When Arora did wake up Lucien had already left. She felt more rested, much better than if they had to stay on the road. She couldn’t thank Lilith enough for this really. It was making everything more bearable. She got up and got ready, and the first thing was to see who else was up and about. She looked out through a window first. People were training. Was that Lucien? She guessed it must be, along with a couple of others.
She decided to leave them to their practice for the moment. The first stop she supposed could be the kitchen to see if anyone was cooking, and if she could be of any help. Most likely they would assure her everything was fine, if anyone was there, but she wanted to check anyway. She peered in through the doorway,”Good morning. Anyone else up and wants a cup of tea?”
It didn’t take Lucien long to fall asleep. Beling close to Arora put his mind at ease and he could rest easy know she was safe and close. Several hours later he would walk up still holding Arora close to him. He always done that with how ever he slept with but it was nice when it was her. Smiling he carefully got out of bed and moved outside.
Yawing he stretched his back until a sold pop noise could be heard, “O there we go.” A few more stretches and pops he moved to the training field. They would most likely spend the next two day here so he wasn’t worried about tiring himself out too much. He was greeted by Kaze and Hinata who seemed to already training. “Morning” he called to the both of them.
“Morning Lucien.” Kaze nodded as he stopped mid attack.
“Hey.” Hinata smiled a large smile on his face. “Sleep well?”
“As well as one could hope with a war going on.” Lucien shrugged
“It sounds like you are used to it have you been to war before.?” Kaze asked.
“Yes, my homeland has been attacked many times but thanking to many hero's we managed to hold the line.”
“Wow what can you tell use about it. Did you find the Honnor that they always talk about? Was it fun?” Hinata asked exited. Lucien could tell the lad was still young if he believed that war was fun. He had felt many things in his time but fun was not one of them.
His concern must have shown as Kaze spoke up. “That will be something you have you find out for yourself.” Happy to avoid the subject Lucien nodded in thanks to Kaze.
“Aaa but I really looking forward to showing off my true skills.” He said sighing. “Well what ever will you at least let me train with you? I heard you are a pretty good swordmen.”
“That I am.” He smiled as he drew on of his blades. “But I don’t hold back even in training.”
“Good” Hinata then took a fighter stance. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“I think I join you then.” Kaze took his own stance as the three looked at each other then all at once rushed each other.
“We’ll see.” She wasn’t sure about thinking [i that] far ahead. There was enough to deal with at the moment. Arora blushed at him telling the story and mumbled,”I wasn’t that bad…”
She did sort of miss how simple things used to be. Maybe after this was over they could go back to being a little more simple. “Once this is over everything will be fine. We’ll have plenty of fun, and time to relax.”
Arora yawned and closed her eyes as she snuggled a little closer to Lucien,”We’ll make everything alright. End the war.”
She wasn’t quite sleepy enough to just fall asleep right then, but it wouldn’t take long with her being as tired as she was. The recent events had worn her out a little, mentally and emotionally especially. Some sleep would do her good.
He laughed at her as he ruffled his hair. “Well this war won't last forever and you make a lot of friend on the way and I'm sure a few that you will grow closer to. I just letting you know that im not the jealous type so I won't blame you if you find another person as well.” He kissed her check as he rolled on to his back. He yawed a bit as she looked off into nothingness. “I will love you no matter what happen or who you become. I seen you grow up so much it almost funny. From this little girl who wouldn’t go to the bathroom at night by herself to a strong woman leading an army.”
He sighted again seemed everything was simpler back then. “I remember this one time when I first started working for you. You came out screaming of the bath yelling something about a big scary monster in the bath. All it was Leo after a prank you pulled on him. He was covered in green paint.” He laughed a bit. “Such a mischievous child you were.” He remembers the scolding that Marx gave her after words to.
