Chapter 11 – Academia (2)

    Academia – Part 2

     I’m honestly not sure why I’m so mad, but I am. Hearing Rose’s pain has triggered something in me, and my one desire is to erase this man- this bringer of pain. Something in how I look, in my demeanor, must seem to be tangible to the others.

     “Lord Zeroth, stand down!” Charlotte shouts at me.

     But I still stand in front of this man, energy seeming to seep out of me. Rei shares my anger, and that actually makes me feel good. She’s concerned with Rose’s pain, she’s my ally, the way she said she’d always be.

     The man is visibly trembling, his pants- discolored and wet. “Zeroth!” Charlotte shouts again as she approaches me and lays a hand on my shoulder.

     At the contact point where Charlotte and I meet, is a spark. It’s unbelievably similar to the feelings summoned between my wives and I. That thought causes my blood to freeze and my breath to catch. I’m acting just like Kay was this morning to Mimi. No, I’m acting worse. I’m acting intensely protective, but lack the self-control Kay has shown.

     Charlotte has saved this man’s life, and mine. I focus on the feel of Charlotte’s hand and it’s soft contour. I steady my breathing and the pressure dissipates. The man falls over and continues staring at me in fear. I turn around towards Charlotte, grabbing her hand in the process. She stares at me in confusion.

     “You’re something else Charlie,” I say while folding her hand in mine. She seems taken aback and tries to take her hand from mine. I don’t let her.

     “What are you talking about? Now let me go and-” in the middle of her talking, I take Charlotte’s hand and raise it to my lips. The feeling that floats between us is literally electrifying. Actual sparks shoot out from the contact and light the area around us.

     I can hear the gasps of those around me- I can feel the murderous auras of Rose, Kay, and Mimi, but my lips are sealed to Charlotte’s hand. Charlotte says nothing, does nothing. She’s frozen at our connection. I don’t know what this is, but she feels it. Her hair begins to float up, seemingly from nothing. Her green hair glimmers in the sunlight, and her eyes take in the sky and reflects it back.

     As the energy around us fades, she seems to come to her senses and looks down at me. I slowly open my eyes and look up into hers as I pull my lips from her hand. I keep hold of her hand and simply stand there, staring up at her sky blue eyes.

     Seeming to finally come to grips with what has happened, she glances down at our connected hands, and a faint blush strikes her cheeks. Charlotte clears her throat and drops my hand while saying, “Well met Lord Zeroth. I’m sorry about everything that has happened. Now if you’ll come with me we-” she’s interrupted by the medics arriving.

     We look on at the medics while they assess the man on the ground. I glance over at the woman Kay had been holding, who’s now at her feet and say, “That woman was the aggressor. I don’t know what happened between them, but she was inches away from killing that man. We have Kay to thank for saving him.”

     Charlotte turns her head towards Kay and gives her a nod. Kay returns the favor and kicks the woman to us. The force of which wakes the woman up, and we’re greeted by a scream of pain. Whatever was left of her ribs had just now been shattered.

     “What the hell are you thinking Kay?”

     The woman is screaming and wailing at the top of her lungs. I make out Charlotte saying something to the medics about sedation, and a medic is on the woman before I know it. The man’s hands light up and the woman is asleep within seconds.

     “As I was saying-” I storm up to Kay- ignoring Charlie behind me, and look up into her eyes, disappointment clear in my expression. Kay seems to almost flinch from my look.

     I reach out and flick Kay’s nose. She leans back in apparent dissatisfaction and rubs her nose.

     “Don’t treat people like that Kay. No matter what she’s done, or had planned, overly hurting someone is not okay,” I reprimand.

     “As I was saying,” Charlotte cuts in with an overly loud voice and continues when she sees she has my attention.

     “We’ll take the perpetrator to the clinic and have her bound, along with having her wounds looked after. The man is already on his way to the best medical lab the Academy has to offer. The rest of you will need to come with me to see the headmaster.”

     I walk over to Rose and keep walking in circles around her while checking this and that on her.

      “Are you sure you’re all right?” I ask Rose.

     “Yes. I’m fine my Lord. Please, pay me no mind.” At that, I reach up and flick her nose as I did Kay’s.

     “Don’t. Just don’t.”

      I tell her behind my back while marching over towards Mimi.

     Mimi looks at me expectantly and cuts me off, “I’m fine my Lord. However, should you wish to pay me mind, please do.”

     So of course, I flick her nose too. She flinches backward and rubs her nose while pouting and questioning why I flicked her too. I internally sigh and move back to Charlotte.

     She’s studying me, watching my movements. To be honest, she makes me nervous still. She’s much larger than I am, by nearly half a foot, but she stands so straight, so dignified and proud. I won’t say I have no residual anger towards her from what she did to me before, but I choose to believe she was simply following orders. I don’t think even Charlotte would have chosen to put me in that arena with how I looked, had she not been ordered to. Is that naive to believe?

     Charlotte reminds me of someone who’s never doubted themselves. She seems like she’s always had her life’s goal in mind, and has done everything in her power to achieve it. She’s so sure of herself, I know it. How else could she be so comfortable being in charge?

     Honestly, after what just happened between us earlier, I also feel incredibly embarrassed; so I do what I’ve always done when really, truly embarrassed, I dive in headfirst and hope no one can tell just how embarrassed I actually am.

     As I reach Charlotte I hold out my arm. “You-you can’t be serious,” she says to me while looking everywhere besides my arm.

     However I am patient, and I wait. Before long she just gives up and seems to accept her fate. However, before she takes my arm, she scans the other three women.

     “Valkyries, I am taking your Zeroth’s arm, for he has offered it. Please abide by calmness, all right?”

