Hey guys! Look who's not dead! Okay, I'm really really sorry it's taken so long to get this chapter up. But real life has been kind of kicking me in the ass for the past months. I won't go into too much detail, but it basically began with me getting really sick for about a whole month, having to make up all the school I missed (technically I could have been expelled, but I'm boss at keeping up my grades soo~), dealing with two deaths, finishing my senior project, finishing up applying to college, keeping my grades up, graduating, AND getting a job. Phew.
But it's officially summer now! So I have WAAY more time, time which will be spent writing. Oh man, I've missed this story (and you guys) so much. But now I can get back to it! Originally there was more to this chapter, but I figured I made you guys wait long enough. So here it is!
His fingers hovered over the keyboard.
"Alfred? You've been staring at that computer screen for five minutes now."
He should type in the name. That was why he had pulled out the site, right? So why was it so hard to type in a simple name?
"Ouch!" Alfred said as Chelle hit his arm.
"That's what you get for ignoring me!" She said, standing in front of his desk.
"Sorry, I must have zoned out or something." Alfred apologized, rubbing the back of his neck. Why was he so scared to type in England's name? What did he have to lose?
Besides knowing for sure whether or not he was going insane.
"What are you doing on that computer?" Chelle asked, "Don't tell me it's Facebook again."
"It is." Chelle confirmed as she moved to look at the computer. "So what are you doing?"
"Uh…looking up an old friend." Alfred replied, not moving his eyes away from his computer screen.
In a way, he was grateful to Chelle for showing up. The very first thing Alfred did when he got to school that morning was take out his computer, to verify what England had told him last night in Abaddon.
He had been staring at the computer screen, which was opened to his home-page on Facebook, for what felt like hours, trying to work up the courage to type in that one name.
That was all it would take. Just type in the name and boom. Find out if he's insane or not. He was just having trouble actually doing it.
But now that Chelle was standing over his shoulder like that, he would look stupid if he didn't do something soon. So he might as well do it now, get it over with.
In the search bar, Alfred typed in: Arthur Kirkland.
Only about ten results came up, which was a bit strange because Alfred thought that both 'Arthur' and 'Kirkland' were both common enough names. But he wasn't complaining, since only ten results meant a faster sanity check.
Alfred scanned over the names, as well as the pictures that accompanied them, and it wasn't long until he found what he was looking for. Those eyebrows were hard to miss, even in that small picture.
Alfred could barely believe it, but when he clicked on the name (Arthur Kirkland, London), there he was.
The same messy blond hair, the same bushy eyebrows, the same vibrant green eyes…
It was Arthur alright. And he was, undoubtedly, real.
Alfred almost felt like crying.
"Oh! He's cute. Weird eyebrows though. So how do you know him?" Chelle said, bringing Alfred back to reality.
"C-cute? How can you think he's…I mean, I guess. If you're into that." Alfred said, while Chelles gave an annoying, almost knowing, smile. How could she think Arthur was cute?
Sure, the way his eyebrows always crunched up could be thought of as...adorable. And if you were someone who liked guys, you might even think that the way that his green eyes sort of lit up when he was happy were gorgeo-nice. And the small smile that sometimes tugged at the corners of his lips when Alfred managed not to mess things up was beaut-nice too. Even the way he smelled, a pleasant almost-earthy smell from all of the herbs he worked with, could be considered nice too. If you liked guys that is. Which Alfred didn't.
He was just good at noticing things like that.
"Sure…" Chelle said, walking back to her own desk. "Have fun stalking!"
"I am not-" Alfred began, but stopped when he realized that Chelle was no longer paying attention to him, instead talking about something or another with Toris. Probably about what had just happened, if Toris' glances his way were anything to go by.
Whatever, Alfred thought, they can think what they want.
Alfred than spent the rest of the time before class started looking at Arthur's pictures and information.
It was obvious that Arthur wasn't the one who created, or actually managed, his Facebook. His profile information itself gave that away.
Hello. My name is Arthur Kirkland and I'm a big fat jerk. My cooking sucks and I have an attitude problem and I think my brother Peter is the most awesome kid ever! You should totally befriend him and not me, an arse!
