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.
Artemis was scared this time. Was it just her or Karim's presence just got stronger and more intimidating every time she entered this world? She stared up at the taller demon, not daring to say another word since her instincts told her he had the upper hand. She nodded at his demand with dry mouth, forgetting all about her questions about the spell. Once she was back to the real world, the first one she met wasn't a dungeon mouse or even a guard. It was the damned Summoner himself.
what was he trying to do?! Use those painful chains again?! Or...had he found out about the book? The Ba'al watched him run and noticed the door was locked. He was trapped in a lion cage. The demon immediately jumped on her feet and tried to catch him from behind. She wasn't sure what she was going to do with him...maybe tearing up his arms? Or maybe he had some use for her? She could just break some of his bones to cripple him then think about that. Though she doubted he was a good hostage.
Before she could lay a claw on him, something massive and covered with straightened fur slammed against the bars making Ryuu jump back and the key broke in the lock. He was now inches away from her. The presence of the monster shocked Artemis. At first she thought it was his summoning but then the way it stared at Ryuu told her otherwise.
The demon didn't lose this chance and went for his troublesome hands. She didn't want him to draw circled anymore. Her claws dug into his wrists as she pulled his arms back roughly, slamming her knee against his back. "Hey hey now. Troubled, aren't you?" She whispered in his ear. "I am a kind animal lover. Maybe I should just offer this fireball a piece of you? Maybe your hands, huh?!" She pulled the arms more. The monster was getting restless, beating against the bars.
"Oh, he is coming. You know ..I am kind of done with my life but I Don't know about you!" She bluffed and pushed him slightly towards the monster. "Oh, yes a meat shield. I like the idea..." She dug her knee into his back. "I will give you to this cutie there...and when he is busy munching on your bones...I can escape~ Ohhh...then who will kiss the queen's ass I wonder?!" Artemis growled but pulled him back when the monster clawed at them.
"You know what? I might keep you for a while." The Ba'al grinned and the monster finally broke in. It leaped at them but Artemis jumped away, dragging Ryuu along with her claws digging into his wrists more. She managed to circle the monster and get out of her cell. Artemis ran backward, holding Ryuu in front of her to lure the monster out.
The guards ran down after hearing the commotion but the monster caught them off guard and it threw them away to go after Ryuu. Artemis grinned at that, feeling other presences...other monsters wanted Ryuu too. What had he done?! She wondered but kept dragging him with her, hoping for an escape.
Karim’s eyes stayed fixed on her and his mused expression didn’t change, he only leaned towards her slightly before his form swept forwards and he stopped in front of Artemis, looming over her with his wings open wide. “This Is No Prank.” He growled, almost like she’d insulted him by suggesting it was. “After all I am here, aren’t I? And you are there, trapped in that pathetic world.” He slowly closed his wings and stood tall, leering down at her not stepping back. His demeanor was still slightly aggressive and he looked down at her, speaking with an impatient tone. “Now you have the spell and Joseph has already agreed to help you. So what is it you think you have to do now?” He asked, like it was a simple, obvious answer. “All you have to do,” He said, lifting his hand up in that all too familiar wave. “Is find a place to perform the spell.” And with that she was tossed back into reality, waking with another presence in her cell.
Ryuu, despite all better judgement on his part, had unlocked the door to her cell when she still wasn’t responding and he closed the door behind him, knowing that if this was a trap, he’d rather be caged in there with her then give her an easy way out. He cautiously approached her form and hesitantly touched her shoulder. Still no response. “H-hey… I swear… If you’re dead..” He began, not knowing what he’d do if she was dead. He pulled on her shoulder to roll her over and that’s when she began to stir, her slow breathing more evident now as she let out a sharp breath and opened her eyes. She was awake. Awake and very much alive.
