Opportunity Awaits

She cursed herself. Curse after curse yet she did not turn back or stop running. The drow had committed a terrible crime. Stupid, stupid! While visiting another House, couldn’t pull her eyes away from one of the slaves. She watched the way that Matron treated him. It made her angry. Why did it make her angry? There were other emotions that she did not understand. Reasons she could not explain. Theft. The act was completely illogical. The dark elf had taken him out from under his mistress’s nose. Her mind screamed at herself and at him. She was beyond foolish, and so was the slave!

Why did he run with her? The time when he could be her slave had come and gone. He belonged to another. Both would be punished. She had shamed her mother with this act and the offended Matron will surely seek retribution.

The agents of both matrons would be upon them soon enough. Where would they run to? Where in the world could they hide? Where indeed. She willed all fragmented thoughts from her mind. The conclusion that came to her mind was that they needed to escape to the surface. And if they manged that, then what? They would still be tracked down before she and the slave could find lodging or food. Let alone begin a new life.

They ran from street to street, trying to gain as much distance. Just before they reached the black market, their attention was drawn to an alleyway and the hooded figure standing within. They were drawn in by the glow of her lantern, whose light is the imprisoned lightning. She pulled back her hood, revealing warm eyes and a smile, and chestnut hair kept by ribbon and adorned with golden laurels. Then came the full cloak. The stranger tossed it upward, allowing them to see her white feathered wings as they stretched outward. Her right wing caught the cloak as it fluttered down, landing inside out. The drow and human watched in awe as the divine maiden raised her lantern. As it’s light shined upon the inner lining of the cloak, it began to shimmer and the image land appeared. It was a doorway.

On their side, a massive underground city, but through the cloak they could see a land touched by sunlight. Trees and grass; just like the surface world. And there were people going about their business. It was all as clear as looking out through an open window. The dark elf and the human accepted the opportunity and stepped through the threshold. It played out just as the rumor had said. It was a rumor whispered across many lands. A hooded woman, Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome as she offers all a fresh start.

 

A fresh start…

John Green set the newspaper down and turned the overhead light off. The section read more like literature than an article. But he had a hunch that the story of the dark elf and the human slave was more than mere fiction. For one thing, the new “immigrants” had a palate for romantic storytelling. While some of the lesser details tend to get embellished or filled in when not known, a quick fact-checking session will corroborate the story’s validity. Secondly, there was Columbia.

Libertas, Eleutheria, Liberty, Zìyóu, Pagsasarili, Mother of Exiles, Diosa de America. Many names for the goddess that goes by Columbia. Her names and the honorifics added to them vary just as her appearance does. And while her appearance may change, her clothing preferences usually lean towards ancient Greek, Roman, or the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. But more often than not, she will wear something more modern. Usually red, white and blue.

He had met her once before. She didn’t offer John a fresh start. Actually, he had already begun a journey towards a new life. Instead, Columbia blocked him. She appeared before him, at Washington Dulles International Airport, taking the form of a black business woman. She had worn a blue overcoat and a wide brimmed boater hat with red and white ribbon. Such patriotic colors. She stood there inside the terminal entrance , as if she had been waiting for him.

“You are making a rash decision Mr. Green.” She told him.

“Do I know you?” He asked.

“Not every American knows me, but I know every American.” It certainly was a very cryptic answer. But with the gift of hindsight, John knew it was true.

But at the time, all it did was raise one of his eyebrows and bring mild amusement. “Yeah… yeah…! I have no clue.”

She pulled a gas torch from her coat. “I won’t stop you from boarding that plane. However, if you do leave, I must insist you take this with you.” She pressed the torch into his hand.

He turned it over, examining it. “What is this?”

“A tool for enlightenment.” She answered with a smile. Clearly she was a woman with a sense of humor. But she quickly went back to being serious. “You need only to fill the reservoir and ignite it if you change your mind and decide you want to return.”

“Why are you giving this to me?” John asked.

“Your flight departs in just over an hour, but it’ll only take a moment to explain my proposition.”

John left DC after that encounter, but not on a plane.

Washington, the City of the Goddess…

He had never pieced it together until that moment. As it turns out, there is always more history to be learned. That’s why he stayed. It’s why he was parked in front of a “school”. There were still reservations in his mind, but he shrugged it off. There was no reason to keep stalling. He turned the key and the idling engine went quiet. He was less than twelve hours away from beginning his teaching career. He grabbed a duffle bag, briefcase and backpack from the back seat. He thought it was a bit excessive. In a video call he had the previous day, a short woman in a mechanic’s jumpsuit and an owl woman had told him that all this would be necessary for his job.

