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A note from Scott Edwards

PoV :   Empress Elinor

Recap: Elinor was ushered into a private room to chat with the High Ruler's representative, who issued a formal apology, which was as if from the High Ruler himself, for the way she's been targetted within his kingdom.

Elinor accepts it and goes forward to meet the First Prince, which seems to be somewhat of a scumlord that blackmails female Nalvean into doing whatever he wants.  Elinor plays her cards right and gets just what she wanted, dirt on the Statesman that has her Seraph's statue.

Now, Elinor's done playing games.  She WILL have her angel.  It's time to meet the Stateswoman Lukuroha, and get her Seraph from Baltoma ... at all cost.

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Elinor made her way through the halls of the palace, telling her maids about the minor setback; they were going to check on what had been discovered about the spirit assassin before checking out the site of her future embassy. Once those two things were done, then it was back to enjoy the sweets.

Imiruba held a neutral face when they left, and one unusual thing that Edmon mentioned on their route was that the prince had no reaction to the man.

Her glowing irises slid to the Nalvean confidant, suspicions bubbling up within her mind. Neither Violet nor Klaus noticed a lie from him when they’d met, which indicated it was the truth. The news pricked at her brain; why would a prince of the nation, seeking his father’s place, overlook the Empire’s most trusted Nalvean?

She had to remind herself that confidant didn’t necessarily equate to an advisor, and it occurred to her that this Nalvan was possibly the most valuable thing in High Ruler Nukulara’s possession—his secret keeper.

He was right beside her, and inside his mind was a lifetime of dark truths; Imiruba was the High Ruler’s confessional priest. A new thought started to pester her—why would the High Ruler expose such a person to her?

Nukulara was not stupid, and that meant this was planned from the start. This was a test for her … one that was risky on the High Ruler’s part yet could net him something he needed. There was a game he was playing just outside her sight, and it had taken her this long to notice.

Elinor’s mind slowed with her movements, drawing everyone’s notice. Castella was still answering her initial query, noting the prince would not know the man because he couldn’t get anything out of remembering him. Edmon was explaining what the confidant position entailed but fell silent as she came to a complete stop.

They were just about to reach the elevator to the first floor; the prince’s area was rather devoid of most travel, excluding guards and serving staff.

Edmon … a thought has just occurred to me. If I reversed the roles with the High Ruler … if I had a confidant—someone I told my darkest secrets … Why would I send him with a very dangerous person that ripped apart one of my guards and could very well be a danger to my kingdom? I wouldn’t. Not without explicit reason.

Romimaca and Imiruba stood side-by-side, observing them from a small distance away to give them breathing room; both wore mild curiosity at the stop, and the confidant had noticed her gaze yet remained silent. He was very formal and well-mannered to authority.

Her Doom Guard fell silent, and she could feel him drawing dozens of connections within his mind, mood somehow further sobering.

Your thoughts, Violet?

“I simply report, Empress. Drawing conclusions to behavior was never that appealing to me; Azalea was the one fascinated by those things. However, my estimation, given the data … protection.”

Sari’aél chuckled. “The amount of subtlety weaker creatures possess is most aggravating, yet I find myself laughing.”

Protection… Elinor repeated with a low, internal hum; the Seraph was learning more and more about human behavior through their connection.

Edmon snatched her attention before she could respond to Sari’aél. “That I didn’t see it sooner … annoys me,” he grumbled.

His voice pacified a bit, collecting himself. “We were so focused on all the other factors around us that I didn’t give his position the proper scrutiny. I agree with Violet; the High Ruler knew of many plots that would be in motion this day and that Imiruba would be a target. One of those spies was actually looking for Imiruba but noticed something wasn’t right by his movements following us and thought it was a trap.”

The High Ruler has numerous military branches at his disposal, Elinor replied, turning to face the confidant with a slight frown creasing her brow. Is he that paranoid every level of his kingdom has been infiltrated that he would instead rely on a complete stranger to ward off danger?

Edmon glanced back at a group of three patrolling Imperial Guards. “It appears so. Your show of force and initial conversation convinced him that you were the best option, and it could also be a test to show you that he is, in fact, looking for help.”

Castella’s hands tightened at her sides, vision falling to the polished floors. “The Imperial Head Captain was on the assassination list … is he the only person keeping the High Ruler safe? Didn’t he kill the Ri’bot that returned, though? He said he took care of the situation himself.”

“Indeed,” The Doom Guard released a long puff of frigid air through his helmet’s mouthguard. “The hit on the Mother Superior doesn’t necessarily have to be from him, but a party wishing to sow discord further within the Empire and found it a good opportunity while pinning the orders on Yesenia. She’s the perfect scapegoat with a certain level of impunity with the figure they’ve built her up as.”

A concerned hiss left Castella’s throat. “Mmh … could this be a clever trap?”

I see where you’re coming from, Castella, but … it really would be stupid to put a trusted confidant in the hands of a neutral party unless it was your only option.

She breathed a sad sigh. The number of plots weaving through this nation is mind-numbing; I suppose I must confront the source.

Elinor motioned to Imiruba. “We will talk in private. Are any of these rooms safe to use?”

Imiruba didn’t seem shocked at her statement, gesturing to a room a little further down the hall. “A meeting area for this floor’s serving staff is nearby.”

Nodding, Elinor followed him to the place.

Violet and Sari’aél scanned the interior as he opened it for her; the angel followed the spider around, observing each motion she took. Edmon went in first to give the illusion that it had been scouted before she took a seat inside, and her Doom Guard left, shutting the door behind him.

Looking at the very tall Nalvean, Elinor said, “I have given it some thought, and for the High Ruler to send his most trusted confidant into the hands of an unknown party, such as myself … in short, it doesn’t elicit much confidence on my part for your nation’s armed forces.”

Imiruba’s reptilian eyes narrowed slightly as he turned away, staring at the closed-in room with its many tables and chairs. “You are as perceptive as the High Ruler hoped…”

Elinor cut him off, crossing her legs while leaning against the side of the chair; Nalvean designs were not meant for humans. “A word of caution before we continue…”

He promptly returned his gaze to her, closing his mouth to listen.

“There is a reason why I speak to my subjects in the manner I do … it may sound a fair bit paranoid, but a dark entity resides in the soil of this planet that is my enemy. He is everywhere and always listening. If you do wish to discuss something of importance with me, know that moves are being laid to counter whatever you divulge.”

A wry smile seemed to twist the man’s features. “Your enemy … is the creature of our nightmares and dreams? I see. The rapid movements within the Empire’s underworld make sense, now that you say that. If it is as you say, then anything I am aware of, so is he.”

