Chapter 7

The castle stands tall, proud and foreboding, like a mountain, at the center of the complex of gardens, surrounded by rectangular towers and smaller buildings in a different part of the palace grounds, similar to the king is being bowed down by his subjects.

“I have one question, my son,” says the king from his throne on the dais, fixing his sitting posture. The cavernous room is empty except for three, the king, his son, and his newest consort already exiting the room, her glittering sheer gown sweeping and reflecting on the smooth inky floor in her wake.

“Anything, sir,” responds Kannax standing at the foot of the dais.

“I heard about a rebel movement that was happening under my nose. Why didn’t you report that to me?” The king drops his hands on the arms of the throne, which looks to be cut out of one huge stone, raw and bland like other decorations in the room and the room itself.

With a controlled voice, the prince replies slowly, “Rebel movement, sir? This is the first time I’ve heard of this.” Now only two of them remain in the throne room, with the edge of the young consort’s wings retreating from the doorway.

Just at the first glance, both are apparent to be father and son. They look too much alike, except that the prince’s features are more refined with smoother features, including his horns and wings, and that the king has wrinkles on his face.

“I was sure that after centuries, humans had realized they were only alive because of our mercy, sir. This news is quite incredible to me. Not that I am saying I don’t believe your source,” Kannax adds after a split-second pause.

The king checks his son for several long seconds before he says, “This might be surprising but not unbelievable, Kannax. There are still some who don’t recognize us as their gods as they should. Your sources have become useless.”

“Indeed, sir. I should have noticed they had not been reporting anything useful lately. But reassure that I am going to deal with them,” the prince agrees now looking up at the king, “This will never happen again.”

The room turns silent after that. “Alright. You can go now,” the king dismisses after a pregnant pause of looking into his son’s face.

Kannax leaves the throne room with a look of sudden determination. Upon reaching the outside, he fists his right hand, causing his knuckles to turn white. He strides away, the heels of his boots hitting the hard stone floor echoing throughout the corridor.  


“You worry too much. They will never find us.”

Under the dim light that comes through the narrow vent near the ceiling, the room is completely plain; there is no furniture whatsoever but wooden boxes that are stacking up across the room. On the boxes, off the boxes, and on the vacant floor, are about a dozen figures sitting in various positions. Soot stains their faces and visible parts of their bodies, some of them in torn robes, others in faded shirts and pants, a few in worn-out gowns.

The one who said the aforementioned statement leans against the moldy wall behind him.

“They won’t find us, but we are not getting anywhere either. All we do is cursing those hellish animals on the walls,” remarks another one who sits opposite to the former. He picks up a cracked cup beside him on the box he is sitting on and continues, “And gathering in this suffocating place every once in a while and drinking water pretending to be alcohol.”

Several agree with the two of them. Murmurs overwhelm the room.

“We need help,” suggests someone from one corner.

The noises even get louder.

“We all know that.”

“Stop complaining. There is no point.”

“No one is going to help us.”

“Here we go again.”

“I think I might have some lead for it,” one of a few women in the group says, which is unheard by the rest.

“Be quiet,” booms an authoritative voice. The owner of the voice is at the furthermost corner of the room.

Most stop talking, but a few neither heard his voice nor care enough to obey him. However, it has considerably gone quiet.

“Thanks, Vince,” says the woman appreciatively. “There is a rumor spreading all over the East. Rane Desoare is missing.”

“How is that going to help us?” questions the one who remarked about needing help. He looks younger than most of the party gathering here. “Yea. I know he is a prince of the East and that he is notorious for killing his fellow mage with the forbidden magic. But what’s that to do with us?”

“You know that fortune-teller at the corner of the Lunar Garden, right?”

“Right. Everybody knows that conman,” retorts the teenager.

“He is not the conman,” snaps the woman.

“Please get to the point, Mariet,” says Vince to her while giving a stern look at the teenager, who smiles him back sheepishly.

“He told me that he sensed a wave of new magical aura a few days ago but disappeared immediately after that.”

“That’s all?” asks Vince. A disappointment is apparent in his voice. Mariet nods uncertainly.

“Let me get this straight,” says the teenager with a chortle, “You think that means Prince Desoare is in this kingdom.”

“I don’t want to destroy anyone’s hope but I think I might have to give you all an old reminder here,” observes a man with a greyish beard. He looks to be the oldest in the room.

Both Mariet and the teenager stop arguing, glancing reluctantly at the old man.

“False hope is sometimes more dangerous than the enemy itself. We have been too hopeful in the past with no plan. It’s time we learned from the past. Also, let’s not jump to conclusions.”

“Yes. It’s far-fetching, you know. The new magic could be anything,” one listener comments.

After a few minutes of agreements and disagreements, Vince declares, “Let’s end it here. The sun is going to set out there. As always, I’ll exit first to make sure the coast is clear."


Scorching and suffocating, that’s the room the butler arranged for him as her highness ordered, he muses; he could not help but chuckle at the thought of her. He had to admit he was kind of surprised there is a room as small as this in this tower. It is more a cupboard than a room. There is no window, no sun, but on the rickety table are a lamp and two matches.

Two sets of faded clothes and a pair of worn boots are at one corner of the room, but he has not changed into them, the same as he has arrived at the place in the afternoon.

He strikes the match, and it doesn’t work. The second one goes out immediately after it lit up. Both feel a little moist. Fine by him. In the dark, he treads toward the corner to put some shirt on.

One good thing is no one bothering him. Around dinnertime, he enters the kitchen. Putting food on a tray, and he takes a seat at a long table where the servants occupy having dinner. No one interrupts him. Although he registers the female in the kitchen ogling him and a few males glaring at him at the corner of his eyes, he doesn’t have time for a starting contest. He is so starved. The last meal he had was last night: a bowl of greasy soup with vegetables sparse in it.

The kitchen is lit up by some type of fluorescent crystals hanging on walls and ceilings as the corridor on the way here.

“Princess’s new pet,” remarks loudly one male in what seems to be a servant uniform, a purple tunic and a pair of dark pants, to another servant while walking past him.

Somehow the only thought that has not gone out of his mind is she calling guards on him, as though he was going to hurt her.

Back in the darkness in the cupboard room, he lays down on the bed, which does not have enough room to even stretch. He might seem perfect with no scar, not even a scratch, regardless of the slices and cuts they imposed on his face and body. However, he has to suffer the pain, take the damage. Every bit of his muscles and bones aches.

A new pet he is to her, he ponders, staring into the nothingness. Alright, he can be her pet, but might not be in the way she expected; she might not like it.

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