Gremlins and harpies… sometimes John still couldn’t believe it.

They were right though. The surrounding towns and villages were completely different from the rest of the state. In some ways, they were only slightly more developed than the Amish communities on the other side of the country. The power lines were new, and the roads were slowly being paved. This was a society that didn’t use electricity before the Transition. He had some textbooks -as heavy as he remembered them being- and nearly every worldly possession that he didn’t sell off in the lead up to moving out of the country. Fortunately, the bill for most of the things he needed had been taken care of by some wealthy Countess or similar high position benefactor. With the advice of the gremlin, he grabbed extra laptop batteries and a portable solar panel.

The “school” was actually inside of a larger, more important structure: a castle. There are a handful of castles in North America. Most of them are merely decades old and built by eccentric wealthy folks. Those buildings usually just emulate the appearance or style… The mass of stonework that stood before John was nothing like that. From the surface, it didn’t even look like a castle at all. An imposing lighthouse tower that stretches up almost a thousand feet into the air was the only visual indication that it was there. The new teacher could see it’s beacon as he drove through the night, shining out like the city lights of Vegas in the dark Nevada desert. Alexandria would have been humbled. But the base of the structure, the citadel, had to be seen from beneath the surface.

Knights stood guard outside the welcome center. They were women with horns and spaded tails -monsters of some form or another- with armor that emphasized their feminine form. Their front was almost completely exposed save for their breast plate which only seemed to hold their twins up and left a large opening for plenty of cleavage to be seen. They stared and smiled in response to his approach. The lewd expression made him think they might try to ‘get acquainted’ but did not impede his path aside from a simple “Welcome!” which he responded to in kind.

He checked in at the front desk and got some directions. Though once John went down into the depths it didn’t make much difference. Following the directions only brought him to the brink of being lost. Patiently but surely he eventually managed to backtrack to the steps leading to the surface. From there he confirmed that he had followed the directions which frustrated John.

He began turning to go back topside when he was tapped on the shoulder. “Need help finding your way?” Came a woman’s voice. The new teacher turned back to look at whoever it was but she was already walking deeper into the tunnels.

He followed after her, keeping up his pace with her even with the three bags holding him back. “Sure do.” He said to her. “I’m trying to get to Lighthouse Citadel.” John didn’t have a chance to see her face but from a glance he couldn’t spot any monster traits. Maybe she is with the National Park Service, he speculated. But the woman didn’t appear to be wearing any uniform though so he couldn’t be sure. Her blonde hair was certainly pretty; that much he could tell. It was golden as the first rays of sunlight.

“New tunnels are still getting added so turning down the wrong corridor is easy. Just follow me.” She told John. He could see a group of ant women doing the work she had mentioned. The two passed through a residential area and a plaza full of shops as they went on their way. “My name is Yrsa.” She told him.

“John.”

“A pleasure! So, what brings you to Yellowstone’s newest attraction?” John couldn’t help but chuckle when she asked. A few ‘older’ attractions were now gone thanks to the Transition. As the saying goes, you win some and you lose some.

“Well, I’m going to be teaching.”

“Then I’ll have to drop by and say hello!” Yrsa exclaimed. She seemed very ecstatic and John thought it was rather amusing.

As they made their way through the underground city, Yrsa and John came to the bridges. John felt his legs shake. The view was both breathtaking and terrifying. Nowhere else on Earth could something like it be seen. This castle was the real deal. But it was suspended in the air, dominating the view inside the massive cavern. All around there were bridges connecting it the the cavern walls that led into the other sections of the city. John was frightened, because his brain was telling him that there was no force that physics could explain that would keep the citadel floating in the air. Yet defiantly it remained in place.

John stood there motionless as he stared at the local government’s center. The news was that the leader was an honest-to-god undead! She apparently took over after Columbia fought and defeated the previous ruler that invaded. John was entranced by the sight. His mind told him that the stone tower should have collapsed, Isaac Newton told him that the whole thing should break and shatter. But some miracle or magic held up it’s splendor for all to see. As John tried to step forward. Willed his jelly legs to approach the castle that was so familiar to examples in Europe and, yet, it it seemed so alien.

