Obscuring the Heart(Part 2)

I leaned against the bars of the arena as I looked down at the people who were about to face a zipple back.

I coughed again as Gobber explained today’s lesson. The cage doors opened and dust and dirt filled the air in the arena causing limited visibility.

I heard Snotlout, Ruffnut and Tuffnut each say something. I assumed Astrid was in that mix too because she was the partner to Ruffnut.

The dust started to settle, Fishlegs had been knocked over, his bucket spilt. Hiccup was the only one who had his water bucket. He threw it and missed.

I gritted my teeth and held back my cough as I watched them all. Weaponless, shieldless, defenceless.

Suddenly the zipple back started to back up from Hiccup. I stared at the sight in front of me. Everyone did. When the zipple back was in its cage, I saw Hiccup take something out of his vest and throw it into the cage. It was an eel!

I gave it a weird look as he awkwardly exited the situation.

I met him at the entrance to the arena and grabbed him by the arm, holding back my coughs as I asked him in a hushed voice.

“Was that an eel you threw at it?” I whispered.

He hesitated a moment, then nodded.

“How did you know it was gonna-

My cough cut my question off, Hiccup patted my back roughly to help me get it out.

I finished with my coughing fit and re said my question.

“How did you know it was gonna work?” I finally got out.

“I didn’t.” He said sheepishly, “It was a hypothesis.”

I shoved him roughly and shot him a concerned look.

“You didn’t know!” I whisper yelled at him.

“It came out all right.” He said and hurried us home, “Now you need to get home and bundle up before you get worse.”

Hiccup pushed me inside and upstairs into our room, he sat me on my bed and piled the blankets on top of me. Hiccup then went down stairs for a few minutes then came back up with a hot mug of medicine tea.

I grimaced as he handed it to me, but downed it without a complaint.

“There’s bread downstairs on the hearth in case you get hungry.” He told me and took the cup from me, “And there’s a little soup left from last night. I’ll leave the water on, and bring a jug of cold water up for you.”

“You going to see the night fury again?” I asked him.

He nodded sheepishly with a crooked smile.

I smiled back at him and nestled down in the warmth of the blankets.

“Be safe.” I warned him.

“Get better.” He told me.

I turned over and went to sleep, Hiccup brought me up water and then left.

I woke up in the middle of the night. The room was pitch black except for the candle that was on my bed side table.

Hiccup must have put it there when he came in. I thought.

I pulled the blankets off me and picked up the candle. I shivered when my feet touched the cold wood floor.

I was hot. Not just because of the amount of blankets I had, but because of the nightmare I had that woke me up.

Ever since I could remember I always had this nightmare. It was always the same one, and I always woke up at the same time.

A village in utter destruction. Fire blazing, blood staining the dirt path, screams filling the night air where dragons flew and swooped. “Get to the docks!” I heard a masculine person yell. “Dear, are you sure?” A sweet feminine voice asked hurriedly. “Yes, protect her!” He yelled at her again. The woman just ran away from the scene. The woman was young and beautiful. She had long blonde hair and blue eyes and freckles. My gaze shifted to the scene she was running from. The man she was talking to was now facing large reptiles that breathed fire, and had lots of teeth. And he took them on with just a sword. The woman keeps running, through the fire, through the death, through the screams. She just keeps running, until the fire and smoke are just a light in the distance. There was a small sail boat in the dock. The water was all black except for the reflection of the fire in the village. The woman set me down carefully in the sail boat and adjusted the blanket around me. She untied the rope holding the boat to the dock, she jumped in with me. A fairly short distance from the shore, the woman looked back at the island and then at the thing she had in her hand. She tucked the thing she had in her hand into the blanket with me. Her blue eyes were teary as she spoke. “Meja,” She started, holding back tears, “I’m sorry. Please be strong.” She then jumped out of the boat and swam to shore. I then watched helplessly as she was ambushed by the lizards and killed. I just layed there, watching the sky. There was comfort in the stars. The boat drifted for a long time before the boat hit something. I heard voices, and then saw shadows looming over the boat and myself. “What do we have here?” Another, strange masculine voice demanded as he lifted me up from the boat. The blanket and the thing I was given both fell from me, and I felt suddenly naked. I saw a smirk spread across the man’s face who was holding me. I always woke up after that.

