CASeries #2: LEGEND
Chapter 36 ♕ Avaro's Back!
Corvan had been doing his part of the job—the plan that Charles had so carefully devised. In contrast to the usual perception of people about him apparently liking to be in control—and though he did inwardly admit to himself that he loved being in the seat of power—he was far wiser than to take matters he wasn’t too keen on into his own hands. After all, he had just been a part of the Twelve for hardly two years and he had become their top ranker. Despite the lack of valuable experience, he did make up for his prodigious skills in leadership, skills, and capability.
Even so, he knew better than to be so rash about devising plans as he himself was not an expert on the matter. And though some people, with an emphasis on a certain honey-blonde airhead who allegedly had a bad habit of asking unnecessary questions to satiate her irrational curiosity of a child, perceived it as Charles being in charge, it was not at all meant to be like that.
Well, yes, admittedly, it might’ve been seen that way. But Charles was indeed the best among the group when it came to affairs concerning the brain and logic, not to mention he had more experience—being a student in the academy for about six point two years or so. This had only been Corvan’s fifth major task so far, setting the small issues and matters that were asked of him to accomplish during his course of being a member of the Twelve.
The main point of his musings was that, he had to be just as thirsty for knowledge as a sponge is to water. But, unlike sponges, he wouldn’t let the knowledge be easily squeezed out.
Fact was, people mostly saw him as a reckless young lord from Arlandia, just as impulsive and rash as the devil-may-care element he wielded. It was a common trait of fire-wielders to have ephemeral tempers, but that was just skin-deep on his part.
Least to everyone’s knowledge, his mother, Saskia von Keiffer de la Kaiven Wylden, was a woman of the Earth nation, and sister to the current high lord of the Denovegasian continent. His Earthen heritage made a part of him firm, and unyielding—just enough to properly balance and calm his feiry side of the family. And yes, remembering his mother’s birthright made him sigh once more at the thought.
He did not want to admit it, but Keelan and himself were actually related in more ways than just being comrades and co-rankers. Not that anybody from the Twelve cared. It was common knowledge, depicted by the resemblance of the two concerning their eyes and hair-color. He was not entirely sure if Valeriana knew of it, though. The young lord was interested in knowing what the reaction of the girl would be.
What led him to contemplate about a portion of his ever-so-interesting life was because he was feeling inordinately bored having to watch over such a mushy couple of a brat and a demon-kid. Of course, they did not know of his presence—it was easier that way. Lest the demon suddenly made a magical recovery of some sort. It looked as though he took a fatal blow, courtesy of Genevieve.
And look what suddenly gave a sudden twist to his ‘exciting’ mission? A crying girl wiping her own snots over nonsensical reasons such as being a ‘failure’ after getting lost in a maze of marble hedges.
And though it was amusing to watch, he could not risk giving away his position. He was supposed to be monitoring the ‘prey’ and scaring it away would not help at all. And yes, should that happen, that would be another list of blames he was going to list down under Valeriana’s name. Having to hear her constant whining of self-deprecating comments and insecurities was something he greatly detested.
Now here came another headache. This girl seemed to bring trouble everywhere she went, didn’t she?
“Tamara and I were suddenly attacked by a falling stars of arrows and then she told me to go get help.”
“A sudden attack? Any valid reason you can think of?”
“I don’t know what’s going on but maybe it’s those coup d’état guys the old butler was talking about. I remember Marcy telling us that some of the citizens in the city want Aswo—or something to step down from the position as City Lady—I don’t know, was that even correct?” She blabbered, her nose still red and eyes puffy from her recent episode.
What was this girl thinking anyway? Why did she have to let herself endure these hardships if she only knew it would hardly be of benefit to her?
“Yes, City Lady is the correct term.”
“But that’s a funny title. It rhymes.”
“I can see that.” He uninterestedly replied. “But I do admit that even I would rise against such a leader who thinks of no one else other than herself. She deserves it.”
“That’s kinda harsh.”
As though a bright idea suddenly dawned on the young lord, a fiendish smirk pulled the corners of Corvan’s mouth ever-so-lightly that Valeriana felt a chill run down her back. At the same time, sparks that resembled fireworks cannonaded above them. They weren’t exactly sparks, but what seemed to be volleying explosions of water—with extensive magical properties that gave it an extra dash of luminescence of some sort that made it noticeable—that scattered once it hit the clouds.
“Wow,” Valeriana muttered. “And I thought water didn’t have light.”
“It’s called reflecting.” He corrected. “Water may not actually literally glow but it can redirect light.” Corvan narrowed his eyes at this as a furrow appeared between his brows.
The first-ranker fought the urge to roll his eyes at the slow processing of the girl’s brain. “Idiot, what do you think that explosion was? A light show?”
She paused as her brain whirred. “That was . . . the distress signal?”
“The other Twelve can handle that. Let Rowe and the others deal with it.” Corvan turned his back on Valeriana as he proceeded to go deeper into the garden maze.
“But Tamara told me to go and tell the others . . .”
“Idiot, that’s just her way of telling you to escape.”
“Why?” she asked him, feeling her insecurity deepen.
“Because there was no other way you could’ve helped—” He stopped short from his confident gait and turned to face her, only to find an utterly distraught expression on her face.
“So I’m that much of a burden?” She cried. “I’m really that good-for-nothing? I’m not useful at all? I’m just a liability? Am I really useless?!”
She was not yet done sniveling but Corvan speedily approached her and forced her to keep her voice down. He was not used to calming down a woman on the verge of exploding, but he tried his best.
