“Axel, get up.”
“I don’t wanna.”
“You have no choice. We have to meet with that young man who made such a fuss riding up.”
Axel pushed his blanket aside. He had dark hair that was starting to grey and dark tan flesh. His companion had the same dark complexion, but his hair was neatly combed and a silvery colour. He was wearing black and violet robes.
Axel hurriedly put on some light armour and grabbed two blades from his shelf. “I’m a king, I shouldn’t have to deal with this shit,” he muttered.
“A joint king,” his companion reminded him.
“You should just handle this kind of stuff on your own, Zero,” Axel said. “Why do you need me to meet this guy?”
“The rumour is that he’s here to court the princess,” Zero said. “I thought you’d like to meet him too in case it proved true.”
Axel’s hand rested on the hilt of the longer blade. “I’ll kill him.”
“You will not,” Zero said. “If he is here for that we should allow her to decide whether she’s interested or not.”
“Fine,” Axel said. “but if he tries to buy her like she’s a damn piece of property, Imma kill him.”
“No,” Zero said. “If he tries that, I will kill him. You killed the last one.”
“That’s because she’s my daughter,” Axel said.
“No,” Zero said. “She’s my daughter. Her nose looks exactly like mine.”
“Does not,” Axel said. “But her eyes are shaped just like mine.”
“You’re delusional,” Zero said.
“No you,” Axel said.
The two walked to the throne room. The young man waiting was an elf with a fair face and bright red hair. He knelt down as they entered.
Zero sat in his throne first. Axel approached the young man and offered his hand. The young elf took it after a moment’s hesitation. Axel made sure to squeeze his hand very hard. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise,” the elf said, grimacing. Axel released his hand and took his own throne.
“I do have the honour of addressing kings Axel and Zero of Nervius?” he asked.
“Correct,” Zero said. “I understand you have something important to speak with us about?”
“That’s right,” he said. “I am Zell Arothos, representative of the distinguished Hestial League.”
“What, you want a donation?” Axel asked. Zero shot him a warning look.
“No, your highness,” Zell said. “Although many who are unfamiliar with our great purpose do make that error. I am here to give you a warning. A grave threat is upon our great Gaia. If we don’t act quickly all may be lost. I would warn you so that Nervius does not fall again.”
“What is the nature of this threat?” Zero asked.
“Those with tainted blood are growing in number,” Zell said. “If we don’t do something about these… hybrids, the pure bloods of elves, man and all other races may be lost. Even now they roam your streets and rob the more deserving of their valuables. I would urge you to exile the beasts from your land, and establish strict legislation to prevent more from being born.”
“Hybrids, huh?” Zero asked.
Walk with me a moment,” Axel said, rising from his throne. His arm went around the elf and he led him to the courtyard. “Is that the type of hybrid filth you’re talking about?” Axel pointed to a young woman. She had the pure black skin and the bright red eyes of a dark elf, but her ears weren’t quite as pointed and her features were less angular.
“Yes, your highness,” Zell said. “Probably part human to look at her. Quite disgusting.”
“That,” Axel said. “Is my daughter.” His blade was swiftly buried in the elf’s back. He twisted it a few times before slashing it upwards, tearing Zell in half from the torso up.
The blade glowed for a moment and the blood was drawn into it, leaving it a bright crimson hue for a moment before it regressed to its former appearance. Axel sheathed it.
I don’t know if the pure stuff is better or not, but I wouldn’t mind a few more of these.
“Quiet, Blutrünstig,” Axel said.
“Talking to your sword again?” Zero asked.
“A little,” Axel admitted. He waved a guard over. “Put his head on a pike and put a nice sign under it informing the populace that he dared threaten the princess.”
“It’s in two pieces. How am I supposed to…”
“You’ll figure something out,” Axel said.
“That may have been a mistake,” Zero said.
“How so?” Axel asked.
“Now they’ll know that m… our daughter is one of their targets,” Zero said.
“I did not consider that,” Axel said.
“Maybe…” Zero began.
The two turned. “Axra, what can Daddy do for you?” Axel asked.
“Anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask,” Zero added.
“Did something happen?” Axra asked.
“No, of course not,” Axel said.
“Nothing at all,” Zero agreed.
“But there’s blood on the ground and you’re both acting strange,” Axra said.
“That was just a teensy little issue,” Axel said.
“Completely solved now,” Zero said. “Nothing to worry about in the slightest. Now, you wanted to talk to us?”
“Oh, yes,” Axra said. “I’d like your permission to take a journey to the wastes.”
“The wastes?” Axel asked. “That’s…”
“A great idea,” Zero interrupted. “We’ll get your supplies all ready. Just remember to be careful, okay?”
“Yes, Father,” Axra said. She kissed Zero on the cheek and turned to kiss Axel’s cheek as well. “I’ll go pack right away.”
The two watched her go and Axel turned to Zero. “What in Tartarus are you doing?” Axel asked.
“This League clearly doesn’t know what our daughter looks like,” Zero said. “She’ll be safe enough on her journey while we deal with them. And if they send assassins…”
“We capture and torture information out of them?” Axel asked.
“I was thinking that we could get a young half elf to come live with us as a substitute,” Zero said.
“Less good, but it’ll work,” Axel said. “Don’t you think we should send some guards with her, though?”
“She’d be against it,” Zero said. “Besides, she’s perfectly capable. Gods know we both spent our share of time wandering into dangerous areas when we were her age.”
“No one ever said we were good role models,” Axel said. “Hades’ sake, Man. We have done a lot of stupid shit.”
“True enough,” Zero said. “But it’s always worked out well enough and she’s smarter than we ever were.”
“You’re up to something,” Axel said.
‘I’m going to make sure there’s a scrying gem in her provisions,” Zero said. “If she does get into serious trouble, I’ll be able to teleport us o her.”
“That works,” Axel said.
The castle was abuzz for the next couple weeks with preparations for Axra’s journey. Several bags were prepared with provisions and supplies. The strongest horse they could find was prepared and the time finally came. Axra stood at the gate with her fathers.
“Be sure to dress warmly,” Zero said. “I packed you some extra cloaks.”
“Thank you, Father,” Axra said.
“Be careful,” Axel said. “I want you to take this with you.” He handed Axra a short sword. There were light rose carvings decorating the blade. The hilt was long and slim with a rose-shaped grip. The hilt’s thin part had strange runes carved into it.
“Todberührung? Dad, I can’t take this. It’s yours.”
“I could never master that one anyway,” Axel said. “Don’t worry. I’ll still have Blutrünstig. Stay safe.”
“I will,” Axra said. “Don’t worry.”
“If you meet a guy you like, knock him out and drag him back here,” Zero said. “Kidding. But do bring him to meet us.”
“I understand,” Axra said. “But I don’t know if I’ll meet anyone in the Wastes.”
“Don’t be gone too long,” Axel said. “And send us messages regularly.”
“I’ll come back before you know it,” Axra said. “And I packed plenty of wands of sending.” She hugged Axel and then Zero. “I love you Father, Dad” She mounted her horse and rode into the distance.