She was chained up...and recognized the room. Prince Theophanes. He entered the room, dressed in a white long jacket and black hood over his shoulders, the hood down. Black hair thick and wild as ever. "I heard you escaped again." He smirked. "You're so dangerous. Cut some of my guards with a dagger did you?" She did nothing but glare at him. He came closer onto the bed with a hungry look and inside she trembled with fear, something she wouldn't let come to the surface. He cupped her cheek which she tried to jerk out of, glaring at him. He leaned in and his lips fell over hers. She sneered and bit him hard, not letting go so it was more painful for him as he jerked away in surprise. He must have forgotten the guards' warning him not to attempt such things. She smirked. He looked horrified. But seemed undetured as he came closer once more, not attempting to kiss again...
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She woke up crying, looking around at her dim surroundings. She covered her eyes, realizing it had been a dream. "Damn nightmares." She sobbed. It took her a moment to calm down. She was famished. She had slept for a long time once again. Although it was dark, the firelight shedding its soft glow was warm and had a homey feel to it, helping Sophie relax. She went to a window and pulled back the heavy curtain to find the night was just falling. She found herself searching the shadows of her room for Gabriels but didnt find any sign of the King as she made her way toward her dresser. She opened it and winced at all the frills. The white jacket from last night was there as well. She panned through the dresses, trying to decide what to wear. Finally she settled on a white, medium sleeved dress with a high neck and colorful stash across the waist and tied near the right hip in a loose bow. Afterward she paced her room wondering what to do. She knew not how much time had passed before there was a knock on the door.
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"Sophie? It's Gabriels." How strange for the King of a Kingdom to announce himself so... "Are you asleep?"
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"No." She answered, going to the door.
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He blinked down at her. "Those cloths my sister picked out for you look quite good on you."
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For some reason, Sophie blushed. How was she supposed to respond? "I think they are all too elegant for me. Lace isn't quite my style."
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He smiled and her heart skipped a beat. "I stand by what I said." Her blush deepened to the point where she felt slightly light-headed. "I heard you've slumbered all day." Sophie nodded. "I wondered if you would join my family for breakfast."
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The color in Sophie's face drained. "You can't be-" She caught herself before she continued to say something rude. She took a breath before hurrying to say, "A slave does not dine with royalty."
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Gabriels eyes flickered, "This is not Godor."
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"I-I know that..."
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"Furthermore you are no longer anyone's slave Sophie. You are my Probationary Guard."
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She sighed, "Even so..." They considered one another before she dipped into a curtsy. "Very well. If that is what His Majesty wishes, I will comply."
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"Very elegant." Gabriels muttered jokingly under his breath, causing Sophie to crack a smile despite herself. Gabriels smirked back.
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Suddenly thinking of what was ahead of her, she looked down at the dress she had picked out and blushed once more. "Um...is this okay? Or perhaps something else in the closet would be better?"
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Gabriels took her hand, causing her blush to deepen. "That is more than fine. Come." He guided her out into the hallway, caught a servent passing by and whispered something to him. The man glanced at Sophie before scurrying back the way he'd come. Gabriels grabbed a torch from the wall and led her through the maze-like corridors. They came to some large double doors and Gabriels hesitated before opening them and entering, Sophie sticking close behind him, nervous. Sophie could see the resemblence between the two seated at the table. At the head of the table was an elegant woman with surprisingly short wavy black hair cut around her face. Shocking blue eyes, her lips painted a scarlet red. She wore a white, black rimmed jacket over an elegant white blouse and short, tight skirt as well as white slipper-like shoes. Sitting to her right was a very handsome man with delicate white-blond hair cut around his face similar to his sister and matching blue eyes. He wore a grey, black rimmed jacket over a white shirt, white pants, and white supple shoes. The man was first to rise to his feet as Gabriels and the suddenly shy Sophie drew closer. Sophie had to resist the strong urge to hide behind the King.
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The woman raised a hand shakily toward her face. "Gabriels...you bastard..." Then her shock faded to fury. "I knew sooner or later you'd get with someone..." She pointed toward them, rising to her feet, her chair screeching back against the granite flooring. "But I never thought you'd buy a slave!" Sophie froze in her steps, tense, and Gabriels wrapped a comforting arm around her waist, keeping her walking by his side.