Alfred had to almost stop himself from laughing. Arthur's brother, because it was obviously him who wrote it, was definitely good at describing him.
There were a lot of pictures for someone Alfred had always assumed was camera shy. Though, when he looked closer, most of the pictures looked like they were taken without Arthur's knowledge or permission.
It was cool to see this part of Arthur, different from the England that Alfred was getting to know. Not really different though, as the Arthur in the pictures usually did what England did. Scowl, give glares (when he seemed to realize someone was taking a picture of him), and generally look like he had a stick up his ass.
But there were some pictures that looked different. Like the ones where he was drinking tea or reading from a book. In those ones his face looked relaxed, content.
Alfred suddenly had the wish to see Arthur look more like that.
But before Alfred could think further on how embarrassing that thought was, the teacher walked into class.
"Laptops closed everyone! Now let's get to talking about the state of equilibrium…."
Arthur was about half-way home from Italy's restaurant when he was roughly pulled aside by his arm.
"Relax." A stern female voice whispered before Arthur had the chance to finish his defense spell.
Arthur wasn't exactly convinced until he saw that it was Vietnam who had pulled him aside.
"Vietnam? What the bloody hell are you doing?" Arthur asked, ripping his arm away from the Asian woman's grip.
"I'm helping you. You're still stuck here, aren't you?" She replied, narrowing her eyes at him.
Arthur grumbled, and Vietnam took that as a yes.
"Look, I have information. About your…circumstances. I thought you might like to hear it. Was I wrong?"
"Oh. Have at it then." Arthur said, hoping that the information would help him get out of Abaddon.
"I talked to Denmark. He said Norway hadn't mentioned anything about not being able to wake up. They had only just gotten to Abaddon, so it wouldn't make sense for Norway to notice that if it had happened."
"Oh." Arthur said, feeling a bit disappointed.
"But I did do some more research. Apparently it's happened before. Being stuck in Abaddon."
"To who?" Arthur asked, starting to feel a little bit of hope.
"A woman named Egypt. She's long gone by now…That was all I could find out. You'd have to go find out more yourself." Vietnam explained.
"From who?" Arthur asked, too hopeful about this new information to ask why Vietnam expected him to be able to get more information than herself.
Thankfully, Vietnam was able to answer that without any prompting. "From Rome. I wasn't able to talk to him directly, I was only able to find as much as I told you from the head of the guards. Apparently Rome and China had some fight in the past…some bullshit. I don't know, but whatever it was, it was enough that Rome refuses to talk to anyone who is a part of China's 'group'."
Vietnam paused for a moment, as if remembering something, before she spoke again. "I need you to find out what happened. You're not…not aligned with anyone. I need you to find out and to tell me. Agreed?"
Arthur nodded. "Agreed." Telling Vietnam what he found out would be the least he could do for her.
"Until we meet again." Vietnam said, walking away and leaving Arthur alone once again.
So what was happening to him had happened to someone else before? He wasn't-wasn't the only one that this had happened to.
Somehow, the thought helped. If someone else could get out of this situation, then by God he could. He was Arthur Kirkland, an extremely powerful wizard!
His confidence went up at that, and Arthur made a mental note to see Rome as soon as he could. It was too bad that he hadn't heard this from Vietnam earlier. He could have spent the day getting information, instead of gathering herbs and stuffing his face with Italy's food. But now he didn't have any time, seeing as America would be asleep soon. They needed all the time they could to get America armour in time to meet up with Prussia and Germany.
He would just have to go and see Rome tomorrow. After all, it wasn't like Arthur had a shortage of time.
Arthur opened the door to his house, only to be suddenly tackled.
"What the hell?" Arthur tried to keep himself from falling down, but it was hard considering his arms and hands were now pinned to the tackling person's chest (as his first instinct was to try and push the attacker away). It was unnecessary though, as whoever had tackled him was also making sure he didn't fall over.
"Artie! You're real! You're really real!"
It was America. Of course. And it was in that moment, though it honestly should have been sooner, that Arthur realized he was being hugged, not tackled.
"Of course I'm real!" Arthur shouted, before realizing this situation he was in and how…close America was. "G-get off me you git!"
