over her head and then bundle her up in the towel over her underwear.

Once she was wrapped in the towel, however, she met his eyes. “How do you hurt people who don’t deserve it?” she asked.

He gave her a small, sad smile. “I think you can answer that question as easily as I can.”

She nodded and he turned away, taking off his shirt, though he left his pants on after a moment of hesitation. Picking up a towel for himself, he looked to her in the mirror as he began to dry his arms, watching as she seemed to mull words over.

“No, what I meant is how do you stop caring that you’re hurting people who don’t deserve it?”

He paused in his motions of attempting to dry himself and turned back to her, “You don’t,” he said, holding her gaze. “You just find more reasons why they deserve it.”

She blinked twice before she nodded at him. “And how did Indy deserve it?” she asked.

For some reason, he knew that she meant it as her final question of the night. He wasn’t sure why, given that she asked it with no more finality than her previous questions. She didn’t do anything other than keep eye contact, which she had tried to do for the past few clacks of questions.

But whatever the reason, he knew that everything depended on his answer to that question. He kept her eye contact as he answered completely honestly. “He would have hurt anyone in his way. I didn’t see his life as more valuable than Stefan’s or Ribbon’s or Kimiko’s or even Tairyn’s.”

She winced at Tairyn’s name.

He watched as she dropped the towel that he had wrapped her in, even though he could tell she was cold by her shivers. He didn’t move as she moved to him, needing her to bridge the gap between them. He watched as she looked into his eyes as if looking for a truth they both knew she wouldn’t find there. He hated that he was the reason she finally realized that. He smiled at her when she gave him a weak smile, trying to lend her some of his strength. He kissed her back when she kissed him, feeling victory on his skin.

“Make it all go away,” she pleaded and he did as she wished.

He always did.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which amadhay’s heart breaks

 

 

Amadhay stayed where she was, still frozen in place.

She couldn’t believe what she had just seen. She couldn’t. It went against everything she understood of Palnoki versus Phoegani. The Phoegani would have killed Indigo. The Palnoki wouldn’t. They couldn’t have.

They hadn’t, not yet.

There was a whimper coming from Indigo, a soft crying but no screaming. Indigo never screamed. Not when Christein had used him for target practice, not when Arne Riff had whipped him, not when Amadhay had screwed up her first healing and had hurt him more than his broken tail. Indigo never screamed. He was too quiet, too damaged to scream. He didn’t feel pain the same way others did. He couldn’t, not after everyone in his life had hurt him and kept hurting him. So instead, he just lay there and cried softly, muttering his name for her and apologies to her.

Apologies to her when she hadn’t made a move to save him. Apologies to her when it was her fault he was dying.

Feeling like a coward, she slowly crawled out of her hiding spot. She couldn’t manage to stand because she felt like she didn’t deserve to. She didn’t deserve to stand on two feet when the one person who had ever truly put her before himself was bleeding out on the floor and she hadn’t done anything to save him, couldn’t do anything to save him. He was the most loyal person she had ever known, her truest, most selfless love and he was dying.

She crawled to him on all four, but he didn’t see her. His eyes were screwed tightly shut. He was clutching himself, crying. Crying her name. “Indy is so sorry Mistress Kitty. Indy is so sorry. Indy only wanted to help. Indy is so sorry.”

“Hey now, Indy,” she whispered, unable to talk any louder because she felt like she was breaking. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Mistress Kitty doesn’t know. Indy thought Indy was helping Mistress Kitty but the bad men lied. The bad men tricked Indy.” He still didn’t open his eyes. She wasn’t sure he knew that she was there. She wondered if he thought her voice was the same as the Goddess’s or if he regularly heard her voice talking to him.

“I know,” she lied because she had no idea what Atlas and Stefan or any of the other Palnokians had forced her Indigo to do in her name. She knew he would have done literally anything for her. “But it’s okay, Indy, because it’s not your fault,” she told him, slowly reaching out and finally petting his head. His eyes opened and he stared at her with such complete love and loyalty that she wanted to cry.

“Mistress Kitty is here for Indy,” he whispered. “Don’t let the bad men have Mistress Kitty. Indy did what Indy could to stop them.”

“Shh, I know,” she lied again, having no idea what he was talking about and wishing she did. She wouldn’t cry, she didn’t deserve to cry. “I’m so sorry. I should have stopped them,” she whispered, pressing her face to his hair.

He nuzzled into her and his hand left his stomach, where he had been holding one of his wounds, and instead he took her hand. “It isn’t Mistress Kitty’s fault. Bad men hurt Indy, not Mistress Kitty. Mistress Kitty couldn’t do anything.”

There he was trying to comfort her, while he was the one dying. She should have been comforting him. She knew that. She squeezed his hand tightly. “I won’t let them get away with hurting you, Indy, I swear,” she choked out, feeling tears well up in her eyes.

No,” Indigo said as forcefully as he could with two bullets lodged in his chest and one in his stomach. “Mistress Kitty is good,” he whispered. His grip was weakening. Amadhay couldn’t stop herself from crying now. “Mistress Kitty must stay good.”

“But I’m not good, Indy. He was right. I’m horrible. I’m worse than them,” she blubbered, pulling her face back so that she could look at him. Even though she knew it had to be incredibly painful for him, Indigo forced himself up enough to hug her.

“Mistress Kitty is good. Always good.”

Amadhay was crying so hard that she almost missed blood coming from Indigo’s mouth. “No, Indy, Indy, no,” she cried, trying to put pressure on the wound even though the rational part of her mind knew it was too late, that it had been too late the moment Stefan had shot him.

She was positive Indigo was trying to comfort her more, but all that came out of his mouth was a gurgle as his chest filled with blood. Even though she knew he was dead, she couldn’t stop herself. It was like watching a movie. The rational part of her mind watched as she tried every spell that she could think of. The healing spell she had first tried on Indigo all those years ago, which wasn’t anywhere near strong enough for the situation. The cauterizing spell that she couldn’t get the hold of. The energy transference spell Ribbon had been trying to teach her. The bubble breath spell she used for swimming. She tried everything, but Indigo wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing. He wasn’t talking.