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He sighed, "Oh please..." He muttered. Suddenly realizing how they must look, Sophie gasped and pushed him away, a strangled yelping sound of shock escaping her. "Alright..." Gabriels narrowed his eyes at the woman, "anything else you want to get off your chest? Sister Dearest?"
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~Sister?~ That explained her behavior.
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The woman put her hands on her hips. "What do you think? Everyone's talking! Rumors about...you fooling around with a 17-year-old slave from Godor!"
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Gabriels grunted, "Some people have nothing better to do besides gossip."
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Gabriels looked like a pouting child before the fury of his sister, "If you are not denying it, does that mean it's true? That's really unbelievable, you idiot!"
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"So noisy..." Gabriels muttered, crossing his arms. A flash of white caught Sophie's eye and she stared in shock at the blond man suddenly beside her, offering a polite smile. Suddenly looking so innocent, he reminded her strongly of Gabriels.
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~If that woman is Gabriels' sister, is this man his brother?~
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"Sorry my sister Agnes suddenly went on a rampage." He said brightly.
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~His hair is such a pale blond.~ Sophie grew slightly distracted by how fair he was, elegant as one would expect of royalty. "So are you also King Gabriels' sibling?"
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"Yes." The man grinned, clasping his hands behind his back. "Gabriels is my older brother, and Agnes our older sister." He chuckled. "My name's Prabhakar." He leaned a little toward her and whispered as he kept an eye on his quarling siblings, "Thanks for taking care of my older brother Gabriel. Oh, and feel free to just call me Hakar." He added, beaming. Everything about him was so bright. Although his innocent behavior reminded her of how innocent Gabriels looked, the way Gabriels acted was completely different.
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"O-Okay...Ha...Hakar..." Sophie was nervous, blushing such a deep red, she barely got the words out, her voice shaking. She glanced up shyly at Prabhakar from under her lashes, feeling it was wrong for a slave to speak so to royalty. This all couldn't be real. Prabhakar seemed shocked for a moment, his blue eyes widening before he blushed himself. Then he was jostled forward by both Agnes and Gabriels hitting him. Agnes with her slipper-shoe, Gabriels with an ashtray.
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"Why are you blushing?" Both Agnes and Gabriels said angrily, at the same time.
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"B-Brother...if you attack me with that I might die."
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"You'll live." Gabriels said darkly.
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"Two idiots!" Agnes huffed, her long nailed hands on her hips. "I really can't take this!"
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"Ah! No! Save me!" Prabhakar yelled as Gabriels threatened him. Agnes glanced over at Sophie and the slave stiffened, feeling like she was getting in trouble, she curtsied deeply.
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"Ah, hello. I am..." She didn't want to get Gabriels in trouble by calling herself a slave, but she might get in trouble for elevating herself to Guard... "Sophie." She finally said. ~She's so beautiful.~
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Agnes blushed, raising her slightly clenched hand to her mouth. "So cute!" She hugged a panicking Sophie.
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The slave was suddenly pulled away and found herself beside Gabriels, his arm around her waist. "Please, why are you blushing? Stop acting like Hakar."
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"Gabriels, you're so deceitful! You always monopolize everything!" Agnes complained.
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"Say whatever you want! Now are we having breakfast or not?" These royal siblings were extreme. It was almost like a theatrical play.
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"We'll eat when I say we can eat!" Agnes pouted for a second.
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Gabriels passed her a look as he guided Sophie, who seemed to be in shock, to a chair. "What?" He asked in a dangerous tone.
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"We can eat." Agnes said, "But first I want to dress Sophie up." Gabriels seemed exhausted by his siblings as he glared after Agnes who was sweeping Sophie away cheerfully, all sly smiles and chuckling to herself. "Come."
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"Eh? Okay." Sophie said meekly, concious of Gabriels' bad mood. ~Is this really okay?~ Gabriels turned his back on them, hands on hips as they left, he heaved a heavy sigh.
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"Brother, let Agnes have her fun."
