PART 24 – List of Bad Things
“Are you a qualified guide?” Rockshann interrogated. Donny had brought Giorgio to Rockshann and Anri’s quarters where the whole group was making sure he’d do a good job. Despite everyone staring at Giorgio, he had kept his cool and casually flirted with the girls, he was also able to maintain a serious demeanor. “I am, I was born and raised in Markevv milady, I know those woods and hills better than anything else.” Giorgio answered crossing his legs as he sat down. “Then why do you need to carry weapons if you’re just a guide?” Gilford asked suspiciously. “There are plenty of monsters and animals in those lands, it would behoove me to learn how to dance with a blade or aim a rifle.” Giorgio seemed to have a snappy come back for everything. “He seems legitimate.” Veronika whispered to Jonathan, the two of them watched from across the room. “I don’t know, what’s a man from Markevv doing all the way down here in Acriale, that doesn’t make much sense to me.” Jonathan peered at Giorgio over his glasses fearing that he’d soon be travelling with them. Anri had been silently studying Giorgio with Donny and Mia at her side while Rockshann and Gilford asked Giorgio question after question. She liked him, but there was a dark aura about him that she didn’t quite trust, she had deducted that he was probably a very selfish man. Unfortunately she had no choice but to rely on him. “Do you know where the grave of the last great turtle is?” Anri asked instantly putting a stop to Rockshann and Gilford’s barrage of meaningless questions. “The grave of Taro the last turtle, I know the exact location down to every pebble your highness.” He responded. “Could you take me there as quickly as you can?” Anri asked quickly. “Of course I can, I even know a town that we can stop at on the way, and it’ll help us avoid a monster filled forest.” Giorgio smiled slyly at Anri and made her blush slightly. “Where is this town, does it border on Markevv and Acriale?” Donny asked. Giorgio leaned forward and half smiled. “Actually it’s hidden in the middle of…” Avner burst through the main door; all eyes were instantly drawn to him. Avner was panting and clutching his shoulder as he frantically scanned the room, he then locked eyes with Jonathan. “Jonathan, you’re a doctor, right?” He asked. Jonathan stood upright. “I am, are you okay?” Jonathan answered. “Me? I’m fine, but…” Zaz entered the room carrying Kayla in his arms, she wasn’t moving.
It only took Jonathan a second to react. Two clones and Chamberlain ripped out of him. “Did I miss something interesting?” Chamberlain asked. “Where have you been, you missed a fight I needed you in a few days back?” Jonathan yelled at Chamberlain as he ran over to Kayla. The two clones took her from Zaz and Jonathan searched for her pulse, she had one. “So I did miss something fun?” Chamberlain asked looking over his shoulder down to Kayla as well. Jonathan pushed him out of the way and looked at Rockshann. “There is a room in the back, take her there, you can find medical supplies in there as well.” Jonathan nodded as he and the clones darted into the back room. Chamberlain, Zaz, and Veronika all looked at each other and then ran into the back room to join in the examination.
“You guys seem like you have your hands full.” Giorgio chuckled. “That isn’t really funny sir, she could be hurt.” Avner said sitting down. “I never said it was funny, I’m just always smiling, it’s a waste of time to be upset.” Giorgio pulled a long sharp metallic spike out of a holder and placed it in his mouth like a toothpick. “What happened?” Mia asked looking to Avner for answers. “We were attacked by one of Clara’s helpers, I had never seen him before, and he wasn’t the same one you fought.” Avner looked at Gilford hoping he hadn’t forgotten his duel with Gell. “He said his name was Hale and that he was an elementalist that could control gravity, it didn’t take him long to subdue us. He crushed us with some disc, Zaz and I seemed to be able to resist the pressure but Kayla passed out quickly.” Avner scratched his head. “A few minutes after Hale left the gravitational pressure went away, then Zaz and I brought Kayla here to get Jonathan’s help.” Avner picked up a glass of water off of the table next to him and took a long sip out off it. “I knew Clara was strong, strong enough to take down Asner. But I didn’t know she had other demons like that in her employ.” Avner sighed and took another sip from his drink. “So what’s going on with all of you?”