I sighed lightly and made my way to the outhouse at the back of our house. After doing my business I took the bread from beside the fire and took a couple of bites.

Bread. I thought sarcastically. Yeah right! This is apple cake in a bread shape.

I had to smile though, I never really liked sweet things. Salty, savoury, spicy, bitter. I liked it, but apple cake was my sweet weakness.

I could only eat a little less than half of the loaf before I began to feel full and a little sick. I put the cake on the counter and made myself some tea. I downed it quickly before going to the storage cabinets to grab a couple more blankets.

I opened the cabinet and pulled out two blankets, a box fell onto the ground with a loud ground. I winced, but looked up at the stairs. Hiccups’ snores traveled down to my ears. I sighed lightly and placed the blankets on the table before bending down and picking up the little chest.

What was it even doing there? I asked myself. If dad had any common sense, this should be in his room.

I picked it up, only to have its contents spill out onto the floor. I sighed again and took the candle off the table and rested it on the floor to make sure I got everything off the floor.

There was a small blanket, a baby blanket on the floor. It was a plush fury blanket. I didn’t remember it, I didn’t have it neither did Hiccup. I folded it up and put it in the box, and I saw a necklace that must have fallen out of the blanket. I picked it up. My eyes went wide as I saw what was engraved on it.

The outcast symbol.

Why would dad have this?

I thought back to my nightmare. I didn’t look like dad in any way, I didn’t look like Hiccup. I had much darker hair, and blue eyes. Dad had red hair, Hiccup had auburn hair, they both had green eyes.

I shook it off. I probably looked like more like our mom, which we never actually met before.

I put the necklace back in the chest, and then put it back in the cabinet. I picked up the blankets and the candle and then went back up to our room.

I put the candle on the night stand and pile on more blankets on the already large mound. Then I climb back into bed and tried to go to sleep. After a while it worked.

I was out of training for the next couple days, but I watched. Hiccup had a good handle on taking on the dragons now. I watched him carefully. When the groncle came out again, he had something in his hand and used it to subdue the dragon. When the nadder came out, he scratched certain parts of the dragon’s neck and chin. I watched it carefully. I think I understood what he did that time.

The next day I was better and ready for training again.

Gobber felt that this time around, since the twins, Fishlegs, and Snotlout had been put in the lower part of the class and wouldn’t always participate in the lessons which they didn’t this time, we should have a bit more of a challenge. He released a timber jack this time.

It’s cage was reinforced with iron, otherwise it would have escaped.

I instantly dodged it’s razor sharp wing as it bombarded out. But I was determined to not use force this time. I had the knowledge and ability to do it the other way.

Hiccup was smart enough to stay down for a little while to let it calm down. The timberjack’s wing span was large enough to block out the sun. I stayed low to the ground until I was near its head and then started to scratch behind its horns, it seemed to like it. I then scratched under its chin and it’s body went limp as it almost purred.

I felt weird, but I kinda liked how the dragon nuzzled up against me, purring like a kitten.

I looked back at Hiccup who momentarily looked concerned, before his crooked smile spread across his lips. He knew I was watching him closely when I was sick. And he was glad I didn’t hurt it.

Astrid was pissed off, her ax was off its handle. And she was glaring daggers at me that would have sent any other viking our age running.

Hiccup peeled away from the group, I followed suit.

We were a good distance into the woods when he finally turned to me.

“You, you, you.”

“Me.” I said laughing lightly.

“You are amazing, Sigrid.” He told me, “I want you to meet him.”

I cocked my head to the side, but knew he was talking about the night fury.

I nodded and followed him towards the cove. He stopped just outside the cove.

“You’re gonna want to leave your weapons here.” He warned.

I nodded and placed my ax on the ground near a rock, same with any knives I had on me at the time. They were slightly hidden by the rock and long grass.

We slowly made our way down the rocks into the cove. I looked around slowly, taking it all it. While I felt safe knowing that Hiccup trusted this dragon, I was ready to respond incase something did happen, just out of habit.

After a few minutes a large black dragon came running out of a tree towards us.

Hiccup threw himself between me and the dragon.

“No, bud! It’s okay!” He told the dragon, “She’s a friend, she’s not going to hurt you, I promise.”

The dragon kept growling at me. And I realized something.

“Oh.” I said, realizing I hadn’t left all my weapons up by the rock.

