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THE LEGEND OF THE CHOSEN ONE:
BOOK I: HOPE WITHIN
written by Aelyva
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Chapter 7: Sorrow in the Night

I'm feeling that your sun
Shines away from me

‘Distant Sun’ Lacuna Coil

The woman waited for him to acknowledge her. When he finally gave her a sign with his head, she spoke.

“Piros is dead.”

He raised an eyebrow, but otherwise didn’t seem too surprised. “Really. It was to be expected. The Chosen One herself is weak right now, but her Guardian is strong. He’ll cause us some problems in the future. But no matter. With how many are they traveling now?”

“Two others. The first one, an archer, was there when Ubel died. The new one, a woman, is a Psychic.”

“How…interesting. They surround themselves with strong companions. But they are of no worries for us. Keep on following their progression and report to me as usual. For now, we will merely observe. It is not time yet to act.”

“As you wish.”

<><><><><>

The biggest sun had set a few moments ago and Valaki had hastened their pace. Eden wasn’t far away. Besides, walking in the wilderness during nightfall could turn out to be a dangerous experience, as Beskytter had said to Allison. Some of the most dangerous beasts only came out during the night. She had shivered and kept looking around as they made their way toward Eden, which Belle had found amusing.

As they came closer to Eden, they could see lights and hear noises coming from the town. An echo of soft music resonated in the silent night.

“There seems to be some kind of celebration,” Beskytter stated, as they came closer.

“I think they’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of the town,” Belle said, a small smile on her lips. “Let’s join the party! All we’ve been doing is walk and fight. A person needs to have some fun in order to remain sane,” she added with a wink directed at Valaki.

He sighed, but nodded. “Fine, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.”

Allison grinned. She was curious to see how parties were in Leven. She didn’t particularly want to participate, but she’d be happy just to watch.

A soft music welcomed them as soon as they entered in Eden. Every habitant of the town seemed to be outside in the streets. Children were playing with kites, running all around, laughing. Some were dancing among the crow of adults in the shopping square.

At that moment, Allison wished she could turn back into being a child and join them in their games and forget about the pain and the worries.

“We are fighting for them, so they can remain carefree,” Beskytter mused in a low voice as he watched them, a nostalgic feeling overwhelming him.

Belle was about to answer when her eyes widened in recognition as she noticed a figure walking in their direction. “Not you again!”

Confused, Allison glanced around and was surprised to find Slang standing in front of them, looking as surprised as them.

“Well, fancy meetin’ yeh here.”

“Got the chance to sell the whip and that cloak?” Beskytter asked, frowning.

“That’s right. I won’t have to worry ‘bout money for a while,” he said, winking.

Belle glared at him. She had hoped not to have to cross his path again, and there he was, just a few hours after their meeting. But there was no way she was going to let him ruin this night.

“Are you going to join the party?” Allison asked him.

“Heh, no way. I’m goin’ to the tavern to enjoy a nice drink.” He grinned at Beskytter. “Yeh don’t like like the type to enjoy that kind of celebration either. Wanna join me? I’ll invite.”

Beskytter frowned in suspicion. “You don’t seem the kind of invite people for drinks…”

“Bah, I have money now, and drinkin’ alone is never fun, right?”

Beskytter shrugged. “Well, I’m not one to refuse a free drink. Even when it comes from someone who tried to steal from us.” He glanced at Valaki. “I’ll join you later at the inn.”

Valaki nodded, but glanced briefly at Slang. “Just don’t let your guard down.”

Slang looked at him, a mimicked-shocked expression on his face. “I’m hurt. Didn’t I save Blondie earlier?”

Valaki didn’t answer and walked away toward a woman who was selling little cakes to eat. Belle, after glaring at Slang, ran to join him.

Beskytter squeezed Allison’s shoulder. “I’ll be fine. Try to enjoy the party.”

She watched Beskytter leave with Slang toward the tavern. She let out a long sigh and slowly walked toward where Belle and Valaki were standing. Halfway, she changed her mind and instead, leaned on a nearby shop to observe the people dancing.

She couldn’t say why exactly, but she didn’t feel like joining Valaki and Belle anymore.