He was silent and limp, just lying there as she pushed all of her power into him. She tried so hard and so long that her magic was manifesting itself in the room as a thick, pungent mist of purple glitter.

“Indy!” she screamed once she had no more magic inside of her body and could barely move, “Wake up! You have to wake up!” she sobbed, holding him over her lap. “Please Indy. Please wake up.”


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which Palnoki is Phoegani

 

 

She was still in her hiding place when Atlas and Stefan came into the room.

When she heard Atlas’ voice, she started to come out, but there was a whimpering that caught her attention. It caught her because maybe she was just being paranoid because Tairyn was a big shock to her system, but it sounded like a whimper she knew far too well.

So she didn’t move. Instead, she tried to remember the amateur spell Ribbon had taught her earlier that week, the one for shifting her vision through solids. Ribbon had, of course only taught her as a joke so that she could see into rooms to see if anyone was busy before she barged in, but she was thinking this was a good use for it, a better use for it, actually. If only she could remember the hand gestures. She could remember the words, Sha mi re.

As she thought it over, she listened.

“I’m telling you, she is here. She can control him if you just give her a chance. Getting rid of him is an incredible waste, Atlas.” Stefan was arguing against something, but Amadhay hadn’t listened enough to the conversation to know what they are talking about.

“I’m not taking the chance,” Atlas said, sounding tightly wound but in control. “I don’t think she is in the place where we can ask her to do something like this for us, not yet. Maybe not ever.”

“What use is she if we don’t—” Atlas cut Stefan off before he could go any further.

“She isn’t something to use,” he hissed.

That was when Amadhay remembered the hand gestures. Pressing her forefinger and thumbs together to form a long teardrop shape and pressing the rest of her fingers together at the knuckles, she put her hands to her face so that her forefingers were at her hairline and her thumbs were at her chin. “Sha,” she whispered before slowly spreading her fingers until they are all forming an oval around her eyes, with her thumbs pressed together on her nose. “Mi,” she whispered before flicking her hands outwards at the seat, which was obstructing her view, and whispering, “Re.”

It worked instantly and Amadhay froze when she could see Atlas with his hand around Stefan’s throat. He was squeezing, making the other man choke. “And you don’t make the decisions about her. I do.”

He let go of Stefan and the man coughed, trying to get air back into his lungs as he turned away from Atlas, bracing his hands on his knees.

“Do you understand?” Atlas asked, bending over so that his face was inches from Stefan’s. They stared at each other for a few clicks before Stefan nodded.

“I understand,” he hissed, his voice sounding rough.

“Good,” Atlas said, turning from Stefan and, coincidentally, Amadhay, to face the whimpering mess on the floor near the door.

It was Indigo.

Atlas knelt down to be on Indigo’s level, pulling the cat-boy’s head up to look at him. “Indigo, I’m only going to give you one last chance. If you would only agree to help us, none of this would be necessary. We wouldn’t have to keep you here, locked up. You could be free to wander as you please.”

“Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty,” Indigo spat in a hoarse whisper. Amadhay could see marks on his throat, a dark red against his pale skin. From her distance and possibly because of the spell, she couldn’t tell what they were from, but she would guess that hands probably left them.

“We have your Mistress Kitty, Indigo,” Stefan claimed, making Amadhay angry. Why wouldn’t they have just asked her to talk to Indigo? She would have. She hated the thought of him being chained and hurt.

“Mistress Kitty would never work with bad men,” Indigo claimed, once again freezing Amadhay in her spot. “Mistress Kitty is good.”

Atlas sighed. “We are good, Indigo. I’m sorry that we’ve hurt you, but we need you to make golems for us. If you will help us, I’ll take you to Amadhay. I’m sure she’d like to see you.”

“Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty,” Indigo said again, before adding, “Indy would die before letting bad men close to Mistress Kitty. Bad men want to make Mistress Kitty bad too!”

“No one wants to change Amadhay,” Atlas crooned, reaching out to pet Indigo’s head. The cat-kin tensed, as if waiting for pain. When Atlas didn’t hurt him, only stroked his head, the catboy hissed and bit Atlas, who didn’t so much as flinch, before pulling his hand back. “That was unnecessary.”

“Bad man hurt Indy before,” the small man whispered, curling up, and facing the wall. “Bad men hurt Indy and bad man will hurt Mistress Kitty. Indy will die before Indy lets bad man hurt her.”

“I would never hurt her,” Atlas said, starting to sound irritated that the situation wasn’t changing.

“Bad man will. Bad men always do.”

Atlas finally scoffed, standing up at his full height as he shook his head in disgust. “It isn’t working,” he said, more to himself than to either of the known occupants of the room. He turned and stared thoughtfully directly at Amadhay, as if he could see her, even though she knew that he couldn’t. After a moment of silence, he glanced back at Indigo. “If we told you that Amadhay—”

“Nothing bad men say will change Indy’s head. Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty. Mistress Kitty is good. Bad man isn’t.”

“This is pointless.” Atlas spat as he shook his head. He knelt down to Indigo and forced the catboy to look him in the eyes. Amadhay couldn’t see what he was doing, but she knew that he was saying something softly to her former servant. After a few clicks of that, Atlas stood back up, ignoring Indigo. “Kill him however you want,” he waved at Stefan before stepping over Indigo and leaving the room.

Stefan shook his head, looking away from the door, to Indigo, where he was curled into a ball. “Waste. Such a terrible waste,” he muttered. “And all we had to do was bring my Little Warrior here.” He shook his head again, but this time, a grin started to take over his face, a look Amadhay wasn’t used to seeing on him. His lipless mouth widened and curved at the corner, showing a hint of his sharpened teeth.

