Chapter 9:

Lesson in Manners

Adventures of Zeleon

Later that afternoon the stage was set for a confrontation between Katrina and Courtney. Leon and Serena sat off to the side in a small set of stands as he looked at her with a bit of concern.

"Are you worried that Katrina is going to antagonize Courtney just a bit too much? She bore her fangs at her earlier. I don't actually have a rats chance in hell of actually stopping them if they go all out."

Serena patted Leon's shoulder as she kept her eyes fixated on the large combat field that spanned over a hundred yards or so, made up of a firm sandy turf.

"If it comes to that. I'm sure Courtney will stop if you give the word."

Leon looked at her with an annoyed expression.

"You overestimate me."

"You underestimate yourself and how she feels for you."

Leon crossed his arms letting out a soft huff, as he felt like she was implying that he was her keeper.

Katrina walked onto the field first, wearing metal boots, gauntlets and shoulder pads, with a reddish leather armor underneath covering the rest of her. She looked at Serena and Leon's direction, but her gaze was fixated on Leon.

"I'll show you what true human strength can do, Commoner."

"You can back out of this, y'know. Courtney can seriously hurt you beyond repair."

"Why...why do you believe in her when your own feelings are tangled about her? You're normally bluntly honest to a fault, but your mind becomes foggy when it's about her."

"I'm not quite sure of that myself."

As Courtney entered wearing her usual purple and red gear, Katrina took her focus away from Leon to her opponent.

"Wellll, you did actually show up, bloodsucker. I'm proud of you, I never thought filthy creatures kept their word."

Courtney smirked, baring her fangs for her to see.

"I wouldn't miss a challenge like this. I do quite enjoy putting a little brat in their place. So, why don't we get to it and quit this needless chatting, shall we?"

Courtney drew her blade as Katrina drew her own, Serena stood to her feet and walked down on the sideline acting as a referee of the matchup. Leon joined her shortly after in case things got out of hand.

Serena was going to say, 'Remember the rules' but the two couldn't wait.

Katrina made the first move; she used her telekinesis and sent her blade in Courtney's direction at high speed. The vampire stood still, waiting for the right moment, and in a single movement, parried the incoming blade away from her throat. The sound of the clash covered the area with its intensity.

Courtney made her move quickly charging head on at Katrina now that she had a clear path. Katrina hastily got her blade back to her person, then used her kinetic power on herself as she narrowly blocked Courtney's strike.

"Damn, she got lucky right there. How did she hold up against that strike?"

"Katrina uses her telekinesis on her own body to enhance her physical capabilities. She actually came up with that application herself."

"So does that make her on par with Courtney while doing so?"

"No. But it's probably the only way she can handle close combat against her."

Courtney jumped back with a fangy smirk covering her face.

"You're really pulling out your tricks to beat me aren't you? You had a strategy coming into this. I must say, I'm impressed. Wouldn't have thought you'd treat a bloodsucker as an equal."

"Heh. You, an equal? No. I just know a bloodsucker's prowess for fighting. I just figured yours would be higher, being as ancient as you are."

Leon internally facepalmed the moment Katrina said the word ancient.

"She has no idea what she just did…"

Courtney laughed sarcastically, as if she were doing so to hold herself back and not kill Katrina on the spot.

"Ancient? You're too funny, Katrina. I can snatch up any guy I please because of my youthful looks. You, well...I've heard there hasn't been a single suitor for marriage to you. Imagine, a bunch of stuck up men find you too stuck up to even be around. What a shaaame."

Katrina gritted her teeth as she let out a frustrated growl from what she said.

"You're dead."

"No, I'm undead technically."

Katrina got more frustrated and let loose a telekinetic blast towards Courtney, whose force caused an unnatural movement in the air, kicking up dust from the ground. It was unclear if she was hit or not, until the dust cleared. She stood idly as if toying with Katrina at this point.

"I'm bored. You're lulling me to sleep after that, I thought antagonizing you would inspire but, obviously it didn't."

Katrina let out more noises of frustration as she let loose more kinetic blasts. The dust it created soon covered the entirety of the field. A shadow could be seen amongst the dust as it charged and a harsh knockdown had occurred based on noise alone.

When the dust cleared once again, Katrina was on her back with Courtney pointing the blade at her throat.

"Looks like I win, Katrina. I hope you've been taught a valuable lesson on just how weak you actually are."

