Chapter 2:

The Introduction

Beyond The Flowers

St. Durnics Orphanage was the name of the place Mary, Leo and Arthur had ended up in front of. It was a fairly large building, looking rather homely. It had a triangular-shaped roof, built with bricks. The front had a few windows with two balconies on what seemed like the top floor.Bookmark here

“Are they in there?”, Leonardo asked, seemingly obvious that he was referring to his parents.Bookmark here

Neither Mary nor Arthur responded to his question.Bookmark here

Leonardo looked sad, as if he had finally realised the truth, but he remained stable, holding his tears in. Bookmark here

Behind them came galloping two more horses. Bookmark here

A female soldier on one with Adam on another. Bookmark here

Adam was a tall, young boy with sharp features. His bristly dark brown hair moving along with the rough wind. Bookmark here

The female soldier looked younger than him, about fourteen or fifteen. Her hair was straight and ginger, reaching her chin. Bookmark here

The horses stopped, Adam and the female soldier getting off and approaching the three others. Bookmark here

“My name’s Jade Baudelaire. I’ll be escorting you inside.”, the female said to Mary, Author and Leo.Bookmark here

Leo asked, “Are my parents here?”Bookmark here

Jade didn’t know what to say, she didn’t know the situation so she remained quiet.Bookmark here

Adam looked at Mary, concerned. Bookmark here

She gave him a reassured look, as if she was saying that everything would be alright. Bookmark here

Adam nodded, “Alright, I’ll get going.”, he said, getting back on the horse, not wasting any time. Mary waved to him, a soft look in her eyes as she watched Adam ride away.Bookmark here

Arthur noticed this.Bookmark here

Jade looked at Mary, “Feelings should be enclosed within yourself. He works for the Government, it will be troublesome.” Bookmark here

Mary stuttered, “I do- I don’t have any feelings for Adam.” Bookmark here

Jade looked away, disregarding her. Bookmark here

“Let’s head inside, shall we?”, she said to the boys. Bookmark here

Arthur nodded, grabbing Leo’s hand. Jade led the way as Mary and the two boys.Bookmark here

They entered the building, the inside was spacious. A huge hall appeared as soon as they entered, a sofa area on the side. Bookmark here

“The administrator’s absent at the moment. However, she’ll be with you in a few days.”, Jade’s voice echoed in the large room. Bookmark here

Jade looked at Mary, “Mary, you’re familiar with the place. Give them a tour and whatever else there is for you to do—“ Jade then looked at the children, “This is your new home.”Bookmark here

Leonardo shook his head, speaking, “This is an orphanage. I need to go back to my parents.”Bookmark here

Jade looked rather annoyed at his statement, speaking, “Listen, kid. Your parents are dead, that’s why you’re here.” Bookmark here

“Jade!”, Mary yelled.Bookmark here

“What?! It’s what they said to me.”, Jade sneered.Bookmark here

Mary didn’t answer, looking at Leo.Bookmark here

He didn’t look affected by what she said, but Mary was worried.Bookmark here

Arthur, however, didn’t seem too stable. His eyes were watery, looking as if they were on the verge of tears. Bookmark here

“Okay.”, Leonardo finally responded, with a straight face. Bookmark here

Jade tutted, turning around. Bookmark here

“They’re your problem now Mary, I’m heading out.”, she said, walking outside of the building.Bookmark here

Mary nodded, looking at the two boys.Bookmark here

She struggled to find the proper words to say to them but finally asked them, “Would you like to meet the other children?”Bookmark here

Arthur looked away, but Leonardo nodded.Bookmark here

———Bookmark here

They entered the boys’ sleeping area, it wasn’t too large, having about ten beds inside. There were four boys inside, looking around the same age as Arthur, Leonardo and Mary.Bookmark here

“Yo! Mary!”, one of the boys said. The boy who spoke looked the same age as Mary, he was taller than the rest of the boys there, with sharp features and a Roman nose. He had grey shaved hair and dark brown eyes, with his skin being tannish.Bookmark here

