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Author's Comment:
If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.


Author's Comment:
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)



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“Chocolate is a typically sweet, usually brown, food preparation of Theobroma cacao seeds, roasted and ground, often flavoured, as with vanilla. It is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavouring ingredient in other foods. Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least three millennia in Mesoamerica. The earliest evidence of use traces to the Mokaya (Mexico and Guatemala), with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BCE.”

- The Journey to the Afterlife




***Dedessia***
***Seria***



I launch into a short explanation of Moonray's betrayal. I already explained to Marcus that there must be a connection between Moonray and the traitors in Newerth. But I kind of forgot about explaining in detail why we have a grudge against him.

My mother waits above the narrow staircase and looks down into the darkness, a slight twitch of disgust pulls the corner of her mouth downwards. She immediately straightens her face to a neutral expression and gestures for us to follow. “Come. Let's find your father and introduce Marcus to him.” She chuckles and descends down the stairs.

Clapping my hands, I jump up and down. “Oh, he really did it! That's so geeky. I had to suggest the idea with the throne several times until Dad finally agreed.”
I take my 'lover's' hand and squeeze it to reassure him. “Don't worry. If we have my mother on our side, our chances are more than good.” We follow Elona to the staircase and take one stair at a time.
Marcus looks down at me with a worried expression on his face. “Why do I have the feeling that you are winging this introduction thing blindly.”

I purse my lips, pouting. “I am not winging this blindly. Not at all. Didn't I share my memories with you, so that you can speak our language?” I intentionally used the long route to teach Marcus all the essentials about Dedessia. Of course, I could have used the pathways to teleport us directly, but that would have left Marcus in a room with a lot of people who don't speak his language. This way he had at least a little preparation.
Marcus snorts. “Yeah. You shared your memories about language. There were no specific events, so don't use it as leverage on me. Teaching me your language was the only smart thing to do.”

I sigh and gesture at my mother. “I am very sorry, but I am not used to introducing my life partners to my parents. The both of them live in their own little world and once an idea pops into their heads, they start pursuing it no matter what.”
Marcus's eyes flick towards Elona and back to me. “You really want to say that she didn't mean it as a joke? She is going to marry us? Even though we are barely starting to know each other?”
Massaging my temples, I concentrate on the stairs. “I fear that she wasn’t joking. Sometimes I get the idea that even immortals can suffer dementia.”

“I heard that!” Elona calls over her shoulder, but continues to lead the way nonetheless. “And don't forget! Don't look back, or the thing gets you.”
Marcus stiffens, but continues to walk forward. “The thing? Don't look back?”
I try to make my answer sound as cheerful as possible. “My father likes to secure his toys. One of his security measures are traps. A lot of them. His most favoured traps activate when someone turns around on his path. Like this staircase.”

Marcus nods. “I understand, though I don't get why someone would build such a strange trap.”

I clap my hands together. “Oh, but I think it's perfect! Magical traps with such behavioural conditions never have to be switched off. Of course a thief could get past the traps by sheer luck, but which person with dishonest intentions would never check their rear?”
“I think he is just playing games,” Elona interrupts. “He is just like a big child in that regard. One that's playing with an anthill, just that he sometimes doesn't get the difference between ants and people.”

The queen stretches herself as if she is preparing for a fight. “I think I got a little sloppy. He has been holed up down here for over a day. I wonder what he is building this time.”
I can't help myself and smile. Watching Dad building stuff is always relaxing. Especially when I get him to explain what he is doing. “So he is going through one of his creative phases?”

Elona finishes her stretching exercise and touches a bulb on the wall. We descended far enough to stop daylight from reaching the staircase. Elona's touch is enough to light up the staircase with a relaxing, blue light. “Yes, yes, but he isn't taking care of his body. If it wasn't for me, he would starve down here without even realizing what he is doing to himself. I've already thought several times about arming myself with a torch and a pitchfork to raid this place.”

Marcus furrows his forehead. “Why a torch and a pitchfork?”

My mother shrugs. “The torch to burn the laboratory down and the pitchfork to immobilize him. Otherwise he would jump into the flames to save his stuff. He is the kind of guy who needs a good argument to change his ways.”

I wonder how she intends to immobilize Dad by stabbing him.

We reach the end of the staircase and enter Dad's main-laboratory. It's a huge room with a dome-like shape. The ground is filled with workbenches and tools, while some constructions are freely floating in the air above the ground. Dad likes to simply attach a gravity spell to old projects, just to get them out of the way by floating them up to the ceiling.

In the middle of the room is a huge cloud of shadows, using long tendrils of shadow to manipulate several tools and items at once. There are also two large eyes floating in the cloud, focusing their attention at two different projects at the same time.
Elona raises her hand and waves at the cloud. “Darling! We have guests.”

