DO sunny and leere want more children
They’re content with just being a mother to Joy. Leere especially after giving birth to an embodiment of evil that she then had to kill to save the world.
DO sunny and leere want more children
They’re content with just being a mother to Joy. Leere especially after giving birth to an embodiment of evil that she then had to kill to save the world.
A commission I did for @mrneighbourlove
This is their OC, Leere, done in a gothic style. I really loved the idea of blood magic and just went all out, and had a ton of fun! If you want to know more about Leere, go check out their tumblr! :)
Leere looks absolutely stunning! For this commission, I left it up to interpretation, and I was not disappointed. The blood magic is mystifying to behold and I love the black dress and pale eyes as she casts her magic. Both this and the bonus art was a true treat. I highly recommend commissioning @ drryuuchan yourself.
The speedpaint can be found on my instagram here
Commission for @mrneighbourlove of their character Kingpin! Adda.
She is so powerful here and I love me ladies in suits uvu♡
¤ please do not repost my artwork unless you are the requester
Follow Hevendemo @ Artfol▪︎Instagram▪︎Twitter▪︎Tumblr▪︎Youtube
Hey, you all like Adda? Her she is, back in action and as a new Kingpin of Crime! Fantastic thanks given to @hevendemo for this beautiful art piece.
Commission for @mrneighbourlove of their Gerudo OCs Captain Adda and her daughters Liz and Lex! Their characters are really interesting and I played a bit with the lights, which is one of my fav parts in the drawing process.
Captain Adda finds herself at the end of a road as Destiny links Liz and Lex to track her down. This is path paved in betrayal, heartache, blood, and will end with more blood by the end.
Thank you @frankiesbugs for the fantastic family art.
Midna’s story is just the Emperor’s New Groove!
Sassy Leader is in charge of a kingdom. They kind of got a dickish attitude.
There’s a greedy evil villain that deseperatly wants the throne. They can get rather comical.
With a partner, the villain finds a way to curse the sassy ruler into a far smaller weaker form, yet doesn’t kill them, instead having the ruler be exiled and eventually finding themselves in the countryside.
In the country side, they met a local farmer who they inlist in helping them regain both their proper form and throne. They do not get along at first.
But after a long adventure together, both the farmer and the ruler defeat the villain, the sassy ruler grows more humble, and the two grow a friendship that’s unbreakable.
YOU CAN’T DENY IT! And yes, Ganondorf is Kronk.
Can someone draw Ganondorf as Kronk? I’m willing to pay.
I love Baron Zemo as a marvel villain, and the MCU’s version of him is easily an S-Tier Antagonist in their lineup. His dedication to wiping out super-soldiers and the Avengers is admirable to see, given how he feels these groups are responsible for the death of his family and the destruction of his home country. This scene here speaks volumes to me about the strength of his character. Villains in media tend to be hypercritical against their spoken views when push comes to shove. Here, Zemo comes across the super-soldier formula and he asks, “Is this what I think it is?”
In a lesser show, Zemo would have broken his own conviction and injected himself with the serum. Power, after all, is very alluring. He even smiles at the blue vile, inspecting it up close. His next movement looks like it could be him injecting the serum into himself. Even John Walker couldn’t resist taking the serum for himself in the end. But Baron Zemo is no hypocrite. True to his convictions in his fight to rid the world of super humans, Zemo throws the vile down, and proceeds to stomp out every other vile of super soldier serum. I love a villain who is true to their word and won’t compromise on their beliefs, especially in the face of acquiring power.
Oof okay this is just me being a tad frustrated overall but:
I’m… pretty fed up with the situation on tumblr right now, not gonna lie. Yes this is about fics, and yes I do have the right to complain about it.
Because yes, I write for myself. That’s absolutely true.
But I write everything what’s happening in my head down for you, and writing takes a LOT of work. I would not be staying up late at night, typing sentences away on my phone or on my laptop if it wasn’t for readers.
I would not be trying to make pretty sentences and come up with metaphors and check over grammar again and again and again if not for you.
I would not be editing my fics so much I almost cannot stand to look at them anymore to the point I question the quality of my writing if not for you.
Don’t tell me stuff like “yes but we are reading it! There is no reason we should be forced to leave feedback” because that’s not what I’m asking of you. That’s absolutely NOT what I’m asking of you. I don’t want to force you to do anything and in the end I cannot at all because I’m just a simple blog in my corner of the internet but it all boils down to this:
Give your writers exposure.
We work harder than you readers would ever know to get those stories you love out and it’s so freaking hard to get it on paper. It takes so much energy and yes it also takes energy to comment, I understand.
But I assure you, taking the time to write a 20 word long comment is WAY less energy than the writer did to get 9000 words out with cohesive plot and creative writing.
So please, reblog. Reblog the fics you read. We writers depend on you.
if I may add a little thing to this
above you see a diagram that is the result of one of the mandatory questions I put in my personal taglist form. I put it in there out of interest, and since there aren’t that many people who have answered it the result is not what one would call scientifically sound due to the small sample size, but even so you can see a clear trend. more than half of exposure comes from reblogs. Take into account that I posed this question after a while of publishing my own writing on this platform, so in actuality some of the people who selected ‘was already following you’ (blue in the diagram) did in fact first find me and my writing through seeing a reblog by someone else (or by me reblogging their writing on my blog), so actually the real number would be closer to 60% or above even.
and if you think ‘oh I don’t have a big blog with a large following so it doesn’t matter’, let me say this: neither am I, but every pair of eyes counts. If you like a post you have seen it, if you reblog it for your sole follower then two people have seen it. Exposure is instantly doubled.
And if that still doesn’t convince you, may I humbly suggest: a simple message in an askbox. ‘Hey I read your story [insert title] and I really enjoyed x’. Or something along those lines. It means the world to writers.
I’ve been in both sides of this issue, both as a reader & as a writer.
As a reader I used to go out of my way to leave reviews on every single piece I read, even when I really disliked the author or didn’t click with the work itself.
As a writer, I (and all of the other writers) were told to “write for myself!” by my former fan community so often, that I internalized their message–“You’re not owed anything from us, write for yourself, don’t look for support here”–and I started to do exclusively that.
I wrote purely for myself without care of they’re being external readers. I stopped sharing my work for that fan community and began writing a completely different genre. I took down my existing fan work. I never stopped writing, I never stopped creating, and I never stopped doing it for myself. My writing improved. I began to share again for a new community. I had some work published. I continued to write for myself.
My inbox was full of messages from that former fan community for months.
“where did all of your work go?! I loved re-reading that one piece whenever I had a bad day! I’m so disappointed you’re not sharing your work anymore. Will you ever write more/republish/give us back our free entertainment?”
I’m writing for myself. I’m not looking to you for support any longer. I no longer feel the desire to share with you.
Isn’t that what you wanted?
Isn’t that what you’re telling writers when you claim they’re selfish for expecting support for their work? When you tell them it’s unfair to expect you to do more than consume? When you tell them you’re not responsible for their validation? When you make ad hominem attacks about those writers as individuals because they were foolish enough to think the people reading their work for free might say “nice job” when they finished? Isn’t that what you wanted when you introduced the straw man argument of ableism into creators’ pleas of “reblogging would be helpful.”
Isn’t that what you mean when you say write for yourself?
Writers: you’re not owed anything. Write for yourselves.
Fan communities: neither are you. Remember to support the things you enjoy.
I’ve a little story too, m’kay.
So, I wrote a story. Long one. Looking at the documents now, all together this thing was a a decently sized novel. That story was up for two years.
Not even once over these two years did I get as much as one comment. This is important. Not even once did I get a comment on that story. Hit counts for chapters went up regularly, but, of course, if somebody googled a keyword and clicked on the link, then it’d count as a hit, even if they closed it afterwards without reading, so I figured it was that (like, the keywords were pretty damn popular due to Another Fandom being very active at that moment).
Eventually, I got fed up and decided to delete it, because I could no longer bear to look at it, it just made me anxious and sad. But I also loved that work. I still do. But it made me sad. So, I set myself a goal: I give it 30 days. If over those 30 days, any chapter, any part gets one comment, the story will stay up. I don’t know why I did that, don’t ask.
The 30 days passed, and I deleted.
The next day. The very next day.
I get a message in my inbox that read something like this: “Why did you delete [story]??? I was re-reading it for the third time!”
I beg your pardon?
You was re-reading it? For the third time? And not even once over the course of you re-reading it for the second, or third, time, did you think that leaving a review, or at least a ‘‘thank you’‘ would be nice? A favourite, a like, at least? No?
Like, this is not to say that you absolutely gotta do it. I’m not the one who should tell you what to do, seeing how I’ve a stupid brain that just refuses to do mental labour sometimes.
BUT please do not come complaining to the writer after your favourite comfort story got deleted, because everybody else as well decided to just consume without giving anything in return.
I don’t know how to tell this to people, but new works and new chapters don’t magically appear on the servers of AO3, tumblr, wattpad, or whatever your preferred site for reading them is. Sorry, if I burst your bubble just now, but they just don’t. Somebody has to write them, somebody has to edit and check them, and all that somebody is asking for, in return, is a reblog, or at least a “good job!”, when we share our stuff with you.
Sharing because this is important.
I really miss the old times when the custom was to leave a comment to every chapter, even if it was just “Thanks for this update”. I read fics rarely but always still do this.
There’s this odd combination of knowing I have people that come and go, yet I see at least 1-3 new followers a week as well. I have a follower count of over 500 at this point. I know for a fact writers have to work extremely hard for that when compared to artists on Tumblr. So, statistically, it’s discouraging when no comments are made on updates to chapters, or short stories. Do those numbers come from the one meme update I made that got insanely popular? I’m sorry guys, but you shouldn’t follow me for that. Follow for the stories. Please leave comments, analyzation and love for the stories.
To the fuckwad who reported my blog as NSFW: Due to your action, I am unable to fix my Master List of Zelgan Fiction. I have reported my blog being marked incorrectly as NSFW, seeing the rules state that only art, gifs, or other images cannot be on the blogs. To everyone who likes reading my fics, I have included the link to my A03 below. Thank you for your continued support! <3
Hard enough to get writers content on this platform. Heart goes out to you buddy.
Happy very Belated Birthday to @ridersoftheapocalypse ! Office AU with Covarog, Zarazu and other new characters.
This is absolutely beautiful. You’ve improved your craft so much over the years. So much diversity in character design too.
We’re looking for:
Daphnes, Impa, Saria, Ruto, King Zora, Darunia, Rauru, Chief Rudania, “Goron Fieri”, Lizalfoes, Volga, and Fenrir. We are also recasting for Link and Vridi.
Please send your auditions to: email@example.com by the end of April 2021!
Remember that you can press ctrl+f in the script to find the names.
Looking for voices for the next Dubbing Up Gerudo! <3
Yeah. I’ll give my shot at this. Gotta use that Voice Acting Diploma somehow.
We are so close to 50 orders!
We are so happy! Let’s see that gem turn purple with 50 preorders which will net everyone who preordered a personalized sketch!
Today is the Last Day for the 10% off all orders sale, so don’t miss it! Use code ZELDA35TH by Monday March 15th, 11:59pm AKST
Visit our blog for more info and the link to our store!
50 minutes left!
Come and get it!
We met and surpassed our First stretch goal!!! Yay!!!
We are so happy! Let’s see that gem turn purple with 50 preorders which will net everyone who preordered a personalized sketch!
There are 3 Days left for the 10% off all orders sale, so don’t miss it! Use code ZELDA35TH by Monday March 15th, 11:59pm AKST
Visit our blog for the pinned link to the store!
(tumblr blocks this in the tags if there is a hyperlink)
Midna’s story is just the Emperor’s New Groove!
Sassy Leader is in charge of a kingdom. They kind of got a dickish attitude.
There’s a greedy evil villain that deseperatly wants the throne. They can get rather comical.
With a partner, the villain finds a way to curse the sassy ruler into a far smaller weaker form, yet doesn’t kill them, instead having the ruler be exiled and eventually finding themselves in the countryside.
In the country side, they met a local farmer who they inlist in helping them regain both their proper form and throne. They do not get along at first.
But after a long adventure together, both the farmer and the ruler defeat the villain, the sassy ruler grows more humble, and the two grow a friendship that’s unbreakable.
YOU CAN’T DENY IT! And yes, Ganondorf is Kronk.
Over 1,500 notes on easily my most popular post. Glorious work.
“Just order food here. You don’t need to go out.”
“We’ve had nothing but fast food for the last three days.” Asakonigei had on more casual clothes to go out for a food run. “I’m just getting some produce for salad and some chicken to bake. It will be better for us to eat some home food instead of greasy french fries.” She had her purse over her shoulder and keys in hand. “Anything in particular you want?”
“For you to stay and ask one of your cousins to bring us food.”
“They’re at work, besides,” Asakonigei held up her arms and then gestured to her look. She was wearing a Reebok workout outfit with a hat, her pony tail pulled through, and tennis shoes. “No one ever sees me like this. I’ll be fine.”
“Can you at least pack some heat?”
“I have a shotgun, not a pistol.” Asakonigei reminded him. “Can’t miss with a shotgun. Why are you worried? The pricks are after you, not me.”
Malik scowled at her before turning away. “Just hurry.”
“Okay, I’ll hurry. Sure you don’t want anything in particular?”
“Some cookies maybe.”
Cookies. The hulk wanted cookies. Asakonigei spent a solid five minutes staring at the various possibilities in the snack aisle. There were so many choices and she was not sure what to get for Malik. Finally, she settled on a box full of a variety of types; Oreos, Nutter Butters, Fudge Stripes, and Chips Ahoy. Surely he would enjoy at least one of those. Once she was done making her purchases, Asakonigei loaded the groceries into the trunk of her car. She started to get into the driver’s seat when she was knocked across the head and everything went black.
Sitting down and watching an episode of the Daredevil, Malik heard his phone ring. “Yes Asa?”
“Hey there you asshole.”
Malik jumped to his feet at a man answering the phone. “What have you done with her?”
“Nothing. Yet. If you want to keep it that way, come down to Barracuda Place at the factory. In thirty minutes maybe I’ll start playing with her, what do you think? Come alone.”
Malik immediately was running to his car and out the door. Furiously jamming the key in the ignition, he drove off with a squeal.
Asakonigei felt pain in her head. The world was spinning. She kept seeing black dots each time she tried to focus and there was a horrid ringing in her ears. Something was wet stuck to her face and her neck. Why couldn’t she move her arms? What happened?
Malik drove up to the factory stopping short of the doors. With a snarl, he revved the engine. Inside, a man slapped Asakonigei over the face. “Hey. Sweet cheeks. You awake?”
The sting against her face at least gave something to focus upon instead of the spinning of the entire world. Someone was there… someone who wanted trouble. Asakonigei dryly had the thought of knowing she should have listened to Malik and stayed at home now. “… what… what do you want…” One eye saw red. The other was clear. Blood was running down her face.
“I figured your little pet would come running if we picked up his main squeeze.”
Oh. Oh. Why was this person mistaking her as Malik’s lover? “Wrong… person.” Asakonigei managed to formulate a sentence. “I’m not… his girlfriend.”
“No. But he took the bait. He’s on his way here.”
Shit. She was pulling him into trouble. There had to be a way out of here. Asakonigei tried to move her arms again, but whatever bound them kept her from moving. It was plastic. A zip tie, maybe?
“After we kill him, think I’ll have my fun with you before gutting you. Gonna make it look like Kikai Industries wanted you dead.”
“Don’t think your dick is big enough for me.” Asakonigei was starting to rouse now, fully awake. “You get close enough and I’ll rip out your throat.”
“I like breaking little bitches like-”
Suddenly, the limo slammed through an old garage door frame, smashing into an armed guard. Everyone scrambled over to the limo, the vehicle still driving into a wall. “He’s here! Go get him!”
As men approached the limo, Malik snuck from behind. Taking a large beam of metal, he smashed two of the kidnappers off a railing.
As Malik suddenly stormed the place, Asakonigei went about to get loose from her bonds. This was a classic zip tie technique that kidnappers used. She knew how to get out of this. Lifting her arms as high as she could behind her back, she kept slamming them against her back, pulling as she did so. One try. Two tries. On the three try, she was free.
Malik grabbed a man by the arm, tossing him around like a ragdoll into another kidnapper. With a roar, he snarled at the ring leader.
Asakonigei managed to knock one of her kidnappers with the few chair they had her confined with a zipper tie. Next, she grabbed one of the legs on the chair, breaking it off. Swinging the leg furiously, she started beating the man who dared to touch her.
“What the- FUCK!!!”
The man yelled out in agony as Asa kept smashing the wooden leg down on him. Malik grabbed him by the leg, dragging him over to a balcony ledge. “Who sent you!”
Just as Malik grabbed the prick by his leg, she spotted another lackey trying to sneak up behind her friend. She took a running jump and nailed him in the face with a high kick, the crunch of his nose audible to everyone in the room. Then, she kept punching him while he was down, ensuring he would not get back up.
Malik gave her a light smile. She really knew how to lay a beating. With a tight grip, he snapped his leg, breaking the kidnapper’s ankle. “Give me a name fuck face.” “T-Teufel! Fuck! Please stop! Teufel!”
With only one floor off the ground, Malik dropped him head first. With a crash, the man went out cold.
No one expected the prim and proper CEO to know how to fight. Asakonigei was always dressed in business attire, in heels, always professional. Growing up with uncles and cousins who loved to kickbox, Asakonigei had to learn a thing or two about self-defense. Her knuckles were missing skin.
Asakonigei was still busy busting in the offender’s face when Malik grabbed her arm. At first, she jolted, not expecting him, rearing back to strike. Then, she calmed when she realized it was him and not someone else who would try to hurt her.
Running down the stairs, Malik thrust his foot to kick over one last kidnapper down a flight of stairs as they ran to the limo. With it still running forward, Malik was quick to take the brick off the ignition. He’d have to pay for damages later on the front, but so be it.
Backing up the limo, he threw Asa in the back when he was ready to drive on out like a storm. “Time to go.”
Asakonigei’s mind was still in a bit of haze because of the sudden movements and fighting. It was the adrenaline high, she knew. As soon as she was in the car and Malik took off, she was able to breathe for a moment. And that’s when the pain returned to her head. Groaning softly, she pulled down one of the mirrors to look at her forehead. It was not too bad of an injury, but would definitely cause her some discomfort. Not deep enough for stitches, but bad enough to bruise.
“Are you okay?” Asakonigei asked Malik. “Did you get hurt?”
“I should be asking you the same thing.” A phone was tossed through the window. “You’re going to call the police. Tell them to go to Barracuda Place and what happened to you. Then you and I are going to have a long talk about me fucking told you so.”
Asakonigei did not argue with Malik, for once just wanting this whole fiasco to be over with so she could go home. After a long talk with the police, she agreed to talk to an officer after the criminals were taken into custody. There were surveillance cameras around the place, so at least that would be helpful for a testimony. These criminals were not exactly the smart type. Once both of them were back at her condo, Asakonigei felt a bit of weight come off her shoulders.
Walking inside, Malik grabbed her by the arm and threw her to the couch. “We’re going to have some very serious grand rules. From now on, you don’t leave the house without some kind of protection.”
Asakonigei lost her footing when he slammed her into the couch, toppling on it most ungracefully. She was certainly not in the mood for a lecture. With a pounding headache and sore hands, the woman was not in the best of moods. “Are you going to just say ‘I told you so’ and get on with it?”
“I told you so! You were almost killed because you couldn’t listen to me!” Malik was furious.
“Excuse me, I’m never had a target on my back before! Rinku said they were after you, not me!” Asakonigei snapped back at Malik. “Why in the world would they come after me?!”
“To get to me! Like they did with my wife!” Malik blinked, realizing something. “I quit. Call your cousins to come get you. I need to go.”
Like they did with his wife?! Wait, those men thought that she was his girlfriend or something? It took Asakonigei a moment to process that thought. Well, she supposed she could understand how they arrived to that conclusion. When Malik started to leave, she grabbed the back of his pants by the belt and yanked him backwards. “Oh no you don’t!!!”
“I’m not going to let someone else I care about have a knife in the back just because they’re close to me. Let go Asakonigei.” He pushed her back, walking towards the door.
“I said no!” Asakonigei pulled on his pants once more. Her uncles always did that to her cousins and herself when they wanted to prevent them from moving or going too far away. “You’re staying here! You don’t have anywhere else to go! I don’t want you to get hurt again!”
“Who gives a shit about me. I need to find out who this Teufel man is on my own. Then I need to put him in the ground.”
“I give a shit about you, idiot!” Asakonigei shouted so loud her own ears rang.
“Then you need to let me go. I need to get out of here so I can work effectively and you can be safe.” Malik put his hands on her hips, holding her steady.
“What if I don’t want to?” Asakonigei challenged, still gripping him rather tight, but now with her hands curling into the fabric of his shirt. “What if I ordered you to stay?”
“Say it then.”
“I order you to stay with me.” Asakonigei demanded, the tiny woman jerking the collar of Malik’s shirt downward so he’d look her directly in the eyes. “And stay alive.”
Malik paused. He blinked. Then he pulled her close, his lips pressing against hers.
The kiss was not exactly unexpected, but his hands, by the goddesses, his hands were so large. The way they felt against her back, pulling her close was a new feeling to experience. Holding onto his neck, Asakonigei leaned into the kiss, wanting more.
His tongue found hers, and he pushed her gently back onto the couch. Her backside was firm as he squeezed tight, wanting to feel the bounty.
The scent of sweat, blood, and grime was in the air and it nearly gave Asakonigei a head rush. As Malik laid her back on the couch, she squeaked slightly when he groped at her backside. Yet, it did not bother her. All she knew was, if she let him go, he might disappear out that door. She might never see him again.
Malik took off his shirt, starring down at her. His hands immediately grabbed her by the shirt, and, with a single jerk, he tore her clothing into rags.
“H-Hey!” Asakonigei flushed red at his sudden strength, more turned on than affronted. Evidently, he was as excited as she was. “Don’t do that to my bra, it’s a good one.”
Reaching down, it looked like he was going to tear it apart, but he unhooked it with a sudden gentleness. Leaving her bare, he carefully cupped a breast.
Was it possible to have a hand kink? Asakonigei was finding she was very much enjoying those large, calloused hands. The way his touch was gentle, but that roughness of his skin brushing against hers, that was maddening. Arching into the touch, she took his free hand and placed it on her other breast.
He lifted her up to turn her around. His finger brushed the backside of her scar. “You’re electrifying, you know that?”
Asakonigei had to hold back a snicker at the pun. That was one thing all Dragmires had in common, including the famous Ganondorf. All of them were great at bad puns. As his fingers traced the outlines of her scars, the woman took down her hair, letting the locks tickle Malik’s fingers. The jet black, silk hair was down to her waist line, and reflected the little light from the moon, shining in the window. “If I’m electrifying, then you must be an inferno.”
He pulled her pants off, stripping her naked. His hands cupped her butt cheeks, squeezing nicely around her frame. “You’re a beautiful, beautiful woman.”
Malik seemed to be staring at her for an eternity. Truthfully, Asakonigei never felt all that attractive with the scars from the lightning. She wore what she could to cover them and compensated elsewhere. But Malik had seen her at her worst and still found her beautiful. It made her smile. This was a different feeling than with Mojag. While she did care for Mojag at one point, now, she was debating if she ever felt… like she actually loved him. What if it was just attraction and nothing more? This here, this was different. She felt safe. She felt wanted. She felt beautiful. Asakonigei hardly ever felt beautiful. Taking his face into her hands, she kissed him once more.
After kissing her for what felt like an hour, Malik didn’t even notice his pants had dropped. He held Asa close to him, pinching her back side. “You ready for what comes next? You’ve given me a lot of pent up feelings working for you. I think you need to do something about that.”
“Blaming me for something else already?” Asakonigei ran her hands down his chest. “I think before you get to enjoy me, I should reward you for all your hard work. It’s only fair, yes?” Pushing him back onto the couch, she crawled over top him, tugging down his underwear. As his cock sprang free, she traced a single finger up and down his length first, just to tease, before gripping the base. Swirling her tongue over the head, Asakonigei intended to help him with these 'pent up feelings’.
Malik gasped. It had been too long since he allowed himself that feeling. His hands held her head, gently guiding her.
It was difficult to take his entire length in her mouth. He was certainly bigger than Mojag, that was for sure, but did excite her. So, Asakonigei had to settle for playing with the tip and pumping the base of his shaft.
“That’s it. Slowly now…”
Running her teeth ever so slightly across the top of his shaft, Asakonigei loved his reaction to jerk away, but also the twitching of his dick. She did like to tease, her black hair ghosting over his skin as she moved her mouth.
“Use that tongue, because if its not lubricated, it’s gonna sting later.”
“You think I don’t have lube in my bedroom?” Asakonigei asked him with a coy smile.
“Where’s the fun in that?”
“It’s a king-sized mattress.” She winked at him. “More room than the couch.”
