“I want this moment to be remembered forever!”
My eyelids drop and my body sags with dread as Wequie bursts into the war room with a massive smile and glowing golden eyes.
I mumble a string of curses under my breath, a Proud Wequie was never a good sign.
“I want a monument in my name! I want flowers thrown at my feet! You should know that it is now a legal requirement that you tell me how amazing I am every single day, until the day I die, and you know what?”
“What?” I ask dryly.
Wequie points a finger at me as he briskly closes the distance between us, “I want a fucking song!” He demands seriously, “A song written about my greatness so that all who live know just how fucking glorious I am!”
Staring at Wequie, I barely manage to blink, that movement now suddenly exhausting after all of...that.
I don’t try to mask my annoyance or indifference at everything he’d just said, in truth, I’d zoned out for most of it, but clearly something had gotten Wequie all worked up. Still, I could admit that I was a little curious to know what on earth could have set his usually bearable dramatics to a nine on the Richter scale.
Incubi were naturally proud, confident creatures, but rarely did I see Wequie’s love for himself reach such horrifying heights.
When I did, I was never alone to deal with it as I was now. Normally, there was at least Malcolm watching from nearby to act as a buffer between us so I didn’t have to face Wequie’s antics on my own, but today, I was on my own.
That of course was because most of the clan was in their private corners of the castle, asleep or just resting their eyes. I was one of the few who didn’t take the lighter hours of the day to get some rest before we’d be out again.
I was too focused on carving out every possible scenario so this war could be wrapped up as quickly as possible, and as a result, I found myself barely sleeping these days.
I couldn’t recall the last time I’d stopped moving in fact.
“And you deserve all this because?” I already regretted asking.
“I deserve all of this because-” Wequie cuts himself short as his face crumples with sudden displeasure, “I feel like this needs more buildup before I tell you.”
“Wequie,” I groan, my patience already withered to nothing more than a decaying corpse.
“What? I want to be appreciated!” Wequie demands as he tilts his head from side to side, searching. “Where’s Malcolm? He needs to be here for this, and Aias too!”
I open my mouth to argue but Wequie was already running out the way he came, taking his excitement along with the rest of my energy. The air drains from me as I mentally prepare myself for whatever nonsense was about to come.
Dealing with Wequie and Malcolm was stressful on a normal day, dealing with both of them and the hose would be too much.
I rub aimlessly at my temples while I try to clear the small ache building there.
I was exhausted mentally where any other would be physically too, if not nearing their grave.
The only thing that saved me was the fact that I’d been built for this. While my mind might be decaying, my carcass was carved for conflict and thrived now in the middle of it.
But I was still tired.
Every day there was something new to deal with, plan for or prepare for, and every day, I was the one who had to deal with it. The clan grew and my responsibilities grew with it in ways I hadn’t accounted for at the start. It was challenging enough establishing an entire clan so quickly, adding the building war tensions to that only made it all more stressful.
Not that I regretted anything or could really complain, I didn’t need to rest. I was fine in the ways that matter.
But...even if my body could keep this up for centuries, I missed the days of quiet, my comfortable bed, and my Kalem.
Gods, I missed Kalem.
My heart tightens with desperate longing and a sharp ache collects within my chest at the thought of my boy who I’d been spending less and less time with. I didn’t mean for us to be so distant, but there was so much occurring, so much that kept us apart.
But it hurt, even more when I knew he was close by, but still so painfully far away.
We hadn’t shared a bed in many nights, hadn’t found the time to water his plants either or explore a book together like how we used to. It seemed like the only time we saw one another was in passing and that wasn’t nearly enough.
It wasn’t enough for me and I knew it wasn’t enough for Kalem who was putting on his bravest face through all of this.
His understanding and resilience was the only thing that kept me from locking us away for a month and forgetting all our blasted troubles. It was also the main reason why I pushed so hard even now as tired as I was.
The faster this came to an end, the sooner things could go back to the way they used to be. I could hold Kalem freely in my arms and read him new books or I could show him this world and all its secret beauties without worrying about his safety.
I could give him all I ever promised, and I would, soon.
I just had to keep this up for a little longer, and then, it would all be worth it.
“This better be good, I was about to give Aias a massage,” I hear Malcolm’s grumblings from down the hall along with approaching steps that make me roll my eyes.
I straighten my back, pocketing away my sadness and fatigue for when I’d be alone with them again.
