She opened her eyes to see Drakon staring down at her. She looked around, she was laying on the bed with the plush comforter pulled back, Drakon braced on either side of her before straightening. "I didn't mean to wake you, but thought you'd be more comfortable laying in bed."
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She studyed him. "Thank you." He nodded and handed her the covers, "I'm wide awake now though."
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He looked back at her, "You sure? Night has just fallen."
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She nodded, "I have been sleeping plenty as of late."
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He studied her, and she back. "Alright then. Shall I call for a healer to look over your wounds?"
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"I do not wish to awaken them."
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"Do not worry, there are several that work at night." She thought it over and bowed her head. He left, leaving her to her thoughts. She had fallen back asleep but quickly awoke when the door opened. Drakon paused when he saw Sophie sit up quickly, a beautiful, blue eyed blond next to him holding a shoulder bag.
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"Sophie I presume." Sophie offered a nervous smile and nodded. The woman turned to Drakon and curtsied. "You may leave Your Highness." She came out of the curtsy and raised an eyebrow at him. "Or would you like to wait outside and I shall get you when we are done?" Drakon glanced at her and nodded, leaving and shutting the door behind him. The woman sighed after him. "That boy. That was an either/or question. What does a nod mean?" Sophie had no idea how to react to this woman who was on such familiar terms with a king it bordered on disrespectful. She turned toward Sophie and smiled. "I am Head Healer of Drakon, Khadija."
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"I am His Majesty's slave, Sophie."
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Khadija's smile fell. "So I have heard..." She came forward. "May I have a look at your wounds?" Sophie nodded, and with Khadija's help, undressed. The Healer applied ointment and rebandaged the wound on Sophie's side and back. "They are healing surprisingly well for a human. You were near death when they brought you in."
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Sophie bit her lip, wondering if she should ask. "For a human?"
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Khadija paused. "Has no one told you?"
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"Told me what?"
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"That Drakon is actually the Kingdom of vampires."
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"Vampires." Sophie's blood ran cold. Humans were vampires' food...what the hell was she doing here?
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"Aye." Khadija went to the table and poured a glass of water. "Are you afraid?"
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"Yes." Sophie admitted softly.
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"Anyone in your position would be." She came back to Sophie with the glass of water and took a vile out of her bag, handing her the reddish liquid. Sophie looked at it like she was being teased, and Khadija laughed. "Don't worry, it's just a pain killer." Even Sophie laughed a little as tension left the room. She drank the vile-tasting liquid and eagerly washed it down with the water Khadija offered her. "It's true vampires need human blood to survive. We are also faster and have better hearing than humans. We can see better in the dark, get burned far easier in the sun, and are allergic to garlic. We can inject a poison that renders someone unable to move, or even turns one into a vampire themselves. However, we can also heal wounds with our saliva." Khadija paused. "This must be scary for you."
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Sophie thought carefully about how to respond. "Being in the Kingdom of Vampires is scary, but for some reason I do not find learning about vampires themselves scary. It is something I must know and am eager to learn."
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Khadija concidered her with a warm smile. "King Drakon has made it so it is a strict rule to gain permission before partaking of blood and any other survices." She paused again. "I offer that to you now."
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"Huh?" Sophie said in surprise, thinking Khadija wanted her blood and her hand went to her neck before she could stop herself as her heart skipped a beat.
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"No, no, no." Khadija said, chuckling at Sophie's obvious reaction. "Not that. See, my saliva can heal your wounds." She pointed at her tongue.
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Nervousness racked Sophie but she gave a shaky smile. "Oh, ok."
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Khadija seemed a little worried as she considered Sophie. "I don't want you to feel pressured Sophie. If you are uncomfortable or scared we don't have to."
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"No." Sophie said nervously, "I can't say I'm not nervous or maybe a little scared, I mean, I am human, a vampire's main source of food. It's a little....terrifying. But you all have only been civil-no, actually, for some reason, you all treat me better than I ever have at the hands of humans. If there is a way to heal my wounds, I want to try it." Explaining had calmed Sophie down and she became determined. She nodded to the healer to show her resolve and give permission.
