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Thread: The Reborn - Finishing What Was Started IC [M]

  1. #131
    Minkasha's Avatar
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    Calamity Isis Mae Sensibility, Gina Wright & Panos Lambros

    “You could be an actor Panos, you know that?” Gina commented, once they had left the guards some distance behind. She had hoped that a little praise and the chance to take back some control of his situation would have raised the young man’s mood, but she was disappointed. Together the teenagers had managed to leave the room but Panos would not keep any eye on Gina. Calamity sighed in the hammock.

    The rest of their journey was coldly silent, and the castle around them seemed to match the heavy atmosphere. The frosted windows were half covered by snow, and the bare stone corridors were chilly enough to raise goosebumps on Gina’s arms even through her heavy gown. The flour trail eventually led them to a tower with a winding set of mason steps.

    “Careful.” Gina said as Panos began to shuffle backwards up the steps, tilting the stretcher, but again frosty silence and averted eyes were her only answers. By the time they had navigated their way to the top, Gina’s arms were burning from taking the brunt of the stretcher’s weight. Panos kicked the heavy wooden door open with his heel, and Gina saw a room hung with blue Sauver tapestries, embroidered with swirling red blood-trails. The marchioness’ pierced claw sigil was painted across the window’s closed shutters, dripping red. It was not a room Gina would have chosen to sleep in, but a bed dominated the floor. A large wardrobe against one wall was the only concession to furniture.

    “Let’s put her on the bed.” Gina suggested. Once Cal and the halberd stretcher were resting safely on the pelts, Gina ran back to the door and heaved it shut, slamming the bolt into place. She sighed and started to flex the pain out of her aching fingers.

    “Okay Cal.” she said quietly, returning to the bed. “We’re here.”

    While Panos stuck close to Cal’s bedside, Gina teased Melvin’s tarot card out of her sleeve. One tap to alert, two taps to relay communication, three taps to close channel. Remembering what the robot boy had shown her, she gave the image of the High Priestess an experimental prod.

    Calamity, now with open eyes, let her body sink on the bed. Curiously she looked over to Gina, while holding Panos' hand. The royal male, not used to physical work, collapsed on the bed as well, waning his hastened breath.

    "We have to fix my mistake." the marchioness told Gina, giving some direction to new conversation.

    “We will.” Gina affirmed. She was less confident than she made herself sound, but she could feel the beginnings of optimism stirring inside her as she worked through the events. “You sent the foreign advisor off to make peace. We made the king see sense. We’ll find the Drac. Once you can walk again, we can start waking people up, and they’ll see. We’ll get the unexpected change that the Note Writer wanted...I mean, what else is there to do?”

    She looked down as the picture on the card in her hand dissolved and reformed.
    Gina saw the rather disarming appearance of the young boy who accompanied the actor impersonator - yet still with the same detached stoicism he walked around with. Gina took it to mean that Melvin was listening, and able to talk. As her card reverted back to the High Priestess, she tapped it twice more and held it up to her mouth, balancing it on her palm.

    She wondered what it said about things, that talking to a mute robot on a magical iPhone was still only the third or fourth craziest thing that had happened to her today.

    “Melvin.” she whispered into the disguised Tarot card. “We made it back to Cal’s room. So far there’s no sign of the Drac anywhere.”

    The image shifted again, this time to a green check mark as if to acknowledge her statement. Gina moved to the bed and sat down next to Cal and Panos, holding the card so that it could pick up their quiet conversation.

    “For now...I guess we have to wait a bit.”

    Though taken along for the interdimensional journey, Panos was behind on fundamental understandings of how the symbols on his arms functioned in their quest. That irritation, among the other negative feelings festering inside, turned to a stare set on Gina and Calamity, back and forth.

    "What are we doing with Uranus' symbol? If it has anything to do with the king's death it should be done." the teenager insisted again against King Kinglos.

