Ryuu yelped as the sword stabbed through the door and he yanked himself away, spinning to face the door as Theodore pulled his sword back and pushed opened the door. He gulped and held his arm, looking after Theo before he glanced back at Romeo and slowly stepped out of the room. It wasn’t a far walk but Romeo was right there making sure he didn’t have the opportunity to run. When they got to the library, the Summoner flinched a little at how heavily the door closed and he bit his tongue at Theodore’s impatient tone.
“I… Don’t know..” He tired but he heard a dissuaded [i Tsk] from Romeo who was still behind him, fiddling with the arrow. “Do you have it?” He asked instead. “Were you the one who took it before I could…?” He trailed off and looked down miserably. “[i Dear Aziers,] I don’t even want to be here.” He muttered, covering his face with one hand while the other held his injured arm. “Why do you want a confession? Why does it even matter to you?!” He asked defensively, glaring up from between his fingers before he closed his eyes and hung his head.
“[b An empty threat?]” Karim looked at Johar with a curious look and his smile grew to a dangerous, sneering glare. “[b Well if you have so much trust in your ability than it should be no issue for you to defend you [i cause] and [i treasure.]]” He turned away slightly holding his arms out, “[b Oh but what is a Dark to do? With not even his blood at his side.. Perhaps, sing a little song? … Hum a little tune? [i Hmm,]] hm, [i hmm?]” He gazed around with a threatening tone entering his voice and suddenly Eric shouted,
“Stop! You promised! You promised you wouldn’t do that!” He was still holding onto his brother though Joseph seemed to be supporting him more than the other way around.
“[b So I did.]” Karim replied, no longer humming. “[b But I never said anything about [i you.]]” Eric’s bitter, desperate expression fell and he stared as the All Demon turned back towards the Queen again. “[b I said I would give you something to help in the war, and I still have every intention of doing so IF you agree to my deal.]”
Valerie sat still, having brought her hands up and folded them together to rest her chin on, in thought. He had nothing to lose in this deal but everything to gain from it. Johar was brave in standing up for her but the Demon would cause unknown destruction if an answer wasn’t given to him soon.
“There is no need for that.” She said calmly, acutely aware of the tension in the room and the heavy atmosphere.
“[b But I insist that-]” Karim began snidely but the Queen cut him off, speaking softly and quickly so that he’d have to listen to know what she was saying.
“No. We do not need anything that you could offer us. A threat in our own home is not one to take heed. Though I wonder…? Why put yourself through the trouble of all this?” She paused as Karim’s expression became less dangerous and more curious to what she meant. “Why take the time?” She asked and he chuckled.
“[b It is a dance, something you should know every well. Over and over again, something consistent in this chaos called time.]” He sighed and looked back at her with a slightly tilted head. “[b Are you asking for more time?]”
“A few minutes to decide, yes.”
“[b Very well.]” Karim mused and straightened up, “[b Then let me leave you with the weapon I still intend on giving to you.]” He said and snapped his fingers on his right hand. Eric yelled out again, but this time in pain as he collapsed to his knees and held his head, his brother stepping back and away from him in surprise. The transformation was quick but from all the noise it was clearly painful. A pair of black, webbed wings had ripped through the fine clothes and two sharp, upturned and equally dark horns had appeared through his blond hair. The glow of his eyes were clear even though his was still buckled over and Karim calmly spoke over Eric’s lessening screams.
“[b He isn’t that bad of a fighter. He just needs a little… Motivation.]” With that the All Demon motioned to Joseph, who reluctantly stepped away from Eric. “[b I will give you the morning to decide.]” Karim then said, looking back towards the Grey Queen with a smirk, his own large pitch wings opening after Joseph reached his side. “[b At noon I will be back for your answer.]” And in a swift motion the two were gone, leaving behind the ‘weapon’ that Karim had left behind.
