Cyan did stepped over the boundaries and soon laid for that by a smack which sent him down on the floor like he was nothing. Holding his reddened cheek but with much more pain to his pride, Cyan looked up at the standing Summoner but did not glare since the man had the upper hand. Yet he gritted his teeth at those bold words since Ryuu was the only who dared to clearly threaten the Minister. Either he was a fool or too brave. Cyan watched him go but before he left, Ryuu added something which made the younger one growl. "You wish..." He whispered and stayed there on floor until Ryuu was o It of sight. He was about to stand when he saw a hand stretched to him. A small, childish hand. Blinking, he looked up to see N.V.
"That jerk had no right to hit a minister's servant. Back in my country, you can sue him."
Cyan was about to take N.V's hand but then scowled and stood up himself. "Who the he'll are you? Wait...I know you. You are that messanger."
N.V smiles but it was all fake. "I see your little birds did well in telling you."
"You noticed?" Cyan asked calmly, trying to keep his cool.
"They are the same colour as your hair." N.V shrugged and tapped his nose. "And your smell is all over them."
Cyan smirked, "Not like you can do much even if you know."
"Correct. Now would you be kind enough to tell me what was it all about?"
"You really suck at collecting information."
"Yeah, because I'm starving..." Something starts tweeting in N.V's pocket. "Oh, my snack just woke up." Cyan froze in his place, knowing this sound. "Wait..."
N.V calmly pulled out a blue bird out, grinning with sharp teeth. "Fresh meat...Hmmm~" He opened his mouth, driving the poor small bird in.
"NO!" Cyan shouted and watched his bird in horror. "I-I...will tell you! T-three prisoners a&e kept in there...in that hallway..."
"Oh, really?! What is with that man?!" Cyan hesitated to answer that but N.V threatened to take a bite of his little spy and the servant told him about the Summoner and his weird obsession with one of the prisoners. N.V smiled after that and dropped the scared bird, Cyan catching it shakily.
"Okay, good talk." N.V waved him goodbye, going to the direction Ryuu went.
The Housecarl rushed put to deliver her orders to the Captain. It was just like one of the prophecies. The Mother of Nature was angered already and she was not going to go easy on them.
The granddaughter didn't find what she wanted and felt that Joseph was waking up. She quickly snapped out of it and took the paper away from his head. She clumsily turned to the door and ran out.
Ryuu stepped out into the hall and hearing Cyan’s faked concern, he just glared at the servant. “Move along, Boy. You and your lord will find nothing from this.” He moved to step past the Servant when Cyan mentioned Ximena roaming at her leisure. The suggestion almost made him turn around and use his magic on the boy, but instead he gritted his teeth and set his icy eyes on the servant's mocking bow. He waited for the boy to straighten up before he lifted one hand quickly and smacked Cyan hard across his cheek.
“You leave them be.” He snarled in a low voice and he stood tall over Johar’s servant, having a message for the Master of Monsters. “You tell your Lord that if he tries Anything with the human prisoners that I captured, our Queen will soon be needing another new Minister.” He stepped back and suddenly grinned manically over his shoulder with one last thing. “And let him know I will be more then happy to take his place.” With that obvious challenge, the Summoner turned away confidently, clearly in no mood to be messed with now. He left the hall and left Cyan to deliver that message to Johar.
Valerie waved a hand to Johar silently, allowing him to take his leave before looking up as a housecarl rushed in with the dire news. She pressed her lips together tightly to stop herself from speaking till she heard the entire situation and then she began to give her orders. “Correntien the Capital and make sure no Refugees enter the city. Tell my captain to send a patrol down to the borders to find how many townships have been infected and begin blocking trade routes from those areas.”
This had to be carried out fast if the epidemy was going to be contained. She knew complete corentin was going to be nearly impossible, but in the case of this having no cure, she also knew it was mandatory. A perimeter would be set around the border and infected area’s where any refugees or those infected or have the suspicion of being infected would be stopped from going to any other part of the Light Nation. If this was indeed Dosia’s doing then the Grey Queen didn't expect much to come from her letter, but she had to send something back to Deloriak soon to get a foothold in what the Kindhearted Lady maybe willing to risk for her own ruined kingdom.