“Lay her down on the table, elevate her legs, one of her ribs could have broken and punctured a lung, either that or she’s just hurt and passed out from the pain.” Jonathan’s clones went to lay Kayla on the table, before they did Veronika grabbed one of the table legs and coated the table in several inches of snow to comfort Kayla. “What happened to her, she doesn’t look to good.” Chamberlain asked as he lifted Kayla’s legs. As Jonathan, Chamberlain, and the clones went about checking Kayla for broken bones, Zaz paced in the back of the room constantly staring at Kayla, he was completely restless. “She doesn’t have any broken bones, I think the lack of air just knocked her out.” Jonathan deducted. “That’s a relief. Why did you jump at the opportunity to save her anyways? You’ve seemed so lazy the last couple days.” Veronika said. “Well the three of us and Zaz are all we have left technically, I don’t want anything to happen to our artificial family.” Chamberlain patted Jonathan on the back. “And don’t forget to include me in that family! And speaking of me, we need to talk!” Chamberlain smiled and pointed at Jonathan then slowly glared at Veronika, who had been staring back. “However, she needs to not be here! So I can tell you why you can clone yourself.” Chamberlain smiled and patted his own chest to emphasize that he was a clone in front of Veronika and Zaz, because that is exactly what he wanted them to think.
“I guess, you’re hired, it doesn’t seem like we have much of a choice at this point. Get her to Markevv as soon as you can.” Rockshann shook Giorgio’s hand as he stood up. “It’d be my honor to have the privilege of escorting a princess across my home land.” Giorgio smiled widely. “Thank you, we’ll make sure you’re greatly compensated afterwards.” Donny nodded towards Giorgio. Anri stood up and straightened her dress. “I say we get on our way, this is a race against time after all.” She announced. “I’ll be ready at your word milady.” Giorgio said placing a hand on his hip. “Do you plan on bringing the other four, even though Kayla was just hurt?” Mia asked. “I do, we are going up against demons, I would like to be as protected as possible.” Gilford stood at attention and bowed to Anri. “Milady, I have prepared a platoon of thirty, it is composed of the best champions in all of Acriale, and they will gladly travel with you to offer what protection they can. And with that I’ll offer my services.” Anri looked to Rockshann to see if she agreed with her bodyguard, Rockshann nodded in agreement. “Thank you sir Gilford, but I respectfully decline, if this is simply a trap to lure me and my friends away from Acriale so Clara can attack, I want my best warriors here. I need the best we have to defend Rockshann, and with that I would ask you stay here with her to ensure her safety, I would also like you to inform Rief that there may be an attack, he may not have our trust, but he is powerful and may be able to hold Clara at bay even without arms.” Gilford glanced at Rockshann. Rockshann began to speak, “Leaving with a small group would make it harder for Clara to tell if you were leaving or not. If you are going to leave, I do wish to make a few requests.” She said. “And what would those be?” Anri asked. “Take your title as princess back, I want you to become the true queen once all of this is over. That and I want you to bring Avner with you.” Avner looked up from his drink and looked around surprised. “Isn’t two bodyguards enough, we’ll already have a large enough group as it is.” Mia asked. “You didn’t see how easily that single demon tossed around Donny and Gilford, not to mention she already killed Asner. Clara isn’t to be taken lightly, you need all the help you can get.”