<><><><><>

The tavern was full to the point where some customers were sitting on the ground, or leaning against the walls. Slang and Beskytter had been lucky to get a free table, in a corner. They had already drunk two jugs of ale, and a waitress had just brought them a third one.

At first, they hadn’t talked much, or just about the weather and the such. But as more ale was drunk, they began to talk more.

“Heh, I don’t know how yeh can travel with that red-headed bitch. I’d probably try to strangle her in her sleep after two days of hearing her,” Slang declared after a long sip.

Beskytter smirked. “She might not look like it, but she’s pretty strong.”

“Aye, I saw what she did with the tree.” He leaned closer to the table. “Also heard what that Piros guy said. What’s that Chosen One business?”

Beskytter froze a moment, then sighed. “We’ve been careless. None of us thought you could’ve heard. You weren’t supposed to know.”

Slang grinned, but then shrugged. “’not like I’m gonna scream it to everyone.”

Beskytter eyed him critically, and tried to search his face for some clue. He seemed sincere this time, although Beskytter silently wondered why. “Maybe I judged you wrong. Or maybe it’s the ale. But the less people who know about the Chosen One, the better it’ll be for us.”

“I know the legend. That means yeh’re goin’ to fight…him?” Slang whispered loud enough so that only Beskytter heard him.

“That…is why they are travelling. I am merely helping them for a short time.”

“Really? Yeh look like the type to stick with them ‘till the end. Why not?”

Beskytter remained silent a moment, his eyes fixated on the jug. He suddenly stared at Slang, eyes hard. “Revenge.”

Slang blinked and his expression turned serious. “That’s a concept I understand.”

His hands gripped the corner on the table, knuckles turning white under the force. “Reik. I’m going to kill that man as soon as I know where he is. That’s why I’m traveling with them. We move a lot. I’m sure I’ll find information about his location sooner or later.”

“What did that man do, if yeh don’t mind me askin’?” Slang questioned. He first thought Beskytter wouldn’t answer. He himself wouldn’t answer such a question if the other man had asked him.

But maybe because of the ale, or maybe because he needed to talk about it, he finally spoke after a long moment of silence.

“He killed my family. My wife and my five kids. He wanted me to sell him my land, but I refused. He didn’t like being refused something he highly desired. So in answer, he killed them. After finding them dead, I went back to kill him, but he was gone. I wasted two years on mourning, depression, and regrets. I seized the chance to leave when I met Valaki.”

In a rare moment of wisdom, Slang didn’t speak a word for a long time, as he waited for Beskytter to regain his composure. He was actually surprised the man told him so much. People usually didn’t confide in him. He was, after all, a thief.

Maybe because he saved Blondie the other man thought he could somehow trust him. Which was very stupid. But well, whom was he going to tell that to? Reik? He had better things to do than search for that man. Besides, he felt a certain respect for the older man. He was a decent fighter, he had witnessed his abilities.

With a sign of his hand, he asked the waitress to bring them another jug of ale. He was glad that Beskytter hadn’t break down in tears. He didn’t look like he was the kind to cry, but under the influence of alcohol, people tended to do weird things.

“I don’t have a family either,” Slang suddenly said out of the blue.

A small grin appeared in a corner of Beskytter’s mouth. “What about your younger sister who has a heart disease?”

Slang smirked. “She died before I was born.”

A group of men a few tables away from them suddenly all got up and started shouting. Beskytter slowly shook his head, but his grin remained. “What I love about taverns is that it gives me the chance to see that I’m not the only one who wants to forget about the pain.”

“Everyone has somethin’ they want to forget. But drinkin’ ain’t gonna help yeh, I can tell yeh that much.”

A chair went crashing on their table at that moment as the fight between the group of men started, spilling the contain of the jug all around the table, on the ground, and on the two occupants. Slang’s eyebrow twitched and Beskytter emitted a low growl.

Beskytter was the first one to react by grabbing the chair and throwing it on the back of the nearest man. Slang soon followed by taking the jug and poured what remained inside on the head of the one who threw the chair.

Everyone in the tavern got up and started chanting and screaming for more fighting. The owner and waitresses only sighed and simply got out of the way.

These things always happened in the end.