Joseph was fast asleep as Neculai’s granddaughter crept into the room. He didn't stir as she placed the symbol on him gently but his mind subconsciously knew it was being invaded as she touched her fingers to his hair and peered into his mind. His body became suddenly tense Joseph shifted like he was having a bad dream but he didn't wake up. In his mind, at that moment, the former Prince had been remembering something that had happened a long time ago. It was a little muddled and blurry but he was communicating with Eric, being concerned and wondering what had happened to his older brother since the older Prince looked tired and battered. He was brushed off by Eric and he felt saddened in seeing that his brother wouldn't let Joseph help him even though he knew something was.wrong.
At this moment the memory faded and he recalled that same feeling, facing Dosia as she refused his help, stating that she didn't trust him and she changed into her owl form to fly off. This memory ended much quicker than the last did and though it was closer, it wasn't what Neculai's granddaughter was looking for.
Philip glared hard at Ryuu but did not say anything He just stared at him until he was gone from the room then slowly dropped his glare on Ximena who was standing there with a troubled look on her face. She was confused by their attitude. Ryuu acted like he knew her from long before and always cared, Philip defended her like he was a family of her. The dancer felt her head spin thinking about the sitiation. She stepped back before turning away and going to the other room. She closed the door behind to emphasise she wanted to be alone. Philip grumbled and moved on his bed, sitting on its edge. He rubbed his face to get rid of his swallowed anger. He wanted to s Joseph again but he had asked for solitary.
Eric,... was he planing on another escape now? Philip laid his back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling tiredly. They needed to get out of here fast. Why did they keep them in this room anyway? If they didn't need them, so what was the purpose of keeping them anyway? To be used as hostages against Eric? How long would he hold back for his brother?
Once Ryuu walked out of the guarded hallway, Cyan stepped in front of him with a knowing grin. " Sir, I heard some commotion from the room and I got worried. Are you okay? Did they attack you? If that's the case, My Lord minister Johar would transfer them to a proper cell." Hid grin widened. "I saw the girl wandering quite freely. If she bothers you, she can be chained so she wouldn't bother you anymore." He bowed down a bit mockingly.
Johar felt that Valerie wasn't going to change her mind so instead he let go of the topic but he had gotten an idea for controlling the old man. His granddaughter. Of course. It could be easy. Johar was sure he didn't want anything happen to his precious loyal relative. So he bowed down his head and stepped backward."My queen..." He asked permission to leave when a housecarl rushed in with an important message for the queen.
An epidemy at the borders.
The disease was spreading fast, from kids to elders. Even though the elves and other immortals were immune still, other races were infected. Rumors were that it was because of the Deloriak refugees who brought sickness with themselves. Some said it was Dosia's plan to weaken Light nation.
They were panicked since they couldn't find a cure for it.
And it could reach the capital any day.
The granddaughter opened the door quietly, assuming that Joseph was asleep. She tip toed on floor, hoping that she wasn't making any noise. The girl had a nervous expression as she pulled out a small piece of paper with a symbol on it. It was a mind reading spell. It wasn't strong and didn't work on some people but she was going to try it. She wanted to know more about them as Neculai had asked her. Gently she placed the small symbol on his head and focused as resting her tip of fingers on his hairs. She mostly wanted to know about Lilith and what exactly happened in Deloriak.
Ryuu stiffened as Philip began to spit back as much poison as he himself felt. And when he mentioned Joseph again his eyes narrowed and he scowled at what fake title the man had called him. He was about to open the portal before Ximena jumped in front of him. Her pained eyes stopped him from making any other move and before he could say anything, she reached up and kissed him. This was unexpected but received well as the circle beneath Philip disappeared and he lowered his hands, settling them on her waist. He turned with her before breaking their kiss so she was out of his way and he sighed, looking menacingly over at Philip before nodding to Ximena.
“Alright.” He told her, a calmness taking control of his voice as he looked back at her. “Okay, I won't do anymore.” With that he let go of her waist and turned towards Philip, his demeanor becoming threatening again. “But you…. If you so much As Lay One Finger On Her-!” His voice raised to a threatening growl and he looked like he was going to strike him, but the Summoner kept his hands down and only closed in tight fists. “I swear i will come back and kill you.” That last part was as much of a warning as Philip would get before Ryuu would attack him again.
