CHANNILLO

What do you do when you're the Alliance's Darling?
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The Wild Silk Chapter 1

 

What changes when you’re the Alliance’s Darling?

Her life was predictable longer than she could remember. Breakfast now, dancing and fencing then, fighting classes when Father approved. With more of an emphasis on studies and education, her father decided her days for her, filled with an abundance of sciences, maths, languages, and political acumen. Even at 24-years-old, it still felt as though he controlled her days. 

Shadows sunk deeper when the rainclouds came in, casting against the tall corners of Wonder City Alliance Headquarters. The building stood tall and ostentatious, a modern spire striking through the northern most part of the city. Glittering white and blue, a huge sign sat in front of the building, the city, the large letters WCAH tall and pronounced on the sign. A tower of glass, taller than any other in Wonder City, floor to ceiling windows standing fifteen feet tall blocked Evan from the outside. She put her hand on the glass just to feel the cold. A raindrop dripped against the glass. Evan closed her eyes, imagined herself dancing in it. Just a couple of years ago you wouldn’t have been able to stop her. These days, everything gave her pause. 

She dropped her hand, turned to leave the Headquarters. She didn’t need anything, not really, but she was expected to visit. She made the appropriate rounds, talked to just the right people so no one thought she was avoiding them. There was always someone to talk to, someone to avoid offending. Everyone at the Alliance was ‘important’ but not so much as Evan. 

Being the Alliance’s darling didn’t make life easier. In fact, it put so much pressure on her, she wanted to run more than stay. Tabloids constantly after her, fans hounding her like she was a celebrity, plus the constant expectations. Everyone expected her to be kind, to be polite, ma’am and sir the hell out of them. Everyone expected her to be pretty, but she didn’t owe the world pretty. Heaven forbid she modified herself. She walked under a cloud of constant critique. Everyone expected her to be charitable, to be self-sacrificing. If her every waking hour wasn’t filled with something people questioned her motives. 

Tabloids ruined her. They made people think wrongly of her, calling her spoiled and a princess. Calling her rotten. Saying she’s always had everything handed to her, never had to work a day in her life. It’s all lies, dear. All Evan’s life was work. How dare they?

She knew the halls and rooms too well. She’d played through the building as a child, got to know the nook and crannies, considering the streets outside were no place for playing. Evan grew up on the top floor of the building, her room’s large window peering out over the entirety of Wonder City. She remembered falling asleep with the city lights illuminating through the glass panes. 

Evan let her fingers scrape down the cold glass before they slipped away. Cold. Hard. Shattered. Just like the Alliance. She walked toward the elevators across the marbled floor and pressed the button, waiting for it to appear. It took mere seconds before metal doors folded away. It was as empty as she expected it’d be. Everyone in the Core Alliance were busy at work, making sure no one stepped out of line. And by ‘no one’ they meant Aberrant, most built from trouble-making of some kind. At least, that’s what her father said. 

Evan’s father, Evander Ever aka Valiant aka leader of the Core Alliance, the de facto leader of Wonder City, tried to be a good man. More than a good hero, he wanted to better himself. Evan watched him her entire life, always erring on good but with heavy baggage. He couldn’t seem to get it quite…right. He decided the law of Wonder City, yet often broke them to bring criminals to justice. And by “criminals” Evan knew he meant “Aberrants”.

Beyond the towering buildings clustered around the northern part of Wonder City, beyond the Coliseum built in the middle of the city, beyond the Wall on the southern side of the city sat the Slums which was Aberrant territory. Aberrants didn’t receive the perks Alliance did. Without the Alliance mark, Aberrants looking for jobs, hoping for shelter, were basically fighting tooth and nail just to get what they did. 

Evan did a report about the Slums when she was in college. The things she found were appalling. North Wonder City didn’t have a speck of dirt, while the southern part was nothing but garbage, old small appliances like toasters and air fryers, and scraps of technology and gadgets from the many gadgeteers in the south. Evan donated her time to helping them, serving in soup kitchens, checking on tent cities to make sure no one was sick or injured. She hated to see them suffer. Her father said it was their own fault. Aberrant is a choice. They could always get the mark, join the Alliance. 

As the elevator moved, Evan touched her mark, the glowing blue diamond shaped gem embedded in her forehead. The mark served as a ward, a protection from danger in the Slums. While Allegiant, she was safe. Allegiant was security. 

She’d heard the words so many times, they rolled through her mind like loose marbles, hitting the edges of her imagination and bouncing without end. She sighed, dropped her hand. The mark didn’t matter. Removing it would be too painful. Allegiant for life. Family for life. 

Evan breezed through the lobby, the heels of her boots clacking against the marble floor. As she passed by the front desk, Pyro nodded at her, his molten hands tucked beneath his arms. He didn’t say anything, just slid a tabloid toward her. Evan picked it up, knowing the headline before she read it. 

15-year anniversary of Evangeline Ever’s Iconic Kidnapping. How is she now?

Evan rolled her eyes so hard it verged on pain. She slammed the tabloid back to the counter, pointed at Pyro. “Do your thing,” she said. 

Pyro picked up the tabloid. It started at the edges where he held the magazine. Red lines traced against the pages, burn making ash rise into the air. Soon, Pyro scorched the tabloid to ash. He wiped the excess of it off on the front of his shirt, winking at Evan.

“Thanks Pyro.” 

Pyro nodded toward the exit, a single black curl flopping on his forehead. “Awful big crowd drawn. Need an escort?” 

Evan held up her hand and shook her head. “Please, no. The only thing that’d make me look more pathetic is having a babysitter.” 

“Your father would kill me if I didn’t escort you.” 

Next: Our little secret

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