Chapter 35:

The Odd Aqueenian 1

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Gwyn continued to walk down the castle hallways aimlessly when someone suddenly pulled him into a room. The door slid shut, and the person who grabbed him by the arm not so quietly whispered:

"Shhhh," Odell said as he cautiously looked around the room.

"Running from your fiancé again?" Gwyn asked while shaking his head.

"No, this time, it's worse. I'm running from my father!"

"Does your father chase you while flying through the air as well?" Gwyn asked while not being sure what answer he should expect to get.

"Wha- Dant, he wants me to attend the conference!"

"What conference?" Gwyn asked. He had heard about it in passing but was starting to wonder about its importance. Quenth was clearly an Aqueenian city, so was it rare to see so many other species in it? He was not sure, nor did he get an explanation. A moment after asking his question, Fiona appeared in a flash of blue light.

Gwyn jumped back in surprise, but Odell had been expecting it.

"There is a secluded balcony that overlooks the city on the Lover's Bridge side. We should be able to get some peace there... oh, hey Gwyn, are you joining us?"

"Shouldn't you be involved in this conference?" Gwyn asked.

"My father doesn't like me involved in those sorts of things," Fiona said with an odd smile.

Neither Odell nor Gwyn replied as Fiona waved for them to follow. She poked her head out of the doorway and looked in all directions. When she saw the path was clear, she crept out and began to tiptoe down the hallway. The other two followed in an equally sneaky manner.

"Why are we moving like this? Couldn't she just zap us there?" Gwyn asked.

Odell furrowed his brow in confusion, so Gwyn rephrased, "Couldn't she use her powers to get us there?"

"She cannot," Odell explained after making an expression that would often be paired with the image of a light bulb over his head, "She can lock onto an object and move to it, or farther from it, she had me as the target to return so we have to walk there."

"I see," Gwyn said as he pondered what Odell said. He looked at Mem, who was still bonded on his arm as he thought. When neither of them said anything else, Gwyn considered another subject to talk about as they continued to creep along.

He thought about asking why Fiona seemed so disliked by the king, but as he pondered it, he figured it would not be best to ask Odell something personal about someone else.

They continued quietly moving along. Fiona would stop them at every turn with a silent hand gesture and peer around corners. They had to hide behind a pillar or odd furniture a couple of times as some guards made their routine rounds.

It took far longer than it should have and far longer than necessary as none of the guards would have stopped them, but they reached the spot Fiona had mentioned. The trio let out a sigh of relief, though for different individual reasons, and sat down on the balcony.

The balcony overlooked Lover's bridge, which was drawn back to prevent any unwanted people from entering. It was not meant to be stood on, as the trio had to open a window to get out on it, but a series of railing contained the space anyway. King and Queen Whitlock had often escaped to the secluded spot to get some peace and quiet in their youth. As such, the railings were added by Queen Whitlock's younger brother, who also knew of their excursions.

The shining city beyond the bridge had a unique calm that Gwyn had not seen the earlier day. It was still very early in the morning, though he was unaware of that, and most of the city was still asleep.

"So, what is this conference about?" Gwyn asked after a moment of silence.

Fiona shrugged and gave him an answer.

"It's an annual peace conference between world leaders. We hold it once every year at a different capital. They discuss boring things and what they are going to do differently, or something."

"I see," Gwyn answered.

"This year is a special one; it happens to be the hundredth conference held since the event started," Odell added.

Gwyn nodded to show that he understood. His head was filled with questions he could ask to follow up. Why did the conference start? Have there been any clashes since it started? What is the conference like?

Such history had not been on display in the museum they had visited the previous day. The last event recorded in the museum that he could recall was the Hobusian and Aqueenian war that took place just slightly over 100 years ago. He was beginning to wonder if the war and the beginning of the conference were related.

Though he didn't get a chance to ask about it, Odell spoke up to start a different conversation.

"Gwyn, I heard you arrived in some sort of vehakul!"

"Yeah, my car... what did happen to that?" Gwyn asked as he looked at Fiona. She simply shrugged.

"I was not involved with that, but I would think that they would have taken it to the lab to dismantle," Fiona explained.

"Dismantle?" Gwyn repeated in shock.

"Can they put it back together? I wanted to take it apart!" Odell added.

Fiona sighed and ignored the responses from the other two, and looked out to the city. That is when she noticed something interesting.

Over the quiet city, a large, winged creature seemed to be heading in their direction.

"Do you have giant birds on this planet too?" Gwyn asked while taking notice of the thing that was headed their way.

Neither Fiona nor Odell answered, but both rubbed the Needaimus on their arms as if to double-check they were attached.

The figure came into view more clearly as it flew closer. Soon a humanoid shape formed under the two large wings. In a matter of seconds, the form became distinct enough to make out.

It was an Aqueenian girl with an erinite green complexion. She wore a white dress with a laced front and frilly, short skirt; that dress had light black highlights that accented the waist and end of the skirt. The top of the dress was strapless, and the back, though the trio could not see it, was open. A snow-white Needaimus covered her left arm.

The Aqueenian gracefully landed on a lamp post at the city end of Lover's bridge. Two large wings furled behind her back as she pushed snow, white threads of hair away from her face. Her hair was all white, save for a black color that covered just around her roots. Her left wing was made of black feathers and resembled a bird's wing. Her right wing looked as if it was covered in a silver coating, but it was clear that the wing was a mechanical prosthetic when looked at closely.

The Aqueenian unfurled her wings. Fiona shuddered like a chill went up through her back as the newcomer took to the sky. With her wings outstretched, she put her hand over her eyes like it was a visor on a baseball cap. She began flying over the water while looking all around the castle. It wasn't long until her gaze settled on the trio that was staring at her.

The odd Aqueenian stopped in midair and hovered in place with her flapping wings. The trio and she stared at each other for a moment. Then, she smiled, tilted her hand, and made a friendly wave. With a sudden flap of her wings, she suddenly shot to the left and began to fly around the castle.

Gwyn was about to ask about this odd newcomer, but Fiona suddenly disappeared in a flash of blue light. She instantly appeared in front of the winged stranger and grabbed onto her. They began to fly around the sky in a hectic manner as the newcomer tried to shake Fiona off.

"What's going on?" Gwyn asked Odell as he stepped onto the ledge of the balcony.

"She's trouble!" He simply said as he leaped off the balcony. He didn't make a strong push with his legs, but he went flying through the air like a rocket regardless.

"Wait! Why is she trouble!" Gwyn shouted out as Odell shot out over the water.