AOH – Chapter 19

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CHAPTER 19: ALMOST IS NEVER ENOUGH

1010 AF
A man is under a tree. His feet was cross, his hair is waving because of the wind. His black hair is long reaching his neck.
He closes his eyes, and lay down his book beside him. He let the wind caresses his face. From afar, a few girls look at him dreamily.
Kyle is resting under the largest tree in the garden. The shade provides protection from the sun and everyone knows that Kyle of the 4 Greats in the Academy always rest under that tree.
So nobody ever played around that tree. Kyle is an Under Marshall and his positions among the junior Knight is good. Many girls also like him.
He is handsome and dashing and very polite, and possess a gentleman manners. Befriending the nobles and the common people, he is the most moderate person in his group.
Arial is too hard to approach, Lisa is very aggressive; Helia has to high of a status for even a noble.
Helia is descended from the kingly line of Vangua, and her great ancestor even has some blood relations with the MontBlanc dynasty in the past.
Arial on the other hand is the son of one of the wealthiest lords in the Dukedom and a famous patron of art and knowledge.
Arial himself is a very private person and his astonishing feat of bravery and strength in the Academy is widespread.
And as his reputation rises, many more people find it hard to apaproach the elader of the 4 Greats.
Lisa is very protective of Arial and Helia and is also known to be very talented at double handed weapon and famously of her temper.
She is strict in her training, training the junior in swordsmanship when the teacher give her the responsibility.
Behind her back, many of the juniors call her the Devil of the 4. The 4 Immortals consisted of Eastern Devil, Western Serpent, Northen Badger and Southern Healer.
If there is one apt description that could describe it would be the Eastern Devil.
Kyle on the other hand while he follows the rule of the Academy when guiding the juniors, he is also considerate.
His strictness is not terrifying like his sister, or as cold as Arial.
Then from afar Kyle could see a few girl is giggling among themselves and pointing at him. Kyle just smiles at them and the girls all blushed.
Then one girl waved her hand towards him. Kyle just nodded acknowledging the girl.  The girl is Hilda from the Lions.
She is a junior he saved on one of her quest.
Since the 4 Greats feat started the moment they accepted a high level quest in their first week of Academy many junior after that emulates their conduct.
This then turned into a punishment.
The 4 Greats is always dispatched to help juniors who overestimated themselves.
In truth, if not for Arial and his strength, their first quest wouldn’t be that exciting or as widely famous.
Hilda is approaching him, running slightly towards him and she arrived in front of him. Could this be another confession? he mused.
He got up from his seat, ready to dart off from the area.
But Hilda grabs his arm. If this was Arial and someone grabbed his arm without his permission, surely Arial would look at them coldly, and his glare is enough to make any person release him.
If it was his sister, the girl would be on the ground right now.
If it’s Helia, then with a few words, the girl would be too embarrassed touching her. But Kyle just smiles politely.
‘Under Marshall Kyle, wait a second’ Hilda said, her cheeks is beginning to blush red.
She looks at Kyle and then she shies away, and then after great hesitation, while Kyle is waiting, the girl finally utters another sentence.
‘Thank you for last time.’ She said as she lower her face back down to the ground.
‘For what?’ Kyle said.
These past few years have been good for him. His clique the 4 Greats is one of the most influential group in the Academy.
And he grows up to be a very handsome man.
‘During that last quest if you did not save me, I would have suffer great injury.. We were rash at the time. Thanks to you, I was fine.’ The girl said shooting heart into Kyle eyes.
Kyle sighed.
‘It was nothing. There is no need to mention it. Helping the junior is a responsibility of the senior.’
‘No, it is really important for me. Actually…’ she said as her cheeks blushed.
‘Actually what?’ Kyle asked, he is also curios of the answer.
‘Using that incident as an excuse I want to get to know you better. Would you like to eat with me in this garden tomorrow?’
Eating in the garden together, man and woman, in the Academy ground, is just another way to say that you are fond of each other.
