“How goes your mission, little one?” I was held up by two things, as the voice grated on my skin.
I opened my eyes and was looking straight into the face of the enemy. I growled, “It goes better than you hope it would.”
The white figured was cloaked in darkness, his black feathered wings bleeding into the midnight. His raven black hair ended at his hips, where the human part of him became Akiti. His legs were covered in black fur, before ending into clawed feet. His male parts were stark white and partially erect against the black fur. Scaly tentacles wrapped around his legs, going out from his outer thigh to the inside of his ankles. The ruler of the Akiti stood up from his throne of human skeletons. He walked down the three steps to place me at his chest height. He lightly grabbed my chin and lifted it so I would meet his red eyes. “You do not sound so confident. Maybe you need some motivation?”
I turned my head away and noticed that I was being held by chains, “I do not need anything from you.”
He smiled down at me, before bending slightly to be at my level, “I think seeing someone you die would be marvelous incentive to get you back here. Maybe if I kill a person a day, you would give up and bow down to me.”
“You would not dare!”
He slapped me across the face, “Do not think that because you escaped that I would not destroy your nation, princess.”
“You would not dare to because then you would have no slaves. And if you did kill my people, then I have no incentive to go back to you.” I told him, hoping that I would be persuasive enough to stop him from killing anyone.
“Hm.” He scoffed, “You make sense… But I think a little entertainment is in order.” He clapped his hands once and I watched two burly Akiti guards dragging in a small boy.
My eyes widened as they attached the boy’s wrists and ankles to another set of chains. “No…”
“How long do you think that he will last, princess?” He sat back onto his throne and nodded to the guards, “Make the boy scream, but do not kill him. I want her to learn her place.” He slowly stroked himself, anticipating the outcome.
The guards bowed in reply and I watched them use the pulley system to pull the chains. They did not jerk them, but slowly applied pressure. The boy lifted off the ground as the four chains tried to pull him into four different directions. The boy screamed as his body was pulled taunt.
“No! Stop it! Leave him alone!” I screamed.
Estein just smiled at me, “But this is just the beginning of my fun, little one.” The guards started to jerk the chains, as the boy was drawn taunt. I heard bones pop out of their sockets and the boy’s screams fill the cavern. I looked away, not able to watch. “Trust me, princess, you want to watch or else I can make this even worse.”
I trusted him to know that he would keep that promise and make things a lot worse if I did not watch. I looked towards the boy, “Mancki.” I used the Nevarrian respectable version for ‘boy’. I tried to make my voice soothing. “Mancki, pray with me.” The boy still screamed, but he nodded. “Kitarr, my Lord on high.”
He screamed, before continuing the death ritual prayer. We both knew that he was not going to survive, but I hope that it would help alleviate his pain. “Though the days-” The chains jerked again causing him to scream, “have passed us by!”
“Send his soul to the heavens above.” I said loudly, looking straight at Estein, as he stood up and moved towards the boy.
“May I be embraced-” The chains jerked even harder this time. He screamed even louder, as the guards kept a steady pressure on the chains to prevent him from finishing.
I yelled it for him, “into Kitarr’s holy love! Let him meet his maker and have peace in his heart. Back to the Earth, from where we all start!” I growled, but shouted, “Mancki! Fight the pain!”
He nodded, though his face was contorted with pain, “So mote it be! Blessed b-” Estein slammed his fist into the boy’s chest and I heard the sternum shatter. The guards slammed their weights onto the chains, ripping the boy apart.
I screamed and surged towards the falling pieces. The chains stopped me from reaching his remains. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Damn you to the bowels of Hell, Estein! I am the Princess Solaria of the Nevarra and I will destroy you and your people!”
Estein just clapped his hands, “Lovely masterpiece. Just lovely.” He looked to me, “A bloody mess and a lady in pain. It must be my lucky day.”
I felt sick to my stomach as wet sounds hit the floor. The organs of the boy were dripping onto the slick ground. He was torn straight down his breast bone and spine. “I will kill you, Estein. Even if it kills me to, I will destroy everything about you…” I cried for the boy.
