VORTEX – On the Train
Characters – Samantha, Sakura (also known as Haku) Paece, and Hoth
Setting – The Train
Summary – While going to fetch a snack for Haku, Samantha stumbles upon another keepers’ car where his protector appears to be snoozing. Paece however, denied he had, would and will never do such a thing. Samantha and him have a short quarrel and as Hoth “comes to” she continues on, but with a different task then she meant to accomplish before.
“Princess, permission to speak.” I began without blinking, as my masters eyes met mine.”
Permission granted.” Her voice was as cold and hard as a smooth blue stone, worn down from years spent in chilled running water.
“You have not replenished your appetite since earlier in the day, are you craving a meal?” I straightened my posture, preparing to rise from the trains luxurious velvet seat cushion.
“Yes, that sounds appealing…” She paused, her eyes narrowing slightly, as if inspecting a possible defect. “Please go in search of a meal. I am in no need of any particular cuisine.” She added the last comment on quickly, before I had a chance to ask if she wished for any certain dish.
I gracefully rose from the comfortable fabric, and bowed my head; the sun irritating my left eye from through the window’s glass and the thick morning fog.
“As you command, princess.”
With the slightest flick of her foot, I was dismissed to embark on my search. I slowly moved out the car, and closed the door, carefully – as not to disturb the princess. I made my way through the narrow passage, catching glimpses of the many passengers.
Based on what small glances I got, I could infer many things, depending on what they were wearing, who they were with, who they were talking to, or what they were doing. This was my specialty, analyzing people from the smallest bits of information. Having been a former assassin in the CORPS, skills similar to these were not only expected of you, but essential.
As I continued walking towards the dinning car, i caught a glimpse of a boy, about the age of 14, maybe 15, snoozing in on one of the benches inside of a car. It was the boy from earlier, the one in the fine gown fit for a prince. I smirked inwardly; who would be so foolish as to let this vulnerable creature roam about on his own, if he was as high-class as he appeared to be, he should have a protector or guardian of some sort. As the door was slightly open, I stepped into the cabin, shifted my gaze, and turning my head slightly, I realized there on the left bench inside of the cozy cabin sat another boy, about the same age, with the strangest hair color. His milky violet hair drooped over his right eye, covering it slightly and then suddenly traveling back up to his ear.
He sat hunched over, completely still, taking long, deep breaths. It disgusted me. How could HE, a protector, carelessly fall into a slumber while his master slept. It was against everything protectors lived for, the code, and not only did it cause dangers for the master, but it was unbelievably rude and disrespectful.
“Che. Dozing off while you master sleeps… you’re a disgrace to all protectors.”
Suddenly, he gave off a pearl white aura, blinding my vision momentarily. When I could see clearly again, I noticed the boy had still not moved. As I turned to step out of the cabin, I felt the dark aura rise again, slower this time. Ignoring it, I reached for the fold handle of the sliding door, when a dark voice emerged from the boys throat.
“Who said I was sleeping…” The comment, accompanied by the tone and the increasing aura, could be considered a threat. I shooed the thought to the back of my worries list. If anything, he just felt hostile because of the earlier comment I had spat at him (not aware of his consciences, I allowed myself to get carried away).
“Please forgive me for intruding in you privacy, I will be leaving you to your business now.: I considered bowing out of habit, but went again it, however, it didn’t matter.
“Oh please, don’t consider yourself excused, have a seat.” He smiled wickedly and patted the empty cushion next to him. I did not move, and instead met his eyes, and continued insisting on the own intentions.
“No, it’s quite alright…Iapolagize for my earlier inappropriate actions, I was not aware you were present at mind.” I paused. “Of course, do not assume that means I would go so far to insult a fellow protector.”As I finished, his intimidating expression disappeared, and was replaced with a curious gaze.
“Are you a protector?” He asked leaving towards me. I only nodded in reply. I wasn’t much one for talking.
“Wow! the only other protectorsI’ve met live in my country.”
“And which country might that be?
“Oh, it’s in the southern part of Anglevon.” He motioned with his hands showing the outline and the capital, then pointed to where his town must have been.
“I see you have traveled far as well. Are you involved in a mission of some sorts?” I asked, beginning to forget my original destination of the trip.
“Yeah, kinda…” His eyes fell to the floor, as if he was inwardly deciding if he should tell me the details. I however, intruded his thoughts.
“If you do not wish it, you do not have to inform me of your current task.” He eagerly looked up, relieved that I read his mind.
“Thanks.” He said exhaling.
“I..” pausing suddenly and bit my lip, and then continued. “Why do you talk so familiarly to a stranger?” I said, my eyes dwelling in frustration of being confused.
