Joseph looked past Sheena when he noticed Artemis coming back, but he couldn’t warn her in time. The Princess was already digging her claws into the halflings shoulder, more than ready to kill her. Sheera’s screams drew the dog off of him and it lunged at Artemis, knocking her down and giving Sheera a chance to run, but she didn’t get very far. Joseph struggled up to his feet, trying to stand and go over to Artemis to stop her. He staggered after a few steps and the sound of him falling made Artemis look towards him. The young man didn’t know if he could convince her not to kill Sheera, he knew he didn’t have that same effect on everyone that he did on his older sibling. He watched her for a moment with his expression pleading like Sheera’s before he tried to stand up again.
Eric looked down slightly with a tired sigh. “She made a deal with him, I know she did. I don’t know what he promised her but…” He paused as Ximena asked if Karim was like Lilith, and he nodded slightly. “I’ve never heard him singing.. But what he can do, how he manipulates things. If he’s brought back then this whole Nation might as well have fallen.” He shook his head when she asked if Karim would let him be killed. “I don’t know. We weren’t exactly on the best of terms when I last saw him.” Eric sighed again and shook his head. “Again, you shouldn’t worry about what happens to me. When Karim is brought back to this world you’ll have a much better chance of surviving than anyone else in these lands do.” He didn’t say ‘If,’ He had said ‘when.’ He didn’t think that there was any way to stop Artemis from bringing Karim back and now it was only a matter of time.
Sorit was stalking through the halls, huffing and growling to himself when he passed Negomin’s room and he heard her call to him. He hesitated when she said they needed to talk, having never spoken to the dragon girl before. He was slow in following after her and was a little on guard when she closed the door behind them. “What is it?” He asked her, keeping his voice as even and calm as he could. When she asked her question, Sorit’s eyes widened a little and he quickly replied to her. “I can't tell you.” He said in a stern and unnerved tone. “She will tell the rest of us when she is ready.” He added, keeping true to his new loyalties to Dosia.
Sheera was quite sure Joseph's brother had to be somewhere around. The halfling knew they were caught but it seemed like they had escaped. The halfling thought of screaming for help but there was nobody around and that would attract more dangerous creatures. Besides, his brother could arrive any moment. Sheera made steps back, eyes set on Joseph with pure fear. She was just about to run when she felt claws digging into her shoulders. The halfling gasped and looked back to see Artemis' deadly glare. Sheera's heart slammed against her ribcage.
"You again? Nevermind why you are even here...this time you are dead." Artemis was dangerously calm as she dug her claws into her shoulders, drawing out blood.
"NO!" Sheera screamed and struggled to break free. The dog started barking and growling before leaping at Artemis. Artemis cursed and let go of the halfling, the dog slamming the demon down. Sheera crawled backward before starting to run but the dog was thrown aside and Artemis grabbed her leg, slashing her ankle savagely. Sheera screamed again in pain and tried to pull herself away. But when she realised she couldn't escape, she started begging. "NO! please..please..I didn't know you were here! I SWEAR I won't tell anybody about it!" Artemis ignored her pleads and rose up her claw to end it.
"YOU CAN'T SURVIVE IN THIS FOREST BY YOURSELF!"
Ximena gasped, her eyes widening at the name of All Demon. She shook her head in disblief, placing a hand to her chest worriedly. "Wh-why? Why would she do such a thing?! I-if he comes back...had she been planning it this whole time? I don't know about All Demon's intentions but...I don't think a strong demon...will do anything good here.H-he must be something like Lilith, right?" She stared at her bandaged arms. "But if...if...they succeed..." Ximena paused then whispered, "Will your father let you be executed?...I mean...I mean...they won't execute you anymore so...maybe...maybe it is a good thing..." She bit her lips, feeling slightly ashamed that she wished for a disaster but deep in her, she valued Eric's life more than these brutal people.
"Alpha Werewolf?" Negomin called from behind. She had the same innocent expression but her eyes were narrowed with seriousness. The dragon had never talked with Sorit before and it was a first time. Since Lilith incident she had been following her instincts, keeping her distance from any Dark. "We need to talk...alone." She motioned him to follow, leading him to her room. It still had the cute girlish decoration. Maybe she actually liked the dolls? She closed the door behind once he was in.
"What did that vampire tell Dosia?"
Joseph’s calmer expression turned to one of bitterness when Artemis ordered him to stay there until she came back. It wasn’t like he could get very far without her. He settled back before hearing a creature snarl and looking up quickly, he spotted the wolf like beast, prowling towards him with it’s rows of teeth bared. Slowly, Joseph inched towards the entrance of the den, keeping his eye son the beast till it leapt for him and a blur of thick brown and black fur leapt past him, tearing into the smaller beast before howling in victory. It took Joseph a moment to realize that the giant bear dog he was looking at was one he’d seen before and the furry giant turned around, wagging his tail and jumping on him, licking his face to say hello.
This wasn’t the worst thing that could be happening, that wolf like beast could have gotten to him before the bear dog did, but at least the dog was friendly. He was starting to wonder why the dog was out here by himself when he heard Sheera’s voice and a chill when down his spine. It was no help that the bear dog held him still and barked to let her know where they were. He remembered the last time they’d seen each other and he squirmed trying to get back into the den, but before he could he spotted the little halfling and his eyes widened as she stopped suddenly, staring back at him.