The Summoner was on his feet once she began to stir and he whirled around, rushing to the cell door to unlock it and get out before she could catch him. But the cell wasn’t very big, and trying to unlock the door from the inside wasn’t a very easy task. Not to mention he hadn’t noticed the lurking shadows outside of the cell. Johar’s monsters. Without the Master of Monsters there to keep them under control, they could roam freely in the dark dungeons. They could sense the unwanted summoner’s presence and it sent the monsters into a frenzy to find and get rid of him. Ryuu thought he felt the cell door unlatch but before he could push it open, he caught sight of some movement and yanked himself back, the key snapping in the lock as he jumped back from the door. A monster had rushed forwards and almost caught his hand reaching through the bars, it’s gleaming dark eyes fixed on him and a growl rumbling in it’s throat.
“Shit…” He muttered, seeing that the key had broke and his concern was no longer on Artemis, whose cell he was still in.
Ximena's expression fell and she looked like she wanted to insist but Ryuu claimed that he had to take care of something and left her with Philip who had not made a single move from beside the bed. Ximena frowned slightly after Ryuu then sighed and walked back in, closing the door behind. Philip snapped out of his thoughts at the click of the door and approached the window, pulling away the curtains to make himself busy watching outside. The silence between them was suffocating and Ximena felt awkward only asking simple questions about Joseph's questions which were answered in the shortest and simplest way. The dancer didn't know what was wrong with him but she wasn't surprised at all. They were stuck here after all.
[b Yet you enjoyed your time here.]
The guilt came back to her and she sat down on bed, hugging herself. Philip finally looked over at her, frowning at the expression she made. He thought Ryuu was forcing himself on her but he didn't know if he could do anything about it since Ximena kept running back to him for some strange reasons.
Artemis was breathing very slowly, almost like she was dead. She didn't Ryuu to check on her and usually guards wouldn't care what she was doing as long as she wasn't making any trouble.
Artemis looked around, feeling at home. She smiled a bit at the familiar scene, even remembering her small journey with Eric. Her eyes caught the sight of Karim and this brought her back to reality. This scene was a mere illusion. Artemis approached the All Demon with a determined face and stood with a distance. She rose up an eyebrow when he said she looked lost and was about to argue when she felt his tail snake around her. The little Ba'al's body stifffened and she scowled. Artemis flexed her claws, thinking of cutting his tail off but she didn't dare to do anything. This was his world and he could keep her there forever if she pissed him off so instead she gritted her teeth. "That spell...what the hell is that. I am not sure even that boy Joseph can do that. Are you sure it is not some sort of prank?" She growled slightly, "I don't even know what are the consquences of it?"
Ryuu looked up when Ximena opened the door and he remained relaxed towards her softened demeanor. “Not right now Ximena.” He said, looking down at her. “I doubt the healers want anyone going near him till he’s up and walking…” A thought made Ryuu trail off and he half turned away like he was going to leave before stopping himself and he looked back towards Ximena. “I’ll leave you and Philip to talk,” He said a bit distantly. “There’s something I… I need to check up on.” And he turned away from her, walking back down the hall with a swift yet subtle pace. He didn't know how bad Eric’s injury was and if he wasn't fed then he might end up dying from the wound just not healing. Not that he’d really mind Eric dying, but Valerie would have to understand that he’d need nourishment to have the energy to heal.
Ryuu found where the Devil was being kept and he ordered that when he awoke he was to be fed, fed very little but fed nevertheless. When they asked about him using the Demon Chains to keep Eric under control, The summoner sighed and shook his head. “Using the chains would be a quicker way to kill him than anything else. If you are so worried about him being up here then I’ll leave a circle here at the door. It’ll activate if any demonic source passes over it.” The healers seemed more at ease at this and he sat down on the floor, pulling out a thin golden arrow like tool before lightly etching symbols into the floor in front of the doorway. He was busy with his work when a Housecarl cleared their throat and caught his attention. He looked up to see The Queen was walking down the hall to him and he quickly stood to bow to her.
“My Queen.” He greeted her and kissed her hand before straightening up and proceeding to sit back down.
“Is that really necessary?” She asked, looking down at the symbols and Ryuu exhaled with a small faked smile.
“No, but the Healers would feel better if I did something to protect them…” He paused as she nodded, he then decided to risk his influence with Valerie and he began to speak. “Erm, my Queen. The dancer you’ve healed is well and none of the other prisoners have caused much trouble… Well besides the demons.” He added the last part quickly and looked back up at her. “I would like to request that the other’s be let go.” He said and she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Explain your reasoning.” She said simply and he swallowed.