Courtney stepped away from Katrina, stabbing the blade into the ground. Katrina got up to her feet as Courtney turned her back to her, being about 10 yards away at this point. She picked up the blade with her kinesis and sent it towards Courtney.

Leon immediately sprung himself forward, unsheathing the blade he'd carried on his hip as he ran full speed towards Courtney, yelling her name. By full sprint he'd move faster than any human should be able to. He knocked Courtney out of the way and blocked the strike of the blade. Katrina almost instantly turned docile, moving the blade away as Serena approached her. Leon panted lightly, seeing he didn't completely topple Courtney over.

"You...saved me."

"It's...the least I could do. I was here to stop any conflicts after all."

Courtney simply hugged him as his arms got pinned to his body, holding the blade off to the side to not accidentally cut her.

A short distance away, Katrina got slapped across the face by Serena who was holding back her borderline livid state. It echoed in the empty space, getting both Leon and Courtney's attention. Katrina's face was marked red, as the Queen had a demonic look in her eyes. The vampire started to get closer to them, but Leon was quick to forcefully drag her away as she kicked and squirmed.

Katrina stood in shock as she stared at her mother dumbfoundedly. She wanted to say something but couldn't find the words.

"What was that Katrina? You have the gall to refer to yourself as royalty with pitiful actions like what you just did? I've been disappointed in you, frustrated with you, and even angry with you. But this is the first time I've ever felt ashamed of you."

Katrina couldn't look her mother in the eye, her emotions definitely got the best of her, but that wasn't an excuse for her hellacious actions.

"Mother...I don't understand you…"

"Hmm? What do you mean?"

"You are close with a bloodsucker, you valiantly defend an Earth human as a Guardian candidate. I can't help but ask myself, is this new or...has this always been you the whole time?"

Serena sighed exhaustedly.

"I didn't grow up spoiled like you. I never had a lavish lifestyle, social status, anything. When I did agree to marry your father, I had to be a mother of two before I turned 18, make connections, and earn respect from peers as well as the other races. Courtney is someone I met when I was a little girl, she lived out of my house for over a decade after turning her back on the vampires. Leon, on the other hand, is highly criticized for being a victim of a near death beating from his own father. I was a single child raised by a single mother like he is, so I know that feeling of watching them struggle to give the best life possible to their child."

Serena took a pause as Katrina was actually keenly listening to her. Her eyes were still looking downward as she seemed ashamed of herself.

"You obviously don't know me at all. I may have birthed you, but you don't know the struggle and work it took to get to where I am. I've spoiled you too much, I thought having everything I didn't would enrich your life. But I was mistaken. I never wanted you to be exactly like me, but I'd hoped I'd raise you to not be exactly like your father…"

Katrina finally mustered the courage up to look her in the eye after being slapped so suddenly.

"Mother...I never meant to hurt your feelings. You know that right? I let my emotions get the best of me, maybe because the bloodsucker's familiarity with you got to me...which was petty. I wanted to prove my worth to you and the Eart-..I mean, Leon. But...nothing I say can or will fix this, I'll leave you be…"

Katrina slowly walked away from her mother with her head hanging low.

"Katrina. I got some complaints from the Allacia and Malerva households. Their daughters said that Leon said some pretty offendable things that you let go. Why did you?"

Katrina turned to Serena with an icy expression, before it softened with a snarky smile.

"He defended himself in the most truthful way possible, annnnd...they deserved it."

"I told you to not hang around them numerous times. They only talk behind your back."

"Yeah. But I just use them to get a beat on these so-called suitors of mine. Not one of them isn't a pathetic dog."

"You really are rotten aren't you?"

"To an extent, it seems. Rotten enough to still stop Leon from being a Guardian. However, I feel more comfortable leaving him in Courtney's hands."

"You were that worried about him? How unlike you."

"I was worried about her manipulating him, that's all."

"Keep telling yourself that. Ever since he ran off you've wanted him to go home because you don't want him to be Guardian and you don't want to see him harmed. Face it, you're trying to be his-"

"That's not what it is!"

She was getting flustered at her mother's persistent prodding. Serena stopped and approached her and patted her shoulder.

"Just please conduct yourself better, okay? Despite your awful behavior, I love you regardless."

"I love you too, mom."

The two hugged as their emotions cooled off. In spite of their vastly different views, they still cared for the other very much, as mother and daughter.