Christian strapped his duffel bags on each arm while holding another strap by his teeth. He then struggled to bend over without dropping his bags to pick up his suitcases. After standing back up he waddled to his door and looked back at his room with the knowledge that upon his return he will have become a great adventurer. As soon as Christian opened his door, he noticed his sister standing before him with her arms on her hips, “Huw rong uh been and’n aer ook’n at ry dur?” he muffled horribly with the strap still in his mouth.
Alisha peered at her brother sternly, “What?”
The prince raised his voice as if she couldn’t hear him, “HUW RONG UH BEEN AND’N AER OOK’N AT RY DUR?!”
The princess leaned and crossed her arms with a look of complete annoyance, “What? What are you doing? What are you even doing? I can’t understand a word your saying with that thing in your mouth.” She reached out and grabbed the duffel bag which hung by her brother’s teeth.
The teenage boy sighed from relief of carrying the bag by his teeth, “Ah, I said how long you standing there look’n at my door?”
“I just walked up when you opened the door.”
“Oh. Did you come to see me off?” he asked almost sarcastically.
“What?! You’re still going on this stupid trip even though dad’s extra depressed now? What happened in there, I thought everything was fine when mom and I left. Did you screw it up? Oh, don’t tell me. You didn’t start petting someone and freak them out did you?!” she interrogated.
Christian’s eyes opened large in surprise, “WHAT?! NO! That’d be stupid!” he replied quickly. He leaned inward and asked under his breath, “Why? Did ya hear anything?”
“No.” she answered with suspicion.
“Well good, cause I didn’t.” the prince lied proudly. Her comment from earlier finally donned on him, “Oh, and it’s not a stupid trip by tha way! It’s gonna be a super dangerous quest out there. I could die ya know.” he defended extending his neck outward closer to his doubtful sister to persuade her opinion.
Alisha rolled her eyes while Christian continued his smug face, he then turned his back to her and struggled to lock his bedroom door. The prince began losing his balance and dropping a bag off his shoulder as he tried maintaining an equal balance between all his luggage. Alisha reared her head back in embarrassment and sighed at the sight of her brother dropping all of his luggage and nearly falling over himself right before her. Christian stood back upward quickly trying to maintain his dignity after looking completely foolish. He then picked up all his bags and suitcases once again and looked back at his sister.
“Why are you locking your door?”
“Cause I don’t want you go’n in there mess’n with my stuff while I’m gone.” he told her as he began walking down the hallway.
“Pfft, whatever. As if I care about snooping through your room.” she snapped back. She followed behind her brother carrying his duffel bag, but was still curious about what transpired in the negotiating room. “So, what happened? Why did those anthro people leave without making some kind of treaty with us?”
“Well, that black lion......”
“Xion.” Alisha interrupted.
“Yeah, Xion. He summoned like, a ghost saber tooth and it predicted some really bad stuff and it spooked’em I guess. So, he left and stuff.”
“Wow, thanks for the in-depth analysis there.” she replied with sarcasm. But Alisha’s mind started to race with curiosity, “Hm, what kind of “bad stuff” could it be talking about though, I wonder.”
The princess continued pondering of the scenario while they walked through the castle making their way to the grand duke and general for Christian’s departure.
“I don’ know, I think dad and Raziel are thinking maybe its cause the quest I’m going on or somethin’, but personally, I think it was think’n about that monster that attacked and Raziel killed the other night.”
“But that thing is already dead.......” she commented doubting her brother’s guess.
The two royal siblings traversed through the remainder of the castle, down the stairs, and into the courtyard. The brother and sister stopped once outside and absorbed the sight of the multiple large mechanical transport vehicles known as “Terrain dossers”. Soldiers of the castle ran to and fro, carrying large boxes of supplies and guns into the terrain dossers. The princess noticed a few soldiers carrying the mystic’s hollow suit of armor, displayed outside his chambers, into one of the vehicles.
“Hey, what are they bringing that stupid thing for? It’s not like the mystic can wear it, can he?”
The prince was oblivious to his sister’s question due to his feeling of overwhelming excitement. The lovely princess only directed his attention to his transport.
“Hey, that must be the one I’m riding in too!” he spouted eagerly.
The princess walked a calm pace carrying her brother’s bag while Christian hastily waddled toward his transportation for his quest, still struggling with all his baggage. The young royals met up with the royal mystic as he ordered the soldiers around.
“Be careful with that! It’s an antique, ya know!” the mystic informed about his suit of armor. The royal mystic motioned other soldiers hoisting a box in their direction, “Come on, come on now! We a’vnt all day. N’ be careful, there’r magic powd’as in there.”
