So, bloody balls ey, Wyny was there, surprising both my uncle and me by showing up with a couple of his guards, right when Jodec was abou to kick me out. Good timing Wyny, ugh. My emotions jumped all over the spectrum, I really don’t like how he’s able to do that. Foolish man. Anyway, I ended up facing him with the zlurp behind me, but then Patat almost revealed to him who Jodec really is, so I somehow ended up crawling through the zlurp’s legs, when *deep, painful groan*
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This is Nadec, my adventure. Written down in a better way than I can tell it.
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Ch 47: Trust
‘My lord,’ Jodec said while Nadec tried to get her heart back to her chest from where it had jumped in her throat. ‘My lord,’ Jodec repeated, ‘due to an emergency situation, we deemed it safer to move the gorwak out of the throne room.’
Nadec wondered how he managed to sound so composed and calm? Wyny’s arrival must have been as much a surprise to him as it was to Nadec.
‘I am not talking about the gorwak—although it would have been my next question. I meant, what is that zlurp doing here, in the castle?’
Nadec attempted to Skip as they spoke, but the zlurp had sneaked close enough to snatch the top of her head, holding her in place. She let out a silent groan.
‘My lord, I—’
‘Turn around, creature.’ Wyny spoke right over Jodec. ‘I am not at all keen to see more of you, but I want to look at your face. I have met one of your kind before, and I am curious to see if you look ali—’ His voice, sounding more inquisitive near the end, came to a dead stop.
The zlurp had obeyed Wyny and turned around. But he hadn’t let go of Nadec. As hers and Wyny’s eyes locked, she grinned at him, feeling sheepish. The massive hand on top of Nadec’s head made her feel even more self-conscious. She tried to pull away from it, but the grip didn’t budge.
‘My lord, I can explain, this is the—’
‘Be quiet.’ The command in Wyny’s voice impressed Nadec. Wyny glared at Jodec. ‘Klappah, is it not? I know who you truly are.’ It was very faint, but Jodec twitched at that statement. ‘You are part of The Order of the End. But you were also part of the ones who rescued me. Do not look so surprised, I have long been wondering how much power the End truly holds. After my capture, I began enquiring. What is uncovered so far tells me your power is even greater than I assumed. Something tells me even more is going on. I promise you, I will uncover it. I realise it has been your Order who have put me on the throne, but I have never questioned why. I have been played the fool long enough. No more. Now tell me, why is a member of the End roaming my hallways in the middle of the night, with a zlurp and the rightful heir to the throne?’
Nadec hadn’t stopped struggling against the zlurp. She aimed to pry his hands away, shook her head to loosen his grip, but to no avail. If only she could break free, she might have enough time to Skip away.
For a few seconds, all thought of escape vanished after hearing Wyny call her the rightful heir. As an usurper, Nadex expected him never to validate her that way. Did that mean…? No. She didn’t dare hope he stood at her side enough as to be willing to relinquish the Crown. Or was he? She snorted out loud at her own silliness. It wasn’t his, he couldn’t relinquish what didn’t belong to him. As the actual real heir, the Crown would automatically come to her.
Both of the men stared at her. Balls. She shrugged and motioned to the top of her head with her eyes.
‘Mind telling your zlurp to let me go, Jo—huh—you? It’s getting a bit tight. Ouchies.’ She pulled a face. Inside she cringed at herself. Ouchies? Ouchies?? At least her humour hadn’t left along with her dignity.
Jodec hesitated for a moment, but gave the command to the zlurp. Nadec stumbled at the suddenness with which she had to keep herself upright again.
‘Dripping Klappah?’ Patat’s gruff voice exclaimed. Nadec had hoped he’d stay silent. ‘You don’t know who he burning really is, do you, Pagewyn?’
