Episode 6: Capital Of Snow
Nash enters a doorless, semi-cold, medieval-styled room that's only source of light at the moment is a fairly big, half oval-shaped window located to the dark-haired man's right as a full moon glistens in the night sky, however, the window has no means to be closed, which is why it's quite cold at the moment. Concurrently, the two dark-skinned men, who were being held in the cell, gradually enter too as they're nearly covered in burns just like their recently deceased companion by the hands of the dark-haired man that's in front of the two while their clothing are scorched up from the confrontation with Ilya's magical ability.
Not much after, Nash arrives at the left side of what appears to be a king-sized bed while containing a pillar on each corner to hold up the cover that's above it, gets down on his left knee with his right arm resting on his right lap and bows his head to who's currently lying on the bed. "I brought ya' the two guys ya' wanted, boss."
A man's voice softly groans as only his body's outline can be noted thanks to the moonlight and asks in a tired toned, "Wasn't it supposed to be three?"
Nash responds without lifting his head as the black-haired man can be seen very well due to where he's standing receiving the full ray of the moonlight. "Yup, but the third one was so 'fraid tha' ya' was going to gut him up no matter wha', so he gone killed himself before I got there." He then peers behind himself via turning his head to the left and menacingly grins at the two dark-skinned individuals. "Ain't that right, y'all?" Both dark-skinned men hesitate answering until barely managing to nod without uttering a word. Having seen that, Nash reverts his attention down to the floor beneath him as he resumes his conversation with the man residing on the bed. "There ya' have it."
The man lifts up his right arm while making a brief gesture and says after yawning, "Whatever..." He puts his arm down on his stomach as a smacking sound is heard from the man's mouth as if he was tasting something. "So... Explain, you two."
Nash promptly motions to the two dark-skinned men for them to come closer with his left arm. "Ya' heard 'im. Come here and tell the boss wha' ya wanna' say."
The two dark-skinned men momentarily look at each other as they aren't sure if they should move from where they are standing, which is in front of the room's doorless entrance. After that, both of them decide to do as they're told and slowly reach Nash while each standing on opposite sides of the black-eyed man. Once they do that, they try to get down on one knee like Nash, but have a hard time do to their wounds still not being fully healed until the man lying on the bed gestures his right arm again. "Don't worry about doing that. Just tell me before I fall back asleep."
With that, the dark-skinned man to Nash's left firmly nods with an upright posture as he attempts not to sound nervous while staring at the darkness that covers the bed. "Yes, sir. As myself and the others were retrieving the Devil's Circuit from that warehouse in Peradia like you ordered, a girl Spellcaster from Velkry was spying on us. She could use the Immobilization Spell and had this weird power that did this to our bodies." He motions towards his skin with his left hand to point out its current condition and then puts his hand back down. "We passed out after that and woke up here."
Following one of the dark-skinned men's explanation, the man hidden by darkness scratches the top of his head with his right hand. "Oh...! So that's what happened...!" He then suddenly sits up while facing towards the direction of the window prior to a couple of feminine groans emanate around the male individual, which surprises the two dark-skinned men since they weren't expecting that. Afterwards, the man turns his head to both sides of his bed and speaks in a lackadaisical way. "You two chicks, get out. I'm done with you."
After those words were stated, two female silhouettes are notable as they gradually get out of the bed, walk past the three men nearby while the moonlight briefly showed their minimally busty, almost completely, naked bodies, saved a type of thin fabric that barely covers their private regions, and quickly leave the room. In the meantime, Nash peers at the man with a malicious smirk and thinks after raising his left eyebrow, "That's just like 'im. It woulda' been odd for the boss ta' have stayed in bed without a couple of skanks ta' fuck." He snickers a bit while mildly relaxing his expression.
Then, the dark-skinned man to Nash's left speaks again to the one sitting on the bed after seeing the two woman exit while showing a bit of concern. "By the way, what happened to Gunta? Since we've regained consciousness, no one has told us why we were the only ones locked up."
The man turns his head to the three who are next to him and asks with an emotionless composition, "Who's Gunta?"
Both dark-skinned men are instantly perplexed by the man's response as their eyes greatly widen. After that, Nash joins into the conversation with his eyes shut and head lowered quite a bit. "Gunta's the fourth of this group tha' were assigned ta' retrieve the fake."
As they heard the last thing Nash informed to the man in front of them, the two dark-skinned men hurriedly veer their heads to Nash with an awestruck expression while questioning in unison, "Fake?!"
