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“Seize him!” said Jezebel, her voice sharp and full of anger.
Piet stepped forward to properly guard the queen and gave a hand signal to the nearby crimson guards.
Four guards stepped forward to capture Willy Wong.
“I won’t let you take me alive!” screamed Willy Wong.
He hurriedly scrambled to his feet and extended his left hand that had been hidden in his long robes to reveal a yellow [Magic Gem].
A bright yellow light flashed covering Willy Wong and the four guards, lasting for only a few seconds with no sound escaping from inside the light.
When the light disappeared the only one left standing was Willy Wong. His face was pale from using such a strong spell his breathing was uneven as he gasped for air.
The four crimson guards laid on the ground, blood pouring out of their eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.
“You dare resist and even kill her majesty’s elite guards?!” shouted Piet while removing his long whip from his waist. He flicked his wrist a few times creating loud cracks and snaps with the whip.
Willy Wong’s face became bloody as the whip made contact with it on both cheeks opening two gashes knocking him back onto his butt.
With a final flick of his hand, Piet sent the whip to coil around Willy Wong’s neck making it hard for him to breath.
Four more crimson guards marched forward and kicked the [Magic gem] out of Willy Wong’s weakened grasp before placing both his hands and feet into iron shackles.
Although he had tried to struggle to save his life he had failed. The four crimson guards watched him closely as Piet wound his whip back around his waist.
“Why have you been trying to kill Akira?” asked Jezebel.
The question stunned Willy Wong for a moment, “You know of him?” he asked not denying the accusation.
“Answer the question! Don’t waste her majesty’s time,” shouted Piet.
“The main branch of the magic guild sent orders to capture him either dead or alive.”
“Why are they trying to capture him?” asked Jezebel coldly.
“I don’t know, but the grandmasters normally don’t send out orders like this. There is most likely a reason why if you let me talk with them I can find out for you,” said Willy Wong trying to make a deal.
“I’ve heard enough. Let’s head back to the castle. Crimson guards make sure he does not escape on our walk back,” ordered Jezebel.
The once bustling streets were empty the whole way back to the castle. All the people enjoying the nightlife had either hid in the restaurants, taverns, or pleasure houses in order to not cross the path of the queen and risk being killed on a whim.
Once the queen and her escort returned to the castle the guards returned back to their barracks. Only the four who had been guarding Willy Wong stayed along with Piet.
“Take him to the playroom. Be sure to lock the door,” ordered Jezebel before leaving them and entering the castle.
Jezebel swiftly walked through the empty hallways to the guest room Akira was sleeping in.
She opened the door as quietly as she could and entered the room. Akira was at the far end of the room sleeping on a large comfortable bed.
A few quick and quiet steps brought her to the side of the bed where she could see Akira.
The little moonlight that passed through the window allowed Jezebel to see Akira’s calm sleeping face his breathing slow and even showing he was in a deep sleep.
Jezebel’s breathing became heavier as she grew more excited while watching the sleeping Akira.
She was tormented by indecision.
“Not yet! I must persevere! Soon, soon!,” she said quietly to herself before exiting the room without Akira even noticing.
Akira sat up fully refreshed. He let out a long yawn as he stretched a bit before getting out of bed.
He dressed quickly and walked to a large room that Jezebel had told him was where the guests would be served their meals.
Pushing the door open he found the room was not empty and Jezebel was already eating breakfast at the long table.
“Good morning,” said Akira as he walked over to the table and sat down next to her.
“Ah, your up! We have lots of things to do today!” said Jezebel happily upon seeing Akira.
“If it is okay with you I need to go and talk to my friend and let him know that everything is fine and inform him of the current plans,” said Akira grabbing a few pieces of thick freshly baked and buttered toast.
Hearing this Jezebel had a frown but it was immediately replaced with a smile.
“It’s fine. How long will you be gone for?” she asked calmly.
“If I leave now I can be back before noon,” said Akira.
“Just be sure to hurry up and take care of whatever you need to do. You should hurry back since I have some important news to tell you.”
Akira nodded and picked up another piece of toast before leaving the large room.
“Breakfast is ruined,” said Jezebel grumpily as she stood up, “I’ll have to amuse myself with my new toy in the playroom. I recently received some new tools from Cadia that I have been wanting to try out.”
“Where have you been?” asked Varbu, “We thought something bad must have happened to you.”
“Sorry, I was unable to leave last night and had to stay the night. I came as early as I could to let you guys know that I’m not dead,” said Akira joking.
“You’re lucky that you were not outside last night. I heard that the elite crimson guard was patrolling the streets all night. Whenever they come out of the castle it is never good,” said the old innkeeper.
“Crimson guard? Never heard of them. I didn’t have to worry about anything last night and had a good sleep. Before I go back to my friends place Varbu do you think you could go to the magic guild and get me the things on the list?” asked Akira.