It is a declaration of sort. In the Academy there is many rules about ranks, relationship with other knights and the code of honour.
And one of the traditions that is passes down is seeing each other on the Garden of Gerhardt.
It was said, that the first Knight Master at the time lost his loved one, in his journey on Novus Gaia. By her custom, he burned her corpse and bring her ashes here.
When they were in love, they used to rest under the shade of this tree. He buried her ashes under the tree.
Every day he would spend a few hours of his busy time, under the tree, just closing his eyes, and sometimes smiling, sometimes crying under the tree.
It was a symbol of undying love for the people of the Academy. Then it turned into a love charms for the young Knights.
It is said, that whoever get the blessing of the tree, would have an undying love. Which is why people have been seeing each other on the Garden, hoping to get its blessing.
Some even married after they went out from the Academy when they were seeing each other on the garden, which just strengthen the belief.
Most great noble houses of course will not participate in this kind of childish traditions since their marriage is usually very important and most time will be considered from the perspective of the household.
But while Kyle is also a noble son, he is not descend from some prestigious or illustrious line of nobility.
Then Kyle remembers what she was arguing about with Helia yesterday. Remembering it make his heart burns again.
It was not his fault! He insist.
And her words echo in his ears.
‘Do you know why no girls like you even though you are handsome? Because you always act like you are aloof and trying not to care about these girls. You try to emulate Arial. Well, I got news for you. You are not him. Be yourself and stop being an arse!’ she yelled yesterday when they were arguing.
The argument broke out because Helia send one of her friends who are an admirer of Kyle to ask him for a date in the Gardens but Kyle immediately rejected her friends.
Her friend cried for days and that made Helia mad at Kyle. It must be said; in the 4 Greats Kyle is the most handsome one.
Arial is charismatic but to call him handsome, he is not.
But he inspires and he makes anyone trust his leadership. Arial has this charismatic power to make people obey him.
He is decisive and he is capable.
Kyle is also strong but compared to Arial he does not have the ability to influence the Academy as a whole.
Even though Arial is not the Commander of House for the Fierce Dragons most people would follow anything he said.
Inside the Academy itself there are many Knights that worship Arial as their own personal hero.
Arial emulates the Knight codes. Brave, honourable and determined.
‘Under Marshall Kyle?’ the girl said, her cheek is red.
Kyle was startled and then he said
‘Call me Kyle.’ Hearing this, the girl cheek get redder. Saying him Kyle when his rank clearly outranks her in the Academy?
This means that they are close.
In the Academy strict conduct is exercised when addressing superior officer.
Unless, it is stated by the party involved, one must always adhere to the formalities. But friends and lovers are of course exempted.
The usage of rank is clear and evident in this, to determine relationship. People of the higher rank do not need to dispense with formalities, but people below have to.
But telling the girl to call her Kyle means Kyle is not avoiding the girl and warmly accepted her proposals.
 ‘Why not?’ Kyle said, regarding the girl plans.
‘Meet me tomorrow here at the garden.’ Kyle said and the girl smiles from ear to ears.
‘Then that’s a promise.’
‘Hmm’ Kyle nodded and the girls run away in shyness, back to her giggling friends. Kyle just smiles pat his bottom and walk away from the garden.
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He opens his eyes today. He look around his bed and sees the empty bed of Arial. He is not yet back.
Arial is on a quest with the Wolves, helping them more like it. He washes himself on the Common Bathrooms and get ready for his class.
He did not forget about his date with Hilda.
In the morning he has class with Helia and his sister. After the calls they all hurried to the Hall to eat. Outside the class, Helia is talking about the class with Kyle.
‘The technique was not all that difficult’ Helia said as she walks beside Kyle. Kyle nodded.
‘Arial has already taught us the theory before so the application was not that hard. Only the complex movements give me a hard time’ Kyle said, nodding in agreement of what Helia said.
Then from the back Lisa jump to her brother.
