The wind blew on the powerful queen harder and she could hear whispers in her ear.
[b Losing a feather...]
[b Breaking the vow...]
A branch broke above her head and she heard massive wings flapping before Duchess landed in front of her with a scowl. "You don't even have a pretty face." She had an armor...which well, really didn't protect her body. It only covered her three spots and her black cape danced with the wind but she looked unaffected by the cold.
"Let's play Aunt." The witch twins said in unison above the tree and their pupils widened as they started whispering curses and spells.
"Th-this c-crazy...! She...she...W-we should just ru-" A nervous male tone said from the bushes. He had a Chamlek accent but did not show up and reveal himself. A cold tone at last demanded.
A loud gulp came then silence. Suddenly a whistle came out sounding like steam and then Valerie felt a dangerously familiar feeling...A presence she always knew because...it was like hers. Some force was pushing her down to kneel and dark shadows of witches' curse also shot out from ground to do the same thing.
The force fighting against her was from her feather. Using alchemy, the group could use its pure power and even double it making it more effective than just a single feather.
"Even the nature is against you yet you insist on wandering here alone. You are just another fool to be forgotten in history." Theodore approached Valerie from behind a tree, his eyes set on her like a predator.
The captain finally shouted at the stunned soldiers to move on. He then glared at Eric, blaming him with no reason. "And you, faster! We don't have much time." They stepped against the wind which was becoming more and more aggressive since the powerful Light was near the Strong Dark.
Artemis heart fell in her chest when he reminded her about the deal. Damn she had forgotten it all. Gritting her teeth, She looked around the room but could not think of anything. "I...I..still don't know." She confessed before aggressively hissing at him, "And I don't think this is a good time to think about a stupid little deal! You are bringing chaos, enslaved your son and now you are here for your 'price'? You know what? I brought you here so you still owe me so much. Opening a portal is not a big deal!"She slowly stepped back towards the door...
Hearing that what had happened to the training camp and clearly being able to see the ruins and dead, Valerie sighed to herself before ordering that they’d stay till their dead was buried. It was the least they deserved, dying before even seeing a glimpse of battle. It was such a waste. She had her guards help the soldiers in counting and burying their dead, but quietly, ever so quietly, the Grey Queen slipped away from the ruined camp, away from her soldiers and guards.
She had her steed trot out till she couldn’t see the camp and was in a sparse but large grove of trees, just a few minutes rides from where the camp had been. She immediately noticed the chill in the air and with a slight look around she dismounted her steed, leaving it to graze as she walked a little ways away to think. She glanced up at the sight of snowflakes and with a heavy sigh, Valerie wrapped her arms around herself, watching her breath in the cold air.
“Are you that upset with us?” She asked out loud, to no one in particular. A cold wind blew through the grove and she could hear her steed stomping with discomfort at the change in temperature. The branches of the trees rustled together and the wind continued to blow, snow now steadily falling and coating the ground around her. There was no other sound than what was around her, but Valerie continued to listen, to wait and see if she’d be given a sign of any kind.
Sorit let Dosia step away to think and he couldn’t help but look after her, watching the entrance of the tent for her to come back. When she did with her order, Sorit agreed and immediately passed it along. When returning to Dosia’s side, he felt a cooler breeze and glanced up, noting the clouds in the sky. Something terribly wrong was happening, but he couldn’t tell what and it made him more inclined to stay with Dosia rather than leaving her alone with her regular guard.
As the temperature dropped and the weather began to change drastically, the Aarmy Eric was with had halted and the captain and generals were trying to decide what to do next. Most of the soldiers were spooked by this but Eric wasn’t bothered, he could hardly care less in the state he was in. He barely felt the biting wind as it howled around them and he didn’t notice the snow falling till it drifted across his gaze and he followed it down. It was snowing. Blinking, he looked up like so many of the other soldiers were doing but it seemed more like a chore than a wonder to try and figure out what was happening. So he let it be, looking away from the sky and standing off by himself, letting the wind pierce through his armor and blow the cold around him.
“[b Tsk, like I would be upset about that.]” He cooed in an arrogant tone. “[b No, I’m here to see if you’ve made a decision yet, since I’ve upheld my end of the deal and brought you back to this world.]” He followed her movement with his gleaming eyes and moved over to her bed as she circled away from him, sitting down with his wings rustling and his tail flicking. “[b I did say I would wait till you decide, but I won’t wait forever.]” He said, his gaze fixed on her and not faltering as she shifted back a little more.