<><><><><>

As she watched the people of Eden dancing, Allison couldn’t help but think about her own birthday party, which seemed so long ago. It was the last time she had been with all her friends. She missed them all very much. But most of all, she missed her grandmother, the small moments passed with her, the diner conversations they had each day, her comforting presence.

She couldn’t erase the loneliness she felt, no matter how many people surrounded her. Besides subjects related to Leven and Geevar, she didn’t know what to talk about with her companions. They didn’t know the music she knew, they didn’t know what a tv show was. She couldn’t vent about the last loss of the Montreal Canadians. She couldn’t ask them to explain to her the difference between a neutron and a proton.

She sighed and fought to remain calm. She wanted to remain strong in front of them.

Glancing up to the dark sky, the absence of the moon somehow made her feel worse and she quickly brought down her gaze. She hugged herself, suddenly feeling cold. She wanted to go to the inn and hid under the covers, but she had no idea where the inn was and didn’t want to join Belle and Valaki to ask.

Truly she was a coward. A weak coward.

“Are you all right?”

Jumping at the sound of Valaki voice, which she would recognize anywhere now, she raised her head to meet his eyes, hoping they didn’t show too much of her feelings.

“I’m fine. Just a bit tired, I guess.”

Valaki frowned, not believing her, but decided to remain silent, and simply nodded. “Maybe you should get some rest at the inn, then. Belle and I already went to reserve the rooms.”

She nodded gratefully. “Thanks. I’d like that.”

He nodded, and motioned her to follow him. As she walked next to him, she could feel his questioning stare on her, but tried her best to ignore it. She didn’t know what happened to her. She was feeling light and happy when they first arrived in Eden. So what happened to change her mood?

Maybe it was the addition of all the little things that bothered her.

“…if you are missing your world that much, I could probably take you back for an hour or so,” Valaki suddenly said, breaking the silence.

The meaning of his words hit her so hard she stopped walking. She glanced at his face and saw that he truly meant what he said. He was concerned and tried to cheer her up. This brought a small smile on her face.

“I…I’d really love to. See my grandmother and talk to her a bit, to reassure her that I’m fine…but…I’m scared that if I go back, I won’t want to return. So…I’ll concentrate on the mission, so I’ll be able to return home soon,” Allison explained. She then gave him a genius smile. “Thank you for proposing though. I appreciate the thought.”

Valaki seemed embarrassed by her words and just shrugged. They then continued their way to the inn in silence again, but Allison found herself in a much better mood. She didn’t really know the reasons behind Valaki’s proposition. It was unexpected and simply amplified the mystery surrounding him.

But it didn’t matter. She didn’t really feel that lonely anymore.

<><><><><>

After guiding Allison to her room, Valaki exited the inn and was surprised to find Belle sitting next to the door. He hadn’t thought she followed them, hadn’t even realized someone was following them. That was a bad sign. He needed to be on alarm all the time, he couldn’t even let tiredness slow his senses.

She glanced up at him when she heard the sound of the door opening and got up, sending the dust off her skirt with her hands. She looked a bit uncomfortable, biting her lips and her feet dancing from one to another.

Valaki sent her an interrogative stare. Belle simply shrugged. “What’s wrong with her? She seemed depressed. Not that I care. She can be all depress if she wants to. Just curious…”

“I think she was just feeling lonely. She misses her world.”

“Her world…did you see it? How is it?” Belle curiously wondered.

A long silence followed Belle’s question. Finally, he sighed. “It is very different. The…technology is very much advanced. But their planet is…dirty. There is no magic, no other races other than humans. I didn’t stay long, but the impressions I got is…that all your life, you live in a cage.”

Belle shuddered at his words. “And she misses a world like that?”

“It is her world. To her eyes, our world must also be very flawed.”

“I suppose… So, you really think she’ll be able to defeat Geevar? I’m still not very convinced. Sure, the little display at the cave was…something, but that won’t be enough.”

A distant look appeared in his eyes. He looked at Belle, and shook his head. “To be honest…I don’t know. The journey to gather the stones will make her stronger, but…I am afraid she will not be prepared enough. I…We will need to make sure that she is. It’s our job, as her companions. Are you going to be able to do it? Because she needs people who will support her. And that, now, includes you.”