“Shh, Valeriana! Stop it, right now or you’ll—”
“I am sick and tired of being made a fool in front of everybody! So be it if I can’t be like you people! I did not ask for this to happen to me at all! I did not ask to be a member of this freaking group and neither did I ask for all of this to happen!”
“Stop your unnecessary blubbering this instant, woman.” He commandingly ordered.
“You can ask Courtney to take back the position and I won’t give a damn about—”
When Valeriana showed no signs of obeying, he stepped forward and did the thing that was least expected of him. He grabbed the girl’s wrist, pulled her straight for his arms and muffled her voice with his chest. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, placing his palm gently over her head in a way that was far gentler than anything he had ever done. The tears that fell from the girl’s widened eyes soaked his shirt. Although this made Valeriana feel more than stunned, it succeeded in quieting her incessant, upset shrieking.
“If the insensitivity of the Twelve has upset you much, I will apologize on their behalf.” He whispered to her. “No one intended to hurt you at all. If ever, their worries are unmatched for your welfare.”
She was quiet in exception for her sobs and hiccups. Right, she had to get herself together. Despite the manner of the Twelve being like that, they were concerned.
“And though the entirety of the group had forged a close relationship with the former fifth-ranker, there is no way she can replace you as a person.” He paused and squeezed her wrist comfortingly. “And neither can you replace her.”
He then broke off and lightly flicked her nose, causing the girl to shut her eyes and cringe slightly from the gesture.
“So stop this nonsense. If you are forgetting, you have not lasted a year in Valemnia just yet. You are doing a far better job than anyone else would’ve done. If there is ever something you should feel about yourself, it is not insecurity.”
This was very rare from Corvan.
“Just do things in your own pace and don’t get bothered. Things will fall together eventually. I suggest being just your usual self.” He then blew a sigh and tapped her forehead in a scolding manner. “Now enough with this kind of talk. I am not very fond of comforting someone else, so if you want to really help, then help me with this plan.”
“What is it?” Valeriana asked him curiously as she sniffed, puzzled at the strange behavior of her companion.
The first-ranker looked down at the fifth as he stepped away, a knowing look glimmering from his smoldering, emerald orbs as he blinked at Valeriana just as though it was the most obvious thing in the whole wide world.
“I know what we have to do,” he intrepidly declared.
For some reason, that did not reassure Valeriana in any way. “Oh yeah.” She took the handkerchief he offered her and blew her nose on it.
Disgust crept on his face. “And you’ll be useful for once.” Corvan then added.
“Excuse me?!” Valeriana did not really feel insulted hearing it from Corvan as she was used to it, but she could not help but react the way she did. Did this guy not know anything else to say? After all those things he said initially? He was not comforting at all! Well, this was Corvan, how on Valemnia could he, of all people, be comforting?
“Just shut up and listen to me.” Corvan commanded of her, his face returning to its neutral state but a hint of bloodthirsty ferment showing in his expressive eyes.
Well, no other choice but to listen to the first-ranker.
“Alright,” Valeriana gave a faint sigh of resignation as she decided to just ride along. “What are we going to do? Oh, and thank you for the handkerchief! I’ll return it after I wash it.”
“Keep that disgusting thing,” Corvan replied with brief huff. “Anyway, I must ask of you . . .” He started, his tone a little doubtful. “I do wonder if you are capable.”
“I don’t get you at all! You say this and that then you say this afterwards? Now you’re underestimating me again!”
He smirked. “That’s more like it. Anyhow, that depends upon the situation.” A pause. “Do you think you are capable of abducting a little girl?”
Valeriana’s eyes bulged out of their sockets. “What?”
“Technically not a little girl, but an adolescent around fifteen years old in human standards.” He spiritlessly replied.
She thought for a moment but then smiled. “Sure, how hard can it be?”
Corvan merely gave her a sardonic simper that made her mirror a frown. “Believe me, if it’s this girl, then you have every reason to think it’ll be hard.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She whined, annoyed at the vagueness of his answer. Her nose was still a little red from the outburst, and the faint shade of pink from her cheeks had not yet completely disappeared. It was partly still from the mild embarrassment, though. She would get over it eventually.
“Now that that’s settled, we only need one more person to perform our little act.”
Corvan made fire burst from his palms, the little red flame roaring and dancing aggressively between his fingers. Shadows danced around them from the light emanated from the flame, which hypnotized Valeriana from its beauty and warmth. Slowly, the flame started glowing hotter as its reddish hue disappeared and was replaced by a cold blue with a core of white.
The first-ranker eyed the fifth with caution. “Get back.”
Valeriana made no hesitance to do as he instructed as the young lord bent down and struck the ground with the flame, making it roar and grow bigger as though it found something to feed off on.
A sense of excitement filled Valeriana as a familiar figure stepped through the doors of flames. The white mane and furry coat with the icy blue eyes made the girl squeal and jump forward.
“Yey!” she exclaimed childishly, bounding towards the twin-tailed lion. “Avaro is back!”
‘It is a pleasure to see thee again, lheuim ansur.’ It was as though the ancient beast was smiling himself at the sight of the girl.
Valeriana crushed the beast into a hug as soon as the flames disappeared behind it, leaving a cold gust of wind as the last of its warmth vanished along.
‘How hast thou been?’
“Not as good without you!” She enthusiastically replied.
‘This one has missed the fifth ranker as well.’
“Heyyy.” Valeriana droned as she looked over to Corvan with her brows stitched together. “You didn’t do that creepy, cut-your-hand summoning thing.”
“I don’t need to anymore,” Corvan said. “We only do that when we’re calling our familiars after a long while. It’s just been a few days at the most. The bridge I made with my blood hadn’t been severed.”
“Why do you have to do that anyway?”
“Enough with the questions. We have a job we need to do.”