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   Chapter 4 First Meeting

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 21728

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:02


Sunday

After a brief phone call with Lucas, Drake met him shortly after in his home.

'Did you tell Sian what happened?' Drake asked him, as he sat opposite Lucas on the sofa in the apartment.

'Yeah' he grumbled. 'I told her I can't see her today because of it. I told her that I can't leave Reuben on his own.'

'Really?' Drake replied. 'You're not going?'

'No.'

Drake looked away. 'And she was ok with that?'

'Yes.'

'It would be nice to have some company on the train' Drake lamented.

'Sorry' Lucas mumbled, 'but…' he turned away.

'I know' Drake nodded, 'he's your brother. I understand.'

'So when are you leaving?'

'Later today' Drake replied. 'I want to see Reuben before I go.'

Lucas smiled at that.

'Visiting hours are at two o'clock.'

'That's great' Drake beamed happily. 'We could go together.'

'Sure' Lucas nodded. 'But before we go, could you help me with something?'

'What is it?'

'I need to get rid of the TV' Lucas said, looking over at it.

'Get rid of it?' Drake hesitated. But he did not press. 'Sure' he finished. 'Let's do it now.'

They lifted the TV from its place. Lucas grimaced as they did so, gritting his teeth

'Are you alright?' Drake asked with concern. 'What's happened?'

Lucas paused, still holding one end of the TV.

'I was' he began. He sighed then, smiling at Drake weakly. 'I was attacked by an aberrant' he finished. 'I…was cut deeply. But I managed to survive. I will be fine now.'

Drake dipped his head.

'Let's go' he said. 'The sooner we get rid of this…'

They carried the TV down the stairs, out of the building and through the streets. Lucas tried his best to hide his pain, although the injury still hurt, it felt better than it did the day before.

He found himself wondered for a moment, if he would ever see the aberrant guardian again. Who was he? And where was he now?

Lucas kept his thoughts silent as he walked with Drake, carrying the TV between them. They sold the TV and Lucas took the money, feeling a little more at ease.

'At least we can eat now' Lucas mumbled under his breath, counting the amount before pocketing it. He turned to Drake then, grinning at him. 'Come on, let's go see Reuben. It's nearly two o'clock; he wouldn't want us to be late.'

They stopped off on the way to grab a take-away in the form of a giant pizza. They reached the hospital just in time. Two o'clock exactly. Visiting hours had just started, and Reuben was wide awake and eager to see them.

There were two creatures on the outskirts of the town at this time, beastly things of the type that no ordinary person has ever seen before.

One resembled a dog, though was the size of a giant horse. Its light brown coat was coarse and brush-like, and it bore a tail that arched over its back. Moving on very long legs, the creature's fox-like ears were constantly twitching and it glared around with narrow pupil-less white eyes. It paused, digging in the dirt and sniffing around. It had found something, and began to dig with long slender fingers on reptilian like claws.

Its companion cackled excitedly, running up beside.

The second creature was very different and much smaller than the first. It walked in a hunched position, its spine always curved. Beside its companion it sniffed the ground with a button nose. But it was far from cute. Deformed and freakish it looked, with red eyes which were pupil-less like its companion. It grinned cruelly with an unseen mouth that was tucked much further below its round head than any normal creature. It had massive rabbit like ears that flopped downwards, brushing the ground when it walked. And its body was jet black, with fur fine and short. Like its companion it began to dig at the earth with deformed feet, its fingers were splayed as if they were broken and twisted at odd angles as it dug.

These creatures were called Li and Kreas.

Kreas crawled forwards across the terrain on his deformed feet. His movements smooth and calculated as he slunk close to the ground, the sun shining off his glossy black coat. Li followed after him, walking gracefully.

Kreas stopped suddenly, sniffing the ground vigorously and laughing like a hyena. Kreas suddenly became still. He extended a single claw with all the gentleness one would think such a creature would lack.

He lifted his hand, draped over the claw, was a single long white hair.

Lucas and Drake stayed with Reuben for three hours until they were asked to leave at five, Lucas promising to return at six-thirty later that day. The doctors were apparently still not yet happy about releasing him because the tingling in his fingers had not stopped, and they wanted to keep an eye on him. But tomorrow, tomorrow Reuben said that he would leave, whether the doctors allowed it or not.

Lucas and Drake trailed out of the hospital, the automatic doors closed behind them, as Lucas turned to Drake to speak.

'Where are you going now?'

'I'm going to meet Lauralie' Drake replied.

'I thought you were going to see your girlfriend.'

'I am' Drake winked, 'but I'm going to see Lauralie first. I've got a little surprise for her' he said, nudging Lucas' arm.

'Is she going to like this surprise?' Lucas asked dubiously.

'She will….' Drake replied nonchalantly. 'Perhaps not at first.'

