Well, here we are, however many years later. :) This chapter was actually commissioned by a reader, and so I am forced to write.
Not much of Cael in this chapter. He just didn't fit in anywhere. XD Hope you guys enjoy~
If you're interested, my commission info is here: .com . There's a link in the journal for prices.
I made my way back inside with Cael and Freya through the crowd to the side where the cheese dishes and whatnot were out for the grazers. Logan was up with a small mike and was shushing the crowd.
"Now, now everyone," he said as the idle chatter from the crowd dulled down. "There've been rumors as to why Angie and I have brought you all here tonight and I can affirm that, no, none of the branches are closing, nor are we getting married," he said with a hearty laugh. I nearly choked on the cheese cube I was eating. "No," he continued as the crowd chuckled, "it's... somewhat different. Angie, why don't you join me to deliver the news?"
He outstretched his hand and waved me over, as the others scooted and made way for me to reach the stage. Putting as much effort into the pseudo-smile as I could, I gracefully made my way to him and looked at him to go on. "...And just what are you getting me into...?" I snarled at his mind.
Logan gave me a chilling smirk. "We're going back home, Love." "We are finally opening a branch outside the US, ladies and gentlemen. We're going to be in jolly ole' England! And this branch will be the fronting the entire European move!" He allowed the crowd to yip and cheer in excitement.
I could feel the blood drain from my face as it hit me. England... After all the centuries I had been running from that damn country, he was sitting me on a catapult and flinging me back there? Oh, no. No sir. This was not going to fly, not as long as I held breath in my lungs! I took a firm -or bone cracking, take your pick of adjective- of Logan's wrist and said softly, "I will talk to you in private. Now."
He waved to the crowd of cheering and chatty employees and I quickly dragged him to the back, where I whirled and restrained the urge to set him aflame. "England? Bloody ENGLAND? And when were you going to tell me, when I was on the Goddamned PLANE?"
He chuckled and placed a hand on my shoulder to try and calm me. "No, my dear, I was going to tell you... well, just now. Your reaction was well worth it." His coy, toothy grin grew. "I figured you were a little homesick, so I figured you'd be happy to go back. After all, I wouldn't mind a trip back home, either."
I shoved his hand off of my shoulder and brought my hand up to slap him, but then lowered it. I was better than that... I kept my voice low and calm as I spoke. "...I thought I made it quite clear when we started this that I would have nothing to do with England. If I so wanted to go back, I would have done so by now. You... You CAN'T make me go back."
Much to my dismay, his smile never left him. "Can't I? You, like the rest of us, are bound by this society's rulings and options. You can't just scamper off and hide like you used to, Angela," he spoke as his calm demeanor fluctuated to reveal something... else... My gaze narrowed. What was he plotting...? "All the edges of the map have been drawn and are watched with satellites. The monsters that once dwelt on the unknown have been tamed or slain." He started to move in a circle around me. "The point I'm getting at, Angela, is, what choice do you have? Either you do as I say, or... I relieve you."
The threat, though subtle, was not overheard. "...'Relieve me'? You mean, fire me?"
Logan tsked and shook his head. "Now, I don't want to get into any unpleasantness. This is, after all, a party." He put his hand back onto my shoulder. "I just hope you don't make the wrong mistake and do something rash..." He patted my shoulder and left, leaving me with a horrific feeling of inferiority.
When he was gone, I rammed my fist into the wall, which went through with a satisfying crunch of dry wall and plaster. I sighed as small bits of debris fell onto my arm and took in a deep breath as I righted myself. How dare he THREATEN me! The nerve of that blithering ass! Cornering me and forcing me to go back... it reeked of a set up.
Though, he was right... I couldn't run off and hide anymore. Not like I could in the old days. The world was too small for that now. Too cluttered. Not only that, the dragon haven had disappeared for good, as far as I could tell. And even if I could fly and try to find it, I wouldn't even know where to begin. And risking traveling in my true form was too much for the slim chance I could get away. I was sure it was the only reason Logan hadn't done the same.
The sound of someone softly clearing their throat caught me off guard and I turned to see Cael standing rather uncomfortably. "I, uh... I had something to ask, but I walled- I mean, I forgot, so... I guess I'll leave you alone..."
I shook my head and brushed off the powder and bits of dry wall to gesture for him to stay. "No, no... You're fine. What was it that you wanted to ask me?"
Cael made a face. "Just... Uhm... Who all is getting transferred to England and how long will it be and when are we leaving? Cause I was thinking that, since I just got here and all, I could stay and, you know, hold down the fort..."
I waved my hand, dispersing the question casually. "I honestly don't know. Crow just sprung this on all of us, including myself, so I really can't tell you anything. I'll get back to you and the other employees within the end of next week. Just... go back out and enjoy."
He nodded quickly and turned to leave, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I don't think I'd been as terrified of a person like I was right then. She had just punched through a freaking WALL and wasn't even breaking a sweat! All I could think about was a thirty-foot green version of her stomping around Tokyo roaring "HULK SMASH!" and destroying stuff. So when she asked me a question, it caught me off guard and I stumbled through the conversation, hoping to emerge from it in one piece. When it finally ended after what seemed an eternity, I escaped as fast as I possibly could without causing too much of a distraction.
Badger caught me as I tried to find Freya in the crowd. His face was beet red to go with his hair. "H-Hey, wha's the hurrey?" he slurred.
I swallowed and attempted to keep myself calm. "Uh... Just... Gotta go, is all. Have you seen my fiancée?" When he shook his head, I went past him to find Freya at the snack bar, pouring herself another round of punch. I was not going to stay here even if they offered me the world...