Belle looked down from Valaki’s piercing stare. She didn’t like the girl; that wasn’t a secret for anyone. But she was mature enough to be able to put it aside, if it was to save her world. “Yes. I wouldn’t have decided to join you if I didn’t. I don’t like her as a person, but as a Chosen One, I can help her.”

Valaki nodded. “I am glad to hear it. She will need all the help she can get.”

<><><><><>

A soft rain was falling the next morning. Allison grimaced as she watched it fall by the window of the inn’s room. It was actually pretty late in the morning when Valaki came knocking at their door, saying that they would leave soon. She hadn’t heard Belle come in last nigh, so she supposed they all remained at the party pretty late.

She glanced at the other woman who was packing her stuff, and felt a little jealous. She was a very beautiful woman, who had a strong power – Allison was even ready to bet they hadn’t seen all she could do – and a strong personality. Moreover, she wasn’t shy to show her interest in Valaki openly.

She shrugged off the dark thoughts and closed her own bag. They hadn’t talk much during breakfast, but Valaki mentioned it would take them about two days to reach the stone. Which meant they were going to have to sleep in the middle of the forest. This thought only made her shiver; she knew she wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight.

Without a word, she followed Belle, who had finished packing, outside the inn. Umbrellas didn’t seem to exist in this world, and she never thought of bringing one. Which meant she was going to get wet. Hopefully not sick. Valaki and Beskytter were both waiting for them under the rain. Beskytter had his hood on, but otherwise didn’t seem to mind it much. Belle was also wearing a grey cloak with the hood over her head. Contrary to Beskytter, she didn’t look very happy about the weather. Valaki had his usual shirt on, without a hood or anything to shelter from the rain at least a little. In fact, he didn’t even seem bothered in the least.

Allison shrugged and didn’t try to hide from the rain. The rain wasn’t that cold, she realized, as they walked through the town. It even felt kind of nice.

The streets were deserted besides them. That’s why they easily saw the man approaching them. Giving him a second look, Allison recognized Slang. None of them asked to Beskytter what happened at the tavern, and he hadn’t provided any information. She supposed he behaved well, otherwise, she was pretty sure he would’ve mentioned it.

“You yet again,” Belle grumbled.

Slang grinned at her. “I thought yeh’d left town already, but I saw a group of people walkin’ under the rain and knew it was yeh.”

“No one else is crazy to get out under this kind of weather,” Belle mumbled under her breath, sending a dark look at Valaki’s back. “So what do you want this time?”

“I wanna travel with yeh.”

Belle blinked, then started laughing. “You’re kidding right? Why would you want to? And why would we want to travel with you after you tried to steal our stuff?”

“…I have no objections.”

Belle shifted her glare to Beskytter. “No objections!? That guy is a thief, who tried to steal our stuff! You can’t count on people like that! He’ll backstab us at the first occasion. And besides, what does he know about where we’re going and what we’re searching for? He’ll only be a nuisance, I’m telling you!”

Beskytter’s face remained neutral while Belle vented against the idea of Slang coming with them. When she finished, he turned to Valaki, ignoring her. “He heard us mentioning that Allison was the Chosen One. So he knows our quest. We both know we need more help.”

“And I’m a damn good fighter,” Slang added.

“We could probably trust him at our back in a fight. For the rest…you don’t really know Belle and me well either. You trusted your judgment. What does it say this time?” Beskytter asked Valaki, his voice sounding more serious than Allison ever heard it.

“…You are right, we need more help. We cannot hope to win as we are now.” Valaki walked slowly and only stopped until he was standing as close to Slang as possible without touching and stared sharply at him. “I do not doubt that you know how to fight. Now my question is: why would you want to join us?”

Slang shrugged. “’cuz yeh’ll be fightin’ monsters, demons and other creatures. And I’m sure I’ll be able to snatch some interstin’ things on the way. T’s all.”

Belle groaned. Allison tried to read Valaki’s expression, but he showed nothing. But since Beskytter seemed in favor of bringing him along, she supposed he would trust Beskytter’s judgment.

“…Allison, what do you think?”

