*Author's Note: Before you continue reading, keep in mind that in this time, human life span has doubled, so a 30-year-old would be an adolescent of your typical 15-years-old.
Collierville, Gallia, Old France, Year 1230 PA
The birds chirped wildly among the summer thicket of oaks, fluttering from branch to branch like shooting stars, only they were dark silhouettes within the dense vegetation. A small wind swayed the tall, vivid, green grass, where grasshoppers danced from between each stalk.
Out of the oak forest was a concrete, barb-wired wall, rising approximately eight meters tall; one that struck a sense of near danger. But within the barrier was a grove of fresh peaches and beautiful, blooming flowers of apple trees. A frenzy of working bees flew among the jungle of blooming flowers and fresh fruit, as if the beauty had attracted them all.
A stout, young man stood among the grove. He donned a short ponytail to prevent his long, black hair from being caught among the tree sap that grew adhesive under the summer heat. A thin straw hat sat on his head, where fleas and other small insects took short breaks from their constant flight. His face was oily and shiny from sweat. His hands were covered in the fuzz of peaches. His hands danced around the air, scanning for the ripest of peaches then snatching the ones that he believed were the best. His eyes followed the back of his hand in a trance; his vision focused on the fresh fruit seen between his fingers. The young man proceeded in picking the fruit from the peach trees. Then he came over a peach, one that looked fresh and ripe. But he knew that looks could be deceiving, as he decided to test the peach with his fingers. Using his sense of touch, the man found the peach hard as sandstone, so he passed over it, and continued to examine the rest of the peaches on the tree.
Then suddenly, he heard the twitch of a branch; the exact sound made when a peach is picked off; a sound that he has heard often. The peach harvester turned to where he had seen the sandstone-hard peach, but surprisingly, it was gone. He narrowed his eyes, drawing focus away from the his hand.
Then he heard the loud sound of a bite, then a choke. He suddenly turned around, and he saw the one who was causing him mischief. A adolescent girl stood before him, incessantly trying to get rid of the taste of peach from her tongue by spitting chunks of it out. Newly groomed dark brown hair reached her shoulders. She had loose bangs that reached her thin eyebrows. Her eyes were hazel green under the light, and dark green among the shadow. She wore a silver pendant on her neck; it was shaped in a cross, with a small cube carved at is intersection. A halo circled around the cube. She wore a black, hooded coat and dusty pair of dark, verdant cotton sweats. Her frame quite averagely skinny, the girl rose about 1.6 meters tall; at the chin of the young man. The young man altered his serious, narrow look and broke into a chuckle. The girl's eyes met his, and she began to blush in embarrassment.
"I see you've picked quite a nice peach… in the standard of a flea, " The man spoke shrewdly and grinned.
"Since you seem to an expert on the standard of a flea, you must be quite a flea yourself!" The girl shot back, throwing out the peach in mild anger.
The young man went back to his stern look, "You should know better than to waste food, Adeline. This may be one of our best harvests…"
"How should I have known it was a bad peach!"
"You need to learn how to tell two twin peaches apart."
"Stop acting like my father!"
"Then you stop causing mischief!"
Lost of words, the girl, named Adeline, closed her mouth and blew air into her cheeks in frustration. Then the young man spoke up.
"At least apologize for stealing the peach."
"I'm sorry Jean… for stealing the peach…" She rolled her eyes slightly as she spoke. The man, Jean, sighed to this action.
"Thank you for apologizing," He muttered.
Adeline smiled, then suddenly, she stuck out her hand, grabbed a peach from Jean's basket, and sprinted for the clearing.
Bewildered, Jean dropped his basket, and gave chase. But as he reached the road, the girl had disappeared over the hill. Jean put his hands to his knees, exhausted from the chase, debating whether he should take this mischievous maneuver as a petty crime or a playful act.
Past the grove, several cottages scattered among the roadways. It was an active area; children played on the grass, and adults happily sped about on motorbikes and trucks, heading to their places of work or to conduct errands. The landscape was open and their were no fences between each household. Adeline's hair swayed on the run, slowing down as she left the slope of the hill. Vehicles passed her on her left, and people went about on their chores to her right. The air shared the aroma of baked breakfast goods and cherry blossoms.
Adeline slowed down to a stroll, and then took a cut through the tall grass. She made her way to a nicely polished cottage. Pieces of scrap metal and wood chunks scattered around behind the structure. A hoverbike sat at the side of the dwelling, covered in canvas to keep it clean of rain and dust. Pigeons sat on the roof of the cottage, pecking between the roofing for seeds. Several great sycamore maple trees, thick and dense with vegetation, towered next to the house, its branches casting shadow upon the roof. Cicadas showered the area with their hazy songs. Adeline opened the door and entered the house, and the outside noise grew faint.
The cottage was quite spacious, virtuous, and neatly organized. The walls bore sections of white clay and plaster, smooth and hard as rock. Other sections were made of dark, glazed wood. An automatic brick fire place stood to the left wall of the dwelling, unlit.