The night air was cool on my face, the breeze chilled with the moisture of an approaching storm. I took in the sweet, free air, enjoying it as it not only filled my nose and lungs, but my wings as well. It was a well-received relief from the previous weather, which had been naught but heat and humidity. The moon was fully waxed, its brilliance shining down on the desolate land below with its ethereal light.
I recalled that never before my adventuring with the madman and the other misfits had I enjoyed a simple nighttime flight like I was right then. I looked down to see the aforementioned man staring up at me -or attempting to at least- as he sat on a nearby stump. For a reason I can't remember now, I dove down to meet him. He did not flinch at my loud wing beats, nor at how close they came at him as I landed; he was far too used to them by now. He glanced up at me and gave me a small smirk. "Having fun, are we?" he asked in my mind.
I let out a slow rumble in my chest. "And what, pray tell, is wrong with a simple night flight?" I glanced around as he gave a simple shrug. "Why are you not asleep, Caim? The she-elf might take advantage of your weakness and devour you next chance she sees."
He chuckled bitterly in my mind as he shifted to leaning on his hands behind him. "...No, she wouldn't. For one, she'd have to go through you, and we've both seen how that works. And two, she'd prefer the kid first anyhow."
And then, though we said nothing else to each other, I knew why he was really there, watching the night from that stump. Why he was unable to sleep. Without another word, I lowered myself to allow him to mount my back, and waited. He looked up, considered something for a moment, then got on. I heaved myself back up into the sky, the moon guiding my way.
Nothing was spoken throughout the flight. We didn't need to speak. At one point, I turned my head, curious as to what he was doing to find he had already fallen asleep. It was always so... relieving... to see him sleep. To see that warmongering, restless, bloodthirsty spirit finally find some sense of peace, if only for a few hours. I suppose it gave me hope then- not hope to survive the war, but the hope that if we did, the two of us would be able to move on after the war, to be able to move past the stupid violence and horror...
...To finally be able to sleep without worry, to go through a day without murdering some mindless Imperial soldier, to be done with this. To let it be over. For peace to find a place within us...
My eyes opened lazily as the memory/ dream/ subconscious babble faded from my mind, and I found myself staring at my ceiling. How my soul ached after those memories; it remembered what it was like to have a pact, to be joined with something. Even now, centuries later, it was still sore... I frowned and tried to brush it off as heartburn and stood. It was almost time for me to get up anyway.
I went through my normal morning routine, the repetition allowing me to ponder on the thoughts from last night. Soon after Cael had found me, I left the party and went home. Europe... I sighed and collected myself. It should be fine. We were probably going to end up in England- no other choice made that much sense. Though England was a battleground, it wasn't a remarkable landmark, e.g. Caim's castle site or the Imperial City. It was going to be fine. And besides, it wasn't going to be permanent...
Work was simple enough. No one approached me for anything, no angry clients or troublesome malfunctions or whatnot. It was a pretty normal day. Mundane in all of its splendor, I spent most of the day cleaning out my e-mail. Monotony in its finest form.
That is... until I got home.
I had just made some coffee when there was a knock on my apartment door. Frankly, the only ones who visited were Girl Scouts, religious solicitors and other door-to-door salesmen of the like, so I wasn't too keen on looking to find out who it was. Though, as I pondered, the knock sounded again, and I groaned. When I went to the peephole, I found none other than Logan Crow. Fan-bloody-tastic.
I groaned again for different reasons and opened the door. "Logan, this is a surprise. I thought you'd be back on your way to your throne in New York?"
He simply smiled -the one that makes me want to chomp it off of his face- and sighed. "No, not quite yet. I have some things to discuss with you before I left. I was going to discuss them with you on the ship, but you left so abruptly..."
My eye twitched as I moved aside to let him in and shut the door behind him. Before I could make up whatever excuse I could to cover myself, he spoke. "Now, I know you're upset. I remember what it's like to lose your pact-mate and... I suppose you were particularly close to yours. However, when what I have planned comes to light, I think you'll forgive me, dear Angela."
I frowned. I knew there was something wrong. "...'What you have planned'? And what does that mean, exactly?"
He chuckled as he had a seat on my sofa. "Come now, I know you're smarter than that, dear. You probably already figured there was an... ulterior motive to going to Europe. You and I both know what happened there, all those years ago. Nearly every single dragon still alive knows what happened. The fallout between mortals and the Gods. Man pitted against the red-eyed slaves of the Immortals as we, the superior mortal beings, watched as it played out beneath us. And with that, war and death and all of that nonsense. That is what happened, is it not?"
I was always a little uncomfortable with how little I knew about Logan, but now, I was more wary. But then, he said something that made my throat catch. "Though, as I recall, you were... a bit more involved in the fight, weren't you, Angela?"
I stepped back a bit. "...What do you know about that, Crow? How would you know where I was then, amidst all of that chaos? Who do you think I am?"
That damn Cheshire grin never faded as he stood again and stretched. " There's no need to be huffy, Angela. I don't want to get ahead of myself, since karma doesn't appreciate being taken for granted, but when I have more of the necessary tools at my disposal, I'll fill you in more of what I have in store. Just know that Europe is very, very important."
As I stood there, stunned, he walked back toward my front door. "Just remember what the Nameless did to us as a race, Angela. Because of their sins, we, the dominant, far superior race, has been exiled into myth and legend. We are forced to coerce with the lower species... and I'm tired of it. If not for us, then remember what they've done to you." And with that, he left me as my mind reeled.
...Europe... the Nameless... Just what was Logan to do about them, about Gods? Who was this man to know who I was back during the war? Or was he simply bluffing? If he was, he was damn good at it.
I found myself sitting in a chair, head spinning and aching. It would be better if I played along to see just where he would lead me. I chuckled bitterly at myself. It's been a while since a madman led me on a wild goose chase, why the hell not?