Chapter 3- Fear

Donovan turned towards Vyncynt and said, ”I am sorry about that. Scars is temperamental but she is a nice girl. ”

”I am sure she is, ” he replied.

Vyncynt knew it would be painful during their initial meeting but her words, ”Don touch me ” sliced through him hotter than any sword. He fought the urge to rub his heart.

For two years Demarious and he searched Pendulum, they had been so close to finding her many times. She always seemed to elude them.

Now that he found her, he wanted to envelop her into his arms and never let go. Such actions would only force her further away. He would do what he did when he captured her the first time. Wait patiently. Her nervous energy would always be attracted to his calm soothing one. She would eventually go to him. That was just how Grimoires and Arkanes were created, each one was meant to balance the other.

”You must not be offended by the way she reacted, ” Donovan continued, ”You see, Scars has some type of magical defense she calls her curse. It seems that no man can touch her with sexual intent without suffering. I have never touched her, so I am not quite sure of the effects.

”Oy, George! ” Donovan waved a man over who had been crossing the recreational room towards the kitchens. The man was tall, muscular and average-looking. Dark hair, dark eyes and a round face. Vyncynt knew that there was nothing spectacular about this man.

”Yes, Mr. Donovan? I just came from a run. ”

”I don have a package for you. This fool, ” gesturing to George, ”no matter how many times he has been warned, had to go and pull on one of Scars braids. ”

Vyncynt wanted to break the man on the spot; how dare another man touch his Grimoire but to do so would seem suspicious. Besides, the man got what he deserved.

Instead, he asked, ”What happened? ”

”Like being dumped into ice water and electrocuted at the same time. My body froze, I could barely breathe or blink. The guys had to take me to the steam room to thaw me out. ”

”Her hair was softer than anything I had ever touched but I am not sure it is worth a second attempt. I just thought it strange because I have seen the twins shake hands with her. ”

If you ever touch her again, he thought, I will make sure to place your body in the cogs.

”You can be thinking dirty thoughts, you would never be able to shake her hand without thinking about getting into her boots, ” Donovan said to George. ”You know that the twins do not like women, they are safe. ”

”Learn from this fool Vyncynt, keep your thoughts clean around her and you won have a problem. Try to keep your distance, Scars does pretty well in avoiding contact but accidents happen. I don like having to send my men out to pick up frozen bodies when they can be delivering packages. ”

”I thank you for the warning. ”

Vyncynt knew about the curse, he was the one who placed it on her. In a demonstration of her eternal love, she allowed Vyncynt to cast the spell on her; no other man would be able to touch her and she would never be able to cut her hair. She had shaved her head once, she had done it out of anger towards him.

Vyncynt made her promise to never do it again. Every aspect of her was lovely, to change would be a sin. The spell would not kill outright unless his Grimoire touched another man out of desire.

”Well now that I know, perhaps I should head up to Chandelier. ”

”Theres no point in it now Vyncynt. There is no need to meet her when she is in such a foul temper, or else you might get the wrong impression of her. She instills fear because of her curse which people don understand.

I didn tell you before because so many people both men and women refuse to work with her. Scars has been without a partner for nearly two weeks; that is far too long for anyone to travel Pendulum the way she does alone.

”She is a damn good courier and a fine shot but horny men are not the only dangers in this world; if they were, I would not be so worried. When I saw your great height and calming demeanor, I knew that you would be perfect for calming her spicy temper. I thought if you met her before I told you, you would feel obligated to help her out. Apparently, my plan failed. ”

Vyncynt had a great feeling about Mr. Donovan when he first applied to Courier Express; now that he knew the man cared for his Grimoire not only as an employee but as an individual being, he liked the man even more.

”It did not, ” he replied, ”I am still willing to work with her. ”

Donovan clapped him on the shoulder, ”Damn you are a huge guy, I knew you would! My gut never lies to me, except that it thinks it likes spicy food. You
e her partner now so you will have plenty of chances to know each other. That was her last run so shell back in a few hours. In the meantime, get comfortable with the area, this is your home now. Is the apartment to your liking? ”

”Very. ”

Vyncynt had bribed the apartment for a large sum of credits from the man that had been Scars, previous partner.