He stumbled to his right and couldn’t stop. He dropped the duffle bag and briefcase but before he could grab the stone railing, something swooped in and picked him up. Whatever it was had him at it’s mercy and he hoped to god that he didn’t get dropped. As John soared through the cavern, all he could hear was his heart racing and the wind in his face. Unbeknownst to him, Yrsa was chasing after the creature and yelling at it to give him back. Without warning, an incredible pain shot through his left shoulder and he blacked out.

“Damn it!” Yrsa slammed her fist down upon the desk. Her outrage could be felt by the other two in the room. A lilim used to rule over Lighthouse Citadel. It had been her kingdom. Duchess Jalene was a Phantom that served under her. Ever since the lilim had been defeated, the throne became Phantom’s. Jalene refrained from speaking until Yrsa had a moment to cool off. Goddess Columbia was the third woman present in the room. She had flown in only few minutes prior. The current form she had was of a woman with a medium tan and black hair kept with olive laurels. She stood naked off to one side of the office, changing into silk robes prepared by an arachne at the request of the Duchess. She changed and listened as Yrsa was venting her anger. “I was bringing him here as you both asked!”

“Please tell us what happened.” The angelic figure implored as she walked towards the other two women. To finish off her appearance, Columbia let her wings vanish and the gold laurel crown appeared once again on her head.

“As I was lunging after John to keep him from going over the rails, this- this gargoyle harlot dived down and nabbed him!” Yrsa spoke with bewilderment in her voice. “I demanded she bring him back and instead modern art mocked me! I should have put one through her head when she landed.”

“Contain yourself while you are in my city.” The phantom duchess commanded.

“What is his condition now?” Columbia stepped in with her question to ease the mood and keep them both from getting into a fight.

“Resting. After I pushed the statue away to check on him, John only spoke a few words before losing consciousness again.”

Jalene clapped her hands together, her voice full of mirth. “Good! Then it sounds like he was only in shock.”

“Is he being attended to by a physician?” Columbia asked.

Yrsa laughed. “No, I took him to my own apartment. Some monster in a nurse uniform would have slipped in and corrupted his poor soul if I left him in a hospital.” She spoke matter-of-factly.

“Very well, Yrsa.” The Phantom said. “You are dismissed. Go see to Mr. Green as I’m sure you will.”

“Not to worry, specter. You don’t have to tell me.” Her voice had a defiant tone. It was more like she said ‘I don’t obey you’. She made her way out of the room. A timid ghost opened the door Yrsa and closed it behind her. Columbia turned to Duchess Jalene and gave her an inquisitive look.

“I know what you’re thinking…” The Phantom began, but Columbia spoke before she could continue.

“Was it necessary to orchestrate that scene?” The goddess asked.

Jalene nodded emphatically. “Oh most certainly! The heroes journey always needs a bit of conflict to be interesting.” Over the year that Columbia had been interacting with Jalene and Yrsa, she learned that neither cared much for the other. While the phantom would never keep that walking calamity from pursuing Mr. Green, Jalene definitely wouldn’t let her go without putting in a little effort.

“Phantoms,” Columbia shook her head in mock annoyance. “Such a flare for the dramatic. Always so incorrigible!”

Jalene floated over to a piano in the corner of the office. “Would you have me any other way?”

Yrsa had to go out of her way once she was done with the the Duchess and the Goddess. There were some errands she had to do in town. She had to stop at the market to pick up holstaur butter, the butcher to grab beef, and the bakery to get some puff paste. She wasn’t sure how much time she had or she would have made her own. Once again, she returned to the castle to made her way back home. When Yrsa opened the door, she set the items down in the kitchen and checked the fireplace. It was burning well. She pulled some of the coals from the fire to the side and set her cast iron Dutch oven on them sorted some coals on top of the lid as well, to get it up to temperature.

When that was done, Yrsa peeked inside the bedroom to check on John. He was still asleep and didn’t show any sign of stirring. His bags and case were sitting at the foot of the bed, beside her trunk. She returned to the kitchen to prep the food.

To start out with, Yrsa washed her hands well and began prepping the two pound shoulder roast by slicing it into half-inch thick cuts and removed any and all of the disgusting gristle. Getting down a ceramic pie plate, she lined the outside of the pan with the puff paste. Yrsa made sure to press the individual strips together so it was all one piece lining the inner wall. Back at the market, she wondered if it would matter if she used holstaurus butter instead of an earth equivalent. Ultimately she figured that it would be healthier for John and have better flavor that way. So, she lined the bottom of the pie pan with a tablespoon and a half of the fresh cowgirl butter. Then she put down a layer of steak, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, then a good layer of flour -good for gravy- and then topped it off with slices of onion and more holstaur butter.