“What happen to those days you being so small and cute.” He yawed against as he closed his eyes. “I miss those day to be honest. I just miss being able to pick you up in my arms. Our flying lesson all the fun we had. I hate war but I will fight as long as I need to. No matter the cost I will bring more day like them but as a family.”
“Always?” She couldn’t really imagine actually being stronger than Lucien. She’d always seen him as strong, almost unbelievably strong. Then again, she hadn’t known she was part dragon until recently.
His talk about mates did make her blush. It was already going to take some adjusting once they did get Luna back, and getting used to how things would be between the three of them. And here he was mentioning maybe a fourth,”I… I don’t k-know. There isn’t… I mean…”
He had her flustered, and she rolled over to look at him,”Easier said than done. And… you know, I’m not really… um… thinking of… I’m n-not thinking of… anyone else right now. Just so you know.”
Happy to get her mind off the bad stuff. He did his best to keep her under control but she was no longer the small little girl he used to play with in the field. She was a lot stronger and now with her dragon blood unlocked she was equal to him and with a bit of train maybe be even strong.
“Well I have to keep it up while I can.” He said smiling. “Female of our race always grow to be strong then the males.” It wasn’t fair in his eyes she was younger yet her straight was almost his. Maybe it also had to do with her more human then him. He straight would grow quicker than his would. He was 75% dragon and only 25% human. When she was 50 50. “I have to keep me under you when I can or you might find a new male that stronger.”
This was only half teasing. It wasn’t uncommon for manakete family to have several husband and wives as birth rate was low and for a while there were hunted as beast. “Not that I against you having another mate. I mean I already had two wife and am still married to one. I wouldn’t be fair if I kept you from that.” Know she got flushed when he talked like this he kissed her check to see her cute red face.
“I always win because you never try to take the initiative. Learn to do thing that you opponents wouldn’t expect.” He said getting off her and laying down next to her.
Arora sighed and closed her eyes. It was comforting to just cuddle up to Lucien and let him pet her head. “Maybe I didn’t want to see that something wasn’t right. I don’t know.” Father had grown more distant with her, but she never suspected it was something too terrible, just that he was busy or stressed.
She hoped Lucien was right and that Camilla would join them soon. She was still nervous about actually seeing Camilla and trying to explain without actually being able to explain, but then Lucien started tickling her. Arora tried to right back, but she was laughing too hard. He always won anyway, though she was smaller back then too. “Not fair, you always win.” She squirmed, trying to get free. Just because he usually won didn’t mean she was going to give up just yet.
Lucien wrapped his arms are Arora as they talked. He did it a bit for her but in the end it was more for him. He was nerves about everything and uncertain about how thing were going to go for all of them. Something was out there looking for them something that wanted them out of the way. “I guess it the best we can do for now then until we find more about the flame.” He said sighing and petting her head like he did when she was little. “He always made me nerves when we was around. Something about him always made my hair stand on end. I never said anything as he was your father and you always seemed so happy when you were around him.” He had memory of Arora playing in his labs anytime he visited Arora in her castle. He always seemed angrt but he could almost see the man smile when her head Arora.
The had changed thought as the years went on. He would visit less and less. He would get anger and anger to until final around Arora 15 birthday he stopped all tighter. For no reason without sending a letter or anything he just stop without a word until finally the world had come in about her leaving. However when Lucien saw him again he felt that he was looking at a different man and not the one the held Arora so long again. Was that just him or was he never a good man. He had kidnapped Arora after all from her real family and killed her real father. Why what did he gain he didn’t understand at all.
“It fine little one I understand. I been having dreams about something as well but I don’t know what.” He finally said. “What ever happen happens but just know that I will always be with you no matter where this road may go. You are mind and I’m yours and Luna and Camilla will join us soon enough I’m sure of it she loves you so much after all she you big sister.” Camilla had always had the biggest attachment to Arora if anyone would follow her it would be Camilla.
