The Vicar of Darkness

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 26 (v.1) - Part 2 - VI.

Submitted: May 10, 2019

Reads: 31

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Submitted: May 10, 2019

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Preston woke up two nights ago. Electra had been on duty- is on duty. This may or may not be intentional. She had no problem being at his side while he was unconscious, but now that he is awake there is a sense of... shame? Shame that she wasn't able to protect him. Shame that she did not locate him sooner.

"There's a situation down in the courtyard," Iona leans over and whispers to the Vicar of the South.

They stand on the sidelines of a lively ballroom. Smaller than that of the Light Palace, but enormous nonetheless. The room is packed with all kinds of guests, nobles from Winter Wind, the Opal Oceans, and D'Hiver Nero. Entertainment imported from across the seven nations comes from every corner in the room. The divine Sun Dancers from the Southwest, a traveling Light Show- even Anuar Luman, an actor with a considerable amount of fame is delivering a long monologue written by a dead poet.

A celebration is taking place. Since Princess Lilith has fully recovered, she has decided to throw a celebratory ball for herself. They are not at the Light Palace, but at the home of Lord Chat, who felt obligated contribute somehow. His estate is grand, but it is in a part of the city known to have a higher number of Dark Creatures. Not the vicious kind, but a nuisance nevertheless. Electra had expected a situation or two to arise, but nothing unmanageable.

"They can handle it," she whispers back, "If not tell them to come fetch me."

"I can take care of it if you'd like," Iona offers but Electra shakes her head. Both sport the formal event Vicar uniform, Iona's is a loaner, but Electra thinks it was designed with her in mind because she looks striking.

"It's alright, I rather you keep an eye on the prince." Technically Electra is watching Princess Lilith tonight, but everyone is watching her tonight. Both Sir Errol, and her brother are glued to her side. Electra is positive Sir Errol faults himself for losing her in the first place. She was trusted to the kingdom of D'Hiver Nero after all, a kingdom which he is the Head Vicar of. There was no way of knowing that this would happen. Electra makes a mental note to kindly remind him later.

The heir to the Kingdom of Winter Wind looks identical to the portraits Electra has seen of him in the Light Palace. Electric blond hair, wavy, cut neatly to his ears. His eyes, unlike his sister's, are those of his father's, an emerald green. He isn't as tall as Prince Cyan, but he's close. He has more of an athletic build than his cousin, his stance mirrors Sir Errol's, standing like a soldier. His smile is what is more memorable however, there is real joy and relief when he looks at his sister.

Princess Lilith spots Lady Electra and Lady(?) Iona watching her from across the room. Lady Dulcet was talking to her moments before, but now converses with Sir Errol and her brother about armor.

Preston. That is what Lady Electra had shouted when she saw Ain back at the church. Princess Lilith is no longer confident that the extent of their relationship ends with their partnership. In the past, Electra had said that there was nothing going on between the two, but was she simply telling the princess what she wanted to hear? Whatever the case is, Princess Lilith can't help resenting it. She doesn't wish to, resentment brings out the ugly side of a person.

Sir Ain hadn't made an appearance tonight. He did tell her that he wasn't feeling up to it. Maybe it had been too early to celebrate the near-death experience. With a shrug Princess Lilith decides that she is going to stop caring about his opinion, he is clearly not interested in her. A part of her knows it is because of Electra, but she wishes that wasn't the case.

---

"What are you doing back here?" Iona asks Prince Cyan, surprised to find him hiding out in a hallway       

"What are you doing back here?" Iona asks Prince Cyan, surprised to find him hiding out in a hallway.

He laughs timidly, "Ah, my cousin's friends keep asking me to dance. I'm exhausted- I'll return soon, give me five minutes or so."

"It's alright, I am in no hurry to return, and Electra sent me to keep an eye on you." She leans against the wall across from him. "Strange celebration if you ask me. Gaudy."

"I agree. I am most relieved that my cousin came out on the better end of the situation, but it is a strange way to celebrate." His eyes dart to her Vicar uniform, he wants to comment on it but decides to stay away from the topic. "Do you care much for celebrations like these?"