'Right' Lucas mumbled slowly. 'Listen Drake, I'll see you around ok? I should be going.'

'I'll see you around' Drake oozed smugly. 'See you Monday.'

'See you tomorrow. And…don't do anything stupid.'

'I won't, and don't worry about Reuben' Drake waved at him. 'He'll be fine.'

Drake clapped his hands suddenly, rubbing them together vigorously and smiling with mischief.

'This is going to be fun. Oh I can't wait to see the look on her face.'

Lucas nodded as Drake strode away. Lucas turned, heading in the opposite direction he wandered down the street.

There was nothing for him to do, and he felt bored and lost without Reuben by his side. He decided to wander the town, with lack of anything else to do. It was Sunday today, and the streets were mostly quiet. He wandered for many minutes, not wanting to go home. He went where his feet took him, never slowing down. He walked on.

Lauralie's face lit up the moment she saw Drake. She jumped off the wall of the fountain and ran over to him.

'Drake! It's great to see you, what took you so long?'

She was looking as beautiful as ever today, wearing high moss coloured boots, a black skirt and a red and green patterned top that clung to her gorgeous figure.

'You look nice today' Drake commented. 'Are you dressing up for someone?'

'What?' Lauralie laughed, raising an eyebrow at him in amusement. 'What are you talking about? These are my regular clothes. Are you hitting on me? Anyway you didn't answer my question. What took you so long?'

'Sorry, it was um….traffic.'

'But you walked' she said cocking her head slyly. 'Are you teasing me?'

Drake grinned wordlessly, taking her by the arm and walking with her.

'What's gotten into you?' she asked suspiciously. 'You're up to something.'

'Just walk with me' he answered. 'There are two people I want you to meet; and who very much want to meet you.'

'What? Lauralie frowned. 'Who? What are you up to Drake?'

He led her to another place not too far away, walking slowly through the streets. Around them people wandered back and forth as they drifted from one shop to the next, sitting on the benches outside or drinking at the coffee shops.

'It's pretty here today' Lauralie said absently. 'I love this town.'

'I know' Drake said patting her arm. 'You do love to tell me that.'

They continued to walk.

It was just around the next corner, that Lauralie met her surprise.

She gasped, as she saw approaching her, a young man with a rose on his neck and red streaks in his white hair. Beside him was another, shorter with light brown hair and startling blue eyes, like his companion.

It was the street-dancing brothers.

'Lauralie' Drake said leaning into her, 'these are the brothers, Adrian and Diz.'

'It is a pleasure to meet you' the oldest one said. 'My name is Adrian.' He leant forwards in a bow and took her hand in his, kissing the back of her hand in an old fashioned manner, standing with one arm behind his back.

It reminded Lauralie suddenly of something she had read in a book.

Behind Adrian, his younger brother Diz smirked back at her as she blushed; he rested a hand on his hip casually.

Adrian lifted his head to hers, drawing uncomfortably close, as if he were about to kiss her. Lauralie terrified simply froze.

'Would it be too daring for me' he began, 'to ask such a beautiful young lady her name?'

'…um it's……Lauralie.'

'Just as I expected' Adrian winked, 'a beautiful name, for a beautiful girl.'

Lauralie held her breath, unable to think of anything appropriate to say. The younger boy Diz tutted shaking his head, approaching them he tapped his brother's arm lightly with the back of his hand.

'Adrian, leave the poor girl alone and give her some space.'

He addressed her in turn as Adrian stepped back from her.

'I'm Diz; it's nice to meet you.' He smiled and winked at her, stepping forward and shaking her hand formally. 'This is my older brother' Diz said. 'He's already introduced himself. You could probably tell he's older can't you? He's so much taller than me.'

Diz gave a boyish little chuckled, shoulders shaking, he sighed calming himself.

Lauralie was completely thrown off by the brother's different attitudes. Not only did they look completely different, but in behaviour they were polar opposites.

'So what about you?' Diz asked. 'Have you lived here all your life? Or are you just visiting the town?'

'Well' Drake clapped Lauralie roughly on the back, making her jump. 'I had better be going now, my girlfriend Eleanor is expecting me' he explained to the brothers with a nod. 'I'm sure I can leave you in the capable hands of these fine young gentlemen' he said to Lauralie.

She tensed suddenly with cheeks red and shot him a glare that told him she was swearing in her head to kill him later.

'Don't you worry' Adrian said dramatically. 'I will care for this fair young maiden and take her under my wing.'

Diz gave his older brother a sceptical look. 'What are you in a pantomime or something?'

'I'll see you later' Drake tipped his forehead at them. 'Have fun Lauralie!' he called back, 'I know they'll look after you!'

'Come' the older brother Adrian said, gently taking Lauralie by the arm. 'Let's go someplace fun.'

Adrian led her away, with Diz skipping behind them.

