So I was just walking without a purpose, I mean, my main purpose was to get away from Wyny. Not sure why but I needed to be along I guess. I realised I’d stopped and was staring off into nothing, when *branches snapping, leaves rustling, other sounds, yell, rustles*
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This is Nadec, my adventure. Written down in a better way than I can tell it.
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Nadec, chapter 5, laughter and tears
The empty look on Wyny’s face added to her fit of hysterical laughter. Whenever it eased down into giggles, she made the mistake of looking at him and that set her off once more. He was amazing at keeping a straight face, sitting on his knees in front of the floating sticks. The corners of his mouth didn’t budge in the slightest. Must be a large stick up his arse. That thought didn’t help her attempts to stop the laughter at all.
After the fourth time of almost escaping the cycle, she managed to think and kept herself from looking in his direction. Keeping her head turned the other way was good—the giggles scattered into an occasional chuckle. Her cheeks and belly ached. She wiped away the tears, squinting into the sunlight peeking through the treetops. Something moved in the corner of her eye. A crow? She shook her head in amusement, trying to remember the last time she’d laughed this hard. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d laughed out loud the past few years, before meeting Wyny.
‘Okay, okay, I’m all good now. I’m sorry for my… outburst.’ She still didn’t look at him, and a snort escaped her. ‘I shouldn’t laugh at you so hard, I know it’s just cultural differences and all. Or realm-differences? Either way, I’m sorry for my reaction, I’m sure your sticks are great. Thank you, anyway.’
She wasn’t sure why she thanked him, and he probably understood even less. The apologies were sincere though; she’d been working really hard at trying not to judge people too harshly. Her own reaction to his sticks, something he obviously took much pride in, embarrassed her. Act like a bloody grow-up for once, N, she berated herself.
Attempts to reach her bag were futile while she’d been stuck in laughter, but now she leaned against the tree, rummaging in it. With vigor, she bit off the head of a dragon cookie. Fighting and, most of all, laughing maniacally, caused a big hunger. A few more digs in the bag produced a small handful of kibble for Kitty. She tossed it on the ground, grinning at the cat’s ferocious hunt for the pellets.
‘You are quite welcome.’ His voice sounded serious, not a single hint at the mocking she expected him to do. She hadn’t met any guy who wouldn’t at least tease a bit in these kinds of situations. He hadn’t even laughed along with her. What kind of person doesn’t also break into laughter at seeing someone else laugh as heartily as she just had? Her head shot up, all snorts and giggles gone. He certainly played his stiff nobleman trope well.
‘I am not quite sure what okay means, but I assume you have had a lonely life and thus many unleashed emotions. You saved my life several times now, and for that I owe you a debt. I will gladly absorb all the emotions you hurl at me. I hope that will help you feel better by the time we have to part ways.’
She blinked. Her jaw hung slack, so she shut it and swallowed the accumulated spit. That man! That man… The nerve! Who did he think he was, a psychiatrist? He’d known her for half a day perhaps, half of which he’d spent caught in a ball made of ass-threads. She’d show him which unleashed emotions she really had! She flung her bag on her shoulder and prepared herself to say something particularly nasty when he spoke up again.
‘As for my Squares, I did not have the time to call for them when the Blurghs were upon us. They do not take that long to appear, but sometimes it can be too precious. Here is what I could have done.’
He stood up, not caring about his glorious nakedness, and grabbed the L-shaped sticks out of the air. He held them on the short ends, holding out the longer ends. Kinda like holding a gun, Nadec thought, curious but still furious at what he’d said. What’s he going to do, shoot out imaginary bullets? A grin started on her face but stopped midway when the stick did just that. Except that the bullets weren’t imaginary, and they weren’t bullets. The end of the long side grew before a piece dislodged itself and shot away. His sticks were shooting cubes! Unconsciously, she took a step closer to him, staring at the sticks. That was not what she’d expected.
‘See,’ he said, ‘I could have hit their red spots with ease, to turn them around before they came close enough. If only I had a few more moments longer, and was not feeling so sick from… what did you call it? Ah, skipping.’
He gave her a look she didn’t understand, and slapped the sticks together. Quicker than she could follow, he folded the sticks—the Squares?—on themselves a few times. Before she could blink, his hands were empty. A puff of bluish-green mist disappeared as quickly as it had come, like breath on a cold day. He kept looking at her with an intensity she couldn’t place. That deep stare stirred up butterflies in her middle. Her mouth felt dry. With a massive effort she tore free from the gaze and resumed control over her breathing. She knew this wasn’t the elusive love-at-first sight, that was a trope too unbelievable to exist. She did, however, believe in lust at first sight. Never with the people she rescued though. She had a professional reputation to maintain.
‘I need to be alone. Come Kitty.’ She picked up the lead and the cat jumped on her shoulders.
‘Wait! Do not go! Did I say something wrong? Do you need something?’
‘No! You’ve done enough. Just… just stay here. I’ll be back soon. I just need… I‘m fine. Stay. I’ll be back.’
With that she turned around and walked off, Kitty on her shoulders and her thoughts all jumbled. She didn’t understand why she felt so confused. She wasn’t going to get a hunky other-realmer get to her with his silly words, was she?
‘Lonely. Urgh, I’m not lonely. I’ve got you,’ she muttered, while accepting and returning the feline’s headbuts on her cheek. ‘I don’t have unleashed emotions. What the hell. He has no idea what he’s talking about. Some king straight out of a fairy tale, what does he know!’
Yet she couldn’t stop her mind from returning to the events which had led to her recruitment by her current employers. She hadn’t realised she’d stopped walking until the sound of snapping branches startled her. Her head whipped to the source of the sound but her tears-filled eyes prevented her from seeing sharply.
A blurry figure, a massive blackness, rammed into her. A yell escaped her before a sharp pain on the head preceded the loss of consciousness.
Thank you for listening to Nadec, chapter 5, laughter and tears. Narrated by myself, Nadec. Adventure by and lived through by 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. Before we get to those, [music on background] we just want to say that if you head over to astridjef.com, you can find transcripts and full chapters of this podcast. Even more, you can find the unedited draft of Nadec at least up to 15 chapters further than the podcast goes. So if you’re keen to know how the story continues, you have the option to go and read. Find us on Twitter @astridjef and @nadecandkitty
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