Alice and Finch: The Third Night

Table of Contents

I think you’ll like this. Nice and long, nearly 3000 words, and it took forever to finish. Whew!

When Finch next woke, it was the evening of a third day. He lay in his bed for a long time, staring at the ceiling, and trying to fit the memory of the n’juzu in among the rest of his thoughts. He blushed a lot. He had been entirely captivated by Chloe’s voice. He had wanted to touch her. Now that his brain had enough blood to think properly, this all seemed ridiculous.

Is that what he would have thought of her? What he would have felt if he had seen the Prince for the first time through adult eyes?

Then, Finch’s mind focused on Alice. He knew exactly what he had done with her memories, because it had happened the last time something bad had happened. This is what he did with bad memories, he piled information on top of them and tried to forget.

He blinked. His eyes were puffy, and he had a feeling he knew why. Finch lay back and thought. He would have to search the entire city for Alice, it was the only thing he could think of. Unless Jutt had come up with something.

For the first time, Finch realized he wasn’t in Gwenhime’s clinic as he had been last night. He was in his own room. They must have moved him. Finch opened the shutters. It was still dark, but he could see light blue in the distance. It was definitely dusk. He changed his clothes at high speed and then headed to the kitchen to raid the food cupboard, and then heard footsteps.

“Finch, you are okay?” His father asked.

Finch turned around, “Yeah, I guess. What time do you think it is?”

“Sun will be down in a two or three, I think.” Ilias said, sitting at the table.

Finch hadn’t noticed, but his father had already set dinner for them both.

“What was that you were saying the other day?” Ilias asked.

“What?” Finch took a water skin from the shelf and sat down too.

“You were saying something about getting your own place, now that you’ve been working for a couple years.”

“Oh yeah,” Finch remembered, “Yeah, but I decided that it might not be so good an idea if I decide to go to university after.”

Ilias smiled and nodded, “I definitely think you should study. You’ve always been someone who valued information. It was Natural Studies, am I right about that? You must keep in your  mind that doing something you like for your living improves your quality of life immensely.”

Finch had to agree. His father had become so much happier since he had started his job as a cook.

“Well, I’m off,” Finch said.

“Where to? Work?”

“No,” Finch said, “It’s Secast, I don’t work today.”

Illias nodded. He was on a different schedule, so he had forgotten.

“Well then where are you going?” His father asked

Finch thought for a moment, then said, “I’m going to find an old friend. We have a lot to talk about together.”

He put his on his feet sandals and then ran out into the streets. He figured he should head to Jutt’s house, and maybe even Artus’s. Although, maybe he would bring Artus along later.

Finch navigated the dark streets almost randomly. He had first headed to where he thought Jutt lived, the building that she had come out of that one day when Chloe had been hit by the beam, but he didn’t recognize anything. He was lost now, and just wandered along aimlessly. Eventually, he found his way to the outdoor town square, surrounded by the six kingdom halls and the southern castle wall.

Jutt came out of one of the six towers with a look of triumph on her face.

“Oh, Finch.” Jutt still had a subdued manner about her.

Finch looked at his hand. It had been bandaged, and the fabric had a small red dot on it.

“What did you find, Jutt?” He asked.

She unravelled the scroll like a royal messenger and read. It was the will of Batshiva, the East Metch he had seen years ago while looking for Alice. He was the one who owned the cathedral for the Servant of Conflict.

“So, he willed all of his possessions to… Alice?!” Finch’s eyes widened.

Jutt nodded, “Yep. He couldn’t give it to someone in the East Metch Kingdom, it’s against the law. Something about retaining the Kingdom’s wealth during times of closure,” Jutt waved her hand, “Anyway, Alice was literally the only person he talked to on a regular basis, so he gave everything to her. I’m sure we could find her at the temple. Where else could she have gone?”

Finch nodded. He looked at the sky. It was getting dark.

“Let’s go then.” He said.

“I think it’s best if you meet up with her alone,” She said, and when Finch gave her a confused look, she added, “I’m the one that’s read the romance books, right?”

Finch looked at his clenched hand. He nodded and continued alone. Again he got lost many times. He really only knew his assigned district and the way to the library, university, and castle. Everything else was a mystery to him, and he had very poor navigation skills. He was sure a couple of sixths passed before he found the tilted lane.

