Artemis was mad and fuming. She didn't stay in one spot when they put them in the nostalgic cell. Instead she kicked at the door furiously and then turned her attention on the walls to kick them too. Her eyes widened in pure rage when Karim started taunting her and that was the last thing she needed. Artemis started shouting at him outloud this time. "SHUT UP . YOU DIRTY LIAR! WHERE THE HELL IS THAT BOOK?! YOU KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN YOU SCUM! YOU ARE JUST LIKE YOUR CURSED SON!" She didn't care if Eric found out or not. Aggressively she looked at his depressed form and stomped towards him. "Oi! Don't play dead. This is all your fault!" The demon rose her leg before kicking his side. "Now what?! Any plans?! You both tricked me...you both said you know how to take me home but you were just...fooling around! LOOK AT ME YOU COWARD!" She shrieked at him on top of her lungs.
Philip's eyes widened when the queen said Joseph will join them soon. Wondering if it was real or just a mockery, the shocked man let the guards drag him to the beautiful unique room. Ximena noticed the ceiling and stared it with awe but Philip didn't even notice it as he paced around the room impatiently. Tears were uncontrollably falling down from his eyes. Ximena looked back at him and sighed, approaching him slowly."You heard what she said..." She softly said but Philip only paced faster. Ximena sighed again and sat down on the floor, watching the doorway hopefully.
"Milady~" Back in the parlor, a tall figure stepped by the entrance but did not look up from the floor. Johar, one of the ministers, smiled softly which yet had no feeling behind it. "We shall not waste any time...Their presence is a poison to our peace." Johar was glad he got there before the rest of the ministers so he could have the better chance of influencing his queen. "Deloriak hesitated and fell into chaos. They will never be able to shine again. Its fall even affected our economy too. All those refugees who enter the Light nation...The rate of crime will rise soon too. If you don't eliminate those demons, Gods know what will happen next."
"Ryu~ Are you mad?" Enoch stood before the Summoned with a tilted head and a guilty face like a kid who has broken his mother's favourite plate. "They told me to get the antidooote....but Ryuu...I wanted to have his pretty eyes." The Creep sighed sadly and hung his head in disappointment.
The Queen's calm expression hardened when Artemis began screaming. She folded her hands on her lap and straightened up, noticing Ryuu tense as Artemis continued screaming. She waited and was silent as the Ba’als’ voice dropped to a low, threateningly calm voice. She didn't say anything as Philip began to break down and revealed that they had a fifth member of their party.
Eric wasn’t speaking either. He wasn't raging or crying. His eyes were down casted and he hadn't moved when the Queen told them to step forward. She then looked to Ryuu and asked something, keeping her voice low in the tense sounds of the room. The summoner’s expression fell a little and he sighed, replying. “Enoch did something to him… He died on the way-...” The queen lifted up one hand up to stop him from speaking and she sighed standing up.
“Take those two to my sky room,” she ordered the guards, over Philip’s wailing and sobbing. She motioned to him and Ximena and then she said something, something that could calm Philip down or infuriate him. “And make sure they're guarded and comfortable. I’ll have their friend be joining them soon.” She then looked towards Artemis and Eric. “And lock these two away. I will audience with that... Ba’al at a later time.” She glanced seemingly through them again and she closed her eyes waiting as they were all taken away from the room.
Eric and Artemis were taken back the way they’d come from with Ryuu trailing after them, staying close enough to act if needed. They were taken down to the dungeons like Karim had predicted and the only light came in through a small barred window at the top of their cell.
“[b Hahahahaha! Congratulations!]” Karim jeered in Artemis’ mind. “[b You have utterly F*cked yourself over, haven't you?]” His mocking laugh drowned out any thoughts Artemis may of had and he continued taunting. “[b I wonder what that Immoral will do to get rid of you. She knows now that you're trying to get back to Mutate so maybe she’ll just leave you here for rot!]”
Yes. Karim may have helped Artemis a little but he was still a demon, and not a nice one at that.
Eric still hadn't said anything since they’d entered the Grey Queen's castle and he stepped towards the back of the cell and sat down, his back against the wall. He was still silent and withdrawn and his golden eyes seemed dulled and blank.
Philip and Ximena were taken to an open ball like room that up a flight of stairs, the unique thing about the room was the entire ceiling was made of glass and equally large windows lined the walls, those these couldn't be opened. There were two long tables on either side of the room, broken up in two spaces evenly and lines with chairs and at the back of the room was another table where the were higher standing chairs. During events that was probably where the elites and other higher social standing figures sat next to the Grey Queen.
The guards stood by the door and let the two captives look about, though if they tried to come back closer to the doorway, the guards would draw their weapons and make them walk away. The queen had left them there and she hadn't even clarified what she meant in saying Joseph would be joining them soon.