For now he’d leave just so the tension between them would end. He looked back at Ximena once more before bowing his head to her with a quiet apology and stepping away towards the door to leave. He doubted Philip would do anything to Ximena, nothing more than berate her with words. And she knew where she could find him if she needed to get away from her jealous companion.
When Johar began to speak about Neculai, Valerie’s expression became blank so he couldn't tell what she was thinking and she began rereading the new reports on her desk before he was even done talking. They’d done this dance many times, Johar trying to claim that someone or another was no good to her or the nation anymore and yet she’d remain steadfast until she was given a real reason rather than her Minister's opinion.
“Johar, you just said yourself that he is loyal and his mind is still as sharp as it was in his prime.” She tilted her head down towards the papers before giving Johar a sideways glance and continuing. “As long as a human life is, you and I both know he will soon no longer be with us. His changes maybe from his age, or it could be from the fact that we have a demon under our feet. Even you were uneasy about that not to long ago.”
She looked back down at the reports with a small sigh. “I don’t believe he will do anything risky here with his last few days of life. After all he still wants there to be a place for his granddaughter, so I don’t think he’ll do anything… Too risky.”
Philip stumbled backward when he was roughly shoved back. He wanted to charge again and beat him down, maybe even kill him. They were in this hellhole because of this guy and then he just dares to play with a girl's feelings?! Like he owned everything in here...He was so prepared for a murder but was stopped by the circle appearing beneath him. Philip cursed and looked up again with widened eyes. He was afraid. He was burning in rage. "Shut up! You were the one wagging your tail for that crazy woman you call queen. Save her? You just dragged her here! Did you tell her what just happened to Joseph?! They whipped him fifty times for nothing...You enjoyed that didn't you? Now what are you going to do to her, HUH? PLAY WITH HER?! Hah! Ryuu...the coward Summoner who ran! Now what a good best you have found for your sick desires...even teaming up with the Creep! Give a better life? Please...you couldn't even save yourself..." He gave out a fake laughter which leaked poison.
"STOP!" Ximena finally screamed and ran between them. Her expression was pained, since she just heard Joseph was punished and Ryuu didn't save him. He didn't even tell her. She was facing Ryuu as shaking her head slowly. "Please..." To stop him, suddenly she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. Immediately she pressed her lips against his to make him feel in charge.
Philip just watched in disbelief. Was Ximena already broken?
He knelt down in defeat.
Johar smiled at her question. "Not much, my queen. She just wanted to use the library. I don't have the slightest idea why she is interested in seeing it but it does not matter since she will never be able to finish the task." He was so confident everything was going to go as he planned. But still there was something that bothered him. "My queen...On my way here I saw Neculai heading to the dungeon. I understand he has been quite loyal but his ideals are worrying me..." He looked away, continuing."In these tense days, he has started activities which he never did. He is old and a human and you know humans stop thinking after a certain age...If he does anything risky..."
Eric glanced up when Neculai promised to try and help his friend before getting up to leave. But the old minister remembered something and tossed a bag through the bars towards him. It landed on the ground close enough for him to reach and when he saw the food inside, he looked up intent on thanking the older man, but Neculai was already out of sight.
Ryuu glanced up with only his eyes when he heard the door open and he was more than surprised to be yanked up and away from Ximena. His expression then changed to a snarl after he was punched and he shoved Philip back hard enough to make the other man let go of him. Before he was attacked again, He’d braced his feet on the floor and his blue eyes had an icy enraged look to them.
“How dare you?!” The Summoner snapped and lifting both hands up he quickly outlined something in the air and a Summoner’s circle appeared at Philips feet. Whether it was a portal or whether it actually Summoned something, it was clear that nothing good would happen if he activated it.
“I am Saving her!” He then snarled back at Philip, “I have the power to protect her and give her a better life than Any of you insolent Fools can!” He sounded like he truly believed that and in that moment his raised hands began to twist like he was going to open the circle right under Philip.
“Hmm….” Valerie’s expression showed that she understood how he was explaining it. But she figured it would have been easier to weaken the demons through the one they had captive right now. Ryuu having ordered for Eric to be starved might of helped in that sense but then again it might not. “I see.” She nodded and looked back across the room towards Johar. “What did she ask for in return?” she then asked, having not asked before since she wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer. But now she was more curious than cautious.