But America wouldn't let go, and even gave Arthur a tighter squeeze. "You were on Facebook, just like you said! I'm not going crazy!"
Arthur did his best to ignore the blush stubbornly climbing from his neck into his face. "Well…yes. That was the whole reason why I gave you my name." America smelled like…soap, which made sense since he probably took a shower before going to bed, even though Arthur had taken America for a morning shower person….okay. His brain needed to stop that train of thought.
"Get off of me!" Arthur said again, and this time America obliged, looking a bit sheepish.
"Oh…uh, sorry. Guess I got a little carried away there."
"It's…it's fine." Arthur said, before remembering what America had called him. "And my name isn't Artie!" Arthur had been hoping that America would forget the little 'nickname' that he had come up with the other night. Apparently that wasn't the case
"Aww, but you know you like it. Artie." America added, for extra measure.
"Sod off." Arthur said, half-giving up. "Just don't use that in front of anyone else. Frankly, 'Artie' is too similar to 'Arthur' for me to feel comfortable."
"Okay, okay. So we're gonna go and fight monsters today, right?"
"First of all, we aren't going to be fighting monsters. Hopefully, anyways. We're just tracking the one that's been stealing Italy's food. If everything goes according to plan, Germany and Prussia will be doing the fighting. And we aren't going anywhere until we get you some armour." Arthur explained.
"I get armour? Sweet!" America said, looking excited.
"Yes…Since you insisted on coming on this trip, I'm not about to have you get impaled by some renegade monster."
"But I thought you said we weren't fighting any monsters?" America said, smiling.
"I-It's just in case!" Arthur said, causing America to smile wider.
Arthur sighed. "Just forget it. Come on, we have to go to the armour shop."
Arthur began heading towards Francis' shop, America following enthusiastically.
Alfred was looking forward to this. Not so much for the shopping for armor stuff, but for the stuff he would be able to do after he got it.
England (He had gotten used to referring to Arthur as such) and China had said that he had super strength, had said that was his gift. Alfred could believe it. Whenever he was in Abaddon, he just felt…stronger. Like when he had tackled Arthur earlier (it had been an impulse, and Alfred had never been good at resisting impulses), he had barely had to use any strength to squeeze him. But a little more than he had expected…England was a lot stronger than he looked.
Alfred was looking forward to fully testing out his super strength.
"Is this the place?" Alfred asked as England stopped in front of a small shop.
"Alright!" Alfred said, starting to head into the shop. He was stopped, however, when he felt England's hand on his shoulder.
England quickly removed the hand as soon as Alfred turned towards him. "Uh, America. Before we go in there, you should know that the owner of the shop, France, is…he's a bit-"
Before England could finish, a figure walked out from the shop.
"Ah, England! It's been so long—Oh, who is this?" The blond man (Alfred had almost thought it was a girl at first, what with the length of the hair, but there was very clearly stubble on his chin) walked towards the two of them. He headed towards England, looking like he was about to grab him in a greeting hug, but stopped when he noticed Alfred.
The man then sauntered (yes, sauntered) towards him and grabbed Alfred's hand.
"Hello darling. Are you new here? I don't think I've ever seen your lovely face around here before." The man said, his voice low and sultry. Alfred felt the man give his hand a kiss. "Has England been hiding you from me?"
"Uh…." Alfred seriously had no idea how to react to that….and was that guy coming closer? Luckily, England reacted for him.
"Get your bloody hands off him you frog! Do you have to molest every person you meet?" England said, swatting the man's hand away from Alfred's.
"Oh, are you jealous? I assure you, I have enough love to share with all of you!" The man said, causing Arthur to scoff.
"So you're the owner of the shop I guess?" Alfred said, not really sure what else to do.
Before the man could speak again, England explained. "This, unfortunately, is France." He said, pointing to the man. "And this, frog, is America. He's been here since…my incident, and I've been looking after him. He needs armor."
"England, you hurt me so. Two days have gone without you visiting me, and now I find out that you've been hiding such a treat from me the whole time?" France said, holding a hand over his heart, as well as giving Alfred a noticeable side glance at the word 'treat'.
"Oh shut it. Could you do us all a favor and make this quick? America needs armor." Arthur snapped.