Artemis couldn't register where she was She only felt some forces pulling her out of a closed place. She stumbled forward following their direction and slowly her blurry vision became clear to see she was going into a large place. Too bright...She blinked several times to understand what had happened. She felt the flame within her rising. Her glare was set on the stranger woman who she assumed to be the center of trouble and boldly made steps forward. "Do you always do this to foreigners you...you BASTARD?!" Yes. She was done. She was done with everything and a demon can be so knucklehead sometimes. "WE WERE JUST PASSING THIS CURSED LAND OF YOURS! I AM ARTEMIS THE PRINCESS OF MUERTE AND I CAN NO MORE TOLERATE THIS SHIT! WE WERE JUST LOOKING FOR A WAY SO I CAN GET BACK TO MY WORLD! WHERE RIDICILOUS PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVE NO PLACE THERE! I AM WARNING YOU...DO NOT MESS WITH A BA'AL!" Her voice cracked slightly from her own screams. Savagely she stared at the stranger before her, her shoulders rising and dropping with her pants. "Now...let us free. We mean no harm...unless you ask for it!"
"J...Joseph..." Philip's shaky voice came out. "Give back...Joseph...he did nothing wrong..he wasn't doing anything...he was the most innocent...GIVE ME BACK MY FRIEND YOU BITCH!" Tears were dropping on the floor at his feet. He was still at denial, demanding his friend over and over even in that weak state.
Ximena was speechless. She was just staring forward until she lost the strength in her legs and knelt. "J-joseph..." That sweet man....died in front of them. They couldn't do a thing and he was taken away.
Soldier had rushed to shut philip up but it was harder than saying. He had gone nuts, thrashing around and cursing them all.
Entering the capital city, Eric finally groaned and began to stir. Opening his eyes, he felt Artemis partially on him and he quickly rolled her off of him, sitting up fast to try and figure out where they were. He’d sat up too fast and his head began to throbbing where Ryuu had kicked him.
“Fffaahhh…. That damned sssummonnerrr….” He moaned and growled quietly, holding the back of his head before looking around and seeing the others in the covered cage with him. He’d first seen Artemis, but then he’d notice Joseph and Philip and Ximena. He looked away from them quickly, even from his younger brother who still had his eyes closed. He then tried to stand, but the rocking of the cart was too much for him at the moment and he collapsed back down. So instead, out of frustration, Eric lashed out towards the bars, doing little to weaken them and just causing himself more pain. He cursed out loud and on the outside, Ryuu heard him and smirked a little.
“One is up…. Wonder how long it’ll take the other?” He mumbled softly to himself. The cart was being brought in through the back of the city, but still, plenty of people saw it as it passed and when the cart stopped Ryuu called out. “Get them out.” By now Artemis had started to stir while Joseph didn't seem like he was going to be waking anytime soon. “Those who can walk, Get out now.” Another voice called from outside as the cage door opened. “Or else I’ll come in there and break yer’ legs so they’ll have to drag you out.”
That threat had Ximena looking rather nervous and she was the first to struggle up to her feet and walk towards the cage door. Eric soon followed after her but Ximena was taken aside for a moment so the ropes around her wrists could be tied. After the two stepped out willingly, several soldiers stepped inside of the cage to get the last three. They were able to get Artemis oi easily since she wasn't completely aware of what was going on yet. But Philip was forced away from Joseph and pulled out, struggling and yelling, since he’d noticed one key thing the others didn't before he was forced out. Joseph wasn't breathing.
Ryuu was called over as the soldiers found this out and he frowned slightly, ordering them to, “Get him out of here.” before watching them go with the young former Prince’s body. He then turned to the other four and remade the first symbol that Ximena had stopped him from making. He half heartedly waved it towards them and the circle harmlessly passed through Philip and Ximena, it didn't however do nothing to Erif and Artemis. Immediately they both felt suddenly weaker and chain wrapped around them with no lead running from them, their arms trapped at their sides again.
“Let’s go, the Queen is waiting.” He said to them hastily before turning to lead them inside. There were guards and soldiers all around them, so trying to run wasn't an option. They could only follow and see what was waiting for them. It didn't take them long to get to where they were going and they soon entered a semi open room. It was very bright and very clean and it wasn't a throne room. It was some sort of parlor.
There were large wide opened windows on either side of them with long sheer curtains fluttering softly. Across the room were a few lounging pieces of furniture and draped over top of a loveseat, a long dark with some lighter purple fabric, dressed woman lay comfortably, almost like she was asleep. Her hands were wrapped around her middle loosely and her long dark black hair flowed around a face. She didn't move as they approached and only showed she was awake after, Ryuu bowed. She lifted a hand towards him, palm down and she said his name in a soft and comfortless voice.