“Hello Benedict. Long time no see.”, Mary answered, examining the rest of the boys, some of them weren’t familiar faces. Bookmark here

“How’s life with your new parents, eh? Still can’t believe you abandoned us.”, the boy named Benedict jokingly remarked.Bookmark here

“Unfortunately, they have been killed.”, Mary sighed. Bookmark here

Ben regretted what had he just asked, struggling to find the right words. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry.”, was all that he could get out.Bookmark here

“It’s alright, so you haven’t heard?”, Mary asked, quickly changing the topic.Bookmark here

“Heard what?”, he asked. Bookmark here

The other boys in the room stopped whatever they were doing, intrigued by their conversation.Bookmark here

“What happened to Festern. They’ve invaded us.” she Bookmark here

“You’re lying. Those were just rumours.”, Ben said, looking frightened.Bookmark here

“Keep believing that and it’ll cause your death too.”, Mary said, turning to face the boys.Bookmark here

Ben didn’t answer.Bookmark here

“Anyways, this is Leonardo Francis and Arthur Brown. They’re new here, help them settle please, they’ve been through a lot.” Mary said, turning around. “I’m going to the girls”Bookmark here

The door shut behind them. Bookmark here

“When I first saw you, I thought you were a girl.”, a boy said, his remark obviously directed to Arthur. Bookmark here

Arthur looked down, not responding.Bookmark here

Ben approached Leo and Arthur, who were standing in-front of the door.Bookmark here

“Have a seat.”, he said.Bookmark here

Leo and Arthur scurried across, sitting together on a bed.Bookmark here

“Everyone introduce yourselves to them.”, Ben continued.Bookmark here

“My name’s Theodore Dupont.”, the boy who made the remark about Arthur spoke. He was the same height as Arthur, but looked a bit younger. His shaggy blonde hair covering the tips of his green eyes, making them barely visible. Bookmark here

“My name’s Tyler Gardener, he’s Aiden Gardener.”, a dark-skinned boy smiled. The boy named Tyler looked cheerful, short black hair cut in an undercut, showing his brown eyes clearly. Meanwhile, his brother who he had referred to as Aiden looked gloomier. He had the same skin-tone, eye colour and hair colour, but his hair wasn’t cut in an undercut, his bangs were parted.Bookmark here

“Are you both brothers?”, Leonardo inquired, examining everybody else in the room.Bookmark here

Tyler nodded, “Twins actually.” Bookmark here

Benedict then spoke, “And I’m Benedict Kaiser. The oldest one here. Bookmark here

Leonardo nodded, speaking, Bookmark here

“I’m Leonardo Francis, this is Arthur Brown.”, he spoke, pointing to the blonde-haired boy sitting next to him. Bookmark here

“So— did you see them?”, Benedict asked, leaning forward.Bookmark here

“Who?”, Leonardo replied with a question. Bookmark here

“The Camellia”, Benedict replied, eager for an answer. Bookmark here

Leonardo didn’t reply. Instead, Arthur did, “We didn’t see them.”Bookmark here

Benedict looked towards Arthur, “Did you see what they did?”Bookmark here

“….Yes”, Arthur responded, looking away.Bookmark here

Nobody asked him any questions after that. They all noticed that Arthur and Leonardo had experienced something far worse than they had, so they remained quiet.Bookmark here

After a while of awkward silence, the door swung open.Bookmark here

In came a young girl, looking about nine. The girl had a baby face, slightly tanned skin with long, wavy, black hair. Her eyes the colour of the ocean. Bookmark here

“Aiyla, hey”, Theodore said, grinning at the young girl. Bookmark here

Aiyla was about to speak, but stopped herself when she noticed Arthur and Leonardo. She walked up to Arthur, touching his ponytail with a glint in her eyes. Bookmark here

