Importance - Chapter 12
‘Listen up, you two,’ Regulus said, as he watched over the two students. Avondir looked up, raising an eyebrow at him. ‘Yes?’
The elf walked towards him, beckoning Acacia to come closer as well. He smiled at the two teens, who were staring at him in question. ‘The exam,’ he started, ‘is nothing like anything the both of you have ever seen. I myself completed it when I was eighteen, and let me tell you, it’s intense.’
‘What do you mean?’ Ace asked, crossing her arms in front of her chest. ‘My father always acts like it was nothing, and bragged about how he did it with ease.’
Regulus groaned slightly, rolling his eyes. ‘That’s your father, Ace. The guy did it all at sixteen and was on a deadline, so there is no need to compare yourself with him. You two have all the time of the world to complete it, don’t worry.’
The two teens exchanged a quick glance, their worried eyes meeting. Avondir sighed. ‘Why is it so hard?’
‘It’s a test of character, Avondir,’ the elf answered, laying a comforting hand on his shoulder. ‘The test digs into your soul, and shows you things about yourself you should-’
‘Acacia Blackwood, where have you been?!’ a voice yelled, and the three looked up; in the entrance of the arena they had been training in, Audace stood, stomping over the unruly, hard cobblestone path. His green eyes held an angry, terrifying gaze, and his messy hair was even messier than normal. Ace noticed he had bags under his eyes, and as she went pale, she hid behind her uncle and Avondir.
‘Audace, we’re busy here,’ Regulus said, keeping himself calm as his brother-in-law walked towards them. Audace ignored him, and flashed a glare at Avondir. The young man looked at the ground in anxiety.
‘Dad, go away,’ Acacia mumbled, nervously fiddling with the edges of her long tunic. ‘I’m training with Regulus and Avondir.’
Audace gritted his teeth together, before taking a hold of his daughter’s wrist. ‘You’re coming home, young lady,’ he nearly yelled, which got the attention of other knights training in the arena with their students. As murmurs flared up around them, Acacia felt the urge to run away.
‘I-I don’t wanna come home,’ she whispered, but her father didn’t listen. ‘You have nothing to want here, Acacia! I am your father, I know what’s best for you!’
It was then, Acacia pulled her arm away from the General. ‘You just want what you think is best for me!’ she screamed, feeling tears well up in her eyes. ‘H-have you ever thought about what I want?!’
Audace’s eyes widened, and he glared at Regulus. ‘Did you tell her that?!’ he screamed, and Regulus scoffed. ‘She has the right to know, Audace. In fact, she has the right to know everything you ever held from her and the others.’
‘You are supposed to be on my side, brother,’ the General hissed, but Regulus ignored him, and turned to his niece. ‘Ace, what do you say about sleeping over at my and Robinia’s house for a few days? Pleione, Sirius and Orion haven’t seen you in a while, Pleione asked me if you wanted to learn her some new moves.’
Acacia kept quiet, staring silently between her father and her uncle. She turned to Avondir, looking at him with desperate eyes. ‘I-I should’ve stayed at your room,’ she brought out, voice trembling as she took a few steps backwards.
Avondir walked towards her, but was quickly stopped as the General glared at him. ‘What does she mean with staying at your room?!’ he hissed, when suddenly, his eyes widened, and he marched towards the young man. ‘What did you do to my daughter?!’
As Audace grabbed the boy by the scruff, Avondir let out a strangled; ‘I-I didn’t do anything, sir!’ before pulling himself away from the General, who took a deep breath. ‘You don’t have the guts for it, indeed.’
Avondir let out a shaky breath, before turning to Acacia. She was trembling, her eyes filled with tears. He tried to smile at her, trying to reassure her that everything was alright.
However, Audace also realised his daughter was crying. His demeaning posture fell, and he took a step towards the girl. She stepped back, shaking her head. As her father took another step towards her, she reached for her belt and pulled out her sword, pointing it at her father with trembling hands.
‘C’mon, Ace,’ the elf whispered, his own eyes tearing up from the shock. ‘I-I didn’t mean it-’
‘You did!’ the girl suddenly yelled. ‘You meant every word of it! Why can’t you just leave me alone, Dad?!’
‘Because you’re my daughter, Acacia.’ Audace took a cautious step to the girl, who only took a tighter hold of her sword. ‘And what did you keep from me, Al, Meth and Cassi?!’ she hissed, the lump in her throat now hearable.
Audace sucked in some air, embarrassment flaring up in his eyes. ‘Y-your mother and I will explain that later, Ace,’ he said softly.
However, the General’s daughter scoffed. ‘Tell me now. Regulus said it, I deserve to know. My siblings deserve to know!’
‘Acacia, calm down,’ Regulus urged his niece from a short distance, slowly stepping towards her. His eyes were filled with something like fear, and disbelief. ‘Lower your sword, you won’t get anything from hurting your father.’
Ace let out a squeaky sound, seemingly wanting to speak, but not being able to. ‘I-I don’t wanna hurt him…’ she brought out, once again tearing up. ‘I-I just wanna be left alone…’
‘Acacia, just come home,’ Audace begged, stretching out his hand to his daughter. ‘We’ll talk about it-’
‘I said, leave me alone!’ Suddenly, the same blinding light as the night before appeared underneath the girl’s feet. She looked down, shock in her eyes, as from the ground around her, large trees started to erupt and grow, together with moving veins filled with thorns, dangling in the air like webs.
Acacia send a scared look to Avondir, who reached for his knife and held it before one of the veins moving towards them. As it came closer, he cut it off to protect himself.
However, what he didn’t expect was for his friend to let out a strangled whimper as she tightly clutched her arm. Blood reddened her grey-green tunic, and Audace gasped. ‘Everyone, don’t cut the veins! Leave the arena!’ he yelled to the remaining knights in the arena, seeing as they had all grabbed their weapons.
With loud whispers, the knights dropped their weapons, and tried to make a leave for the doors. A few of them got tangled up in the veins, screaming as the thorns scratched their skin.
Acacia held her breath, before looking at the three knights before her. ‘Did you know I could do this…?’ she breathed out, glancing at her father with disbelief in her eyes. The General hesitated for a second, and then, nodded.
Acacia kept quiet for a moment, and then, whispered: ‘Then help me, Dad.’
And the second appearance of Ace's powers! Seems like her father knew everything all along, but why didn't he tell her? And what other things is he hiding from the Blackwood siblings?
Stay tuned, because in the coming chapters everything will be revealed, will Ace and Avon do the exam, and will the real battle begin...