“Ryuu,” Quickly he rose and walked to her side taking her hand and kissing it before stepping back a little. “Who have you brought me?” She asked still not yet opening her eyes.
“The two demons and their companions.”
With that, the Queen let out a soft breath and she sat up, finally opening her eyes and turning them to look at the four. Her eyes were a piercing violet and they seemed to see straight through them all.
“You two, step forwards,” She then said to Eric and Artemis. “And tell me why you are here.”
"Ah!" Ximena yelped as her back hit the bars. They had tied her hands behind her back so the only thing she could do was crawling over to the unconscious body of Eric. "Eric! Eric!" She desperately called and then stiffened when she heard more commotion not from far. He said Eric had companions so she assumed they were also found. Her heart sank at that. Then it meant he couldn't get help from them. Ximena was scared. She had never been arrested for crimes like that. Back at Deloriak maybe for small stealings or cheating in a gamble but she was released immediately. Besides...Deloriak had the Kindhearted Lady whose rules weren't strict and absolute. But the Grey Queen...Ximena doubted of she was anything like Dosia who had even spared Eric's life.
Philip couldn't feel any pain from adernaline in his blood when he was dragging the drugged Joseph out of the hostel. He froze in his place when he saw Ryuu and heard his order to the approaching soldiers. The demon...so Eric was arrested. He thrashed around when he felt arms grabbing him and pulling him away from the younger prince but it was futile. The pain in his chest finally struck and he was easily dragged towards the cage.
Artemis didn't even notice the Summoner coming in. She only felt a wave of pain through her body and she immediately lost her vision then her conscious. Enoch looked up and grinned widely upon seeing Ryuu like a dog wagging his tail at the arrival of his master. He quickly got on his feet and let his own chains vanish. "Praise from Grey~" He dreamily said, giggling afterwards before following the Summoner.
Ximena's jaw dropped seeing Joseph and Philip joining the party. "Ph-philip! Joseph!" She shouted in disblief. Philip had almost the same reaction. "Ximena! What are you doing here?!" They paused when Artemis was also thrown in, half landing on Eric. "Why the hell these freaks arrest us?" Philip growled. Ximena blinked, "You don't know? The rumours...When a Dark infiltrates the borders of Light nation, the Nature rebels against us." She whispered before looking at Artemis. "Who is she?"
"A real demon."
"This is bad..."
They were silent for the rest of their forced journey, not seeing anything with cloth covering the cage. They only realised that morning had come when they saw the rays of sun barely coming through. Philip was beside Joseph this whole time, cursing the Creep nonstop.
Ximena was sadly watching Artemis and Eric.
Citizens of the capital came out of their houses to start their day, the birds singing happily and the dogs barking for breakfast. Everything was mockingly cheerful.
Ryuu sighed at Ximena’s desperate plead and her tears and Eric’s eyes widened as he thought she was going to turn on him right after she helped him. “Madam, you needn't be so rash…” He started, lowering his hand from the almost finished symbol. That was Ximena’s chance and when she grabbed onto his belt, taking him by surprise, Eric realized what she’d done and he bolted forwards, charging to get past them since they were all standing in the hall leading out of the tavern's small back area.
“Hey! Get OFF ME!” Ryuu thundered suddenly, going from zero to one hundred the moment he saw Eric charge. Ximena was quick enough to lunge herself to one side, yanking Ryuu off balance and making the symbol dissipate in the air as the former prince rushed past. But he didn't get far as one of the elven soldiers was quick on his tail and the other pulled Ximena away from Ryuu. The chase was on as Eric ran from the back like a bat out of hell, the soldier right on his tail. He then suddenly pivoted and spun around, punching the soldier hard across his face, but he returned the blow and they scuffles for a moment, the elf tripped Eric finally and he collapsed back almost dragging the elf down with him.
“Outta The Way!” Ryuu shouted and the soldier immediate leapt to his feet, moving away from Eric fast. The summoner was a few steps away and he’d hastily drawn something in the air before pointing at the former Prince. In moments, Eric let out a howl of pain and he collapsed forwards, demon chains wrapping around his body and binding his arms to his sides tightly. With a frustrated huff, Ryuu wrapped the chain around his hand and wrist a few times before looking over his shoulder towards Ximena as she was dragged into the front room of the tavern.
“You, Wretched little Bitch.” Ryuu spat at her, his manners gone after she’d tried to let Eric run. “Arrest her for interfering and as an accessory to him. Then clear out the nearby buildings, his traveling party can't be too far. Arrest anyone who resists complying.” He glared after the soldiers then looked down at Eric who was still barely conscious, but his breaths were coming in strained pants and his golden eyes returned the summoner’s glare. “Oh, you’re still awake. Well I can fix that…” He grinned maliciously and lifted a foot, kicking Eric in the back of his head hard, knocking him conscious.