“It’s just… They are human, only three humans. Without any association with the demons, they’d be no threat to the Light Nation.”
“Well what do you suggest?” Valerie asked in a sharp tone. “We let them leave out of the front gates? Maybe apologize for the misunderstanding and provide them with supplies to send them on their way?” He hesitated at her sarcastic tone and shook his head.
“No… No nothing like that my Queen.” He said passively. “I would suggest an escort, taking them away from the territories and leaving them in noman's land.” Ryuu saw his Queen's hesitation and he bowed his head when she began to turn away, a pondering look on her face.
“I will consider that…” She began, waving a hane dismissively towards him before turning away. “When you are done here go check on the other demon and make sure she hasn't harmed anyone else.” Ryuu nodded again and watched Valerie leave before finishing up and getting to his feet. He made his way back down to the dungeons folding his hands behind his back and speaking out loud when he reached the cell Artemis was in. “I have a few questions for you…” He began, looking into the cell before pausing and seeing her just laying still on the ground.
“Hello?” He asked and he stepped close to the bars, peering in at her and trying to see if she was moving at all. But she wasn't.
It took a minutes for Artemis to feel herself fall onto the familiar strangeness of the limbo that held Karim. Her surroundings had changed and now she was on a cliff side with a dark shadowing forest all around her, the night sky dark and heavy over her. It was a place she’d seen before, the same place where she’d hidden with Eric after escaping from her stepmother in the castle… Back in Muerte. But Karim was standing a few feet away so she knew she wasn't in Muerte yet.
“Lost are you?” He asked, glancing towards her with his tail snaking around her, flicking here and there and shifting away slightly as he turned to face her.”
Philip was glad Ximena was okay but that didn't make him look happier. He was still looking at a man who stole away the girl he loved. He wasn't sure about seeing her because it only stung his feelings more. Doubtfully he glanced T Joseph and saw that his friend encouraged him to go. So he slowly nodded and followed the Summoner silently. It was Ryuu who broke the silence and he felt his bruise ache slightly at the reminder.
"Those bastards couldn't leave Joseph alone." The former servant growled slightly as he answered. Once they reached the closed door, Philip wanted to go in immediately but Ryuu stepped forward and knocked. He even opened and peered in first like he was somebody much closer to Ximena than Philip was. This was way too painful for the poor man. He dug his nails into his palms but tried to look calm when he got the permission to enter. He hesitated before entering and saw a yawning Ximena.
"Philip! Are you okay?! What is that bruise?!" Ximena gasped at the sight of the depressed man. She watched him approach the bed and she worriedly observed his confusing expression. She wondered if something had happened to Joseph again.
"He...is fine..." Philip cut her and stood at her bed, not making any step closer.
"Then...what happened to you?"
"A fight with servants."
"Seriously?!" Ximena folded her arms and frowned at him in disapproval. "Stop making troubles. They could have beaten the shit out of you..." She scolded him not understanding why men liked to fight that much.
Ximena half expected him to argue with her but instead Philip looked away and changed the subject. "Eric...that Artemis wounded him. He is being treated I guess."
"What?!" Ximena shouted and Philip looked at her surprised. "I...have to see him. Why you keep fighting?!" The dancer stood up an rushed to the door, seeing Ryuu. A faint blush appeared on her cheeks and her determined expression softened. "Can I...see Eric again please?"
Philip heard the tone she used for Ryuu and his stomach turned. He kept staring at the empty bed with angry eyes.
"Damn. I can't understand it! What kind of magic is that?!" Artemis threw the book at the wall for the fourth time. It was complicated and alien for her. She was never the studying princess type so she didn't know the slightest basics of magic...let alone the rare magic type of exorcism. She went over to the already torn book and picked it up again. "Damn...Damn...Damn!" She gritted her teeth then got an idea.
She hid the book in her dress again before laying down and closing her eyes to meditate.
