Chapter Four -- Shadowed Reunions
Sierra cracked open her eyes.
Instinctively, she dragged them towards the windows as she blinked the sleep out of them. Rain was pattering delicately against the glass, and behind it, the darkened, gray clouds gave no indication as to what time of the day or evening it was.
Not that it mattered to a creature such as herself, she thought idly, sitting up. It was strange, but the sheets had an unusual warmth to them despite the cold outside and the lack of fire inside the room. She could hardly count on her own body heat, if she still had it. Nevertheless, she lingered only for a moment, savoring that bit of warmth, before finally getting out of bed.
The room was small and bare except for the essentials. A bed in one corner then a table and chair at another. She crossed the room swiftly, pulling out the chair where her cloak was hung. Her hand burrowed into the folds of her cloak for a second before pulling out a roll of parchment. She took a seat carefully, smoothing out her skirt, then finally, smoothing out the scroll she took from her cloak in front of her. There was a lamp on top of the table, and this she lit with a wave of her hand, not taking her eyes away from the scroll.
This wasn't the first time she had read the it. Her eyes skimmed through its contents uneasily, feeling deep inside her gut, that she should be troubled about something. And that in itself frightened her. Hundred of years living on her instincts had taught her something. But what did she have to worry about?
Her thoughts travelled back to Dymio and Ariah. She had heard rumors of vampires prowling the city, so she lingered in the outskirts of Crystal Valley, intent on finding out the truth herself. Initially, she was surprised that there were such sightings in the Harmonian Capital. A formidable city like that? It was definitely dangerous for their kind.
But when Sierra had learned that there was indeed a vampire within Crystal Valley, she was not surprised to find out that it was Dymio. The man had always been bold and cunning. After all, he had eluded her for so long. Not even that psychotic Neclord boasted of such a feat. As soon as she was certain of the vampires' identities, she had set forth on her task single-mindedly and accomplished it. She had not even questioned why they were in Crystal Valley in the first place, not until now.
If only she had seen the scroll sooner. If only she had thought to question the pair of vampires before eliminating them.
But at that time, she was more troubled by Dymio's parting words.
'If we were not meant to be in this world, then for what purpose does the Blue Moon Rune exist?'
Sierra closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. She could hear Dymio's voice in her head as clearly as if he were right in front of her.
'You created us! You made us into this abomination!'
When she opened her eyes, she was staring back at the scroll before her. Yes, she did make them into hideous blooddrinkers. She believed it was her responsibility to purge the world of them. She had given them their second lives, so wasn't it only right that they would also be hers to take? Perhaps Dymio believed that he could make a difference, that it wasn't a problem only she could undertake. Perhaps he took the risk of going into Crystal Valley for this scroll, believing that it could change his fate for him.
A frown marred Sierra's girlish features. She stood up from her seat then carefully wrapped the scroll in its original binding. Putting on her cloak and tucking it inside, she went outside her room to go downstairs and talk to the barkeep.
Upon reaching the main floor, she soon found out that quite a number of people had taken refuge from the rain to dine and warm themselves inside the cozy inn. She was uneasy at being around too many people at such close quarters, but she braced herself. It wasn't like she hadn't been in this situation before. Stepping up to the counter, she called out to the woman who was wiping newly washed dishes. "Pardon me," she started, gaining the woman's attention. "Do you know where I can get some ink, a pen and some clean sheets of paper?"
The woman stepped forward, drying her hands on her apron. "Well, I don't advise going out to look for those with the drizzle outside," she replied, nodding her head to the direction of the windows, upon which rain fell steadily against. "I have some leftover ink in the storage, so I can give those to you. And I think I can spare you some paper. Unless you need the lot of them--I haven't been to the store for a while, so we might be running low. How many do you need, anyway?"
"About ten or so. I will pay for them," she offered quickly.
The woman nodded. "Wait here," she instructed, before disappearing into the back room.
While waiting for the woman, Sierra decided to take a seat on one of the stools lined up in front of the counter. She didn't have to look behind her to know the curious gazes that rested on her back. Marid had seen its share of travellers, surely, but they must be wondering what a girl like her was doing alone this far back in the country. Neither did her clothes, of a different style and cut from the locals', help in making her inconspicuous. She wished the woman would come out soon.
As if answering her prayer, the woman did come out after a short while, several sheets of paper one hand and black box in the other. "Here," she said, placing the things in front of her. "Are these enough?"