He took his time moving around the room as though he were setting the scene, rolling his crisp white sleeves up to his elbows and pulling his cloak open and behind his hips to reveal a gleaming silver gun in its holster at his hip. The closer he got to Indigo, the more Amadhay wanted to reveal herself and save her friend.

But she couldn’t.

It was as if she were five again, hiding in the trunk, watching as her parents were murdered. She couldn’t move, even though she knew that she could save him. All the same terror and powerlessness came back to her. It was happening all over again, and all because she was too much of a coward to move.

She had almost pulled herself out of her paralysis when he knelt in front of Indigo and the voice he used sounded gentle, like the one he used to comfort her. “Want to hear something funny?”

Indigo shook his head, his ears folding down as he whimpered. Stefan’s grin turned into a full, open-mouthed smile, showing off his teeth, which were becoming even sharper, much like a vampire’s did with increased bloodlust. Amadhay didn’t even breathe, the fear coming back at seeing the change in someone she had stupidly trusted.

“Your Mistress Kitty is much worse than any of the rest of us combined. We’re trying to make her good. If you saw her now, you probably wouldn’t even recognize her.” He gave a sharp laugh, “Now that I think about it, having her here probably would have just killed you faster.” He slapped Indigo none-too-gently. “Be happy. You get to keep your ideal Mistress Kitty with you.”

He shot Indigo three times. It happened so quickly that, had Amadhay blinked, she would have missed him drawing the silver pistol, aiming with haphazard looking precision, pulling the trigger three times, and then tucking the gun back into its holster. Then the man was stepping away from the cat-kin.

“Bleed out quietly, will you?” Stefan asked, a serious expression on his face as he rolled his sleeves back down and straightened them. He looked down at Indigo, who made no sound, his violet eyes closed as he silently cried. “I don’t want the girls to hear you. Their bleeding hearts would make them try to save you and then I’d have to kill you all over again.”

He smiled at Indigo before he, too, stepped right over him and closed the door behind himself.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which amadhay is confused

 

 

Amadhay had a feeling that she was purposely being distracted from whatever Atlas was doing.

It took her a few loud exclamations and being steered in different directions to make her stop trying to convince herself that she was just being naturally suspicious. Once or twice, she would take as coincidence. Five times though? Five times was a stretch even for normal people.

Immediately, she had to clamp down on the mistrustful part of her that was screaming that she needed to figure out what was going on. She trusted Atlas. She trusted Ribbon. If the two of them had decided she didn’t need to know what he was doing, then she was going to go with their decision. After all, they had said that whatever Atlas was going to be doing was boring. Perhaps they were only trying to spare her.

Only it was really hard for her to honestly believe that. She felt very strongly that the two of them had gone out of their way to try to convince her not to come to the Mud Castle to begin with, Atlas only relenting, really, when he was holding her onto the pegasus. Ribbon, on the other hand, had been decidedly secretive since they had arrived. She had rushed Amadhay out of the comfortable room where Atlas had seated himself in wait for Stefan. She had urged Amadhay as far from that room in general, leading her through the gardens and the mud pool even though she knew Amadhay had no real interest in either. She had then led her through an awkward maze.

Or she had tried to.

They were lost right now. At least Amadhay was, which was saying something because she was known for having an incredible sense of direction—another skill Arne Riff had trained into her at a young age. To be honest, Amadhay simply assumed that if she was lost, so was Ribbon, an assumption that became certain fact when they had run into the same brush three times.

“Okay, I honestly have no idea where we are,” Ribbon admitted, squinting at the yellow flower Amadhay was positive they had passed three times. “But doesn’t that flower look familiar?” she asked.

Amadhay glared past her. “You said that the last two times too.”

“No, I’m certain this is a different one,” Ribbon attempted to assure her.

Amadhay gave her a long look. “Go on then. I’ll be right here when you come back.”

Ribbon shook her head. “What if I get out? I’m sure as Water not coming back for you if I do.”

“I can assure you that you won’t,” Amadhay said, rolling her eyes. “Go on. I’ll be right here.”

“Okay…” Ribbon said slowly, touching the pouch on her hip. “I’ll leave a trail just in case.”

Amadhay nodded, gesturing for her to go on. She waited until Ribbon was out of sight to attempt to crawl up one of the hedge walls. She wasn’t even surprised when no matter how high she climbed, she never reached the top. She had honestly been expecting it. Letting go of the green, she dropped right onto her feet as if she had only climbed inches rather than feet. She sighed and sat down just as Ribbon was coming back around.

Amadhay waved at her with a sardonic smile. “Welcome back, great voyager,” she said flatly. Ribbon stared at her in wonder before rushing forward to see that she had, indeed, ended up right where she had started. The trail of glitter was even in a full circle.

Ribbon gave an exasperated sigh. “Goddess, I just want to get out of here!” she exclaimed.

Amadhay sighed. “You shouldn’t have brought us through here if you didn’t know the way,” she said, kicking at a bush.

Ribbon gave a long sigh. “I thought I did. Kimmy and I come through here all the time. She always tears through here when she and Tairyn are trying to get a moment to themselves.”

Amadhay paused, looking up at Ribbon. “She and who?” she asked.

Ribbon blinked a few times before saying, “Kimmy and Ten. They come out here sometimes for privacy. Why? Who did you think I said?”

Amadhay shook her head, “Sorry. I thought you said Tairyn.” She gave an embarrassed laugh. “I don’t even know why he’d come to mind. He didn’t like mazes and he’s a swamp witch, not a hedge witch.”

Ribbon blinked innocently and Amadhay shrugged off the feeling that she had just been tricked. “Tairyn?” she asked.

Amadhay gave a small smile. “Tairyn was my first partner out of training. He was my best friend from the time I was nine until I was thirteen and we stopped talking. I don’t know why I’d be thinking about him. I normally don’t. He’s been on an offshore mission for a few years now.”

Ribbon shrugged almost guiltily, though Amadhay wasn’t sure if she had imagined the guilt or not. “How about we try the way I didn’t go?” the woman suggested, brushing glitter off onto her waterproof pants.

When Amadhay nodded, the two started picking their way through the maze again, this time in silence. This time around Amadhay led them, though she had never been in the maze before. Unsurprisingly to both girls, she was able to pick out a path based on what she was able to smell and hear, the cat of her aelfe making her senses stronger than the diluted elvish in Ribbon’s blood-witch.

“I hear Kimiko,” Amadhay said excitedly, positive that they were close to the end of the maze.

Ribbon perked up at that, following Amadhay’s gaze down the long pathway. “Follow her voice! She can get us out of here!”

Amadhay didn’t need Ribbon to tell her that, because she was already following the other teenager’s voice. As she followed, she was able to make out more than just her voice; she was able to make out snippets of conversation and another voice, a male voice that sounded mildly familiar.

“-and they’ve all been angry with each other for what feels like forever but it’s starting to get better, I think,” Kimiko said.

Amadhay narrowed her eyes, positive that the girl was talking about her, but not knowing why or to whom.

“Well that’s good, isn’t it?” the male voice asked. The voice was deep, resonating in a way that didn’t make sense for the rough texture.

“I guess,” Kimiko responded. Amadhay could just see her high ponytails over the top of the hedge. “It’s just that now that they’re not fighting, they’re all so confused and confusion tastes wrong. I mean I like their happiness better than their anger and sadness and loneliness, but they aren’t happy enough for it to taste like happiness, you know?”

Amadhay wasn’t sure what Kimiko was talking about, at all, but she could see her now, sitting on a bench. She was sitting on the back of the bench, making herself seem taller than the man she was talking to. He was sitting properly on the bench, his legs set apart and one of his arms wrapped around the girl’s waist.

When he laughed, he shook his long, long hair from his face. Amadhay froze, staring first at his hair. If he were standing, she would bet that it hit his knees now, quite a sight longer than his waist, like when she had last seen him. The dark black had either been dyed or stained a strange green color that reminded her of the swamp, much like his dark skin. Where it had once been a healthy brown color, either with age or from contact with the swamp waters, it now had a sickly, green hue to it and looked pale. He was taller than when she had last seen him and wearing clothes that fit him quite a bit better than the torn jeans, ripped and frayed jackets, and dirty t-shirts she had grown used to him wearing. But his smile was still his, was still a bright white shine across his otherwise dark features and his eyes still glowed an alarming silver color.

“Tairyn,” she whispered, coming to a stop.

His laugh stopped short, and she was able to compare his younger, melodious voice to his new, much deeper one when he spoke her name in reply. “Amadhay?”

Ribbon bumped into her. “Geeze, Red Bird. You can’t just run off without me. Give a girl some warning,” she said. When Amadhay didn’t shoot back a witty retort, she nudged the girl. “Red Bird?” she asked before looking past the girl, to the couple on the bench, who were frozen in shock.

Ribbon sucked in a breath just as Tairyn got to his feet. Tairyn, Kimiko, and Ribbon all spoke at the same time, Ribbon being the only one to properly sum up the situation.

“Mayday, I didn’t mean to—”

“Amadhay this isn’t what it—”

“Shit.”

Amadhay only stared at Tairyn for a few more clicks before she took off running. At first, she ran slow enough that she heard three sets of footsteps following her, but she kept going faster and faster until she was at the speed she and Sha’adahk had been working on, the speed that felt like no one else was moving around her. She shot right out of the maze, into the garden, where Tairyn and Kimiko had been. She went through that garden, through the bug garden, right through the mud pool, barely making a splash she was moving so fast. She kept going until she was right back where she had started out, looking for Atlas, needing to talk to Atlas.

Her eyes were burning when she shoved the doors open, dropping her speed the moment she touched them. The room was empty and for a moment, she wanted to keep looking for Atlas, until she realized she was better off on her own. Like when she was a little girl and scared and needing to be alone to synthesize her own thoughts, she looked for the smallest place she could curl up and be hidden. She stripped off the raincoat and boots, tucking them under a couch. Seeing a seat that she recognized from the Madra job, she knew it had a false bottom. Knowing it was the best chance she had at not being found, she pulled it open and curled up inside, placing the seat back on top of her.

Now in the dark, alone, and tiny, Amadhay was able to let herself be upset. She didn’t cry, because she was a Hakinato and Hakinato’s don’t cry, but she did rub viciously at her eyes because they burned.

Tairyn. Her Tairyn. Yes, she had assumed he had been the one to betray her from day one because they knew things only he would know. Yes, she hadn’t seen him in almost three years, and hadn’t seen him regularly in longer than that. But he had been her Tairyn. He was the same boy who had told her, when he had been fourteen and she only nine, that he was going to Bind to her one day. He was the same one who had been with her, had comforted her after she had killed on her first mission. He was the same one who had been holding her hand when she had first spotted Amaya, the wild and utterly vicious Amaya who had been rescued from the Thief Lord when she was ten.

It was one thing to believe that person could betray her. It was a whole different thing to know it. No matter how she was with the Palnoki now, it was a betrayal of her, of her confidences in him. She hadn’t told him her every secret so that he could turn around and tell her worst enemy. She had told him because she had trusted him, had sincerely cared about him in a way she hadn’t known she could. He had been the first person besides Monkey that she had genuinely felt something other than vague amusement for. She had thought he loved her and he had betrayed her. For what?

She didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure she wanted to know. She couldn’t imagine anything that would make his betrayal any less heartbreaking. It didn’t matter why he did it. It only mattered that he did. If anything, the obvious relationship he and Kimiko had only made her hurt worse. It was like a triple lanced betrayal. He had betrayed her as a friend, as someone she trusted by giving away her information so freely. He had betrayed her as someone who had loved him by replacing her love with Kimiko’s.

And Kimiko, Kimiko had known all of that, had known their relationship, she had to have. Yet still she had not only taken him from her or had hidden the relationship from her, but she had hidden him from her. Kimiko had purposely kept Tairyn, who he was to her, to the Palnoki, how he’d betrayed Amadhay, a secret.

If anything, Amadhay was positive that that was what was hurting her the most.

She hadn’t seen Tairyn in years, so while finding out that he had truly been the one to betray her hurt, it wasn’t what had her hiding. She had been around the women almost every day for the past few months and neither had even mentioned Tairyn, had ever brought up that one of her friends from the Phoegani had defected. She had trusted Kimiko. She had trusted Ribbon. But clearly they didn’t trust her. She had been sure that they wouldn’t hide anything crucial from her. She had been positive that they cared about her, but she wasn’t sure about that anymore. She couldn’t imagine that they could honestly care about her and hide something like that from her.

And with that, her mind went to Atlas. Atlas who she had gone to for comfort. Atlas who she had trusted more than all the rest of them, had trusted enough to allow him to get her on top of a winged horse. Atlas had to have known this and kept it from her just as much as Kimiko and Ribbon. More, actually, because she had outright asked him who the informant was and he had…

He had never told her that it wasn’t Tairyn.

He hadn’t told her it was Tairyn, but he also certainly hadn’t said that it wasn’t. When she had decided it was Tairyn on her first day as his captive, Atlas had completely ignored her, which she hadn’t even thought about. She had known it was Tairyn from day one. Atlas had all but admitted it by ignoring her.

In some twisted, demented way, Amadhay was still sure that Atlas was trustworthy. Kimiko, and—worst  of all, Ribbon—was not. They would have to start from scratch, if they were ever to regain her trust again. Ribbon had probably told her hundreds of tiny lies hundreds of times to cover up a slip up concerning Tairyn. Kimiko had told her that her partner’s name was Orvu, that she hadn’t met him because he lived far away and was completely uninvolved in all that the Palnoki did. All of those were obvious, blaring lies.

But Atlas, he hadn’t lied to her. Yes, he had kept it from her much like the women had, but that was his way. He never told her anything that he assumed she could figure out on her own. That was simply the way Atlas played with her. She knew that. She even loved that most days. She loved that he forced her to think instead of just letting her know everything she wanted to know.

In fact, considering his Gift and the way everything had gone, Amadhay was almost convinced that he had set it up for her to find Tairyn and Kimiko in the garden just as she had. It was too much of a coincidence that she just happened to be lost in the maze at the exact time, in the exact place that would lead her to hear Kimiko’s voice. It was too much of a coincidence that of all days, after them all working hard to keep her from seeing Tairyn—and she knew it must have been pretty hard considering Kimiko was a succubus and needed regular feeding from her partner—that she would just stumble onto him. Since Kimiko was almost always physically with her when not on missions, she couldn’t imagine when the two could have regularly been together. After all the effort it had to have taken the succubi not to be around the banshee, not to have him right on the same base, she was positive that there was no way that she had just stumbled onto them.

It was no coincidence that things had happened the way they had. Honestly, Amadhay wasn’t even sure that she believed in coincidences anymore. Every coincidence in her life, especially in the past six months could probably be linked to Atlas and his meddling. Every time she had accidentally bumped into someone right when they were looking for her, every time she had been right where she needed to be without knowing it, every time one of the Palnokians had been right where she needed them when she needed them, every one of those coincidences were Atlas’ doing.

For some reason, that calmed her. The idea that Atlas was at the helm, leading everything made it all less overwhelming. It made everything easier to manage.

Because despite everything else, she still trusted Atlas.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which there are pegasi

 

 

Ribbon sat in Atlas’ favorite lounging loveseat with both his kitten and Amadhay partially sprawled over her lap as she petted both of them.

The kitten and feline aelfe both purred in time, kneading their claws—or in Amadhay’s case, her nails—into the red velveteen upholstery. Atlas sat in a less comfortable, wooden seat, pretending to read a book on the inner workings of owning a food establishment while actually watching the three with a strange sort of jealous contentment. While he would have preferred to be in Ribbon’s seat, he was conversely happy to see three of his favorites happy together. It had been a while since anyone had been happy with one another in the Sand Castle, so he wouldn’t ruin their good moment with his pettiness. While he and Amadhay were still on less than perfect terms, she and Ribbon seemed to have patched up their own problems nearly a month ago.

“I’m tired of this place,” Amadhay said out of nowhere.

Atlas set his book down, abandoning all pretenses. “Are you wanting a new locale?” he asked, glad to have something that she wanted. He had missed being able to fulfill her wishes.

She nodded, slowly sitting up as though she didn’t want to let Ribbon stop petting her, but needing to so that she could engage him in conversation. “Don’t you have any other castles? I’ve done the Ice Castle, and this is the Sand Castle. Where else is there?”

Atlas almost laughed. “Of course we have other castles. Just about anything you can name, we have.”

Amadhay narrowed her eyes in challenge. “Wood Castle.”

“That one’s easy. Of course we have a Wood Castle,” Ribbon responded before he could.

“Cloud Castle,” Amadhay tried, sitting forward and curling her legs under herself.

“Up in the sky, yes,” Atlas answered with a grin. “I doubt you’d like that one.”

“If it is really up in the clouds, I can assure you that I won’t be visiting it anytime soon,” Amadhay said, tilting her head back and leaning against Ribbon as she thought more. “Fire Castle,” she suggested, grinning wickedly.

Ribbon snorted but Atlas was the one to answer her. “Snuggled right between a couple volcanoes.”

“I’m good,” Amadhay replied instantly. “Water Castle.”

“It’s undersea,” Ribbon said, giving a shudder. “The magic down there gives me the willies.”

“So that one’s out,” Amadhay said, giving Ribbon a friendly nudge. “Mountain Castle?”

“Of course,” Atlas and Ribbon said at the same time.

Amadhay giggled. “Okay, I give. What castle don’t you have?”

While Ribbon only shrugged, Atlas actually gave the question a deep thought. “Well, I suppose we don’t have a—” his DS rang an urgent tone, immediately taking his attention from the conversation. Grabbing up the device, he swiped the screen to answer Stefan’s call.

“What is it?” he demanded before the man could get a word out.

“You need to get here. Now. This is beyond me.”

Atlas narrowed his eyes before letting out a huff of irritated air and nodded. “I’ll be there within the zoot.” With that, he ended the conversation, setting his DS back onto the table and running both hands through his hair in frustration. It was only after he pushed his glasses up on his nose and looked up that he remembered the girls in the room with him.

Ribbon had a questioning look while Amadhay’s could only be described as curious. “What’s going on there?” the younger asked, her red eyes wide.

“Nothing for you to worry about,” he said, making eye contact with Ribbon, who seemed to get the gist.

She stood up and tried to grab Amadhay’s hand to lead her away, but the aelfe was already hooked and didn’t move. “Alright, well what am I not needing to worry about?”

“It’s just some unrest among the workers. Stefan needs my help calming them down,” he lied, giving her a reassuring smile. She nodded.

“Where’s that?”

“Mud Castle,” he responded warily, “But now is probably not the best time for you to go there.”

Amadhay narrowed her eyes. “Why? If it’s just a little unrest, what’s the problem with me going there?”

“It would be boring for you,” Ribbon jumped in. “Trust me. It’s usually some little thing that gets the workers all huffy and it takes Atlas’ presence to get them working again.”

Amadhay shrugged. “I don’t have to worry about that, then. I could just check it out. I was just saying that I was bored here. What better distraction from my boredom than a new location?”

Atlas shook his head. “Then how about you and Ribbon go to the Flower Castle?” he suggested. “I could drop you off there on my way.”

Amadhay crossed her arms over her chest, looking from Atlas to Ribbon and then back. “Is there a particular reason you two don’t want me to go to the Mud Castle?” she asked.

“No! Of course not, I just don’t want you to go hoping that it’ll be interesting when it won’t,” Ribbon attempted.

Amadhay only had eyes for Atlas though. “Because I thought we were all on the same side, so it makes no sense for you to be keeping things secret from me, right?”

“I just think you would enjoy the Flower Castle more,” he attempted lamely before giving in to her. “But since now you’ve become suspicious I suppose there’s no way to keep you from the Mud Castle, is there?” Amadhay shook her head. He sighed. “Then I suppose I might as well just bring you along. I warn you though, Ribbon is right. This will be boring. The Mud Castle is really just where we set up all of our business affairs. Nothing too interesting there.”

Amadhay gave a beautiful smile before hopping up. “Awesome. Is it hot there or should I change?” she asked.

“It’s always raining there,” Ribbon stated, “So you should probably change. I know I’m going to.”

Amadhay nodded. “Do I have rain clothes?”

“Sure. Somewhere. Go look for them. If you can’t find them, then you can borrow mine,” Ribbon suggested. As if she couldn’t tell that she was being gotten rid of, the teenager rushed off to do just that, followed by Mayday. Once they were both sure that she was gone, Ribbon turned back to Atlas. “What are we going to do?” she asked, absolutely fretting over the unforeseen difficult spot they were in.

Atlas waved it off, though he was equally worried. “Just keep her busy and away from the Containment Room. If I can’t get him under control, which it doesn’t sound like I will, we’ll just get rid of him. Once that’s done, there won’t be any more problem. So long as you stick to her like glue and keep her oblivious, everything will be fine.”

Ribbon gave a bit of a delayed nod. “What if she—”

“Found it!” Amadhay exclaimed, walking into the room with an adorable raincoat covering her torso and down to her knees. It was red with pockets on either side in the form of black cats. She was even wearing matching rain boots. “I feel about ten, but as long as it keeps me dry, right?” she suggested, shrugging before she focused on Ribbon, who was still dressed as she had left her. “I thought you were going to change too.”

Ribbon sighed dramatically. “Not everyone moves at your speed, Quick Bird,” she joked, tugging on the teenager’s braided pigtail as she passed by her, leaving Amadhay and Atlas in the room alone.

Amadhay turned her attention to Atlas, who wasn’t sure that he was ready for the full brunt of her curiosity. Luckily, she seemed not to be in her most inquisitive state. “Did you and Stefan just buy a bunch of things you would’ve liked to see little Amadhay in?” she joked.

“Pretty much,” Atlas admitted. “We actually have everything we got little you somewhere around if you ever want to try them on for us,” he teased, making her roll her eyes.

“Alright, I grant that I haven’t gained much in height, but I’m pretty sure these,” she gestured first to her chest, then to her hips and butt, “Have grown quite a bit since I was four.”

Atlas laughed. “That they have. A shame. I would have loved to see you in the dresses Scarlet and Medica got for you again. Pictures just don’t do you justice.”

Amadhay flushed. “You have pictures?” she demanded. “Why haven’t I seen them yet?”

“Other than the fact that I don’t trust you not to destroy them?” he asked sarcastically, “Nothing at all.”

“So I have to promise not to destroy pictures of me so that I can see them?” she asked incredulously.

“Looks like,” he said with a shrug. “Stefan would be heartbroken if you destroyed them.”

Amadhay scoffed. “If any of them involve him being dressed up as a dragon, I doubt it.”

“Those are his favorite,” Atlas told her earnestly. “The ones where you’re wearing his red cape, riding on his back with your sword high up in the air.”

Amadhay flushed again. “I have no memory of that, therefore these pictures have been doctored,” she claimed, looking away from him.

