The Grey Queen sighed at the news when it was reported to her, at least he hadn't made out of the dungeons. “How is he being treated?” She asked, mentally considering what punishment would be fitting for the two brothers.
“He is chained and lord Ryuu has ordered that he be starved.”
“He what?” She looked up at this wondering who the Summoner thought he was to be overseeing the way her prisoners were treated. Though after some consideration, she pushed aside her annoyance with Ryuu. “Hmm, very well… That Devil’s brother must still pay for his kin’s insolence. Have him brought to the great hall and make sure the floors are cleaned well once all is done.” Her royal guard nodded and Valerie thought for a moment before adding. “And bring Ryuu from his chambers… I want to speak with him before the proceedings.” The guard nodded and left the Queen's presence, leaving to fetch the Summoner.
“Over here.” Ryuu’s calm voice spoke from behind Ximena, making her jump and spin around to face him. He was closing the door to another room behind him and it was clear he had been upset about something. But his gaze softened when he saw Ximena and he walked over to her, not noticing as she trembled slightly and shifted away. “It’s good to see you.” He purred and leaned close, waiting like he expected Ximena to meet him halfway with a kiss.
When she didn't, he forced a small smile and stood back giving her space. “You went straight to my bedroom, I see.” He said, teasingly and he reached over to open the door. Ryuu then stepped aside and waited for Ximena to enter holding the door open for her like a gentleman even though he was everything but that. He was about to insist that she enter the room with him when a guard interrupted them and he frowned a little upon hearing he’d been called by the Queen.
“Wait just a moment, dear Ximena. I will be back soon.” He said to her before turning away to follow the guard.
Ryuu wasn't too eager to see The queen after what had happened, especially since Ximena had come willingly to see him. But he did go to see his queen and waited like a loyal subject did. Only approaching to kiss her hand as she lifted it to him and stepping back when she waved him away.
“My Queen?” He asked mildly since they were alone.
“I heard what happened to Enoch.” She began causally with her sharp eyes closed. “Have you seen him?”
“I was actually just with him.” Ryuu replied, now a little anxious. “But his wounds aren't too bad. Nothing a little time and rest won’t fix.” The queen didn't seem humored or amused by Ryuu's quick response which made him even more nervous.
“I see, and Eric?”
“I… I haven't gone to see that demon…” He replied slower.
“Yet you feel inclined to order my servants to ignore one of my prisoners.” She said with a sudden sharpness and Ryuu looked up to meet his queen's sharp Violet eyes. She stared coldly at him and he forced himself not to shiver under her gaze.
“My Queen, I only-”
“You only what? Hmm? Do you think you have enough influence here to change little things like this? Hmm?” Well.” Ryuu didn't reply since he’d noticed that Johar had silently joined them and was watching this all go down. “I think you should be the one to inform Eric of what will happen to his brother because of his foolish actions. Once you have done that you are not to speak to him ever again and the servants will be allowed to go feed him once his brothers injuries have healed.” At this, the Summoner lowered his head and bit his tongue before speaking softly.
“That devil still thinks his brother is dead.” Valerie smiled a little when Ryuu said this and she could only imagine how painful it must be to drag his pride through the mud to do this.
“Then I see no better person to do this then you. You will tell him that his brother is still alive and the punishment he’ll endure will be 50 lashings and one hundred more if anything like this ever happens again.” Her voice was smooth yet sten and Ryuu bowed his head, swallowing before replying.
“Yes my queen.” And he was dismissed while Joseph was sent for and the Queen stood to go wait in the great hall.
Joseph hadn't tried to stop Ximena when she rushed out of the room. He just looked towards the food that was brought in before looking away, having no appetite at the moment. He only looked up again when a guard knocked on the door before opening it.
“The Queen will see you now.” He said to Joseph and that made him stiffen as he remembered her small threat to him. But that didn't stop him from nodding and getting up to follow the guard. Philip wasn't stopped from following either.
N.V stumbled towards the hole by his push. He was right, Eric couldn't escape that easily. Back in Deloriak...many supported him but in these lands he was a black sheep. The Cacador hesitated when he heard the door slamming opened. Was Eric going to use his demon powers? But a chain was shot out and brought Eric down easily. N.V quickly hopped into the hole and started running, feeling eyes on him. But the Cacador was a Hunter himself so he knew stopping would make them attack at him. The kid kept running and running, planning to get out of sewers and then enter the castle again like he had nothing to do with this. Back in his room, he could plan something to rescue the devil. Or maybe not. He didn't have any allies afterall.
The soldiers surrounded Eric and were glad to see the chain made their job a lot easier. One of them stepped forward and hit back of Eric's head with his hilt of sword brutally and knocked him out. They dragged his unconscious body back to his cell but this time chained him to the wall. Enoch was taken to his own room since he hadn't woken up yet.
One of the guards informed the royal guards that everything was safe now and the prisoner didn't succeed in escaping the dungeon.
