"𝒟𝑒𝒶𝓉𝒽 𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓋𝑒𝓈 𝒶 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓉𝒶𝒸𝒽𝑒 𝓃𝑜 𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝒸𝒶𝓃 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓁, 𝓁𝑜𝓋𝑒 𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓋𝑒𝓈 𝒶 𝓂𝑒𝓂𝑜𝓇𝓎 𝓃𝑜 𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝒸𝒶𝓃 𝓈𝓉𝑒𝒶𝓁."
~ These days ~
The landscape turned into white before winter could officially enter. There wasn't a soul on the streets except one woman. The silence swinging through the city was only broken by the crackling of the virgin snow under her boots and her loud swearing. Tired of shaking the snow off her feet after each step, she let the icy rain soak her worn out shoes and socks. It didn't matter anyway since the still pouring snow had soaked her fur coat for at least two hours now and water could be squeezed from her long, gray hair.
The journey took longer than she had first calculated. She didn't expect the roads to be closed and the vehicles not working because of the rough weather. Maybe if she could fly, she could have saved time with it. Although in a weather like this, it might have just broken off her ice-frozen wings.
The time just passed. The woman left more and more distance behind herself but still not seeing her goal, her anger grew, so did the loudness of her voice. She was about to turn around and go back from where she came when she heard wings flapping above her head. Recognizing the characteristic sound almost immediately, she didn't even look up at the sky before laying down into the white snow covering the ground. Supporting the weight of her body with both of her hands, she let her head hang back and closed her eyes. She felt her anger slowly leave her body and couldn't hold back the smile blossoming on her face. She started to hum a song and slightly swayed her body at the tune.
- I could have been anyone, - said the stranger. The woman just smiled wider and continued to hum even louder.
- I could have killed you, - the stranger continued, now letting his feet touch the ground. Hearing no footsteps, the woman slowly opened her eyes and looked up at the man.
- I knew it was you, - she pointed to the man's unevenly fluttering wings. He did not have an accident, that is how he was born. It also took him much longer to learn how to fly than the others at his age. Probably because he was a hybrid. It is no coincidence that angels and demons tended to avoid each other. It was impossible for them to have healthy children. And which demon wanted an heir without it being perfect. There was no such demon.
Not worth answering, the stranger stepped closer to the woman and silently offered his help. With her trembling, frozen hands, she grabbed the outstretched arms with pleasure.
- You're old. - She just laughed and let herself be pulled off the ground.
- And you're too honest, - answered the woman, still laughing.
- You were unable to get to the main palace. It's pathetic. If I was you, I would relinquish my council rank and hand it over to someone younger. - The woman, now her head at the same level as the man's, gave him a sharp look.
- Believe me, son, I tried. But I could not count how many times my chosen one had rejected me.
- If you had not clung to one person, you could have retired a long time ago. - The woman didn't say anything, she just muttered softly under her nose. The man, despite not hearing what she was saying, was almost certain she was swearing again.
With a cold hand, the woman reached into one of the pockets of her jacket and fished out an old band. She tied her wet hair up and looked at the man expectantly. Her eyes ran from bottom to top. Standing in the white snow, the man looked even paler now. His thigh-high boots almost completely covered his black pants which were so tight, they looked as if they were his second layer of skin. Despite the frost, there was no sign of a coat, just a simple, Victorian, white shirt. In his long, black, braided hair, the blood-red flowers were arranged irregularly. His lips moved as if he was talking to someone, but voice did not leave his mouth.
- Can we go? - asked the woman and the man's lips stopped immediately.
- Of course, Mistress!
The man, offering his hand, let the woman slide her palm into his, then began to chant a spell, displaying a gold-lit portal with it. When the portal no longer grew, the man stopped chanting and, still squeezing the woman's hand, entered it.
Leaving the golden portal, the woman's eyes caught on the castle. She couldn't believe her eyes. She could bet that the palace was much smaller last time she visited. How many people the crimson ruler killed so that his empire could grow so much with so little time? She couldn't dare to think much more of it.
Following the hybrid with their hands still interlocked, she quietly turned his head, scanning the area around them with her eyes. The lack of residents in the city was not strange since it was incredibly cold as winter approached and at the moment during the day as well in the city of Azarath.
Yes, during the day.
It is well known that the inhabitants of the planet Drystan came to rest during the day. The souls living underground woke up at night, and while it was not in the least impossible for someone to sleep with souls screaming in pain in their ears, the majority chose not to torture themselves. They worked in the evening so the noise of the city suppressed the noise of souls. It is quite unusual, however, that no servant could be spotted. It was not uncommon for the ruler to chase outsiders away from the castle, but the servants never left. And they never slept. The castle, usually eager for life, was now extremely quiet. Not even the gatekeeping dragon had any trace.
- Today is the anniversary, - said the man. It was as if he had read her mind. The woman looked sideways cautiously, but he didn't look at her. With his stern face, he just stared ahead and not waiting for an answer, he continued.
- He died on this day. He loved the snow. Even today, it only falls because of him. - The woman knew right away what it was all about. No wonder the weather got this cold before winter. She had never been to Drystan in November so she could not have known that there was complete silence on the entire planet at this time. The woman not only did not remember the anniversary, but she even forgot it was November. Maybe she should have come later. She would have missed this mournful mood.
- I remember the first time he saw snow, - continued the hybrid still looking ahead. His slow steps were heavy, as if he didn't have enough strength to lift his legs.
- I told him that although it looked clear, the snow was dirty. But he didn't listen to me. He wanted to taste it anyway. He also became ill the next day. - The woman listened quietly, imagining what the man just told her and pulled her lips to a small smile. Letting go of his hand, she instead put her arm around the man and laid her head on his shoulder.
- Is he still talking to you? - The man didn't answer, he just nodded.