"I am always happy to help my customers! No matter how long it takes to make them satisfied. Please, come inside." France said, putting an arm around both Alfred and England (which England immediately shrugged off) and leading them into the shop.
The inside of the shop was small, but looked classy. There were various different kinds of armor, along with some outfits that looked far too small to offer any good protection.
"Pray tell me, what type of armor would you like?" France said, removing his hand from Alfred's shoulder to gesture around the store.
Alfred had no idea where to start, but luckily England seemed to be familiar with the store.
"If anything, he's going to be doing some basic fighting. Short range combat, most likely. He'll need something that will be able to take blows. And none of those scantily get ups that you seem so fond of." England said, causing France to pout.
"Ah, but I think that America would look magnificent in such an outfit, no?"
"I think I'm good with just regular armor or whatever." Alfred said. No way was he going to walk around half naked around monsters.
"If you insist." France said, waving a hand. "But it's shame, no? Such beauty as yours was meant to be shared with the world." France said in a seductive voice, adding a wink. Even Alfred, who was usually oblivious to such things, noticed the flirting.
It was a bit embarrassing, but still complimenting in a way. Even if Alfred didn't like guys. Cause he didn't. He just wasn't homophobic or anything like that.
"D-don't you have somewhere else to be frog? I think we can take it from here." England said, looking a bit pissed off. Alfred wondered if he was always like that around France, or if it was just today.
"Oh, so cruel England! But I see you want little America all to yourself. So selfish." France said, "But I do have my other beautiful customers to attend to. So I will leave you two alone."
Before France left to go towards a brunette woman looking through the store, he spoke over his shoulder. "I shall return in a few. Try not to get up to too much trouble while I am gone, no?"
"…I hate that man." England murmured after France had left.
"He's...interesting. I guess." Alfred shrugged, not really ready to form an opinion on him. He was a flirt, but he didn't seem that serious. Just really dramatic.
"Hmph. Interesting is a word for it." England said, before sighing. "Well, let's go look for some armour for you then."
Alfred had to admit, most of the outfits in the store looked good. He wasn't exactly an expert on fashion, but he knew enough to tell that France had talent. Even if it was hard to believe that some of the outfits were supposed to be armor. But hey, this was Abaddon after all. Maybe there was some hocus pocus involved or something.
"Hey, Artie?" Alfred asked, after making sure that there wasn't anyone around (they were currently the only people around in the area, with only a small yellow bird a little ways away being near), getting England's attention. (It might have been dangerous to use the nickname, but it reminded him that England was a real person, and made Alfred feel more grounded in reality. Plus it was just more fun to say than 'England'.)
"How come absolutely all of the armor for the girls look like bikinis? I mean, even some of the guy's armors usually covers at least the stomach area." Alfred asked, his curiosity getting the best of him. He never really got the of bikini armor for girls that seemed to appear in every fantasy game he played. And while some of the men's armor was just as bad, Alfred had expected Abaddon of all places, being sort of a real life fantasy-type place, to not follow the common cliché.
"I think it's supposed to be attractive." England said, examining a steel breast plate before putting it away.
For some reason which he didn't really know, Alfred's mind latched onto England's statement. The way England had said 'I think', even though it was said in a dry tone, made Alfred wonder if he really didn't know. Made him wonder if England maybe…
No. He shouldn't be thinking about that. It wasn't that he would have a problem with it, in fact—Okay he had to stop that. It was bad enough with what happened in the morning, when Alfred had thought he was cute. (No, Chelle had said that. He hadn't mentally agreed, not at all).
"Besides, it doesn't truly matter how much the armour covers. It all depends on how much magic France has weaved into it. Which is why he just loves putting people in little to nothing, the bloody pervert." England added, breaking Alfred out of his mental rant.
After searching around for a few more minutes, England and Alfred were able to pick something out. It struck Alfred as some sort of strange hybrid between the fantasy armor he saw in video games, and the football protective gear he wore during the sport's season.
The armor covered his chest and shoulders well enough. There was supposed to be a bottom to it, which looked like a speedo, to complete the outfit, but the two of them agreed to leave that behind.
France came back after they finished choosing, and nodded with approval.
