He actually wanted to be together. After three years, now Fletcher wanted me. My fingernails dragged across my mate scar, unfortunately leaving it intact. This scar had been more trouble than good and it would probably continue.
Sighing, I secured my gold, jewel-encrusted cuff over it. It felt cold and heavy against my fair skin. At least I wouldn’t have to look at it now. But, I get paraded around like a pawn for this stupid noble competition again. Though my ‘Father’ claimed he would release my brothers and me if we won, I didn’t believe him. I had to free Wylie and Lyle before that.
“Why do you keep covering it up?”
My eyes widened slightly as I looked over my shoulder. Fletcher leaned against one of the velvet-covered walls. Arms crossed over his chest, his eyes bore into mine. How had he gotten in here? All the massive, gold-trimmed windows couldn’t be opened and the gold-finished door was guarded by three soldiers. However, he had. It was impressive.
“How did you get in?” I twisted in my cushioned, velvet seat to face him partially.
“I slipped in during the time you were gone. Now answer my question,” He narrowed his eyes and pushed off the wall.
“I know burning it off or anything won’t work, so covering it is the option,” I turned back towards the vanity. Everything was in place, time to get this part of the nightmare done.
The chair screeched across the marble floor as I rose to my feet. I walked to the middle of the room before Fletcher cut me off. His eyes took in my appearance, his mouth was slightly agape like he couldn’t remember what he wanted to say. “You…you really look like a noble,”
I cocked an eyebrow at him. “Really, that’s what your reaction was over?”
A faint flush came over his face. He shut his mouth. I started to go around him, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me in front of him. Well, wasn’t this whole situation a role reversal. “You need to let me explain,”
“I don’t need to do anything for you,” I yanked my arm free of his harsh grasp. The only ones I needed to do anything for was my brothers.
“Evelyn, stop being unreasonable,” His nostrils flared as he scowled.
“No, you need to leave me alone. I have more pressing problems to deal with then rectifying your guilt,” My enclosed fists shook. The nerve that this man had.
“Then let me help you,” His face relaxed.
He wasn’t my first choice, but I had no other potential allies. I could probably trust him more than anyone else here. He was a good fighter and more sneaky than I thought, so maybe he could help? “You know about the noble competition taking place on this isle, correct?” The nobles from all twelve countries held competitions to prove their prestige and power. They were started to prevent future wars between the countries.
“So you’re taking part in it,”
“Yes, but not by choice,” I frowned.
“Is your family blackmailing you or something?” Fletcher tilted his head slightly as he clenched his jaw.
“My brothers are being held hostage. If I don’t get us out before this competition is over we will all be dead,” My lips pressed into a firm line as my balled fists started to tremble again.
“Wait, if you have brother’s then why aren’t they taking part?”
“Because we aren’t related by blood, but it doesn’t make them any less my brothers,”
I raced down the pier towards my brothers. It had been six years since I had seen them. I grinned as my feet thumped against the wood planks. The fresh smelling ocean air filled my lungs as I panted. They didn’t even know I was here, they sure would be surprised.
Wylie was still tall but was a bit pudgier than the last time I had seen him. His blonde locks were still a mess, hanging into his mismatched eyes. Lyle had cut his blonde hair close to his scalp making his bright green eyes more prominent. He had gained more height and muscle as well.
“Wylie! Lyle!” I threw an arm around each of their shoulders and neck, letting myself hang between their sturdy frames. I withdrew from them and took in their huge smiles and alight eyes.
“Evelyn,” Wylie scooped me up into a bear hug which I returned with the same vigor. “You’ve gotten a lot stronger,” We released each other while he set me down. He patted me on the head.
“Of course,” I rested my hands on my hips and smirked.
“Its been far too long Evelyn,” Lyle gave me a lopsided smile, scratching the back of his head. I gave him a proper hug, which he awkwardly returned. When I pulled back there was a light blush on his cheeks. Why did he seem so nervous around me all of a sudden? He had never been like that before.
“Well, this is a heck of a coincidence,” Wylie said.
