Chapter 20:

Friend or Foe?

Adventures of Zeleon

Katrina took a deep breath, her nervousness was so obvious that if it had a scent it'd be more potent than any skunk could muster. She was preparing herself to enter the city of Xavera, the original human capital and the home of the newly formed Blood Apostles.

Her experience with common people was almost nonexistent, any confidence she had going in was completely shot.

In any case, she was going to do it to show that even she, the childish semi-adult who had Leon knocked out when he first saw her because she was in a bad mood, could be better.

She wore her armor from her neck down and had her trusty golden hilt blade Impero at her hip. The city was mostly broken down and could easily be seen that it was a shell of the former glory it once had. It didn't have a barrier around it like Zelenia did either, it was located amongst lowland mountains, making it a bit difficult to get to. But it also gave it natural protection from all but dragons.

As she entered the ruined city she started hearing voices with her telepathy but none of them were focused on her. It seemed she dropped in on a meeting.

"The attack on the blood payload failed?"

"Yeah there was this random pickup that would've made it a four on two situation."

"They didn't get the plant in soon enough?"

"Nope, he dropped out last minute. Cowardly bastard."

Katrina couldn't hear them aloud, but she was using other's minds to hear the conversation. "So, they planned on overtaking the bloodsuckers' food after all? Weaklings."

She lifted her own body into the air, moving herself in an elevated area amongst the ruins, giving her cover as she moved closer to get more information before revealing herself. Now she was close enough to hear with her own ears, as the sound carried easily in the area. Though she couldn't make out the people speaking, they were hidden under a natural eve.

"So who was this unknown ringer? Are they a significant threat going forward?"

"The kid's name is Leon Atkins."

"Wait! He's that Earth human competing in the Guardian Tournament right?!"

"Correct. While he's not efficiently trained when I saw him in action, he still took on six of ours and made the situation look effortless. So is he more of a threat now? Yes. I've heard rumors that he's with the Komodrons. If that is true then he's not to be fucked with."



"We need to make sure he loses in the Guardian Tournament. I think the King will set him up too, so hopefully that's enough. The Queen hand picked him for a good reason. If his future is as bright as she thinks, our plans are essentially fucked."

Katrina had heard enough as she lifted herself down to their level. As all three looked at her with weapons drawn, she smirked at them cockily.

"Hey now, calm yourselves. I've been listening to your little conversation and I've noticed you are surprisingly misinformed. I'd heard your existence returned, but it seems you're weaker than expected. That's too bad, I was planning to join you too."

Her words were spoken with utmost confidence. Two of the three were on the trip with Leon. One, who was the leader seemingly, was Ravlynn. The other was the dark skinned muscle beast Oni named aptly with his black and red hair that goes up into horns, with eyes that barely had red color in them against his black pupils. The third is an unknown, he looked like a middle aged drifter with tattered leather and cloth clothing and dark brown hair.

Ravlynn was the first to respond by whistling initially. The others all showed themselves out of numerous crevices and natural passages.

"What have we here? The Princess marching at our doorstep? Damn, so many surprises lately. What the fuck do you want you uppity bitch?"

"Ha. You're adorable, you know that? You think you're in control. At a moment's notice I can bury this place. So be careful how you speak to me. Especially since I said I was interested in joining you." Katrina was bold with her words, but she wasn't wrong and Ravlynn knew that.

"Stand down everyone!" She called the dogs off, as she stepped up to Katrina, the two were similar in height, though Ravlynn's slumped posture made her look considerably shorter. "Tell me, what do you have to gain?"

"Solo Queenship. Simple. My father has tried to get me married off to some stuffy guy whose thoughts are repulsive to me. Why marry someone I can't stand when I can stand on my own? I want to overthrow them both and take over, in return I can bring you all up with me. Not a bad trade is it?"

Ravlynn growled at her, she stood up straight looking in Katrina's eyes with only a foot between them. "You think we'll stay under your thumb? We the Blood Apostles are a democracy! We make decisions together! We are all equals, unlike your tyrannical ways!"

"Hm? Is that how it is? Would you pick fights with the Vampires, Werewolves, Komodrons, and even the Dragons? Would you fight them because they run differently than you? I mean, Charlotte is pretty ticked that you pulled the stunt you did. I'd be careful who you poke with your blind beliefs."

Oni charged Katrina looking to take a swing at her. She simply smirked and sent a telekinetic wave at him, knocking him back into a pile of rubble. "Shall I send a shockwave and crumble this dump even more?! Go ahead, I dare one more of you worms to try to blindside a woman like the cowards you are!"

Ravlynn stepped back shivering at Katrina's power, she threw the six foot four, muscle bound man aside like a ragdoll. All the followers stood stoic in fear. The drifter stood quietly in the back looking Katrina eye to eye.