“Now let us go on to more happier thing.” He said tiring to cheer her up. Wrapping his arms around her he would drag her deeper into her bed and start wrestling her and tickle her at the same time. It was the first time he done this since she was litter but he hand the idea that it would be the same. “Is that all you got? If you wanna win this war you going to need to be stronger than that.” He laughed as he got the first pin on her.
“No, it isn’t easy.” Arora sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed. She still wished it hadn’t cost the Archduke’s life, or that she could have done something to help. She couldn’t think of anything she could have done though, it wasn’t like he told her ahead of time what might happen.
The only solution really was to continue to Nohr, since they had hit a dead end about the Seal of Flames. Nohr was where more of her siblings were, and Luna. Arora was looking ahead at nothing in particular, trying to think of what might be waiting for them in Nohr,”No, it won’t be a warm welcome, will it? We still need to go. Try to convince who we can that we’re not traitors, that we’re just trying… trying to help. Perhaps some of them may be willing to listen. Show them we aren’t a threat. And maybe…” Arora frowned,”I’m not sure what I’m looking for, exactly, but something isn’t right about Father. King Garon. If we can, we should try to get some information there.”
She couldn’t even share with Lucien the parts she did know. That whatever was wrong with King Garon had something to do with their real enemy, Anankos. She would just have to hope they could find something without knowing what it was.
She looked at Lucien and smiled,”I wish I could be more specific. It’s going to be hard for us to go back to Nohr, isn’t it? I just hope they’ll listen.” Especially Camilla. She didn’t want to have to fight Luna, or to make Lucien fight her. It might be inevitable though, at least until they could figure out a way to stop the war or tell everyone the whole truth.
Lucien nodded as he led the way into her room and closed the door behind her. “Not the worst day I ever head but still is far from the best. It is true we managed to get on of your brother with us.” Lucien walked over to Arora bed and fell flat out on it. Sighing deeply, he rubbed his face. “That last one took a lot out of me. It never easy watching someone die to help you.” He remembered back to his time as a child and how many had died protecting him. It was something that he didn’t want Arora to go thought.
He laid like that on his back thinking for some time. “So, what the plan now we are only half the way to our first target. We still need to pass throw some heavy forest before we make in to the port. If I remember the map right it at least another two days by foot. After that we can hire a boat to get us across the ocean to Noha.” He was quite for a while thinking about what would happen after they got there. Luna would be close by Camilla and like him would be loyal to her lord.
Few knew that Luna and Lucien were married or that they knew each other beyond working to the same family of lord. Only Arora, Camilla and two other new that means if Camilla attacked them, he would have to fight him. The idea pained him in more than one way. Lucien was a good fighter but when it came to the blade Luna was his better and had proved that over several times. Second was he didn’t like the idea of trying to hurt her or her getting hurt. He had a close connection with her as he did with Arora. If it was to come to a fight, he would have to handle her and he knew she would be mad and not hold back in showing him that.
“I know I asked this but what do you plan to do once we get to Noha you can't think that they will welcome us with any more welcome then Hoshido.” he asked rolling to his side to watch Arora.
Arora thanked Lilith for all her work. She wanted to make sure Lilith knew how much she appreciated all of this. It was making the whole journey so much easier on all of them.
She thought Takumi and the others surprise was understandable, but she smiled anyway. It was sort of fun to see everyone’s first reaction to the space. She watched everyone go in to get settled, glad they had this chance to rest. They needed to plan too. Without a lead on the Seal of Flames and only a vague clue about a dragon to go on that whole trail seemed like a dead end for the moment. At least until they could make sense of the clue the Archduke gave them.
“Hm?” Arora looked at Lucien, then nodded,”Yeah, plenty to think about. This day didn’t go… as well as I had hoped. Still, at least Takumi is here now.”
Arora started walking back to her room with Lucien. She really was tired, but she wasn’t sure she’d be able to sleep with her mind racing,”I hope he can trust us. I’m not sure he’s really happy with his decision at the moment… Maybe with Sakura here it will help. What do you think?”