Joseph finally pushed the friendly dog away and he glanced anxiously at Sheera, noticing that she was beginning to shake and stutter at the sight of him. Right now he was alone and in all sense of the word, defenceless. The Grey Queen had taken back her charmed ring so he still couldn’t talk to her and the only thing he really could do was try not to do anything that would make Sheera freak out and run off to tell someone where he was. He didn’t know when Artemis would be coming back but right now, trying to stay calm was the best thing he could do.
Eric sighed heavily when he heard the tremble in Ximena’s voice. She was going to start crying, he knew it, with her own belittling and everything that had happened in the past few days. She wasn’t the only one who felt stupid. “Hey, stop that.” He said softly to her, looking up at her. “Thinking that way won’t help anything…” He paused for a moment before deciding to tell her what he knew Artemis was trying to do.
“Listen… Artemis, she can hear him, the All Demon. I don't know how or what he told her, but i think…. I think she’s trying to bring him back to this world. If Joseph is with her then she may be making him help her. I know he wouldn't help her if he knew what she’s trying to do but i don't think that she told him what she’s trying to do.” He was quiet after a few moments and closed his eyes. “If she succeeds, then I wouldn’t worry about what’s going to happen to me.”
The werewolf’s pelt bristled again and he snarled something unintelligible, glaring back over his shoulder towards the vampire. Had he not been as old and as wise as he was, Sorit would have lost it and whirled around to attack Theodore. But he knew that was what Theo wanted. At the last thing Theodore said, he simply shook his head, not having an answer for him. Had the werewolf been in the same spot as Theodore then he might do the same thing to take advantage of the coming events.
Gritting his teeth, Sorit forced himself to turn away from the taunting and stalk away from the Library, waiting till he was outside of the library before changing back into his human form. Though he was sure Theodore was only mocking him. The old Alpha did have feelings for The Kindhearted Lady. He knew now who she reminded him of and he didn't want to admit it to even himself. She reminded him of his old mate. Quickly he walked away from the library and rubbed his face, sighing heavily to himself and deciding he needed some time to cool off.
Artemis found the forest peaceful and bright, letting herself relax and be less alerted. She kept walking further through the forest and didn't slow down until she found a hole in ground like fox den but bigger. The demon smelt it and realised it was abandoned. She first made sure Joseph went in before she followed and found some bones from old hunts. "It smells horrible in here. I guess the animal has died in a corner but at least it covers our smell." She looked at his bandages and looked back at his face. "You need to refresh. I guess there should be water somewhere. Dens are near lakes usually." She crawled out and ordered him strictly. "Don't come out until I come back." Artemis then searched for a lake around.
But in the forest there was an unwelcomed guest, along with a very familiar dog. The dog was just sniffing around for any squirrels or rabbits. The dog then suddenly froze, smelling something slightly familiar. He barked and ran towards the den. He could smell the strong stench of an animal who was probably a danger to his mistress so he had to eliminate it before it attacked.
Back in den, a growl came out. Artemis wasn't familiar with this wild animal's smell and assumed it was just a dead thing. The wolf like beast growled and came out of its hideout, baring his teeth at Joseph...an easy prey. Like sharks, he had several rows of sharp teeth and he was just about to attack when aggressive barks and growls distracted him. A massive killing machine threw itself at the beast and after minutes of fur and blood, the beast fell down with a ripped throat.
The bear killer dog howled in success then noticed Joseph. His wildness immediately turned into a goofy expression and he started licking his face in a friendly way.
"Where are you?! Come out!" A very very unwanted voice came out.
The dog held Joseph in place playfully and barked loudly to call his mistress. The halfling heard him and came closer. "What have you found-Oh." She immediately recognized Joseph's face and suddenly became pale. If he was here it meant that scary brother...she stepped back, stuttering and shivering.
Ximena pressed her lips together as Ryuu apologised again but it all seemed empty to her. Empty and cruel. She just entered the room, not thinking about the circle he scratched and closed the door behind. There Eric was...waiting for his death. She felt her eyes becoming tearful again but she wiped them off and stood beside his bed silently until he suddenly asked her to be by his side. He had never acted like that and even though it was sweet, it hurt her more than anything to see he has just given up because She saw him as an independent man who always found a way.
"O-of course..." Ximena whispered with a shaky tone and sat on the edge of bed, looking sorrowfully down at him. "I...I...am sorry. I never managed to do anything for you...while You did a lot." The dancer felt a tear roll down. "I...I..was so stupid."
Theodore seemed calm but his eyes were following every movements of the werewolf in case he attacked. He merely smirked when he threatened him, enjoying the stress he caused for the alpha. "Oh, dear. I thought wolves bark loud in packs but you have just lost yourself. Perhaps because..." His smirk turned into a bold snicker. "You are in heat? Do you see her as your mate? Ah! You must be confused." He chuckled darkly and made a step back in case Sorit wanted to attack. "Yes...I might be planning on something but you have no choice but to be a part of it. You have brought it on yourselves so why shouldn't I use this chance?"