Fortunately, Yrsa already had white onion slices from her attempt at onion rings a few nights prior. Once all that was done, she repeated the process two more times. The beef steak pie had three layers of meat, spice, onion and butter. Before adding the puff paste top, she grabbed a bottle of mushroom ketchup and poured just a little bit around the edges to make sure it had some liquid before going into the oven. She added the top and cut out a circle from the center to add more mushroom ketchup. It was similar to something the humans of Earth call “Wu-ster-shur” sauce. However, they didn’t have the best ingredient: raging mushrooms. Yrsa thought for sure that the raging mushroom ketchup would would add a pleasantly spicy taste to the meat pie.

Once the hole in the top crust had been sealed up, she put oven mitts on and set the pie plate inside the dutch oven. She grabbed a hearth shovel worth of coals and dumped them on top of the lid.

Finally, Yrsa could get to baking! While the coals and cast iron pot did their routine, she considered whether she should reveal her form to when John woke up or wait and do it at class. Decisions, decisions. Either way, she put more concern into rotating the cast iron pot and lid every twenty minutes than she did her big reveal. She was content in the fact that that day was going to be a good one.

John still wasn’t sure whose house he had been sleeping in. By the time he woke up, the owner or owners were gone. There wasn’t even a note for him to go off of. He got dressed and grabbed his bags. His left shoulder was still in pain but he beared with it He felt peckish, and thought long and hard about grabbing something from this stranger’s house. Ultimately he thought better of it, regardless of their hospitality. Left and made his way towards the rooms that would be serving as the school. The castle wasn’t getting any new additions or anything of the sort. John was thankful for that. It meant he didn’t have to worry about his directions being wrong this time.

This Lighthouse Citadel was just as impressive a sight to behold up close as it was from afar. Clearly, it was the center of power of a kingdom. Even if only some six hundred square miles of that kingdom had been set right on top of Yellowstone National Park, John believed it was still the most dramatic change in America’s political geography since Alaska and Hawaii became states.

And he could tell the monsters were trying their damnedest to fit in. On every major building in the city and in the castle, there were long slim banners that ran down the stone walls. White stars over a blue base at the top with vertical red and white stripes going the rest of the way down. The little scarves on the otherwise naked gargoyles was an interesting touch. His pace quickened when he noticed them looking directly his way. It was still the early hours of the morning, the sun hadn’t quite risen yet. He hoped the myth about them returning to stone during daylight was true; although how much good that would do inside a cavern was another story.

He shook the thought from his head and focused on the bright side. He was beginning his first day as a history teacher in a new school district! This was what he had always wanted to do, monsters or not. The castle room his map directed him to appeared to was very spacious thanks to the vaulted ceiling. He had a desk at the front of the class with four chalkboard-on-wheels in the corner. It was his first day so the desk was barren save for a list of names of the students. No last names were listed which John thought was odd. Most of them sounded quite exotic but that was to be expected when they all came from another world.

The first student entered which caused his heart to skip a beat. She had wings and a tail, horns and a body that porn stars would kill for. She was a succubus. A creature born to seduce men into eternal damnation. She stared into John with those yellow eyes of hers. For him it was like looking into the abyss, something he had done once before.

He steeled himself and stood up from his chair. “Hello, miss..?” He greeted her with the ending left open.

“Lust, a name well earned.” She replied with a sly smile. “And you are?”

Alarm bells rang in Johns head. He had a feeling this student would be trouble and told himself to be on guard. “Green, John Green. I’m the new history teacher.” he answered, walking towards her with his hand outstretched.

Lust blinked a few times like she didn’t believe what she was seeing. Her face went blank and became flush as she just stared at his hand like she was in some kind of trance. John had to wave his hand slowly back and forth in front of her to snap Lust out of it. The succubus gave her head a slight shake and her lips reformed their smile.

“Is it a temporary position?”

As far as he was concerned the position wouldn’t be temporary. But since he only just started, cold cynicism told him that at any other school he would likely be the first target for a layoff. He didn’t tell her that though. “No, I’m here to stay.”

She smiled and said, “I thought so. I have a good feeling that history will be one of my favorite classes.” She looked away from Mr. Green and pointed to the desk at the front row in the center. “Is that seat taken?”

