Their room was a larger than Chris had expected it to be. It was a single bedroom with five bunk beds spread to each side of the room and a single large window to the northern wall that allowed sunlight to illuminate the room and allowed a cold breeze of air access to their lungs from the outside.
It's walls were painted with a dull blue colour that was almost fading whilst it's roof was painted white with a single lightbulb hanging at it's center as an alternative source of light other than the light outside.
The wardrobe on the left side of the room was large enough to fit their clothes and equipment without any problems. Though it took them a while to decide how they would share space inside of it.
The wardrobe problem had a risen from Ursa bringing too much stuff. She accidentally had less clothes than the rest of them, no the problem came from the frankly insane amount of books that she brought with her. They were too much in fact that they all filled the entire room bookshelve and took valuable space in the wardrobe much to Chris and everyone else's irritation.
The bed's were comfortable enough to sleep on, though they felt slightly worn out like they had been in use for years and they had a funky smell after Ursa sprayed them with some strange chemical in order to kill any potential bed bugs.
The smell made breathing a bit more difficult and watered the eyes. Mulengu and Thor complained to Ursa who looked at them with little to no interest while Pyrrha remained quite and prepared her bed.
Even with the smell of spirit clogging his nose Chris still fell on his bed instantly fell into sleeps embrace. He was to tired to resist it and with sleep so came his strange dream's came as well.
This time he was standing not on an ever expanding cold tundra, but on a hill with dry earth and dead twigs pressing against his bare naked feet. He could tell that he was in some valley but he couldn't recognise it at all. The warm rays of the sun that sprinkled over his body were enough to truly make the tundra and to valley feel different.
The trees and earth were dry eroded and completely dead from what he could tell. He listened to the world around and Chris had been on enough hunts to know that even a forest like this, there should have been the sound of any wild life, but not even the smallest insect could be heard.
He tried to move away from this area but once again his motor functions had wrenched from his control and he could only observe as prisoner in his own flesh.
In his frustration he tried cursing but his mouth didn't even register this desire. Chris just wanted to leave what ever this dream was. His feet felt as if they were digging into metal blades from the black and hardened earth.
His attention was taken from the pain developing under his feet as he heard whispering coming from the darkest and deepest area in the valley that was clouded in shadows.
The voice was a thousand in one voices all silky and smooth. Chris felt his muscles relax and his worries wash away as a deep yearning to meet the owner of this lovely voice bubbled out from within him.
It was like his very existence belonged to only finding the source of this sweet voice and claiming it. He tried even harder to thrash against the invisible force that had bound him prisoner to his own flesh.
To his joy the shadows began to extend over the valley as if to answer his desire. Like large out stretching arms extending out and swallowing everything in their shadow.
Everywhere they passed the trees and earth became blurs before vanishing into shadow as if being consumed by it. And Chris's anticipation grew as a great desire to be embraced by the shadows as well consumed him.
As the shadows neared with mere inches away from him, he felt a pair of hands grab onto his shoulders and with a powerful jerking motion yanked him backwards and out of his dream.
His eyes though heavy and sore shot open to Pyrrha Ulster hovering above him with her hands resting solely on his shoulders while her face scanned his own in concern.
Chris would lie if he said that wasn't a bit flustered at Pyrrha in her tank top and boxers sitting on his half naked body. He could feel her hands upon his sweaty naked flesh and it sent electric tingles down his spine.
His heartbeat was moving so fast it felt like any second from now his heart would explode by how fast it was beating. His body was drenched in so much sweat that it looked like he had taken a dip in a pool of water and his lungs hurt with each breath as if he had been running for hundreds of kilometers for hours without rest.
"What...?" his pained lungs made his question painful to ask but Pyrrha understood and she got off of him before she produced a face cloth from her pocket and she began whipping his face of the sweat.
Chris wanted to move his head away from her so that she couldn't see his cheeks that were red hot as an after affect of her resting on him. But his body felt drained of all it's strength.
"You were giving off strange amounts of mana and a magical code built up around your body. It was fluctuating all around you" She stopped talking as she looked at him and she clearly saw his blush.
A small moment of silence followed them. Chris could see her cheeks reddening and his body felt hotter.
"Is just me or is it getting hot in here?" He wanted to smack himself in the face as he thought "Idiot, why would you say anything flirty at a time like this you fool ".
