Chapter 26: Beings of a Pod
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It had been 4 days since he had finally woken up. “Oh? Are you okay dear boy?” It was one of Regalia’s attendants. Her name must’ve been Mala or Mela or something along those lines. He was never good with names. Nor did he like the nobles and upper class in the slightest. He lay back in the giant bed and didn’t respond. Merely, remained staring at the ceiling above. 

The bed was quite comfortable as well. It could easily hold 10 people on it and the material felt as if they had stolen pieces of clouds from the sky. His mind felt very hazy. But aside from a light headache, he didn’t feel too off. 

The attendant walked over to him and placed a hand on his forehead. “Is everything okay? Do you remember anything?”. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sure what the woman was talking about. He had just fallen asleep in the car, watching the rain fall. “Yes of course, everything’s fine. Why wouldn’t it be?”

The woman blinked, dumbfounded. “Sir, you’ve been asleep now for 4 days… when they found you in the carriage, you were deathly cold and breaking out in sweats.”

“Huh??” He didn’t recall anything like that having happened. Four days though?? That’s a huge concerning factor. Their invitation to Eris would have been initiated just the day before. Yet, he didn’t quite feel any threatening presence thus-far. This was an oddity. He thought for certain that any of their attempts to conspire against the Duke would have led to certain death. Yet, here he was, feeling contempt.

“Um… is it okay. I need to get some fresh air.”

“Ah. I see. I’ll have some of the retainers called fourth immediately.”

“Um- no, that’s quite fine. I wouldn’t really require it.”

“Unfortunately, there are no exceptions. I’m under strict orders that you are constantly surveilled. You’re an important wheel in the cogs you know, your highness. If anything happens to you prior to your coronation, we may just all find ourselves in tatters.”

He almost grimaced, hearing himself referred to as ‘your highness’. The nobles had already introduced him as such, according to the plan. Everyone here truly believes he is of relation to the king. The rest of the world would just have to find out a little bit later.

He sighed. “Very well. Can you please leave? I’d like to change.” She nodded, and promptly left the room. 

I’ve been asleep for four days…. Truly? I’ve never slept that long. In fact, I can’t even sleep for more than 3 hours.

He would often be plagued by night terrors. All the different possibilities of death constantly played in his head whenever he was asleep. It was like the ability worked even in his dreams, guiding him from one death, to another, to another, and away from yet another. It was a tiring and troublesome ailment. 

He got up and stretched. His bones snapping into place, made the same noise a bag of dice may make if shaken roughly. He stepped off the edge of the bed, threw on a robe and looked out of the balcony that overlooked his room. Unlike count Jidan’s estate, Regalia’s estate overlooked the city of Alon. 

It was one of the three biggest cities in the country. This was also the city that is to be called the new capital, after the fall of Godon. From atop this hill where the castle lay, Azer could see everything. The city was a beautiful multi-layered piece of land. The buildings were built like they were on different floors, with constant stairways leading to higher sections of the city. 

From here, he could see the markets, bustling with vendors and many shopping centers. A couple miles further, they have an arena where many people come to train and practice fighting. Every year, they have a tournament that a majority of the world comes to participate in. Perhaps he could watch it for the first time this time around. It was only a couple months away. 

He threw on an exquisite silk robe that held itself together with a black sash. He wore fine material from head to toe. When he was younger he used to dream about living this same life-style, but as he grew older, he soon grew more complacent with his life-style. It still felt weird walking around in such wealth.

There was a light knock on the door. “Young master. Earl Regalia has just arrived. If you may permit, he’d like to have a word with you.” 

 

“I’ll be out soon.”

He yawned, went to the bathroom and began to set his appearance straight. He realized he must’ve done this completely backwards, donning on the robe before brushing his teeth was a mistaken habit he’ll have to overcome at some point. 

He promptly left his room and ran downstairs to meet with the Earl. The estate was huge. He was staying on the 6th floor, the very top. He wasn’t even sure why an estate would need 6 floors. The Earl rarely had enough retainers to justify a hold this big. He glided down the long spiraling stairway and found himself face to face with the Earl at the entrance.

“Ah, you’re awake, young master. I was beginning to get worried.” Azer was amused. So its young master instead of brat this time around huh? “I just got extremely fatigued, is all… honestly.”

“Do you have a history of such cases?” 

Though he felt no malice or warning flag from the question, you could tell it was meant to gauge his healthiness as a king. Regardless of if the answer was yes, he would still be in no danger. For who else could they choose to replace the king in such a short notice, with war hounding at their gates.

“No, nothing like that.”

“I see… care to go for a walk? I’ll be acting as your retainer for the day.”

That took him off guard. However, he simply nodded. Perhaps this might be a good opportunity to learn more and more about his soon to be subjects. In contrast, Regalia may simply be doing this to learn more and more about his soon to be king. 

“Are you sure you should be traveling without a retainer yourself?” Azer asked. 

“Oh no worries, this is my domain. Everyone here has the utmost respect for me. And besides, I do know a thing or two about self-defense.” 

“I see…”

“Though nothing as strong as Duke Eris of course.” 

Azer laughed. “Ah of course not. The man is unparalleled in this country.”

“Unparalleled you say?” 

A ball crossed their path and some kids scattered around, chasing after it, willfully ignorant of the world around them. They stopped and waited for the rush of kids to brush past them, scuttling off to another alleyway in their reckless game of catch the leader.

“Well, that may just very well be true. But that was not quite the case. You see just 8 years ago, he had a rival within this very same country. That bout has still not been settled. Thus, East Goumei and West Goumei.”

Ah thats right… West Goumei also has an Eris level warrior captain. 