Joseph didn't want to respond much to what Artemis was saying. He pressed his lips together firmly and though he wasn't glaring anymore, it was clear he still wasn't happy about any of this. He looked up when she reached down to help him up and he closed the book letting her help him up. They headed away from the city and the roads, walking at a steady pace. When Artemis broke the silence, Joseph soundlessly sighed to himself.
Eric would have never helped Artemis, and now and then that thought of why had he crossed Joseph's mind. But he’d helped her because he knew no one else would have. He helped her because he knew she couldn't get back to her own home alone and he knew what it feels like to think she was never going to see her home again.
He nodded to her slightly, hearing the sound of running water to their right. He didn't know what kind of dangers lurked in the forests of the Light races, but he needed water. Water to help take care of his thirst and his blood and dirt caked wounds. Water would help clear his mind and once he could think straight, he could decide whether or not to actually help Artemis.
Ryuu’s ice blue eyes no longer held any soft kindness as he looked at Ximena, but his expression of remorse stayed the same while his voice softened. “You don't need to ask. Do you know… oh never mind.” He stopped himself from talking and led Ximena back to Eric’s room before he stopped and looked towards her, reaching to his side to grab something. “Ximena…. Do know that I am sorry. So, so sorry I couldn't help you more…” He revealed the golden arrow that he had for carving symbols. He leaned down in front of the door and with a quick motion, he scratched out the circle he’d put their earlier.
Ryuu then straightened up and stepped away from Ximena. He didn't give her another glance as he walked away, but his head was tilted downwards and his shoulders slumped. His hands together tightly behind him as he walked. Eric had gotten what he wanted, but it didn't matter now. Soon the Devil would be dead, Ryuu would make sure of that.
Eric was still awake when Ximena entered the room. He looked over towards her, his eyes narrowed like he was expecting someone else but he relaxed a little when he saw it was only her. “...” He looked like he wanted to say something but he didn't any instead looked away with a tired sigh.
“Ximena?” He murmured when she shut the door behind her and moved over to his side. “I know what has happened and I know you are free to go but… Could you stay… At least… For a little while?” He paused with a saddened expression and his golden eyes met hers with pain behind them. “I don't think it’ll take Ryuu very long to find them… But I’d rather not wait alone.” He said, still in a soft sad tone.
Sorit exhaled softly when Dosia said she’d decide later. He was glad she would take some time to think about this before agreeing or disagreeing to it. There was too much at stake to have any doubts about it. He waited till she was gone till he crept closer towards Theodore and revealed himself to the Vampire. A growl rumbled in his throat as he neared the ancient one and his yellowish green eyes remained intently fixed on his natural foe.
“You sly, blood sucking, ghost.” He growled aggressively, prowling around the vampire but keeping a respectable distance between them. “I don't know what you’re doing or what you have planned but I know you aren't doing this out of any generously you might have had.” He bared his fangs, his pelt bristling, both he and Theodore knew that the vampire was a few steps ahead and Sorit was completely in the dark about any plans.
“Just know,” He said with a low snarl, “That if Dosia dies and Deloriak falls because of this, then I will make sure you fall with the rest of us.” His teeth were still bared and Sorit held Theodore’s gaze for a few more moments before turning away and stalking back towards the Library doors.
While Joseph was busy with the book, Artemis was looking around for any possible threat. She knew they couldn't stay there for a long time and she had to find a good hideout as soon as possible. Again she looked down at Joseph, seeing his face thoughtful and assumed the spell must have been complicated. She didn't expect him to trick her. Artemis trusted him more than she should.
"You...understand it right? It is not like any magic I have ever seen." The little Ba'al said with a soft tone. "Look...if you do this for me, everything will be okay." She promised him even though she was not sure herself what would happen if they activate the spell. She looked at the sky and huffed. "Already morning, huh?" She started reaching down for him. "Let's go find somewhere better." This time she didn't carry him and only supported his weight by leaning him to her. She walked him towards south, where the forest had covered its dangers from untrained eyes. Many unfriendly creatures lurked there but Artemis didn't know it. She was used to wild beasts in Muerte but the forest of Light usually used illusions to trap its victims. It was a good defence for the capital from invaders.
As they were walking, suddenly Artemis broke the silence. "Hey, I'm sorry if I hurt you in any way...I don't belong to this world...Not like you understand but here is like a nightmare for me. I am so happy to have you. Not even that hybrid helped me even though I helped him more than he deserved..." Artemis growled at the thought of Eric.
Ximena felt shattered in heart when he told her to just leave. What a fool she was. All those kisses and romances were for nothing. He was never going to do anything for her and he never had real feelings. The Summoner just easily forgot all about her like she was a used toy. He was just playing around the whole time and he had probably done this with many girls before. The dancer gritted her teeth together, her sorrow changing into rage. But she knew better than attacking him.
"Sir..." Yes, no more 'Ryuu'. He was the enemy afterall. Why did she even think otherwise?! "Can I see Eric...for the last time?" Eric was right this whole time. Trusting Ryuu was wrong. He was just another dog to the cruel queen who probably praised her ways of ruling this damned nation.