"That will look excellent! Though, I must ask, do you plan on walking around without the bottom half? Not that I'm complaining." France said, raising an eyebrow.
"Get that grin off your face, frog." England snapped. "We were just planning on placing the armour over the clothes America is already wearing. You can do that, can't you?" England challenged.
"Of course! I am personally offended that you think so little of my abilities." France said. "It's a shame though, usually I would have you nude for the fitting…but if you insist on wearing clothes underneath…Such a shame."
France sighed and took out some measuring tape, and then began to take Alfred's measurements. France was, a bit surprisingly from what Alfred had seen of France so far, entirely professional.
France finished quickly, and the serious air he had adopted was dropped as soon as he was done.
"Well, I'll just adjust these quickly, and then you can try it on." France said, "I hate to leave again, but do not worry, I'll return quickly."
France walked away, taking the armor they picked with him, and disappeared into what Alfred guessed was the back of the shop.
"Hey, Ar-" Alfred was cut off from using the nickname by England's glare. "England? If we're going to be fighting monsters, shouldn't I get a sword or something?"
Arthur gave him a look. "You know how to use a sword?"
"It can't be that hard, right? Don't I just swish it around?"
England, instead of scolding him, gave a small amused smile. "I don't think arming you with a sharp object, especially one you don't know how to use, is the best idea."
Alfred grinned. "Aw, come on. You know I'd be awesome. I'd be like Bam! Swish!" Alfred said, mimicking the movements with his arms.
England started to laugh, a surprised snort at first, which grew into a fit of chuckles as Alfred continued the arm motions.
"St-stop it! You're being blo-bloody ridiculous!" England said between fits of laughter.
"Stop what?" Alfred responded innocently, beginning to make more 'woosh' sounds with the movements.
It was a few minutes before England managed to calm down, even after Alfred had stopped.
It was good to see England laugh, to see him let go. It reminded Alfred of the smile he saw England wear with the pixies. He looked happy. He definitely needed to laugh, and smile, more often.
"Am I interrupting something?" France said, walking towards them with the newly fitted armor.
The smile on England's face was immediately replaced by a scowl, a blush betraying his embarrassment at being caught laughing.
"Of course not!" England protested. "What took you so long?"
"Darling, such beauty as this takes time." France replied, handing the armor to Alfred. "Here, you can just change in the back room. Not that I would mind you changing here, but I don't want our England here to get too excited."
England protested loudly, but Alfred couldn't hear exactly what he said because he nearly ran to the dressing room.
Why did France keep implying stuff like that? Alfred was hardly one to notice such things, but France wasn't exactly being subtle.
Alfred's embarrassment kept him from noticing the strange situation until he was inside the dressing room. Why did he need to be in here? It wasn't like he was taking his clothes off, so why did France make him leave?
But Alfred shook the thought from his mind. Maybe France just wanted Alfred to see how the armor looked on him? There was a mirror in the room after all.
The armor wasn't that hard to put on, it was similar enough to his football protective gear that he was able to figure it out.
It was a bit heavy, but Alfred was sure he would be able to get used to it soon enough. He was still able to move easily, and everything fit perfectly.
And Alfred wasn't narcissistic or anything, but he could tell by looking in the mirror that the armor looked pretty good on him.
Alfred walked out of the dressing room, hoping that he had put everything on right. Usually he wouldn't worry about that, but with England here…Ah no. It was also (no, just) the fact that he was still new in Abaddon, and didn't really know when he was doing something right or not.
Alfred walked back to France and England, only to find….something.
France and England were standing close. Very close. France had an arm wrapped around England's shoulder, and was whispering in his ear. England's face was nearly as red as he had ever seen it. But he wasn't pushing France away. For some reason, that was the worst part.
The sight made Alfred stop in his tracks. Seeing the two like that, so close together, made him feel…not awesome.
It was probably rude to interrupt whatever it was they were doing, but Alfred didn't really care about manners right then.
"Hey guys!" Alfred said, trying to act nonchalantly, "What's up?"
England's blush, if possible, grew darker at the sight of Alfred and he (finally) pushed France away.
"America! You look magnificent." France said, looking unaffected at having been pushed away. "Wouldn't you say so England?" France said to England, wearing a knowing smile.