Elinor nodded. “So … someone is after you, and therefore, you were sent to be with me as a shield of protection. It really is quite aggravating to be used in such a way,” She added in a dull tone. “I expect the High Ruler will make it up to me. In any case, I have had nothing but annoyances and politics since entering your capital, which is to be expected, I suppose.”

Smoothly getting off her seat and straightening her dress, Elinor turned to the door, glaring at it; her abs were beginning to hurt, trying to sit properly on the uneven and oddly shaped cushions. Reforming her artificial body was something she wanted to do, and with all the walking she’d been doing, it was stressed as it is; she still had many miles to go before the day was done, too.

Sari’aél shot her a curious smile that Elinor couldn’t identify for a second, and then it hit her; she was feeling weak, and the Seraph was enthralled by her internal lamentations.

Suppressing a sigh, Elinor turned back to the patient salamander man. “I will be blunt. Having you near is of no real concern to me, nor protecting you, seeing as I can use it to my advantage. If I were in another position, I’d even offer to help dismantle the entire matter since I stand to gain from it.”

Imiruba's sad but resigned expression told his feelings; she was getting good at recognizing Nalvean emotions with Castella as a bonded study subject. “However…” He trailed off, waiting for her explanation.

“However … I am in the middle of a great many turning parts and actions I must take in order to get what I desire, which includes forming an alliance with your High Ruler. I have my own stake in these affairs. There are just two things that I wish to know from you…”

He straightened at her tone, giving a short nod. “If it is within my ability to answer, then I will.”

Her green eyes turned cold, and Violet analyzed his reactions to be sure of his response. “First. Do you know or have any knowledge of Princess Tal’tamine’s mind control or the device that has been planted into her?”

Imiruba shifted uncomfortably at the question. “Mind-control … I have no such information, nor has the High Ruler spoken of such things to me. A device that causes such a state has been rumored among the royals and Statesmen of the Empire for many centuries, yet it originates from an old historical text that only mentions the ability to control Nalveans. To my knowledge, no such device exists within the Empire today that can do what you speak, yet…”

A shiver ran down his spine, tongue sliding through his teeth. “Are you saying the youngest princess has been infected by such an item?”

“He speaks the truth and is quite horrified by the implications,” Violet reported.

Since Violet hadn’t sensed any of the waves around him this entire time, it was safe to assume he wasn’t infected. Still, it never paid to be cautious, which was why Edmon and Violet had been very active in screening the environments she entered.

“She has,” Elinor replied, her tone emotionless. “When I discovered it, I tried to solve the issue and remove it, yet it proved … far more deadly than I first thought. I do not know what her orders are after exposing the mind control, which could include suicide, and so, she has remained asleep with my maids keeping diligent care of her within my chambers.”

Taking a deep breath, he folded his hands across his back, getting up to face her; she assumed his fingers were tense and shaking. “With respect, Empress, will you tell me how long she has been afflicted by this device and have any leads on who can remove it?”

Interesting … he seems genuinely concerned about her safety. Perhaps the High Ruler isn’t involved; of course, even if he is the most trusted confidant, that doesn’t mean he shared that particular secret.

“I have no issues giving you that information … that is, if you manage to answer my next inquiry.”

He breathed in and out, closing his eyes for a moment. “I believe I understand where you are heading, Empress … does the High Ruler, or I myself, have anything to do with this creature you speak?”

Elinor waited, and he let the question hang in the air, hardening her stare; she didn’t need Violet to tell her he was struggling with how to explain his connection. When he did talk, he held eye contact, even if he didn’t want to.

“... In short, the High Ruler has had dealings with a personage he calls Kazan’aru, the Shadow Keeper. According to him, it was he who first arranged for the High Ruler and Grand Duchess Juliquah to meet, mentioning the help she could offer him during the Fire War.

“The connections between the Nalvean Empire and the Golariex Holy Empire would not have been established had the High Ruler not heeded the advice he gained from those dreams, and she, likewise.

“It was not a popular decision among the women of our race—to establish open trade with them, and he received such backlash among prominent female figures that in the end, only the Grand Duchess was allowed within our nation, yet our merchants could go there … tensions were very high within the Empire after the Fire Wars.

“He has suspected Kazan’aru’s involvement in several matters within and outside the court, yet has expressed confusion as to the aims, considering backers have talked of hearing him in their dreams to Stateswomen. Kazan’aru appears to make everyone’s lives that heed his voice better—that is what it appears on the surface, but the High Ruler isn’t so sure. He suspects the division within the court is in direct response to his trade agreement with the Golariex.”

Imiruba gave her a proper bow. “I have answered to the best of my ability.”

Elinor was a little shocked how slowly Demon played with the people of this world; he set the Quen’Tarlat across their warpath to unseal a small part of his prison before rallying together the various other nations in order to be ever so powerful enough to take them out with the Thélméthra as the crowning piece to weaken Ke’Thra’Ma so severely that he was practically dead by the time their champions made it to him.

He instigated the love relationship between the High Ruler and Grand Duchess, allowing cracks to form within the strict culture of the Nalveans and give more malleable pawns to be put in among whatever else he had planned, including the experimentation with the ancient devices.

Demon knew that the High Ruler’s weakness would be his undoing … forbidden love and set this in motion almost a century ago. The inventor was being taught centuries before to facilitate what seemed simple, but a secret garden with advanced technology for secrecy was no small feat.

“Hmm … that does shed some light on the scope of things. As for Tal’tamine, I have done some investigations and am in the process of following up on the leads I have gained; as to when it was placed, I cannot say. I will bring it up with the High Ruler tonight.”

Imiruba nodded with apparent satisfaction, but a slight change in tone caught Elinor’s ear. “Might I inquire what your plans are for Tal’tamine once she is freed?”

A slight curve moved Elinor’s lips. “The princess has been one of the few Nalveans I have actually enjoyed being around; I wish to know if what I knew was simply a persona implanted by the device and its creator or if it just molded what was already there.”

It was the Nalvean’s turn to be shocked. “... Interest is what drives you to cure her?”

“That, and the political rivals the High Ruler is contending with,” she responded with a secretive twist to her smile. “If there is to be a fight over who obtains the crown, I would rather have someone of Tal’tamine’s particular temperament … her eldest brother certainly hasn’t given me the impression or intellect of a Ruler.”

He sighed. “I appreciate the explanation, Empress; you humble me with your candid manner of speaking.”

