Chapter Four- Dinner is served
In the centre of the room was a very long table. It was made of polished, Indian oak, it even smelled Indian ( or that might have been the food). On the table, every six seats, was a magnificent flower arrangement: made up of a dozen white roses; and three candles poked out at the top. Right in the centre of the table was the main table piece: It was once again made up of roses, but instead of white they were black; and six candles poked out instead of three. Two rows of chairs were placed on either side and there were two at the heads of the table. In the rows there must have been about twenty chairs (exclusive the heads).
"Well, you certainly know how to dine. But black roses, I never even knew they existed." Helena whispered to Arabella as they walked into the frantic room, arm-in-arm.
"This is the only realm to home them. That's why we have them, because they are sacred to us. Beautiful aren't they?" Arabella replied her voice seeping with wisdom. And, even though Helena didn't see it that well, they were beautiful. They were a mixture of sun and moon, light and dark, good and bad. They're like Arabella, Helena said silently and then remembered that probably everyone in the room had heard her thoughts.
"I don't know about the others, but I certainly did." Blurted a very handsome boy, with a seductive Spanish accent, who looked eighteen years of age. His hair was very Titanic, Leonardo DeCaprio except that instead of dark blonde it was black, and his eyes were a smoky grey. His eyes were the fog that you wanted to get lost in, the misty day that you had dreamed of. His sumptuous red lips curved into a smile aimed at mainly Arabella, his breath-taking smile shimmered as his pearl-white teeth caught the faint candle glow. "And I completely agree." He continued still grinning at Arabella.
"Helena, this is Hunter Glenn. You know the one Peter told you about." Arabella introduced the boy never once taking her eyes off of him.
"Pleasure. Arabella thinks very highly of you. What're your tactics, I've been friends with her for a long time now and even I haven't earned her approval." Hunter greeted as he thrust forward a hand that just screamed strong and masculine. Helena met his grip and was even more surprised to find his had warm and smooth against hers.
"Hunter, you have definitely got Arabella's approval. She, like, talks about you constantly. It's nice to meet you though" Helena replied.
"Oh, so I do have your approval do I?"
"You know you do. You just like hearing it." Arabella scolded. She was grinning like a Cheshire cat, all excited and jittery.
"That's true. So … how are you settling in, Helena?" Hunter asked as if only now remembering her. He let his hand drop to his side and his eyes warmed considerably.
"Great. The sky is a tad freaky but as long as I stay inside then I'll be just swell." Helena replied.
Hunter laughed a laugh that made it unbearable not to laugh along. It was a kind laugh that sounded like a higher version of Santa Clause's, all full of joy and pure glee. He took a deep breathe and then carried on the conversation, "Most are like that when they first come here, it's natural. Do you like Arabella's quarters?"
"I love them. Especially my room, it's very me."
"Arabella said that you'd love it. Apparently you like pastels."
"Yeah I do, they're just so … easy to look at, you know."
"Yes. Well, I hope that you like chicken. That's what we're eating, obviously."
Hunter led the way to the table just as a small bell rang quietly from the doorway.
"Dinner is ready, please be seated." Announced a stout man from where the bell had rang. It was very official! Everyone surveyed the name plates in front of the seats and then sat in their assigned seats. Just as Aonie had said: Aonie sat nearest to the left, with Helena on her right and then Arabella nearest to Dartemis who sat at the head of the table.
Opposite Arabella sat Riley, his cropped, brown hair was slicked back with gel and his pale blue eyes were as cold as usual. Arabella smiled at him sarcastically, but Riley just scowled. Pleasant, Arabella thought aiming it pointedly at him. Hunter snorted a laugh next to Riley but then quickly covered it with a fake cough. Aonie grinned, it always amused her watching Riley and Arabella have a civilized fight. Dartemis shot all of them a warning look. In return, they all grinned at him pleasantly (all except Riley). Helena over-looked this with a confused expression.
"What's the deal with the bloke?" Helena whispered to Aonie.
"First, there are two blokes. The one at the head is Dartemis, he started this place. The one arguing with Arabella is his son, Riley. Riley's hobbies are kissing up to his father and looking extremely ugly. I have only ever seen him smile once. His issue with Arabella though is that she was the first to join, her, Hunter and a few others came along before he was even conceived. However, Dartemis has always adored Arabella, and Riley can't seem to get over himself long enough to get a life." Aonie replied in full gossip mode. Helena laughed quietly.
"So, Hunter. How are you?" A young boy, who looked the same age as Hunter, asked. The boy sat on the other side of Hunter, opposite Aonie. His hair was a perfect white and had a flicked up fringe. His eyes were a dark violet and, even though he was sitting down, you could tell he was quite tall and very strong. His accent was Australian.