“Alright.” Malik scoooped her up and over his shoulder, giving her booty a smack as he walked up the stairs.
“Hey! Do you have a thing for carrying me over your shoulder like potatoes, Malik?” Asakonigei was tempted to think he was more of a butt man than a boob man.
Throwing her on the bed, Malik spread her legs open. “Brace yourself.” He paused, his cock hovering over her stomach. Then he stopped waiting. With a push, he penetrated her folds.
Asakonigei tensed, gasping loudly, as Malik stretched her. Gripping the sheets, her legs shook as he held them open, biting her lip. Shivering, it was a mixture of pleasure and pain. But she did not want him to stop. “Tssss… gods, you’re b-big…” She managed to say, her back arching from the feeling.
Grabbing her by the waist, he pulled back, then thrust his hips forward into her.
“AH!” Asakonigei was suddenly full, so full, it hurt and burned, but sent sparks of pleasure throughout her body as well. It was a conflicting sensation for sure, but she did not want it to end. Her hands went from the sheets to Malik’s back, holding on tightly as her legs wrapped around his hips for support.
“Hold tight.” Malik held her by the legs and started to pump. Hard.
“OH FUCK!!!” Asakonigei’s nails raked down Malik’s back as he started to slam inside of her. She was seeing stars from his forceful love making. It was a slice of heaven. Gasps and moans escaped her lips as he continued to drive in and out, in and out, hearing the slapping of skin against skin. Her black hair was sprawled over the sheets, mouth open as she panted from the pleasure.
Every woman he had been with had the same reaction.
Slap. Slap. Slap.
The sound vibrated throughout the room as Malik’s dick filled her, pressing against her womb.
With each thrust, Asakonigei was filled to the brim, legs shaking from the overwhelming pleasure. He was quite the lover, and knew exactly how to make her squirm. It was nothing short of masterful. All she could do was hold on, as rough as he was with his movements, causing her to shift up and down on the sheets. Squeezing his dick with her inner walls, she was getting close to her climax. “Ahhh… ahh, M-Malik… p-please…”
What?! Why did he stop moving?! The gall! He was teasing her!!! She wriggled her hips downward, wanting him to continue. “Don’t stop!!!”
Malik threw himself backwards, so she was suddenly on top of him. Grabbing her by the hip, he pressed a finger into her lightning scar. With that, he smashed upwards into her.
Asakonigei was startled by the sudden movement, but now he was so deep, all the way inside since she was sitting on him. The moment almost made her come undone, the way his cock was hitting that one spot. She whimpered softly from the sudden sensation of being so full with Malik’s length. However, he did not give her time to get used to the position, angling his hips up into her. With a loud cry, Asakonigei could only brace herself on his chest as he continued the motion.
“Cum for me.” A finger pressed on her clit, wanting her turn into putty on top of him.
“A-AHH!” The abrupt pressure on her clit made Asakonigei orgasm hard. She shuddered from head to toe, nails digging into his chest as the pleasure shook her entire core. Her face was flushed, she was panting for air, and her legs were gripping him tight.
He pulled out, grunting as his cum sprayed out all over her breasts and chest. “Oh- oh god.”
Needless to say, Asakonigei was absolutely wiped from the sex and the events of the night. A part of her wanted more, but the more rational side knew better. She was going to be sore tomorrow. Now, all she wanted was to clean up and to sleep.
“I… I haven’t had sex in a while. Not with anyone so small either.”
Now that caused her to laugh. “Me? Small?” Asakonigei supposed to him, she was very small. There were few people out there who could rival Malik’s height and build. “Ever considered the thought of you simply being a giant?”
“Maybe.” Grabbing her, he held her close for another kiss. “Does this…. change our work relationship?”
“Hm… you already drive me crazy. I don’t see why you should stop driving me elsewhere either.” Asakonigei gently brushed back his wild orange hair. “Unless this is what you men only consider a one-night stand… which I hope it’s not.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want it to be a one-night stand. But… that doesn’t stop the danger that’s present.”
“I could always hire more security.” Asakonigei suggested. “You could just stay here with me.”
“Share a bed? Beats me sleeping on the couch.”
“As long as you don’t snore.” Asakonigei swatted his chest playfully. “And we need to clean up first. I got dried blood on me, I still need to tend to this cut, and I smell like you…” She then paused and added. “Which isn’t a bad thing.”
“We shower. Get the blood off… then I help you smell like me again. How about that?”
“As long as you don’t get cum in my hair.” Asakonigei purred in his ear, nipping at his bottom lip.
“Won’t be an issue.”
Running, Malik closed the door behind him and threw a person to block it. Without a word, he tried to not panic as he searched for his keys. “Get in the back seat.”
Asakonigei nearly had the wind knocked out of her when Mailk suddenly hoisted her like a sack of potatoes over his shoulder. Then, the man ran. She thought she heard popping noises, like a balloon, but realized it was a gunshot. As soon as the two of them were outside, the frazzled woman barely had time to register Malik’s words. As soon as the car was unlocked, she got inside.
Malik looked over to see the man come out with his gun drawn, only to be violently ripped back into the bar by a bouncer. Still, he didn’t want to chance someone else gunning for him. Getting in the front seat, he started to limo and took off. A few bumps were heard behind Asakonigei as bullets ricochet off the reinforced glass harmlessly. Driving down the city streets, Malik swore under his breath. “I’ve been shot in the hip. Fuck.”
Why was someone shooting at them?! Goodness, what in the world was going on?! Asakonigei was scared, confused, and downright bewildered at the fact that someone would be shooting at her or Malik. What did they do to piss someone off in the club?! With the jerky driving, Asakonigei nearly fell off the seat a few times, but regained her balance. However, her attention was brought to Malik when he said he’d been shot.
“WHAT?!” Asakonigei managed to crawl to the front of the limo, sticking her head through the window into the driver’s area. He was not lying. Blood was pooling on the seats. “Pull over, it’s not safe for you to drive! You’ve been shot! I need to drive you to the hospital!”
“Not until I know we lost them. However they are.” Taking a sudden pull down into the highway, Malik pushed Asa back into the passengers area as he turned on a random song. “The Sign.”, played calmly in the background. “Keep your head down back there where its safe.”
“I’m not going to be very safe if you crash the car from blood loss!” Asakonigei objected, giving a surprised squeak when he pushed her back into the passenger area. The idiot, he should listen to her! A bullet wound was serious! “Please, Malik, let’s go to the hospital.” She tried to speak in earnest, letting him know she was being as sincere as possible. “I don’t want you to have complications from this.”
“No hospitals. Last thing I need is to be detained.”
“It’s a hospital, not a jail!”
“They check into your background. I don’t need people asking why I got shot. It’ll make you look bad. Unless of course they were aiming for you. Either case, hospitals are too public and risky.”
“Malik, you could bleed out! What if they nicked an artery?!” Asakonigei insisted. “I can weld together metal, but I’m not a doctor!”
“Do you know any private doctors?”
“I know my family doctor. He’ll make house calls, but I still think you ought to go to the hospital.”
“Then call him.”
“… fine. But if you pass out in my house, I’m calling an ambulance.” Asakonigei whipped out her cell phone to make a phone call to Doctor Eric Boveir.
It was not too much longer that Doctor Boveir, known affectionately as Doctor Boo-Boo to many, showed up at Asakonigei’s home. “I came as quickly as I could.” Doctor Boveir yawned. “What is the problem, Miss Tablitha? You slice your finger open again cutting onions?”
“No, no, it’s um… my… driver…” Asakonigei gestured behind her as she led the doctor inside her condo. “He got shot trying to get me out of a club.”
“… wait, what?” Doctor Boveir’s eyes widened when he saw Malik holding a towel to staunch the flow of blood. “… pray tell, why did the idiot not let you take him to a hospital?”
“Because he says it’s bad for someone who has a record to go to the hospital with a gunshot wound.”
“Fair enough,” Doctor Boveir rolled his eyes and shook his head. “But still stupid.”
Malik waved the doctor over as he took a seat. “Not my first… bullet wound.”
“Hmph. Not your first, but it better be your last.” Doctor Boveir set down his bag full of medical equipment. “Take off your shirt. You know how this goes, I’m sure. It’s not going to be pleasant.”
Malik pulled his shirt off with a loud groan as he did as instructed.
Doctor Boveir inspected the wound and then gave a nod. “Well, you’re rather lucky that it didn’t hit anything. Yet, it didn’t go all the way through.” He held up a needle. “This is a numbing agent. It’s going to pinch a bit.”
“Just- grrrrr!” Malik growled his teeth together as the Doctor started his work with no warning.
Doctor Boveir had been in the game long enough to get work done quickly and efficiently. After cleaning the wound, he removed the bullet, and then started sewing up the skin. His hands were wrinkled and old, but still masterful in skill. Once he finished, Doctor Boveir placed a gauze pad over both of the bullet holes and then taped them in place. “You cannot get this wet for at least 3 days.” Doctor Boveir instructed, and then handed Asakonigei a bottle of Tylenol, antibiotics, and a kit full of gauze and tape. “You need to change the gauze everyday. Two antibiotic pills a day, Tylenol for fever. I guarantee you’ll have chills tonight.”
“These instructions are for you and her.” Doctor Boveir crossed his arms. “You’re not to be left alone. You’re staying here.”
“Huh?” Asakonigei had never really been a caregiver before and was a bit afraid she’d screw something up for Malik. But, even so, she wanted him to be all right. “He can… stay in the guest bedroom.”
“I’d suggest you take a few days off work, Miss Tablitha. I’m sure your uncles and cousins can manage fine without you for a bit.”
“Good lord. Ms. Tablitha, if I’m staying here then someone needs to go get the blood out of the car.”
“I’ll have it cleaned.” Asakonigei waved off his worries. “And think of an excuse.” “You both get some rest.” Doctor Boveir packed his kit and then said, “If he starts running a high fever, make sure to give him fluids and keep him cool.”
After the doctor left, Malik couldn’t help but grin at Asa, laughing to himself.
“Why are you laughing?!” Asakonigei was so tempted to punch him in the arm, but did not want to hurt Malik further. “This is serious!”
“This is the second time now you’ve gotten me to stay over the night at your place.”
Asa couldn’t punch him, so she threw a decorative pillow at his face. “That’s why you’re laughing?! I’m worried about you, you bonehead!”
The man simmered down enough to stop. “If you’re so worried, why not scoot over and keep me company?”
“Nice try, I still got to help you clean up without getting that gauze wet. Then make sure you take these meds and eat something.” Asakonigei ran a hand back through her loose hair as she motioned for Malik to follow her to the bathroom. “How can one of my best employees, a good man I call friend, be so much trouble?”
“Because I’ve got baggage. I still like to believe you pissed someone off and I got in the way here.” Standing up, the large man lumbered his way towards the bathroom.
“Sure, I stepped on someone’s foot on the dance floor and they wanted to shoot me for it.” Asakonigei retorted dryly as she opened up the bathroom door for him and motioned for Malik to sit on the edge of the tub. Getting out some rags, Asakonigei made sure to wet them with warm water. She started to wipe off the blood, trying her best to be careful around the skin she knew had to be tender. “Arm up please.”
“Seriously. You’re the CEO of a company. I doubt the Mojag has the balls or the money to hire a killer after you, but I’m sure you have other enemies who’d be more than happy to see you gone.”
“In all my years as the CEO chair, no one has ever come after me. Why would they now? Nothing has changed.” Asakonigei went through four washrags to get rid of the blood. Then, she took a clean one and started to wash his face and neck off, getting rid of the sweat. Even now, it looked rather odd, her standing there in the stiletto heels playing nursemaid to an absolute hulk of man. “Close your eyes.”
“Why? Want to sneak a kiss to your rescuer? Why not look me in the eye when you do it?” Malik grinned with the charm of a fiend, reveling in his teasing.
“You wish.” Asakonigei huffed, her cheeks slightly flustered, holding up the rag. “I’m trying to help you here.”
Malik allowed her to clean him down, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths. His abs moved slowly in and out with his breathing.
“Okay, I’m finished. I think I might have one of my uncle’s old shirts, maybe a pair of pants, that you can use here while I clean yours.” Asakonigei led Malik into the guest bedroom. “Just check the closets. I’ll be back in a minute with some food so you can take your meds.” She then paused. “Or can you manage getting a shirt on?”
“I can manage.” Pulling his pants down, he grunted. “Going to take a shower.”
“You can’t get the gauze wet, genius, that’s why I was trying to help you clean—okay, I’m turning around now.” Asakonigei stood there, keeping a hand over her eyes. “If you get the gauze wet, you risk infection. So you can’t shower.”
“Well I’m not going to just sit in my stink and blood.”
“A bath would be more suitable.” Asakonigei was sure that she was going to regret this later. “I could at leas help with that if you just… um… leave your underwear on.”
“Ms. Tablitha.” Malik started running water for a bath, but took off all his clothes. “There’s no way I’m going to bath in my underwear.” With modesty, he took a step into the tub.
Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, do look—DON’T LOOK!!! Asakonigei was mentally chanting to herself as the man got into the tub. Maybe she could at least figure out a way to help him without looking which… might be next to impossible. A blindfold would do, but she couldn’t see what she was doing. Maybe if she just kept her eyes shut and handed him a few things. Yes, that would work. Fumbling around for a rag and a towel, she manged to hold them out to Malik. “Soap should be in there already… do you need help washing your hair?”
“Yeah. Shouldn’t strain myself.”
Bleeding hearts of the world, great, great, great, why did she have to be considerate now? What happened to that icy cold exterior she swore to hold onto forever? “There’s a cup I use to sit my razor in so it won’t fall out.” Asa then held up a hand towel, figuring it was large enough. “Use this to cover the great down under so I can see what I’m doing. Use the other towel to cover the gauze.”
“Or how about you just look at me?”
“I’m trying to consider your modesty here.” Asakonigei grumbled under her breath. “Please place the towel?”
Malik sighed, placing the towels as asked. “You waste time and your abilities by giving handicaps for modesty.”
“Says the man who obviously isn’t shy about his body.” Asakonigei waited until he was ready and then set to washing his hair. She was very careful pouring the warm water on his head, making sure the towel was in place over the gauze and not to get it wet. “Lean back some more. There you go.” She held up the shampoo which was scented like coconut and lime. “Prepare to smell less than manly.”
“I can’t really smell much these days anyways, so knock yourself out.”
“Your nose decide to quit working because of your rancid taco farts?” Asakonigei scrubbed his head with her nails, making a lot of suds in his hair. Then, she rinsed out the shampoo with a few pours, checking to make sure she had it fairly clean. “Or broke nose in the past?”
“Something just clicked off in my mind I guess after enough punches and all the iron in the air.”
“Well, at least your brain still works, despite you being a wise ass sometimes.” Asakonigei then used conditioner and made sure to get out any possible tangles. After Malik’s hair was completely clean, she rubbed it furiously with a towel before combing through the locks. “There. All clean.”
“Good. Tomorrow, I’m going to shake some trees and see what falls out.”
“Tomorrow, you’re resting.” Asakonigei then asked. “You need anymore help? I can lay you out a pair of clothes. Anything you want to eat with your meds?”
“You own a gun?”
“Yes. Why?” Asakonigei asked Malik. “I have a 4.10 shotgun.”
“We’re going to take night watches. You ever shoot anyone with it?”
“Malik, you can’t even get in this building without the code.” Asakonigei then added. “I also have five locks on my door. I can put a chair in front of it. Besides, no one knows where I live other than you.”
“…fine. I still want that gun.”
As instructed, Malik stayed as Asakonigei’s for the next couple days. Most of the time was spent watching Netflix and a cooking the odd meal.
A knock came at the door suddenly. “Hello there?” It sounded like a woman’s voice.
“…?” Asakonigei glanced at Malik when there was a knock at the door. “I didn’t order anything. Did you?”
“I figure I need to have a backup. For any legal matters over this.”
Grunting as he got off the couch, Malik trudged over to the door. There was a short, blonde woman in a business suit and green tie. “Uncle Malik. Good to see you. Can I come in?”
“Right this way Rinku.”
The blonde woman walked in with a briefcase, nodding pleasantly at Asakonigei. “You must be Ms. Tablitha. Honour to meet you.”
“She’s your niece?” Asakonigei knew she was staring, but could not help it. She went through the mental list of the Dragmire kids in her head. There was two adopted and then five biological… right? Maybe this was one of the adopted ones. “It’s nice to meet you as well.”
Malik and Rinku walked over to the kitchen table. “Malik. I made a few calls to the police. What we know is that the gunman was gunning for you, and not Ms. Tablitha. He spoke up about killing a Gerudo.”
“Why haven’t the police come to ask me any questions?”
“Most likely because there was no security footage taken at the time of the shooting, and the suspect was shot from afar as he was being taken into custody.”
“That might be because he was busy hauling me out of there, like a farmer running with a sack of potatoes.” Asakonigei felt a bit of concern for Malik when she heard the shooter was aiming for him. What in the world did he do before he worked for her? She thought all his charges were dropped at some point. “Did they say why?”
“What my contact tells me is the man went in for a ride in a police car, got out after saying nothing, then was shot by an unknown assailant.”
“Evidently, someone wants to cover their tracks.” Asakonigei gathered her hair to the side and braided it, a nervous habit. “Probably knows where he lives too, yes?”
“Possibly. First framing you for murder, and now just wanting you dead. Some folks really hate you Malik.” The man could only solemnly nod at that.
“Does this have anything to do with the fact of who he was before now?”
“Maybe. Hard to tell.” Rinku turned her attention to Malik. “You made stupid choices growing up, pissed off a lot of people.”
“You think it could be someone gunning for me from one of the gangs?”
“Like I said, it’s a possibility.”
“Instead of him going home, he can just stay here. None of these people would know where I live and it’d be safer for him that way.”
“Could be. That’s enterally up to my client though.”
“He’s already ate all of my cereal, what else could happen?”
“You could be lying dead in a pool of blood up in your bedroom and my client would be tried for your murder.”
“Sheesh, I’m joking, you’re so serious.” Asakonigei then said, “Say what you need to say. Malik needs a dressing change and another meal before his meds.”
“Then you wouldn’t mind giving us some privacy?”
“I’ll be in the bathroom, getting out supplies.” Asakonigei walked off to leave Rinku and Malik to chat.
“Malik.” Rinku’s voice turned to a low whisper. “Did you start shit with any of your ex contacts?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Not even in your illegal fight rings?”
“I never pushed any buttons over the edge there.”
“Then maybe our mysterious Mr. X is taking another shot at you.”
Mr. X. It was the name Rinku and Malik gave the man who framed Malik for Cipher’s death. It never sat well with either how convenient his arrest and quick his trial was. Or that even after years of investigating on her own, Rinku was only able to prove Malik’s innocence, but not find the real killer. “Yeah. Then I have bigger problems.”
“I’d recommend staying here for a while.”
Getting up, Rinku looked around the place. “You talk to Ganondorf lately? Seen him?”
“I’ve seen him, but there’s nothing to talk about.”
“I know he can be… a total ass. But that’s still family. Maybe try giving him a call again.” Checking her watch, Rinku grabbed her suitcase. “I got to go. I’ll call if I have any news.”
Asakonigei carefully set out all the necessary materials to change Malik’s gauze. This situation was going from bad to worse very quickly and she was worried for his sake. What in the world did this person want with Malik? What could he have done to warrant such brutality? Sighing, she sat on the end of the bath tub and put her face in her hands. She tried to rationalize the positives. Malik was here. No one knew he was here. Maybe after a while, this would blow over. Right?
Asakonigei had been working some late nights due to the increase in demand for her company’s metal parts. Luckily, the contract with the newest auto group came through, but with more work, more hours. Sometimes, she did not go home until the late hours of the morning. Other times, the woman worked two full straight days in a row. Yet, once all the paperwork was finished, this would be done and no more overtime.
Malik did his usual routine, driving Asakonigei around wherever she needed to go. It seemed that she was getting over Mojag rather well. Sniveling punk hadn’t pressed any charges like he threatened either. As they were bustling in the office, an assistant came in. They looked rather excited. “Ms. Tablitha?”
Asakonigei was running on her third energy drink of the day. She was very tired from working until three in the morning on paperwork. Yet, when her assistant came rushing in, she hoped for good news. “Yes?”
“Wilson Kinju is at the front desk! He wants to have a meeting with you.”
Glancing at Malik and then back to her assistant, Asakonigei then furiously scrolled through her calendar on the phone. No, there was no scheduled meeting with a Wilson Kinju today. Shit. “Stall him just for three minutes.” She instructed her assistant, quickly fishing out a mirror from her desk to fix her makeup. “I need to fix my face.”
The assistant ran out as Malik set some files down. “Wilson Kingu? Isn’t he some kind of philanthropist?”
“With a shit load of money.” Asakonigei finished her eyeliner and then started to apply lipstick. “If he wants an investment with the company, I have to pull out all my tricks.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen you doll up like this for anyone before.”
“Old men like pretty faces, Malik.” Asakonigei put her makeup back in the drawer with the mirror. “Usually works like a charm too. Besides I…” She sighed, feeling a little ashamed. “Haven’t had much reason to doll up lately. But this will be a good reason if I can get more business.”
Malik smiled softly, giving her a pat on the back. “Hey. You can doll up anytime you want. Even if its on a drive through the city.”
“Think you could avoid every pothole?” Asakonigei gave him a smile. He was always sweet when trying to cheer her up. “Now, I heard this person can be pretty cocky. Sometimes a bit of a bastard. So don’t bash his head in unless he tries to touch my ass, all right?”
“Bodyguard duties again? That’ll cost you extra.”
As they walked out together, with Malik behind her, the man tensed up when he saw the man.
Mr. Kinju turned around with a soft, yet sharp smile. In a purple power suit with a red tie, he gave a polite bow of the head to Asakonigei. “Ms. Tablitha. An honor to make your acquaintance.”
“I must admit, Mister Kingu, I am very surprised that you have graced us with a visit.” Asakonigei held out a hand for him to shake. “You usually tend to gravitate toward larger Fortune 100 companies instead of us 500s. What can I do for you today?”
The man shook her hand firmly. “Apologies for jumping in unannounced. You were on my mind and I was in the neighbourhood.” He took one look at Malik and knew in his soul he had what he came for. Turning back to Asakonigei, he smiled once more. “I’m very impressed by your strength of will Ms. Tablitha. Not many can get back on their feet so quickly after heartbreak. You have my gratitude in that regard.”
Great. So, he knew about the fiasco. She had to keep a straight face. “I dodged a bullet, Mister Kinju, and while personal issues might seem daunting, I cannot let it interfere with my work.” Asakonigei assured the man. “My employees need a boss with a straight head.”
“That they do. The true sign of a leader.” He gestured toward her factory. “Can we take a tour?”
“I’d be happy to show you our factory, Mister Kingu, though you will have to sign a waiver understanding that you step outside of the safety lines designated in the factory, you are responsible for any injury that may come to yourself.” Asakonigei was all business. “There is working machinery in the building.”
After signing all safety concerns and putting on the safety equipment, the three of them went for a walk. “Ms. Tablitha. I have to ask, how do you view the competition with Kikai Industries?”
“Kikai puts a preference on quantity over quality.” Asakonigei told Kingu. “While they manufacture more product, we focus on products that need not require replacing in five to six years.”
“They would argue its the other way around. I believe the limo I see outside is a Kikai model.”
When Malik saw Asa turn a scowl his way, he looked up away from her gaze.
“I for one, don’t care the reality of that. Ms. Tablitha. I’m more interested in your workforce. I too invest in those who fell from the graces of the law to give them a second chance. My own business needs able bodies, and I want to have you outsource your work force to me.”
“Notice that Kikai has used some of our metal on their car models in the older years? Ever wonder why they lasted longer?” Asakonigei reminded Kingu. “Sometimes, you have to look at the fine details.” When Mister Kingu expressed his interest in her company, the woman was surprised. “You want my employees?”
“I do. With all the business’ and practices I invest in, that’s a great deal of security needed. Manning yachts, charity drives, art museums. I could go on. In return, I’d gladly invest any amount of money into your own company. Six digits. Seven digits. Maybe even eight.”
“Mister Kingu, with all due respect, some of these men and women are not looking to get back into a job with violence that may be potentially involved. HOwever, I’d be more than happy to put you in contact with the parole officer I work with to give these individuals a chance.” Asakonigei then added. “We offer our employees a pension plan as well. Would you be willing to off them insurance too?”
“Of course. I view all staff under my guidance like a finger of mine. I treat them well in return for doing my will.” He took a look at all the employees working away. Out of all of them, Malik was the closest to Holana’s description.
“Well, I’m not objecting to you wanting to provide my men and women with a job offer, though that will remain their decision whether or not they wish to remain here or work for you.” Asakonigei was confident in her employees. “Though, I must say, why are you interested in them? In my company? You have to admit, it does beg the question.”
