The future of Ostania was up for grabs; the old political parties of the past were losing power, thanks to a populist movement after the reveal of the shadow government that nearly sparked a civil war within Ostania and rekindled the war with Westalia as accusations were thrown about. Through mass protests with the students of Eden Academy leading the way, things were resolved peacefully, though the door of progress was moving slowly.
Damian ran his hand through his hair and stared at his desk. His plans for the future of Ostania were scattered before him. Many people credited him with the Eden students taking part in the protests, though, if he was honest, he hadn’t wanted to at the start. He didn’t want to go against his father like that, he couldn’t go against his father like that, but someone had inspired him to do what was right, and now here he was.
“Chancellor.” He repeatedly tapped his pen against his desk. The elections would happen soon, and his own party had been gaining the ground lost by the National Unity and Dovish parties. The Progressive party was especially popular with the younger generation, and even if they couldn’t seize the majority now, they would eventually, provided he didn’t mess anything up. “Starting to understand my dad more and more.”
A shame, given how his father had refused to speak to him for over a decade now. He hadn’t even shown up to Damian’s graduation. Instead, it wasn’t even his own father that had said how proud he was that day.
Damian leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. His study was becoming increasingly dark and claustrophobic, and he felt like he needed to run away from it all and just flee to Westalia or even further beyond to escape his responsibilities here and get as far away from his family, parents, and brother as he could.
The curtains of his study were flung open, and a flood of light washed into his room, drowning out his anxiety as the person that had opened the dams stood there, the light gracing her just as much as she graced it.
Her wavy pink hair fluttered about her as she turned towards him with the same wide and energetic smile she’d had their entire lives. Her large green eyes stared directly at him, past the formalities, past the years of building himself up as a politician, and any other public face he’d grown to show others. She cupped his cheeks and kissed him on the forehead, a simple act that somehow completely removed all the stress from his body.
Anya Forger, his guardian angel, devil on his shoulder, spirit of rebellion, vice, and light of his life, moved to hug him. Her hands were surprisingly warm as she caressed his arms and then rested her head against his. Technically, he had met Anya when he was five or six, but it felt like he had known her his entire life and had somehow been in love with her longer than that. He caught a small twinkle from the ring he had gotten her, a small golden band without a diamond or any other gem.
He had spent months worrying about what ring to get her, but she eventually just told him that he could propose with a rubber band and she’d say yes. That was back when things were rough and they were sharing a room in the Forger’s apartment. Maybe he should get her—
“Quit worrying about my ring,” Anya whispered in his ear as she hopped off the chair, hands behind her back. The green dress she wore was light, perfect for a day out on the town while still respectable for a politician’s wife. Even though she was twenty six years old, she still had the same playful energy that she had as a teenager. “You gave it to me, so I love it.”
“Right, right.” Damian sighed and rested his chin on his hands while smiling softly, his pen tapping lightly on his cheek. Even though they were the same age, she often made him feel both older and younger than her. Mostly because she could read people like a book, but at the same time, her reading comprehension sucked.
“Hmph,” Anya crossed her arms and let out a small huff. “And here I was worrying about you being locked in your room all day without any sun or me to keep you company.”
“I’ll take a break in a bit.” Damian waved his hand, and looked at his plans once again. It felt so sinister calling them plans, but it’s what they were. He needed things to go right; the law was firm that he couldn’t be elected chancellor until he was 30, so he needed to make sure that he stayed an elected official and continued to be a leader in the party until that day came. Even until then, there were still laws he needed to pass and rights he had to fight for.
Then there were the peace missions to Westalia.
“But, how was your self-defense class?” Damian smiled and watched Anya’s face light up. She was always cute, but she was even cuter when she was excited about stuff. “You didn’t send anyone home this time?”
“That only happened once!” And she was especially cute when she was pouting. “But, it was a lot of fun, Becky complained a lot though! And Uncle Yuri is a great teacher though he keeps talking about how awesome Mom is.”