England gave France a glare, before turning to Alfred. He might have just been imagining it, but England's eyes stayed on him for a few seconds longer than necessary before saying, "It looks fine. We should go now, I don't want to keep Germany and Prussia waiting."
"Really, England? Going so soon?" France protested.
"Shut it. Here's your money." England replied, handing France a bag of coins. "You ready to go America?"
"Yeah." Alfred didn't feel like hanging around France anymore. Sure, he seemed like a nice enough dude (if a bit flirty) but after seeing him with England…Alfred was ready to go.
"Ah, if that is the case, then so be it." France sighed. "But I shall wait for your return with a hopeful heart."
"Stop being so bloody dramatic." England replied. "Come on America, we better get going."
America nodded. "Yeah. See ya –uh—France."
"Hopeful we will meet again soon, no?" France said, giving a flirting smile.
"Let's go." England said, grabbing Alfred's arm and half-dragging him out of the store. Not that Alfred was really resisting.
They walked together towards the edge of the forest where they would meet Germany and Prussia in relative quiet. Alfred was resisting the urge to ask England exactly what he and France had been doing when he was gone. Why did he care so much?
Sure, it was a bit suspicious. France had sent him to the dressing room for little to no reason, and then he came back to find them in such a close position, and with England's face red like that…But it really wasn't any of his business. But he still wanted to know.
Alfred wasn't good at resisting things, and he eventually gave into the temptation. "So, Art-"
But he was cut off by England. "I apologize-" England stopped when he realized he had interrupted him. "Oh, I'm sorry. You go on."
"Uh…" Alfred lost all his courage then. None of it was really any of his business. "Nah, you go."
"Ah…I apologize for France's behavior." England said, looking a bit embarrassed. "He can be a bit...he's a lot to handle sometimes. Whatever he says to you I…uh, I just want you to know that he's not really serious."
"Yeah, I kinda figured that out on my own." Alfred laughed. "He's a bit of a flirt."
"And a pervert." England added, starting to look angry. "I swear- boys, girls, inanimate objects, he doesn't care! He'll bloody touch anything that moves."
Seeing England get angry over France helped a little to get rid of the uneasy feeling that had settled with him after seeing them together. But there was still a small voice in his head that said 'but you didn't move away'.
Instead of saying that to England, he went with, "So how long have you known the guy? You two seem…uh, close. I guess."
England actually snorted. "That man has been a pain my arse for more than a year now. And if by close, you mean 'he won't stop invading my personal space' then yes, we're close. I went on one date with him, in freshman year, and now he thinks he can do whatever the bloody hell he wants. Wanker."
…It took a few seconds for that information to sink in. England had gone on a date with France?
"Oh. So you're…" Alfred said, when England looked like he realized what he just said. "You know…"
There was a pause. "Gay." England finished for him, and Alfred felt embarrassed that he hadn't been able to say it himself. "Yes." England answered.
There was another pause, where Alfred could swear that he noticed England start to get a bit nervous. "That's cool. I don't have a problem with it or anything, if you're worried about that."
Alfred gave England a small smile, trying to look reassuring it. He wasn't faking the smile either, even though he did have a small problem (he wasn't really sure why) with England having gone on a date with France, the fact that England had told him made him happy.
He liked it when England trusted him, it made Alfred feel more…comfortable around him. Like they were becoming friends.
Alfred thought he saw a small blush on England's face before England turned away with a 'humph'. "Well," He said, "It's good to see at least some people in your country are tolerant."
"Hey!" Alfred protested. "What's that supposed to mean! Americans are plenty tolerant. We passed the San Francisco act!"
"That's a city."
"I know that." Alfred replied, "I'm not stupid. I'm talking about the whatcha-ma-call-it act we passed there."
"…I hope to heaven you are not referring to Proposition 8." England said dryly.
"Yeah! That's the one!"
England looked at him disbelievingly.
"…That was a good thing, right?"
Alfred promptly received a smack on the head.
After receiving a lecture on politics (and other things Alfred didn't usually pay attention to) from England, they arrived at the edge of the forest.
Germany, Prussia, and North and South Italy were waiting for them.
