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Monday, November 14, 2011

Amadea and the Divinity Blade - Chapter 29

Chapter 29

A while later, after the couple had eaten, made love, and caught up on their much needed sleep, they lay in bed savoring the warmth of being wrapped around each other. Despite lying on nothing more than a thin mattress provided by the first inn they had come across, they felt like they were being cradled by Cloud 9. It was a vast improvement over the hard ground, and they were reluctant to start their day.
“Part of me really doesn’t want to know, but…” Zephyr began hesitantly. “We have been married for months now. Are you…?”
Amadea smiled warmly, and kissed him. “No, I can honestly say for certain that I do not carry a child… I had my monthly just last week.”
“Isn’t that strange? I know we haven’t shared a bed very often since we left the Palace, but… do you think that one of us is incapable of having children?” Zephyr wondered.
Amadea shrugged. “Who knows? I would like to believe that the Gods know that the timing isn’t right, and are purposely withholding children. After all…”
Zephyr paled and squeezed his wife as he remembered that she may not live even one full year as Empress. She would have had to conceive and give birth to a child fairly quickly after they got married in order to even have time to do so if she truly was destined to perish. Otherwise, the child would simply die with her.
They changed the subject. Zephyr had informed her of Abydos’ origin over dinner earlier, and now they speculated on which of the three highest demons he was. There was absolutely no doubt that he was mind-bogglingly powerful, but if he was one of the two that had divided their power to create more demons… That meant that there was still one demon more powerful than he was. If he was the demon that hadn’t split his power, then he was literally the most powerful demon in existence – not counting the Source.
They weren’t sure which scenario was more terrifying! Amadea cast aside these thoughts, and suggested that they get out of bed and take a bath. They both desperately needed one, even though they had both used spells to keep clean. Zephyr liked the idea, but was determined to delay her by a good half an hour.
Two hours later, they mounted Cirrus, and flew back to their companions. Amadea rode behind her husband, and carried an enormous sack of food. She may have already eaten this morning, but more food was always better than not enough.
Plus, Zephyr had ordered them to stick with the soldiers, which meant that they were stuck eating rations, and she figured that they would appreciate something hot and delicious. It would almost make up for the time that she and Zephyr had wasted.
They landed next to Cumulous, and they two horses wasted no time greeting each other. Their enthusiasm nearly unseated both riders, and they laughed as they quickly dismounted. Amadea hugged her horse, and then turned to her companions.
“Anybody hungry?” She asked with a grin.
“Food!” Luna squealed happily, and flung her arms around the Empress in appreciation.
Amadea laughed, and gestured for Luna to find a suitable place for a picnic. Everyone was silent as they ate, but soon a good mood descended on them, and they started making jokes. This was an excellent way to enhance their fighting spirit!
Amadea took advantage of a lull a bit later on. “So… only one more lesser doorway to go!”
Everyone cheered.
“Don’t be too happy,” Zira warned. “The last one is going to be the hardest one of all.”
Zephyr nodded in agreement. “There is going to be an enormous number of every type of monster imaginable, and we’ll also have to keep an eye out for demons.”
Amadea sighed. “I’m sure there’ll be at least one or two. After all, it’ll be the perfect opportunity to eradicate us when we’re distracted.”
This was a depressing thought, but not enough to kill their mood.
Boreus was the one member of the team who hadn’t given any real thought to the politics of demons, and so he had no qualms asking the question that occurred to him. “What about that Abydos guy? Can we ask him to join our team and help out? They way he took care of that demon…”
Luna looked at him as if he were insane. “Do you even know what you are asking?! He admitted to being one of the top three demons! If we ask him for his help – we are pretty much offering our souls to him. Do you wish to be bound for all eternity to a demon???”
“He’s that bad, huh?” Boreus asked, scratching his head.
“Yes!” Luna nearly shouted.
Amadea laughed. “Well… I suppose that is technically true, but I’ve always thought he was kind.”
Zephyr groaned in exasperation. “That’s because you see the good in everybody! I may not have known just how high-ranking he was, but I always knew he was not to be trusted! I wouldn’t ask for his help if I were dying!”
“Perhaps not,” Abydos interrupted them. He had come when they started talking about him, but had lurked out of sight until just now. “But I bet you would beg for my help if Amadea was the one dying.”
Zephyr grunted several times as he realized that he couldn’t contradict the demon. Amadea laughed.
“I would rely on you to help no matter whose life it would save,” she informed him. “All life is precious.”
Abydos smiled, but couldn’t stop a facial tick from betraying his annoyance. It literally stung every time she said that, but since it was no more painful than a mosquito bite, he ignored her words. Besides, she trusted him, and that was more precious to him than anything.