Oh no, Nadec thought. She turned around to tell him not to say it, but bumped against the zlurp’s big belly. It made her lose her balance and she wind-milled for a while before falling to the ground. She crawled through the zlurp’s legs, gagging at the stink of his six-toed feet. She was reminded of her halberd as it tugged against something, preventing her from going forward. She’d completely forgotten about it because of the surprise of Patat’s absence in the throne room, and for some reason Jodec hadn’t taken it away. Perhaps he thought it hadn’t been much of a threat while the zlurp held her?
Without any more thought, she reached back and released it from her back. Jodec loudly commanded Patat not to say anything. Nadec snorted softly in anticipation as she brought her arm forward, purposely extending the arc upwards and putting more force in it. The butt of the halberd crashed into the bals of the zlurp with enough force to make the large creature double down and fall to his knees. She could’ve used the blade but hadn’t wanted to get blood and pieces of balls on her. And, she admitted to herself, she felt reluctant to actually hurt the creature.
As she straightened, Jodec stood not far away from her. All his attention was on Patat.
‘Hah. Don’t tell him, ‘Tat. Please.’ Jodec sounded genuine in his pleading. Patat scrunched up his forehead, the question obvious in his face. ‘I can’t explain why it’s important, but it is, hah. Please.’
Nadec studied her uncle, with his missing fingers and the missing eye being the one half of his face she could see. He swirled his head to look at her in turn. A fraction of a moment, there seemed to be something between them. A mutual respect would be the best nadec could describe it.
‘What is this? Who is he truly, gorwak? Nadec? Why is this important?’
The frustrating plea from Wyny made them both blink. As one, they looked back at Patat, who murmured: ‘Burning fine.’
Jodec turned his head to confirm Wyny still stood far enough. He did. His two guards had prevented him to come closer. Nadec narrowed her eyes as Jodec whispered to her in a hurry.
‘Listen, niece, I know we don’t have the same goals, but one thing we both want. We want ‘Tat safe, hah. I can’t free him because that would compromise my position and leave me with nothing. But you can. I heard your prophecy.’ Nadec didn’t care much for the amount of scorn he put in that word. ‘You plan to rescue him in two days. I surely don’t have any idea how you want to do that, but tell me truthfully, will you be able to?’
‘Answer me? Is everyone merely going to ignore me?’’
Steps brought Wyny’s voice closer to them. Nadec nodded and said: ‘Yes, I can. I need to practice Skipping and figure some things out, but I can.’
‘Hah, good. I trust you with his life.’ Jodec moved his head to look at Patat again, and almost immediately looked back at Nadec, his brow furrowed. ‘I’ll help you with Skipping. My lord.’
Jodec gave a perfect bow towards Wyny, who now stood close enough for Nadec to touch if she outstretched her arm. She disliked the way his proximity caused flutters in her chest. His two guards moved in—to detain Nadec and take away her halberd, she supposed—but at a sign from Wyny they reluctantly backed off. He regarded Jodec, his face tight. When his gaze fell on Nadec, his jaws unclenched, his brows loosened, his lips reappeared.
Nadec hesitated. Did he mean her, or Jodec? When no one moved, Wyny flickered his eyes towards Jodec. ‘I will have a word with you tomorrow. Make certain my servants can find you. Now, leave me. Take your zlurp with you. I have many questions about that as well.’
The zlurp had already been able to sit himself upright, and stood at a command from Jodec. He gave Wyny another bow and left, the zlurp imitating him with a limp of his own.
Wyny motioned to his guards to give him more space. When they protested because of Nadec’s halberd—which she quickly flung onto her back—the calm in his voice sounded fragile and on the edge of breaking as he said: ‘I trust this person more than anyone else in this castle, perhaps more than anyone else in Hexago. She will not hurt me, and to be fair, she can more than likely protect me better than the two of you together.’
The guards moved back, but Nadec hardly saw as she worked hard on blinking away sudden, treacherous tears. She turned towards Patat. For a while, a silence ruled. Nadec kept on blinking, but to no avail. A few drops found their way down her cheeks. Her throat felt tight, but she spoke anyway, hoping her voice wouldn’t join the tears in the list of betrayers.