“I’m reaching out to multiple companies in search of a work force. Secondly, I think having the minds of the Tablitha family supplying me will do wonders for a shared public image.”
“Supplying you with… what, Mister Kingu?” Asakonigei opened the door to allow him to step out of the factory back inside of the main building. “Parts?”
“Parts, man power, a place to grow my money.”
“The parts I can do, but the man power, you’ll have to seek that outside yourself, Mister Kingu.” Asakonigei was honest with him. “My employees are more than welcome to seek out other job opportunities, yet I will leave that decision up to them.”
“And that is there’s to make.” The man looked to his watch, smiling lightly. “I won’t bother you with any paper work or further discussion. As a single, fine woman I’m sure you must be dying to get out after a long day of work. In the meantime, here’s my card. We’ll be in touch Ms. Tablitha.”
“While I might like to go home at some point, there’s still work to be done.” Asakonigei took his card. “Please let me know when you are interested in ordering parts. I’ll be sure to have my assistant make an appointment for you so I can set aside time that you need to discuss which pieces you’d like.”
“Will do.” He gently took her hand, giving it a light kiss. “Any man would be lucky to have you. Shame I’m a faithful man to my own lady.”
“No shame in being a faithful man, Mister Kingu.” Asakonigei had an alarm going off in her hand at his smile and that kiss to her hand. This man was a charmer. He wanted something from her or her company, and not in a good way. It almost made her skin crawl. The thought of this man wanting to ‘buy’ her employees like the parts she sold also told her that something was amiss. “Please do take care.”
“You as well.”
After the man left, Malik walked with Asakongei, shrugging. “That was something.”
Once Mister Kingu was gone from the building, Asakonigei took some sanitizer and scrubbed her hand. “I don’t like him.”
“Yeah. Like there’s something shivering up your spine.”
“Remind me to inform my assistant and my secretary as well as building security if they see him, he needs an appointment next time.”
“You going to take up his offer?”
“Nope.” Asakonigei shook her head. “His first mistake was wanting to take my employees. Acting like they were goods to be sold.”
“I feel like I’ve meet him before…” Malik tried to think back on it, before finally relenting. “Say, any plans after work?”
“Sleep for the next decade.” Asakonigei then said. “But probably pick up dinner on the way.”
“Not really. Why?” Asakonigei asked.
“Well, I don’t think I’ve ever drove you around somewhere more lively at night. Feels like a waste of my talents.” He cracked a smile at her, hoping to see one back.
“Lively? You’re in the car, what do you mean, lively?” Asakonigei laughed, grinning from ear to ear.
“Well, behind all that rigged figure is a dancer in you?”
“A dancer? Does Dance Dance Revolution count?”
“Are you telling me you don’t know how to dance Ms. Tablitha?”
“I can dance a little, but not a lot. I’m more of a Cha Cha Slide kind of person.”
“Then how about it? Unless you’re getting too old and tired.”
“Very well, Mister Dragmire, I think I’ll take you up on your offer.”
“Then get your business over with and I’ll get the car running.”
“I hope this place doesn’t mind work clothes, I really didn’t have any casual attire.” Asakonigei told Malik as he drove. “I can’t remember the last time I wore something other than heels and a blouse.”
“Hey, a business suit is far from casual. I think you’ll be fine.”
Entering the establishment after being in let in by the Gerudo bouncer, they walked through a crowded room filled with techno colours and lighting. Malik waved through the crowd until they reached a bar tender. “What do you want?”
“It’s… loud.” Asakonigei did not have the heart to tell Malik this was really not her scene. There were too many people, too much noise, and it reeked of alcohol and sweat. She was more of a quiet diner type or slow dance floor by the bar. “Margarita. Frozen.”
The bartender got to it, and Malik paid for the drink. He in turn ordered some water. “Anything on your mind?”
“… can’t really believe it’s been a nearly five months since the fiasco.” Asakonigei shook her head. “Seems like it was all just a bad dream now.”
“Well, the worst is behind you. I’m surprised you’ve kept me around for so long.”
“Let’s just say I enjoy your company.” Asakonigei told Malik with a smile.
“And all the music I play?”
“That is… a lesser part I enjoy, but tolerate.”
“Oh come on. Tolerate? After all this time? I’m wounded.”
“If you play 'Country Roads’ one more time, I just might have the speakers removed.”
“That’s my limo. You’ll do no such thing.”
Asakonigei laughed at his scowl. “You’re pretty funny when you’re mad sometimes, you know? Got that scowl line.”
“You think my scowl is funny? Should be terrifying little lady.”
“Maybe cute is a better suited word.” Asakonigei took another sip of her margarita. “I can tell when you’re annoyed, mad, upset, everything begins and ends with that scowl.”
Malik opened his mouth to say something, only to be caught on his words. He was trapped with no way to dispute her. “Got me there.”
“Of course I do, I always have the last word.” Asakonigei grinned. “I’ll leave you tongue-tied.”
“But can you leave me foot tied?” Malik pointed to one of the smaller stages that had no one on it. “Care for a dance?”
“As long as you don’t pull me into one of those line dances on those tacky country videos, I’ll be happy to dance.”
“I think you’ll like this a little better.” Pulling her by the hand onto the stage, Malik swiftly talked to the D.J to play a song for him. She complied, and he quickly got onto the stage. A hip beat started as the opening notes to Friday Night started to play. With a swift movement, he pointed his finger to the sky before swinging his arms and hips around with an electric energy.
From country music lover to Saturday Night Live, Asakonigei almost busted a rib from trying to keep her snickers to a minimum. The was the last thing she expected from Malik. But she would hand it to him. He was a fantastic dancer.
With a sway to the left and to the right, Malik wasn’t the best dancer, but he was the most unapologetic. He even did the floss back and forth at one point. The whole time, he had a smile on his face, waiting for her to join in.
Asakonigei, of course, was not exactly the best at dancing. She had taken some ballroom classes to help her be more graceful at her wedding. Yet, this was far from elegant classical music. So, she did one move that she knew rather well. With one step out to the floor, Asakonigei spun to the floor, hair flipping behind her.
Malik laughed cheerfully in return. Catching her hand, he pulled her close, then let her spin to his side. With them together now, Malik joyfully danced in sync with Asakonigei.
Asakonigei was actually having fun, dancing the night away with Malik. It felt like ages since she had finally been allowed to let loose and just enjoy the moment. Ever since Mojag cheated on her with Holana, Asakonigei had been withdrawn. It was hard for her to get closer to people. She felt a bit lost. Yet, here was Malik, her driver, her bodyguard, her friend, trying to cheer her up. This made her feel better than she had in a long while.
Malik spun and danced up and down the floor with her. When a slow dance came on, he took her hands by instinct and lead the way.
“I think this was a very good suggestion for an evening out, Mister Dragmire.” Asakonigei had a bright smile on her face, and part of her hair had fallen from all of the moment. Usually, she wore it up in a tight bun to look more professional at her place of work. Yet now, Malik could tell exactly how long it was.
“I aim to please. Watch your step.”
“I did warn you in advance I’m not the best dancer, so if I step on your foot, I apologize.” Asakonigei suddenly felt very… small. Extremely tiny compared to the massive man in front of her. It never really occurred to her how much of a brute Malik could be if he wished.
Giving her a spin, he caught her against his chest. “Perhaps the drink is getting to you?”
“I’m not that tipsy.” Asakonigei arched an eyebrow at him. “I only had one drink.”
“Then maybe he just like using my chest as a safety pad.” Malik let out one free jolly laugh.
“Your chest is like a rock, safety pad my ass.” Asakonigei scowled at him, cheeks red. “You try dancing in stilettos then!”
“Come on.” Taking her hand, he led her back down to the bar to get another drink. “You could also take them off it is so hard to dance in.”
“These are the only shoes I have with me, so I’ll have to decline taking them off at the moment.” Asakonigei sat down at the bar once more, overlooking the club. “You come here a lot?”
“I used to have a reason to the dance floor long ago. Now until today, not so much. It’s also a Gerudo owned bar, so I get better treatment by the bouncers.”
“Gerudo, huh? Well, I always wondered because of your bright orange hair.” Asakonigei crossed her legs, taking in the scene. “Thank you for the night out. I appreciate you taking the time to bring me here.”
Malik let a moment of silence pass as he took a drink and let the music flow over them. “I’m grateful I could give it to you.”
“Why don’t we pick up some of those tacos before the night ends?” Asakonigei suggested to Malik. “Or I could take you to Pojiji’s Diner. Best carrot cake in the city.”
Something caught his attention as a man in the crowd raised something at him. Following his instincts, he grabbed Asakonigei and ran for an exit. Bullets whizzed behind them and the crowd screamed. Someone was trying to kill him.
The company family picnic was underway. As hired, Malik was surprised he only had to scare one news tablet reporter away from getting too intrusive with Asakonigei. The rest got the message to back off.
Asakonigei was greeting several employees and their families. Many of the ex-cons who worked for her were married and had children, while a few just brought a close friend. Her uncles were having fun grilling out while her cousins made sure to serve drinks and dessert while she walked around to chat with everyone. It was evident that Asa cared about her employees, making sure to try her best to ensure they were well taken care of by the company.
Finally, she had the chance to sit down and relax in her office after going inside for a break. With Malik right behind her, Asa felt a bit better by the whole situation. No one was asking her questions. No one was bothering her. Yet, she could still read their expression. They felt sorry for her.
“Would you be terribly offended if I asked for your help getting off these heels?” Asakonigei held up one foot. “I chose the wrong day to wear a tight skirt.”
“Yeah sure.” As Malik knelt down, he hurried when he saw the Dragmire’s in the distance. Last thing he wanted was for them to see him. Yet, his luck was never going to be that good.
Malik was midway to taking off Asakonigei’s shoe, Ganondorf swung open the woman’s office door. He stopped; eyebrows raised. “Uh… if I’m interrupting, I’ll come back later.”
“Mother fuck…” Malik muttered under his breath. A little more aggressively he took her shoes off, pointing to the door for Asakonigei. “At your leave Ms. Tablitha.”
“Mister Dragmire,” Asakonigei stood rather quickly, a small flush on her cheeks. “To what do I owe the pleasure? I expected your son and his wife-to-be here, but I did not know you were coming or else I would have arranged a tour of our newest addition to the factory.”
“It’s no problem, Miss Tablitha, I wanted to come to talk to you about my future daughter-in-law’s company as well.” Ganondorf glanced at Malik, but kept professional in front of business partners. “Perhaps you’d be interested in collaborating on a few recycling projects?”
Malik kept his mouth shut, trying his best to radiate his normal stone cold exterior. Best he be professional as well. This was the first time he had seen Ganondorf since being in court.
“I think that would be a wonderful project for the future.” Asakonigei agreed, noticing how stiff Malik was. She wanted to try to keep this as professional as possible, but did not want to torment her employee either. “How about you and I go down to the cafeteria? I could get you some coffee—”
“No, no, that’s not necessary.” Ganondorf took a seat in front of Asakonigei’s desk. “We can talk here. My wife will fuss at me if I drink too much coffee. Covarog and Zarazu should be up at any moment.”
“Oh, that’s fine then.” Asakonigei glanced at Malik, giving him an apologetic look. “I’m looking forward to meeting her.”
Malik kept his mouth quiet, standing on guard for her safety.
“You’re done a marvelous job with your employees. I even notice that some are now outstanding citizens with families of their own.” Ganondorf praised her work. “You’ve done well to give them a second chance.”
“Thank you, though the hard work is their own.”
“I do think that a few could use a touch more… refinement, if you will.” Asakonigei nearly cringed. “I don’t think—”
“WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!” A collie zipped around the corner and darted into the office, wagging his tail at high speed. he jumped up on Ganondorf’s leg and barked, loudly, “BORK!”
“Ah! Bappy, how did you get in here?!” Ganondorf exclaimed. “Where is Zarazu?!”
It was just a few seconds later that Zarazu came around the corner herself. “Ba'puu!” She scolded him, “What have I told you about jumping up on Ganondorf?!”
“Rrrnnnnhmmm.” Ba'puu glanced away, trying to play innocent.
“I am so, so sorry.” Zarazu apologized to Asakonigei, putting the leash back on Ba'puu. “He likes to herd us all together and gets so excited.”
“Babe! Did you find Bappy?!” Covarog’s voice came from the hallway.
‘Jesus.’ Malik wondered if the entire family was going to cram into the office. There was certainly enough space with the couches.
“I… assume you must be Miss Zarazu Levushka?” Asakonigei asked the woman with the pretty dog, trying to contain her need to squeal at how fluffy he was. “CEO of Levushka Recycling Corporation?”
“Yes, it is finally nice to meet you!” Zarazu smiled at Asakonigei. “I’ve heard many great things about you from Gan—both Mister Dragmires. Well, all the Dragmires really.”
“Now you’re just being nice.”
“The lady does magnificent work with metal!” Ganondorf boasted. “I can still remember when she was smaller and would work on the metal herself. Now, she has to deal with old clients, like me.”
“You’re not that old, Mister Dragmire.”
“Babe!” Covarog was then in the office and stopped when he saw Malik. “…? Uh… Dad? Why is Uncle Malik in the meeting?”
“He works for me.” Asakonigei quickly answered the question. “He’s my driver and bodyguard.”
Malik gleamed at Covarog a little behind his glasses. Did the kid already forget their chance meeting during the shopping trip? His shifted a little, flexing his fingers a bit to release stress.
“Oh, Malik was always good at fighting.” Ganondorf nodded his head astutely. “And scaring others off.”
“Well, he’s doing a great job thus far.” Asakonigei decided to pull a fast one, hating that she had to do this. “I do hate to seem like I’m rushing, but Mister Dragmire here has to take me to get some blueprints from the factory.” She then put on her best smile and asked, “I don’t suppose we could continue this meeting another time?”
“Oh! Of course, we’ll set up a time for you two come visit at Dragmire Developing Products.”
“Charmed.” Malik couldn’t help but give Ganondorf a smile that hid bitterness.
Once the Dragmires and Miss Levushka had left, Asakonigei turned to Malik. “I felt bad for lying to them, but I couldn’t stand to see you like that.”
“Next time you can have the curiosity to send me off for coffee.”
“I would have, though I was afraid Mister Dragmire would have insisted upon you staying, which if you’d refused, then I would have had to interject between the two of you.” Asakonigei frowned. “He’s sadistic like that sometimes. Loves to see others squirm.”
“You don’t have to tell me that. The man is…” When Malik saw his shadow hanging outside the door, he paused, but then continued. “A hypocritical, selfish, bastard. Least mother had me after she got married.”
“Still, you’re not only my employee, you’re my friend.” Asakonigei sighed, running a hand back through her hair. “I don’t want you to feel like I’m subjecting you to torture.”
“No. That’s on him. The fact he has kids is beyond me.”
Malik hoped Ganondorf heard him.
“Well, regardless of what happened between the two of you, his kids turned out all pretty decent.” Asakonigei did not know Ganondorf was still outside the door. “All of them have been very kind to me. Ganondorf, true, is very intimidating and a bit brash, but I do know he loves his wife and kids.”
“But he doesn’t share that love for his brother.”
“Are you sure?” Asakonigei asked, sincere. “Maybe he’s just… too afraid to say sorry.”
“Then that makes him even worse.” Shaking his head, he pointed outside. “Shouldn’t you be out with your company?”
“I’ve said all my hellos.” Asakonigei then admitted quietly. “And I’m tired of them staring at me.”
“… then you want to get out of here?”
“Please.” Asakonigei picked up her heels and then slipped on a pair of flats. “I just want to go home and spend what was supposed to be my honeymoon weekend eating pizza and ice cream.” Just as she opened the door to go out, there stood Mojag in doorway. Asakonigei was so shocked, she immediately dropped her purse and heels with a clunk to the floor.
Malik turned his head, ready to make a move if need be.
“I want to talk.”
Mojag looked like he had been hit by a freight train and his left hand was in a cast. Taking a few steps backwards, Asakonigei looked as pale as a sheet. “There’s nothing to talk about.” She told him, angry and upset. “Leave.”
“Asa, I love you, I don’t love Holana—”
“I don’t care! What you did was wrong! Both of you!!!” Asakonigei pointed to the door with her brows furrowed and teeth gritted. “I don’t want to ever see you again! Leave!!!”
“I’m not leaving until you agree to try again!”
Malik took a step between the two of them. “The lady said she wants you to get out.”
“Hey, I don’t know who you are, but this is none of your business, jail bird.” Mojag snapped at Malik. “How about you piss off?”
“Don’t talk to him like that.” Asakonigei glared at Mojag. “He’s a better man than you, that’s for certain.”
“I don’t know why you even care about these lowlifes, but it doesn’t matter,” Mojag grabbed her wrist a little too harshly for comfort. “I spent nearly ten years dating you and you wouldn’t even bend over for a good time because of all your fucking morals. Now, we’re going to talk and go to counseling and fix all this mess.”
“Let go!” Asakonigei stomped on his foot and shoved him away.
Malik grabbed Mojag by the cast, twisting it violently. “Bad move.”
Mojag yelled when Malik grabbed his broken hand and twisted it. He retaliated by sucker punching the man in the nose. “Don’t touch me, you piece of shit, or I’ll have lawyers so far up your ass—”
Before Mojag could finish his ranting, Asakonigei was actually the one to strike. She punched Mojag in the throat, leaving the cheating man choking on air.
Malik gave Asakonigei a look of approval before sweeping Mojag to the ground with a low kick. Grabbing him by the collar, he then dragged the man outside for all to see. Bringing him to the boarder of the company, he lifted him up and gave him a solid punch across the face. “Leave now. Before every guest here decides to tear you apart.”
There was no one on Mojag’s side, so he had to crawl away, with disapproving looks from the crowd. A few of the ex-cons wondered if they could hide the body and get away with murder. Maybe if they stuffed him into one of the slag buckets, he would be found.
Asakonigei on the other hand, was cursing upon a storm, and shaking her hand. It had been a while since she punched someone. Yet, when she caught sight of Malik’s bleeding nose, she pulled him back inside the building.
“Little shit actually threw a good punch. Almost impressed.” What Malik didn’t expect was his nephew to come racing up with excitement in his eyes.
Asakonigei knew that Malik did not want anymore excitement today. So, she quickly guided him back inside.
“It’s not nothing, your nose is bleeding.” Asakonigei took Malik into the unisex bathroom. “Let’s at least get it to where it stops bleeding.”
“Fine. Fine.” Malik leaned down to start snorting blood out his nose.
“I don’t think your nose is broken, but I do think it’s going to be bruised a bit.” Asakonigei unlatched the first aid kit. “I’ll get you a bag of ice, but let’s use this to staunch it first.” She held up two very thick cottonballs.
“I’m not walking around with cotton in my nose.”
“You’re not walking around bleeding all over my office building either.” Asakonigei was firm on this. “I’ve patched bloody noses, broken fingers, and split open foreheads before thanks to my family. Let me fix this.”
“Then hurry up.” Malik stood down.
“You can’t rush perfection.” Asakonigei said in a singsongy voice as she gently took the cotton and pushed up the brim of his nose. She tried to be as careful as she could, pushing the cotton inside of the nostril.
“If you wanted, I could go throw Mojag in the river before he can crawl away.”
“I think I’d like to keep one of my best employees out of jail.” Asakonigei quirked an eyebrow at him before giving him a very small peck on the cheek. “Though I do appreciate the offer. Thank you for doing that for me…. and before.”
“You stayed with me when you didn’t have to.” Asakonigei reminded Malik of the horrid day of her wedding. “And even though you didn’t do anything, you were there.”
Malik gave a soft smile. “Yeah.”
“Now… street tacos on me for lunch?” Asakonigei shook her head. “You don’t want one of my uncles burnt hamburgers.”
“I have a mighty stomach for tacos. You sure you can treat me?”
“Please, I can eat my weight in tacos any day.”
“That a challenge?”
“A challenge you’ll lose.”
Malik pulled out the keys, smiling mischievously at her. “Let’s find out.”
Mr. Kinju walked through the hospital corridors with a firm stride. Beside him were two bodyguards packing heat within their suit jackets. All it took was a hand wave and the doctors allowed him to see the patient. As a famous philanthropist most knew he was. Opening a door with a bag of roses, he paused seeing Holana. The Devil in him initially told himself that someone in her condition held no use for him as she was now. That Devil needed to reign himself in. If she could speak, then perhaps he could find out who did this to her. Anyone that insulted his workforce was an insult to him. Any that dared hurt them had a death wish. Leaning down to her ear, he whispered. “Holana… are you awake? Can you hear me? This is Wilson. Mr. Kinju.”
“… hm?” Holana was still hopped up on morphine, but was a little there. She could comprehend what was going around her, and understood that Mister Kinju was in front of her. “What are you… doing here?”
"I heard that one of my pretty employees got fired from the Tablitha family. I wanted to know how you got sloppy…. only to find out that someone left you like this.” The man trialed a finger across the bandages on her face. “Fired for fucking the groom of your best friend. That’s very careless of you. You know how much I don’t like carelessness don’t you Holana?”
“I… paid for that carelessness…” Holana managed to murmur, words slurred from the drugs. “Some… some thug did this to me.”
“Not Ms. Tablitha? I’m surprised. If I was betrayed like she was I’d have caved your pretty skull in myself. Can you tell me more about this thug?”
“Didn’t see him.” Holana shook her head very lightly. “Motorcycle helmet… but dressed fancy. In a suit.”
“What kind of suit? Black tie?”
“No, like… a fancy butler.” Holana tried to recall the small details. “But… like the Hulk.”
“The Hulk? Did they speak to you? Any accent?”
“Not really, just… very deep.” Holana recalled the man rarely saying a word to her, but shouting at Mojag that he was scum. “And… Mojag lost a good woman?”
“Then they have a connection to Asakonigei Tablitha.” The man patted Holana gently. “Don’t think he was talking about you dear. Mojag hasn’t been here to see you after all. Did you know he actually went back to try and win Ms. Tablitha over again?“ The Devil in him couldn’t help by unnecessarily taunt the poor girl to see a reaction.
"Doesn’t… surprise me.” Holana gave a half-hearted chuckle. “He’s always one for… for money. He likes power. That’s why… he wanted her.”
“And why did you jeopardize your career that I carefully planted yourself in? Why did you choose someone like Mojag over the security I gave you?” His hands gently held each side of her head, rubbing her temple and hair gently.
“Because… I wanted to feel loved.” Holana slurred. “And you wouldn’t give that to me. But he did.”
“And you think, this is love? You think betraying your best friend is love? You think I love my employees? You think that you deserve love?” His eyes grew heavy and dark as he took out a syringe. “I’m going to find the man who did this to you. Not because out of affection for you my dear. But because no one harms my property.”
“She… was a convenience friend. Purposeful when I needed her.” Holana managed to mumble. “So was he, I suppose.”
“It’s so hard to find a true friend in this world. I should know.” Quietly and swiftly, the man injected a deadly poison into Holana’s I.V. In less then a minute, she’d die a quick death as her heart would come to a stop. “They say God is the only one to judge the living when they cross over to the dead. It’s the Devil, however, who decides the time God gets to judge them. I suppose in the end, you were a convenience as well. Sleep well.” Giving her hand a squeeze, Teufel laid a kiss upon her forehead as her readings started to waver, then flat line.
“Ms. Tablitha. I’m sure your friend is merely preparing. Hell, that power outage might have taken out her cell service.”
Asakonigei sat in the back of the limo in her lovely, one-of-a-kind, wedding dress. Needless to say, the lady of Tablitha Industries was a vision. Everything was perfect, from her hair to her feet. She had tried calling Holana four times and her best friend did not answer her phone. It kept going straight to voicemail. This was not like Holana and Asakonigei had a look of worry on her face. “I hope she’s all right.” Asakonigei was going to call again, but then she recalled where Holana kept her spare key hidden under one of the flower pots. “Maybe you’re right. She could have woken up late if the power went out and is in the shower. I’ll just pop in to check on her.”
Pulling up to the designated house, Malik parked the car. “Do you want me to go in an see what’s taking her?”
“No, no, Holana doesn’t know you and that would scare her.” Asakonigei shook her head with a soft smile as she opened the door to exit the limo. “I appreciate it though. I shouldn’t be long.”
“Alright. I’ll be waiting here, listening to the true royalty of music.” Turning on the music, he decided to turn on some Queen.
Asakonigei was true to her word. She was not long at all, perhaps only a few minutes, but to her, it seemed like an eternity. Matter of fact, she was sure a few lifetimes passed. The bride-to-be did not even shut the house door behind her. A look of shock was on her face. Climbing into the limo, Asakonigei sat there, pale as a sheet and gripping the seat so hard, the leather squeaked. “Mister Dragmire.” Asakonigei’s voice was eerily steady but there was a dead look in her eyes. She was on the verge of tears and doing her best to hold it together for the time being. The last thing she wanted to do was to make a spectacle in front of an employee. “Take me home.”
“Ms. Tablitha?” He turned around, slowly clueing in on the emotional whiplash. She looked like she had been shot through the heart. “Where’s Holana?”