Philip saw the door opening and he shot up on his feet but there only a maid there with tray of food. Sheer silently set the food on the table. "The prisoner is caught. You can come out now." She dryly told them before turning and walking out. Ximena gasped slightly. "Eric! H-hey tried to run?" She bit her lips, her hands on her chest grsping each other tightly. "Is he okay now? I have to see him." But she was quite sure they will not allow her...Ryuu! He could help her. But of course he would probably want something from her and this made Ximena nervous. What could she offer him? And he asked pure intentions which made it even harder. How could she act towards him like he had nothing to do with their current condition? Before Philip could stop her, she rushed pass them and hurried towards the guards. She stared at the floor humbly before whispering if she could go meet Ryuu. The guards exchanged meaningful looks before agreeing. Ryuu could handle a single girl so there was no threat in it. They called one of the guards who was patrolling the whole servant wing to take her there. The guard just gestured her to follow him and took her to the whole different part of the castle. He let Ximena find the chambers herself since he didn't want to go any further. They gave Ximena more freedom than other since she was pretty easy to handle.
The dancer remembered what Ryuu told her and she found the chambers. She hesitantly stood behind the bedrooms door and noticed her own hands shaking. Breathing deeply, the dancer knocked and whispered nervously. "S-sir?"
Eric had stopped moving once he too heard the soldiers and let N.V push him into the empty cell. The door was closed but this one didn't have a lock on it since it wasn't supposed to be used. But now he felt strange, exhilarated. Though his nerves were still burning to their ends and he knew this was nothing to feel eager about. He stared towards the doorway before N.V snapped at him to help and he quickly turned around, stepping over to the wall and prying more bricks and stones away. But progress was slow and when footsteps and the banging of cell doors grew closer, the gap in the wall was only big enough for the little Cacador to fit through. Glancing over his shoulder with a growl, Eric pried away one last stone before pushing N.V towards the hole and standing up.
“You go. Enoch doesn't know who you are so there's no point in you being caught with me. Besides things were bound to be worse before they got any better for me.” He turned back around to see the shadows of the guards approaching the cell and he sharply looked over his shoulder, demon eyes flashing briefly. “Go Now.” He hissed and looked forward again locking eyes with a guard through the bars as he alerted the others and threw open the cell door.
Joseph glanced at Philip and the look told him. Something was going on with the Demons and nothing in the castle seemed to like that at all. He then looked over at Ximena and shook his head at her. He didn't know exactly what was going on. All he knew was that that were now condemned to the rooms until further notice.
Ryuu lingered and stalled while going back to his chambers, trying to figure out what was going on. But none of the guards would talk, they only tried to.rush him back to his room before another housecarl approached with some news. “That Devil beat Enoch bloody and tried to escape.”
“What?! Is he…” The Summoner trailed off and the Housecarl just snorted.
“No, your little spy is still alive, but that demon hasn't been found yet. I'd watch my back if I were you…” He warned and walked away, leaving Ryuu to wonder and imagine just where Eric could be. He doubted the devil had left the dungeons but he had one way of finding out. Tracing a few symbols in the air, he waved his hand over them and then turned the symbols, watching them glow then disappare. Down in the dungeons, Eric felt a tingling before a demon chain shot up from the floor, snarring him around his neck and shooting a bolt of searing pain before that was overwhelmed by surprise. The Demon chain suddenly yanked him back down and nearly slammed his body onto the ground, almost making him fall unconscious. His vision was swimming and he was too dazed to pose any threat anymore.
N.V was anxious and on rush as he ran with Eric. This wasn't how he wanted to die. Why the hell he helped this Demon?! How were they going to escape?! N.V wasn't the type to plan. He usually followed orders but now Ngeomin wasn't there to tell him what to do. He heard soldiers hurrying into dungeon and his heart sank in disappointment. He desperately pushed Eric into an empty cell which had an open door. He closed the door behind and held his head, looking around. Now what?! He glanced at the barred window but it was too high and small. They were doomed but he smelt something...rotting and disgusting. Sewers! But how did it...he noticed a small mouse shoving itself in a crack and disappearing. Maybe that was a sign from gods? N.V crazily clawed at the stones over there and noticed it moving easily. He pried out one stone. "H-help me!" He hissed at Eric. There was a reason the cell was not used. It was just above the sewer canals and it was where Johar's monsters lurked under the castle. The sewers were not actually a safe escape...but it was the only way and they didn't know about the monsters.
Enoch rose up his bloody head when the soldiers flooded the cell. "He and...one maid..." The Creep groaned before his vision getting blurry and he fainter after that.
The soldiers knew they were still in dungeon so they started searching every single cell by kicking the doors open.
Philip couldn't handle all this confusion and stress. "Now what?! What is wrong now?! Joseph?" He looked over at his friend for any possible answers but he didn't look much calmer either. Ximena opened the door of her room slightly and peered in curiously. She looked much more relaxed but felt insecure for some reasons. "What..is going on?"
