Chapter 20 – Almost (3)

Almost – Part 3

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     My throat is parched and threatens to close in on itself. I really didn’t know anything about Kay, did I?

      “Two years ago, the Consulate brought the Vagars together. I don’t know how they knew about me. I never left evidence. But matters of the Zeroth can’t be ignored. So Ame forced me to go.”

      Her voice became wispy, as if recalling a dream as she spoke of this “Ame.”

      “No one would have imagined me being chosen.”

      Kay’s tears start to fall again. She clings to me and wails ferociously, beastly. I can do nothing for her, besides hold her tight.

      She tries to continue weaving her tale through thick sobs, “Ame was gone when I returned.” My heart froze.

      “She… died?” Kay denies me with fervor.

      “Just gone. My Ame was… just not there.”

      Her Ame… This goes much further than I thought.

      “Your… Ame… what does um-” I don’t know how to ask, but Kay notices my eyes darting to the bird. Her eyes form small slits for a moment before speaking up. “Ame’s method.”

      I think I understand.

      “You’re saying that she used this bird to send messages before? Which would mean…”

      My sentence hangs between us for only a moment before she prattles on with a look of pure bliss, “She’s returned for me.”

      My heart sinks. My mind ignites from a fit of furious jealousy that is so unlike me. It literally manifests itself in my eyes. Kay’s face grows with fear as she scoots back. The flames flick out and singe the air around us.

      I don’t understand this feeling, nor can I place this jealousy. But the thought of my Kay loving another, calls forth a wave of anger to burn from the deepest recess of my soul.

      But I close my eyes and breathe deep. I try to wrangle in the power. It’s getting further out of my control and has seemingly learned to exist against my protest.

      “I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s happening to me. It’s getting harder to control myself.”

      She reaches out and pets my head. She’s so sweet and gentle. It’s so hard to believe she’s so vile. But, is it really her fault? Can I blame her when her growth was directly correlated to the path the world set her on?

      Within my mind floats the bubbles of memories, coalescing near the surface, giving me glances at Rachel during her lifetime. From deeper still, does thoughts of Fennis pop like the ephemeral entity they are.

      Ultimately I don’t know. But it saddens me deeply. This molasses-like darkness is a thick brew of pain and despair. It accompanies me so often these days.

      “Thank you Kay. But I’m alright. But this means you started your… practice again because of this bird?”

      She shakes her head.

      That’s unexpected. “Then why?”

      Kay stands. “To see her again. But I would have been a disappointment had she seen me how I’ve been recently. And I only realized that because of you.”

      She reaches down and helps me up, not stopping at just pulling, and instead, pulls me into her arms.

      Kay’s lips are warm, if chapped. Her inexperience is more baffling now than ever with Ame thrown onto the mix.

      At that thought, the fire consumes me again. I kiss Kay back with enough force to catch her off guard. She stumbles backward against the wall. My kisses are varied and forceful. When her defenses weaken I slide my tongue into her mouth and violate her flesh with mine. Soft moans escape her as I force our bodies together and run my fingers up and down her neck.

      Kay wraps her arms around my neck, completely pulling me against her. She cups my chest, and surprise accosted her again, noted by her reflex to jerk her away.

      I nip at her bottom lip, with a guttural sound of need in the back of my throat, I yank her hand back to my chest. She doesn’t resist this time and opts to grab at me with rough, clumsy hands- but it feels divine.

      The sky lights up around us in a blaze. The heat it creates causes the last barrier of my morals to break. I’m so warm. I want her, now. It’s hot. So, so hot.

      I stop kissing her for a moment, much to her chagrin.

      But I can’t help it. It’s really… hot? I look around us and my stomach falls. Kay tries to yank me back toward her but I put up my hands to stop her.


      Her eyes regain focus at my tone and she turns around to see the world on fire- literally.

      Right then the alarm sounds.

Only allowed on

      “What is going on?”

      She shrugs at me but takes off. I don’t miss a beat and follow her, trying to regain some semblance of control over my mind. Emotions are flaring inside of me in a mix of want and need. It’s uncomfortable. Furthermore, it’s painful to know that somehow there exists jealousy within me that can spur me on like that.

      As Kay and I move quickly through the empty school building, I take a moment to bring my hand to my chest. Where Kay touched me burns in an uncomfortable way. Yet… I look over at Kay.

      Her eyes are dead set on what’s in front of her. I have no choice but to force myself to focus as we make it outside the Academy just in time to meet everyone else.

      “Zero!” Rose shouts out. Mimi and several others turn to us.

