“Where is he now?” Bossurk thoughtfully questioned.
“If he is not in the Abyss, he must be visiting the mortal.” Bossurk’s helper replied. A relatively young demon. With black eyes and long black hair.
Time passed, and still, there was no news of the witch. Bossurk was silently aching in pain. Not only because of the loss of the Queen but because his son Teias had also vanished.
As Agate instructed, Bossurk took her to the Abyss. Both waited for a sign, but the place was filled with silence and absence.
His heart could not face the place where his son had been taken. Agate seemed untouched. She merely stood there at the entrance to the Abyss, staring into the mists.
“Agate, we must go. They will not return.” There was no response from her.
“I must see how Lorcan is,” Bossurk told her. The witch didn’t even look at him, standing there alone.
At that time, Bossurk went in search of Lorcan, who had disappeared without a trace. Unable to find him, he returned to the Abyss to find that Agate had gone missing. The witch was never seen again.
Normality was slowly but surely restoring itself. Many could see the Demon King more focused. However, one could still see the emptiness inside him. Time passed, and in the Demon Realm, a new period of stability was underway.
Those who were banished to the Wicked Land returned to the Ancient Land. Leaving that place infested with the abhorred red-skinned creatures and thorns.
There was no single demon who did not know who had helped the true King regain his throne. Everyone knew the name of that mortal who had become the Queen, in the end, surprising everyone.
And while some still loathed the idea that a mortal had become their ruler, they could do nothing, or at least not try, unless they wanted to meet Lorcan’s wrath.
Bossurk and his helper were walking through the city of demons.
“Bossurk, do you think the King will be looking for new Lords soon?”
“Why? Do you want to become one?” Bossurk scoffed.
“The original lords are gone, and someone will have to command the legions.”
“Not just anyone can do it, Gadrik.”
“What does it take to become a Lord then?” The demon called Gadrik snorted; his mentor had no faith in him whatsoever.
Bossurk stopped in his tracks. Putting a hand on his shoulder. “Becoming a Lord involves possessing great power, skill, and control. It implies that your loyalty to the King and Queen is above all others. And above all else, the King must trust you.”
“But how can I ever gain the King’s trust when he is hardly ever in the Realm?”
“Gadrik...” Bossurk hissed.
“I know... I know. It’s impossible to match Teias or the rest of the Lords. But they won’t come back, Bossurk.”
Gadrik, at that moment, regretted speaking. Bossurk’s expression turned grim. “Forgive me.”
Bossurk continued walking, ignoring the brat.
And meanwhile, in the Dragon Realm, the figure of a young man was visible on one of the hills. His disheveled hair and chin lowered to his chest was the picture of sadness and nostalgia.
Since James had learned about his sister being gone forever, his days were also over. Countless nights he cried in his room like a child. Daphne was gone, and she had taken his happiness with her.
James felt guilty. His weakness as a mortal brought his sister to perish. His ineptitude as a man provoked Daphne to act silently without asking for help.
She always did everything for him. And he, on the other hand, lived his days in amusement. While he walked the world carefree, his sister was planning to abandon him to take down Rothvaln.
“Here again?” Lorcan appeared at his side. “The air is cold; you should dress warmer.”
“How can you tell? You can’t even feel the temperature.”
“Avina was wearing a coat today,” Lorcan replied.
“Shouldn’t you be looking after your Kingdom?” James stood up, shaking the palms of his hands. His gaze rested again on Lorcan’s half-uncovered arms.
The Demon King wore his white cotton shirt rolled up almost to his elbows, revealing his intricate black spiked and convoluted shapes imprinted from his hands and continuing down his arms to his chest.
Lorcan bore the mark of the bond. And though the mark further accentuated his figure and above all his character, James knew the meaning of them: Daphne’s love for Lorcan had been physically inked on him.
“I must return soon.” Lorcan managed to materialize with James in the hall where Daphne ate with them all for the last time. “Sit down and eat,” Lorcan ordered him.
“I’m not hungry.” James motioned to leave.
“James, you should eat something. Do you think Daphne would want to see you in that condition?”
“I know, but I don’t have the appetite right now.” James turned to him. “Has there been any word about Sorana?”
And that was the reason James wasn’t allowed to leave the Realm of Avina. That sunken-eyed demon was missing, and Lorcan suspected that Sorana was with him, against her will.
Lorcan didn’t want to take any chances with James. He needed to take care of what his demoness had left behind, and she had protected above all else.
James nodded and walked away.
And Lorcan, finding no other reason to stay there, went to the Abyss.
Bossurk had advised him not to return there, yet he could not avoid it. It was there that he had last seen her.
“Gadrik was right.” Bossurk appeared at his side. “It is not wise to stay in a place filled with painful memories, my King.”
“I know. But coming here makes me feel closer to her. I miss her, Bossurk. I want her here, with me. As much as I try to use all my power to bring her back, it is impossible.”
“Time will make you forget-” Bossurk said.
“I will never be able to forget her. She is what I want more than anything.” Lorcan lowered his head in defeat.
“I can certainly understand how you feel,” Bossurk said in a sentimental tone.
“You should have told Teias about you.”
“It wasn’t that easy. But now, I regret it more than anything. If he ever came back, I would tell him the whole truth without a second thought.”
For a while, they both stood in silence, contemplating the sea of mists.
In the city of the Ancient Land, many stood in complete silence, wide-eyed disbelief at what they were witnessing.
Two high-ranking demons walked towards the King’s Palace, their faces solemn, ignoring the whispers already spreading.
Undoubtedly, they were two faces that everyone knew very well.
Gadrik did not let them out of his sight, and believing where to find Bossurk and the King, he quickly appeared behind them at the Abyss’ gates.
“My Lord, Bossurk...”
“What is it?” Lorcan’s face tightened when he noticed Gadrik’s frightened expression.
“You must return at once.”
Lorcan vanished in the blink of an eye, and when he emerged in the throne room, astonishment could be seen in him.
The two demons that had caused a commotion in his Realm were none other than Teias and Sunnnia, both standing with their usual grave countenances.
“My King” Teias and Sunnia bowed their heads in respect to Lorcan, who approached them, still in disbelief.
“How did you two...?” Bossurk asked now. Grabbing Teias in a hug.
“We don’t know,” Sunnia said. “We can’t remember anything after we fell into the Abyss. We just appeared here.”
And as grateful as Lorcan was that Teias and Sunnia had returned, the grief and disappointment that it wasn’t Daphne haunted him.