Artemis was out in the courtyard. She was running to the stable with her permission letter in her hand. She was running fast because she was hoping it would wash away her sudden stressed state. What was wrong with her?! Artemis heard guards shouting to close the gates. Oh, no! We're they going to stop her? She was going to do the deal and get that damned book back! Growling she changed her way towards a guard who was riding on a horse and shouting at the gate keepers to close it. The Ba'al leaped at the rider and threw him down, riding the horse instead. She was a bit surprised by her own leap but did not have much time to think about that. Artemis rode pass the shocked gatekeepers and grinned as she was finally out of the castle. Her grin soon faded when arrows followed her. She kept riding as fast as she could, not stopping even when one arrow hit her in left shoulder.
Eric’s murderous intent wavered as he felt N.V bite him and make him collapse down onto his knees. He quickly turned around and stared at N.V, anger flaring up for being interrupted, but then the words.reached him. Don’t use his…. Why should he even care anymore? … Some part of Eric knew the kid was right and with a heavy breath and seemingly great effort, he stood back up and pushed his demon side back down. He broke his tap into that foreign energy running through him and he looked at N.V with eyes that were dead serious.
“Don’t [i ever] do something like that.again..” He said in a tone that matched the way he looked. “Because next time… I probably won't stop.” He felt N.V tugging on his arm to get him to start moving but again he was wondering why he should even care. N.V’s warning had come one emotional moment too late. Ever native of the Light Nation that was close enough probably felt him for those few moments. But the other side of him refused to lay down and die. After all what did he have to lose now?
He knew things would be bad if they left the dungeons and were caught but glancing back of Enoch’s crumpled form, he knew he didn't want to stay and find out what would happen to him for this. Almost like he was in a trance, tired yet feeling like all of his senses were being pushed to their limit, The former Prince easily kept pace with N.V. Now letting the little Cacador lead him while silently hoping they wouldn't be caught.
Ryuu, who wasn't really watching where he was going, looked a little surprised when he almost bumped into Artemis. Yet he looked more surprised when she moved to attack and stopped herself mere moments from doing it. He stepped back then hurried around her too put off to be nosy with whatever she was doing. He left her be in the hall behind him and continued on his way but he was soon stopped by a few royal guards ordering him back to his chambers. Indeed something was very off and with a sigh and a scowl, he obliged and headed back to his chambers.
Valerie stood still in her study after hiding her wings again, hoping beyond a doubt that what she just felt wasn't what she knew it was. The demonic presence didn't scare her, instead it just rubbed her the wrong way and she left her wing of the castle, finding Joseph and two guards wait for her but she didn't stop for them. Instead she stepped past them then turned suddenly and stared hard at Joseph.
“I swear if this is your brother’s doing, you both will pay in blood.” She hissed at him with uncharacteristic aggression. But then again Joseph didn't know how the Grey Queen normally was. So he just let the guards.take him back towards the servants rooms. He was nearly shoved back into the room with Philip and he didn't bother trying to communicate. Something was terribly wrong here and he was sure it had something to do with either Artemis or his brother.
At first the Creep was giggling nonstop while being beaten up brutally but when Eric's show collided with his head, the pain took over and he stopped. Enoch didn't expect his outrage but that was not like he cared or even thought about it. He moved a little before laying there at his mercy. N.V was in a corner, watching Eric lose control. He was saved but knew somebody had to stop Eric He didn't mind seeing that creep die but he also knew once Eric kills one, it is hard to stop him from killing others. What did he have to do? Eric would attack him too. Negomin was a dragon and could handle it but N.V was not strong enough. The soldiers would arrive any moment and he didn't want to get caught so he cursed himself crawled towards Eric.
Eric felt a soft bite at the back of his knee, making his knee bend. N.V used this distraction to calm him down as he grabbed his hand. "Lovely show. Now Let's go!" He pulled on his arm. "Negomin said Dark is not allowed here so Don't use your daddy inheritance here. Here in Light nation, a Dark won't stand a chance!"
Artemis was stepping shakily in the hallway, full of mixed feelings. The power in her was alien and strong...she felt like she couldn't handle it. Then...feelings struck her. Feeling which were not her own. Sorrow...pure sorrow...then rage... flaming rage. The Ba'al was confused. What was the deal doing to her? She was so lost in her weird condition that she didn't notice Ryuu and bumped into him. Her eyes fixed on him as the little Ba'al suddenly felt too much hatred towards this Summoner. She didn't know why but wanted to rip out his heart and end his life painfully.
Before she knew it her claw was raised up, about to slash but she stopped herself in time and let her hand fall. "...Tsk..." The demon growled and sat down, trying to calm herself.
"Get out of here before I kill you..." She hissed at Ryuu, holding her head and trying to kick out of the unnecessary feelings. She had to do her mission as fast as she could. To distract herself, she opened the map and stared at it.