      “What’s going on?” Breath ragged and trying.

      “A group of citizens were spurred to action by the Outlanders to revolt. Half of the lower quarters are on fire,” Charlie says.

      I smile when I notice her, but her smile is strained in its return. “Then let’s go help!” I shout.

      Gabe turns to us and speaks up.

      “Absolutely not. Your place isn’t to interfere. Leave this to the Consulate.”

     BWith that, he turns back to the group of guards in front of him, giving orders like a professional.


     “I’m sorry Zero,” Charlie tells me while running a hand through my hair. “He has the right of it though. Technically speaking, the Zeroth has no right to interfere. So instead, please, put your trust in myself and the others to resolve this.”

      “That’s not right!” Desperation coats my words.

      “But Charlotte is right, Zero.”

      “Not you too Mimi…” I growl despondently.

      She gives my arm a hug, causing my body to heat up. To my left Kay is expressionless, and yet, her eyes are a touch more squinted than usual. Mimi doesn’t miss this.

      “Oh? Nice of you to come back to us, Ezom,” she directs towards Kay.

      “Ezom?” I ask in confusion.

      Mimi looks at me with her mischievous smile dancing upon her lips, and replies through a stifled-laugh, “Maybe when you’re older, I’ll tell you.”

      “Aren’t I older than you?”

      “Details,” she says with a shrug.

      I can tell Kay is grinding her teeth in anger and threatens to strike out against Mimi. I have to break the tension.

      But before I can, a male’s voice speaks up behind me.

      ”Ezom, one of the undead.” I turn around to see Kyle.


      “Ezom. Old language for the undead. Your face was clear, your understanding was lacking. Thus I have enlightened you. You are welcomed.”

      When I look at him, I see he’s as impeccably dressed as always, despite the hour. He’s welding a tome and some kind of quill.

      “What are you doing here?” curiosity overcomes me.

      “I preserve history, your Lordship. If I am ever to fulfill my purpose, would something like now not be the time?”

      With that, he gives a wave and heads off down toward the gate.


      He simply waves once again over his shoulder without losing momentum.

      “That fool of a man. Charlie speaks up.

      She turns toward me, “I have to go now my Zero. Please give me your blessing, just in case.”

      “Charlie, no. Don’t you dare speak like that!”

      I shake Mimi off of me and throw my arms around her. She looks surprised for a moment before returning my embrace.

      ‘Tis an honor, your feelings. However, my path is clear. I have to protect and serve.’

      “You may die for strangers.” I plead.

      “I may die for you. And that is enough.” She pushes me away from her and plants a kiss on top of my head.

      “I’ll let you get away with that, this one time, but-” Mimi reaches out her arm to Charlie. “In return, you must come back to us. I will not permit anyone to make my Zero upset.” She confesses with a boastful smile. Charlie gives a laugh and a nod.

      She claps forearm to forearm with Mimi. Kay seems mad in general, but appears to be able to set all of that aside for now as she reaches out and clasps Charlie’s other arm.

      “Return,” is all she says before breaking their connection.

      Charlie gives us a nod and runs off. After moments of discussion with the other knights, she rides into town on one of those six-legged horse-things.

      “She’s a tough gal. She’ll be alright.” Talim speaks up as he approaches us.

      Seeing him instantly puts me on guard. Not just because I don’t trust him, but also because of Kay. I don’t know how I missed it before, but the way he looks at her tells me everything.

      He knows her. Not that I needed more proof. He already knew far too much about her past. Perhaps he knew everything from the beginning.

      “Woah there. If looks could kill!” He directs towards me while rubbing his chin.

      It takes me a second to figure out what he’s talking about, but then I realize my face is pulled tight.

      “Sorry. Long day.”

      He looks towards Kay, “Righto.”

      “Say, Kay.” He motions to her.

      She turns an uninterested look his way. “When this is over, look towards the frog, for it is hungry. Follow its prey to the star.”

      Kay tilts her head in confusion but nods anyway. I have a feeling I’m not gonna like how this ends. But there it is. A new thread in this fate’s bastardized tapestry has been woven.

      “I have to go and put my life on the line now, ladies,” he says with an inflection of his accent at the end. Could he know about me? There’s no way. No one knows, not for long anyway…

      When I drop my thoughts, he’s gone. I feel a hug from behind and look up to see Rose.

      “Come, you need rest. By tomorrow, things will be resolved.”

      I try to argue but she hushes me and I can’t find the will to argue back. Man, I have got to learn how to do that.

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