“I do suppose I have to get on and tell you. Though I suspect you already know.” After a good several minutes of walking they were already at the markets. Just the aroma of the place made his mouth water. He was suddenly reminded of the fact that he hadn’t eaten in four days. 

His stomach complained and growled as if he had a hungry beast laying dormant within. Regalia and him simply shared a silent glance. For a moment, it felt as if the entire market stopped to stare at the grumbling noise coming from his belly.

The many merchants who heard shouted even louder, advertising their best food and deals. It became apparent they were not going to be able to have any conversation until they had satisfied his belly.

“LORD REGALIA!! ONLY THE BEST SEAFOOD IN ALL THE GREAT NATIONS. FRIED TALAMA AND ESKRIN!!” The chef proudly displayed his steaming hot dish. He wasn’t sure how the man was still holding it from the bottom of the tray, his hands must have been burning. 

Four colorful scaled fish lay on a bed of rice, seaweed, and fried eskrin. The transparent sauce coating the entire dish made everything glisten like silver. He had never seen anything like this. They were both artists, and chefs.

 

(Authors Note: Eskrin is not an existing type of fish or dish. Just a made up common dish in their world)

He looked up at Regalia excitedly, clearly asking for permission to engorge on some. Regalia simply shrugged and nodded. 

“Young man! Come here, try some real flavor.” He wasn’t even done stuffing his face before his attention was grabbed by another vendor offering marinated steak, encased in egg whites and Ribs.

“Oh how about mine too.”

 

“While your at it? Come come, give this a taste! There’s nothing better in all the country.”

“Oh, don’t be so shy. Clearly you haven’t lived enough. Here try some of my Tatak Prime Recipe”

“Hey how ab-”

This went on for a good 40 minutes. By the time he was done, his stomach was full enough to have made up for years of hunger. He had one beef stick left in his hands, before he finally was forced to turn everyone down. He just might die from overeating long before his coronation.  Would that even count as regicide?

Everything tasted just way too good. He was unaware food could be prepared in such a way. Regalia coughed and cleaned off the child's face with a towel. “You have to learn proper eating etiquette, that’s for sure. And stop talking with your mouth full.”

He gulped. “Ah, I’m sorry. This is just amazing!” Regalia watched the childs expression, but guess it could not be helped. He was still a child after all. “How old are you Azer?”

He counted on his hands. “Mmh… 13.” He knew it was 3 numbers after he first turned ten. That was the only thing he did know. “Very well. You seemed quite intelligent in our meetings, but I do suppose there’s a limit to what a commoner could know right off the bat. We’ll have you privately tutored as well.”

“Erm… what was it you were telling me earlier?”

“Ah that’s right, about Duke Er-”

The beef skewer Azer was holding dropped onto the floor, and he immediately stopped.  “Hm? Is everything okay?”

 

DON’T MOVE….

DON’T STARE…..

DON’T BREATHE….

DON’T BLINK….

DON’T-

 

His breath started picking up again. He couldn’t understand what it was. Regalia looked down at the boy and followed his line of sight.

There, in front of them, was a young girl dressed in black and gold robes. Her long red hair rested on her shoulders along with a young girl. They were looking around at the place and trying different types of foods just as he was doing earlier as well.

Could it perhaps be that he’s interested in that girl? There’s something different about her appearance, that’s for sure. She doesn’t look unattractive by any means. Perhaps that’s just his type.

“Hmm… are you perhaps interested in that gi-.. Young master? Young Master!”

Why’d I forget about it all this time… yes. I remember now.

The energy he got from this girl reminded him of that night. He finally recalled what he saw. It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen… but the most terrifying. That night…. 

I could simply try and kill the council itself… that might work out fairly well…. -nah, that’s wishful thinking.

There is also the option to run and escape back to the orphanage.  No. He would never survive that perilous journey.

Ah that’s it… I must find a way to warn Eris of their assassination attempts. 

 

Whatever thoughts he was having, stopped entirely. There was an overwhelming feeling of DANGER. DO NOT MOVE. DO NOT AVERT YOUR GAZE. DO NOT BREATH. DO NOT BLINK.

At that time, he hadn’t the slightest idea of why the warning was given. But by remaining absolutely still, he was able to catch sight of what the warnings were telling him. From his corner of vision a man...child? No… he was much older. This was a being that transgressed time. 

 

The being finally walked into his field of vision. A man bathed in white. His hair, his eyes, his clothes, and even his visible aura that was around him. All the same shade of white. When he stepped on the ground, it felt like the man made no traces on the earth. In fact, that was the most tranquil moment he had ever felt. Nature, wind, and even the rain stopped when this man strolled by. 

 

His sensory had attempted to tell him to act nonexistent. When his eyes met those cold white eyes, there was some admiration sensed from the being he saw. He wasn’t sure if a creature like that could even feel admiration, but he definitely felt it. Perhaps it was because he acted just as his senses told him to. He was not sure.

 

One thing for sure, he would never forget the face of whoever he saw just then. The being he saw didn’t look too different in appearance from the one he was staring at just now. But also there was a sense of caution that his senses of danger armed up. There was a huge possibility of using every action carefully, as if it can tip a scale that would cause trouble not just for you, but possibly for everyone around you.

 

With this current being in front of him, he felt the same limitations of caution. However, one told him to be extra cautious and completely limited every action his body could do. In this case, the being she saw, there was a latent warning of what not to do speaking in his mind. With this one, there was just a huge trace around of what not to say. 

 

The synopsis of that previous encounter began to fill his mind, and his chest began to increase in density. Every breath was caught in the moment. His mind was even unaware of what to say to the same energy it felt before. There were beings beyond its ability to even calculate.

 

Soon, he felt the world slipping around.

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