I slowly knelt down, and slowly reached into my right boot and pulled out the knife I always keep it there. The dragon kept growling at me. I tossed it into the lake, and then slowly stood up with my hands up to show him I ment no harm.

The dragon stopped growling and sat calmly looking me up and down.

“Is that a saddle?” I asked as I slowly moved from my spot to circle to the dragon’s right to see it better.

“Yeah,” Hiccup started, “It’s the only way he can fly now.”

I raised an eyebrow and then looked at the leather trail from the saddle down to the dragon’s tail.

I smirked lightly, “You did this?”

Hiccup shrugged and had a sheepish look on his face.

The night fury started to turn to me, and then advance to sniff me.

I stayed still and watched him calmly.

“If I knew I was going to meet you, I’d have brought you fish.” I told him.

He stopped sniffing me then looked up at me, his eyes wide and innocent.

I smiled at him, it was a little hard for me to admit, but he was kinda cute.

“Did you name him?” I asked Hiccup.

He nodded, “Sigrid, this is Toothless.” He said and rested a hand on the dragon’s head, “Toothless, this is my sister Sigrid.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Toothless.” I told him with a sweet smile.

The dragon mimicked my actions, his smile was so much more crooked than Hiccup’s or even mine for that matter.

“I’m glad you aren’t like dad.” Hiccup said as he rubbed Toothless’ head, I hesitantly put out my hand in a non threatening way, the dragon nuzzled my hand with his nose.

“Why’s that?” I asked him, liking the way Toothless’ skin felt.

“He wouldn’t be open minded about this, he’d have hunted him.”

I smiled, “I’m not dad, Hiccup.” I told him, “And neither are you.”

He smiled at me again before I saw an idea pop into his head, “Hey, do you want to ride him?”

“Ride him?” I asked confused, Toothless a similar expression to me.

“Yeah, would you mind, Toothless?” Hiccup asked him.

Toothless let out what seemed like a shrug.

“Come on,” Hiccup urged me, “You love being on the edge.”

I had to shrug and nod at the same time. I hated hunting dragons, but I did love thrills.

“Okay.” I finally said, knowing I couldn’t get out of this situation.

Hiccup smiled at me as he mounted Toothless, he then put his hand out to me. I took it and hoisted myself onto the dragon’s back.

I took a deep breath and held onto my brother. Toothless took off.

It was a little rough to start, but after a little while we straightened out into a smooth flight.

“Wow.” I whispered as I drunk in the sights. We were high up above Berk, almost above the clouds.

“It’s beautiful.” I said in aw.

“I know.” Hiccup said laughing in front of me.

I shoved him lightly at that.

“Over confident because you did something I didn’t first?” I asked him as we started to descend towards the ocean.

“I did do something before you, didn’t I?” Hiccup asked amazed of himself.

“Yes, you did.” I told him and laughed.

I reached down and touched the sea water as we flew so close to it.

After a while longer of flying, enjoying the scenery, and complementing toothless, Hiccup had landed him back in the cove. It was just starting to get dark now.

“And now you know my secret.” He told me as we jumped off.

“You trained a dragon.” I said and patted Toothless’ head, he purred against me.

“Yeah.” Hiccup said flashing me his signature smile.

“I have a secret too.” I started, it had been eating at me since I found the chest and, I knew I could talk to Hiccup about anything if I needed to.

“Shoot.” Hiccup told me.

But after a moment of hesitation, I realized this was probably something I shouldn’t share with him on the grounds of him freaking out, dad not wanting us to know, and our already fractured relationship with him.

“Um,” I started and shifted slightly, I had already said something, and if I told him not to worry about he’d know there’s something wrong, “What do you think about Sigrid Thorston?” I asked thinking on my feet.

He looked at me in disbelief, “You like Tuffnut?”

I shrugged, “He’s not as stupid as a lot of people make him out to be.” I started, “He is brave and has a lot of potential if he wasn’t always stuck with Ruffnut.”

“Tuffnut, really?” He asked again.

“What?” I almost yelled at him.

“Nothing,” He said and rolled his eyes, “I don’t approve and I highly doubt that dad would either.”

I shrugged again.

“let’s go.” Hiccup said to me. We bid Toothless good bye and then headed back to the village. We were quiet, there was a lot to think about at the moment.

The next day I told Gobber I was pulling out of dragon training to tune up my skills where I saw fit.

