Chapter 4: Dancing Feet

March 31, 2007

This took me about 2 months to write. So much so that I was on the verge of giving up. In any case though, here it is. A continuation of Male Hands. 1420 words. ^^;Also, cut because this is EXTREMELY long.

He sat down and watched her fight. She had chosen to open the fight with her fists, using pure brawling techniques instead of her usual fighting methods. Individually, her punches were nothing to shout about, but in a fast, quick succession, they were painful. Each landed on precisely the right spot to catch the soft muscle instead of bone. He had been on the receiving end of it, and he knew that her punches were not designed to truly hurt, but rather to throw the opponent off-guard. It was not working with this one though. His movements were far too sure for someone who had seemed an average fighter.

As his sister move, his fingers kept time, following a rhythm and melody only he knew. Each fight had its own melody and rhythm that could be put to song, and he made it a point to do so, although not every fight would be heard. For this one, his fingers moved in a nostalgic melody; the tune was similar to something he had composed years ago. This time was a little different though, with different actors, settings and moves. The melody remained, but the tune was a little more… anticipatory. The girls would have a field day performing this if he gave them the chance.

He watched his sister fall back and the boy raise his hand. The rune shone strongly on his palm, indicating that he stood high in the favours of the Goddess who had given him the mark. The ease by which he used the rune also hinted strongly that the young boy had come into his powers when he was quite young. You did not stand that high in a Goddess’ favour with that much power unless you were dedicated to her since you were a babe. He was not too concerned over his sister’s ability to defend herself though. She would know the best way to counter it.

For them, Death would only be an uneasy reprieve.

~~~~~~~~

He looked up at her, confusing her for a moment between his dreams and reality. His hesitation was enough that she leant in closer to look at him, concern written all over her face. When she did, the spell was broken and he smiled. She was one of the few girls, he remembered, who would hug him when they met, especially when they greeted each other during group outings. He did not know why he was on a bed or why she was wiping the sweat off his brow, but for the moment, he was glad that the girl in his dreams and the one in reality both cared for him. She sat closer to him on the bed.

“Xis…” he reached up to caress her face. She smiled, taking his hand from her cheek, putting the towel away, and holding it in her lap with both hands.

“Hey Seo. You’ve been asleep for three days now,” she sounded amused.

“Three days? My work..!” he attempted to rise, but she pushed him back with one hand. Although the gesture was gentle, the force was not. She was stronger than she looked.

“I’ve already informed them that you were in an accident. Your family was here, and your mom will be back later this evening. The Rangers also stopped by, and Yetll and Mai will come by after work today. You have a lot of people who care for you.”

“But…”

“Hmm? But what, dear?” she had a habit of calling people she was fond of, no matter their gender, “dear.” He hesitated.

“Never mind. Aren’t you supposed to be working yourself?” Her smile was mischievous.

“Heheh… I work for Interpol, dear. I have time in between assignments.” She grinned at him.

“Ah, I see,” he noticed that she had not let his hand go, and he was content to let her hold it. He had never held hands with a girl before.

They lapsed into silence. She was caressing his hand almost absent-mindedly, looking outside the window next to his bed. They could see the port from here, with the ships moving lazily in and out of the port. He followed her line of sight, watching the scene outside his hospital room. It was a rather relaxing view.

“I’ve never seen my hometown like this… Then again I’ve never been in a hospital for this long too,” he smiled at her.

“It’s beautiful… and the people here are more relaxed than my own… That reminds me! Your mother thinks I’m your girlfriend.” Said in such a casual matter, the effects on Seo were rather… unsurprising to an extent, given his quiet nature.

He simply… blushed and turned away. Instead of pulling his hand away though, he let it remain in hers. She was still looking at the window, so it gave him some time to compose himself. It had been a long time since he had felt this way, a far-too long time since he had allowed himself to fall for a girl. The warmth of her hand was reassuring, and he squeezed it, gently. That movement surprised her, and she turned to look at their linked hands, and then at him.

“I don’t mind,” his smile could melt a stone, putting his free hand over the two hands holding his. It was her turn to blush.

Their hands remained linked.

~~~~~

He was certain that would finish her off. There was no grudge between their families, but if he did not do this, then his family would perish. The woman had been quite adamant about it. He was dedicated to the Goddess of Death though, and if one of her servants told him to do so, then he would. His power had remained unchecked for a long time, but he had sought to control it with the help of the Priests. When this woman came up to him, saying that she was also a Chosen of the Goddess and revealing her mark to them, they had pointed her to him. She wanted an Adept who was skilled at hiding his powers, half-tamed and had been dedicated since birth. He fit the requirements. What they had not told him was that the lady had also offered to sponsor the boy in one of the best schools in the district; lightening the load of the Priests.

The rune he had called up only once before, during practice. He had never dared to use it in actual combat for fear of killing his opponent and thereby angering the goddess. The woman had assured him that this time, there would be no repercussions. There were times when using the power was appropriate, and the woman had convinced him that this was one of those times.

“Celeste! Guide my aim, sweet Mother,” he prayed in his heart, as he focused on releasing the energies the Rune held back. It would burn her to a crisp and leave nothing standing.

The energies were released as a burst of light; a light that drew upon the very essence of his soul. He could feel her skin being seared, the heat rising, cooking her. The short burst should be enough, but he kept it up for just a little longer, stopping as he reached the limit he could draw the energies around him. The blaze had blinded him and he could see nothing when he first opened his eyes.

As his sight returned though, he saw her getting to her feet. Her clothes had been burnt away, but in its place, she wore the garb of a Priestess. To his horror, the mark that burned on her forehead was the rarest of them all; she was a true Daughter of Celeste. More than that, she was the highest Priestess; the Miakan of the Alin’sa, the Priestesshood of the Celeste. He had just tried to kill the leader of Celeste’s priesthood! The Goddess would never forgive him now.

She was walking over to him. He fell back, trying to move away from her. It did not work, not really. Soon he came against a barrier, and she was kneeling in front of him, looking at him at his level. She looked at him as how a child might look at something that had piqued her interest. Those who knew her well though, would be able to see the danger signs; she was extremely angry.

“Who put you up to this?”

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