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"What?" Gabriels asked as he took out his pipe. Prabhakar sat down in his chair, carefully keeping his features a blank slat. Gabriels seemed to understand the deeper meaning behind his words and remained silent.
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"Anyway, it's rare to see you with a girl." Prabhakar changed the subject.
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"What are you talking about? Thanks to Sister's sources, you two probably knew the minute I met Sophie."
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Prabhakar laughed, "That's true." He admitted. "Gabriel, admit it. You two wouldn't be using the excuse of master and slave to cover up your relationship, would you?" Prabhakar said in a conspiratorial tone, leaning forward eagerly.
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Gabriels was getting annoyed and picked up the ashtray once more. "Seems like getting beaten up once wasn't enough for you." He said darkly.
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Agnes was leading Sophie excitedly down the hallways, waving here and there to servents passing by, bringing smiles to their faces. There was practically a skip to her step. Sophie couldn't help feeling extremely apprehensive, waiting for the curtain to fall and for her to get into trouble. A red-headed woman with shocking green eyes approached them, her rare red hair cut chin level. "Excuse me." She said politely, grabbing their attention. "I was summoned by His Majesty, the King. Do you know where he might be?"
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Agnes blushed and got that same twinkle in her eye as the first time she looked closely at Sophie. "I've been informed Prabhakar had a guest. Lady Red-head Diana."
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"Hakar?" Diana smiled politely. "Ah, yes."
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~This red-head has impeccable style.~ Sophie thought as she took in the black embroidered underdress, intricate jacket, skirt, and black leggings as well as tall tan boots. ~Why can't I have cloths like hers?~ Sophie felt like crying as she complained to herself.
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"This is a pleasant surprise...this is the first time I've seen someone with such red hair!" Agnes said, excited. "So cool." She was overflowing. "It's also surprising to hear Hakar addressed without his title, let alone his nickname." Agnes seemed happy about it. "I am glad he has made such a friend. I'll take you to Hakar, but first...let me prepare you."
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Sophie smiled at her. "We appear to be in the same boat." The slave curtsied. "I am the King's Probationary Guard, Sophie, Milady."
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Diana blushed, looking bashful, "Please don't call me Milady, I'm just a peasant girl."
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Sophie smiled, suddenly wondering if this warm feeling in her chest is what Loki, Zarathustra and the others felt when they used such honorifics with herself. She curtsied again, causing the red-head to blush redder. "As you wish...Diana." The red-head smiled nervously.
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"Well!" Agnes said, grinning. She waved an elegant hand for them to follow her, "This way my precious ones." Agnes led them to delicately engraved double doors. When she opened them...Sophie felt the blood drain from her face...pink and lace everywhere. The various shades of pink assaulted her eyes. Fushia curtians with large pink bows holding them back, a thin, sheer fabric also covering the windows, but letting in filtered moonlight. Delicate tables and porcelain decorations. A vase of pale pink roses. A white canopy and pale pink, frilly bedspread and pillows. Agnes chuckled, a light blush covering high cheekbones. Her grin said she was proud of herself. "Isn't it cute? I decorated it myself."
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Sophie felt like she was either gonna be sick, or faint. "Y-Yes." She managed to say, feeling like she was going to gag.
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Diana laughed nervously. "So...so dreamy..." The room was making her even more nervous.
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~Ready for what?~ Sophie wanted to escape. Agnes got more and more giddy as she pucked out clothing, accessories, and make-up for the two girls. Sophie was dressed in a white frilly underdress, the sleeves coming down to her elbows. A blue, short, puffy sleeved dress that came down to her knees, white slipper-shoes which Sophie was grateful for. A thin black ribbon tied in a bow on top of her head held back her wavy, long blond hair. White gold bracelets on her wrists. ~These cloths, on top of not being my style, are too flashy for a slave like me...a Probationary Guard like me.~ She fisted her hands in the dress nervously. Diana was wearing a white, red lace rimmed hooded jacket over a white, black bordered blouse, red short skirt and white slipper-shoes and white gold bracelets that matched Sophie's. She curled Diana's hair so that it waved like Sophie's and her own.