Which was to be expected. As much of a monster as Anya could be at times, he had seen what her mother could do; that woman could single-handedly win the olympics for Ostania. Somehow Anya had received more than her fair share of those abilities, despite being Yor’s adoptive daughter.
“It’s great you’re having fun with it at least.” Damian paused and bridged his finger for a moment. “And how is the relationship with the other wives?”
“Oh, that, well, uhh,” Anya scratched her cheek and wiggled back and forth. It was almost enough for him to feel guilty about her doing this, despite the whole thing basically being her idea to get connections with the wives of other parliament members to begin with. “They’re still afraid since uhh, the incident.”
A couple of broken fingers really didn’t seem like it should be called ‘the incident’.
“But they’re warming up! When we were doing stretches they clapped a lot when I did this.” Before Damian could stop her, Anya effortlessly transitioned from standing on her feet to standing on her hands. Her green dress began to slip downward, threatening to expose her stomach. She shot one hand up and caught the hem, though most of her sweats were still fully visible.
He married a monster. An adorable, beautiful, sexy, funny, mildly intelligent monster.
“It’s certainly impressive, dear.”
“Thanks!” She hopped back onto her feet and brushed her dress down again. She clapped her hands. “Well, don’t work too hard on this. People love you, Damian, not as much as me, but enough that you’ll get elected again no problem! Oh, and I bought pork chops, so we’re going to have those for dinner!”
“I’ll take a break now.” He placed his pen down and stared at his plans again. He shuffled the papers a bit and looked at his calendar: a week until he had a meeting with a Westalia senator. He’d have to review his notes for that. “Why don’t we cook together?”
“Pfft, I don’t know why you don’t trust me in the kitchen.” Anya huffed and placed her hands on her hips.
“You’re surrounded by sharp objects and I’ve seen you trip on nothing.”
“It wasn’t nothing!”
At least she didn’t inherit Yor’s cooking. That had nearly killed him.
As lame as it was that Sy-on was choosing to spend Thursday night locked in his study working on his plans for world domination—becoming Chancellor of Ostania and bringing about social and economical changes—Anya was just a bit happy that she could watch her marathon without any interruptions. Well, mostly.
Sy-on had loud thoughts when he was working on stuff like that. It was good for keeping track of him and making sure she could just happen to wander in when he needed her most. Though hopefully tonight he wouldn’t need her too much, she wanted to binge every single episode tonight! She might even stay up late and drag Sy-on to bed later!
Did they have anything to do tomorrow?
Her head said no, but Sy-on’s calendar might say something different.
“Oh well.” Anya hummed and looked at the special surprise she had bought Sy-on with Becky earlier today. It was a new set of pajamas, a pink teddy that ended just at her thighs and was ever so slightly see through around the tummy area. Even if Sy-on would never admit it, he really liked her tummy.
Was it wrong to watch a spy drama marathon in sexy underwear? Nope, she was going to seduce her husband later, so it was perfectly fine!
But maybe she should hold back on the popcorn.
Anya popped a small bite of popcorn into her mouth and came to the realization that she didn’t have nearly enough. With a shrug, she glanced up the stairs towards Sy-on’s study and swished her lips for a bit. Part of her wanted to drag him down here and force him to watch the marathon with her; it was always better when he was cuddling. But elections were soon, and he had speeches to meet and people to give, and she was listening to his thoughts again.
She shook her head and turned her attention back towards her goal: a nice relaxing evening before she had to be surrounded by people that were thinking mean things about her Sy-on.
With a skip in her step, she moved into the living room where her tv was ready and waiting for her. She flicked the dial, nestled herself into her favorite spot on the couch, and set about her night of moderate self-indulgence.
It was almost as good as Spywars from when she was a kid, but it had live actors, and she couldn’t help but feel like she recognized the lead woman.
Anya perked up as she felt another mind wander into her range. It wasn’t Sy-on’s thoughts, no, these were different.