Sierra placed some coins on top of the table, then proceeded to lift the box lid. There was an inkstone inside, and a pen. Satisfied, she replaced the lid and gathered up the sheets of paper. "They're more than enough. Thank you very much."
The woman smiled at her. "If you need anything else, just ask."
Nodding, Sierra slowly made her way back up to her room. 'If I hurry, I can still make one more trip.' In spite of herself, she smirked. 'I've almost forgotten what I really came to Harmonia for.'
It was an hour past noon. The sun was glaring heavily upon the crowded cobblestone path of the Southern Station of Crystal Valley. The air was warm with the weight of people bustling to and fro, alighting from carriages, stagecoaches and wagons, yet the ambiance was not uncomfortable. Aside from the unmistakable scent of fresh greenery surrounding the place, it was pretty much a typical busy day at the station.
The Southern gates of Harmonia's capital city was home to sights of varied culture. One could tell that the incoming travellers consisted mostly of non-natives. Many of the men and women came out of their vehicles swathed in exotic clothing and jewelry. Hair and skin color contrasted so much from one person to the other that no one really stood out.
Neither did one lovely lady, in her crisp violet suit, stand out in such a place. Not she. Not even an ebony cavlier hat, perched atop her luxurious auburn hair, did it.
Of course, that only held true for as long as she didn't give in to her temper and opened her mouth. Vocal expression of her discontent usually did it for Miss Lilly Pendragon.
And since it doesn't take much to get her ire up, people find that it only takes a matter of seconds to notice her presence. Even in such a crowd.
"Reed!" Her head snapped to the direction of her blonde companion and she glared at him fully after barking out his name. People nearby jumped at her tone and glanced at her direction before scurrying off. "How long does it take to secure transport in this place?" she demanded, oblivious to the onlookers.
He had withstood her countless complaints through his years of service to her, but that tone never failed to unnerve Reed. He looked at her uneasily and struggled for an answer. "That is, Miss Lilly... Well, Samus is perhaps looking for the most comfortable and secure coach in the area and it will be difficult to--"
Lilly waved her hand dismissively, his excuses doing nothing for her impatience. "Half an hour is more than enough. If we don't leave now, we shall be detained for one more day! I cannot stand to travel at night, I can't even count on both of you for my protection." She tossed hair as she fought the urge to glance at her side, which felt strangely empty without her sword. When she went to her classes, she was never armed, but that practice still hadn't rid her of old habits borne out of past travels. Her weapon was packed away with the rest of her belongings in the trunk because such things were not a welcome sight at the station. She could unpack it once they were outside the gates, but not until then. And they weren't getting out of the gates until they had themselves a transport that could comfortably carry all three of them and her mountains of trunks.
"Miss Lilly?" Reed called out to the redhead who had stalked off without a leave. He started to go after her, but remembered just as immediately that he couldn't just leave the trunks behind without anyone looking after them. "Miss Lilly!" he called out again, even though he knew it would be in vain. He stared at her retreating back helplessly and shook his head. Of course it wasn't like her to turn around and pay him heed once she had set off to her task. But he could very well guess where she had gone off to.
Lilly lost no time surveying the departure area. A lot of the vehicles were private ones, and it was easy to pick out the ones which weren't. However, she soon found out that if one of the coaches weren't under maintenance, it was booked to someone else. Without her belongings by her side ready to be carted off wherever she was, she couldn't even think to persuade the coachmen to change their minds and accomodate her instead. She couldn't just barge in or steal their vehicle away, not without her trunks. Her anger just about brimming at the surface, Lilly stood to the side of yet another carriage. No one seemed to be attending to this one; no one was at the reins, and no servant boy waiting by the door. It didn't look like it was going anywhere anytime soon, and it didn't look like it was going under maintenace. Grabbing hold of the latch to open the door, Lilly prepared herself to take a quick inspection of the interior before making a dash back to Reed and her belongings so they could hasten their trip home.
But no sooner had she swung the carriage door open than a voice from inside greeted her. "Why Miss Pendragon, what a surprise! Is this a royal welcoming party, or have you just taken to servitude lately? I wasn't really expecting anyone but a servant boy to attend to my bags. Not that there are many of them anyway."
Startled, Lilly jumped back. "W-what?"
