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Chapter 2 Another World

"Might I ask what is so humorous?" A small smile played on Amaruq's face, and Adam's eyes focused on the small movements of her mouth as she spoke. There it was again, she was speaking, but the movements were wrong. He had seen ventriloquists making sound and words seemingly without moving their lips, but this was on a whole different level. Either she was the world's best ventriloquist, she had a microphone or…

Adam stopped that line of thinking because it led to a place that was too fantastical; after all, there was no way she had been telling the truth, right? He glanced around and confirmed his location. Somehow he was still in the room that was made out of stone with wide wooden planks that must have been there for quite some time judging by how worn they looked. Glancing around at the people surrounding him, he answered slowly.

"Nothing, I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole idea," he glanced at the spears in the guard's hands, well those looked real enough to him.

"Ah, I see," her smile brightened, "I believe we can help you with that, would you follow me?" he glanced around and saw all the faces surrounding him. Honestly, it didn't look like he had much of a choice did it, so nodding, he followed her out of the room. They used a series of tunnel-like hallways, zigzagging first left then right then every which direction. They all had the same monotonous stone, and if she was attempting to confuse him and his sense of direction, it was quite an effective ploy, as it was working very, very well. Eventually, the way led up a set of stairs and out into the night. Adam breathed in a deep breath of the cold air and sighed. He rolled out the tension in his shoulders and stretched his neck to loosen the muscles there when he saw them.

Above his head was not the singular moon of earth but rather two moons.

He froze and simply looked at the impossible sight, the fact that there were two moons meant…

He glanced over at Amaruq, who had paused and was looking at him with a slightly puzzled expression on her face, but his eyes were drawn back to the two moons. One was monolithic in size, easily taking up around a fourth of the entire horizon he could see, and the other was more earth's moon size, but it had what looked like it's own asteroid belt. "What is the matter?" Amaruq asked, "come with me; I have proof for you that this is not your world."

"No need," Adam said slowly, "I believe you..."

***



The room they were sitting in was a contrast of colors, the room itself was all greys and blacks, from the woods to the floors and the darkened boards above head, most of which it looked like had been stained by years of tallow candles as they sent the acrid smoke up to the ceiling. The room's color came from the banners and drapery that seemed to festoon the walls in an effort to hide the dull greyish-white of the stones.

Adam looked at the meat and vegetables set in front of him, a few cautious bites told him that the vegetables were just that, vegetables, but they did have a slightly old flavor to them, like they were getting a little too ripe, as for the meat, Adam really didn't know what to think of the meat, it had this greenish tint to it that made it completely unappetizing, but after seeing her eat the meal he followed suit. Contrary to what he had imagined, it was like a mixture of steak and a fish in terms of consistency and was not bad at all.

"So, would you mind explaining why I am here?" Adam asked her, setting down the silverware and looking at her across the table after all this was more important than the food at this moment.

"It is simple; I wish you to be the royal consort." She said matter-of-factly as she dabbed at her lips with a cloth napkin. Adam watched her movements for a moment before blinking, realizing what she had just said. He was about to laugh, but then he saw the completely serious look on her face.

"So let me get this straight, you want me to marry you?" He asked, narrowing his eyes at her, she just simply smiled back at Adam, a bemused look on her face as she sat there swirling a wine glass in one hand, the other draped casually off the side as she crossed her legs and leaned forward.

"This is correct." She nodded as though there was not a single issue with this statement.

"Well," he said, not quite knowing how to respond to that, "if you don't mind me asking, I have some questions." Adam looked at her, she heard the intensity in his voice and nodded, pushing her plate to the side and sitting up straight, she bargained with me.

"I also have questions, so I propose a trade, you ask a question, and I will answer it to the best of my ability, and then I will do the same, and expect you to answer to the best of your own ability." She said, and he used a few moments to look into her eyes and gauge the truth of her words. Adam had some ability with reading people, seeing as he was a financial advisor, meaning there were a lot of people who thought they could come into his office and convince him of one thing or another...

