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"Putang-ina, putang-ina, putang-ina… Pasensya na po talaga… Putang-ina talaga…"

Soro couldn't help but curse to herself in her native tongue softly, even when Alejandro was trying to calm her down.

But how can anyone calm down, after all what happened?

That question made the inn's atmosphere very still. Everyone did not dare to exchange glances. They just sat on their places. No one dared to talk. Not even Ethan, who looked very disappointed. The look he wore made him say, "If anyone tries to talk, I swear to God, I will you."

Nevertheless, Armand stood up from his chair. "Now everyone. I'm pretty sure everyone has heard what happened. Like an arrow aiming for the heart, I'm sure everyone is disappointed. But please, let us remember that it's no one's fault. We tried to do our best, so-"

"Have you gone mad, Sir?! How can anyone be stupid enough to let Lady Rosanne be taken away?!"

Ethan rose up as fast as lighting, with his face now full of rage. He then eyed angrily at Soro, who is now fully aware that the enraged Ethan will curse her.

"You… I knew I should've never trusted you! Right from the beginning! Even after you swear your loyalty to Lady Rosanne, I should've never trusted you! You slow and stupid wild woman!"

Ethan's harsh words stung Soro's heart. Soro tried to speak, but no words escaped in her lips. Alejandro tried to approach the shaken Soro, but Brayer stopped him. She has tears in her eyes. She wanted to stop Ethan too, but she is too scared to do anything. The Don sighed. He wished he could break the tension. Even Peach just watched weakly, wanting to help Soro out of the situation she's in right now.

All that changed when a certain young Medici musketeer rushed between Soro and Ethan with his arms wide open, as if he is defending Soro.

"Don't say such words to Lady Soro!" he shouted. "She's still a lady, whether you detest her or not!"

Ethan did not looked pleased, but Soro was surprised by Daniele's sudden outburst. Even everyone was surprised by him. How did the little Medici acted so… brave?

"Wh-Whatever are you talking about, Sir Medici?!" Ethan demanded. "Are you telling me you still trust her, even after what has happened?!"

"Yes. I do."

"Then you're… Mad! Mad, I say! And you're still too young to understand the whole situation!"

"I don't care.

"What… did you say?!"

"I said. I. Don't. Care."

"… Why you little-"

"Look, I'm not a child anymore! I'm a warrior! I should know better! And so should you!"

"…!"

"Even if Lady Rosanne is gone, I can understand how Lady Soro feels as well. She didn't mean to lose Lady Rosanne. It's not her fault! She never wanted any of this to happen! Neither do we!"

"…"

"… Sir Ethan. With all due to respect, Lady Soro deserves another chance. I believe… Lady Rosanne would say the same thing."

Silence crept the room. Then, with a grunt, Ethan rushed to the door. "Fine, if that's what you think, Sir Medici," he muttered. "And to think I trusted you…"

He banged the door behind him. He left. And everyone just stared at Daniele. Daniele looked serious. Never did they see the young boy acting so strong. At that point, they all knew Daniele has matured.

"… Salamat… Maraming salamat…" Soro whispered in Daniele's ear.

"… Not a problem, m'lady," Daniele replied, still not taking his eyes off the door.

Meanwhile, Ethan dashed behind the inn's kitchen. He covered his face with his fist, fighting the tears coming out of his face.

"… I want to believe the boy. But… Why must this all happen? What went wrong…?" he mumbled. The image of Lady Rosanne's face lingered in Ethan's mind.

"… Rose… I'm so… sorry…"

Back in the inn, Armand and the Don praised Daniele for his maturity. Alejandro and Brayer went out to buy some medical herbs and some food for their comrades. Soro and Peach chatted for a while. In awhile, Daniele went out as well. Peach noticed this.

Daniele walked into a small garden. A cool breeze met his face. He breathed in and out, and then sat down, greeting the cool wind now blowing onto him and into the town. His mind began to wander. Images of his mother came into his mind. Then, he recalled a conversation with his late mother.

"Mama?"

"Yes, my dear?"

"I… I just saw you and Papa… doing something…"

"Hm?"

"Y-You know… er… You and Papa… kinda pressed your lips together. What do you call that?"

"Oh, that? Haha… it's called, 'kissing', dear."