Christian finally approached the royal mystic and dropped his luggage, “Ah, that feels better.” he smiled with relief. “Is this one ours?” he asked while massaging his sore arms.
The mystic turned and acknowledged his prince and princess suddenly beside him, “Hm? Oh, oh yeah. One’ll be ours. Tha gran’ duke n’ genral should be her’na minute.” The royal mystic noticed all of the prince’s luggage, “Is...this ALL yours?!” he asked while Alisha approached, dropping the bag she carried at the prince’s feet. “You’re com’n too?” he asked looking at the princess.
Alisha shook her head as her older brother answered the mystic’s questions, “Yeah, I wanted to make sure I had everything just in case, ya know? I wanna be prepared.”
“Ta move out jus’n case?” the mystic mumbled quietly, but the mystic just raised his head and nodded lightly knowing full well the prince had packed way more material than what was needed.
Alisha placed her hands together in front of her and slowly walked up a ramp leading up the back of the massive terrain dosser which was more than spacious enough to walk around in. She looked at the suit of armor the royal mystic insisted upon bringing with a puzzled look on her face. Something about that armor gave her a weird and creepy feeling, perhaps it was the ghoulish “face”.
“You’re bringing that thing?”
The royal mystic happily responded to her question, obviously recalling memories while he answered, “Huh? Oh yes, of course. I always take’m with me every vent’cha I embark upon. That’s my prutection right the’ye.”
“He?” Alisha questioned.
“Well.......like a mechanic with’a ca’w, or a warri’a with’a sword, It’s part’a who I am now.” the mystic caught himself, “Ooop, He’s part’a who I am now.” he corrected shaking his finger playfully.
“Ya but, how do you wear it?” Christian intruded.
“Well, ya jus........unlatch one part’n, kin’a squeeze in, like......” the mystic struggled to explain. He clapped his hands together, dropping the subject, “Well hey, what’a we do’n jus stand’n round he’ya, we gotta put yer things inside.”
General Grechov approached holding a clipboard and greeted the three, patting the mystic on the back nearly knocking his frail body over.
Grechov noticed the princess inside the terrain dosser and all the luggage at their feet, “I wasn’t aware the princess would be coming along as well.”
“I’m not.” she stated while walking down the ramp.
“Then who’s luggage is all this?” the general wondered.
“It’s mine Grechov. Gotta be prepared for anything.” the prince stated eagerly.
The general made a confused face and looked at the mystic as if asking why the teenager packed half the things from his room. The mystic simply shook his head quickly and shrugged his shoulders, indicating his confusion as well.
“O-kay.” The general ordered his soldiers to carry the prince’s property inside the massive machine.
Christian walked up the ramp with Grechov as the general checked off items from his list while inspecting the interior of their mobile unit. “So....what’da ya call one of these things again?” the naïve boy asked.
“A terrain dosser. This one’s one of Vailstone’s finest money can buy right here. Capable of withstanding all manners of danger mother nature can throw at ya.” the general answered with pride. Grechov noticed the suit of armor of the mystic’s standing off to the side against the wall, “What’s this thing doing here?”
“We’r tak’n it!” the mystic yelled outside somewhere, somehow knowing what the general was referring to.
Grechov smirked with disappointment at the waste of space and made a notation on his clipboard to acknowledge the unnecessary addition.
Grechov carried on about the stability and power of the terrain dossers with the prince standing near and listening in awe. Christian was indeed intrigued by the sheer power of the machinery, but was surprised once a tanned green haired woman walked up and half bowed to the prince and saluted her general.
With a serious expression stapled on her face she looked her commanding officer in the eyes and spoke, “All the men are prepared and every T.D. is fully functional and ready for dispatch, sir!”
General Grechov looked at the girl with mutual respect, “Good job Lieutenant.”
With the exception of his sister, the young prince became very nervous around beautiful girls. The prince began sweating on his forehead quickly due to his nervousness, “HI!” he squealed in a high voice embarrassingly. He then coughed and cleared his throat, “I mean, hello. Hello there, Lieutenant.....?” he said, asking for her name.
“Lieutenant Miranda Brookes, Sir!” the tanned girl replied in a respectful manner.
Christian smiled out of his nervousness and extended his arm in an attempt to befriend the pretty woman and shake her hand. The girl looked at her commanding officer with uncertainty since shaking hands and chit-chatting with the royalty like equals was unorthodox and usually frowned upon. Not wanting to be rude or upset her superiors, the girl reached out and shook her prince’s hand.
“I’m Prince Christian, of course.” he exclaimed with a goofy smile across his face. “I don’t think I’ve, I’ve seen you around before.” he cowardly struggled. “How long you been with us?” he asked swallowing in anticipation.