Nash blurts out laughing with his head cocked back. "Of course!" He sets his sights on the dark-skinned man to his left. "Did ya' morons really think y'all be put in such an important mission?!" The dark-haired man snickers while lowering his head once more and momentarily shakes it with his eyes closed. "Nah, tha' machine was a faulty Devil's Circuit." He then opens his eyes while placing his attention on the dark-skinned man that's to his right. "It was bound ta' blow up after a couple of uses. The only reason we sent y'all four was 'cause it was possible ta' use tha' messed up one for spares, but it's fine."
The dark-skinned man to Nash's right has a dumbfounded look while facing the black-eyed man. "Hold on! It blew up?!"
Nash nods without much change to his personality. "Yeah. Gunta probably used it ta' try ta' take out tha' girl y'all were talkin' 'bout, but from wha' the guys who found y'all told me, the Devil's Circuit was in pieces and Gunta was burnt up much more than y'all are right now. Tha' means he lost ta' her too and Devil's Circuit must've exploded from it bein' used."
Surprise immediately plagues the two dark-skinned men as they can't believe what they were just told as Nash continues on while not seeming to care at all. "But like I said, it's fine. We've got the good one already AND the Trailblaze Org. promised us tha' it'll last a LONG while." He grins in a somewhat sinister manner.
The man on the bed adds in after listening to what Nash had said. "Yeah, but it isn't fine..." The room then suddenly starts to darken as the window slowly becomes covered from bottom to top. This causes both dark-skinned men to be overrun with nervousness and look at the man while noticing two brilliant lights shining from the bed.
Nash returns his gaze to the man with an ecstatic smile and asks while quite amused, "Didn't I say tha' he ain't merciful?"
Meanwhile, the man on the bed turns himself towards the others while at the edge of the bed's right side and talks with his voice growing cold. "You see, I don't necessarily trust Trailblaze or the Einsburns. There aren't many people I actually do trust, because I learned that when you trust someone, they tend to betray you or let you down... And I trusted the four of you, something I normally don't do... And you all failed me."
The dark-skinned man to Nash's left hastily tries to let out a rebut in a defensive tone, however, is interrupted by the unexpected scream of his comrade. After that, he urgently checks to see what happened, but can't due to the room having almost completely been engulfed by darkness as the only sources of light being the two that continue to profoundly shine from the man on the bed. A sudden gasp is then heard from the dark-skinned man just when the window and the two glowing lights abruptly cease. A few seconds of silence passes by until the man on the bed suddenly speaks in a casual voice while the darkness covering the window gradually goes down to let the moonlight enter the room again. "Hey, Nash. Turn on the light. I'm fully awake now, so it won't bother me."
Nash replies while rising to his feet. "Will do." He then deviates away from the man, walks towards the entrance as the chains wrapped around his arms make a slight rattling sound, flips the light switch that's located on the left wall to fully illuminate the room and returns his attention to the man on the bed with a slight grin. "How ya' feelin', Lord Enshin?"
Enshin nonchalantly stretches both of his scarred up arms above his head while letting out a small yawn with his eyes shut as his fairly tanned, semi-muscular, naked body can now be seen, which allows Nash to have a clear view of the many scars throughout his body beside the ones on his arms. After doing that, the man opens his dark blue eyes to look at Nash before lowering his left hand and scratches his medium-sized, brown hair with his other hand as his hair's sides have been buzzed off while the rest is spiked back. "Not too shabby, aside from being woken up to hear a few of my men failing me."
Nash walks up to Enshin after folding his arms together and says in an optimistic tone, "Come on, boss! So wha' if we didn't get tha' cheap-ass machine?! We still got the good one!" His tone then changes to a cynical one without losing his grin while leaning towards Enshin and tilts his head to the left. "Anyway, did ya' really expect those four ta' succeed? Most of our guys may be Class D Spellcasters, but they were the worst outta' 'em all." He snickers again.
Enshin nods while quite displeased. "You're right." The brown-haired man gets to his feet and walks around his bed to reach a small dresser that's on the right side of his bed. Once he's there, Enshin begins to rummage through the dresser's confines for something to wear while ignoring the fact that some of his clothing is on the floor in addition to the two women's clothing they had carelessly left behind.
As that happens, Nash stares at the scars on Enshin's back with a serious demeanor while thinking, "All those scars... I can neva' get tired of knowin' wha' they represent. Right in front of me stands a man who survived all the shit this world puts us humans through, and yet, he takes it all without eva' gettin' healed by magic." He delightfully smirks as he shifts his gaze to his left arm while unveiling a tattoo underneath his sleeve with the words "Enshin's Disciples" and thinks, "It's 'cause of tha' I will follow this man until my last breath."
Enshin faces towards Nash after putting on a yellow t-shirt that shows off the muscles he has and brown cargo pants. "By the way, something's been bothering me."