He walked over to me and met my eyes, “I would love to see you try.” He rubbed his fully erect parts between my thighs. “When I defeat you, you will become my bride and the lesson to your people.” He walked away from me, just as icy cold water hit my body.
I jolted awake as the cold water pounded on my head and shoulders. I looked over to the two Princes, “What in the seven-”
Hiku used his magic to silence my voice. “You were going to wake up the Citadel with your screaming. We could not wake you up, and my magic would not work on you.”
Erick turned the water off. “That was one hell of a nightmare.”
I fell to my knees, but the two Princes caught me. I felt Hiku’s magick release my voice, “It was not a nightmare.” I looked down and noticed I was naked, but I did not care. I started to sob for the poor boy. The two Princes held me close, letting me cry for the child who died because of my actions. Erick was on my left and Hiku was on my right. They both had their arms wrapped around me until there were no tears left to cry.
I mumbled the full prayer for the boy’s soul, “Kitarr, my Lord on high… Thought the days have passed him by… Send his soul to the heavens above… May he be embraced into Kitarr’s holy love… Let him meet his maker and have peace in his heart… Back to the Earth, from where we all start… So mote it be… Blessed be.”
The Princes stayed silent through the whole process. After I finished the prayer, Erick spoke. “Will you tell us what happened?”
“It depends. What did I scream?” I grumbled, my voice hoarse from screaming and crying.
“Well, we now know who the Nevarrian Princess is.” Hiku looked at me, “Why did you lie to us?”
“Would you have believed me? I just want to stop Estein from destroying everything I love.”
“What do we call you?” Erick asked.
“Though my name is Solaria, my friends call me Sori.” I sighed. “I did not plan on actually getting to know people.” I shivered from the cold water drying on my skin. “Can we go to my room?”
Erick took off his shirt and put it on me, “Sure we can.”
I walked between them, using their body heat to stay warm. It was odd, but I felt safe between them. We reached my room and walked inside. I took off Erick’s shirt and handed it back to him. They both stared at my body, “Did you two not get a good look when I was in the cold shower?”
They both shook their heads, “We were trying to wake you up. We were not paying attention to anything beyond that.”
I stood in front of them, “Take a good look. I may sleep naked, but I do not enjoy strutting around sky clad.”
They both sat on the bed and I could feel their gaze on me. I climbed into the bed and used the blankets as modesty. They both sat on each side of me. Hiku spoke first, “What has happened?”
I told them about my mission, why I was looking for the Morokian Star, who Estein was and what I had seen while I was asleep. “He cannot attack me while I am awake and normally, he cannot while I sleep. After you knocked me out, where were we?”
Erick grinned, “We were in my room.”
“I do not feel in pain and I did not see blood between my legs, so I should still be untainted.”
Erick’s jaw dropped, so Hiku answered, “You are not tainted. As bad as it may seem… We lo…” His voice drifted off.
Erick seemed to get his mind back, “We both love you. We fell in love at first sight when we found you without your slippers looking at the painting.”
I looked to the two of them, “Can you take me back to that painting?!” I remembered why the painting seemed familiar. I pushed the covers off of me and crawled to the edge of the bed. I quickly put on a long skirt, as the Princes scrambled off my bed. I reached for my bra, finally having gotten used to wearing it. Hiku threw me a shirt and when I reached for my face mask, Erick held it above his head. “No. you do not get this back.”
I growled to both of them, but they just smiled and kissed me on each cheek. Hiku whispered into my ear, “We prefer seeing your lovely face.”
“I am not lovely.” I stomped away from them and quickly wrapped my feet. “Can we go now?”
I opened the door and followed the two Princes down the twisted hallways. Though I knew most of the Citadel by now, it still amazed me how vast it was and how easily I still became lost in it. They led me down a hallway that I sort of remembered. Everything in my mind singled down to that painting.
We turned the corner to see a thief holding the painting in his arms. Erick ran down the hallway, while Hiku lifted the thief into the air with his magick. The thief struggled, but Hiku held him bound. Erick caught the thief, just as Hiku’s magick dropped him.