Romeo glanced at him with a tilted head. "Hm? I suggest you don't get out of this room. There is an angry Theo behind that door. Oh, goodness. He really wants to bleed you to death!" Whistling, the vampire happily searched through the drawers and then whistled loudly once he saw the arrow. "Ah~ There it is! How lovely~" He took the golden weapons in his hands with adore in his wide eyes. "I will cherish it foreveeeer~As a memory of our Pretty boy who died too soon." Chuckling, Romeo winked at the Summoner baring his fangs as doing so. He started approaching Ryuu but then froze in place with a surprised face. "Oh dear, Theo-" But Theo' s sword was already stabbed through the door, wounding Ryuu's arm on process. The door was pushed opened roughly after Theodore pulled out his sword. He had a dark expression staring at Ryuu. His eyes held anger, humiliation and disgust towards the Summoner. "Come." He simply ordered and turned around, expecting him to follow him to the library. Romeo was right behind Ryuu, humming a happy tone as watching his very own golden arrow.
Once in library, Theodore turned and faced the man. "Confess." He folded his arms impatiently.
Johar's claws were already reformed as his eyes were wide and wild set on Karim. The scent of blood of a Light had triggered him but more importantly, the All Demon had dared to threaten his queen. Gritting his now sharp teeth together, the minister finally spoke up with an aggressive tone. "What a fruitless, empty threat. There is no possibility he Dark worms would have a chance even in surviving against us. So stop believing in your own inferior kind and do know you will never have your dirty claws over our treasure and cause!" It was really admirable how his tone never fell in that heavy atmosphere.
Artemis had gasped loudly, though no sound was made. It was so confusing; Karim was willing to help the Light in war but at the same time wished for their failure? What kind of sick game was that?! She approached the blood puddle and noticed the broken sword to be one special one. Her heart sank. Even the Light swords were not any good against Karim. What had Lilith created?! An absolute Dark?! She cursed herself for making another deal with the unpredictable demon. What if he wanted to just leave her in that ghost like condition? She didn't even think about it.
“I-it’s over there.” Ryuu said, pointing to the other side of the bed, pulling at Romeo’s hand a bit to lessen the pressure on his neck. He watched the Vampire stand up off of him, but he kept a hold of the whip, which was still wrapped around his ankle. Quickly, the Summoner reached down and unwrapped the whip from around him, making sure it wouldn’t drag him across the room and he pulled himself back to the door. He noticed Romeo glance over at him and he pressed his back against the door, murmuring. “It’s in the drawer there.” He was thinking about running but he’d have to turn his back to the vampire to open the door and that wasn’t something he wanted to do.
Valerie still hadn’t taken her eyes off of the All Demon and she continued to stare at him while everyone else watched Joseph slowly walk over, head down and his height considerably less than Karim’s. Karim nonchalantly placed a clawed hand over Joseph’s shoulder and he looked up towards the Grey Queen.
“[b This one I’ll be taking.]” He said, in the same tone he’d called the younger man over with and there were a few gasps and mutters of disbelief. A few warriors even stepped forwards and Karim lifted his head sharply, looking in their direction. “[b Another step and you lose your head.]” He said with an equally sharp manner and he watched the warrior step back uncertainty.
“[b Now, I can guarantee that I, myself, won’t be interfering in this coming war, not acting for the Light or against it when the fighting really begins. But I can promise something better if the Light doesn’t lose… It’ll be fine if the war is won since the Light will get whatever plunder it wants from the fallen United Nations. But if the battle is lost,]” He took a step away from Joseph, towards the Queen, he pointed a clawed finger towards her. “[b Then I get your wings and your life.]” He said, immediately causing a loud uproar from the watching warriors.
One of the boldest even leapt forwards, charging Karim with his weapon in hand, and all the All Demon did was glance in his direction before his right wing shot open, catching the warrior off guard. His sword snapped as it made contact with the demon’s seemingly leathery wing and the hook on the top caught below his chin, ripping his head off. Karim himself didn’t have to even move towards the warrior or away, he just flapped open his wing and decapitated the warrior.
Valerie had stiffened at the threat on her immortality, but the bloodshed didn’t affect her. Joseph had staggered back as soon as he saw what the warrior was doing and his movement made Eric hurry forwards, catching his younger brother and holding onto him like his life depended on it.
“[b Anyone else?]” Karim inquired, looking around as he turned in the blood pooling at his feet. “[b Come now, surely there is another one of you who thinks they can best me.]” He looked around consideringly and gave a low whistle, having the candles above them flare to life with a bright burning light. A few sparks were sent down from the chandeliers but now the full extent of the carnage could be seen clearly.
