DH AN: I have another chapter of Powers Revealed. And only a day late from it's fourth anniversary of being published…Oh well. Enjoy Chapter Forty-One: Questions of Certainty.
Chapter Forty-One: Questions of Certainty
Sheon and Arlomhe stepped into the oasis, both silent as the cool air, and the realization of what had happened hours earlier, hit them. Sheon sighed softly. "I owe you so much."
"You don't owe me anything." Arlomhe murmured, removing her shoes and placing them near the doorway.
"What are you doing?" Sheon asked, somewhat alarmed.
Arlomhe laughed lightly. "I just want to feel something other than tile under my feet. Grass more than suffices." Flexing her toes, she felt relief. She slowly turned her head towards her companion, tone quickly regaining the dullness that was present in the corridor. "How do you think he will react to…to…the outcome?"
"I can't say for certain what his reaction will be." Sheon grimaced, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I know that he won't be too happy about it."
She rolled her eyes somewhat sardonically. "Anyone with half a brain could figure out that Noinreil would not be terribly pleased." Her brows furrowed. "I just hope he doesn't incur The R.H.'s ire."
"Why would he do that?" Sheon arched an eyebrow quizzically.
"From what I know of him, he is not calm when presented with things that he doesn't like." When she saw Sheon's confused expression, Arlomhe elaborated. "What he almost did last night when he learned that he wouldn't be watching the duel implies that." She stepped towards the bridge that led to the tree within the Oasis, stopping and shaking so hard she had to brace herself on the handrail of the bridge. "I'm thankful that he wasn't there to see me lose."
"You didn't lose on purpose." Sheon stated firmly. "You shouldn't have even agreed to that proposition!" The boy was now shaking. "What on-what on earth made you-made you think that following us was a good idea?" The crescendo of his voice failed to mask his trembling words .
"I wasn't going to let you put yourself in that situation." Arlomhe stated softly. "No one deserves to be pushed into something like that."
"But you…you found yourself in that situation that you wanted me to avoid!" Sheon almost glared at her, shaking his head minutely from side to side as his body tensed slightly "You know you didn't deserve that!"
"Sheon… please don't yell."Arlomhe felt her knuckles going whiter as she gripped the handrail harder. "You are not the first one to tell me that I should never have been in this situation."She sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose once. "What happened cannot be changed."
"Why ?" Sheon asked softly, terror seeping mercilessly into his tone. "Why did you take that proposition?"
"I had to." Arlomhe stated firmly. "You need to know nothing more than that."
"Who really presented that proposition to you?"
"Why is it that you harbor doubt about something that is obvious, Yagasawi?"The question hung in the air before the speaker continued. "I was the first to present it to her." Both Arlomhe and Sheon turned around to see The R.H. step through the door. "As to why she accepted the proposition, the obvious reason would be that she felt that you didn't deserve being thrown into circumstances beyond your control with no one to intervene." He exhaled softly. "If there are any other reasons, those reasons are hers to impart to you if and when she wishes." His gaze swept over both Sheon and Arlomhe.
The R.H. changed the subject rather swiftly. "You know you will not succeed if you do not trust each other." His footsteps crunched the grass beneath them as he stepped towards them. "To a certain extent, you must trust me as well." He extended his right hand towards the boy. "Sharti accepted the terms of the proposition through accepting an outstretched hand; you are aware that she was fully aware of the consequences." The R.H. exhaled softly. "I ask that you accept a handshake, with trust that I will see that you know what you need to."
"How do I know that I can trust you?"Sheon almost growled, narrowing his eyes.
"You have seen for yourself how I have kept Sharti safe within my care, as I assured you I would. Do not doubt my sincerity." The R.H. warned. "I hold far more than you realize in my control."
Arlomhe stepped away with her eyes still on The R.H.; she was not too keen on being the subject of an argument, nor did she see a need to intervene. She caught sight of Sheon hesitantly accepting The R.H.'s handshake. Motioning for Arlomhe to come back to them, The R.H. looked back toward the door. "Yagasawi, you will be going with Nashin to get fitted for your cloaks tomorrow morning." The R.H. paused. "You leave at seven and best be early; your ride will not wait."
"I understand, Sir." The toe of Sheon's right shoe rubbed against the grass in a nervous repeating right to left pattern. "Is there anything else that I need to be aware of?"
"Not at this time, Yagasawi." He exhaled softly. "You are dismissed."
Sheon merely nodded, exiting shortly thereafter.
The R.H. turned his attention back to Arlomhe. "As for you, you will be coming with me to meet one of your more respectable colleagues who will be charged with being your guide to the procedures of The Rare Hunters as well as the one who will answer any questions you may have."
"What about…this?" Arlomhe hesitantly indicated the The R.H.'s cloak, holding the right sleeve between her index and middle fingers.
"I shall take you to a female tailor for measuring in the morning." The R.H. responded tersely as he pulled his sleeve out of her grasp. "Now follow me, Dear One."