"I am fine thank you,Damon. How are you? You're working with us aren't you." Hunter replied, his Spanish accent increased his politeness to a level of its own.
"Yes, I most certainly am. You must be Arabella, it's an honour to finally meet you. Your reputation does you no favours, meaning that you look far better in person than you do in the stories."Damon greeted, turning his violet gaze to Arabella.
"Why, thank you, Damon. It's a pleasure to meet you, too. I look forward to seeing your skills in battle, Dartemis seems to think they are quite magnificent." Arabella replied automatically switching to social mode. She smiled warmly atDamon and his face melted. Arabella noticed Hunter tense slightly, she grinned to herself but pretended that she hadn't noticed. She would ask him about it later when they had some time to themselves.
"Oh yes, his physical skills are immaculate. I would enjoy to see a fight between the two of you actually, it would be interesting to see who would win." Dartemis answered as a plate with a silver lid on top was placed in front of him.
"I put my money on Damon. Arabella doesn't stand a chance against someone of his ability and experience." Riley blurted. His nose was wrinkled in distaste as he surveyed Arabella, his lips were pursed as if he were considering something. A fire of pure hatred burned maliciously in Arabella's chest, her ferocious eyes suddenly changed colour. They changed from a calm gold to an angry, blood-thirsty red. Her whole body seemed to coil up beneath her as if she were a hungry cheetah who had been chasing her prey for days and had finally received her opportunity, and she was going to cease it.
"Stay calm, both of you." Dartemis ordered, but it didn't help. Arabella leaned down her head getting closer to the table, her red eyes never once leaving Riley's that were petrified. Riley slowly began to back away. Arabella's lips (that now matched her eyes) curved into a savage grin. This was all very much how you would picture a vampire taunting his dinner.
"I'm going to hurt you. And I will enjoy every second of it." Arabella whispered. Her voice a million daggers of fear spread through the whole room and dripped down everyone's spines right into their souls. Arabella bent her elbows and gathered beneath herself preparing to leap.
And then she did!
Arabella pushed herself up from her seat and her feet left the ground. She catapulted across the wide table and landed on top of Riley who fell backward, his chair following him. There was a loud smash and bang as they hit the granite floor along with several plates of food.
Riley screamed. His arms were flailing trying to push Arabella off or at least hit her. Arabella grasped his idea and pinned his strong arms to the cold ground beneath him.
"Arabella, stop!" Dartemis shouted as he scrambled to his feet. Hunter put a hand on Dartemis's chest to stop him going any farther. He was the only one who had seen Arabella do this before, and he knew that no one could stop her from doing what she had to. Arabella's eyes were focused on Riley his entire body was in her sight and her head was taking over her body.
Riley became very still. His eyes glazed over but still seemed focused on Arabella, his mouth lolled open. The enormous room around them turned icy, the fire died out instantly. A harsh wind picked up, it caught everyone up in it like a hurricane but everyone stayed on the ground.
"Riley, if you ever talk to me like that again … I will kill you. Slowly and very, very painfully. Do you understand?" Arabella asked, only it didn't sound like Arabella. Her voice was deeper than usual and it sounded powerful and very angry. Riley just nodded his head, it was all his body would let him do.
The wind stopped abruptly and the fire came back to life. The room's temperature returned back to normal as Arabella stood up. She turned to look at Hunter, her eyes were full of sorrow and shame. What am I becoming?, she asked Hunter silently, knowing that no one else would be able to hear. Hunter opened his mouth to reply but snapped it shut with an audible snap. He rushed over to Arabella who had ended up about five metres away from the table with Riley lying on the floor at her feet. Hunter picked Arabella up in his arms, not concerned by the people staring behind him, and rushed out of the closest door.
Hunter was taking her to the mountain side. The only place they could truly be alone, away from everyone. He thrust his way through the door that led outside, Arabella was still curled up in his arms as they finally reached the grass. Hunter knelt down with Arabella still in his arms. He locked his arms around her waist so that they looked like they were carved out of stone. They looked natural, as they clung to each other desperately, in the moonlight and the abstract sky that spanned out for miles behind them. Arabella sobbed as Hunter stroked her red hair and cooed soothing and loving nonsense.
After an hour of just crying, Arabella calmed herself but stayed with her arms wound tightly around Hunter's neck.
"I don't know what happened. I've been able to bottle it down for millennia but then … just with one snide remark. I almost tore out his soul. I could picture me doing it in my head, picture it, and him, screaming as I did it. I couldn't even help it, it was like it just took over and I had no control. I didn't even want to hurt Riley." Arabella stammered. Her eyes were frantic as she stared into Hunter's foggy and warm eyes. Her breath began to shallow as his thoughts and feelings tumbled into her head on a roller coaster ride.
