Part 4 - Taking Responsability
Elian stood up, ignoring all the comments, protests and questions that surrounded him, and turned to leave, knowing the two Knights beside him would follow him without a word. He didn’t need to look at them to know what they were thinking. He was sure Denar was royally pissed, he could practically feel his anger prickling the back of his head. Elipson, on the other hand, was deeply relieved, although she was certainly worried about what had to be done next. After all Elian himself had broken the rules. Rules that had been created and approved by all. Rules that were meant to be applied to everyone equally and that, for that reason, were the foundation of the Order itself. He knew, like they knew, that those less happy with having the Royal Prince command both Knight Orders wouldn’t let this chance escape, accusing him of bending the rules as he pleased just because he was of royal blood.
Before leaving the platform he briefly stopped near the boy that watched everything in silence, looking rather indifferent about the events unfolding right before him, and greeted him politely.
“Will His Excellency accompany us?”
“It will be my pleasure, Your Highness,” he simply answered and followed the Knights down the stairs.
Once away from all those inquiring eyes, Elian sped up the pace, knowing, without a doubt where the Kai had taken that girl. Elipson, by his side, could no longer hide her worried expression as they crossed the white corridors, asking one of the White Knights to lead them to the right room.
Elian opened the door without delay and his gaze fell immediately on the girl that jumped to her feet, her blond hair braided and tied around her head. The boy at her side stepped back in shock and then lowered his head, his body tense, his expression afraid. She, on the other hand, seemed to have forgotten all about those silly curtsies, her golden eyes searching the faces of the Knights that accompanied him, probably trying to guess their moods.
Denar was furious, she understood at a glance. But Elipson seemed too worried to be able to consider what would come next. And then there was that strange boy she had seen before, on the platform. And, as he smiled at her, the whole room seemed to be filled with a strange peaceful atmosphere, especially taking into account what was truly happening.
“How is the girl?” Elian asked, startling her and forcing her to return his uncertain gaze.
“She’s inside, Your Highness. One of the White Knights is tending to her injury. Sir Kai is with them,” Karl replied, keeping his head down, lacking the courage to face any of them.
“If you don’t mind, Your Highness, I’d like to go inside and take a look. Maybe I can be of some assistance,” the boy with the strange smile asked and Elian nodded, granting him permission to do so. After all that boy was and Emissary of Nar, from where all the knowledge about the healing arts practiced by the White Order had originated from. If there was anything anyone could do, he was sure that boy would able to.
The boy smiled again and headed for the door, knocking politely before entering and closing it behind him.
Elian took a deep breath and looked at the two cadets standing before him.
“I’m afraid we have a small problem in our hands,” he announced in a firm voice. “As I’ve come to understand, when the young lady inside started her Test she was already gravely injured. And it is my belief that you two know exactly what has happened,” Karl clenched his hands tightly, looking sideways towards Allana at his side, searching for some kind of support. But she didn’t spare him a single glance, her expression serious, unwavering. “And? Am I right?” Elian insisted and Karl lowered his head again.
“Yes, Your Highness …” Elian smiled towards the boy, trying to appease him noticing that he was so scared that he was trembling, and tried to sound a little less harsh.
“And can I ask you to tell me what has happened?”
“Hum … well … it happened this morning …”
“We gave her our word we wouldn’t tell!” Allana cut in and Karl went immediately silent, pressing his lips together. Denar looked furiously at her and Elipson seemed to divert some of her attention to what was going on right in front of her, since all that time her gray eyes had been completely focused on the closed door.
“What …?” Elian asked, looking as if he had been caught off guard and Allana faced him unafraid.
“We gave her our word!”
“Stop this nonsense right now, little girl! Or you’ll both end up being expelled! Do you understand?” Denar exploded, a deep frown marking his forehead, and Karl, at her side, trembled even harder.
“Karl has nothing to do with this. It is no crime to keep a secret. I’m the one who broke the rules! I’m the one who interfered with Kahor’s test! I’d really appreciate if you could leave my friend out of this!” she said in a single breath, openly confronting Denar which seemed to almost rob the life out of him, and Elipson stepped forward, trying to keep things under control.
“Darna, dear … It’s not like we don’t understand what you’re saying. But we need to know what happened. It’s obvious that Kahor couldn’t have hurt herself like that,” she pointed out, trying to appease her, almost as if she were talking to a child. “If you tell us what happened at least you’ll have a justification for what you have done, do you understand?”
“I’m sorry. But I gave my word to Kahor. Shouldn’t a Knight always keep his word?” she returned, facing Elian, and Denar seemed to get even angrier.