Pyrrha looked like she was about to stutter out something but she simply got off his bed and went to open the window which allowed fresh air to wash the heat off of his body and probably off hers.
" I dispersed the strange magical code, but i have never seen anything like it before. It's like it was dissolving you or something like that...".
"An assassination attempt?" Chris wondered who on earth would want to kill him " I am not the heir apparent here so there isn't much to gain with offing me".
"Should we report it in?" He was surprised that she was asking for his permission on that.
"Isn't it part of your duty to report in something like this?" He asked her a bit too sarcastically.
"I would, but i trust my teammate to make the right decision".
He sighed and took some deep breaths "I will talk to Imparetor Astrapios when i get the chance".
"Of course" she said as she came back with a black cloth to wipe the remaining sweat off of him.
Chris nervously shivered as he felt the cloth rubbing across his body. It tickled him and he cursed himself for having this reaction to it.
"Thank you for your aid Pyrrha" he said.
Pyrrha looked rightfully shocked that he had bothered to thank her and Chris wished that he could tell her to not get used to it but it didn't matter.
" What happened? " Pyrrha asked him looking at him with a deep look on her face as if her eyes of the triple Morigan were showing her more about him than even he knew " The tethering, you must have viewed in some way... Maybe like a dream of sort's ".
" I... " Chris tried racking his mind for the dream but nothing came of his attempts at trying to remember what had occupied his mind in the night, it was almost like his mind had been erased of the experience "... Don't know, it's a blur. But i do know that i had a dream, and there was something dark and old with it".
The next day came faster that it should have for Chris. After he failed to sleep thanks to pervious event's of the night he had done nothing but sit on his bed awake as he tried and failed to recollect his dream and why it troubled him so much.
Pyrrha had told him to go to rest but Chris just couldn't. He wouldn't admit it but he was afraid, he was scared to his bone about what would possibly happen to him should he be taken away again to that dream that while forgotten still haunted his mind.
The Iron fortress's early wake up system was a loud horn that shook the very walls of their room so the i couldn't hear it excuse wouldn't work here.
Chris was the first one to get off his bed, followed by Pyrrha who still looked at him with a deep concern and then Thor, Ursa and lastly Mulengu lumbered off their beds like the undead out of their graves.
The first thing that they did was clean their room which due to their numbers was an easy enough task. Chris and Ursa swept while Thor, Mulengu and Pyrrha moped the room. The final part of the cleaning was for all of them to begin polishing, this task left them covered in the wax that was used to polish the floor.
Next was finding the bathing areas though was slightly harder because of how big the building that contained their room was but eventually they found the shower's in one of the buildings near theirs.
The bathing area was that were divided between men and women. The only thing someone could smell as they neared it was the smell of soupy water.
The water in the shower was cold and Mulengu complained all the way through it. Though Chris didn't mind the cold touch of the water that washed away the stressed caused by the night.
The feeling of the cold liquid rolling over his flesh and taking his sweat and pain away with it. His muscles began to loosen up and as he took a deep breath he finally felt, relaxation.
After bathing they left for the locker room. It was a separate room to the buildings that thankfully wasn't as damp as the showering area. They began putting on their armor as they readied for a long day.
Chris after wreaking his newest set in the Nexus was a little too afraid to show his face again to the royal blacksmith's, least they chucked their forging equipment at his head...again.
So he asked for armor from his father. Now Roland Ddraig, king of Avalon was a powerful warrior and a great king, he was as close as he could be to what his parents the first king and queen were. What Roland unfortunately wasn't was a great wizard like his parents.
The first king and queen were master in the art of magic casting. They created Coros, the Tiamat armor as well thousands of spells and items that to this date no one in Avalon had out matched with the soul exception of the Divine weapon's, though those were literally god forged weapons so it wasn't match of a point against the first king and queen.
Granted his father was a couple hundred years younger than his parents and didn't have their years of experience but he had been trying to create good magical item's either to prove his competence in the art or just for fun, Chris wasn't quite sure.
Asking for some simple armor for himself and his friends had ended with them being test monkeys for his fathers item's. Some were good, other's... ended up blowing up in his face, literally.
