Topsy Turvy

            Albel ran as fast as her feet would carry her. She should’ve listened to Old Lady Woltar and brought along a few subordinates from her Secret Legion to back her up, but she was overconfident. It was a simple mission- watch over the warmonger, Duke Clair, and kill him, if possible. Clair was the reason the war was happening. Should he fall, then the rest of Aquaria would lose their morale and give up in their conquest to conquer Airyglyph.

Aquarians worshiped the god of the underworld and eagerly killed others in his name. That was why Aquaria was attacking her country- Folstar wished for it. Personally, Albel didn’t believe in the Aquarian gods and figured Duke Clair just wanted to demonstrate his power.

The mission wasn’t that hard. Albel was an excellent spy and she always had Apris’ luck in returning from missions unscathed. But this time it was different. She found something that could turn the tide of the war. Unfortunately for her, he had to notice her and give chase. Nel Zelpher- captain of the Black Brigade.

From the moment they met in the battle of Kirlsa, Nel had a strange obsession with her. If he so much as caught a glimpse of her long two-toned hair, he would chase her down in an instant. Their meetings were always the same- he would viciously attack her before his twisted sense of romance kicked in and he would seduce her in the middle of battle. Somehow, Albel always managed to escape him- or rather- he would let her escape.

Albel was an excellent swordswoman and she was proficient at hand-to-hand combat thanks to the claw that protected the remains of her missing left arm. Despite the fact that she failed to impress a dragon, she was still one of Airyglyph’s best warriors next to Duchess Vox of the Shield Legion. But Nel the Wicked was a master runologist and runology held more power over dragons and swords. Frankly it was a miracle that Airyglyph had managed to stave off Aquaria for so long.

“Why are you running, Nox?” a deeply masculine voice called out in the distance. “Fight me!”

Albel scoffed under her breath before she used her claw to haul herself up another steep incline in the Kirlsa/Aire Hills. Ordinarily she would play his game and let him flirt with her until he was bored, but she didn’t have time to deal with him. She had to get back to Shelby and Demetrio.

It was by far the most suicidal thing she had done yet- she had stolen the blueprints for the Thunder Arrow and if Nel knew she had it in her possession, he was most likely going to kill her if caught. But her country needed those blueprints. With the Thunder Arrow, they could drive back Aquaria and win the war.

“Earth Glaive!”

Albel tensed as the earth spikes narrowly missed her. With Nel’s precise control over the runological force, he could’ve easily speared her with the spell. But instead he commanded the earth to split and create two walls on either side of her. The Glyphian spy skidded to a halt when the earth spikes led her to a short cliff to trap her. She was almost caged in.

She raised her claw and was about to climb up the incline, but a dagger implanted itself just inches above the talons.

“What’s the matter, Nox? Have something to hide?” Nel inquired in playful tone as he slowly advanced towards Albel. She slowly pulled the rolled up blueprints against her chest and remained still. She knew that he had one hand on his remaining dagger and his other held out with some spell to stop her should she try to attack.

“What? Have you nothing to say?” he continued as he drew closer. “I know you have the blueprints, Albel. Give them back and I might go easy on you.”

“Go to hell, maggot!” the Glyphian growled as she clenched her claw. She refused to turn and face his cold violet eyes.

Nel let out a dry laugh before he pressed his body against her back. “Fine. I shall punish you then.”

Albel couldn’t suppress the shiver that racked through her body as his breath puffed against her yellow-brown bangs. She was trapped between the earth and an incredibly handsome runologist. How did Nel manage to make her feel so warm despite the fact that he was going to kill her in a matter of seconds? She should be more focused on her impending doom.

She fully expected to feel his dagger in her belly, but she ended up stunned when he brought his arms up and simply held her against him.

“Your life is now in my hands,” he breathed in her ear seductively, “This time you will have to pay a heavy price if you want to get out of this alive.”

“Wh-what?” she nearly squeaked as her crimson eyes flew open in shock. Albel wasn’t naïve- she knew what Nel wanted. Usually he would demand a kiss or touch her inappropriately when she wanted to escape, but it was obvious that he wanted something more this time.

The red haired man chuckled as he nuzzled her hair. The girl knew full well of his feelings for her, he made it clear every time she escaped him. Oh how he waited for the day to have the opportunity to claim her, but her sense of honor to her country and his distaste for forcing women held him back. But he knew Albel wasn’t going to make it past the border without his help- Duke Clair was waiting for her. This time she owed him and he was willing to take advantage of the fact that she would feel honor bound to do so.

“You’re mine, Albel.”

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