Ryuu was about to go back inside when he heard a quiet yelp and a loud thud of something hitting the ground. He turned around fast to see Liz, staring back at him with wide uncertain eyes. He quickly realized that she’d just fallen out of a tree but… Why had she been in a tree?
“Liz!” He exclaimed and hurried over to her. He wasn’t worried that she might have seen him, after all she had no way of knowing what he was doing. He just mocked concern and kept his expression genuine, more curious to know why she had been up in a tree. “What are you doing? Are you alright?” He asked, walking over to her and reaching down to help her to her feet. He then noticed the flowers on the ground around her and the simple dress she was now wearing. It took him a few moments to realize something that made him draw back his hand once he’d helped her stand up.
She wasn’t the daughter of a nobleman like her former dress would have suggested. There was no place for nobles in Chamlek anymore. Her mannerisms were less than formal and so was her, outing activities. Tree climbing? Or falling out of trees? He brushed away the thought and just asked again. “Are you okay?”
The Grey Queen gazed over the guests in the large room. They had begun to mingle among themselves which was fine, as long as there was no violence among the talk and trade of stories. Next to her stood all of her ministers and housecarls. To her right was Johar and to her left was her captain. She had little doubt that everything would go fine tonight, but if the prisoner could succeed in bring the All Demon or not was a thin line of grey uncertainty. If he didn’t succeed than he would just be killed, but if he did….
She closed her eyes and took in a slow breath. That’s why all of the strongest of the Light were there, in case Lilith’s son did show and decided to try and crash the ball. She looked up as the doors opened once more and slowly the music and dancing died down as the two prisoners were walked in, their clothes matching well but their overall appearance still was disheveled. She watched on, as did her guests, as the two were walked to the center of the Sky room and slowly those who were still paired together and had been dancing, moved to the sides of the room.
The only thought crossing through Eric’s mind, over and over again was the All Demon’s name. [i Karim… Karim… Karim…] He bit his tongue to stop himself from wincing at the bright light of the Sky room and he watched the guests all turn to stare and listened as the music slowly died down. [i Any time now would be just fine….] He thought irritably as he and Joseph were walked to the middle of the room. He kept his head up, high enough to look around and meet the gazes of the mighty light warriors, but Joseph kept his head down and his eyes fixed to the floor.
Neither one of them resisted the pushing and tugging of the soldiers on either side of them and Eric gritted his teeth, muttering out quietly. “He isn’t going to appear, yet.” One of the soldiers heard this and looked up towards the Grey Queen, shaking his head. She nodded back with understanding and made a slight motion with her hand, to have the two dragged off to the side and wait till the end of the night before trying again.
Joseph could tell there was something wrong as the two brothers were pulled off to one side of the Sky room and made to stand and wait, while the music picked back up again and so did the chatter. Some of the guests went back to the ball festivities while most stole glances at the two brothers, some of curiousity, or resentment, or disgust.
“Go see what is wrong and find out if the All Demon will appear tonight.” Valerie whispered to Johar, her eyes still watching the two prisoners with a subtle interest. If they failed a second time them she would cut her losses and have them both executed on the spot.
Dosia relaxed immediately as he took her hands in his, the wolf's warmth soothing her. The queen slowly looked up at him, believing each of his encouraging words and her cheeks started reddening lightly, feeling strange again around him. It was like like she could even hear her own heartbeat in his presence. "Sorit,..." Her voice was so soft and fragile as she took a shaky breath and brought up his hands to her lips. Before she knew, she planted a gentle kiss on his knuckles. "Oh, Sorit. What could I do without you." And she never noticed the snake' s presence.
