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Day 27: A Paladin is Wrathful

Lanternon2 Aug 2nd, 2015 (edited) 1,065 Never
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  1. Day 27:  A Paladin is Wrathful
  2.  
  3. The apartment is empty again.  I don't know why.  I left this place a long time ago.  I went to the military school, and then I studied to be a paladin, and then sentinel school, and then Min.  I've been to so many places, so why am I here again?
  4.  
  5. I step out of my room, noting how much smaller it is than it used to be when I lived here.  "It looks beautiful," a kind voice tells me.  I turn to the woman, noting how her entire face is lit up in a smile under cascading golden hair.  Her elegant and shapely form is only barely concealed by what are clearly violet healer's robes.
  6. "It was small.  We didn't need much."
  7. "Did something happen," she asks, as such deep concern overcomes her features.  For a moment I want to comfort her so that she won't ever make that expression again.  I don't want to lie to her, though.  Not here, at least.
  8. "Yes, but I learned from it.  I became stronger.  What happened to my father won't ever happen to me."
  9.  
  10. She steps forward and grasps my hand.  "Come, let's go somewhere happier.  A good place."
  11. And I walk with her.  We walk for a few minutes, coming to a small town.  It's so quaint, with wooden houses and shops.  It's barely a hundred buildings scattered around.  A handful of people walk around, hand-in-hand with-
  12. With-
  13.  
  14. people are walking around, alone.
  15.  
  16. She leads me to one of the closer homes.  It's nice; reddish drapes cover the windows giving the rooms a warm tone.  A thick cotton rug makes every step feel soft.  She leads me in past a rustic living room to a dining room.  A massive cabinet displays a set of antique china, and a pair of candlesticks on the dining table lend the room their flickering light.
  17. "Come, sit."
  18. I don't have any reason not to.  It's strange, I thought the table was bigger, but it really only has enough room for two.  "Won't you eat with me?"
  19. I look down to the table to see a pair of plates filled with sweetmeats and roasted vegetables.  I lift a fork and pierce a small, yellow sphere and take it to my mouth.  
  20.  
  21. It's buttery and succulent, with a pleasantly subtle taste of fish.
  22. "Scallops, right?"  She nods happily and hums an affirmative.  "It's delicious."
  23. Her face lights up even further with that delightful smile.  "I'm glad."  I feel the slightest pressure on my knee.  It moves, and I feel small, thin figers slowly making their way upward.  
  24. "Wait," I say too loudly.  There's something wrong.  I reach up to my neck, ignoring the confused expression of the beautiful healer.  I press my hand along my neck where it meets my collarbones.  I'm forgetting something, aren't I?  Something's wrong, I know it.
  25.  
  26. "Hey, listen," the woman begins as she moves around the table, staring deep into my eyes.  Her own are like the ocean in the midday sun.  "I won't rush you."  Her breath smells faintly of spearmint.  "We won't do anything you don't want to do."  In spite of her words, I can see her pupils dilate and her cheeks grow flush.  Her chest is rising and falling faster and faster.  She looks down and, blushing slightly, tells me "It's your fault, since you aren't wearing a shirt."
  27.  
  28. I look down and, as she said, I'm not.  I don't know why I'm not.  I could have sworn-
  29. A finger traces its way from my shoulder downward.  She sighs as it makes its way down to my abs, causing my breath to catch.  "Even if this is the only way I can see you," she starts, and then smiles so sadly.  "I think that I'm lucky."
  30. I don't have time to ask her what she means.  Her hand reaches and rests atop the boundary of my pants, and her eyes turn back to mine.  They're wide, expectant, and beautiful.  Her lips are barely separated to let her breathe more easily.  They're more distracting than I ever remember lips to be.  For a moment I hesitate, but I'm not sure why.  I lean forward at the neck.
  31.  
  32. "Are you safe, noble scion?"
  33.  
