Chapter 9: The Eye of Darkness
Evangeline turned as one of the winged knights entered the throne room. From the badge he donned on his armor, she could determine that he came from the Crystal Fields.
“And what brings you here?” The knights of the Crystal Fields so incompetent that they had to be placed somewhere where it would be next-to-impossible to screw things up. Apparently, since the appearance of one of said knights did not bode well in Evangeline’s mind, next to the impossible still left a large opportunity for the possible to occur. The knight was taken aback by the princess’s harsh tone.
“Spit it out!”
“Yes M’Lady! Um… You see… something has been captured at the Crystal Fields and given your father, His Highness’s absence - that is not to say that M’Lady does not have the skill required to handle the situation, not at all - it’s that um…”
Evangeline raised a hand and silenced the knight mid-thought. She had heard enough. She was tired of all of her subjects doubting her abilities as princess. One day she would inherit the throne and she would not stand for the moaning of the kingdom when that day came. It was only because her father had never given her the chance to prove herself. Rarely did she even have the chance to leave the castle. If it remained like this, she would never be able to prove her skills and never be seen as the ruler her father was. She decided that if she were to handle the situation in the Crystal Fields she may gain a little respect from her fellow Dark Angels and prove to her father that she was responsible enough to begin handling the matters of the kingdom.
“Alright then.” Evangeline said, more to herself than the visiting knight. “Show me.”
Evangeline and the knight took to the skies. She followed him to the Crystal Fields and they landed in a spot just outside of a cave. Several other knights were gathered around its entrance.
“It’s in there, M’Lady…” The knight explained.
“You might have mentioned it was inside the Crystal Cavern!” Evangeline said.
“I didn’t think that it mattered M’Lady…”
The Crystal Cavern was home of not only the magic Crystals that inspired the cave and the surrounding fields’ namesake, but also to one of the most infamous monsters in the entire kingdom of Kalxyn. The monster itself had remained a mystery as to what it way, for no one had ever came out of the Cavern to finish the report. It was true that the Crystals of these places had adapted to capturing things that didn’t have a place within them, but they had adapted both to the Dark Angels as well as the monster over the centuries. It was no wonder the knights had not had the heart to enter the cave to find what had been captured themselves.
“Alright, let’s get this over with.” Evangeline said, drawing her blade. There were several nervous murmurs from the knights. “None of that! Now come!” And the princess lead the hesitant knights to the depths of the Crystal Cavern.
The knights did not feel reassured behind the princess that pointed her sword at every sound that echoed off of the cave walls. Sure, there were some strange noises to be heard there, but on sword was not enough to point at each direction they came from. They were close to reaching the center of the Crystal Cavern, but had not yet found the source of the Crystal’s strange behavior that indicated something captured. However, the motley group could sense the energy coming from the Crystals that guided them, and knew that they were getting closer.
It was in the center that they found what caused the disturbance. The routes from the center lead in several different directions, many of which ended in a completely different kingdom. The knights were all to aware of this, but Evangeline who had never heard of such a thing was surprised to see them.
On the ceiling of the Cavern, encased in blue and pink Crystals was a creature Evangeline first mistook for a fellow Dark Angel. Only it’s face remained uncovered by the Crystals, and from their light she saw the creature was an entirely different species from her own. The creature possessed one wing, and it lacked any sort of feathers so that it rather resembled that of a dragon or bat. And instead of coming from his back, the wing sprouted from his head. Not very efficient… Evangeline speculated.
Evangeline pointed her blade at the creature on the ceiling. The creature - male - stared down at the group, paying more attention to the nervous knights then to Evangeline.
“Hey!” Evangeline shouted, startling all of the knights and commanding the attention of the creature on the ceiling. “Should you be intelligent enough to speak, tell us what you are and why you dare trespass onto the territory of the Dark Angels!”
The creature did not not say anything but instead struggled against the Crystals. Several times he jerked his head to the left in an odd fashion. Evangeline realized the creature was trying to point at something. She eyed where he was focused and discovered a hat lying on the cave floor. She motioned for a knight to go over and investigate.
One knight approached the hat, first testing with his sword to see if it was a trick. When he deemed it safe, he picked the hat up to get a closer look. Evangeline could not see what he was doing, but there was an eerily silent moment as the knight turned the hat over to look at it from every angle. Suddenly the knight dropped the hat and quickly stepped backwards, away from it. The rest of the group watched him, awaiting an answer.