“I wish he hadn’t died ether but I can waste his dying wish.” Takumi said walking away. His two retainers followed close behind him. His seem to still distrust her but he swallowed his pride and moved forward. Everyone else nodded and moved to follow Arora orders. Lucien was the last one to follow as he took one last look back over the temple before follow.
They walked for about two hours before stopping to allow them to rest. “So, I’ll start getting wood for a fire.” Takumi said getting ready to set up camp.
“No need for that.” Lucien said looking up to see Lilith floating above them. “We have our own base.” Just then she floating down and smiled. “So many people great work lady Arora you got so many more people.” She flew around looking at everyone. “Also, I managed to set up more of the castle and support building even have a prison now if you need it.” Happy with her work so open the portal.
Everyone that knew what to expect walked in no question but Takumi and a few of the new member stared shocked. “What you never seen a portal to another realm before?” Lucien asked as if it what the most normal thing in the world. To him it was he couldn’t remember how many of these he had gone throw. It took Sakura a few minutes with the help of Lilith to explain what was happening but once they the came a bit more wilily.
Once everyone was in the went off to their room with Lilith helping any new member find a room for themselves. This left just Lucien and Arora by themselves. “Well this has been a day.” He said sighing. “Come one let get you to back to your room I’m sure you are tired and have a lot on your mind.
He knew she wanted to ask about the Seal of Flames, but didn’t know about it. Arora felt hopeful and then disappointed very quickly. Shun the light and dark… she wasn’t sure if that was really her, but think so. All there was left to do was wait for him.
Arora waited quietly, lost in thought and her concerns. It was tough not being able to tell everyone the truth now that she knew, but she couldn’t tell them nor could she abandon her goal of defeating their real enemy now that she did know.
When he returned with the message Arora stood and looked concerned and puzzled. Go see the dragon. It didn’t make sense to her, and worse it seemed to have cost a great deal to get that message for them.
Arora lowered her head. She never would have let him get the message if she’d known it would cost his life. She felt guilty, but Takumi was right. She couldn’t waste his sacrifice. It was bittersweet that this was what convinced Takumi to help her. She nodded to him,”I’m glad to have you with me, though I wish the cost weren’t so high.”
It was hard for her to feel so cheerful then, with the Archduke having just died. She turned to the two coming with Takumi and welcomed them,”I’m glad to have you both join as well. Thank you.” It was time to move on from here. They still didn’t know anything about the Seal of Flames. It seemed to Arora it would be good for them to get a little bit of distance from here and then rest.
“We should get moving as soon as we can, then take a little time to rest and resupply. We’ll need to plan as well.” Without information on the Seal of Flames she wanted a chance to consider their next move. If they knew more about the seal that would be their obvious move, but with only the vague message to see a dragon it left them with very little to go on moving forward. She didn’t intend to forget the message though. If it had cost the Archduke his life it must be important, she just needed to wait until she understood.
“Oh, that's right. You were going to ask me about the Seal of Flames. I'm sorry, but I don't know a thing about it.” Izana said suddenly looking back at Arora.
“How could you possibly know what we were going to ask about?!” Valentine asked shocked
“Premonitions! Prophecies! Haven't you been paying attention? Even though I can't help you with the Seal of Flames... My family does have a saying that's been passed down for generations. ‘We will show she who shuns the light and dark another way’. So, there you have it!” Lucien wanted to face pam at the comment but he held back. Everyone else just looked confused as he felt.
Azura was the first to speak up. “What does that mean? Is Arora the one who shuns the light and the dark?”
“I think so!” He shrugged. “Thus, I need to show you a new path. If you'll excuse me, I'll go hold a little ceremony and ask an ancient god for help.”
“Uhhh...right now?” Valentine asked.
“Yep! Fortune favors the bold! Strike while the iron's hot! Carpe whatever! I want to get this little ceremony over with, in any case. Ancient gods aren't exactly easy on the eyes.” Izana then leave the group to do his ceremony.