I walked up to the thief and pulled the painting from his hands. I handed it to Hiku and nodded to Erick, “I have him.” Erick quickly let go, as I slammed the thief into the wall. “I know Estein sent you. Tell me what you know and we might let you live.”
The thief spat at me, and I moved out of the way before the spittle would have hit me. I pushed him into the wall again, before grabbing his arm. “The Akiti may have numbers, but I doubt that they have the comprehensive knowledge of a body.” I took one of his fingers and snapped it easily. The thief yelled, but Hiku stopped his voice.
“Princess, we cannot allow him to scream.” Erick warned.
I looked over my shoulder to him, “I think this Citadel has a place for tortures and executions, no?”
The two Princes became pale, as I looked back to the thief. “Are you willing to talk?”
He growled and shook his head. I smiled to him as I slammed my fist into his sternum. He gasped for air, as Hiku tried to pull me back, “Sori, stop this.”
I shrugged him off. “Estein sent him for a reason. If we do not find out why, then we might not have another chance.” I smiled to the thief, “One more chance to survive.”
The thief thought about it, before he nodded slowly. Hiku released his voice. The thief grinned to me, “The Nevarrians are dying and here you are playing house to a pair of Princes.”
I slammed his head into the wall. “Tell me what I want to know.”
“Estein wants the painting and a book written in Gaeliious.” He then bit his tongue so hard, he started to bleed.
“No, no no!” I turned to Hiku. “He cannot die!”
Hiku nodded and attempted to heal the tongue, but something about the Akiti blocked his magick. “I cannot heal it. White magick does not work on him…”
We all watched the Akiti thief drown in his own blood. The last words that bubbled out of the Akiti’s mouth were slurred, but still understood, “Nevarrian bitch, you will bow down to my master and he will use you to destroy the Gods…” The Akiti died a hard death, but it was not painful enough for my tastes.
I went to slam my foot into his face, but Erick grabbed me around the waist and stopped me. “That is enough Sori. We have the painting and he is already dead.”
“Can I at least set him on fire?” I mumbled, not caring if they heard me.
A blaze alit around the body, burning only it. Erick set me down on the ground. I looked to Hiku and saw a look of satisfaction on his face. We watched the fire burn itself out, leaving only ash where the Akiti thief died. I was amazed at the control Hiku had of the fire, not allowing it to burn more than the intended target.
I turned to the Princes, “I apologize for my behavior…”
They both grabbed my arms and we started to walk back to my room, “Everything will be fine, Princess. We have the painting and the book.” Hiku grinned to me, taking the edge off my anger.
“What happens next?” Erick asked the two of us as we reached my room’s door.
I opened the door and Hiku set the painting on the bed. “Hiku, do you still have the book?”
Hiku set the book on the bed next to the painting. “Gaeliious… No wonder we could not understand it.”
I looked at the painting, “Erick, I have to take the painting and the book, find someone who speaks Gaeliious and continue my journey.” I yawned, “I think that before I can even do that, I need to sleep.”
I moved the painting and the book into the armoire and locked it. I placed the key into one of my gloves and put them both on. I looked to the two Princes, “I think that it would be for the best that we separate here.” I walked up to both of them and lightly touched their cheeks, “You two do not need to become further entwined with me and my mission. It would be safer for you two to stay here.”
I turned away from them and undressed. I heard the door close and I knew that what I had done was for the best. These two were the future rulers of their kingdoms. The more they became entangled in my mess, the worse it would be for them.
I turned around to climb into my bed and found the both of them lying under the blankets. I tried not to smile, but could not help it. “I guess you two can sleep here. I do mean it though when I said that I need to continue this alone.” I crawled over Erick and between the two of them. They lifted the blankets and that is when I noticed they were down to their undergarments as well. I turned bright red, but settled in between the two of them. They both held onto me, wrapping their arms around me.
I was thoroughly trapped between them. Despite the blood and terror of today, we all fell asleep easily.