“You have nice hair—”, the young girl giggled “—can I braid it?”Bookmark here

Arthur looked surprised at first, but nodded. Bookmark here

“Alright Aiyla, wait”, Benedict smiled. “Introduce yourself first, will you? And call the others here too”Bookmark here

Aiyla looked slightly disappointed but agreed, “Aiyla Polat’s my name.”, the girl grinned at Arthur and Leonardo, before running off to get the other girls. Bookmark here

“She’s the youngest here, lost her parents when she was four, but she’s pretty cheerful—”, Benedict smiled, looking at Arthur “—and she seems to like your hair”Bookmark here

Arthur nodded, smiling back at him awkwardly.Bookmark here

Then, the door burst open and in came four girls, including Aiyla.Bookmark here

A short-haired brunette girl, with eyes as green as grass, came running over to Arthur, along with Aiyla.Bookmark here

The brown-haired girl immediately started playing with Arthur’s hair. Arthur did feel a bit uncomfortable, not knowing what he should do in this situation, so he looked down, nervously blushing, allowing the stranger to play with his long hair.Bookmark here

“My God, Fleur, give him some personal space”, Tyler said, laughing at this scene.Bookmark here

“Alright, fine”, the girl named Fleur backed away, still mesmerised by his hair. Bookmark here

Aiyla sat down next to Leonardo, “You have nice hair too, did you cut it yourself?” Bookmark here

Leonardo shook his head, speaking, “Arthur did”Bookmark here

Arthur blushed.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the two other girls stood at the entrance, examining the two new boys. Bookmark here

“The name’s Lyna. Lyna Monet”, one of the girls said. She had short black hair, tied in a small ponytail, freckles covering her pale face. Her dark brown eyes glistening. Bookmark here

“My names Marceline. Don’t know my last name.”, said the other girl, her ginger hair had been braided, reaching a bit below her shoulders.Bookmark here

“I’m Leonardo Francis and he’s Arthur Brown”, Leonardo replied.Bookmark here

“My name’s Fleur Laurent.”, the brunette girl said.Bookmark here

———Bookmark here

Arthur had been dragged out of the room by Leonardo, he said he needed to talk to him.Bookmark here

The two boys stood together in the lounge.Bookmark here

“Did the Camellia actually invade Festern? What about my parents?”, the boy asked. Bookmark here

Arthur sniffled, not answering.Bookmark here

Leonardo gripped Arthur’s shoulders, asking him, “Are my parents dead?”Bookmark here

Arthur nodded, tears swelling up in his eyes, but he held them in.Bookmark here

Leonardo sighed, letting go of Arthur.Bookmark here

“Let’s go back”, Leo said.Bookmark here

As they turned around to face the entrance of the boys’ sleeping area, they saw Mary. Bookmark here

Mary looked away, she had heard their conversation.Bookmark here

Leonardo held Arthur’s hand, walking back.Bookmark here

———Bookmark here

The sun had set, Arthur and Leonardo seemed to be getting along well with the other children. Arthur sat there, his hair braided.Bookmark here

Leonardo seemed to be having a conversation with Benedict. Bookmark here

The door opened, Mary had entered. Bookmark here

“It’s getting late. We should head to bed now.”, she said, a smile on her face as she noticed Arthur and Leonardo getting along with the rest of the children.Bookmark here

The girls stood up, walking out of the room with Mary. Mary gave Leo one last glance before she walked off too.Bookmark here

Benedict got up, putting out the torches’ fires.Bookmark here

“Goodnight, you lot.”, Benedict spoke.Bookmark here

The rest of the boys had already laid down. Bookmark here

———Bookmark here

Leonardo couldn’t sleep, his mind racing with thoughts of what had happened the day before.Bookmark here

He got up, leaving the room.Bookmark here

Arthur had noticed him leaving, but chose not to follow him.Bookmark here

And so, after a few minutes of worrying, Arthur fell asleep.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.