Darkness. A mother’s voice heard faintly in the distance. Slowly Christian opens his eyes and looks up at his bedroom ceiling. He yawns and stretches for a minute, laying comfortably in his soft bed. A relaxed grin spreads across the young prince’s face while his eyes remain half open. He notices the eerie silence and sits up.
“Mom?” he called out.
“Christian, breakfast is ready.” Natalia replied from out of the room.
The prince arose dressed in royal attire with his hair parted just like he prefers. Christian walked through his bedroom door and into the dining room. At the breakfast table he saw Alisha seated with Grechov and Carmon, all of which were eating bowls of cereal. The young prince sat down as his mother brought him a bowl of cereal. He looked down at the bowl, but instead saw a stack of buttery pancakes with syrup and jellied toast with bacon on the side of a large dinner plate.
“Thanks momma.” he smiled happily.
“I love you.” Natalia responded lovingly.
Christian noticed the queen walking towards a closet door and knew she was in imminent danger. “Momma, NO! Don’t open tha door.” he warned.
“Why baby? What’s wrong?” she asked curiously.
“There’s a monster in there with a glowing eye. The royal mystic put it in there so it wouldn’t get out.” Christian explained.
“Oh, I forgot. Thank you, baby.” his mother replied without caution of the danger lurking on the other side. She kissed her son on the forehead and sat down.
“Where’s dad at?” he questioned.
“He’s looking for the armor.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot. I’ll help him out, I know where it is.” he said walking away from the table without taking a bite of his breakfast. The prince turned to assist his father, but glanced back only to witness that everyone was gone except his mother. Natalia laid dead on the floor of an empty room. The prince panicked and ran through the doorway to warn his father. Christian entered the courtyard where he witnessed his father fall to the ground lifelessly. The prince began to cry and noticed Raziel and Fire starter standing over his deceased father smiling and laughing.
The two were engulfed in flame, but stood unharmed, taunting the saddened boy with their laughter. Christian fell to his knees, his head began hurting and a rhythmical beeping sound began to ring from somewhere. Everything began to fade as the continuous beeping became louder and louder.
Christian had woken from a haunting dream, but this time not in the comfort of his own home, but rather in a hospital bed. His vision cleared and adjusted to his surroundings. He raised his arm feeling the I.V. needle in his arm, the patient wrist band on his right arm, and the plastic tube through his nose and down his throat. He sat up feeling weak and a tad dizzy.
Christian was horribly disoriented and all alone in the room. The young prince looked up at the television hanging on the side of the wall. The Vailstone Community News channel reported chaos and murder at the Vailstone castle. The young prince shivered as he witnessed Pip Gordan’s words in text at the bottom of the screen reporting the death of his mother and father.
An overwhelming empty void circulated through Christian’s entire body. The young prince began crying without making any sound. His sorrow was so strong he felt the urge to throw up, sob uncontrollably, and found difficulty gasping for air. He sat quietly, paralyzed in his bed mourning his loss.
A family destroyed, a young man left behind in an uncaring world, orphaned, Christian felt as if his soul was ripped from his core. Pain too powerful for words, the overhead view of a boy weakly sitting up in a hospital bed………
Back at the Vailstone castle, authority personnel struggled to maintain peace. News reporters stood outside struggling to capture any possible video or photograph that they could use to make themselves relevant. Seth sat in his living room with a mug of hot chocolate watching Pip Gordan report information about the supposed death of the royal family. The reinstated detective sipped more of his hot chocolate and looked to his sword resting in its scabbard in the corner of the room. He thought for a moment before setting his mug down on his coffee table. Seth stood from his recliner, grabbed his police issued hand gun, picked up his black sword, and left his home driving his car away rather quickly.
In the demolished ballroom Raziel remained sitting on the ground in regret of his actions. King Dorian’s corpse lay beside him, a gaping hole in the floor leading to the burning room below, and soldiers standing by uncertain of how to take action. Hikaru remained cowering behind the debris, watching Raziel.
The current head of security, Major Tydus Collins, reached the room passing by the guards. Major Collins was a tall five foot ten, muscular member of the Vailstone army. Tydus had very dark blue hair with lite blue tips around the edges, deep blue eyes, with his left arm completely tattooed. He took a few steps closer to the grand duke, who was still motionless.
Tydus looked at the grand duke in awe, looked at the deceased king’s body, then back at Raziel.
“What have you done?” he asked in disbelief.
Carmon ran through the guards, frightened of what to find of her father. She noticed all of the aftermath and looked at Raziel, “Dad?” she asked in a scared whimper.
Raziel removed his hands from his face and stood up, “Carmon?” he asked troubled.
The scared teen hurried over to her father in tears. Raziel embraced Carmon carefully as not to crush her. The brunette feared what the consequences would be for her father. She hugged Raziel tightly before looking at King Dorian’s bloodied body. The girl stared for a moment and slowly stopped crying, “I love you dad.”