Nash gives Enshin a faintly curious look while losing his smirk. "Wha'?"
Enshin veers his gaze away from Nash to grab a hold of two unknown objects lying on his bed with both hands and puts each in opposite pants' pockets while speaking without making eye contact. "Gunta... The one who supposedly used Devil's Circuit..." His eyes meet with Nash's. "Don't you think it's odd that he was defeated?"
Nash waves off the question with his left hand. "Not really." He lowers his left hand to place it on his waist and sets his sights on the moon with a small smile. "Those two ya' just murked said the girl they fought was from Velkry. Spellcasters from tha' city are pretty strong from the get-go. At best, Devil's Circuit would increase a Class D like Gunta ta' Class B from wha' Loki was told by the Trailblaze Org., even if it's a faulty." He redirects his attention back to Enshin. "Tha' ain't much considerin' ya's top five guys, like me, are past tha'." The black-eyed man snickers yet again.
Enshin responds while walking back to the left side of his bed. "True." The blue-eyed man then sits on the bed again while having a contemplative expression as he watches the floor with the palm of his right hand planted under his chin. "I just have this weird feeling that something isn't right. It's the same feeling I had when the war started... It's something that will determine my fate, just like that day."
Nash stays quiet for a moment until talking with an assuring smile. "Ya don't have ta' worry 'bout anythin' like tha', boss. We got Devil's Circuit ta' boost a few of our weaker, though more promisin', members and soon we'll have ourselves a new base."
Enshin's eyes widen a little out of realization. "Oh, that's right. Who did we sent for that, anyway?"
Nash briefly pauses while trying to recall the exact answer to Enshin's question with his gaze towards the left side. "I think it was..." He suddenly remembers with his smile hurriedly reforming as he establishes his focus on Enshin again. "Quinton, Clock and Bel with his Burn Troop."
Enshin nods out of acknowledgement. "That's good, then. All three of them are Class D Plus, but they used Devil's Circuit before leaving, right?"
Nash sharply nods while confidently grinning. "Yeah. Those three's power should be at Class B Plus until an entire day passes, and now tha' the Einsburns left Icela out ta' dry, it should be a piece of cake ta' take ova'."
Enshin smiles in a mildly sinister way. "Wonderful." The brown-haired man peers to the left so he can intently stare at the moon. "I do hope it has a good view of the moon like this place though."
It has been a couple of hours since Dante and Ilya began their advancement to the castle. The two had managed to make it through the city part of Icela and are gradually walking up the mountain without a specific trail to follow as it contains numerous, leafless trees due to the practically never-ending, cold climate. While the duo made it pass the halfway point of the snowy mountain, the fierce snowfall from before commences to decrease with the wind letting up quite a bit, however, that doesn't change Ilya's exhausted state thanks to both the intense cold and having to ascend the mountain. In Dante's case, the green-eyed gentlemen walks a few meters ahead of his companion with a carefree attitude.
At the sight of Dante's demeanor, an aggravated look takes form on Ilya's person, as she tightly holds onto herself with both arms and thinks, "He can't be human..." She then unexpectedly trips over a tree's root that was hidden beneath the two meter snow while letting out a small cry before falling flat on her face, each arm extended out in the unsuccessful attempt of breaking her fall. After that, Ilya pulls her head out of the snow, quickly shakes any of it that may be attached to her while on her knees with both hands submerged in the snow for leverage and looks down at it as she lets out an annoyed groan prior.
Dante ceases his advancement while turning to his left to stand sideways so he can place his gaze on Ilya and jokingly asks, "Do you really think now's the time to be playing in the snow?"
Ilya hastily glares at Dante with annoyance overflowing. "Not... Funny!"
Dante chuckles as he walks up to Ilya. "Sorry. Do you think you can walk?" He then crouches down a bit and gives Ilya a taunting smile. "Or do I have to carry you?"
Ilya slightly turns red with her eyes widening for a moment, however, quickly regains her composure while getting to her feet and then checks to see the conditioning of her legs after that fall. Having done that, Ilya brings her attention up to Dante while trying not to appear flustered by his previous provocation and nods with a hint of annoyance maintaining itself. "That won't be necessary, I'm fine... But how much more until we reach the castle, anyway? I'm still pretty tired and it's really cold."
Dante takes his eyes off Ilya and peers up the mountain as he can vaguely see the top of the mountain, but not the castle. "Maybe an hour or two. It depends if we don't get sidetracked."
Ilya lets out a depressed sigh while dropping her head a little. "But we've walked so much already!"
Dante reverts his attention to Ilya with an optimistic composition and smiles after shutting his eyes. "Well, look at the bright side... If the weather was constant, then we would be in even more trouble." The blonde-haired individual turns away from Ilya and continues up the mountain.
