Protecting The City
"Your highness," Azra bowed as he offered an elegant but thick royal tunic, embroidered with thousands of Basra seed pearls, to Raigon, to keep him warm during the journey. He then proceeded on rowing the boat.
"How was Terra?" Raigon greeted Azra in a formal manner. His old nature returned as soon as his feet stepped out of Lord Howe Island into the boat from the City. No matter how sentimental he might have felt in the isle, he was still a Prince of Terra.
"The City of Terra is in good condition, your Highness. But something happened to the King," Azra stopped from rowing the boat but didn't make eye contact with him.
Azra is Raigon's most trusted and dependable servant in Terra. He had commanded him to be on the lookout while he was away and fetch him at the isle during the evening.
"What happened to the King?!" Raigon immediately stood up. Azra quickly scrutinized the sea in case there were citizens who might recognize that the prince was outside the capital.
Realizing the danger he was in, Raigon's anxiety dissipated and returned to his hiding stance. He seated himself with his eyes boring into Azra as he waited for his response.
"He passed out again, Your Highness," Azra reported.
"When? Where? How is he?!" Raigon rattled on as he loosened his clothing, feeling overheated even in the cold night breeze.
A week ago, the King passed out while he was in the fields talking with the farmers in the Eastern region of the City. His father is a hands-on man, seeing everything from his naked eye. A trait that Raigon must have inherited from him.
The doctor told him that he was not capable of traveling anymore because of the deteriorating condition of his body. They said that the loss of consciousness came from overwork because of his duties. They were still examining him if there are other illnesses that could have provoked it.
"It happened inside the Castle, your Highness. After meeting with the Royal Officials. They already left when it occurred. The only people that know of it are the royal family and royal servants. He is resting now at his chamber, your Highness."
"What were they discussing about that exhausted the King?" Raigon inquired with furrowed brows.
"One of the informants told me that some noblemen are suggesting to open up the City of Terra to the outside world," Azra answered back.
Raigon slumped back. No wonder his father passed out. The City has been safe for thousands of years because the royal family has been keeping it from the eyes of the world from generation to generation.
They were doing well independently until fifteen years ago. Since then, security became more strict and rigorous.
'Who started this? What are their motives? Is this connected to the reports about people leaving the island?' Raigon contemplated as he rubbed his chin.
He remembered his mission of finding out who are the people who were secretly negotiating outside of Terra. He searched for signs of the citizens of Terra in Lord Howe Island but he couldn't find any.
All of them look like common ordinary people from the outside of the island. Maybe they were good at disguising. Or maybe he just doesn't have enough time to see.
"Did you find what you were searching for, your Highness?" Azra inquired as he kept his hands on the oar.
Raigon let out a deep sigh. "A yes and a no."
Azra gave Raigon a puzzled look. He responded with a half-smile, tilted his head and gazed at the night sky. There were no clouds and the stars resembled pieces of jewelry to the naked eye.
He may not have accomplished what his mind was looking for, but he sure fulfilled what his heart was longing for.
'Zoe…' Raigon whispered through the wind.
They carried on their travel in silence as Raigon pondered about the events that just happened.
With Azra's meticulous overseeing, they made it with no delay through the Ball's Pyramid, the isle where the City of Terra was situated, and back to the Castle.
"I'm going to the King's chamber," Raigon informed Azra. Azra bid him farewell.
As he go to his room, the servants of the King, realizing that he was Prince Raigon, let him in.
The King was already sleeping when he stepped inside. Raigon didn't bother to wake him up. He just stared at the maturer version of his face lying soundly as if Azra was lying when he said that he became unconscious just a while ago.
"You are a picture of a strong mortal soul, conquering through all life's battles both for his household and his kingdom, with an intelligent mind and a kind spirit." Raigon whispered as he had always admired him since he was young.
'Is this possible?' Raigon mumbled as his lips trembled with a pool of tears welling from his eyes.
Raigon gazed at his father's greying hair and wrinkling skin with a sad smile. 'How could I not notice that time flies so fast?' Raigon pressed his lips bitterly.
After leaving the King's room, he proceeded to the chamber of her mother, the Queen's. Although she was resting on her side, she was also hugging a photo frame of their family at her chest, with marks of tears at her cheeks.
'The Queen must have cried a lot to be so sound asleep,' Raigon surmised as he lifted the blankets to cover her from neck to foot.
Lastly, he went to the chambers of her sisters, the Princesses. They were both sleeping soundly.
Raigon went out to the Castle's Tower and looked fixedly at the horizon of Terra, knowing what he had to do, with a passionate determination in his heart.
He has been living his life to protect his family. Now that he saw Zoe again, he wants to live for himself now.
But seeing the situation his father is in right now, he must have to wait for a little longer.
'Zoe, please wait for me.'
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