Drake was laughing all the way to the train station as he went.

Alone with his thoughts, Lucas wandered through the town, avoiding the busiest parts and heading

to places evermore quieter. Finally he reached the edge of the town, where he could walk no further. Not even realising where his feet had taken him, Lucas glanced up now, seeing the ocean before him. He was at the harbour, which was deserted at this time. The ocean was calm, rocking gently the boats that were docked. Lucas stood for a moment, casting his gaze out onto the surface of the water. He turned, walking one way near the edge of the water, passing the boats lined up beside him.

Serenity, Wind Dancer, Jill...

The boats ranged from small rowing boats to larger and more majestic ones, both new and old. It was interesting to see such a mix housed together. Like different breeds that shared the same space.

Lucas listened to his own footsteps as he walked, stepping over a bundle of old net that lay discarded in his path. Glancing up he suddenly saw something that caught him by surprise, and he automatically summoned his magic to him to protect himself.

He had spotted an aberrant, and it in turn had spotted him. It was a large beast, bearing a set of wings now folded neatly by its side. The aberrant used its wings to help it walk, having no legs at the front, instead having four at the back, two on each side of the body.

Lucas watched the aberrant as it casually walked past him. There was caution in its eyes, but it did not appear threatening in any way, merely minding its own business, as Lucas had been doing.

The aberrant turned its bony head forwards again, flicking its long tail. Lucas saw at the end of its tail was a claw, with three sharp fingers that almost waved at him as it moved.

Once the aberrant had passed, it turned back and lay down. Resting with its legs stretched out and its head held high. Its eyes drooped shut, as if the aberrant was thinking of rest.

Lucas stared at it a moment longer, before releasing his magic and drifting away. He glanced back at it as he went, but the creature had not moved. It appeared to be fast asleep in its sitting position, bathing in the sun.

Lucas walked on for several more minutes, eventually forgetting about the aberrant entirely. The salty smell in the air was strong, but not unpleasant, and he was so taken with the atmosphere around him, that he almost didn't notice. It was rare to see someone here who was not a fisherman or who didn't own a boat. But on this day, there was a girl.

She was young, dressed all in black, with her black hair cut into a bob. She was sitting on the pier with her legs dangling off the edge. Lucas would have kept moving, but there was something else he saw that surprised him.

A toy, brought alive by magic. It hovered in the air beside the girl, and together they gazed out to sea silently as if they were hypnotised.

Lucas slowed to a stop, staring at the both of them for several second. After a time the girl looked around, as if she could feel his sight touching her. She gasped in surprise, caught off-guard. The girl brought her legs up and rose suddenly. Lucas could see fear and uncertainty in her. She stared back at him, as if waiting for him to do something. Her body was tense and her shoulders lifted. When Lucas didn't immediately speak she began to march away.

'Wait!'

The girl stopped, peering hesitantly back at him.

'You're a guardian.'

The girl's eyes grew wide, and she turned to face him properly.

'You're nearly right' the girl replied in a shy voice, holding herself and speaking to the floor.

'Can that person see me?' the toy asked the girl.

'Yes Pokie' she answered. 'I think he can.'

The toy whizzed around her in a circle, flying through the air and coming to sit on her shoulder. The thing regarded Lucas with an expressionless face that he found unsettling.

'You're not going to hurt me are you?' The girl asked.

'Hurt you?' Lucas was shocked at such a question. 'Why would I want to hurt you?'

'There are people' the girl whispered, 'who wish me harm.'

'What people?'

The girl fell silent, reluctant to answer.

'I've tried to fit in' she moaned. 'I've tried…but…all my life…'

She buried her face in her hands and began to cry. Lucas' heart jolted, and he felt suddenly uncertain, unsure of what to do. He had rarely been in the presence of a crying girl, but on those few occasions, there had always been others around to deal with it. But this time he was on his own.

'Hey' he spoke gently to her. 'It's ok. There's no need to be sad.'

He took a step towards her, slowly approaching.

She lifted her head when she felt a hand on her shoulder, seeing Lucas smiling at her nervously.

'Please don't cry' he said to her.

'I'm just afraid.' She wiped her eyes with the back of her hands.

'What's your name?' Lucas asked.

'It's um…Ebony' she said sniffing.

'And my name is Pokie!' the toy cried out, seemingly oblivious to Ebony's sadness.

'What is it?' Lucas asked, staring at the toy intently. 'I've never seen anything like it before.'

'He's my friend' Ebony replied, gathering herself together. 'I created him.'

The toy ascended in the air, flying in a circle around the two of them and coming to hover between them. Its arms pointed downwards as it cocked its head curiously at Lucas.

'Lucas.'

'Hm?'

'It's my name' he told Ebony. 'It's Lucas.'

'That's a nice name.'

'Thanks. Ebony's a nice name too.'

