The Master and The Slave
It was a normal morning like any other, the king had just left on his warships along with the armada toward the strait that connects Targia and Weyshers, but before he left, he had given the most inspiring speech that tug on the people honors and pride toward their kingdom.
It's must be a better version than he had heard years ago because the cheers and applaud that come from the soldiers and people echoed throughout the entire kingdom.
He glances behind him, still seeing the hope and naivety from the new generations of soldiers. Even Neya and his people still joking around while making light of thing, but for him, it's not a bad thing joke around at this kind of time, it's great for morale.
But what bothering Nesto are wasn't the speech or the ignorance of the young soldiers, it was the king himself. Before he had left to board the warships, he had given Ariamnes the king sword. A sword that capable of unleashing a great power, it a common thing for a king to pass on the sword to his next heir.
But Nesto was fine with Ariamnes receiving the king sword, but what bothers him is the king's words.
"Ariamnes, if anything happens to me, you are next in line, but if anything happens to you... Nesto, you will be next in line after Ariamnes."
One thing that Nesto doesn't want is to become a king, he can't rule over people, so he argued: "How about Caretena?"
The king simply said: "She too young, she still has her naivety inside her, but if anything happens to you both she will be next in line. That is why she had to stay behind."
Nesto wanted to argue more, but the look he gave him was serious and there is no other way to convince him to change what he had set. His eyes fall on the king sword at Ariamnes side, he then let out a sigh while he kept on marching along with his comrade.
An elf quickens his pace until he reaches beside Nesto, and with an intimate smile of familiarity, he said: "Captain Nesto, it is an honor to fight alongside you once more."
"A veteran, it's rare to see a veteran in this army nowadays. Most of them usually retire by now," Nesto comments.
"True, most of us have retired, but I still have a grown daughter and her family living in the kingdom. That's why I'm still fighting, so they don't have too."
Nesto's gaze kept on gravitate toward the King sword, the veteran notices it, and said, "I see, the king has passed on the sword to the prince."
"You know, all the vet agrees that if you were chosen to be our king, we would support you," The veteran comments.
Nesto let out a small chuckle and said "I appreciated the support, but I don't want to be a king, a servant life suit me just fine and well. However, I do wonder what makes you support me in the first place?"
"Sir, I think you already know the answers. You did so much for us for the kingdom that enslaves you. You save so many and lose so many along the way, just like us. So we don't doubt your loyalty to the kingdom, and we understand your pain, even the Royal family treat you like one of them," the veteran answers.
"There is no doubt, that you will do good by us if you were chosen to become the king," the veteran continues.
"The first human kings, sound ridiculous... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ridicule what you believe, but it sounds so strange when I said it with my mouth," Nesto jest.
The silver-haired human cast his eyes at the carriage beside him, and smile when he sees the ginger-haired elf girl, sitting at the front while reading a book. He also sees the squad of humans he trains, joking around with each other while they are walking alongside the wagon behind the carriage.
"Excuse me, sir. I don't want to sound grim, but we have faced a war before, so I want to hear, how many of us will live?" The veteran asks while his face sour couple with a look of concern mix together.
The silver-haired man gaze travels across the marching army, his smile was gone and replaced with a flattened lip.
"Half," Nesto said while a deathly tone snags on that very word.
The veteran reaches underneath his chest armor, he pulls out a pocket watch and grips it tightly to his chest. Lowering his chin while closing both of his eyes, and mutters something so softly that Nesto couldn't hear it. Then he looks up again with newfound hope in his eyes and a smile that show no fears, but strengthen resolve.
"A pocket watch?" Nesto ask.
"Oh," he looks at the pocket watch after the silver-haired man points it out.
"My granddaughter gave it to me for my birthday."
"How old is she?" Nesto ask.
"Twelve years old, Sir. She the cutest thing that ever graces this world, Sir." The veteran said proudly with a large smile on his face.
"Oh, I disagree. I think my own Neya, is the cutest kid in this world," Nesto said proudly, and then he let out a chuckle.
"You don't believe me, sir? Then after this war, come to my house for dinner, and I will show her to you," The veteran said while letting out his own chuckle.
"I would love that," Nesto said.
Orpheus has begun to feel familiar with the taste of the salty air after a long two days of being on the warship. His body has begun swaying to the rhythm of the wave that hit the ship side. He hears footsteps coming near him from behind, he glances toward the source and sees Algotin accompany by her daughter; Venhana.
"My king, we have spotted a couple dozen ship in front of us," Algotin said.
