Broken Fountain

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

Blaze make the decision to meet Anya, to determine if he should help her or not. Part of the Enatai Compilation

Blaze switched the bag from his right and to his left, to give his right hand a brief respite as he walked. He couldn’t believe he was still walking, still approaching the park where he had arranged to meet the girl. He couldn’t even remember her name. Was it Anna? Maybe it was Alana. Regardless, meeting her was a waste of her time and his. Time he could have spent helping refugees with requests that were possible to fulfill.

And yet, still he walked, his stride not faltering with his indecision. He kept walking because even as he told himself that the girl didn’t matter, not even enough to remember her name, and that this was a waste of time better spent on more productive endeavors, the simple fact remained that she held the only hope of finding the only family he hadn’t alienated. Killer Nephrite was one of the most loyal soldiers under Setne’s command, and was assigned to protect Blaze and his sister. Officially he was a bodyguard, unofficially he was the only real father Blaze had. At least, until Setne destroyed their pseudo family one member at a time. Blaze’s sister told him Killer Nephrite was killed in a battle, and he had not reason to question her tale, until he met the woman.

A simple phrase, backed by the conviction in her pale blue eyes. She was certain Killer Nephrite was alive, and that he could be found. She even asked him to help her find him. She insisted she could find him, with just a little help.

Blaze kicked a broken pipe as he walked around the corner and the small park came into view. It was a small, pathetic plot of land with a few sick trees and a broken fountain half filled with murky water. He couldn’t even be sure what the statue on the fountain used to be, now it was just a few rusted pipes surrounded by rubble. The basin of the fountain was huge, deep enough for children to swim in when the weather was hot.

Blaze walked around the fountain. He initially believed he had arrived before the girl, and was mildly surprised to find her sitting on the ground, slouched against the base of the fountain. He stopped in front of her and she looked up at him with a faint smile.

Without the face paint to conceal her features and the elaborate clothing and bulky jewelry to distract from her looks, Blaze realized she looked like Killer Nephrite. There was no question, she had his nose and square face, even his rich gold skin tone and slick black hair. But the resemblance was softened by a slight femininity and those striking, pale blue eyes. She wasn’t delicate, she was a handsome woman.

Blaze dropped the bag to the ground at her feet. “Your clothing is more appropriate this time,” he said. He kept his tone guarded, and the words came out harsh. It wasn’t anything against her personally, he just didn’t trust strangers.

She tugged at her tunic and looked down at the dark slacks and cheap sandals. “I convinced a friend to help me purchase clothing at a small market,” she released her shirt and looked at the bag, her slight smile returning to her face with the motion. “So, Blaze, what’s in the bag?”

Blaze looked down at the bag. Now that he was no longer carrying it, the bag seemed like it was a wasted effort. “Clothes, and a few knives.”

She stood up and smiled at him. This smile was different, it was playful and it transformed her face, making her less handsome and more adorable. He met her gaze, ignoring his instincts to look away from her.

“You didn’t think I could blend in,” she said. She laughed slightly as she said it, although who could blame him? She showed up with a king’s ransom of gold in her hair, and acted completely surprised when a group of men tried to jump her.

Blaze examined her, without the gold, without the finery. No, there was no way she could blend in anywhere. She would always stand out. “What’s your name again?” he asked.

Her smile faltered and he immediately had the impulse to fix it, to apologize or do something to bring that smile back. He ignored that impulse and waited patiently until she answered.

“Anya. My name is Anya,” she said. She pushed her hair back, briefly exposing a braid with gold cuffs on it, before she adjusted her hair and the braid was once again concealed.

Blaze nodded his understanding. He would remember that name, he even mentally repeated it to himself a few times to make sure he wouldn’t forget it a second time. He knelt next to the bag and pulled out a small knife. He checked the belt the sheath was attached to and held it out to her.

“Put this on, under your shirt,” he instructed.

“I thought you were going to help me find my father,” Anya objected as she took the knife. She put it on and made sure her shirt covered it. When she was done, she held out her arms, impatient.

“You’re the one who walks into terrible neighborhoods,” Blaze sighed. “Knives are good for defense, if you have the stomach to use them.” He took his knife out and held it in his fist. “You look strong, hold the knife and stab into your attacker. Torso, neck, even limbs. Stab hard, leave the knife behind if you need to. It’s very basic and very effective.” He demonstrated a few quick jabs.

Anya bit her upper lip and tried to hold back a smile. To hide her humor, although he was quickly realizing that she had a naturally sunny, cheerful disposition. “Do you give knives and kill demonstrations to all the girls you meet? ‘Cause this is mildly disturbing.”

Blaze scowled. “No, just the spoiled rich ones who think slumming it while looking for traitors is a great way to spend their time.”

Anya’s eyes widened. She took her new knife out of its sheath and toyed with the blade. “And here I thought I was one of a kind.” She batted her lashes as she said it, and smirked when he stepped away from her.

Blaze smirked back, unable to keep his expression neutral. She was definitely one of a kind, and helping her may not yield the results they both hoped for, but it certainly wouldn’t be a waste of time.

Submitted: August 15, 2017

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