Chapter ten (Part two)
When Ari stepped out onto the front porch, she was briefly confused, as there were no strangers waiting to greet her. Then her confusion cleared as the mysterious forces slowly slipped out of the woods, seemingly peeling away from the snowy scenery. Her breath caught in her lungs as recognition hit her, and she felt her heart beat pick up rapidly. In the next instant, their perceived leader stepped forward and slowly removed a breathtakingly familiar ceramic mask. Kei froze at her side, though the rest of her unit looked on in confusion. It wasn't surprising. Only so many of their people would actually recognize the woman standing in front of them. Her beautiful ravens wing hair swept around the crown of her head in a soft, elegant way. Her lavender-grey eyes sparkled with memories, and her firm build made Ari shiver in fear.
She greeted simply. Ari had to repress the urge to reach for her knife and take a defensive stance. She made no reply, and this seemed to amuse the woman greatly. She let out a loud chuckle, and shook her head before her eyes took on a stern glint that Ari was all too familiar with. She had feared it as a child.
"Make this easy on yourself chit. Give up the new queen and her husband."
The woman ordered. Ari held up a firm hand to the guards behind her -her own people included- that drew their weapons.
"I suggest you find some other kingdom to threaten. We will not give up our charges; not to you or anyone."
She finally replied, her voice shaking the slightest bit. She hated that; she was Ari, the leader of the royal guard, the woman that single handedly lead armies of warriors into battle and came out alive. She was the pride of her nation -underneath their new queen that is- and she was proud. So why did she still shake underneath this woman's gaze? The woman in question laughed again, and her gaze turned threatening.
"You'll change your mind chit. You have three days to do as we say. We'll be back, and there will be more. And if this is all that you have to back up the child and her consort, I really am sorry for how it will end."
With that, she turned, and the group of masked, cloaked figures behind her did the same. Ari had to verbally stop the guards from doing something stupid, and as soon as she was sure that they had really gone, she turned tail and ran back into the house. When she threw the door open and charged in, more than the royalty in the room looked startled. The guard did too, and little Ellie looked concerned.
Nyala asked, slowly standing, her eyes following after Ari as her friend charged over to the windows and slammed all the curtains shut. After they were all closed, the woman turned to them, looking wild and shocked, and then wordlessly ushered them out of the room.
"Ari! What is the matter with you?"
Nyala asked, her concern growing with every second. Ari had all of the guards in the house, obviously something that Kei had had a hand in, and all of the curtains were shut tight. Her friend and head guard ushered them all into the dining room, where she seemed to settle slightly before she began pacing. Kei seemed to do the same, though she was actually talking.
"She wasn't suppose to be here. She wasn't even suppose to be alive! What is going on Ari? You told me that she had been chased from the palace and killed."
Kei ended up standing on the opposite side of Zolan, and she slammed her hands down on the table. Ari finally turned to them all, though when she looked at them, Nyala got the feeling that she wasn't really looking at them. Her eyes were somewhere else, as was her mind.
"She did die, I saw it. My mother herself was the one to drive the spear threw her!"
She replied, beginning to pace again, as if she were some sort of caged animal. Nyala's patience snapped and she slammed a fist down on the table to gain attention. When Ari looked to her, Nyala hissed out her question for what would hopefully be the last time.
"Who is suppose to be dead?"
There was a long pause, and Nyala realized that everyone else minus Kei seemed to be waiting for the answer as well. Ari stared back at Nyala, her mind in a whirl of confusion, and she evaluated her friend for a few brief moments before she said the last thing she had ever expected to say.
"Aunt Mika is alive; and she's looking for your head."