CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 1 ♕ The Arrival
Tamara clicked her tongue while she eyed Valeriana who was now curiously looking around since the moment they set foot on West Monte, a small village in the country of Gargantua which was a part of the Larkovia. Her eyes sparkled with inquisitiveness as the village locals went on with their daily routine. Although night had befallen this little village, the darkness had not blanketed the beauty. It made the lights even more iridescent.
It was strange to finally set foot outside the academy after being cooped up in one place for so long. Still, even if the thought was somewhat scary, it was palpable that Valeriana was currently enjoying herself.
“I never expected it to be this lively,” Keelan commented.
“West Monte could be considered what you call . . . a very night-owlish place, from what I have heard. In fact, this is the reason for its great profit-earning characteristic,” Charles muttered, studying his little, blue notebook.
Although Lady Seraphina wanted to come, she was busy with other important things. She did tell them that the bar her father frequented was called Kelton’s Den. They were sure to know it was what they were looking for when they set their eyes on it.
Still, it was good to see that Valeriana managed to keep the incident out of her mind and was back to her cheery self. The look on Corvan’s face said that he didn’t at all forget and kept on muttering unintelligible things under his breath, occasionally grunting for no reason or breathing through his nose loudly. With Tamara’s loud mouth, it took only a few moments for the rest of the Twelve to know and to say they were shocked was an understatement.
“Good evening, miss!” a vendor said, handing Valeriana a stick of what looked like barbecued meatballs. A rich, juicy sauce covered it and the food itself gave an irresistible aroma which made the girl’s mouth water. “Would you like to try some?”
Valeriana eyed the food hungrily. “I . . . I want to . . . but . . . I don’t have any money here with me right now,” she whispered regrettably, sighing.
The vendor looked at her in pity, her brown eyes glinting faintly under her little stall’s dim lighting. “Oh no! You can have this one for free.” She smiled sweetly at her. “I wasn’t planning on taking something in return.”
“Thank you!” She smiled up at the woman.
Charles’ raised a brow. “She has a natural charm.”
“What a pig,” Corvan commented.
Valeriana heard his remark and shot a glare his way. “For your information, I haven’t eaten anything for lunch!”
The vendor laughed at the two.
He simply huffed before walking ahead like a snot-nosed brat which made her feel even more irritated. This compelled the Twelve to continue moving.
“Jerk! I’ll show you who’s a pig!”
They weren’t shocked when Keelan suddenly ran forward and asked if he could have one for himself as well. The lady was kind enough to agree. However, the eleventh-ranker wasn’t satisfied and ended up buying a whole bunch for himself. The woman ended up closing her stall for the night.
“Are you done with your pit stop?” Aneeka yawned. “Let’s go. I want to get this over and done with,” she said, stretching out.
The two nodded. Just as both started to leave, the vendor spoke.
“Welcome to West Monte!” the woman said, a small and kind smile on her face.
Valeriana gave the woman a friendly wave before turning to jog after the others. Keelan nodded before he walked off, trying to catch up with their group as they have already fallen behind.
Valeriana bit off a piece and watched Keelan stuff his face. If she was a pig, what would you call this guy?
“Are you sure you can eat all of those?” she asked him. “I don’t think I can.”
“It’s because you’re not me,” Keelan told her after swallowing, his Adam’s apple bobbing after he gulped. “Three square meals a day aren’t enough for me. I have a tendency to eat a lot.”
Valeriana wrinkled her nose. “I noticed.”
Her thoughts drifted back to her issue. The confusion came crashing in like waves. Ripping off the meatball from the stick, she grunted. Valeriana wished she was back home instead of having to deal with all this weirdness.
“Hurry up, you two!” Tamara’s voice cut through the air. “We’re going to leave you behind if you don’t move your legs!”
“We’re moving! We’re moving!” Keelan said. “Race you there, Valeriana!”
“Wha—hey!” She began to build up her pace as Keelan zoomed past her. She eyed him as he looked over his shoulder and flashed her a grin.