“I have nothing better to do, so I would be honored to accompany you all,” Abydos stated with his trademark nearly close-eyed grin.
“No thank you!” Zephyr immediately denied. “I don’t wish to owe you anything!”
“There’s no need to worry about that,” Abydos smirked at Zephyr. “I promise that I’ll only protect Amadea, and I won’t expect anything in return.”
“I can remember a time when he used to say things like that about me,” Zira grumbled, still a bit angry that he had subtly fawned all over her until he abandoned her. “My guess is that he simply likes to play with whomever has the most power.”
She turned to Amadea. “Don’t you dare trust him, he’ll turn on you too!”
“I know,” Amadea replied with a grin. “But I can use that to my advantage!”
“That’s my girl!” Abydos responded cheekily.
Zephyr growled, and aimed the most powerful spirit arrow he could create at the demon.
Abydos held up his hands in an attempt to soothe the jealous husband. “Now now… I meant no harm.”
Zephyr didn’t care in the slightest, and prepared to release his arrow.
“That’s my cue to be going!” Abydos announced. “See you all later!”
Zephyr gave a disgruntled sigh when the demon disappeared before he could fire his shot. He silently vowed that next time he would simply fire, and not worry about how powerful the arrow was. It’s not like he could actually damage the demon anyway.
“Aren’t you afraid he’ll kill you?” Notus wondered, slightly in awe that his brother had no qualms about aiming a powerful arrow at an invincible demon.
“No. If he wanted me dead, he would have killed me long ago. I think he rather likes that his ‘pets’ have the audacity to rebel against him,” Zephyr explained.
The small party decided to pack up and be on their way. Considering that Notus and Boreus were with them, they had long ago realized that it just wasn’t practical to expect the flying horses to carry all 6 of them, so they had opted not to fly to each new destination. Instead, every member of the team rode his or her own horse.
They left orders for the soldiers to follow them, but since only a few of the soldiers had a horse, most of them had to march. This meant that they likely wouldn’t get to the last doorway in time to be of any help, but that didn’t matter since there should be a company of soldiers waiting for them anyway.
Therefore, the soldiers that did have horses followed the Empress closely, and those that didn’t watched the group ride off. They were secretly relieved that they would probably arrive after the battle was over. Fighting monsters was not fun!
The last lesser doorway was 3 days away – by horse, 5 by foot. Two days later, the group entered a dark and creepy forest. It was ominous no matter how they looked at it.
“We must be getting close to the infestation,” Zephyr remarked.
His companions all nodded grimly. It was not a good sign that the monsters had spread a full day’s journey from the lesser doorway. It meant that they would have a real fight just getting there! However, that was what they expected.
Everyone got busy fighting, except for Amadea. She merely watched from her horse as she contemplated what to do. Zira provided a steady stream of commentary as they slowly traveled down the path cleared by their companions. In any other situation, a ruler would never be allowed this close to danger, but in this situation, everyone wondered why she wasn’t doing anything.
“Zira…” Amadea whispered. “I think I should fly ahead and seal the doorway by myself. If I don’t, it may be days before we even get close to it. During that time, who knows how many monsters may come through or how many lives might be lost that I can prevent.”
Zira whispered in return. “I agree. Besides, with no one else to worry about, I can teach you a few new spells, and you can really let loose.”
“I don’t think Zephyr will let me just go without him, and he’s needed here,” Amadea pointed out.
“True,” Zira agreed.
The two quietly thought through their options as Cumulous slowly carried them forward. The forest got spookier, and even Amadea shivered in dread. Suddenly, she noticed something that made her scream in real terror. Her scream lasted for at least a full minute before her husband could shake her into silence.
“What’s wrong?!” He demanded. Never had he heard his wife scream like that.
“Sp-sp-spiders!” Amadea stuttered a wail, and opened her mouth to scream again.
Zephyr quickly covered her mouth with his hand, and looked in the direction she and Zira both pointed. He paled as he realized that he was looking at about a hundred enormous demon spiders of every species imaginable. Each one was easily the size of a house, and he had no problem accepting why his wife would scream in terror; he was tempted to do so himself!
“It’s ok,” he assured her. “You can retreat for now. We’ll take care of this!” Unlike other demon animals, these spiders could not simply be purified. First of all, they were not corrupted like other demon animals. They were a created breed of monster and needed to be killed just like any other monster.
Amadea nodded, turned Cumulous around, and raced back down the path she had come from. Once she reached safety, she stopped, and watched the battle.
“Hmm, this may work in my favor,” she speculated.
Zira nodded. “Let’s go!”

Go To Chapter 30 

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