"I don't think your brother will be safe in here." Neculai calmly assured Eric when he doubted for a moment. Once he agreed, the old man smiled warmly and nodded pleasantly. He laughed as he asked what it will cost him. "I appreciate it but...you are not in the condition to give me anything and I am way too old to have wishes. I hope you find a way to get out. Your are too young and have time to make up for your mistakes." He stared at Eric's face kindly almost fatherly before turning away. "Well, I should go now. I will try my best to help your friends. Goodbye." Neculai slowly stepped away before pausing. "Oh, I almost forgot." He reached in his clothes and pulled out a small bag. "You look pale, help yourself. But don't tell the guards~" He threw the bag through the bars. It had some nuts and small biscuits. He got out of sight after that.
Ximena let him pull her close. She was surprised by the kiss on her head but didn't mind it at all and instead, leaned her head against his shoulder. She was calming down under his arm when Philip entered the room. The next thing she knew was Ryuu being pullied away from her. Philip was done. Done with this shit. The last thing he wanted to see was a man taking advantage of a girl's misery. He held the Summoner by his collar and punched him hard out of frustration.
"YOU SICK DISGUSTING BASTARD!" Philip shouted at Ryuu loudly, almost making the walls shake in their place. Ximena was too shocked, just sitting there and staring.
"YOU JUST ARRESTED HER FOR YOUR OWN DESIRE HUH?! HAVING A TRAPPED GIRL IN YOUR GRASP AND ABUSING HER SITUATION?! YOU PERVERT SCUM!"
Johar nodded at Valerie before explaining calmly and respectfully. He was in a good mood, seeing his queen still was the wicked immortal everyone feared. Johar believed in fear and control in ruling over different races of beings. "My queen. The deal is over Once she hands me the water gem. What if the excorcist hunts her down before she reaches the castle? I am sure the nomadocs would not hesitate once I tell them the water gem is in her hands." He looked up at Valerie to read her expression.
“...” Eric looked over at Neculai, narrowing his eyes again. “Why would you want to help them?” He asked before he could reconsider asking. Maybe it was because they had a chance to be freed, unlike himself, and Artemis being sent a mission sounded like she was pretty much free to find a way back to the dark age. He looked away, trying to regain his composure before saying something he’d probably regret.
“I mean…. Just, My Brother. He isn't in any condition to leave now, is he….?” The Devil was still angry that Ryuu had made him think Joseph was dead but hearing what had happened to him. Having his sibling be dead may have been a better fate than being used as leverage against Eric. He bite his tongue still looking away before he sighed and silently nodded to Neculai. Then he asked one more thing.
“What will this cost me?”
Ryuu in turn listened to Ximena tell about her lands and how Deloriak used to be. When she began crying, he reached over and took her free hand, holding it in a comforting manner like he had done before. “It’s alright Ximena.” He told her soothingly and he wrapped his other arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to him since she was already sitting right beside him and he gingerly kissed the top of her head dotingly. This distracted both of them and neither of them noticed the sound of footsteps approaching as a former servant came back to the room.
“Tell me again how this is supposed to work.” The Grey Queen was in her study with Johar and she was having him explain what was to happen next since the deal had been made with Artemis, as well as the connection between both demons. So now Valerie wanted to know how they got rid of these two problems. He’d mentioned before that Artemis getting the watergem was one of the only ways to bargain with the nomadic people. But he had also told her that weakening both demons would only work while one is still finishing the deal. Once she got the watergem to get one of the nomadic Exorcists’, the deal will be done and their chance gone.
Ximena was listening to him eagerly like a child listening to a night story. She was even more amaze by the deep meaning of Ryuu. The dancer was taken back by his question about herself. She leaned back and stared down at her hands, playing with her fingers. Mentioning Deloriak was both pleasant and painful. However, She decided to tell him since she just wanted to remind herself those memories again. "I...was born in South of Deloriak. It is so green and wonderful. My family worked on a farm. Most of the people there work on farms...the farms belong to the lords originally and they pay monthly salary. I remember playing around my mother when she was working and she taught me songs. It was all great. We had lots of ceremonies, delicious foods...everything." Ximena's gaze was lost, thinking to the sweet memories.