"Ve~ You're here!" North Italy said, hanging close to Germany's side.
"What the hell took you guys so long?" Prussia complained, looking bored. "Let's go already."
"We had to get America some armour." England responded, "We're ready to go when you are."
"Then we can go." Germany said.
Alfred thought he heard South Italy (at least he was pretty sure it was the southern one) mumble, "Good riddance."
South Italy walked away from the group, apparently waiting for his brother to leave with him.
The other Italy, however, stayed for a moment to talk to Germany.
"Come back soon, ve. And be careful!"
"I will. And don't dawdle with your brother. Go straight back to the restaurant." Germany replied and, after some prodding, leaned down to receive two kisses on each cheek.
Alfred elbowed England lightly, and whispered, "Are they…?"
"Completely oblivious." England responded.
That didn't really answer his question, but Alfred shrugged and let it go.
Once both the Italys began to walk away, Prussia let out an excited yell. "Alright! Let's get this show on the road."
Germany nodded. "England, are you ready with the tracking spell?"
"In a moment." England replied, taking out a vial of something (it looked like orange dirt to Alfred) and pouring it out into a circle around him.
"What, you get a power down or something?" Prussia asked, "Thought you were able to find the monster fine without that shit a day ago."
England didn't respond until he finished the circle, after which point he sighed. "I was only looking at what auras had come into the kitchen, not tracking one. And I won't be able to do so if you don't stay quiet and let me work!"
Prussia gave a grumble, but nonetheless said nothing as Arthur began an incantation.
This wasn't the first time Alfred had seen England do magic, but it still didn't cease to amaze him.
As England chanted, a green glow began to appear around him. A wind that seemed to be conclusive to the circle wrapped itself around England, blowing his shaggy blond hair in several different directions.
Then, slowly, the invisible wind died down (blowing away the rest of whatever England had made the circle of) and the green glow faded away until England opened his eyes.
"I have its trail." England said.
"Good." Germany replied, "You should got to the front and lead us then."
England nodded and began to lead them into the forest. Alfred went to go walk besides him, but was stopped when an arm was wrapped around his shoulder.
"Got yourself some armor, huh?" Prussia said, his voice loud and friendly. "You visit France then?"
"Yeah. How'd you know?" Alfred asked.
"Not hard to figure out. France is pretty much the person to see if you want armor."
"Oh." Alfred said distractedly, glancing at England's back.
"But that armor's only gonna do part of the job in a fight. I understand that it's not possible to be as awesome as me and have a kickass sword like this." Prussia took his arm off Alfred's shoulder to show him the sword he had sheathed at his side. "But where the hell is your weapon?"
Alfred had to admit that the sword looked pretty cool, but…. "England says I shouldn't be allowed around sharp objects." Alfred smirked, thinking of their previous conversation at France's shop.
"Aww, England's got a huge stick up his ass!" Prussia complained, loudly.
"You know, just because I'm tracking a monster does not mean I can't hear you." England commented, not moving his eyes away from whatever 'trail' he was following. "America doesn't know how to use a sword. Or whatever skilled-based weapons Abaddon has to over. And if you do your job, then he won't need to."
"Hey, if it comes down to it, I can use my fists! You know, super strength and all." Alfred said. He was pretty sure he could handle himself, weapon or not. After all, he had been able to (sort-of) stand his ground when going up against that monster he and England had faced so long ago, and he hadn't even had all of his super strength then.
Prussia's reply was a wide and feral grin. "I like you!" He said, slapping Alfred on the back.
They continued walking together in a silence for a few more moments, heading deeper into the forest.
Alfred began to zone out a bit, looking at the area around him. It was strange. They were surrounded by different shades of green, like any other forest, but something was off. It took Alfred awhile to realize what it was.
The forest…it was almost like it was split into random areas. In some areas, the plants, the trees, the colors, everything was bright and vivid. But in others, he was reminded of the areas he had seen when he and England walked to China's. Like it was trying to imitate real life, but failing.
And whenever they passed the vivid areas, Alfred noticed his three companions tense. It was then that he remembered England mentioning fairies and other creatures being the ones to make Abaddon's scenery not look as fake.
