Chapter 25: Lingering Doubt
Previously: "Naminé," Ronaldo hissed suddenly, "He's moving! Quick!" He gave me a slight push into another shadowed area.
It was time to see where he was going.
I stumbled for a moment before regaining my balance and hurrying after Zexion's retreating figure. The dense shadows radiating off of the sunset pillars allowed us to slink undetected through the castle's courtyard.
"Where do you think he is off to, Naminé?" Ronaldo whispered quietly.
I let out a small sigh, and shrugged my shoulders with a wry smile, "I have no idea."
Ronaldo hesitated for a moment, allowing me to creep forward a foot.
"Alright, then," Ronaldo said his eyes abruptly quizzical, "Do you mind explaining why exactly we are following him, if you have no clear indication as to where he is going?"
Biting my lip, I glanced at Ronaldo, mentally debating with myself whether or not I should lay my suspicions out in the open. Yet, I knew even within that small moment of hesitance that I needed to tell him. After all, I was the one dragging him off with no reason besides a simple invitation to join me.
"I…I think he may know something about what has been happening to Roxas lately," I confessed, with a wavering smile—one that in my mind only plagued me with thoughts of my prince in danger and me a million miles away from him.
My hands clenched at my sides, involuntarily as I tried to keep the stinging in my eyes from creating tears.
Ronaldo nodded his head, his tone tinged with a bitter edge, "Of course….Well then, we should keep going your majesty. After all, we should try to keep Prince Zexion in our best sites if we are going to follow his trail."
Nodding my head, I sucked in my tears and followed Ronaldo's footsteps towards the gates.
"You're quite certain you are ready for this, brother?"
Sora inhaled deeply before letting out a deep breath, "Ready as I'll ever be."
We were standing outside the ivory set of double doors that lead into the meeting room—still. It had been nearly a half hour since we arrived but I couldn't shake the anxiety that lingered in my veins—but I tried to at least, for Sora's sake, not allow myself to outwardly display such uncertainty.
I nodded, attempting a small forced smile, as I made a gesture to his new black attire, "And everything fits well, right?"
Sora bobbed his head and smiled, "Like a glove."
I let out my own breath and ran a hand through my jagged hair, "It's a good thing we're twins, huh?"
Sora rolled his cobalt colored eyes, "Quit worrying, everything is going to be fine. I'll go in, schmooze your boss, have a couple of laughs and then bada bing bada boom, I'll be in and we can save Mother."
This time I was the one who rolled my eyes, "It's not that simple, Sora. Superior will be looking for tricks…He…He doesn't trust me like he used to." And it was true Superior hadn't been as lenient with me lately. Simple mistakes called for brutal punishments, and not only that but my whereabouts in Superior's eyes now had to be specified down to the last detail.
I was surprised I could go to the bathroom without reporting it-I grimaced at the thought.
"And you're sad about that? Rox, these guys are phonies. I know it. All they want is for you to do all the work so they don't have to get their hands dirty."
Sora put his hand on my shoulder and forced me to look up at him, "And remember, this is for Mother. Nothing else matters but keeping her alive."
I nodded solemnly at the mention of our dying mother. This was not only for her, this was for Naminé too. I had to keep both of them safe.
"Alright, let's do this."
"I wonder where he could possibly be going?" I murmured quietly to myself. We had been out of the palace courtyards for nearly an hour and I was truly starting to question where Zexion was even headed off to—and on foot no less.
He must have quite the stamina…unlike myself. I was already beginning to feel the burning pulse of my muscles as each step I took intensified the throbbing.
Ronaldo was doing better than I was, but not by much. He and I both desperately needed some sort of refreshment or a chance to sit, but I knew that even a second wasted could cost us dearly.
"Your… majesty, it… appears as… though… he's… headed down… that …alley," Ronaldo rasped in between breaths.
I nodded in response before pushing my legs further down the cobblestone streets. People on the far ends of the streets appeared to be watching us with interest and I couldn't help but feel a pang of embarrassment at the spectacle they must think us to be.
Two sweaty adolescents, sprinting down the rocky streets as though we were two escape convicts from an insane ward. I inwardly cringed, Mother and Father would never approve.
Yet, as I rounded the corner of the alley pathway, all thoughts of embarrassment fled, as I was suddenly aware of something that didn't feel quite right.
I took a few hesitant steps forward with Ronaldo beside me his voice a small whisper.
"What is it, Naminé?"
"It's—" I froze. Zexion was now standing directly in front of us, an irate expression on his face.
"Is there something I can help you with, your highness?"