‘So, this is quite something, isn’t it. What a messy situation.’ She choked out a laugh. It must’ve been on the list as well, because Wyny grabbed her shoulders and turned her towards him. Bloody treacherous body.
‘Why do you cry?’ The genuineness of the question—and sheer classic male ignorance—teared her up even more. Dear, poor, innocent man.
‘You trust me,’ she said, her voice thinner and more fragile than she’d have liked. She couldn’t force herself to look into his eyes. ‘Even knowing who I am, what my bloodline is, what I can do to your position, you still trust me?’
‘Oh Nadec.’ It seemed as if he wanted to hug her, but his eyes flickered towards the guards. ‘Of course I do. The time with you, even in the situation we were in and short as it was, were the best days I had in years, perhaps ever.’ He cleared his throat. ‘ I do not know if you feel it, but,’ he cleared his throat again, ‘from the first day I have felt something, perhaps a special connection to you. I have never felt that for anyone. I trust you with all my heart.’
‘That’s because we’ve both been naked in a forest together, silly, and have fought monsters and been in peril. That creates bonds. It doesn’t mean anything more.’ Balls, did she have to sound so petulant?
‘No, it is not that. But either way, enough about that.’ He let go of her shoulders. Nadec tilted forward a bit, as if her body wanted to follow the touch. She took the opportunity to wipe her cheeks. At least those damn tears had stopped trickling out. Silly, silly man.
‘We have much to talk about, but we can not do it here. This gorwak is your friend? I will need that story, as I do many others. How is the dragon, where is she? How did she know to fly you away? No time now.’ Frustration slid through his words and posture. ‘The ruckus of the builders woke me up enough to get up to investigate—they managed to collapse a whole wall. It may have been partly my fault, I suppose, I have not paid them much attention after the first time speaking with them about this.’
‘Talk to the woman,’ Nadec interjected, ‘she seems to be the better of the two.’ She chuckled. ‘But, to be fair, you should probably talk to me first, because without knowing how it works, your builders may not figure it out.’
He smiled back at her. ‘You are probably right. I can—no, I can not. None of this matters.’ He glanced at his guards, lowered his voice and leaned closer to her. ‘This castle belongs to you, not me. I will let the builders continue but it is merely a pretense. I want you to have what you deserve, your family right.’ He shook his head.
‘This is yours, not mine, and I am ready to relinquish it. But, as you may already know, there are those who stand behind me, who forced me into this position. They would never let me do what I want. I will do what I can against them. But you, you have to stay alive. Please, Nadec, please stay alive. I need you to live, and not only because this throne—which I never wanted in the first place—belongs to you.’ He lifted his hand, but halfway up to her face dropped it again. ‘You should have told me who you truly are when we first met, it may have made a difference.’
‘I didn’t know,’ Nadec whispered, blinking her treacherous eyes. Slow tears trickled down once more. Balls. She hadn’t cried as much in the last few years as she had in the past weeks. ‘I’ll stay alive, I promise. I should go now. Please take care of my friend. Patat, I’m so sorry for using you for my own gain, I could free you right now, just say the word.’
‘No kid,’ his black, liquid eyes held a tenderness she hadn’t seen in him before. ‘You burning do what you burning have to do. I dripping stand behind you. I also trust you with my grounding life. I will burning see you in a few days, don’t dripping worry about me.’
That was too much for Nadec. She felt the uncontrollable urge to cry start deep within her. She wouldn’t release it, not yet, so she held her breath and bent though her knees.
Her whispered ‘thank you’ still hung in the air as she Skipped away.
You have been listening to Nadec, chapter 47 Trust
Narrated, adventured and lived through by myself, Nadec. Written in a better way than I can tell it, by Astrid Jef.
Don’t go just yet, we’ve got bloopers coming up. [music on background]