The Grey Queen's escort arrived an hour later to the ruined training camp and the soldiers who had stayed there immediately ran to the confused guards, telling the impossible to them. The guards exchanged worried looks before one of them slowly moved to the center of guards where the queen was under their protection. Hesitantly he explained the situation. He also pointed out that there were odd bitemarks on the dead bodies. Two holes like fangs would make. It was quite easily to tell a vampire had done that but normally those unfaithful selfish creatures did not bother with war.
It was a warm season yet strangely it started becoming chilly. The soldiers soon started rubbing their arms and palms to get warm. They were more than surprised when it started snowing. Some even thought it was Eric's doing and stared at him but he didn't seem to be in control so they looked around wearily yo find the cause. Was it a witch? They could never guess Mother nature was becoming chaotic.
Dosia stared down at her hands and forced them to stop showing her anxiety. She glanced at Sorit who was trying to comfort her. It didn't help much but she appreciated it. The queen walked out of tent to get some fresh air and make a decision. Sorit was right. She had to wait for the perfect time...maybe Eric was about to betray them? She did not believe the hybrid would trully fight for anyone sincerely. "What we need...is information. Sorit, send the insect shifters and Bird ones to spy on the army Eric is moving with."
Ryuu and the few other ones were separated from the rest and Abantes took their lead despite the Captain's slight protests. The nobleman told him the back up needed protection and he was needed in case the enemy ambushed them. The shifter then ordered the small group to ride as fast as they can as they were heading to the front line.
They rode fast through the forests as they took shortcuts to get there as soon as possible.
Artemis was just drifting when she felt the familiar strong presence and she immediately opened her eyes and saw the blue flame before sitting up and stiffening at the hissing voice of Karim. Her eyes searched through the shadows nervously and she spotted his silhouette. "...Why, why you have come again?! Isn't something more interesting going on miles away?" She whispered, not wanting to wake Joseph up. She tried to glare hard at him before growling lowly. "Don't tell me you just mad Joseph is not in the prison you made anymore!" She smirked at him, Slowly getting up, eyes set on him.
Being woken by someone shouting at him, Eric gritted his teeth and opened his eyes, glaring towards the soldier that was demanding he get up, they were moving out soon. With a slow breath in and a heavy sigh out, he sat up, noting the soldier stepping back as he did and he didn’t say anything. Instead he reached for his armor and after being watched for a few moments, the soldier left him in peace. He finished cleaning his armor and once that was done, he left the tent, peering out and around at the camp. Other soldiers were already on their way out to leave and slowly, Eric slunk after them.
He’d be walking, like the rest of the soldiers, but as they walked he could still feel the nervous gazes and hushed whispers around him. Those who could kept their distance and those who had to walk near him, did so with a many steps between them. The fresh carnage from the Light guard didn’t bother most of the soldiers and Eric was no different, he didn’t even give the bodies a glance as they were passed. Eventually as the dusk led into the dark night, it became clear that they were stopping. And the reason was not good, at least for the Light it wasn’t.
One of the training back up camps had been destroyed, not one soldier left alive. Weapons had been stolen and the camp burned. It wasn’t good news for the Light, but it wasn’t the end of the war. The army lingered in the ruins of the camp before continuing on their march. A small patrol of soldiers would stay back to bury their dead, as well as meet the Queen’s guard and inform her of what had happened. The rest of the army however would continue onto the next strategic camp to make a stand in case there was another attack.
Sorit, who was also figuring what had happened and how it could be dealt with, turned to Dosia as she spoke. “There had been no reports from his special group. But where he first attacked is the same spot where the Light’s ‘Weapon’ arrived. I think we can say that wherever is attacked next is where the Light army will move to defend.” He could sense Dosia’s unease, even with her stone faced expression. “We can wait here.” He said to her quietly, “See if there’s a pattern at work and if the Light really is moving to chase after Theodore’s group.” He knew his words did little to ease her mind but it was always an option for them, he would just remind her of what options they had.
When word got back to the group heading to the backup camps, Ryuu listened as those with magical talent were told to get in a line. He wasn’t too eager to do this but the gesture from Abantes made him step forwards. There weren’t very many in the group he was traveling with, but that didn’t quite matter at the moment since they were working with what they got.
Joseph watched as Artemis looked away from him, still smiling before she gave him a little pat and suggested that they head back. He nodded to this and followed her to the water, slipping in after her and taking a deep breath before swimming out of the cave and to the shore. It had gotten windier since they’d first jumped into the water, but it was a relatively quick trip to retrieve their things and return to the academy dorms. Joseph went with Artemis to get something to eat but he was more tired as the night was winding down than anything else. After eating they returned to their room and Joseph sat down on his bed, stretching. He noticed Artemis doing the same and he gave her another smile, bowing his head in a way to say ‘good night’ and soon after, dosing the candles so they could go to sleep.