A table surfaced with glass and cloth stood at the center of the room, and several wires connected to cables beneath the wood shelf of the table. A coffee cup and a plate of plums sat on the table. Several couches and chairs surrounded the room. On one of the chairs stood a middle-aged man. His face bore no facial hair; cleanly shaved. His hair color equaled that of Adeline, and was short in length; a farmhand's summer cut. He had muscular limbs, but his fingers were distanced, indicating the nimbleness of his fingers. He had thick, dark eyebrows that stuck near his hazel green eyes, which stared at technical tablet screen in his hands. He wore thin, khaki cargo pants with an additional belt that lapsed over his shirtwaist, which wrinkled among his cross-legged sitting position.
The man seemingly lost interest in the subject on his tablet, nearly tossing it onto the glass of the table. His action caused Adeline to hesitate. The man looked at Adeline, then stared at her peach. He then looked back at her face.
"Adeline Collier! Where did you get that?" He said sternly.
"The thing in your hand."
The man stared at her with anticipation.
Adeline hesitated, then spoke, "Jean gave it to me… for breakfast."
"Your sure your cousin gave it to you?"
"You stole something again didn't you."
"No! Um… I mean yes… in a way…"
He turned his head slightly, as if demanding an explanation.
Adeline sighed, "I stole it, then he caught me… but... then he let me go with it."
"But you stole it anyway."
The man stared at Adeline, looking for the righteous judgment.
"Father?" The girl replied.
After a hesitation, the man almost vaulted from his chair, leaping onto his feet and yelling at the girl before him; his daughter.
"Allez au diable!" He jaw began vibrate as he scolded, "You are not permitted to leaving this household until every peach from Jean's grove is picked off, lest for school and church!"
Adeline took several steps back, towards the knob of the door. She dropped the half-eaten peach in her right hand. Her left touched the edged intersection of the wall. Then, her left hand touched the door knob, turned the handle, and lurched forward. At the point the door creaked open, her enraged father started to run toward her. Adeline leaped out of the dwelling, and into the open, her father's yelling echoing behind her. The breeze knocked her hair into her face, but that didn't slow her down. Once again she was on the run, and she was headed toward a central town before her. A tall church house turret stood tall, the figurehead matching the figure on Adeline's pendant, which spun and turned wildly as she ran.
Above the horizon of angular rooftops, a large and faint wall lie. Great urban architectural features rose above it, just as faint. The night lights of skyscrapers and airships glistened along with the manifold of stars above the distant megalopolis. But above even those, was a castle turret, and a striped flag of blue and white danced in the breeze, small but vibrant.
Le Village Centrale, Gallia, Old France, Year 1230 PA
The Brooks' Estate was yet a sight to see. Twice as high and thrice as large as the estates around it, the mansion was marble white and decorated with cut stone patterns and sculptures of great expertise. The setting sun was sliced in half by the edge of the roof terraces, the large pediment, and the Brooks Family Seal, a knight holding halo-cross in his left bronze arm and a sword in the right, contrasted the sun as if he had victoriously popped out the heavens. But today's scenery was even more majestic. Decorative lights turned the building into a box aligned with shining gems. A large banner with the words "Cent Vingtieme Anniversaire !" written on the canvas rippled like water in the wind.
A juvenile girl stuck her face out of the window before receding from the outer world and into the warmth of a guest bedroom. From that moment her long, dim, blonde hair ceased from dangling in the wind, and floated down her back and shoulders. Her face was a canvas for make-up, and she wore an expensive, red silk gown that rested on the floor, spread out as if she did not bear legs.
"Are you enjoying your evening, Maitresse?"
"No…" the girl muttered.
Perhaps seeing some faces in the lobby would, um, lighten up the mood..."
"I'm not depressed. I am looking for someone in particular. And please Monsieur Argent, my name is Evangeline Brooks, not Maitresse," said the girl. Her face did not bother to look at her addresser, who frowned at her unceremonious behavior. Her addresser was a short and skinny man with a stylish, black, gelled hairstyle in a white flannel shirt and a black velvet vest decorated with golden buttons. His eyes were seemingly hammered into his face, and their were dark shadows around his wrinkly eyelids. His mustache looked as if they were premade and plastered between his large nose and outward upper lip with precision.
"Well then, eh, Maitresse Evangeline du Ruisseau, if there is nothing I can do to help then I shall tend to the lobby..."
"You do just that."
Just as the man stepped his left foot out of the doorway, Evangeline glanced at her dress, then stood up.
"Eh, Monsieur Argent? Can you fetch me some clothing?"
The man paused, turned around, and delightfully nodded.
"And specifically what clothing are you looking for?"
Evangeline Brooks started down the stairway.
"Eva! What happened to your dress!" An old woman in a green velvet dress clambered up the stairs to greet her. Her hair was naturally dark blonde, but it carried many white tones. She was quite portly and her accessories made her look like a pompous queen.
"It was too tight, too itchy, and smelled like mothballs…" Eva muttered.
The girl's majestic look had disappeared. Her face was cleansed of make-up and she wore an ebony night-coat matched with cotton sweatpants.
"What is this?" the old woman pinched her jacket. "By angel's glare, this is the one-hundred and twentieth Family Anniversary Ceremony of the Brook Ruisseau, not the Village Fair!"