Dosia was silent for minutes, trying to weigh the risky plan of the vampire. She had never heard of prophecies and was not a fan of war but Deloriak was ruined and she was afraid her choices were gone. She wished she had her advisers but they were gone or dead already so the Kindhearted Lady was all alone. She was not skilled in arts of war but knew that Deloriak was not ready for a war and its consequences but then again if they just used other countries...but what would happen if they lose? All of those united countries would turn on her and Light nation would be attacking too.
Theodore realised the struggle within her and smirked slightly. "My lady, everyone will soon attack this nation the moment all of the prophecies come true. We only want to take the lead and take some benefits."
"We will decide it after discussing with others." Dosia finally answered and turned away, going back to her chambers.
When Artemis noticed that he was bleeding again and moved forwards to take care of the wound herself, Joseph instinctively moved back. He didn’t want her any where near the stitches since what she’d said made him think she might just pull them out, but all she did was wrap his side with the thicker cloth from her dress. He still wasn’t at all comfortable with the situation and when she pulled out the book, that was looking much worse for wears from the last time he saw it, he scowled a little at her.
Did she really expect him to help her? Well it wasn’t like he exactly had a choice but still, he didn’t know why she couldn’t have waited a little longer. He returned her glare, taking the book from her and crossing his legs, looking down at it with an unamused expression as he noticed a few rips in the pages from when she’d thrown it.
The spell, though simple to set up, was complete to perform, several things had to be exact in order for it to work. He flipped a few pages back, reading more thoroughly now that he had time to and he caught a few words that made him stop and reread.
“[i ... The performance will be an act of rebirth, not recreation. The subject will be brought back to life though they are not dead, death in the balance is impossible. The banishment will be undone through this with time and aging becoming apparent again them same as it was before the imprisonment…]”
Joseph stared down at the page, his mind working till he realized that this spell, it wouldn’t send Artemis back to Muerte. The spell was to bring someone, or something, back to this world. He wondered if Artemis knew that or if this was what she’d planned all along. Joseph had no idea that the All Demon was speaking to her in her mind and he didn’t know what would happen if they actually performed the spell. He stalled some more by turning a few more pages and skimming while he tried to think of a way to not perform the spell correctly.
Ryuu heard running footsteps and paused, listened till he also heard soft crying between frantic breaths. He hurried his steps and caught Ximena nearly rushing past him as she ran blindly, her tears already running down her face and her sad eyes widening when she saw him. She began crying even more and grabbed onto his leg, sobbing unintelligible words. He knew that she’d heard now, heard that both she and Philip were free to go and that Joseph was to go on trial and the others would be executed. Feeling his guilt beginning to push him as Ximena cried more and more, the Summoner knelt down and pulled himself away from her. She reached for him again and he took her hands, trapping them against her chest as his other arm wrapped around her and he held her close, wordlessly trying to sooth her with just his touch and presence.
“Ximena,” He finally said softly, rubbing her back and stroking her hair as she continued to shake and cry. “Shh, shh… I’m sorry, I know…” He whispered still holding her close and murmuring his apologies till her crying had lessened into sniffles and soft whimpers. “You should leave.” He then suddenly said. “You and Philip both.” He continued, leaning back from her and taking his arms away from her form, no longer holding her. “There is nothing more for you here,” He said standing, his voice shallow as he looked at her but purposefully made sure that he didn’t meet her saddened eyes or look at her tear stained face. “And there is nothing more I can do for you… I’m sorry.”
Sorit’s ears perked up as he listened. Play a part in the Light Nation’s downfall? He knew to the dark that sounded like a pleasing idea, but there was much to lose if it backfired. He didn’t dare get up and interfer, not yet. He wanted to hear where Dosia stood on this and if she would agree to taking advantage of the disasters that were weakening the nation.
Artemis did not stop running until she made sure they were far enough from the city. Finally she gave herself some rest at a tree and carefully set Joseph down leaning to the tree. "Geez, we are finally out." The little Ba'al was panting out of exhaustion as she rubbed her back slightly. She was strong yes but Joseph was a grown man and it wasn't very easy carrying him and run. She has no regret or sense of guilt, believing that what she did was totally fine and reasonable so when Artemis saw his expression she looked confused. "What the hell is wrong with you? You love being locked up? Or you preferred to be saved by your brother who has already given up his life?!" She half shouted at him angrily before she smelt blood and saw the wound on his side opened. "Ah, you are in pain. That's why!" She knelt down beside him. "Don't worry. I will find a healer who really can fix you up. I bet those in the castle Didn't even want to try. Why are your stitches like that?! So weak and delicate..." She didn't know about stitches at all since she had never needed one. The demon cut the stained bandage with her claw and ripped off a piece of her gown then pressed it firmly against the wound. She used another piece of her dress to tightly bandage it. "There. This will do for a while." She grinned and pulled out the damned book again and opened the circle page. "Once we complete this...everything will be over. Don't give me that look..." Artemis suddenly glared at Joseph. "None of you were going to help me anyway. You think I like hanging around with humans like you or be dragged around with those painful demon chains like a trapped animal?! NO. That crazy queen was sure going to kill me someday and I have not given up on my life like YOU." Artemis stood up again and handed him the book. "The sooner you help, the sooner You get rid of me."