“Sh…sh…Shi-Shigofumi!” The knight managed. The group of knights turned to look up at the creature in horror, Evangeline with anger.
“Demon! How dare you come here! You and your death letters are not welcome!”
In response, the creature spat, barely missing Evangeline’s face and shoulder.
“I do not come here carrying the letters of your people!” The creature announced, speaking for the first time while looking at each of those below him carefully in the eye before stopping at Evangeline. “I came to this cave searching for an alternate route for my assigned deliveries.”
“From which land do you come and where do you fly?” Evangeline could tell the creature was not lying about his purpose for being in the cave.
“I come from the kingdom of Garna and I am - I was en-route to the city Uvsonge.” While the creature looked to be serious, Evangeline could not be sure of this ‘Garna’ for she had never heard of such a place. Uvsonge, however, was a true city and his reasons for looking for different routes were justified - Uvsonge was difficult to get to due to weather, no matter which way you came from. Suddenly, Evangeline had an idea.
“I will grant you access to use the Cavern to get to and from your destination as you please.”
“M-M’Lady!” Several knights from behind muttered. Evangeline ignored their warnings and stayed focused on the creature above their heads.
“But?” Asked the Shigofumi Delivery Demon.
“I want you to eliminate whatever monster has been plaguing these caves for centuries.”
“And you don’t know what this monster may be?”
“No one has ever returned to confirm any theories.”
There was a pause before the Shigofumi spoke again.
“Excellent. I’ll do it, if you’ll be so kind as to release me first.”
With a snap of her fingers the Crystals encasing the Shigofumi shattered and released him. He dropped to the cave floor, using his wing to glide and land on his feet not far from Evangeline.
“Alright,” He said. Evangeline now had a good look at him. He was definitely a Shigofumi carrier. She could tell by the blue uniform and red mail bag. Now that his head was free, she saw he had blonde spiky hair that seemed to be unaffected by being trapped in Crystal. “Now, I think it best you leave me here to do this.”
“How will you know how to find it?” A knight asked. The Shigofumi looked at him with a coy smile.
“Well, from the sounds of it, this monster will find me first.”
Evangeline and the knights had been sent back outside of the Crystal Cavern to wait for the Shigofumi. The knights were still murmuring amongst themselves, unhappy that a stranger had been left alone in the Cavern with temporary access granted to him.
“Enough.” Evangeline growled. The knights grew silent to listen to their princess. “The chances of his survival are slim, so quit your complaining. ‘I’ll give you a signal when I’m finished.’ Hmph. His cocky attitude will only take him farther into the grasp of Hades.” There was a brief pause before a knight responded.
“Erm… M’Lady, as a Shigofumi, wouldn’t he work for Lord Hades?”
Evangeline was caught off guard by the comment. The knight was probably right, and if that were the case, the Shigofumi probably didn’t even have to worry about death, and, therefore, easily take down the monster lurking within the Crystal Cavern.
How could I have been so foolish? Evangeline had to think of something quickly. Her fellow Dark Angels would be furious once they learned their princess granted a stranger - being a Shigofumi nonetheless - to using the Cavern whenever he pleased.
A monstrous roar spilled out of the cave entrance and soon died down. The moment of silence that followed was cut short by another roar followed by a flash of blinding light that poured out of the cave’s mouth and into the eyes of Evangeline and her knights.
“The Crystals…!” One knight exclaimed. The light died down and all was quiet.
“Was… was that the signal?” Another knight asked. Never had any of them seen the Crystals react in such a way.
“Blades ready.” Evangeline ordered, drawing her own. “We’re going to find out.”
The march back to where they had first found the Shigofumi was less than pleasant. The Crystal lights kept flickering on and off, rather than illuminating the path they were trying to follow. There was no a peculiar stench in the air of the Cavern. Evangeline hoped it was that of Shigofumi. At the least, should they be left with the monster still alive, it might have been weak enough for her and her knights to take care of.
Evangeline was not entirely surprised - more disappointed and worried - when she saw the Shigofumi still standing. He was busy trying to remove his large sword from the neck of the dead beast - a large, panther-like demon with crystal teeth. He managed to free the sword - a gigantic thick blade almost as long as how high Evangeline stood - and she was surprised to see him then tuck the blade back within his mailbag with ease. She almost asked him what kind of enchantment that was, it could be quite useful, but she knew she had to focus on the task ahead.