I notice Marcus's Adam's apple working up and down as one of the golden eyes turns in our direction. “At least I know now where you got your wings and eyes. I guess I can't sway his heart by telling him that his eyes look beautiful?”
“Don't do that if you want to live another day,” I whisper.

“Butterfly!”

A loud, booming voice echoes through the dome and the cloud of shadows surges forward and picks me up with two tendrils. I immediately slap at the tentacles. “Stop that! I am not a child!”
Shade lets me go, but not without complaint. “Stupid. You are always the child of your parents. That never changes, no matter how old you become.”

Oh, well. Once I tell him why I am here he will have another issue. I gesture at Marcus. “Dad, this is Marcus, he is my boyfriend, lover, partner in crime. Whatever you want to call it. I am simply introducing him to you, this isn’t a topic that’s up to discussion.”
For a moment it looks like Shade's shadow form is completely frozen in time. Unmoving. Which I thought impossible up until now. His cloud-like and formless shape is always moving in some way, though I never understood the reason.

Ever so slowly, the second eye comes around and settles on Marcus. Shade only used one eye to pay attention to us, while the other stayed focused on his projects. But it seems like we have Dad's full attention now. It's a little disturbing how Shade uses his spirit-form. Even real shapeshifters aren't capable of such creepy behaviour. Sometimes I wonder if his mind is still human.

“You dare to touch my Butterfly!?” Shade sweeps in to loom over Marcus, daring him to say just one wrong word.
Elona pats one of the tentacles. “You should hear their story first, before you violate the rules of hospitality. Marcus's people need our help. And stop using that ugly appearance. Return to your normal shape. Now.” The last word comes out as a growl.

One eye swivels towards Elona and returns to Marcus. I already fear that Dad will make a scene, but in the end he slowly reverts to his human form. A tall, lean body with black hair and a completely average face. It doesn't impede his appearance, since the aura which is surrounding his whole demeanour screams that disobedience isn't tolerated. “Then it seems that Seria's mission failed. We sent her out to find allies against the spirits and Moonray. Why should we start saving every small dimension which can't take care of itself?”

I clear my throat and pinch Marcus to remind him of the plan and the ‘special’ item I gave him.

He reaches into his dirty clothes and retrieves a bar of vacuum-packed chocolate. Since I got my hands on the stuff, I am always carrying around one or two bars. Just in case that I need to depart hastily. Since Marcus is about to introduce himself to my father, I figured that he needs one or two bonus points to survive the encounter. My father would never decline chocolate, even from his worst enemies.

Shade’s eyes flicker from Marcus to the bar of chocolate.

“I feel very honoured to make your acquaintance, sir. I’ve heard a lot about your projects and thought that you might want to talk about various vehicles. I am a collector of all sorts of transportation devices. And I hope that you allow me to continue to court your daughter. And I even brought a present since I heard that you favour the sweet side of life.”

Suddenly Elona’s hands sneak around my neck and she starts to strangle me. “Seria! You! Do you know how long it took me to get Shade clean of his addiction? There is zero chocolate in this world and you… you… you walk off and bring that drug right back into our paradise!?”
Shade snatches the bar of chocolate from Marcus’s hand and lets it disappear in his sleeve. “I might be willing to hear you out.”

I pry my mother’s hands apart and take a gulp of air. “Thanks! Dad!”
Shade smiles at me with a tired expression. “Of course, Butterfly. I hope that you can show me where we have to help.”
Marcus purses his lips. “I wanted to ask this since a while now. How did Seria get the nickname 'Butterfly'?””

Shade furrows his forehead. “Oh, that was my idea. You see. When she shifted for the first time to her spirit form, her wings had exactly the shape of a beautiful butterfly. Hence the nickname. Do you want to see photos?”
Marcus starts grinning. “Of course! It might give me an idea of how our children will look like.”

With a move, so fast that it’s almost invisible to the eye, Shade kicks Marcus’s kneecap and sends him to the ground, gasping. “Don’t overdo it, Boy. You aren’t in my good graces yet. I would never sell my daughter for a single bar of chocolate.”
Marcus does the sensible thing and tries to negotiate. “H… how many?”

Shade pulls down the corners of his mouth. “At least a factory and a firm foothold in your realm. I’ll need supplies.”
Elona drops me and sighs. “It’s always the same with you. But enough fooling around. There are very important things to talk about.”

Shade scratches his chest and tilts his head. “Yes, actually I already listened to the discussion you had in the throne room. But I still had to test the determination of this fellow.” He pokes Marcus with the tip of his shoe. “I suggest that you go and get yourself cleaned up. I’ll prepare your captive for interrogation and then we can have a nice little chat in the morning.”



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Andur

  • Phantasm

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