A blonde man with bright green eyes emerged from the carriage. He made a show of dusting himself off and straightening his clothes before turning to give the girl in front of him a look and a slow smile. "I saw you coming towards my carriage before you opened the door. From your surprised look, I assume this was all an accident, bumping into me like this."
Recovering from her initial shock, Lilly stared back at the man. "Hey, I know you!"
The man sighed and shook his head. "And she didn't even recognize me before this!" He cried to no one in particular, but she ignored him.
"You're that man who kept hanging around Chris at the Fire Bringer's war, weren't you? Isn't your name Mush or Bush-something-or-the-other?"
"It's Nash, Miss Pendragon. And it isn't really well done of a politician's daughter to insult old comrades-at-arms three or more ways in a single breath."
She planted both hands on her hips as she glared at him, but Nash spoke again before she could retort. "What are you doing here anyway? When I saw you coming, I thought you had something important to say."
His question reminded Lilly of her plight, so she answered truthfully. "I had been waiting too long for Samus to secure our transportation home, so I decided to look for one myself. I thought your carriage was empty."
"Oh, then if that's all, go and help yourself. I'm sure the driver will be out in a while."
At this, Lilly's frown disappeared. "Thank you," she replied, nodding.
"But I must say, Miss Pendragon, I'm surprised to see you." The blonde man glanced back at her as he hauled his baggage from inside the carriage. "What brings you out here to Crystal Valley?"
She arched a brow. "Not that it's any of your business, but I went here right after the war to study. But I could ask you the same thing, mister. Why are you here?" Not that she was really interested in knowing, she just felt like throwing back the question. The man annoyed her for some reason.
Nash chuckled. "What, I can't go back home now?"
"Home?" Lilly echoed. "You're Harmonian?" Nash struggled a bit more with his belongings and didn't reply. "I didn't know you were Harmonian," she finished lamely, looking him up and down and noting his features as validation to his claim. She watched him as he gathered up the bulk of his things before turning his attention back to her.
"Well, knowing people didn't exactly strike me as your forte, Lilly," he said dryly. With that, he gave her a small salute then turned around to walk away. "Good day," he called over his shoulder and never looked back. He had far more important things to think about than bumping into Gustav's daughter right smack in Crystal Valley.
Nash was already far off and nearly out of the Southern Station when a thought flitted across his mind. 'Isn't it the middle of the semester?'
He realized seeing Lilly Pendragon in Crystal Valley, in a hurry to leave at such a time, was just as strange--if not, even more so--as seeing her there in the first place.
'Click. Clack. Click. Clack. Click.'
'Thup. Thup. Thup. Thup. Thup.'
'Click. Clack. Click. Clack. Click.'
Nash smiled to himself as he listened to the rhythmic footsteps he and his escorts were making. The sounds echoed in the expanse of the hallway, musically slapping on the shiny marbled floor. He loved listening to it. The soft thudding of his boots, and the metal clanking of the guards' greaves...
He was always a little crazy inside the Temple. Whenever he had to walk in these hallways, he did so in some sort of a trance. He was blithe and amused at the simplest of things. In the back of his mind, he knew that being inside the Temple would bring him back out into the world with a strange, new predicament, and perhaps this was his way of coping with it. He would be shuttled back to reality soon enough.
He could already make out the figure of the Bishop from the distance, flanked by his priests. It was easy to pick him out from the crowd, the boy in the robes of what Harmonia has come to recognize to be donned by the most politically powerful. The Bishop and his priests turned around at the sounds of their footsteps. Nash could feel the Bishop's gaze upon him, and as always, it was inscrutable. It seldom gave any hint of what was to come. But it was enough to break him out of his daze.
"Nash", the Bishop acknowledged him with a nod. He turned to his subordinates. "I would like to speak with him alone, please."
A tall, stern-looking blonde official, who stood behind the Bishop, bowed. Nash knew him very well--the Bishop's Chief of Staff, Dios. The man seldom left the Bishop's side, and at first, resented Nash the private audience the Bishop continually granted him. Him! The Latkje boy, a remnant of a once powerful family who had fallen into ruin. He held no special rank in the military and could hardly be called an aristocrat anymore, and yet he was granted favors no ordinary citizen could have. But by now, Dios was used to the man's summons into the Temple every now and then, and knew it was wise to show no outward reaction to the Bishop's request.
Dios turned to the guards and the priests. "You heard the Bishop, let's leave them alone." To the Bishop he said, "We shall be outside the sanctuary if you need us."