“I slew your beast.” The Shigofumi stated. “And now, I’m behind schedule. So, if you’ll just grant me passage, as promised, I’ll be on my way.”
“I’m sorry.” Evangeline began. “But this place is sacred to our people, and I cannot allow just any stranger to pass through here. You have done us a great favor, surely we can reward you in some other way?” As Evangeline spoke, the Shigofumi’s head lowered and his face became hidden beneath in his scarf and beneath his hair.
“No…” He said. “It turns out, I am not worthy of a reward, for I have failed in my task…”
The Shigofumi reached for his mailbag and drew from it a sword. This blade was different from the one Evangeline had seen earlier. It was not nearly as long and much more narrow. The peculiar thing about the blade was the stamp posted on the center of the metal.
“This sword was meant to go to your father… But I’m sure the sender will not mind if it goes to something equally as horrid. For you see, Princess, the real monster in these caverns…is you.”
And the Shigofumi attacked.
The incompetent knights had at least been trained enough to recognize the incoming attack.
They had managed to distract and parry the Shigofumi’s attack so that their princess did not sustain as much damage as could have been. Instead of the sword finding its way through her heart as intended, the strike missed so much that the blade only made a cut just above her hip. Evangeline stood stunned by what had just occurred while the knight tried to incapacitate the Shigofumi. However, there was no possible way the knights could have handled the creature powerful enough to defeat a monster that plagued their people for centuries. The Shigofumi soon threw the knights off of him and took off flying down one of the tunnels. Ignoring her injury, Evangeline spread her wings and took off down the same tunnel after the Shigofumi.
You will not escape from me! The Crystals were glowing properly again, and she could use her powers to manipulate them to light the way towards her target.
Evangeline was surprised wen she flew out of another entrance of the Caverns and met a sky filled with twinkling stars and dark clouds.
How can this be possible? Evangeline wondered. It had been no later than noon when she and the knights had entered the cave for a second time. Of course, time was impossible to keep track of upon entering the Cavern, but surely seven hours had not passed.
“This is the kingdom of Garna! Land of Eternal Night!” A voice explained from somewhere above Evangeline. She looked up and saw the Shigofumi flying above her.
“You!” Evangeline growled. She noticed his flight pattern and realized that he could not hover or glide due to only having one wing. She might have felt sorry for him, but currently, she saw it as a weakness she could exploit. The Shigofumi may not have been a fast flyer, but he had enough time to react. By the time Evangeline reached him to strike, the Shigofumi had already pulled out a shield from his mailbag - again adorned with a stamp - and used it to block her attack. Evangeline put too much force into the blow and was thrown off balance. While she was distracted trying to regain composure, the Shigofumi dove to disappear amongst the trees of the forest below.
I refuse to be made a fool of! You will not escape me so easily! Evangeline followed after him, toughing down to the forest floor with grace. She held her blade at the ready, the nighttime sounds of an unfamiliar wood around her. She constantly circled around, suspicious of everything. Evangeline knew her opponent could not be far.
A hand reached out and pulled her back, remaining over her mouth to muffle her shriek.
“If you value your life, remain silent.” The Shigofumi whispered while keeping a firm hold around Evangeline’s waist. She tried to say ‘Never,’ but the incoherent response was cut short by a series of growls followed by huge thumps that shook the entire forest and every living thing in it.
Before her, a silver beast twenty feet high with fur that shimmered strangely, walked past. Its legs were four times as thick as the tree she and the Shigofumi were hiding behind. She dared not breath or look up at the face of the creature, but she was left to imagine the sort of teeth it possessed. The monster passed without noticing their presence. Once the sounds of its footsteps subsided into the distant forest, the Shigofumi released Evangeline.
“What was that?” Evangeline whispered, momentarily forgetting her quarrel with the Shigofumi.
“A Vilkard.” The Shigofumi answered casually at a regular volume, fully aware that the threat had passed. “They are native to our kingdom. They used to be gentle giants until the sun stopped rising. Now their diet only consists of souls.”
Evangeline looked and saw that where the Vilkard’s paws had touched the earth, the grass had dried up and turned black as though the life had been sapped from it.
“This, is a very screwed up kingdom.” Evangeline concluded.
“And yours isn’t?”
“Of course not!”
“How much do you actually know to say that for sure?”