“She’s…” Asakonigei had to swallow the lump in her throat. Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. For the love of God, don’t cry in front of him of all people, he’d never let her forget it! Taking a deep breath, Asakonigei was biting her lip so hard, it was starting to bleed. “I… she’s in… Mojag is…” Finding words was the hardest thing to do right now. It was like her mind was racing so fast, she could not think properly. Putting a hand over her eyes, the woman now had fresh tears streaming down her cheeks, unable to hold back her heartbreak. More than anything, Asakonigei felt foolish, so incredibly stupid. Why didn’t she see it sooner? Why didn’t she guess it? “P-Please… just take me home.” Her voice cracked.
Malik’s own face went a little ghoulish. The pieces clicked together, and he knew what exactly Holana must be doing. With this knowledge, his heart started to beat fast, and his vision turned red. Turning the ignition, the driver went up a block before stopping again. Reaching at his passenger seat, the man threw an ipod and a set of headphones back through the mirror to Asakonigei. “Ms. Tablitha. I have some relaxing music called Vaporwave I want you to listen to. It’ll help relax you. In the cooler there is fresh beer. That might dull your senses. I’m going to leave and put on the master lock. I’ll be back in 15 minutes.” True to his word, Malik got out of the limo, and all the doors locked.
As the car took off, Asakonigei felt her heart lurch. She felt sick. Angry. Most of all, she felt horribly betrayed. Never in a million years would she have suspected her best friend was sleeping with her fiancé. However, when the car suddenly halted, Asakonigei glanced up, confused, tears still on her cheeks. She barely had time to catch the iPod that Malik tossed into the back, as well as the earbuds. He was leaving? Why was he leaving? … Asakonigei found she really did not care. Maybe he had to take a piss. Maybe he needed a snack. Or maybe, just maybe, he was giving her a moment to collect herself before continuing. Either way, did it really matter? Asakonigei curled up in the corner of the seat, knees to her chest. His suggestion of beer sounded like a slice of heaven, but with the way Asakonigei’s stomach was turning at the moment, she was not sure if she could drink it without being sick. So, she simply took his music suggestion and held her knees, tight.
Opening the trunk of his limo, Malik opened up a black box. Inside was a biker helmet that completely covered the head and hid his identity. On the side, there were painted bloody horns. Placing the helmet on his head, he was no longer Malik as he grabbed a full knife holster and a crowbar. In this moment he was Klinge the Enforcer again. The terror. With these in hand, he closed the trunk and walked into the house. He didn’t even stop to consider other options. Walking in the house there was some more noise coming from the upstairs bedroom. Up the steps he went. He took a moment to breath. Then he kicked down the door.
Asakonigei was not sure how long Malik was gone. She secretly wished the earth would open and swallow her whole. That way, she would not have to face everyone. It was bad enough that Mojag was cheating on her with Holana of all women, but on the day of their wedding? How long had this been going on? Did Mojag only date her because of her uncles’ business success? Was Holana prettier than her? Why would both of them do this to her? So many questions, and no answers were available. Perhaps later, she’d feel rage and want to throttle both of them, but for now, all she wanted to do was cry.
True to his word, Malik returned in fifteen minutes. When he stepped in the car, the front of his suit was covered in blood. And the sunken gleam he had in his eyes was a frightful thing to look upon. Turning on the limo, he started to drive off in a cloud of deep silence.
Asakonigei heard the door shut but did not move from her spot. As the car headed in the direction of her home, she sunk deeper into the corner of the seat. The limo should be taking her to the church. She should be walking down the aisle, happy and smiling. It was supposed to be the best day of her life. So much for true love, she thought, thinking herself foolish to even believe in a happily ever after. Once the limo stopped outside of her condo, Asakonigei felt incredibly small, hugging her knees even tighter. Taking a moment to steady her nerves, she finally moved to get out of the car, hands shaking.
The car still locked; Malik took a moment to breath. “Ms. Tablitha. I know exactly what it is to feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Just know that…. know that you have someone in your corner.”
“… thank you.” Asakonigei barely managed to utter a word above a whisper. “… will you… walk me inside my condo, please? I just… don’t think I could deal with neighbors asking questions right now.”
Getting out of the front seat, Malik walked around. Opening the door for Asakonigei, he gently took her hand. He wasn’t even aware he still had blood smeared on it.
Asakonigei was so numb, her mind did not even register the blood. It was like she was on autopilot. As Malik walked her inside the building, Asakonigei managed to get the door to her condo open. Everything was still a touch messy from this morning. Her pajamas were sprawled out over the bed, her makeup scattered across the vanity, bobby pins had fallen into the floor from doing her hair, but she had been over the moon to wear such a pretty dress. Yet, when Asakonigei saw her reflection in the mirror, it struck her harder than she anticipated. First, she reached down, flinging off her heels to some random corner. Then she started pulling out all the decorations from her hair, not caring where the trinkets landed. Finally, she tried to find the zipper to the dress, but was deterred by all the buttons. “I want this off, I want it off right now.” She was close to hyperventilating.
Malik took his knife and carefully cut the dress as to not hurt Asakonigei. Other then that, he didn’t care for it. Stripping her down, Malik was almost robotic in his movements. A telephone ran in his pocket. “Excuse me.” Answering, he was quick in his replies.
“Yes Mr. Tablitha. Mojag came clean? Yes. Yes she knows. He’s taking full responsibility? Good. Yes. I’m with her. You do what you need to with your family. Yes. I can look after her.”
Once the dress was loose, Asakonigei stepped out of the gown and kicked it to the side. Ripping off the corset piece and underskirt, the items quickly joined the wedding dress in the floor. She was wearing a bra and underwear, but it was evident the dress she chose was to hide the lightning strike scars along her back. Going into her bedroom, she noticed the framed picture of all three of them; herself, Holana, and Mojag. It was soon flying through the air and hit the wall with a loud crash, followed by every single trinket or item of clothing he had given her as a present.
Malik was quiet in his movements, gathering every item Asakonigei threw with kinetic energy into a neat pile to be thrown out. Grabbing the photo, Malik studied it. His eyes were then drawn to the lightning scar on Asakonigei’s back.
After she was quite certain that every token of so-called affection from Mojag had exited her closet, Asakonigei’s attention was drawn to her hand. The woman was so distraught that she did not even notice Malik staring at her. The engagement ring… she pulled at it furiously, trying to get it off her finger.
“Stop moving. I can get the ring off you easier than I did for him.” Gently, he took her hand. His fingers pried the ring off her, feeling the smoothness of her skin.
Asakonigei relented, allowing Malik to pull the ring off of her finger. His words barely registered in her head. The poor woman looked so defeated.
Malik took the ring and just sat there in silence with her until she decided to speak. If she wanted to cry, then he’d be there.
“… I’m tired…” Asakonigei finally managed to say, shivering a little since she had on the bare minimum at the moment. “I think I want to sleep… will you stay? … please?”
“I can do that.”
“Okay…” Asakonigei went to the bathroom first to wash the makeup off of her face. She did not like going to sleep with an oily face, it was uncomfortable. Returning to the bed, she got under the covers and curled up, all snug. Her eyes were slightly red from crying and her cheeks were puffy. “Thank you…”
When Asakongei crashed asleep, Malik stood up. He suddenly felt… crunchy. Feeling his hands, he realized the blood that dried up. “Shit.” Quickly, he stripped down, putting his clothing and the bloody dress in a bag. Walking out to the limo in his underwear he put the bags in the trunk and grabbed a pair of fresh clothing. He was quick to have a hot shower, rubbing the blood out of his skin with a bar of soap.
As he was stepping out the shower, a knock came at the door. Taking a moment to make sure no damming evidence was in the house, he answered it. At the door was one of Asakongei’s cousins.
Bodacin had rushed over to Asakonigei’s condo once he heard word. Of course, the cousins and uncles wanted to hang Mojag up by his balls but there was other damage control to attend to first. Ragulul informed the guests of what happened and that there would be no wedding. Valeken went to speak to the vendors, deciding to donate the food to a homeless shelter instead of letting it go to waste. Marmosel was in charge of cleaning out Mojag’s office, as well as Holana’s, both of them immediately fired for their transgressions. So, Bodacin was to go and check on Asakonigei.
“Where is she?” Bodacin asked Malik, a tone of worry in his voice.
“In bed, fast asleep. Why don’t you come in. I just finished getting some filth off me.”
“…! Good God, what happened?!” Bodacin saw all of the mess from Asakonigei’s ‘spring cleaning’. Then his eyes fell to the discarded dress. Hairs stood on the back of his neck as he cracked his knuckles. “I’m going to stuff that asshole in a meat grinder.”
“Yeah… about that. Do you want his ring back?”
“…?” Bodacin looked confused. “His ring? How do you have—oh…” The realization hit him. “… not to sound concerned about Mojag but… you didn’t kill him, did you?”
In a gesture that spoke a thousand words, Malik took something out of his pocket. He then placed a bloody finger with the ring still attached into Bodacin’s hand. “… he called off the wedding himself from what I hear? Didn’t he.”
It took all of Bodacin’s composure to keep from puking, his face blanching. “I… see…” He could deal with blood, he kickboxed for crying out loud, but to suddenly have a finger placed in his hand caught him off guard. “… does he know it was you?”
“If he wanted to talk to the police, I’m sure he would spin a tail of a psycho straight out of a movie with mask suddenly breaking the door on him and his girl.” Malik took a look at the picture of Holana, shrugging at it. “Funny. She’s a lot uglier in person then her photo here. I’m sure if you see her next time, you’ll say the same thing. Anyone would.”
Bodacin figured it was wise not to answer anymore questions, simply to make a statement. “While I appreciate what you did for Asa, your alibi is that you took her home.” Bodacin knew that Mojag was one to stir up shit if he was pissed, but figured this would be swept under the rug for now. “I was here with you. Understood?”
“Oh. Completely. I took a distraught, crying woman back home the second she entered my limo.”
“Good. Asa’s fond of you and the last thing she’d want is you going back to prison on her behalf.” Bodacin peeked inside of Asa’s bedroom, giving an audible sigh of relief. “I’m just glad she’s safe. Thank you for bringing her back here. I don’t want to leave her alone, but I really need to help my family get this mess out of the way. I can pay you extra for staying here with her.”
“I’ll go put on a movie. Oh… and I’ll see you at the family company meeting.”
“Oh? That’s odd, Asa told me you said picnics weren’t your thing.” Bodacin then tapped his chin, thinking. “Though, I suppose if you come to scare off people from asking her questions or bringing up the wedding, that’d be awfully nice of you.”
“You can pay me extra.”
Waving Bodacin off, Malik took his seat at the t.v. “Let’s see what movie collection you like.”
Malik had spent the day and night taking out any mention of Asakonigei’s ex fiancé, ex friend, or the marriage, watching movies, and falling asleep. Stretched out on her couch, the man was half asleep through a run of Terminator.
Asakonigei slept pretty much the entire day. Her mind was in turmoil and heart was broken. Though, eventually, nature called and she made a trip to the bathroom. She barely remembered getting home to her condo. Sighing, Asa put on her long bathroom and started to go into the kitchen when she heard the television. Seeing Malik on the couch, she was slightly surprised. Wait… that’s right. He took her here and… helped her get out of the dress. Face aflame with embarrassment and shame, she pushed aside those unwanted emotions. At least he stayed. That was more than enough. The poor man looked exhausted. Quietly, Asakonigei placed one of her sherpa blankets over him and decided to order pizza and desert from the local Italian joint. He was probably hungry and she knew it was best to go ahead and eat something, even if it was in the middle of the night.
The moment food came in, his nose picked it up, and came to life.
“You’re terminated fucker.”
He looked to the t.v to see he had missed the majority of the film and its climax. With another whiff, he looked around. “That pizza?”
Asakonigei nearly jumped out of her skin when Malik spoke, almost dropping the plate she had in her hand. He had been snoring at one moment and then was awake the next. Turning to look at him, she nodded. “I… um…” Asakonigei was not sure what to say. She still felt mortified by her behavior. And embarrassed that Malik knew now that Mojag was cheating on her. “I wasn’t sure what kind you liked so… I got cheese, pepperoni, and veggie.”
“I’ll take a cheese.” Getting up, he causally took a piece. “I’m a chicken alfredo kind of man myself.”
“I’ll… remember that.” Asakonigei still felt awkward, but decided to kick the elephant out of the room sooner than later. “I’m… sorry you had to see me in that state.”
“I’ve seen people in worse states.” Malik brushed it off rather easily. “You have an interesting taste in movies here.”
“I… do?” Asakonigei tilted her head and then recalled that Netflix usually brought up 'recommendations’ based upon what movies she liked. “Oh… well… I do love a good sci-fi movie. Or bad SyFy films.”
“Says here you’re half way through Attack of the Killer Clowns.” Malik laughed as he started to flip through movies.
“It’s a cult classic, hush.” Asakonigei nudged him in the side with her elbow, sitting beside of him on the couch with her pizza and a beer, giving Malik one to sip on as well.
“Alright. Let’s see here… Godzilla vs Destroyah? That’s an old one.”
“Nothing like a good monster fight.” Asakonigei reasoned. “But I like Godzilla fighting the other kaijus better.”
“What? You a Ghidorah fan? Or do you not like seeing the Big man die?”
“I don’t like seeing Godzilla lose, he’s the king of monsters after all.” Asakonigei admitted. “Though it was funny when Kong was trying to stuff a tree down his throat. I always joked that Kong was trying to get Godzill a to eat his veggies.”
“Oh yeah. They did throw down, didn’t they?”
Malik got comfortable as he went through the movies. “Never told me you had a scar.”
Oh. Right. She just stripped in front of him. Asa’s face was red again as Malik mentioned the scar. “Unsightly, aren’t they?” Asakonigei told Malik. “I got struck by lightning during a storm when I was small. Sometimes, the doctors said it leaves a mark.”
“Not at all.”
“… not at all?” Asakonigei turned to look at him, confused. “You don’t think they’re ugly?”
“You think my scars are ugly?”
“No! God, no, I’d never say that. I mean, it’s just…” Asakonigei sighed, putting down her empty plate on the coffee table. Resting her chin on her knees, she admitted, “I always thought women weren’t supposed to have scars. I guess it didn’t help that… well…”
“Mojag always told me to keep them covered.” Asa felt angry now, but foolish as well. “Said that he didn’t want people to be rude and stare at me, but I guess he just didn’t like them.”
“If you were my woman, I’d have happily looked down at them.”
Now that made Asa’s jaw drop, cheeks on fire once more. “Paying me compliments, are you?” Asakonigei actually managed to smile a bit. “Don’t give me too many, your wife will get jealous. Speaking of your wife, don’t you need to call her? You’ve been here all day; I wouldn’t want her to worry about you.”
“My wife is…” Malik’s smile froze on his face, more nostalgic sadness now. “… she’s been dead for over three years now. I don’t think she’ll worry.”
“But I thought….” Asakonigei then realized than when Malik spoke of his wife, it was always in the past tense. “Oh God, I’m an idiot.” She put her hands over her face. “I’m sorry.”
“No. No it’s fine.”
“I didn’t mean to sound insensitive if I did. I even told you to bring her to the picnic.” Asakonigei ran her hands down her face. “You must think me dense.”
“Dense as metal. But it was kind of you to do so. Most kindness anyone has shared with me regarding her lately.”
“If I’m as dense as metal, you’re as stubborn as an old goat.” Asakonigei gently pushed his shoulder with a soft chuckle. “Thank you for staying here. It’s nice to… not be alone.”
“I know that feeling.” He held her close around the shoulder as they settled in.
It was not long before Asakonigei had fallen asleep again. Between the emotional events of the day, and her mind being completely spent on sorrow, she was once again deep into dreamland. She snuggled into Malik, murmuring softly in her sleep.
Malik drove Asakonigei around for the day. Sure enough, she was right about a lot of waiting. It seemed the woman was enamoured with shopping.
“Now, would you like metallic shining moon or gray pearl for your napkin trim?”
“They’re both really pretty.”
“One is a touch more shimmery, while the other is muted.”
“What do you think, Malik?” Asakonigei held up two different napkins. “Shiny or no shiny?”
“No shine. It’s just a napkin.” Malik didn’t really know why his opinion mattered.
“Hrm, true, people are going to be wiping their mouths on this.” Asakonigei then selected the muted color. “I think that’s all for tableware. Anything else?”
“Did you consult with the florist for centerpieces?”
“Yes, I’ve already done that.”
“What about party favors?”
“We’re having Malik here give everyone free piggy back rides.” Asakonigei stated just to see if the man was listening.
“Only if you pay me a bonus.” Malik replied indifferently.
“Charming.” The vendor stated with a very dry tone. “And the cake tasting?”
“Going to pick that up next.”
“Mojag is responsible for picking those up.”
“… really haven’t thought about that.”
Malik couldn’t help but be a step ahead. “I suppose you want me to drive the limo all day and night for that.”
“You?” Asakonigei tried to stifle a laugh. “Dealing with giggly, drunk women?”
“I have had my fair share of cliental being giggly, drunk women.” Malik put his hands in his pockets. “You need anything else from me here, or can I go get the car started?”
“Go get the car started, I need to pick up my dress next.” Asakonigei made sure to politely tell the vendor goodbye as she gathered her things. “After that, I’ll treat you to some lunch.”
“Sure thing.” Walking outside, Malik fumbled with the keys. It was then that he exchanged a glance with someone on the street. Someone that made his heart race for a moment. Covarog.
“I told you not to eat that whole piece of carrot cake.” Zarazu chided her husband-to-be. “That whipped cream cheese icing will do horrors upon your stomach.”
“But it was so good!” Covarog rubbed his midsection, groaning. “Even if it did give me some gas.”
“No wonder your belly hurts.”
“Next time, only eat half or you’re going to be suffering all day for it.”
“But I don’t want my father to find it and eat it later—??!?! Uncle Malik?” Covarog stopped in his stride.
Malik turned away, fumbling with the keys to press to unlock. Maybe Covarog would go away if he pretended, he didn’t hear him.
“Hey! Uncle Malik!” Covarog called out to him again, “Sorry, love, I need to speak to my uncle.”
“Of course, I’ll watch the puppies.” Zarazu held onto the leashes of Abyss and Ba'puu.
Malik leaned on the limo roof for a moment, taking a moment to calm his nerves and raw emotions down. Turning the man, he pulled his shades off, looking rather mean at the young man. “Covarog. Been a long time.”
“Certainly has. Seems that permanent scowl on your race hasn’t changed.” Covarog had the biggest grin on his face. “I’m so glad I ran into you! Please, come and greet my future wife! I didn’t have a way to contact you so this is great! You can come work for me at our company!”
Malik didn’t answer, instead letting Covarog know by his silence he was not in a mood for pleasantries. “… I have my own private company now Covarog; driving this limo here for anyone with the cash. Got no intention of working for your father.”
“…? You wouldn’t be working for him; you’d be working for me.” Covarog told Malik with a shake of his head. “I’m president of Dragmire Developing Products now.”
“Are you now. How long ago was that? Long enough to not pick up the phone when I needed someone to help pick me up? Still think its my fault, don’t you?” As a look of hurt flashed on Covarog’s face, Malik knew he hit a nerve. Seeing Asakonigei walk out the store, Malik walked around to the front door. “I have a client to drive around Covarog. See you around.”
“I did call you. It’s not my fault you didn’t pick up, or I had the wrong number, the number was out of service, whatever the reason it might be.” Covarog frowned at Malik. “I did look for you. I want you back in our lives. Did you even know that Ralnor is a dad now? You got a great-niece.”
When Asakonigei walked out of the store, she stopped when she saw Covarog. “Oh! Mister Dragmire! It’s good to see you out and about.” Asakonigei waved to Covarog with a smile. “… wait… do you two know each other?”
“If you wanted me in your life, you should have believed in me in the first fucking place over three years ago.” Malik’s voice bleed with venom as he unlocked the door for Asa. “Ms. Tablitha. Get in the limo.”
“I did believe you—!!!” When Asakonigei suddenly spoke to him, Covarog knew it was best not to have a spat in front of a business friend. Sighing, he knew there was no getting through the Malik. At least he could say he tried. “It’s a long story. Sorry to disturb you, Miss Tablitha. I’ll see you at our meeting next week?”
“Of course, I’ll be there.”
“Tell it to someone who was dropped by his entire family.” Malik got in the car, gripping the wheel until his knuckles turned white. When Asa finally got in the back, he turned on the ignition and started to drive off.
Asakonigei noticed that her driver’s behavior was off. Something about Mister Dragmire had set him in a pissy mood. “… you want to talk about that back there?”
“Just a broken family… nothing for you to be concerned about.”
“Well, considering you’re my employee and Mister Dragmire of Dragmire Developing Products is a good friend, I think I’d like to know what’s going on.” Asakonigei stated sincerely. “I want you both to be all right.”
Malik’s hand floated over the button to shut the window. With a slow, defeated sigh, he relented. “Covarog Dragmire is my nephew.”
“… nephew?!” Asakonigei’s expression said it all. She was surprised. “Ganondorf Dragmire is your brother?! How am I just learning that he has a brother?!”
“Because I’m his dirty little secret.” Malik scowled. “He likes to pretend he’s clean of all his past mistakes.”
“… do you mind elaborating about what happened?” Asakonigei crossed her legs as she took off her sunglasses. “If you want to. You don’t have to. It’s just… surprising. The old President didn’t seem like the type to do such a thing.”
“The old president wouldn’t strike you as a man who ran with the mafia either when he was younger, but that’s true too.” Klinge shook his head in the car. “There’s a shady under belly to the Dragmire name if you look hard enough. He was able to get out early. I didn’t. Think he had resentment for me for that. Had resentment when I was the first to claim the heart of our childhood friend too.”
“I thought Madame Zelda was Ganondorf’s wife?” Asakonigei was confused. “A childhood sweetheart?”
“Different woman. Gerudo. Besides, never said anything about a second sweetheart. Just a friend.”
“If you won her heart, then that’s something to be said. I’ve always heard Ganondorf was quite insistent.” Asakonigei then asked. “She must be a lovely lady. I’m certain that she appreciates all your hard work.”
“Yeah…” Malik changed the conversation by starting up the music again. “Anyways, going to prison, the family dropped me for it. Thought it was inevitable. Ganondorf hasn’t taken the chance to talk to me in years.”
“… have you tried talking to him?” Asakonigei asked Malik with a bit of a sad frown. “I mean… I’m sure he has his own thoughts about what happened but you should say your peace to him as well.”
“He picked off the phone once to tell me off. If there’s to be reconciliation then that’s on him.”
“Sometimes, I suppose people burn bridges that don’t necessary fall, but are broken in several places.” Asakonigei sighed, feeling bad for Malik. “… if you don’t want to come to the picnic because the Dragmires will be there, I understand.”
“The Dragmire’s wouldn’t want me there…”
Malik wrapped his hands into white wrapping, preparing himself for the fight ahead. From what he heard, most spectators were putting money against him. This only meant if he won, he’d have the satisfaction of pissing people off, as well as have a large sum of money to walk away with.
Stepping out to fight, he wore tight black boxing shorts. With only that, he easily revealed how lean of a fighter he was with strong thighs, chiseled abs, and tight biceps. Along his right arm was a tattoo of tribal markings turning into a dragon. Looking at his opponent from across the ring, there was a man covered in tattoos and tightly knit dreadlocks on his head. A Garai maybe. Looked like it was going to be a hard fight ahead of him.
“I don’t know about this, Mojag.” Asakonigei felt slightly uncomfortable at the thought of men fighting basically for blood sport. She did not like seeing people getting hurt. It was hard enough to watch Smackdown on Friday nights when Mojag subscribed to live matches. The noises was almost deafening in the arena, making her ears ring. Not to mention, there were certainly some questionable looking people here.
“Asa, I assure you, I come here all the time to watch the fights.” Mojag promised his fiance. “Everything will be fine.”
Malik’s corner man gave him some water, quickly talking to him. “Everyone wants to see the new blood win. You going to go down? No? Well, remember to not kill anyone on purpose. Go get em tiger.”
Stepping into the ring, Malik matched the Garai’s snarl with a growl of his own.
“In the right corner, we have the Garai, "Wolf Fang”! In the left corner, we have the Gerudo, “Klinge”! Begin!“
With the ring of a bell, the crowd roared with excitement. Immediately, the Garai tried to rush him with a few jabs. Malik kept his arms up, blocking the strikes. When the man tried to duck and grab him around the waist, Malik sneered. Holding him by the hair, each exchanged blows. While the Garai punched his ribs, the Gerudo drove his fist into the man’s skull, punching downwards. The Garai submitted first, wanting to retreat, but Malik still held him by the hair. Driving his knee into the man’s nose, blood sprayed across the ring. Gripping him by the neck, Malik reached back with his right fist, driving into so far into the Garai’s skull he fractured it.