They were both going to be able to rest, but Artemis wasn’t going to be left in peace. Almost half an hour after the candles had been blown out, one of them relit with a small, low burning blue flame, that danced and flickered, casting shadows around the room. One shadow seemed to come to life and a voice hissed to Artemis. “[b I see you’re enjoying yourselves.]” Came Karim’s hissing, amused voice and his shadowy form leaned back, leering down at her.
Eric was woken up by one soldier shouting at him to move out. He had not dared to step any closer yet his tone was still demanding like Eric was nothing but a war slave. As the queen had commanded, the soldiers were moving to other locations of borders where the Dark were trying to invade. On their way, they passed some blood stained lands where the Light guards had massacred the Deloriak immigrants who were suspected to be spies. Dead bodies of men, women and even a few youngsters were left there to be eaten by worms and birds. The stench did not bother the passing army, instead it gave them even more confidence and bloodthirst to slaughter each single enemy they were going to confront.
On the other side of the border Dosia arrived. She was dressed in armor and an owl shaped helmet as she rode on her brown horse by Sorit's side. She was there to hear about victory but seeing the sorrowful and worried faces of the soldiers, she immediately realised the gods had not blessed them. The few survivors had reached the camp hours ago and their story had just decreased the soldiers' spirit. Dosia silently went into the replaced Captain's tent and with a stone face listened as she was told about the Demon who fought for the Light.
Dosia felt her hands shaking. This cursed fallen prince insisted on destroying her and her nation. She gave a heavy sigh before rubbing her temples. They were not going to give up just now. There still many opportunities for them to make a hole in their defense. Maybe they should just attack the places where Eric was not fighting there? They could not escape the Demon forever...She suddenly turned to Sorit. "Theodore...do you know where his location is? I believe I have not received any report from him yet."
The army reached a back up camp where they could get some food and supplies but...
"What...what the hell has happened heard?" Decapitated, drained blood of soldiers were everywhere. The Light were confused and scared. Who had been able to just get into their back up camp?! They ran to see if their supplies were safe but the weapons were gone and the food was burnt down. Nobody...nobody had survived. It didn't look like a whole army had attacked but just a few ones...A few deadly races. The special group of Theodore.
"I heard awful things about you, to be honest. But what I see now, is a gentleman with a warrior heart." The nobleman praised him before making his horse go faster and got to the front at his spot.
On their way the hopeful villagers and farmers gave them food and blessings. They all were clearly starving yet they wanted to share their small meal with them to take part in the war that was going to save them all. After hours they decided to rest beside a river and wait for more messages from frontline. As arranged, a messanger small bird arrived and once the captain read the letter, his face lost color. They had a deadly weapon...they had lost the second battle. So they had to get everyone's help. Especially the talented ones. Soon he called for the ones with any sort of magic to get in line. Abantes turned to look at Ryuu and gestured for him to step forward.
It was so warm and pleasing as he kissed back and she felt the fireworks in her heart as he pulled her closer. Her eyes were halfway closed as he broke the kiss and gently laughed. Artemis felt her body burning as she noticed his blush. He...also had feelings for her. How satisfying and what a relief. The Ba'al smiled a bit shyly as looking away. What now?...Myabe it was time for them to get out of the cave. It had strange affects on her mind and heart. She patted his back softly before standing. "L-let' s go back..I'm starving."
The sudden quake knocked Eric off of his cot and he gritted his teeth, staying on the floor till the shaking stopped. It wasn’t hard to figure out that the war would bring many consequences from the divine, but this would just add to the little skirmishes of chaos that plagued both the Light and Dark. When the shaking stopped, Eric slowly got to his feet and peered out of his tent that had stayed standing. There was smoke on the other side of the camp but nothing too bad had happened. The quake did put an end to the celebration for the night and soon all was quiet with just the crackling of dying torches. Sighing to himself, Eric did partially clean his armor before going to sleep. Though his hands were clean, he could still feel the slickness of blood between his fingers as he drifted off.
Come the morning, Valerie had arrived on the front and she called away her captain from the camps. She had left the heart of the Light Nation, leaving the safety of the capital behind and traveling to the border provinces to oversee the preparations of the campaign she was about to launch. A campaign to bring the world to its knees. “Are the soldiers ready?” She asked her captain.