  34. My eyes snap open, recognizing instantly my bedroom.  I spot the shadow leaning over me, barely visible by the streetlamp's light streaming in through the window.  Before thinking, I twist my entire body, kicking wildly at its legs before it can react.  I hear the feminine cry of alarm and confusion as the shadow shifts, and the floor quakes as it lands with a massive thud.  I reach down and find that my sword is still exactly where I left it, next to my mattress.  I grap the grip and swing it forward to the thing, letting the sound of the moving blade and light from the window show exactly what I'm doing.  It stops.  I stop.
  35.  
  36. "You idiot," I finally growl.  I recognize the body type of the thing sprawled out over the floor; the same as the police mare's.  It was a nightmare that attacked me.
  37. "I'm sorry," it answers in a voice similar to the woman's in my dream.
  38. "Did you want me dead that badly?  Could you not have simply slit my throat?"
  39. "What?"  It sounds confused, but we both know better than that.  "No, I just-"
  40. "Shut up."  I lift my blade high over the robed figure, and I bring it down.
  41.  
  42. There's a metallic thud as it strikes the ground beneath the robed figure, sprawled out over the floor.  And yet, it only barely moves.  Its head turns to look down to where my sword struck the floor.  Confused, I pull my sword back up to the light to find it perfectly clean.  It's as though it passed right through the thing without touching it.
  43.  
  44. The thing pulls itself back, as though startled.  "I'm sorry, I'll go, I just- I mean, I wanted-"
  45. "How did you do that," I demand as I reach forward and grab it by the hood on its robe.  It whimpers slightly as I pull it down and back to look at the thing should it try to run.  The same eyes as before stare back at me, from a rounder, horse-eared face.  The beautiful human woman is gone, replaced by this barnyard animal-turned-mind-twisting-rapist-murderer.
  46.  
  47. But its eyes aren't staring at me.  They're staring toward me, where I was.  Where my mouth was.
  48. "Why?"  Its eyes dart again to look toward my mouth.  Is it blind?
  49. I reach down and grab its arm, eliciting another squeak of fear even as I pull it to my neck.  Its brow furrows and it looks away, even as its hand slowly, weakly grips and traces the edges of my collar.  Then, finally, its eyes widen and its mouth drops open.
  50. I laugh.  It's too stupid not to laugh at.  "You could have killed us both, you idiot."
  51. A tremor racks its body just before it starts shaking in earnest.  "I, I just-"
  52.  
  53. I step away from the thing, now certain that it's not going anywhere.  I reach down and grab the phone, left on the floor where it charges at night.  I step back to the thing and grab it by the hood again.  "Up."  Obediently, if awkwardly, it lifts itself onto trembling legs while I dial.
  54.  
  55. "Sir," the voice asks from the other side.  
  56. "Thomas, I need a wagon at my apartment.  I'm issuing a summary exile."
  57. "Understood, sir."
  58.  
  59. "It's going to be a long time before I'm able to sleep well again."  I look back to the thing, following me with its hands held out to avoid crashing into a wall.  The tiniest bit of light reflects off of a line going down one cheek.
  60. "I was just hungry," it whispers, voice cracking.
  61. "Then best of luck to you finding a meal outside the walls."
  62.  
  63. It begins to sob in earnest; an obvious ploy to try to ply my sympathy.  I don't have any to spare, not for the thing that violated my dreams.  Still, I'm not ungrateful.  The thing proved to me that I desperately need more word training before I'll be truly safe here.  I owe it for the lesson.
  64. It might also have finally shown a bit of magic in my sword.  Did the sword itself choose not to kill the thing?  Does it have its own intentions?
  65.  
  66. Gods know I'm not going to get anymore sleep tonight, so I've plenty of time to write my report to the professor.
  67.  
  68. ---
  69.  
  70. I stare at the monster, and it stares determinedly back at me.  Without turning, I ask "Is this the problem?"
  71. "Yes sir, she says she isn't leaving 'til she has a husband."
  72. I continue to stare at the wurm, which waits patiently on the other side of the guardpost.  It makes no move to actually enter the city.  Instead it simply frowns at me, as though that alone conveys how utterly serious it is.
  73. "I see.  And how exactly are you going to go about getting one?"
  74. It frowns harder, now in thought.  "I'll ask," it finally announces.
  75. "And when they all say 'no?"
  76. "They won't all-"
  77. "They will."