"When the queen was crowned, I was a teenager. She ordered the lords to sell some small pieces of their farmlands to their workers. My father bought a small land for our future but then...he became sick and died." Ximena bite her lips, staring forward. "My mother didn't live long after him and then I was all alone by myself. I sold the farmland and started my own journey...the only thing I was good at was dancing...so I started making money from and traveling around until I earned enough money to make a living." Ximena paused again, sighing shakily. "But now...after all that happened to Deloriak...I have to start all over again." Sorrowfully, she touched the bandages around her arms. Snapping out of her memories, She realised tears on her face and quickly wiped them off. "Uh...Sorry." Ximena whispered and stiffened slightly.
Neculai was silent and thoughtful when Eric talked. Once he was finished, the minister noticed his uneasiness and smiled slightly. "Well, that was hardly a story. You didn't tell me anyhting. But I know being imprisoned like this doesn't give you the mood to tell stories." The old man held on bars and put his weight on the stick to stand up slowly. "So, Eric. What were you going to do after passing this country? Did you think you would be free with this sign on your face?" He was not scolding him, more like pitying. "Listen, Eric. your friends...who are humans...can be freed but I cannot tell the same about you or the other demon girl. Though I have heard she has been sent away for a mission but I doubt if it is for any good. So, do you want me to talk with queen about them? I am not the most favourite minister but the most annoying so I guess they will listen to me just to get rid of my sight."
“It’s from an old Chamlek Myth.” Ryuu chuckled, not thinking Ximena’s boldness was silly or her question stupid. “It is just the names meaning but the story goes… One of the last dragons from the ancient age didn't want to die alone. So he decided to pass on his name and his soul to the last living thing that he see. And it was a young man, a peasant worker who found the dragon and was given the gifts of the Dragons name and his soul. Ryuu. The Myth goes on to say the young man later left the lands to become a great king near the end of the Dark age but as I said, it is just a story behind the name.”
Ryuu smiled, being able to share a bit of his old lands with Ximena it made him feel that longing for her again but he pushed the feeling away. Yes they were alone and yes he was starting to get her to trust him, but now was far from the right time to be thinking about anything like that. But for now, he could try to get to know more about her. “What about Deloriak?” He asked looking back to her. “What was your homelands like?”
“...” Eric watched Neculai closely, not sitting at his gesture and only listening when he said that Joseph was in good hands. He didn’t reply when Neculai introduced himself and remarked about Chamlek, it was already clear that the old minister knew who he was but what did he want? When he asked about Eric’s story, the former Prince’s strife and suspicion suddenly left him and he sighed, sitting down and shaking his head. “You wouldn’t want to hear my story. All of the awful things I’ve done. The way I destroyed my own Kingdom.” He paused then looked over towards Neculai. “No one has asked because It doesn’t matter anymore. What happened and this mark…” He paused again then sighed and looked down at the floor.
“You wouldn’t believe that coming here wasn’t my decision.” He said flatly. “We never meant to stay. We were only trying to pass through and yet, This happens.” The strange energy made his thoughts and emotions more amplified, easier to flip from calm to drastic on a word or a thought. He didn’t know what was causing it still but he was beginning to wonder if Artemis or even the All Demon had something to do with it. And that Idea made him unease and less willing to share even the most mundane detail of his story.
Ximena could only give him silence when he realised she still was scared of him. Her hands remained loosely in his, twitching a bit as he asked her to call him by his name. This sounded easy but it was like trusting him as a friend. Ximena nodded hesitantly then noticed his motion and sat down beside him. She was taken back by his sudden mood change. She tilted her head and bit her lips when she saw the symbols in air. Whenever he did that, nothing good happened. She stiffened slightly at his question, becoming even more confused. She had no idea what Ryuu meant. She didn't know the meanings behind most names. Let alone a name which was not common in her homeland.
The dancer stared at the symbols dancing in air and forming a circle before it turned into a dragon. Her eyes widened in awe at the beautiful creature. Ximena was hypnotized by it, leaning closer to it and even reaching a hand out curiously towards the pretty thing. It vanished and she looked back at Ryuu, realising she was so close to him since she wanted to see that dragon better. "Two Souls? What does it mean, si-Ryuu?" She was amazed by her own boldness and blushed a bit, looking down. She felt stupid by asking but she really couldn't understand. Each being has one soul, right?