“[b Hmm… With that out of the way.]” He began again, turning back to look towards Valerie. “[b These are my terms, You win the war and the Light Nation will be fine, I will even give you something to help win the war. But if the Light is defeated, then I will take your Queen’s wings and her life.]” Valerie stayed ridged at this and she pressed her lips together in a slight frown.
“Are you willing to negotiate on any of the terms?” She asked and the All Demon smiled.
“[b No I am not.]”
The door was suddenly pushed with a kick and almost threw Ryuu across the room. "GOOD MORNING, PRETTY BOY!" Romeo shouted out his lungs and just walked in with no hesitation. He saw the tray of sandwiches and sat on the bed, picking one sandwich up. "You still are not prepared for day? You are one lazy pal!" He shoved the treat in his mouth. As he was chewing, he sniffed something and then froze. Slowly his eyes narrowed and he lowered his head to sniff on the sheets. Swallowing down the snack, he calmly but threateningly asked Ryuu. "You were...having fun again?" His fangs were bared and his eyes wide, like he was ready to leap at the poor Summoner any moment. Before Ryuu could get away, he cracked his whip in a second and then caught his ankle with it pulling him down on floor. Soon, Romeo was sitting on his chest with a grin. "Oh, what a precious expression you are making! I really should drink you dry~" Teasingly he pressed on Ryuu's neck veins. "So, did you make the arrow you Bastard?" The vampire pressed more on his vein to show his annoyance.
Not moving an inch away from his queen, Johar glared at the All Demon. He didn't believe Karim when he claimed he had no ill intentions like Lilith. Dark were all liars and cheaters. It was a fact to the Monster Master. The warriors in the room became more tensed when Joseph started walking to the devil but nobody dared to stop him, instead they just gripped tightlier onto their weapons.
Johar stared at Joseph in disblief wondering if he had something for Karim. But he didn't feel anything special from the mute. He glanced back at his queen, wondering what she was planning. This seemed to be their only chance to get rid of the problem.
Artemis on the other hand, was frustrated. She so wanted to pull Joseph back and not let him approach Karim. She just wanted to keep the human out of the mess his brother created. Why did the All Demon out her in that torturing state? Was he afraid she would do something against him? Not like she could overpower him in anyway so maybe he just liked to somehow 'cheat' in a deal. Good thing she had not offered him anything yet since this condition would lower the prize noticeably.
Ryuu was lulled into the kiss and he lost himself again. Come morning time, when N.V shook him awake, he had a splitting headache and his hearing as all fuzzy. “Go… Away…” He muttered, swiping feebly at the kid before he was handed the tray. He just looked at it and somehow managed to set it down on the floor without dropping it. He turned onto his back and got his pillow, sticking it over his face and groaning with his movement. He didn’t say anything back to N.V and eventually pulled the pillow down so he could breath. He still had a headache but it wasn’t as bad as before and he could see the sunshine through the window. He still had his letter to finish so he pushed himself up and got ready for the day, picking the tray back up off of the floor so he wouldn’t accidentally kick it over. He then walked over to the desk and realized something which made his heart drop.
The letter was gone. Immediately he began searching for it and after over turning everything in, on, and around the desk, he knew that it wasn’t there. Had the succubus taken it? Why would she? She probably didn’t know what it even was. Had a servant taken it? Again unlikely. One of the Vampires? He had no way of knowing.
Groaning in disbelief, Ryuu stalked towards his door and reached for the handle before stopping. What would he do? He didn’t have a way to find who had taken it and he could ask for help finding it since the letter contained information that would help the Light Nation. That would immediately label him as a threat and he’d probably be condemned to a prison cell rather than this room in the castle. He let go of the handle and turned, leaning with his back against the door. He just had to hope that it didn’t get back to the queen that he knew she’d asked for more support.
Karim held his gaze on the Grey Queen till one of her ministers stepped in front of her. He then looked towards the brave Light and his smile lessened into a calm grin. “[b What a greeting this is. The best the Light has to offer, all in one place.]” He looked around and stepped away from his son, who still hadn’t moved. Joseph seemed to shrink back next to the soldiers but he didn’t do anything else to draw attention to himself. “[b Eric,]” He said stepping around the petrified hybrid and upon hearing his name, Eric seemed to realize what was happening and he winced looking back at the All Demon. “[b You did as I asked, very good.]” Karim continued and he turned to face the Grey Queen again, away from Eric as he looked away and stepped back, seemingly having the same response his brother had.