She arches an eyebrow. "The Sun Dancers are nostalgic I suppose. The music is a different color here too."

"A different color?"

"I travel a lot, music tends to have different color pallets depending on where you are. Different keys I guess you could say." She loses interest in the conversation and trails off.

He looks at the end of the hall where there is a balcony. "Do you mind if we step outside for a bit? Fresh air would do me good."

She nods and follows his lead.

"The night is warm." He steps outside cheerfully.

A flash of Light is flung past him and into a Creature of Darkness that had been floating nearby. This throws it back a couple of feet. A Cik is a creature similar to a Ring creature, little and annoying.

"Stay back." Iona walks past him and seals the creature in a swift flick of her wrist. "Remind me again why your cousin chose to have her party here?" There is a hint of annoyance in her voice.

"Thanks." He steps away from the ledge while she clears the area. "Lord Chat wanted to show his support," he explains.

"He could live in a better part of the city," she notes. There appears to be no more creatures nearby.

Prince Cyan walks over and is comically tackled by a larger Creature of Darkness. A small Bjorn about the size of a cub. Iona blocks a second from joining the first, uses the Seal of Erebus to remove the creature off the prince, and then seals the two simultaneously. She doesn't hesitate but there is tension in her movements, it is possible that she is merely irritated however.

She holds out a hand to the prince who remains on the floor. "That's enough fresh air, we're going back inside."

Prince Cyan takes her hand and stands, but does not follow her inside.

"Iona?"

"Is there a problem Sir?" She has a good guess as to what the problem is, but asks anyway.

"Was that the Seal of Erebus?" He asks with a tinge of resentment.

She bites her lip then sighs. She was hoping he knew little about seals, but he is well educated, she should have expected. "It is not smart of me to admit to the prince of this country, but yes."

Prince Cyan is in unfeigned awe. All in the same, he is discontent. She did not lie when she told him that she was leagues beyond his men. Moreover, she is far more dangerous than he had previously assumed. Knowing this does not make him fear her more. In a way, this is her confiding in him. Alternatively Cyan is simply overthinking everything, as he has the tendency to do. That doesn't matter right now.

"That is dangerous-"

"I can handle myself."

"No. I mean, to perform here." He's speaking in a hushed tone.

"It is true," she admits, standing at the doorway with her back to him.

"If someone had seen myself witnessing you using that seal... I would have no other choice-" The use of Dark spells was punishable by death in most nations.

"I'm aware Cyan," she snaps.

He is quiet and the air is heavy.

"I want you to look at me and promise that you won't do that around me again," he says decidedly, rare for him, but it is not Iona's first time witnessing it.

She turns back to face him, flashing Light in her eyes. "Fine, don't get tackled by any more Dark creatures," she agrees reluctantly. Unprofessional, she knows, but it is a touchy subject for her.

"I'm serious Iona." And he is.

"Alright," She relaxes, she is not above acknowledging her mistakes. "I promise I won't use those sort of spells around you again."

"Thank you." He is content with that response. "We can head back inside now."

----       

----

"Don't go inside, don't go inside- okay you're going inside," Electra talks to herself. She is very annoyed with the creature she's chasing down the cobblestone path. A Bjorn, common in the area. It makes its way into Lord Chat's mansion by the way of a large open window on the first floor. This is a joke, the Lightwielder thinks.

Electra continues to run after it tossing Light dials at it. She all but runs over Preston when she turns down the wrong hallway.

"Electra!" he yelps in surprise. He is dressed casually, not his Vicar uniform, but he does wear his masking seal.

"Pres-Ain?" She stops mid-chase to think of something to do or say, but spots the creature she is after at the end of another corridor. "Uh excuse me- in a second-" She runs off.

He watches her trap the creature in a corner and seal it with a Light dial that she kicks up from her foot. She sighs in relief when it's over and runs her fingers through her bangs. Ain approaches her slowly.