Eric glared at The Creep as he entered the cell and he braced himself for a fight but was caught off guard as a painful sensation wrapped around his neck. That damn demon chain. His hands immediately went up and grabbed at the chain and though it wasn’t as painful as Ryuu’s. He stiffened as he felt other chains wrap around his limbs and soon he was forced to the ground. He made a ragged snarl to Enoch’s insane bantering and he bit back a yell of pain when the creep broke one of his fingers. He began to try wrenching his hand away from Enoch and he was finally able to, only when N.V distracted the Creep with a stone. When Enoch focused on the little kid, the demon side of Eric began to grow restless.
Why was he holding back still? Why did he just accept the pain? His brother was dead so he had no real reason anymore. And that strange energy… It both weakened and strengthened him so… Why not let loose all that pent up rage and frustration on this strange, strange man? Eric closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again and straining the chains around his limbs. With the creep distracted, the chains around him didn't stand a chance and he broke his arm with his injured hand free first. He pulled himself back and up, slipping from the chains like a snake before Enoch noticed. But Eric wasn't going to give him a chance to even breath. He reached forwards and punched the Creep hard across his jaw, swinging his injured hand down and jabbing it hard into The Creep’s gut. Pain shot through his forearm but Eric didn't care about that. He was only focused on beating Enoch into the ground. His golden eyes shined with rage and he continued to punch and hit the spy till Enoch dropped down onto one knee. That's when he took the chance to kick Enoch in the side of his head, knocking him down completely. Finally Eric spoke in a deadly tone.
“What did you think you were going to exactly?” He snarled reaching down and yanking Enoch's head up by his hair. “Break a few of my fingers and get to walk out of here alive?” He pulled up a bit more before shoving the Creep's head back down and he lifted a foot up, bringing it down fast. He stomped on the back of Enoch's head and heard a sickening crunch as well as a moan of pain from the other man. It sound like Eric had just broken the Creep’s nose against the hard floor and he lifted up his foot again. Another stomp like that was sure to kill the spy, but nothing was there to stop the Devil anymore and his eye glinted with murder as he stared down at Enoch, intent on killing the Creep and then his master once he found him, Ryuu.
Ryuu’s smile slowly fade while Johar spoke and his eyes narrowed with an unamused expression. “Geez… And I was trying to be nice.” He openly scowled when Johar told him to move and that flash of something… Monstrous did make the Summoner flinch back slightly. He quickly lifted his head and rolled his shoulders back, standing tall as if to try and save his pride but the minister had made it clear. He only saw Ryuu as a pest, a parasite, something that needed to be broken and cast out of sight. He stood still as Johar walked away and the Summoner grumbled under his breath.
“Why do I even bother?” He asked himself quietly, stalking down the hall away from where he’d spoke with Johar. When he first arrived and offered his allegiance to the Grey Queen, he had seen Johar as someone to impress. But as time went on, he found that The Minister wasn't at all impressed or interested in any of the Summoner’s tricks. And with that realization he began to loath the Minister with each passing comment and remark and little exchange like this that they had. He was slowly beginning to humor the thought of making something happen to the Minister and he looked over his shoulder. Johar was already out of sight and with a huff of annoyance, he turned back around trying to forget his moment of weakness.
N.V showed shock in his face when Eric spat the truth directly. So...he got himself killed. He even had more questions now but wasn't sure how to ask. He hated Eric but that didn't mean he was cruel towards him too. N.V thought he was sorrowful because of his brother which was not hard to accept. The Cacador valued family. N.V snapped out of his pity for him and rolled his eyes at his remark. "I am not here for you, loser. I became a messanger of sorts and Negomin told me she had seen in her dreams you were in trouble so I am just checking on you and..." He heard the steps and let go of the bars, rushing down the hallway to find a hiding place in other cells.
The guards saw Joseph approaching again and he didn't need to ask again since they already knew he was pressing to see the queen again. Philip had refused to go with Joseph. For some reasons, he preferred to stay with Ximena. Also, he was not eager to see Eric at all. So with hesitation and doubt, one of the guards motioned him to follow him as he led the former prince through the hallways.
Enoch started clapping cheerfully, laughing with pure happiness. "Thank you, Ryuu!" He hurried to his own room to fetch the tools he needed for this fun time.
Johar was not pleased seeing Ryuu. This foolish human dared to talk to him like they were on the same level. The minister stood straight and looked coldly at the Summoner as he judged his happiness.
"Of course. I would be pleased to destroy my queen's enemies. Unfortunately, there is still a small bug I couldn't get rid of asap. A bug who thinks me of a comrade because the queen keeps it around out of pity." The minister didn't notice his hands behind his back...maybe because he was confident Ryuu would not risk dealing with 'Master of Monsters'?
"Move out of the way, pathetic summoner. This is not your place. You had a place once and lost it. So you are indeed a low refugee to me." He suddenly made eye contact and suddenly something inhuman flashed in his eyes before he smiled and walked to move pass him.