"We what?!" Philip stared at the soldier sent to them in disblief when he said they were both free to go. Why all of sudden?" Ximena smiled softly, simply thinking it was Ryuu's doing and they were [b all] free. "Well...I have to prepare Joseph then.." Philip mumbled and tried to step past the soldier but was stopped. Frowning he looked at the stern face of the guard.
"Joseph is no more in the castle...so is the female demon. His trial is yet to be set..after he is captured." Those words were liked daggers in the two. Especially Philip who just lost his color and his body started shaking. "Wh-what?! What?! WHERE IS JOSEPH?!"
"I said, he has escaped." The soldier started leaving but was grabbed by Philip who shook him. "What Did You Do To Joseph?! He won't escape like that! And what do you mean by trial?!" The poor former servant shouted in his face bit was roughly shoved back. Ximena whined in fear and shock.
"He and Artemis will be executed once Artemis is found."
Ximena felt the world spinning around her head as she fell on her knees and wished it was all a nightmare. Suddenly she got on her feet and ran. Ran towards Ryuu's chamber. Her ears were ringing and her face was covered with cold sweats. Tears rolled down her face and she barely could see where she was going but kept running running and running until she felt something firm stopping her and she fell backward, looking up. Once she recognised it was Ryuu, Ximena started crying bitterly and grabbed his leg like a peasant begging for mercy from her Lord...which was not from truth.
She couldn't even talk...but didn't let go of him and cried out some words among her tears like...
Theodore ignored the presence of the wolf because he wasn't planning to do anything yet. "My queen...You know recently a plague has happened all of sudden at the border cities of Light nation...It is a disaster but not the last Soon, more things will happen. The time of Light nation is over. Like prophecies say...This strong nation will be weakened and tortured by 'Mother of Nature' until the ' Mother of Light is forgiven for her crimes. It sounds like a mere legend but when Lilith actually attacked and almost came to our world,...I guess we can trust this prophecy too. My queen.." Suddenly Theodore grinned, showing his fangs glowing in shadows. "We can be a part of torture upon this falling nation."
Dosia was wordless...this sounded way too cruel and saddening yet way satisfying. If she could take some of their resources...Deloriak would be revived. Also, as a Dark it was a pleasure to defeat the Light races.
Joseph still had his eyes closed but opened them when Artemis forced him to stand, while they were still riding the horse. Was she crazy?! He saw where they were headed and before the horse could slow down at the wall, Artemis jumped, grabbing onto the edge of the wall and pulling herself and Joseph up and over it. He hadn’t thought his night could get any worse now being on the run, again, but to add to it, when they finally got to the outskirts of the city, he found one of the cuts across his side was now bleeding since being pulled over the wall hadn’t been a graceful act. His chest ached with how hard his heart was pounding and he felt light headed from the shock. What would happen to the others? Had Artemis gotten them out too or had she just forced him to abandon them? Joseph didn't know, but now he knew why Eric hadn't wanted to help Artemis.
Eric was shifting in pain, trying to get comfortable so he could sleep. Just as he was beginning to get comfortable the door to his room opened again and he groaned quietly again, one for being bothered again and two when he saw who it was bothering him. The damned Summoner stepped into his room and the look he had matched Eric’s own annoyed look. But the way the Summoner carried himself now, both men knew he had the upper hand here. “What do you want?” Eric growled, glaring towards Ryuu and the Summoner folded his hands behind him, looking at the wounded Devil with his icy eyes.
“I’m here to give you your death sentence.” He said calmly and Eric scold before letting out a short harsh sound.
“Don’t make me laugh.” He snapped at Ryuu and shook his head. “I already know that your Queen is going to kill me...”
“Yes.” Ryuu agreed after a slight pause. “She will kill you and Artemis and probably your brother too, when I find them that is.”
“What do you mean?” Eric asked, frowning again and Ryuu lazily looked away.
“Both Artemis and Joseph are gone. My Queen’s ordered me to go find them and depending on when I do, her patience will probably have already run out and your brother will be executed along side both you and that Ba’al.” At this Eric bared his teeth and shook his head again.
“No… If we’re all just going to die-”
“Ximena and Philip aren’t going to die.” The Summoner cut him off and he looked back as Eric just stared at him. “They are both free to go and leave the castle as we speak, but they will be watched and if they make any attempt to change your fate then they too will be executed.” Ryuu was quiet for a moment before sighing to himself and turning away from Eric. “Just hope for your brother’s sake that I find them soon. No one will cry for your death but he has always just lived in your shadow. An execution with monsters isn’t what he deserves.” With that last remark, Ryuu turned away and walked back out of the room, leaving Eric to get ready to leave and find Joseph and Artemis.
As Theodore approached Dosia, it wasn’t hard to tell her lap dog, Sorit was nearby. Maybe he was in the library too or at least somewhere close but his presence was obvious and he listened just out of sight, stalking like he had with the vampire’s first encounter. He didn’t know what Theodore could have found but he was prepared to act in case this meeting went bad in any way.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit!" Artemis cursed, knowing that the soldiers were still after them. She had Joseph in front of her so that he wouldn't jump off the steed. She made him bent slightly by pushing his back so that she would have a view of the front. The little Ba'al looked back sharply and growled. Staying in one road wasn't going to help her so she swiftly pulled on the reins and made the protesting horse turn away and went right through the city. People screamed and jumped away from the horses as Artemis rode through the bazaar. The good thing was that it was a narrow way and the soldiers couldn't circle her.