Joseph sat stiffly, looking after the healer as he left and he glanced back at Philip. Artemis and Eric had been fighting? He hoped she hadn’t hurt him too badly. He looked down towards the floor, thinking for a few moments while Philip tried to reassure him about his brother’s condition. Joseph looked up sharply when the door opened again and Ryuu stepped into the room. The Summoner wasn’t a welcomed sight and Joseph carefully watched him as he surveyed the two wordlessly before answering Philip’s question.
“She’s doing better but she still needs some rest.” He said and Joseph noticed Philip’s hands trembling in closed fists. He hoped that nothing bad would happen between them. “Would you like to go see her?” He then asked, his question directed to Philip since Joseph wasn’t in any condition to be walking around some more. He noticed his friend glance back at him but he waved his friend away. He’d be fine for a little while. Night was falling soon and Ximena would probably appreciate a visit from one of them.
Ryuu waited till Philip agreed to go and he stepped back out of the room, leading Philip down the hall and towards Ximena’s room. “What started that fight?” The Summoner then asked, knowing what had happened but asking now since the bruising on Philip’s face was impossible to hide. He also wanted to ask about with Philip instead of Joseph. He had history with the two former Prince’s but their former servant he knew hardly anything about. Ryuu just knew that Philip was protective of them members of his group, but to what extent, he did not know. They stopped by a door and the Summoner knocked lightly, but the knocking was loud enough to stir Ximena if she was still asleep. “Ximena?” He asked, opening the door and peering in to see her sitting up in bed and stretching like she’d just woken back up. He then turned to Philip and stepped aside for him to enter, watching the former servant out of the corner of his eye.
Ryuu let his thoughts drift to other things, like the plague that was spreading quickly through the nation. It was mere luck for the citizens that the Grey Queen decided to act but he didn’t know exactly what she had sent her six ministers to do. He knew they had some sort of cure, but he didn’t know if it was a sure fix or only temporary. But he hoped for the ladder. He also saw an opportunity. With all of her ministers gone, including Johar, it seemed like the ideal time to get closer to the Grey Queen, find a way to help the prisoners and maybe take the place of Neculai once he passes. That would give him more ground to challenge Johar’s influence with the Queen and set his own plans in motion.
When the guards had taken Eric away, they didn’t bother trying to approach Artemis, they just made sure she kept her distance before locking the cell door again and leave her there. Now alone she was free to read the book as she pleased, she only had to listen to make sure the guards didn’t come by and catch her. The spell and it’s direction's, descriptions, preparations, and performance were all fairly straight forwards. What wasn’t straight forwards was how the book kept referencing a different casting art, exorcism. It clearly was another form of Summoning maybe an older or branching version of it, but the book never really said what exactly that art was. Probably why the spell had never been redone to bring Karim back. Eric had thought carefully about this before banishing the All Demon.
Eric was locked up in an isolation room where it was easier to keep him under control. He was bandaged and stitched up but he was far from healed. They hadn't fed him yet since they were afraid if it was defying the queen's orders so his healing would be much slower. They didn't dare to unlock the door after bandaging him and he was left alone there. The healers thought of asking Ryuu to use his chains for more security.
Philip asked the leaving healer without needing to look at Joseph. "Dungeon? What has happened?" The healer sighed and shrugged slightly. "Those two demons suddenly started fighting and the female stabbed the other one. They are trully disgusting..." He left and Philip looked at Joseph in confusion. "Why the hell would they do that?!That stupid Eric...always makes trouble for himself." The former servant growled to himself. "I bet he is in better condition that you, Joseph. Don't worry." He heard the door again and stood alarmed, seeing Ryuu. "...How is...Ximena?" He asked in a quite calm tone but his fists were shaking at his sides. He hated this Summoner more than anything. Even more than Eric.
Johar was the first to leave the castle. Though he left Cyan there to have a pair of eyes in the Capital. He took ten soldiers with himself and started his journey since his districts were the most important ones. While he rode on horse, the minister looked back at the castle. [i Ryuu...Even though I am not there, you won't be allowed to feel safe in castle. You will learn to even fear my presence.] A smirk appeared on his lips and he nudged his horse to run faster, being followed by the soldiers.
"Uh...sir?" The woman poked the weird dressed man who was laying on his front in middle of the bazaar. The man only mumbled out these words.