"Pretty Prince~ Let's play~" Enoch sang song as he walked to Eric's cell. He stood in front of the door and knocked before opening it. "Look! You still can stand!!! That is cheating~" Giggling, the Creep held out his hand and chains wrapped around Eric's neck tightly, making breathing hard for him. "Is it painful...? Strange...Because your face is adorable! Ahahahahaha!" He dropped the leather bag he held on the floor and let his chains wrap around Eric's limbs as they attached to the floor and spread him flatly on the ground. "Bored? I know! Let's play a game!" Laughing uncontrollably, Enoch dragged the bag along and sat beside Eric. He started setting the dreadful tools on Eric's chest. "Awww...which one to use...which one..." Thoughtfully, the Creep ran a hand along Eric's bound arm until he reached the fingers. "Lovely...lovely fingers..." Suddenly with a swift motion he snapped his middle finger backward and earned himself a sickening crack. "There! now It's pretty! Let's get rid of the ugly nail! I will replace it with nice metal pins..." He took a metal tool, licking it. "Let's start the screaming party~ AHAHAHAHHAHA!" He lunged at his hand and started pulling on the broken finger' s nail while laughing loudly and insanely.
Suddenly a stone hit his head. Enoch paused and rubbed his head, looking back with a blank face. There he saw a little maid standing there. A maid who DARED to throw...a stone...a stone...he hated that. Hated that...When he was a kid...everyone threw him stones...but now...he would not let it..and N.V had awakened his dangerous part without knowing.
N.V liked the smell of blood but he wasn't a sadist and he hated insane people who gave themselves the right to torture others...even if the victim was Eric. His people were tortured enough in the camp and he was not going to tolerate it anymore. "..." The Cacador had a expressionless face as he threw another stone but was surprised by a chain coming his way. It wrapped around his ankle and dragged him towards a silent, too dangerous Enoch...
Eric gritted his teeth and looked up again after N.V threw a small rock at him. When N.V left to look in the other cells then came back, Eric was up and standing below the window. He heard the kid approaching and with a winded breath, he jumped up and grabbed the sill of the window, pulling himself up so he could look out. “Joseph is dead” He snarled in a dire tone at N.V before dropping back down out of sight as he let go of the window sill. He didn't say anything else, just paced around a little below the window before sitting somewhere out of sight.
“Why are you even here?” He asked in a dejected tone, the danger in his voice now gone again. “Was having your queen back not good enough for that ruined kingdom?” By now the strange feeling was starting to fade away and Eric bower his head, still not noticing it. What he did notice was the sound of rapid footsteps hurrying through the dungeon towards his cell. He stopped talking at this point and watched the corner of his cell, waiting for whoever it was to step into view.
Joseph’s shoulders slumped and he watched Ximena run into the adjoining room, slamming the door behind her. He didn't say anything since he’d taken off the charmed ring and he looked over towards Philip. He understood how his friend felt, he wanted to be angry and cross, but he couldn't. He wouldn’t be. But he also wouldn't stand by wait for someone else to decide when they left. He stepped away from Philip and took the ring, putting it back on before looking back at his friend. It’s time they demanded to see the queen again.
Ryuu smiled and shook his head at what Enoch said. “No, no. I just want to make sure that kingdom doesn't interfere with any of our plans here.” He began and paused when Enoch asked about Eric and he smirked a little. “You know what? Sure.” He said sneering at the Creep. “You can go have some fun with him, just be careful not to mention his brother. He still thinks Joseph is dead.” He gave his spy an approving nod before turning away and leaving his chambers.
[I Now if i could just find that messanger…] His train of thought drifted away when he spotted one of the Queen's ministers, Johar.
“Uh oh.” The summoner said aloud as the two approached each other.
“You look happy, which probably means you’ve just sent someone to their grave.” Ryuu smirked at this remark and stopped his approach. “Anything you wish to share, comrade?” He asked snottily, folding his arms behind him and tracing small symbols in the air behind himself.
N.V expected more of a reaction...like he leaping at him or something like that. The boy watched his depressed form for some seconds before talking again. "Oh, please. Now I should deal with a drama prince. Get up. You still have two legs to stand on. They haven't even beat you up. Don't tell me you are feeling guilty now? I have more time than you, yet I am not going to waste it on hearing you mourn for yourself. I am not Negomin to spoil you so stop laying around like a pregnant lady and tell me what have you done this time? Did you burn a village or poisoned their water?...You look really pathetic now. I can't stop myself..." Suddenly a small stone hit Eric's head. "That felt good. I wish I had some rotten tomato too...by the way, Where is your guardian...that not so talkative one...your brother right?" N.V paused and looked around to see if Joseph was in other cells. He found nobody and assumed he had finally given up this trouble. Wise choice.
Ximena and Philip were glaring deadly at each other when Joseph got between them. Ximena saw Joseph's stern expression and clenched her fists. "I can't tell it now...Just trust me! Y-you will soon be freed!"
"Free? us? What about you? Look at her eyes, she had been crying her eyes out! What the he'll did he do to you?!" Philip's voice was raising into a loud shout. He was too worried and was showing with rage. Ximena rubbed her eyes quickly. "I was not crying!"
"You stupid girl!" Philip yelled at her.