“[b Now, I am under the assumption that I was called her to negotiate. What for, I haven’t the slightest idea but I have a feeling, judging by this greeting, that you’re under the impression that I am a threat… Am I correct?]” He asked, lifting his head to meet the Queen’s wide gaze with his own glowing eyes. “[b Am I correct?]” He asked again in a more methodical tone.
“You’re right.” Valerie spoke, her voice even and clear, her eyes never leaving the Dark that stood before her.
“[b Very well.]” He said, closing his wings and folding his hands behind him. “[b For that, I will make this very clear. I am not Lilith, which is who I am sure you are basing your impression of me on. I am not looking to create another Dark Age and I do not want my kin here, to be any sort of ruler of such things.]” Karim didn’t add any more to that subject and he gazed around, his glowing eyes narrowed with thought.
“[b Joseph,]” He suddenly said aloud, turning around and reaching one hand out towards the young man. “[b Come here.]” He said beckoning him forwards with a clawed finger, his tone sound like one that wasn’t to be questioned. Joseph stiffened as he was called but he began to walk forwards, not looking up making no sudden motion.
Her lips brushing against his so softly, She smirked and whispered soothingly as pushing his forward gently. "Romeo? The silly old man? Tch. Vampires don't hold lively strengths like you...Don't worry my sugar love, Everything is gonna be okay just relax and enjoy me~" And then the game started with a hungry kiss of hers. Just like the first time, it was like a guilty heaven but then when it was over and the Succubus stroked his sweaty face luring him to sleep. Once he gave in and let himself rest peacefully, the Succubus sighed with a roll of eyes as she still held Ryuu close to her dearly beneath the blanket. "You can come." She said facing the door and it opened silently, Theodore stepping in. His eyes held disgust as he stared at the human falling for lust this easily then headed to his desk. He saw the letter and picked it up, staring at it coldly. "Are you done?" The Succubus sighed again, watching Ryuu to make sure he was still asleep.
"...Yes." Theodore whispered and walked back to the door but stopped and watched her being still close to the Summoner. "You can't just get enough of him, can you?"
"Oh, just go!" The Succubus snapped at him, her wings opening slightly threateningly but that didn't effect Theodore and the vampire just casually left and closed the door behind leaving the Duchess with the human. He had taken away the letter to give Ryuu one warning.
"Hey wake up lazy ass." N.V shook Ryuu to wake him up. The Succubus had left earlier and fortunately N.V was still a kid and was not much interested in the 'games' so didn't know what had happened. "You missed the dinner but they want to keep you fat so here." He pushed a tray of small sandwiches in Ryuu's hands. The servant stared at his face, "Seriously, did the old queen fall for these lifeless eyes? Poor hag." He turned and walked off to the door again.
Artemis gasped, squirming against his larger body as he held her too close for her comfort. "W-wait how should I call y-" But they were already through the portal and just when the Ba'al was glad someone was holding her, Karim let her fall and She hit the ground ungracefully. She groaned a silent groan and pushed herself up, seeing Eric and behind him Karim. Surprised, She got on her feet and called out the prince's name...What?
He could not hear herself. She tried yelling and shouting but it was useless. Confused and frustrated, she tried punching Eric but when she saw her fist, her body froze...she was...she was like a see through ghost! The Ba'al looked around and shock hit her harder seeing all those guests and then..the queen. Her jaw dropped and She just stumbled backward. But then she realised nobody looked at her. She couldn't even be seen. That Karim...he tricked Her! Well, not quite...but still! Artemis had no choice but to watch the breath taking scene like a wandering ghost.
The guests snapped out of their shock when Karim finally talked, quickly weapons were held out and pointed at the All Demon though there was a heavy sense of doubt about Karim's powers. Johar could feel the Dark powrr radiating from All Demon and he growled, itching to turn into his true form but held himself back and just stepped forward to protect his queen.