“No, it isn’t at all. I tracked you guys down,” I winked. Becoming physically stronger wasn’t the only skill I had improved over my six year absence.
“Makes sense, your master is known for being one of the top informants in Voyia,” Lyle said.
For the past six years I had trained with Caleb Rathais. He was a wanderer by choice, but highly skilled in combat and extremely knowledgeable about all of Voyia. He had gained many contacts throughout his twenty-one years of traveling, so obtaining any desired information was a cinch for him. “Hence why I wanted to train with him,”
“Was he able to help you find your soulmate?” Lyle’s face was blank. His whole body rigid.
“We are working on it. We met a barkeep in Tessilia that recalled seeing a member of the Honor in Arms company with a mate scar similar to mine a few years ago,” My fingers traced over my scar while I smiled.
“Then why did you track us down? You should be going after that mercenary company,” Wylie grinned with an eyebrow wiggle.
I chuckled. He was at least the same after all these years. “I caught wind that you guys were in a port town of Grzinel, and since the Honor in Arms is currently at a more inlet town here, it seemed like a good chance to see you guys again,”
“Well, let’s use the rest of today to catch up and you can head off to your soulmate tomorrow,” Wylie threw an arm around my shoulders, leading me down the pier.
“She can stay with us longer if she wants,” Lyle said.
We stopped. Wylie looked back at his younger brother. “Come on Ly, we can’t hold her up more than a day. You know how badly she wants to find her soulmate,”
He faintly growled. He marched on past us. What was up with him? Wylie squeezed my arm and we started walking in sync after Lyle.
We spent the rest of the day at a local tavern trading stories of our adventures over the past years. Eventually, it got too late for Wylie and he retired to their shared room on the second floor of the tavern.
Lyle and I sat around a circular, oak table in the dimly lit tavern. We were in a back corner, so we were away from the rowdy, loud crowd drinking and dancing around the front of the bar. The stench of stale ale hung in the air. Lyle swirled around the water in his mug, hunching over it. How could spinning water be that interesting?
“What’s wrong?” I propped my chin into my hand with my elbow resting on the table.
He jumped, knocking some of the water out of his mug onto the nicked table. “Nothing,” He averted his gaze as he rested his hands in his lap.
I kicked him in one of his shins. “Come on Lyle, we’re family, you can tell me what’s wrong,”
He hissed. His eyes met mine. That always worked to get his attention. “You considering us family is part of the problem,” His eyes trailed down to my exposed mate scar and he grimaced.
“How is that a problem?”
“You’re smart Evelyn, but your obsession with your soulmate makes you oblivious to some things,”
I narrowed my eyes at him, my left fingernails digging into my palm. “What is your problem with me?” Why couldn’t he just spit out what he wanted to say?
“I love you Evelyn, but not in the way you do me. You love me like a brother even though I ain’t your brother. The way I love you is how you want your stupid soulmate to love you,” He glared at my mate scar, his face burning red.
My left hand went limp on the table. I blinked at him multiple times. Lyle loved me romantically? When had this happened? “How long have you felt this way?”
“I don’t know, but I think since I met you. Even when we were kids I could never see you as my sister like Wylie,”
“You’re right, you would never call me sister or refer to me as it. I was always just Evelyn to you.” My eyes cast down to my mate scar. I had always been so focused on finding my soulmate I never considered that someone else could love me in that way, especially Lyle.
“Do you think there could ever be a chance for us to be together?”
“No, I have never seen you as anything aside from my brother and I never can. I have a soulmate I am meant to be with, I could never be with anyone else,”
How naïve I had been three years ago to think it would instantly workout with my soulmate once I found him. Now Fletcher was here, trying to make it work, but saving my adopted brothers was far more important.
“I know what you mean. I am related to no one in my company, but they feel more like my true family than my real one,”
“Can you gather information on where they are being held and how heavily guarded they are?” I met his gaze.
“Sure, what are their names?”
“Wylie and Lyle Woles,”
He nodded his head to confirm. “I will get on it,” He turned to leave the room, but stopped only after a few steps. “Evelyn, once we all get out of here, will you hear me out?”