Elinor chuckled while turning away. “There is much to be done and little time to see it accomplished.”

She left the room with him in-tow, moving to find what Hikico’rova discovered from his investigation. She didn’t have time for Violet to conduct a thorough examination of the area because of the need to address the prince before any more distractions clouded her path.

There was the distinct feeling in her gut that Demon was trying to do everything in his power to distract her, and the burning of her boat proved it, among other things.

Once there, she received a full update, which wasn’t much; two female Nalvean clerks had gotten into an argument down the hall when her spirit was killed, pulling everyone’s attention.

On the other hand, the entire forensics team that was Violet discovered a shocking development, but they were already on the move to the ancient Seaweaver temple when discussing it, Hikico’rova joining them again.

Are you sure, Violet? Elinor asked with a thoughtful hum.

Castella shivered just thinking about what she described.

“Yes, Empress, the lingering scent of that particular type of Ri’bot is difficult to detect; when we were younger, for a time, Camellia had trouble with them. My mother reported that the Ri’bot refers to them as ‘The Ethereal Clan,’ and she took on their form. They had the unique ability among the Ri’bot to change their physical structure to mist for a time, emerge, strike, and scatter again.”

Sure, an Ethereal Clan member … but to be part Ri’bot and part Nalvean? Can your species have intercourse? She asked Castella.

Castella swiftly shook her head. “Empress, that’s … eww, ugh … what is with these odd things I’m learning about since becoming Undead?” She lamented. “No, Empress, as far as I am aware, we cannot, but … I don’t know anymore.”

Edmon released a low growl in his throat. “So, Violet, you’re saying this halfbreed is using the water system within the palace to utterly mask their scent and hide?”

“It’s impossible,” Castella mumbled. “Not even small fish can get through the internal filter systems and gridwork.”

What if they could turn into mist and just slip right through it? Elinor asked.

“Eh … I mean, I guess … that’s so weird, though. It would mean not a single place in the palace is safe.”

Violet was swift to add to the topic. “The Ri’bot with this ability have limitations; all I would need to do was generate a wind strong enough to scatter the mist, and they would die. They are by far the most deadly Ri’bot I have seen, yet not really a threat. I can see it being an issue for security, though.”

Edmon picked up his pace with Elinor; she wanted to get everything over with to get back to her room and see Aileen’s face when they brought sweets. “Could things have changed with the Ethereal Clan being able to change into mist and the Nalveans having control over water, to a degree?”

Ah, I hadn’t thought about that, Elinor sighed. An assassin that’s been built for this purpose … wait, could the assassin that used JadeFire be used as a scapegoat for the real assassin?

“Smart,” Edmon replied, “and probable.”

“How is this happening to my city?” Castella moaned. “The High Ruler is in love with a filthy tree harlot, and now we have half breed assassins that can turn into mist. I think I’ve seen the end of my race…”

Sadly, she truly believed her race was falling into the gutter; Castella was losing hope, not for the females of her race, but for the males and their deviance in seeking pleasure elsewhere.

It reminded Elinor of a short story she’d read online where the birthrate fell dramatically along with many other social issues when female sex robots came out, and men no longer wanted what they termed ‘the old model.’

Men created artificial eggs and birthing stations, and there were male sex robots created, but women were far more interested in a real relationship than simple pleasure. Eventually, the women pushed for more realistic men robots until, like most robot stories, they grew too intelligent and enslaved the humans for their own human-given carnal desires.

That was that.

Those were the strange types of web shorts she was into for a while when she was fourteen, and it seemed Castella’s situation was somewhat similar, or at least, in her mind, other races would become so much more desirable than female Nalveans that they’d be forgotten or seen as a cheap alternative. The Navlean race would then fade into history.

The cynic in her told her she wasn’t entirely wrong.

In any case, we have an assassin that can attack from anywhere; can you sense them, Violet?

The noble and dignified assassin walked beside her in human form, extremely long black hair swaying with her silent movements. “Without fail. They are not difficult to identify for my kind, and I have not seen a trace of the creature since our arrival; they have been quite careful, or perhaps lucky since they have not encountered us.”

At least there’s that, but that means this half-breed can sense and kill my spirits from anywhere … an annoying foe.

“What … is fog and mist?” Sari’aél asked, giving her an inquisitive stare.

The question was so far out of left-field that Elinor stopped in her tracks, located between the first and second gate of the palace. Huh?

“Elinor?” Edmon asked in confusion, following her gaze to Sari’aél.

She was utterly focused on the floating angel, though. You’ve never seen fog or mist?

The Seraph slowly shook her head. “No … water droplets that spray … such as that fountain over there?” She pointed at an artistic piece with jets of water flying into the air. “That is mist?”

… Yeah, that is a small spray of water that … no, not really. Mist is kind of like that, but everywhere; it typically rolls off of lakes and the morning and stuff … or at night … I actually have no clue how they occur.

“Hmm … I was wondering what they were called,” she mused. “Perhaps there will be fog tonight?”

Elinor chuckled before continuing. “Sometimes, spirits can be hilarious.”

“You think I am funny? Hmh, such different tastes in humor,” The Seraph replied with a curious smile.

Their two Imperial Guards and Imiruba glanced between her and the butterflies but didn’t comment. Edmon, Castella, and Violet all but ignored the comment, but she could feel Castella itching to know more about the context; she could use something funny at the moment.

They made it to the seaside temple, and Elinor was a bit blown away; unlike the Egyptian and Chinese architecture seen across most of the kingdom, this was clearly more Greek-themed. It wasn’t small, either, and several of the surrounding buildings matched the theme.

“I’m guessing this is an old building?” Elinor asked with a critical eye.

“Simple in design,” Edmon shrugged. “I’m more interested in the interior and lower levels.”

Imiruba nodded. “The oldest buildings within the city are like this one. Most have been torn down for space over the years, with the old and rigid structures replaced for a more modern aesthetic. Has something caught your interest here?”

“Hmm…”

Elinor eyed the space with a small frown. To her, it looked like a small shopping center, but considering the increased size of the Nalveans, it wasn’t quite as massive as it seemed. She would need to take into account the Nalvean’s size when rebuilding it, too.

Edmon, She chimed, twinkling eyes shifting to him with a grin. You’ll be designing our new Embassy once we settle this deal!

She could practically see his eager grin behind the intimidating black helmet. “Indeed, and I suppose you’ll like it in the theme of our Empire?”

We have an image to protect! Elinor replied. It would be nice to somehow add a little Nalvean flair to show we admire their people, too.

“I have an idea in mind.”

Wonderful! Do you remember where we are?

