PART FIFTEEN: THE STAFF RETREAT
Ada made a quicker recovery than was projected and was therefore released from the Defense Department’s Infirmary in no time. Ada was discharged with a power boost she had not anticipated with faster reflexes, greater dexterity and vigor than she had previously possessed.
Although Ada wished to master the new abilities she had acquired in the fastest time possible by training under her father Emre, a powerful fire faerie in his own right, she was ordered off work to recuperate. Director Port explained that there would be extensive training once Ada resumed work and so it was expected that she took full advantage of her well-earned time off so that she was ready to give her all during training and their next critical mission- to take down the Red Veiled Empress once and for all.
Charlie seemed to take the Director’s order for Ada to fully recuperate to heart because he made sure Ada did not lift a single finger where he had any say in the matter. He had even gone as far as to contact Emre to ensure Ada did not manage to convince him to train her until they were both assured that she had rested well enough.
Ada had first been upset that her husband had gone behind her back and even managed to convince both parents to keep her from training when she should have been resting but she discovered that it was really difficult to stay mad at Charlie for an extended period of time. His free-spirited, easy-going personality always ensured hilarity ensued and even someone as stoic as Ada found herself chuckling at Charlie’s antics. Charlie proved devoted and patient with Ada, seeing to her every comfort effortlessly as if it were second nature to him.
After a restful period of four days chock-full of great cuisine, spa-days and fun filled date nights, Ada and Charlie joined their colleagues to a fully sponsored staff retreat in Solandra, the Sun faerie capital of the fairy nation, Breanna. Solandra was known for its pristinely beautiful, pearl-white sandy beaches, exquisite cuisine and its scenic sights and sounds. Indeed, it was arguably the most popular vacation spots in the Magical Realm and was renowned for its world-class beach resorts.
Ada had only visited Solandra a few times in her lifetime but it had been more than enough exposure to the Sun fae city for her to form a lasting positive impression. However, unlike the previous visits she had made to the city, her excitement seemed more intense. Moreover, Ada had brought along a host of other emotions she hadn’t experienced before including romantic feelings for her husband.
Romantic feelings had always been a mystery for Ada who was both Asexual and aromantic. With the sudden heightened emotions her power boost had caused, Ada found herself at a loss at fully comprehending what they were and why she was experiencing them. Being stoic and preferring to get lost in her work, she had no idea how to bear with the feelings and when she had spent so much quality couple time with Charlie where she couldn’t just ignore him or avoid him altogether, her behavior had been rather erratic and Ada found it rather unbecoming of her.
Ada’s face flushed with color at odd times, giggle girlishly at his playful antics, hyperventilated sometimes when Charlie grinned at her or complimented her appearance or did something nice for her. This erratic behavior often was accompanied by an involuntary use of her new abilities either floating off the ground or involuntarily conjuring fire. Ada, who was usually more assertive than she was feminine marveled at her girlish behavior at the most unexpected of times. She was terrified at the prospect of Charlie finding out that she was in love with him and that she kept falling deeper for him with each passing day.
The first day of the retreat was mainly spent at the beach participating in beach activities such as swimming, surfing and snorkeling. Ada who was more adverse to touching the water, was all for the idea of allowing Charlie to enjoy those activities even in her absence. However, he instead wanted to spend all his free time with her, either visiting the Marine park, shopping at the open-air markets and eventually taking a romantic stroll on the beach with her after dinner.
The couple eventually raced back to their room panting and chuckling uncontrollably. They simultaneously collapsed on the bed and stared up at the bright ceiling above them that colorfully illustrated the position of the sun in the sky. Before Ada knew it, their hands were intertwined and stared deep into each other’s eyes.
“Hey Ada, I love you,” Charlie proclaimed solemnly. Ada suddenly forgot how to breathe again and could not muster up the courage to respond. However, when she was assured that Charlie was fast asleep later that night, she mouthed the words, “I love you too, Charlie…” before falling asleep.
The next day, a ceremony was held where the Protectors who had participated in the previous mission received accolades for their great work. The Protectors that were lost were similarly honored with representatives from their respective families receiving their awards in their stead. A luncheon preceded the awards ceremony and the Protectors were allowed to rest for the greater part of the afternoon and evening.
On the third and final day of the retreat, Director Port debriefed them on the training ahead of them as well as giving an impassioned speech about defeating Empress Weylyn. He informed them that she was still in hiding but that they should expect to fight the Empress at her best and therefore, they would have to give it their best too. He then gave them more information pertaining to the Empress as well as more information on the moon faeries they had liberated that had fully recuperated.
“The first target we rescued is especially important to Empress Weyln for two reasons. The first is obvious- he is exceptionally powerful even among his kind. The second is that she bore a strange obsession to this particular moon faerie even going as far as to give birth to his daughter. We have also learned that this moon faerie, Deo of-Dela, is indeed the Protector of the Lunar-Titania of Timeline Alpha-21, Maeve Dulcina,”
There was a collective gasp and the whole room went silent.
“The child has been secured and is currently under the custody of CPS. Similarly, the Empress’ second child, Guiden, has also been secured. The whereabouts of her first born daughter, Nasreen, are well known too- the Curse Breaker, Avery, managed to capture her in the dibbuk prisons she set up during the mission. We have information on all known Blood Disciples, their abilities, locations and weaknesses we can exploit to defeat them…”
“We have also managed to secure the Lead Guard of the Empress that was freed from the blood curse placed upon them by the Empress- General Ryna Rancid, formerly known as the leader of the resistance army. We have the avowed support of Oracles Tabitha Tanner, Zuri and Emica as well as the Lunar-Titania and all safely recovered moon faeries including those that were previously released to Timeline Alpha-30. Protectors, we have to gear up and prepare for this mission which shall undoubtedly be a full-on war. Failure is not an option,”
“Yes sir!” they responded in unison. The words of the Director rung true in their minds even as they resumed work and started extensive training. On the evening of the first day, the Director called Ada and Charlie to his office and they obliged him.
“Protectors, as I stated during the staff retreat, we managed to secure the two children of the Empress. The boy is exceptionally gifted and would prove a valuable asset in our never-ending war against evil. Master Guiden seems to have taken a liking to you, Protector Adalyn. He keeps asking for you,”
“He does?” Ada asked surprised.
The Director simply nodded. “From his psychologist, we have managed to glean that his mother taught him to respect only one thing- power. On the night you defeated his mother, he perceived you as being the most powerful being he had ever encountered and as such, believes you are worthy of being his new mother,”
“But Director, that wasn’t me- it was the Lunar-Titania working within me,”
“The boy surely cannot fathom that. Protectors, I know this is a lot to ask but would you consider adopting the boy? He has potent blood manipulation abilities that would surely be best utilized fighting on the side of good. With the right parental guidance, he can master his abilities and make something of himself. May I remind you of what my predecessor, Director Shaw, told me about your own mother, Protector Ada?”
“Director Shaw informed me that Protector Avery lost her parents at a tender age. King Ember and Queen Anna took her in before Director Shaw herself took Avery under her wing and though the previous Director would never dream of comparing her mothering skills to that of Queen Anna, she undoubtedly mentored Avery to becoming one of the best Protectors this Department has ever known. Perhaps in time, Guiden may become a truly formidable force of the light. Kindly give the matter of adopting him some more thought,”
Ada and Charlie left the office truly stunned at the Director’s preposition but gave it the serious thought it served.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Shall Ada and Charlie adopt Empress Weylyn’s son as suggested by the Director? What does the looming battle against the Red Veiled Empress have in store for our fateful heroes? Stay tuned to find out! Links to the previous part in this ensuring saga is listed below. Enjoy!