"Gra...vity...too strong." The demon dealer had been living in the floating dimension for too long that even walking worn him out. The changes all around confused him. He had no idea what year it was. Because the calender had changed several times in his absence. Most of people ignored him, assuming he was a lunatic.
Only one kid knelt down beside him and checked his temperature. "Are you okay sir? If you can walk, help me take you to healers." Juno worriedly observed him, wondering if he had the plague. She finally managed to escape the orphanage, away from the bloody arena. Though she had to find a way to earn money for food and place to sleep. She had reached another city and there she saw a man being pushed out of wagon and when he walked some steps he just collapsed. Dealer groaned, knowing a kid wouldn't be able to help him much but then when she touched his face, he felt a familiar object close to her; The holy ring.
Eric was too worried to notice Artemis watching him, but he did notice when he turned back around and felt something stab into his middle. He gasped and looked down to see Artemis’ claws right before she pulled her hand out and stepped back, watching him with that strange calmness. “.. W-what…?” He breathed, gurgling something and coughing slightly as he sank to his knees, holding his wound. He groaned when the Soldiers pulled him from the cell and he felt them begin to take him somewhere.
Where was he going? Why had Artemis wounded him like that? Was Joseph going to take the fall for this too? Were they going to make him watch as his brother was beaten? He barely recalled passing out but that’s what happened and the guards were able to get him to one of the healers rooms.
Joseph didn't react much to the scolding from the healer, but what he said about the dungeons did catch his attention. What had happened in the dungeons? He wondered if it had to do with Eric and he looked towards Philip to get him to ask for him.
Away from all the drama and commotion, Ryuu felt himself falling asleep, Ximena was in his arms, having fallen asleep in the darkness of the room and with his comforting warmth around her. Sleep was a good thing, it would help her heal faster and recover sooner. That thought made him smile before a knock at the door distracted him and he sighed irritably. Looking back at Ximena, the Summoner kissed her on her nose again before shifting away from her, being careful not to wake her.
He walked to the door and opened it to find Penelope standing there a bit anxiously and he stepped out into the hall with her. “What is it?” He asked tiredly and listened as she explained how she’d found Joseph and Philip. He thought for a moment, a little surprised that the servants would be bold enough to do something like that. But he supposed it was expected for those who lived in the Light Nation. “I See…” He said and glanced back at the door to Ximena’s room before leaving to go check and see how the other two prisoners were doing.
Word had been also sent to Valerie about Eric’s injury and the small fight that Philip caused. She unamusedly made a note about it for herself and sent the soldier away. She was more interested in how her miracle would pan out. She’d planned to give her Minister's a month and then The Grey Queen herself would go on a campaign through all of the infected districts. She wanted to make sure that more citizens were being cured then infected and time wasn't on her side.
Though, one good thing was that this plague was really the only thing she had to worry about. The refugee crisis was beginning to slow down, with the sickness starting to scare people away from entering. And she had both.living demons in her Castle under lock-and-key so she could make sure the third one didn't make it out. Besides that, the rest of the Nation was still standing strong and she was sure word of her miracle would help douse any ideas of a rebellion against her crown.
Artemis realised she overdid it. She had almost forgotten they were prisoners not guests so they couldn't did as they pleased. She got on her feet once the soldier was out of side but she knew well that he was going to come back with backup. The Ba'al noticed Eric worrying over something and she remembered he had told her any punishment would be done one his brother instead. The demon gritted her teeth, not liking the idea of Joseph being hurt because of the fight that she started. Eric was trapped down here, under control...She needed to do something so they would be distracted from the fact that he was fighting. Also, something that would give Eric more freedom...A crazy idea popped in her head. Artemis didn't think twice. They didn't want Eric dead yet, right? In a swift motion Eric felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. She had stabbed him with her claws."Sorry, it was the only way." Artemis whispered and pulled her claw out, watching him with a strange calmness.
When the soldiers arrived, they were even more shocked. A bleeding Eric and Artemis standing with a bloody claw. They knew Eric was needed alive so they hurried in and sent one of themselves to call the healers. Since the wound was deep, they needed to take him to the healer quarters for better nursing.
