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Authors: Caleb S. Bugai

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Alkalians (40 page)

BOOK: Alkalians
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The students laugh, and Sean
continues, “So, the last time I looked it up, the definition of a
tyrant is someone who rules through fear, power, cruel conviction,
and with an iron fist. Therefore, that makes the definition of Cain
Incarein simple, he’s the complete opposite. He’s so spooked and
wimpy now, he’d run away screaming from a box of
kittens!”

Some of the guys roll over in
laughter, and the girl slaps his back while chuckling, leaning into
his shoulder. He kisses her on the forehead before going on more
satirically, “But yeah, truly, the big bad boss we once knew as
Cain is no more. To think, he would belittle himself to hiding and
sneaking about, spreading silly rumors and lies around, all because
of one freshman, who doesn’t want trouble with anyone? If he had
any dignity left, Cain ought to come out and apologize, plead for
Matt’s forgiveness, clean up his attitude. If not that, at least
confront him one more time, and go down in a blaze of glory or
something. But, alas, it seems Cain has no such dignity left in
him. Oh well, his loss, not ours!”

The spectators laugh some more. Sean
grins at his moment of popular attraction until he hears a cold
voice from behind him speak when the students cease their laughter.
“If Cain had any dignity left, which I’m sure he does, he wouldn’t
go waste it on freshman scum like Matt Calamos, or you.”

Sean and his audience turn to the
source of voice and see it is Irene Goros. Fright awakens within
Sean’s inner parts, and it proves contagious as the others gulp or
twitch. He puts on an act of being humored by her appearance, and
says politely, “Hey, if it isn’t Miss Irene Goros! How ya doing
today? Have you come to share cut-downs of the ex-Invincible
Warrior?”

Irene shows a sinister smile and
replies, “Actually, I’m here to cut down anyone who dares to insult
Cain Incarein, who just so happens to be my boss. He has given me
precise instructions that if I find someone mocking him, I am to
shut them up in his name.”

The students, excluding Sean, already
have the feeling to scram and leave with haste, the girl beside him
flashing an apologetic look as she gets up and follows them. Sean
looks after them, waving his hand good-bye and smiling as he truly
feels disgusted they had ditched him, to let him be the scapegoat.
He turns back to Irene with more pleading in his voice. “Hehe,
well, you know how much I love making jokes about people. All I’m
doing is making them more colorful! I personally don’t think Cain
would want me tarnished for things so silly, I would guess that he
laughs at them himself! You know what I mean, right?”

Irene continues her
chilling leer toward him. “Yes, I do, you inferior rodent,
scampering about and squeaking. There are some people, in case you
haven’t learned, who don’t tolerate annoying vermin running around
them, and would rather see them exterminated. Do you get
what
I
mean?”

Sean gulps again, trying to think up
any excuse to keep Irene from fighting him. While he feels
confident in his morph’s abilities and potential, he is still
intimidated by Irene, whose skill in her battle morph is as
merciless as her demeanor. He squeaks out, which doesn’t help his
case, “Well, why would you even be working for Cain? Last I heard,
you were under Cynthia’s command, and now I find you switched
bosses! Say, just how often do you turn coats, anyway?”


That’s none of your
business,” threateningly purrs Irene, and she walks closer to Sean,
who scrambles backwards and onto his feet, slowly backing up to
stay out of her reach. “You see, I’d be less worried about who I
serve, and more about how I’m going to tear you apart. Should I
make this quick and impacting, or should I drag it out, so that
it’s slow and painful?”

Sean is running out of ideas to keep
this rogue, battle-hungry Alkalian off his back. “Actually,” he
begs one more time, digging up things he had heard going around, “I
do worry about your business, as I’ve heard some weird stories
about you recently. Getting drunk at the casino, going out with
strange-acting characters, and flirting with other women? Is any of
that true, because I’m having trouble seeing it myself,
and…”


It’s all true,” Irene
says, knocking down Sean’s last reserves, leaving him gaping. “And
I don’t care what you think of my activities. I’ve my own freedom
to choose what I do, as I’m a senior and have good enough grades
and reputation to not bother anyone important. I will do whatever I
want around here, and I’ve not met anyone caring enough to try and
stop me.”


