Note: Ah, finally… chapter 2. I thought it would take me awhile to finish this one, but oh well~ Please R&R! Tell me what you think ^_^
Chapter 2: The wheel of fate
Emery was pondering about Lenhart's disappearance, that she wasn't aware of her surroundings. She had almost walked straight towards a tree when Frida came to her rescue.
"Any further and you'll have a bruise on your forehead" Frida called out to Emery with a chuckle evident in her voice. Emery came to a halt just a few inches before head butting the tree with her head. Blinking dumbly at the tree, Emery chuckle along with Frida when her mind finally processes the situation she was in.
"You know Emery, sometimes you can slip out of your mind just like that" Frida said while snapping her fingers together. Implying that Emery's state of trance could somehow become the death of her one day.
"I'm just worried about Lenhart. Where could he have gone to?" Emery said, clearly trying to avoid Frida's earlier statement. It has been a habit for Emery to space out when something was bothering her. Right now, the thought of her little brother had occupied every space in her mind. Strange things have been happening in Lafontaine lately and she was afraid for Lenhart. What if something bad happen to him? He has never gone anywhere without informing her first.
"Lenhart could take care of himself. He's a big boy, Emery. You can't possibly expect him to tell you everything. Especially since he has been quite famous with fellow girls in the town" Frida said with a comforting tone. Truth be told, she wasn't quite convinced with her own words. It's a fact that Lenhart had grown into a fine boy, but anything could happen to anyone, right?
"I hope you're right" Emery reply, before waving a goodnight to her friend when Frida's house came to view. "Don't be late tomorrow. Or I'll swear, your paycheck would only consists of a bronze coin and a cheese!" she added jokingly, turning her back at Frida. Emery heard a dissatisfied groan coming out of Frida's mouth before she slams her front door shut. A sound of "Click" echoed through the night; signaling the locking of a door.
It's a first for Emery to walk alone tonight. Normally, Lenhart would be accompanying her, but seeing that he didn't even come to visit the shop today, she had to toughen up. The night wind suddenly feels cold against her warm skin, the moment Frida left her. Emery express a shiver as the cold wind bite her, chilling her to the bone. Wishing and hoping that nothing would go wrong until she reaches her sweet home, Emery hastily speed up her pace.
She went pass a small bridge surrounded by tall trees when she felt something brush against her knee. Snapping her head to look down, Emery could only manage to see glimpses of a running squirrel. The squirrel then jump up a tree before disappearing from sight.
"What could have possibly frightened the small thing?" Emery whisper under her breath before eyeing the path behind her. Total darkness occupies Emery's vision as the clouds
block the moon, blocking the only traces of light shining for Emery. There was silence as drops of precipitation trail down her back. Whatever had frightened the little guy, Emery didn't need to know! Nor did she want to see!
Gulping slightly, Emery musher her courage to walk another step. To her surprise, her legs were heavy like a stone; they were as paralyzed as her mind! You've got to be kidding me! She thought in panic while cursing under her breath.
In her state of panic mind, Emery didn't notice the rustling sound that was beginning to emerge from the woods. The sound become louder every passing second and it was heading straight towards her. Trying to clam her raging heart, Emery begin to think rationally. Maybe it's just a rabbit…She thought childishly, even though she knew a rabbit wouldn't make suspicious sounds like that.
The thing that was heading towards her was, without a doubt, big. Bigger than rabbit, she presumes. The only animals that Emery had ever encountered in this wood, that are bigger than rabbits, are wolves. She had never seen anything bigger than that. Shuddering in great fear, Emery could only stare in horror as the figure of the thing emerges from the last tree that was blocking it from sight. The last thing she could remember was a voice. It was an emotionless voice that was cold and hard. But there was a mixture of glee in its tone as it speaks.
"No where to run, no where to hide. No one can protect you now!"
Lenhart found Emery staring into the night sky from the kitchen window. She was holding a glass of water in her right hand. Figuring that Emery was angry with him, a feeling of guilt rushes into his heart. For all she knew, he went missing for hours! But he had a solid reason for that. A reason even he couldn't possibly avoid.
"I'm sorry" was the only word Lenhart could musher at the moment. But when he finally realizes his mistake, Lenhart flinches uncomfortably. Emery hated it when he apologizes. It happened ever since their parents died. Lenhart had been blaming himself for the accident for days. Instead of feeling pity towards her little brother, Emery had snapped. She said she had heard enough of the "sorry" word coming out of his mouth. The next time he ever said it, she's going to hit his sorry ass with a broom!
He thought his dear sister would snap and went bonkers, hitting him with a broom again, right this moment. She had done it once, and he swore never letting her do it again. The last time had been painful enough, ending with Frida bandaging his head. Talking about head and bandages, he really need one right now. His head had been pounding like hell.
Lenhart was taken aback when a shriek follow by a sound of a glass braking was heard. "Goodness gracious!" Emery shriek while jumping slightly. "Stop sneaking up at me like that" Emery snapped hardly at him.
At that, Lenhart could only blink in surprise at Emery, as she stares in great shock at him. Her shock was replaced with evident relief within seconds.