When they were gone, the Bishop spoke up. "It's very fortunate you have returned here so quickly. I was afraid you would be delayed."
"What is this about, Sasarai?" Nash asked, not mincing words.
"What do you think?" Sasarai replied, smiling ruefully. He motioned for Nash to follow him deeper into the hall. "When I call on you for special missions, what are they usually about?"
"The True Runes, I suppose." Nash shrugged. He didn't really think there was any other reason. He followed Sasarai into a small room that he thought resembled a confessional, except that it was surrounded with shelves filled with books. The Bishop often brought him here to discuss private matters, and indeed, the room, with its size and seclusion, allowed them to address things not meant to be heard even by the Bishop's own high priests.
In the center of the room were two finely carved chairs facing each other, a small round table between them. Sasarai took a seat from one of them, and gestured for Nash to take the other one.
"I suppose this doesn't come as a surprise to you," Sasarai said, rubbing his forehead. "But this hasn't been in the agenda. I didn't think I would be asking this of you." He paused, and Nash waited patiently for him to continue. He thought to himself how weary the Bishop seemed to look.
"Something was stolen from the Temple."
Nash straightened up in surprise. "Someone managed to break in and steal one of the runes?"
"No, not quite. Although if that had happened again, I wouldn't be surprised. Luc managed it, and his master did before him. Crstyal Valley is irresistable to the most powerful creatures on earth, or to those who wish to be powerful... Fortunately, it's not that. Someone stole a scroll containing important research from the Temple. But it's connected to a True Rune, yes."
"So it's a scroll containing a study of a rune? But scholars from all over the world go in and out of Crystal Valley specifically for studies of True Runes, don't they?"
"Yes, but this was confidential. This knowledge has never been shared to the public. One of the reasons being the questionable existence of the rune in the research. It was being looked upon for some time in the past, but the trouble with Zexen and the Grasslands came up...the true elemental runes came up, in fact, and this study was almost forgotten with all the excitement." Sasarai sighed. "This should have been taken care of a year ago," he muttered, almost to himself.
"So I retrieve this scroll for you, correct?"
"Yes. But there's more to it than that. I wanted you specifically for this mission for a reason."
Nash chuckled lightly. "You mean you just didn't pick me out because I'm a skilled swordsman and extremely capable?"
Sasarai smiled tightly in response. "The thief who broke in was something...not human." The Bishop noticed the visible change in the blonde man's expression. "From what we could find out from its tracks, we are guessing that the thief is a vampire."
Nash leaned back on his chair. He couldn't believe it. "A vampire, huh?" He tried to keep his tone carefully neutral, but Sasarai could anticipate what was coming. "Did you happen to find out if it was a male or female vampire?"
The Bishop shook his head. "We're not even completely certain that it was a vampire. But from the state of the...casualties, it is most likely to be one."
Nash was frowning, deep in thought. "But to break into the Temple...it doesn't seem like her style."
"No, I didn't think so, too," Sasarai smiled, and this time it seemed genuine. "It seems to be the work of a lesser vampire...if we really can call anyone who's managed to break into the security of the Temple a 'lesser' being."
His green eyes darkened as Nash pondered on this bit of information. "Do you have anything else for me to go by?"
"I'm afraid not. About the scroll...well, that's all I can tell you for now. But its immediate return is of utmost importance."
Nash nodded. "I'll see what I can do." He moved to rise, but Sasarai interrupted him.
"Nash, have you visited your sister?"
The question seemed to trouble the blonde man more. It was the last thing he'd expect Sasarai to ask; he rarely ever mentioned anything about his family. It brought back memories. He looked away before answering. "No. Not yet. I haven't had time."
Had he cared to glance at the Bishop that moment, Nash would've seen the tiniest flicker of pity in his eyes. "It must have been too long. You ought to check how she's doing--you and Lena appear to be the only family she has left."
'As if I'll ever forget,' Nash thought grimly. Her sister wasn't a young woman anymore, and though he himself thought her to be fragile, he wondered why everyone else seemed to think the same way. He nodded stiffly as he stood up from his seat. Sasarai did so as well. As Nash lay his hand upon the doorknob, the Bishop spoke up again, making him pause.
"I have not forgotten the years of exceptional service, Nash Latkje. I will see to my end of the bargain..."
Nash didn't stop by to see his sister as Sasarai had suggested before he took off from the Temple. Yet, it was already late in the evening when he had finally reached home.