“And since when are you a Knight?!” he demanded but Elian took a deep breath, placing a hand on the Knight’s arm, which seemed to immediately calm him down.
“She’s right, Denar … We can’t ask them to go against their vow,” he conceded while, at the same time, he could hardly believe that the young woman standing in front of him was the same unsure girl he had practically kidnapped from Everlyn. Had it been so long since then …? Suddenly he couldn’t quite tell. All he knew was that she was amazing, standing there, fearless and unwavering.
“This is inconceivable!” Denar stormed once more and Elipson gave him a cold look.
“Leave them be, Denar!” she ordered in a tone that sounded more like a punch in the stomach, and his green eyes flared with rage. “If they gave their word they have every right to remain silent!”
“And of being expelled for it!” he added and suddenly she knew … she didn’t know why or how, but she understood. He felt responsible. Somehow he felt responsible for her and he feared what would become of her should she be expelled from the Order. For they all knew she was not going back to Everlyn, not in a million years!
“It’s their choice! And you have no say in it!” Elipson insisted as he turned his fury towards her.
“This is all because you can’t handle your own students! If you had fulfilled your obligations none of this would have happened!”
“And just what the hell do you mean by that?” she exploded back, now as angry as him, her gray eyes flashing dangerously, and Elian stepped in between the two, taking a deep breath.
“There’s nothing else to be done, now. We’ll wait until Kahor wakes up and hear what she has to say,” he decided, which forced both Knights to to swallow their spiteful words. “Elipson, could you please give the necessary explanations to both juries of the Tests, so that they may pass them to the rest of the Knights? Let’s keep everything simple and clear right from the start,” Elipson nodded in agreement and signaled Karl to follow her, obviously aware of how much he was trembling.
“I’m taking him with me, since he has nothing to do with what happened,” she stated, not even asking for permission, and Elian nodded in agreement. Her gray gaze still lingered on Allana for a moment and she knew she wanted to take her away as well, but ended up turning her back on them and heading for the door.
“Denar, can you please call Melbar? As soon as Kai is out of there we’ll need to confer and I want you to be present.”
Denar sighed, obviously unhappy with the way things had turned out, but chose not to mention it as he followed Elipson on her way out.
“Please wait, Sir Knight. I’ll go with you,” said the boy, emerging from Kahor’s room, followed by Serena who seemed quite pleased with herself.
“How is she?” Elian asked immediately, not bothering if he sounded like the Prince he was or not, and the boy smiled softly as he faced his worried expression.
“She’s alright, Your Highness. She’s awake now, but since she’s still under the influence of the medicine Serena gave her she’s not all that coherent. She’ll be asleep again soon enough. I believe tomorrow she’ll feel much better, but I’m afraid she won’t be able to walk for the next few weeks.”
Elian nodded, taking in the news, and both youngsters bowed respectfully as they accompanied Denar out of the room.
Allana took a deep breath, feeling weary from all the anxiety and tension she had been accumulating since that morning, and looked up to face him as he stood there, right in front of her.
“Why are you doing this …? Do you wish to leave …? Go back …?” he asked her softly, almost sadly, but she vigorously shook her head.
“No! No … I love it here! I’ve never been so happy in my entire life!”
“Then, why …?”
Allana averted her gaze, sighing, and her eyes fell on the closed door that led to Kahor’s room.
“I really thought we should tell Elipson about what happened. I even pleaded with her, but she wouldn’t listen. But after seeing her down there, fighting, I kind of understood. She’s really amazing, isn’t she? No matter what happens, no matter what anyone says or does, she just keeps moving forward, carving her own path with her own hands, not allowing anyone to keep her from what she chose to do. And I thought … I wish I could be just a little like her …” she said and looked back at him as he listened to her. “I did gave her my word, but that’s not the point. It is her life and she’s the only one who has the right to decide what to do about it. The same way, I’m the only one responsible for the choice I made. I’ll bear its consequences, no matter what they are.”
“And what happens if you end up being expelled?” he asked with fear in his voice but she smiled and shrugged, as if it were of no consequence.
“Nothing happens. You’re not responsible for me, Elian. I’ll live my life the same way everyone else does, that’s all.”
Elian sighed, obviously unhappy with her answer, but right then there were other problems that required his attention.
“I have to go. Can you please tell Kai, when he comes out, that I’ll be waiting for him in the East Wing's Council Room? I’ll see you later, so that we can talk more.”
Allana nodded and watched him leave. She felt sorry for having put him in such a hard position, but she didn’t regret what she had done, quite the contrary; for the first time since she could remember she felt proud of herself as a Human Being.