"It true then what the third hand informs us," Orpheus said grimly.
"My king, will us survive through this? Their numbers seem to be a lot more than us," Algotin asks while a troubled look appears on his face.
"Of course, we will. we have the spirit and the goddess blessing on our side. Don't let despair take over you," Orpheus said with certainty in his voice that can convince anyone.
"Prepare your men, captain," Orpheus said, and Venhana nods her head then walk to her stations.
"You too need to ready yourself, Algotin," Orpheus said.
"I am ready, My king. I want to stay by your side," Algotin said.
"As you wish, but stay back a couple feet," Orpheus said.
After the elf lord took a couple step back, Orpheus begins to move his hand like water, swaying around in front of him in slow motion then he mutters, "Madeleine, please lend me your strength."
A beautiful golden light appears in small orb first then it begins to attach and coagulate until it forms a magic staff that has a blue crystal attach on top of it with a few metal rings on its side. Orpheus grabs the floating magic staff out from the air and felt the energy running through him that is coming from the staff.
"The queen magic staff, I never saw it this close before," Algotin let out as he gawks at the beauty of the magic staff.
Orpheus taps the bottom end of the magic staff on the warship body, and it let out a circle of golden light that grow outwards while the metal rings clink at each other causing a high pitch noise to be heard.
Admiral Algotin was stunned by the wave of Mana that he felt, never had he seen this kind of energy release freely like this. Orpheus takes a long breath into his lung and said with a commanding voice, "Ring the bell!"
That it is, the signal of war.
Algotin snaps back to his sense and yells out to his crew, "Ring the bell!!"
The word spread like wildfire as it passed on from one crew to another until it reaches the crow nest on top of the sail, where one of the elves rang the bell. The other ship heard the sound of the bell and begins to ring their own bell.
The singing of bells echoed throughout the open seas.
The crew begins to load up the broadside cannons with a magic crystal, and push it forward into the slot where the front end of the cannon pop out. The sail is raised to slow the warship speed, and Venhana hands grip the wheel to wait for the signal to turn the ship, so the cannons line up with the enemy warship.
Algotin notices a dozen ship stays behind while another dozen head straight to the Armada, "My king, it seems a dozen ship are staying behind while another dozen is heading straight to us."
"Maybe they are keeping a few backs for reinforcement?" Algotin said.
Orpheus stays silents as he watches the ships head toward him. He sees something that bothers him, the dozen enemy ship that is heading his way only contain a few crews onboard it.
"Algotin pulls back a few of our ships just in case," Orpheus said.
"Yes, my king," Algotin said, and he walks to the quarterdeck to relay the order.
The sound of a bell can be heard from Orpheus warships, relaying the order to a couple ship behind them. The dozen of the enemy warship begins to get closer to them, Orpheus order the entire crew to brace for impact. He orders the warship to fire, and a barrage of explosive Mana cannonballs impact the enemy warships. One by one the armada warships laid their attack on the enemy warships.
The barrage of magic cannonballs causes the enemy warships to suffer tremendous damage, it even sinks one of the enemy warships.
The crew cheers as they saw the sinking enemy ships, but Orpheus was not happy. Something is wrong, something is very wrong, he has been through war before and usually, it is not this easy to sink one of the enemy warships.
Then he notices the broken enemy was not set to attack the armada with their cannons. Instead, they are ramming their damage ship into one of his warships. Suddenly the wedge enemy ship explodes into a massive ball of fire that sends a high blast of wind toward the surrounding ship.
Orpheus warships sway heavily left to right as the wave hit the side of the ships along with the strong breeze. The king grabs onto the wooden guardrail as the warship that he is on shake heavily.
"It a suicide run! Pull back!!" King Orpheus yell out.
But it was too late as one of the enemy ships ram into the friendly warship next to King Orpheus's warship. Venhana tries to steer the ship away from the explosion, but it was too late. The enemy ship explodes and causing the splinter of large wood to fly toward Orpheus warship, damaging his ship sail and the warship body.
Orpheus felt a stabbing pain on his stomach as the warship shake and tremble while he falls to his knee.
"My king! We need to get you out of here! Turn the ship around, Venhana!!" Algotin shouts.
Orpheus watch as his own armada of warships explodes as the enemy ships ram into it and ignite itself into a massive flaming ball of fire.
"Venhana, turn the ship around, right now!! There is one heading our way!!" Algotin yells out as he runs toward her daughter.