Nobody noticed Ryuu...not. Well, it wasn't one of the guards or servants but the innocent Liz who had gotten permission to pick a few flowers from the beautiful garden. She planned on giving them to her pa who was getting more and more worn out each day. Maybe the lovely scent of the flowers would cheer him up. The blonde girl then spotted a red lovely rose standing out among the others. Hypnotized by its beauty, Liz watched it and then blushed at her own crazy idea. She wanted to give to Ryuu. Of course of course...she had promised herself not to think of him again but wasn't it polite to thank him for the walk and helping her with the blanket? That was what...royals did, right? Liz was already blushing hard imagining giving him the rose but it was worth it. She picked the rose and flinched slightly from its thorn. Sucking on her bleeding finger, she stood and saw a blurry figure near the tower...or was she just seeing things? Wasn't it the Queen's tower? Curiously she narrowed her eyes and tried to see better but it was useless so she decided to snuck closer, since she got a feeling the person was hiding for some reasons. There were several trees and She was good at climbing since childhood. Tucking the flowers carefully in her own plain dress, Liz climbed up the nearest tree and hopped onto the next one. She froze in place witnessing a brown object falling down from the front tree. The now more clear person Caught the thing and then rose up his head, revealing his face. Liz's heart sank recognizing the eye colour of Ryuu. But...But...what was he doing...Taking a walk? Just...under the queen's private room by chance? Maybe...maybe...he was someone else since her eyesight was terrible. The poor girl decided to get a closer look and as she reached to get to another branch she gasped silently as her leg slipped but covered her own mouth to muffle her yelp before falling down on the ground. Whimpering from the scratch and bruises, She stared up at Ryuu with wide eyes, the flowers scattered around her.
Once the doors opened, the special guests entered in elegant clothing and hidden weapons beneath the silky fabrics. They bowed gracefully at their queen and the musicians started the soft music. The guests started dancing in middle once they were given permission to do so but their eyes were scanning around like hunters. Johar was in his finest clothing, the symbol of monsters which was the shape of his own true form painted on the back. He stood next to the queen, which was even more beautiful in that shiny gown.
Cyan showed up again but there wet guards along with him. "Oi. Wear these." He ordered impatiently and dropped down some surprisingly fine outfits suited for a ball. "You have ten minutes to change. Else you will go there naked." Cyan teased with a wicked smirk before shutting the trapdoor again. At least Joseph was there to convince Eric wear on the clothes. Once they were done, the guards took them both to the Sky room which was now lively with music and dance but ugly intentions hidden in it. The guests all turned when the doors opened again and they stared at the hybrid and his brother with various emotions. Humiliation, hatred, curiosity, humour...It was like when Dosia forced him to the ball in clown outfit...but this time it was not for fun at all.
Sorit nodded to her question, mulling over silently what she’d said. “Yes, all of the northern packs and as they move south, I’ve gotten them to gather as much traction with support as they can. They should reach the front to shift it in a few days or so.” He noticed her smile with more hope in her expression and her look made him reach down to take both of her hands in his own. “The united are strong while those who stand, tied together with string will fall swiftly."
He lowered his gaze, breathing in the Queen’s scent and he gently held her hands together in his. “This war will not be in vain, we won’t just win, the Light will set for the last time and an age of and glory will remain.” He held so much trust in the words he spoke, he believed in the cause as much as Dosia did and once the fighting really began, there would be no end till a formal defeat was called from one side or another.
Just outside, a little brown snake slithered, blending into the bark of the tree below the window to her chamber. It’s red eyes glistened before the little snake crept back down the tree and fell from a lower branch, landing in the hand of the Summoner. Ryuu was twirling the useless arrow in hand, holding his summon and he watched it squirm in his grasp before it found his thumb and bit him, turning to sand soon after. He gave a quiet gasp of pain and tossed the sand down. Rubbing his other fingers over the sharp bite and thinking of the knowledge he’d gained from it.
More support. A stronger army. The United Nation was going to try and take the Light Nation through sheer numbers and he knew recruitment had dropped in recent years. If this worked, it wouldn’t be good.
He swallowed and looked up towards her high chamber window, still rubbing his thumb as he turned and walked back inside. There was another letter to write and he hoped to have it sent before what he was doing was noticed.