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"I..." Agnes' tone had changed, a sorrowful note to it. "really wanted," She cupped Sophie's cheek, "to see you wear this kind of dress," She turned to Diana and lifted a strand of her rich red hair, "and play with this beautiful hair!"
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"Nes?" Prabhakar opened the door, "Don't you have to go out with Mr. Guerrero later?"
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"Ah, I totally forgot I still have things to do." She turned to pass Sophie and Diana a smile, "Well then girls, shall we go?"
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"Ah, okay." Diana nodded, studying the staring Prabhakar. Sophie raised an eyebrow at them.
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Diana smiled. "Hakar."
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"W-What are you doing here?" He came forward and lifted a lock of her hair. Smiling, Agnes left the room. "Your hair."
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Diana blushed. "I was summoned by the King." Prabhakar's features stiffened. He didn't look happy about that.
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Sophie laid a hand on his arm, and smiled at Diana. "Let's go see what's going on." Prabhakar nodded at Sophie, who led the way out. Agnes was standing with her arms crossed in the hallway and turned to smile at them.
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"Do you know why Diana was summoned?" Prabhakar asked hopefully.
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"Haven't the foggiest." Agnes replied cheerily, then led the way. Prabhakar and Diana dawdled behind and Sophie let them have their privacy.
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As soon as they entered the dinning room once more, Prabhakar demanded, "What is the meaning of this?"
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Gabriels tore his gaze off Sophie to take in his brother and Diana. He winced. "My sister got her claws into you as well I see." He came forward. "Sorry about that...she's a bit...eccentric." Agnes huffed, crossing her arms and looking away.
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Diana just smiled however. "On the contrary, I was quite pampered."
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Gabriels offered a small smile. "Thank you for coming on such short notice, I am Gabriels Drakon."
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Diana's eyes slightly widened and she immediately dipped into a curtsy. "And I am Diana Your Highness."
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Gabriels waved her off, "Just Gabriels is fine."
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Diana came out of her curtsy with a warm smile. "Gabriels then."
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Prabhakar crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. "Brother, what are you planning?"
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Gabriels passed him an innocent look. "I just invited her to breakfast is all." He turned and nodded to a servant in the shadows. With a little bow, the man left. Gabriels turned to smile at Diana. "Shall we take our seats?" Diana smiled back widely and nodded. To Sophie's surprise, Agnes once again sat at the head of the table, Prabhakar and Gabriels on either side of her followed by Diana next to Prabhakar and Sophie next to Gabriels. Lavish pancakes, plush breads, sausage, eggs, cheeses, various styles of potatoes, and an assortment of juices, coffee, and teas were brought out for Diana and Sophie. The royal siblings only were given a goblet each and Sophie had an inking of what they were filled with. Sophie somewhat forgot herself and dug into the food hungrily. It was much too easy to relax around this royal family.
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"Diana are you tired?" Prabhakar asked his friend quietly. Diana smiled toward him and Sophie realized how beautiful she looked in that moment.
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"No, I'm fine." She met his eyes, "Thanks for asking Hakar."
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Sophie could plainly see the two were falling for each other already. When they were together, each became more attractive because of the love they felt. This was Sophie's first time seeing it and she was in awe before such a sight. Sophie realized she had stopped eating and tore her eyes away to look down at her mostly empty plate. "I hear you are a healer." Sophie didn't know what possessed her to speak, just that she was embarrassed for having had stared and she was glad no one seemed to have noticed, as Gabriels was in conversation with his sister.
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Diana beamed, "Yes."
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"Perhaps you can teach me a little sometime."
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"You're interested in the healing arts?" Diana seemed eager.
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Sophie nodded. "Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of being a Guard, but I've always been interested in healing, like a hobby. Healing is always a handy skill to learn. It won't go to waste."