"I'm not opposed to you joining. But, tell me. What information do you have that's valuable to us?"

Katrina gave a soft smile to the man. "I can give info on Leon, who is actually training with the Komodrons. I can give information that pertains to our deliveries, our alliances and so on. It seems like you're using rumor mills as your sources rather than one of the most valued sources amongst humanity."

Ravlynn looked at the man and quickly pulled him aside. "Are you insane? Brivan, look at me. You can't trust that snake."

The man named Brivan pushed her aside, and went to shake Katrina's hand. He was average height for a man, as he barely stood taller than Katrina. "My name is Brivan, my apologies for introducing myself so late."

Katrina took his hand into her own, shaking it before releasing. "That's not an issue. I take it you're one of the overseers, you seem to be in your thirties and much more level headed than your cohorts."

Brivan laughed. "Way to make a guy feel old, Katrina. But, you're right on both accounts. We may be a democracy but a few figureheads of guidance were needed. I was chosen as one somehow. But, like my hotheaded friends said, trust is not something easily earned. So, give me a piece of information that would help us to stop Leon."

"Well, my father in his hatred of Leon is setting him up to fail as early as possible. So, it's likely taken care of barring the unthinkable." Katrina's response was quick and to the point, making herself sound as honest as possible despite it being the truth anyways.

"Hmm. I have Lynn and Oni entering too. So there's a lot of rigging going on here. But, there's one factor I'm still worried about. Maeva Alderwood. She's powerful, and a threat to us as well, and being the peak betting favorite, she's easily the person to beat." Brivan let out a sigh as he rubbed the back of his head. "I'm thinking this tournament idea might be a miscalculation."

Ravlynn has since pouted in the shadows as Oni finally picked himself out of the rubble. "You learn your lesson big guy? Don't pick on those who come in peace, especially if they're as strong as Katrina."

Oni huffed. He never really spoke much, no one was necessarily sure as to why. What couldn't be denied was the bond between Ravlynn and him, as they give off a feeling of they've been through it all together.

"Please don't mind those two. They've roughed it out in a myriad of unsettling conditions for any being. I've taken them under my wing for this cause, because I believe we as equals create a better built world." Brivan spoke with a soft clarity in his voice, he really believed in this cause, but Katrina asked a question that has nagged at her since the beginning.

"Are there people who you answer too, Brivan?"

"As it stands, I can't answer that. I don't know you enough to actually say, but in time, maybe I'll tell you what I know. But, I have a question as well, Katrina. One that many might be thinking of. Why join us, knowing what our ultimate goal is?"

"Their ultimate goal. To find the armor and blade of the original Guardian, dubbed the Crimson Knight due to his bloodlust. The user was Elti Mavrose, once considered the hero of Xavera, turned into the most hated human in history. The city fell because of this as well, as my family rose because of a pet ferret finding a treasure trove beyond any person's imagination, quickly building and making the now glorious capital of Zelenia, pushing Xavera into further obscurity. I need to be careful in how I respond here."

"Why? Why not? I feel so isolated there. I hate the fellow posh men and women who can never speak their true minds. My existence is posh, but my mind is wracked with hollow words voiced out loud with nothing but knowledge of true intentions underneath. You've freely spoken exactly what's on your mind, and it's so refreshing. Telepathy is as much a curse as it is a gift, only Leon has given me such reprieve with….his colorful words."

Katrina's clear response and longing for belonging caught everyone's attention. It even made Ravlynn mutter. "She...she's really that...miserable…?"

"What about Serena?" Brivan asked tactfully.

"Can't read my own mother. Her mind is carefully guarded at all times, I've had almost 18 years to try and I've failed every single time. She has her secrets but she's never been the malicious type. If you were to meet her you'd probably say she comes as advertised." Katrina retorted truthfully, making Brivan shake his head a bit.

"You don't hate your mother, but you do want to be the sole ruler...hmm?"

"Ack! I screwed up!"

Ravlynn stood up and walked between the pair. "Maybe she does. She spoke of her father marrying her off, not of her mother. That was telling of who she's more comfortable with, even if she can't see what's on her mind."

"Why'd you help me?"

"My own reasons."

"Well, look at that. Lynn was yelling at you moments ago and now she's defending you. But she's right, I just wanted to prod at you more. But consider our alliance a done deal. We'll contact you in the future, but for now, we were just about to have a feast before this fateful meeting. Would you care to join us as the honored guest?"

"I'd like that. Though. I refuse to drink."

The remark made the others chuckle, as Katrina sighed with a soft blush of embarrassment from all of the attention, but she'd done what she'd hoped to do.

"Hmm, this is only the start. I'll expose this place and prove my worth as a proper adult.'