"Well, it's just as noisy and spoiled as the Village Fair."
"Your aunt and I spent an hour preparing you for this! This is an outrage!"
"You know I eat messily mother… without question, I'd get my gown covered in cream."
"Now what is the problem here?" A deep voice shattered the bickering. A man descending from the ladders, eager to see to the situation ascending below. This man was in a war with age that drew into a stalemate; he had dull green eyes that become dark grey under this bulging, wrinkly forehead. His hair was naturally brown, but the color of snow was painted in strands on various thistles of hair. This man had a mouth born for a thunderous voice.
"Your daughter refuses to respect our customs..." the woman snapped. Subsequently, the woman's hand clutched onto her daughter's coat.
"It seems your daughter," the man reasoned, arching down upon the two, "has customs of her own."
"Dear, your daughter may have her own customs, but Eva disrespects the time we put into getting her into the legitimate shape for our party..."
The man looked toward Eva, and as her father, "Eva, dear... next time let your mother know what you feel about the dress before she puts it on you..."
Eva nodded, then shot a short glance at her mother, who gaped at the decision. The couple than began a bickering of their own, but before they could continue drag her into their dispute, Eva had assimilated into the nearly endless crowd of guests.
The sun left Adeline's face and descended beyond the pediment of the Brooks' Estate before she could take a glance at the majestic Family Seal that rose from the vertex of the pediment. The role of primary light then shifted to the shimmering decorative lights that turned the grayish tour de force into a more remarkable constellation of stars. Adeline took several steps forward, as if she were entering another universe. Trusting her plan, she ran toward the entrance, and hid among the crowd of bustling guests who signed in to the festivity. She briefly eyed the multitude of security guards, then returned to carefully analyze each one. These men weren't here for jokes. They were armed with handguns and shockrifles, and wore Elite La Gendarmerie uniforms of the National Security. Although getting shot wasn't much of a worry, Adeline knew that if she made a mistake here she would end up in a detention center, and have her head bitten off by her parents.
So much for a district governor's residence, She thought. She peered down at her clothes. Coat and sweats were never proper for such an occasion. Adeline moved her hand into her coat pockets to empty it of suspicious objects, when a woman beside her yanked on her.
"Son un voleur! Thief!" The woman began shake the girl while attempting to reach her alternate hand into Adeline's coat. In astonishment, Adeline wrenched her arm free, and ran for the entrance.
"Stop!" An entrance guard lunged for the girl, grabbing onto her wrists and pulling her towards the ground. Adeline strived to wrestle free but there was no way out with her strategy. Amidst the turmoil, Adeline's left hand jabbed into the guard's face, who became infuriated. "Get your arse to the ground ya bitch!" the guard stuttered.
Adeline gave a terrifying shriek in defense, and aimed a kick to free herself. Although she had no other intention but to free herself, her leg sank into the guards flank and right in his gut, sending him reeling back into the bewildered line of guests. Taking her move as a critical offense, another guard pursued Adeline.
"Please refrain from resistance!" the guard bellowed behind her. Baffled guests scooted out the way, carving a path for the chase.
A creamy cake delight sat on Eva's clay platter, a launch pad for digestion. Her eyes analyzed every ripple in the cream and pore in the cake, and she looked as if she were to kiss it. Agonizing shrieks suddenly filled the room, but Eva's ears were clouded; focused on her dessert along with her other four senses. But suddenly, her focus shattered, and so did her platter of food. Two bodies tumbled to the ground. Eva lay on the ground in conscious perplexity. She looked at the other body beside her. Another girl lay beside her in a mess of broken clay. This girl had dark brown hair that lay in a heap of rubble. Eva then trained her eyes on five armed guards, two of whom pointed stun guns at the unconscious girl. Eva looked back at the girl, and her eyes grew wide in awe.
"A...Addie?" Eva's voice whispered and cracked.
"Maitresse Evangeline! Are you alright?" one of the guards looked upon Eva Brooks with a hand stretched out. Eva glanced at other girl on the floor, and understood. Eva did not take the guards hand, got up, and put on a stern look.
"Put your guns away this instant. You are frightening the guests!" Eva yelled at the guards in fury. The men quickly sheathed their weapons, and stood up straight.
"What in hell do you think you're doing?" Eva blasted her voice at the guards. She trotted behind the guards. "Turn around, and look at me!"
The guards hesitantly turned around and tried their best to stare into Eva's fury, which burst into flames.
The girl on the floor shook herself into consciousness. She looked up to hear five guards looking the opposite way. In front of them stood a girl with a familiar face. Eva? The girl thought. But by then she knew what to do. The girl crawled to nearby wall, stood up, and integrated herself into the audience who stared blindly into the commotion; the show placed before them.
Eva rocked the show. "I don't want to hear anymore from all of you! Go and guard the entrance!"
"But Maitresse, the thief escaped!"
"Then the Angels will punish the thief! Get back to your posts!"
The guards shifted their torsos in reluctance, then accepted her orders.
Eva took a deep breath and stared at the crowd. After pondering about her situation, she took another breath, and began a search for the girl she had saved.