    "The symbols give us clues on what we should do." Calamity replied with some tiredness within her voice, but she took a moment longer to think about Gina's hint, unexpected change. "If we don't want the council, and the king cannot do what I've made him…"

    Gina rested her lips on her clasped hands for a moment, thoughtful. “You don’t think he can?”

    "I...could take more leadership."

    Gina looked at her friend and realised that it was true. Quite apart from her magic, Cal was born for this kind of thing. She had been showing it more and more over the recent days. She had a different kind of strength from the brutal Sauver marchioness she was impersonating, but as far as Gina was concerned that was a good thing. And now she had the marchioness’ army and the marchioness’ street cred to work with.

    “You could.” she agreed. “The king seems willing to listen to us now, and he’d do better with you advising him than Hedspeth and Avery.” She smiled slightly. “Like the old joke, do you want to speak to the man in charge or the woman who knows what’s going on.”

    She glanced at Panos, and sensed the unspoken question hanging in the air. And if the king still needs to go?

    Gina pursed her lips. There were still doubts about the king’s strength, to be sure; even if she had no doubts about Cal’s. But then she thought of Editha’s half-baked plan for a coup, and of vengeful armies screaming down into Greywall as everything spiralled out of control.

    “We’d have to be careful, though.” she reasoned aloud. “Hedspeth and Avery might be out the way, and I don’t think that Charlie bloke means any harm, but there’s still the military advisor...Theodore Dutt. The council were trying to get him and his army onside too. I spoke to his daughter though, and he doesn’t sound much like the plotting type.”

    She looked down at the card.

    “Melvin, you and Jeon saw the council. If the king gets better and the people go back and spread the word, would they let Hedspeth call off the plan? Do they want what’s best for the kingdom or do they just want to rule?”

    The Probe sighed someplace in N-Space, then sent the image back of several crowns sitting in a crimson pool. After a few seconds of that, it then sent a picture of Jeon lying on the ground, stabbed with a dozen blades in his back while a healthy king stepped over him.

    Gina bit her tongue, hoping that she understood. More than one leader would be chaos...but if the king didn’t die, the councilmen might hold Jeon responsible.

    Calamity nor Panos saw the foreboding card, thus Panos shifted on the bed to Calamity's direction.

    "This is a debacle, it would be stupid to try taking more power. It'd be social suicide." Panos was scolding her, but still he kept close. Calamity's stomach twisted inside; was this what her mother felt? It was disgusting that, for a brief moment, her own mind humanized her mother's tactics. I left him alive, and now it turned into something out of my control. Was my mother bloodthirsty or just doing what she must to remove complications?

    But her mother was outright cruel, that wasn't effective leadership. "It's not over yet, and now we know the intentions the king has because I made them." For a moment the teenager paused, unnerved by such power, "When he's sober he will do the best he can." she reassured them all, including herself. Closing her eyes, a sigh filled the room.

    Panos conceded, "Better him than you..."

    The image on Gina’s card shifted to a question-mark.

    “Cal used her power on the king.” Gina explained to the robot on the other end of the line, and laid the card in her lap so that Cal and Panos could see it. “So he’s gonna be sober from now on and do what’s best for his people.”

    It was still an uncomfortable thing to say out loud.

    “Course, if he’s gonna have a chance he needs to stay alive, which is why we need to keep Hedspeth and O’doln the hell away from him. And why we need to find the Drac.”

    She bit the inside of her cheek again, thinking.

    “What if…?” She looked up at Cal and Panos. “The people came here ’cause O’doln promised them they’d see the king taking action. Once Cal’s up and about again, we can start waking them up - what if we let them go back and start spreading the news that the king did something right for once. Let the council hear that, then convince advisor Dutt that it’s no longer the time for a coup. They went to him and Cal because they didn’t dare move until they got both of them onside - they wouldn’t dare if you went back to supporting the king, right? Not if the folk in the street were starting to shift opinion too. They couldn’t blame Jeon for that.”