She smiled at him, reluctant to meet him in the eye and only glancing briefly up at him.

'You're not going to hurt me?' she asked again.

'No' Lucas answered.

'Promise?'

Lucas saw then how scared and uncertain she was, like him.

'I promise' he told her.

'There are people' she said, 'people who want to hurt me.'

'I am not one of them.'

She appeared to relax a little, holding a fist on her heart.

'I see that now.'

Lucas paused. An awkward silence passed between them while Lucas thought of something to say. Ebony stared calmly, as if she was now merely curious about him.

'You seem to be a kind and caring person' she said at last.

'What makes you say that?'

She shrugged. 'Most people barely even see me. You're the first person in my life I remember to show me true kindness.'

Lucas felt a tug in his heart then; a deep sadness for her. Had she spent most of her life alone? Lucas thought then of his brother, and how the two of them had always been together. When their mother was cruel to them, it didn't seem to matter, because they had each other.

'You don't have any brothers or sisters?' he asked.

She shook her head.

'You must have parents?'

'I……have foster parents, but I don't get along with them, I don't think they like me very much.'

'Why would you say that?'

Ebony shrugged again. 'They barely seem to notice me most of the time.'

'I know how that feels. My mother likes to pretend my brother and I don't exist. And I've never met my father.'

'I've never met my parents either' Ebony smiled sadly.

'So you're alone?'

'It's ok' Ebony said waving a hand at him shyly. 'Don't feel bad for me. I've got Pokie, he's been a great companion.'

'A stuffed toy isn't really a companion.'

'Hey!' the toy cried out indignantly.

'Will you stay with me?' Ebony asked Lucas, ignoring the toy. 'I mean…just for a while…or do you have somewhere to be.' Ebony quickly looked away blushing. 'I'm sorry. Forget I said that.'

'It's ok' Lucas said. 'I'd love to hang out with you.'

'Really?'

'I'll keep you company, you don't have to be alone. We guardians should stick together.'

'You're right' Ebony said straightening up. 'I feel can trust you. I don't know why I know this. I just know.' She began to fidget on the spot, kicking her feet and looking at the ground.

'Do you want to sit with me?' she asked. 'I like to watch the sea. It's so peaceful.'

'Alright' Lucas replied. 'If that's what you want.'

She gave him a nod, turning and walking back to the edge of the pier. She sat where she had been before, resuming her original position with the toy Pokie sailing through the air after her. Lucas followed, sitting a short distance away, giving her space. The toy landed on the ground between them, leaning into Ebony's body. Though Lucas could read no facial expression, its body-language did wonders in conveying a message. Pokie didn't like him very much, or to be more precise, he was jealous, scared Lucas was going to take Ebony away from him.

'Don't worry Pokie' Ebony cooed, 'I know you're there.'

The toy jumped up into her lap, turning in circles like a cat or dog about to nap, then lying down, head shoved into its fluffy tail.

'Pokie is bound to me' Ebony explained, 'I'm all he has.'

The thing appeared to be fast asleep in no time.

'Where did he come from?' Lucas asked Ebony.

'From my bedroom' she replied.

'How did he get there?'

'I carried him?'

'From where?'

'From outside.'

Lucas sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get any straight answers in that area of discussion.

Ebony continued to pet the toy lovingly, the way one might stroke a cat. Lucas thought of sparking conversation, though wanted to stay away from discussion of the toy that clearly dislike him. But Ebony spared him the effort.

'You said you had a brother' Ebony said.

'Yes.'

'Tell me about him, what's he like? I would like to have had a sibling growing up.'

'His name is Reuben. He's in hospital at the moment.'

'Oh no' Ebony said gazing at him. 'What happened?'

And so they talked for a short time, about nothing and everything. Lucas kept no secrets from her as he would have done talking to others. He told her everything, even more than what he would have told his own girlfriend, because this one knew magic, he was able to relate to her better than anyone else. There was no need keeping anything back from her. On occasion Ebony laughed, and Lucas smiled, and so they formed a sort of bond between them. Two people who had until very recently been complete strangers to one another.

But then the time came where Lucas had to leave again. Ebony's expression grew forlorn as Lucas rose to a stand.

'If I need help' she said to him before he left, 'you'll help me won't you?'

'Yes' Lucas replied. 'If I can.'

'I hope your brother gets well soon.'

'Yeah' Lucas replied. 'Me too.'

Lucas made his farewells and left the harbour. He thought of her as he made his way back to the hospital. There was something about the girl, something unusual, though Lucas couldn't quite work out what it was. But all thoughts of her left him when he saw his brother, and for the meantime, he forgot all about her.

'Ohhhh thank god you're here!' Reuben called happily. 'The hours absolutely dragged, I've been sooooo boooooored…'

Lucas took the empty seat beside his brother's bed.

'How do you feel?' he asked Reuben.

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