Joseph could only watched as Enoch turned the tables on Philip and Artemis and he tried to push himself up to get away when the creep turned towards him. This man had truly scared him when Joseph saw him for a distance, but now, being older, he saw there was much more to really be afraid off. He cringed when the Creep crawled onto the bed and pressed his knee down hard into Joseph's chest. He coughed and struggled to breath but that didn't stop him from shoving at the other man and trying to knock his hand away that had the needle in it. Somehow the needle managed to prick him and Joseph’s vision swam before he passed out, feeling Philip dragging him away right before his mind went blank and his vision dark.
Ryuu watched as his soldiers searched, Eric having already been moved to a caged and covered cart so he could be moved and Ximena had been thrown in with him, but then he noticed a commotion coming from a nearby hostel. Slowly he walked towards the hostel, tracing symbols at his thigh as he walked towards the back then spotted two men that he recognized. A clearly injured Philip and an unconscious young prince Joseph. Calmly, the summoner stopped and he shouted back to his soldiers. “Arrest these two and put them with the demon.” He ordered, he stepped past them, not bothering to stick around and make sure they were arrested and he made his way inside where Artemis and Enoch were at eachothers throats. Ryuu simply lifted his hand up and made the symbol for the demon chain's, watching Artemis collapse in shock and pain before her eyes rolled back in her head and she slumped forwards.
“Enoch. I’ve been looking for you.” Ryuu said almost scoldingly, like he was talking to a beloved pet that had returned from running off. “But i see you got to this demon before me. Heh… I’ll be sure to The Grey Queen how well you’ve done.” He smiled darkly and he turned away, going to send a few soldiers into fetch Artemis before they headed off to the Light Nation's capital.
Ximena didn't expect the spies to keep an eye on her too. It was like they were watching everyone who had the smallest contact with Eric. She stared at the soldiers before them with widened eyes, but when Eric recognised the Summoners She glanced at the prince with questioning eyes yet didn't dare to say a word.
She gasped slightly when he started making the circle, asking about Eric's traveling companions. Was he not alone? She had to do something but she wasn't armed of course and she only knew self defense. So she looked around nervously. She didn't have any friends in this place so her chances were narrow. "W-wait. I have nothing to do with it sir! Please let me go...I'm just a common dancer...I don't know anything about this!" Tears rolled down from her eyes as she stepped in front of Eric. "Please good sir...have mercy...I don't want to die.." She was inching closer, sobbing hysterically. "I just wanted to...start a new life here but if you spare my life...I will leave...I swear...." Suddenly she fell on her knees and grabbed on the belt of his armor, trying to make him lose his focus from the symbol and give Eric chance to escape. It was indeed a stupid move but Ximena wanted to use her luck and her woman skills.
"God dammit, talk!" Philip was shaking the laughing Enoch by his collar angrily. "WHO SENT YOU! WHY?!" But the red head only laughed more in mockery.Suddenly he pointed at Artemis. Artemis cringed slightly but soon shouted in shock when something glowed at the palm of Enoch's palm and glowing chains shot out of his hand, wrapping around Artemis' neck.
Demon hunting chains. The Ba'al could feel the chains burning into her neck and she gagged, thrashing around. Moments later, Philip was kicked back towards the wall and before he could react Artemis was thrown to him from the chain. Artemis gagged more, holding on the burning chains. She gritted her teeth aggressively when he dragged her along while moving to Joseph with a twisted grin.
"Your majesty~" Enoch did an exaggerated bow towards the younger man and pulled out a small syringe.His leg slammed down on Joseph's chest. He was stronger than the look all of sudden. Artemis' struggles were becoming weaker. He was draining her energy. She had never faced a demon killing object before so he had the upper hand for the moment.
"GET AWAY FROM HIM YOU CREEP!" Philip tried to tackle down Enoch but he just rammed his elbow into his chest and Philip's eyes widened when he felt something crack in his ribcage. How the hell he had such a strength. Enoch reached down, about to stab the syringe in Joseph's neck but Artemis who had finally braced herself kicked his leg and made him fall down. The syringe fell beside Joseph.
Philip crawled over to Joseph and started dragging him away. "YOU GO FIND ERIC...I WILL...TAKE CARE OF THIS ONE!" Artemis shouted as being dragged closer to Enoch by the strangling chains.
Eric let Ximena take him back to her changing room in the back of the tavern and he sat on the bed in the small cramped room. When Ximena asked why he was there of all places, the former prince just looked away from her glancing towards a mirror across the room from him, but he couldn't see himself in it. So he relented and answered her question.