As soon as the Mojag and Asakonigei took their VIP seats, it was not long until she recognized her limo driver. Her jaw nearly dropped, wondering what the hell he was doing in the ring. It was not safe! He was going to get hurt! As the fight started, Asakonigei was proven wrong, however, seeing that Malik was emerging victorious. Still, seeing the flesh scrape off his knuckles and the blood spurting from his opponent made her feel queasy.
As the Garai was pinned, the crowed booed Malik. Instead of relenting, the man drove his fists into his opponent over and over. An escalated roar grew and boomed outwards as Malik continued beating him. Blood coated his knuckles and gushed from the Garai as he was kept down. The unleashed fury was clear as the sun in Malik’s eyes. Just shy of killing him, Malik drove his fist through the ring, beside the head of the now battered man. It was over. The man would most likely be breathing through a straw for a while. Getting up, Malik breathed heavily through the adrenaline. Blood coated his entire body, but he didn’t seem to mind. Turning to the silenced crowd, he scanned the eyes of the crowd. With a light triumphant snarl, he turned to walk out the arena.
Fight lasted less then a minute. Most weren’t happy with such a short fight, despite how bloody it was. Malik didn’t care.
Asakonigei felt a sense of relief wash over her when the fight finished. She was not sure how much more she could take of that brutal beating. Her uncle had told her that Malik had a history of violence, but supposedly all charges were dropped. Yet now, Asakonigei could not shake the feeling that some parts of the story she heard was actually true. What if he really did run with the underground? Could he still bring trouble? Still get hurt? It was making her nervous to even think about such things… until something shiny caught her eye. Someone was following Malik… with a knife! Alarmed, Asakonigei stood from her seat, trying to yell over the crowd.
"Malik!!! Malik!!!” Asakonigei did not see him turn around. He couldn’t hear her! Damn it, how could she get his attention?! He was going to walk right by her and couldn’t hear her warning! Think, think, think! Standing on her chair, she yelled at Malik, “HEY! COUNTRY ROADS!!! BEHIND YOU!!!”
Malik turned to see a second participant lunging at him with the knife. The man made the mistake of only trying to cut him first instead of shanking him. With laceration across the stomach, Malik quickly grabbed the man by the arm, yanked him forward, then brought his fist down like a hammer on the elbow, snapping his arm like a twig. As the man screamed, Malik took the knife, stabbing it deep into his attackers shoulder. With another kick for good measure, he broke his leg. The crowd was roaring with all sorts of emotions, but Malik was quick to get off the stage. He just wanted to collect his money and get out.
“Asa! What in the hell are you doing?! Get down from there, you’ll fall!”
“He has a knife—” As soon as the attacker lunged, Malik disposed of him rather quickly. Asakonigei was amazed at his reflexes, but gasped when she saw the knife make contact with his skin. Was it deep?! He was bleeding!!!
“I think the ass got what he deserved.”
“I need to check on him.”
“Babe, they don’t let anyone see the fighters.”
“He’s my employee!”
“He drives my limo! He’s my chauffeur!”
“Babe, he’s just another con, I’m sure that a cut like that means nothing to him.”
“I don’t care, I want to make sure he’s okay.” Asakonigei told her husband-to-be, “Please? I know you have your ways to persuade people.”
“… fine. I’ll do it for you.” Mojag sighed in irritation. “But after you check on the big guy, we’re leaving. We got a reservation for dinner.”
Malik was already hurrying in the change room to stich his cut up. With a wince, his hands shook as he sewed the string through his skin. “What the fuck am I doing…” Getting on his shirt, he went through his locker. When he heard the door open up from behind, he didn’t hesitate to pull out a revolver. Cocked and ready to go, he stopped when Asakongei yelped in surprise. “Shit girl. What are you doing here?”
Mojag had paid one of the ‘security’ guards to allow Asakonigei into the locker room. As soon as she opened the door and saw the gun, she immediately slammed it shut. “It’s me! It’s me! Don’t shoot!” When she did not hear the popping of bullets, Asakonigei peeked open the door slightly and made sure before going inside. “Mojag brought me, but that’s beside the point! I came to check on you!”
Malik put the gun in his pocket, shaking his head. “Well, I guess you saw the fight. So you should know I’m fine.”
“Yes, I did see the fight, and yes, you did win, but you also had some maniac with a knife sneak up on you.” Asakonigei huffed, crossing her arms and tapping her foot at him. “… and you’re bleeding through your shirt.”
“Then I’ll buy a new shirt. Money isn’t really an issue.” Getting fully dressed, Malik snickered as he put his boots on. “You get this worried about all your employees?”
“You need to get that cut taken care of or it could get infected. I grew up with two cousins who loved to wrestle and kickbox, I know what needs stitches when I see it.” Asakonigei nearly shuddered. “Doesn’t mean I like looking at blood, but I can handle it.” When he had the gall to snort at her concern, Asakonigei snapped, “I worry about my stupid employees putting themselves in danger.”
“Maybe I like the danger.” Standing up, he surprised her by walking up to her. Towering over Asa, he placed a hand between her and the door right next to her shoulder. “I didn’t know better I’d say the little CEO has a fondness for me.”
“Maybe you’re too hardheaded.” Asakonigei glared right up at him. She was not afraid. Other men that worked at her factory were covered in tattoos, marked with scars, had been in gangs, or even murdered before. Malik could barely hold a candle to some of their nasty looks or intimidating stances. However, at the remark of fondness, Asakonigei scoffed. “Is it a sin to care about my employees? I have a fondness for you staying alive. I require your excellent services and your horrid taste in music. Not to mention, if I lost a limo driver during the first month of work, that’d reflect badly on me. Now,” She opened up her purse and handed Malik some Neosporin ointment. “At least put that on the cut.”
Malik took the ointment, before placing a hand under her chin. “No need to get nasty calling my music horrid.” Walking away rather casually, he placed the ointment on his cut. “Not the first time I’ve had cuts you know.”
As he grabbed her chin, Asakonigei was so mad, that she had a brief thought of biting off one of his fingers. “Would you rather me call it soul crushing?” Asakonigei nearly growled at him as he took away his hand. As he started to put on the ointment, she then stated, “I don’t care if it’s the first time or not, but it better damn sure be the last.”
“I think its time you get going. This is my day off after all.” Grabbing his bag, he tossed the bottle back to her. “See you around.”
“No, no, no, no, no.” Asakonigei zipped in front of the door. “You’re going to the hospital to get that fixed. Mojag and I will drive you there.”
“That’ll be all Ms. Tablitha.” Lightly, but with enough force to push her aside, he went out the door.
“Fine. Let your nipples fall off then if you get an infection.” Asakonigei suddenly felt rather foolish for checking up on him. It was obvious he did not care about himself or any others for that matter. Maybe Mojag was right. She was getting too soft for some of her employees. Perhaps she should be colder like she used to be. Sighing, she returned to Mojag’s side and tried to think about her wedding and better thoughts.
~ The next day, Malik continued to drive Asakonigei around, ignoring how they meet at the arena. He didn’t want to dwell on the encounter outside of work. “Ms. Tablitha. Anywhere else to go?”
“Just home.” Asakonigei was taking the day off tomorrow to get everything ready for the wedding on Saturday. “I’ll need you on Saturday morning to drive me over to my maid of honor’s house. I’ll be getting ready at my place and then we need to pick her up on the way to the church. My uncles and cousins are meeting me there.”
“You got it.” Turning on up the music, All Star started to play. “Somebody once told me, the world is gonna roll me.”
“Pffffttt…” Asakonigei had to put a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing.
I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “Come on, that was your part.”
“Are you asking me for a duet, Mister Dragmire?” Asakonigei decided to tease him. “Seems that you’re starting to grow fond of me as well.”
“You are coming close to your wedding has me in a good mood. When I got married, I was over the moon. This is a time to look back on with fondness. And maybe I like seeing beautiful woman happy.”
“Now I know you’re up to something. You’re never this nice and matter of fact,” Asakonigei jested with him. “I think this is the first time I’ve seen something other than a scowl on your face. Is that a smile I see in the mirror?” She was in a good mood with her wedding around the corner. Mojag had been her high school sweetheart. She, Mojag, and Holana were always such good friends, and when she started dating Mojag, it was like something out of a fairy tale. “Your wedding? Let me guess… you line danced to 'Country Roads’?”
“A slow version of Take on Me, actually.” Malik physically relaxed as he recalled his memories. “She wore this beautiful white dress and led me out to stage. I didn’t know how to dance, but she didn’t care. As long as I held her and never let go. Anyways, you have a song in mind yet?”
“What’s your wife’s name? You ought to bring her to the picnic.” Asakonigei had no clue of the reason behind his prison sentence. “And as for a song, I’m more of an Elvis fan. I convinced Mojag to dance to 'I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’.” She had this goofy grin on her face. “It’s the first song we danced to in high school at prom. I had this seriously tacky purple dress with all the poof and ruffles.”
“Cipher. And Elvis? Funny you think I’m the won with a bad taste in music.” Pulling up to her house, Malik stopped the car. “Want me to keep the limo running, or are you going to be a while?”
“Elvis is king, Mister Dragmire, don’t you forget it.” Asakonigei shook a finger at him from the backseat. “No, I’ll see you tomorrow morning. I’m getting ready here because the church’s bride’s room is so small. So you’ll have to drive glamorous me to pick up Holana.”
“You got it.” Unlocking the door, he waved her off.
About to drive off, a figure pulled up next to Malik, smiling from ear to ear as they rolled down their passenger window. “Hey! I knew that was you! Malik! Hey Malik!!!”
Malik turned, cursing lightly. “Shit.” Rolling down the window, the man looked at the woman grinning like a gremlin at him. “Hello there Adda.”
“Holy shit man. You weren’t kidding about that limo business, were you?” The woman was driving a red Ferrari, sleek and beautiful.
Asakonigei was about to go when the stranger waved down Malik’s limo. Stopping midway from exiting the car, she asked Malik, “Someone you know?”
“Oh, don’t be so modest. I helped this stubborn man when no one else would. We go way back, so when no one helped pick him up from jail, I was there. Oh shit. Did you want that kept a secret dude?”
“Oh.” Asakonigei was not sure how to feel about this situation. Malik seemed uncomfortable or annoyed one. “… do you want me to go? Or stay?”
“You can go.”
“You should take her out to Dancing Queens sometime. Love to catch up Malik. And hey, if you ever get bored of the solo work, I’m always looking for able bodies. Ta-Ta.” Putting her shades on, the woman drove off.
Asakonigei actually waited until the woman was gone until she exited the car. Walking around to the driver’s side, she then asked Malik, “Should I be worried about her stealing my driver?”
“No. Not at all. Fun woman, but not someone I need to work with again. I was in pinch, needed the money, and she provided the work.”
“I see. Well, go home and get some rest. You got a busy agenda on Saturday and so do I.”
As Malik drove off, he couldn’t help but wonder if seeing Adda was coincidence or not. Or if he could truly escape his past.
“Alright. Smile for the camera. Three, two, one.” The light of the lens flashed, capturing the image of the family company. The photographer shook his head, raising a brow at the lead woman. “Ms. Tablitha. Please straighten your back. You’re the shining new star. I swear wild animals follow the rules better.”
“Okay, if it’s so easy, you try sitting straight in this dress.” Asakonigei huffed, trying to adjust a bit more comfortably on the chair in a so-called ‘graceful’ pose. “In heels, a dress, a push-up bra, and ten pounds of jewelry to be exact.”
“Come on, dear, it’s not that bad, is it?” Ragulul asked his niece. “We need you as our star for the new column in the magazine.”
“Yes, there’s too many pictures of old farts anyhow.” Valeken assured her. “A pretty lady is exactly what we need.”
“Dad, I’m sure I can put on a dress and look ten times better.” Bodacin snickered, teasing his cousin. “What do you think, Asa? I could rock it.”
“And those heels.” Marmosel laughed, nudging Asa in the shoulder.
“Oh, shut it.” Asa punched her cousin in the arm.
Kahli adjusted his camera, trying his best to tune out the immaturity. “Let’s go again. Three. Two. One.” He took another photo, looking unimpressed. “Adequate. Don’t quit your day job for a career as a model. Mr. Tablitha. I’ll take this down to the print shop and have her photo ready.”
“Oh, come on, I just know you want me in a dress like Marilyn Monroe standing over a grate.” Bodacin threw an arm around Kahli’s shoulders. “I’d be an overnight sensation.”
“There’d be overnight reports of sudden blindness.” Marmosel joked, earning a giggle from Asakonigei.
Kahli shoved the man off him, gathering up his equipment. “Childish.”
Outside, a tall man with red hair, gruff cut facial hair and a black suit waited sitting outside a limo. Smoking a cigarette, he silently watched Kahli walk out the building. This new client of his told him to wait outside the building. “Tablitha industries, huh?”
The brothers shared a laugh while the uncles paid Kahli for his services. Once the photos were finished, Asakonigei went to change back into her business attire instead of the dress that screamed 'millionaire desperate housewife’ as she so eloquently put it. Not far behind Kahli was Ragulul, the elder of the two uncles. “Ah, you must be Mister Dragmire, yes?”
“Malik Dragmire. Limo service. I was told you may have wanted an ongoing service.”
“Yes, please, follow me to my office.” Ragulul motioned for the man to come along into the building. “I require a limo for my niece. She’s the quote on quote, 'face of the company’, and responsible for bringing in new clients. Yet, while I understand that she is very capable of taking care of herself, one can never be too careful.”
Malik did so, slowly walking behind the man. His presence was immediately intimating, casting an aura of menace. Least, that was the expression on his face. “You’re a rich company. Rich face needs a rich ride.”
“Indeed, though despite our 'richness’ as you put it, one also requires safety.” As the two men rode the elevator up to Ragulul’s office, he then stated, “On your resume, I noted that you were a fighter of mixed martial arts. You served three years before released early on good behavior. Yet, all charges against you were dropped due to newfound evidence. You drive the limo for parties, proms, and other clients in the area.” He then asked, “What would it take for you to be exclusive for my niece’s appointments throughout the week?”
Malik eyes narrowed down on the man. “You look into my background? Best you keep it spoken at that.” Looking over some papers, Malik looked up. $1,500 dollars a day. $500 for gas and repairs on the limo. $1000 for my service. Doesn’t matter how little I drive the client.“
"Would you hire some random stranger, who may or may not be trustworthy, to drive your niece everywhere, everyday, before looking into him?” Ragulul seemed unfazed by Malik’s tone or price. “Very well. That is agreeable. You will be here at 7:30 in the morning to await my niece. If she is not being driven, you follow her into appointments. If she works late, you wait with her. If she calls you in the middle of the night to be driven to the airport, you go. Any location, you drive. Understood?”
“Understood.” Malik grabbed the papers, signing his work contract.
Cleaning the blood off his knuckles, Malik flipped his out from his pocket. Seemed Ms. Tablitha finally wanted his service. Good timing too. After texting he’d be there in 15 minutes, Malik wrapped cleaned up, got in his limo, and drove up the highway to pick her up. Sitting in the front, he unlocked the back door as he saw her coming out of the building.
Asakonigei had her huge tote pocketbook over her shoulder and heels in the other hand as she hurried to the limo. She was dressed in business attire, consisting of a white blouse, black skirt, transparent tights, and her hair pulled back into a long tail with hoop earrings dangling to her shoulders. In one ear was a bluetooth device, walking as she spoke to the client. She was currently doing damage control, the client fussing over supposedly a less than appealing set of doors for the custom-made car he ordered. Holding onto Malik’s arm, she balanced herself while slipping on the heels.
“No, Mister Kiys, I understand, I’m heading that way now to personally inspect the doors myself.” Asakonigei assured the picky man. “I’ll be there within a half hour.” Once the phone call was over, the petite woman then cleared her throat and quickly put on the other heel. “Thank you.”
Malik nodded, leading her to the back door. “I have some water bottles in the back if you need to drink.”
“You’re a lifesaver, though I may need a beer after this.” Asakonigei slid into the limo and then slumped into the seat with an audible sigh. “I’m hoping this is just a fluke and the old man is going senile.”
Malik got into the front, turned on the limo, tapped in the coordinates into the GPS, and started driving. As they were heading down the road, he resumed his playlist, playing, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“… you know, I wouldn’t have guessed you enjoyed country music.” Asakonigei tried to keep a straight face, but with all the memes surrounding that particular song, it was impossible not to snicker. “Don’t forget to take the ten second inhale before screaming 'West Virginia’.”
Malik didn’t sing along to the song, even as said 'West Virginia’ beat played on. Turning onto the highway, the neon city light shined down on them. The next song that turned on was “Somebody That I Used to Know”, only it had a synth edge to it.
“… You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness …” He mumbled as the bar passed by.
As soon as the limo pulled up to the destination, Asakonigei barely had time to pull Mister Kiys’ file before trouble started. The old man was out there waiting for her, arms crossed and foot tapping. Taking a breath, she put on her best smile and told herself this was nothing new. This particular client was picky and very selective.
Malik put on his shades, turned the limo off and got out. “You prefer me at the car or at your side miss?”
“You can come with me if you like.” Asakonigei sighed and started to ask Mister Kiys how he was, but his tirade started before she could even start.
“The doors! What kind of work did you send me?” The old man huffed at the woman, shaking a finger. “You shouldn’t hire ex-cons to do an honest man’s work! They’re costing you time and money.” He gestured to her to follow him to the warehouse where the materials he bought to make cars were stored. “Look at all the warps in the metal!”
Malik chose to follow, glancing around at the cars. His shades hid his eyes from looking directly on Asakonigei. He was curious what kind of woman she was under pressure.
“Mister Kiys, I assure you, if there was a problem on my end of the work, then it will most assuredly be fixed.” Asakonigei inspected the doors. What Mister Kiys said was true, there were warps. It looked like whoever was working on this model of door frame was doing a half-assed job. Great. If this pair was bad, she could only imagine what the others might look like. “It seems you are correct, MIster Kiys. This is not the greatest of work, yet we will send you new doors, free of charge. I will personally inspect the doors before the pairs are shipped here.”
“Hmph.” Mister Kiys still did not look too impressed. “When you find the man who did this, you should fire him. You need someone trustworthy and someone who does decent work.”
“I do agree the individual who did this needs a lecture.”
“How fast can I get new doors?”
“I’ll see to it that you have them by the end of the week.”
Seems she was able to keep her cool and analyze the problem in front of her quickly. Grabbing a paper cup, Malik poured himself a drink to parch his lips.
“I don’t understand why you insist upon hiring these people…” Mister Kiys grumbled under his breath. “I’m surprised they haven’t stolen from you.”
“If they do steal from us, it’s a straight, one-way ticket back to prison.” Asakonigei reminded her client patiently. “We’re trying to do a good thing.”
“It’s more like they’re simply taking advantage of your good nature.”
Malik casually nodded to the cute front desk girl eying and smiling at him. Green hair wasn’t his thing, but he appreciated the nod. Grabbing a paper, he flipped through the local news as Asakonigei continued talking. With a chuckle, he laughed at the Calvin and Hobbes comic.
Once Asakonigei was done with Mister Kiys, the face of Tablitha Industries was ready to throttle someone. Once Malik escorted her back to the limo, she then instructed, “Mister Dragmire, take me to the factory, please. I need to speak with my employees about this subpar work.”
“Of course.” Driving down the road, he couldn’t help but smile rubbing the wheel. “You know, this limo is a Kikai Industries Model. Good company.”
“I’ve heard a great many things about Kikai.” Asakonigei nodded. “We used to work with them until the scandal was exposed about embezzling money.”
“Scandal? That was dismissed in court.”
“While it was dismissed in court, it still doesn’t explain where all the money went. It hurt our company and several others.” Asakonigei shook her head. “My uncles lost nearly 30 million dollars with Kikai.”
“Well, Onaga Kikai was forced to step down. Maybe you’d do better with his successors. Heard they’re a close family of siblings now.” Smooth Criminal was about to play, but Malik switched the song to Poker Face. “Eh, bad taste.”
“Perhaps. Yet, it has to be a joint decision.” Asakonigei did not sound too keen on trying to go back into business with someone who had hurt her family’s lifelong work of building up an empire from the ground. “My uncles and cousins might not want to try to rebuild that bridge that someone else burned.”
“Well, can’t fault you there.” Pulling up back at the factory, Malik followed Asakonigei closely behind.
“Wear this.” Asakonigei handed Malik a mandated safety hat and a pair of protective glasses. “Each time you go into the factory, you need to wear these. You never know when something might fall or you could get a face full of welding sparks. Understand?”
“Uuuh, sure.” Malik complied, awkwardly putting the helmet and goggles on.
“… your hat is backwards.” Asakonigei noticed the man was such a hulk, he had to hold the safety glasses in-between a thumb and index finger. “Bend down here and I’ll help you.”
Malik frowned, turning it around. “I’m fine.”
“Stay on the walkway and don’t wander off.” Asakonigei slid her card to open the factory door. “Don’t touch anything. Just stay with me. A lot of this equipment can be dangerous.”
“You got it.”
Once inside the entryway, Asakonigei power walked down the designated area for walking, outlined by two yellow lines, streaked through with white. As she continued through the factory, a lot of the workers paused in their task to greet her or politely waved. However, she was a woman on a mission. Each employee had a serial number for the work produced. And a certain employee was about to get a royal chewing out for his crappy craftsmanship.
Malik walked behind her, actually recognizing a couple people in the assembly line.
“Mister Urgo!!!” Asakonigei’s voice was so stern and loud that a few of the other employees nearly jumped out of their skin. Several of them were either grimacing or muttering a soft prayer for Urgo’s job because he was in serious trouble.
Mister Urgo nearly dropped his welding torch. “Damn it—sorry for the language, Miss Tablitha.” Urgo apologized for the foul words. “What can I do for you?”
“Did you sign off on the shipment to Mister Kiys?” Asakonigei had her hands on her hips, a dark scowl on her face. “I… might have.”
“Did you or did you not? It’s a yes or no answer, Mister Urgo.”
“Yes, yes, I signed off on the doors! Why? What’s the matter?”
“Those so-called doors were warped, Mister Urgo. What happened?”
Malik took out a note book, charting his work schedule so far for the day.
Excuses. That’s what Urgo said. All she heard were excuses. It only made Asakonigei madder. “Mister Urgo, when I gave you this job, I expected exemplary work. What you signed off on not only made me look bad to Mister Kiys, it made the entire company look faulty, lazy, and worst of all, cheap.” Asakonigei’s scolding could be heard from the other side of the factory due to the echo. “You have two choices. You can take a demotion, or you can quit.”
“Which will it be, Mister Urgo?”
Malik glanced down at the man; his eyes cold. He hoped he had the common sense to take the demotion.
“The… the demotion, Miss Tablitha.” Urgo gulped when the newest addition to the company glared at him with eyes of hell. “I’ll take that, please.”
“… you’re back on janitor duty starting tomorrow. Go home.” Asakonigei instructed the ex-con with a frown. “I’m disappointed in you, Mister Urgo. I expected better.”
As Asa gleamed over the others, Malik watched the ex-con walk by. Least he still had a job.
“Everyone, back to work.” Asakonigei instructed. “Due to Mister Urgo’s negligence, you will have to pick up his orders as well. I trust you can do this? I will be happy to pay you overtime.”
“Yes, yes, Miss Tablitha.”
“Good. Don’t forget about the mandatory check ins with your parole officers coming up at the end of the month.” She reminded the employees. “Also, this Friday is the company picnic. Bring your families.”
Malik checked his watch. 9PM. “Anything else you need Ms. Tablitha?”
“Drive me home, please.” Asakonigei reminded Malik. “I have to be in downtown tomorrow for an appointment at 9am.”
Getting in the car, Malik played some light music as they drove off. “So I can take Friday off then if you’ll be sticking around for the family picnic?”
“Mister Dragmire, you are an employee of Tablitha Industries, correct?”
“I’m on a week’s contract to start. That hardly qualifies me for company picnic status.”
“Regardless of your status, it would be bad taste to refuse.” Asakonigei looked at his face from using the rear-view mirror. “Not to mention, it’s free food.”
He appeared to be a man who thought it was amusing, but ultimately below him. “The amount of money you’re paying me I can have all the food I want at home.”
“Suit yourself then.” Asakonigei then said in a most sly tone. “I’d just… hate to call you in on your day off. For work related purposes, of course. Never know when you might run out of ice for the cooler.”
Stopping at a red light, Malik took a look back at Asakonigei, studying her in the blink of an eye. “Sometimes a man needs his time off to be alone.” A light smile, he caught something. “That ring on your finger? Shouldn’t you be happy with your family instead of worrying about the help?”
“A man alone is always up to something, usually no good. At least, that’s what my uncles say.” Asakonigei knew that he was thinking about her, wondering what was going through her head. “I can tell just from looking at you that you’ve been in too many fights. Those knuckles have seen better days. Besides, what could it hurt to mingle?” When he remarked on the ring, she laughed. “Just because I’m getting married doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working.”
