Hydrax paced the floor impatiently, tapping his talons together as he slid past two guards in the hallway. His eyes narrowed as he tossed a scroll to the side while shaking his head.
His assistant, Grimble, marched up to him swiftly with another scroll, his long tail skidding behind him. He bowed and took a glance at his checkboard, “I have some good news.”
The copper-colored dragon looked at him expectantly, “Go on.”
“The workers that we still have, have told me that in a few months the kingdom will be rebuilt significantly. They’d rate the reconstruction at around 42% by next month.” Grimble’s talon followed along the checkboard and he continued, “It’s going to take a while before it’s back to its former glory though. Oh, and there’s something that the workers told me to ask you.”
After a moment of silence, Hydrax shot a glare at his assistant. “You don’t need to pause between everything you say.”
“Sorry, sir, it’s a bad habit...” He murmured and paused yet again, earning him a scowl. “Well... they asked if they should rebuild the prison trap to what it was before or transform it into a normal prison.”
“Well, we have nobody to trap.” Hydrax puffed up his chest to seem tough, “I could trap anyone without it.”
“... Except for Cielast,” Grimble muttered. “Anyways, I’ll tell them next time I pass by. However... there is one odd thing that they’ve noticed. They told me that some days there are less bricks on the palettes and more progress seems to have been made on the buildings than they recall. Personally, I think it’s just because they forget how much they work.”
Hydrax gave him a thoughtful glance, and his assistant asked. “Did anything interesting happen lately in terms of other kingdoms?”
“No,” he muttered. “We used to be one of the most feared kingdoms with the weapons Azure designed to defeat Flarius with. Now, we’re just a destroyed kingdom struggling to prevent ourselves from collapsing.”
Suddenly, before Grimble could answer, a fierce gust of wind rushed through the window. With the breeze, a word was uttered: ‘soon.’
The two dragons gave each other confused glances and Grimble slowly backed away without mentioning it, “I’ll... go back and check on the progress we’re making.”
Hydrax nodded and eyed the area suspiciously, his gaze veering towards the window. Seeing nothing, he left the hall.
A month passed, and Grimble was patrolling the throne room with his clipboard in his claws. He talked to himself quietly, “Hmm... Citadel: done. Tower three: 96% done. Prison: 73% done...”
The lime green-scaled lizard approached one of the architects who was working on the details of the walls. “Ah, hello there.”
“Hi,” the dragon greeted, his eyes fixed on his claws which were carving a small dragon.
“We need to rebuild Azure’s throne someday, and repair that giant hole in the wall of this room.” He announced and looked at where Azure’s throne used to be, and to his surprise, it was already rebuilt.
Grimble rubbed his eyes and stared and stared at the throne in disbelief, “Did you already build this?”
“N-no...” The architect’s eyes were wide, with fright. “It was just in pieces...”
The green dragon moved backwards towards the exit, “You best continue working on the designs, I’ll go talk to Hydrax about it.”
Grimble dashed down the hall towards where Hydrax was speaking to another architect. He panted and called, “Hydrax... I need to speak to you for a moment.”
“Give me a minute,” the copper dragon responded.
“No, it’s important.” He looked him in the eyes and said, “A-Azure’s throne rebuilt itself.”
“That isn’t possible,” Hydrax brushed him off. “It was obliterated a long time ago, I was there. Someone must’ve rebuilt it.”
Before Grimble could respond, a smooth voice pierced the two’s ears, oddly familiar. I hope I didn’t surprise you too much.
Hydrax’s blood froze in his veins and he felt chills crawl up his spine, the same chills he got when Azure was nearby.
I’m not as gone as you thought I was, but a hallway is surely no place to talk like this. Come to the citadel.
The two slowly walked to the citadel which was almost complete. Now this will be a more fitting place to talk.
Two purple eyes, shrouded by a shadow-like mist, appeared before them. “Now, I do believe there is a lot to talk about, what has happened in my absence?”
A full silhouette of a deep royal purple Azure slowly formed in the center of the room, appearing to be made of shadows. “I see you’ve been trying to rebuild the kingdom. Tell me, in all these years I have been gone, have you even considered avenging me? Because to my knowledge, Cielast is still alive and has a son by now.”
Hyrax looked at the floor nervously, his heart thundering in his chest from the sudden apparition. “O-once the empire is built, I planned on overthrowing her kingdom.”
“I am disappointed, Hydrax, there would have been an easier way to do that.” Azure narrowed his eyes and bared his razor-like fangs. “But that is of no matter, I need to get out of this predicament.”
He gestured to his transparent body with a low growl and continued, “I need the Deathseeker, an ancient artifact created by Suntrap. I have a plan to retrieve it already as I’ve been ‘dead’ for five years.”
“W-what is it?” Hydrax squeaked in a cowardly, pathetic voice.
“Kidnap Cielast’s son and lure Cielast into the citadel, I will do the rest.” The former king swayed his tail from left to right, his eyes soulless and dark.
The smaller dragon regarded Azure with a nervous look on his face and nodded. “Y-yes, sir... do I strike at night?”
Azure looked down at him and chuckled darkly with a crooked grin, “Indeed, don’t fail me.”
Hydrax nodded and scurried away, his claws clicking against the cold floor. As he reached the hallway, he bumped into a chest of navy blue scales and cautiously looked up to see Astaroth.
She grumbled down at him, then looked at the room and spotted Azure. Her eyes widened suddenly and she took a glance down at Hydrax again.
“Is that-...” she began with a gulp and stopped, the blood freezing in her veins.
Azure’s chuckles faded and he snickered, “Yes, yes it is.”
“Azure,” she murmured under her breath, slowly approaching him. A black aura shrouded his wings and tail, creating a ghostly appearance. “.... How did you...? How are you still alive?”
“You thought that would kill me? It’s going to take more than such to get rid of me, Astaroth.” He sneered.
She nodded slowly and backed away, her heart beating furiously in her chest. Azure kept that terrifying evil grin on his face as she exited without a word, eyes still wide with fear.