Ryuu heard the Duchess’ voice and he felt a shiver go through him. Another round with her sounded nice, but he knew what strings were attached now and he resisted the urge to turn around and face her. He could hear her heels clicking on the floor towards him and he squeezing his eyes shut. “Now… Isn’t a good time….” He murmured hoping she’d just go away, but instead he heard a little laugh and felt her deadly claws wrap over his shoulders. “Please… It really… [i Really] isn’t a good time… Right now.” He said, still with his eyes shut and he bowed his head, not turning to face her.
He’d flipped the letter over so she couldn’t read over his shoulder what he’d been writing but she didn’t seem all too interested in that. He could hardly resist looking at her but he couldn’t stop himself when she pulled him back towards his bed, turning him to face her and he could feel her face close to his. “W-wait…” He murmured, trying not to fall head first into her little game again. “I-if I give you this will you [i Please] keep Romeo from coming after me?” He sounded a little anxious now, not too worried about being found out as a rat, but more worried one of the other creatures of the dark would bleed him dry.
“Mm-Hmm,” Karim hummed at her question, scratching a long arching line between three dots and stepped back. His humming made Artemis’ hearing go fuzzy for a moment but then he stopped and it slowly came back. He’d carved what looked like a constellation into the door and he reached down to the handle, hearing it click. He then looked back at her and held out his hand again to her. “You’ll see soon enough where Eric is,” He said, beckoning her closer and before she could hesitate, he took her hand and pulled her forwards, holding her close to him like he had done before. “Just remember how to call to me, I won’t just be in your mind this time.” And with that he flung open the door and pulled them both through.
When Artemis was pulled through the door, her vision went dark and Karim let go of her, letting her fall and hit a hard marble floor. Her sight slowly returned and she could see Eric with Karim’s towering form standing behind him. But there was something she didn’t realize Karim had changed for her. She made no sound as she tried to speak and when she brought her hands up to look at herself, she could see right through herself. She could see the people through her hands and the floor through her feet. She was like a ghost in the waking world.
It was nearing dawn again and most of the Guests were beginning to tire, no longer feeling all too anxious or curious and just assuming that the All Demon wasn’t going to show. Valerie didn’t seem the least bit tired and she made a motion to the soldiers to pull Eric away from his brother, at the same time one of the servant’s walked over to the crank and began opening the windows. A chilled breeze swept through the room and it was enough to wake most of the dozing Light.
The prisoner stood again in the center of the room and this time the soldier’s had backed up from him, leaving a wide space around him as everyone watched. He looked up tiredly and closed his eyes, trying one more time and a look of surprise crossed his face right before a large gust of wind whipped through the Sky room and blew out most of the candles on the chandeliers. The windows rattled and the glassware shook but nothing broke. As suddenly as the wind had come, it was gone and something every out of place was now there, standing right behind Eric, the All Demon’s back to him.
Karim stood tall, his stance strong and the aura around him imposing. His arms were crossed and his large wings were half open, his tail snaking back around Eric and waving away from him. Slowly his golden eyes opened and they glowed against his pitch skin, which almost blended in with the dark of the Sky room. There was an eerie quiet and the prisoner didn’t move a muscle, seemingly too stunned as everyone else was, to do anything.
“[b So…]” Karim rumbled, his now thunderous voice echoing in the Sky room. “[b This is the council I am to meet.]” He turned and looked around, his eyes resting on the Grey Queen and a dangerous smile crossed his lips.
"Hey, Sugar~" The familiar smooth, flirtatious voice of Duchess Succubus came from doorway. She was leaning against the closed door, her wings folded behind and her deadly nails tapping elegantly on her folded arms over the revealed chest of her. Her amused eyes were set on Ryuu and her plump lips stretched with an encouraging smile. She had enjoyed the power she had stolen earlier from this unique man and was tempted to take some more because aside from his different pattern of magic, he also had some good skills and face for pleasing a woman. "Mmm, are you busy?" Her high heels flanked against the floor as she approached the Summoner. "Because I sooo missed you, did you?" She tilted her head, playing with a strand of her shiny dark hair with a curious but mischievous look.