The door bursts open and once again Wequie comes striding through it as if he owned this world, only this time, Malcolm and his stringbean elf came in behind him with mirrored expressions of annoyance and indifference.
The elf trailed closely behind Malcolm, his hand resting on the small of Malcolm’s back as he led him towards the open chairs to sit while Wequie came bounding over to my side so he could be at the head of the table.
When Wequie flickers a hand towards a chair with a look of disgust, I take the hint and fill the closest seat to me so he could hold the centre stage.
Looking at him expectantly, I trace the table with my fingers, “The floor is yours.”
Clasping his hands in front of him, Wequie takes a deep breath as if he was about to put on a performance - I was sure he was - before he passing his eyes over us.
“My dear friends,” Dear Gods...
“You are gathered here today because I have done something truly awe-inspiring,” Wequie says while he nods with a closed smile.
I rest my face in my hands, resigning myself to this cruellest faith.
“Some may have thought it impossible, but you know what, I strive to achieve the impossible,” he continues contemptuously, “like when all my peers thought there was no way I could satisfy seventeen sirens in that tiny lagoon, I said I fucking can and you kno-”
“My friend,” Aias cuts in with his voice sounding strained. “Though I may enjoy your stories on any given day, today is not that day. I am tired and I do not wish to be here any longer than necessary, so please, just this once... get on with it.”
For what I expected to be the only time in my life, I agreed with the elf.
“You guys take the fun out of everything!” Wequie mumbles as his shoulders drop and he kicks the floor like an angry toddler, “you’re all so fucking old and boring.”
“Wequie,” I beg, truly beg.
“Fine,” he says with a pout, “I just wanted to let you all know that I did the fucking impossible and have a contact with the Amaris Clan.”
Whatever response I’d had ready for Wequie dies on my tongue as his words register and I quickly straighten in my chair.
“The Amaris Clan,” I repeat, my brain having a hard time computing his words.
“Yeah,” Wequie mumbles, trying to act beaten even as he kept glancing up at us with triumph in his eyes.
“Are you serious?” Malcolm asks, no longer slouching in his chair but nearly on the edge of it as his grey eyes locked onto Wequie.
“You think I’d joke about this?” he scoffs as if offended, “after all the work I’ve put into making this clan look better than just somewhat presentable? I’m deadly serious.”
For a moment, we all just stare at him, sheer disbelief making it hard to reply or ask the questions I probably should be asking.
Like how in all the realms Wequie had managed to contact the famously isolated clan who only made themselves seen or heard when they wished it.
That was one of the reasons we’d made converging with the Amaris Clan as a future goal, a very far in the future goal that I’d see to when this war was over and I controlled the majority of the species.
They were supposed to be the last piece to the puzzle, the last step, not one we’d find while we were still midway through.
“I know,” Wequie says into the sudden quiet as he props a hand on his hip and fans himself, “I’d be speechless too.”
Annoying as he was, there was no denying all Wequie had done since he stepped into took control of the clan’s ‘brand’.
His implements had started as minuscule almost unnoticeable things like deciding that our clan colours would be black and a deep burgundy red. The colours suited us so I didn’t oppose it, I’d actually barely noticed it.
Then he started teaching every clanmate how they should always exude strength and confidence whenever they stepped out of the castle. Which again was a good thing, but I thought it to be somewhat frivolous, but before long, those little things began to come together.
It was impossible to ignore the way everyone fought with the confidence and aggression that Wequie had hammered into them, making us all look like an in sync unit that made our opponents hesitant and make crucial mistakes.
Soon, our clan mates only wore our colours and most were dressed in similar clothing that made it easier to distinguish them when were in battle. The next thing I knew, they were banners around the castle and all our properties with the symbol of a bleeding rose that marked our clan’s presence wherever it was.
I could remember the powerpoint presentation Wequie had made to the entire clan as he explained why a black, bleeding rose wasn’t enough and how important the attached stem was that suggested our growth as a species.
The crest was nice, it looked like special, ancient markings on its own before someone showed you the rose petals, the stem and the blood, but that was apparently the look Wequie wanted so I didn’t argue with it.
The only thing we were missing as a clan, was a name but that was because it was the one thing Wequie couldn’t decide on.
But that was such a minor detail when compared to all the things Wequie had done over these last few months, especially when he now brought us an opportunity to join forces with the Amaris clan.