As the days grew nearer to the night of the ball, more and more guests arrived, as did those fleeing the coming war and those who were just following the path of might. Most who’d come to the castle to seek refuge were shooed to the back quarters, out of sight and come the night of the ball. The Last Dance of Peace as most servants whispered. Queen Valerie, dressed in a silver gown, walked the steps to the Sky room. All glassware was set and the chandeliers were lit, table cloths laid out and the floor shined to perfection. She was there to oversee the final preparations before the ball began and she’d made sure the extra soldiers and guests of great honor knew what to do if and when the All Demon appeared.
She had planned that Eric would try to bring the All demon forth right away, and if he didn’t appear then the ball would continue. At the end of the night, they would have him try again and if still nothing happened then he would be killed next with his brother. After that, all efforts would be turned towards ending the war before it could truly begin. “Is everything ready?” She asked her captain as he met her at the throne like seat on the far side of the Sky room, and with his slight nod, she clapped twice to let the guards know they could open the doors and let the guests in.
Down in the paradise room, the two brothers sat near each other, having not been fed that day which was making Joseph nervous. Why wasn’t someone coming to feed them, and if not then just check on them? Eric was nervous too, but he didn’t show it. Johar hadn’t come back to see them since he’d was told what he wanted to know and only Cyan had come down to feed and check on them. He’d wanted to wait for the little servant to come down many times and get rid of him like Johar had wanted to before, but each time, his younger brother had urged him not too. Now he was beginning to wish he had done something, something more than let the master of monsters best him. He just wondered what would become of them when the trap door was finally opened again.
Dosia was expecting any demand or compliment but an apologise. Her uninterested eyes widened so slightly yet noticeable. A simple bow it was but it meant a lot to the young queen. No, she didn't feel convinced by that at all. Instead, she felt more suspicious and worried of his plans. Dosia knew the Grey Queen wouldn't choose this Summoner as her lapdog for nothing so she felt uneasy about his sudden humbling and just nodded with a soft, "We accept your apologies." and allowed him to head to his room again.
The rest of the days Ryuu was much more obedient and N.V reported nothing odd. The vampires also didn't leave their library and stayed there like old times. Everything seemed too good to be real and Dosia knew something bad was going to happen sooner or later. The return of Sorit relieved her a lot and She let him meet her in her chambers. Once he greeted Her, she stood from her chair and made steps to him, closing their distance with a small smile but her anxious eyes didn't stay hidden from his observant ones. At his state of worrying, Dosia looked away and gave a silent sigh. "Yes, Sorit. Everything is alright. This is exactly what I'm worried about. Like a fire hidden under the ashes. Also, the Light nation has started reacting finally. So the Summoner has managed to inform them. This means they are going to attack first, since he is absolutely sure about his safety." Remembering Sorit's purpose of leaving, she looked back at him hopefully. "Did the packs agree to cooperate?"
One by one, new guests arrived at the castle. They from different races, from sorceress to spirits but they all were legends for common people and had done remarkable services for their country. It didn't mean they were the most loyal ones to Valerie but at least they loved their lands and accepted Valerie as the only one who could keep the Light strong and United. It was a unique sight in decades; The warriors entering through the gates with pride and glory, carrying their famous weapons. On the other hand, this event just confirmed something terrible was happening else they were not needed in the castle. Johar welcomed them himself before they meet their queen and explained about the ball briefly so that they would not act rude in Valerie's presence.
Negomin and Philip were kept in black hole where they could not even see their own hands. Philip tried to move his legs and felt slight relieved as they shifted a bit. So he was not going to stay paralyzed for long but what then? It was pitch black and it seemed like Joseph was not with them since he tried to calling him and feel around the cold stone for him but the the only one he found was Negomin who was tightly chained and pinned to the wall. She barely talked and didn't even fight against the bindings to break free.