“Yes, I can guide us back if needed.”

Great! Now, let’s go have some treats with everyone and wait for the meeting to be over; we have some short but needed conversations ahead of us … I’m planning three by the end of the night.

With a few more details about the temple, being created twelve hundred years ago, it looked in fantastic shape. There were signs of wear across its structure, but Elinor still saw Seaweavers around the district; most of the Nalvean water benders were using a more modern building close by.

On their way back to her chambers, Elinor picked the confidant’s brain. “Imiruba, how many Nalveans use that old temple?”

“Hmm…” He frowned, glancing back at the temple they were leaving; the butterflies surrounding Sari’aél distracted him as they moved in and out of businesses and houses as she snooped. “Not many, but a decent amount. The land was acquired by the High Ruler long ago, before the Church’s strong influence, but a certain sect still uses it.”

Ah … those are the worst, Elinor groaned to Edmon. There'll be protests … just wait and see.

“I figure it will go beyond that,” Edmon returned.

It would at least be a little interesting if that happened.

Apparently, the site had been used for Grandmaster Seaweaver training many decades ago, but much of the knowledge spread, developing into the military’s Seaweaver Branch. At that point, the Church of the Seaweavers became a political power.

The details weren’t all that compelling to her; Tiffany might have been an excellent person to bring to learn their history. Elinor was centered on the future, though.

Imiruba learned about their ship being turned to ash by a frightened City Guard that spotted her and reported the news, mentioning that they were launching a full investigation with the City-State Captain, Kyruma, overseeing it. Kyruma was the second most influential soldier under Imperial Head Captain Hakara, and the Emperor had been made aware of the incident.

He made a point to confirm her Quen’Talrat, and Ri’bot seawayers were safe across the river, within Ri’bot land.

Imiruba was horrified by the news, but Elinor waved it off, saying she was aware, and once away, told the Nalvean it was just another attempt to pull her attention away from more important matters.

Edmon assured the guard that the message had been received before leaving; the poor Nalvean was probably confused, expecting some kind of demand from them.

Once back in their quarters, she was greeted by a practically shaking twelve-year-old maid, doing her best to stay calm. An old comment she heard at school came back while watching the fidgeting pre-teen; sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

The metallic doors closed behind them; her two Imperial Guards were left outside, but Imiruba was allowed to enter. He sat patiently, observing her, but she could tell he was itching to see how his princess was doing.

His actions were making Elinor wonder about his bond with the girl. However, according to Castella, he was within an age range that wouldn’t typically be seen with younger Nalveans. He was more like a concerned uncle, checking up on his niece, which was nice, and Violet confirmed the connection was absolutely not sexual in nature.

Elinor gave the girl her attention after the doors closed, having Castella hand her a bag of some dried, stick-like sweet flowers, but Edmon swiftly stopped her.

“Not so fast, Aileen; if you see it, then Emelina will have her surprise ruined … or is she too curious to wait?” He asked.

Aileen’s already fracturing dementor broke further. “Ah-ha-ha-ha … eh … I mean, maybe just a little peek, right? She’s been waiting all day, and it’s been kind of lonely here…”

Elinor giggled as she sent a distress signal to the Head Maid, clearly forgetting it was entirely available for Edmon and her to hear. “Mission abort! They’re onto me!”

She could practically hear Emelina’s agonizing internal sigh at the girl’s flustered demeanor. “What is the mission you are on, Aileen?”

“Uh … well, you know how we were … oh, snap, I can’t talk now! Klaus got you presents, though; you were right!”

“That’s wonderful. Now, are you just staring blankly at the Empress while talking to me?”

Her eyes widened with shock. “Oh, oh, no, I messed up again!”

“Shhh … take deep breaths. In … out, there we go. I know you’re excited about sugar, but let’s keep our dignity as Maids of Empress Elinor.”

“Right … breathe…”

Imiruba was giving the silent, panicking child maid an uncertain look and Elinor’s amused expression as everyone stood in the deathly quiet entrance hall. “Is … she alright? I assume this is a small girl within your race?”

Aileen took one more breath before regaining her composure, giving him a small curtsey. “It is a pleasure to have you, Sir. My name is Aileen, and if you need something, then please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Nailed it!” She cheered to her mentor.

“I’m clapping for you,” Emelina said with just enough joy to be appropriate and encouraging.

Edmon gave Castella the bag to bring into Elinor’s bed chambers, taking a few of the silk-wrapped bundles of flowers out of the bag, knowing the girl would definitely peek and ruin Klaus’s surprise if she got the chance.

Elinor allowed Imiruba the chance to go with Aileen to see Tal’tamine, staying with Violet and Edmon in the hallway. The maid in training was also handed the flower package; she accepted it with reverence, hazel eyes alight with excitement, even if her etiquette had returned.

She gave the women permission to discuss Tal’tamine’s condition with him.

Sari’aél was hovering above her, showing her glorious rear, and Elinor started to wonder if she was purposefully holding certain positions to further understand her reactions. She wouldn’t put it past the perceptive Seraph.

We’ve been running down leads since we arrived, but we’re finally making headway. Only three steps remain; Stateswoman Lukuroha, Statesman Baltoma, and the High Ruler. I must have Sari’aél by the end of this night.

Edmon released a low hum that brought her focus to his helmet’s glowing blue eye sockets, wisps of energy sliding across the non-reflectant abyssal armor. “I understand your desire to have her within our grasp, but you will not have enough Death Energy to resurrect her. We will need to return to the city to get enough power from the Life Fruit.”

True … to be honest, I didn’t even want to think about that part; it’s taking nearly everything I have to keep her around while paying the daily toll, but it is well worth it.

“... Is she that powerful?” Edmon asked, head shifting to stare at a nearby butterfly.

Beyond anything I imagined…

An unexpected and stunning smile lifted Violet’s lips as she looked at the Seraph, using Elinor as a reference point to know where she was. “I look forward to experiencing the power you sense, Empress; my body tingles with excitement to know there is something stronger than even my mother … impossible to conceptualize, yet that is why I am eager to see her myself.”

Sari’aél flipped around while descending to face her. “You could call that … cute?”

In a way.

“Hmm … the desire to have someone … namely, your wish to possess me—it is a very new experience. Although, it is engaging … the feeling of being desirable … It never occurred to me since I did not have a need or want for things other than continual peace when I was alive.”

Elinor smiled. Know that you are desirable to me … without words to express, and I will show you how far I am willing to go to see you bonded within my Empire. You spoke of the need for me to take you from the Blood Sun … if that is what it takes, then I will.

