Hey, Guys. New Mandalord here.
Back by shockingly popular demand, Nikolia has his own story. Go figure Nik, guess the fan-girls really like you.
Thank you Fuuko for reading and editting my chapters.
So. Read. Enjoy. And review.
Nikolia had met Duchess Katerina Amarante only a short time before, when he had to make the decision of retreating or blow her head off, but they seemed inseparable, despite the fact parents still deemed them too young to form a serious alliance. Nikolia disagreed, but Katerina was only seventeen and her parents expected Nikolia to remain in his wild habits before they would even begin to look more kindly on him. Of course, this only served to make him more impetuous.
His older brother, Viktor, and he had been lounging in the main market after buying breakfast and some trinkets for Feodora's Saint's Day, and decided to spend time watching the pretty girls of the town with their accompagnatrice as they flitted from stall to stall. Examining a figure here, breast sizes there. But one girl had stood out from her companions, more beautiful and graceful than anyone Nikolia had ever seen before. Even now, with her in his arms, Nikolia would never forget that day, the day on which he had first set eyes on her... without the help of a sniper rifle.
"Oh," Viktor whistled involuntarily. "Look at her. She's so beautiful. Good eye."
"I almost killed her." Nikolia said under his breath.
"Well that'll be something to talk about," said his ever-practical brother. "Why don't you go over and say hello?"
"What?" For once Nikolia was shocked. "And let's just hypothesize. After I say hello... then what?"
"Well, you could try talking to her. What you've bought, what she's bought - it doesn't matter. You see, little brother, most men are so afraid of beautiful girls that anyone who actually picks up the courage to have a simple chat stands at an immediate advantage. What? You think they don't want to be noticed? Look at what they are wearing! Anyway, you're not bad-looking, and you are an Angelucci. So go for it - and I'll distract the chaperones. Come to think of it, they aren't so bad-looking either."
Nikolia remembered how, left alone with Katerina, he was rooted to the spot, at a loss for words, drinking in the beauty of her hypnotic, sunset eyes, her long, soft crimson hair, her tip-titled nose...
She stared at him. "What is it?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" he blurted out.
"Why are you just standing there?"
"Oh... erhm... because I wanted to ask you something."
"And what might that be?"
Nikolia had been put on the spot before, but he would usually end with a pile of dead bodies. This was different, and he wanted to say something else, but this is what blurted out:
"What's your name?"
She rolled her eyes to the heavens.
"Damn," he thought, she's heard it all before.
"Not one you'll ever need to make use of," she said. And off she went. Nikolia stared after her for a moment, then set off after her.
"Wait!" he said, catching up, more breathless than if he had run a mile. "I wasn't ready. I was planning on being really charming. And suave! And witty! Won't you give me a second chance?"
She looked back at him without breaking her stride, but she did give him the faintest trace of a smile. Nikolia had been in despair, but Viktor had been watching and called to him - with a girl under each arm.
"Don't give up now! I saw her smile at you! She'll remember you."
Nikolia knew that the moment he turned his back, Viktor would be going after her. And with his charm, Katerina never stood a chance.
"I'll do more than just make her remember."
Taking heart, Nikolia had followed her - discreetly, taking care she would not notice. Three of four times he had to dart behind a market stall, or, after she had left the square, ducking into a doorway, but he had managed to tail her pretty successfully right up to the door of her family mansion, where a man he recognized had blocked her path. Nikolia had drawn back.
Katerina looked at the man angrily. "I've told you before, Sergio, I'm not interested in you. Now, let me pass."
Nikolia, hiding, drew in a breath. Sergio Leone! Of course!
"But signorina, I am interested. Very interested indeed," said Sergio.
"Then get in line."
She tried to get pass him, but he moved in front of her.
"I don't think so, amore mio. I've decided that I'm tired of waiting for you to open your legs of your own volition." And he seized her roughly by the arm, drawing her close, putting his other arm round her as she struggled to get free.
"I'm not sure you're getting the message," said Nikolia suddenly, stepping forward and looking Sergio in the eye.
"Ah, the little Angelucci whelp. Cane rognoso! What the hell do you have to do with this? Go back to hell."
"And buon' giorne to you too, Sergio. I'm so sorry to intrude, but I have the distinct impression that you're spoiling this young lady's day."
"Oh, you do, do you? Excuse me, my dearest, while I kick the crap out of this parvenu." With that, Sergio had thrust Katerina aside and lunged at Nikolia with his right fist. Nikolia parried easily and stepped aside, tripping Sergio as the momentum of his attack carried him forward, sending him sprawling in the dust.
"Had enough, friend?" said Nikolia. But Sergio was on his feet in an instant, and came towards him in rage, fists flailing. He had tried to lay punches on Nikolia's jaw, stomach and sides, but Nikolia dodged them with no effort whatsoever. To end this fight quickly, Nikolia gave a quick, one-hit, blow to Sergio's throat.
Nikolia turned to Katerina to check that she was alright. Winded, Sergio backed off, but his hand flew to a hidden dagger. Katerina saw the movement and gave an involuntary cry of alarm as Sergio brought the dagger plunging down towards Nikolia's back, but, since he was warned by the cry, Nikolia turned in the nick of time and seized Sergio firmly by the wrist, wrenching the dagger away from him. It fell to the ground. The two young men stood face to face, breathing hard.
"Is that the best you can do?" Nikolia said through gritted teeth.
"Shut your mouth or by the Divines I'll kill you!"
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to see you trying to force yourself on a nice girl who clearly thinks you're a complete piece of shit - given the way your father tries to force his banking interest on Timrod!"
"You fool! It's your father who needs to be taught a lesson in humanity!"
"It's time you Leone stopped slandering us. But then again you're all mouth and no fist."
Sergio's lip was bleeding badly, and he had a huge mark on his neck. He wiped the blood on his sleeve. "You'll pay for this - you and your whole breed. I won't forget this, Angelucci!" He spat at Nikolia's feet, stooped to retrieve his dagger, then turned, and ran. Nikolia had watched him go before turning to Katerina.
He remembered the elation he had as he turned back to Katerina and seen a new warmth in her eyes as she thanked him.
"Are you all right, signorina?" She didn't hesitate, but her voice was still trembling.
"You asked me my name - well, it's Katerina. Katerina Amarante."
Nikolia bowed. "I am honored to meet you, Signorina Katerina. Nikolia Angelucci."
"Do you know that man?"
"Sergio? Our paths have crossed now and then. But our families have no reason to like one another."
"I never want to see him again."
"If I can help it, you won't." That would have been a perfect time for Nikolia to ask her name and get a second chance – however that would not be the chance. Instead he collapsed to ground and started to beg for her forgiveness.
At first, she was confused. She never saw Nikolia that day, and when he explained himself, she had a slight touch of anger within her. But, given the recent events, she decided it would be irrelevant.
She smiled shyly, feeling the anger die off, then said, "Nikolia, you have my gratitude and forgiveness - and because of that, I am prepared to give you a second chance, after your two bad starts!" She laughed gently, pulling him up and kissed him on the cheek before disappearing into her mansion.
The small crowd that had inevitably gathered had given Nikolia a round of applause. He bowed again, smilingly, but as he turned away he had known that he might have made a new friend, but he had also made an implacable enemy.
Nikolia: Err... I don't believe this!
Why, you have a whole story dedicated to you.
Nikolia: Clearly, YOU didn't have to claw your way out of Fuuko's dungeon's. I swear, I will never look at handcuffs, whipped cream, or defibrillators the same way again.
Well, at least you have fan-girls now.
Nikolia: Well that's not so bad.
And they are crazier than Fuuko.