“I am only passing through.” He said calmly. “I know this place is dangerous, even more dangerous for me because of who i am, and what i am…” He paused then looked up at Ximena after she shouted to the man outside of the room. “I am heading to Regonan’s ridge, three territories from here.” He then said, watching Ximena spin to make her dress twirl around her form. “But i'm not leaving til-!” He stopped when the dancer yelped and he looked down to see the odd rat, standing with its back arched and its red eyes flashing. A summoning.
There were a few other rats in the room but Eric could see other rats coming out from under the bed. He immediately stood with his short sword drawn. The were really only rats, if more vicious, and his sword wouldn't do much when they begin to swarm. But he swung his sword out anyways, making the rats draw back while he moved to Ximena’ side and reaching down to pull her up to her feet. The door was a few steps away from them and Eric sighed heavily, irritated at the situation as he sheathed his sword.
“What are you doing?!” Ximena asked in a hushed and panicked voice and the former Prince stepped closer to her, judging the distance to the door.
“This-” He said suddenly, turning and sweeping her off of her feet bridal style before lunging at the door. He threw his shoulder against it and the door opened with a bang. Quickly he spun around and kicked the door closed, hearing the summoned creatures squeal and hiss, clawing on the other side of the door. The footsteps stopped once Ximena and Eric had burst through the door and slammed closed behind them, but they didn't get to take another step as a voice rang out in the hall that they were cornered in.
“Halt!” The voice almost made Eric jump since it was so close and he recognized the voice. He turned and saw two elven soldiers, dressed in armor similar to what royal housecarls would have, and in front of them with the Light Nation's royal crest engraved into his own armor, Eric saw the summoner that he thought he’d scared off so many years ago in his youth. He narrowed his eyes and let Ximena stand on her own.
“Ryuu.” He growled and the man with raven hair and icey blue eyes smiled mockingly back at him.
“Hello Eric,” He said calmly, beginning to draw a symbol in the air. “Tell me, where are your traveling companions?”
Joseph stare when he saw who Philip had taken down. Enoch was his real name, but after he lost his mind, every one just referred to him as The Creep. He recognized the young man who was only a few years older then him, closer to his brother's age then his own. He had also only seen the creep once and it was when he was being escorted to his trial in front of the queen's court when his mother still sat on the throne in Chamlek. He lay tense and rigid, wondering what the young man was doing there and why he had been watching them.
Artemis was deep in her own story, sorrow waving in her voice when she felt something warm on her hand. Pausing, she looked down to see Joseph's hand wrapped around hers. She gasped slightly and looked back into his eyes, seeing the rare thing she saw in her life. Did he actually...care? He was like...promising her to take her back. At first she had been thinking Eric would help because she helped him in Muerte. But as the time passed, she found him just wasting time and putting them in unnecessary troubles. It was like he was playing with lives. He was not stable...maybe hybrids were all like that.
The demon felt something clench in her chest and she averted her eyes, Joseph being able to see a hint of...blush? on her pale face as she pulled away her hand and cleared her throat awkwardly.
"Geez...what are you...an angel hybrid?" She mumbled to cover for her stupid reaction. Philip didn't catch that scene since he was looking at the doorway. "Who's There?!" He shouted firmly and stood with a hand on his dagger. When he only saw a moving shadow, he rushed to it and aggressively tried to punch down the figure. Philip was fast enough and his fist collided with the spy's shoulder. The spy tried to kick him away but Philip had the upper hand in strength. He caught his leg and shoved him down. The spy was tall and thin but quite a trouble to hold down. Suddenly Philip saw a knife coming to his face but a strong kick to the spy's arm made him drop the weapon. Philip looked up to see Artemis at his side.
The spy winced in pain, holding his arm and this gave Philip opportunity to take off his mask.
Ximena took Eric to the tavern from the back door, where she would get ready for the dance. There were some make up tools scattered in a corner. "I'll just use some cream. Sit on the bed...and watch out for the mice. They bite hard. Harder than Deloriak's." She chuckled and picked the cream going over to Eric and started rubbing some against the sign. "This looks like a warning to me." She boldly looked closely at it. "This is...work of Lilith. Right?" She whispered and spreader the cream over it. then she put some cream all over his place so it would look even. "...There." She leaned back to praise her work and nodded in approval.
Suddenly someone knocked on the door. A rough man's voice came out."Hurry up. Who are you talking to?!" Ximena sighed in annoyance and rolled her eyes. "To myself...I always do that. Come in and I will break your nose. I'm changin' "
"...Lunatic bitch..." The man grumbled but left.