Finch had expected the cathedral to look impending in the dark, but instead it looked shabby, sad almost.

Finch took a deep breath, and then stepped to the door. And then he heard a scream.

It was a high pitched scream of terror. It quickly changed into a roar of fury, and shortly after a window burst outwards his right. Finch saw a holy symbol made of wood fly out, a crossed rapier and falchion. He knew that the roar was Alice’s, so he opened the door to see what was going on.

Alice was in full combat stance. Finch had never seen her like this, he didn’t know that the Plainkind’s ability to shift muscles became more apparent when they hit puberty. He didn’t even know that the Plainkind could shift their muscles around. Alice looked shorter, stockier, deadlier. And she was throwing things.

Candles, symbols, and even furniture were forcibly parted from walls, bolts in the floor, and tables. Nothing was sacred anymore, not after Alice had thrown it at a wall.

But she stopped when she saw Finch. Her face seemed to calm, but her muscles did not. Her had held a stone goblet with the rapier and falchion symbol on it. She said, “Finch, help me.”

Finch looked at her, incredulous, “Help you with what?!”

“We need to drive the Servant of Conflict out of this temple. Did you hear me awake from that nightmare?”

Finch nodded.

“I don’t want frightening dreams of war and combat. I don’t. This is my temple, not his!” She shouted, “Get out!”

She threw the goblet into the wall, where it shattered. I small piece got stuck in Finch’s hair, and he took it, looking. It was half of the symbol. Finch had never exorcised a Servant from a temple, but he was pretty sure smashing up all of its symbols was a great place to start!

“Let’s do it!” He said.

As he said this, Alice gave a smile, one more charming than any njuzu could, and promptly leapt up and tore the chandelier off the ceiling Finch grabbed a metal candlestick from the wall. It was surprisingly easy to tear from the wall. He ran around and smashed goblets with it, keeping an eye out for Conflict’s symbol.

Finch was a little more strategic than Alice. He specifically sought items with the symbol. Weather he was right to do this or not, he was never sure, but it added an extra level of fun to the ordeal.

It wasn’t long before a crowd formed outside the temple. Artus was one of them, and when he saw Alice swinging from fixtures through the broken window, he entered.

“What’s all this then? Destroying that poor man’s temple?” He shouted.

“No, he’s dead, this is my temple now.”

Alice didn’t say anything about the will, or that she really did own the place, but it didn’t matter to Artus.

“So? Explain your destruction!” Artus said. He was just waiting for a reason to begin revelry.

“We’re driving out the Servant of Conflict so I can sleep here!” Alice dropped to the floor, taking a ceiling lamp with her. She tossed it through an expensive stain glass window.

Artus had no idea what she meant by this, but he grabbed a bench and lobbed it into another bench.

“I’ve been waiting to try these out!” He said, flexing his guard’s muscles, “Can’t be punching citizens, right?”

They laughed.

As the night continued, one by one, Alice’s friends filed in and started helping them. Everyone was there before midnight fell. Finch watched Alice revel with her friends, and then he silently stepped out. He walked, almost marched, to Jutt’s house. She had left him to Alice, and it was time to return the favour.

He knocked on her door, and an angry looking Riley man answered.

“You’re lucky us Riley get up at around this time, you degenerate. Looking for the resident fiend I assume?”

Finch had not expected this.

Jutt thumped to the door, and then walked right past it.

“Hang on, honey,” She called out. Finch was certainly not her honey, but he eyed the man again and knew that playing along would be in Jutt’s best interest.

In the brief moment he’d seen her, Jutt looked very tired. It was like she hadn’t slept in days and Finch had just woken her up after only an hour’s rest. He felt immense guilt, but when she returned, her expression brightened and she stepped out with him. Jutt grabbed his hand in hers, interlocking their fingers. They faced the angry man, who’s expression was now on the border between murder and rampage. Jutt sneered at him, making his expression more sever and then pulled Finch close and kissed his cheek. Her fingers fluttered a goodbye to the furious man.

“You vexing witch! Don’t you dare come back here! I’m done with you, find your own place! Obviously you think you’re old enough, you fool. You will not curse my home any longer!”