"Where have you been?!" she said with a stern voice as she glare daggers at Lenhart.
How the heck did I get back? Emery thought as she examines her surroundings. She was standing in none other than their own kitchen. Lenhart was staring at her as if she had lost her mind. A feeling of disbelief was clear in his burly wood colored eyes. His usual clean dark khaki hair was messy with little twigs branching out of them. His dark trouser was covered with mud. He looked as if he had just been chased with Rurura along with Frida.
"Well?" Emery added when Lenhart didn't show any signs of telling.
"I went to the woods with Bree" he said simply, as if that sentence had managed to explain his absence. When Emery face show the expression of "And?, Lenhart could only sigh in defeat. He was embarrassed to tell the truth, but seeing that Emery won't let it go until he does, he hadn't had any other choice.
"A squirrel suddenly passes by and Bree had been surprised. I tried to calm her down, but fall off her instead. The next thing I know, it was already dusk. I guess I've been unconscious the whole time" Lenhart explains while rubbing his pounding head. It still hurts and he wondered if it'll leave a mark. Lenhart was expecting Emery to holler in laughter, but the words that came out of her mouth shocks him even more.
"Thank God!" Emery said in relief. She had been afraid the whole time. But seeing that Lenhart didn't face any sort of trouble, she was relieved. The thing is, even if Lenhart had been safe… she wasn't sure about herself though. The last thing she remembers was standing at the bridge, staring wide eyed at "something". She thought she heard it speak, but maybe she was imagining all of that?
"Thank God?!" Lenhart said in total disbelief. "You're thanking God, for making me like this?" he said while turning her back at Emery to show the bruise on his head. He wasn't expecting pity from his sister, but her thanking god was the last straw!
Chuckling at Lenhart's misunderstanding, Emery walks closer towards Lenhart. "I wasn't thanking God for this" she said while examining the bruise. It was swollen pretty badly, but with the help of a few antiseptics and bandages, it'll be okay. "I was worried sick about you. I thought something bad had happened! Next time, tell me when you're out riding again. So I won't have to announce a missing child at the town" she added jokingly. Lenhart could only cringe at his sister's sarcasm.
It took only a few minutes for Emery to clean up the wound and bandage Lenhart's head. By the time she was done, a growling sound was heard.
"Argh, I haven't eaten anything since breakfast!" Lenhart said while placing his hand on his tummy.
"You could heat up the porridge from last night" Emery said simply as she places the Band-Aid kit at its place. Lenhart let out a whine of dissatisfaction. He didn't like porridges, especially since Emery had put some green vegetables in it.
Getting annoyed with her brother's whining, Emery slapped Lenhart's bruise hardly, without a care. Lenhart groan in pain as his head pound painfully from the impact. "What's that for?" he asks in frustration.
"What are you, eight? Eat the greens or I'll tell Frida that you're head over heels for her" Emery said with a big grin. Lenhart's eyes widen in great shock when the words finally processes in his pounding mind. His expression change from frustration to surprise to clear embarrassment in a blink of an eye.
"How did you…" he said in barely a whisper. Too embarrassed to admit to his sister about his feelings for her best friend.
"I'm not blind, Len. Of course I know! It's too obvious… why did you have to fall for such a thick headed person? She won't notice it, unless you say so yourself!" Emery replies with a bigger grin pasted on her lips. She was amused to see Lenhart's flabbergasted expression at the moment.
"Eat your greens, Len" she added mischievously in warning before striding towards her room. Lenhart could only slam his fist on the table. He was frustrated for getting beaten, yet again, by his cheeky sister in a conversation.
Waking up from her bed, Emery was convinced that she had dreamt the entire bridge incident from last night. There were no cuts, bruise or even a scratch on her body. There wasn't even a sign that she was bitten either. She had thought that maybe perhaps a hungry vampire had attacked her, but seeing that there are no wounds in her neck area, she had doubted about it.
Maybe I had fallen asleep at the kitchen, somehow. Emery tries to comfort herself. But the thing is she couldn't remember getting home at all. It's as if her memory had blocked her from remembering. There was nothing in her head between the bridge and the moment Lenhart had spooked her. It was totally blank. What could have happened? She wonders warily to herself.
The only apparent thing on her skin was a birthmark on her back neck. She couldn't see it, but her mother had said it was the shaped of a closed lotus flower. Her mother had said it was something special she should be proud of. But deep inside her, Emery knew she shouldn't show it to anyone recklessly. That is why she left it hidden underneath the layers of her golden hair.
Emery was about to place a pack of flour on the table when the shop's back door slam open, revealing a refreshed Frida.
"Wohoo! Arrived in time!" she said happily while dancing her victory dance. Emery shook her head at Frida's childish reaction, with a small smile placed on her lips. Frida walks towards Emery excitedly while throwing her small bag on the chair.
"Did you hear? The Moon Festival is coming and you're chosen to be the representative for Lafontaine!" Frida said, well screams actually, in excitement. Her eyes were glinting brightly that almost cause Emery to give her a pinch on her soft cheeks.