“I hope he returns with some sort of helpful clue to all this...”
“I'm sure things will work out. Let's have faith and wait here for him.” Azura said taking a seat nearby.
“Sound good I get some tea.” Jakob said walking off. Everyone else followed Azura example and for a place to take a breather. All but Takumi who just stood there and said nothing. Lucien make sure to up himself between her lady and Takumi just in case.
After almost a half hour Izana come back looking a lot worse than he did when he left. “S-sorry to have...kept you waiting.” He was even breathing heavy. Sakura was the first to jump up and rush to him.
“Archduke, what's wrong?! You look exhausted!”
“I had a chat...with an ancient god... But even I don't understand it... It's so short, too... Go meet the dragon."
“A dragon?” Lucien aske now confused even more.”
“I'm sure you'll figure it out eventually... I really really hope you do, too. After all, I think I may—owww ow ow... Yup, definitely gave my life for the message.” Suddenly he fell to the floor. Everyone watches as Sakura hold him.
“What! You're dying? How did this happen?!” she cires trying to find any injures but she couldn’t.
"Well, the ceremony I performed always requires something in return. Every message has a price, and the cost of this one was my life. I'd really like it if a bard wrote a nice song about my noble sacrifice... Oh, Prince Takumi...I know I asked before, but... Make sure you help out Arora, OK?” He said as he looked up at Takumi smiling gently.
Takumi face was a mess as he tried to find the words “But...I...”
“What, you're still not willing? I'm dying here, and you're still unsure? Listen, if you don't...I'll come back as a ghost and haunt you. All the time. Boo.”
“Well, I said what I needed to say... Bye...bye...” With that he slowly closed his eyes smiling and like that he was gone.
Valentine smashed he fist into the wall as tear started flowing down her face “Why didn't he tell us this would cost him his life? Why...”
Sakura was also crying as she held his body. “Oh, Izana...”
Gunter lowed his head nodding in respect. “Giving up his life for the good of everyone. He was an admirable man.” Lucein nodded in agreement.
“Yes he was.”
Takumi turned to Arora and let out a have sigh “You must keep believing I this path, don’t you? Don't waste his sacrifice. Listen. I'm going to help you accomplish your mission. I'll fight with you. After all, it was the archduke's dying wish. So. I'm coming along...Sister.”
Just then two people walked up behind him. “Well, if Lord Takumi is going, I guess we'll have to go too!” The first one said. “Yup! I'd sooner die than be separated from Lord Takumi.” The other one said.
“And you are?” Lucien asked
The first person stepped forward a man with brown hair. “The name's Hinata! I'm one of Lord Takumi's retainers. I'm skilled with a katana—if I do say so myself. You'll like having me in a fight!” Then the other one walked forward a girl with long black hair. “My name is Oboro. Like Hinata, I am a retainer to Lord Takumi. If at all possible, I'd rather not interact with the Nohrians. But if we are to be allies, then I will do my best to cooperate... For Lord Takumi's sake.”
Arora wondered if Takumi would believe Izana, even if he wouldn’t believe her and Sakura. She noticed how shocked Lucien seemed when Izana gave him the message from his grandmother. She was curious, but decided maybe she could ask later.
His prophecy sounded pretty accurate to her, as far as what Arora knew and understood at least. Arora sighed. She couldn’t blame Takumi for wanting more specific answers, but none of them could give those answers, not without a great cost,”I’m afraid I really can’t say more, Takumi. I promise there’s a good reason, but I can’t even tell you that just yet. I know it’s asking a lot for you to believe me, since there’s so little I can explain.”
She was hoping he would believe her, or at least believe Izana. She hated having to keep the secret from her family and allies, but that made her want to gather the strength to fight the one responsible even more. It was so deviously clever to make it so difficult to find out and share information.
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