    "The king solving Calamity's mistake isn't going to be enough." Panos said with clear cut cynicism. "They want power and the people are selfish. He should do more than capture the prisoner." Laying down, the Grecian royalty locked focus onto the ceiling, "If he executes him and declares war, history shows it the stupid will rally and cheer his name."

    "Panos." Calamity held his hand supportively, even when she felt she wanted to cry and be held in her crippled state, "He won't do that. He will do what is best, and that kind of politics isn't for the people: it would be for self interest."

    But it wasn't like the person whose role she jumped into wouldn't have supported further open war with the Draconains. The hated sentiment among the masses, at least here, was present. She glanced to Gina, wanting to hesitate about executing someone - their hands already bloody.

    “I can see him wanting the Drac dead.” Gina admitted, unhappily. She couldn’t bring herself to knowingly cause another death either. If Cal’s men even manage to take him alive in the first place, that is.

    Cal hesitated. “There were other Draconian...bodies, in the torture chamber. We could use a decoy…”

    Gina shivered. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    She rested her lips against her fist, turning her thoughts to the less grisly half of the problem.

    “The witnesses too. We can wake them up one by one, so it’ll be easy enough to gauge their reactions. Play it by ear, y’know? If we have to talk tough about Avery’s mission being to put the elves in their place and that Cal’s going to crush any Dracs that come near Whitebar then fair enough. It’ll satisfy the folk who are angry without actually having to do something suicidal.”

    Cal clearly wanted to believe her.
    "If he listens to the people and helps them, it will sway them." But what if the people wanted war? Then what?

    Gina could see the doubt in her friend’s face. Even though she did not want to believe Panos’ more misanthropic take on the situation, she couldn’t help thinking of the bloody frescoes plastered all over the Dutt mansion, proclaiming the human kingdom’s victories over all the bestial other races. Hello, ‘War on Terror’...

    “I mean…” she began, almost trying to convince herself now. “How would we even go to war with the Dracs anyway? I don’t know anything about them apart from Avery saying that it’d be a really bad idea, and she can’t be the only one. Where even are the Dracs? Do they have a kingdom too or what?”

    "Kashar, is the name." Panos remembered from the mocking, annoying Commander of the Guard.

    Calamity closed her eyes, wanting to sleep. The two royals now laid side by side on the bed, the prince looking more peaceful than Gina had seen as he was attempting to gain some rest. Gina could feel herself with some systemic exhaustion after all the shock she has endured, along with the fall, and the magical manipulation of her mind through unpracticed magic.

    "My...her duty," Cal gestured to herself to indicate the young girl she had taken place of, "Was to hold Kashar back from raiding the empire."

    "The Draconian's actions are an act of war." Panos told the girls, "If you do not claim to your people you support some sort of counter attack, you'll be seen as weak." His father was always the bombastic and powerful politician - now he got to act out his influence. It was a highly disliked revelation.

    Gina shook her head, ginger hair bouncing around her shoulders. “Avery said attacking the Dracs would bring their whole race down on us, and that we wouldn’t be able to win. I don’t think she was lying either, ‘cause she was worried her home would cop it first.”

    The tarot card in Gina's hand beeped. The picture on it changed to tiny figures of the king (with tiny crown) and the councillors who wanted the king dead facing a smaller army of the Drac.

    The figures of the councillors clustered behind the king, producing their own swords to face off the Dracs.

    The Probe hoped its message was clear. Present a threat that threatened all and put the king and the councilors in front of it. Either they united and stand as one - or they perish, ending the problem.

    “All well and good.” Gina said, slumping her chin onto her hands. “Except we don’t have a Drac raiding party on hand.”

    Among them a soft breathing began to cycle and the ladies realized Panos had worn himself and fallen asleep. Gina had never seen the pale prince look as peaceful and easy to lay eyes on as this moment. But alas he was a sleeping tiger, sleeping through the girls' conversation, but verbal claws glistened with each subtle shift of his lips during slumber.