Ilya snaps her focus to Dante with confusion showing. "Constant?" She then hurries to catch up to Dante and asks while walking side by side. "What do you mean?"
Dante calmly replies without diverting his sight from the direction they're walking. "Didn't you notice as we were walking? The weather randomly changes." He glances at Ilya out of the corner of his right eye.
Ilya's confusion increases as she contemplated what Dante had asked her while turning her head away until resetting her attention onto the young man. "No. It's been snowing the entire time."
Dante shakes his head in disagreement while once again watching where he's going. "I'm not talking about it stopping... I'm talking about the amount of snow falling, with the wind's intensity, has been going up and down at random intervals. A little too much to be considered normal, if you ask me."
Curiosity joins Ilya's confusion as she watches Dante for a few seconds until establishing her attention ahead of herself. Then, an hour goes by as they pass through the forest of leafless trees, find a pathway that's roughly a quarter-mile long while leading directly to the now visible mountain top. As a result, Ilya abruptly starts running up the path that's in the form of a zig-zag after yelling out of relief, "Finally!"
In the meantime, Dante simplistically walks behind Ilya without any real urgency while having both hands in his pockets and thinks, "She must be REALLY cold." He faintly chuckles.
Ilya soon notices that Dante's trailing behind and teasingly yells out while continuing her ascension, "Come on, slow poke! Or you'll be the one to freez-" Just as Ilya was about to finish her statement while reaching the mountain top, the hazel-eyed beauty unexpectedly collides into an invisible wall, which causes her to stagger backwards, and places her left hand on the left side of the white-haired beauty's forehead since that's the part that was hit. "What the...?!"
Dante suddenly appears to Ilya's left via his Accelerator while displaying a perplexed expression with his head tilted to the left. "That's interesting."
Ilya immediately faces towards Dante with astonishment brimming as she doesn't remove her hand from her forehead. "What's interesting?!"
Dante casually walks up to where Ilya had hit the invisible wall and flicks it with his right middle finger as a soft thud briefly sounded. At the same time, the blonde-haired young man analyzes the small fluctuation that was created as it mildly resonates throughout. "It's a barrier." He then sets his sights on the stone castle that's about twenty meters away as the green-eyed gentlemen takes into account its fairly large, dark-stoned structure with a big, artillery tower at four different corners that holds together a square wall while the castle is located towards the back of the vicinity without much snow.
Afterwards, both Ilya and Dante notice that the reason for the lack of snow inside is because of the barrier that's completely covering the castle like a square-shaped dome, however, the snow on the top of the barrier can't really be seen due to the foggy sky that's present as the white-haired teen comments while awestruck by what she's witnessing. "You're right. It must be to keep intruders out." She then grovels with irritation arising. "I bet it's nice and warm in there..."
Having ignored Ilya's complaint, Dante shifts his attention to the castle's walls, suddenly sees something and steps back enough to point his left hand at what he saw. "Someone's coming."
With that said, a man clamored in silver chainmail walks towards Dante and Ilya while carrying a wooden crossbow via his right hand with a container of several arrows strapped onto his back. Once the man arrives at the other side of the barrier, he sternly stares down the duo before speaking. "Identify yourselves."
Ilya steps in front of Dante, who had already lowered his left hand, and responds with a formal composure. "Yes. I am Ilya Henseka and this is my friend..." She then hesitates while motioning her right hand at Dante with her eyes locked on him and thinks, "I probably shouldn't reveal that he's an Einsburn considering what happened." After finishing that thought, Ilya refocuses her attention onto the man and firmly says while lowering her hand, "Dante... And we have been sent by Velkry to help protect Icela's king and princess from any possible threats."
The man begins to analyze Ilya and Dante while trying to determine if they can be trusted. After a few seconds of doing that, he sharply nods before turning towards the castle and gives a thumbs up via his right hand. Concurrently, the barrier separating the duo from the man in chainmail disappears as snow gradually descends down on him before the man faces Dante and Ilya again. "Follow me. I will take you to meet King Trost." He turns away from the duo and heads towards the only notable door that the stone wall has with Ilya quickly behind.
Dante, on the other hand, takes his time going to the castle's entrance with both hands behind his back as the barrier is created again and watches a vertically, rectangular, closed window at the highest point of the castle, above where the man wearing chainmail gave a thumbs up to. While the green-eyed individual does that, someone at the very same window Dante was watching, sees him enter through the stone wall and then walks away from the window without being revealed, even though the room the person resides in is well-lite as the person exits through a large door to the window's left.
