CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 10 ♕ Naughty Spying
Lord Lienhard started laughing while everyone else glanced between Farron and Valeriana at their recent exchange of words. Confused, the fifth-ranker eyed her comrades with a puzzled look.
“Did I do anything wrong?” She looked down at the handshake. “I only followed what Tamara was doing.”
“It’s not really common for women to greet men with a handshake,” Lord Lienhard explained. “When you do, that means you’re establishing yourself as someone of equal standing—not as though I’m underestimating your capabilities or treating you lower. It’s only a sign of knightly camaraderie to remove hesitations. You see, women are protected all the time so men cannot remove their chivalry when working in the battlefield. This is usually done before assignments of some sort, especially dangerous ones. It just means you’re reminding the other party you can handle yourself.”
“Oh!” She realized. “Now I know! That’s cool. So, can I keep doing this even not before assignments?”
“It’s not really recommended you do, Valeriana,” Genevieve said. “I mean, I know we aren’t any less than men are when fighting but if you keep establishing yourself that way even in normal occasions, that won’t make you desirable.”
“You know.” She blushed. “For marriage.”
“Oh . . . ooohhhh . . .” Valeriana nodded. “Can I do high-five, then?” she suggested.
They all gave her looks as though she’s crazy.
“It’s a kind of thing we do between friends! It symbolizes good sport and can mean a lot of things, like, good job! Good going! I support you and stuff!” She held her hand up as though she was making a promise and asked Farron to do the same. “You do it like this, then you clap your hands together. That’s it!”
Zevlin and Genevieve followed the demonstration and did it once. “This is fun!” The twins chorused, then started high-fiving left and right.
Brindon faced Keelan apathetically and did as he saw. The eleventh beamed and responded, clapping their hands together with a loud thwack.
“. . . amazing.” Brindon muttered.
Keelan made a guttural sound in the back of his throat and rolled his eyes at his words, unable to utter any himself. “Mmm. Mmmmm mmm mmm.”
Farron looked incredulous at the sudden turn of events and turned to face the fourth-ranker. “So what have you come to do?”
Fixing his glasses, he gave his old friend a deep sigh and replied. “The usual. I am curious to see how much you have improved since I’ve been away.”
“Oh, you will be surprised, dear old friend. But, I have a feeling that isn’t only why you’re here.” His suspicion was palpable and made Charles grin at how correct his assumptions had been.
“We were on a mission to fetch a certain someone, and it happens to be near here,” Charles answered. “Since it’s a bit late, I thought that maybe it would be nice to stop by and . . . settle things.” He made special emphasis on settle, a strange glint in his eyes.
Farron smiled knowingly. “Oh.” He chuckled. “I see.”
“U-um . . .” Tabina cleared her throat.
“Ah, yes,” Farron said. “Tabina, take our guests to their room and prepare dinner. Charles and I will be in my room until it’s time to eat.”
“Your room?” Tabina asked. “Alright . . .” She shied away from his eyes and turned to their guests instead. “Please follow me.”
“I’ll meet the rest of you by dinner,” he told them.
As the rest of the group followed Tabina, Farron and Charles went towards a different route. The rest were curious what in the world the two were going to be busy about that different thoughts ran inside their heads.
“His room?” Aneeka mused. “That sounds suspicious. They aren’t going to do anything weird, are they?”
“I don’t think Charles is into that,” Zevlin said.
“But it would be interesting to find out about his . . . other side. If he has any.” Tamara started laughing evilly that it made a chill run down everyone’s back.
“U-um.” Tabina coughed to get everyone’s attention. “All the boys will sleep behind these two doors.” She pointed to her right. “And all girls w-will sleep within the ones across them. Bathrooms are available straight ahead. If you want to take a bath, p-please feel free to do s-s-so. T-that’s all, please enjoy your stay.” She breathed. “If you’ll excuse me, I-I’ll go prepare dinner.”
With that, she hastily ran off.
Valeriana scratched her head. “Um . . . thank you?”
Tamara then dragged all the girls into the first room, pushing away all the guys and telling them to busy themselves with guy things. Although a little bit curious and confused, the others didn’t have any choice but to follow what she said.
As soon as Tamara managed to get Valeriana, Aneeka, Elfre, and Genevieve to gather around, she shut the door with a loud bang and started cackling.
“What is it this time?” Genevieve asked, folding her arms.