He spat in her face. Jutt ignored this and they turned away together. He noticed that Jutt had carried a rather full rucksack out with her, which she now slung onto her back. Finch had the feeling that he had suddenly become one half of an eloped marriage. One that had been found out.

After they had crossed two separate blocks in silence, Finch said, “That’s not your father then.”

“No, he’s my uncle, worse, he’s an in-law. He really believes that bit about being a witch. I’m half Solune you know.”

“Half Solune?” Finch said.

“Yeah. You know how our blood doesn’t mix properly, right?”

Finch nodded.

“Well, mind did. It’s extremely rare, but when it happens you get someone that looks like both, instead of either Solune or Riley. And so, idiots like him think it’s an ill omen, my height, my eyes.”

Finch had never really cared about racial differences, but thinking back, people did seem to be either Riley or Solune and never in between. Jutt really looked like a Riley, but she was also tall like a Solune. Her eyes were also dark like a Solune’s.

“Huh. So, that uncle doesn’t like you then?”

Jutt nodded, “Yea, he got stuck with me after my mother went mad and wandered out of town.”

“Went mad?” Finch knew better than to ask about her father. She would tell him on her own if she wanted to.

“Yes, she was accused of manslaughter. My father,” Jutt nodded, and then stared into Finch’s eyes. Jutt had striking grey irises, and they watched Finch’s expression changes with great interest.

Finch, horrified, said, “What? How do you know that it was your mother?”

“I watched it happen. Finch, I don’t have the time or information to explain all this right now, but Batshiva’s will got me thinking. When I go to seek my revenge, not on my mother of course, but the one who made her do it. Anyway, when I go to seek my revenge, I’m leaving what little I have to you.”

Finch was going to ask her to explain what she did know, but before he could they arrived at the temple. It seemed that the teenagers within had started a bonfire using the wooden pews.

“Geez, maybe I shouldn’t have left them unsupervised.” Finch said.

Jutt gave a sweet little laugh, and they walked in. Both were treated with joyous fanfare. It seemed someone had brought sausages. Everyone crowded around and listened to Alice’s stories. Finch took great interested in hearing of her fight with his mother. It was interesting to him that she still existed somewhere out there, causing just as much trouble as she always had.

As the night moved on, some of the kids left for curfew, while others fell asleep in the cathedral. Jutt and Finch were among them.

Alice lay on her back, blinking. She was wearing a cute little dress and short pants. Finch found that it was the best outfit he’d ever seen her wearing. They eyed each other, and Finch smiled.

“I am sorry Finch,” she said, “I overreacted. You were with me this whole time, becoming a guard.”

Finch sat down next to her.

“Yeah.” He said.

“But, Finch, what do you really want to do? You like books, maybe you want to become a professional book reading person?”

Finch laughed quietly. It seemed that everyone else was asleep now. He stared at the fire, musing at how lucky it was the cathedral was made of stone.

“I don’t think that’s a real job, Alice.” He replied.

“Oh,” she blushed, “but you do want to do something with books, right?”

“Yeah, I was thinking of working at the university actually.”

“Hey,” Alice said. She pointed to a pair of people who had become tangled around each other in their sleep, or possibly even before.

But she didn’t say anything, she just pointed. Finch sort of nodded, but he wasn’t sure what he was agreeing to, or if it was something that one even could agree to. Apparently it wasn’t, because Alice shook her head.

“Why are they doing that?”

“Alice they’re in a relationship.”

“We are too, we’re friends,” she said.

Jutt, who had not gone to sleep, mumbled, “A romantic relationship.”

Finch shot her a look of surprise, but her eyes were shut. She had been faking.

Alice stared at Finch. “I think that we could have a romantic relationship too,” she said.

Finch shrugged, and Jutt said, “Don’t shrug you idiot, answer her properly.”

“Will you stop!” Finch poked Jutt in the ribs with a nearby board.

She stood up, stuck her tongue out, and left the temple saying, “I’ll be back in a bit, and you two had better be closer together then my family when I get back.”

Alice looked entirely confused.

“I think we should just continue to be friends until…” Finch saw her face become blank at this. He was going to suggest they strengthen their bond first, and then try dating, but apparently Alice thought they were beyond such pleasantries.

“Okay, how about we try dating for a bit-”

“Try again!” Echoed a voice from outside.