Philip was about to start another round of physical fight even though his face was bruising from the hits he had just recieved. The former servant was distracted from the abused Joseph and he almost jumped up when he was suddenly pulled away by an aggressive Joseph. He saw the blood dripping from the new stich and his heart sank. Clumsily he collected their things and followed him out. "A-are you okay?!" He shakily handed Joseph the rolled bandage. He looked around, desperately looking for a healer but instead Penelope came humming a song and fresh clothes in her hands. When she looked up and saw them, the nymph froze and tilted her head in disbelief. But she didn't ask any questions and silently led them to the closest room. The small room was empty and unused, it smelt like sewers. She handed them clothes which Philip bitterly snatched them away from her and helped Joseph into one but only his lower body since he couldn't wear any shirts yet. After he got himself fully dressed, they were taken back to the room. Again a healer was called. The healer tiredly stiched again but this time scolded Joseph slightly.
"You prisoners are too much...I just came back from dungeon and I hear you have your stitches opened again."
“Shut UP!” Eric snapped and again, jumped for Artemis, but this time as she turned to block him, he suddenly spun left and the back of his heel connected with her arm as she managed to block in time. Growling, Eric then turned back and swung at Artemis but she dodged this too and returned the strike, staggering him after hitting his shoulder and ducking to sweep his legs out from under him. The All Demon’s Son left much to be desired with his unarmed fighting skill, but he was putting up better than he had the other times he’d fought with her. She knocked him down and when she stood back up, Eric tackled her and they both were on the ground again. Scuffing and rolling on the stone floor before a sound caught their attention.
A guard had come down to check on them and seeing both demon’s going at each other looking like they were out for blood wasn’t something his higher ups would want to hear. He had suppressed a gasp in seeing them sparring and had quickly turned around hurrying to get some support before moving one of them to a different cell where they wouldn’t be at each others throats. Eric had paused his offensive attack when he noticed the guard and as the man rushed away, he let Artemis push him away. He was slower than her getting to his feet and he knew that being seen sparring like that was not a good thing. His thoughts immediately went to what would happen to his brother and he spat out curses at himself, turning away from Artemis.
Now Joseph had bathed in public bathhouses before, but he had never been harassed like this. Any time he’d seen someone who was injured or needed assistance because of their age or because they were crippled, other’s had always looked away respectfully, not gawked or mocked or taunted. He could expect strangers to act civil but the servants here were ruthless. Almost as ruthless as their queen. Before he knew it, Philip was up on his feet and beating on the man that had just dumped water on them. Other men rushed over to join the brawl and some turned on Joseph. Quickly he lifted his hands to show he didn’t want to fight but one of the men prowled up to him, a sneering look on his face.
“What? Are you scared to fight?” He asked, shoving the former prince back and he stumbled trying not to slip. Then he felt something rip again in his back. The new stitches hadn’t held and his own blood began to run down his back, the open cut stinging from the soap in his hair. In that moment, something clicked for Joseph and he scowled, his right hand holding his shoulder as he pushed himself back up, wavering and trying to hold his balance. The blood seemed to surprise the servant’s that were ganging up on him and they didn’t stop him as he pushed past them and stalked over to his friend. The physical fight had turned into verbal violence between him and a few of the men, including the one he’d punched but Joseph didn’t bother to stop and hear what they were saying. Still glaring, he used his left hand to grab his friend before turning around and pulling him back to where their things were and then towards the door. The didn’t need to stay and take this abuse. If hygiene really became a problem for them then they could come back when the bathroom was empty.
They stepped out into the empty hall and Joseph took on of the rolled up lengths of wrapping, not bothering to unravel it as he pressed it against his shoulder and his aggressive look disappeared with a heavy sigh. The servants had probably harassed them like that because they both were considered prisoners. No one knew who they used to be, all they saw were two strangers that didn’t belong there. But Joseph didn’t care about that anymore. He turned to face Philip and make sure his friend was alright and wasn’t ruffed up too much.