"I AM NOT STUPID! IT IS NOT LIKE YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING!" Ximena screamed at the man, her eyes tearful before she ran to Artemis' now empty room and shut the door behind.
Philip growled and suddenly punched the wall. "I am sick of staying here!"
Enoch tilted his head and put a finger on his chin curiously. "Ryuu? Why is it important for you? Do you have any plan with Deloriak too?" He grinned wildly and inched close to Ryuu. "Hey hey! How is Eric? Can I say hi too? please please...Only five fingers...I will just pull his nails out for my collection~ He will not need them anyway...pleeeeease?" The Creep begged his superior to have some 'fun' with the prince he hated his mother so much.
Eric was sitting back against a wall in his cell when the burning sensation from his tattoo grabbed his attention. That feeling sent a shiver of panic through him since he had been too withdrawn to notice the change in the atmosphere, but this grabbed his attention right away. He wrapped his hands around the side of his face and rubbed at the burning mark. His teeth were gritted and he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to force himself to stand but only managing to fall forwards onto his hands and knees as the connection was made. But he didn't know that.
[I Am I dying?] Was the first thought to cross he mind before he bit his tongue and pushed himself up so he could sit back. [I I wouldn't be surprised if I was…] He thought bitterly and leaned back feeling the strange foreign energy coursing through him. It was familiar but at the same time completely alien to him, and his grief muddled mind had settled on the dying proposal for why he was feeling this way. He tried to stand but his legs were shaking too much to keep him standing and he fell again.
Accepting the weak and strange state his body was in, Eric decided to stop trying. He curled onto his side and laid one arm over his eyes, trying to get some sleep and hoping that if he died, he wouldn't have to be aware of when it happened. He was finally drifting in and out of sleep, beginning to let his mind and body rest when a young voice hissed at him through the window. A young, annoyed, and demanding little voice from N.V. He kept his eye close, hoping he was either dead already or having a nightmare, he’d prefer the latter compared to waking up with that strange feeling again. The feeling hadn't left him yet and when N.V exclaimed that he could see the genius, Eric finally rolled over and lowered his arm, glaring daggers towards the small window high up in the wall.
“If you're here to mock to then save your breath and don’t waste my time… What little of it I have left.” He closed his eyes and hoped N.V would go away.
Joseph was waiting with Philip in the room on one of the beds when Ximena came back. He was relieved to see she was okay, even as she ignored Philip’s question. The strange feeling was making them all anxious and Joseph was about to try and get Ximena’s attention before he saw Philip slam her back against a wall.
He was on his feet quickly and in a moment he was pulling his friend away from Ximena. His expression taken back yet stern and he put himself between the two, making sure things didn't escalate at all. Sure, he wanted to know what had happened to Ximena too, but forcing it out of her wouldn't help them any.
Ryuu returned to his chambers to find Enoch pacing. His spy's smile and twisted excitement didn't bother him much and he grinned a little too in hearing that. So Deloriak was already asking for help, and they sent a child messenger. This was interesting and he nodded to the Creep.
“Good eye… Now if we could find out whether our queen is going to help them or not…” The Summoner knew that Valerie was away in her own chambers where no one else was allowed unless they were invited. But that didn't ever stop him from trying to get past the housecarls to see her.
Artemis was back in her room, sitting peacefully on bed to think about the ways she could get to the library when a wave of fear and alarm shook her body. She clenched her fists and looked around sharply for a clue but Karim answered her. The Ba'al did not expect the wings have much effect on the atmosphere. So those were special after all. She sneered slightly and decided to taunt Karim this time.
[i What is it, scared?]
Her sneer didn't last long because she heard steps in hallway and a soldier calling her out. So that man actually decided his deal. Poor Artemis was unaware of the plan and was more concerned about the library so she calmly stood and came out of the room. Artemis offered Joseph and Philip silent brief glance before following the soldier to Johar's room. She noticed the uneasiness of the servants and maids as she passed different hallways. The Ba'al didn't know they had felt it too. She simply assumed it was because of her presence. If she knew the wings even effected other races, she would get them more.
At the end of the hallway she saw a well carved wooden door. The door was deigned with pictures of different monsters. When the demon approached, She felt their eyes on her but she just shook it off and scolded herself internally for being paranoid. She pushed on the wooden obstacle slightly and earned herself a soft creak before the minister's soft voice came out.
Artemis hesitated before entering the room. She was surprised by the amount of papers and scrolls stored in the place. Johar was standing in front of his desk with a small smile. The Ba'al didn't feel good about that smile and just looked away uncomfortably.
"I have decided, Ba'al." The minister's eyes didn't leave her. Artemis was not sure what to do next. She just stayed in her place and looked over at his approaching form. Johar slowly held out his hand. "I want you to take the water gem from the waterkeeper. He is an aggressive man and will challenge you with no doubt." Artemis rose up an eyebrow before asking. "What for?"
"I believe this shall not concern you."
"...If so, I want something from you."