Miranda felt out of place having a discussion with the prince so, “Um, I’ve been with the Vailstone military for nine years, Sir.”
Christian grinned at the lieutenant, “Ya don’t have ta keep say’n “sir”.” he chuckled.
Lieutenant Brookes stood nervously, afraid of crossing a line and getting in trouble.
“You’re dismissed Lieutenant.” General Grechov relieved. The general coughed and leaned closer towards the prince and in a low tone voice explained that it would be inappropriate and disrespectful for the military personnel not to address him as “sir”.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t think about it that way.” he confessed, embarrassed once again.
Alisha called out to Christian from the back entrance of the terrain dosser, “Christian, come! Mom and dad are coming!”
The prince ran outside the large vehicle and stood beside his sister while the mystic, general, and lieutenant remained at the top of the ramp. The soldiers lined up and saluted their king and queen as they walked by with the grand duke and his daughter walking directly beside him. Once the royal couple stood before their children the grand duke motioned with his right arm and in that instant all of the soldiers continued following their orders. The royal family began talking amongst themselves while the grand duke walked up the ramp of the terrain dosser and was shown the clipboard the general was looking over. Raziel was pleased since everything was in working order and all preparations have been met.
“What’s this notation at the bottom here?”
General Grechov made an annoyed face and peered out of the corner of his eye. Raziel followed his vision and noticed the royal mystic’s useless suit of armor and rolled his eyes and sighed.
King Dorian placed his hand on his son’s shoulder, “Now, I’m going to expect you to listen to Raziel’s orders, cause he really knows what he’s doing out there, alright?”
Christian nodded in agreement with his father, “I will.” he said with a proud smile.
The queen’s eyes were beginning to water up as she looked at her little boy going on his first adventure, knowing this was yet another step into his adulthood and independence. She reached out and hugged her nineteen year old tightly and kissed him on the forehead, “I promised I wouldn’t allow myself to cry. You be careful now.” she said while fixing her hair and wiping a tear from her face. “Be safe and don’t hesitate to call us if you wanna talk, and if you change your mind that’s fine too.” she added.
“I’m not gonna change my mind mom, I really wanna do this.” he smiled. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”
King Dorian put his arm around his wife’s back and rest it on her side, he laughed a bit at her plea to talk her son out of going. He then looked at Christian, “This is your first big step out of childhood and into manhood, so make us proud.” he said with a large smile.
The young prince looked at his father and for the first time in his entire life, he noticed a tear in his eye. This broke the prince and made him tear up as well, “I’ll do my best.” The brown haired boy then looked to his mother’s side and saw his sister standing there looking at him with an insulting look upon her face, as if calling him an idiot for tagging along on this journey, which helped distract him from crying and sort of ticked him off a bit.
The grand duke walked over and interrupted the family moment, “We’re ready when you are.”
King Dorian nodded, “Well, times not on our side so I guess we’d better get things underway.”
“Yes, your majesty, and don’t worry, I’ll take excellent care of him while under my supervision.” the grand duke reassured, patting the prince on the back.
The king, queen, and princess walked away from the area as the grand duke and prince walked up the back entrance ramp of the lead terrain dosser, before completely entering Christian looked back quickly to see his family walking away into a safe distance to watch them depart. Raziel noticed this moment, but said nothing. Once inside, the back ramp automatically lifted itself up and closed the back of the terrain dosser, latching and securing itself. The prince walked between two rows of seats and sat next to the royal mystic and buckled up while the grand duke sat next to his daughter.
General Grechov stood behind his lieutenant and two other soldiers who were to operate the massive machine. The rough general had given his underlings the signal and the terrain dossers engines started, which caused a chain reaction with the other six behind them. The seven large tank like vehicles began to form a single line as they steered towards the main exit of the castle.
Christian could feel butterflies within his stomach. Was it because he was nervous about going on his first adventure, the gloomy prediction from the sacred saber tooth, perhaps the feeling of knowing he’ll be so far away from his family unlike he’s ever been before, or maybe it was just the feel of the occasional bump during the ride?
The teenager looked around and noticed everyone else was fine and sitting calmly. Carmon was listening to music on her headset, and the mystic seemed relaxed looking over a list of the seven names. He merely took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and told himself to relax and ignore his nervous feelings. He managed to overcome his weary feeling until the terrain dosser stopped abruptly and startled him!
“AH! What is it?! What’s wrong?” he asked jumping on the royal mystic’s side and holding tightly on his arm.
“Would’ya calm down n’ relax, now?” the royal mystic reared his head up looking towards the front of the terrain dosser to the general and his soldiers. “Hey, what’s go’n on up the’ya? Don’cha know how ta drive this thing?”
Raziel stood up and wondered to the front of the terrain dosser, “Grechov? Something wrong?”