Her full pink lips turned secretive. “A blasphemous statement. Although, considering he allowed you to pull my spirit here … I will say it confuses and intrigues me. It is not I that you must convince, Elinor; consider that and heed my warning.” She finished, moving through the wall to see what was happening with the maids.

A shiver ran down Elinor’s spine; she'd just been told that some kind of god’s eye was on her, and if she wanted to pull the Angel into her Empire, she had to impress this being the Seraph called the Blood Sun.

The saliva in her throat ran dry as her mind created the illusion of a massive eye in the sky, looking past all barriers and into her soul; of course, Sari’aél truly was a creature within the realms of strength to unironically be called divine. This was no creature of the imagination.

Edmon had been watching her without comment while she followed the specter with her gaze, and they entered the room. “There’s something wrong; I can sense it within you. Why are you suddenly so nervous about bringing her into the Empire if you desire her so badly?”

A rumble shook Elinor’s throat; Castella was returning from her room, empty-handed. It’s something only I can do. Your mind would be best focused on keeping everything running smoothly around us.

Edmon solemnly nodded. “If there is nothing I can do.”

They went inside, and Elinor found the Nalvean standing at the foot of the bed, staring at the sleeping princess with folded arms. “... She looks peaceful.”

Aileen was fidgeting by the table, vision wandering between the sweets and the bed.

Go ahead, Aileen, take some into the next room and have your way with it, She giggled.

The girl silently shouted for joy, arms tightening against her petite frame in a cheer before taking one of the flowers and walking out of the room, as calm and collected as could be—once out, she turned into a ravenous lion.

Elinor moved beside the bed to stare down at the woman; Emelina was stoically standing beside the bed, practically invisible. “She is safe here. In fact, it is the safest place in the palace, I would say, and Emelina is competent enough in combat to buy time for rescue if needed … but it is doubtful.”

The maid gave them both a curtsey before becoming a statue again.

“Thank you, Empress,” he responded, giving her a smile similar to Tal’tamine herself. “You see, I am distantly related to the girl and was in charge of looking after her when she was a small child. I am sure the High Ruler will be … this was not supposed to happen to her; she has never even left Shi’Shuka, and to think she was attacked within our walls.”

Everything fell into place. “You may stay here with her if you wish,” Elinor responded. “The High Ruler needs you to be safe, and if you were here, then I have no fears of you remaining here. Furthermore, the next two people I will see will no doubt wish for their own privacy, leaving you in the hallway again.”

In truth, he wasn’t strong, and Emelina could keep an eye on him; plus, it would get him out of her hair with the upcoming meetings.

A sad sigh left his throat, and he bowed to her, giving the respectful gesture with his fist and chest. “I will accept your offer, Empress.”

She knew he would ask for more details or information on them, so she steered the conversation another way. “With Tal’tamine unconscious and resting, would you take her place and help educate my maids more in the costumes of your people?”

“I would be honored,” He bowed again.

Elinor nodded. “Then it is settled. I believe the meeting is over … I have other business to attend to.”

“So soon?” He asked, keeping his focus on her glowing eyes. “I … am beginning to understand why the High Ruler was so impressed by you, Empress; I wish you success.”

She took a small chunk of a flower’s stem before popping it into her mouth; it was like eating an entire vanilla cheesecake. Wiping her hands on the nearby towel, she went out, smiling at Aileen as she opened the door, her body quivering with excitement.

“Empress! Did you have some?! Did you have some?!”

I did. What did it taste like for you?

“Umm … it’s like a cake, but it’s so, so, so rich! Can we grow some back home? Everyone will love it!”

Well … I’ll talk to Tiffany about it … there are health concerns I want to run by her.

“Aww … who cares if it’s bad for you, though?” She whined but swiftly snapped to attention as Emelina scolded her lack of decorum. “S-Sorry, Empress! I just … I haven’t had sugar in soooo long…”

He-he-he, I know, Aileen, but I need to be worried about everyone, and we don’t really know how this will affect humans that can die from a sugar overdose.

“Wait…” Her eyes turned into full moons. “I … can’t die of a sugar overdose because I’m already dead! This is the greatest moment of my life!” She cried, actually tearing up. “I can eat whatever I want … forever!”

Elinor slowly nodded. Just … remember that we don’t have unlimited supplies, and we don’t know what kind of effects food might have on you. It might be positive, but … it could also have some negatives if you overeat. You know, where does it all go … huh…

She shook her head as the maid’s focus fell to the floor, fidgeting like a kid might. “Oh … okay, but, umm … can I … you know…”

Elinor shook her head with a sad chuckle. An inch more from the stem; you’ve already had a whole flower.

“Okai!”

She gave her a cheerful curtsey and went back into the room.

… Come shut the door behind us, She finished while rolling her eyes.

The pre-teen was undoubtedly a bundle of energy. Elinor sighed, realizing that was her four years ago, bouncing around her gymnastics and prep-cheerleading classes.

Edmon, Violet, Castella, and left the room, heading to Stateswoman Lukuroha’s room with their escort; Castella snatched the throne, carrying it with them on Emelina’s private request, which Elinor was grateful for—she hated Nalvean furniture, and so did her abs.

Klaus had sent a notification that she had just returned from the meeting; the High Ruler heard their thoughts on her and retired to other matters that required his attention. He would be conversing privately with various court members to get an unfiltered opinion throughout the day and finally meet with her at nightfall to discuss any concerns and plans about the future.

Lukuroha was not pleased with Aluix’s actions, and Elinor was sure she’d probably whip the boy had Klaus not been there, but her Ambassador had smoothed out the interruption to her schedule, mentioning that he had informed her of the meeting’s end.

A Ruler of another nation was coming to her chambers, which after some thought, Elinor could see why the prince was so disgruntled by her actions. She presented herself as a relatively forward, mysterious, and intimidating Empress to the High Ruler’s court. She did not wait for things to happen but went out and got things done herself—precisely what she wanted.

Demon … more and more of your plans are unraveling before your eyes as I poke and prod. You should have come to me with a deal like you usually do … Now, we are mortal enemies. What desperate action will you take next to halt my progress?

Edmon took directions from Klaus through the Nexus, guiding them to the southwest section of the palace; this was an area Elinor had not been yet, and she saw many more Seaweavers making their way through the corridors.

Arriving at the hallway, Elinor had Klaus excuse himself from the room, explaining that she was almost there; one of several things Elinor was sure the Nalveans found most disturbing was how much information they were able to silently transmit without notice.