Artemis grin faded and gave its place to shock when Eric attacked her and they rolled on the ground before he stood. She also jumped on her feet and made a distance, also preparing her fists. Her eyes glowed in excitement when he said he would spar and it was amsuing for how he loved to protect Joseph like he was a damsel in distress. "Yeah, this works..." The litte Ba'al whispered and stepped aside from his attack, protecting her face with her arms before spinning to try and kick him away. This was what the demon called fun. A spar where you could empty your emotions through it and ease your mind. But she was just in her good mood, wanting one hell of All Demon's son at her throat. So she kept mocking him, now acting much like a demon. "What is it? Are you jealous? I must say...I don't mind stealing away princes! Do you want a kiss too?!"
"I will do it for you. Dammit, don't be that stubborn." Philip growled behind Joseph as taking the bandages from him and placed them neatly on the towels. He gently unwarpped more bandages, revealing the ugly stitches. His heart ached seeing the brutality of the whip. "Curse them..." Philip whispered hatefully then started undressing himself. After her wrapped his towel around his waist, he picked up the sponge and added soap then carefully worked on his back. The servants found it funny. A grown man being helped in bathing. They always washed themselves even of they were burning in fever so some chuckled at them, wondering why he was somehow acting like a nobility.
Philip was too busy to notice them. He then scrubbed Joseph's limbs refusing to let him do it himself and possible pull out more stitches. He handed him the sponge to do the rest while he went to get fresh water for his hair.
Suddenly a soap hit Joseph's head and three kids giggled then hurried off. "Should I call the maids to dress you your majesty?!" One man shouted.
"No need. He already has a servant for it!"
"Maybe he needs some music!"
"I can sing!"
"Shut up!" Philip snapped at them, but the servants just went on since it was a good entertainment to see them annoyed. Philip was rinsing Joseph's hair when one man passed them and splashed his dirty water on Joseph's head. This was too much. Philip punched his face and began a fight.
Eric turned at looked at Artemis, his expression unreadable while his golden eyes were wide and staring. He then blinked before narrowing them and baring his teeth in a scowl. “Why in the Bloody world would you tell me That?” He asked disapprovingly and growled when she teasingly suggested that she might kiss Joseph again. “Leave him alone. He only promised to get you back to Muerte.” the former Prince said, becoming irritated at Artemis’ teasing. When she continued to banter and laugh, Eric finally turned on her and pounced, catching her off guard as they rolled across the floor and Eric shoved her away, jumping to his feet quickly.
“You still want to spar then fine,” He said, bringing his fists up and bracing himself. “But don’t you [i Dare] mess with Joseph that way.” He then lunged for Artemis again. Though he was being starved, Eric still had plenty of strength, he hadn’t been using much of it for a while after he found out what had happened to his brother. But now, being as emotionally distraught as he was, it was pretty easy for Artemis to get him up and fighting once she knew what subjects triggered him.
Joseph silently sighed at his friend’s empty threat and he just motioned for Philip to help him up again. He ignored Penelope’s impatience and they walked slowly after her, which made her stop every now and then to make sure they were still following her. When they entered the servant’s bathroom, Joseph wasn’t expecting to have much privacy. He could already see other people eyeing them as Penelope left and he let his friend guide him over to a stool near one corner of the room. He sat and waited till Philip had turned away before glancing at the towels and soaps the Nymph had given them. He hadn’t been given a shirt since his bandaging needed to be changed regularly so he decided, already being technically half naked, to grab one of the towels and work off the rest of his clothes before Philip came back.
The young man was able to get his shoes, and socks off easily before carefully pulling the rest of his clothes off. With a towel wrapped around his waist, Joseph slowly began to undo the wrappings where they were tied at his side and he had started to unravel them carefully when Philip came back, hurrying since he’d turned back around in time to see Joseph beginning to take the wrappings off by himself. Joseph glanced at his friend relaxed and let him help take the newer bandages off near his left shoulder, being extra careful around the new stitches. Already Joseph looked forwards and he could see several Servant’s not ever trying to hide their gawking stares. He looked away with an eye roll and reached back behind him, moving to give the wrappings that he’d already taken off to Philip so they wouldn’t get wet and ruined on the slick floor.
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