Turning back to the green light, his shoulders dropped. “Maybe I rather fight to break a sweat then go around mingling with complete strangers. Besides. I don’t have any family to bring.”
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anyone to bring, a lot of the men don’t. It’s just for good measure.” Asakonigei reminded him. “And fighting won’t solve everything in life, Mister Dragmire.”
“Makes me money and it’s a fun activity.” Pulling up to her house, he turned back to her. “Pick you up at 9AM?”
“Yes, you’ll be taking me around downtown to do some errands.” Asakonigei started gathering her things. “Bring a book. You’ll be doing a lot of 'hurry up and wait’ tomorrow.”
“Fine by me. Need me to walk you up the stairs little girl?”
“Little? I’m by no means little, Mister Dragmire.” Asakonigei then shrugged, totally jesting. “Though you could just carry me up to my apartment. My feet are very sore.”
“Your lover won’t protest?”
“My fiance is working late tonight. Besides, he doesn’t live with me yet.” Asakonigei shook her head as she took down her hair and removed her earrings, placing the jewelry into her bag. “We’re looking for a new place together.”
“Ms. Tablitha. What would the neighbours think?” Malik had a cheeky tone to him.
“And what makes you think I care what they think of me?”
“Rumours spread. Sometimes, people think what they want. And what they think puts you into trouble, regardless either or not they are true.” Unlocking the door for her, he waved her off. “See you in the morning.”
“Have a good night, Mister Dragmire.” Asakonigei gave him a light smile. “I hope you sleep well. Get plenty of rest.”
Brand new Modern AU with @ridersoftheapocalypse! Very excited to start this story!
Deep in the tomb of Queen Wannaba, Leere and her dig team carefully excavated the Queen’s remains. “Alright, be careful. If you see any undead, shout instead of freezing.” Opening the grave of the Queen herself, Leere breathed away from the fresh dust. Looking down at the Queen she couldn’t help but smile. “We did it.” Pictographs took black and white photos of the dig team huddled around in celebration. After some organization, Leere separated the treasures into monetary value and what was personally important to the late Queen on what she guessed could be emotional levels, such as the mummified remains of a dog or a children’s toy. Carefully, she took the Black Thorn mask off the mummy for herself. She got what she wanted. Now it was time to give Fayruz what she wanted.
Returning to the palace, Leere thanked the Matriarch for her help. “Your bodyguards were very diligent. Thank you again. With the crown back in Hyrulian hands, I can study it for the betterment of all. Now. I believe I have one last thing to do for you. Are you ready?”
Fayruz was somewhat relieved that the dig was complete. It had been a long, hard work for the Hylian princess and rare treasures were found. She still felt somewhat guilty, disturbing the grave of two ancient lovers, but perhaps something good would come out of this. When Leere returned and thanks were presented, the matriarch felt slightly uneasy. Maybe this was not a good idea. Naunet sensed her mistress’ anxiousness and chirped lightly to try to calm her human.
Leere started making a circle made with chalk in a private courtyard. With a light hum, she was overly excited. “Matriarch. I’m not sure exactly what will happen step by step, but please don’t disturb the chalk. I need to keep the spirit contained.”
“We will remain in place, Leere.” Fayruz understood the work could be rather delicate. It was best not to overly complicate things. As nervous as she was, the matriarch simply wanted to know if her brother was all right.
“Hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of taking a tissue sample from your brother.” Carefully, Leere unveiled small bottle with an old strand of hair. Placing it in circle, she put a thumb to her canine and bit down. Drawing blood, she let a few drops fall on the pentagram. “Surge spiritum. Ab Oceani animarum meum et vocavi te Ut ligatis est circulus: voca hercle!” Speaking an ancient text, clouds covered the sun, and the wind blew out any flames. The water pools glowed a bright blue, and wail rise up from the circle.
As the spirit suddenly appeared out of thin air, Fayruz was in shock. It actually worked. There had not been this type of magic in Al-Daida for a long while. True, she had always heard rumors of ghosts haunting old tombs, but never did she expect to see her elder brother again. For once the matriarch was speechless.
“Spirit! Speak your name.” Leere held her hands open, softly keeping the spell open.
“Husani Ola.” The ghost of Fayruz’s brother looked confused. “Where… no. When am I? I… I died.”
“You’ve been dead for many, many years. I have summoned you to fulfil a deal.” Leere glanced to Fayruz behind the ghost. “There is someone who wishes to speak with you.”
Husani glanced at the woman who sat upon the throne. At first, it was a puzzled glance until he realized exactly who it was. Had it really been that long? “Fay? Is that you?” Husani then looked at the huge crocodile beside of her. “Naunet? Goodness, she got a lot larger than we expected. This is…” He then looked to Bennu, who was still unnerved by the black magic being used to summon his dead brother-in-law. “Benny. Goodness, you ended up marrying my sister? That was a match I did not see coming.”
“There’s… there’s a lot to fill you in on, Husani.” Fayruz had to bite the inside of her jaw to keep her emotions in check. She felt like bursting into tears. This was almost too good to be true. “You’re… not in pain anymore, are you?”
“No.” Husani shook his head with a light chuckle. “The afterlife is… quite nice. No pain. No fear. Just… bliss. Mom’s there. So is Dad.”
Leere smiled, glad she could help. This was good. She was doing a good thing here.
“I wish I could have met Mom, but… I just had to know if you were all right.” Fayruz sighed, a sense of relief washing over her senses. “You suffered through so much, I just did not want you to suffer anymore.”
“You worry too much, little sister. It’s not good for your health.” Husani assured Fayruz with a smile. “You have to take good care of yourself for your future children. You’ll be a good mom.”
Leere could feel other spirits stir in the Ocean of Souls. Some jealous. Some angry. In particular, she something odd stir in the Obsidian Crown she wore on her head. “Anything else you’d like to say to your brother?”
“… I wish you were still here.” Fayruz admitted, feeling incredibly selfish. “I wish you were here without pain. That you could have found love and had a family of your own. I feel like that you were cheat. You were supposed to sit where I am.”
“Fate had other plans, sister. Besides,” Husani could only offer a hopeful smile. “I can watch over you wherever you are like this.”
Leere smiled. Everything was going well for the family. Suddenly, her noes started to bleed. Feeling it, she blinked for a moment. Her head then snapped backwards with a violent, loud pop. The connection with Husani flickered, and Leere’s head snapped forward, her eyes white as a doll. “This young novice was a fool to dig up MY grave!” With the snap of her finger, shadowy hands reached out to grab Fayruz. “You. Matriarch pup. You will be the host to revive my love, Wallijah. Husani. Leave so a better soul will take the circle!”
Bennu was instantly alarmed, stepping in front of Fayruz. “I told you this was a bad idea.” Bennu growled at Leere. “Pale Faces are always up to something malicious. Be gone, demon. We have no qualms with you.”
“I deserve to live on the throne! I was killed before my time because of a paranoid man like YOU!”
“You had your chance to live. Every being does.” Fayruz felt her hair standing up on end as well. “Your time is gone. Go back to the afterlife.”
“No! I couldn’t even have an afterlife with my lover because of you damned reptiles!” She raised a hand to Fayruz when suddenly a red, ghostly hand grabbed her shoulder. The spirit turned around to a face only she could see looking her in the eye. Suddenly, Leere’s body convulsed as the invading spirit screamed. She had entered a vessel that housed something far more ancient and viler. This woman was not hers to possess.
All the magic around Fayruz disappeared and her brother’s sprit was saved from harm. The ghost of Wannaba floated above Leere’s body, with two hands of red mist holding her high. “No, help me! Good gods what are you?! Hylia! Wallijah! HELP MEEEE-”
The spirit of the old queen was snapped in half, being juiced like an orange. As her essence disappeared forever, so did the faint red hands back into Leere’s back. It took a moment, but the colour in Leere’s eyes returned, and she blinked. Miraculously, she still held Husani in the realm. “Whoa. Blacked out there for a second. Did I accidently disturb the salt?”
“No. More. Black. Magic.” Bennu stated through gritted teeth. “Whatever that little show was… it is not welcome here.”
“What was that, Leere? Where is my brother?” Fayruz demanded.
Leere snapped her finger and Husani reappeared in the circle. “I felt the presence of another spirit wanting to join us, but I told them they weren’t welcome.”
“Sister…” Husani felt uneasy by the sudden appearance of the old queen. Something was off with this magic. “I will watch over you from the afterlife. Please, do not fret over me. I am no longer of this world.”
Bennu and Fayruz exchanged a glance and agreed with a silent nod. “Very well, brother.” Fayruz looked sad to see him go. “I… shall miss you, always.”
Leere nodded. “Are you ready to go back Husani?”
“I am.” Husani bid farewell to his little sister. “I know my Fay is in good hands.”
Leere lowered her hand like a conductor, and the spirit was sent back to the Ocean of Souls. With a sigh, she gripped her nose. “Right, the nosebleed.” Grabbing a handkerchief from her pocket she wiped it up. “I hope that satisfied you Matriarch.”
“Yes… it was good to see him again.” Fayruz thought back of all the good memories of her brother. “Many people have asked me where I received Naunet. I’ve told them multiple stories. A noble gave her to me. She appeared in our pond one day. I found her egg on the riverbank. Yet… Husani was the one who gifted her to me. I think… as long as I have my Naunet, I’ll still have a piece of him with me.”
“You sly dog. You told me it was from your father. You know, for my first summoning, I think that went really, really well.” Leere walked up to the Matriarch to shake a hand, completely unaware of the darkness she displayed. “Well, I best get going. Don’t want to keep my crew waiting. Danjur waits for our next work site.”
“Good luck with your future excavations, princess.” Fayruz then decided to give a small piece of advice. “And do be careful when dealing with black arts, dear. You never know what could be lurking on the other side.”
“Very true. Oh, and Fayruz?”
Leere gave the Matriarch a quick, unexpected peck on the lips. “If I ever return, or you’re in Hyrule, please don’t hesitate to ask for me. I’d love to see you again.” With a flick of her hair, Leere smiled mischievously as she skipped up the steps to exit. “I’ve learned so much about Al-Daida thanks to you. I would love to be your teacher in Hyrule sometime.”
Fayruz allowed the small smooch, even though Bennu was steaming. He nearly snapped his spear in half from the princess’ forward action. While he understood that Fayru was his matriarch and she had other lovers, that did not mean he liked this ‘Pale Face’ near her. “I appreciate the offer, princess.”
“I’ll offer myself to you anytime~” Seeing Fayruz faintly smile, even for a moment, and Bennu steam was extremely gratifying. Adjusting the crown on her head, Leere grinned from ear to ear. Mom was going to love this on her.
Leere split her time between three things. Recovery with sleep and food, uncovering the tomb further, and reading the Necronomicon. When delving into the book of the dead, Leere took notes on key sections, and carefully practiced some magic. She had to apologize profoundly to a servant when she spooked them. She looked like a witch with her hair levitating and red bolts crackling around her hands. At the tomb, she made a connection. The final door to the Queen’s chambers told of a passage in the book of the dead that spoke of a personal note made by the Queen. Leere wondered as to why the Queen would do this. Then she figured it out. Back at the palace, Leere was flush with excitement when talking with Fayruz. “Queen Wannaba found out how to access the ocean of souls. According to Nara customs, when people die, all souls come here. From here, you can communicate or even bring back a soul to the land of the living!!!”
“Dear, you look like you’ve seen the ghost of Walijah herself.” Fayruz noted Leere’s crazy hair, wild look on her face, and smudge of ink on her cheek. “Either that or you’ve been wrestling with books in my library.”
“You think I could see her ghost? That’d be fantastic!!!” Leere was as flushed as a girl at prom. “With this book, I could talk to anyone from the dead if they were willing. My Grandpa I never got to meet? Or maybe I learn how to become the greatest wizard on the planet by talking to the old masters of the arcane arts! Mom and Dad are going to be so happy about this news.”
“Dear, you need to calm down for now. And take a bath.” Fayruz noted as she finished brushing Naunet’s teeth. “Though most importantly remember, do not abuse the power of talking to the dead or raising their ghosts. The dead are not to be disturbed unless they come to you first.”
“Duh. Or you run risk of summoning a demon.” Leere took a whiff of her pits, laughing to herself. “You have a bath at the palace I’m allowed to use?”
“Demon summoning is different than summoning the dead, dear.” Fayruz gestured for one of her servants to show Leere the way. “Go get clean, then we will talk.”
Leere walked with the servant, being oddly relaxed with herself. Entering the bathhouse, she wasn’t too embarrassed about stripping naked. When the servant got a good look at her back, they paused. “D-do you require anything?”
Leere was already soaking her body, scrubbing all of her crevices with a bar of scented soap. “Maybe some fresh clothing? I’m going to have my work clothes washed.”
The servant was quick to leave and to spread gossip about Leere being part of a cult due to the tattoo on her back.
After coming out smelling like vanilla, Leere put on a fine dress that was left for her. Upon returning to the Matriarchs chambers, Leere was still rather upbeat.
Fayruz had Bennu beside of her this time. The man hardly ever smiled. It was like his expression was one of disdain for everyone and anything except his matriarch. He stood there, still as a statue, and brow furrowed as Leere approached Fayruz. “That’s close enough, Pale Face.”
“Easy, my mate, she is of no threat to us. She is simply here to learn.”
“That is what she may want you to think.”
“She is of Hyrule, my mate, we have spoken of this.”
“Oddest Hylian that I’ve ever seen.”
“My dear, ignore him, Bennu is very protective.” Fayruz then gestured for her to sit. “Tell me of your findings.”
Leere was half attempted to stick her tongue out. It’s what Rinku would have done. Instead, she picked up the book of the dead and sat up proudly in her seat to address the couple. “Thank you for the dress, for starters. Must be Bennu’s idea~” Before the man could speak a word from the tease, Leere continued onto her findings. “My team and I are incredibly close to finding the body of Queen Wannaba. As agreed, I leave the body and the book of the dead with you. However, I’d like to take the Obelisk Crown with me. It was an artifact that was gifted to the Queen by her grandmother who, only yesterday and thanks to the carvings on the wall helped confirmed my suspicions, was an incarnation of Zelda herself. The late Queen then infused her black magic into the crown. It could help amplify one’s necromancy and arcane potential. As for the book itself Bennu, I’ve discovered a way to communicate with any soul that has passed onto the great beyond. There are precautions that’d need to be made, but I now have the knowledge to let myself, or others around me, communicate with the dead.”
“I have heard tales of this crown. I’d caution you on not to take it. I’ve heard tales of madness spinning around this piece of history.” Fayruz warned Leere. “Just because you practice an art does not mean it won’t consume you.” She then carefully chose her next words. “What do you mean as far as communicate with the dead? Bringing up a ghost?”
“Ghost, spirit, poe. Whatever term you like. I already can talk with spirits if they are present in the living realm, but to speak to one that’s passed on…” She slapped her hands together excitedly. “That’s a new level of possibilities for me.”
be able to speak to this deceased individual as well?”
“Theoretically, I could summon a spirit and all three of us could stay up singing songs with one another throughout the rest of the day and night.” Leere chuckled, not giving it much thought as she started to go through the Necronomicon’s pages.
“Is the process randomized or can you call upon a specific person?”
“Fayruz. I told you. I can call anyone at anytime I wish too.” Leere closed the book, raising a brow at the woman. “You want me to do a spirit channeling?”
“No, I do not wish for you to channel a spirit, though… is it possible, in that book to…” Fayruz had to take a small breath, steeling her nerves. It was hard for her to even think of him. “To bring someone back to life?”
“Well. Yes. Not just anyone can do it though Fayruz. You need to have training in necromancy to accomplish such a task.”
“Can it be done without consequences? Will the person be exactly as they were before?”
Leere took a moment to think about it. “Well… do you have a body?”
Leere then surprised Fayruz by suddenly cutting straight to the point. “Who died? Who was close to you that want back?”
There was no reason to lie or keep a secret. “My elder brother.” Fayruz kept it short and to the point. “He died when I was a small child. We had a bit of an age gap.”
Leere nodded, looking more calculated now. “You said there’s no body. Did you cremate him?”
“No, he was buried, but that was a good twenty years ago. Hasani would be a mummy now and decomposed severely.”
“Oh! If he’s a mummy, there’ll be enough of a body to work with if he was preserved well enough.”
“My matriarch, as much as I hate to ask you or even doubt your intentions, are you sure this is a good idea?” Bennu asked his wife. “Hasani has been gone for some time and he’s no longer in pain.”
“I understand your thoughts, my mate, but… I just want closure.” Fayruz placed her hand atop his as he grasped her shoulder. “I never got to say goodbye.”
“Well, do you want to say goodbye to a Mummy or a Ghost? One you can physically hug.”
“It’s best not to disturb his body, my matriarch.” Bennu assured his lover. “It would draw more attention.”
“… a ghost then.” Fayruz had to agree that her lover was right.
“Well, I could do that. Maybe after I’m done my excavation, and perhaps for a bonus?”
“A bonus?! You’re lucky my matriarch is even allowing this kind of farce on our land—”
Bennu nearly bellowed at the Leere, but was interrupted by Fayruz. “Bennu, calm yourself.”
“The nerve of a Pale Face…”
“What would you want as a bonus, dear?”
“Maybe ask the bodyguard to politely leave and go out on a date with me? Cheaper, yet more fun than a monetary bonus, no?”
“You dare to even think that she’d entertain the likes of—”
“Bennu.” Fayruz had a tone this time. “Calm. Yourself.”
“… the matriarch cannot leave the palace without an armed guard and escort palanquin.”
“If you wish to have a dinner date, than I will accept.”
“Then right here, in the palace. No guards, no fuss. Dinner, conversation, foreplay and fun, then when we wake up and enjoy the after glow, I’ll bring your brother back for a visit. From there he can decide if he wants to return to the living.”
“There will be guards, that is not negotiable.” Bennu growled at Leere. “The matriarch is never alone.”
“Dear, I will have Naunet with me.”
“Is better than no guards, yes?”
“Grrrr… I don’t like this.” Bennu glared daggers at Leere. “And I don’t like Pale Faces.”
“My mate, it is just one night.”
“Bye .” Leere waved her hand to the man. Why was he such an asshole?
“You shouldn’t be alone with a Pale Face.”
“Darling, it will be fine, Naunet will—”
“Is an animal, Fayruz, she might not be able to sense the malice like I can!”
“Naunet is plenty fine with sensing someone who has ill will.”
“But she’s not me.”
“No, she never will be, but you worry too much. Don’t worry, everything will be all right.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Call it a sixth sense, my dear.”
“The crocodile has more bite than you.” Leere crossed her legs, gently tapping the book of the dead as she waited for Bennu to leave.
“… harm her and you will not get the pleasure of being devoured by Naunet, I’ll rip you to pieces and scatter them among the desert.” Bennu snarled at Leere as he tromped out of the room. “I’ll be outside the door.”
Leere finally felt like she could relax a little easier with him gone. “You hungry?”
“Naunet, no, she’s not food.”
“She asked if I was hungry, not if you were hungry for her.”
“I could eat a snack. Cheese? Grapes? Wine?”
“Wrong species to be hungry for me dear.” Leere smiled towards the crocodile. “As for me, grapes sound fantastic.”
“Anything else you’d like?” Fayruz asked Leere. “I’ll get a servant to fetch it for us.”
“I think those two things will be fine.” The two woman waited until they were served before Leere started by opening up. “How long have you been Matriarch for, Fayruz?”
“Since I was fourteen.” Fayruz took a bite of cheese and then added, “My brother and I had a ten-year age difference. He was supposed to marry into one of the other houses and take over, but he was born sickly. My mother died having me, my brother died when I was eight, and my father died when I was fourteen. The nobles used to say my house was cursed.” She then patted the crocodile’s head. “My Naunet was a gift from him. He was told it was a phoenix’s egg, but let’s say, he was too naive and got ripped off.”
“I don’t think it matters what Naunet turned out to be. Could be a dog or even a dinosaur. Your father wanted you to have a companion, so he gave you a gift out of love. And I’m sure you don’t mind having a crocodile as cute as her. Reptiles are better then birds anyways.”
“Actually, he wanted me to get rid of her.” Fayruz admitted. “Hasani argued for me to keep her. My father was not the most affectionate man. Never really had time for me or Hasani. Gifts were his way of showing love.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Well, my own father’s first gift was to allow me to torture, quarter, and kill my molester as a child.” Leere took a sip of her wine, taking a moment to dwell on the memory. “King Ganondorf doesn’t take kindly to rapists of any age. And he thought it would make the perfect bonding experience between us.”
“That is quite a gift. A good one too.” Fayruz barely batted an eye at the information. “Anyone who hurts children deserves to die.”
“You know my biggest regret about it? That I lacked the knowledge at the time to keep his soul ensnared and the reanimate the body to do the deed annually. Not that my mother would approve if she ever found out. She barely allowed my father to train me in the dark arts.” Leere took a bite out of a grape, purring at the sensation. “Have to ask. I heard rumours that the princess of the Kikai Empire was here? This true?”
“Not a good idea, dear. What if his soul got loose? Don’t want to hold onto someone who might try to hurt you again.” Fayruz cautioned Leere. “It’s best to get rid of enemies the permanent way; kill them. Kill them quickly.” When the topic shifted to the Kikai Empire, Fayruz had no reason to lie. “Yes, Empress Zannah was here for a year.”
“Bah. She’ll always be the princess who lost to me.” Leere sharply pointed at herself. “Like you said. It’s best to get rid of enemies. Unfortunately, I was outvoted.”
“Since she is still alive, I think he knows better than to mess with you now. Very, very… very rarely, an enemy can become a friend. Do you know how?”
“My sister would say the power of friendship. My mother would say patience and understanding the viewpoint of your enemy. My father would say just beat them down long enough and they’d respect your power.”
“Friendship can go down in flames, patience and understanding may come, but forgiveness will not, and as far as respect, that will never happen from someone who loathes you. The only way to have a friend from an enemy…” Fayruz paused and took a sip of her drink. “Is to have a common enemy between the two of you. Really helps during times of war.”
“The enemy of my enemy? Doesn’t mean make them my friend. Makes them an ally.”
“Friend, ally, means of an end, whatever you want to call it. Just remember not to be too trusting, dear.”
Leere frowned, setting her glass down. “Tell me Fayruz. What do you think of the concept of hope?”
“On one hand, a glorified illusion to keep the masses from despair. Gives them something to hold onto for the next day.” Fayruz then said. “On the other, it’s sometimes the only thing we have left when we have nothing at all.”
“Well. Hope is something I like to hold onto. Too me, its not an illusion. It’s a necessity. And I have hope that people aren’t all just the same, vile, deplorable, selfish animals. That to me, a means to an end, allies, and friends, are all different, not the same. Friends are someone you can trust and confine in. That you don’t have to worry about showing weakness to. Don’t you have anyone you can trust like that, that you can believe in to have your back unconditionally?”
“Naunet.” Fayruz answered after she thought for a bit. “Perhaps Uzi… and Bennu. I learned long ago that if you trust someone, it’s very easy to get hurt. It’s better not to have an opportunity to get hurt. It’s the easier route to simply play the part.”
“Fayruz. Pain is part of life. To face that pain head on despite it.” Leere took a chance to gently take Fayruz’s hand. “Trust me. I’ve had plenty of reasons to not open up. But… what would be the point of living otherwise?”
“To rule.” Fayruz slowly took her hand away from Leere. “To be a pillar for those who need it and a manipulator of those who would see you on your knees. Weakness is not permitted here, dear.”
“Trust isn’t weakness.” Leere whiffed her wine, taking a moment to smell it. “I’m curious. Why a nation that uses slavery?”
“Trust can be broken, and is an easy way to manipulate someone into believing falsehoods, dear. It’s too risky for someone in a very high position of power.” Fayruz then explained. “Al-Daidan did not originally have slavery, yet, when debts increased and there was no way to pay, people were then taken as slaves to work off what was owed. It worked. Keeps everyone in line. And criminals, rapists, murders, that is the fate that awaits them forever if they break the law. Why do you think we have a very low crime rate?”
“So it’s less slaves and more prisoners of crime? No one is forced to become one unless they break the law or there promises of income?”
“Some are forced if they cannot pay back a debt. Others have been sold off by their families to pay debt. A few are prisoners who dared to hurt my citizens.” Fayruz then mentioned. “The gladiator fights, however, are those who wish to earn their freedom. They fight for that right, though there are a few who just love bloodlust.”
“Interesting concept. Say. Do you want to see my tattoo?”
“Tattoo?” Fayruz repeated. “Of…?”
“Something a little wicked.” More open due to the wine, Leere casually stripped down her upper top layer of clothing. Showing her back to Fayruz, a bright red pentagram was as sharp as knives. “Intricate thing, no?”
Fayruz recognized the symbol and had to keep her face from expressing what she felt. “Do you… know what that means?”