Ximena looked back at Eric and suddenly sat beside him. "Won't you tell me what happened?! Why here...of all places?" She leaned closer to him catiously. "All Demon blood...they will...feel it. A Dark in Light nation is forbidden." She whispered worriedly. "I know people say it's a beautiful place but...it kind of creeps me out..." Ximena hugged herself, standing up. "Like there are eyes watching...everywhere. Where are you going anyway?"
Suddenly she heard the music and sighed again. "If only I had money myself...Sorry!" She took off her scarf and then her pants. She stretched her legs some and twirled a bit in the dress making it jingle. "You...don't go far alright? It will be only five minutes...Ah!" She fell over, holding her toe. It was bleeding. The rat standing there was not a normal rat. Bigger and had shiny red and yellow odd coloured eyes. A summoning. The rats started gathering around the two and they heard steps getting closer.
She was right. Spies were all over this place. Full of rats.
"...No way. The Creep!" Philip gasped seeing the young man's black eyes and his short spiky dark red hair.
"The who?!" Artemis tilted her head.
The Creep was quite known in Chamlek capital. He was the boy with unique blood red hair. His father lost his sanity and massacred his own family. Creep was the one who stabbed his father from behind. He didn't manage to kill him but when his father was being executed by soldiers he was in the first line smiling at the rolling head of his father. From that time he was always in the first line of every execution...he then started torturing and killing cats for pleasure in his house. People burnt down the bloody house when he started doing the same to their chickens. Everyone were freaked out by him. Finally they got him arrested but since he was too young he was only banished from the city. Philip met him once when Creep was held in cell for a short time for a trial. His friends dared him. Creep only said one thing,
"I saw a pretty fairy, hungry for hearts. She says this world is going to end! In blood, gore and screams! Hahahahahaha!" Philip just ran off to change his pants.Insane kids are always scarier.
Joseph was sitting up again, his bandages having been changed not to long ago and his eyes looking bright and calm. He listened to Philip excitedly tell him about his own adventures, there was no doubt that some of the tales were romanticized but his friend had gotten better at telling stories. He glanced over when Artemis entered the room and he smiled a greeting at her before turning his attention back to what Philip was saying. He then looked towards her again as she knelt beside him and his expression was pleasant, while Philip’s was a little untrusting.
Joseph looked down a little when Artemis mentioned how he’d been a few hours earlier. He gritted his teeth, slightly abashed for being the most open minded of the group but knowing because he couldn't speak…. Philip may have thought that he was the weakest for not being able to protect his prince, but Joseph felt even worse for proving time and again that he couldn't protect himself. He looked up again when she mentioned how Eric was and he nodded slightly since that sounded like him.
Eric had always protected him when push came to shove in situations and as the years went on he slowly stopped being there, yet he still remembered how badly Eric would overreact if he caught any wrongdoings to his brother. What he’d did to Sheera wasn't nearly as bad as he could have done had no one tried to stop him.
He turned a little sharply when Philip pushed for Artemis to share her story, but he didn't stop her from speaking once she began. He listened and learned a bit about the place they were trying to send her back to. Muerte. A land in the dark age. When she got to the part about meeting Eric and how he disrupted her world, he felt a hint of annoyance at his brother but he also felt remorse for the things Eric had done so recklessly. At an instance where Artemis paused, looking upset by having to recall some events, Joseph fearlessly reached over to her and took one of her hands in his. This action made her look up at him and his expression was reassuring and determined. They would get her back to her home, that he’d make sure of.
The older former Prince smiled as Ximena looked to him and rushed over instead of turning away. He noticed when she stopped short from hugging him but he just assumed it was because of the mark on his face, which she did notice. But at her first statement, Eric just smiled. “I know, i didn't have much time back then.” He said, almost regretfully. At her offer to cover the mark on his face, Eric thought about insisting that he'd be fine. But that sign was like a branding on him so he agreed to let Xemina try to cover it.
Artemis sighed in relief when he left her. Something in her was scared if he found out her communication with Karim. If he found out, then she would never be able to go back . She sat there thinking for about five or ten minutes before she decided to check on Joseph. If he could help, then she should get close enough to him. That was the reason she made up for herself but she also wanted to make sure he was okay since he was the one who defended her and took her in the group.
The Ba'al found the two in another room where Philip was too busy telling his own tales and the adventures he had on his own. He was too excited about telling them to his friend and barely noticed Artemis entering. When she knelt next to Joseph he looked t her with slightly narrowed eyes. He didn't know this demon well so was slightly cautious around her.
"Hey, you do look better. Hours ago you bled all over my back." Artemis shrugged and gave a small grin. "Your brother is still kind of pissed. He really is in love with you...Brotherhood relationship and crap like that he bragged about."
