Chapter 27:

Chapter 27

Prince of the Sun

Despite his best efforts Momoka had remained completely glum and a little suspicious of him for the rest of the Solstice ball. It became a tedious activity and Jace was glad to see the clock strike six am. Although in the back of his mind he was still searching for Zebedaios in the crowd.

Though Zebedaios didn’t appear and nor did Jace expect him to. He worried that it would only be a yearly thing. Zebedaios being some kind of spirit like Fae that only appeared during the longest night of the year. And yet, he had seemed very real and corporal, his lips certainly were.

The residents of the place grew wary toward six am and many of them dissipated. Momoka herself leaving Jace’s side with bags under her eyes. She gave Nikita a wary look before following her pack to their rooms.

Nikita was with her friends, sprawled out on the floor, a few of them looked like they had already fallen asleep. A few bottles of vodka in varying states of fullness joined them.

Soon only the royal family was left behind.

The time after a solstice ball was a big potion of free time for the members of the royal family as there would be no meetings while all of the normal Phoenix slept. Jace sat next to Thariel and Lynn joined him sitting on the other side of him.

She had a huge smile on her face and somehow her outfit and hair were completely intact. Thariel looked a little more dishevelled, likely making out with more than one person during the night. Still he had the same charm that always hung about him.

“Good night,” Thariel said slowly and almost drunkenly.

“It was fun,” Lynn said, replying to Thariel in an out of character way, actually being pleasant toward him.

He raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms sitting up a little more confidently.

“It was nothing but stress for me,” Jace lamented.

“How can that be you finally had a date, wasn’t that what you were dreaming of for so many years,” Thariel said, almost mocking. A low blow right now.

“It became a nightmare,” Jace covered his face with his hands, “the curse really caught her tonight.”

“Oh I’m so sorry Jace,” Lynn said softly.

Thariel put his arms behind his head. “That sucks, this is why I keep it casual. Long term relationships and promises to another women, even if said woman wants to do with you, never mix.”

Lynn threw him a pointed look. He smirked back at her.

“Maybe I’m starting to see your point, Thariel,” Jace’s voice was muffled.

“Are you even listening to yourself? Don’t take advice from that Himbo,” Lynn said.

“Hey!” Thariel exclaimed, loud enough he woke up a few of Nikita’s friends across the ballroom, “You know, I’ll just take that as a compliment.”

“You would,” Lynn laughed.

Jace sighed. “Seriously I really have no idea what to do.”

There was silence from both of them. They too also didn’t have a single suggestion. Really what could they say? It was a curse that had haunted their family forever. It wasn’t a magical curse, no one person they could point to as the cause of it. It was just pure jealousy, a vicious and destructive emotion.

“You just need to talk to her and explain the situation again. Communication is really important in relationships, or so I’ve heard,” Lynn said.

“Yeah that sounds right, or at least it can’t hurt,” Thariel added softly.

Jace sighed and sat up straight once again, “I guess that is all I can do, I know I made it pretty clear to her but maybe it’s just gotten muddled up again.”

“Yeah,” Lynn said with a smile, a comforting one.

Yet all three of them knew the uncomfortable truth of the reality of their situation. The curse of jealousy was never fixed, it only ever got worse.

“So your solstice was just being depressed with Momoka the whole time?” Thariel asked.

“Actually I did meet someone that was quite a mystery to me. Have you two ever heard the name Zebedaios before?” Jace asked.

Both of them shook their heads.

“It’s an unusual name though, I would be sure to remember if I met someone who used that name,” said Lynn.

“He looked pretty unusual too. He wore a mask the whole time during the party and had teal skin,” Jace explained.

“Teal skin?” Thariel looked a little surprised, “that’s an unusual one.”

“I didn’t see anyone that fits that description. Who did he come with?” Lynn asked.

“That’s the thing, I got almost no information about him. He answers none of my questions,” Jace explained.

Thariel frowned. “Sure this guy isn’t dangerous?”

“I don’t think so, just mysterious and vaguely magical. I think he’s some kind of Fae, do either of you know any kind of Fae with teal skin?”

“Not going to lie,” said Thariel, “I know jack shit about the Fae.”

That was the exact answer Jace had expected from Thariel.

“I don’t know too much either, yet I’ve never heard of a Fae with teal skin. Yet magic can change a lot about someone’s appearance, he was wearing a mask, perhaps he wanted to keep his skin colour hidden too,” Lynn said.

“I wonder how he got in here,” Jace mused, looking at the fire which was now burning quite low.

“We have a lot of allies from a lot of places, can’t keep track of them all,” Tharial said in a blasé way.

Jace rolled his eyes and stood up. “That’s literally my job.”

Thariel laughed.

Jace proceeded to spend the next eight hours of his time off in the library trying to research all kinds of Fae. Though he was familiar with many of the world’s most used languages, a lot of the texts about Fae used very ancient versions. Often Elvish and Dwarven texts were the only options available. Jace knew neither of the languages so he had to try his best to find translations. It was such tedious and frustrating work.

The Fae existed in a time before mortals walked the earth. And well before the Phoenix. Their creator Earis once ruled with her two sisters before an uprising brought about by the same god who went on to create mortals in the High Fae’s likeness, Phonton. With all the myths that followed on after the creation of mortals, such as werewolves, vampires, Phoenix and magic users and the slumber of their own creator the Fae fell into obscurity. It was only the Dwarves who prospered in their underground cities, welcoming in other myths. They were the only member of the Fae that the Phoenix had a strong allyship with.

The only member of the Fae that even slightly fit Zebedaios’ description according to Dwarven texts about the Fae was goblins. Yet they were so far from the beautiful man that had visited Jace. They usually had green or a more mossy tone and they were far shorter than even the average mortal. Zebedaios was taller than even Jace and his skin was a bright teal. Goblins were also weak to magic, far from the mysterious magic that Zebedaios seemed to possess. Goblins also often existed in very close proximity to Dwarves as they had a disposition and physicality far more suited to battle than Dwarves did; they were the protectors of the Dwarven cities. Fierce and strong warriors yet usually not diplomats that attended balls. There was also no Dwarven city even remotely close to the palace.

Though the mystery prevailed, Jace gathered as many books as he could to add to his horde in his room as he was determined to crack the mystery.