He didn’t have a problem with it seeing as Hiccup was shaping up very well on his own.

Most of the village was preoccupied with watching what new trick Hiccup had up his sleeve with dragons, so I slipped away into the forest with a large basket of fish.

I headed towards the cove.

I didn’t leave my weapons outside this time, I didn’t think Toothless would see me as a threat to him this time. And I was right.

I entered and saw him drinking from the lake, he heard  some loose pebbles fall and shuffle as I made my way down so his ears perked up and he went into defence mode, until he saw me.

I smiled, and he approached cautiously.

I rested down the basket of fish on the ground as I spoke to him.

“Hiccup is training today.” I told him, “And I thought I’d get to know you a little better.”

He smiled awkwardly as well. I dumped the basket over for him to eat his fill. Toothless dove in instantly, I couldn’t help but laugh lightly as I sat on a near by rock and watched him.

I felt weird knowing that I didn’t need to fight dragons anymore, but my heart was a little lighter.

I thought back to the reasoning why dad would have an outcast emblem in our house. I was debating asking him when he got back, if he got back. But then quickly decided not to. He would be angry and wouldn’t actually answer my question. Hell, he might even send me to outcast island. I mean with Hiccup coming along with dragons and all.

What are you thinking, Sigrid! I yelled to myself in my head. It’s like your jealous of the fact your brother is finally getting recognition about dragons after how many years!? Hiccup’s doing what you couldn’t, and you’re going to be bitter-

“Wah!” I yelled in surprise and landed in the body of water. I quickly scrambled to the surface to see toothless seemingly snickering at me.

“Why you,” I jumped out of the water and started chasing the black dragon all around the cove. He joined in with the game, and it ended when Hiccup came to the cove after dragon training was done.

“How’d it go?” I asked giggling lightly as Toothless was running around in circles around the two of us.

Hiccup braced himself, “Astrid’s going to kill me.” His voice broke at his words.

I smirked and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“If that Hofferson thinks she’s going to touch my brother because he surpasses the blonde in dragon training, she has another thing coming.” I assured him, “And that would be either my ax or throwing knives, or both.”

Hiccup rolled his eyes and shied out from under my arm.

“You wanna ride again today?” He asked patting Toothless.

The said dragon and I nodded furiously to show we both wanted to. Hiccup mounted Toothless, then I clambered on too.

I set the dough in the bowl to the side and covered it with a damp cloth. The bread had to rise, and now I needed to work on the stew for tonight.

I was about to start chopping vegetables for dinner, when I heard some of the villagers yelling and rushing towards the docks. I hurried out the front door and stopped the nearest viking to ask what was going on.

“You’re father has returned, Sigrid.” Freya Ingerman, Fishleg’s mom told me. I thanked her and threw my apron back in the house before running off to the docks to see the old man.

The ships were all in disrepair, but everyone was alive.

I sprinted down the ramp towards the ships.

“Dad!” I called out to the burly man. He turned around, his angry and stern expression melted away and a smile graced his features when he saw me.

“There’s my little girl!” He exclaimed and threw his hands up before advancing a little towards me and scooping me up in his arms and twirling me around in the air.

“Dad!” I all but squealed as we spun around with me in his hands at arm’s length as everyone else watched and laughed.

“Am I not allowed to miss you?” He asked sternly as he set me down  carefully.

“Sorry.” I said with a smile and lunged forward to give him a hug as best I could. He placed a hand on top of my head. I wouldn’t normally do this, but something in my mind flashed while I was being spun. I saw a beard, but it was black in colour and not red.

I pulled back and looked up at him.

“I assume the hunt didn’t go too well.” I said sheepishly.

Dad’s smile faded but he nodded.

“But I do have good news.” I announced a genuine smile gracing my lips, dad nodded for me to continue, “My older brother has risen to the occasion and has taken the top place in his class, even beating out Snotlout Jorgenson and Astrid Hofferson thanks to my assistance.” His face lit up in hope but also curiosity, “All Hiccup needed was a chance dad.”

An even larger smile pulled that the older man’s lips.

“Let’s go see him in action then, shall we!” He suggested and pulled me along to the arena.

There we stood at the edge and saw the groncle making its way over to Hiccup. Astrid leaning against the barrier for a moment before jumping over them and charging forward, only to have her battle cry cut short by a subdued dragon and a scared Hiccup.