“What?…” He said, puzzled eyes meeting mine. “Oh…” his expression softened, and he turned to the slumbering boy who was fast asleep. “Hoth keep asking me to address him less formally. It’s jard to, after having grown up being told not to by everyone else…but after much thinking, i decided to go with my instinct and try it. It actually feels pretty…well, like, I’ve gotten to know him better.”
I squinted my eyes, while searching in my head for the definition for ‘instinct’. I know i had heard of it, but i could not seem to recall it’s meaning. deciding to take yet another chance and ask another question.
“wha…what’s instinct?” I muttered quietly, frowning slightly, while still trying to remember the meaning the word held.
“Oh, sorry. Instinct is something that people have, although I don’t think I have it, or at least, the same kind that Hoth has told me about. It’s something that acts like a voice inside your head, it helps you decide what to do, by sort of, ‘talking’ to you.” He turned once again to the sleeping boy, who’s name I supposed was Hoth that he had spoken of. “Hoth says it helps you do not the logical thing – but the thing that seems best for everyone you, and everyone you care about. I don’t really understand the difference, but since Hoth told me, I believe him.”
I noticed the feeling in his eyes, and how his aura was slowly changing. An uneasy feeling began to surface in the pit of my stomach.
“You really know your master that well?” I said not believing my own feelings appearing amongst my soupy red aura. Spares or electric blue signified jealousy of this young adolescent boy. I cared for my master with the same intensity, but our relationship was not as tight as close-knit as theirs was.
“Yes. I care for him more than anyone else.” The time for the confession I had predicting drew nearer and nearer and i began to pale, knowing what was coming next,. the boy turned toward me with tears in his eyes, and said what had been made obvious. “I love him.”
Not being able to bear to have to come up with a reply, I disappeared, and ran through what must have been a dozen cars. Out of breath, i sat down in one of the empty cabins, so shaken, not bothering to even close the door behind me. He…loved him? love for protectors was forbidden, along with keepers, love between a ‘regular’ and a one of the two was taboo by itself, but a protector and a keep…together? both boys? it didn’t bother me to a reasonable annoyance, but others would find it as an excuse to murder. The pain that boy must bear…that burden he must carry and ignore, while holding his head high, pretending all the time…hiding behind a mask. I wanted to pity him, but I know that would be disrespectful. He was strong. He was brave. To hide his love away, and protect him regardless, was an amazing ability, and I respected him, with all my honor. But still…the thought let alone of love between a protector and a person was strictly forbidden – the consequences gruesome and terrifying. Adding the factors of a protector and a keeper, and two boys – the results can be determined by anyone.
After dueling in my freshly brewed troubles and thoughts, I slowly made my way back to the car. When I reached for the handle of my masters cabin, i hesitated. Would she be angry that i had returned empty-handed? as I gripped the handle I knew I would soon find out.
“You took your time…” She frowned as I failed to reply instantly. Her tone softened as well as her expression. “Are you troubled?” I looked up suddenly, fearing she would be displeased with my weak state, but instead, she seemed… concerned.
“Yes…I…I am actually…” I started. “Um…Your highness…would you allow me the honor of sitting at your side?” Althought I did not ‘blurt’ the sentence out, it was more rushed than others.
“Oh…you may.” She nodded and scooted over to allow me more room. Amazed, I sat down carefully, trying not to be a disturbance. Failing to meet her eyes, I began again.
“May I also…call you by your…given name?” I held my breath waiting for an answer. My master finally replied, a bit quieter than before.
“Yes…you may.” I couldn’t believe it…I had the honor of calling her highness by her true name? My friends would never believe this.
“Then…h…Haku…” I smiled. Her name was so smooth, it almost rolled off my tongue like honey. “May I be so bold as to ask another question?” Becoming more confident by the minute.
“Please continue, I’ve become intrigued.” She mused over my sudden change in behavior.
“Love for both keepers and protectors is forbidden, am I mistaken?” Suddenly unsure of her impression, i continued to look down at the floor.
“Why, do you have feelings for someone?” She asked boldly. Not trying to avoid her sudden question, I looked up and answered quickly.
“No such thing, it had just escaped my memory.” I waited once again for an answer.
“Yes, you are correct, for keepers and protectors, loving another is strictly off-limits.” She paused for a moment, then opened her mouth again, “What brought on this question, it’s rather rather sudden.” She said this almost with a suspicion that I wasn’t telling her something.
“No, nothing really.” I replied with little emotion. On the inside however, I felt sorrow for the two boys I had encountered earlier – I wished the best for them. I was interrupted from my thoughts when my master spoke.
“Samantha?…” She said shyly, avoiding my eyes.
“From now on, address me as you have just now…” silence followed, as she waited for my reaction.
“Of course…Haku.” For the first time in years, I smiled, with actual happiness behind it.