The sky was covered by dark clouds pouring rain onto the city below. Tall, dark skyscrapers stretched all the way up to the clouds, ominously looming over the city. Colorful neon lights lit the dark city. People milled around in the streets, not paying any attention to the perpetual rain as they went about their lives. In the center of the city, an enormous mountain rose from the ground, its peak hidden in the clouds. Above the clouds, perched on the very peak of the mountain, sat a massive, ivory white castle glowing in the light cast by the two moons.
A figure stood on a balcony of the castle. It sighed as it placed its elbows on the railing. It appeared to be a young man of short stature with black hair. A large red cowlick was slicked around the top of his head until it looked like the Internet Explorer logo. The man wore dark red clothes with black trimmings that left his torso exposed, showing off his lean and muscular body.
The man sighed again as he swirled the wine around inside the goblet he held. His free hand went up to his face and rubbed his cheek while he muttered something under his breath.
“I heard you caused quite the scene down in the city earlier, Conrue.”
The young man looked over his shoulder to see a tall figure dressed in a full suit of silver armor walking across the balcony towards him. A long, heavy black cape hung from his shoulders and dragged across the ground, and an image of a white lion head was emblazoned on his breastplate and cape.
“Did I just hear you address me without an honorific?” Conrue questioned, narrowing his eyes at the approaching knight. “I should have you thrown into the dungeons for such disrespect.”
“You should know better than to follow through with your rash impulses by now,” the armored figure commented as he joined Conrue at the railing, ignoring Conrue’s threat. “Your grandfather will be quite upset when he hears about it.”
Conrue grunted. “Like I care what that dusty old statue has to say about it,” he muttered, finishing off the rest of his red wine with one gulp. He then chucked the ornate goblet over the railing, which quickly flew out of sight over the horizon. “I’ll live my life the way I want to; I won’t have that hunk of rock tell me what to do.”
The knight lifted one hand up in the air. A flash of light engulfed his hand, and when it faded away, the goblet had appeared in his grip. “Please don’t go throwing things over the city anymore, sir,” the knight sighed as he stowed the goblet away behind his back. “Do you want to cause another massacre, like when you decided to toss your father’s alchemical components? It took over twenty years to completely rid the city of that plague.”
“Do you really think I care about the wellbeing of those insects down there?” Conrue snapped, annoyed that the knight had retrieved the goblet. The man’s hands gripped the handrails with enough force to crack the reinforced metal. “There’s only one thing I care about down in that hellhole...”
“Here we go again,” the knight muttered, shaking his head.
“The ladies!” Conrue turned to face the knight, throwing his hands up in the air as a big smile grew on his face. “I LOVE the ladies; I can’t get enough of their intoxicating aroma! It’s only because of their presence that I haven’t wiped that city off the map!! As long as the city can provide me with a steady stream of lovely babes to sleep with, I’ll continue to extend their grace period!”
“Grace period, huh?” the knight sighed. “That’s a funny way of putting it, since it’s actually your grandfather’s presence that prevents you from doing something drastic like that. And the whole city’s aware of how big of a pervert you are; hence why the citizens are able to waylay you using their women. You should just be satisfied with the hundreds of women you keep here in the castle.
“But what I have here in the castle isn’t enough!” Conrue cried, wringing his hands. “There are still plenty of diamonds in that trash heap of a city! The lady I saw tonight was exceptionally beautiful! I couldn’t help but to--!”
“Flip her skirt up in the middle of a crowd?” the knight interrupted, earning him a glare from Conrue. “You would be wise to refrain from seeing her ever again. She happens to be the wife of one of your father’s allies. If we should lose their favor and they decide to no longer support your family, your grandfather will be forced to take some rather... drastic action.”
A nervous light crept into Conrue’s eyes as he realized what the knight was getting at. He looked away and pouted for a few moments before glancing up at the full moons.
“Fine, then; tell my grandfather that I will keep my hands off of her,” he muttered. “If anything, I would prefer to keep that statue in place on his throne over anything else.”
“You can tell him that yourself,” the knight responded. “I was sent to tell you that your father and grandfather both require your presence at the meeting that’s starting soon. They need everyone involved with the plan to attend so they can finalize the details.”
“It’s already been almost six months in that other world, hasn’t it?” Conrue remarked, not taking his eyes off the moons.
“Yes, it has,” the knight answered, nodding. “The details of Gusano’s report pertaining to his last expedition were nothing if not shocking. We need to be fully prepared to deal with anything; the target is as unpredictable as he is powerful.”
“Are we really sure that we need to take such caution offing one kid?” Conrue remarked as he and the knight walked towards the balcony door. “I mean, Gusano’s clearly lost it; have you seen him since his return? Talk about insane.”
“Insane or not, he’s still your grandfather’s avatar. We do not believe he has suffered any mental damage, and he is expected to make a full recovery in the next few days. And this caution is warranted; after all, if Gusano’s assumptions are right, then we’re dealing with that from fifty years ago.”
“Right, right,” Conrue sighed as he and the knight reached the door. The knight opened the door and walked inside. Conrue grabbed the door and held it open to walk in, but he paused for a moment to look back up at the moons above. “The eclipse is almost upon us,” he muttered as he watched the moons hover above. A small smile crept across his face as he turned back around and walked through the doorway.
“I do hope I get the chance to speak to my father’s love child before we execute him. We are family, after all.”