    Calamity, glanced to her now presumed husband but kept conversation with Gina - trying her best to keep up and be of use as she had been. The most mundane mortal among the three could witness the heavy-eyelid princess clenching her teeth intermittently to think with depth.

    "I could make an army. When...I am well enough to have my legs again I could make everyone believe an army had come. They would believe King Kinglos and the Council worked together!" Her burst of voice excited her, then rapidly startled her when she stared at Panos. Luckily the prince didn't move. "If they think about it the memory would be real to them." She said it confidently, but she was still guessing the full extent of her power. Her wayward or disconnected parents never helped anyone.

    Gina twisted her hands in her lap. “Maybe,” she allowed, “But that would be a big bit of magic...I don’t want you getting hurt again...”

    Gina glanced down at the sleeping Panos, and then back at her equally weary companion.

    “Listen, why don’t you sleep for a bit? I’ll keep an eye out. If they don’t find the Drac in the next hour or so they’re probably not gonna, and we can see about a decoy. If that’s not enough to satisfy everyone when we wake them up, then you and the king can talk tough about killing Dracs - and once they’re back in the city who are they to say you didn’t whack a whole load of them somewhere out in the mountains?”

    She leaned over to squeeze Cal’s hands between her own.

    “When you’re up and about again we can see what we need to do. Can you feel anything yet?”

    She looked down worriedly at Cal’s feet.

    The Probe also known as Melvin felt itself relax a fraction of a percent point. The Humans could do it, masquerade a Drac army. Still, it wouldn't hurt to prep something, just in case.

    Calamity leaned her head back, almost falling asleep if she had not jerked her heavy head side to side. Biting her lip, Calamity nodded to Gina's question. "Something, yes..." the teenage girl clearly didn't want to elaborate on her crippled condition. Maybe if she rested long enough, she would wake up well.

    However, glancing at Panos who was in no threat of waking up, this was her only time to tell Gina. The most mundane of the three teens could see Calamity's face grimace, her fingers curl tighter around Panos'. "I'm sorry he's he is...I have to tell you...something happened to him while he was with..." The other dead traveler, "Vahsi."

    “Oh…” Gina’s thumbnail went between her teeth at the unexpected revelation. “I knew there was something up with him, he okay?”

    The question was automatic, but a glance down at the sleeping prince all but answered it for her. She thought back to Vahsi, so abruptly taken from them after storming away from the group on Valkure. She had never truly gotten the chance to know him, because he had never let any of them see beneath his prickly exterior. He was a killer though - she knew that much.

    Me killing apparently shocked the hell out of him.

    Panos seemed to attract killers, Gina thought somberly. His first husband...emperor Lycas...Vahsi…

    You’re a killer too, Gina. Hiss. Shriek. Bang. Gina realised she had crushed a handful of the bed pelts in her fist, and uncurled her fingers with an effort.

    Vahsi was gone. The protection he had offered Panos was gone. But other things could linger.

    “What happened?” she asked Cal, barely above a murmur for fear of waking the prince.

    Melvin frowned ever so slightly. Who was this Vashi? The two girls talked over the sleeping prince. Calamity's voice hitched under breath, she even stammered, but she managed her wits and explained, "He was brutally attacked by a man...he was..." She couldn't continue, using her eyes as the cryptic, yet tragic messenger as they moved down to Panos' hips to deliver the impression on what sort of attack it had been.

    “Oh…” Gina said again, more faintly. Her hands went to her mouth, while the anxiety in her chest drained away, dragged down by the sinking feeling in her stomach. Helpless empathy for both Panos and Cal flooded in to replace it.

    “I can’t even imagine.” she whispered through her fingers. She couldn’t, and it wasn’t a good feeling for someone who usually fancied herself good at intuiting other people. The worst she and her friends had ever had to deal with were overly-handsy schoolboys running up and slapping their arses. Not the same at all.