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Diana beamed, "I'm glad you feel that way. Well, my door is always open when you have time." Sophie nodded, smiling as well. She couldn't believe how fast she was able to become comfortable with the red-head. She was eager to learn from her. After that, they dived into conversation about stab wounds and how to treat them as that is what Sophie had experience with so far. It wasn't long until they finished breakfast and had to go their separate ways, Sophie by Gabriels side. He led her to a large white room, the curtains over the windows open to let in the moonlight. Gabriels also lit some torches for Sophie's benefit. Slowly, men stepped forward from the shadows, making Sophie tense even through she recognized them. Loki, the black haired man, and the blond from yesterday, Zarathustra, and Karl.
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"Miss Sophie, I thought it would be advantageous to introduce you to the 7 Shadow Knights." Karl said, gesturing to the men. "This is Loki, Vainamoinen Sachs, Galip Herczog, and Zarathustra Attar."
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Sophie curtsied, "Hello." They muttered hello, offering her nods and smiles, considering her.
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"Now, I have a question Drakon. Are you sure you want someone so young to be your guard?"
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Gabriels just looked at him, then shrugged, "She wants to." Karl's face drained of color and he seemed quite upset but he didn't say a word.
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"Um...excuse me but...how old do you all think I am?"
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"17." Both Karl and Gabriels said.
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"13." The black-haired man-Vainamoinen-said with a smile, crossing his arms.
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Sophie stared at them. "I'm 26." They all stared at her.
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Then Vainamoinen burst out laughing, slapping his knee even and wrapping an arm around his stomach. "But you're such a small thing!"
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Sophie raised an eyebrow. "So I've been told." Vainamoinen cackled again, wiping tears from his eyes.
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"I'm fine with her joining the 7 Shadow Knights, but am yet convinced she can protect our King as a Guard."
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"I need not your permission." Gabriels reminded.
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Galip nodded, "Just voicing my opinion Sire."
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"I don't mind." Vainamoinen grinned. "Finally there will be a female's presence among us, and such a cute girl too!" He laughed before catching Gabriels glare and choked, coughing and thumping his chest.
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"Regardless of your age, you've signed up for quite the dangerous job." Karl said, studying her. She could tell they were worried for her well-being.
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"I...can't?" She gave him some puppy eyes and he blushed.
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"Nevermind. Let's all get along from now on." Galip narrowed his eyes at Sophie. "I'm Karl Dobos."
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"Are we done with this little meeting?" Gabriels asked out of boredom, turning for the door.
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"You Brat! Keeping each other up to date is important!" Sophie stared. How could he call a king a brat?
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"Yeah, yeah, I'm going now." He held up his hand and waved, his other hand in his pocket. Sophie glanced at the men assembled, before scurrying after Gabriels. "We still have quite a bit of time before we have to go check out East Leaf University. Why don't you get some sleep?" After he saw the look on her face he added, "Zarathustra will be with me, so you don't have to worry. Be good and listen to me."
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She sighed in defeat and he walked her to her room. Zarathustra sure enough showed up and waved to her in reassurance as she shut her door. She didn't feel like sleeping however. Something on the bench near the fireplace caught her eye, shinning in the firelight. Unholy Might lay there. She raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. She exercised, then practiced some sword moves, feeling her muscles burn from little use all these years. ~I really can't sleep.~ She went to her window and opened the drapes, letting in moonlight and the spring chill, looking down into the dark courtyard below. ~I wonder if it would be okay for me to go looking for Drakon?~ She was glad a belt was with Unholy Might as she strapped the sword on. She took a torch and wandered the halls. She found herself near one of the thick double doors that led out to the courtyard below her window and decided to go out. It was a beautiful night. She jumped when she just barely noticed someone behind her. Her hand went down on Unholy Might's hilt. The blond man smiled. His hair was cut around his face, short at the nape of his neck. Sophie took a couple steps back as fear kicked up her adrenaline.
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He took in a deep breath, closing his eyes before opening them again and smiling. "I didn't mean to startle you Miss Sophie. Pleased to meet you by the way, I'm Cecilio."
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Sophie curtsied, "Nice to meet you."
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"If you are free, why don't you take a walk with me?"