"I will be starting then," Adam said and without further adieu asked his first question. "if you are the queen of this land would it not be easier to simply take a man from your own lands as a husband instead of expending the effort to do whatever you did to get me here?"

"You do not mince words, do you?" she asked a dry smile on her lips.

"I am a firm believer that it is best to get to the meat of the discussion, so any actual questions that matter, unfortunately, I am currently so out of my depths that I don't even know the right questions to ask; therefore I feel the need to ask for clarifications on your intent." She actually smiled at that, a full smile that once again drew his attention right to her lips.

"That is a good way of disseminating the situation," she steepled her fingers and leaned back as she thought through her answer, her gold eyes growing distant for a few minutes as they sat there in silence, her in contemplation of Adam in an effort to allow her to gather her thoughts. "According to Ahanah, my star reader your people have not suffered as ours have, you see some three thousand years ago according to lore and written legends my people were the enemies of another group, and that other group found our numbers to be too large to be able to conquer so they sought to destroy with subterfuge what they could not with prowess." She sighed. "I know not how it is in your world, but here only one male child for every twenty females, you see it was a curse laid on my people by the ancient enemies of my forbearer's," she looked at him in the eyes. "It is not that there are simply not that many male births; it is that only one in twenty is not stillborn."

"One in twenty?" He asked the thought of all those poor children dying for no sin of there own burned in his chest, causing a lump to form in his throat.

"Yes, and the curse was not simply leveraged on our people; it has spread across the world in these past three thousand years, everyone is having the same issue." She said, and let it sink in, taking a sip of the wine in the glass she had in her hand.

"That still does not answer my question," Adam stated, as he shook the horrid images out of his head.

"No," her lips curled into a smile, "I suppose it does not, as queen I can demand any male I wish, even if he is bonded, and I indeed had one male that I was considering, unfortunately, he was traded off, even though his sisters knew I was going to make him my consort, they likely did this to anger me, and expected me to get him by force, making it all the more easy for them to make a case against my rule." She glared at Adam. "I will not be bent to the whims of others; I am queen." She practically growled out the word. "The other reason is that I grow tired of political games, and I wish for a husband I don't have to be politically guarded against; no wife should have to dance around something like that with her husband."

"So, you want me to be your consort because I am an individual who has no stakes in the political landscape, and therefore you feel I won't attempt to use my position as your husband to push a political agenda?"

"Yes," she nodded at him. "Are you satisfied with this answer?" she asked, one brow lifting slightly, causing the light of the surrounding torches to glint off the moist surface, showing off those shimmering gold streaks in her eyes.

"No."

"No?" she asked, looking at Adam.

"No, you still have yet to answered why you chose me." He stated simply, all the answers she had given him could be applied to anyone, but they told Adam nothing about his role in all of this. Her lips twitched as she fought to hide a smile.

"Indeed, not many would have caught that, tell me, how many years of education do you have?" she asked.

"Ah, Ahh, it is not your turn to ask a question." He said, wagging a finger at her, she once again attempted to hide a smile but failed.

"Indeed," she purred. "The spell is a complex thing, there are several requirements that a person must meet in order to be summoned through it, I would know seeing as I am the one who made it, the first requirement is that you are a man, an unmarried man, a man who has had no offspring, a man with royal blood in his veins, and one who is willing to leave there world behind, and you fit those, therefore you were summoned, now that I have fully answered your question I have one for you." She once again sat forward and stared at Adam, "Tell me, why are you willing to leave you world behind?" she whispered, and as she did, he felt the last few months wash over him, all the pain, all the rage.

All the sadness.

Yes, he was done with that world.

"That is a long story," Adam said slowly.

"We have the time," she said with a smile, but there was a fire of curiosity in her eyes.

"Very well." He sighed and gathered his thoughts…

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Markious

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