“Some bad voodoo. All I know is I’ve had a bad string of luck ever since it was grafted onto me. That, and it’s hard to sleep alone because of it. Some people find it cool. I know a pentagram when I see one though.” Leere shrugged with a light laugh. “If they find it cool, who am I to worry?”
“I think you could see a shaman to help rid you of your bad luck.” Fayruz finished the rest of her drink and set it to the side. Crossing her legs, the Matriarch then suggested. “I could put you in touch with one.”
“If you believe in bad luck or not. I certainly don’t.” Leere turned around, smiling cheekily with a blush at the Matriarch. “Besides, I like my front side more the back. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“You do have a good set of milk glands.” Fayruz remarked, agreeing with Leere. “Many men and women would appreciate that factor.”
Leere stood for a moment just standing on the spot. The way Fayruz addressed her indifferently was… new. “You know, most people by this point would be getting naked with me. But the way you said ‘many men and woman’ makes me feel you are the exception.” With a light sigh she slid her dress back up.
“My dear, you are very beautiful and extremely enticing, but you are also the daughter of the ruler of Hyrule.” Fayruz reminded her gently with a small smirk. “It is very dangerous to 'play’ with other members of royalty. Not saying that I wouldn’t like to see you naked, but I know my boundaries. I’d rather not your father come after my head.”
Leere jumped on the opportunity of her words, trailing a finger down Fayruz’s arm. “It’d be just one night of passion. Besides, this doesn’t need to be shared with either my father or mother.” Leere thought about how her mother would hang her by her entrails if she found out about this. With a nibble of her own finger, Leere seductively pushed her dress a little to tease more skin. “Just two women of beauty and power. If it feels better, you could think of me as Doctor Dragmire rather than Princess Leere. I even learned how to make anyone orgasm within ten seconds of just laying my hands on them~”
“You boast such brilliant skill, but it begs the question of whether it is or is not true.” Fayruz knew the woman was trying to seduce her. The matriarch did feel flattered. Bennu had declared her the loveliest female in all the land. Sometimes, she doubted it. There were other females out there with larger, longer horns, and more muscle… yet, Bennu always made her feel like an idol he worshiped. “Not to mention, you’d have no idea what to do with this.” She raised her tail, giving it a little flick. “Have you even taken a Nara into your bed before?”
“You’d be the first. Can probably titty fuck it though~” Like a dork, the doctor raised two finger guns to Fayruz.
“Careful, dear, Nara’s tails are attached to their spine. They are very sensitive.” Fayruz gave her a small warning. “And we’re not known to be gentle lovers.”
“I have to ask. Do you feel horny? I’ve heard many tails about you being powerful lovers.”
“Ah, you are a lover of bad puns just like King Dragmire.” Fayruz chuckled as Leere tossed her humour to the side. The matriarch arched an eyebrow, curious. She was not expecting Leere to be quite so fit for such a small woman. Then again, with the type of work that the archaeologist did, Leere had to have some muscle to dig and move artifacts. “I can almost hear Queen Zelda groaning.”
I think what you want is to hear me groan.“ Leere gracefully wrapped her arms around the neck of the Nara, planting a kiss on her. Immediately upon contact there was a sense of wonder and want that willed the Matriarch.
In one fluid motion, Fayruz had Leere by the neck and slammed her on the table, drinks clattering and food rolling off to the floor. Nara were all about control, desire… possessiveness. Her tail flicked and those eyes seemed to reflect the little light off the moon; more beastly than human. Her other hand ran a claw down Leere’s dress, splitting open the fabric.
Leere gasped loudly, struggling to get her breath back as it was knocked out of her. Yet, she didn’t beg for Fayruz to let go. As her hands gripped the arm holding her by the neck, caressing the skin of the Nara gently. Her legs trembled with anticipation, a giddy almost mad smile looking up with hearts in her eyes. She had to admit, she was excited to be a bottom to start off.
"Hmph. I’ve never understood the need for these.” Fayruz eyed Leere’s bra and simply snapped the lace with a sharp claw. “Only gets in the way. Now… you’re going to be good and part those legs for me. Or I’ll open them up myself.”
Leere smiled lightly as she felt the heat rise to her head. “What if I want to be bad?”
“Then you’ll be…” Fayruz leaned down to whisper in Leere’s ear. “Punished.”
Just breathing into Fayruz’s ear was like a sweet aroma of lust. Leere smiled evilly, looking forward to it. “Then punish me. The moment you tire, I’m going to jump you my Matriarch.”
“You do know that Nara received their strength from consuming the beasts of the desert all those years ago… we tire very little.” Fayruz’s tail crept between Leere’s legs, rubbing at her slit teasing through the fabric of her underwear.
Leere reached down starting to stroke the tail. With a little squeeze, she gripped it as she moaned lightly. Her blood magic started to coax the nerves of the Nara into bliss if she were to keep it up.
Fayruz felt a flash of heat go through her body, but kept her will regained in, not losing control. A Nara under the influence of passion or bloodlust could be very dangerous. She did not want to hurt Leere, but would not mind being a little rough with her. Slipping inside of Leere’s panties, the matriarch’s tail teased her opening before pushing past the walls.
Leere’s face turned a lush pink as she was penetrated. Still held down by the throat, she could only groan and croak as she was slowly fucked. She couldn’t kiss her, or hold her, so she opted to play with her own breasts. The Nara hadn’t even undressed one article of clothing. It was maddening! With one hand she reached out to the Matriarch. Her walls squeezed tight on the Nara, and a magical connection was made. As the Nara fucked her, the nerves in her tail started sending singles of pleasure up to her brain, the speed of a train engine slowly building a massive power of lust.
The matriarch nearly drew blood on Leere’s throat when she felt more magic. She prided herself on having such strong willpower. Nothing like a lust induced haze to mess with the brain. Though, Leere was going to have to quit doing that if she valued her own safety. Squeezing a bit tighter on Leere’s throat, Fayruz commanded, “That is not very wise… Nara are dangerous when not thinking rationality, dear. Maybe I should give you something else to focus upon.” Releasing Leere, and slipping her tail from the woman’s entrance ever so slowly, teasing, the matriarch sat in her chair and spread open her legs. “Lick me.”
Leere fluttered on the spot from her first orgasm. Between being fucked and chocked, Leere couldn’t help herself. Getting off the table, Leere was happy to see the vulnerability of woman hood from the Matriarch. Getting on her knees, Leere was flush with excitement. “I rather be courageous then wise.” Stuffing her face, Leere started to gently lick the Matriarch’s folds open, her tongue smooth and tasting her woman hood. As she saw Fayruz relax, Leere buried herself, rolling her tongue around as best she could. With her hands, she reached around to feel the woman’s tail. With it, she massaged it up and down, causing another burst of joy in the woman. It was a little different from normal males, but Leere hoped in this case she could still get the Nara to cum.
As Leere began to use that marvelous tongue of hers, Fayruz’s long claws kept the woman’s head in place, almost petting her hair. The oral administrations became a bit more vigorous, and Fayruz gasped softly, the pleasure going straight to her head as Leere also rubbed her tail. It seemed the rumors that Zannah stated were true; Leere was cheeky but a very good lover.
Leere felt those claws start to dig in, but she didn’t care. Pain sometimes was pleasure. Purring, she was ready to go further. Squeezing tight on the tail, Leere pushed deep with her tongue and applied a little of her magic touch again.
The orgasm hit Fayruz hard, her thighs clapping on Leere’s head, but hardly made any noise. Her breathing was heavier and then suddenly hitched, those hands making sure the woman did not stop with her tongue. Seeing stars for a moment, Fayruz had to catch her breath.
Leere nearly felt her eyes bulge as the Nara squeezed her skull tight. As Fayruz was catching her breath, Leere looked up at her with desire in her eyes. “Please let me see you bare. I want you to force your tongue upon me.”
“Aren’t you a cheeky thing, requesting such of your matriarch.” Fayruz held up Leere’s chin with a single finger. “Perhaps I should just keep you here. You’re enjoy it, wouldn’t you? Being at my beck and call, in my bed when I wanted you…”
Leere nibbled on her finger, before placing a firm palm to push Fayruz against the Nara’s heart. “Or maybe I’m just too wild for you to tame.” Straddling Fayruz, Leere’s hands pulled the Nara’s dress open to free her breasts. One hand reached behind to grip her hair while the other clawed into her backside. “Maybe the Nara fell for my love spell, eh?”
“Hrm, I tamed Bennu, Naunet, and a few others, I’m pretty sure I could handle you.” Fayruz was a little taken aback by Leere’s forwardness, but did not show it. Compared to some other female Nara, Fayruz was smaller, yes, lacking the huge muscles, but nonetheless still strong. “And love is a strong word, Leere. It takes time for sure.”
“Come here.” Leere decided to be playful, gently grabbing the Nara by the horns and pushing her into her pillowy breasts.
As soon as Leere grabbed Fayruz’s horns, the matriarch released a loud snarl, lifting the woman off of her, and into the wall with a harsh 'thud’. There was that flicker of warning in the matriarch’s eyes. “Be. Careful.” Fayruz managed to breath, her teeth raking over Leere’s throat. “Grabbing another Nara’s horns is a display of fighting for dominance. And you. Will. Not. Win.”
Leere knew she had been allowed to cross a line. Barely. With a shudder, she nodded in excitement. “Yes mamm~” Displaying a submissive behaviour to calm her down, Leere opened her legs again.
“You’re going to be punished for that.” Fayruz’s flexible tail teased Leere’s entrance against, not going inside, but instead rubbing over the already sensitive nub. With on hand on Leere’s throat, she applied light pressure while the other raked at Leere’s backside, just enough to pinch.
Leere didn’t hide her purrs. This was the best sex in her life up until now. Her hands massaged and held onto the arm holding her by the neck once more. “Aren’t there softer things you could squeeze rather than my neck?”
“There are softer things I could bite.” Fayruz made her point by nipping at one of Leere’s exposed breasts. She did not break the skin, yet she did pull upon it, stretching it past comfort.
“W-wait now-!!!” Too late. The moment that Fayruz tugged on her nibble, Leere shuddered on the spot, turning a flush red in the face and screaming with her legs harmlessly bucking. The orgasm was incredibly intense for her. “M-matriarch. I’m sensitive there.”
Well. That was new. Fayruz had never seen such a reaction before. Maybe this was a 'Pale Face’ weakness… or the princess really was as lewd as the rumors said. As Leere came down from her high of pleasure, Fayruz had a most devious smirk on her face. “I can’t leave the other unattended.” Fayruz forced her tail to wiggle inside of Leere’s walls while she slowly licked over the other nipple before lightly running her teeth over the area.
“I’m serioooOOOOOOOH FUCK!” Leere reared her head back as Fayruz started to fuck her once again. As the Nara feasted on her breasts, Leere put a hand to bit her finger, doing her best to not scream like a banshee. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Between biting too hard and drawing blood, as well as Fayruz still chocking her, any second that wasn’t used on breathing was used on screaming to the heavens. “You monstrous angel! Oh fuck me!”
It was not long before Fayruz had Leere like putty in her hands. She continued her sexual administrations with both tail and tongue until Leere was shrieking from the pleasure. How many orgasms did the woman have? Was she even going to be able to function properly the next day? As Leere begged for more, Fayruz was happy to oblige.
Finding themselves on the Matriarch’s bed after smashing Leere from the floor, from the walls and table, the woman was gripping Fayruz tightly, keeping the woman on top of her with her legs locked over her. Leere was pouring all of her blood magic into the Matriach to fill her lust. Her eyes were filled with an almost demonic level of want for the Matriarch. Even after enough orgasms to fill the double digits, Leere still wanted more. Still, her body could only take so much. Perhaps one more would tire her out? The Matriarch would need to really deliver a massive blow to the senses. With their tongues intertwined, Leere breathed to groan allowed once more. “Push me. Break me. I can take it. I can feel that edge ready to burst.”
Flipping Leere to where her backside was facing Fayruz, she knew that losing control was not an option. Luckily, she had training to resist her more primal urges, especially during mating season. Though, that did not keep her from being rough. From a combination of pressure to Leere’s clit and her claws on the breasts, Leere was sure to become undone.
Claw marks on her back burned as Leere felt Fayruz pull her breasts from behind. Her arms and legs were so weak and wobblily she had no choice by to keep herself in dog position. “D-don’t. I’m no cow~” As her clit was played with, then her womb being poked at with Fayruz’s tail, Leere squeezed tight. “Oh! Oh! OH! OH! OH YES!!!” With one last scream of pleasure, Leere released enough energy through the nerves of the Nara’s tail to let her orgasm with her. With a smile, the world started to suddenly spin for Leere. She spent too much energy on a night of passion.
“Hold… me?” Giving her last request, she crashed asleep on the bed.
Fayruz was greeted by a strident squeal of surprise in the meeting as she was putting on her kohl. It seemed Leere had woken with Naunet’s face right next to hers. It amused the matriarch.
Leere was already groggy waking up. Opening her eyes and seeing the jaws of an apex predator in front of her was NOT ideal for her. Squealing in shock she grabbed the bed sheets to somehow shield her naked body from the crocodile. “Fayruz?! Where are you?”
“I’m getting ready, dear.” Fayruz had finished the kohl and was moving onto eyeshadow. “Don’t worry, Naunet likes to get up on the bed to be comfy. She won’t eat you.”
“Well, knowing I went to sleep snuggling a beautiful woman one moment and the next its a crocodile made me wonder for a second if you were a shifter.” Leere stood up, her eyes wincing. Looking around, she saw the cracks in the walls, the cutlery still scattered on the floor and her clothes torn to pieces. “Wow. We really went at it.”
"Oh no, dear, I am no shapeshifter. I heard rumors those existed far to the north, beyond Zora and Kikai.” Fayruz gestured for Leere to wear what the servants had brought her, laid over the ottoman at the edge of the bed. “They thought the color would suit you.”
Leere held up the clothes, raising an eyebrow at the dark clothes with purple and red. “This looks lovely. Sure the sun is going to burn my ass for it though.” No complaints though, she started to get dressed. She could always change back into her normal work clothes if this current brand was too hot. “I didn’t talk in my sleep, did I?”
“Not that I know of.” Fayruz then applied the rogue to her lips. “I was quite tired myself and you are a good pillow.”
Leere blushed a little, putting on the last of her clothing. “Would you say you had a good time?”
“Indeed I did,” Fayruz then stood from her vanity and cooed at Naunet. “Come, my darling. It is time for breakfast.” “NRRN!” Naunet slipped off the bed, following Fayruz in earnest. “We need to eat before you continue your studies.”
“Agreed.” Leere smiled to herself. If she didn’t want to constantly be on the move, she might have taken Fayruz on her offer being at her call and beckon.
Arriving, Leere was very clear to her team. Stay respectful, and to stay in pairs. Arriving at the palace, Leere had made sure to take the time to get bathed and wear a nice formal suit. Some of the Nara were intrigued by her crew, especially the Goron. Once drinks and food was served, Leere handed around the masks she uncovered. “For you, Matriach Fayruz. I found these masks next to the entrance of the tombs final level. The inscription inside the mask and on the walls suggest these were priests that served the Pharaoh. They have exquisite markings. I wonder if they may have served a duel function of that was similar to Hyrule’s ball dances.” The doctor laughed as she gently held one mask to her face.
“Careful of which mask you choose, dear child. Each has a different meaning from our culture.” Fayruz gave Leere a gentle warning. “Some have been known to contain even demons, to prevent them from spreading havoc. But wearer beware, for if the unfortunate soul places on the mask, they will certain be met with a terrible fate.” She pointed to the one that Leere chose. “That is the mask for our goddess, Lakamishi the of Wealth and Prosperity. It doesn’t necessarily always mean money or materialistic items. She is known to bless those who are patient and work hard.”
Leere revealed in wearing the mask for a few moment, breathing in and out the history. Taking it off, she smiled earnestly at the Matriach. “I like that.” Drinking from her wine, she set her mask down. “I need to tell you, I translated a hieroglyph that has me very, very excited. One of the items that might be buried with Pharoah Walijah was a copy of the Necronomicon.” Some the Nara looked over, troubled.
Leere simply kept talking. “There are very few copies. Mostly because they say they are either written out of human leather and blood by the most violent of warlocks, or taken straight out of the fires of hell itself. The text inside the Necronomicon is terrible power, but also a magnificent source of knowledge to those who have the power and foresight to use it responsibly. Markings on the wall state that Queen Wannaba added her own chapters to the book.”
“Pharoah Walijah was known to be interested in the occult arts.” Fayruz did not deny this. Her people did look a touch disturbed, but she handled the situation. dismissing all the horrid notions of the book. “There are many fables which surround this ‘Necronomicon’. However, what many people do not realize is that it is really just a Book of the Dead. A respectful way for the dead to be handled and cared for. Supposedly, my ancestors wanted to treat their dead with the same respect of the Garai tribe. So, the pharoah asked for a copy of their book and in exchange, the Garai took to the desert sands, never to be bothered again.” She then crossed her legs. “Unfortunatley, the Mortuus are descendants of the Garai who took to the darker arts and split from the desert. The Garai called the tratiors 'Pale Faces’ for the dark magic stealing all of them glorious protection from the sun, causing them to need darkness.”
Leere seemed to react with knowing little of the Garai. Even less of the Mortuus. “Something I’ll need to look into the future. But alas, one project at a time. If I can acquire the Necronomicon, well, it may help me with my own problems. And that’s only if its in the tomb.”
Having some more to drink, Leere took off her tie, loosening her chest. “I don’t often work in a desert. You’d think I’d be accustomed to the heat given who my father and most of my siblings are.”
“My child, you do know the reason I am stating that of the Mortuus is because you are one, yes?” Fayruz was known for being rather straightforward in her meetings with the council and even more so with others who came to her palace. “Acquiring a Necronomicon is not the answer to your problems; it may become a problem for you if you do not know what you are doing with such a powerful text. There have been many who were consumed by madness from using such magic.”
Leere tapped her glass, deciding what to say next. She ultimately decided that there was no need for secrets. From her crew, the Matriarch, or herself. “Thank you for a name at least. I’ll look into what a Mortuus is when it interests me. Truth is, I’ve never cared. I’m Leere Dragmire. That’s what matters to me. And I will find the Book of the Dead to help build up my personal repertoire of magical arts to further heights. The magic that courses through my veins, as well as curse, is something I’ve lived with for a long time. If anyone is to understand the occult, it’ll be me. Thank you for the warning Matriarch Fayruz, but respectfully, I can handle myself just fine.”
With more confidence, Leere purred a little. “And child? I’m a lady, my lady~”
Fayruz retained her stoic expression and then decided the girl was possibly already mad if she was determined to find the book. Either that, or was simply in a hurry to meet death. Then, she had the audacity to try to flirt with her. The matriarch was a touch confused by the actions of the adopted princess. Perhaps this was a mystery to solve for later. “If this is your goal, then I do wish you well upon the path of seeking it.” Fayruz then stated. “Naunet and Uzi will escort you to my personal chambers later. I have a treasure there that I would like for you to inspect for a translation.”
“Oh? Excellent. I’d be glad to be of assistance Matriarch.” Standing up, Leere bowed her head, followed by waving a servant over. “I don’t suppose you have a bathroom I can use?”
“Uzi will show you the way.” Fayruz gestured to her most trusted servant.
“Please follow me, princess. And mind your cape, Naunet likes to play.” Uzi gestured for her to toss the cape over her shoulder.
Leere told her crew to behave themselves and have safe travels to the inn, with one of them telling her to try herself. After using the bathroom, Leere continued to be escorted by Naunet and Uzi. “You’re a big girl aren’t you. If I had you out at the dig site none of those bandits would be a problem. Oh! Clap your jaws together if you want bandit meat?”
Naunet released a very low growl when Leere approached her and Uzi gently took Leere’s shoulders in hand and moved her out of the way. The crocodile would snap before thinking twice. “Please don’t take it personally, Naunet is known to be… a little hostile towards newbies.” Uzi apologized for the crocodile’s behavior. “Now, now, Naunet, please do not be rude to our guest.”
“HRRRNNNNGGGHHHH!” Naunet spun around quickly with a flip of her tail and started walking to Fayruz’s chambers.
“Okay, Naunet’s in a mood, she wants the matriarch, come, she’ll be better when she sees her.” Uzi then apologized once more. “She’s not a fan of strangers coming to our matriarch’s chambers. It’s a rare event. She’ll be in a better mood later.”
“You remind me of the pet Dodongo’s that can be raised on Death Mountain.” Leere kept her distance, but still kept up a friendly appearance to the reptile. Entering the Matriach’s chambers, Leere was impressed by how glamorous the chamber was.
“The matriarch is grateful for your expertise, though I must say, I’m very surprised you allowed you to dig.” Uzi told Leere as he showed her to a spot where she could sit to wait on Fayruz. “She’s not too trustworthy of foreigners. Either you cut her a good deal or made a good impression. Perhaps both.”
“I like to think I’m just that good.” Leere took off her coat to dress down to a light dress shirt and tie. Gently, she set them on a chair. “People seem to be surprised by me all the time, yet I always leave a good impression.”
“Perhaps the most intriguing factor is your heritage. It is very rare to see a Mortuus that is outside of Malus.” Uzi remarked as he then gave Naunet a plate full of meat. “Not to mention one that isn’t… well… malicious.”
“I’m gonna be honest with you. It’s weird to have the racism against me have a name now.” Her tone went a little low, suggesting the first time to the Naras that she had some sharp fangs to her. “Most of the times people in Hyrule and Danjur distrusted me because of my “red eyes and pale skin”. I certainly hope you weren’t as ignorant to label me as malicious upon first meeting me.”
“Not malicious, no, but certainly otherworldly. I didn’t get that sense from you. I won’t lie, I was a bit afraid when I first saw you arrive at the palace.” Uzi admitted to Leere. He was much more relaxed around her than the other servants. Then again, he had been with Fayruz with the longest and was her most trusted servant. “I was concerned you were there to try to hurt our matriarch or to declare war from Malus. I did not know you were an adopted child of Hyrule.”
“Otherworldly?” Leere was shocked by that. “Don’t think I’ve been called something so mystical before. And I doubt anyone would ever just waltz up to a leader of a nation and declare war. Well, there was the Hasai. And look how they turned out.”
“Our matriarch has dealt with the empress and taught her a very valuable lesson.” Uzi shrugged. “Though, yes, otherworldly. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s no one that looks like you.”
“Well, yeah.” Leere stretched her limbs out, and took a look out across the horizon. “You alright bringing me another bottle of red wine and two glasses to share?”
“As soon as Naunet gets done with her meal. She used to take her food in the throne room, but after we have multiple servants pass out from fear, we got the picture.”
“What? They’ve never seen meat carved up?”
“Let’s just say Fayruz has a wicked sense of humor and put a fake arm with Naunet’s lunch.”
Leere smiled cheekily at that. “Nice.”
Eventually, as moonlight started to rise, Leere was starting to wonder where the Matriarch was.
Fayruz finally walked into her chamber. Naunet, who waited patiently, was delighted to see her human and quickly tromped over to her. The matriarch was tired, having to deal with the entertainment and the disdain of nobles. Of course, all of them had certain opinions to voice on the 'foreigner princess’ in their land. Yet, nothing could change\Fayruz’s mind. This woman had a purpose to serve while she was here. Taking off her crown, she set it across and then followed Naunet over to Leere. “Please excuse my lateness, there was some trash to take out of my sight.” Fayruz then flopped in the chair opposite to Leere. “I do hope you’ve enjoyed yourself?”
“Your servant was pleasant company. Only shame is little Naunet wasn’t as approachable as a puppy.” Leere took off her tie for a little more breathing room. “I believe there was something you wanted to show me?”
“Naunet is not used to strangers in her home, or much less, here where she sleeps beside of me.” Fayruz gently patted Naunet’s head, earning a soft chirp from the crocodile. “I do have something valuable to show you, perhaps something you’d find very enlightening. Uzi, if you would.”
“Yes, my matriarch.”
“And do be careful with it, it’s rather old.”
“Of course, my matriarch.” Uzi returned a few moments later, holding an object wrapped in velvet. Carefully, he placed it on the table and opened up the item. There was an intact Book of the Dead.
All the care free nature Leere had been exhibiting up until now was sealed away. Her eyes become as intense as a lion as she slowly reached for the book. “This is-!!!” When her hand touched the book, a chill went down her spine. “The Necronomicon. This must be the treasure that was left behind to the land of the living.”
“My late ancestor, Queen Walijah, had this book for a reason.” Fayruz took a small sip of her wine. “You know she married the beautiful Hylian princess but also had to produce an heir, correct?”
“Oh! And here I thought Walijah was- never mind. Nice going Wannaba~” Leere mused along with Fayruz. “How’d she acquire one?”