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Sophie couldn't really think of a reason to refuse. She jumped again when he was suddenly before her and she found herself in his arms. A shiver of terror ran through her as her heart jammed up into her throat. ~Predator.~ That's all she could think about, could feel. She elbowed him away, taking some steps back and halfway drawing Unholy Might, a glint in her eye as she stared at Cecilio. The moment of instinct passed as her brain caught up with her. This man had done no harm to her, she could not attack him. She worked for the King and as such, her actions reflected back on him. Cecilio was staring back in shock. "Ah...that is..." She quickly sheathed her blade and curtsied. "Sorry, I'm going to go back to my room. I'm not feeling well."
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She was already retreating before he could say anything, finding it hard to turn her back on him. ~I really hope my actions don't cause trouble for Gabriels.~ She couldn't help thinking about all the things he and she had been through since he walked into that guest room back in Godor. She finally came out of her thoughts and stopped, looking around. She hadn't backtracked like she had planned...she had no idea where she was, but she was still on the ground level. She peaked through and heard the clipping of snippers. She instantly slumped in relief when she noticed Gabriels' familiar hair style, the back spiked. He was bent, collecting flowers. He wore a black robe with a white cloak that reminded her of the uniform Galip and Vainamoinen wore. He straightened and Sophie frowned. He looked somehow solem as he collected the snipped lilies. ~Why is he sad?~ Regardless...he looked beautiful in that moment.
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He glanced over, not looking like he really saw her for a moment, then he blinked his dark eyes and smiled. "Sophie?" He came closer, "What are you doing here?"
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"Uh, um, I was out for a walk, actually looking for you. I couldn't sleep."
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He looked a little worried at that, but didn't comment. "Well, we should get going soon anyway..." He paused. "Sophie, you know you can come to me if you need anything right?" She nodded, studying him, trying to understand why he suddenly said that. "This is for you." He dumped the various shade of lillies into her arms. Her mouth had opened in surprise and she quickly shut it. "I'll wait for you by the stables." Sophie nodded, eager to go to the University and turned around to find her room. She blinked to see Loki waiting in the hallway offering her a smile which she returned, showing him the lillies and they left for her room. Gabriels waved goodbye after them...then his gaze turned sharp. "That goblin's scent was on her..."
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Loki led her back to her room and even had a maid bring a vase and water for the lilies, once they were settled, he led her toward the stables. "Will you be coming with us?"
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Loki considered that, his hands clasped behind his back and his head tilted. "Yes but at a distance. The King's Knights usually like to remain unseen to look for danger from afar. You however, as the King's Personal Guard will probably be by his side at a closer proximety."
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Sophie nodded, a little shocked to find out Loki was a member of the King's Knights. "How many King's Knights are there?"
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He nodded. "Only 3." Sophie looked away, considering that. Gabriels was waiting for her, Galip holding a familiar chestnut horse with flaxen mane, four white socks and a blaze. It looked like one of the horses that had pulled the carriage from Godor. Gabriels nodded to Loki who nodded back and departed from them.
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Gabriels smiled at her, "Let's find you a horse." Excitement blossomed in her chest. She stuck close to Gabriels' side as they turned to go into the stables. They passed stalls slowly and Gabriels talked about each one as she inspected and pet them. "So...which one would you like?"
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"I can choose any of them?" Gabriels nodded. Sophie was torn. "It's so hard to choose...especially without riding them and having time to get to know them." Gabriels nodded again and waited. Sophie bit her lip, making Gabriels smile. "If I had to choose...Noir."
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Gabriels nodded and signaled to some stablehands nearby. "A good choice. I think you and Noir will get along well...you both have similar personalities and I think you will help each other." Sophie cocked her head, but the King didn't elaborate. A Hand brought out Noir in a sidesaddle and helped Sophie up. Once ready, the two set out. The ride was thankfully uneventful. It felt wonderful to once again be in the saddle, she hadn't since she was a small child, but it seemed like she hadn't lost her skill. Noir was a bit nervous, but calmed walking next to the bigger chestnut. They stopped just outside the University's main entrance, Gabriels having pulled his hood and lit a pipe. A bell tolled and students shuffled out looking half dead from all the info crammed into their brains. Sophie raised an eyebrow at that. When she was little, she found her lessons to be exciting and interesting....well...except for mathematics.