Finch threw a broken piece of tile out the window he guessed Jutt had called through. He heard her laugh again. This time, he leaned really close to Alice’s face.

The stared at each other. Finch was far more interested in Alice’s eyes then Jutt’s. He said, as quiet as he could, “Okay, you’re my girlfriend now.”

Alice nodded, like she knew this was an important statement, but had no idea what it meant.

“Okay, that’s great, but aren’t I already a girl friend?”

“No no, it means that we’re in a relationship, uh, in a romantic relationship now. I’m your boyfriend.”

Alice nodded, again taking this in slightly the wrong way. Finch had the feeling that she wouldn’t truly understand until they had been together for a few days. She seemed to think they had entered some sort of blood pact. Maybe they had, in a way.

Finch wasn’t sure if his father would be happy to find out that his son had fallen asleep in front of a bonfire with his hands intertwined with that of the monster he was supposed to be avoiding. But right now, his mind was bliss. The new couple was asleep before Jutt returned.

Jutt had her own problems to think about. She wasn’t intending to return to the place where she was thought a witch, and she went to sleep worried about the future.

No one dreamed of war that night.

One more. Maybe two if I do an epilogue.

Daniel Triumph.

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Alice and Finch: The Second Night

Table of Contents

(This chapter is sort of an aside. I hope you don’t mind 😛 )

The voice he heard was sweet as treacle and intoxicating as syrup. Finch fell in love with it in moments. His thoughts were not currently attached to his memory, and would not be again until his blood had grown back. Right now, all he cared about was the beautiful voice of the n’juzu as she spoke. An n’juzu is an N’Tariel water spirit, known for beauty and timid nature. [Footnote: an Njuzu is an African water spirit that often has the body of a snake and the torso and head of a woman.] It has the shining dark skinned body of an Elkin or N’Tariel from the knees up, and the body of a black snake from the knees down. Finch wanted the creature to say more words, just to hear its voice.

He reached out longingly, and grasped fabric. He pushed again, and grabbed a shoulder.

“It looks like he’s getting better. You’re sure mom’s left town? We might get him to a hospital.” The n’juzu said.

“He will be fine.” This was the n’juzu’s sister. Her voice was not sweet at all. It had a different, more sinister allure to it, “Look, he slept all day today. That’s a good sign. I know how this works, you need to sleep at least a full day to get that much blood back.”

“She’s right, he’ll be fine by tomorrow. I’m sorry we have to go so soon after helping you, but you know how it is.” This was a man.

“Yeah. I’m leaving for my hunt soon. Drake and I are going to catch Zealott.” The sister said.

“Oh my…” The n’juzu sounded nervous. Finch did not like to hear her sound so worried.

Finch tried to open his eyes. It sort of worked, and he gazed idly from his half-opened lids. He finally saw the n’juzu. The light skin was even more beautiful than its voice. He had a very strong desire to feel her skin on his, but he was too tired to move. His eyes swivelled to the other two.

As for the sister, he recognized her as the woman from the room a long time back. Again, she was wearing her dark jumpsuit. It was unzipped all the way to the navel. Like Jutt, this woman didn’t bind her chest. He nervously snapped his gaze to the man. It was the same man that had been with her all those years back.

He said, “Don’t worry Chloe. Janna and I will be doing the ceremony before we leave.”

The n’juzu, whom Finch now learned was called Chloe, replied, “So you will become her protector?”

Finch’s eyes went out of focus but he heard the man say, “Yes, and she mine.”

The n’juzu then came painfully into sharp focus. She seemed relieved but still concerned.

The man and the sister began to talk to each other.

“Drake, is Baracus dealt with?” Janna asked.

“Yes. And in good time too, Alice left this morning. I did too, but it took me a bit longer to get here. That young woman must have strossmadoss blood in her or something, to cross land at such a speed.”

Finch felt like he should know who Alice was, or who Chloe was, but right now those parts of his brain weren’t receiving enough blood to allow for the passage of memory.

“Hmm. I like how you speak of her. You talk as though she is some dear sister of yours, Drake. We should meet with her before we go,” Janna nodded, “I would like to give her a few words, and also to see if she lives up to all you say.”

Drake shrugged, and Finch lost focus again. He closed his eyes, and the events that he had witnessed receded into his mind. He fell asleep once more.

Daniel Triumph.