Orpheus set his eyes on the incoming enemy warships, he took a long breath in as he stands up, and then the king mutters.
Then he taps the bottom end of the magic staff on the floor causing the metal rings to clink.
A glowing blue barrier around the warship, stopping the enemy ship from ramming into them. The crew all duck down and brace for impact. The enemy ship explodes, the strength of the explosion manages to crack the barrier, but the king mutters the spell again.
Another blue barrier appears behind the first one, just before the first one crack and flood the hot melting fire onto the second barrier. The heat from the explosion can be felt by the entire crew, they were about to cooked alive when the king and few others magic caster cast a cold spell 'Mobiactus' to negate the heat.
The fire and heat dissipate so to the blue barrier, the king fall to his knee as he places a hand over his stomach. He looks down at his open palm and seeing his own blood on his hand. The flying debris has torn through his stomach and letting his own blood out.
Orpheus gazes on the dozen other enemy ships far in front of him, now heading toward him to finish off the rest. He looks at both side of his armada, sinking while burning. Then he gazes set to the people close to him, Algotin is checking on his injured daughter.
Then he let out a sigh, "You over there, call in the Windcutter to come and pick us up."
"Yes, my king!" the soldiers run to the quarterdeck.
"Drop the anchor!" Orpheus command and one of the soldiers drop the heavy anchor.
The warships stop as the anchor latch onto something underneath the seas. Algotin travel up the ship to the king after he heard Orpheus order, leaving his daughter to the healer.
"My king, I heard that you call the Windcutter to come and get us. We can't leave my king. If we leave, we lose this front line, our kingdom has no way of defending an attack from the sea," Algotin stress.
"Don't worry, my old loyal friend," Orpheus said smiling then he walks slowly to the edge of the ships with a hand over his injury.
"My king, you're hurt?! Healer!!" Algotin screams out, but Orpheus stop him by raising his hand.
"Let the healer tend to our soldiers, I will deal with the ships with my magic," Orpheus said.
"But my king, you are injured there no way you can stand that massive amount of Mana flowing in your body," Algotin said worriedly.
The enemy ships begin to fire their cannon toward the Orpheus warships, a few of them miss, but Algotin manages to create a barrier to stop the attack from hitting the ship.
"There is no time, hold on my friend," Orpheus said.
"No, my king, we can endure this together," Algotin said.
"Father!" Venhana call out as she saw her father using his own magic to stop the volley of magic cannonball toward them.
With a focused mind, Orpheus ignore everything around him and focus onto the words. There is a glowing golden light climbing up his leg and to his head then reaching his magic staff.
"No, my king, you won't survive!" Algotin calls out.
The barrier begins to crack and the ship trembles as the wave caused by the magic cannonball kept hitting the warship body. The king raises his magic staff up and breathes in the salty air then he mutters.
The sky darkens, the temperature drop, the crew can see their warm breath coming out from their mouth, and snow starts falling on to them. Then, the king taps his magic staff onto the wooden causing the metal rings to clink loudly.
A loud noise similar to avalanche can be heard as a wall of water raised in front of the ship and stretch out far into the lands, the wall of waters coagulates into a wall of ice and snow. Then it heads toward the enemy warships, flipping the closest enemy ship over, blocking the strait with a long stretch hill of ice and snow.
Orpheus in the meantime felt his lungs block by something, he tries to gasp for air while his vision becoming red. He drops to both of his knees while the magic staff rests on his shoulder. The drool of blood escapes the corner of his mouth, he looks up at the darkened sky and watch slowly as it opens up again; letting the ray of light through.
Everything was somehow quiet to him, and the smell of muffin being cooks linger under his nose while the taste of it roll on top of his taste bud. He let out a smile when an outline of someone familiar appear above him.
"Madeleine," Orpheus said.
And that was the last thing he said, as his body grow cold, and his heart stops indefinitely.
In the royal castle,
Princess Caretena is on her knees and praying to the beautiful statue of Yana. She has been praying non-stop since her family left the kingdom. Her hands clasp together when she felt a tremendous cold throughout her body, she opens up her eyes and saw the glowing flower tattoo appear on her wrist. One of the four glowing petals darkens leaving only three left.
Two petals have darkened.
"Dad," She let out while her tone cracks and a tear flows down her cheek.
She closes both eyes while she hugs herself, her cries were silent and ugly. Her echoing, quiet wailing was all alone in the temple room while her entire body shakes, and trembles as she tries to hold it in.
Then she composes herself and kept on praying for the others two family's members that she still has.