"Riley knows now that he shouldn't mess with you. What you did … shocked everyone, but you being effected by the Shadow Moon's radiation will be an advantage that we have over them. We have too many different people in our squadrons for them to know about, and they can't study the realms they've already conquered because they're already either dead or … mutated. Remember, for every door that closes, another two open." Hunter whispered, he was slowly caressing Arabella's cheeks and wiping away the tears.
Arabella smiled at him wryly. She knew what he had said was true, that she should see this as an opportunity. She knew more about how the shadow moons worked, their innermost hates and fears. She knew how to destroy them. How every time they conquer another realm, their army grows bigger. The others all thought that it was reproduction, and in a way it was, but really it was just like a virus, a plague.
The memories of great soldiers, doctors, scientists, people who have, are, and are going to help destroy the shadow moon swarmed though Arabella's head. The people who were seen in visions, in prophesies. All their methods and techniques are contributing to how they were going to win the final battle. Things that most of them did just by accident, not one of them knowing how important they are until a protector shows up to keep them safe until they have fulfilled their destinies. Not knowing that even in death they would save earth and hopefully other realms to follow.
That was a strong fear of Arabella's. She knew well how intelligent and quick the leaders of the shadow moon were. She was afraid that if any were left after the battle, and they tried to overtake another world, then they would know how to defeat the protectors. What if they suddenly attacked before anyone could see? What if they fooled them once again and managed to take earth?
The people on earth would much rather become something else than die. Most mortal humans feared death, feared the unknown. It scared them that something out there was higher up than them. It scared them to know that if they did die then something that was far beyond their comprehension and power would occur.
"What are you thinking about? Your heads a jumble at the minute, and I can't really get that much when you're focusing on your thoughts." Hunter asked making Arabella jump slightly at the sound of his dazing, gentle voice.
"About … everything. About how that maybe they could attack at any time. About how that even if we are prepared, they will still come. Nothing will change that, I know, but it will never sink in. I just keep seeing the wave of darkness. Those creatures that sucked the souls out of the ones who wouldn't join them, the other ones would start mutating. I guess I just got too close during a radiation sweep and it effected me too. All these memories of so long ago when I was only a child. It's awful, isn't it, how your brain only remembers the bad things and never the good things. How the harder you try to remember, the harder it is to see the memory." Arabella mumbled.
Hunter still had his arms rapped around Arabella but she was shaking from head to foot, but not with cold. He tightened his grip on her and she began to feel much safer. She could feel his toned chest rising and falling against her back, feel his arms around her waist, feel his entire essence behind her. Arabella leaned her head back so that her crown was just scraping his chin. Hunter sighed as he breathed in the bold scent of Arabella's hair.
"Why is it that you drive me crazy?" Hunter blurted sweetly.
Arabella turned her head and tilted it so that she could see his face more clearly. Hunter wasn't looking at her though, his gaze was on his favourite moon, the one that was a blood red (the colour of Arabella's hair and lips).
"I drive you crazy? Oh good, I thought it would never be mutual." Arabella whispered into his long, elegant neck.
"I can't stand it when we're away from each other for a month let alone centuries. I miss seeing your whole beautiful face lighting up when I walk in the room. Miss your laugh, how scary it is yet I would die just to hear it one more time. Miss that you melt when you hear my voice, and I melt when I hear yours. And I'm jealous of the fact that, when we're apart, someone else is basking in your beauty, your elegance, your wisdom. I count away the seconds until we might just see each other again. It never seems to work out though."
"Hunter … I always knew that you were hiding something! Why didn't you tell me before?"
"I didn't tell you before because I didn't fully realise what I felt until I saw you crying. When I saw you afraid, everything just clicked into place. Strange, people always say that you don't fully appreciate what you've got until it's gone. I've always known what they meant somehow … but I didn't fully know. You know when you have something festering at the back of your mind? Well it was kind of like that but it took me far too long to figure it out."
Hunter laughed shortly, at his lack of better wording. His whole body had become uncharacteristically tense. His jaw was set in a hard line of unpleasantness, his hands were clenched into angry fists at Arabella's sides. He'd always hated feeling confused about himself, and that was exactly what he was feeling at that moment. Arabella needed him and he wasn't able to sort himself out to take care of her. He took a deep breath made a move to uncoil his muscles and relax.
It took him only two minutes to calm himself, but he could sense that something was still wrong. Behind them, voices began to scream calling for them or anyone to help.