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Alice and Finch: The First Night

Previously, Table of Contents

Night Fell.

Finch strode towards Alice, consciously letting go of Jutt’s arm as he left her side. He reached out to her with both arms. He felt possessed almost. They embraced. Alice knew exactly what was going on because, like Finch, she could see just fine in the dark light.

Finch spoke, his head now level with Alice’s. She had grown faster than he in their four years apart, and now they were exactly the same height.

As they touched, something primal within him stirred. He let out his whisper. All of these primal urges sought to deny him his words, to stop him from ruining their one chance, the chance to be together with Alice.

It took a long time for the wind in his lungs to finally vibrate against his vocal folds.

“I have failed you. The guard will hunt you still.” He said, and then a piercing whistle came out of his maw.

Alice’s soft grip hardened. Her fingers dug into his back. She pushed him away.

“You failed?”

Alice had never, not once, considered that this could happen; that Finch would not hold up his end of the agreement. She leaped back and stared into his eyes. She saw his failure, his regret.

All of her anticipation, everything she had been looking forward to, everything she had been counting down, all of her hopes had been dashed. And it was all Finch’s fault. Worse, he had cowardly given up. Maybe he hadn’t even tried at all.

Apathy fell over her emotions, and at once every other thought became muted under its seething and pleasing relief.

Alice’s breathing intensified, eyes burning a bright red, hands baring long claws. She stepped closer to Finch and then opened her mouth so wide that her jaws unhinged, as a snake’s would. Her long, suddenly dangerous canines were now visible, clearly brandished. She stood, an armspan’s distance from Finch’s face and then shrieked.

Finch stiffened and stepped back, reaching out his hand to protect himself. Alice had turned into a monster before his eyes, talons ready, teeth bared. This was not how he wanted to reunite with her. He wasn’t scared, but he also wasn’t sure what she was going to do. That primal feeling stirred again within him, but the last thing it called for was a fight. Instead, paradoxically, Finch saw Alice with rosy eyes.

Alice leapt the short distance towards him, and then struck his feeble outstretched hand. Her index nail cut through the flesh between his thumb and index finger, piercing all the way through his hand.

She froze, staring him in the eyes. He saw her fear and all of her youthful adolescent insecurities. Finch didn’t really care if she, too, saw what he was feeling. His wound began to bleed, but it was too deep, and his nerves had not noticed yet. Finch was entirely unconcerned with the blood he was presently losing.

Alice stepped away. She looked at the city gates, and ran. She ran away.

Finch stared after her for what felt like a sixth.

“No…” He whispered.

Alice ran to the only place she knew would be safe. She ran to her triangular alley.

Thoughts flashed in her mind, emotion recollected in tranquility as she cantered. Finch had not been weak in his admission. He had also been wearing guard uniform. He had certainly tried. He had joined the guard at sixteen, maybe even earlier just for her. She knew he was an academic at heart. He had abandoned his own dreams, entirely for her sake. And then she had injured him. And she had stared into his face and seen an unexpected expression. He reacted with love, and understanding, and even a touch of something else.

Alice blushed. She was certain now, that he had seen her beastly Plainkind form as beautiful. When she reached the cathedral, she stopped and leaned her back on the door to think further. Her mind was slow, and could only concentrate in a limited capacity while she was running. She slumped and sat on the dirt and thresh.

Alice put her elbows on her knees, and her face in her hands. He bloody finger rested below her mouth. Her thoughts hovered between Finch and Victimus. Victimus was always saving, or being saved by a princess. Her name was Captialla. The children’s books always stated that they were in love, a true love, and that their relationship never wavered.

Alice had always identified with Victimus, as she too had suffered all her life, although in far less childishly comical ways. Was Finch Captialla? Was he the captivating object of her affection? Maybe it was the other way around, maybe she was Captialla, and Finch was the poor victim, the victim that had been doing his very best and had failed. Victimus had failed before.

What had Captialla done when her love had failed? Alice thought. She had… she had always saved herself, and then gone and saved him after, saved Victimus from his failure. And then, she forgave him when he said he was sorry. Forgiveness had always been a major theme of the Victimus stories.

Alice looked at her bloody finger. She had not forgiven Finch, but she still could. She stared up at the cathedral door. On it was a note, stitched into stiff and hardened leather and nailed to the wooden entrance. Alice stood up to read it, as she was now entirely literate.