The man, Ilya and Dante had made their way through the confines of the square-shaped wall, which is approximately sixty-five meters around with several small buildings that store all the provisions the inhabitants need, while seeing a few men dressed like the one leading in each artillery tower as they intently stare at them with crossbows in hand. Once the three enter the castle, it can be seen that the inside has a medieval ambiance to it because of the multiple, stone pillars with torches mounted on them while not having much else to the room, except a door that leads to the kitchen where all the servants of the castle are working at the moment. After that, the man takes Dante and Ilya through a narrow stairway that's towards the left side, which is the only method of advancing to the upper levels that are composed of four floors with the one they're located in right now being the first and the last established in the tower Dante was looking at earlier.
Soon enough, the three of them reach the third floor where King Trost is located, who's a vaguely tanned man in his late 30s with an average body build, pinkish/red, short hair and light blue eyes. He's right now standing towards their left while looking out an immense, rectangle-shaped, double-door window that allows him to see the area Dante and Ilya had arrived from as the rest of the quite large room is beautifully decorated like a King's Chamber or Throne Room. Not long after that, King Trost contentedly faces the three individuals while having his arms lightly raised to opposing sides of his person as he's wearing the typical royalty outfit that a king would have with a few golden trinkets, a blue cape that matches his entire clothing and a gold crown on his head. "Welcome! I'm glad you were able to arrive so quickly!"
Ilya stiffens her posture prior to politely bowing at King Trost with a kind smile. "It's nice to meet you, sir." She then straightens her stature again and places her right hand over the middle of her chest to introduce herself. "I'm Ilya Henseka."
Dante cheerfully joins in after waving at King Trost while standing to Ilya's left without moving away from the room's entrance. "And I'm Dante. Thank you for having us."
King Trost happily nods until curiosity takes form on his being. "So, where are the rest of Velkry's Spellcasters?" He diverts his attention away from the duo to look out the window again. "I believe the Royal Council said they would send a good amount."
Nervousness instantly appears on Ilya's person and replies with her eyes shut while slanting her head a bit to the left. "Oh... Well, actually... We're the only ones they could really spare for this mission." She opens her eyes to focus her gaze on the king with a hint of sadness showing. "I'm sorry to disappoint. We really should have notified you before our arrival."
King Trost's a little surprised, but gets over it while giving Ilya and Dante an assuring grin. "Then we'll just make do with what we got. Can't complain since Velkry could've denied our plea for help."
Ilya's eyes widen while baffled. "But the Royal Council would never do that!" She smiles with sincerity emitting. "We will always help an ally in need!"
Dante faintly leans back and peers towards the king's throne, which is to his right, from around Ilya's back while muttering so his friend can't hear him without a hint of emotion, "Not exactly." He then unexpectedly sees a young-looking, pink-haired girl watching him from behind the throne with her light blue eyes until realizing that she's been discovered and frantically hides herself. This causes Dante's jaw to lower a bit with confusion appearing, however, it doesn't last as he finds amusement out of what just happened while softly laughing.
A few seconds after that, King Trost decides to walk towards his throne while gesturing to Dante and Ilya with his right hand. "Come, you two. We need to go over a few specifics while we can. After all, who knows when we'll be under attack?" The pinkish-haired man directs his attention towards the man in silver chainmail after arriving at his throne and sitting down. "Please bring a couple of chairs for our guest to sit and verify if the food is ready."
Before the man in chainmail could let out a rebuttal, Dante waves his left hand at the man with an assuring grin. "Don't worry about me. I can sit on the floor." He then sits on the long red carpet that stretches out from the king's throne to the entrance with his legs crossed while not too far from King Trost.
King Trost restrains himself from laughing and nods at the man in chainmail. "Make that one chair, then."
The man in chainmail firmly nods with a composed posture before turning away and leaves the quite large room.
Ilya sets her gaze on the king after briefly gawking at Dante, who's towards her left, due to finding his recent action kind of odd as she remains on her feet while patiently awaiting for the chair that will be brought. "What exactly are the specifics that you wish to speak to us about, sir?"
A somber look overtakes King Trost's being as he begins to explain. "I want to clarify my relationship with the Einsburns. More specifically, Erika Einsburn. It's something I think you two should fully know before you risk your lives to protect us."
Ilya's eyes widen from realization while thinking, "That must be Dante's aunt." She glances towards Dante and sees no reaction from him unlike the first time the subject was discussed, which could be because the green-eyed individual doesn't want the king to notice. At the same time, the girl hiding behind King Trost lightly bites her bottom lip from frustration while having her back pressed against the throne. Right after that, Ilya reverts her focus to King Trost and carefully says while trying not to seem impatient, "Please, continue."