    “I…” she hesitated. “I promise I won’t say anything. I know he doesn’t trust me the same way he trusts you...but is there anything I can do? Anything at all?”

    Melvin's lower lip became firmer. What were they taking about? Calamity brought Panos' held hand near her chest, seeing their imposed wedding rings shining side-by-side. Looking at him a last time she closed her eyes.

    "Forgive him for his behaviour." What else was there to do? "If you make the same promise I did, things might change. Promise..." Calamity yawned, "To not leave him."

    It was the best advice she had to offer. Panos was intelligent, and Cal knew if they could recruit it and not have it turned against Gina all the time, more could be done.

    Gina nodded quietly. “Alright.” She looked down at Panos, then squeezed Cal’s hand. “Get some sleep. I’ll keep an eye out.”

    Gina was left alone as Calamity fell into exhausted sleep. She now could see the two remaining companions about her age, both beaten in their own ways by the perilous multiversal journey finally resting. Gina pulled the fur blankets up round both of them and pushed herself off the bed, the Tarot card hanging absently from her hand.

    Beyond the locked door, everything seemed silent. Gina padded quietly to the window, rubbing away the ache around her eye sockets with the heel of her hand, and unlatched the shutters. Behind the painted wood, snow lay like fat white caterpillars across the bottom of the glass, and the castle and its surroundings stretched away below under a cloak of white. Gina folded her arms over the sill, rested her chin on them, and let her thoughts drift along with the snowflakes.
    Thank you MayhemsCurse <3

    Spoiler: Memorable Quotes 

  2. #132
    Minkasha's Avatar
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    In a world I struggle to understand.
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    Jeon Smythe

    Jeon shut the door firmly after them. "Well, won't this be fun?" he asked. "How are you feeling now, my lord?"

    Glancing down at the Probe, he nodded towards the people on the ground. "Best to check them all out, I don't want any avoidable accidents."

    The Probe was scanning the next group when it felt the tap on Gina's card. The human probably expected some sort of response, so Melvin changed the picture on the card from the High Priestess to its current shell for five seconds, then reset the eCard back to the High Priestess as it listened from the card to what was going on in the other room.

    "We'll have to come up with some sort of sling to make you comfortable," Jeon was saying to Kevin. "At least a little more dignified."

    The councilman huffed and buried his hands in his face.

    "I'm going to be joke of the others. We can't tell the others this happened, promise me!" Based on the defeated and humiliated expression of Jeon's sudden new lover, he must have been referring to the rest of the council.

    "Now now, don't be like that," Jeon said, trying to comfort Kevin. He glanced at the king, then had an idea.

    "Admittedly, it's not a place anyone would wish to be wounded, but there's something you've not realized. Out of everyone in this room, aside from some bumps and bruises, you are the only one who has any injury at all! Clearly, you managed to get in someone's way!"

    Kevin frowned.

    "Those quills went in deep, which means considerable force was used. Some sort of assassin's device, no doubt," Jeon conjectured. "Had it struck you in the chest or head, there would be little I could do. You may have even saved the king's life!"

    Kevin looked very annoyed by Jeon's attempted uplifting narrative. It was clear, after all, that the councilman had wanted to murder the king - not spare his life.

    "All the more reason why people such as me should..." he glanced at the cognitively diluted king and back to the doctor "Manage things." he said with a thin veil to keep Kinglos out of the conversation.

    "Merely the blind leading the blind," Jeon whispered back, shaking his head. "You need him, and he needs you and the council. Combined, you have power. As it is now, you are both seeing it slip from your fingers.”

    The Zayan's words were clearly meant to impress the king, but they made the probe roll its eyes.

    It paused over the body of the wizard, still barely alive, flesh turning gray and slack, heartbeat sluggish, almost non-existent, breathing almost imperceptible. Easy to mistake for dead or near death's door, to use the human expression - and still the most dangerous human in the room.