“No, you’re the first to claim any seat.” He told her.

Lust’s smile turned mischievous. The succubus walked past John and hopped up on his desk. Facing her teacher, she spread her legs and his head jerked away as fast as he could. “What about this seat?” She asked in a sensual voice.

“That’s not yours.” He said flatly. John turned his gaze back to the succubus, locking eyes with her to avoid the fact that she wasn’t wearing any underwear.

She leaned back, completely sprawling out across the empty desk. “It is when I want it to be.” She said.

“Go to your seat.” He commanded. Her antics were decidedly not amusing for him.

“I don’t think you know what’s good for you, let me show you.” She purred, reaching down to hike up her skirt. John had enough of this nonsense. He marched over to his desk and grabbed her tail, pulling hard. The new teacher didn’t realize his mistake. Lust moaned in surprise and the prehensile tail wrapped around his wrist. She whipped her tail and the young man was tossed into his chair. Stunned and in confusion, he was slow to react and the succubus was on him in an instant. Lust had straddled the ill-prepared man and pushed her chest against his.

“Get. Off. Me.” He demanded.

“Not until you do what I want.” She began to reach down and unbuckle his pants.

Since yanking her tail failed, he instinctively went for the next logical conclusion. Her hair was smoother than silk, a sensation he was hoping to forget as he ran his fingers through it. Were it a better circumstance, he would admire it. But until then…

“Ah?” Lust felt her teacher clutch a handful of hair in his fist. John pulled back with full force and she fell backward.

John stood up and fastened his buckle again. “Go. To your. Seat.”

“Hard to get. I LIKE THAT!” She was ready to lunge again when both of them were caught off guard. Metal was striking the stone of the castle wall, TANG..! TANG..! TANG..! The sound was moving down the hallway at a steady pace. Lust began to pout. “Aww… Funtime is over.” She walked over to the middle desk in the front row, giving John a wink.

The other students quickly enter the classroom and sit down. Some of them mumbled about the “show getting canceled”. John’s lips pursed as he heard that. Clearly he would have to set some rules for the students. John surveyed the classroom and noticed something he didn’t expect. Most Only about a quarter of the class actually looked young enough to be middle or high school students. The rest appeared to be adults. Some were older than he was, and some of them had daughters sitting beside them; young enough for kindergarten.

John Green wasn’t just teaching one age demographic. It reminded him of his predecessors. In rural communities all across the world, different grades would attend the same one-room school and be taught by the same teacher. In John’s case, all of the monsters arrived together. And they all had an equal need to learn about the history of their new world. John remembered what Columbia had told him. “Regardless of their status, instruct them as equals.”

The rookie teacher didn’t know why he had been chosen for this, but he was there and wouldn’t turn back now. With chin up, he addressed the class. “Are we missing anyone? We still have an empty desk.”

The girls, women and children all glanced to the door. Waiting.

“That would be mine.” Came a familiar voice. A woman with blonde hair came into view and entered the classroom. In one hand she had a picnic basket. The other held carolingian sword that she was lightly tapping against her shoulder. She gave John a coy smile. “Good morning, Mr. Green. Did you sleep well?”

It clicked and he realized she was Yrsa. “Uhh, yeah. Good morning.” He uttered with a bit of embarrassment. He had no idea what species of monster she might be but seriously doubted that she was actually human. Everyone knew that monsters could metamorphize human women. He glanced up and down but didn’t see anything immediately strange. She looked human, if a little taller than most women John knew. She had a very angelic face, almost dainty. Her hair was long and resembling golden thread. She didn’t have a school uniform, instead she was dressed in hiking boots, a very attractive pair of jeans and a tight green tank top that accentuated her sizable bosom. And her eyes… although her left eye was covered by hair, the other was a bright, vivid green. Like deep, unending sea of evergreen trees. John could not quite tell what it was, but there was something profoundly familiar about her eyes that made chills go up his spine. He decided it would be worth talking with her after class.

“If you would have a seat, we’ll get started.” John directed her to the desk in the back that was still empty. Yrsa nodded approvingly. She could definitely keep an eye on everyone else from there. “Now then, since it’s our first day together, lets start with roll call then get to know a little about each other.”

“I see you approve.” Yrsa smiled.

“What?”