"Other than your life?"
"Hmph! I want to go to the library."
"Library? What for?"
"This shall not concern you."
"Ah. I see. Fine."
Artemis was a little suspicious about his cooperation but grabbed his hand and shook it anyway. Then she felt the tattoo on her back burning. Back in dungeon, Eric's own tattoo burnt slightly he felt some of his power leaving his body but immeditely this feeling was replaced by an unknown energy flowing through him. The connection was made.
Artemis opened her eyes and saw herself kneeling on floor. She was panting. Johar was sitting at his desk. "...If you can stand, please leave immeditely. You can as the stable for horse. Here is a map to the Waterkeeper place." He threw a scroll at her which she barely caught.
Ximena felt cold sweats on her forehead when the strange feeling washed over her. What was that? She didn't ponder on that much as she was distracted back to Ryuu beside her as they walking back into the castle. She was glad that she was finally at the hallway but before reaching it he whispered words in her ear which made her poor heart almost burst out of her chest. Lost for words, Ximena only nodded and whispered a 'Yes sir.' Before hurrying to the hallway but she was sure she would never ever go to his room on her own will.
She smiled in relief upon seeing her friends in hallway. Philip stepped forward. "Why did it take so long?" He was slightly pale from the strange feeling coming to him earlier. Ximena only walked pass him but her arm was grabbed and she was slammed against the wall.Philip got into her face, glaring angrily into her nervous eyes.
"What did he do to you?!"
Enoch was pacing in Ryuu's chamber with a slightly scared face. He feared the creepy feeling so much. When he saw Ryuu, he just smiled wide and felt secure. It was one of his rare normal smiles. Soon his smile turned into a twisted excitement. "Ryuuuuu! I heard Deloriak has sent a messanger here! It's a little pathetic kid~"
N.V internally facepalmed. Always...has to be in a dungeon. why couldn't that genius rest and leave everyone alone? The Cacador first wanted to forget it all and assume he was dead but he felt bad lying to Negomin. She shared meat with him so he liked her a bit. N.V knew nobody was welcomed to dungeons normally but...the servant who brought food. He had no idea they were starving him so asked the busy workers where the service room was.
He crept into the room and easily found suitable clothes. He quickly changed into them and sighed when he realised it was way too big. He saw a small maid dress..."No way." But hey this way nobody would know him? Also, who will doubt a small cute girl?"I know you are not worth it, troublemaker. It is all for Negomin! She better hunt me a deer for this! No, two deers!" Angrily he changed again and even tied his hair into a ponytail with the ribbon. N.V looked...adorable but pissed.
It was not hard for the little maid to find the dungeon. He was way too familiar with the place. He soon smelled Eric and thought he needed a bath badly before poisoning the Castle's air. He was too short to tech the small window so jumped up and grabbed on to the bars."Pst! Pst! Genius! You there or dead? It is me...you who I am or you are just too stupid?" He pulled himself up slightly to look through curiously.
Valerie turned to look forwards again and she seemed to relax upon hearing this. But she didn't say anything in reply. Johar was now free to leave. She would allow him to use the Ba’al for that purpose, though it would damage relations with the waterkeeper, she had already decided that was a fair enough price to pay. And making a deal to weaken both demons…. Yes she trusted that her minister would be able to get rid of this problem rather nicely.
Out in the castle the air seemed to have stilled and a foreboding seemed to creep over everything on the castle grounds. Hardly anyone knew what the strange feeling was and no one would be able to shake the feeling. Including the being that was not quite there yet.
“[b Do you feel that?]”
Karim asked Artemis, his voice a low hiss rather than a bold rumble.
“[b That strangeness, that dreadful, dreadful feeling? That is the Immortal’s wings. You better hurry or else… Your opportunity will be gone.]”
Ryuu felt the foreboding feeling before Ximena did as she stepped away from him. He had only felt this once before while being in the castle and he had no idea what the feeling was. At Ximena’s request to leave, Ryuu held his calm and almost over the moon look he had before quietly agreeing. “Yes, Ximena. Let me walk you back there.” He said stepping forwards to her side. He walked with her back into the castle and again his eyes scanned the shadows to make sure that they were alone.
Before they stepped into view of the hallway where Ximena had left Philip and Joseph, Ryuu turned back to her sharply and leaned close by her ear, whispering in a husky tone. “My room is on the opposite side of the castle from here and the chamber it is in is midnight blue. Do come visit me sometime.” He leaned back from her and let her arm slip from his. The Summoner turned away before he could watch Ximena retreat back to her friends. His mind was going to the strange feeling that was all around in the castle. He decided he had to find Enoch and see if his spy had seen anything or had found out anything interesting.
A short while after the little messenger had decided to get up and start snooping around for Mr.Trouble, the strange feeling washed over him. It was similar to the feeling he had when the shadows grew more aggressive back in Dosia’s own castle. This was similar, except for the fact that little N.V knew he was alone. It wasn't hard to find out from gossiping servants what might be going on.
“It’s happening again.”