    From the card, 'Melvin' heard the teenage girl whom he had helped from her nervous system damage, speaking out loud.

    Pressing its right finger and thumb together, the Probe gave a loud whistle, four notes to signify distress, and waved at Jeon as it listened in on the card network. Others lay in the room waiting for treatment, the stone not a welcoming landing for any who had fallen, small trickles of blood could be seen in the hair of some, or on their faces, but nothing of any fatal concern.

    Jeon sighed after checking the court wizard's vitals, glancing at the Probe to see the slightest of nods. He then went to work, checking on the status of the other people in the room, accepting dressings and gauze from the Probe's incredible pocket.

    "How are we feeling?" he called out to the King and Kevin as he worked.
    King Kinglos' speech was drawn out, tired "Getting better..." it was not convincing and he sounded as if in the grip of a stupor, but he had responded to Jeon aptly.

    Meanwhile Kevin replied with a huff, then a pause and he smirked, adding flirtatious groove in his voice "Better knowing I'm under your care" his eyes threw daggers at the royal across the table from him.

    Jeon was amazed that any of the Council had survived this long.

    Gradually the doctor was tending to the men, women, and one teenager among the gathering of dozens. 'Melvin's' endless doling of supplies made Jeon's work continue without trouble.

    "Should have gotten you a very large carpet bag," Jeon muttered as they worked. "Eventually someone's going to notice you're producing all of this out of thin air."

    The Probe paused, then reached into its pocket to produce an origami rabbit.

    Jeon stared at it, then at the Probe. "It's a magic world, I get it. But a rabbit out of your pocket? Is that some kind of pun?"
    The doctor, acting apothecary was able to suppress the harm of the wounds, leaving him in a room filled with his accomplishment and only the company of a robot boy, a sobering up mind-numbed king, and his short sighted, backside-prickedlove he had been stuck with since waking up.

    The Probe stared at Jeon for a long moment, then pulled out one of the "tarot" cards it was using for communication. The image of the Tower was replaced by a pile of heads, with Kevin's on top, and a separate one of the king's head, still wearing its crown, on a pillow.

    "No," Jeon growled, eyes flashing. "I can't allow either of those to happen. They're both important, I don't know how or why, but they are. We need to somehow bring them all together."

    The probe's human shell frowned. There might be a way, and it wasn't going to like it.

    Jeon rose, then turned to face the king.

    "How about yourself, your Majesty?" Jeon inquired, spreading his hands as he approached to a respectful distance. "You took a bump when we all collapsed, I'm sure. Are you in need of assistance from me or my companion?"

    The black haired man gradually turned his eyes onto Jeon and 'Melvin'. He didn't return a word, looking back down to his hands. He seemed to be trying to search within himself something Jeon wouldn't know. The man was more intensely focused on his own thoughts than seen before. "I need my wizard." the regal man finally said. Though Jeon could still hear his slight slur, and see a bruise near a temple, the man looked at him rather seriously. "Can you bring me him?"

    "I'm afraid it would be better if he stays where he is, for now," Jeon said with a sigh, spreading his arms and rotating his palms up in a gesture of supplication. "While I have some small skill, I am no mage. Some things are simply beyond my skill to fix."

    He couldn't keep the bitterness in his voice out with that last.

    He did glance up at the king for a moment. Was he, himself, a wizard? Were there any on the counsel who hired him? Just what were their skills? The king's face of disappointment answered none of Jeon's questions.

    Some sense was coming back to the king who looked around to everyone Jeon had bandaged and mended. Wobbly the man got himself to his feet, pushing back his wool cape. "I need to rally the men! It may better their search!" There was passion in his voice, center of purpose. Calamity's newly installed personality was taking action.

    Melvin frowned, turning his full attention to the king, readying the drug darts.