‘Just be grateful you understand even a fragment of that technique. I wonder how Arial could stand teaching a dumb witted boy like you. I understand it in one try.’ Lisa said proud.
‘Flat chest, you shut up.’ Kyle said, his cheeks are red because of embarrassment. He doesn’t want Helia to know.
Helia just smiles and pat Kyle back.
‘That is fine. I did not understand it at first too. Lisa, stop teasing your brother.’
‘Alright, if the Princess says so.’
‘You…’and Helia just sighed.
Then Helia looks at Kyle and she smiles. Kyle smile back at her. He should have forgotten about that right? Helia mused.
They were arguing yesterday, about her friend. In a way, it’s not like Kyle was at a fault but the girl was her friend.
Seeing Kyle smiles at her, she feel relieved. She did not want to lose her best friend.
Then as Kyle walks into the Hall he spotted Hilda. Hilda waved her hand.
‘Meet you at the garden Kyle’ the woman said in a loud voice. The hall was not crowded at the time and only a few people heard it.
And one of those people is Helia. Hearing this, her ears pricked. Did what she hears is not a mistake?
Before he rejected her friend, now he is seeing that Hilda? Not only Hilda is someone that Helia doesn’t know, she is also from a different house.
For some reason Helia is annoyed.
Helia look weirdly at Kyle
‘Kyle?’ She asked.
‘What?’ Kyle said startle.
‘Are you seeing her?’
‘No, she’s just….’Kyle was about to answer when he was cut off by Lisa remarks.
‘Ooooh, my brother the womanizer.’ Lisa said from the behind. At that time Kyle really wanted to smack Lisa head.
‘Is that so?’ Helia said, and she was in silence as they all walk to their dorm. In her head, she was feeling complicated.
Kyle? Seriously. Uhh. Since when he start seeing her? There is a hint of jealousy in Helia voice.
Kyle has always been her closest friend since she began learning in the Academy. Lisa is also her closest friend but her closest male friend is Kyle.
Arial is cold but he has his own way of caring. There is always something on his mind. And the feeling she felt for Arial is different from what she felt with Kyle.
With Kyle she always feels comforted. It was safe. It was soothing being with him.
With Arial, there is this danger, an excitement. It was passion if it is to be described. Arial is mysterious and that is one of the reason Helia become more and more curious about him.
Helia reached her dorm in seconds. She waved goodbye to Lisa and then she went to bed.
**************************************************
They were at the common rooms. Lelia is speaking with a few boys like usual and sending some wink at Kyle. Kyle just smiles.
‘You’re going to be her next target, Kyle. Take care of yourself.’ Helia said, looking at Lelia and sending cold stares. Lelia just ignores Helia.
‘You worrying about me, Princess?’ Kyle ask, smirking.
‘I just don’t want to see you crash and burn.’
‘Don’t worry. I know her, Princess. She just like flirting. She does not have any serious attachment to anyone. Though she does show preference towards Arial.’ Kyle said after an afterthought.
‘Her? By Arial side. Dream on!’ Lisa and Helia said at the same time, and they both blushed. Kyle just smiles bitterly.
Then they talk about their class. Arial is once again absent. He go with a few teachers to investigate some bandits that has make a fortress at the MontBlanc Mountain in Vangua.
He will return probably next year. As they are talking, Helia spotted Hilda. Hilda also spotted them.
She smiles bitterly and waved her hands at Kyle. Kyle waved back ,and smiles a little. Then the girl ran from the Common Rooms.
‘Aren’t you going to run after her?’ Helia ask. Lisa at this time is wrestling with the boys from the Lions.
Harald is also not here. He had a quest in another place. In Zettel.
‘Hmm’ Kyle answer
The one who called you Kyle. You will not invite her to the ball?’ Helia said. This is almost the last month of the year.
Every year, there will be a ball.
In the beginning of the formation there is no ball. But in recent times, the Academy hosted many balls because of the woman knights.