Ryuu waited till Dosia had signed the last contract with one of the lower class leaders. When she finally noticed him, he took the chance to approach her and he stopped where the other’s had stood before him. “Indeed,” He replied at her tired sigh and he looked slightly away from her, still looking towards her but not directly at her. “Fair Queen, I’ve come to apologize for what was said last night. It wasn’t my place to speak so boldly to you on such subjects. For that, I extend my sincerest apologies.” He said, bowing to her. He was hoping to catch her off guard with this gesture, even if she didn’t show it right away.
No one from the Light Nation’s upper class would ever humble themselves to someone lower than them. But here he was apologizing to her in as public of a space as her own throne room. He wasn’t expected to get much from this, but he did hope to slowly gain some of her trust, enough to get away with a little more freedom and maybe even a chance to send what he’s learned back to the Light Nation. The Summoner straightened up, looking as neat and as formal as any other in the higher classes and he stepped back from her throne. He turned away and left The Kindhearted Lady to watch him as he retreated from her gaze.
In a day, after apologizing to Dosia, he’d managed to craft a similar looking arrow to the one he had. The thing that Romeo had requested of him. It’s slimness and length was the same as his own but he had it flattened slightly with the upper half twisted in a decorative manor. He didn’t know where exactly the Vampires were but neither one of them had bothered him since his last encounter with Romeo. He’d just wait till he saw one of them again before going to avoid them as best as he could. As for the other guests that The Kindhearted Lady had brought into her home, the summoned just observed them, never going to speak with anyone from other territories or even to any of the estranged collection of guests that lived there permanently.
Sorit arrived back at the castle a day later and he could see that Dosia was mentally worn down. “My Queen,” He greeted her lovingly, there was relief in his voice after he’d let Theodore’s subtle warning get to him. But something else seemed to be bothering her and the werewolf could see it clear as day. “Is everything alright?” He asked quietly, his concerned and knowing gaze meeting her own.
Liz, disappointed of their walking being already over, held the blanket in her hands and gave a small smile as waving her hand goodbye. She then immediately headed back to the guestrooms hoping that her father was not awake yet and She would have enough enough time to take a shower and get rid of the redness of her face. It was pleasing talking to a gentleman like him but she had promised herself to take him out of her mind asap.
Dosia had one of those busy days, different classes visiting her and asking her to consider their benefits and such during war. The queen was not really fond of dealing with them for their small armies but she had to just tolerate their conditions since she needed more men for her impossible victory. The Kindhearted Lady carefully listened to their demands and negotiated with them to make it an even deal before signing the contracts. It was half an hour later when she informed her soldiers that she wanted to take a tea break and ease her mind before continuing. That was when she noticed Ryuu there and she was surprised. She had ordered her guards not to be harsh on the Summoner since she believed he was not going to make it alive out of the castle gates. If she couldn't use his abilities, then nobody shall. So she wasn't much worried that he had witnessed some basic small deals with small tribes. The queen sighed tiredly, still mad at him for the earlier dinner time incident. "Oh, Ryuu." Dosia greeted him with no interest, just hoping he wouldn't take it too long. Days were so tiring without Sorit's kind gaze. "So, we are waiting." She tapped on the throne, sighing again.
Cyan returned the glare to Eric and just leaned to the wall, watching the two eat with a cold stare. He really wasn't fond of watching two disgusting 'animals' eat but he had been ordered to make sure they were not going to starve themselves or anything suicidal like that. He just kept staring and comparing the two brothers. They looked nothing alike but he was sure even Joseph had some evil within. Else, why would Eric care a lot for him?
Ryuu nodded and looked forwards again. “Hmm… Alright.” He said in understanding and they continued to walk around. He agreed with her statement to hating war and they discussed many declarations of peace. He noticed that Liz wasn’t talking as much as he was but he figured she just didn’t know as much about the subject. Soon he noticed that they’d somehow made their way to the main hall and a thought crossed his mind.
“Excuse me Liz, but there’s something that I have to attend to.” He handed her back the blanket that he was still carrying and he left her with a wooing smile before turning away. He was looking for Dosia and he made his way to her throne room, seeing her there and moving silently inside the room, standing off to the right of the doors, away from the guards. He stood still, waiting and watching the Queen, wanting an audience alone with her once she was free to do so.