Kill the politician. Kill the Wife. Double Suicide.
Police were on their side.
Already came this far.
Anya stood, reaching for the bottle of wine she had set out earlier, and then swirled it about. She hadn’t drunk nearly enough of it, especially since it was a gift: a gift that just so happened to make an excellent excuse and blunt weapon. She hummed as she stood and began to hone in, trying to find out where the thoughts were coming from.
Her and Damian’s house was in a nice area of town, within walking distance of the Diet. Their neighbors were nice, civil people, even if they didn’t wash their hands when they first met Damian and realized he was a politician. They had a small yard that would be perfect for a dog once she managed to convince Damian to cave and adopt a pet. She’d even settle for a cat.
The thoughts were coming from the alley that ran along the side of their house; it served as a footpath most days, and gave access to the next street over.
She hummed as she put on her slippers, and then her coat. As much as she didn’t want people to see her in her new pajamas it would certainly sell the act she was going to put on. She steeled herself, and let one strap of her pajamas slip, and made herself look disheveled.
Someone’s coming out.
She has a wine bottle and she’s stumbling about.
It took all her strength not to glare in their direction as their thoughts became so easy to pick up as she wandered around the yard for a bit, putting on her best drunken performance. Most people had unpleasant thoughts from time to time, random things like ‘what would happen if I stabbed this person?’ or ‘what if I just kissed them?’. She had long since learned how to shrug those thoughts off, but the frequency and intensity that the two were directing towards her made her skin crawl.
Two men, both aiming to kill her and her husband.
She’d have to ask them.
“Psst,” she whispered into their garden, she was on the opposite side of the house from Damian’s study, so she wouldn’t have to worry about him getting hurt. She squatted down and held out her hand. “Here kitty kitty kitty.”
She continued the act for several minutes, half stumbling about the wine bottle at her side even faking to take a few drinks of it as the men grew closer.
The unpleasant thoughts grew more intense as the men hopped over their brick wall and appeared behind her. Both of them were thinking about how best to deal with her. She was just simply a defenseless woman, after all.
Thoughts of defiling her and blaming it on her husband as the reason for their double suicide made her want to lash out.
She was grabbed.
Instincts kicked in.
Being the daughter of the Thorn Princess and the spy known only as Twilight had a lot of perks. Their thoughts about how to handle the constant danger they found themselves in had been imprinted upon her mind along with all the subtle lessons they had taught her while raising her.
She grabbed the man’s arm back, twisting it behind him and shoving him to the ground while she kicked the legs out from the other man and slammed the wine bottle into the back of his head. It let out a loud bonk and the man stopped moving. The other struggled, but another quick bonk stopped him.
That was easy, almost too easy. Now what was she going to do with these two? Apparently they were working with the police, so she couldn’t go there, and the secret police had been disbanded. She had no idea how to get in contact with W.I.S.E., and her parents were out of the country doing something somewhere that they didn’t want to tell her about. She couldn’t read minds over the phone.
That left… Box-head! What was his name again? Oh right! Weird Uncle Franky! She should have his number, and he’d know how to get in contact with someone, right? Like Aunt Fiona!
“Anya?” Sy-on’s voice made her jump as she peered over the hedges towards her husband. He couldn’t see the bodies, or at the very least, didn’t think anything about them. “What are you doing over there?”
She put on her best idiot face and pointed at the bushes with the now broken wine bottle. “There was a kitty, and I wanted to pet it, but I tripped! And it ran away.”
She could feel Sy-on’s exasperation; the story was believable, in part because she had actually done this exact same thing not too long ago.
Sy-on let out a sigh, his shoulders slumping, “Why don’t we try to lure it back with some milk later, just stop wandering around our garden with a wine bottle. What if—” he paused, his mouth falling open. “Anya, what are you wearing?”
“Don’t make things worse!”
“You weren’t supposed to see!”
She all but sprinted inside. Hopefully those two would be knocked out for a while; she did hit them pretty hard.