In the Dukedom seeing a woman knight is rare, but not so much at Renasia. Even Renasia next ruler has been determined to be a girl.
And they have a history of capable woman leaders.
‘She is just a junior’ Kyle answer
‘But she can call you like that? How old is she?’
‘What does it matter?’ Kyle ask
‘Humph. Why does she call you by your name when it is clear you outrank her?’
‘Why? I think it was fine.’
‘Did you reject her?’ Helia asked again. The interaction was pretty odd.
Kyle just nodded.
‘Why?’ She said, shocked. She though it was going pretty well.
‘I do not love her.’
‘Still, she still interacts with you.’ Helia said, not understanding. When someone is heartbroken they would hardly interact with the person who broke their hearts.
Helia once speak with Hilda after Kyle start seeing her. She seems genuinely in love with him.
‘We agree to remain friends.’ Kyle reply nonchalantly
Helia was incensed. Could he not understand what is running through the mind of Hilda when she sees Kyle is just doing fine without her?
That she was not even loved that much.
‘You know, this is what I don’t like about you. You’ve never been in love have you? That word, I want to be just friend, it is like a glass splinter working its way into her hearts. It hurts and she tries her best toe endure it…..because she likes you. You should….’
‘I should love her, then, Helia!’ Kyle said, also angry at her. Kyle on the other hand is angry at Helia. How could she not understand him…after all these years.
Her eyes did not avert from Arial back.
She was always chasing after him….knowing full well, that Arial will hurt her one day. Kyle knows this…because Arial is his friend.
Arial always look at the distance, seeing something only he can see.
And one day, he will leave us all behind him. He will leave, Kyle, Lisa and Helia. Why does Kyle knows this?
He went to see the Seer one day to ask for a prophecy but he was rejected. But he did get something else from eh Seer mouth.
He asks him about Arial fate. The Seer responded with only a few words.
‘He will soar the blue sky, a destiny that has been foretold, the sword in the lake will appear, the heaven will shake, the world shall see the his might, carving his name in the annals of history.’
His destiny is so much greater than any of us Kyle mused. Arial does not like Seers, but Kyle believed it and sometime would like to know what the future holds. Then looking at Helia, he responded
‘Just because she likes me, doesn’t mean I have to like her back. And we are too young, to talk about love. You are just angry because you fear the same would happen to you if Arial did the same thing to you. You project yourself into her.’
‘You…! What are you talking about’ Helia said, fuming with anger. She get up from her seats, take her book and stormed out from the Common Rooms.
Kyle look as Helia stormed off from the room and he sighed.
‘Stupid! Stupid!’ He mused. Then he return to his room, leaving her sister, still fighting in the Common rooms.
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THE NIGHT OF THE BALL
Kyle scans the surroundings of the ball and he did not see Helia. He wanted to ask Helia to the ball but they were in a cold war this week.
Lisa is dancing with Arago from Renasia. She is not proficient in dancing. West could be seen drinking some wine from a distance, looking at Lisa.
Could it be he still thinking about the last year House War? Couldn’t be? West is an honorable character.
He might admire his little sister.
Seeing that Helia is nowhere to be seen, Kyle get out of the Ball Room. He then look at the shining moonlight.
Where should he go he spend his lonely night today?
Only one place comes to his mind.
He went down the tower and in a few minutes, he arrived at the Garden. He stand looking at the huge trees. Tonight his spend his nigh alone.
People are dancing and laughing in the ball, and here he is, under the moonlight, staring at a huge tree, pining for a girl that doesn’t love him.
Then one drop of water drop onto his head. A drop and more drops are falling. It’s raining. Just great he mused.
He was wearing a leather coat he got from his father at the star of the year to attend the ball.
He uses it to cover his top of head and ran under the shade of the tree.
‘Why does it rain? And at this time?’ A voice startled Kyle.
Kyle recognized that voice.
Kyle peek on the opposite part of the tree and there she is, beautiful as always. She was struggling trying not to get wet.