Stiffening slightly as the All Demon turned around the bed to get on her side, Artemis followed his movements carefully in case he decided to do anything funny. She was doing her best in keeping her cool since last time she lost it, he taught her a good lesson so the little Ba'al only clenched her fists in when he called her 'cute'. Her anger soon turned to a bit of fear when he mentioned he could want 'everything' from her which sounded a bit threatening to her even if he didn't mean it. Artemis was starting to assume he was not going to help her but he surprised her by saying he would wait for an answer and then proceeded on doing something to the door, opening a portal?! She catiously stood and approached him. "...So You will send me now?" She asked as watching his movements. For now, she had no idea what to offer him since she was not even in charge anymore and Karim had his own body to do whatever he wanted freely. Eric had warned her not to trust Karim but screw that hybrid. He also had his daddy's help and Artemis was not going to survive without the All Demon. If he was the only way to...confirm of Eric's well being, Artemis would make a deal again. She didn't know why she wanted to see Eric so bad and did not like to think much about it. But she made a note in her head to punch his good for nothing face once she met him again.
Maybe that would make her feel better.
"Uh. By the way, where exactly Eric is by now? Did you succeeded in making a HUGE revolution or-"
Ryuu gingerly took the rose from her with a generous smile. He was used to everything that she’d said, about Summoner’s being seen as evil and the well known event of every summoner that was caught, was killed.
“Thank you Liz.” He said looking over the rose and looking back at her pleasantly. It was a kind gesture but he didn’t think anymore of it. He gazed away from her, looking up to see that the sun was beginning to set. “Oh. I’m sorry, but i have to go.” He said, remembering what he was going to do. “Thank you, again, for the rose.” He said, giving her a charming smile over his shoulder as he turned away and retreated back into the castle, his summon turning into sand again in his hand as he swiftly walked.
It didn’t take him long to get back to his room and he rushed to write the letter. Doing this, in his enemy’s home, he wasn’t sure how long it would be before The Kindhearted Lady looked to his own abilities to help in the war. He was sure it was a long ways off but it would eventually happen, and he hoped that the Grey Queen could end this before it got to that desperate point.
Valerie swirled a goblet of dark wine in hand as she watched Johar walk back to her side and she calmly took a drink from it as he quietly told her what the prisoner’s excuse was. “…” She swallowed her drink and glanced across the room towards two cranks, one was to lower the chandeliers so they could be lit or doused and the other was to open or close all of the windows that stood shut behind all of the tables.
“Hmm… I’ll have the windows opened right before he tries again. It isn’t like he’ll be able to jump out one.” She mused softly and waved her hand dismissively. She seemed so calm and so sure, but inside, she could only feel Eric’s demonic presences, not his brother’s or the All Demon’s. She wondered silently to herself if this effort would be in vain and she looked back down over the guests, taking another sip from her drink.
Karim looked at Artemis as she uneasily explained what she wanted and he didn’t respond right away. “You think I need anything from you?” He asked slowly and after a moment, he sneered and stood up slowly walking around her bed to be on the same side as her. “That’s cute. Cute that you think that.” He purred in a deep rumble and he stood at the corner of her bed as soon as he was on the same side as she was.
“But I suppose you’re right. Since I can’t do everything.” He thought for a moment and his long tail flicked back and forth. “Oh, I don’t know… You say that you’d do anything I want… But what if I want everything from you?” He asked, fixing his gaze on her. “Hmm, I know that wouldn’t be given willingly. Heh, heh…” He turned away from her slightly and after a few moments he snapped his clawed fingers.
“Here, I’ll have you decide…” He said looking back at Artemis with a cold smile. “You can choose what you willingly give me for this deal, and it must be something more than your ‘admiration and appreciation for my assistance.’ So choose carefully, and take your time deciding. I still have all the time in the world to wait as long as you make it worth my while.” He bared his teeth in his smile and he turned away, walking over to her locked door. “I’ll send you back now so you don’t feel ‘cheated’ like you were with our last deal.” He said, stretching his arms in front of him and flexing his claws before beginning to tap little holes into the door.
Liz was as red as a tomato as she looked up by his touch. At first it looked like she was about to cry with those wide teary eyes but then she saw him smiling and She grinned before giggling at her own stupidity. She wiped off her tears from corner of her eyes, feeling much more confident after the silly incident. "I...I had never seen a Summoner this close before. Pa says...Summoners are all evil." Sense of guilt hit her again and she started playing with her fingers before convincing herself with a sweet smile. "But I guess he is wrong. There is no way we can just judge everyone by their talents. Besides, the cursed Prince murdered them so I don't think we should follow his path..." She twirled a strand of her hair before biting her tongue. "I...I'm sorry I talk too much." Liz looked around and saw the rose she wanted to give him so bad laying on grasses with a few dropped petals. But it still looked good. The rural girl reached down and picked it up. "Umm...I...I actually...wanted to...give this..." She shyly offered him the flower and stared down to avoid looking at his expression, afraid to see humor or disgust.