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Khadija studied her and nodded back. "Then I shall begin." She unbandaged the wound on Sophie's side, then paused, and Sophie could feel her gaze on her. "This will feel strange for you." Khadija warned. Sophie nodded, feeling a lump in her throat. Slowly, Khadija licked Sophie's wound. Sophie flushed. It did feel weird, the warmth the soft touch brought... Quickly, the places she licked grew numb, the numbness spreading all throughout the wound area. Soon enough, Khadija pulled away, wiping her mouth. "There, that one's done." Sophie's back wound twinged as she twisted to look at her side...the stitched line that used to be there was completely gone. Not even a scar remained. Amazed she looked forward again and ran her hand along where her wound used to be. No pain, her skin under her touch the same as if she'd never gotten wounded there.
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Khadija shifted in back of her. "Now, for the back wound." She once again unwrapped the wound and licked the area. After awhile, Khadija straightened. "Aaand, all set." She stated cheerily.
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"Wow, thank you Healer Khadija."
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Khadija smiled and patted Sohpie's shoulder, "Pleasure to be of service Sophie." After Sophie got redressed, amazed at how she could stretch her muscles without pain, Khadija went to the door to see if Drakon was there waiting. Sophie was still stretching, swinging her arms across her body, stretching her back and sides as Khadija held the door open and Drakon stepped in. He glanced between Sophie and Khadija, taking in the situation.
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Sophie beamed, feeling energized now that the pain was gone. "I feel great!"
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He gave a nervous smile. "That's good. I'm glad to hear."
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"Well, I will take my leave." Khadija said with a smile and departed, leaving Sophie and Drakon standing in an awkward silence. Something was making the King uneasy.
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"Um, Sophie...how do you feel about staying in Drakon now that you know more about it?"
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"To tell you the truth, the rumors about you scare me a bit. The same with the rumors about vampires. But it's only a fear brought on by tales, so I am eager to learn more about the things I know nothing about, and make my own assumptions from that." Drakon considered her, but she couldn't tell what he was thinking.
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"If that is what you want." He conceeded.
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~Again, what does that mean exactly?~
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"There are cloths for you in the dresser." He said, pointing, changing the conversation. Sophie blinked. "I'd be willing to show you around after you've gotten dressed."
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Sophie brightened. "Yes, I'll get dressed right away." Drakon nodded and made for the door. She made her way to the first dresser and opened it. It was filled with frilly dresses, most of the skirts on the shorter side, which would allow her better movement but was looked down upon in Godor for being 'scandalous' because of how much leg it showed. She picked a white dress that faded to dark grey at the top and bottom. She actually liked the looks of this one. It didn't have frills though it was still much too beautiful for her. It tied behind the neck, leaving the shoulders and back bare. The skirt coming a quarter down her thighs. She put on delicate, heeled shoes with it because...well, they all were delicate, heeled shoes. She found an accessory drawer and found the choker necklace with the tri-colored gems and put it on. Better safe than sorry. She was still King Drakon's slave. When she exited the room, Drakon was silent, watching her. She once again couldn't tell what he was thinking.
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He finally pushed off against the wall. He held a torch in his right hand. "If you leave your room at night, take one of the torches I'll have lit in your hallway. The rest of the castle doesn't use them."
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Sophie was surprised. "That's right, you can see in the dark."
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"In a way. It doesn't look the same as during the day."
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"Interesting." She says, clasping her hands behind her back as they walk leisurely down the hallway.
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"Drakon!" Karl shouted down the hallway behind them. He noticed Sophie as he marched closer. "Ah." He sighed. "And Miss Sophie. Pleasure to be in your presence once more." He bowed to her with a warm smile and Sophie blushed. Even though he was obviously against Drakon having purchased a slave, his tone when he addressed her seemed sincere. She was highly uncomfortable with the way they seemed to treat her even better than their own monarch. "Restless this late at night?" He asked.