“I want to find out what Charles and that guy are doing,” the third-ranker answered, an evil grin on her face. “I haven’t seen him much, but he and Charles are really good friends. And I’ve been suspicious ever since.”
“I don’t think it’s respectful to spy on them,” Valeriana said. “Besides, I really really want to take a bath. I’m so filthy.”
“We’re not spying at all. We’re just finding out. You’re bath can wait later.”
“That’s crazy,” Elfre told her, furrowing her brows and turning to sit on a bed. “No matter what you say, it’s the same.”
“She’s right. What if we get caught?” Aneeka told them. “I wouldn’t want to face the wrath of Charles. I don’t like it when he’s angry.”
“Nobody likes Charles when he’s angry,” the ninth-ranker said.
“You guys,” Tamara whined as she approached the small circle they made. “Don’t you want to find out? About that whole agreement thing between Farron and Charles?”
“Well . . .” Elfre threw herself backwards and curled up on the mattress, letting her green eyes wander aimlessly. “I’d really rather not and wait until we get called for dinner.”
“But you’re curious, right?” she insisted. “Come on, let’s do it!”
“No. You do it alone.”
The redhead pouted, widening her big, blue eyes at them pleadingly. “Please, everyone! I’ll do something in return!”
“Oh, really?” Aneeka challenged.
“Anything at all?”
At this, Tamara hesitated for a moment before answering. “Yes.”
“Well, what do you say, everyone?” Aneeka asked, flicking back her hair before eyeing them all with her purplish blue eyes. Valeriana was always fascinated by the unusual color of her eyes and that beautiful brown hair that became red under the light.
Elfre rose from the bed and smirked, two soft green globes gleaming with mischief. “I guess it won’t hurt.”
“Well . . . if everyone else is saying yes, what can I do?” Genevieve shrugged. “But shouldn’t you know, anyway? You’ve met him before right?”
“Yeah, I did. But I ran away immediately,” she answered.
“Agh. Whatever. I really wanted to take a bath too . . .” Valeriana sighed.
Tamara eagerly grabbed the other girls by their arms and started dragging them away. Valeriana was shocked by the force behind the action. She wondered how strong Tamara actually was. But then again, she wasn’t the third-ranker for nothing.
Aneeka let out a small squeal of shock and stumbled at the suddenness. “W-wait a moment!” she exclaimed, trying to properly balance herself despite Tamara’s incessant yanking.
Tamara, however, ignored their screams of protest and continued to pull them out of the room. While the third-ranker looked rather immensely determined and thrilled, the rest could not hide their annoyance at her childlike enthusiasm in doing something inappropriate. But, of course, since when did she ever act ladylike and abode by the rules?
“Wait!” Elfre shouted, trying to wrench her caged limb out of Tamara’s grip. “I said wait, damn it!”
“What is it?” The girl asked, finally stopping.
“Do you know where we’re even going?” she pointed out, glaring.
“This house is too big for us to find that room! Think for a moment!”
“We’ll get there eventually!” she told them, but the way her words came out . . . it didn’t feel reassuring at all. “Let’s go!”
With that, she dragged them away once more.
Valeriana exhaled noisily through her nose, twisting her neck side to side while observing her surroundings. Tamara’s tireless insistence on finding out what went on between the weird Farron guy and Charles somehow caused them to end up wandering around a stranger’s house aimlessly—and without permission at that. The whole situation made everyone anxious and uncomfortable, knowing that there was a possibility that they would receive a harsh scolding from Charles if they were ever caught.
“Ugh!” Elfre stomped her feet. “Where are we?”
“Who knows?” Aneeka breathed, shrugging.
“Why did I ever listen to you?” Genevieve muttered, hanging her head low in regret and sagging her shoulders.
“Shh.” She waved them off dismissively. “Keep quiet. I’m sure it has to be around here.”
“You said that a hundred times already,” Aneeka told her, frowning.
“Quiet. It hasn’t even been five minutes.”
“Oh, come on. You’ve been saying that since ten minutes ago!” Valeriana corrected.
The girls groaned in exception for Tamara.
“This way.” The third-ranker beckoned the small group to follow her, and having been given no choice, they did.
That was when voices echoed from afar.
“I never expected you to be here,” came the familiar voice of Farron.
“Were you expecting someone else?” answered Charles.
Tamara halted and they all stopped behind a certain door they found. Shushing the others with a finger on her lips, the third-ranker pressed her ear against the door while the girls huddled close to the conversation.