So did England, Prussia, and Germany worry about being ambushed by fairies or something? The thought almost made Alfred snicker, but he managed to hold himself back.
It was when they were walking through one of those vivid areas when England stopped walking.
He paused for a moment before turning his head to Germany and Prussia and motioning for them to go ahead of them.
"It's close." England whispered to Alfred, now standing beside him. "It's somewhere off this path…We'll have to be careful now. We'll let Prussia and Germany handle this."
Alfred was slightly disappointed that England didn't want him to be up in front with Prussia and Germany, but he was glad that he could walk with England again. It wasn't that he didn't like Prussia (He didn't have much of an opinion on Germany as he hadn't really talked to him much in the walk), but…he just liked being with England better.
They walked together, not talking, and walked away from the dirt path. From how England and the others were walking, Alfred knew that the monster was nearby.
They continued walking deeper into the forest when England suddenly stopped.
"…England?" Alfred whispered, not wanting to speak too loud in case the monster was nearby.
England looked confused, his face crunched in concentration. It seemed as if his eyes were focusing on something, something far away, before he glanced back at Alfred.
"I…I don't understand." England said. Alfred wanted to ask him what he meant, but he was cut off by a rustling in the bushes.
"Alright! Time to rumble!" Prussia said, pulling out his sword and getting ready to battle. Germany silently followed.
"No. Wait-" England said, still looking a bit confused. But Germany and Prussia had no time to listen as the monster jumped out at them.
Germany and Prussia were on it immediately, fighting back with experience and strength.
Alfred was so pre-occupied by watching them fight that he almost didn't hear England calling him.
"America." Though Alfred couldn't be blamed too much for not hearing him, as England wasn't exactly yelling.
"America, we have to go." England said, his voice low and urgent.
"Now." England urged, grabbing Alfred's wrist and pulling him away.
Alfred hadn't known England long, but he knew him and trusted him enough to know that he should probably listen. He nodded quickly, and the two of them tried to exit the clearing. Germany and Prussia were professionals, Alfred thought, he was probably only getting in their way at the moment (even if he didn't like to think of himself that way).
They ran away from the fight, heading towards where they thought the dirt path was. They stopped when they reached into a clearing. England swore when he realized that they were going the wrong way.
"England, why are we running?" Alfred asked as England looked around desperately.
"Shit. Shit shit buggery shit-" England kept on swearing in response. He only stopped his rant to begin whispering a strange chant under his breath.
That was when Alfred heard it. A buzzing sound that was quickly coming closer and closer, till the noise filled up the whole clearing they were in.
Alfred barely had a second to figure where the noise was coming from when a dark mob of creatures burst into the clearing.
The creatures were a cross between bats and hornets, from what Alfred could see. They were moving so fast, twirling around each other in an aggressive pattern and heading right towards Alfred and England.
The monsters were seconds away from engulfing them in a black frenzy. Alfred only had enough time to step in front of England, in a quick attempt to protect him from the worst of it, and wait for the attack that was sure to come.
But there was no impact, as the wall of descending monsters crashed into an invisible wall just inches from Alfred's face.
England must have created a shield around them, just like the last time that they had faced a monster.
The bat-hornets flew into the shield again and again, apparently determined to get to them despite the invisible wall.
Unfortunately, just like the last time, the shield seemed to have less and less effect on the monsters. It would only be seconds until the shield was gone entirely.
At that moment the monsters would descend on them.
And it was becoming more and more likely that England's magic would have little effect on them.
Well, Alfred had wanted to test out his new super strength. No time like the present after all. And if he could do it while protecting England, well, that was just a plus.
"Time to be a hero." Alfred whispered to himself.
He thought he heard an angry snort from England just as the shield broke down.
And that's it till next time! Which will be soon, I assure you. Already have some of the next chapter written, but I figured this would be a good place to stop. (You all know how much I love cliffhangers).
Next chapter will explain some things that I couldn't fit in here, like a bit of what happened in France's shop. Along with a few new characters! Actually, a lot of appearances now that I think about it. Plus, a bunch of reveals that I think will shed a bit of light on a lot of issues.
Till then, I want to thank all of you for being so patient with me. I hope you're still enjoying the story!