“And how is our weapon?” She asked, folding her hands behind her back. She listened as her Captain told her what Eric had done the night before, having ended the battle fairly quickly with his craze. Nodding, Valerie looked towards the camp and past it towards the field where the previous battle had taken place. The battlefield was blackened with blood and mud, broken bodies and tattered banners. There were crows flying about the field since none of the enemies dead had been buried. Their bodies were just left out in the sun to rot. The dark hadn’t stood a chance, not against one of their own.
“Give the order to move by sundown, we mustn’t wait for another attack to happen.” She said and turned away from her captain. It was dangerous for the Queen to be following after the army, but she wanted to see the aftermath of each battle, witness each victory and revel in each defeat they gave to their enemies. She didn’t expect the war to hold very many consequences for the Light but her mind also remembered, they had to win in order for her to stay what she was and keep her wings.
Ryuu kept his steed trotting behind the rest of the group, moving fast enough to stay with them but not to over take any of the wagons in front of him. He noticed Abantes fall back to match his pace and the Summoner gave a small smile at his question. “Your cousin had made some fair points to me and she’s given me an offer that I can’t refuse.” He said, listening to the last of the cheers as they finally left the city behind. “But I wouldn’t call my joining the battle brave, even being as I am.” He said, noting that he was still injured. “It’s necessary, and not just for this kingdom’s survival.” He spoke so calmly, so solumely, it was like he’d always been loyal to the Deloriak crown. It was still strange but he had a sincerity that was clear in his voice, something he wouldn’t show if he wasn’t being honest.
Joseph held his kind look as Artemis hesitated and stalled, he’d be patient and let her figure out if she wanted to kiss him or not. She touched the side of his was in a similar manner to what he’d done, but he could tell that wasn’t enough. He felt her kiss him on the same cheek and he turned towards her as her hands grasped for his arms. She was leaning closer to him again but he didn’t mind, not at all. When she finally kissed him it was soft and uncertain, leaving her enough room to pull away and save her feelings if she needed to, but he wouldn’t let her do that.
The young man kissed her back more passionately and lifted one hand to hold the side of her face, keeping her close to him. Making the moment last until he finally broke the kiss. Joseph looked at Artemis and he could feel his own face heating up with a faint blush. He gave a silent laugh to break the building awkwardness and he smiled back at her, as if to say, ‘feeling better?’ in a gentle manner.
The drunk laughter and singing went on during the night but it was cut by a strong shake of the ground, making them fall and the horses became nervous and some tried to break free of the ropes tying them to bars. The earthquake even made some tents collapse and a torch fell, burning some of the tents. Cheerful sounds turned into shouts and rush for getting water. The mother nature was growing more and more impatient...The war had to be ended quick or it was an absolute doom to all.
Far away, in the safe capital of Deloriak, the group of volunteers starred their journey. They had given Ryuu a horse to ride on and some other servants and maids were in the wagons. Abantes found Ryuu at the back of the group and rode towards him, Weasel resting on his shoulder. "Ryuu, My friend, how brave of you to join the battle of a foreign country. Though I am curious what changed your mind?" He smiled warmly as keeping his pace with Ryuu's. They group had no rush because they were confident they won't be needed in the battlefield for a while. Little did they knew, Eric could slaughter a small army in a day. The citizens cheered on them as they passed the streets. N.V was the only one not feeling proud even the slightest. The whole deal was stupid to him but he kept his thoughts to himself and just hoped he was not going to work too much in the camp.
What? Artemis could not figure out why he was doing this. His fingers on her cheek just sent the fireworks in her. Stupid feeling...She had to hold herself back. He didn't know who he was encouraging. She was not a little timid princess raised in an isolated tower. She was a demon and just loved to take what she seeked. Joseoh was giving her the green light. What to do, what to do...Do the same and give an indirect kiss? Maybe. She slowly kissed her tip of finger and moved to his face but instead on cheek, placed them on his lips.
Hope he got the message.
Artemis took back her hand and gritted her teeth. This was not enough for her. If...if...he was fine with it...then, then...
Her lips touched his cheek and she gave it a loud kiss with fire in it. Ah yes. Yes. He was like a magnet....he was the purest thing and the thought of being this close to her...Made her desires stronger. Her claws grabbed on his arms and she pulled him close, staring into his eyes with passion. Her shaky breaths below on his lips once again as she hesitated to break the wall she had built or not. Would it...upset him? She was a demon and maybe, maybe He did not want to get any close to other demons.
She was afraid of it.
To the hell with it.
It worth it.
Just this once...in this cave...Blame it on the glowing crystals.
Her lips touched his and she felt her heart bursting out.
They had done it before but this one was sincere.
