Lightning thunders outside of the mansion the color of fire. The air is humid, as usual. My tank top sticks to my skin as sweat rolls down my temple. Thad takes his seat on my back as I do my twenty-fifth push up.
“Come on, Jabe. Man up, I’ve seen you do way more then that.” He sips on a drink from a local shop, the ice steaming inside the cup.
I glare at the floor, picturing its his face. “When you stop sleeping with a teddy bear, then you can tell me to man up.”
Henry laughs, sitting on our dads bench press seat. “He’s got you there, Thad.”
Thad grumbles, keeping his full weight on my back. “Do one hand.”
I roll my eyes and with one, full shove, launch myself high so I can get my hand planted. Putting the other hand behind my back by Thad, I do one handed pushup’s. It’s harder, obviously, but I’m close to my goal of fifty.
Thad starts speaking my thoughts out loud, “Forty-four, forty-five, forty-six.”
I huff, “Thad, please shut up.”
Henry gives Thaddeus a look as I get to my fiftieth push up. I take that opportunity to give one last large shove, knocking Thad and his drink off my back. "KYA!"
Thad tumbles to the ground as I jump my knee’s to my chest, hopping up and reaching for a towel Henry hands me. My dark brown hair is matted to my forehead and my muscles are tired.
Thad gets up, and snaps at me, “Yeah well don’t be such a bitch. Oh wait, you are.”
Henry laughs and I smirk. The kids gotta point.
I turn and wipe a thick sheen of sweat off of my forehead and my neck. But it’s not enough.
I pull of my tank top, which is soaked with sweat. It almost reminds of a wet loincloth. That’s what happens in such humid air of the Hell’s.
“Your highness, your father wishes to speak-” My secretary, Charis Harlo, walks in the doorway but stops immediately. Her face is redder then the fire of Hell’s and her eyes are trained on my defined abdomen.
Henry smirks, leaning back smugly and says, “Yeah he just got done doing fifty push ups with Thad on his back.”
I roll my eyes and grab another towel, wiping myself off. Having sticky sweat all over you isn’t fun. “What is it?” My voice is cold and hard, as it always is with people who aren’t my family.
She stutters, and for a second I think she’s hyperventilating. “Y-Yes. He w-wanted t-to speak with you about s-something.” She looks up at me, her eyes darker then the usual dark of a Fallen. A Fallen’s eye color range's in that of dark colors. Black, brown, dark green and navy blue, etc.. any colors you can imagine. But I’ve seen this look on many women, and I’m not in the mood. I never am.
I nod, tossing my tank top at her, she grabs it, not even grimacing at it being soaked in my bodily fluids.
Di.. Did she just smell it? Gross creep.
“I’ll be on my way. I’m taking a quick shower first.”
She nods, staring at me with eyes full of lust. Honestly, it’s the usual.
I head to my office's bathroom, strip, and take a shower. Washing off the residue of working out for the past two hours. I lather my hair in shampoo, then conditioner.
I wonder what it is my father wishes to speak to me about. He's never called on me much, only occasionally. The first time was when I found out my mother was pregnant with Thad, and then the last time was when I learned about required training for my magic. Both, equally important.
The water runs down my back, soothing my aching muscle’s.
I was very surprised to learn that the Hell’s had finally gained access to water. Only for drinking and showers of course, although my family and I have a swimming pool, and aquarium for devil fish, or sting rays. My mother loved them to death.
The filth and grime on the people of my kingdom washed away when instead of fire, there was water. It comes from the cold snow and ice of winter. The Hell’s experiences two of four seasons. Winter and Summer. At the moment, it is the almost end of summer, winter will arrive soon. Along with cold blizzards and snowy grounds.
I remember learning about the Heaven’s. How the sun always shines and never sets. How sky’s the limit and the earth is cool, unlike the humid air of the Hell’s. How they experience Spring and Fall, the most perfect of seasons, but I will always love the harsh summers and winters in the Hell’s.
I learned they didn’t have gemstone’s, or night time. I learned they didn’t have some creatures we do, like phoenix’s or fire wolves. Not even ember lions, with manes of flames. That’s my father’s signature animal. Mine, is a fire wolf named Zuko. I love him to death, but like all of us. He too wants to feel the sun on his face.
The Fallen are attracted to warmth, we crave it and yearn for it. Our magic is warming, not cooling. It is dark, not light. My friend and royal enchanter, Xavier Plume, is the one who helped teach me my magic at a young age. We are the same, age wise. We both learned from Xavier's father, and when his father passed from old age, he helped teach me, since I was never skilled in learning Fallen magic.
I was more interested in other things, like battle strategies and war history, military strategies. I've been told my many I act too much like a grumpy general in my public life. The Ruination was, and is, my favorite topic as a child. The greatest battle that formed the realms. My realm. My home, and my prowess.
As the first son of three, the future ruler of the Hell’s, I have been trained in fighting, and war. My skills have always been superior. Battle, war, all of it always interested me. I never knew why, I don’t like killing people, so bloodshed isn’t the reason. I always assumed maybe it was the adrenaline. The rush of besting someone.