The guards outside the Stateswoman’s room appeared to be from her own province of Mirelitel because they wore creamy white silk, and similar to Lukuroha, they had far more red scales than blue when comparing most of the Nalveans she’d seen around Shi’Shuka.

According to Castella, both men were of decent strength; Violet agreed at least compared to the vast majority of the Nalveans they’d come across.

However, Edmon pointed out that she was the leader of a small City-State, which would explain the more elite squad posted out of either a lack of confidence for the Imperial Guard’s security or tradition to have your own people work your security.

They saluted her as she neared and opened the door; Klaus had just moved to the opening, bowing to her before turning back to the two Nalveans in the room. “Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Elinor of the Undying Empire.”

“Empress Elinor,” Lukuroha rose to her feet with a respectful gesture. “You mentioned having a private conversation with me, yet I did not think it would be so soon.”

Aluix hastily did the same but practically went into a reverse L-shape, keeping his head lowered for more than fifteen seconds.

“Neither did I,” Elinor chuckled, eyeing the Nalvean child as Violet scanned the room.

Elinor’s lips fell as Violet paused while standing on the arched ceiling, hair and clothes defying gravity. “Empress, the half-breed was lurking inside the room above us no more than two hours ago. I suspect the moment he sensed the boy was with Klaus, he cut his losses and left.”

Klaus’s eyes narrowed, glaring at the wall. “He was able to sense me before I him? That is a foreboding discovery.”

Lukuroha caught their change in demeanor but silently observed.

Elinor had Castella set her chair across from the Stateswoman and took her seat. I’m sure it will come up in time. “Edmon, Castella, wait in the hallway with Hikico’rova and Romimaca.”

They nodded and left, Violet staying alert.

A small grin touched her green-tinted lips while sitting, gaze turning to her Ambassador. “You are dismissed, Klaus; I’m sure someone is waiting to spend a little time with you.”

He chuckled, giving her another flourishing bow as Lukuroha sat, followed by Aluix. “I am thankful and humbled for your attention, Empress.”

You know, Klaus, Elinor teased through the Nexus; Aileen tried to give Emelina a hint as to what gift you purchased for her. I’d keep an eye on the girl; she’s more observant than I first thought.

“Hehe, I will keep it in mind, Empress.” He took on a thoughtful expression while exiting. “It is a good thing I also bought a little gift for her, as well.”

Elinor adjusted her dress before crossing her legs; Klaus certainly was a fun addition to her little growing family dynamic. She caught Sari’aél wearing a soft smile at the exchange.

Once the doors closed, Elinor gave the woman her attention, but her focus was on the flaming butterflies around the room. “Has Aluix mentioned what these are for?”

The boy stiffened, jaw tightening upon being brought into the conversation.

“No,” Lukuroha replied. “It was discussed within the meeting, though. News of your resurrection of Kimlira traveled swiftly.” Her cool reptilian blue eyes slid to Elinor. “Many were shocked that you could even raise the dead that were burned by JadeFire, along with the incident itself within the palace walls.”

“Is that all you’ve heard?” Elinor asked, folding her hands atop her lap.

Lukuroha did the same. “Not in the least. Getting to the point, your ship was burned, which has many concerned with how you will respond to the attack, and recent reports have identified you as present at the scene of not one but three assassinations.

“You went to the scene of Kimlira’s death, stopped the Nalvean that caused it by some form of ice powers your Gatekeeper possesses, and finally, halted the murderer that sought to kill a boy from my City-State. You have been busy.”

“Oh, you have yet to scratch the surface,” Elinor mused. “As you have noted, I do enjoy getting to the point. Many forces are working against me within Shi’Shuka. There has been an attempt to murder me with poison, spies among various factions sent to follow me, and even a creature that was able to kill Kimlira as a spirit, which has spiked my caution and curiosity.”

Her focus moved to the boy, but her final comment caused the woman’s hands to tighten. “And … the most deadly of those that oppose me desperately did not want me to meet with Aluix. They went so far as to send an assassin carrying a JadeFire suicide device after him, and there was another not two hours ago, lurking above us,” she stated with a solemn tone, pointing at the ceiling. “Had Klaus not been present, Aluix would likely be dead upon your return.”

A lump dropped down the child’s throat. “No way…” He whispered.

“Indeed,” Elinor continued, “which has me questioning his status as a simple attendant. Why would an enemy far more dangerous than either of you understand be so fixated on keeping me from him? I call this foe Demon, for simplicity’s sake, and he has done many things to distract me, including manipulating people into burning down my ship in such a flashy manner that would pull everyone’s focus.”

Elinor’s gaze leveled with the Stateswoman. “I am being very blunt and telling you things I would normally keep reserved because time is not my friend. So, is there an answer you can give me?”

Lukuroha sat still as she explained, vision shifting to the corner of the room before narrowing. “... I did not expect Shi’Shuka to be so violent.” She paused, blue irises turning to the fidgeting boy, and her hand lifted to point at the door. “My conversation with the Empress will be in private, Aluix.”

Sari’aél floated down with a soft hum while watching the boy’s conflicted expression. “She wishes to talk about him when he is not present … another conversation of secrecy? Will not his exit only spur a curiosity in him that will seek to know the truth?”

“Mmh … yes, Stateswoman Lukuroha. I apologize for not leaving earlier.”

To Elinor, it sounded like a cheeky response, but he probably wasn’t trying to make it that way; the words probably just fell out as he got up, bowed to them both with a highly respectful gesture, and left, having a bit of difficulty with the door until the guards helped.

Yes, and no. He’s extremely loyal to Lukuroha; she is his idol. His response shows that he receives special treatment from her.

“Special … treatment? Huh … such odd words you use,” She mused, floating down to take the boy’s seat as if joining the conversation; it wasn’t as if she could actually interact with the chair but simply floated in place.

Lukuroha scratched the left side of her neck, skillfully getting at the skin underneath with her claws before letting out a sad sigh. “To your question about Aluix … it is a difficult one for me to answer. Yet, you did save his life, and that debt needs to be repaid.”

She gave Elinor a calculated stare. “My family keeps very detailed birth records, and through them, one of my clerks managed to trace the lineage of the original Emperor of our nation—its founder, and Aluix hails from that line.”

“Oh?” Elinor’s lips lifted. “Fascinating. What significance is that within the current state of affairs?”

“None,” Lukuroha replied with a weak shrug.

Elinor sat back, crossing her legs the opposite way as her smirk fell. “Is that so? If it has no purpose, then why are you so attached to him?”