Philip just stared. This girl talking so weird. "So, Artemis." He was a bit taken back when the demon immeditely turned her head to him. "What is YOUR story?"
"..." Artemis looked down and Philip thought she was refusing to talk but when she started, he stiffened slightly. She told them about her own world and her own adventures and their horror of Eric breaking the boundaries. the tale of how she met Eric and how he disturbed their world...
Ximena was casually walking to the tavern while eating almonds she had bought as snack. She had decided to start again in a new land. It was sad she couldn't take care of Juno but she believed the orphanage was a good thing. Deloriak didn't have one so she had no idea what it was like. She thought since Juno liked to be a Healer, it was the perfect place. The sweet girl didn't insist much on staying with her. She didn't want to be a burden. Ximena sighed and chewed on a piece of almond when she heard a familiar voice calling to her.
Surprised, Ximena turned to see the man she expected the least. "...E-eric?" She ran to him and was about to hug him but remembered he was not used to South Deloriak culture in greeting and he used to be a prince so she let her arms drop and she just looked at his face with a happy expression. "You are okay? Oh, you just left and I couldn't even thank you for saving my life!" She rose up her bandaged arms and smiled widely. Then she noticed the sign on his face and her expression fell. "You...probably shouldn't walk around like this in here. There are spies." She warned him and motioned him to follow her."I can put a slight make up on that to hide it."
Eric didn't catch Artemis’ nervousness, instead he just sighed at her snark, seemingly too tired to make a retort. “We leave at noon tomorrow. Joseph needs to rest and some time to recover.” With that he stood up from where he had been sitting next to the little Ba’al. He was more than willing to distance himself again from Artemis, just pretend she wasn't there, didn't exist. Didn't have a problem that Joseph promised to help her with, that made him promise to help her with…
Eric had no idea where to even start in helping get Artemis back to Muerte. Right now he was just trying to keep them all alive long enough to find some way to do it. Since he knew Karim had broken the link between The Waking World and The Dark, and the only way he knew how to recreate that link was….. It was in a way that he didn't want to risk.
He walked away from the corner where Artemis was and he left the open room, stepping into a hall and passing a doorway before pausing by it. It was the room where Joseph was being kept and he looked into just check on his brother. Philip was of course there with him, the man had hardly left Joseph's side, unless he was pushed and prodded away by the younger man. But Joseph knew his friend meant well and so did Eric, so he didn't disturb them and he went to the back of the Hostel, running through his mind again how he could either get rid of or fix Artemis’ problem.
There was a tavern across the street the back of the hostel and just by chance, Eric happened to look up and see someone walking up the street towards it. He could see the style of dress she was wearing with a scarf around her neck and he could as her long black hair which was pulled back into a neat braid. She wore wrappings along her arms as a part of her outfit and after Eric noticed that, he realized who he was watching. With that realization, on impulse he called out to her.
After a few hours of rest, Joseph was starting feel a lot better. Though he still had aches and dull pains, he was ready to keep going. He knew they had to keep going for almost all of their sakes. Philip loyally stayed by his side while he rested and Joseph began to ask his friend questions. About what had happened, after he left Chamlek. How his life had been and what he’d been thinking when Joseph stumbled onto him in the forests of Deloriak. He didn't want to push it so Joseph kept his motions and expressions vague, making so Philip knew he didn't have to answer any of them that he wasn't comfortable with.
The young former Prince was still grateful to have his childhood friend’s support. It made dealing with his brother easier but it was also helpful since they leaned on each other, and that bond helped both of them with looking out for one another and the rest of their little group.
Artemis was disgusted.
He only searched for a heir of his own. A worthy heir who can keep the bloodline alive. So her father was right. There was a big difference between the Dark and Lilith's only son. Artemis just wondered where his other heirs were. She feltnlikentheybwere most likely in Muerte but at least they didn't make much of a trouble. Unlike Eric...For once, She felt like a hint of pity for the former prince. There was always a struggle between humanity and Dark in him. Humans were the weakest beings but surprisingly with more depth than any other creature. They were unpredictable and the fact that they took over the lands was a proof of their surprises .
[i Maybe I should stop calling him a hybrid. Maybe this hurts him more than I thought.] She thought frankly and suddenly caught him saying...
[b Unable to meet death...]
He had a death wish? Unlike Lilith, he wasn't afraid of reaching an end. So Artemis just convinced herself that maybe after releasing him he would just die or something like that. She needed to go back home and Eric was wasting time, not telling her any of his plan. She doubted if he even knew what to do.
Her eyes snapped open and she met Eric's face. What was he...she stared at him with held breath and waited for him to pull way. She only looked away at his remark."Shut up." The demon mumbled. She of course didn't feel any refreshment from sleeping for three hours. He had kept her in there for three hours and she didn't even notice. This could be a problem.