I smirked as I saw the glare on her face turn into sheer anger. I’d have to pat Hiccup on the back later. Even I couldn’t draw that kind of reaction out of her.

Gobber put a hand, or hook rather, over both Astrid and Hiccup’s heads. Gothi then decided it would be Hiccup that would have the honour of killing the monstrous nightmare.

I swallowed hearing that, knowing Hiccup wouldn’t hurt a fly. But I knew that Hiccup had to make a choice. It would either be what our dad wanted or what he wanted. There was no in between, there would never be an in between.

I sighed knowing there wasn’t much of a possibility of the village actually accepting what Hiccup wanted, and there was no Hiccup could do what dad and the village wanted. He wasn’t like us. I’d known that since the moment I could form a complex thought.

And now I was so helpless to the situation at hand. Either I was going to lose my brother, or he was going to lose me. And in that moment I had never felt so scared in my entire life.


The Red Shadow Hunt(A Pokemon Paul Love Story Part 5)

I ran and ran as fast as I could away from that tavern. Away from the man I fell in love with when I was little. From my friends and family.

At that moment I wished I wasn’t the Red Shadow so some one could kill me.

I collapsed when I finally ran out of breath.

I wiped my eyes and looked around. I was right in front of the old cabin we lived at for so long. It was where our father taught us, where we learned, and played. It was our home.

I hadn’t been here in so long.

Weeds had over run the grass around cabin, the wood of the house was starting to decay and rot. Vines drapped down over the roof and tangled in the window frames.

Fresh tears started to form at my eyes as I walked to the back of the small cabin.

There it was, the mound of dirt with flowers and grass growing over it, the moss covered mark there.

I sat down in front of it. Shivering at the cold. It was only now that I realized I’d forgotten my cloak.

“Hey, Baba.” I spoke to the wind and sniffed back tears.

“How are you? We’re alright. Alec and Zuren are still as stupid as ever. Martin’s taken the role of the oldest since we got back. Reggie is still down in the town. Paul just came up.” I paused and let out a sigh, “He’s the biggest idiot of them all.”

I started to breathe a little heavier.

“Me?” I asked the air, “I’ve been trying to prove a woman can be just as strong as a man. But no one believes me. And now with Paul hanging around.”

I choked on a sob again.

“Baba, I honestly think I fell in love with Paul a long time ago. But I could never get up enough nerve to tell him anything like it.” I told the wind, “Baba, I wish you were here right now. You’d tell me what to do.”

The tears had finally cleared from my eyes.

“I really miss you, Baba.” I finally whispered, “Why did you leave us alone?”

Paul’s pov.

I groaned and pulled myself off the floor. Everyone was glaring at me. Zuren offered me a hand up, but didn’t take it.

“Always stubborn.” He muttered.

“She shouldn’t have said it.” I told him.

“How the hell can that princess love you when you don’t understand women at all!” A red head with her hair pulled back into a side pony tail yelled at me.

“What are you talking about wench?” I spat.

“You know Jowey’s always been, sensitive.” Zuren told me picking his words carefully, “Over the time we’ve been apart she’s changed a lot more than she’d care to admit to.”

“What are you saying?” I asked him, “She took the name and you guys did the killing?”

“No, she is the red Shadow.” Martain said walking over to us, “Maybe it’s best explained not in words, but in a sight.”

He motioned for me to follow him, I did along with Zuren and Alec.

They lead me about ten minutes away from the tavern and into the woods. What I saw when we arrived there made my eyes go wide.

A giant pit dig out, the smell of blood, death, and fire filled my nostrils. Looking down I saw a mountain of bodies. All mutilated, all cut, stabbed, bloody. They were robbed and tossed carelessly into there with no respect at all.

“It never started like this.” Martain told me, “Started with going after abusive spouses, bandits that rape and kill, evil dept collectors and the works.”

“She eventually got the name Red Shadow.” Alec told me, “Bounty hunters and the like started coming up here looking for her.”

“She liked the attention knowing that the name she’d gotten had most likely reached you, but she hated the actual fights.” Zuren said.

“Three, maybe four or so years ago, everything changed.” Martain said, “She came back one night from the kingdom, and everyone knew by the look in her eye not to mess with her. But a small group of bounty hunters had come up looking for her.”