He closed the heavy oak doors behind him and stared at the Latkje mansion in the dark. The enormous, empty house didn't seem like home...and it hadn't been for what seemed like ages.
Alone, he couldn't help but break the facade he had bravely put up in front of Sasarai, and he let out a great sigh. That single breath held a dozen other regrets and bitter hopes within it. A thousand thoughts flitted through his mind, and again he was reminded of things he'd rather forget. He let out a bitter laugh, as he thought again how tempting it was to hate himself.
But that would have been foolish. After all, there was nothing really wrong with his life.
Not much anyway.
He trudged up the staircase noisily, taking off his heavy, leather gloves along the way. It was unlike him to get so carried away with emotions and he rarely ever dwelled in the past. If anything, it was his past that was bothered with him, creeping up on him like that when he least expected it.
Upon opening the door to his room, he placed the pair of gloves on top of a table he knew would be there. But it wasn't until he lit up the first lamp did he nearly jump out of his skin.
"Has it really been so long since I last saw you Nash? You are starting to look your age."
That voice! Recognition sent a jolt of thrill into his veins as he looked, wide-eyed, towards the source. "Sierra!"
The girl stood up from her sitting position on the bed and approached Nash. "What is wrong with you?" she said, smiling smugly up at him. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Or a monster," he blurted out before he could stop himself. Sierra's scowl was immediate.
"I see you have not changed a bit. Your wits are looking as old as you are."
By now, Nash had mostly recovered from the shock of seeing the vampire, and he laughed. "Oho, I wouldn't be the one talking about age, old hag." He swivelled to his side even before finishing the sentence, obviously anticipating, and narrowly avoiding Sierra's clawing. He caught her hand in his and attempted to pull the girl to her, but she snatched it away quickly. "Missed me, haven't you? I told you disappearing on me for so long wouldn't do you any good." He grinned at her impishly.
"Hardly," she replied frostily, turning her back on him. "I came here because I thought I would have you look at something interesting."
"Oh?" He cocked a brow. "Pray tell, what is it?"
Sierra pulled out a leather-bound scroll from her waistband. "This." She tossed it to him.
He caught it in his hand, but even before he did, he recognized the binding and the mark pressed upon it. It was definitely a scroll from the Temple. He narrowed his eyes as he held it up. "This is a scroll from the archives of the high priests. How did this get into your hands?"
"Not by going into the Temple, I assure you, so you can stop that foolish glaring. It comes as a surprise to me that you do seem to know about it."
He let out a sigh as he sat down on the bed. "I've just learned of it earlier. Apparently, someone had stolen it from the Temple a few nights ago." He looked up pointedly at her. "I was told the thief might have been a vampire, but I couldn't believe you'd do something like that. And now you show up my in my house with the scroll in tow. Where did you get this?"
"From some old friends." At Nash's expectant stare, she scowled, and added, "I assure you, they are not likely to show up and nose into anyone's affairs ever again." She looked away before continuing. "I have been here for quite some time, and when the news of vampires prowling the city reached my ears, I wasted no time in hunting them down. They had that," she nodded at the scroll. "I did not even know they had it and I very nearly missed it. I was surprised they were in Crystal Valley in the first place, but that must be one hell of an important scroll for them to be risking the wraths of Harmonian high priests."
"Or yours," he added.
"They could not have known I was in the area."
"So there were two vampire thieves," he muttered. "Well, in any case, I was just ordered this afternoon to search for this missing scroll. I'm glad you just made my job a whole lot easier, but you understand that I can't let you keep it."
It was by no means a question; it was a firm statement. Sierra merely shrugged. "Do as you like."
Nash looked at her suspiciously. "You've read through it, I assume?"
Sierra's ruby eyes sparkled with mirth. "Even better, I made a copy. It seemed too interesting to pass up."
"And what have you learned?"
She finally gave in to laughter. "Why don't you read for yourself?"
His frown expressed his displeasure at her answer, but he soon gave in and removed the bindings of the scroll. He carefully unrolled it and skimmed through the first part, mulling over the illustrations. After a long while, he looked up at her and said, "This...it's quite difficult to understand. It says something about...fulfulling a rune?" He scratched his head and looked down at the scroll again, unrolling it further. "From what I know about the True Runes...this is quite different. I always thought all the True Runes had a tangible form..." Nash trailed off as he heard Sierra chuckle lightly. "What did I say?"