His new armor was coloured blue, black and gold in places. It was composed entirely of blue steel like his old one but better spell works went into this one, or at least that's what he hoped. His father was knowledgeable enough in the workings of defensive magical code, but the blacksmith's were specialized experts.
The final component of the armor was crown that composed of a thin round silver stripe with four deep blue crystals resting on it. As soon as it rested on his head he felt a jolt of Mana from the crown charge through his body.
His hair then lost it's brown shade and took blue shade while it extended to his shoulder's as flowing locks.
"What's with hair?" He turned to Mulengu who had also finished fastening his own red and yellow armor.
" You trying to beat out the girls at hair with the least amount of split end's?" Mulengu continued asking him "I mean, look at those, it's like you are supermodel from a conditioner advert".
"It's my dad's Mana crown" he began to explain as he ran his hands through his new long locks of hair that felt so soft and silky that he had to agree with Mulengu's statement.
" It's a extra source of mana for me to draw on, but the side affect of wearing it is this blue hair that grows into this" he finished by pointing at his locks.
" Strange, none of my stuff is acting out in any way " Mulengu's armor had some golden markings upon the shoulders that Chris recognized as tree symbols and he wondered just how much time it took his dad to make these thing's.
"Christian... your hair" Thor joined the conversation and he looked confused at Chris's head as if he had just sprouted another head there "What is wrong with it?".
"My dad's crown" Chris pointed at the crown to get the point across to Thor "It's messed up my hair".
" Your father's armourments have done no such thing to me" Thor inspected his own armor that was much different from theirs.
He wore an orange scale breastplate with a bear fur cape that reached his waist. In his arms were two golden gauntlets and the rest of him was covered in plate and chainmail.
"I should take this off" the last thing he needed was for people to see him with this type of hair, they would take pictures of it and it would end on the Empas and his sister's would see it... just the thought of them seeing him like this sent shivers down his spine.
"Wait " Mulengu reached forward and stopped his hand's from reaching the helmet " Your dad made that for you, do you really want to make him feel bad if you don't have it".
Chris wanted to argue against this logic by the fact that there was no way that his father would know but he remembered how happy his father had been when he approached him about creating his armor and how he had been in the best of moods when constructing them.
Chris took in a deep breath and sighed before cursing Mulengu and his own heart for feeling this swell of pity for his father.
He pouted and answered with a forced " Fine".
"Good, now let's go show Ursa the true hair conditioner in this world" Mulengu began dragging him out of the changing room and in the shower past many knights who all looked at Chris wide eyed as they realized who he truly was and others just looked and pointed at his hair that Chris feared made him look slightly more feminine than he wanted to look.
"What..." He heard Ursa about to ask the question everyone wanted to ask or had asked before and he stopped her.
"My dad's crown does this to my hair" he looked at her and she looked better in her new silver and purple coloured samurai armor.
"You don't mind if i borrow it some time do you" Ursa pressed her hand his head and felt his hair " I need flowing hair like this, it's so beautiful, so soft, so girlish".
Chris wasn't sure if this made him feel better or worse... it made him feel worse because he sore he could hear the other knights and soldiers giggling at his current predicament and he was tempted to just run and try to save what was left of his dignity.
" You are looking well you're majesty " Pyrrha bowed drawing his attention from Ursa who was still feeling his hair.
Pyrrha was dressed in a red and blue armor with a spear strapped across her back. Up closer inspection Chris realized that it wasn't her usual spear.
It appeared to be made from a tree branch that was twisted and covered in blue runes while the spearhead bore the Ulster family symbol of a raven with it's wing's outstretched.
"What happened to her old spear ? " he felt the urge to scratch his chest as he felt the area where her spear had gone through him itch as if as a side affect of him remembering it.
They stood by their balcony with a wine bottle in their hand, even at this hour in the morning the warm feeling of alcohol was welcome to them. The little city of little Geneva was but a speck when views from atop the mountain fortress.
The city and it's main defense the Iron fortress stretched far and wide but their eyes could still see it with little to no problem whatsoever.
The city reminded them well of their old cities of earth, from which they ruled over the entire Japanese mystical community. But that was unfortunately the past, now they had to bend the knee to the wizard council.
Their families were once king's but now they were small fish in a supposedly greater pond.
But that mattered little now, the elder had been dead for two weeks and the time of mourning was almost over. The head family had been driven to extinction with the fall of the earth.