“She killed them on the floor in the tavern.” Zuren said, “Right where the carpet is. We couldn’t get those blood stains out of the wood floor.”

“After that she craved any and every fight she could get. Always to the death. We never knew what was wrong, we never asked. She’d never of told even if we did.” Martain had a far away look on his face.

“It was after she killed them,” Alec cut in, “That it was noticeable she changed. She drew her daggers on anyone who wanted a fight, whether it was with her or not.”

“Killing,” Martain said, “it’s the only thing that seems to bring her peace anymore. And these unfortunate to cross her blade are only one of three other pits full that she’d killed.”

“She goes down to the castle every now and again doesn’t she?” I asked and clenched my fists looking down at the faces of Ash, Barry, and the others.

“We never know when exactly, but we know she does.” Zuren asked, “Why? Do you know what might have caused this?”

“It was about three or so years ago,” I started, “That I’d lay with the princess in her bed.”

“And she’s seen.” Martain finished.

“I really don’t know women.” I thought out loud and ran a hand through my hair.

“Why’s that?” Alec asked.

“She might have developed feelings for me when we were kids, and I never noticed.” I admitted.

“They say absence makes that heart grow founder.” Martain told me.

“Sounds like something Reggie’d say.” I told them.

“Think you feel the same about her, Paul?” Zuren asked me.

I only smirked as I replied.

The Red Shadow Hunt(A Pokemon Paul Love Story Part 4)

“We believe it’s the Red Shadow.” Harley said.

“Give the guy a prize.” Someone said behind them, all of them instantly whirling around to see who it was.

Leaning in the doorway, a shadowy figure cloaked in black stood with their arms crossed.

It looked up to reveal mitch matched eyes of green and grey.

“You grew up, Paul.” It said to him, “You’ve become a man in this time.”

He smiled slightly as his hand was on his sword, “Jowey.”

I smirk pulled on the figure’s lips as it pulled the hood back revealing not only the different eyes, but long black hair and scars and tattoos on her neck and face.

He unsheathed and ran towards her with lightning speed. She sighed softly before pulling out her blades.

With one blade his sword was knocked out of his hand and across the room, with the other, it went directly to his neck as she spun. She stopped a millimeter before it grazed his neck.

“You still need practice.” She said and sheathed her blades as she turned around to look at the taller man.

He sighed, “Guess, I can’t kill you just yet.” He said.

“Not unless you don’t want information about the Red Shadow.” She said and went over to the bar.

“You have information on him?” Drew asked.

“Information or not!” Garry said drooling, “Can I have you for the night?”

She hit him in the face with the back of her fist when he got close.

“I work here you lecture.” She spat, “But I’m a not a woman in the tavern.”

“What she means is, she’s not here for pleasure. She’s here to keep everything in check.” Martain said, “It’s good to see ya’ Paul.”

Paul nodded, “I just wish the terms were happier.”

“So these were your friends.” Harely said and went closer to Jowey to inspect her.

“How ’bout you get out my face!” She hissed.

He backed up, “You’d actually be pretty if not for that scar.”

She rolled her eyes and drank her ale.

“So what information can you give us?” Drew asked her sitting down next to her.

“The Red Shadow is always underestimated.” She said, “I wouldn’t let my guard down in my sleep if I were against him.”

“You aren’t an enemy?” Garry asked.

She downed her entire drink and whipped her mouth before replying, “He’s my master.”

“So you took your teachings from the most wanted man in the world?” Paul asked.

“You always go to the best don’t you?” She asked, “Besides, I never said anything against you with the princess having you as her favorite.” She cocked an eyebrow and smirked.

“How the hell do you-

She merely pulled out the silk cloth that was given to Paul by the princess days ago.

“You really need to practice more.” She said, “You always leave yourself open.”

“I really hate you, you know that.” He hissed and snatched it back.

“You don’t hate me.” She said and used the same hand she had held the cloth with to support her chin, “You just don’t like me touching anything that came from the princess.”

“What about the Red Shadow?” Drew asked, “If you tell us, we might not bring you in aswell.”

She rolled her eyes, “I could whip each of your asses before you can draw your swords.”

“Wanna bet?” Harley growled.

“You might be pretty, but I never back down from a challenge.” Garry hissed.

“No fighting in the tavern.” Martain said as he filled another mug.

“We’ll take it outside.” She said and got up leading the way out of the tavern.