Atlas chuckled, watching her nostalgically for a moment when her eyes flashed sky blue. She raised her eyebrows when she saw the way he was looking at her. “What?” she asked, “Do I have something on my face?”

He smiled as her eyes slowly shifted back to red, “No, nothing. Just remembering when we had to bathe you and your sister after the two of you decided to play pirates in the mud,” he said, purposely trying to embarrass her enough to see the blue again. It might have worked if Ribbon hadn’t chosen that moment to return.

Amadhay clutched to the blood witch. “Ribbon, save me. Atlas is being a creepy old man,” she accused, making Ribbon laugh as she hid Amadhay behind her.

“Don’t worry, I’ll save you from the lecher,” she joked.

Atlas rolled his eyes, trying not to be bothered by their joking because he knew that was what it all was, just joking. “Yeah, well this old man will leave you two behind if you don’t get a move on it,” he said, standing up.

“Sir, yes sir,” both girls teased, following him as he led them to the front door.

As always since gaining her own access code, Amadhay was the first to speak to the door. “Green sleeves!” she exclaimed, making the door open. Atlas and Ribbon exchanged amused glances at her expense, but she didn’t seem to notice because she was instead focused on the horses waiting for them.

“Um. Aren’t we going to take the car?” she asked, gesturing toward the automobile that she had become rather fond of since staying with them. He had enjoyed introducing her to the joys of an individual automobile, since she was so used to the trains and the other, more archaic, modes of transportation that the Ha’s region was fond of.

“It’s faster by pegasus,” Ribbon answered her, petting the head of one of the horses. Amadhay only seemed less excited the closer she got to the three horses, something Atlas knew he could use to convince her to stay.

He didn’t though. “Mara, you go back,” he ordered the smallest of the horses, the one he had intended for Amadhay.

Immediately, Amadhay protested, though it was a weak one. “Hey, I didn’t say I wasn’t going,” she said, still eyeing the pegasi as if they were fire-breathing dragons rather than gentle, winged horses. In fact, she looked as if she would prefer fire-breathing dragons to the horses.

“You don’t ride, do you?” Atlas asked, making Ribbon look up from her steed, Grits.

“Really?” the woman asked Amadhay, who shifted.

“Not if I can help it,” she muttered.

Atlas was suddenly reminded of an Amadhay story from Tairyn. When the girl had been trained as a lady, in hand with her secret assassin training, horse riding had been an important skill that Amadhay had never mastered, no matter how hard Arne Riff was on her. The horses were always skittish around Amadhay, who was in turn always too wary around them. The lessons had ended when an otherwise gentle mare had bucked Amadhay off and left the girl, then only ten, with a broken arm.

With that in mind, he realized that he was going to be asking a lot of her to even get her on the pegasus. It was literally two of her least favorite things combined: a flying creature and a horse. Either way, he was determined to try.

“Ride with me then,” he offered, leading his steed, Ludo to her. She backed up when the pegasus shoved his face into hers.

“No, I think I’ll pass, actually. Maybe I’ll, um, not go to the Mud Castle.”

Even though that was what Atlas wanted, he couldn’t bring himself to take the victory. He had a bigger one in mind. “Come on,” he coaxed. “You know I won’t let anything happen to you.” Ribbon was looking at him with confusion, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. He almost had her; he could see it in her eyes. “You know you’re safe with me,” he promised the raven-haired girl.

With a wary look at him, she reached out to pet the pegasus, closing her eyes as her hand came close to contact. She winced and held her hand an inch away from the horse’s flank, afraid to touch it, so Atlas helped her. He put his hand over hers and pressed her smaller hand against Ludo’s flank, rubbing in a gentle circle.

“You see? Ludo won’t do anything to hurt you. Even if he wanted to, I wouldn’t let him. I won’t let any harm come to you,” he swore.

Amadhay looked up at him, fear still in her eyes, but she nodded. She smiled at him, allowing him to help her onto the pegasus’ back. She was on a pegasus because she trusted him. The feeling was heady. She trusted him. She was scared out of her mind, but she trusted him to keep her safe.

He seated himself behind her, pressing her forward, into Ludo’s mane so that she could feel the strength of him behind her and the pegasus below her. “I won’t let you fall,” he whispered into her ear as the pegasus began to lift off of the ground.

The disapproving look on Ribbon’s face didn’t affect him because he was the one in charge. If he wanted to take Amadhay to the Mud Castle, then he would. It was all worth it for the trust he saw in those sky blue eyes when they were flying through the clouds and she was able to let go of Ludo just for a moment because she knew he wouldn’t let her fall.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which Tenshu’s a Brother

 

 

“I need to talk to you,” Tenshu said, grabbing Amadhay’s hand and pulling her away from Ribbon.

“About what?” Amadhay asked, looking back at Ribbon, who shrugged.

The taller woman blew her a kiss. “I have to go talk to Vlad about our next mission anyway. Meet in your sand castle?”

“Sure,” Amadhay called back as Tenshu pulled her around a corner. “Seriously, Ten, what’s the deal?”

Tenshu glanced back at her. “We just need to talk,” he stated, continuing to pull her down halls. The two of them were walking fast and Amadhay noticed that he was pulling her almost to the point where she needed to use her Gift to keep up with him.

Where was he taking her and what was so urgent that they had to get away from the others to talk about it?

“About what?” she asked.

“Ribbon,” he stated, slowing down now that they were at the less frequented part of the Sand Castle.

“What about her?” Amadhay asked warily.

Tenshu glanced back at her and pushed open a door. “Your intentions,” he said before letting go of her hand and entering the room.

Amadhay paused outside of the door before following him in. The room was nearly empty, aside from two chairs and a table between the two set with cookies and some steaming drink. Tenshu was already seated in one of the chairs with his hands interlaced in his lap as he watched her. Amadhay frowned, but moved to the seat opposite him, dropping into it gracefully.