"Huh? You kiss each other? With your mouths? I always thought you only do that on the cheeks or on the forehead."

"Oh. Well… kissing in the lips is a very special thing, dear. It shows… love."

"But when you kissed me on my cheeks, it also shows love, right?"

"Hihi… well… let's just say… it's a very special kind of love, dear."

"Eh, I still don't understand."

"Teehee… when you get older, Daniele, you'll understand…"


Just as Daniele reminisces, he was suddenly attacked from behind. By a hug from Peach.

"Danire-sama! Are you feering roneri?" Peach asked, with her accent still hanging. Daniele blushed madly, but he replied anyway, "I-I… N-Not really, Lady Peach…"

"Well, you don't mind if I stay with you?" she asked.

"N-Not a problem…" Daniele mumbled, still blushing mad. They way Peach hugged him was rather… intimate.

They stayed there for awhile, and then Peach spoke. "Neh, neh…. Daniere-sama… Once this is aru over… I… wiru go back to my homerandu, yes…?" Her tone sounded sad. Daniele answered, "… Yes… I guess so… After all, I did promise you I can help you go back to your country, once this is all over." Daniele tried to keep his composure, knowing he and Peach are still in an intimate hug. Peach hugged tighter.

"Then that means… I wiru never… see you again… yes?" Peach asked, fighting the tears in her eyes from falling. One of her warm tears dropped on Daniele's shoulder, and he felt it. Daniele's face as then saddened. Even if it was just a week or so, he felt very close to Peach now. He loves her. He loves her like his own mother. Or was it? Was it even more than just that?

"Then… I sharu miss you… Daniere… so very much…" Peach said as she sobbed. Daniele wanted to speak, but Peach's sobs were heartbreaking. He wanted to ask if she wants to stay with him instead, but he still couldn't say anything. He felt powerless.

"… Aishiteru… Daniele," Peach whispered.

Caught-off guard, Daniele turned to Peach bewilderedly. Only to see that they were in a lip-lock kiss.

His heart raced loudly. He felt butterflies in his stomach. Peach kissed him! What was that suppose to mean, Daniele wondered. He remembered what his mother told him about that. He then realized that Peach loves him as well. But neither as a brother nor a son. It was more than that. Daniele knew that.

Just then, an arrow buzzed in front of them, ruining the moment. They broke off quickly, Daniele still being beet red, and Peach cursing in Japanese.

"Who goes there?! Show yourself!" Peach demanded in Japanese.

The attacker stepped forward. It was none other than Mateo de Pazzi.

Two rivals stared at each other. Mateo smirked, and Daniele demanded, "What do you want now?! And where did you take lady Rosanne?!"

"Geez, one at a time, Medici," Mateo growled. "As such, I shall humbly answer your questions…"

~*~

Just as the sun was about to fall, Daniele and Peach went back in the inn. As soon as they stormed in the room, Brayer asked, "Whoa, where have you guys been? And you guys look flushed." Catching his breath, Daniele gasped, "L… Lady Rosanne… It's about Lady Rosanne!"

Hearing this, everyone help up in a meeting. Daniele shared them a message coming from Mateo. As the meeting goes on, all Daniele could think of was Mateo's expression when he delivered the message. He looked like he didn't care. Mateo's eyes were only shining with bloodlust at Daniele. What does this suppose to mean? That was all Daniele ever wonders right now…

Meanwhile, in a hideout, Lady Sarah was conversing with a henchman. Mateo overhears the conversation, as he kept an eye on the tied-up Lady Rosanne. Then, Mateo giggled quietly.

"Heh… this war… is just one way to get close to that Medici… Everything is according to plan… Haha…"

Rosanne heard it, but the cloth covering her mouth prevented her from asking.

"Oh? You want to know what I'm really thinking of, Lady Rosanne?" Mateo asked, as if he read her mind. "Well… I suggest you just watch and see, m'lady… besides, you are just one of my baits in getting that Medici." Lady Rosanne could not believe what she heard from the young Pazzi. Mateo then giggled evilly.

"This war… this game… they are all about to end. All according to plan…"
Well, I ran out time to make a comic version of this, thanks to summer classes. Even if this is my last week of summer classes. =_=

And wow. It's been nearly 2-3 years since I wrote something like this. *laughs*
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May 16, 2010
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