    "Ah, I am please to hear it your Majesty," Jeon nodded. "But you are still recovering from whatever befell all of us and not yet firm on your feet. Until you are clear headed and firm of step, you are better here."

    "Understand, your Majesty, that some might mistake your current bearing to be a sign of intoxication, not of an attack by an unknown hidden adversary. We need to you look regal and in command of yourself, a paragon of the kingdom that all look up to. A few minutes to recover is a small price to pay."

    "Please understand, it is your welfare that concerns me. Rumor and innuendo is as dangerous a weapon in politics as a blade is in the battlefield."

    Jeon sucked the air out of King Kinglos. Shoulders slumped, eyes glared with tension at the door but gradually he returned back to his seat. While the king did not see, the pain he was experiencing proved to be sweet for Kevin who smirked in delight.

    The doctor began rolling up his sleeves, baring his arms.

    "Melvin," Jeon called out to the Probe, "I'd like you to find me a clean basin of water, say 46°C. I need to wash my hands for this next examination."

    The Probe arched one eye at him. It supposed it could drop its pants and reroute the plumbing in its shell to provide fresh hot water, but that would be going too far in front of two witnesses.

    Melvin began checking for any fresh water it could possibly heat in the room.
    In the goblets upon the table which had not been knocked over water could be found. There were two filled brass pitchers. The others spilled their liquids off the table or were strewn off near the chairs.

    Kevin watched with boredom, in need of any attention or entertainment, what Jeon was doing.

    The probe found a brass pitcher filled with water. Checking the room, it found a second and brought them over to Jeon.

    "Soap, if you please Melvin?" Jeon asked, holding out his hand. The Probe reached into its pocket and produced a bar of soap, no packaging.

    "Thank you! If you could heat the water, there's a dear."
    The Probe sniffed, but it placed its hands on either side of the pitcher and used the emitters in its hand to rapidly shift the water inside the container, causing it to heat and froth.

    "Ah, I thought...." Jeon blinked, then shook his head. "I'm not sure what I was thinking. Could you pour a little?"

    Picking up the steaming pitcher, the Probe helped Jeon to wash his hands and forearms.

    "Sorry about the mess!" he called out as the Probe rinsed the soap off. "Important to be clean. Germs, you know. Or do you know?"

    Shaking his hands to get rid of the excess, he turned and walked over to the king, pausing at a respectable distance to bow.

    "Your majesty, I have examined all your subjects in this room and rendered them what aid I could with my apprentice, here. Now I need to check you for injury, with your permission?

    Getting approval, the doctor’s years of expertise were put to work. The king, an objectively overweight man did not show signs of malnourishment, but from his slightly sweaty body, dilated eyes, and weak posture it was clear he wasn’t perfectly sober.

    He complained of aches in his body, in back and head. The bruise on the side of his head was a minimal injury compared to the others Jeon had treated.

    "You're in reasonably good health, your Majesty. Some leafy green vegetables at the start of a meal, a little more fiber in your diet, and spending a good hour working out with a training sword should get you into fighting shape very quickly," Jeon said. "Some water to flush the toxins from your system, two aspirin for the pain and you'll be steady and ready to take on the world, I shouldn't wonder."

    He paused. "Does your normal physician have aspirin?"

    "I would offer," Jeon sighed, spreading out his hands with the palms up, "But a king should be careful about what people give him."
    Kevin busied himself snickering at Jeon's lifestyle suggestions for the king. Though in actuality the good featured councilman wasn't any healthier himself. They both lived comfortable lives.

    King Kinglos leered at the doctor. "What are you talking about apothecary? Will it wake my mage?" they rounded back to the subject more important on the king's mind.

    "Aspirin is just a medicine to relieve pain," Jeon explained sadly, glancing back at the mage. "Whatever struck us down affected him most of all, he's barely clinging to life at the moment. I'm afraid that any form of stimulant or even moving him may be too much. Best he lay there as comfortable as we can make it for him until he regains his strength." The king ran a hand across his face with worry.