When they reached the gate, the woman straightened up and let go of the man. She ran his eyes through the black doors adorned with gold. She also noticed the gold decoration shined slightly. It wasn't supposed to be.
- As a matter of fact, I came because of him. - The man paused for a moment, but immediately continued on his way. Saying nothing, he stared forward rigidly and raised his hand, opening the huge doors. When the woman did not receive an answer, she continued.
- A cup of tea would be nice. Would you be so kind and invite me?
- Of course, Mistress.
It was almost possible to cut the tension in the air. She was now sure she had come at the wrong time, but her news could not wait.
The man, apart from his tightened jaw with nervousness and slightly trembling hands, seemed quite calm. Other times, the house would have trembled with the man a long time ago as Serenity was connected to the man's soul. If he was angry, the house rumbled with him. If he was happy, Serenity was flooding every room with warmth.
There was complete darkness in the house, not a single candle burning. The curtains were drawn one by one, doors and windows closed. Aside from the furnitures, the house looked as if it hadn't been inhabited for years. Arriving in the living room, the woman's attention was drawn to the thick layer of dusk on the bookshelves and coffee table.
Since when have the servants not worked? Since when is there an unfortunate man left alone in this huge castle? She better not know. She would have killed every single servant a long time ago if she had found out sooner. But now she had bigger problems to worry about.
- I think we should go to the kitchen. As you can see, the staff hasn't really cleaned in the last few months.
- I'm not too picky, - she said and looked down at herself.
- But I would gladly accept dry clothes if you would be so kind.
- Of course. - With that, the man muttered a spell and the woman's dress was changed. She looked down again but now with satisfaction in her eyes. A black dress stretched across her body. It looked like it was handmade, the blood-red flowers were eye-catchingly embroidered all over the fabric. Traditional Drystan clothing. It will do just right.
- Mistress, - the man gestured to the kitchen with one hand.
When they were both sitting in the company of a cup of tea in their hands, the man spoke again.
- Would you explain exactly why you came? You always tell me beforehand. - The woman nodded and slowly put the cup on the kitchen table. She thought it would be better to have her hands free. You could never know when you were about to be attacked. Her body tensed slightly. As she spoke, she watched the man sitting across from her carefully.
- As you know, the Grand Games of Ashwany will be next summer. I know that every single time so far I have begged in vain for you to participate, but this time I also know that you will be complying with my request. - When she still didn't feel any murderous intent, she continued with more courage.
- Although the council forbade me to reveal it to anyone, especially you for reasons you probably understand, I think if I didn't pass this information onto you, I could say goodbye to my life. - The man raised an eyebrow at this and motioned for her to continue.
- You know, it's going to be the 100th anniversary of the games. The council decided, in honor of Ashwany and the games, the final winner will win something unexpected.
- And what is that prize that is so special that even I can not miss it myself? - The woman pulled her mouth to a cynical smile and leaned back in her chair. She put her hands behind her head and clasped her fingers together. She began to move her eyebrows playfully. "Suicide," whispered something in her ears but she enjoyed the situation so much, forgetting for a moment who she was facing, that she had not taken notice of it.
- A golden egg, - said the woman.
- To be more precise, Dolores and Lucious' golden egg, - and a huge thunder broke out. The woman closed her eyes reflexively and put her hands on her ears. She was sure that if she hadn't, her ears would have ringed for days.
When she felt the temperature drop drastically, her eyes immediately popped out, but before she could move a finger of hers, she was pushed by a strong wind and slammed back with her chair. She could barely catch things, everything happened so fast. Her throat was suddenly clenched by arms, cutting off the air's way. Immediately she, too, reached toward her neck and tried to get the hands off herself which kept squeezing his neck. Looking up, she saw the man's braided hair, now standing in the sky and the whites of his eyes were replaced by black. There was no sign of golden magic, the man instead was surrounded by fiery red magic. The magic was moving around him as if he had been sniffed by a tornado.
"Maybe I shouldn't have provoked him after all."
The woman's air was running out, her vision became more and more hazy. She was pretty sure she would die here and then.
- It's not Dolores' egg, it's Lucious', - growled the man in an unrecognizable voice. He was about to go toward the woman when the red tornado had disappeared and the ground began to glow golden under his feet. The man did not move, as if his feet were rooted to the ground. Along with the tornado, the hands clasping the woman's neck also disappeared.
With still a slightly foggy head, but already with oxygen in her lungs, she slowly pulled herself off the ground with the help of the chair. She let the man and his lover discuss what had just happened and she slowly began to dust off her clothes. She tried to smooth her locks slipped out of her clenched hair back to the top of her head as much as possible, though with not much of a success.
- I would argue with that but as you wish, - she spoke again, confident that she would not be attacked again thanks to the angel.
- Anyway, I think the egg belongs to you, that's why I came. To warn you. That egg was created by Ashwany. It is endowed with an awful lot of power. It can not fall into the wrong hands.
- You must go, - growled the man and the woman could feel his anger did not disappear fully.
- We have to talk about this one day eventually. I came too late, we only have a little over half a year until the games.
- I will open a portal for you to leave, - and that's exactly what he did. He couldn't get himself to answer normally. He was already having a hard time listening all the way through. Muttering the same spell he did when he brought themselves here, he opened another gate but this time it was not gold but black. He didn't wait for the woman to enter. He started walking out of the kitchen without a word but before he could leave her guest alone, the woman spoke for the last time.
- You use his spell, you are still connected to him. Even if I was blind I could see that you can not forget him and you do not want to either. So if not for the sake of saving our world, but at least for the child, take part in the competition. Lucious would not be happy either if the egg got to someone else, - and with that, she entered the portal and disappeared.
The man continued on his way, trembling, no one knew if it was out of anger or grief.
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