If you turn around, you
finally will,” enters a well-familiar, calm voice. Sean looks past
Irene, who spins to the source of the voice. Dante stands a few
yards away, hands in his pockets and his eyes glazed with concern.
The angle at which the sun’s rays hit him makes it seem his suit is
shining amber.

Irene, at first irritated to see him,
smirks at Dante, sweetly saying, “Why, younger brother, whatever do
you mean? You, of all people, should know I’m perfectly fine with
my choices.”

Dante explains in ample tones, “Before
I did, but I’ve begun to learn things beyond my prior realm of
understanding. My loyal partners have been informing me of
disturbing details about your ‘harmless’ recreation activities.
Bullying lower class students whenever you feel like it. Getting
wild and reckless at the gambling tables, and therefore losing all
your money. And, as Sean stated, an increasing rate of flirting
with other women. I believe you were raised to behave better than
that, sister.”

Irene snuffs at his accusations. “Oh,
there’s nothing wrong with all that, can’t you tell I’m just having
fun? What’s the matter with some experiments along the edge of
standard moral?”


Along the edge, indeed.
And if you fall over, all that awaits you is regret and despair,”
Dante answers while camouflaging a snarl. “You are disgracing our
family in these savage practices, and if they ever found out about
them, you would be properly punished and reminded of what is
expected of you as the first-born heir to Saratu.”


What they won’t know
won’t hurt them. I assure you, these past time enjoyments won’t
become habits, and I shall not bring them into my duties after
college.”


I can’t take the chance
that testimony will remain your state-of-mind. From what I’ve
observed, you’re constantly changing your view towards different
topics, doing whatever pleases you best and following what others
think is cool. If you were to meditate on such a matter, you should
see that this kind of attitude is not…”


Shut up, Dante,” growls
Irene, her temper starting to rise. “I have nothing to worry about.
I can take care of myself.”


Can you? I have seen that
you switch from serving one boss student to another, without any
care or logical reason. You’re as unpredictable as the wind in a
storm. Instead of following other boss students, you should have at
least been a boss student, yourself. You always follow, and point
blame for your actions to others. You never lead, or take
responsibility for yourself. If you’re supposed to be the heir of
the Goros clan, thus the next leader of the state of Saratu, why
aren’t you practicing your leadership skills, instead of being a
sell-sword for those who won’t be leaders in the real
world?”


Are you saying that I…”
begins Irene’s vicious outburst, but she catches herself and
chuckles. She comes over to Dante and pinches his cheek while
saying, “I get it. You’re finally trying to take the chief position
in our order, and now you’re using my outskirts as an excuse to
force me out of being heir. Clever, little brother, very clever.
But it won’t be that easy for you.”

Dante doesn’t flinch from
her touching him, and counters by saying, “Yes, if it went that
far, these absurd behaviors could jeopardize your first-born right
to the monarchy, but that’s not why I’m telling you all this.
Believe it or not, I’m deeply worried about your transactions, and
don’t want them to lead you down the wrong paths in the future. You
are letting others and your own selfish, unorthodox beliefs blow
you around, rather than being guided by the breeze of the Wind
Spirit. I wish it that you will become the upright and responsible
woman, and leader, you are meant to be. Not just for our family
affairs, but for the sake of the entire state we rule. Will you
please understand what I’m saying, Irene? I want to
help
you, not
hurt
you.”

For a moment, amazement and remorse
warm Irene’s burning eyes at Dante’s words. But the flames rekindle
as she stomps pass him, stopping to say, “I will be fine, and so
will the state of Saratu. Count on it.” She then leaves Sean and
Dante there alone by the main road, heading off in the direction of
the casino.