Neculai needed to pause and breath deeply before answering Eric. He slowly sat down on floor, his legs feeling tired from today's activities. In return to Eric's unfriendly manner, he chuckled some and motioned him to sit. "I'm just an old man pretending to be a minister. Relax, son. I can't make anything worse, nor better..." He noticed the tattoo on his face and sighed. "Your brother is in good hands. My granddaughter is good at nursing. I can tell you that because I can't live a day without her care. Maybe that will make you feel better...Maybe not. By the way, I'm Neculai. Nice to meet you. You are Eric of Chamlek...I have heard it's a beautiful place...right?" He coughed before waving his hand with a bitter smile. " I rant too much for an old man, forgive me." Rubbing his chin, he observed the tattoo again. "So, Eric...Why don't you tell me your story? I love hearing adventures. The higher ups all know about you...but nobody asked yourself what exactly happened...Hm? About this tattoo...and why you came here of all places?"
The Grey Queen looked at Neculai for a moment, considering what he’d asked before nodding and turning away. “Of course, Neculai. But… Do be careful.” She said over her shoulder and she turned away completely, dismissing her Minister.
When Ryuu stepped into the room with Ximena, he got her to look up by taking one of her hands and kissing it in a gentle manner. “Nothing is wrong.” He told her, looking at her nervous expression with a softened gaze. “But I wanted to see you, not just be in your company. I wanted to see You.” He got her to walk back with him across the room where he sat down on the edge of the middle bed in the room and he took her other hand. Now holding both of them in his, The Summoner looked a little regretful and he smiled at her almost sadly.
“You are still afraid of me.” He observed before glancing away from her with a soft sigh. “You know, it is alright if you call me by my name. I’d actually prefer it rather than that formality of ‘Sir.’” He paused again and his expression was still a little down. But then he thought of something. “Oh Here,” He half exclaimed, motioning for Ximena to sit on the bed next to him. When she did, he began to draw a few symbols in front of them with one hand and he asked her. “Would you like to know something about my name? It has quite a special meaning.” He smiled and looked at Ximena the symbols shifting a little as he took his attention away from them to look at her.
Ryuu looked back to the symbols and lifted his free hand again, curving his fingers towards them like he was going to grab something. He then turned his hand to one side and with his index finger, he dropped his wrist down in a swiping motion. The symbols formed into a circle then vanished and in their place was a light moving image of a dragon. The small image of the majestic creature looked around before opening its wings in a silent roar and leaping up to take off while still being in the same spot in the air.
“Ryuu has two meanings.” The Summoner told her, lowering his hand and looking at her. “One is of course, ‘Dragon.’ And the other is, ‘Of Two Souls.’” He looked at her with a pridefully gleam in his eyes and when he did the light image vanished from sight.
Down in the dungeons, Eric sat against the far wall of his cell stewing with his thoughts before the sound of footsteps made him look up. He quickly got to his feet and stood still when he saw an older man step in front of his cell. "Who are you?" He asked in a harsh sounding voice, narrowing his eyes in distrust of whatever the mans unsaid intentions were.
Neculai listened to her silently and smiled slightly at her promise before bowing his head slightly. "I trust in my Queen's words." He looked away and hesitated a bit before asking Valerie catiously. "I do know I am not in the position to interfere but, May I visit the prisoner? I would like to have a word with him. I have been always avoiding these situations but just this once, I ask your permission to hear his story from himself. I never heard his words since you imprisoned him without a trial." He kept his head down, gripping on the stick. Neculai needed to know Eric better. He was trying to do something before it was too late.
The girl understood what Joseph wanted her to do and glanced at Philip before shyly going over to the stubborn man. Philip looked up at the hand signs she made and he realised what she was trying to say. He frowned and resisted. He was afraid if he left, they might hurt Joseph more. The girl tried to convince him she would look after him. Finally she tugged on his arm and made him stand. Philip gave one last look at Joseph before leaving him alone. The girl closed the door behind to give the prince some peace.
Ximena didn't expect Ryuu at all. She looked obviously nervous when she looked up at him then shifter her gaze in floor before stepping aside. "Of course sir." She had promised herself to act in front of him but she wasn't prepared. What did he want this time? Was it about Eric? For some reasons, Eric really hated him. It was like they knew each other. Ximena was not going to ask anything about it since she was not eager to trigger anything in Ryuu. Her hands were politely on her skirts as she stood stiffly.
"Sir? Is something wrong?" She didn't like to be with him in this room. Others could come any moment and she just...didn't like to be seen with him.