“I haven’t had a single day of rest in a long time.” Avner complained. “Neither have I, we’re on equal ground.” Jonathan added. “But you choose to stay up all night studying, I am forced to stay up all night watching for attackers.” Avner objected. Jonathan shrugged, “That’s true.” Jonathan quietly said. “You do lead a very boring life Jonathan! Lets spice it up! You should sleep with that ice girl!” Chamberlain’s voice echoed inside of Jonathan’s head. “I hope all of you are ready for a walk, it might take a day and a half if we stop, it’ll be a full day if we just walk the entire time.” Giorgio said as he checked the sky for possible bad weather in the future. “Are you a tracker too? You seem to have some of the talents of one.” Mia asked him as she walked up next to him. “Huh? You’re actually talking to me. I was under the impression I annoyed you, anyway my rose I am far from a tracker. Not to bash your job, but I prefer something that is actually exciting.” Mia raised an eyebrow. “However, if you taught me some of the skills of a tracker I’d be grateful.” Mia smiled. “That’d be fun, I’ll teach you a thing or two.” She said. Giorgio smiled at her. “Sounds great, nothing like a man and an exceedingly attractive woman spending some quality time together alone in the woods for hours.” Giorgio winked and then walked away. Mia blushed and turned around smiling only to find out Donny and Anri had been listening to their whole conversation. “I like him, he’s funny.” Mia giggled. Donny looked down to Anri, “You make the weirdest friends Anri.” Anri childishly pushed Donny for his comment. “Oh shut up, Mia was your idea.” Donny laughed as Anri attempted to push him, but once she pushed with the arm of Acriale he almost lost his balance. “Hey! Be careful with that, that things a weapon!” Donny chuckled.
“So how are you feeling, any chest pains?” Veronika asked Kayla. “Not really, its just a little sore if I put my arms above my head.” Kayla said. Veronika smiled, though no one could see it. “Well if you start to feel some pain while we’re walking let Jonathan or I know, we can help you, okay?” She said. Kayla smiled. “Don’t worry about it I’m a tough girl! Nothing can stop me! And even if I do get tired, Zaz will just carry me!” Kayla jumped at Zaz who caught her with cat like reflexes and spun her around, Kayla laughed as he did this. Veronika began to think, how can a girl like Kayla be having this much fun during a time like this, but then she remembered what Kayla had told her on the balcony two days ago. Zaz held Kayla in his arms as she kissed him on the cheek. “Veronika! You’re my best friend!” Kayla cheered. Veronika was taken back by this. “What did you just say?” She asked. Kayla smiled and tightly hugged Zaz as she looked at Veronika. “I said that you are my best friend!” Veronika again smiled. “Huh, I honestly haven’t had a girlfriend for quite some time now, almost two years.” Veronika admitted. “Well when all of this is over we can be friends forever, I promise!”
“Do you have everything you need, I don’t mind spending more money.” Rockshann asked approaching the group, Gilford and Rief were at her side. “Milady, I think they are going to be fine, they bought plenty of things already.” Gilford tried to prevent Rockshann’s worrisome shopping spree. “They all seem to be properly equipped.” Rief added. “Thank you for the offer, but we are all set, I’ll see you again in a few days time Rockshann.” Anri said. Rockshann opened her arms and welcomed Anri in for a hug that she accepted while Donny and Avner both took turns shaking Gilford’s hand. “Don’t let anything happen to her, okay?” Rockshann looked at Donny, Avner, and Mia. “Yes milady.” Both Donny and Avner said while bowing. “Yeah sure.” Mia casually said without bowing at all, this earned her a weird look from Rockshann and Donny. Shortly after their goodbyes, the brigade headed off on their journey to Markevv first stopping at Giorgio’s secret location for more useful supplies.
As Luna told Sola about what happen to Clay, she simply sat down on the stairs outside of Eva’s fortress, she had cried too much over the last few days and couldn’t anymore. “Uzco killed him, and then I had killed Uzco afterwards. If I were any sooner in seeing ‘L’ off I may have been able to save Clay, I’m sorry.” Luna lowered her head in shame and sadness. “It’s not your fault there wasn’t anything you could do. He died in the place he loved, I just wished I had the chance to tell him how I really felt.” Eva, Noelle, and Alana emerged from the fortress and Jordan walked towards them from the market, Clarissa trailing behind him as usual. “We heard the news from some other forest guardians, I’m sorry Sola.” Eva said sitting next to her, Alana and Noelle stood at attention behind Eva. “Could some one please tell her to stop following me around.” Jordan asked digging his sword into the ground and leaning on it. “Show respect, Clay just died.” Alana shouted. Jordan sighed. “Which one is Clay again?” Jordan asked, he instantly got a lot of dirty looks from the whole group but didn’t seem to be fazed much by them. “The forest guardian.” Clarissa quietly said. Jordan jolted at her in an attempt to frighten her and succeed causing her to make a small sound and almost fall over. “Don’t abuse her Jordan, her memory is all scrambled.” Noelle angrily said. “She thinks I’m her master, I’ll do what I want with her!” Jordan harshly said back. “Exactly, I’ll do whatever you order me to do.” Clarissa said standing at Jordan’s side. “I could actually get used to this, I might make her eat some dirt later or something.” Jordan chuckled. “Hey, she’s still our friend, once we get everything sorted out here we are going to have her see a doctor. So don’t hurt her.” Luna grunted. “None of you could stop me if you wanted to so I’ll do whatever I want to do.” Jordan smugly said with a serious expression and no one had the guts to challenge him, he was one of the more powerful elementalists. “We have a continuously growing list of bad things, don’t we?” Sola said with her head buried in her arms. “Theres too much going on.” Sola looked up at Eva. “I’m going to disappear again for a while, I’ll be back once Hazol has reached its peak, then we’ll discuss my stepping down from Vicereine and your stepping up to Queen.”