"Please…don't ask me to leave here yet." Arlomhe requested softly. "I like the feel of the grass under my feet." She hesitated before adding "There's no echo here either."
The R.H. gazed at her, pondering her words. He closed his eyes with a sigh. "Very well, Sharti." He stepped toward the door. "I will return shortly." He left soundlessly.
Arlomhe sighed gently, inhaling the aroma of the grass that held a slight scent of lilies. Closing her eyes, she heard the sound of the small stream that ran behind her. Opening her eyes, she stepped across the bridge, running her right palm on the surface of the smoothly polished oak handrail. Facing the tree, her knees buckled. Tears crowded her eyes. What have I gotten myself into? The girl had to fight the almost insurmountable urge to uproot the grass gripped in her fists out of fright. She couldn't hold her tears anymore. She sobbed, doing nothing to stop as she felt them rack her whole body.
"You should know by now what I think of tears." The softly cold voice of The R.H. came from behind her. "They will do nothing for you now. Quite frankly, tears do not suit you."
"I can't hold them anymore." Arlomhe murmured, turning to see that The R.H. was no longer wearing his cloak; she now saw he was wearing a short sleeve shirt of the same color and dark colored pants. She also saw that he held two bowls in his hands.
He knelt down carefully, ensuring that he did not spill either of the bowls. Setting them both to his right, he spoke softly. "You haven't eaten recently; Raji was kind enough to make this." He gestured to the bowls. "It's oatmeal with cinnamon. Eat." He requested tersely as he pressed the dish into her hands.
Arlomhe hesitantly took the bowl from him. The oatmeal was thick, and brown with cinnamon. She watched as The R.H. sat cross-legged across from her. He ran the fingers of his left hand against an area of grass underneath his palms. "Something is troubling you." He murmured, seeming to ignore the tears still present on the girl's face.
"What happens from here?" Her voice was soft, accenting her pensive expression. Waiting for an answer, she took a bite of the oatmeal with a small smile that quickly left when she set the spoon back into the bowl.
"I assume that means this was exactly what you needed." The R.H. murmured. "I will let Raji know." He took a spoonful from his own bowl as he pondered the question asked of him. "Beyond what I have already told you, I am not sure of what will happen from here."
"But…you…you were sure about everything before this." Arlomhe furrowed her brows.
"This has come much sooner than I would have wished." The R.H.'s gaze was fixed not on Arlomhe, but on the boughs of the tree behind her. "This was not the time I would have chosen; the circumstances were far too good for me to ignore." He stated somewhat bluntly. "You must understand that."
Rather than inquire further, Arlomhe pondered The R.H.'s words. She looked at the grass she had almost uprooted as she finished her food, running her fingers along the soft grass. She heard The R.H. pick up the bowl that she had set to her left, and heard him leave the oasis soon after. Standing, she turned her gaze to the oak. She leaned against the trunk, resting her hands on the bark. She exhaled as she ran her fingers across the bark, feeling a nook that two fingers fit into perfectly. Letting them rest there, she closed her eyes. This room held peace amidst the chaos she had thrown herself into.
Arlomhe felt a hand rest lightly on her right shoulder. She turned to see The R.H. observing her. "Follow me; your guide is waiting in my office." The R.H. started for the door
"Wait." Arlomhe was somewhat surprised when The R.H. turned to face her.
"What?" He asked tersely, leaning lightly on the railing.
Arlomhe pursed her lips, uncertain of how to ask her question. "You have used the phrase 'Rare Hunters' at least twice after the proposition." She inhaled deeply before asking her next question. "What are they?"
Her eyes searched his face, noting the frown that set into The R.H.'s countenance far too easily upon hearing the inquiry; she also inwardly squirmed as his eyes narrowed ever so slightly. The R.H. pondered simple question. It gave her the impression that he didn't wish for her to know the whole truth and was searching for enough satisfy the question. "The Rare Hunters are..." He paused for a short moment. "merely the organization whose meetings you stumbled into twice, and are the part of as a result of the proposition. That is all you need to know at this time." He waited for the girl to retrieve her shoes and ushered her into the hallway. Arlomhe sighed, unsatisfied that her question was only answered by the obvious.
The echo of their footsteps resounded through the corridor as they made the short trek to his office. She's right, The R.H. thought, there is an echo everywhere. Once they reached the door of his office, The R.H. halted. "Wait here. I will retrieve you when necessary." He quickly set his hand on Arlomhe's shoulder in an almost fatherly reassurance. Letting his hand drop from her shoulder only when he stepped forward, The R.H. turned the doorknob and entered his office. Arlomhe winced as he slammed the door; it seemed he had picked up on her frustration at the answer he had given her.
DH: I apologize for the awkwardness of that question and answer in the third and second to last paragraphs. There was just no other way I could answer that without The R.H. experiencing a horribly-timed slip of the tongue. Please Review.
If you have something that you want to see before Powers Revealed ends, please let me know via Private Message. I have one or two chapters and the Epilogue planned, then I start Powers Of Loyalty.