Quietly she sat up and gave him a brief glance before staring back down at the floor. She didn't like this atmosphere and didn't think Eric just wanted to check on her.
Three hours in hibernatiom.
Artemis stretched her arms some before deciding to break this awkward silence. "So, are we moving or what? I was...just enjoying not seeing your face for some hours and you ruined it." Artemis tried to sound annoyed but she didn't have much of an impression. She was even slightly nervous. To feel pity and hate somebody at the same time...was not a nice experience. Karim kept pressing her and he even predicted more troubles in the future. She also had to find a book by its cover.
And she had to do it all without Eric suspecting anything.
Karim held Artemis’ gaze as she questioned him and when she mention that He was the one who made Eric able to easily banish him, he laughed. He laughed at the audacity of her questions but he could appreciate her bravery in the face of the unknown. His laughter soon faded and his form swept closer to Artemis, all too pleased with her boldness.
“You asked why I married a human but that, i did no such thing. You should know Artemis, Eric even admitted that to you… Hmm, I only chose his mother because…. Well, we were compatible.” He smirked shamelessly at the remark but nevertheless continued. “And I needed a stronger heir. Though… I see now he may be more trouble than his useless blood is worth.” Karim paused again, flicking his tail in thought as he stepped away from Artemis and unfurrowed his wings a little, letting them shift loosely against his back.
“He isn't my first Heir,” The Demon of the Dark then said, “But he is the only one who has the potential to pass down my blood. You may find that funny, but I ask what’s the point of Life and Death if you can't leave anything behind… He’s told me he would never have children, never [i curse] anyone else what the gifts that he’s inherited. Ah, but he is only a man and it will be inevitable that he continues my bloodline, whether he means to or not.” Karim paused again and when he spoke again it was more of a quiet muse then his rasher previous ranting.
“It was not by Nature's design that I was created, yet my purpose is the same as any other…” He then chuckled again and his wide wings began to unfold. “But being here, trapped between life and unable to meet death… It certainly can be quite. [I Frustrating.]”
He glanced towards Artemis again and his demeanor changed suddenly from a dangerous muse to a quick and almost embarrassed calm. “Oh right. I shouldn’t keep you here! Never mind the ramblings of a forgotten soul…” He gave her a sudden smile before she awoke and when she did awake, it was to an unexpected and unwelcomed surprise.
“Artemis.” Eric’s voice shattered any surreal feeling that she may have had and when she opened her eyes, she found him kneeling down, looming over her form and overall cornering her where she had been sleeping. But there was room between them and his tone didn’t seem demanding or accusing. He instead seemed more pernicious, which wasn't good but he wasn't being aggressive.
“I see you're doing well not to sleep in this wretched world of mine.” He remarked, leaning back when Artemis opened her eyes and stared at him. With a heavy breath he sat down and spoke again before she could ask anything. “You’ve been asleep for three hours, though nothing much has happened.” He said this like it was answer the only question she might have. And it did little to answer why he’d come over to try and wake her up now.
Philip was indeed relieved upon seeing his friend awake though he didn't approve of him sitting upright any soon. "Hey hey lay back down.." He noticed Joseph looking at his bandaged arm and he just pulled his arm away slightly. "Uh...it is not that...ow!" Joseph could be really strict sometimes. Philip rubbed his head and sighed with an annoyed face. "Fine fine. I will show them. But, I'm telling you...it is not necessary.Just some burns and That's all..." Mumbling, he left Joseph's side and asked one healer to bring his friend some food on his way.
Artemis sighed tiredly when Karim once again called her. She didn't like going to that world much. It was strange and she felt weak and helpless there. Also she had heard mind is something dangerous...and almost everyone's weakpoint. However, She submitted and found a safe corner to lay on. Once departed from reality, she curiously followed him and looked around in confusion. She looked back at him sharply when he warned her about an upcoming wicked lady. "What? You can see future too?!" She spat at him with irritation, trying to hide her stress.
"Who the hell is she? She decides my destiny? Hah..." But she listened to his advice and rose up an eyebrow. She slowly approached the book, being too close to the All Demon which made her uncomfortable. "What's...this?" She tried to keep her voice strong and confident. "How can possibly a mere book...convince that goody two shoes to do such a thing? I mean...he might be a mouse but he is also..." Embarrassed, She looked away. "Some kind of merciful hero type." She huffed quickly and ran a hand in her white hair before looking back up at Karim. "I have a big questionmark here..."She faced him bravely.
"Why did you even marry a human to go through all these troubles? I mean...you just made a powerful being which could easily banish you." The young demon tilted her head.
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