Lukuroha appeared to smile while looking over at the invisible Seraph. “At first, I had him join me out of curiosity; he came from a line of Rulers, and much like myself, was scorned amongst his own family.

“There are old texts about the original Rulers having a powerful weapon that allowed them to conquer this land from its previous inhabitants, but it was more of a curiosity on my part. In the end, I simply enjoy his devotion since I find so little of it within my life.”

She told Elinor that tiny bit about her struggles and desires without hesitation, drawing the angel’s golden eyes.

A powerful weapon that helped them conquer this land’s original people; there’s not a trace left from what I’ve seen or heard about, which means it did a good job. So … Demon didn’t want me to discover this information or have access to it, and this boy is a part of that.

“Interesting … very well,” Elinor’s smile returned. “Your honesty is refreshing. That being said, I wish to put Aluix under my own protection, and so, will you allow Castella to join your personal guard and act as his protector?”

Lukuroha released a low hum in her throat. “... You believe in the old text then?”

Elinor folded her fingers together. “I believe there is reason to keep him safe and alive; after all, I do not know if the purpose of his significance to my enemy is able to be used if dead. He clearly wishes harm on the boy, and my aid will not hamper any of your plans. Correct?”

She took a moment to respond but soon nodded. “I would appreciate the assistance, seeing as even within our glorious city, this enemy you speak of has influence. I would be a fool to decline.”

“Wonderful,” Elinor’s gaze shifted to the Seraph as she moved up to float inches away from Violet’s face, standing upside down on the ceiling. “That being resolved … next is the matter in which Aluix was seeking me.”

Her focus returned to the Nalvean, paying close attention to her movements. “Why did he believe you could use my help?”

The Stateswoman’s tongue slid through her teeth in agitation. “He was moving behind his post. However, perhaps you will be involved in time, but that is a matter between the High Ruler and yourself. In short, a priority messenger from the Drék'uléph. A meeting has been set with the High Ruler for tonight, but your arrival has moved things around.”

Drék'uléph rang a bell in Elinor’s mind; Valdar had spoken a few times about the people, and from what she recalled, they took parts of the Quen’Talrat engineering and incorporated it into their own technology. They ruled quite a large portion of the far western side of the continent.

“Hmm … I am not too familiar with the race,” Elinor admitted. “Tell me about them.”

Lukuroha focused on one of the bright cold flames lighting the room along the wall. “Hmm … the Drék'uléph are a capitalistic republic that was among the last to join the battle against the Quen’Talrat because of their slow-moving senate and congress that could not decide how to proceed. That being said, they are an extremely advanced civilization that some of our most skilled artists take sabbaticals to study their style.

“The people are very industrious, and their cities are sometimes called The Coral Rainbow of Heavenly Dreams because of how lustrous and brilliant they are. Connections to them are few because of the Seaweaver Church. There is a rivalry and disdain within it for the people since they can also manipulate water, but unlike us, they can use any liquids while Seaweavers can only use the water from the Great Ruby Lakes.”

“Is that so?” Elinor whispered, vision falling to the fancy rugs lining the floor. “I did not know that about the Seaweavers. Why would a message like that be sent, and Aluix think it would require my help?”

Although … Tal’tamine was able to use the atmospheric water, and so was the High Ruler. Perhaps, it is only an issue for low to medium-ranking Seaweavers.

Lukuroha sat back, straightening her shoulders. “He was severely malnourished from the harsh trip to my province, and I ordered his recovery while I rode here to inform the High Ruler; he is a member of the Drék'uléph Senate.”

Elinor checked her own posture with the news. “A member of the Drék'uléph Senate was malnourished from the trip? Things certainly are unusual. So, you went ahead and had an escort help him make the journey after?”

She nodded. “However, I discovered when they arrived this morning that the caravan was attacked by rogue Nalvean mercenaries … unusually powerful ones with two Seaweavers.

“Most of the soldiers I sent with him were killed in the assault; I did not plan on there being a significant force waiting in ambush. Yet, two managed to make a final gambit to slay the last Seaweaver.

“Sadly, one was left with one’s arm from the last assault, and a good chunk of his leg was blown off, which was just amputated today. They are both receiving treatment within the palace and the High Ruler is sending word to find the related parties responsible throughout the City-States.”

Elinor didn’t want to believe it was Demon; in fact, it could have been the Seaweavers hatred of the Drék'uléph that sparked it, but attacking a sitting member of a nation’s senate was more than a reason to spark a war. She couldn’t see that as a part of Demon’s plan with what she currently knew.

“Tragic,” Elinor mumbled, glaring at the floor. “I was unaware that there even were Nalvean mercenaries; it is something to keep in mind. So, he thought I might be able to help with either defending the Drék'uléph on his return journey or discovering who hired them to kill your men?”

The woman released a sad chuckle. “He’s a sweet boy that doesn’t like it when I am agitated, and so he tries to do little things to cheer me up and make my job easier, although, stalking a Ruler is far beyond the acceptable line. He will be chastened for it.”

Elinor’s focus went to her invisible angel, though, brow coming together as she hovered back down to retake her seat.

“A high dignitary from another nation arrives at your doorstep, starved and without an escort. He says he has an important message that is only for the ears of your leader, and you care for him so he may make the journey to your grand city, only to be assaulted on the way here?

“How did someone even know of his arrival and have enough time to secure an ambush; judging by how recently this woman came to the city, he didn’t rest long, indicating urgency, yet they were overtaken. Isn’t that odd in your subtle games of thought?” Sari’aél questioned with a musical note in her throat.

You’re right, Elinor mumbled, and her jaw set while thinking about the connecting dots. It might not quite look like Demon’s style, hiring mercenaries, but … it could be for a bigger play.

Elinor’s vision narrowed while lifting to stare at the Stateswoman. “Take me to the Drék'uléph … my gut tells me something's not right here.”

Lukuroha’s features darkened in an instant, her voice turning serious. “I beg your pardon, Empress, but what do you mean by that?” She certainly did have the steel that Castella would approve of.

“I do not believe your men surviving was an accident, but merely a way of turning your focus onto other areas while believing your guest is safe within the palace. Demon might have plotted this for some time, and my arrival has caused complications. He’s been distracting me from this section of the palace for a reason.”

The Nalvean eyed her for several seconds, judging her options before rising to her feet. “I have more reasons to trust you than not … I hope you are wrong.”

“So do I,” Elinor growled, following her out of the room while communicating her fears through the Nexus.