“Watch it.” Eric snarled at Cyan with just as much hate, but Joseph just looked over his shoulder, shaking his head at his brother. He didn’t give Cyan any more than a look after what he said and he retreated back to Eric’s side, making a motion with his hands and Eric just huffed. “That’s not even why we’re here…” He muttered back and Joseph shrugged slightly. He wasn’t going to try and do anything, but he knew his older brother might and he ate what he was given, having Eric take his share.
Liz curiously looked up at him wondering why wasn't he informed of the big plan. Wasn't he a special guest? But she felt that he was trully worried and this pained her kind heart to see him slightly scared about the change of atmosphere in Deloriak Capital. She soothingly patted his arm and smiled sweetly. "Oh, it not a big deal I assure you." Liz looked forward, happily explaining to him for she believed in victory for the people in pain. "Deloriak and some of the smaller neighbours are united against the dictatorship of Light nation. I have heard there is not justice for peasants there and some races are counted low and worthless. This is horrible. Isn't it?" Liz looked away with a scowl before her face brightened up again with hope. "But I am quite sure there is an end to evil. If we defeated the bloodthirsty demon of Joy Bloodline, then everyone can. I wish the Light people were brave enough to stand for themselves." Liz let out a regretful sigh. "I hate wars. Even if they are for good cause, many innocents die."
Cyan just scowled at the sight of Joseoh bowing his head in sign of peace. "Oh, now you play humble? You two are really snakes but I am absolutely not a fool. So hurry up and finish the damned bread." He spat at Joseph and stepped back more, not trusting him the slightest. "You both are curses. Why did you even disturb the peace in here?! What are you going to gain from that? You deserve instant death so even a piece of bread is too much for you! causing others misery...and then acting mute and innocent? Please. Nobody is going to but your poor acting." Cyan snapped at the younger brother and glared at him hatefully.
“Liz,” Ryuu smiled politely as she explained that was just a nickname. “Well my name is Ryuu. Do you know what all is happening?” He asked after the slightest pause. “I’ve seen so many people here, all with different nationalities and I don’t know why they are all here.” He paused again and gave a dissuading sigh, practiced through the years and perfected to sound genuine. “I’ve heard about the border raids but the whispers of the United Nations just make me wonder.” He paused again, waiting to see if she had anything to weigh in or say.
Eric looked up when the trap door opened and he glared as Johar’s servant climbed down. He watched as Cyan looked towards them and place down the food before stepping back. Eric didn’t like this action at all and he gritted his teeth. “Are you really going to stay down here to watch us eat?” He scowled and didn’t let go of his still sleeping brother. But his voice made Joseph stir and he opened his eyes, pushing back from Eric slightly and holding his head, seeming to be all there again. The nick Johar had left on his neck was gone and so was the redness from where he’d been hit.
Joseph nodded when Eric asked in a whisper if he was alright and Joseph glanced over, seeing the bread before he saw Cyan. Silently, the two brothers shared a look and Eric frowned again, shaking his head. He didn’t move forwards to eat but Joseph did, pushing himself up and carefully walking over towards Cyan. He met the servant’s gaze and bowed his head to him, meaning no ill will towards him, unlike Eric.
The girl felt her heart leap when he offered her to walk with him instead. Meanwhile, the sense of guilt also washed over her. She was quite sure he was from a fine class. Back in Chamlek, people despised men like him. Her father...just hated them from bottom of heart. Now she felt like just stabbing him in back wearing their clothes and talking with them like that. On the other side, The girl didn't want to just lose this chance. She was quite sure she would not be able to marry to someone as handsome as him. Those blue eyes did not send chills to her all, instead were like a mystery. Let alone his 'gentlemanly' manners. So...why not just spending some little time with him. He was going to find out she was from farming class and also from the unstable Chamlek sooner or later so it was not going to happen twice. So it didn't hurt trying once. Just a slight new experience. Her pa was also negotiating with Queen, right? So it was fair for her to...