I don’t know.
I’ve always been naturally a star with any weapon, bow, sword, magic, knife, gun. Anything.
I step out of the shower, dry myself off and dress into the usual attire. Black suit with a golden pattern trim. I tug on my black leather shoes and exit my office, heading for my fathers study. Where he usually is and now his probable whereabouts.
I pass by my secretary, who is leaning against the wall. Her red hair still in a bun and my tank top folded in her hands. She see’s me and looks up, her gaze intense. “Mr. Blackwell-”
“You may send it off with a maid for my office.”
“I-I can take it myself if you want-” She follows me.
“No, I would prefer not.” I don’t want this woman in my private quarters.
She picks up the pace, walking faster beside me. “Mr. Blackwell, I-”
I hold up my hand. “If you will excuse me-”
“Jabeth.” She reaches for my sleeve, her question obvious in her eyes.
I whirl on her, making her back up in shock.
I clench my fists, and my magic stirs in me. Ready to be used. The black and dark crimson smoke-like magic swirls around my fists, crackling. My eyes shoot fire at her, “I have never been so disrespected in all my life, you will not touch me or even dare speak my Christian name, do you understand me?”
She nods, fear soaking into her every expression. My voice is cold and hard. I will not deal with these immature whims much longer.
She nods and scurries off with my tank top, passing it to a nearby maid and sprinting down the hall.
I smirk. My father always told me when being assulted, to expose your magic. It works, I’ll never doubt it again. That scare tactic is my new best friend.
I turn and head for my father’s door, two large oak with a knocker on each. I knock on a door, and a rough “Come in,” voices.
I open the door, shutting it behind me. “It’s me, Father.”
Father turns in his chair, facing me. The dark decor of his study is the usual. Maroon curtains, rug and blankets. The furniture and leather is black, including his desk, the front is a carved in mural of the Hell’s.
In one side of the room is a glass case, holding the black iron crown with sharp points and the Ruination carved all around the crown's base.
I remember being a boy, my father brought me to this case, patted my shoulder and said. “Here Jabe. This crown will be yours soon, along with the Hell’s and everything in it. It’s a big responsibility, but you’re capable. I believe in you.”
I will carry those words to my dying day.
Father strokes his beard and smiles warmly, if there’s one thing I know is that my Father loves his family, I should be lucky to be so fortunate. “There is something I must discuss with you.”
I snort, “I figured.”
My father scowls at me, and lower my head in shame. "Sorry.."
My father values respect and knows as the king, my father or not. He deserves respect. “I’m sorry Father. Apologies.”
He nods his head and gestures to one of the seats in front of his desk. “Have a seat.”
I nod a thank you and sit down, folding my hands and crossing one of my legs over the other. My jet ring sits on my right ring finger, glinting in the light of the chandelier above.
Father sighs and folds his hands too, leaning forward. “I have come to two conclusions.. My first, concerns the Heavens.”
I clench my jaw. What about them?
“As you know, there is some.. tension. Between the Heaven’s and the Hell’s. One that could lead to a war worse then The Ruination... so I have consulted with the Risen’s current ruler. King Wyatt.. he and his wife.. Believe's the same as me and your mother do. We all believe a truce should be formed.”
I nod slowly.
“My second conclusion.. Jabeth. I’m not getting any younger. I am forty-two, I can’t rule the Hell’s forever and you will be taking over soon enough.”
I look at the iron crown in the display case. My fate is sealed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yet why do I sense something is amiss..?
“And.. well I want to see you in capable hands, I want to see you married and well off. Not with some fucker who only cares about money and all that shit. But a strong, capable young woman. Who loves her people.”
Ugh. Not this again. If he keeps introducing me to people, I’m going to fucking explode.
“So.. to kill two birds with one stone. I am engaging you to King Wyatt’s only daughter.”
It’s like a tick.
“What?” I almost knock back my chair when I stand.
My Father rolls his eyes and sighs, “She is not a bad woman Jabeth. Tomorrow, we are going to the Heaven’s to form this agreement with the Council. Understand?”
The Council is the group of people who determines laws and agreements made between the Heaven’s and the Hell’s. But fuck this shit, hell no! “Father, please. Why do I have to get married? Can't I rule on my own? Also isn’t a marriage between a Fallen and Risen forbidden?”
Father quirks a brow. “I also want grandchildren and you need an heir. She is the best woman for you Jabeth. And yes, we have consulted with the Council and they too agree it best. As the future rulers, you both will form a marriage pact and unite our kingdoms.”
I clench my fists to my side. Respect towards the king is required, but I don’t need a wife in my life. I don’t need a woman. I don't even want one. I can rule on my own. I could adopt, I don’t need a fucking bimbo for a wife who can’t do shit, especially since the Risen think they’re so much better then us Fallen.
I shake my head to myself and swallow quickly. “Fine. Okay. We go tomorrow.” I bow, “Thank you, your Majesty.” I turn around and stride out the door, just pissed.
The doors shut behind me, cutting off his words to my ears.
Alright. Okay. I can do this, but I will find a way to make this agreement void. I will find a way. I always have, I always will.