    And with any luck, Jeon thought, one of the others would have a plan on how to handle the king and escape this mad house before that happened. What do you know about the Draconians?" he asked. "Tracks were found in the snow, so the prisoner managed to escape it seems, but I don't know how his people will respond? From the carnage below, my concern is that he may return in force." Kevin looked quizzically at Jeon, taking a break from glaring at Melvin with jealousy.

    The finely dressed royal stared at Jeon with gray eyes of agitation, lowering the hand touching his face.

    "The warning Draconians? They will do what they've done always: attack. They won't stop until we are bled out" his stressful groaning gave way to how overwhelming their presence was to his rulership.

    "Of course they are going to attack" Kevin spoke up, shifting on the table he lay upon. "It's unfortunate the Marchioness has let this happen, if anything were to happen to us..." Kevin looked to be trying to find a way around Jeon's warning: rather than arrange something to put the king in jeopardy, he was smearing Calamity's reputation through thinly veiled worry.

    King Kinglos took the words of his councilman with a glance down to his hands with reflection.

    "So why are we fighting with the Draconians," Jeon asked, shrugging. "Since they're such fierce fighters and all? Did we start it, or they?"

    The probe frowned ever so slightly. What was that idiot doing?

    "We do know what required this castle to be built out here, don't we?" Kevin and King Kinglos glared at Jeon. The gentlemen were equally offended as the handsome doctor could see. Yet, the pair were drawn off the scent of Kevin's prior trick.

    "They are marauders, nothing but lizards with swords!" His royal leader spat.

    "Jeon dear, why are you insulting us?" Kevin asked through clenched teeth. Locked in their eyes was a palpable prejudice to the race Jeon had seen mutilated in the basement.

    "Wow," Jeon muttered, shaking his head. "And they claim doctors are arrogant."

    Turning his head away the royal shoulders slouched, "Get the guests accommodations...the floor is...not comfortable for my subjects"

    "No," Jeon said, shaking his head. "They can be revived and sent to quarters here or back to the capital by whatever means I was brought here, but at this time we can't afford to divert men from this castle's defense."

    The probe frowned slightly, turning to stare at Jeon's head. Scans hadn't shown signs of a concussion....

    "Melvin? You've never left this room, right?"

    The Probe scowled, but shook its puppet head.

    "How many guards are there outside that door?"

    It held up seven fingers.

    "My 'apprentice' has very acute senses," Jeon explained. "He remained sensible when everyone else was affected, here in this room. Yet he could not sense this invisible Draconian."

    "You don't get it still, do you?" he asked, throwing his hands up in the air. "Raiders you can buy off, if they're just after stuff they don't have back in their lands. How long have you fought them? Why haven't they given up and passed you by?"

    "It's the blind," he paused, staring at the king for a long moment before turning to stare at Kevin. "Leading the bloody blind. What if the reason the Dracs are invading is because someone else is nipping on their heels?"

    "How long before something the Drac runs from is standing here?"
    Jeon had pressed his luck too far. Both men looked at him with such ire that the doctor may have provoked them to agree on something for once.

    "What are you doing?" Kevin asked with shock and exasperated anger. The widening of his eyes was trying to gesture something to him, perhaps to reinforce Jeon's behavior was grossly out of place.

    King Kinglos, though crippled by internal and external factors stared with the full expectation of his position.

    "Apothecary you have heard my word, do as I said. Now."

    The Probe glared at the doctor, wanting to break his legs. Instead, it loaded tranquilizer darts - although to be honest, it wasn't sure if it should shoot the king and the councilman - or Jeon.

    Jeon sighed, shaking his head, then threw his hand up in disgust.

    "Very well, your Majesty," he said, with a bow, then turned towards the door. "After all, it's never the apothecary's fault when a patient refuses to listen."
    Thank you MayhemsCurse <3

    Spoiler: Memorable Quotes 

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