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She smiled politely, "Yes, I've only just woken up."
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"Ah, I see." He turned his small hazel eyes on Drakon.
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"What is it Karl?"
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"Nothing." Karl said with a nervous smile. Drakon passed him a look. "Um...w-well I just was going to see if you were awake to tell you..." He paused to think, stealing a glance at Sophie.
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Drakon sighed. "Just say it already."
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Karl was growing increasingly uncomfortable. "It's about....Drakon City."
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Drakon raised an eyebrow. "Yes." He dragged out the word and Karl fidgeted. Drakon smirked, finally taking pitty on the man. "It's okay, just que me in."
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Karl sighed and decided to just go ahead with it. "There's been two more murders while you were away, just like the others."
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"Sir!" Zarathustra appeared next to Karl, then noticed the other two. "Ah, and Drakon and Miss Sophie." He turned his gaze back on Karl. Movement caught Sophie's eye and she jumped, looking to see Loki standing to her left. He smiled at her and held a finger to his lips, then looked back at Zarathustra. Sophie looked at Drakon to see two people flanking him. A man with long blond hair pulled back in a pony, wearing a black, long sleeved tunic, black pants and boots and a white cloak. And another man in identical clothing with short black hair and a gotee with bright red eyes. This man noticed Sophie's stare and smirked at her. Feeling embarrassed for staring, Sophie directed her attention back on Karl. "There's been another murder." Zarathustra said. "Just like the others."
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"We're going Zarathustra." Drakon announced. Zarathustra nodded.
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Sophie caught Drakon's cloak as he turned away. "I wanna go too."
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Drakon paused to concider her, then smirked. "As my Personal Guard?" The blond standing next to him frowned.
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"Yes." Sophie said determinedly.
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"Does that mean you've accepted?"
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Sophie frowned. "I am still thinking about it, but in the mean time I shall do the job."
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"Ah, a probationary period. Very well." Sophie nodded her ascent. As she, Drakon, and Zarathustra wandered the halls, she noticed Loki and the two other men that had appeared, had just as suddenly drifted off without a trace. Drakon drew his hood as they exited the castle and approached the surrounding town. He paused, causing them all to hesitate, then he raised his hand and lifted one of the jewels from her choker necklace. "That marks you as the King's slave. You don't have to wear it. In fact, please take it off. I am trying not to be noticed. And isn't that dress too cold for right now?"
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Sophie glanced at the light dusting of snow on the ground. "My apologies. I just picked my favorite out of the dresses without thinking of the weather." Zarathustra also pulled his hood up and Sophie jumped as Loki appeared by her side.
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"I thought you would be cold Young Miss, so I retrieved a jacket from Her Highness Agnes."
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Shock zipped through her system as she accepted the frilly, white, hooded jacket. Indeed the fabric was only for the likes of royalty. Her hands shook as she asked in a small voice, "Her Highness?"
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Loki smiled, "Yes, she has already taken an incredible shine to you Miss and is excited to meet you. I can take your necklace if you so choose."
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"Loki...is this ok?" Sophie whispered, feeling numb.
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Loki smiled reasuringly. "Yes Miss Sophie. Not accepting these gifts will make them feel downhearted, so although it is like an unrealistic dream to us, we should go with the flow, as they say."
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She held the jacket like it was fragily blown glass. "I feel like I'm getting swept along instead."
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Loki smiled, "Yes, well," He patted her shoulder, "it will be okay."
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She nodded and took a breath to collect herself. Then she put the jacket on and handed the necklace to Loki, before pulling up the hood like the others. ~Hiding our identities, huh?~ People whispered as Zarathustra guided them through the town. "Is it okay for me to be here?" Sophie whispered to Drakon as she eyed a couple of men whispering to each other.
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"Yeah, they don't know who we are but we are infamous. The King's 7 Shadow Knights investigate crimes, but always remain in the shadows....and they can tell you are human."
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Sophie frowned, "How?"