“What do you mean by a contact?” I ask when I finally get my thoughts moving.
“I mean, I’ve been sending all sorts of messages to them for months and either they finally arrived through the snow, or they finally decided to respond,” Wequie says with a shrug as if it were the simplest thing in the world. “I sent birds, creatures of all kinds including a troll who owed me a very big favour for what I did with his rock parts.
“It finally got through I guess because they replied in this coded letter. They support our goals and know we’ll win in the end, so they’re sending a liaison to speak to us about terms before their actually Pylen comes to confirm them.”
I bristle slightly at that, “the Pylen should be meeting with us, not a liaison.”
“Lincoln, they shouldn’t be meeting with us at all,” Wequie shoots back with narrowed eyes, “not now anyway, so if you want to be pissing about it, I can talk to them on your behalf or maybe Malcolm can, and you can play king.”
I hated that he was right.
“You’re a dick,”
“I’m an honest dick,” Wequie corrects with a smile, “an honest awesome dick, right?”
I nod for his benefit and Wequie smirks.
“Without a doubt,” Malcolm says outside of his chuckles, “so when should we expect this liaison?”
“They didn’t really say,” Wequie replies with a little frown, “within the next week I think. As I said, it’s all coded and to be honest, I’m still figuring out the full message.”
“Why didn’t you do that first?” The pirana asks with a deep frown.
“Because I was excited!” He replies while rolling his eyes, “but I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to give any solid times in case the message was intercepted by Diablos’ bitches, so they just sort of insinuated that it would be soon.”
I didn’t like that vagueness of it all, but there was a lot of land between the castle and Antarctica, even with our speed it would be a long journey with infinite chances for an attack if they weren’t careful.
“I’ll keep an eye out, set up special patrols a bit further out for them,” Wequie continues with a giddy smile, “and in the meantime, you guys can keep telling me how amazing I am for making this possible!”
“You’re amazing!” Malcolm supplies readily and Wequie claps his hands together with a massive smile.
“I know!” He agrees, his horns and tail coming out from his joy. “Gods, how do you all live when you’re not me!”
“Okay,” I say with a raised hand, ready to bring Wequie back down to earth but Malcolm apparently wasn’t done.
“Honestly Wequie, the fact that you’ve pulled this off at all is crazy, I don’t know where this clan would be without you.”
Wequie beams, his smart smile turning honest as he shifts a little in his spot, his cheeks heating up with unusual bashfulness.
“Malcolm is right,” the pillowcase adds with a small smile of his own, “you’re truly remarkable and your efforts never go unnoticed Wequie.”
“Stop guys,” Wequie groans as he spins a little, “but don’t actually stop, keep going!”
As the others laugh and Wequie looks my way almost hesitantly, “Lincoln?”
“Their praises aren’t enough?” I challenge but of course, he shakes his head.
“Come on, tell me I’m fucking amazing!” Wequie goads.
“You are fucking amazing,” I allow and he cheers.
“Now tell me in your own words,”
I don’t hold back my smile, “they’re right,” I tell him with no feigned annoyance, just genuine gratitude, “I didn’t ever consider how monumental your role in this clan would be, but I’m truly grateful that you’re here with us. We would be miles back without you.”
The little pink that was brushing Wequie’s cheek turns into a heavy blush that consumed his face and neck entirely. For once, Wequie doesn’t say something overly flirtatious or smart, he just stands in his place, rendered completely speechlessly while his tail swishes erratically behind him.
“T-Thank you!” Wequie squeaks out before he does an awkward bow and runs out of the room.
I watch him go with a chuckle that Malcolm joins in on, “I forgot how cute he could be when he gets shy,” Malcolm coos as he draws his eyes from the door, “he can’t even look people in the eye.
“I prefer that than the demands for praise,” I grumble as I stand to my feet, “I’ll tell the others of this news so we can make preparations.”
“How about I tell the others and you get some rest?” Malcolm suggests with a hum, “you haven’t rested since we returned from the Lupin conquest.”
“I’m fine,” I reply too quickly.
Malcolm smiles gently at me, his eyes frustratingly kind and knowing.
“The word fine is subjective,” the ironing board inputs uselessly, “but let’s say that you’re ‘fine’ by this world’s standards, if you keep going this way, it won’t be long before you’re even more worthless than you already are.”