"Su-sure. I mean...thank you. I would love to." She said softly and looked up, smiling with a still blushed face. She just hoped her pa was not going to wake up any time soon. He had slept very late, having a bad headache. "I'm Liz. I mean...they call me Liz. My full name is Elizabeth."
Johar nodded in silence at his queen's order. He too did not care much to the 'lesser race but of course they were needed for the low jobs. Though he doubted if they were ever going to be extinct. He just saw three pregnant women in the throneroom. Those disgusting creatures just kept reproducing like crazy . Maybe the war would control their number. The minister sighed and headed right to his office to write the necessary letters to the strongest of the Light. The stronger, The harder to get them to move their ass. So he had to choose the words he wrote carefully. Even Though he preferred threatening them with his monsters. He sent Cyan to the Paradise room to bring the two brothers some bread and water. He didn't want to starve them for now.
The trapdoor opened and catiously the still healing Cyan climbed down with the small amount of food. He saw the brothers hugging and he pressed his lips in a bit of annoyance before setting the food down and stepping back to watch them eat.
“… That you got up before him?” Ryuu finished, glancing at her as she trailed off and looked down again. He didn’t say anything about her accent or how she spoke but he recognized it and he began to wonder. Who was she, who was her father, and why were they both in Deloriak when he could clearly tell that they were from Chamlek. He didn’t ask any of this questions but he did slow his walk and eventually stop a few rooms down from the one she’d pointed to.
“Um… Would you like to walk with me instead?” He asked, looking for more of an excuse to be doing something other than sitting in his room by himself. He was sure that as long as he wasn’t snooping or trying to escape or cause any trouble that he wouldn’t be hunted down for just walking around a little.
He didn’t know how long it had been since Johar had left them, but Eric could feel his brother slowly go limp against him. His eyes were closed and his breathing was slow. Despite the situation, Joseph had fallen asleep. Maybe it was because he still wasn’t all there, who knows. But Eric wasn’t left alone for much longer.
“[b So you’ve finally folded, going soft now that you have something to lose?]” Karim’s voice make Eric look up and he saw the shadowy demon, glowing eyes looking back at him.
“What does it matter to you?” Eric spat back, still holding his brother close and the All demon chuckled.
“[b Why does it matters?! It means the world to me that you'd give away what few secrets you have to get me back here.]” Karim smirked and stepped closer. “[b I didn’t think you still cared…]” He mocked.
“Shut up… Just tell me how I can get him out of this.” Eric said sharply and Karim paused for just a moment before speaking. After a few minutes, Eric asked. “… And you’ll stick to your word?”
“[b Of course I will.]” Was Karim’s reply and he left after a few moments more, leaving the brothers alone again.
Valerie tilted her head up as her minister leaned down, whispering what he had learned from their prisoner. “Hmm… We have one of his own, and the demon likes to make a special of himself?” She prompted quietly, seeing Johar hesitate before nodding. “Hmm~ I see. Then I believe we have a dance to prepare for.” She said, offering her hand to her minister and guiding him out of the throne room so they could talk more freely. “The coming war is scaring the lesser races.” She began. “Most of them won’t be able to fight alongside the Light and will die as a result. But if they all die then we will have to put ourselves to work in place of the labor that they would do.”
She stopped a good distance away from the throne room and turned back to Johar. “I don’t intend for things to go that far but in the meantime, a trap should be laid for Lilith’s son. At the highest room of the castle, something that he shouldn’t be able to escape if things don’t work out peacefully. I want you to go and gather the strongest of the Light for the staged ball and make sure both prisoners are… Presentable.” With her last order, the queen turned away and left Johar to tend to other more humble matters.