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Sophie groaned. ~ I hope I smell okay...~
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"Excuse me." Zarathustra said as they entered a dark alleyway full of soldiers. "We are members of the 7 Shadow Knights. Take us to the victim."
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"Who's the human?"
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"Who knows...but do you smell her?" Even Sophie could start to hear some of the whispers.
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"Over there." A blond, blue eyed soldier waved the Shadow Knights toward a blanketed form.
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Sophie tugged on Drakon's cloak again. "Um.." She stopped herself from saying Drakon.
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"Gabriel." Drakon supplied her with a name to call him. "And you?" He asked, and although she tried, she couldn't make out hardly any of his face inside his crowl. Even the light of the torch he carried worked against her, sending his features into a darker shadow. She silently thought about his question.
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"Phi." She finally said, hoping it was okay. She looked at Zarathustra's back, "And um..." She was at a loss with how to ask.
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Gabriels nodded. "Gus."
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She smiled at that. "Where did the 7 Shadow Knights get their name?"
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"Because that old man you just met really likes the number 7. The weirdo. There aren't even 7 Knights, even if you join us there are only 6."
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Sophie couldn't help but chuckle at that. She knew he was talking about Karl. She clasped her hands behind her, still trying to make out Gabriels features in the dark. "Can you tell me about these connecting murders?"
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Gabriels took something from his pocket, handing the torch to Zarathustra, who readily took it. In the light of the torch Sophie saw it was a pipe he held in his hand, which he proceeded to light and take a drag of. "All the women are vampires in the age range of 16-25. Pretty, in fashion. Died of multiple knife stabbings and loss of blood. There is a pipe mark left on the dead body afterwards....according to the same placing of the mark, we have come to believe it is all done by the same criminal." As he talked, they approached the blanketed form and crouched down to it. Gabriels seemed to come to himself as he grabbed the blanket. "Hey. Are you really going to...look at it...just because you are my Guard does not mean you have to stick to my side so closely."
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She ignored the proximety comment. "Look at what?"
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Gabriels glanced down at the blanket pointedly. "You should go. This isn't something kids should see."
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Sophie pursed her lips. She knew everyone mistook her for younger than she was because of her small size. But she also didn't know how old vampires could live compaired to humans so she well could be a kid by their standards. "Why? I'm working right now, doing what I'm supposed to. This has nothing to do with my age." Gabriels and Zarathustra concidered her. "Besides," she smirked, "is there a rule that says kids can't look?"
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"Do whatever you like." Gabriels commented, taking a drag of his pipe.
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"Thanks." Sophie smiled in gratitude. He pulled the blanket away.
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Zarathustra leaned over them, hands on his knees. "Stab wounds on the abdomen, pipe marking on the face...it's the same as the others."
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"That's right." Gabriels agreed.
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Sophie could feel their eyes drifting to her as she studied the pretty body. She ignored them and focused. There was a circular burn just under the corner of her left eye. She had pretty blond hair, a double pearl necklace. Wild embroidered blouse under a white hooded jacket, long skirt and a white leather belt. She had been a beauty. Her expensive jacket was stained red and marred with gapping rips. Blood pooled the cobblestones around her. "Hey. In the other cases, nothing was found?"
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"Right. There was no trace of anything left behind at all." Gabriels said, standing up, seeming to be thinking about something else.
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"Which means there wasn't even an eyewitness." Sophie caught a glint of bronze in the firelight near one of the woman's long nails. Sophie moved the hand and held up the embroidered button. "There's something this time." Gabriels and Zarathustra stared at her. They searched the surrounding area and found nothing else. The next time Sophie scanned the dark alley, her heart skipped a beat. Gabriels was gone. Almost before she could panic, Zarathustra was before her.
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"Don't worry? But I'm supposed to be his Guard."
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Zarathustra seemed conflicted. "That is true. It came as a surprise to all of us when he wanted you as a guard. He is very free spirited and already gives his knights a hard time."
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"Meaning he disappears all the time."
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Zarathustra smiled. "Don't take it to heart, it's nothing against you."