With a heaving breaths and a wild gaze, Eric was splattered in blood. He turned to look at the Captain as he approached and his hands closed into tight fists at what he was told. They were going back, the battle was done, done for now. With a calming breath, the Devil straightened and slowly walked back towards the camp, stepping over the enemies he’d probably torn apart. Entering the camp, he could tell the sober soldiers were keeping their distance, but he’d take what he was given, a little alcohol and some solitude and he walked back to his tent. He had the urge to scrub himself clean of any blood. His wings closed and he felt something. The arrow had snapped but was still in his back.
Shifting and reaching, He managed to work the arrow out of the chainmail he was still wearing and glancing at it, Eric realized something that made him feel sick. The arrow head was one that had been made in Chamlek, he could recognized the design. Gripping the broken arrow firmly, he watched as the wood and metal hissed before turning into dust and falling to the floor. After that he put his head in his hands and stayed inside of his tent, not going back out to join the victorious Light.
After being informed by Abantes that they were going to be leaving in a few hours, Ryuu had managed to get most of his few belongings around by the time N.V arrived, dragging the light armor with him. At the servant’s snide comment, Ryuu closed his eyes and brought his good hand up to the bridge of his nose. “I swear boy…” He started with an annoyed sigh but he didn’t finish that threat. “I don’t need your help packing. I’m almost done anyways so go away.” He said, being a little more than rude since he was tired and aching and didn’t want to put up with the less than friendly Dark.
He shooed N.V away with a scowl and a motion from his good hand for the boy to leave, The Summoner only needed to put on the armor and then he’d be ready to depart. Gathering the rest of his things, Ryuu finally left his room and walked down to where the rest of the departing group was beginning to gather. He didn’t see Abantes or Weasel anywhere but he figured that the nobleman would also be ready soon.
Joseph was still smiling as Artemis climbed out of the water and sat next to him, expressing her awe and grinning back at him. She then shifted closer to him and closer still. Joseph noticed this and he gave her a strange, bemused look, leaning back slightly as she suddenly realized what she was doing. Artemis was quick to turn away, spitting out an excuse and subconsciously he too turned away, breathing onto one hand to see if his breath stank or anything like that. The young man looked back at her to see that her face was still flush red with embarrassment.
Hesitating a moment, Joseph nudged her and tapped the side of his face, smiling a little. He then kiss two fingers and touched the side of her face, pulling his hand back as she gave him a confused look. Not really being able to explain, Joseph just tapped the side of his face again and leaned towards her expectantly, waiting for her to either act or reject him.
Everything came out of control for the Dark side. Any small effort to fight the demon resulted in blood and screams. It was like he was a curse upon them. With swift invisible moves for untrained eyes their bodies were torn apart and their blood painted the ground. Panic and despair waved among the soldiers as they tried to survive and run from the devil. Heads, limbs and pieces of armors fell and even the Light kept their distance not to be on the killing machine's way. The few remained soldiers managed to escape to tell the horrifying news and the Light's victorious shouts rang through the bloody place. The Captain nodded in pleasure and approached Eric, his hand on his sacred sword in case he couldn't snap out of the crazed mood he was in. "Good job. We're going back." He then turned to order his soldiers and soon they went back to their camp, cheering and partying their effortless win. The half drunk Light even let Eric have some alcohol as a reward.
The Dark on the other hand, were nervous and scared of the unexpected weapon of Light. The queen was on her way to the front lines and they were not going to tell her any good news. That night, the castle sent the volunteers to the back up camps, though they had not heard about the loss yet. Abantes, informed that Ryuu was also coming, went to his room and told him to get ready. He looked a bit disappointed since the young noble wanted to actually fight the enemy not wait in the safe lines. N.V was also gong because...well, he was hoping there would be dead bodies with no families to care. He was ordered to help Ryuu pack.
"Since you seem to be oh so disabled,..." N.V mumbled as half dragging the armor given to Ryuu for basic protection. "Funny how desperate Deloriak has become to trust a pervert like you."
Artemis swam in the cave, her eyes widening in awe as she was almost hypnotized by the beauty of the shiny crystals. She touched some of them and wondered if they were just simple things or had powers in them. The little Ba'al then came to surface, gasping out for air before climbing out and sitting beside Joseph. She tilted her head, squeezing her strands of hair to drain them. "This place...is trully unique. Damn, you are too good at finding some great sights." She grinned at the former prince and moved closer to him almost on instinct. Earlier she only saw him a brother of Eric who was a Smartie. Then she realised how kind and generous he was and then...she still could remember the fake kiss she forced on him. It didn't feel disgusting or lame...
Ah, the female demon felt her inside desires flaming and seeking for another...
What the hell was she doing?! There was no time for playing around!