Yrsa waited until everyone else was gone. John believed she had reason to speak with him as well. In spite of the earlier scuffle with Lust, John thought the first day had gone well. He started off simple yet broad. He explaining that world history could be divided into three eras. The ancient period which went from prehistory until 500 AD, the middle ages that carried on from there until 1500 and then finally the modern era. After that, he simply answered any questions they had to the best of his ability. From there it spiraled down a rabbit hole talking about the witch burnings and explaining to them that magic didn’t exist on Earth until Lighthouse Citadel and the Transition.

“You were looking me over pretty intently before class.” She said with a knowing smile. “Tell me, what do you think of my outfit?”

“You… Definitely fit in.” He told her, trying to shift the conversation. But Yrsa wouldn’t budge.

“You can do better than that!” She shouted. “Do you think I’m sexy?”

John was silent for before he answered. “You definitely are.”

“Thank you for your honesty. I picked these clothes specifically to-” Yrsa was cut off before she could finish.

“Listen, please tell me…” He pleaded. “have we met before? You seem familiar.”

“Yes, I know who you are.” Her voice went low and serious.

John couldn’t help stop his heart from racing. “Do you?”

“Of course. You’re the legendary… or infamous… depending on how you look at it, hero.”

At that, John gave an unconscious snort and blerted out, “I’m no such thing!” With all her buildup, that was the last thing he expected her to say. It threw John off guard and he could hear just how flustered his words sounded. Yrsa certainly thought it was funny. She leaned back to laugh.

“Maybe not in the traditional sense, but you came all this way and had the backbone to educate a bunch of ravenous monsters about your world. And the way you staved off that succubus, you’re plenty feisty like a hero.”

“Overselling me to get better grades?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No, it’s not a stretch to say you are my  hero.”

John remembered his preliminary lessons on the monster’s history. One of the goddesses of their world would choose heroes to fight the forces of the demon lord on her behalf. Or something like that. It seemed rather absurd that a monster would refer to him as one of their mortal enemies as a form of endearment. He decided not to dwell on it and switched gears.

“Speaking of monsters,” He paused to look up and down her body again. What are you, Yrsa?”

“Oh, that’s right.” She said with a smile. “I’m just a boring little human.”

“No, really.”

“Take a guess.”

“I have no idea.”

“Liar.” She said it as if she knew John knew exactly what she is.

“I really don’t know.” He persisted.

Yrsa looked at him as if he was completely crazy. “Very well, let me reintroduce myself.” It happened just as quickly as she spoke the words. Her jeans and tank top were gone. Replaced with the plate armor and chainmail. Her hair was tied back, revealing her left eye to be a light silver. Those eyes… and her white feathered wings. John went wide-eyed.

“Y-? You!” John points an accusing finger at Yrsa. “You were there in Cheyenne. Covered in the viscera of a squad of national guardsmen and a handful of your own monsters!”

As John shouted at her, Yrsa’s expression was blank at first. Waves of emotion crashed into each other within her until they finally broke free. “So you did remember!” She reached for the picnic basket and and launched it at him from across the room. By chance he managed to catch it and set it on his desk. “You certainly had me fooled, you scamp!” The whole classroom echoed with her joyous revelry. Yrsa ran up to John and although his instincts told him to get the heavy desk between him and her, he held his ground and let Yrsa embrace him.

“How could I forget?” He asked rhetorically.

“Those words make me happier than you know!”

John did indeed try to forget most of what happened that day. A feat that was nearly impossible. That day was all too much to forget, especially that part. The bodies of humans strewn about on the sidewalk, following the blood trails into the alley. The walls and concrete were destroyed and topped with three or four corpses of unidentified monsters… and the figure in armor, drenched in so much blood that it was impossible to tell if she she had any wounds. Her armor and chainmail had been torn up pretty badly though. John had knelt down in front of her and brought some water to her lips, thinking that she would be dead shortly. One last courtesy. She opened her eyes and looked right at him. Those eyes…

Yrsa stepped back, though she still held John by his shoulders. “You didn’t have to punch me though…” Yrsa pouted.

John rolled his eyes. “You reached for an axe. What was I supposed to do?”

“I was merely resting there when the taste of water had awoken me. Seeing you doing that told me all I needed to know about you, John. You have no idea how much I wanted to slay you myself so we could spend the rest of our days in Folkvangr.”

“So you’re a valkyrie then?” He asked. Yrsa replied with a nod. Considering that, he did appreciate the thought of being chosen by someone like her. 

“Say, John, do you have plans for lunch?”

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