When Irene becomes a speck in the
distance, Sean says to Dante, also watching after her, “Yeah,
family drama, it sucks. I’ve had my share of it. But, there’s a
bright side to all this. Your little argument made her forget about
shooting me up!”

Dante shows no sign of reaction, and
instead pulls out a cigarette and his rune lighter and puffs a few
small clouds, his stare still on the horizon. Sean glances to the
cigarette and asks, “So, how often do you smoke those things,
hmm?”

This gets Dante attention. With a
startled look he admits, “Excuse me, I didn’t even notice it.” He
drops the cigarette and stamps it out, then looks back to Sean.
“Now that I’ve found you, I can tell you the news.”


News? What
news?”


Matt says there’s going
to be a party tonight, and the only guests happen to be him and his
close allies, which is us. We’re all going to meet at your cabin
before the party begins and he explains what it’s for.”

“…
Fantastico!” responds an
excited Sean. “It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a fancy fiesta!
I’d better hurry off and get ready!”

Sean is about to run off when Dante
stops him with a serious question. “Sean, tell me honestly. Could
you see that I’m really caring and worried for my
sister?”

Caught off-guard by the
question, Sean answers, “Uh, yeah, I saw it. You were as,
ah,
passionate
,
as you could be.” He shrugs, turns, and takes off for the cabins.
Dante, meanwhile, remains alone on the road for a second, an
appreciative, but sad, smile forming upon him.

 

***

 

Later that day as the chill of a fall
evening reaches its peak and the twilight is a golden thread lining
the horizon below a purple sky, Matt, Sean, Rose, and Dante walk
away from the freshmen cabins. The men are in their best suits.
Matt wears a gentleman’s suit of black, Sean has a nice, brown vest
paired with tan pants, and Dante wears a darkish blue match of
clothes that seem woven from the glimmer of moonlight upon rippled
water. Rose is dressed in an emerald green dress with the long
skirt covering her legs, and her leaf emblem rests against her skin
while hung around her neck.

As the group passes by the other class
cabins, Sean does not hold back his curiosity for the party’s
location. “Come on, Matt!” he begs. “Tell us already, where are we
going to have this party!?”


Patience, Sean,” replies
Matt in his amusement. “You will find out soon enough. I do hope
you guys will like it.”


Of course we will!” Rose
says. “I mean, I’m sure we’ll be doing something not completely
insane, right?”


I myself am anxious to
discover the accommodation for our party,” throws in Dante. “It had
better be impressive enough to satisfy royalty.”


Maybe, maybe not,” Matt
says with an air of mystery to spur even more anticipation from his
colleagues. “You’ll have your answers soon, that’s all I can
say.”

Rose and Dante let their questions end
there, but Sean isn’t satisfied. “Could you at least give a hint?
Some clue to where this is going to be?”

Without warning, Matt
stops, causing the others to halt mid-step, and he announces,

Here
is our
destination.” He refers to one of the first buildings in the cabin
section reserved for seniors, the three-story house having windows
marking several rooms for each floor. Dante, Rose, and Sean are
surprised. The logical idea would be at the casino in a cleared-out
location, or the study hall usually reserved for Lyn and her
gang.

Matt walks up to the front door, his
companions nervously following him. He knocks upon the door, and
Sean immediately says, “Oh, I guess they’re not home. Let’s come
back some other time!” The attempt to make a good excuse to leave
is choked when the door opens.

Lyn Arcterus stands before them, her
dress a dazzling shade of violet woven from the twilight above them
that brings out more of her mesmerizing eye features, almost
knocking over the four of them. “Ah, good evening, Matt and his
friends. Sean, Rose, and Dante. Right on schedule, I see!” She
comes down the step to them, over to Matt’s side, and, to his and
the others’ surprise, kisses him on the cheek while putting her arm
around his waist. Gesturing with her other arm, she says with a
smile, “Please, do come in. We’ve been waiting for you.”

BOOK: Alkalians
7.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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