“I love you to bud.”
Major Collins walked over to Raziel and placed his hand on the grand duke’s forearm, which went unnoticed by Raziel. The sound of handcuffs cackled together once removed from Collins’ back pocket.
“I have to place you under arrest sir.” Tydus informed unsure of himself.
He moved forward to cuff one of Raziel’s wrists which caused Carmon to panic. She pushed Tydus back, “NO STOP! YOU CAN’T! IT’S NOT HIS FAULT! STOP!” desperate to protect him.
Raziel, guilt and grief stricken, moved forward and placed his hand on Carmon’s shoulder cautiously, “Carmon.” he stated in a calm voice. He kneeled down as she turned around. “I messed up, I messed up really bad.”
“No.” she weakly interrupted.
“I need to go with them now. I need to try and somehow make things right of this.” he told her as he kissed her forehead softly.
Raziel stood up and surrendered to Major Collins. Carmon stood nervously with tears in her eyes while the Major hesitantly approached Raziel and placed him in handcuffs. Hikaru slowly stepped out from the ruble and witnessed the grand duke willingly be taken into custody. Soldiers quickly approached the ambassador to assure his safety.
A tiny bird flew into the castle and perched near the ceiling in which the king was in. It twitched its head quickly noticing all the details. At that time General Grechov speedily barreled through the castle entrance in a terrain dosser with the retrieved terrain dosser close behind him. The mechanical monster came to an abrupt halt. The side door flung open and slammed against the side of the vehicle. The general hurried out of the terrain dosser and down the side latter as quickly as humanly possible. News reporters and Vailstone police officers as well as soldiers swarmed the angry general.
“What tha hell’s going on here?! I’m gone for one day and everything goes straight ta hell!” he complained while asking soldiers for information.
Camera’s flashed in the General’s face relentlessly, trying to forever instill his first reaction to the tragedy. The military leader was bombarded with questions left and right from reporters extending microphones and cell phones near him for answers.
“Who exactly is responsible for the attack on the kingdom?”
“Is it true that this was an act of terrorism?”
“Have the king and queen actually been murdered in cold blood?”
“Did Raziel act on his own accord or has he been acting as a double agent?”
“Where were you during the attack on the kingdom? Do you believe you could have stopped this had you of been present?”
Grechov was overwhelmed by the hysteria and began brushing reporters aside to find the answers to their absurd questions.
“Move! Outta my way you damn vultures!”
Lieutenant Brookes hurried after Grechov to help try and assess the situation. Chase and Lee, however, remained inside the terrain dosser.
“General Grechov was furious the second he found out about what happened.” Lee stated.
“Yeah, and it didn’t help that it was all over every radio station.” Chase replied.
“I wonder what the REAL story behind this is.”
“Well.......” Chase enticed.
“Well, why don’t you go down there and find out?”
“Cause whatever killed them might still be in there.” Lee explained.
“So you’re chicken.” Chase taunted with a smug grin.
“I you’re so brave, then YOU go check it out.” Lee replied.
“Pfftt! I ain’t die’n.” Chase quickly brushed off.
Lee glared at his hypocritical friend.
Grechov stormed into the celebration hall which was transformed into a final resting place. It took him a moment to absorb the sight, the crumbled stone pillars, the fiery hole beneath them, and off to the side he noticed Major Collins throwing a blanket over the body of the late King.
The general rushed over to the major and grabbed his coat pulling him closer, “What tha hell happened here?! I left you in charge during our absence and THIS is what I come back too!”
“I’m sorry sir, the grand duke began fighting against the king in the Kamisama armor and...” Tydus regretfully reported before being interrupted by the general.
“The grand duke? Raziel. Where is he now?!”
“He’s been put into our holding cell.”
“Yes, sir!” Miranda responded readily.
“Help the major clean up this mess.” he ordered leaving her behind with Collins as he marched out.
Raziel sat on a rickety old bench in the royal holding cell reliving the horrible moment of the look on his friends face as he punched through his body, killing him. He lowered his head and closed his eyes trying to forget the screams of the queen as she was crushed by the giant pillar. He heard the jail room door crack open slowly. He looked up and noticed the general had finally arrived to the castle.
“Grechov.....” he addressed with an empty tone before looking down at the floor again.
“Sir, what happened? Why is the king dead?” Grechov interrogated softly and quietly.
Without an answer, Grechov stepped closer to the cell while the grand duke still hung his head in grief, “Sir?”
“I’ll tell you why,” a familiar voice resonated, “because Raziel refused to give Dorian the armor.”
Grechov turned to see Hikaru had entered the room behind him, “What? Because of the armor?”