“So this place is called Hazol, a hidden city?” Avner asked as the entire brigade stared at the construction site that was soon to become Hazol. “I’ve never heard of this place before, and it’s only a days travel away from Acriale Palace.” Anri said confused running her fingers along the arm of Acriale. “I’ve never even read about it before, or heard of it from EDGE.” Jonathan added absolutely baffled. The moon was directly overhead and all the torches and lights of Hazol illuminated the entire forest opening, construction had stopped since the sun went down and now all of the workers were either asleep in the operable inns or out partying using their newly received payment of bowls. “Unfortunately we didn’t make it before the city closed down for the night, it’ll be mostly drunk workers now. I apologize I had plans to make it before the sun went down.” Giorgio announced. “Tell me more about this place, its awesome!” Kayla said. “The hard working people of Hazol needed a restart, their lives were originally hard so they came here, they started building this great city under orders of Princess Eva and her lead contractor Ken. That’s all I know, but I’ve also learned that you can buy things here that you can’t buy anywhere else. What do you say we go to the market? I’ll show all of you around then put us up in a nice tavern or inn.” Giorgio smiled as he led the group into Hazol.
“Mother…” Hale said. “I know, I know Hale they are a very tough group of people to kill.” Clara said. Her, Gell, and Hale stood on top of a building and watched the brigade enter Hazol. “May I have another attempt at killing them?” Hale asked, Gell nodded in agreement. “No Gell, not you. I want you to go back to Acriale and see what’s going on there, we’re spread thin now that Quella is dead.” Clara’s mentioning of Quella’s name brought a tear to her twin brother’s eye. “There there Hale, everything is going to be okay.” Clara hugged Hale as Gell disappeared and began his trek back to Acriale. “Lets go have some fun sweetheart, there is someone I need to check in on anyway. Lets go.”
“This is really interesting city, I might need to send a representative down here sometime.” Anri said. “This seems like a higher end Youngstone to me.” Mia said. “I wouldn’t send a representative milady, they’ll kill him, Hazol wants to remain independent, and I wouldn’t push them.” Giorgio threatened. The brigade entered a marketplace were there were crowds of people; Giorgio had brought them here so they could get something to eat. Donny and Giorgio led the group through the crowd but they came to a stop as a man walked into Donny. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” Donny apologized. “You’d better apologize, next time don’t get in my…” The man locked eyes with Donny and the two of them froze up. Donny stood facing Jordan, everyone else in Anri’s group stared, Kayla, Zaz, Avner, and Giorgio had no idea who he was. Jordan was completely surprised. “Sola… Luna…” Jordan began placing a hand on his sword as Donny did the same. Donny peered just over Jordan’s shoulder and saw everyone else sitting at a table. Sola, Luna, Clarissa, Alana, Noelle, Eva, and Ken all stared back at him. “Uh oh.” Mia finally said. Donny and Jordan both drew their blades and clashed. This initiation of a fight instantly motivated all the citizens of Hazol to evacuate the marketplace. As Jordan and Donny clashed again, everyone else drew weapons and charged soon to start one of the most memorable battle Hazol would ever be host to.