  78.  
  79. It looks down and away, considering its options.  The stupid, useless thing's probably too confused to figure it out.  The reason it's here to start with is probably because it couldn't pass the test to obtain entry legally.  Its whole race is blighted with stupidity.  That means that I just need to scare it.  "Of course, if you ask then I'll accompany you inside."  Its eyes go wide and it turns to me, shocked.  It takes a deep breath and its mouth turns upward in a smile.
  80.  
  81. "Of course," I begin slowly.  "I'm a paladin.  It's my sacred duty to prevent unregistered monsters from tainting this place.  Therefore, if you so much as touch a single man in here, I'll have to kill him on the spot."
  82. It takes a moment for the thing to understand what I'm saying, but when it does the effect is instantaneous.  It jerks back in shock.
  83. I tilt my head to the side and scratch my chin in feigned thought.  "I wonder, if someone dies because you were careless or, worse, because you intentionally sought him out as a husband, isn't that the same as if you'd killed him yourself?"
  84.  
  85. It shakes its head mutely as it inches back on its snake-like tail.  I turn to the guard, who stares back at me in confusion and alarm.  "Well, go on, open the gate."  It takes him a few seconds, but he finally reaches down and flips the switch.  The thing, if anything, seems even more horrified as the simple chainlink fence rolls back into the wall.  It could never stop a monster, anyway.  Its only power is psychological, as a marker of the places where humans are willing to die and kill to protect.
  86.  
  87. I stare at the monster, and it stares back at me.  "Well, are you coming in?"
  88. And it stares at the line where the dirt path meets pavement.  The threshold beyond which lay men.  The boundary that I protect.  Slowly, breathily, sadly, it whines "No."
  89. "I see."  I raise my hand, "Close the gate, guardsman."  It watches the boundary close again as I walk over to him.  "Don't worry, that thing won't be a problem anymore."
  90.  
  91. He nods at me, his expression complex and worried.
  92.  
  93. ---
  94.  
  95. I spot the pink-haired elf before she spots me.  She's leaning against the railing on the little patio outside her shop where it overlooks the ocean.  For a moment, her expression seems so calm and peaceful.  Then an ear twitches and she turns to face me, eyes wide, smiling from ear to ear.
  96. "Mister paladin," she shouts.  I wish she hadn't.  "It's been forever!"
  97. "It's been less than two weeks," I respond when I get close enough that I don't have to raise my voice to do so.  "And I'll have coffee with that fruit-bread."
  98. "Erimelia," she clarifies.
  99. "Gesundheit."  She pouts.
  100.  
  101. I open the door and enter as she adds, "Oh, and one of my other customers was looking forward to meeting you."
  102. I open my mouth to crack a joke about her having another customer from myself, but it doesn't survive my entering the shop.  The thing sits at the table I usually take, its blue skin and black hair almost glowing in the direct sunlight.  Its eyes flick upward, black and gold, staring at me.
  103.  
  104. I turn and I leave.  "Cancel my order."  I'm not hungry anymore.
  105.  
  106. "Wait," the elf-girl calls out to me.  
  107. "Wait," another, deeper voice calls.
  108. I take a half-dozen more steps before I finally come to a stop.  I turn to the blue monster.  "What," I snap.  I'm in no mood to deal with its inhuman, twisted form or its unnatural eyes or its woefully inadequate dress.  Today just isn't my day.  
  109.  
  110. And then it just stares at me.  Is it smiling, or are its lips just tensing up?  I have no idea what's going on here.  "Sorry," it says out of nowhere, "I'm leaving if you want to eat alone."
  111. And, just as it said, it walks past me back toward the city.  I watch it go, its tail drooping, just barely held over the ground.
  112.  
  113. "Do you still want some coffee?"  I turn back to the pink elf as it stares with concern at its customers.  I pinch the bridge of my nose.  "Yeah.  Yeah I do."  Today's been too long a day.  I follow it back inside, sighing, "I just want to go home, kick some food into a shrubbery, and go to bed."
  114.  
  115. "Yeah."  It continues walking for a moment before stopping.  "Wait, what?"
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