The man accepted saying that he was getting too old to be delivering packages and fighting bandits. Vyncynt even gave him a precious mana stone if the man would disappear without a trace.

The man had a hard time with it because he felt that it was his duty to inform his employer that he was leaving. The apartment itself was small and not worth the credits he spent on it. Its worth was not important but the relative proximity of his room to his Grimoire.

Vyncynt attempted several times to leave and head towards Chandelier but there always seemed to be someone who wanted to talk to him or warn him about Scars. He would politely tell them that he knew of her condition and most would say things like, ”Don take her threats to heart, ” or they would say, ”She is a sweet person once you get over your fear of her. ”

Several women attempted to flirt but soon gave up at his disinterest.

After about two pendulum swings of sharing words with various people, none of whom he cared about or would remember; he felt his Grimoires presence. It seemed too soon for her to be returning but his heart didn care. It began to palpitate fiercely in anticipation of her arrival. She was still about ten minutes away and walking steadily towards him. Thus, he decided that no one would be allowed to stop him this time.

He was just about to exit when someone called his name in a high screeching tone like broken gears on ears.

”Vyncynt. ”

He turned around and saw a tall busty blond bumbling towards him. ”Where are you going? ” she pouted at him attempting to loop her skinny arm through his.

He evaded contact and said, ”Out for a walk. I need to stretch my legs. ”

”Oh, Ill come with you. ”

”That is not necessary. ”

”I know a cute shop up the way with great coffee and beer. ”

”No thank you, ” then decided to add, ”I am going to meet Scars. ”

”Her? Why? ”

”Shes my partner. ”

”Oh, you poor man. Lets ask and see if we can switch. ”

”Why would I do that? ”

”You don want to be her partner, shes cursed. If you touch her you will die. ”

”I am pretty sure I saw George a swings hours ago. ”

”He just about nearly died. They had to stick him in the steam bath so he wouldn freeze to death. Besides, have you seen her? She must be part demon from the Beyond with that marking on her forehead and those eyes. Shell curse you if you gaze into her eyes for more than three seconds. Shes completely unlike you. ”

Vyncynts mouth twitched like Demarious when hes about to attack.

That marking was sacred, it symbolized the pact between them. On his chest was etched the exact symbol, right below his heart. It was the physical representation of their connection of heart and mind.

It was the same place her forehead touched when she wrapped her arms about his waist in a hug or when she draped her arms about his neck. When she would crawl into his lap while he was reading; her long fingers curled about each other, huddle close to her face and rest upon that very mark. When she curled at his side, she would sling her arm across that one single rune.

His anger made him want to pull down the collar of his shirt and say, ”I have one too! You will burn for eternity in the Beyond if you touch me. ”

Vyncynt settled for, ”What does this have to do with me? ”

”Well, your tall, dark and handsome, ” she slid her hands up his chest, ”you could have any woman here as your partner. ”

He grabbed her hands and removed them from his torso before they reached the point where his shared marking started. Even through the shirt, he did not want her fingers near it. That symbol belonged to his Grimoire alone.

”Yes, I could, but that woman is not you and will never be. ”

At this she huffed.

”You do not know anything about me. I detest women who will throw themselves at any handsome face. The people I detest the most are the ones who only judge by personal appearance. You have no right to speak so poorly about a person you refuse to know or understand. ”

”I was just saying what other people say, no need to get so offended. You just met her, what do you know about her anyway and why would you care? ”

”No actually, I think you are the only one who has spoken in this manner. Most warned me not to touch her, others told me that shes extremely temperamental, has a foul mouth but she is
eally a nice girl. Despite her condition, those people have discovered the true nature that lies beneath. You may think I am handsome but my personality may be rotten. What makes you think I have an interest in women at all? ”

At this, she looked taken back, as if the thought had never crossed her mind. Better to make her think that he has no interest because most of it is true. There is only one in his heart and that emotion ran far deeper than the humans petty use of the word love.

”You don like women? ”

”No I don , so now that we have got that straight can you please leave me be? ”

”Yeah, fine, ” she said, flipping her hair over her left shoulder, clearly offended he was not attracted to her and sulked off to the corner of her girlfriends to spread the gossip.

It was exactly as he intended, humans were so predictable. The gossip would make things easier in the days to come. It would take care of the swarming piranha of women. If he were to accidentally or purposely touch Scars no one would question why he was not struck down. Scars thinking that he had no romantic interest in her would be more relaxed around him.