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"Ah." Someone caught her eye. "That guy?" She reined in Noir as he took nervous steps at the peal of the large bell. She nodded into the crowd. There was a man with straight blond hair, hazel eyes, and pretty features besides the pipe burn marking just under his left eye.
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"Yeah. I see him." Gabriels muttered around his pipe.
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"But he's such a thin Pretty Boy. Hard to picture him killing anyone." Sophie commented under her breath.
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"I don't think so. Criminals come in all kinds."
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"I guess that's true..."
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"Let's follow him for now." Gabriels suggested. Sophie nodded, feeling her adrenaline pick up. The breeze helping as it swept through the courtyard. "Hey..." Gabriels seemed a little exasperated.
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Sophie moved Noir closer. "What...what's wrong?" Gabriels leaned over and wrapped his arm around her neck and shoulders, tugging her closer. "Wah!" Sophie watched Noir for any signs of spooking, but he didn't.
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"Like this you will be discovered immediately. You have to be more natural. Natural! Stop staring at him like a hawk after a field mouse."
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"S-sorry. Not as easy as it sounds huh?" Sophie kept finding her gaze gravitating to the blond she could just make out in the dim night. "Ah! There's a girl there." Looks like a meeting. From what Sophie could make out she was a pretty one with black hair falling past her shoulders, white blouse, short black skirt and knee high brown boots. With an arm around her shoulders, the blond guided the girl into a storage shed.
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"Went..." Both Gabriels and Sophie were shocked the girl went into such a sketchy place.
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"They went in?"
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Gabriels looked up, thinking. "If he attacks her, we'll have the solid proof we need."
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"We need solid proof?" Sophie asked. It seemed pretty obvious to her that this was the killer.
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"No matter how convincing something might seem, things are not always what they appear. I've learned to always get solid proof before acting. I'm going to find the others. They split up earlier to search the University. Wait for me right here." Gabriels said, pointing. He turned his horse around and glanced at her over his shoulder. "You can't go anywhere. It's an order. Got it?" He left Sophie there with her mixed reactions.
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"What...what's with that? He doesn't treat me like a slave but still orders me around. I'm not a little kid everyone assumes me to be. And I'm not a dog to order to sit and stay." She pouted down at Noir's withers....and a crash came from the shed...she pursed her lips, fighting the gigantic impulse to see what was going on... "Even though I heard the sound of something breaking...that doesn't mean he's killing her..." She tried to reason with herself, "I don't want to disobey Gabriel after he's been so good to me..." Then a high pitched scream shrieked through the air, spooking Noir. Sophie had to take a firm hold of the reins and get him moving forward some before he calmed down. "Damn." Sophie muttered under her breath and dismounted, hoping Noir knew how to ground tie as she dropped the reins. He didn't take off right away which was a good sign. "Well, I never have followed orders before..." She bolted for the storage shed, a hand on the hilt of Unholy Might. Her eyes widened as she entered the dark shed. The man held the woman to the ground with a knife raised above his head, ready to plunge down into her. Sophie was too far away to reach them. She briefly thought about Agnes hitting Prabhakar with her slipper and took off her own, whipping it as hard as she could at him. It slapped into the back of his head, startling him. "H-hey! What are you doing? Let go of that girl!"
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"What are you doing-"
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"Shut up!" The man turned back on the woman beneath him and brought the dagger down. Sophie was closer now, still no time to draw Unholy Might. Instead she latched onto his knife arm and slammed her shoulder into his, knocking him sideways and allowing the woman to escape, screaming. The man grabbed the front of Sophie's dress and slammed her into the cobbled ground, knocking the wind from her and making her wince. "You Brat!" He raised his knife as Sophie struggled to gain breath back into her small body enough to move. "Filthy human!" The gleam of the knife caught her eye but a crossbolt slammed into it before it could descend.
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"Se-seven Shadow Knights." Gabriels stood panting at the entrance with a crossbow in his hand. "Don't move! I'm a member of the 7 Shadow Knights!"
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"That's such an embarressing title..."
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"The person who wants to say that is me! You think I like saying that? Why did you kill 6 people?" Gabriels' tone grew more chilling. "If you don't respond, then I'll aim at your head, Brat."