Artemis suddenly snapped out of it and found herself breathing so close on his lips with half opened mouth. For once she turned so red on front of him in embarrassment and the humiliation she felt. She was not some damn Succubus to think in such a way-
"Uh...Uh...your mouth smells nice!" She tried to find an excuse but it sounded even worse.
Eric straightened at the order he was given, his eyes having finally adjusted to the dark and he could see the two armies now clashing, fire spreading among the slain. His wings opened slightly as Eric removed his gloves and flexed his hands, they were almost like claws now. He then disappeared in a blur of movement, not taking flight but also not running from the battle. His movements were fast, too fast to be avoided by the enemies that he cut down but he didn’t linger on any one warrior. He was searching for the captain, searching to show them just how bloodthirsty he could be. Looking around, Eric finally stopped amidst the fighting and he heard several screams of shock and terror in suddenly seeing a Demon there. He ignored these and turned to see the banner for the attacking army, and their captain standing near it.
Narrowing his eyes, Eric’s wings suddenly opened and he leapt up, soaring over the fighting and landing near the enemy’s captain. Of course he was seen before he landed and the demon was met with the captain’s sword swinging at him. Eric could easily dance around these attacks but he wasn’t there to amuse himself, his thoughts returned to the order he’d been given and he avoided another swing before charging the captain. Snapping his wrist that held the sword, he took the captain off of his feet and immediately his hands went for the man’s neck, ripping through and decapitating him. The fight should have ended there for him but an arrow pierce through the chainmail he was wearing and dug into his lower shoulder, just under his wings. Hissing in agitation, Eric whirled around to face the archer and he attacked without thought and without mercy.
Joseph was treading water when Artemis surfaced next to him. He grinned at her liveliness and nodded a bit, turning as she swam around him and moving with a start as she gave him a little push before pulling him under. He’d taken a sharp breath before she did that and he turned after her, surfacing again quickly. He narrowed his eyes with a little mischief himself and swam over, bumping her to get her attention and nodding towards the cliff side. He then dove back down under the water and began swimming, not towards the shore but straight for the cliffs.
He surfaced near the rocks that were breaking up the waves before diving back down again and he only paused long enough to make sure Artemis was still following him.
When they dove back down, Joseph swam around a few rocks before they were suddenly at the mouth of a cave. The tunnel inside was large but not too long and they soon surfaced inside of the cave. The cave was alight with crystals that were reflecting and magnifying small slivers of normal light. Joseph pulled himself up from the water and shook his hair out, going to sit on a little ledge on one wall of the cave. The air underground was surprisingly warm, not being out in the wind anymore an all. Beaming, the young man looked back at Artemis to see what she thought of this little well kept treasure of the no man's lands.
Nothing could be seen with normal eyes but the elven Captain had eyes of an owl in the night and he could see silhouettes watching them on the other side of the hill. The captain waited and slowly rose up his head. Archers behind him stretched on their bows and aimed. Suddenly the sky at the horizon glowed and hundreds of lit fire arrows flew towards the Light. The Captain shouted for his archers to shoot before raising up their shields as the fire arrows landed among them. The other army started charging, ignoring the arrows which hit some of them and not waiting to shield themselves. Most of the army consisted of barbars. The Captain brought down his hand and the Light also charged towards the bloodthirsty warriors. He then glanced back at Eric. "Slaughter the enemies and take down their captain."
Artemis bent over the cliff slightly as the wind danced through her long hair. She looked at her side to nod at Joseph with a grin before they both jumped and Artemis screamed out in excitement as she felt the loosening feeling of falling and falling. But it did not last long and her body sank into the water. She held her breath before her head went underwater and she looked around for Joseph before finding his legs. Artemis swam towards the surface and fought against the waves as she felt herself being pushed. She put more effort and reached Joseph, her eyes so wide and lively from the adrenaline rush. "It was....awesome!" She moved forwards and gave a bit rough pat on his back before she grinned mischivously and suddenly pushed him down in water and immediately let go, swimming around him.
The echo turned to ringing in his ears as Eric was about to reply and it intensified as Artemis shrieked. He didn’t feel like he was moving, even as the vision became unstable and fell apart. Soon blackness enveloped him and he felt heat from somewhere. Slowly, with the ringing in his ears fading, the Demon opened his eyes and found two Light Soldiers standing over him, a torch near his face. With a start he sat up and immediately both soldiers stepped back, then one spoke.