But unfortunately she realised that it was a dead end. "Oh, crap!" Artemis grabbed on Joseph's shoulders and pulled him up with herself, making him stand like her. She wrapped an arm around his waist and waited till they neared the short wall. Then she jumped with him and held on the edge of the wall. Gritting her teeth, She pulled them both up and landed on the other side of the wall. She pulled Joseph up on her back and carried him as running into the maze of the city.
Philip and Ximena ran through the hallways and they reached the room Ximena was in earlier shutting the door behind. They couldn't even guess what had happened while they were with Eric and that they both were free while Eric was going to die. Philip was pacing in front of the door impatiently since he wanted to go check on Joseph sooner and tell him about his brother. Ximena sat down on bed, looking down. Hours ago, she was comfortable in Ryuu's arms and now she was disgusted of herself. Eric had told her earlier not to trust him but she just let herself be comfortable and a 'good girl' for the Summoner. Ximena felt like slapping herself. Why on earth she searched for romance in a castle she as trapped in? Days ago he arrested her just for tricking him and she started thinking that the only reason he was suddenly so sweet because she was trapped...Afterall...he approached her by guaranteeing that if she accepted him, he would help her friends but nothing had happened. He kept apologizing and she kept running back to him. The dancer held her head and sighed. He didn't even let her see Eric again.
Dosia was on her way to meet Theodore and she informed Sorit about it as promised. It had been so long since she stepped into library. Actually, nobody dared to. It was a safe den for the vampires to do whatever they wanted in it. She hesitated before opening the doors and stepped in. The library was clean and untouched, unlike the other parts of her castle. She cleared her throat and waited for the vampire to show up She knew he had already sensed her presence.
"My queen, such a pleasant surprise." Theodore greeted her from a dark corner and stepped closer. "I assume you have come for my suggestion?"
Joseph was about to protest, well as much as he could physically protest, before Artemis grabbed him and tossed him onto a cart. He gritted his teeth as he rolled on the empty cart, the hard worn wood sending sharp jabs of pain through his back. He froze from pushing himself back up when they heard the running footsteps and seeing Artemis cutting loose one of the horses, Joseph couldn’t make himself jump up and pull away from her as she grabbed him again. The sharp movement of the steeds galloping didn’t help at all and sitting up quickly, the former prince glanced behind him to see the silhouettes of the soldiers far down the road behind them. This wasn’t good. Swallowing, he looked forwards again and closed his eyes tightly, trying not to shake as his mind scrambled to find a way to escape from Artemis.
Eric tsked at Philips words and he didn’t even look towards the tray when Ximena offered to help him eat. He sighed softly hearing her voice crack with her tears, he let her take his hand and he looked over towards her with a softer gaze then he’d originally had. “Of course,” He promised when she asked him to heal well. All three of them looked up when the sound of the rushing guards echoed through the halls and he turned his face with indifference at Ximena’s kiss. Not that it wasn’t pleasant, but with the pain and the weariness and the slight betrayal he felt from Artemis attacking him, it was far from the time for any sort of passion from the former Prince.
Valerie was awoken by a panicking Housecarl since both the injured prince and one of the demons were gone, Monsters were now roaming the dungeons and all of her ministers, who also were her advisers, were gone. Also Ryuu wanted to speak with her about these same things. She yawned and stood and after she was given time to dress and wake up a little more, she calmly left her chambers and met Ryuu in the throne room. His wrists were shredded and torn with spots of red staining through the tight wrappings, but finding that Artemis had escaped again, made his blood run cold. He wasn’t quite ready to face the Grey Queen after the last time she berated him, and now with this mistake hanging over him, it was like a guillotine above his neck.
“So Artemis has escaped and the dungeons are overrun by monsters.” She started.
“And Joseph is missing?”
“Yes.” Ryuu’s voice lowered and became softer as he answered.
“Eric is injured, the prince’s servant started a fight in one of the bath chambers, and the only one who isn’t causing any problems is that dancer you fancy.” Ryuu stiffened at this last remark and reluctantly he nodded. He didn’t know that Valerie had found out he was falling for Ximena, but she didn’t seem to press the matter, only mention it.
“I see… Then here are my orders.” She began, making Ryuu look up towards her wearily. “You are to go out and find Artemis. Bring her back alive because I have a way which I want to dispose of her. Also inform my captain to send a patrol to find Joseph. He is injured so he couldn’t have gotten far. Their servant… Philip. Philip and Ximena are both free to leave the castle when they wish. Once Joseph is found, he will be held on trial in my court for bringing demons to the Light Nation. And when you’ve found Artemis, both she and Eric will be executed the eve of her arrive back.”
The Grey Queen had finally decided that the demon’s weren’t worth the trouble to keep alive. Having royal blood or not, she wouldn’t honor any pleads from them and their death sentence will be waiting once Ryuu brought Artemis back.