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"Then go ahead and try. I've heard the 7 Knights don't do those sorts of things though. New Knight's Code right?"
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"It's because of this burn isn't it?" Sophie said, cupping his cheek. The man jerked in surprise, seeming mesmerized by her. "Who did this? Someone similar to those women...someone from your childhood? Young, beautiful, fashionable?"
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"Sophie?" The name barely passed Gabriels lips as he watched. The man was starting to sweat, even shake as he stared at the woman, she leaned up toward him with a viper's smile.
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"Did this woman do something unforgiveable to you? Enough to want to kill anyone who reminds you of her? But then...but then that wasn't all was it? No, the thrill of simply killing hypnotized you, as surely as a fish hitting the hook. You just can't help yourself now can you?"
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"Ah!" He yelled out shakily, his face ashen white as he struggled away from her. "Stop!" He yanked himself away, scrambling. "You can read minds? Monster!"
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Gabriels slammed the butt of the crossbow into the back of his head, knocking him out. "Who's the monster? You killed so many innocent people." Gabriels came toward Sophie.
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"Gabriel." Sophie sighed in relief.
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"Didn't I tell you...to stay put!" Sophie suddenly realized he was angry and before she knew it he was pinching and pulling on her cheeks.
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"What...what's with that? Gabriel, you have to come up with a better bluff. When you threatened him." Sophie complained, holding her abused cheeks.
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"Huh? I wasn't bluffing."
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Sophie scowled. "You were! Don't lie to me! Even though it might not be the worst thing in the world if that guy dies...Gabriel, if we kill him we become more like him, right?"
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Gabriels stared at her... "Come on. Let's go home."
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Karl met them at the gate. "What were you doing?" Apparently one of the knights had gone ahead and informed him. Gabriels looked bored at the prospect of an upcoming lecture. "You totally acted on your own!"
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Sophie pulled an innocent face. "I'm really sorry."
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Karl blushed and raised his hand to his mouth. He removed it and gave a comforting smile. "This isn't your fault Sophie, it's all Drakon's. Yes, it's all Drakon's fault!" Gabriels ignored him and guided his horse to the stables, Sophie following.
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He dismounted and moved over to Noir. "Come here for a bit." He lifted her out of the saddle and carefully set her down.
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Sophie pouted. "I can dismount myself you know." He took her hand and had her sit on a bench along the walkway leading to the castle.
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"Do you want to be healed right away or use a bandage?"
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"Healed?" She didn't really get what was going on. Was she hurt? "Um, healed right away?"
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"Stay still for a bit." He knelt down and lifted her dress up above her knees and she caught sight of red.
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"Oh." She'd scrapped one of her knees pretty good at some point and blood was dripping down her shin. "Gabriels..."
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"What? Does it hurt?" He mumbled as he looked at the wound.
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"That's not it. It just seems wrong to have you kneel before me."
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"Don't worry about it." He leaned forward, lifting her leg some as he ran his tongue up her shin, capturing the droplets of blood. She gasped and clutched at the bench from the sensation of his soft tongue trailing her skin, her stomach knoting and dropping. She almost lost herself right then and there. When he got up to her knee she couldn't take it anymore and tried to push him away.
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"Why do you have to be the one to heal me?"
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"It's fine isn't it?" He asked inbetween licking.
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"No it's not! You're the King!"
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He glanced up at her, "So?"
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"So!" She bit her to keep from making any sound as he continued to lick her knee, she was unable to speak. Done, he looked up at her and caught a lock of her hair the wind had picked up. Her eyes widened.
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"I didn't like someone else healing you. I'll do it from now on." She stared at him and he stood. "All done." In shock, she followed his glance at her good as new knee. "Do you want to go for a walk? Sophie?"
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A smile tugged at her lips. "Yes. Ah, right, is Gabriels Drakon your full name?"
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"Yes." Gabriels lit a pipe and guided her through the courtyards.
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"How old are you?"
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"That evil...Drakon..." Karl said drakly, watching with envy. Loki, Galip, and Vainamoinen stood beside him wearily. Zarathustra looked on nervously.
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