“Get up, another army is approaching and is going to attack.” They stepped away at this and left him alone in his tent. Eric could hear footsteps hurrying around outside in the camp and he finally got up, moving to put on the armor he’d been given. When he slunk out of his tent, he was met by a scout who told him that the captain was waiting for him. With that news in mind, he quickened his pace and followed the stream of soldiers out of the camp, hurrying towards the east to get in position to meet the oncoming army.
Cresting a hill, Eric saw where the captain was standing and he approached, head down and stopping a few feet away. Silently, he looked towards the darkening horizon with the sun setting at his back and he couldn’t see where the approaching Army was. He lifted his head slightly, trying to look carefully but he still couldn’t see where the enemy had been spotted.
Ryuu glanced over as Weasel ran out of the bathroom to greet him and he raised an eyebrow at the fact that Dosia’s cousin was also going to the back up camps. “Thank you Weasel.” He said to the boy’s sincere promise and he sat as the servant insisted on helping him change the bandaging on his arm. His arm now just ached and it probably would continue to once it was healed, but it wasn’t too much of a bother to him. Once Weasel was done, the Summoner watched him leave and sent the cakes and tea with him. Ryuu didn’t have an appetite that evening and he was more interested in rest.
Joseph let Artemis drag him out of the room and eventually he took the lead, leading the way up from the academy to the cliff sides. He paused to feel the breeze and hear the crashing waves and after acknowledging Artemis’ awe. He too began to stripe off his outer clothes, which he had less of than Artemis did of her armor. The breeze was a bit cool but that didn’t stop him from discarding his shirt last. His back was healed but it had scarred noticeably. Though he was still able to stretch his arms and shoulders as he walked over to the cliff’s edge. Joseph then paused and looked back at Artemis to see if she was ready.
Artemis listened to him and looked up at the dark sky with hopeful eyes and admiration. A satisfying grin appeared on her happy face and then she looked back at Eric, her expression screaming out belief. "Awesome...I always been wondering what is it like out of this place. I tried everything to get out but the walls are too tall..." The little Ba'al sighed then gently touched she leather-like wings. "You are so lucky to have them...hey, will you take me with yourself? I am quite bored here. We two can travel all around the world! Maybe we can even find the paradise, what you say huh?" Excited, the young demon ran around and then leaped at him once again but hugged him this time. "You will never leave me behind, right? right?" Her slightly worried voice echoed in Eric's ears before the scene started getting wavy and unstable. Colours danced around them and suddenly he was sucked out of Artemis' grasp only hearing her scream for him which was no more childish but her grown up self.
Once Ryuu was back in his room, Weasel was in there cleaning the tub with his quick motions. He had also brought a tray of cake and tea and set it beside bed which it's sheets were changed. Clean bandages and painkiller herbal drink was also placed on table. Weasel ran out of bathroom to greet him with a quick bow and a warm smile.
"I am allowed to go to back up camps!" He proudly informed the Summoner, glad that Abantes was not going without him. "So, I can't be at your service anymore. I will make sure to find a replacement." The boy promised sincerely before going to the bandages. "Let me change your bandages..." He gestured Ryuu to sit.
Artemis looked disappointed when showed that he would pass but then he suggested going Cliff Diving. She had never done it before but she could guess what it meant. "What? You really can jump off a cliff for fun? Wow. I thought you don't like fun at all." She already looked excited for it. "What you're waiting for?" The Ba'al hopped off the table and grabbed on his arm. "Let's go!" She half dragged him out of their room and made him run with her put of the boring nerd place. She didn't react when he told her Karim didn't know about his real origin because All demon's actions confused her. Joseph did not smell like a demon a bit so Karim could easily tell. Plus, he paid attention to his seeds way too much. Her own father, even if she was a princess, never really cared to her presence. The male demons were not interested in their children and some of them even saw them as rivals. So why he kept an eye on Eric? Karim was different. Different from other demons. The little Ba'al shook off these thoughts and breathed deeply once they were at the windy place. She gazed down at the sea daring them to jump. "This so...amazing. You are very lucky to have a sea." She couldn't even imagine that this world had many other seas. After a minute of staring down she started taking off her armor calmly to get rid of the weight.
Eric’s mind eye opened and he found himself in a place with a blackened sky and very few stars. Around him was what looked to have been a garden, maybe once upon a time, but now most were withered and dead. His perspective of the whole place seemed off and before he could figure it out he heard a growling behind him. He felt the force push him over and his wings snapped back open, trying to catch himself as he fell but he wasn’t flying so they were no use. He heard a young voice that he recognized and he rolled on his side to look up. He was met with the little Ba’al that he couldn’t believe he was seeing. Artemis, young just like Dosia had been, like he was in another memory that wasn’t he own. He frowned as she pulled at his tail and he flicked it out of her grasp, folding his wings around his shoulders and looking at her as she asked about his flying.