Evangeline was silent.
“That’s what I thought.” The Shigofumi said, before noticing, “You’re injured.”
“No thanks to you,” Evangeline pointed out.
“Come with me.” The Shigofumi said after a moment of looking her over. He reached to grab her by the wrist and pull her after him, but she moved her hand out of the way just in time.
“Why should I?” She demanded to know. The Shigofumi stared at her.
“That blade was meant for your father, it was poisoned to end him slowly and painfully.” The Shigofumi explained after a moment.
“What?! Why would you have such a thing?! You really were delivering the letters of our people!”
“Yeesh, what’s with you Dark Angels and your hate of Shigofumi? Come, you should be worrying about the poison that’s in your system right now. We’ll go to the palace the queen will have a cure.”
The Shigofumi successfully managed to take Evangeline’s wrist and pull her through the forest. She followed silently contemplating his question about Dark Angels and Shigofumi. Several times they stopped to avoid more Vilkard, but all of them passed by without taking interest in the two winged creatures.
Evangeline snapped out of her trance when her boots suddenly clattered against silver stone. She followed the stone path up to a gigantic silver palace just head of the two of them. It shone in the moonlight, much like everything else in the kingdom. For the first time she had good look at the full moon that hung in the sky above them.
“My gods…” Evangeline muttered, referring to the blotch of red across the white moon as though it were stained with blood. The sight disappeared as they passed through the castle gate and into the courtyard.
The Shigofumi lead her through several halls and up and down a few flights of stairs that Evangeline didn’t really pay attention to. So much for an escape plan… She though after realizing her mistake. The Shigofumi lead her through the kitchen and into the dining hall where he sat her at the table and told her to wait. She obeyed, only because she was worried about the threat of poison within her body and the fact she’d never be able to find her way out of the maze of a palace.
The Shigofumi soon returned carrying a strange fruit wrapped in seaweed. A woman Evangeline deemed none other than the queen herself followed behind him. Evangeline could tell she was queen by the way the woman carried herself. The queen wore a long silver gown and a silver crown atop her head of light blonde hair. The queen sat herself across from Evangeline on the other side of the table while the Shigofumi knelt to Evangeline’s left side and began unwrapping the fruit.
“If you’ll allow me…” He said quietly, holding the fruit over the wound.
“Since when do you care so much anyway?” Evangeline asked. The Shigofumi opened his mouth to respond, but the queen answered first.
“Well, you are our guest.” She said. “A host takes care of their guest, especially when they are the princess of a kingdom as powerful as Kalxyn.”
So this is what this is about? If they didn’t want to start a war, why did they bring me here?
“It was meant to be your father that joined us here this evening, but I suppose your presence will have the same effect.” The queen said.
Great, so now I’m being used as bait?
“Until then, I hope you enjoy your stay here.” The queen said. Evangeline screamed as the Shigofumi squeezed the juice of the fruit onto her wound.
“That stings!” She hissed. The Shigofumi chuckled.
“Well, what did you expect from the ambrosia infused plants created by Poseidon?” He said.
“What!? Are you saying that this fruit is stolen from a god?!” Evangeline would rather have the poison in her veins then the proof of a god’s stolen property.
“Don’t worry child,” The queen spoke gently. “It has been a long time since a god has sent foot in this land, Poseidon will not miss it much.” Evangeline couldn’t help but notice the queen’s sad tone as she said this. It sounded to Evangeline as though the gods and goddesses had abandoned the kingdom of Garna completely, but for what reason? The queen rose and excused herself.
“Ramiel, darling, won’t you show Evangeline her room?” The queen added before she walked out of the kitchen.
So your name is Ramiel… Evangeline thought while she looked at the Shigofumi carrier who had gotten up to escort her. In my country that means unwanted, but surely here it is different.
“This way Princess.” The Shigofumi said.
“What if I don’t want to?” Evangeline said. The Shigofumi stopped, looked at her, and sighed. He leaned against the doorway.
“The castle exits are sealed with magic so you can’t leave unless the queen gives you permission, etcetera, etcetera. Bottom line: you’re trapped until your favor comes to rescue you.” Evangeline looked at the bored Shigofumi skeptically. “If you don’t believe me you test it out for yourself. It’s not my fault if you get electrocuted.”
Evangeline decided she would take the Shigofumi seriously, and decided that after already having been poisoned that day, she would pass on electrocution.