“I suppose you could say that.” the general replied in a monotone voice.
Raziel walked up to the very front and looked ahead of the massive terrain dosser to see the obstruction in their way. Raziel sighed at the sight of a thick swarm of news reporters filming and snapping shots of the remnants of the headless coachman’s charred ground and the embarking journey of the terrain dossers.
“Shall I take care of this sir?” the general asked.
“Na, I’ve got this one. Just get me some soldiers down there to clear a path.” Raziel said already frustrated with the news reporters.
The grand duke opened a side door and climbed down a ladder until he reached the ground. The camera flashes went berserk, flashing like strobe lights once an icon like the grand duke was noticed.
Down, amongst the slew of reporters was an older man named Pip Gordan. A white haired, sixty-eight year old reporter who’s never caught a big story to really make his name. He had been reporting for the low budget channel twelve Vailstone Community News broadcasting station for his entire career. Pip Gordan has been an anchorman since the age of twenty-five and for forty-three years still hungered for his big break and with any luck, hoped this was it.
“Carl! Make sure you got that camera rolling, here comes the grand duke now!” he ordered his camera man Carl. “Grand Duke! Grand Duke! Over here! Over here for your local news broadcasting station! Can we get a quote please!” Pip yelled over the other reporters trying to get Raziel’s attention. “Is it true that in fact Vailstone castle has been attacked and that we are at war? Was the creature that attacked a demon from the east or an unearthly monster from the south? Was this an act of terrorism?” he questioned frantically hoping to throw the right question and get an answer from the grand duke.
Many reporters yelled ridiculous allegations and off the wall assumptions about the being that was known to in fact have attacked the castle and the reasoning for the seven terrain dossers.
Raziel raised his hands outward towards the crowd to try calming and quietening them down. Castle soldiers rushed out by command of the general, who had called them from inside the terrain dosser to follow out the grand duke’s orders. They created a barricade for Raziel as he began to speak.
“Alright, first off I would like to clear the air for a moment if I may.” he said as he was blinded by flashing cameras and filmed by many various recording devices. “Yes, it is true in fact that the castle had been attacked the other night.” he was suddenly interrupted by hundreds upon hundreds of questions by the reporters. He waved his hands in the air to quieten them down. “Now the origin of this threat is unknown. We are also unaware if this culprit was working in partnership with someone else or of its own volition. Until we can unravel further details, the kingdom of Vailstone and I will have
no further comments. Thank you.” Raziel simply stated and turned around to enter the terrain dosser.
The Vailstone kingdom soldiers began pushing the reporters back to create an opening so the terrain dossers could pass through.
“Raziel! How long do you believe the investigation will gone on until hard evidence is found against these terrorists?! Is this direct response to the king’s negotiations with the anthromorphs?!” Pip Gordan struggled to get an answer to one of his questions, but like all the other reporters, was led off to the side to watch the terrain dossers drive pass them. “Dammit Carl! Look what ya did!” he shouted throwing a temper tantrum at his camera man.
Raziel climbed the side ladder and entered the lead terrain dosser once again.
“What was with the leech circus?” Grechov asked Raziel as he secured the door behind him and walked back to his seat.
“Headless coachman.” Raziel simply replied sitting beside Carmon again, “Let’s move out.” he ordered motioning with his left hand. He was annoyed by the needless interruption and was more than ready to get started on this quest.
General Grechov grabbed an intercom that spoke to all six of the following terrain dossers, “Shape it up! We’re moving out!” Grechov ordered thrusting his free arm forward.
The soldiers responsible for operating the mammoth machine turned a few dials and flipped a few switches and began proceeding forward. The terrain dossers created a convoy and followed each other in a single file line.
Christian was nervous but starting to feel the adrenaline of adventure. He balled his hands into fist and through them close to his own chest quickly and smiled with excitement, “I can feel my nerves shaking, but also the pumping of adventure!”
“Calm down.” the royal mystic boringly instructed the prince as he pulled out a tabloid magazine and began reading.
“How can I?! Who knows what’s out there!” he excitedly stated while startling the mystic with his loud outburst.
“Wha!?” the mystic dropped his magazine on the floor board and glared at the jumpy prince with frustration, “Thanks.”
“So where are we going first, huh? What’s our first stop?” he asked looking back at Raziel, finally feeling the adventure, even though they were merely a few blocks away from the Vailstone castle.
Raziel looked at a piece of paper like the royal mystic had and put it back in his coat, “Looks like we’re stopping at an old friend’s house first.” he answered back in a less then pleased tone.
“An old friend of the kingdom? Cool!” this is all so interesting.
“It’ll be interesting, to say the least.” Raziel regretfully muttered under his breath.
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