“You know my name?” He noted, actually feeling like he was talking rather than listening to someone else speak and he felt his wings open on their own accord. “Actually I have. It’s pretty exciting too.” He replied feeling something like pride bubbling out of nowhere in him. What was going on? He didn’t understand how he was going through these motions like he’d done them before. Like it was just a memory. Eric looked back up towards the sky and around at the high walls of the garden and he spoke again. “These walls can’t hold us in any more. No boundaries without a roof can! Because I can fly high and I can fly far, as far as the world goes.” He glanced back towards Artemis who looked amused at his ridiculous notion. The walls weren’t there to keep them in. He knew that from the time he’d followed the Ba’al princess through one of the portals.
Ryuu glanced at her as the Queen brought up the fact that he was still injured and he bowed his head, smiling with a little appreciation. That’s right, he was not a wise man at all. When she said his responsibility for the war would be decided later, and that he would instead be going to the backup camps, He nodded with understanding and bowed his head to her again. “Thank you, you Highness.” He said genuinely meaning that simple statement and he hoped she would find that he meant everything he’d said. The Summoner knew if Theodore and Romeo wanted to keep him there at the castle, all they had to do as show Dosia his unfinished letter. But he didn’t know that Theo was away from the castle. All he knew was that soon he’d be leaving and soon he’d be able to prove himself to Deloriak.
Joseph looked towards Artemis as she casually commented on how different he was compared to his brother. His little outburst towards the creepy dealer would have probably surprised her as much as anyone else, but for the most part, Joseph didn’t let his unpleasant emotions get the better of him. At her next statement he closed the book he’d been reading and wrote out, ‘Karim doesn’t know about that.’ In means of his mother being unfaithful. Maybe the All demon did but the way he acted made it seem more likely that he didn’t.
When she begged him for some competition, he grinned a little sheepishly and held up his hands, shaking his head. The young man knew he’d fair no better than any of the other students there against her and he wasn’t going to try and prove otherwise. He thought for a moment and snapped his fingers as he thought of something, Joseph then began to write. ‘Have you ever gone cliff diving?’ Was the first thing he wrote. Behind the academy and along the shore line, the ridge rose up into cliffs where the walls had been smoothed from years of waves crashing up against them. He hadn’t done this in a long but he remembered how exhilarating it felt.
Once his eyes were closed and the deadly weapon tried to seek some peace before the bloodshed, he found himself once more in the black world but this time he found a different scenery. It was a deserted place with either dead plants or some odd shaped cactus like ones it was supposed to be a garden but it failed. He heard something growl behind him and before he could recognize the source, he was tackled down. "Got you!" A victorious scream rang in his ears and on top of him was an energetic little Ba'al with long pigtails. Her bright purple eyes stared at his face before the young Artemis stood and helped him stand. "Pft! You are really bad at hide and seek!" She stuck out her tongue and playfully pulled on his tail. "These really stand you out from far. Maybe you should at least try to hide?" She sounded disappointed but soon grinned. "Hey, Eric! Have you learned how to fly yet?"
Dosia groaned in disagree when claimed the night was crazy and all his doings were under that presence but then he announced his decision and she stiffened in surprise, her armor clanking slightly. She did hoped he would cooperate but she did not expect this sincere sounding loyalty. Dosia couldn't understand what changed his mind but she was willing to take risks since she needed any slightest miracles for this war. The queen turned and looked at him from toe to head when he gazed away. Slowly she walked to him and chuckled softly. "You trully are no wise man, talking so confident like this while your arm is still in a sling." She pointed at wrapped arm and shook her head before sighing. "Very well. We will give you the honor of helping us in this war but your responsibility will not be decided asap. We still need to make sure your intents are pure so you won't be sent to the frontline but serve in the backup camps. We are going to send some of the servants and maids there. You can go with them."
Artemis finally sat on desk, her favorite spot it seemed, and tried to calm down just like Joseph. "How can you be sooo silent about it-I mean duh, I know...I know....but you don't even throw things around! Geez...You two brother are way too different. Your mother had very various tastes I guess..." She said it so casually since in Muerete it was not an ugly sight to see females spending time with different males. The female could breed and unfortunately there were not many females in Muerte so the demons usually didn't have only one mate in their lives. Artemis kick her legs and finally punched the books beside her. "Argh! I need to fight something! None of those nerds in this academy have the guts to battle! Joseph! Let's...Let's at least arm-wrestle! C'mmon. You are a man. You should know how to do it!" She almost begged, itching for some competition.
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