     I look around and see each of them give a tentative nod. I suppose I never really thought about it before, but it seems if you give them time to process the information, they’re largely tolerable of others touching me. However, Charlotte doesn’t seem to understand what just happened between us.

     I’m not from this world, and don’t understand anything completely. But I guarantee there’s more to what happened between her and I than any of them are considering. Charlotte and I are linked now, I feel it inside of me. The tug towards her isn’t quite as strong as it is towards the others, but it’s there. Our fates have become intertwined, all because in a moment of emotion, I bound her to me. I’ve changed the course of this woman’s life and I did it against her will.

     Worse yet, is the fact that I can even do this- again. Who am I to be able to influence another so? Why can I touch people’s’ lives, and alter the path they walk? This power within me is, to bastardize what Fennis said, heretical- Not heretical to any god or culture, but to the very nature of fate.

     I glance up at Charlotte, and to my surprise, her face is set in a gentle expression. One so unlike her usual self, that instead of elation, it brings about fear. She slides her arm through mine and nods cutely. With that, we head off through the Academy gate.

     The area beyond the gate, a courtyard, is as magical as anything else I’ve seen in this portion of the city. Despite the uproar that happened only moments ago, students still sit and mingle no more than a hundred feet away, as if nothing else had just happened.

     Some sit on the benches that dot the courtyard haphazardly. Other groups of men and women both, sit under orange-leafed trees that are reminiscent of Sakura in bloom. They’re beautiful. Plenty others are simply laying out on the blue grass, enjoying the sun as it beats down on them. To my surprise, few even pay us any attention.

     If I’m not imagining it, people seem more interested in Charlotte having arms linked with someone than any looks towards me or the others. I’ll take it though, it’s significantly better than having a hundred plus eyes all facing towards me. We arrive at the gates of the academy proper in silence.

     All around me the air feels tingly. The tip of my tongue burns. It’s a strange sensation, and Charlotte seems to pick up on something and asks me, “What is it?” I look up to her while we make our way into the building in front of us.

     “What?” I ask.

     “You have a look on your face as if you just tasted something sour,” she tells me.

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     It amazes me that she actually nails down what I’m feeling so well. To this, she actually giggles.

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     Charlotte, in all her prideful countenance giggles. It’s so adorable.

     It’s not long before the other women around me start to giggle. I feel self-conscious and shy. I’m sure a blush creeps across my cheeks, and I hang my head at a downward angle. It’s never fun being the odd-man out during a group laughing session. I was still unclear about what they were laughing about, but was afraid to ask. You always assume that everyone is laughing at you, after all.

     Charlotte smooths her face over and looks at me questioningly.

     “What? Really?” She ponders this for a moment as we reach what appears to be the lobby of the Academy.

     “We have to go up to meet with the headmaster. Let me have his assistant give him notice of our arrival.”

     At this, Charlotte drops our arms and moves towards an oval desk in the center of the lobby. She’s quickly replaced by Mimi, who leans in close and whispers for only me to hear, “In children who first bloom into their magiks, they can often taste the ionization in the air from the aether around us. She was just teasing you.”

     “Um… my tongue does sting…” I say, feeling shame for some reason.

     Mimi looks at me in wonder for a moment, as if trying to gauge my expression. She’s very close to me, and it makes my heart pulsate. I can smell a hint of vanilla on her, mixing with the smell of what can only be described as vanilla.

     After a moment she giggles and says through short breaths, “Oh Lord, you’re such a jokester. I did not know.”

     With that, Charlotte interrupts us and tells us we need to go upstairs. She leads the group and we begin to follow her, with me in the middle of everyone. With one last look back towards the lobby, I finally take it all in.

     The walls are a marble stone, white and columned. They meet high up with a stone ceiling. The area is nicely decorated with plants here and there. The lobby smells of a pine-like fragrance. I’m saddened that we are leaving the area as we march up the stairs.

     The stairs are made of a metal of some sorts and it tingles my hand with every touch. Is this the sign of more magiks being used? I look around in amazement. Everything around me feels strange.

     All the furniture we pass in this beautiful hall; the white hallway, the red carpet, the chandeliers above us, all have their own “taste” for lack of another word. I don’t think I could explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It’s as if I’ve developed another sense.

     As we walk down the hallway, I get an idea in my head and I reach over and lace my fingers with Kay. She gives me a look, blank as any other, yet her eyes shine- both in happiness and confusion. The moment our hands touch my world comes alive.

     I feel a shock to my tongue, stronger than any of the inanimate objects around us. I can see actual colors pouring out of the world around us. Electricity seems to flicker between all of the connections around me. Where one object meets another, sparks. As we pass rooms of people, every point of contact with another creates sparks of color.

     However, I’m unable to bare it for long, and I release Kay’s hand. She doesn’t seem troubled by it, but I do notice her eyes are a little more downcast. While I’m looking at Kay, I bump into Charlotte.

     “Lord Zeroth… please pay attention.”

     Bumping up against Charlotte causes my tongue to sting more, in a way I’d associate with oranges. It’s unique, and I like it. It’s wild.

     “Sorry Charlie, I wasn’t paying attention.”

     At this, Charlotte’s eyes squint. “I don’t know why you are calling me that, my Lord. But if I may, I do not like it.”

     Charlotte’s eyes immediately widened just a bit when she realizes her casual attitude and dismissal.

     “I mean, if The Lord Zeroth-” I interrupt her, “It’s fine Charlotte. I’m sorry for upsetting you. But that aside, we’ve seem to have stopped. Have we arrived?”

     She looks around for a moment as if having forgotten what we were doing here. Charlotte clears her throat and puts her hand on the door. After making contact we hear a deep man’s voice echo from within.

     “You may enter,” is all it says.

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