"Hey!" she shouts, revealing her slight anxiousness. Her eyes drop to his right arm that is in a sling. Her instinct is to touch his wound but she stops herself. "How are you? I heard you were up but I didn't think you would be up for a party."

"Yeah, I didn't think so either," he admits, but is evidently distracted by the scene he had witnessed. "When did you learn to do that? That was amazing."

"You were gone for some time," she explains simply, unwilling to dwell on it. "But how are you? Are you okay?" she repeats.

"I think I'm okay," he answers honestly. He could never lie to Electra, never again. "As a man of medicine I can say that I have made a full recovery."

She studies him, there is looming concern in her eyes. "Yes, but we both know the mental strain that comes with that sort of trauma."

"If anyone knows what I'm feeling right now it's you-" He has a small moment of realization. "It has only now occurred to me that I never asked you if you were okay. I'm sorry Eloise."

She glances around at the name, they are alone so she does not correct him.

"No Preston, you have always been there for me when I've needed you." She doesn't want to talk about herself and continues, "I spoke with Doctor Harrison- I told him everything. He was so worried, I know that he is a father figure to you. I hope that is alright?"

"Thank you Eloise. I really appreciate it." There is a somber tone in his voice but he means this sincerely.

"He would like to see you as soon as you're able, he was relieved after so long- we all were." She swallows hard, unsure of what to do she makes for the ballroom. "Anyway I ought to return, will you be joining the festivities or?"

"Uh, no- actually hold on a second." He pulls her back by gently putting his hand on her arm. "I came to see you- I apologize, I should've made that clear earlier."

"Oh?" She is happy to hear that, but all in the same, disheartened.

"Eloise- Eloise I think you are aware of this, but I'm in love with you-" he talks quickly as he does when he is nervous. Electra tenses anxiously.

"And not in the way I thought I was before. I lied to you I'm sorry. But now I know, I know that I'm not in love Electra, or in love with Eloise- but as you, the entirety of your person. I cannot fathom that such a person can exist."

Electra watches him cautiously, she hadn't expected to see Preston so soon. But here he is, standing, caught up in his own sentiments in the way Preston has the habit of doing.

"When I was out there- you were the one good thing. You are my one good thing. And I don't care who knows anymore." He shakes his head, "I don't know why I ever cared Eloise. What other people think is irrelevant to me, the only opinion that holds any value aside from my own is yours. I don't want to dwell on my own pettiness, I'm only sabotaging myself and it's not worth it-"

"I don't care anymore either," she blurts out despite her intention to ease into the topic. "I've known from the beginning that it's you. It's always been you, and it will always be you. I thought the world, the Gods, the universe, were all out to spite me, when in reality I am only victim to my own stubbornness."

Preston blinks, his big brown eyes watching her say these words, but only just believing them.

"I knew this. I knew you were alone and distraught and in pain- and I didn't do anything to help you," he says with a perplexed look, a mixture of guilt, regret and sorrow.

"Nor I you, but I'm here now."

And she means it. If Preston has ever been confident in anything it is that she means it.

He moves to embrace her with his one good arm, but Electra, on the same mindset, jumps up to wrap her arms around him, pressing her face into his chest. The gesture reignites the pain in Preston's arm. He doesn't mind but he flinches in reflex.

"Sorry!" Electra jumps back holding her hands out in front of her cautiously.

Preston blinks in surprise but then laughs, easing the tension in the air. Electra's lip curls, happy to see him so amused.

"I have to go back," she says softly, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the event. She doesn't wish to send him away but she has the impression that he's not here to take part in the celebration, yet he traveled all this way to see her.

"I know," he nods consciously, "I'll see you guys back at the cabin?"

He had spent the last two at weeks in the palace infirmary, unconscious, but he doesn't wish to return regardless. The entirety of his time in captivity all he had wanted was to return home. His real home. The one he shares with Eloise. Sir Francois will undoubtedly protest, he objected in his coming here after all.

Electra nods, walking backwards towards the festivities. "Have a good night Preston."

"Goodnight Eloise."