“Is that even related at all?”
“I was just curious if you already found someone else.” He chuckled. “But it seems not.”
“Why will I find someone else? No one can replace you, of course. You’re the only one.”
Charles huffed. “The only one? I’m sure you’ve had many partners to do this with while I was gone.”
Their eyes widened.
“I am not thinking this, I am not,” Genevieve whispered to herself, covering her ears.
“Tamara, this is all your fault.”
Farron laughed. “Concerned, are we? Like I said, there’s no one else who’s as good as you. Besides, I want this curse lifted—no one else can do so but you.”
“Really?” Charles laughed.
There was a moment of silence between the two of them. The creaking of something and the shuffling of fabric reached their ears.
“It doesn’t matter. So what’ll be your next move? Dear Charles, old friend?” Farron asked. “What will you do when I have you in such a position?”
“Ha.” Charles merely huffed.
There was a loud thump and a loud, wet smack echoed followed by a throaty groan from Farron. “Ah, simply too cruel of you. How could you? And I was sure that . . .”
“There is no excitement if not after all.”
“You’re right. Just what I needed.”
Genevieve covered her face with her hands and went red.
Valeriana reached out and shot the girl a pointed look, telling her to keep quiet. She was beet red too, though. Aneeka was silently blushing from where she was, while Tamara paled as if she just saw a ghost.
“Let me take care of that for you,” Farron told him while chuckling. “I will not allow you to best me, after all. I’ll make sure I remind you of those days back before seven years ago.”
Tamara didn’t bother holding back and barged into the room. This caused the other girls to look at each other in panic as the redhead started yelling, probably startling enough to make the two people within to feel dumbfounded by her sudden appearance.
Valeriana gawked at the scene with the four other girls, feeling awkwardly embarrassed. The door was now wide open, revealing the lithe form of Charles leaning back against the frame of the bed with a chess board sitting in front of him. Farron sat with his legs crossed stylishly, a lingering hand holding a bishop in an attempt to move it to another spot.
The two men looked inquiringly at the bevy of girls who were huddled in front of the door of the room and to Tamara, whose face was dyed in the color of red.
“Oh, lovely visitors.” Farron charmingly smiled as he laughed. “What bid you to visit us so suddenly?”
Charles glared at them. “To interrupt me in the middle of a very important competition, this had better be important.”
“I . . . uh . . .”
“You can’t play chess with him!” Tamara exclaimed, unable to think up of any other reason.
“And why in the world not?”
“B-because . . .” The girl gulped. “There’s an emergency! And . . . and we need to leave right away!”
The fourth-ranker frowned and adjusted his glasses. “What emergency?” He eyed the third with a pointed look. “Or are you merely making up excuses to cover the fact that you were eavesdropping since a while ago?”
The girls paled. In distress, they started to all talk at the same time.
“It’s her fault!”
“She dragged us into this!”
“It was Tamara’s idea! I was only forced to come along, I swear!”
“She was the one insisting we do it!”
“I didn’t want to this in the first place! Blame Tamara!”
At the deafening chorus of their reasons, Charles’ annoyance worsened. His brows knitted together with a crease, his eyes narrowing at the girls threateningly. Farron looked more than confused by the commotion.
“Traitors,” Tamara murmured in frustration.
“What exactly were you thinking?” He seethed, pushing himself off of the mattress and stalking towards Tamara and the others with footsteps that very much resembled thunder.
Valeriana scampered to properly stand on her feet since she was one of those who had to bend down in order to hear Charles’ conversation with Farron clearly. Feeling suddenly guilty, she glanced at everyone from her group and gazed apologetically at the fourth-ranker.
Charles pushed Tamara out of the room, making her collide with Genevieve and the others on her way out. “Out!” he yelled.
“I’ll hear none of it! We’ll talk about this later.” The way he said it made the girls cringe.
One hand resting against the wooden frame of the entrance and the other on the knob, he slammed the door close on their faces. The startling sound that caused the portrait hanging on the wall to shake made the girls and Tamara herself flinch as well.
“Did you see their faces?” they heard Farron laugh behind the doors.
“See it, I did,” Charles replied. They could almost hear the smile on his lips.
Perhaps Charles did this on purpose to give them the wrong idea. This cunning guy.
There was an uncomfortable pause before Elfre spoke. “This is your entire fault.”
“We’re dead.” Genevieve groaned.
“Oh, well.” Tamara heavily shrugged.