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Tationy (Pronunciation: tat-yon-knee) stood at the side of Somè Kari with a heavy heart. There was no request made by the Elder of the Kari. He told her to come and expected her to be there.

Kari men were built different; each one unique and yet deep down the value and loyalty was the same even when it came to the ones that cast it all aside.

Somè (Pronunciation: so-me), was not like the rest of them though. He was the beginning and the end. The first and true King of the Kari. Kazuma’s successor; cliche, but he was the chosen one. Not to get nit-picky about historical details, he was the first son of the once great King of the Gods. Now millions of years later he had been reborn as the last vassal of Kazuma.

While they walked there was silence. He had a light step. A smile adorned his lips and even as the rain sprinkled to the ground, Somè did not seem to care much or even take notice of it. For some time they simply moved through the courtyard side by side without a word until finally coming to a halt in a small alcove. Purposely she placed her back to the water and a large stone covered over by moss and grim.

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This defensive motion by Tationy elicited an unexpected chuckle under Somè breath as he asked, “Does my choice for a Kari Shield displease you?”

“He has no heart. A man capable of striking you down without even hesitation or remorse.”

Somè’s smile brightened, “That is exactly why I chose him. Gen (Pronunciation: g-ean / ean as in lean) is a true monster of the Kari.”

Tationy kept a smile adorning her lips which drew the attention of Somè swiftly toward her. “I adore that look upon your face. It hides your true nature. Gen might be the most prolific assassin in Kari history, but you my dear queen are a true beast.” His brows raised slightly, “How long can you keep the Prince of Aslann in check before I do something that displeases him and I assure you, I have every intention on making him very unhappy.”

His words might have confused anyone listening in on their conversation. Somè was not under the illusion that the Prince of Aslann and Tationy were separate beings, despite the way he articulated his antagonistic words, “Are you trying to start a war?”

“Prince Tatsuya started this campaign, when he brought you into being and sealed the fate of the Goddess Tearra. I intend to bring Aslann to its knees and wipe it from existence even if that means sacrificing my own blood. I will ensure the Prince of Aslann, understands the error of his ways. Never should he have defied my laws.” There was a pause that followed his words that lasted only briefly, “You are trembling. Are you cold? Should we get out of this rain? Out of these clothes?” His smile was innocent, but the undertone of his words hid something sinister.

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There was no protesting. Even if she wished to Somè would never have allowed it. Some might be wondering how it was that a mere vassal could command the queen so boldly. The truth was frightening. Just as there was no distinguishing between Tationy and Tearra, the same could be said for Somè and Kazuma. This was the will of the king. Somè was his heir to the throne. He would rise to the heavens and be called Kazuma. It was because of this that a smile adorned her lips so forcefully and she did as he wished without protest. Though, how long she could bite her tongue was anyone’s guess.

“Do you like it?” His voice questioned as he entered the room. No response was offered so he continued, “When I was housed in the vassal known as Tadayoshi, I saw it displayed in one of those high-end couture shops in Taiwan. Normally I find these garments made by mortal hands to be a discredit to the heavenly beauty we have lost. This one however, brought a smile to my lips as I envisioned what my queen would look like in it. I do not think your Kari king ever realized he bought it and hid it away. Forgive me, I should not speak of your man so callously. That is what you are about to tell me, is it not?” He laughed softly, “No, I suppose you are going to continue to bite your tongue in my presence.”

“What would you have me say?”

“The truth. How many times have you looked at those swords to your back and thought about taking my head off?”

“Is this why you keep your dog at your side?”

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Gen spoke for the first time as he took a seat upon the floor rather causally, “I am here for your protection. Our Lord Kazuma thought he might lose his temper and ordered me to ensure that he does not harm you. However, this dog’s reactions might be slow. Would be a shame if I failed in my duty.” Gen’s words did not hide his feelings for the Queen of the Kari; there was disdain and a clear reality that he would not hesitate to strike her down if so ordered.

It was evident by how Somè ignored the back and forth that he had no interest in what was transpiring between the Queen of the Kari and his Shield. Seated quickly at a table he fussed with the tea before speaking, “Please join me.” Despite the lightness in his tone he had managed to dismiss the conversation and there was no question that his words were not a request. Still, it took Tationy a moment before she seated herself.

Somè began to speak only after she had joined him, “Tearra played her part. Went against my laws and allowed Prince Tatsuya to sacrifice her. For what? I asked myself this question for millions of years. Certainly his goal was clear, but hers is what confused me. However, I think I finally have the answer.” He was polite with a hint of playfulness. It was the darkness that lurked in his soul that made his innocence a shroud of deception.

The silence lingered for a time before she accepted the offered tea once it was poured and finally managed to ask, “Does knowing help you sleep at night?”

“I sleep fine. In millions of years, perhaps even longer, I have not gone without a single night’s rest. Can you say the same?” He smiled as she gave him a sidelong look, “No, I suppose you can’t can you? It is not because of those eyes. What you see or even those moments you chose to not act upon. The reason you do not sleep is that you struggle with the acceptance that you already know the answer. The path; you, me, Rin, Hisoka, and Ryozo. We are all bound together by the same chains. The ones created by the Prince of Aslann.”

“So, what do you intend to do? Bring forth a dead man?”

“I do not need him for my revenge, I have you. The spark that is the Prince of Aslann, the Goddess Tearra, and the progeny of the Shima lord, Osa. Tationy Tylo, a remnant. That is what you are. You’re all of them and yet none. A ghost in living form. Isn’t that how you see yourself? The selfless martyr for Aslann.” He smiled, “I intend to break Prince Tatsuya, by making you choose between Aslann and what you love.”

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Gen chuckled in the background, “Forgive him. He finds this delightfully amusing. His sword has longed to bath in the blood of these fools who have forsaken their gods. We will rise to the heavens and build a new kingdom together, but first we drink our tea and tomorrow, we will go to war.”

To Be Continued

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