Johar stared at Eric questioningly, feeling slightly mocked by this strange request. However, the minister turned away and walked to Valerie's throne passing the curious gazes of slowly dancing guests. Once he was close to the queen, he told her quietly. "He is 'trying' to call him. I guess the demon is taking his time to appear. Also..." Hesitantly, Johar added. "He also said we better open the windows else Karim would break them all." The Captain who also heard got suspicious and gave doubtful look at his queen but not saying anything since Valerie probably knew better.
Artemis' heart slammed against her ribcage as she felt the touch on her shoulder and the very familiar voice right behind her laying body. The princess sat up with a gasp and state at Karim sitting there so casually. He had no limits, it seemed. The little Ba'al just stared at the mighty expression in pure shock and surprise before managing to stutter out some words." Y-you...c-came...h-how..." She took a deep breath and calmed herself before getting a serious expression. "Actually, I wanted to make another deal with you." She hesitated before continuing, " I want to see Eric."
She felt sweats of embarrassment on her forehead. Quickly she corrected herself.
"I-I...I mean I want to go back there and...and make sure..nothing...terrible happens that would affect my lands since...Muerte already has a ruler who doesn't...need me." She pointed at the locked door. "So I guess I'm more needed there." Artemis looked away, still uneasy about her decision but something deep in her screamed to just do it. "And in return...I will do anything you want me to. I'm sure there is something you still need since...well, you are here." She just hoped She would not regret this crazy choice.
Ryuu was a little surprised at her sudden reaction to seeing the little bite on his thumb, but he knew what she meant and he’d seen this ‘treatment,’ if it could even be called that. “Um Liz?” He said, grinning with an amused expression as she spat to the side and pulled out a handkerchief. “That wasn’t a snake that bit me.” He said and he could see the immediate confusion cross her face. “Keep this, I’ll be fine.” He added, pushing the handkerchief back into her hands.
“Come on, do you want to know what I really do?” He asked, switching his own arrow with the fake one on his belt and he knelt down, drawing a few symbols into the dirt. “I’m a summoner and it was this summon here,” He paused watched the summon squirm up from the dirt and coil up, letting Ryuu pick it up. “The side effect of it is that it’ll sometime’s bite, but it has no venom.” He explained seeing Liz’s expression change from understanding and wonder to flush with embarrassment again.
“Ohh, I’m Sorry!” She exclaimed, covering her face with her hands and the Summoner chuckled sympathetically.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, you didn’t know.” He mused, touching her arm to make her look up and he gave her an encouraging look. “Hmm? Are you okay?” He asked, trying to make sure she really was after all of the embarrassment.
Joseph’s hands shot up to Johar’s and he tried to pry the fingers away from his neck, wincing as the grip tightened. There was no way he’d be able to break the minister’s hold on him and Eric just stared, mixed emotions crossing his expression in a matter of seconds. He wanted to be angry, he wanted to get Johar away from his brother and he wanted to ruin the Queen and all of her followers. Had this been any other time and had Eric been alone with Johar and his brother, he would have attacked the minister just to get him away. But he wouldn’t survive the outcome if that was the choice he made. Eric wasn’t bound or chained, he was just flanked on either side by soldiers and none of them stopped him as he moved. He dropped his gaze and reached his hand out, grabbing the minister's wrist over his brother’s hand.
“Don’t, please… I‘m trying, but I told you he doesn’t… Won’t..” Joseph’s knees were growing weak and Johar didn’t look convinced. “Just… Stop, okay? Isn’t it enough that you’ll kill us after this anyways?” He asked bitterly, looking up with just his eyes and glaring at Johar. He saw the minister raise an eyebrow at this and his grip loosened around Joseph’s neck, letting him breathe.