Finally glancing over her shoulder, the Grey Queen looked at her Minister before her form swept around her desk and she was across the room in front of him. This motion was enough to make him look up and that cold wickedness she’d shown earlier was no longer in her eyes. “Neculai,” She said, almost soothingly, and in one of the most calmest voices he’d heard her use yet. “I know death will not be peace for you. But let me ease one of your regrets. Those old days, that old way, though it is still with me, take on your dying day my promise that the title of fear and the reign of terror is Never coming back.” She kept her eyes locked on him while her form shifted back.
“It is impossible to explain this with what little time life gives you, but.... If you just take my word for it. I will vow over your grave that those times are long since over.” She stepped back from him, knowing Neculai wouldn't want to grow close enough to take her word, even once he was one his death bed, but she trusted that he’d take it with a grain of salt. Things may change when he leaves, but they may change for the better, given time and with some relationships marked.
Joseph eyes followed his friend down to the floor and he shifted a little but overall, didn't move much. He glanced up as the same girl came back with food for Philip before walking over with a damp rag for the slight fever he had. The coolness of the cloth felt good on his heated skin and he propped himself up again once she took the rag back. He only lifted himself up enough so that he could drink more easily and he used one hand to take the cup from her, again giving her a thankful look before drinking. The herbs were strong and the drink had a different flavor to it. Not a bad flavor, just different.
He handed her back the cup back to her with a small nod then that same nod towards Philip and he made a slight ‘go away’ motion with a questioning look to the girl. He was wondering if she could get his friend to leave for a little while, sure Joseph knew Philip wanted to hover and make sure that he was alright, but the former prince wanted to rest alone for a little while. Silently he made this request and tried to do it without Philip noticing.
Where Ximena was, in the room she’d previously shared with Philip and Joseph, she heard a slight knock on the door and when she opened it, it wasn't any of her friends that were standing there. It was Ryuu standing there, but he seemed out of place, like he was uncomfortable with something. “Ximena,” He greeted her quietly and there wasn't any allured tone to his greeting. The Summoner then looked past her into the room, clearly looking right then left before looking back at her again almost sheepishly. “May I come in?” He asked and didn't move forwards like some higher ups might do, assuming she’d just say yes. He stood still in the hall by her doorway and didn't make a move to enter until he had her permission.
Neculai leaned to his wooden stick, his face showing sorrow and regret. He knew what was happening. People still remembered the days of dictatorship even if it was long time ago. Each overreaction was a warning for them that those days were coming back.
The minister watched his queens back and sighed at her question before answering with honesty and neither he sugarcoated his reply to her bitter question.
"No, my Queen. I showed my disagreement when you still had time to reconsider. It is now too late, my queen..There is no point on talking about it. You cannot stop the rumors. People will never forget this day. They will always wonder why didn't their powerful queen punish the devil directly. They will always remember how a human had to tolerate the pain instead of the demon. The gap which is already between humans and other races will deepen more."
Neculai started coughing, shifting slightly to put more weight on his stick as he gazed down sadly.
"My queen...I apologise for my rudeness. I cannot be as patient as you because my time in this world is limited. One of these days I will just leave and I only take my regrets for my failures. How can I rest in peace when I die knowing that Grey Queen will become the feared queen once again? The idea of rebellion might sound foolish to you but it is not impossible...Once they question your justice, sparkles of rage will appear. The one you keep in dungeon, was once a feared prince in Chamlek. But fear soon changed to rage and mere peasants took over the throne. They will soon encourage others to take down their rulers too and my Queen...what is your guarantee that your own people would never do such a thing? Fear can be put aside easily but love can never be replaced. My Queen...the prophecies warn us about chaos but we have to watch our own moves first."
Philip got off the bed and sat down on floor to let Joseph be comfortable. He leaned to the wall, becoming all silent for a while before he noticed the same girl coming back. This time she didn't look as cheerful as earlier. She had a pillow and a blanket in her hands. Silently, she handed them to Philip then walked back to doorway and picked something up. She walked over to Philip and placed the plate of food in front of him before kneeling beside the bed and damped a piece of cloth in bowl of water before gently wiping Joseph's face since he had a very slight fever from the wounds. After cooling down his face, again she went to the doorway and brought a herbal drink which could help with the healing process and make him feel less drained.
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