This time luck was with Ryuu and he was able to get out of the hellhole. The soldiers were relieved seeing the Summoner alive and one piece. They were confused why those monsters had attacked though. They had strong mental connection with Johar and would hate anyone the minister wished dead. They didn't think much about that and went back to their patrols before one soldier passed Joseph's room and when he peered in, he found it empty. He alarmed the other soldiers and once again they were restless, looking for the wounded prisoner. The first thing they assumed was that Philip had taken him and when they couldn't find the former servant in his own room, they became certain about that and started searching all over the castle.
Artemis had managed to jump down the wall but she was far from free yet. The Ba'al looked around in hurry to find a wagon to hide in and when she did, she approached it cautiously before feeling Joseph push at her. Surprised, Artemis dropped Joseph and stared at him in disbelief. "Are you nuts?! We are finally getting out of here and I can do that damned spell and get over with it." She saw that look in his eyes and gritted her teeth aggessively. "You know what?! I don't care what you want. I have abducted you!" She forcefully picked him up again to shove him in the wagon but then she heard horses approaching and realised it was late for hiding. They had managed to take care of monsters sooner than what she expected. Growling, she free one of the horses from the wagon with her claw and threw Joseph over it, hopping on the steed then took off.
"What do you expect, she is a demon like you after all. Animals always get wilder when kept in cages."
"Stop it! Artemis is not an animal. Maybe she was just too angry or desperate." Ximena scolded Philip then looked back at Eric with worried eyes. "I'm sorry for not visiting you more often. They don't let us. Here...let me help you eat your food..." Shakily she picked up the tray and whined at the plate. "What? They are barely feeding you..." The dancer felt tears in her eyes.
"E-eric...I...I'm sorry." She whispered. "I was acting like a bitch this whole time...I'm sorry." She held his hand in hers gently. "Just get well soon, okay?"
Philip was looking out after he heard rushed footsteps. "Ximena...we should go hurry up!"
The soldiers wanted to check on Eric to make sure he was still there. Ximena gasped and looked at the doorway before looking back at Eric. "I...I will come back." She planted a kiss on his cheek before running out after Philip.
Ryuu noticed that there were more and more Monsters crawling from the shadows, accepting their new freedom and sensing their master’s unwanted pest in the dungeon. An easy target to eliminate. “Get everyone out of the Dungeons!” He shouted to a nearby guard that had just pissed a monster off by jabbing it’s side with his spear. “What about you?!” He asked, a few more guards showing up to push the monsters back while the monsters also began to congregate to charge. “Don’t worry, I’ll follow you out soon. Now Go!”
He ordered and the guards nodded, immediately heading back and the monsters took the opportunity to charge forwards. Ryuu braced himself, holding the magic weapon before swinging it upwards at the last second and a blinding light flooded the hall. He heard a few shrieks and snarls from the monsters but he didn’t wait to see if any turned on each other in confusion. He instead turned around and took off towards the exit, hoping to reach it before any of the monsters got back onto his trail. If Johar was still here then this wouldn’t be happening, but the Master of Monsters had left something in the castle so the Monsters wouldn’t go any farther then the dungeons.
Joseph was fast asleep before Artemis burst into his room and jarred him awake. He didn’t get a moment to realize what she was doing before she pulled him from the bed and carried him into the hall. He of course couldn’t tell her to stop or ask what she was doing. His eyes widened as she turned sharply into a room and made for the window and before he knew it, glass was shattering and they were out in the garden. He was too stunned to stop her from carrying her over the garden wall and out into the capital city but after he got over being shocked, he finally firmly, pushed back back from her and stared at her with wide green, and very unhappy eyes. He wasn’t sad or scared or depressed or in pain or anything like that. Joseph was just upset, confused, and a ticked off that she’d done that.
Eric looked over with only his golden eyes as a healer crept into the room and when he turned his head slightly to look at them, they almost dropped the tray and ran out of the room, slamming the door shut. He snorted a little and closed his eyes again before someone else opened it and he heard Philip’s aggressive tone spitting at him. “Hello to you too.” He growled back in a tired pained tone and he opened his eyes as Ximena rushed over to hug him. “No, Ximena don’t Rrrmm…” He grumbled quietly as she quickly apologized and he shook his head. “Artemis. I don’t know why she stabbed me. She said she wanted to spar and after that…” He trailed off and grimace in pain, shaking his head again.
Artemis was just cursimg herself for being caught again. At least she injured his wrists. Sighing she sat down and rubbed her neck which was still aching from the chain."Well...I tried my best." She shrugged and hoped the monsters would eat him up. For whatever reason they were chasing him. She stared at the door out of boredom and saw soldiers running past the cell to aid Ryuu. She grinned slightly, finding it funny. But then she noticed the door shaking at the running steps. Artemis tilted her head and stood up, observing the door.
It was not locked.
Her eyes widened and she realised her effort was indeed rewarded. She pushed the door opened and stepped outside. The little Ba'al heard a gasp and looked at a soldier who had seen her. She didn't hesitate and with a hard kick she sent him sleeping. Quickly the demon pulled the unconscious soldier into the cell then started taking off his clothes.
Soon, a soldier ran out of the cell and shut the door behind. She passed the other soldiers, telling them that she is going to call backup since there are too many monsters down there.