“So I don’t have another choice?” She asked.
“Unless you want to sleep on the floor.”
Not what I meant… Evangeline sighed.
“This way Princess.” The Shigofumi repeated, and this time Evangeline rose to follow.
The Shigofumi lead her several flights of stairs including one spiral one, and Evangeline tried her best to make a mental map this time. They reached a hallway with fourteen rooms, each marked with a corresponding roman numeral. Ramiel took her to the end of the hall to the very first door labeled ‘I’ and used a key to unlock the door. The door swung open and he held it open for her as she stepped inside.
As soon as she did, the door closed behind her, and she expected the click of a lock to be heard indicating just how trapped she was. But it never came. She found it odd that these people were kind enough to give her access to the entire castle although she was being kept as prisoner. But she figured being trapped within the entire castle was good enough.
Her room was as silver as the rest of the castle, but it was accented with black in places. The curtains, bed sheets, desk, and chair, as well as the ornate mirror that hung on the wall were all black. A heavy contrast to the pure silver color. A book lay open on the desk as though someone had been in here not too long ago. Upon taking a closer look at the book, Evangeline saw that it was a journal, and at the top of the page, scrawled in fine script, was a date that was more than eight hundred years ago. Evangeline closed the book.
Eight hundred years! Curious, Evangeline opened up the book once more to a random page towards the back and read a passage.
It has been four hundred years since the founding of our kingdom of Garna. The hard work of the people and the gods has made this place beautiful and prosperous, as I hope it will continue to be in the future. But my time in this world grows short. I have no children; no one to take my place when I am gone. Someone with the right skills must take the throne or I fear that Garna will return to the desolate desert that it once was. For this task I turned to the gods seeking answers. The resolution they gave me is to host a game of sorts. The victor is the one who triumphs over all of the competitors, proving themselves worthy in aspects of knowledge, spirit, and strength. A few have warned me against this game, but I can see it doing no harm. The victor will be more than worthy of becoming the next ruler of Garna, and so long as they are a good one who cares for the country as much as I have tried to do, that is what matters in the end.
Evangeline closed the book once more. She sat down on the bed a little perturbed. She gazed outside of the window at the starry sky and stained moon. I doubt that this is what you had in mind… A glint in the corner of her eye caught her attention. It came from the mirror. She rose and walked up to it.
There was something peculiar about the mirror. She felt around the lower left corner of the mirror’s black frame and ended up pushing a button. She stepped back as the mirror panel flipped over revealing a portrait of a man. Evangeline read the date at the bottom indicating the man’s lifespan. She looked back up the white-haired man with a silver crown identical to that of the queen. Evangeline realized that she was face to face with the first king of Garna. Evangeline looked into the king’s black eyes and determined that, despite his white hair, he was rather youthful, and had a lot of willpower and energy flowing through him still, unlike the passage self she had read about. Evangeline pressed the button again, returning the portrait to its original reflective mirror state.
Evangeline walked back over to the bed and crawled into the covers. She tried to ignore that awkward nagging voice in her brain that this was his room and tried to ignore the feeling that she was being watched.
Your kingdom still lives… Evangeline thought. She could only imagine the only overwhelming sadness if he were to see what it had become over all of this time.
But, is that enough?
OMG! It's finished!!
I've spent the last two weeks writing this one update, and it's only part one of chapter nine! I think there are three parts, (can't remember what part three is about at the moment) but don't worry, part two will be more Housepets!-ish. This one is very OC centered so the only real thing about Housepets! tied into it is the mention of the game...
So I actually went back and re-typed this so that I would catch errors so hopefully that helped reduce the number of mistakes (Except at the end which was re-written after the old end was spell checked so, there might be issues there.)
Anyway, this is long. I guess to make up for taking so long to update again. Next part will probably be long too, but at least it will have something to do with Housepets!...
Spoiler: The next part will not be about Evangeline and Ramiel it will be focused on Peyton, Jacklyn, and Beverly, who get's a name change.
Also, life is a little less crazy because so far, I've been accepted into two out of three colleges that I applied to, I'm not worried about that third, and I'm done worrying about applications. Also another reason for my absence was my focus on the pieces I had to do for my Creative Writing class, but that's done now too! *victory dance*
So basically, the next part will be long but hopefully it won't take this long to post.
So until then,
SilentPrincess828 is out.
Last edited by SilentPrincess828
on Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.