Startled that Valaki would ask her opinion, she first didn’t know what to say. She had nothing against Slang and wouldn’t mind him joining them. But she couldn’t ignore the fact that Belle really seemed against it. But, more importantly, Valaki said they couldn’t win now. Belle would surely learn to trust Slang with time…no?

“…If we need more people to win against Geevar, then I think it might be a good idea for him to come with us…”

Once again, Belle groaned. “Fine, fine. But if he backstabs us, it’ll be your own fault…”

Slang grinned. “Yeh won’t regret it. So where’re we goin’?”

“In Eden’s Forest. I’ll explain a few things on the way,” Valaki answered, as the group, a new companion in tow, resumed their walk.

Seeing Belle’s dark look, Allison really hoped it wasn’t a decision they would end up regretting. But Slang, she remembered, did save her from Piros. He wouldn’t have done so if he was an enemy…

Unless that enemy wanted to gain their trust. But it wasn’t a concept that crossed her mind.

<><><><><>

Breathless, Marian stopped on the doorway for a few seconds before knocking. She ran a good part of the way, anxious to get here as soon as possible. She had never felt like that before. She wasn’t sure she truly understood why she was acting so…eager.

The door remained close. Impatiently, Marian knocked again, then ran the bell. Nothing. She couldn’t hear a sound coming from inside the house. It seemed Rose wasn’t home. Which was quite possible. She could be at the supermarket, the mall, the dentist, or even at a café, meeting some friends.

“Dammit!” She was pissed. It was childish, she knew. But Allison was…somewhere…and only Rose had the answers, and she wasn’t there!

Marian first thought of sitting in front of the door until Rose came back, but she finally decided against it. She had a bunch of homework to do, and final exams were coming fast. She probably wouldn’t be able to concentrate, but she had to try. Besides, she didn’t know how long it would take for Rose to come back, and Marian was getting hungry too.

But going to her empty house right now didn’t seem appeal her at all. Her parents were gone to yet another trip, and she would be all alone. She had a fight with Steve, her boyfriend, yesterday and didn’t feel like calling him to make up. And…Allison wasn’t there. She even considered a moment calling Edouard, but quickly dismissed it. He would keep asking questions about Allison, questions she wouldn’t be able to answer.

With a heavy sigh, Marian took the way to her house, giving a last glance at Rose’s house. She would come back tomorrow. And the day after, and how many times was necessary until she spoke with Rose.

She had always been a quiet and reserved girl when she was young. Even back then, her parents often left for trips, leaving her with babysitters she didn’t like; the kind that left her alone to play while they talked on the phone endlessly. She had no siblings and she didn’t enjoy the company of her classmates. Always alone.

But that changed when she was 12. First year of high school. The day she saw that new girl who spoke with a heavy American accent and was always talking back to the teachers and ditching classes being accused of something Marian knew she didn’t do. She never understood why she went and stood up for Allison; it wasn’t something she’d do. But she felt drawn to the other girl and for the first time, saw someone she’d want to be friends with.

And through their battles against Edouard, they slowly became friends, and soon, they were inseparable. The feeling of loneliness that was inside her vanished. She became a bit more open, and more confident. Because of Allison’s friendship…and maybe a little bit because of Edouard’s bullying.

And now, Allison was gone and the loneliness was coming back. Marian angrily kicked a stone. Weak. That’s how she felt. She only felt strong when Allison was around. How pathetic…

Marian knelt down, supporting her whole weight on her heals, not caring about the passing cars, and felt the urge to cry. She held the book tighter against her chest, pressed her forehead against its cold cover and fought to keep the tears away. She wasn’t going to cry, dammit! She hadn’t cry since she went in kindergarden, when her parents’ absence was still making her cry at night. At her 6 years old birthday, she made the vow to never cry again, and she intended to keep it.

She took a deep breath and got back on her feet. She wasn’t completely alone. She still had Rose. Because when she became friends with Allison, she also grew to like Rose as her own grandmother. Family. Something she never really had.

So she would continue to be strong and come back tomorrow to see Rose. Allison wouldn’t like to see her so weak, so she would remain strong.

*~*END OF CHAPTER*~*

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Written: Febuary 22, 2004
Last revised: November 01, 2004