Now a hole was left to be filled and all the branch families were aiming for it like the hungry jackals they were.
They crumpled the letter in their hand, the letter was from the wizard council who had granted them permission to carry out their festivals, their custom, their right. They would soon have their turn, the world would need only wait.
Chris felt tense with Pyrrha besides him as they reached the office of Imparetor Astrapios. Before eating their breakfast he knew that he needed to report what happened in the night with Pyrrha as his witness.
The office was located at the top highest level of the central tower of the fortress. He took in a deep breath before knocking and he heard the Imparetor from the other side answering with.
He opened the door and they both walked into the room. Unlike Arumu sycamore's office this room was massive in size. It had two large windows that allowed a constant fresh stream of air, massive bookshelves on both sides holding multiple grimoires and files, the floor was covered in red warm rag, its walls had multiple beautiful paintings that showed legendary scenes from the Iron fortress history and Imparetor Astrapios desk was a beautifully carved thing.
Imparetor Astrapios sat behind it with a warm cup of tea in his left hand that he was drinking.
" Imparetor Astrapios, forgive my intrusion but i would not disturb you unless the matter was serious " he said as both he and Pyrrha bowed showing respect to their superior.
"Your not disturbing me Aeris Ddraig and Aeris Ulster. Hathor hasn't arrived yet so i am still free this morning" the Imparetor answered playfully.
Out of the open window a flapping of wings could be heard as the Chalkydri flew in with something folded in it's talons. It dropped the thing, a thick piece of paper before landing atop one of the bookshelves were it's nest was.
"Ah, the journalist" Imparetor Astrapios was delighted as he unfolded the paper which was a newspaper with the words the journalist written upon the cover in bright green "And you just made the front page Aeris Ddraig".
He showed Chris a clear view of the front page and upon was a picture of him in the van as they had driven through the city and Chris was just thankful that the angle of the image wasn't showing Pyrrha resting upon his shoulder.
" Prince Christian Ddraig being stationed in the Iron fortress " the Imparetor read out the headline with an amused smile " I fear that you can expect reporters anytime soon. The realm is tense with the inevitable declaration of war when we are fully mobilized and you are someone with such important information who can easily be accesses my young friend ".
" I know to keep my mouth shut sir" he didn't even know much as important planning was still happening even after he left the capital.
"Well, I hope so. A pretty face can pry secrets easily out of people regardless of how sealed ones lips are. I know" the Imparetor chuckled as if thinking of some far off memory as he drunk the tea.
"Sir, we have come to speak to you about a grave matter" Pyrrha jumped in as she out stretch both her hands to the Imparetor and from then flames formed into a neat pattern that was woven into a magical code Chris had never seen before "Last night, Prince Christian was assaulted by this spell. I don't know what it is but i remember it as clear as day".
The Imparetors joyful face was replaced with a serious stone face as he studied the replica of the magical code that attacked Chris.
" This is a linking spell. Slightly altered but still the same fundamental skeleton to it. It looks long ranged...it seems someone or something was trying to connect you to it" the Imparetor outstretched his hand and the replica code flew out of Pyrrha's hands and into his own were it changed from being created from flames to being created by electricity.
"It felt like it was eating him sir" she said.
"I am not quite sure what to make of this Aeris Ulster. I will hand the code to a highly trusted wizard i know at the Reven-croft institute for further study" the magical code dispersed from the Imparetors hand as he spoke.
"Imparetor if i may. I would very much prefer if this was kept private. The last thing i need is a media circus".
"Of course, of course" the Imparetor waved him off "I suggest that you go have your breakfast my young friend. You have a big day ahead of you".
As Chris and Pyrrha left the office Chris couldn't help but see a painting on the wall that depicted a younger version of his mother, father and Imparetor Astrapios fighting some kind of giant human that towered over some mountain in the painting.
" I don't know what this picture depicts sir" he stated.
The Imparetor took a sip of his tea "It was the first time i fought together with your parents. As for where this battle took place, it was the Nexus. Deus be good those were good days".
" it must have been something " Chris said as he wished he had been there.
"Do something truly legendary my young friend and your feat will be upon these walls of fame" the Imparetor told him and Chris internally promised himself to one day stand with these giant's.
Support "Phantom Ddraig"
I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos