Author: jnl94 PM
Cindi wants to be a Warrior. It's all she's ever wanted. But she's Placed elsewhere and, on top of that, her Matched isn't a match at all! Then she overhears something she shouldn't and her life gets turned upside down and inside out. Someone in the village isn't who they say they are. And they aren't alone...Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 30 - Words: 53,527 - Reviews: 220 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 02-14-13 - Published: 10-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3065321
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"There's something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk." – Drew Barrymore
I follow after Legon who has gotten unusually quiet. Darren walks by my side, his mouth set in a grim line and I wonder what he is thinking. As if feeling my eyes on him, Darren shifts his gaze to me. "What?" he asks.
I shake my head and open my mouth to speak, but Legon chooses that moment to stop walking and I slam into his back. I briefly panic, hoping that I haven't hurt him, but he turns and flashes me a smile, erasing my fears. His smile fades quickly and the gravity of the situation slowly starts to sink in.
Someone wants this man dead.
"Cindi, there is some things we must discuss," Legon tells me, clasping his hands behind his back. "And I am not sure which topic will distress you more."
I shift from foot to foot thinking that this doesn't really sound like a conversation I want to have. "Okay," I say slowly.
"Darren," Legon asks, glancing at him. "Would you give us a moment?"
Darren glances at me briefly, indecision in his eyes. Then he nods his head as if agreeing with something and goes to lean against a tree out of earshot, but still within my line of sight. I don't know why, but I take comfort in that small fact. I look away quickly and face Legon, forcing my mind to the matter at hand. "What is it?" I ask.
Legon sighs and rubs his jaw. "I'm old," he tells me.
I blink in confusion. "Um…" I say uncomfortably. Is this something I'm supposed to agree with or not?
"No matter what I do or how I act, I am old and that is not going to change anytime soon. Cindi, I need to be perfectly honest with you. Even if those assassins do not kill me, age will in time. I do not have many years left to live," Legon says.
I frown and shake my head. I don't like all this talk of death. I can't imagine a world without Legon in it. He's such an enigma and so entertaining to be around. He's kind of like the cool grandfather that grandma is always yelling at for being childish.
"I need to name my successor, Cindi," Legon sighs, snapping me back to reality.
A chill runs up my spine. "Who?" I ask, my voice barely even a whisper. A sense of foreboding fills my chest as his expression grows even more somber.
"I had planned to ask it of Keenan," Legon says bluntly. "It is up to your father whether he accepts or not, but he is my first choice."
Normally I would be happy for my father, but with the threat of assassination hanging over the Judges heads, I'm not sure I can muster up that particular emotion. Panic, however, I have in spades. I swallow hard, knowing that I'm not going to be able to talk Legon out of his decision and I would be selfish to even try. My father would be so proud to be named a Judge. "He's a good choice," I croak.
Legon lays a comforting hand on my shoulder. "I don't plan on going anywhere for a while, love." His expression remains grim and I get the really bad feeling that things are only going to get worse. "And now for the hard part."
I swallow, imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios in my head. Legon lifts his hand and beckons Darren closer. "Cindi?" he asks in concern when he reaches the two of us.
"Cindi, I fear for your life, child," Legon blurts out.
I snap my head up and gape at him. "My life?" I ask, shaking my head. "Why?"
"Because you are the only one who has heard the voice of the assassins. If they should discover it was you that alerted us to their plan, and I'm afraid Nial has made that easier for them to do so by pulling you away from your celebration, they will want to dispatch you," Legon says, watching my face closely as if I'm going to freak out of collapse any minute.
Both ideas seem rather appealing, but I do neither. "You mean…" I stop, trying to wrap my brain around the very possibility that someone would want me – me – dead.
"They'll want to kill you," Darren says tightly.
"Yes," Legon nods. "I think it would be wise for you to learn to protect yourself, dove."
"How can I do that?" I demand. "I'm only going to be learning to do things linked with my Path. I mean, sure I'll learn to shoot a bow and all, but that's not going to do me a whole lot of good against a trained assassin!" I hiss.
Legon smiled kindly at me. "Well, that's not all you will be learning, my dear," he says. "But that is beside the point." His smile turns into a frown and he rubs a hand over his wrinkled face before sliding Darren a strange look. Darren tilts his head to the side, regarding Legon, a frown pulling his lips downward. I look between the two, my face twisted up in confusion. Apparently they are using some sort of weird, secret male communication skills that I clearly lack. Darren nods his head suddenly.