“Huh.” She said when she had finished, “That was awfully nice of him.”

She was not talking about Finch.

“It seems you do not know how to treat a lady,” Jutt said plainly.

Finch fell down, kneeling on the grass.

“Oh,” He turned to face her, “What should I do Jutt? Can you help me? Can you please help?”

Jutt pointed an accusing finger at him.

“You have to go find her.” She said, as though this was more obvious than breathing.

Finch tilted his head, “Why do you think that?”

“I used to read a lot of romance novels.”

“Used to?” His head tilted the other way as he asked.

“Yes. They’re all the same after a while, you see, so I had to stop.” Jutt shrugged, “It gets boring. Repetitive.”

Jutt walked over and fell beside him. They sat in silence together, then as suddenly has she had dropped, Jutt stood up and reached her hand down to Finch. He stared up and grabbed it with his still bleeding palm. Jutt pulled him to his feet and he winced, realizing suddenly that he was in immense pain.

“Don’t worry, Alice will understand. She is far from unreasonable.” Jutt stated.

Finch nodded, and then hugged Jutt.

They stood together. Finch said, “I have no idea where she is.”

Jutt said, “I have an idea. I’ll talk to you later.”

She awkwardly exited the embrace, and Finch realized that he had bled all over her back.

“Wait! This is important, what are you going to find out? How will it help with Alice?”

“I think I know where she went. I need to go to the tower of Law and Poetry before they close for the day,” She said, “And you need to go to a doctor before you die of blood loss.”

She was right. Finch stared at his hand. It had not stopped bleeding.

“Look, you made my back wet, so now you have to pay the consequences,” Jutt stated, “Take off your shirt.”

Finch looked at her, confused, but she immediately started doing the same, taking her shirt off. Finch stared at her shadowed form. She was slim, like all Riley, but she was also unusually tall because she was half Solune. Her legs were strong from running, her arms slim, only really good for carrying books. Her stomach was flat and smooth. Jutt did not wrap her chest like most Solune did. Finch noticed that it had grown, but was always kept hidden under the shirt. It was not hidden now. Jutt looked at him, and he looked back.

“I’m not abandoning my clothing for your amusement; although, I am flattered.” She gave Finch the most mischievous look he had ever seen.

Jutt had gotten that one from one of the more well written romance novels.

Finch coughed, almost vomited at his indecency, and then unzipped his uniform. They traded shirts. He noticed that he had bled right through the back of hers.

Finch had not finished growing, but Jutt had. She was nineteen. Her shirt was too big for that reason, and because it had been baggy. His was too small. Jutt wasn’t exactly fit, but her slim Riley form was accentuated by it.

“You know,” Finch said, “You’re pretty good looking. You don’t really need romance books, you could just get a mate whenever.”

Jutt smiled at him, “No, I don’t need books, I told you that. You’re right though, I have had eyes on me for a while now. Girls notice stares, you know.” She looked at him meaningfully at this, “It’s just a shame none of the students at the university have realized how things work. Even you must know that a signal of interest is necessary to initiate a conversation.”

Jutt crossed her arms in the tight shirt. If she wasn’t so much like a sisterly, and sometimes even motherly, figure to him, he might have given her such a signal. Right now his heart was focused on someone a little less attractive and a lot more beautiful.

“I like this shirt. I’m going to keep it unless you ask for it back.” She said. And then, “Finch, aren’t you feeling a little emasculated now? Don’t you feel some sort of need to figure out this situation on your own?”

“No, not really. If you know where Alice might have gone, then I need your help. Wouldn’t it be stupid to refuse your help now?”

Jutt tried to shrug, but it was hard for her to do.

“It would be stupid,” She said, “That’s actually one of the reasons I stopped reading romance, characters do a lot of stupid things to string the plot along. I’m happy you’re not like that. I’ll come back to you, just go get help. Your hand hasn’t stopped bleeding.

And then Jutt ran into the city and turned left.

Finch started to follow, but after a couple steps, he became very dizzy. Then he actually did vomit. Then, he fell over onto the ground. Then, after blinking a few times, he became unconscious with his eyes open.He would have died from his wound, which was too large to heal on its own, if someone hadn’t been listening to Finch and Jutt’s echoing conversation with bashful interest.