The Blondie was wishing the earth would just swallow her. The young girl had never been treated like a noble lady and this made her nervous and even blushed more when she realised he might have thought she was from wealthy class judging by her clothing. Her slightly plump but not so soft hand was shaky on his arm and She decided to play along as her other hand gripped on the dress afraid that she would fall again. She noticed him not looking at her and the rural girl was relieved slightly, daring to gaze at his slightly blurry face with narrowed eyes. Her cheeks heated when she found the man quite attractive and again dropped her gaze. Playing with the cloth of the 'borrowed' dress, She whispered. "M-my pa and I sleep in...one of the guestrooms...over there." She pointed at the end of the hallway then gulped. "P-pa...doesn't know I...I..." Embarrassed, the girl looked down again. How could she explain she had just stolen a dress like a princess wannabe and tried it on? Oh no. What if this affected the contract between Chamlek and Deloriak?! She whispered slightly, biting her lips anxiously.
Johar was shocked and disgusted to see all those worthless peasants in the throneroom. Why did the queen accepted them all into her main place?! So close to Her?! But it was not the time to protest...The minister just stiffened and walked past the silent people then leant forward his queen and whispered in her ear about what Eric told him about Karim.
Ryuu looked over when the strange girl entered. She didn’t seem to notice him and he watched her confused before trying to call out. “Um… Miss?” He asked but she had already seen him in the mirror and quickly turned to face him. After a few moments, she bolted for the door and fell when the blanket caught her legs. He winced as she fell and got up going over to her. “Hey, hey wait a minute.” He said calmly, kneeling beside her and easily tugging the off of her legs. “Are you alright, miss?” He first asked, taking her hand and helping her to her feet. “What were you doing? Coming in here with a blanket around you like that? Didn’t you know someone else was in here?”
He was genuinely curious about why she’d come here of all rooms but he could see she was becoming flustered with his questions. “Hmm, never mind. But let me walk you back to wherever it is you should be. I’m sure it’s not sneaking around the guest rooms with that blanket.” He chuckled slightly but noticed the girl pale a bit, so he just picked up the blanket and kept it draped over one arm as he offered her the other. She took it without protest but kept her eyes glued to the floor. “Where are you supposed to be right now, miss?” He asked calmly and looked forwards, away from her so she wouldn’t feel pressured to answer right away.
“I will, I will…” He murmured and winced as he heard Johar hitting his brother. Still Joseph gave no response and Eric waited for the minister to leave and the monster eye to close. Once he could stand, Eric staggered up to his feet and crept over to his brother. “Joseph?” He asked and sat down in front of him. He looked down towards the knotted rope and after a few minutes of struggling he was able to get it off. Eric then looked back at his brother, watching sadly before hugging him and staying like that. “I… Really wished you’d stayed gone…” He whispered quietly and closed his eyes, holding his little brother for what he felt would be the last time.
The crowd in the throne room had grown with more and more simpleminded and easily frightened folk, no emboldened were there with a thirst for war or any preaching for the peace to remain. Her servants were going around, seeing if anyone needed anything. Water, bread, blankets, anything. Many didn’t or they were just too scared to ask. It reminded Valerie of a refugee camp that she’d visited many years ago, back when she was trying to get rid of such things in her dictatorship. But there were no whispers of revolting or plots to overthrow the ruling power. Here there was just fear, enough fear to make the simpleminded blindly trust their ruler with the thought that she would protect them. It was a blinded idea but she wasn’t going to correct them.
She noticed Johar stop short in the doorway, not entering as he looked around at all of the peasants that had found their way into the castle. Calmly, Valerie stood and gave her minister a nod to come over to her. “Speak softly Johar.” She told him before permitting that he tell her why he’d come to see her.