He had not a care in the world of what the humans thought of him. If they knew the power which lay inside Scars and himself could level their entire city, they would cower in fear but they would treat Scars with the respect she deserved. A few centuries ago, humans had worshiped them as gods. Now they were nothing but myths and science experiments.

Scars closed her distance, her essence becoming stronger. Now that they were in closer proximity, their power would gain strength and continue to grow. He placed his hands into the pockets of his loose black jeans and strolled lightly, waiting for Scars to round the corner. She did so in an awkward manner, stumbling slightly as she dug through her pack for some unknown object.

She wore what he had always known her to wear; thick, flat leather ankle boots, black close-fitting jeans, a black tank top and a black leather jacket.

With her paper pale skin, black and crimson were the colors she looked best in. Her hair had become magnificent over the years. The braids had uncoiled from her head, one looped over her shoulder, draped over her front and swung by her ankles. He wondered if it ever got stepped on or tripped her, which gave him a mischievous idea.

Oblivious to his presence, she walked right past him. The moment she did, he used his mana to entangle the end of her braid within the buckles of his boots. When she attempted to walk her head yanked slightly.

”Holey golden rat turds, ” she cursed, ”Since when do I step on my hair? ”

A snicker slithered past his lips, she always had such euphemisms.

Scars turned towards him, those beautiful lavender eyes widened in fear when she realized she hadn trampled her braid; it brushed across his skin like a gentle caress.

”Devils hounds. You think this is funny, my hair is stuck on your boot. I am sure you understand my affliction, so don move. ”

He ignored her words, the sooner she understood if he touched her, he would not come to harm; he could start earning her trust.

Vyncynt swiftly squatted and at the same moment she shrieked, ”Don touch my hair! ”

At the commotion, several couriers ran out of the building onto the lit street outside. Good, he thought, witnesses will confirm the gossip.

He gently untangled the braid from his boot. Part of his reasoning for doing this was completely selfish; he wanted to touch her. Skin-to-skin contact would be too much for the both of them; he would not be able to stop. His Grimoire had always been flighty, that part of her nature would never change; if he moved too fast she would run.

He heard several people gasp behind her.

”Its true, ” they whispered, ”He must really like men. ”

”By the Devil, he didn collapse. ”

Scars remained silent.

Vyncynt continued to squat before her, letting his fingers mindlessly travel the length of the coil. He had forgotten the cool, sleek feel of her hair and the way her ends curled slightly. He gently stroked until he felt a warm splash upon his hand. The liquid was the same iridescent shade of her eyes. Grimoires and Arkanes tears glowed the same way their eyes did, but only others of their kind could see the fluorescent water.

In his current position, Scars stood taller, and tilting his head to gaze at her he asked, ”Did I hurt you? ” he asked, knowing he hadn .

”No, ” she whispered.

”Then why are you crying? ”

She did not respond; instead, she surprised him by grabbing his hand and placing it on her cheek. She sighed in contentment and said, ”I can remember the last time I have been touched. I had forgotten the warmth of human contact. ”

As abruptly as she grabbed his hand, she let it drop like electric bolts from the rotating gears above would descend upon him, and wiped her eyes; he knew she was settling herself to her guarded persona.

”Ive had a long day and I am tired. I am headed to bed, I suggest you do as well. The main core lift is broken, we have to go around and it will take twice as long. Prepare for a long day, I mean food and water. We probably won be stopping along the way. Wear comfortable shoes we can only take the bikes halfway; the rest is on foot. Sleep well Vyncynt. ”

He waited until she had disappeared into the building along with the rest of the couriers before whispering, ”Sleep well, my Grimoire. ”

The hand she held to his cheek glowed with her tears, he put the appendage to his mouth and licked his fingers.

Pain, fear and loneliness coated his tongue. His heart panged as though it had been dropped into a bucket full of glass.

He had been so selfish to ask her to forgo human contact, but he could not (and still cannot) bear the fact of any other man touching her. He would prove to her once again how much he loved her; just as he promised her twenty-six years ago and yet again the same promise he made centuries before. Scars would remain his for eternity.

Vyncynt is a man of his word.

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