“What Aias means to say,” Malcolm says, cutting in before I could reply, “is that we all need you to be on your A-game as we get closer to facing Diablos and the bulk of his forces, so why don’t you find Kalem and just rest for a bit?”
My objections falter a little at the mention of Kalem, longing didn’t even begin to cover what I felt when I thought of spending time with my boy. But this war would only last longer with the more time I gave Diablos to make a strong counterattack.
We were closing in on him now, I could always rest after.
“I’ve rested enough to last me three wars,” I reply as I stand, taking my place in front of the world map again. “I’m fine.”
The red pins that once littered the map were dwindling now, quickly falling off as we demolished his numbers. It wouldn’t be long now before we removed them all, especially with the Amaris Clan’s support if we got it.
Perhaps, I should refocus my attention on the proposal for their liaison for the time being.
“That’s true,” Malcolm allows as he stands as well, coming over to settle at my side, “but sometimes, we can all use a bit of quiet nothingness. No plotting or worrying, just the quiet.”
“I can’t afford such luxuries right now Malcolm,” I reply as I circle back to the table in search of my annals. “I know you’ve got the best intentions at heart, but unless you see an outcome with my downfall,” I glance at him but he only shakes his head, “then I only wish to see this all through as quickly as I can.”
Malcolm quiets, staring at me with worry that I didn’t have the time to ease right now. I glance at the cable line with the aim of getting him to distract Malcolm, but instead, I find him staring at me with a serious frown.
“What?” I snap.
“Nothing,” he whispers, his eyes trailing over me for one assessing moment before he stands and gestures for Malcolm who goes to him without a second thought, “while I hardly care about your wellbeing, the last thing anyone needs is you falling on the field, so be wise for once and heed Malcolm’s words, hm?”
“Malcolm’s the one who likes orders, not me” I deadpan, my eyes on my notes, “so why don’t you be wise for once and remember that.”
“You know, when you finally do end up several feet in the soil one day, I promise I will sing the most beautiful song to keep you there,” the cactus promises in a disgusting sweet tone before he turns Malcolm and follows after him, “I truly can not wait for the glorious day.”
“Your love for me knows no bounds elf,” I call back and Aias snarls with disgust from over his shoulder.
When I’m alone again, I close my eyes and let out a slow steady breath to ease that teeming pressure against my skull.
Malcolm hadn’t been wrong, I wasn’t daft enough to not recognise how true they were, but I wasn’t naive enough to think that our upper hand in this war would continue to last for much longer.
Everything might be going to plan, but that was exactly why I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss.
My troubles with controlling enemy vampires had abided but it hadn’t eased completely, and while our numbers now stretched across the globe, it wasn’t our entire species.
There was more, lots more that I knew Diablos controlled and until I held his decapitated head in my hands, I had to prepare for every possible outcome.
By taking on the role of Pylen, I’d agreed to not only be a leader but a protector. It was a role I’d come to take great pride in and though we hadn’t lost many lives, I still remembered each person who fell.
I wasn’t keen on losing anymore that could’ve been saved if I’d planned things better or paid more mind to a certain detail.
If a lonely heart and an aching head was all I had to bear for ensuring lives were saved, then I’d endure it happily.
It would go away when this was all over, when the war was one, the species under my control and Diablos was put to rest, only then would I let myself relax and enjoy the quiet.
I’d make this time apart to Kalem, drown him in enough love to ensure his smile never faded and this troublesome ache would ease.
For now, I had a job to do.
Not Lincoln making me proud and angry at the same time!!!!!!!!!
Are we proud of Wequie?
What about Lincoln’s actions?
Usually, when characters are stubborn and don’t listen, I get annoyed, but here I’m like awwww. Lincoln has come so far from the depressed vampire who spent years in bed and to see him care so much about protecting everyone makes me so happy.
I just wished he put a bit of that attention back on Kalem who is doing God knows what now!!!!!!
I’d just like to say how fucking wrong it felt to write a chapter without Kalem’s cuteness and I did write it in then I realised that it worked better without it. Kalem and Lincoln have always been together, so I figured I had to show this weird separation between them.
I just hate how uncomfortable it makes me feel.
I know this chapter is a little short but that’s cause I want the next bit to be from Kalem’s POV
I’m really excited for the next chapter hehe, ya’ll bitches are going to try and kill me lmfaooooooooooooooooooo
Until next time,