She had her back to the three that would fight. Paul had had his ass kicked by her already that day, he wasn’t going to go two for one.

“Are you ready, woman?” Harley hissed as he reached for his sword.

“When ever your ready.” She said boardly still with her back to them.

Each of the men had their hands on their hilts. Each about to draw when she disappeared and the three fell to the ground as blood shot out of their bodies in every direction.

“Weak.” She said behind Paul, behind the hunters, behind everyone who was watching.

“Fast.” Paul mumbled, “No wonder you went to the Red Shadow.”

Jowey shrugged and sheathed her blades, “I’m actually faster than he is.” She told him.

“No wonder I couldn’t beat you.” He said.

She didn’t look at him as she went back inside and sat back at the bar.

“Do you at least know where the Red Shadow might be?” Paul asked coming back in and sitting next to her as everyone resumed what they were doing before.

“No.” She said, “He never stays one place too long.”

“Do you at least know what he looks like?” He asked her.

“Yeah.” She said and sipped more ale that was placed infront of her.

“Can you tell me?” He asked.

“Why would I wanna do that?” She asked.

“To help a friend out.” He told her.

She shook her head, “You just wanna hunt him down so you can bring his head back to the b@st@rd king of yours.”


“You bring back his head, you get the hand of the beautiful Dawn.”

“Jowey.” He said more stern.

“Why would I want to tell you anything about him when you’ll use it, bring us both in, become the king and marry that princess. And then you forget all about us.”

“Why do you think I’d do that?” He demanded.

“You’ve been here a day!” She yelled and stood up, “You’ve seen and talked with Martain, and Zuren, and Alec! You’ve been in the same room and looked over them closely! And you didn’t recognize them!”

“I recognized you didn’t I?” He defended standing up.

“I’m kinda a hard face to forget with a scar on my neck, burn on my face, and miss matched eyes!” She cried, “Face it, you didn’t remember any of us because you didn’t want to!”

She walked about half way to the door before stopping and turning back, “You didn’t remember us because you didn’t want to.” She repeated, her eyes now becoming glossy, “The King took us in because of the princess. She then became the center of your world. And you know you’d do anything for her.”

“I would not!” He defended.

“What about the nights you held her!” She yelled.

The entire place got quiet.

“How did,

I stopped sob was heard throughout the room.

“I go down to the towns every once in a while.” she said, “I went to the castle a few times over the years. and whenever I did I found the two of you together, in her room at night. And you were holding her, and she was giggling. And you were smiling.”

She sniffed and turned her head fast, “Your on this because you don’t want her hurt incase you got her pregnant.”

He was shaking his head at her, eyes boring into her soul.

“Don’t you dare deny this either.” She spat, “You know it’s true.”

“Why the hell do you care?” He asked.

“Because you’d do anything for your princess.” She repeated, “You’d do anything, even hunt down a friend if you have to.”

“I’m not hunting any of you!” He argued, “I’m going after-

“I’m the Red Shadow! You fucking bastard!” Tears rolled down her face and she fought to keep them away.

“I’m the Red Shadow.” She repeated calmer, she still didn’t look at him, “I killed Barry, and Ash, and those three outside. I was hoping you’d catch on, but I guess that was too much.”

“Jowey.” Paul said like talking to an injured animal.

“What?” She snarled, “Are you going to tell me she wanted you and not the other way around? Are you going to say you didn’t mean to meet again like this? What about yell at me for keeping this from you? Oh, I know! You never liked me since you saw Dawn, and you don’t even see me as a woman right now, but a fugitive that you’re gonna kill and take down to the king and get married to his daughter?”

She sobbed ever so slightly more, “If that’s the case fine. But look me in the eye and tell me knowing this now, you’d happily return to your whore of a princess and marry her.”

She held his gaze intently even with the tears.

“She isn’t a whore.” He argued.

“You don’t know that.” She told him, “You couldn’t have been her first. She might have banged a knight or butler. hell, even a stable boy.”

Paul lunged at her, sending Jowey to the ground. She quickly threw him off of her and into he nearest wall, hard.

She propped herself up on her elbows to see him gasping for breath. She jumped up and took off.

“Jowey!” Martain, Zuren, and Alec yelled after her.

“Oh, no.” Misty said and picked up a piece of cloth, “She left her cloak.”

“And it’s the beginning of winter.” Alec said.