King Trost keeps speaking while lowering his head to gaze at the floor. "The thing is... At first, the agreement of marriage was for the benefit of my country. As its king, I needed to ignore any emotional attachments I still had for my deceased wife and two eldest daughters. Despite how difficult it may have been on myself... And especially Yuki."
Dante momentarily peers over behind the throne, an action neither Ilya and King Trost saw. Having done that, the blonde-haired gentleman smirks before returning his attention to the king as Ilya politely asks with mild curiosity after being a bit shocked by what she just heard come out of the king's mouth, "How did they die, if you don't mind me intruding?"
King Trost loses any trace of emotion as he takes a moment to recall the death of his first wife and other daughters. "Simply put, they had fallen ill to an ailment that not even Healing Magic could cure." He brings up his attention to Ilya and Dante. "It was something no one had ever dealt with. Their death was an unavoidable outcome... And Yuki was so young too when it happened."
Dante couldn't help but narrow his eyes with a blank expression as he sets his attention behind the king's throne once again.
Concurrently, sadness takes form on Ilya's face while mournfully saying, "I'm sorry to hear that. It must have been a heavy ordeal to go through." She then thinks with no change to her attitude, "I know that far too well from my own experience..."
King Trost nods. "Indeed, however, that wasn't the only thing we've had to suffer through." Ilya and Dante immediately show interest at King Trost's statement as the man follows up with what he said while leaning onto his throne to stare at the decorative ceiling above him. "This leads to the other thing I wish to speak to you about. The story of what happened to Tundra almost 17 years ago that forced the change of both its name and this city's name to better fit it."
Just when the king said that last part, the pink-haired girl behind the throne reveals herself from King Trost's right with her decently long hair that's braided together on the lower end, as her forehead is mostly covered by her straight bangs, briefly flutters from the sudden movement. At the same time, she's wearing a long, semi-broad, navy blue dress with matching heels in accordance to the somewhat usual look of royalty and is about to blurt something out in anger to interrupt King Trost. Before the pink-haired girl could though, Dante unexpectedly falls backwards onto the red carpet with his body stretched out and comments in an indifferent manner while watching the ceiling, "That's enough."
That action completely leaves all three individuals awestruck while the king and Ilya haven't noticed the pink-haired girl's appearance as Dante keeps speaking. "We're here on a mission to protect you and the princess. That's all. You don't have to strain yourself talking about unimportant things that someone doesn't like hearing." He lightly lifts his head to look at the pink-haired girl with a smile after putting both hands behind his head for leverage. "Isn't that right, Yuki?"
Ilya and King Trost are quickly overtaken by surprise prior to snapping their heads to where Dante's focused on. They soon see the girl that stands at 5'3" with a small bust that fits her body size, fair skin and an intricate, gold tiara that has a couple of small, rounded, pink gems implanted. Then, the blue-eyed girl puffs up her cheeks in a childish way while turning her head from all three with her petite arms folded together as she closes her eyes and doesn't properly answer Dante's question. "Hmph!"
King Trost promptly asks with some concern displayed, "How long have you been listening?"
Yuki replies while giving her father an irritated look. "The entire time." She then directs her attention towards Dante and Ilya with a snobbish demeanor. "So... These are the guys Velkry sent, huh?" The pink-haired girl scoffs in disapproval. "They don't seem like much."
Annoyance instantly appears on Ilya's face after her left eye twitched a bit and mutters, "Why you little..."
Dante faintly chuckles before sitting up again with his legs uncrossed while using his hands for leverage, gazes at Ilya out of the corner of his eyes and thinks, "That kind of sounds familiar." The green-eyed young man returns his focus to Yuki and cheerfully smiles with his eyes shut while suddenly waving his right hand at her. "It's very nice to meet you, Yuki."
Yuki's eyes widen as she's taken back by Dante's composition, however, manages to regain her composure and turns her head away in the same childish manner like before. "Hmph!"
King Trost watches his daughter in awe while thinking, "Yuki... The way you're acting..."
Before the king could finish his train of thought, Ilya places both hands on her hips with annoyance maintaining itself and states in a stern voice, "A girl your age shouldn't do that. You need to present yourself more properly."
A scowl abruptly takes shape on Yuki's person as she opens her eyes prior to locking her attention onto Ilya. "Oh, really?! And how old do you think I am, Miss Know-It-All?!"
Ilya shrugs her shoulders with a bland expression. "I don't know... Like 13."
Yuki coldly retorts with her eyes narrowed. "I'll be 17 in a few months, you idiot!"
Ilya gasps out of disbelief while removing both hands from her hips and points at Yuki with her left hand. "Hold up! That means you're about my age?!"