"What the hell was that?" I ask, standing hands on hips.
"Nothing," Legon and Darren say together, naturally making me even more suspicious of the two of them. Clearly they don't want to share with me, so I huff and turn to Legon.
"So, what am I supposed to do?" I ask.
Legon pats my head. "We'll talk more tomorrow during your training," he says.
"Training?" I ask, frowning.
"Of course, your lessons. I'll be teaching you to 'shoot a bow and arrow and all', among other things," he smiles.
I shake my head. "But that's not going to help me for tonight," I point out.
"Don't worry your pretty head about that, dove." He sends Darren a last look before turning and walking away. Darren grabs my arm to keep me from going after him.
"What the hell?" I demand.
"Come on," Darren urges. "Let's go back to the party."
"Not until you tell me what you and Legon were talking about," I say stubbornly.
Darren gives me a quizzical look. "I don't know what you mean," he says, shaking his head. 'You heard everything we both said."
"Don't give me that," I snap. "You were communicating…with, I don't know…your eyes or something!" I say indignantly.
Darren laughs and rolls his eyes. "Sure," he says, turning and walking back the way we had come. "Are you coming or not? If you want, you can stay out here by yourself for the assassins to come get you."
"I'm not afraid of them," I lie obstinately. But I cast a furtive glance around me before hurrying to catch up with Darren.
"Of course not," Darren says, sending me a look as we reach the Reception Hall. He pulls the door open and motions me ahead of him.
I glare at him before sweeping into the Hall, a scowl on my face. Ms. Delmonico is on me faster than a dog on a chicken bone. "Cindi!" she says brightly. "I thought you had left." Darren comes in behind me and she looks between the two of us, confusion giving way to a knowing smile. "I see."
"What? No, no you don't see," I say quickly.
"You and Darren left together," Ms. Delmonico says.
"Well, yes, technically that is true, but-"
"Oh, you two are just so adorable," she grins, reaching up and pinching Darren's cheeks.
"Mom," Darren groans.
"Sorry, darling," his mom laughs. "Well, it's getting late," she says with a yawn. "Maybe you want to come and pack up a few things before heading over to Cindi's?"
"Huh?" I ask.
"Darren is moving in with you, dear," Ms. Delmonico says.
I shake my head. "Well yeah, I know my parents offered and all, but tonight?" I ask, my mind whirring. Is the house clean? Is there anything embarrassing lying out that Darren could see? Where, exactly, is he going to sleep?
"Yes, tonight," mom says, striding toward the three of us. "Darren's mother is leaving tomorrow," she adds.
"It's going to be a long trip this time," Ms. Delmonico says with a sigh.
"Mom," Darren mutters. "I've stayed on my own before."
"But you don't have to anymore, sweet pea," his mom smiles.
"Well," my mom nods. "We should get a move on. I have dinner to make."
"Dinner?" Darren wonders, a strange look passing over his face.
"See now? She's going to cook you dinner. Don't want to miss that, do you?" Ms. Delmonico asks with a wink. "So why don't you two come on over to our home and you can get some of Darren's things?"
Darren blushes faintly. "Mom!" he hisses. "I don't really think tha-"
"Darren, are you embarrassed?" Ms. Delmonico demands, standing hands on hips.
"No, I just thi-"
"Don't you dare lie to me, young man," she snaps, wagging her finger at him. "I know our home isn't the biggest or the nicest, but it is our home and I love it. And you will bring Cindi over and you two will pack up your things and you will go live with her!" she fairly rages, her cheeks heating with annoyance.
There is a long silence in which no one really knows where to look, but we all know we don't want to look at Ms. Delmonico lest she blow up at one of us as well.
"Yes, Ma'am," Darren finally mutters glumly.
Cecily Mitchell- I kind of can't wait to get to the part where she starts training and whatnot for her Path as a Hunter. I have some plans. :)
Waves of Time- I just thought that was an overall fun chapter to write. I have some fun ideas coming up here shortly that I cna't wait to get to.
whatdotheydream- It was cute and true. :)
Nyx'sReincarnation- Oh, just you wait, I have plans.
bookppl93 - I have never head someone use "poppycock" seriously before. Lol.
Princess97- You'll learn that Nial is really a rather rude man.
Writing In Ink Forever- Perhaps they will. The question is, who will innitiate the kiss?