Kyle come from behind and covers her head with his coat. Startled Helia look behind her, her face is just inches from Kyle.
She could hear his breath and he could hear hers
‘I found you, Helia. If you get a cold from the rain, you will get scolded from me’ Kyle said smiling.
For a moment they look at each other, under the drizzling of rain, and their fight seems so silly.
And Helia wanted to turn away, when her feet slipped because of the slippery ground. Kyle quickly grabbed her from falling.
She was in his arms and time stopped for a moment. Kyle could appreciate the beauty in front of him right now.
To Kyle, Helia, right now, soaking wet, her hair messy and her clothes dirty, still look like such a blinding person.
Helia avert her gaze from Kyle blue eyes, so does Kyle. They both are beginning to fell shy.
‘Ehem.’ Kyle said.
‘You forgive me?’ Kyle asked.
‘Just because you shelter me with your coat?’ Helia replies
‘That isn’t enough? Aren’t we friend? And I did just save you from falling. That is two points for one day’ Kyle said smirking.
Helia just nodded.
‘Fine’ she said, slightly smiling, and she releases herself from Kyle embrace, blushing red in her cheeks. Kyle could see how cute she is when she is not being elegant.
There is some frailty in her.
She likes to put a tough front but Kyle knows how fragile Helia really is. She is afraid to be alone, to be left behind.
She lost her mother. She is left behind by her father. She is always vulnerable and she hides it with her elegant manner, her peaceful appearance.
Then suddenly Kyle could hear the commotion from near them. Helia could hear it too.
‘What happen?’ Both of them said. They rushed to the entrance. The door opens and Arial could be seen riding his famous steed, Firebringer with blood on his arms.
Arial fall down from the horse. His horsed neighs looking at everyone with its fierce eyes.
And Helia looking at this shocking scne ran to him and hold him
‘Are you alright, Arial? Speak to me she said urging Arial to open his eyes.’ There is a worry in Helia voice, in the reflection of her eyes, in the way she behaves.
And even when the chaos attracts others to come down from the ball, Kyle look from the crowd at the stunning girl he knows.
And he knows he is falling in love….knowing that this love might hurt him. Knowing that one day, it will rip him apart.
But even then, he would not regret.
He then waded through the crowd and he support Arial to get up. He support Arial left and Helia support his right.
Almost…..is never enough Kyle mused as they walk to the infirmary.
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This chapter does not exist in the former stories. People who read it for the first time, I will not give the spoilers.
For the people who have read the original they will not find this chapter because this is a new chapter to explain deeper what is the relationship between Kyle and Helia and Lisa and West and many more of the characters in Arial world.
While not forgetting that Arial is still the main character. And it shows a deeper insight to what Kyle and Helia relationship is.
And why it happen the way it happen.  
I would like you all to bear in mind, that my work will not be happy all the time. It will be full with drama.
Which I have tagged.
So if you are not a fan of drama, then I’m sorry. There will be fighting, dragons, beautiful princess, elves, Orcs and dark forces that threaten the world.
There will be heartbreak. There will be times when you ask Why?
And not all evil people dies, and not all good people survives. I personally believe that there is no happy ending.
It sounds so final…ending that is.
Not that I believe that the world is dark and full of evil people. I just believe that each day, every person lives their life, trying to be happy and some days you feel happy.
Other day, you would cry. And some days you would smile.
Life is made up of these moments, of crying, smiling, sad and happy, bitter and sweet moments.
In the end, whether you are content with it or not, that is the question, I guess. In this story there your standard RPG stuff….but I like to focus on the characters.
I like to focus on their struggles, emotional or physical, their worries and fear, their belief and values.
In the original there is too much focus on Arial. It still is. But I will do my best to insert the part of the other characters and why they act the way they do.
So, here ends my rant. Thanks for reading and this time AOH might have 160 chapters. Last time it has 156 chapters. Let see how long this one can go this time when I added the new content. Until that time comes.
And this chapter is a little long, so the next chapter will be a little short.

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