“Do you think it has to do with that Devil in the dungeons?”
Bingo. Well there was where Eric was, but it didn't explain what was happening with the castle.
Johar nodded at her order and murmured a 'yes, my queen.' before watching her unseal her precious wings. The minister was proud to be a trusted underling of her to know possibly the most important secret of Light nation. His witnessed the majestic wings spreading out with admiring eyes. She asked him to leave and let the door be barred Bowing down his head, he was about to go before she remembered his earlier purpose of coming here.
"My queen. I am willing to make a deal with her. I researched slightly about the matter, I am certain you know 'The demon dealer' from hundreds tears ago? The human who started making deals with demons to take over these lands? At last he lost his soul and got banished into the lost dimensions...He had recorded some of his deals and I happen to keep some of them. He once made a deal with Ba'al...Ba'al promises you absolute victory but with high prices. Once you make a deal with a Ba'al, your energy spirits are connected which makes the Ba'al stronger. A Ba'al deal has a time limit. Once the time is over, the spiritual connection is over. If the Ba'al succeeds in granting your wish, they take some of the dealer's energy but if the Ba'al fails...the dealer will be able to take some of the Ba'al's energy. The point here is, this little Ba'al will never be able to use my energy because of my opposite nature. So she has to take it from the land which is also impossible for her. The only option remained for her is making a connection with the closest demon...her friend. I'd be immune from the consequences but not her friend...Of course we don't need any of them get stronger...once the connections is made between the two, I'm sure sealing one of them with affect the other one. In other words, one stone and two birds...Before the deal is off, we can weaken them both enough. Maybe we could find Exorcists skilled enough to do that. I have heard there are powerful excorists among the nomadics. They are not in good relationship with the neighbour kingdom's but we can make use of them. Currently they need water desperately...if we promise to let them use the water gem...I am sure they will cooperate. Unfortunately, as you know, the keeper of water refuses to pass his gem. So I will use the Ba'al to take it from him by force."
Ximena was confused by his attitude. What was he planning? He was suddenly asking for trust...it was like he really...loved her? This made Ximena feel slightly guilty but she reminded herself that it was possibly a part of his plan. She couldn't find out what was his goal but preferred to just play her part. The dancer yet felt strange when he grasped on her hand promisingly. She wiped off her tears, his hold on her hand strangely soothing her. Maybe she wanted to believe his lies? She wanted to trust in him and think that he would absolutely help her friends...even Eric? Ximena realised she was smiling weakly before whispering softly, "Th-thank you sir."
The way he acted towards her was new. Nobody had ever treated her like that. Yes, she had many friends but nobody ever wooed this seriously. Mostly they were drunk men whom she shooed away immediately.
Ximena thought asking him directly about Eric was now out of question. She didn't want to rush things to ruin everything. She just stepped back and looked around worriedly. "Sir? Can I go back? My friends are waiting..."
Valerie listened to Johar's words and she nodded slightly in agreement. She closed her eyes and took the letter back once her minister had set it down. “Of course, Johar. You're right.” She placed the letter back in its envelope and set it aside as Johar began to express his concern about the Nation's own worsening situation. She looked up at him before pressing her lips together and gazing back down at the map. “Those Prophecies…” She murmured, beginning to think while Johar insisted she needed to be more careful.
“Johar, would you be able to send someone to see Lord Gelon? To assess him and make sure things are staying quiet?” She asked, walking over to one of the shelves before gingerly pulling a leather bound scroll from the stacks. She walked back over to the window behind her desk and hurriedly she stepped up onto a chair to reach the top of the window. She let the scroll unroll nearly touching the floor as she reached up and hung the scroll by the leather bound strap to a hook on the top of the window frame.
Her minister knew what she was doing because she had only ever trusted him to see her wings. Once the scroll was hanging, the light shining through it casted shadows down across the room with a pattern of light barely carved into the shadows across the floor. Valerie stepped down from the chair and backed up to her desk, standing at the center of the pattern of Light and darkness and behind her, two grey wings opened.
“Make sure the door is barred when you leave.” She said over her shoulder like she was going to dismiss him without discussing his decision. But before he left, she spoke again. “Johar, what is your decision?”
“Ximena,” Ryuu pulled his hand away from her only so he could cup her face and make her look up at him. “You needn't cry, or be mournful for them. Their penalty will not be that bad.” He sounded reassuring and his expression was still soft and genuine. “I will help them for your sake, if only to give you a reason to trust me. You and I both know that I have not been kind to you, but I will make up for that. I will do whatever it takes.” His look was solemn and he reached down to take one of her hands, grasping it in his.
“I don't want empty promises from you, or for myself to give you any reason to mistrust me. I am a man of my word and I will work hard to get you to mean those things.” Ryuu seemed to know Ximena was faking some of the things she was saying, but he thought it was because she didn't trust him and was still afraid of him. He didn't blame her for that and he meant every word of what he’d told her. He didn't realize that she was trying to get him to help Eric along with the others in their group.
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