"You're joking…" Emery said in disbelief. Who would believe that? The Moon Festival was meant for professional pastry chefs and Emery is just an amateur. She had taken in charge of the shop ever since her parents died .She had handled it all this time for the sake of living. And right now, Frida is saying she's a guest for the Moon Festival? That's gotta be a joke, right?
The Moon Festival was held yearly in Luinstra city, where pastry chefs around the country would participate in the event. It was an event held to unite people with vampires. The judges are the royal families themselves; well of course a taster would taste the food first before giving the food to them. Even the clean blood would attend it. Practically, the vampires could eat normal food, but it won't satisfy their hunger.
Frida place her hand on Emery's shoulder while looking straight into her eye. "I'm not joking… we're going to Luinstra! Can you believe that?!" she shakes Emery to fasten the process in Emery's mind. With that, Emery was finally convinced. She screamed in great delight.
Emery had wanted to see different kinds of cakes and breads. Now seeing that she'll be attending a yearly event that is said to be the core where famous chefs met, she's beyond esthetic. Frida on the other hand was dying to see the Luinstra town with her own eyes. Ever since birth, she hadn't stepped into the town since it was heavily protected. Now that their shop was picked to represent their own, Frida would die in total happiness.
It had been three days since Emery received the news about her being the representative for Lafontaine. Seeing that Lafontaine is a small town, the news had spread quite fast. People come and go to the shop as they wish their best to Emery. Even Lenhart had been quite surprised at the news. "Can you actually do it?" he had asked and earned a punch at the right arm from Emery.
It has been decided that the three of them would be going. The mayor of the town did say that emery could bring as much people as she liked, but she was comfortable with only the three of them. Frida had been the first to volunteer anyway. As for Lenhart, he was a bit worrisome about his sister, but was especially troubled with Frida going alone without a male escort. Emery sniggered when she knew about this.
It didn't take them long to pack their things and load it in the cart. Only Lenhart could control the cart, with Bree being the horse to lead them the way, anyway. Bree hated it when a female touches her, but she's good as long as it's a male. The only exception is Frida. Frida has been long enough with Bree to be her own sister, and surprisingly enough, Frida didn't get an allergic reaction with her.
Emery on the other hand, wasn't as good with Bree as Frida was. Once Bree had almost bit her hands off just because she had brushed her hand on Bree's body! Bree had gone berserk and it had take Lenhart to calm her down. Sometimes Emery wonders why the horse was so afraid of her. Whatever it is, she didn't want to stick around to know.
"Ready?" Lenhart asks the two girls on the cart. Nodding their head in excitement, the cart starts to move when Lenhart ushers Bree with the saddle rope. The sound of a wheeling cart was heard as the small cart headed straight for Luinstra. A crowd of people cheered while they wave their goodbyes to the trio.
After hours of bumping around in the cart, and several occasions of "I wish I had a cushion with me" from Frida, finally they arrived at the city of Luinstra. There were guards sighted at every post stand as the reached the front gate.
"Do you have a pass?" a stoic expression guard said in a bored tone. Lenhart nodded his head in reply. "Blue, Yellow, Green or Purple card?" he continued as he examines us closely.
"They have different colored cards?" Frida whisper in amazement to Emery. Every town had their own passes. For Lafontaine, a visitor would have to present a black card before they could walk in. Seeing that Luinstra is a city that held various trades and works, it's not a surprise to have multiple cards.
"Uh…it's Bronze, actually" Emery said while showing it to the guard. Arching his eyebrow, the guard eyed Emery carefully.
"A participant in the Moon Festival, eh? Isn't it still too early for you to come?" the guard asks suspiciously.
"I'd like to buy some ingredients and practice in the city before the actual event" Emery said honestly. It was true; she had wanted to come early for this. Emery had wondered how the environment would be like and she didn't want to feel shock when she clearly had to focus on the task in her hands.
"Alright then. Off you go. The best of luck, girly" the guard finally replies with a smile while winking at Emery and Frida. Emery could only giggle when Frida made a gesture of vomiting when they finally passed the guard while Lenhart showed his smug smile. They stopped their childish games when the city of Luinstra was beheld to them.
It was beyond magnificent. The roof tops were covered in snow, but ironically, they didn't feel cold. Flowers, that were planted across the city, were blooming beautifully like in the spring. A sweet calming scent invaded their nostrils as they breathe in the air. Tall trees were reddish brown colored like in the autumn as they sway along with the blowing wind. The buildings were built with bricks that were carved in beautifully.
There were little stalls on each corner of the street as the owner of the stall greeted them with a smile. They passed by a wall that was painted with the image of the royal palace. It had looked so real that Frida had made an attempt to touch it with her fingers; to convince herself that it was indeed a painting. When they look down, they were surprised to see colorful fishes swimming joyfully. The ground had been engraved by a see through tank which the water from the ocean could flow into.
And that wasn't the good part. The good part was they could see the royal palace floating just above them! It was made out silver and gold with little diamonds engrave on the pillar. They could see it gleam beautifully when the sun shines.
"Oh. My. God." Frida said in awe. Emery and Lenhart could only shake their head in agreement at Frida's statement. It was an "Oh My God" scene indeed.