Forever Young

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  • Published: 22 Dec 2015
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2016
  • Status: Complete
Darla is most definitely not a human.

She's one of the Ashki, an immortal race who have lived alongside humans from the very beginning. But friendships don't survive that long, and her contacts with her fellow Ashkine people are practically non existent, humans just tiny little pieces in the jigsaw of time. And an old enemy is back, proposing changes to the way their society has run and developed, and destroying the Ashki in the process.

Now Darla must gather her friends together to save themselves and their souls. But after so many millennia, is time finally running out for the Ashki?


7. Beat It

It was a good thing we were all well-rested. The hotels in London were all more expensive than my house, and that was just for one night. We'd all managed to get a fair amount of money over the centuries - and faking the necessary qualifications was actually rather simple magic, when I needed a job - but what with it being mostly just on debit cards and Kaden's tendency to get annoyed when he didn't understand technology, actually using that money for anything was often more difficult than it was worth.


We were all sitting on a wall. I dangled my legs over the side of it, kicking it into crumbling cement. "Do you want to find somewhere to eat?" Kaden asked into the hubbub of the London streets. "There's bound to be loads of places around here."


"That's great. You can go look then." Lara jerked her thumb behind her with an awkward smile at Kaden, causing a laugh to bubble from Adrien's lips at the sheer look on Kaden's face.


"I'm not going myself," he sighed. "I'll probably get trampled on or something, and you guys know what happened the last time we were in London, too. I'm not going on my own here." He gave me a pointed look, and I shivered, tightening my grip on the red brick.


"Darla could go with you."


"No!" The two of us said in unison, and I could feel Adrien tense next to me.


"I'm not going anywhere here with her," Kaden argued with clenched fists, his brown eyes flashing. "I don't even know why you brought us here, it's not like it's safe for Darla to be near this place, for anyone." Adrien opened his mouth to say something, but Kaden covered his mouth with a punch. "People could die."


"Fine then," I huffed. "I'll just stay here on my own, hopefully not doing any harm to anyone even though, as many, many years have proven without me hurting a mortal at all, I am highly likely to kill the entire population of this city. Obviously."


"Just be quiet, Darla." Lara rolled her eyes. "I think we should all go to look for somewhere to eat - what do you guys want? Something quick, italian, what?"


"I don't know," Kaden said. "Just anything."


"Great." Adrien jumped up to his feet, grinning. "I saw a stall selling pretzels on the way here, and ice cream. We should go there, it's just a little way away."



He was not telling the truth. We must have walked at least a mile to get to the pretzel stand, and Kaden had started complaining the second we got up, saying he was 'too tired' even though he wasn't the one who had to travel four thousand miles and fight someone who was already trying to kill me, all in the space of the last twenty four hours. That was me, and though I couldn't inform them of this, I did make my point that he was beig annoying somewhat clear by elbowing him so hard he nearly fell into the Thames.


'Twas fun.


The four of us strolled through a park with our pretzels, taking in the passers-by with their grey faces and their red umbrellas and the rain that dripped from the trees onto pink lips, like tears falling from the skies. Rain leaked into my eyes an d into my mouth, seeming to carry a sort of alcoholic presence, burning the back of my throat with its promise of drunken greatness.


Trees wrapped around the air like ribs around lungs, squeezing it till it was so small, then moving gracefully like the wind itself was ordering it to expand once more, let the air ripple through the park and dance over our bodies. A mother pushed a wailing child in its buggy, a business man rumbled into his phone, and a small child appeared to be imitating the queen of England.


"What are we going to do now?" Adrien threw the paper from around his pretzel into a nearby bin.


"I think we should try to find Keda, personally," Kaden said and I felt like throwing up in his face. "I mean, if we're trying to run away from her again, why don't we stop? We're bound to have to fight her again, as I think you all know, so why don't we turn the table, try to find her, fight her? We'd be a lot safer than if she caught us off guard."


We stared at him like he was mad, which looked far more convincing considering the fact that he hadn't bother to buy an umbrella like us, and was drowning under the rain, his hair going flat like seaweed.  "Do you have a brain in that swollen head of yours?" Adrien hissed. "We're trying to stay away from her, if that wasn't already clear. We're trying to avoid a fight, not start one."


"Well, I think that we'll not be able to avoid a fight, and it would be better if we started it instead so that we can get it over and done with, and that you should all also stop trying to avoid the obvious truth and take a step back into reality before you get sucked into Keda's obvious trap."


"Obvious trap?"


"Well, clearly she's trying to get you all to avoid conflict so that she'll attack you when you don't expect it, when your guard is lowered by the reduction of adrenaline. Or she could also be trying to make you think this is something htat it's not, make you forget about everything that's happened. You can't give in to her." He stomped his foot on the ground, growling. "Okay?"


"But I still don't think it's a good idea to just start a fight."


"Oh, for god's sake, Adrien, shut up! You don't know what you're talking about. We need to take matter into our own hands, even if you don't have the brain capacity to do that! Got it?"


"No. Don't got it. I don't know what you're talking about because you don't know how anything works, even if you pretend that you do. You don't understand anything, you're just so annoyingly stupid and arrogant, that's what you are. An arrogant, arrogant, bastard! And also, there's something I want to know, and that's how did you even get here. Darla just ran off into the woods and then came back with you, and I don't know but she looked kinda scared about something, and I'm pretty sure it's your fault."


"Both of you shut up, you're both arrogant bastards!" I shouted, finally losing my patience.


"Yeah, just get your bromance back on, it can't be that hard."


"We don't have a bromance!"



Lara smirked. "But I just got you two to agree on something. Argument over." The two of us laughed at the annoyed expressions of both the boys, who rolled their eyes. "Now, I say we should try to find Keda and fight her. Kaden's right, it's going to happen sooner or later. Darla?" She fixed me with her piercing gaze. "Fight or flight?"


My breathing shuddered. I was drowning. Waves of fear raced down over my head, sweeping away my soul. I couldn't fight Ked again, I knew, but there was no way I'd be able to tell my friends I didn't want to fight. I've never been known for running, after all.




"Good. Adrien, if you want to, you can stay here, if you don't want to face Keda." Lara looked to me and Kaden. "But we're going, and if you don't want to be left on your own in the middle of a massive city you really hate, I would suggest you come with us. Then again, it is your choice."


Adrien's eyes widened. "But it's dumb. We can't just go marching around expecting to find her. We were getting away from her just a few hours ago, I don't see why we would go to her and fight her after that." His glaring eyes landed on me, like light on an exposed face, blinding me not with its brightness but with its pure, pure darkness. "And I don't see why Darla would think it's a good idea, either."


"Well, I do," I shrugged. "Hope it doesn't offend you."


A fiery something flickered in his eyes, like a flare shooting up into the sky. "Of course it doesn't. If you all do really want to go to fight, I'd be perfectly happy to join you all. Let's go." I could hear the sarcasm in his rumbling voice. "Then again, it is you choice."


"Yes, it is," Kaden spoke clearly, bringing his eyes up from the ground to right in Adrien's own. "So we're going. Anyone know where?"


"Home," I said quickly. "If we want to fight. That's, um, probably where she is. I'm guessing." That was such a weak lie. I cursed myself.


"Actually, you're probably right," Lara agreed with a sweet smile. "Home it is."


I was regretting my suggestion even before we got home.

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