“What do you mean?” she asked softly before picking up a saucer and cup to occupy her hands. She poured some of the drink into it and when cinnamon assaulted her nose, she knew that it was Ribbon’s cinnamon peppermint tea.

“What are you doing with her?” he asked, leaning forward and picking up a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a girl. He bit its head off and chewed slowly, his eyes never leaving hers.

“I dunno, what does it look like I’m doing with her?” she drawled sarcastically before taking a sip of tea. Of course, she was just deflecting. That was actually a very good question, one she wasn’t sure how to answer herself.

“Well it looks like you’re leading her on to make Atlas jealous.”

Amadhay had been mid-sip when Tenshu had said that. She almost spit her tea back out, but instead forced herself to swallow it, her eyes glaring at the ribbon holding his ponytail together at the top of his head. It wasn’t symmetrical. “That is not what’s happening,” she stated angrily. She would never do that to Ribbon.

“Really? Then what is?” he demanded, munching on the headless gingerbread girl so that she now had no legs.

“I’m…” she paused, trying to think of a word to describe what she was doing with Ribbon. Entwining wasn’t exactly it. Entwining, to her, implied a purely romantic relationship and their relationship was so much more than that. They were friends, best of friends, who sometimes kissed and held hands. They loved each other and would put down their lives for each other. They were there for each other and would never hurt the other one, not intentionally. They came first for each other.

“You’re?” Tenshu prompted, biting the gingerbread torso in half. His olive eyes were boring holes into her, demanding an answer.

“I’m in love, I think,” she whispered before taking another, longer drink of her tea. She stared at the saucer in her lap rather than Tenshu.

“Well Ribbon actually is,” Tenshu stated. “She is completely caught up with you. So don’t fucking hurt her.”

“I won’t,” Amadhay swore.

“Just don’t,” he repeated. “She’s been hurt before and I refuse to let you do it to her.”

“I’m not going to hurt her,” Amadhay stressed, setting the cup and saucer back on the table. “I would rather die than hurt her.”

“If you hurt her, you will,” Tenshu promised, making Amadhay narrow her eyes.

“Are you threatening me?”

Tenshu grinned. “That’s what brothers do for their sisters,” he told her before standing up. He ruffled her hair in a way he knew she hated, before finger combing the curls back to symmetry. “I did the same shit to her.”

“You did?” she asked softly, frowning.

He grinned again. “Of course. You’re my sister too. My icky wittle baby sister.”

She rolled her eyes. “All the incest in here is getting suffocating,” she joked. Between everyone claiming familial ties, yet the somewhat sexual, definitely romantic overtones to the relationships between Vlad, Nico, Tenshu, and Kimiko and her new relationship with Ribbon, it was getting strange.

“It only gets weird once you start rutting with Atlas,” he said with a shrug.

“Well since I have no plans of doing that—”

Sure,” Tenshu said, “If the sexual tension between the two of you doesn’t bubble over, then I’ll rescind my fairy ways,” he joked, making her roll her eyes.

“I wouldn’t do that to Ribbon.”

“Ribbon doesn’t mind sharing. Do you?”

Amadhay frowned, watching Tenshu as he left the room. “Yes,” she muttered softly to no one, “I do.”


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which lots isn’t said

 

 

Amadhay was lying in her bed, reading up on vampire-love theory when Ribbon came in.

It had been two days since she had kissed the woman and she had been expecting her sometime soon. It had been long enough for Ribbon to process everything. So she smiled up at the woman, setting the book aside, giving the blood witch the chance to speak first.

“Why did you kiss me?” Ribbon asked. “I mean…Red Bird. You can’t just kiss someone like that and then walk away. I don’t know what that means to you, but to me it means something.”

“I don’t kiss if it doesn’t mean something,” Amadhay immediately responded, even though it wasn’t strictly true. She had been known to kiss people to further her missions. Escort knew she’d done plenty of that in Madra. But Ribbon had to know the difference between a mission kiss and a real kiss. She had the same job.

“Well, what does it mean to you?” Ribbon pressed.

Amadhay smiled at her. “It means that I have a promise to keep to you.”

Ribbon nodded slowly. “Alright,” she said, sounding strangely deflated. “So you were just trying to prove a point.”

“No,” Amadhay said with a frown, moving to the end of her bed, where Ribbon was standing. Careful not to hit her head on the overhang or get caught in the curtains, Amadhay stood up on the bed. “It means that you’re important to me.”

Ribbon stared at her for a few clicks before moving in closer, leaving no space between them. Amadhay looked down at her, enjoying being the taller one for once. She leaned down.

“Why are you wanting to kiss me now?” Ribbon asked softly, stopping Amadhay before she could.

Amadhay frowned. “Because I want to,” she said. A ghost of a smile flew across Ribbon’s face.

“Maybe you should ask before you just do something because you want to,” the woman teased.

“I’m taking a note from Atlas’ book,” Amadhay whispered before she kissed Ribbon. This time she wasn’t the one to pull away.

Ribbon smiled up at her. “I guess I can live with that,” she said, pushing Amadhay’s chest so that the teenager fell back onto the bed. She crawled onto the bed after her, letting Amadhay pull her up. They kissed again.

“So are we done fighting?” Amadhay asked abruptly, looking hopefully at Ribbon.

Ribbon laughed into one of Amadhay’s pillows. “Yes, I think that we’re done fighting.”

“Good. ‘Cause I was tired of Mayday peeing on my door. Maybe now he’ll stop.”

“Oh my Goddess, you only kissed me to make Mayday stop peeing everywhere!” Ribbon exclaimed, laughing loudly.

Amadhay covered her face with a pillow, pressing down lightly.“You try waking up and having to clean that little booger’s pee so it doesn’t stain the floor. Then you’ll understand. You’d do anything too.” Amadhay insisted. Ribbon just laughed harder, laying there looking comfortable and perfect. Amadhay liked that look.


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