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She nodded, smiling, "I understand." Sophie jumped when there was a weight on her head, it balanced there and she reached up to grab the waterskin, glancing past her hood to see Gabriels. "Gabriel!" She remembered to drop the S just in time. While Gabriel was a popular name, Gabriels wasn't so much. "Can I have some of this?" He nodded. "Thank you!"
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"Phi, you should go back first for today."
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"Huh? Only if you come with me." Gabriels didn't seem to like that suggestion and she wondered if she had overstepped her bounds. He was the King after all. Being his guard was going to be difficult.
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"Your face is so pale." He said, gently taking hold of her chin and lifting up so she looked at him. "Be good. Listen to me."
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Her heart skipped a beat again, but she looked back determined. "If you come with me."
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He sighed in defeat. "Gus, you should go and report to the old man."
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"Ah, okay." With that he disappeared. Sophie raised an eyebrow at that but Gabriels didn't comment.
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"Hey Gabriel." Sophie asked as they walked the dark streets in silence. "Will that engraved button help us any?"
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"East Leaf University. It's from the uniform of a male East Leaf University student. We'll have to go and look tomorrow."
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Sophie beamed. "I'm excited. Being your Personal Guard is quite interesting."
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Gabriels glanced at her then pushed her head down, ruffling her hair through her hood. "Since it's like this, you should hurry home...get some sleep!"
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~Was he embarrassed just now? Cute!~ Both of them suddenly stopped as shadows emerged into forms around them.
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"My what a cute couple you two make." One of the men said.
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~4 of them, surrounding us.~ Sophie widened her stance. She jumped when the long blond haired man from earlier, his hood up, appeared near her, holding out a sword...she raised an eyebrow. A finely crafted sword at that. A dark blue gem in the middle of the silver hilt, black leather wrapped the grip.
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"Why don't we let 'Phi' take care of this?" He said. Gabriels was scowling, but said nothing. The blond and the black haired man from before seemed to be close to His Majesty.
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She would have to prove herself to them, even if she officially got hired. She nodded and accepted the fine blade. "This is a beautiful sword, thank you for giving me the honor of wielding it."
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The man smirked, liking her answer. "She's called Unholy Might." Sophie laughed outloud at that, then turned toward the guys infront of her, while Gabriels and the blond became locked in a heated argument that she tuned out, focusing as she took off her dainty shoes.
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"You all serious?"
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Sophie smiled, "Leave us alone."
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They laughed. "Or else what Human Girl?" That made her a little nervous. So they weren't human. "You know," He grinned to his comrade before looking back her way, but she had already moved, her shin slamming into his face, sending him to the cobbled ground. The other three wasted no time coming for her, faster than she was used to, but she could still make out their movements. Her adrenaline pumped, making her feel alive. She braced the sheathed Unholy Might and slammed her into two of their guts in one swing, sending them toppling back. She dodged an outstretched hand and slammed the end of the sheathed blade into his diaphram, causing him to lose breath. 3 of the guys changed course and went for Gabriels.
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~Shit.~ They moved so fast. She had to sprint but she got there in time, invading Gabriels space and making him back up, she was barely aware the blond had disappeared. She drew Unholy Might, smashing them in the guts with the flat of the blade, causing shallow cuts as she swatted them away with all the strength she possessed. The fourth guy was already upon her but she didn't panic, just slammed her foot into his diaphragm...which must be getting sore by now from all the abuse she was giving it. Someone was faster than her and grabbed her jacket, sending a punch her way. She blocked and kicked him in the face, causing him to let go of her as she felt his nose bust under the ball of her foot. She smashed him out of her way with another kick....
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She was panting and shaking with exhaustion by the time the four were beaten unconcious. But she had did it. She was barely standing, but she could face 4 unarmed vampires, and not have to use lethal force. That was an accomplishment to her. "You overdid it." Gabriels did not sound happy.
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Sophie smiled. "Well I was facing vampires." He swept her up into his arms. She blushed deep red. "You don't have to-"
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"Hush. Let's go home."ns126.96.36.199da2