---

"What did you think of Meredith cousin?" Princess Lilith stands next to and converses with Prince Cyan       

"What did you think of Meredith cousin?" Princess Lilith stands next to and converses with Prince Cyan. They are people watching, things have begun to wind down with the deepening of the night.

"Sorry?" Iona suddenly is woken up from her boredom. She stands behind the two.

"I'm talking to my cousin." Princess Lilith eyes the taller girl finding her bizarre. Is she blind or not?

"My apologies ma'am." The non-Vicar loses interest in the conversation once more and withdraws back into the shadows.

"Which one was Meredith?" the prince asks, noticeably worn out from the lengthy night.

"Melinda's sister!" the princess exclaims in disbelief, her electric blue eyes bulging a little.

"Oh her sister? She was lovely." In reality Prince Cyan has no idea who Melinda is.

"Hey-"

"Ain!" Prince Cyan is primarily excited to see another single male to share the room's attention. Then genuinely thankful to see that he is awake and standing before them.

"Ain!" Princess Lilith joins in surprise.

"Have you seen Sir Errol or Electra?"Ain asks the three with a distracted gaze. He searches the crowd wishing to catch either. The three bystanders find it strange that he is not in uniform.

"Is something wrong?" the prince asks with concern, were Electra parents present as well? It shouldn't matter, she's masked tonight.

"Here she comes." Iona nods towards the blond Vicar walking up to them. "Hey Electra, I think Sir Ain wants to talk to you."

"Ain?" The blond Vicar is taken aback. "I thought you were going home?"

Ain takes her hand and gently guides her away from the group, leading her onto the dancing floor. Even he did not expect the gesture to be as natural and dauntless as it was. How many formal evenings had he wanted to ask Electra to dance? And how many excuses had he made to avoid doing so? He didn't ask her tonight either, not in words anyway, but she doesn't appear to be bothered. In fact she smiles, her eyes so blue they're almost violet, they admire him, they have always admired him.

In the sidelines the Prince of Opal Oceans sighs in relief. Hope is not lost after all. He appears delighted and glances at Iona who watches him with an arched brow.

"Sweet Adeline, finally," he explains, Iona simply closes her eyes and nods in agreement.

"You came back," Electra says over the music as they weave their way into a less crowded corner. The song playing is about halfway through, and rather than waiting for it to end, they ease into the appropriate dance.

"I did." With his good arm he takes her hand and glides with her, "I owe you a dance- a real dance."

"Yeah you do," she teases playfully, reminiscent of their previous relationship. With the shake of her head she goes on, "I pictured it differently in my mind, I wasn't wearing a uniform for one."

"And I pictured myself having two working arms." He grins and shrugs, "But I'll take it."

The previous song to comes to a complete end, they stop and exchange bows before joining start of the next dance. This dance is quick, almost aggressive, Danse Jetei, as it's called. Electra had danced it once before with Prince Cyan, but found it easier to keep up this time around. It helps that her partner is slightly incapacitated.

"Thank you." She then reiterates her statement from long ago, before this all started, "You are most invaluable to me as a partner. That will always be the case."

"No. Thank you- I know fully well that this is not the time or place," he admits, they are getting some stares but not enough to bother him. "But I didn't want to leave quite yet."

"I suppose I didn't want you to leave either." Electra had noticed the attention too, but there are not many guests remaining. "Strangely I'm not as bothered by the attention as I anticipated."

"It's true," he agrees, laughing when Electra pseudo-dips herself because of his arm prevents him from doing so.

She delightedly remembers being that girl across the room, watching Preston Nordkov dance with another girl. How long ago that felt. Everyone's titular role had been flipped around. She had everything, she lost everything. She lost herself, and then she lost the people around her. But what she has gained is more important than that she lost. Not this new relationship with Preston, but the strength she now knows will help her through it. The strength that will help her continue protect everyone around her, along with the country she loves.

The strength that will help her continue protect everyone around her, along with the country she loves       

---

A/N: I'm very happy that these two are finally "together", I originally planed to draw the scene of their confession but I ran out of time. This chapter was a bigger chunk, so the next one will be a shortie. Sorry in advance, and again thank you for reading. 


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