Exclusive Sneak Peek at Chapter Four of Ordinary World
By Midii Une
Vier’s voice rambled on and on until Linnea tuned it out to another frequency. Nothing he said could move her. She wouldn’t do this again. Not for anyone and in particular not for Dekim Barton. Never again would her hands create weapons such as the Gundams. It was as much a desire to preserve the peace Treize had died for as a measure to preserve her own sanity.
She seemed docile enough, Vier thought confidently watching her thoughtful face. She was apparently listening to him, she seemed on the verge of capitulation. He’d always known that without Khushrenada’s support she was nothing. His success assured he relaxed his vigilance enough to study her more closely. Small curls escaped from her tousled hair that had been so smoothly and severely styled a few days ago and she was a far cry from the girl who had stepped so easily over him on her way to the top of the Treize Faction’s engineering department.
He mistook the slight tremble in her hands as she poured herself another cup of coffee for submission. The world would be Barton’s and he would have all the credit. Just a few of Linnea’s adjustments to the Serpent army suits and they would be invincible. Nearly as invincible as the Gundams had been. It had been impossible to accumulate the necessary quantity of Gundamium to build even one real Gundam. But that was beside the point, intelligence agents had been unable to locate the Gundam mobile suits used in the Eve Wars and they had likely been destroyed by their own pilots. The fools . . .
Linnea moved her slender fingers carefully as she clung to the Styrofoam cup she held. Hot steam kissed her cheeks as she contemplated the rich brown liquid feeling Vier’s eyes boring into her back.
The travel-worn black skirt molded to the curves of her figure and the color set off the pale perfection of her skin. He remembered the unreal vision he’d seen in Khushrenada’s private quarters a day so unlike this one, the world so different then. There she had stood swathed in midnight blue satin and bathed in sparkling sunlight like an untouchable Goddess of War. No, Linnea had never been meant for peace. Her haughty face was bruised and dirty now but perhaps she would come to appreciate him and if not she would be disposable once the war was won.
She turned to face him and he could see that Linnea was smiling now, was she trying to win him over? He’d dreamed sometimes that the girl in the vision loosened her hold on the oversized satin robe and it dropped to the floor in an ocean-colored pool, revealing herself to him. Offering herself. Unconsciously he stepped closer thinking how the high color in her cheeks set her violet eyes sparkling.
“Vier,” she whispered, her tone unreadable, was it surrender, supplication?
The pretty smile faded and Vier screamed as she flung her scalding coffee directly in his unguarded face.
The strong coffee seemed to adhere to his face, the liquid burning the delicate skin around his eyes, seeping in beneath his hastily-closed lids and damaging the sensitive organs beneath the fragile barrier.
Linnea stared at him in surprise, her stomach churning as he screamed in pain and fell to his knees from the agony. Her breath seemed to tear through her pounding chest as she edged toward the door and twisted the knob.
Still locked. She had forgotten that small detail and she cursed herself impatiently. Brains were supposed to be her strong suit but the look on his face as he approached her had sparked the instant defensive reaction and she had acted without thinking.
Her heart thudded as the blinded man swung his arms out trying to find her in the small, cell-like chamber and she scanned the room for the keys. His jacket hung over the single straight-backed chair and she lunged for it, searching the pockets desperately with shaking hands.
Vier stumbled unseeing about the little room, insane with burning pain that throbbed in his eyes and face. He could hear the bitch breathing, feel the fear emanating from her like something palpable.
She should be afraid by God. His fingers brushed smooth skin that slipped easily from his grasp and he growled as she eluded him. His thigh hit something solid and sharp. The desk corner and his seeking hands moved clumsily over the surface seeking a weapon and finding nothing on the smooth and empty desktop. He found a drawer and wrenched it open, the contents spilling in a loud clatter over the floor.
Linnea huddled silently in a corner and rifled the inner pockets of the jacket, releasing her breath in a gasp as her fingers touched the cold metal of the key. With shaking finger she struggled with the lock, her nerves making her clumsy. Finally the key turned easily in the lock and Linnea closed her eyes briefly resting her forehead against the door in a gesture of thankfulness and relief.
She could barely comprehend the sudden flash of pain cutting through her arm. He held a compass, the old-fashioned metal point of the obsolete engineering tool tinged blood-red. Odd thoughts filled her head. “He still uses one of those? No wonder I’m better, no wonder . . .
The furious engineer leaned over her stunned by the look in her eyes. Linnea gasped as she looked at his face, the hideous red blisters edged with pus.
“I’m sorry. . . so sorry,” she whispered, shaking her head and dodging as he swiped the compass point at her again. Swallowing her disgust she raked her nails across his wounded face and ignored his howls as she threw open the door and disappeared into the hangar trailing droplets of blood from the jagged wound in the soft flesh of her arm.
“Trowa,” Hilde ventured, her delicate pixie’s face puzzled as they left the recruiting office. The officer in charge there had nearly choked when Trowa had given his name. “Shouldn’t you use an alias?”
“That would be more Heero’s style but it won’t matter what my name is,” Trowa said blandly, his attention given grudgingly. “We’ll only be there long enough to pull this off.”
His hand brushed against the weapon concealed in the uniform he had been issued. Hilde wore the same. She glanced down at herself and wrinkled her nose in disgust. They all looked like a bunch of demented scouts and perhaps that’s what they were. An army of children, for none of them had reached the age of 18 yet, fighting under a child commander. They had taken an oath to a portrait of a blue-eyed, red-haired child and pledged their loyalty to Mariemaia. She could understand the lure, in a way, and most of Barton’s Youth Corps hadn’t had any experience in the last war. Not like she had, or Duo.
She sighed unconsciously as she thought of him. He’d be angry she was doing this but she didn’t think Trowa should be alone. If anything happened there should be someone to back him up. Besides if Duo’d been home where he’d belonged he’d be here now instead of her. Lost in her thoughts Hilde looked up to see Trowa disappearing impatiently around the corner. She squared her thin shoulders and hurried after him, dismissing her homesickness for Duo.
“Where the hell are you Hilde,” Duo cursed, halting the transmission with an impatient push of the flat of his hand. Girls! They wanted you to call and then they were never home.
To be continued following the completion of The Price of Redemption!! Your patience and support is appreciated ^_^