Dante contentedly chimes in as he's glancing away from them, "And that makes me the oldest out of the three of us. I just turned 20 a couple of weeks ago."
Ilya's disbelief overflows as she snaps her head to Dante. "Really?! You're only three years younger than my brother, then!"
King Trost unexpectedly starts laughing, which forces the others to set their sights on him, and then says in a happy tone, "Such a spectacle over one's age. It surely is good to be young." He chuckles.
In response, Dante smirks before nodding in agreement while the man clamored in chainmail returns, but without the chair he was supposed to bring Ilya and speaks in a polite way with his head down. "Excuse me, sir. I did not bring the chair because the food is ready and it would be best to eat in the dinning hall."
King Trost sharply nods at the man. "Indeed, it would." He redirects his attention to Dante, Ilya and Yuki. "Let's go eat, everyone."
Yuki puffs up her cheeks again with her eyes shut while being the first one to head out of the room. "Hmph!"
In the meantime, Ilya follows suit, still not liking Yuki's behavior, as Dante nonchalantly gets to his feet and walks next to his companion.
Simultaneously, King Trost casually rises before exiting the room with the man wearing chainmail calmly walking behind.
King Trost, Yuki, Ilya and Dante eventually eat the meal that was prepared by numerous servants, which was more like a feast due to the large quantity of food that was set-up on a vast, rectangular table with many fantastic accessories, like chandeliers and decorative food appliances, that tends to befit royalty. There wasn't much talking during the meal because of Dante's somewhat inhuman, high-paced way of eating where he would practically scarf down all that he could reach within almost no time at all. This display grabbed everyone's attention and even caused a faint grin from Yuki since she found his eating habit funny, however, tried to not let anyone see it so no one would get the wrong idea. Not much afterwards, Dante and Ilya are taken to a circular-shaped room that's located within the castle's second floor, where all the guest/staff rooms are, after being advised to get some rest since it's already pass 9 PM in Icela, unlike Velkry as it continues to be day-time over there.
Meanwhile, Ilya had briefly questioned why herself and Dante were going to be sleeping in the same room, but dropped it due to not wanting to appear fickle while being an invited guest, especially considering Dante's effortless proposal of the queen-sized bed in the elegant bedroom to her as he doesn't mind having to sleep on the floor. Once the two get settled, Ilya takes off the gold accessories that she wears, places them on a night-stand that's next to the bed, sits at the foot of the bed, directs her attention to the right side since Dante's casually sitting on the ledge of the sole, medium-sized window that's in there, which allows a left angular view of where the duo had entered from and speaks with mild concern. "Are you sure you're fine with sleeping on the floor? There might be another room available."
Dante replies without looking at Ilya. "Yeah, I'm okay. Anyway, I don't intend on sleeping. I just said that to put your mind at ease about us being in the same room together." He peers at her out of the corner of his eyes with a slight smirk.
Ilya lowers her head while not removing her gaze from Dante as a bit of skepticism emanates from her. "Is that so?" The hazel-eyed beauty deviates her focus away from Dante while analyzing her surroundings. "It's pretty impressive, don't you think? Tundra isn't that big of a country, and yet, it does really well." She then establishes her attention back onto Dante. "The city itself would've contained the same kind of aura as this castle, if it wasn't for all of the snow outside."
Dante veers his gaze away from Ilya as he stares at his reflection on the window. "Sadly enough, that's something the city and its people can't avoid... Despite the snow not even being natural."
Ilya raises her left eyebrow with confusion now taking over. "What are you talking about?"
Dante answers while raising his focus above to stare at the upper part of the castle. "I'm talking about what the king was going to tell us earlier, but I didn't let him because of Yuki. She really doesn't like it when people discuss what happened that day."
Ilya's confusion doesn't cease. "What day?"
Dante gives Ilya a depressed look. "The day she was born. The very same day this country became Tundra." He then removes himself from the window, gradually reaches Ilya and sits on the bed while towards her right with his eyes locked on the floor. "Allow me to explain. You see, the unstable winter climate we just went through has been this way since Yuki's birth." The green-eyed gentlemen shifts his gaze to Ilya without moving his head. "In actuality, based on the positioning of this country on the planet, it shouldn't have ever snowed here... And it didn't until that day."
Ilya quickly shakes her head while waving both hands in front of herself. "Whoa, whoa, whoa." She redirects her attention at Dante after putting both hands on her lap while leaning a bit towards the blonde-haired young man. "How?"
Dante pulls himself further onto the bed as he keeps his feet over the bed's edge since he's still wearing his shoes and effortlessly responds to Ilya's question. "Yuki, of course. You probably didn't notice since it's kept under control, but her magical power is the reason for this weather."