The servants of Deloriak let him have his breakfast in quiet. But half an hour later, the door was opened again but with much more cautious and a girl around seventeen or maybe eighteen snuck in. She had wrapped herself in a blanket and her curly blond hair covered most of her face. She didn't even glance at him and went straight for the mirror. It was like she hadn't even noticed Ryuu's presence. Once she was in front of the mirror, she slowly dropped the blanket and revealed a casual dress for a wealthy lady but it was something so wonderful for a rural girl like her. She neared her face to the mirror and smiled. She didn't have a good eyesight but of course glasses were fancy things used by rich people. Working in farm or housechorus didn't need good eyes; Especially for young girls. Once she neared her head enough to the mirror, she noticed another reflection and sharply looked back to see another one in the room. Immediately her cheeks turned red and She wrapped the blanket around herself again She didn't know the room was now occupied. She had been a guest for only a week since her father had to make some deals with Deloriak about weaponry and such. Chamlek had improved in sword making and Dosia had invited one of the leaders to convince him sell their swords. She was the one who insisted to come along since she wanted to see more castles. The Joy Bloodline castle was wonderful so she was tempted to see more. She just found this dress in the laundryroom and snuck into the 'empty' room to try it on. Her father didn't like her to act and dress like a 'Royal Pig'.
"I...I...I..." She gave a quite silly bow in rush and then hurried to the door but sadly the blanket wrapped around her leg and She fell down clumsily.
Johar smirked in triumph. "Yes. You should absolutely do that if you want your brother to be fed." He cooed and gave a slap to Joseph's cheek but he saw no response to it. Narrowing his eyes, he slapped him harder and again Joseph didn't blink. The minister felt something was wrong and even poked his neck with the knife. No, this boy was completely out. The monster master didn't show his confusion and just stood. "Well, he is shocked with fear. How pathetic." Johar coldly explained and walked to leave the Paradise room. He let the eye close once he was out of the room and gave the two brother some private time to mourn for their future. The minister headed right to his queen, satisfied that he was actually proceeding.
Ryuu groaned in tired frustration and he rolled over, tucking his arms under the pillow and glaring at N.V as he pulled away the curtains. It was already morning. How could it be morning already. “Ugh, I know.” He grumbled at the servant’s rude comment. He didn’t smell that bad. As N.V began to explain it slowly and deliberately, the Summoner pushed himself up from the bed. “I said, I know!” He shouted,
“Now GET!” He suddenly jumped to his feet and pounced at N.V, chasing the servant out of the room before slamming the door shut behind him. Tiredly, he walked back to the bed and collapsed onto his stomach, giving a tired whining moan about how he wished it wasn’t morning.
After a few minutes he got back up again and took the clothes into the bathroom to try and wake himself up. After he was done in the bathroom and had changed into fresh clothes, he cautiously walked over to the door of his room and peered out into the hall. There wasn’t anyone in sight. Closing the door and going over to his breakfast, he sighed as he found it was cold and tasted a little bland. But other than that he wouldn’t complain about being fed.
“I… Don’t know.” Eric replied weakly, watching the monsters let go of of his brother but staying tense as Johar walked over and knelt beside the younger man. “H-he hasn’t told me anything, I don’t know what he’s planning! … Get away fro- AHHH!” Eric tried to get to his feet but the monster eye focused on him and the pain grew more intense, making him collapse back down. He wouldn’t be able to protect Joseph like this, there was only one thing he could think to do.
“I-I can ask him. Please… Don’t hurt my brother!” He begged. He looked desperately over towards Joseph and he immediately felt something was wrong. His brother had a blank expression and was staring sightlessly in front of him. “... Joseph?” He called hesitantly and he gave a quiet whimper when Joseph didn’t respond.
Joseph on the other hand was frightened out of his mind and though he couldn’t make a sound, his bright eyes never looked away from Johar. That is till the minister knelt down and cruelty pressed on his eyelids. The young man squirmed and tried to turn his face away and the minister let him when Eric spoke again. Then a soft, cooing voice spoke to him, making him feel numb and listlessly thoughtless.
“[b At peace, Joseph. I'll make sure you don’t feel a thing.]”
Joseph suddenly relaxed and he no longer looked afraid, tilting his head back slightly with his eyes still closed. He then opened them and stared blankly upwards into space, no expression on his face. Almost like he wasn’t all there anymore. His expression didn’t change at any poking or prodding or even anything spoken to him, he just gazed blankly and sometime’s closed his eyes for a few moments.
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