The eavesdropper peered out from a castle window after hearing Finch’s thud and gasped at what she saw below.

Thinks are getting spiceyy~

Daniel Triumph.

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Alice and Finch: Nulliary Dusk

Table of Contents

When Finch finished his shift, he headed for the castle. He wanted to ask Chloe something. He wondered if maybe he could start taking night classes with her. It wasn’t like he did much after work, especially now that his friends had stopped playing and started working, or taking schooling more seriously.

Up until now, he had either played war games against his father, or sat in on classes with Jutt. There were also a few times that he and Jutt simply walked around town and discussed things.

They were together now, walking in the dusk. These conversations had led Finchto come up with the idea of requesting part-time education. He was always eager to ask her everything about her experience at post-secondary school.

Jutt had grown into a very interesting young woman. She was three years older than him. At eighteen she had started her career as a full-time student at the university. Finch was proud of her, but also extremely jealous. He would much rather be an academic than a guard. He began to wonder why he had became a guard in the first place.

“So, what are you studying?”

“Chemistry and biochemistry,” She said, “It is very interesting.”

Jutt always spoke in very flat tones, but Finch had learned to pick up on her more nuanced emotion. It was clear to him that she was enjoying her studies.

“I am also minoring in music.”

“Music?” Finch didn’t know how to feel about this.

“I have always wanted to learn the violin. And the piano.” She nodded.

“I never knew.” Finch said.

They exited the town and reached the field he liked so much. The sun had almost set. It was very dark. Jutt and Finch’s eyes adjusted easily to the dark, due to their Riley ancestry. Even in the dim greys of night, the field was beautiful. He wanted to call it something, to give this place a fittingly beautiful name.

And then Finch stopped, grabbing Jutt’s arm. He had heard light breathing. He blinked, looking around at the blue and grey landscape. He saw something unusually bright, a tall figure with light coloured hair. It was a Plainkind woman.

Now I’m going to tease you for a couple days before I start releasing the final parts, the Nights.

Daniel Triumph.
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Alice and Finch: Nonary Dusk

Table of Contents

Finch sat the roof of the Kingdom Hall of Enforcement and Taxation. Artus had been placed in the Castle Guard, so they hadn’t ended up working together. He gazed across the city.

It hadn’t been hard, what he had done. Again, people were calling him a prodigy, but this time about his guarding. This, he knew, was not true. Finch had practiced and learned for years. He knew every single relevant law and had memorized the entire handbook.

It made sense that he would become Vice-Captain eventually, everyone agreed. Really, it was only luck that he had taken the post so young, at the age of sixteen. The previous Vice-Captain had been the husband of the current Captain, who had retired.

Finch smiled at this.

The current Captain was an aged woman, who seemed to be permanently angry. There was a very specific reason that Finch hated the Captain, but he couldn’t remember it. It didn’t matter though, she too was going to retire, and in only one year. Finch knew he was the only one eligible to become Captain. It was so easy!

He lay back and stared at the sky. The dawn was approaching, and the sky was getting brighter. Soon Horith, the leftenant of the night watch, would finish his shift, and Finch would start.

“No, you can’t do that. That isn’t how it works.” Finch told the scowling man.

“Yes it is! Look, I found it, so it’s mine!” He shouted.

Finch sighed. He hated dealing with people like this, but it was part of the job.

“Look,” He said, “The wallet has identification in it. This belongs to…”

He took a closer look.

“It belongs to Janna Rhye. Wait, what the-” Finch stopped, not wanting to swear on the job, “That’s the Prince! Would you steal from royalty, Mr. Silch?”

The man, Silch, looked dumbstruck. He didn’t even speak, just shook his head. Finch told him to move along, and strode to the castle. He met up with Alm along the way and told him he was making a quick stop to the castle.

The Captain must have seen him through her window, because as he passed the guard tower, she rushed out to yell at him.

“Zeth!” She shouted, “What are you doing out from your post!”

Finch revealed the wallet.

The Captain stared at it. She figured out who it belonged to. Then, she yelled at Finch again.

“Where did you find this? I’ll be returning it! Get back to your post, child!”

Finch scoffed then walked off. Only one more year of this, right?

Daniel Triumph.
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