I licked my now dry lips, searching for a logical answer. I was following you because…
Zexion let out an annoyed sigh as he flicked a strand of gray hair from his face, "Cat got your tongue princess?" Zexion sneered, "Look, I don't know what your problem is, but I'm quite certain stalking me across town isn't going to solve it."
Swallowing back the lump in my throat, I stepped forward to better address him.
"Actually,…I do believe you have the solution to my problem."
Zexion's steel eyes narrowed, "And why would you say that, princess?"
His assiduous, shrewd gaze made me momentarily shrink back, my erratic heartbeat thundering in my ears for before I was able to gather my courage again.
"I would say that because…You know what has been happening to Roxas."
Zexion stumbled back slightly at my claim before composing himself, "Roxas? What are you talking about?"
"You know exactly what I'm talking about!" I accused sending a surprisingly chilling glare towards the stoic boy.
Zexion's eyes widened at my tone, and I'm surprised my own eyes didn't repeat the action. Honestly, since when had I become so…boisterous?
"Hmph, really princess," said Zexion crossing his arms, "why do you think, me out of all people, would know what was happening with the prince lately?"
"You're…best friends, aren't you?" My voice dropped as uncertainty began to dawn on me. Maybe I had been wrong…what could Zexion know that no one else did?
"Well…yes, of course but..," Zexion hesitated as if mentally debating something, "I'm afraid I am unaware of anything that could be causing the prince to be acting so strange these days."
I nodded, allowing Zexion to take his leave, but I still felt as though something wasn't right—That perhaps I had missed something vital in what he had said.
My mind replayed the event over twice before I was able to catch what I had so blindly missed. It was so simple that I had completely overlooked the signs in his eyes.
The flashes of hesitance, and uncertainty—all pointing to one thing. He lied.
"You wish to speak with me Key of Destiny?" Superior deadpanned. It was obvious that as soon as Sora and I entered the room, Superior was not in the slightest bit amused.
The uneven and elevated sets of chairs, normally full, were now empty, save for Superior's and with such absence came a feeling of utter desolation.
We were alone. Superior could destroy the both us with no objections from any of the other members. It would be easy enough too. A simple unexpected blast-
"Key of Destiny? Is that you Rox? That's soo~ cool! I want a name like that and—"
I elbowed Sora roughly in the ribs, shooting him a warning glare, "Be quiet you idiot, now is not the time for such questions."
Sora's face suddenly became overcome with sullenness, and despite the fact that we could be obliterated any moment, the pang in my chest prevented me from leaving him in such a state.
"Let's just get through this, okay? Then, we can think of some sort of name you like that you can call yourself by."
Sora's features instantly lit up, and he grinned widely at me but this time wisely said nothing.
"Yes, Superior. I wished to speak to you in regards to the matter of my brother here, joining the Organization," I answered, doing my best to respond with a fluid confidence that I hoped would win Superior over.
Superior arched an eyebrow incredulously, "Prince Sora wishes to join the Organization?"
"Yup" Sora responded with a bright grin.
Superior's expression remained unchanged, "And why is it that you wish to join among our ranks here?"
Sora shrugged his shoulders, and I had to restrain myself from slapping him upside the head, "Why not?"
"What he means to say, Superior," I interceded before either my brother or Superior could respond, "Is that he finds much value in becoming a member because he is sick of our father's brutality and foolishness within the kingdom and wishes to join forces with a much wiser group whose goals are nothing but to help benefit those like myself who are without a heart."
Superior nodded in contemplation, "He knows then, our agenda and is willing to abide by our rules and serve as a loyal member to our Organization?"
"Very well then, Sora," Superior made a slight head gesture towards my brother who straightened his posture instantly at the authoritative gaze, "You may join among our ranks as the fourteenth member."
"Thank you, Superior."
I looked at my brother expectantly. He blinked before clumsily bowing his head.
"Oh, uh, thank you as well…"
Now it was time to save mother.
AN: Okay so as always I'm extremely late with my updates. Nothing too new there, but I do really want to apologize for those who've been waiting for so long.
You see, the drama in my life that I was sure was ending went and decided to start all over again and consume most of my life. Then school came around and I'm in two honors of advanced placement classes (English and History) and those especially history take the majority of my time away.
But as always, I hope that everyone enjoyed this chapter and are still even after the wait willing to drop me a line or two in a review.
Also I would like to point out the fact that this story is almost four years old which is crazy because you'd think within that amount of time this story would be about finished….but anyways thanks to everyone who read and reviewed, you guys are amazing:)