Silence momentarily plagues the room as Ilya's left speechless until speaking with an argumentative tone. "There's no way!" She then thinks back to their meeting with Yuki while still talking. "I only sensed about a Class C magic from her! It would take a power much beyond that to drastically influence an entire country's climate!"
Dante nods while returning his attention to Ilya. "That's why I said it's being kept under control. I don't know the exact details though. King Trost only thought of the main explanation during our short conversation." He lightly chuckles. "And I probably would've known less than that if it wasn't for the little bit of info I got from Yuki when she was hiding behind the throne."
Ilya's eyes narrow as she diverts her gaze away from Dante and thinks, "That answers that question too. I was wondering how he knew so much, but I forgot for a moment about him being able to read people's minds." The white-haired teen sighs with her eyes closed before thinking, "I guess it's because I don't ever have to worry about him reading mine after he placed that seal on me. " She then glances at her forehead since that's where the seal Dante put on the hazel-eyed girl is located.
Dante swiftly hops off the bed and says while heading towards the window again, "Either way, whatever lies deep within her won't change a thing." He sits at the window's ledge while facing Ilya with a sincere grin after planting both hands to where he's sitting for stability. "I've already made up my mind about what I'm going to do."
Curiosity arises as Ilya tilts her head to the right. "And that would be?"
Dante continues grinning with a hint of determination now displayed. "You'll see."
As Ilya and Dante had their conversation, Yuki had gone to her room that makes up the entire fourth floor, which is the same room she was in when watching the duo's arrival. Not much after that, the blue-eyed girl switches on the lights while revealing the full majestic appearance of a princess' bedroom that happens to be mainly the same color as her hair with the exception of her bed because of it being blue like Yuki's dress. Then, Yuki throws herself onto her queen-sized bed as she lies on her stomach, folds both arms together in front of her mouth with seriousness taking form while facing away from the bedroom's decently sized dual-doors and quietly contemplates, "That guy... Dante's his name, wasn't it?"
Having said that, Yuki rapidly remembers how Dante behaved in the Throne Room and during dinner. Afterwards, the pink-haired girl looks towards the side where the window's located while lightly blushing before speaking in a hesitant tone. "H-He seems v-very nice..." She then recalls something that causes a somber look to surface. "At least he doesn't seem like everyone here that mistreat me for something I have no control over." Yuki lets out a sad sigh while closing her eyes. "Of course, if he knew... He'd probably treat me the same way."
After those words were spoken, a few knocks are heard from the bedroom's doors before they open up. Following that, King Trost cautiously peeks his head through a small opening he made and asks with his eyes on Yuki's backside, "Hey, it's me. May I come in?"
Yuki partially turns to her left so she can see her father while still lying on the bed and then simply nods before reverting herself to her previous position.
King Trost opens the door enough to enter, closes it behind himself while keeping his attention on his daughter and goes towards a decorative coat hanger that's to his right. He then effortlessly takes off the blue cape since he doesn't feel like wearing it anymore, gently places it over the coat hanger before also removing his gold crown to mount it and heads to Yuki's bed with a content smile. "So, what do you REALLY think of Ilya and Dante?"
Without even looking at King Trost, Yuki faintly scoffs after shutting her eyes with her chin resting on both arms. "I already said it. They don't seem like much." She slightly opens her eyes with an agitated demeanor radiating. "Especially that girl."
King Trost softly laughs as he reaches Yuki's bed and slants towards the left to gaze at his daughter's face. "Funny that you say such a thing... After all, Dante isn't even a Spellcaster. He's just an ordinary guy."
Astonishment overtakes Yuki's expression before she hurriedly turns to King Trost while sitting on her legs, which she barely succeeds in doing because of her dress' structure making that very difficult to accomplish. "Really?!"
King Trost gives Yuki a nervous look after straightening his posture while scratching the back of his head via his right hand. "Oh, that's right. You usually aren't too good at sensing magic."
Yuki puffs up her cheeks while glaring at her father due to her not liking his comment. "Hmph! Anyhow... What's the meaning of Velkry sending us someone who can't possibly do any better than the handful of guards we have right now?"
King Trost crosses his arms with a confident composition showing. "I don't know about that." He turns his head to the left so he can look behind himself. "Although... Something about Dante makes me feel oddly secured. It's almost as if, no matter what may transpire, everything will be alright with him here." King Trost immediately remembers the considerate words from Dante involving Yuki. "He's different from other people as well." The pinkish-haired man then directs his focus back to Yuki. "You certainly can feel it too, don't you? "
Yuki shallowly scoffs while lowering her head and vaguely utters, "Everyone's the same. All they care about is themselves. Just like the people of this country who curse my birth. Even that woman who I once called my mother."