“NO! It’s not like that.” Raziel quickly corrected, “It’s complicated.”
Grechov stood between the two, “Well somebody needs to explain what tha hell happened and stop side stepping the answer.”
“Raziel entered the celebrations wearing the armor knowing full well he wasn’t about to strip down and hand it over to the King in front of the entire kingdom. He presented himself as if the armor was his own rather than Dorian’s.” Hikaru explained.
Grechov looked at Raziel curiously, wondering why he would do such a thing.
“This obviously infuriated the king, making him look out to be a fool in front of the entire world. So, he ordered Raziel to remove the armor, of course he refused which only made things escalate from there. Dorian was so quick to turn on Raziel at that point that he even summoned Arda fravas.”
“He turned that thing on Carmon.” Raziel defended.
Grechov looked at Hikaru for confirmation in which Hikaru agreed with a slight nod verifying that truth.
“There’s more to it than what it seems.” Raziel added.
“Oh? Really, could you be so kind as to enlighten us then?” Hikaru chimed.
“I couldn’t figure out how to break it to Dorian. I thought maybe if I presented the armor as my own to everyone that he would have no choice but to let me keep it as my own.”
“So, it was for the armor.” Hikaru figured.
“No. I was going to break it to him after the ceremonies were finished.” Raziel confessed.
“Break what to him? What are you not telling us?” the ambassador impatiently asked.
“Fire starter told me before the celebrations even began, that if the armor was worn by someone who didn’t have the heart of a true warrior that the armor would turn against who wore it and they would die that instant.”
Grechov and Hikaru stood beside themselves with this new information.
“We all know Dorian wouldn’t have survived wearing the armor.” Raziel sighed, “It’s only until now that I could admit that to myself. He was my best friend, but he wouldn’t have listened to me.”
Hikaru walked over to a desk chair near the wall on the other side of the small room and sat down. The three were silent, curious what to do from this point.
“So, what now?” Grechov asked.
“I’ll give up the armor and await my punishment.” Raziel paused, “It’s the right thing to do.”
“The hell you will.” Hikaru quickly snapped back, “You can’t take off that armor now! If you do then somebody at some point will eventually put it on, and then what? Who’s to say they’re going to be any better than you? If anything, they’ll be worse I guarantee it.” Hikaru proclaimed, bringing his point of view to light. “We don’t have a king nor queen, nobodies in charge of the kingdom except for their children. Let’s face it, we’re safest while you’re in that armor cause the second, the very SECOND that’s off and you’re vulnerable, we’re vulnerable and we WILL be attacked by something for it.”
“Everyone out there will turn on us if something isn’t done about this. We can’t just explain that the king everybody looked up to was a big fake and would die if he wore the armor. They’ll look at it as a lie.” Grechov reasoned.
“That’s it, maybe that’s what we need. A lie.” Hikaru answered back having an epiphany.
“Everyone knows the royal mystic betrayed us and is actually this Fire burner fellow, right?”
“Fire starter.” Grechov corrected.
“Okay, well what if he put a spell on Raziel, to assassinate the king and queen?” Hikaru suggested.
“But, I don’t think anything can happen to me while I’m in the armor, it won’t work.” Raziel reminded.
“It’s our best shot. I mean, we don’t have many options here and if we don’t have a good answer for what happened, people will revolt, riot, all hell will break loose.” Hikaru pleaded.
“We need to arrest that Fire starter anyways.” Grechov reasoned.
“But to lie? Like it wasn’t my fault?” Raziel stated. “I don’t know. Honesty should be our course of action.”
Hikaru looked straight at Raziel’s eyes, “A lack of honesty is what’s gotten us here in the first place.”
Raziel lowered his head and looked away.
“But yes Raziel, sometimes the best course of action isn’t the right path. If you want to prevent a violent revolution, you’ll need to lie with us.”
Major Collins entered the room breaking a moment of silence, “General sir, the bodies have been retrieved, but there isn’t any sign of the prince nor princess.”
This information gained everyone’s attention.
Hikaru stood from his seat, “We need to find the children, especially before things get worse. I’ll figure things out on my end, General Grechov you devise search parties and find them. As far as it stands right now, Christian is our new king.”
General Grechov agreed and left the room following Ambassador Hikaru. Major Collins began to close the door, but stopped for a moment and thought to himself.
“You know, the people of this kingdom used to look up to you.” Collins scolded Raziel, before quietly adding under his breath, “I used to look up to you.”
“I was trying to protect him.” Raziel shamefully stated.
“You’ve sure got a funny way of going about that.” the major replied coldly.
He began to shut the door before a small bird swooped through the door and into the hallway startling the major. Without anyone’s knowledge the tiny bird had been present through their entire conversation.
“How tha heck did that get in here?” Collins asked himself before closing the door and locking the entrance to the royal holding cell.
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