“Bring Karim here.” The minister said and Eric pulled back his hand, letting it drop to his side as he looked down. Before the minister could go back to Valerie’s side, Eric remembered something an called him back,
“Wait.” He hesitated as the minister looked back with narrowed eyes, but Eric kept going. “You’re going to want to have all of the windows opened before he arrives.” He said, seemingly randomly. “If they’re closed, then the glass will break as soon as he arrives.” Opening all of the window’s in the Sky room wouldn’t be hard to do. Not with how the room was made, but it would make the dance much, much colder by letting the wind outside, in. Eric didn’t say anything else and he stepped back, trying again to call out to his father.
In Muerte, as Artemis laid on her bed and finally calmed down, a light touch on her shoulder caught her attention and a rumbling voice broke the quiet. “You called?” Karim, sitting behind her on her bed. In the light of her room, she could see him better, with his shadowy skin and golden eyes, large leathery wings and his long snaking tail that draped off the bed. He was dressed in a long kilt, the color of midnight and it almost blended in with his torso.
He sounded different here, not as intimidating or demanding. But his sudden appearance didn’t settle any nerves Artemis might have been feeling for calling to him. “So you want to make another deal?” He asked, lazily resting his head on one of his hands as he watched Muerte’s princess, “I hope you know exactly what you want since you’re keeping me from a very important event.” He said, his voice cutting through the quiet again.
Liz was afraid of him realising that she had been spying on him so she became pale as he approached her but then he just helped her up casually and She thought maybe he was not doing anything bad at all. Oh how stupid she was. She noticed him drawing his hand back with a hesitation and thought she was just looking so messy at the moment. The blonde girl felt some blood trickling down her right knee and her elbows were already bruising under the long sleeves. Other than that, she was okay physically. Liz started dusting off her brown dress, not realising what a different appearance she had compared to the first time in that lovely dress. She was too embarrassed already. "I...um. I am so sorry...I just...wanted...to...uh, watch bird nest." She immediately blushed at her silly excuse and bite her lips in shame. She noticed his thumb slightly wounded from...according to her experience, a snake or something. "Oh, what has bitten you?" She quickly took his hand and observed it. Her eyes widened. "I have seen small serpent in my homeland. They bite like this. Their poison might not kill you but it can cause some rashes and worse! It is still fresh, there is still time!" And without a second thought and so confident in her observation, Liz took his thumb in her mouth and sucked on it with a serious face to get rid of the 'poison'. It was only for a moment and She then spat out her saliva. "Then we should wrap it tight." She searched her dress and pulled out a handkerchief sewed by herself neatly. Carefully she wrapped it tight. "There. No worries. Once I got bitten by one of these and I was all swollen and itchy for a week!"
Johar rose up an eyebrow as he saw the soldier shaking his head. He assumed Eric was just being stupid and stubborn again. He immediately nodded at the queens order and walked to the two prisoners at the corner. His eyes coldly set on Eric, his liked pressed together. "So Eric, what is taking so long? Bring Karim here...or you can't?" His eyes narrowed dangerously as his hand snaked around Joseph's throat instead, pressing on his windpipe slightly just to make a point that whose life Eric was putting into risk by not succeeding in calling All Demon.
"Ugh...this is not what I was expecting..." Artemis mumbled, brushing her hair in front of the mirror. The moment she was thrown in the castle by the portal, she was not welcomed warmly. The dear mother had taken control over everything and She was not pleased upon seeing the righteous ruler back so she ordered the soldiers to imprison her daughter on her bedroom. Not that Artemis was going to defy her own mother. She still cared for the hybrid monster and if the older woman could help Muerete better, Artemis had nothing to protest. Muerte was the higher priority and She didn't want it to break apart because of her own desires. The little Ba'al was being bothered by something else.
Yes. That asshole. He was just stuck to her mind. He was in the worst condition when she left but...Karim would help him right?
That couldn't convince her. Gritting her teeth she threw the comb away and stomped to her bed. She had worn her armour again for no real reason. It gave her some sort of confidence that she could think properly.
But it was under Karim's control.
Didn't hurt trying.
He was once in her mind why not now?
[i Karim? All demon?...]
That was stupid.
[i I have a favor...a deal...again?]
Okay maybe he could no more hear her. She groaned and laid on bed, punching on pillow.
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.
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