Castella informed Romimaca and Hikico’rova as the Stateswoman lead the way, going up a floor; however, Elinor came to a stop with a tight jaw as they exited, drawing everyone’s notice—Violet had already scanned much of the space with her sharp senses by the time they’d made it to this landing.

“How unfortunate,” Sari’aél sighed.

“... He’s gone.”

“How … do you know? Are you sure?” Lukuroha asked, fingers curling into fists; if it were true, then a foreign dignitary had vanished under her supervision.

Elinor followed Violet down the hall, taking the lead. “Yes.”

Violet informed their party, including Klaus, who was still on his way through the corridors to meet with Emelina inside their room.

Violet could sense the half-breed’s unique scent along the waterways with her refined senses, but only in small burst segments where he rematerialized before returning to a mist state.

Elinor glared at the hallway Violet took her to; it was empty.

“No…” Lukuroha growled, “There should be guards stationed outside of his room!”

The Nalvean took the lead with her personal soldiers and the Imperial Guards following; however, it was locked from the inside, and it was of the metal variety. Lukuroha was yelling at the guards to get a key by the time Elinor made it there.

She held up a hand, signaling them to stop before gesturing for them to move aside, knowing what they would find inside. “Edmon.”

The Doom Guard walked forward, causing the Nalveans to back up; Romimaca and Hikico’rova were nudging one another, unable to help themselves after seeing two performances from the black knight.

Edmon placed his hand against the metal frame before a sharp, chilling air blew back and ice began crawling across the surface of the door. Gasps were heard from the onlookers as cracks started to appear within the barrier until a large chunk of it exploded into the room’s interior.

Violet, Edmon, and she were the first to enter; the room’s temperature had fallen dramatically, allowing one’s breath to be seen, but five dead Imperial Guards were seen to the left side of the room, wet blood soaking the carpets.

He’s not here.

“No,” Violet replied. “I can try to track them, but we will need to hurry if we hope to catch up.”

Elinor swore internally; if Baxter’s surprise presence wasn’t hanging over her head, then Violet could simply race after them and catch the party without issue, but because of him, her extremely powerful spider assassin was tethered to her side. For all she knew, Baxter was waiting for that very moment.

She turned back to the stunned Nalveans, still gathering their wits after Edmon’s show of power; the Doom Guard smoothly picked her up with one arm again, and she sighed, wishing Quin was there since her Mount Skills helped dampen the blow to her body significantly. Edmon wasn’t meant to be soft; if she wanted a Floof Guard, she'd have gone with an entirely different theme.

“We are going after the kidnappers. Of those of you that can keep up, follow if you can; there might be time to rescue him.”

Elinor was a bit impressed by the Stateswoman as she swiftly stretched out, motioning to her guards. “Take off your armor; we need speed.”

The Imperial Guards followed their actions, and Elinor winced as Edmon broke into what he would consider a casual walk, but wind rushed past her, generating a force that pressed up against her weak frame. However, a new addition helped increase their speed dramatically; Edmon’s tower shield appeared in his free hand, and he used it as a shield to protect her, tripling their pace.

Violet returned sensory data as she led the charge, rushing through the palace with stunned soldiers shouting questions at them while they passed.

They soon were outside the palace, then in the city, and before long within the dense jungle. Violet sensed some kind of crushed powder substance in the room from the far east, which was unusual for this region, and would have caused a comatose state, which was why the flower was named Sleeping Death.

However, they were forced to stop when the trail ended at the vast red lake and judging by what information Violet told them, Edmon concluded a bitter answer.

“... Some kind of submarine … in this world?” Edmon growled. “There’s no way we can catch them if that’s the case.”

Lukuroha’s chest was heaving, and Castella had been forced to carry Aluix to keep him nearby; quite a few of the Imperial Guards were left behind, including Romimaca, but Hikico’rova and the Stateswoman’s two guards managed to keep up.

“W-What is … a submarine?” Lukuroha questioned, trying to catch her breath.

Elinor’s green eyes glared across the choppy red waves, crashing into the sandy shores. “A ship that can travel underwater … Edmon’s right; we don’t have the means to follow at this point.”

Unless … Edmon, can I find some random fish around here and send it after them?

“It would be worthless without having a creature with Violet’s sensory powers or something like a sperm whale’s level of echolocation to try and find it with the amount of time they’ve gained. Iris could probably do it, but…”

I know… Elinor growled. So, in the end, Demon got what he wanted out of this … there’s no way he isn’t involved with technology like this, and he distracted me enough to have this fly under the radar. No … we have to move now before he can do anything else. We need to go meet with Baltoma; I have to have Sari’aél…

Her nose twitched with anger and fright as a sudden thought crossed her mind. “Dammit!” She growled, drawing everyone’s gaze.

No … no, no, no! What if he took Sari’aél’s statute on that sub … I must know. If he did, then we’re going after it. I don’t care how far he goes, but I will have Sari’aél’s body if nothing else! Let’s go to Baltoma … now!

Edmon changed directions, taking the scroll from Castella while ordering her to stay and give a brief response as to why they were taking off. Violet and Edmon were the only ones with her now as they ran through the jungle; fear and rage-filled her breast.

Sari’aél was floating behind them, a slight frown on her lips.

I thought I was unraveling Demon’s plans, but he was simply stringing me along with a small thread while he moved the whole ball of yarn an entire nation away! Just give me Sari’aél, Demon, just her … that’s all I want out of this!

They entered the city, then the palace, passing the guards mobilizing to follow their party. The Imperial Guards were receiving updates from the Nalveans that stayed behind to report the Drék’uléph senator’s kidnapping. Demon hadn’t killed the dignitary because he knew she could resurrect the creature and discover his information, or perhaps it was his plan to take him the entire time; she’d never know at this point.

Violet scanned the areas they’d passed and discovered his location hours previous; luckily, he was inside. Edmon sat her down in the empty hallway a corridor before, allowing her to collect herself, and she used his arm as support. This moment decided everything, and she would have her angel, one way or another.

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ChristopherCraven ago

Edit suggestions:

I did not know that about the Seaweacvers. Why would a message like that be sent, and Aluix think it would require my help?”

Vivy ago

I'll be honest, IM QUITE FRUSTRATED OF THIS OVERSTRETCHED CAT AND MOUSE GAME TO THE POINT OF BURNING OUT SO I'LL ASK, WHEN WILL ELINOR GET A WINDFALL OF A FORTUNE IN THIS ARC?

Dradel Lait ago

I knew something was wrong when she kept saying that she was disturbing his plans. No way it's so simple.

HariKiran ago

Edit suggestions:

“I did not know that about the Seaweavers.

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