"And just how much do you know about True Runes, Nash? The runes are never constant in form, power, or choice in bearers."
A brief pause. Then, "You're right," Nash agreed, almost apologetic. He held her gaze silently for a full moment, knowing she, above all people, should know that the Runes couldn't simply be classified or bound within man-made rules. Sierra was thought to have detached her own a long time ago, and yet, it stubbornly seemed to recognize no other owner.
She came to sit beside him on the bed and said, "If you read on further, it gets even more interesting."
He scratched his head. "This is going to take all night." He stood up so he could stretch his arms to further unravel more of the writings on the parchment.
"Well, do not expect me to be here for that long."
"Because I did not come to Crystal Valley to get entangled in someone else's business."
Nash grinned evilly. "Yes, and I'm sure that's why you made your own copy." At Sierra's annoyed expression, he prodded further. "You said you were already in Crystal Valley when you heard about the vampires. What were you doing here?"
He could sense the hesitation in her eyes before she finally answered him. "I was waiting for you to come up," she answered simply. She looked away, bracing herself for the teasing she imagined would soon follow. Something along the lines of him being irresistable that she couldn't get away from him too long. Idiot.
But he surprised her this time. "Waiting?" He merely echoed. "I didn't get into Crystal Valley until today. Why didn't you just look for me in Caleria?"
"Indeed? Then I seem to have struck on luck when I decided to come here tonight," she said, smiling as she spoke.
Nash merely scoffed at her evasive reply and turned her around gently to face him. "You didn't answer my question, old girl. Why were you looking for me here?"
She looked at him in surprise, not because of his persistent questioning, but because of how he appeared to be gazing at her right then. Nash's eyes were always exquisitely expressive, whether he chose them to be or just because...she was aware of how easily he could turn them into weapons. But against her? What she saw in those viridian depths startled her at first, more than she cared to admit. It was foolish of him to appear to be concerned for her sake. And yet...there was something else in his look that made her uncomfortable, and she sensed that it was dangerous for her to question. She wondered if he had ever looked at the stiff, lady knight in that way. Surprised at the sudden flow of her thoughts, she irritably pushed it away and decided to answer him instead.
"That may have been the case then, but I do not believe it matters anymore, so--"
"Are you in trouble, Sierra?" he asked her softly, but anxiously.
She laughed, but almost winced when even she could hear how forced it was. She reached up to lay a hand upon his cheek instead. "You are worried for me," she said, in a voice that she hoped sounded lighthearted. "How sweet." She stood on her tiptoes and leaned dangerously close to plant a soft kiss on his other cheek.
The gesture threw Nash off as she expected it would, and it amused her to see the man blushing. At thirty eight! But quick on his reflexes, he caught her wrist, not willing to let her distance herself just yet. "Why don't you spend the night here with me? After all, that's what married couples do, right?" His tone took on a teasing note, but she could hear the underlying seriousness in it.
Sierra closed her eyes and smiled as she leaned against him once more. Nash held his breath, stilling himself. Her face was so close that her lips nearly touched his, but she moved slightly to his side to whisper in his ear, "I think I prefer the blushing youth, Nash. It reminds me of precious days gone by."
One moment she was practically in his arms, the next, the room had gone dark as the only lamp went out. He could barely make out her form, but he knew she was at the opposite side of the bed, standing near the balcony doors. Both doors swung open now, letting a cool, night breeze in...and the vampire stepped into the moonlight that barely showed her face as she seemed to look back at him.
Sierra and her little tricks.
She was gone in a second. There was nothing left for him to do but close the balcony doors, and stare up at the ceiling as he uncermoniously sunk into bed. He doubted he'd get enough sleep now. But he smiled widely in the dark as he mused on the sudden turn of events. Not everything that crept up on him from his past was bad, after all. Weird, perhaps, and most assuredly complicated, but not bad. Gingerly, he traced a path with his fingers on the cheek where Sierra had kissed him.
Not bad at all.
Suikoden and its characters are mine. No, not really. Just checking if you're really reading this stuff. They're Konami's.
Engrish. Engrish. Engrish. Deplorable. I probably should have a beta-reader but I'm too much of a wuss. Granted, English isn't my first language, but if I used that as an excuse, let me be the first one to kick my ass. Ouch! (Trans: Thank you very very much for the reviews, guys! I almost can't believe they were all so nice! So far, anyway. ;)