“Why me? You know how people act towards me,” said Varbu.
“I can’t go. If I did I would just cause even more trouble for us since I have a bit of a past problem with them,” said Akira not explaining anything further.
“You can have one of the boys go and get whatever you need,” suggested the innkeeper.
“I’ll do it for a cheap price!” “No me!” “You already helped him it’s my turn!” the three boys shouted and pushed at each other trying to stand in front of Akira.
“Ow!” the three cried out as their heads were hit by the old man’s cane.
“I’ll let the three of you go get the items,” said Akira with a smile as he handed the list and money to buy the items.
“Thanks,” shouted the boys before running out the inn.
“Those boys,” sighed the innkeeper as if not sure what to do with them.
Less than an hour passed when the door to the inn slammed opened.
“We’re back!” the three teenage boys shouted together.
“Did you find everything?” asked Akira.
Kroll handed back the small coin purse Akira had given him before they left. The weight of the coin purse felt just as heavy as when he had given it to them. He opened it and looked inside to see the same amount of coins still inside.
“There was nothing we could do. For some reason, the magic guild has been shut down. There were even city guards guarding the entrances to the building,” said Kroll after seeing Akira’s puzzled face.
“Did they give any reason why it was shut down?” asked Varbu.
“Nope, they wouldn’t even talk to us. They just kept yelling at us to go away,” said Slar.
“Don’t worry about it, I was able to get information from the people that lived nearby,” said Kroll proudly.
“It wasn’t just you,” the other two complained.
“We heard from eyewitnesses that a large number of guards went to the magic guild last night, and now it’s closed this morning. So my guess is something must have happened last night,” said Kroll.
“Things are just getting weirder and weirder in this city,” grumbled the old innkeeper.
“Well if it’s closed then there is nothing we can do,” said Akira taking a few silver coins out and tossing them to the boys.
“Are you going back now? Or will you stay here for some time?” asked Varbu.
“I have to go meet with my friend. They told me that they had some important news to tell me so I can’t keep them waiting if I don’t come back tonight don’t worry,” said Akira placing his coin purse back into his small bag before exiting the inn.
Akira was lead back to the west tower tea room to again wait for the queen to finish whatever she was doing.
He sat down onto the comfortable couch to wait but after a few minutes he became drowsy and dozed off.
Akira woke up to the sound of footsteps and clanging metal armor walking up the stairs he didn’t know how much time had passed. Akira quickly wiped the drool off his face and ran his hand through his hair trying to make himself look presentable.
“You’re back earlier than I thought. I’m sorry that I made you wait,” said Jezebel with a cute sly smile as she came over to the couch and sat down next to Akira.
“No need to apologize, it was my fault for arriving early,” said Akira.
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A large splotch of blood at the hem of her dress caught Akira’s eye.
“Did you hurt yourself?” asked Akira in a somewhat worried tone after seeing the blood.
Jezebel looked down at the fresh blood on her dress, “Oh this? I just walked through the kitchen and got a bit of animal blood on it,” she said dismissing it as a minor thing.
“You can leave now Piet,” said Jezebel dismissing her personal guard.
When Piet left the room Jezebel’s gaze returned to Akira, her eyes shining brightly with excitement.
“Remember this morning when I told you that I had important news to tell you?” asked Jezebel.
Akira nodded his head.
“Well, the thing is… Tomorrow there will be a large banquet. With many different types of entertainment. You need to come since I have already reserved a spot for you,” she said not caring if Akira wanted to or not. She had already decided that he would go.
“Um… what’s the occasion?” asked Akira unsure what to make of this development.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing big. I’ll also make sure to get you a present or two,” she said happily.
“Present? You don’t have to do that, besides I don’t have anything for you,” said Akira trying to gracefully decline the need for her the queen, to give him a normal person a present.
“I WANT TO,” said Jezebel forcefully, a glint of light flashed across her eyes, her words and expression made it clear she would not budge from her decision.
“That’s fine I’ll receive as many as you give,” said Akira with a laugh trying to smooth over the awkwardness that he was feeling.
“How much do you remember of the etiquette classes you took when you were younger?”
Akira scratched his head in embarrassment and said, “I uh… kinda forgot all of it.”
“Fine, since you are going to join me at the banquet I’ll make sure to thoroughly teach you all you need to know so that you don’t embarrass me and yourself tomorrow. Some of the customs of this country are different from what we grew up with in Beorin. Don’t worry it’s not that different, and since you learned it once before it should be easy to relearn,” said Jezebel with a sly smile.
Akira was starting to get a feeling of dread. His most hated subject was etiquette class. He and Rodger had always goofed off or sneaked away when it was time to learn the proper ways of being a noble.
‘It’s going to be a long afternoon,’ though Akira. Wishing he could escape.
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