Artemis cheered internally once she was out of the dungeon. She had to leave immediately but then again she needed Joseph...She tried to remember the corridors and ran towards the room Joseph was kept. There were some soldiers there. "What are you waiting for? Ryuu ordered all of the guards to go to the dungeon. He is being chased by monsters! Hurry up!" The soldiers were confused but hurried off to aid the Summoner.
The Ba'al entered the room and found Joseph on bed. " Time to go!" She said and picked Joseph up carelessly, carrying him out and running to freedom. The good thing was most of the guards were busy with the dungeon. But there were still guards that made her run into a random room. A maid was cleaning there and she screamed when the demon shoved her out of the way and jumped through window holding her armored arm over Joseph's head protectively.They landed in the garden and she went through the bushes towards the walls which were covered with vines.
Philip and Ximena were far from the commotion. Philip looked in the hallway impatiently, wondering if he could go back to Joseph by himself since not a single soldier was there to take him. He heard some steps and turned his head, seeing Penelope coming to them. She didn't know what was happening in the dungeon and just wanted to see Ryuu since she heard nothing in the quarters she had been roaming. She stood and asked Philip curiously. "Is mister Ryuu here?" At Philip's shake of head she rose up her eyebrow. Suddenly Ximena stepped in front of Penelope. "Do you know where Eric is?"
"Of course. In isolation roo_"
"take me there!"
"Ryuu allowed me."
"Is that so? Fine then..." Penelope shrugged and led Ximena and Philip who was just curious and shocked that Ximena lied easily to the isolation room. The door was locked and they didn't notice the circle. Not like it affected them anyway. The nymph left them there to find Ryuu. Ximena pushed on the door and knocked on it. "Eric?" She called nervously but Philip pulled her away and hid behind a wall with her. He covered Ximena's mouth when she wanted to protest and watched a healer with a small amount of food in his hands unlocking the door and going in with fear. He put the tray down next to the bed and almost ran out of the room but Philip just knocked him out at the doorway and pulled the body in the room, closing the door once Ximena came in too.
"WHAT THE HELL?!" Ximena shouted at the calm Philip.
"Shut up. You wanted to see Eric...here he is. Why didn't you die, jerk?" Philip turned to Eric with a glare. Ximena ran to the former prince and hugged him before noticing how bad the wound was. "Oh, sorry! Are you okay?! What happened?!"
“...!” Ryuu wasn’t expecting Artemis to attack him and before he could defend himself, she’d wrenched his arms back and pressed her knee into his back, pushing him forwards towards the bars then yanking him back as the monster growled and swiped at him. With her claws digging into his wrists, he didn’t struggle much trying to keep still as she taunted him. He’d rather take the heat then have her dig any deeper with her claws and maybe mangle his wrists, ruining his hands. “Oh no, No, no, no, no, No! Don’t You Dare!” He snapped, pushing back against Artemis as she shoved him closer towards the monster, unintentional taunting it and making it grow more restless that it couldn’t get to it’s prey. “You have No Idea what will happen if You get me Killed this Wa-!” He cut his sentence off with a yell as the monster rammed open the jammed cell door and charged for him.
In reaction to this, the Ba’al jumped aside, tugging him along with her before bolting out of the cell and turning around, still holding him in front of her. He knew running like this would get both of them killed, and being more worried about himself then Artemis, his first thoughts were to get away from her. When she slowed, Ryuu, stepped one foot back, hooking behind one of Artemis’ legs and tripping her with a his weight leaning back on her. They both fell and he was able to scramble to his feet, scurrying away from her fast as his hands began to work fast. He revealed the arrow again and began rapidly creating symbols, his mind spinning as fast as his hands could move. He jumped when he heard another monster howl as it caught his scent and he reached into of the three circles he’d created, pulling out a shimmering sword, created from his magic, the second circle was the demon chains and it shot down into the floor before reappearing and catching Artemis by her neck. It wasn’t as painful as the first time she’d been caught, but this one was pulled tart, keeping her down.
A monster rounded the corner and Ryuu rushed back over to her, stepping past her form to get between her and the monster. He was worried about himself but he didn’t want to be the one responsible for getting Artemis killed and not trying to do anything. He honestly looked ridiculous, wielding the powerful weapon while also in full panic mode. He noticed one of the cells they were near had it’s door open and with one hand he waved one hand towards it. That motion made Artemis feel like she’d just been thrown as the chain yanked her so suddenly into the cell and Ryuu followed quickly after her, slamming the cell door shut and turning tail, running back down the hall with the Monster snapping at his heels. The chain disappeared and what the Summoner hadn’t noticed was that the cell door hadn’t latched shut.
Up above the dungeons, away from the crazy commotion, Eric began to stir and the first thing that greeted him was the intense pain in his abdomen. “Argh… F*ck!” He coughed, holding his middle and trying to sit up with a groan. The pain lessened a little as he took deeper breaths but when he swung his legs off of the bed to stand, it came back with full force. He felt like he’d just been gutted instead of stabbed and he collapsed back down onto the bed with another string of curses and more groaning. The condition Artemis had left him in meant he wouldn’t be able to stop her from bringing Karim back, whether he wanted to or not.
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