I nearly jumped out of bed and stared around in confusion for several seconds, trying to figure out what the loud, penetrating sound was. The noise muted slightly as Mila said, “Master, we have a perimeter violation. Do you want me to execute the perpetrators?” What!? “No! Of course not! What are you talking about?” I asked. Mila’s Alma-like avatar appeared to be pointing as the large mirror in my room displayed the stairwell I normally used, but now there were some sort of weapons along the walls, all pointing at the twins. “These two violated their tenants agreement and attempted to access the third floor without permission, despite several warnings. I clearly told them that your vitals suggested you needed more rest, but they would not listen. Knowing the dubious nature of these two, I advise immediate execution, master.” The twins were looking really annoyed. I could tell already that I was going to have quite a day. I told her “I’m supposed to go shopping with them today, Mila, so let them up. I owe them some clothes.” Seeing that the twins were walking, I hurried to pick out what I was going to wear today. Then I opened the door when I saw they were close. “Sorry, ladies, but I didn’t realize you’d be wanting to go quite this early.” I explained.
I could tell by their expressions that they were not at all happy with me. “Why were we almost shot when we came, out of the goodness of our hearts, to wake you?” asked Ai. “We didn’t have any trouble when we came up here before.” added Mai. “As I already explained, you two had permission from the Princess on your previous visit to the master’s room. This time, you didn’t.” stated Mila, sounding rather haughty. “I didn’t honestly know there were guns in the walls, and I never read your tenant agreements.” I admitted. Then I said, “Sorry to have caused you two trouble, but you could’ve just told me when you wanted me up last night.” They turned their heads, crossed their arms, and said, “Hmph.” The urge to smirk was nearly overwhelming, but I kept it in check. “If you give me a few minutes to shower and dress, I’ll be ready shortly.” I told them. “Where’s Jarod?” asked Mai. “You promised us Jarod too.” claimed Ai. “And he didn’t sleep here last night, so is he meeting us?” inquired Mai. “You didn’t lie to us, did you, James?” they asked in unison. I completely forgot to ask Jarod about shopping today, but I said, “First off, I didn’t promise you Jarod. I had told you that I’d see if he wanted to tag along. I’ll give him a call and see if he’s ready after I finish freshening up.” The moment I was in the bathroom, I muted my phone, started texting Jarod, and prayed that he was free.
“Please say that you don’t have plans. I need your help.” I texted. “Huh? Sleeping.” replied Jarod. “I was supposed to ask you to hang out with the twins and me today. They’re expecting you.” I confessed. “When?” he asked. “We’ll come get you. Just wake up and put something nice on.” I told him. “Sure, sure.” he responded. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. This would make things much more enjoyable. I rushed to shower and get dressed, not wanting to risk upsetting the twins any further. When I came out, they rushed to me and each grabbed an arm. “He likes us better, and we’re taking him away!” exclaimed the twins. “Oh? Are you going to try stealing him away on foot? I’ll catch you, evil twins. Besides, the master obviously prefers my company.” claimed Mila. Feeling quite exasperated, I said, “Girls, please make some attempt to get along. I really don’t want dragged into an argument, especially over something like this. I would never even attempt to choose a favorite when all of you have admirable merits and can, when you’re not arguing, be truly spectacular company.” The twins let go of my arms at the same time and sniffed as they turned away from me. Mila was sticking her tongue at them from the mirror. At least, I assumed she wasn’t sticking her tongue at me. “Really, I’m sorry everyone’s having a rough morning, but we will make the day better.” I claimed.
Without responding to me, the twins started dragging me to the doorway in such a rush that I was barely able to grab my wallet. Mila followed us as we walked, seeming to walk beside us from the mirror. As I watched, her image jumped me from behind, clinging to my back. When I laughed, the twins squeezed my arms tighter as if trying to make me know who was actually holding onto me. What was with them this morning? “This is why we didn’t let that thing into our wing, James. We’re sure she spies on people, and she’s incredibly rude.” claimed Ai. “I really don’t understand how you can sleep with her watching you. Isn’t that creepy?” asked Mai. “Master, Alma wants to know why you’re keeping her waiting.” stated Mila. “What? Alma’s coming?” I inquired, looking between the twins as they froze in place. “Run!” they exclaimed, dragging me along with them as they sprinted down the hallway. I was still impressed how incredibly swift they were in heels. In my haste, I tripped on the stairs, but, luckily, Ai caught me. Alma was waiting for us at the bottom, looking absolutely gorgeous as she tapped her foot. She was wearing a black leather skirt with a matching jacket, a forest green collared shirt, and calf-length leather boots over green leggings, but her frown still stood out the most.
“Please don’t tell me that you’re already mad at me as well.” I told Alma, almost pleadingly. “Let me guess. The twins didn’t tell you when we were leaving.” stated Alma as she glared at Ai and Mai. I felt them tense up as they squeezed my arms, and then they suddenly let go. “Sorry, Lady Pendreigh.” they told her in unison, even curtsying as they did so. Alma rolled her eyes, spun around, and started walking to the door as she said, “Let’s be off then. I assume Jarod’s meeting us near the stores?” I hadn’t anticipated Alma joining us. “Sorry, but I told him that we’d pick him up.” I explained. “We’re short enough on time as it is. Mila, please tell Jarod to meet us at the park by the shopping district, and have him dress up, since we’ll be dining out.” commanded Alma. “Gladly, Alma, but could you convince your evil underlings not to violate their tenant agreement? The master was most distressed when I notified him.” claimed Mila. Alma looked questioningly at me over her shoulder, so I told her “Mila woke me up with a very loud alarm while holding the twins at gunpoint. Sorry. I’ll talk with her about it.” I still felt bad about the ordeal. “Please don’t. They violated their agreement, and I wouldn’t want your security to suffer for their sake.” replied Alma. My mouth was probably hanging open as I looked at her back, but I chuckled when I realized Mila was sticking her tongue at the twins again from the mirror. I wondered again at how Alma felt about Mila’s avatar. Having something resemble me so closely while doing such silly antics would seem a bit disconcerting for me.
We weren’t even to the car yet, and I already felt like going back to bed. I hadn’t slept well, being up late fighting minotaurs and then thinking in bed over how I could possibly save them if I encountered any again. No, I didn’t like the idea of creatures such as those preying on people for food, but I didn’t think exterminating an entire race was right, especially one that was so outnumbered that its opposition thought it extinct. There was no way I could convince Alma to stop her crusade against non-humans without a solid plan of what to do with them, but I really hadn’t gotten anywhere on making one. I doubted Aaliyah would help me, considering her other job as an assassin. On the other hand, maybe she would consider helping me as some sort of secretarial duty and get exceptionally creative with building some sort of habitat for the creatures. The word “habitat” seemed really expensive in my mind, at least regarding minotaurs. The creatures appeared pretty strong, not that I even attempted to block one of their swings. I had a sinking feeling in my gut when I considered the other creatures I had encountered. Werelions and werewolves would be even more difficult, and vampires, from the little I knew, would be worse yet. When I was preparing myself to fight Alma, I was so sure that I’d be ready to do whatever was needed against these threats. Whatever happened to my resolve?