“Back then, my ancestor simply married who she saw fit and chose a strong husband for herself. Yet, jealously has its way of working into the heart. Apophis, Queen Walijah’s husband, killed her beautiful Hylian bride before being killed himself.” Fayruz set down her wine glass. “Tragic, really. Yet, Queen Walijah was not ready to let her wife go. She wanted her to be there, to help her raise her newborn child together with love. So she made a deal with the Garai to obtain the Book of the Dead. Unfortunately, she was never able to figure out the magic behind raising the dead.”
“Well, shame that Wannaba was the Necromancer. If roles had been reversed, they might have found love again.”
“Perhaps so. Sometimes, love brings pain that we cannot foresee. Yet, showing you the book is not the real reason I have brought you here.” Fayruz then stated, straight to the point. “You are a Mortuus, and have capabilities with the dead, just like the Garai. Can you use this magic to bring someone back?”
“Wow. That’s… a question with a long, long answer.” Leere flipped through the Book of the Dead, glancing through ancient texts. “Technically, in theory, I could. I’ve summoned undead and monsters as thralls before, or brought an old ghost back to talk with. But bringing someone back to life with flesh and soul intact? I’ve never tried it before. Besides, there are many variables to consider. How old is deceased? How powerful were they?” Flipping through the pages, as if fate was trying to dictate events, she opened a page on resurrections. “… what are you willing to sacrifice to bring them back?”
Fayruz was not ready to spill out of her secrets just yet. However, if it was possible, then she had to be prepared to pay the price. She thought for a moment, and then asked, “What does it require for a sacrifice?”
“Depends on how selfish the caster is. They can draw from their own life force, nature around them, or use human sacrifices.” Leere closed the book, taking a moment. “Can I keep this book? I’ve been looking for it for some time now.”
“The book stays here.” Fayruz shook her head. “It is one of my family’s many relics. Yet, you are welcome to read it as much as you like.”
“Well, then you might have me here for a while.” Leere mused it over. “Can I copy the book?”
“No.” Fayruz left no room for argument. “I do not want it failing into the wrong hands. While you are a daughter of Hyrule, someone could easily take it from you.” She added as an afterthought. “This can be used for good or for evil. The Garai sought to take care of their dead. The Mortuus sought to manipulate their dead.”
“That it could be. Very well. The book stays. And I’ll be staying to read it to.” Leere leaned a little closer to the Matriarch’s face, smiling lightly. “That’s not so bad, is it?”
“You may stay within the palace while you study.” Fayruz knew the princess was trying to flirt with her, but the day had been long, and she was tired. “Please feel free to use the library resources to help you with any translations.”
“Thank you. Question. Does your country brew coffee?”
“Yes, and we have tea as well. You will have to ask one of the servants to bring it to you.” “Nrrrrghhh?” “No, Naunet, we’re not staying up tonight, we both need our rest.”
“Well, I am. And I’m going to need either coffee or a blood sacrifice to stay up. Hahaha! I’m kidding around.” Leere picked up the book and bowed politely. “I’ll let you both enjoy your beauty sleep. In the mean time I’ll take this to the library.”
“Please do remember to get some rest as well. Your team will need you.” Fayruz motioned for Naunet to follow her. Surprisingly enough, the huge crocodile rested beside of her mistress’ bed on a very lavish bed made just for her comfort.
“Fuck off you bastards! And don’t you come back!”
Leere took the bow and fired off another arrow just for good measure. She knew Al-Daida could be dangerous, but she had hoped to avoid conflict by staying under the radar and being foreign. Heading back to the archaeological grounds, she checked on her team. At the age of 25, Leere’s current passion was discovering ancient treasures across the world. Her latest search brought her to the dunes of Al-Daida, looking for the remains of princess of Hyrule that married a matriarch of Al-Daida thousands of years ago. She hoped to find the remains of the princess and return her to Hyrule. The site was discovered three days into their arrival, and her team opened up a massive underground tomb. Each layer would take days of work to uncover, which made work slow. What started the trouble was finding a trove of jewels that had been buried away. All it took was slip of the tongue from one of crew mates and word spread fast. A group of bandits tried to raid them when they were tired after a day of work.
to camp, Leere was thankful no one was killed. A few injuries and the account
only herself and the one Goron she brought with her could fight put a pit in
her stomach. They couldn’t afford to work by themselves now. After putting it
to a vote with her crew, they decided to buy some protection from the local
The next morning, when things were calm, Leere journeyed an hour out towards the city by herself. Walking through the markets, she tried to not pry too much on the towns on goings. Adjusting her hat, she made her way up to the palace gates. “Excuse me? Is this the home of Matriarch Fayruz?”
“What business do you have here?” The guard asked Leere, not allowing her to pass into the palace just yet. Visitors were frowned upon by the matriarch unless an appointment was previously set. There were only a few exceptions, like that one defeated royal lady from a couple of years back. “The matriarch’s time is very precious and she does not like to be disturbed. Do you have an appointment set with her?”
“I do not. But I seek her help. I am Doctor Dragmire, archaeologist of Hyrule. My team has recently come under attack by bandits, and I wish to strike a bargain with her for our safety.” When the man only raised an eyebrow, Leere sighed. She didn’t like throwing her royal title around, especially when outside of her own country, but she supposed she might get more help from a royal if she was recognized as one. “I’m also known as a Princess of Hryule.”
“… I will send a messenger. Please wait.” The guard had no patience for dealing with issues like this. There were plenty of princesses, princes, kings, and queens in the world, but only one matriarch. She would decide if she wanted to receive this supposed ‘daughter’ of Hyrule. She did not look like any Hylian he ever encountered. The servant returned with a whisper in the guard’s ear. “Fine. You may pass.”
Leere was escorted inside the chambers of the palace. As she entered, she politely took her hat off. The Doctor had heard rumours of certain monarchs nailing hats into the heads of rude guests who refused to remove them. Looking at a pool, her red eyes grew three sizes at the sight of a massive crocodile relaxing in the sun. She then laid her gaze upon a tanned skinned woman with horns upon her head. Holding her hat, Leere politely gave a gentle bow of the head. “Matriarch Fayruz, I presume?”
“That I am, and you, my child, a supposed 'princess’ of Hyrule?” Fayruz got right to the point. She had her servants attending to her every need. One was blocking the sun with a rather large elephant leaf, while another had a tray of fruit and cheese for her to enjoy. “You are… very different than any Hylian I’ve ever seen. Something tells me you are not exactly Hylian.”
“It’s true I’m no Hylian. My name is Leere Dragmire, adopted daughter of Ganondorf and Zelda.”
“Ah, adopted. That makes much more sense now.” Fayruz stood from her fainting couch and greeted Leere with a wave of open arms. “I am Matriarch Fayruz Ola. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, though I have to say, I am surprised.” The Nara then crossed one arm over the other, while an expression of puzzlement adorned her face. “To find one of you here of all places.”
“I came to your lands in search of the tomb of Queen Wannaba. She was an ancient princess of Hyrule who long ago married a Matriarch of Al-Daida, although back then I believe they might have been known as Pharaohs. I was hoping to return her body and secrets to Hyrule. Unfortunately, I hit a snag. May I sit down?”
“The majestic Pharoah Walijah, also known as Wannaba to foreigners.” Fayruz chuckled with a soft smile. “I understand, some names are hard to say in various tongues.” She clapped her hands and the servants provided Leere with a chair. “Though, you do know that the beliefs of our people say that lovers are to be together?”
Leere nodded. “I hope you don’t think me a thief. Truth is, my kingdom, well, I merely acquire what she was buried with. They say the Queen was highly fascinated with death, studying the living dead as well as the realm of the dead. She left an artifact upon the surface with her King before dying, but she was buried with some personal pieces, as well as instructions on where one could find what she left behind. Unfortunately, she also was buried with a massive amount of treasure. And that’s where my problems have arrived. The moment word of treasure spread outside my crew, bandits organized and attack my site. I was barely able to push back a small raid on my own. I’ve journeyed here today in hopes that I could strike a bargain with you that could grant me and my crew protection.”
“There is a difference between a thief and a scholar hoping to study history, but Al-Daida likes to hold onto their dead.” Fayruz listened to Leere’s suggestion of a bargain. The matriarch really had no interest in this historical dig. The dead were in the afterlife, where the worries of life and the pressures of being a ruler were no more. Yet, the dead were to be respected. “What is your bargain?”
“There are sure to be many historical treasures that are native to Al-Daida alone. I originally was going to sell them to merchants and scholars across the country. However, I would like to offer these finds exclusively to you. You can also have 25% of the jewels I uncover. Does this satisfy you?”
“This does, however, I do have one condition of my own.” Fayruz informed Leere. “Princess Walijah stays here. It is not proper to separate lovers in my culture who are bound by the soul.”
“Agreed.” Leere was thankful. It was nice to secure a bargain so quickly. Standing up, she went to shake the Matriarchs hand. “You know, you’re shorter than I expected.”
Fayruz actually laughed at Leere’s observation while the servants looked upon the foreigner with large eyes. No one was ever so straightforward with the matriarch. At least she was amused, that was a good sign. “True, I am not as… what is the translation in Hylian?” Fayruz thought for a moment and then said, “I believe it is 'butch’ as the other females here?”
“Nothing wrong with being butch or not being so. You’re still taller than myself. I have to ask, is the blue around your eyes part of your skin or eyeliner? I assume the yellow must be part of your genetic makeup rather than tattoos.” Leere had a truly fascinated look in her eyes. “I’ve never met a people that have varied so colorfully from individual to individual.”
“That is kohl, dear, we Al-Daidans have a variety of skin tones.” Fayruz mused at Leere’s starry look. It seemed the princess was rather fascinated with the culture of her people. There were plenty of brothels the woman could visit if she wished, but the matriarch was not sure if it was appropriate. Hylian people had certain sensitivities to the talk of sex. At least, that was what the matriarch was told. “Tattoos are seen here as a piece of art. You ought to visit one of our tattoo artists for one if you’d like.”
“Oh, one tattoo is enough for me, but thank you.” Leere gave Fayruz a smile. “I’d like to extend the offer to check in on the dig anytime you wish.”
“I appreciate the offer, but Naunet is not a big fan of the desert.” Fayruz motioned to her huge crocodile who was crawling out of the pool. “She likes her patches of sunshine, but is a little too prissy to get sand under her claws. However, if you need any translations, please let me know.”
“If it’s from your tongue, a translation would be marvellous.” Leere gave the Matriarch a wink as she made her way out. “I’m going to inform my crew of your generosity. Thank you once again Matriarch.”
“Don’t worry, dear, my marvelous pets will ensure your camps will not be disturbed.” Fayruz certainly noted the princess was a flirty one. Perhaps the 'proper’ customs of Hyrule never stuck with her. Or maybe she was simply curious.
Fayruz meant exactly what she said when referring to pets. Marvelous sand rays, the size of craters, sailed through the desert. The talented riders made sure to encircle the camp to protect it, taking shifts here and there.
Leere and her team had made marvellous progress, digging down to the second level. She had spent two weeks at the site now, carefully cataloguing and studying her findings. Eventually, they came across the doorway to the third and final floor, where the ancient Queen’s remains should remain. Inside the door chamber, she found hieroglyphs giving warnings about the book of the dead, the staff of ghosts, and the crown of life. Littered on the wall were multiple priest masks, which Leere took.
After some inspection she deduced none of the masks held any curses. After some deliberation, she thought the colourful masks could make a good gift to the matriarch. Sending a request out, she wanted to know if the Matriach would host a small party for her dig team.
“Matriarch, I do not know why you entertain that desert digger and her team.” Bennu scoffed as he read the letter that Leere sent, requesting a small audience and a party celebrating their discovery. “We should have chased her out. The dead are not to be disturbed.”
“I know, my mate, I do not necessarily like the idea of her digging into the tombs of our ancestors, yet this one had a Hylian bride.” Fayruz reminded her husband gently. “And shared blood ties have the right since she is a princess of Hyrule.”
“Adopted princess, not true blood.”
“While that may be, she is offering us money for her efforts and our protection.”
Another Nara bowed gently to the Matriarch and Bennu. “How do we know for sure she is a princess? These tomb raiders are sly and dishonorable people. It doesn’t matter how much money she throws us if she is seeking an even greater prize.”
A fourth, a noble visiting, nodded. “Matriarch Fayruz, I have seen this Doctor Dragmire. Her red eyes and pale skin betray what she is. A Mortuus. I have owned a handful over the years.”
“There are portraits in historical books of every royal born or adopted. Check the archives if you wish.” Fayruz dismissed their worries. “Besides, if she does try to get away, the sand rays already have her in sight. They can simply eat her and we can take what she tries to steal. Do not fret, I always am one step ahead.” She then arched an eyebrow. “Do you not believe in my capabilities? Perhaps you’d like to continue the discussion with Bennu? Or my beautiful Naunet instead?”
This first Nara bowed, quickly shaking his head. “No my Matriarch.”
lord shook his head, sighing. “Sand Rays would be such a waste~”
Crossover Story with @ridersoftheapocalypse
After Over a Year in Development, The History of Light and Dark; and The Reincarnation of Power is within your grasp! Come Get yours here! Preorders open until April 30th.
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Here we are at last! A Zine coming to a world near you!
Recent commission from @mrneighbourlove! Sika and Klinge’s goodbye from his Growing Up Gerudo crossover fic, “A Blade Lost in Gerudo Sands.”
Absolutely beautiful piece. Behind the scenes detail, I heavily used this song as I wrote to convey the tone of Klinge’s goodbye with all the Gerudo Gang. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftNnSM_VnTM&ab_channel=LudwigG%C3%B6ransson-Topic
Incredibly powerful moment for the character. “I can’t cry like you do Sika. Not physically. But it’s thanks to you, I know what sadness is like again. You’re going to get through this…”
Zannah had apologized once more to the King. While she did not entirely feel it, she understood where his feelings came from, and was able to convey to him that she was genuine. Waiting at the meeting table, she was not sure if Fayruz was going to let go of her and her people today.
Fayruz had Bennu, Naunet, and Uzi at her side, bidding King Fabrizio and his daughter goodbye from the palace early in the morning. It was then her most trusted servant spent the next few hours counting and taking names as fast as he could. There were over four hundred Hasai lined up outside the palace. The Matriarch had locked arms with Zannah, escorting the empress to the palace entrance. “Uzi, please give the empress the documentation.” “Yes, my matriarch.” Uzi explained to Zannah. “I have documented name, breed of Hasai, and occupation for you, empress. There are 458 Hasai here total. This were all the Hasai we could find in Al-Daida. The rest, I hope you find in Labrynna or scattered along the continent.” “As promised, dear…” Fayruz gestured to the many Hasai waiting, confused as to what was going on now. “Your people. While there are a few areas you need to work on, you had mastered what I deem suitable.”
Zannah looked into Fayruz’s eyes. There was a part of her that wanted to do a hug. Instead, she extended a hand. “Thank you, Matriarch. I won’t forget your training. You have my gratitude.”
“Remember dear,” Fayruz reminded Zannah. “A ruler is nothing without her people. Use their sense of adoration and fear wisely.” She took Zannah’s hand and gently shook it. “Until next time, empress. Do take a self care day here and there, yes?”
Zannah stood tall for her people. As she towered above them, they all stepped to attention. “Hasai of the Romtan and Skurge tribes. I am Zannah. I am your Emperor. I am your Empress. I am your liberation! On this day, the sun rises on the Kikai Empire once again! We stand united and together. We will work together to rebuild. We will form new bonds and traditions. We will do more than survive. We shall thrive!!! Now, we shall travel together as one to glory and salvation!!!!!”
All the Kikai raised a fist to the air. “All hail Zannah! All hail the Kikai Empire!!!” With one last smile to the Matriarch, Zannah joined her people for a long walk home.
Her sickness was worsening. She had already killed a member of the council who dared called her weak. After all the sacrifices she made and demands she followed, that was going too far. No man could understand the pains of pregnancy. Especially when one didn’t ask for such a burden. Collapsed on a bed in her brand-new palace, none of the Hasai dared approach her out of fear of being burnt. Zannah didn’t even ask them to stay away. They simply assumed that they could fall to her anger next. The only person who got close to Zannah was T0-D, but he was too cold to properly give her emotional support. Not to mention any physical touches were too cold. The Android was unsure how to comfort his Empress, when he suddenly came up with a brilliant surprise for her. “Announcement: Emperor Zannah. I have a special guest here for you.”
“No! I’m not indulging in any diplomacy right now. Send them away T0-D.”
“EMPRESS!!!” One of her servants was pounding on the door like a madman, spooked beyond all means. “I’m so, so sorry to disturb you but… but… there’s… the woman brought a crocodile with her!!! What fresh madness is this?! It’s already snapped at three guards who tried to stop it! And the ‘matriarch’ as I think she called herself, has insisted upon seeing you even though we’ve told her you didn’t want any guests.”
“Laughter: Oh it is a good sight. I’ll let her in.”
Zannah was still curled up into a ball when her Android allowed Fayruz and her crocodile to enter. “F-Fayruz?”
“Explanation: I wanted you to be comforted by your closest ally. I will make sure you have complete privacy.”
Naunet was in a foul mood after a few of the Hasai dared to poke at her with those pointy spear tips. She had already growled and even snapped at a few. This was not home and the crocodile was already irritated. Yet, the reptile followed her mistress, as loyal as ever, rumbling lowly as Tod opened the doors. “What did I tell you about emotions, dear?” Fayruz lowered her hood. “You cannot allow them to know what you’re thinking. Pregnancy is no exception.” She then hung up her cloak. “Though, your ro-bot here told me you’re having a difficult time. So, I thought I’d come to offer some advice. After all, carrying a child is not easy.”
When the doors shut, and it was just the two of them with Naunet, Zannah let down her guard and started to cry. “They told me I had to continue the blood line. I didn’t want to mate with anyone so doctors stuck needles into my womb to force a birth cycle. I don’t even want kids. I have no lover to raise them with. I don’t know what to do.”
“You do not require a lover to raise them alongside you, dear, you are strong enough to be the only parent in their lives.” Fayruz sat on the bed next to Zannah, gently wrapping an elaborate, red blanket spun from wool around the empress’ shoulders. “As rulers, it is our duty to ensure the bloodline. While you may not have wanted children, this is unavoidable for your position. However, you can be sure to love your babies, ensure they have a good childhood, and let them know that you’ll be there for them.”
“I want to burn my war council to the ground. I want burn everything.”
“Do you want to burn me?” Fayruz asked. “Naunet?”
“…no. Burn… and mate.” Zannah held herself tight like a ball, hoping to not open up a monster in herself. “Pregnancy burns me. I feel a hunger for carnal pleasures. I am denied a mate, denied pleasure. And yet I carry twins. It’s all so wrong.”
“Wrong, yes. I have very little words to comfort you.” Fayruz then admitted. “But I will tell you I felt as you feel now. I had no mother and was afraid I’d be a terrible one. Have I made mistakes? Yes. But all parents do, Zannah. You will do fine. For now, you need to focus on getting better for the sake of your twins. The state of mind of the mother can impact the babies.” She cooed for her crocodile. “Come, Naunet, bring Zannah what you caught for her.”
“Nnnngrrrrrn!” The crocodile approached the bedside, her huge head nudging Zannah quite insistently with her snout. On her back, there was dried meat, covered in salt, along with some juicy fruits from Al-Daida. Of course, there were a few other important things a new mother might need, such as a sling to hold the baby, bottles, baby food, diapers, and some clothing articles.
“This is the liver of a wild Daidan chicken. They’re quite large, you know, about 3 feet tall and fast as sand snakes.” Fayruz explained. “Mothers need a diet high in iron content. It’s good for you and the baby. Fruits will help you, keep you from getting constipated. And of course, every new mom needs some baby items.”
Zannah grasped the chicken, chomping into it like an animal. “This would go well with some wine. The one cannot have. Would you like some?”
Fayruz opened her mouth to say the meat had not been cooked, only salted and preserved for the journey. Though, if it was tasty, and Zannah was content, she supposed it was better not to say anything. Clearing her throat, the matriarch offered Zannah some fresh dates. “No wine for me. Here, eat.” Fayruz rubbed Naunet’s huge head as the crocodile purred. “After you finish eating, then you need to rest. Stress, depression, and anxiety is not good for the twins.”
“Good. Would Naunet like to meet Fel’lath?”
“Oh? You have a crocodile too now?” Fayruz thought for a moment. “She’s a little testy since it’s her breeding season right now. I’m not sure if they’d be fast friends.”
“Well, Fel’lath has been looking to make a nest.” Taking Fayruz’s hand, she lead her outside. All the Hasai guards gave them a wide birth as the crocodile waddled behind. Arriving at an open area, Zannah shouted out. “Fel’lath! I call you forth!”
On cue, the fluffy and snake like dragon descended from the sky, landing on the open pad. “Hello Zannah. Good to see you out and lively.”
“Oh, you have a dragon.” Fayruz did not sound too surprised, nor too worried. Dragons who were friends with humans were usually benevolent. She did chuckle as the guards quickly stepped backward from her dear crocodile. “It is nice to make your acquaintance, Fel'lath. This is my darling, Naunet.”
Naunet stood still, looking at Fel'lath.
Fel’lath looked down at Naunet, his whiskers brushing the side of the crocodile. After a smell, Fel’lath purred at the reptile. “Drake.”
“Yes Fel’lath. She’s part Drake.” The Dragon sat down, purring at the crocodile. “Fayruz and I are going to go. Will you two be fine on your own?”
“HISSSSSSS!!!” Naunet showed her fangs to the overly forward dragon, warning him to stay away. She was still testy and had no desire for a male to try to mount her yet. The crocodile already charged forward, nipping at Fel'lath’s feet. She was in charge, he had to earn her favor.
“Oh goodness.” Fayruz then apologized to Fel'lath. “She’s a bit… feisty. I do apologize for her behavior.” She cooed at Naunet once more, patting her hauches. “Now, now, my darling, please try to make friends.”
“NRRRRRNNNN.” The crocodile rumbled in reply to her mistress’ words. She wouldn’t… eat him. No, he was too big to eat. Though, if he looked at her that way again without permission, she’d snap at him.
The big dragon started to pet Naunet gently on the back when she bit him. “Its ok. No need to tickle me.”
“Fel’lath. I know you have strong scales. Just don’t let her bite your nose.” The Dragon kept purring at Naunet, being very, very gentle and soothing with her. “Good boy.”
Zannah walked with Fayruz, holding onto her for support. “They’ll be fine.”
“RRRRRRRRRR.” Naunet still growled at him, but was tolerating the scratches. It felt nice yet she was not certain about this other male just yet. It was best to wait and see if he was worthy of her attentions.
“Let’s… ah… not walk too far.” Fayruz never went anywhere without Naunet. Ever. She was uncomfortable being without her dear companion. Still, she passed it off as being uncertain. “Is there somewhere nearby where we could chat? I’m still not too familiar with these surroundings.”
“Can I take you to the waterfalls? It’s very beautiful there.”
“Very well.” Fayruz looked back at Naunet still showing her teeth to Fel'lath. She was definitely one to be stubborn. Sighing, the matriarch then asked Zannah, “Have you thought of names?”
“Athena and Griffith. That I at least know for when the time comes.” Zannah took a few breaths, needing time to climb down steps. “This way. The water is very comforting.”
“In through your nose, out through your mouth.” Fayruz reminded her, recalling her own experience of when she had to waddle around with Jawahir. “Then, if this is the most comforting place, consider coming here often to relax.”
Arriving at the water, Zannah placed her feet in. It was felt incredibly comforting. “Fayruz?”
Fayruz pulled aside her long dress and followed Zannah’s placement of feet in the water. “Yes, dear?”
“How long are you going to stay?”
“I promised my Jawahir that I would be home within two weeks.” Fayruz told Zannah with a slight chuckle. “She doesn’t like her mother to be away for too long.”
“Oh…” Zannah frowned, looking down at the water. “I don’t get a lot of friends over…”
“I would stay longer, but even you know as well as I do that ruler rarely get a vacation.” Fayruz mused. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t call a diplomatic meeting just for kick’s now, yes?”
“But I’m bloated right now.” Zannah snickered at the thought.
“You’ll feel that way for a while yet, dear.” Fayruz laughed. “I promise it will be worth it in the end.”
“I hope so.” Zannah took a deep breath. After a long moment of silence, she asked a light question. “How about a game? Fuck, Marry, Kill out of Princess Rinku, Princess Leere, and King Ganondorf, who’d you do?”
“Fuck Leere, she’s divine in bed through the rumors I’ve heard.” Fayruz thought for a moment. “Marry Ganondorf. I have to appreciate the man’s ever strong drive to rebuild his kingdom and his knowledge throughout the years is useful. I’d kill Rinku; she’s always itching to start a fight and swung a blade once at Naunet. It took all I could do to keep from throttling the girl.”
“Fuck Rinku. She is a fire that still plagues my dreams. I hope to get over that little weakness by finding a mate in due time. Marry Ganondorf as well. I respect his resolve and power. And kill Leere. She murdered my Manticore. The fucking bitch.” Zannah put a hand to her mouth. “Apologies for the crass language there.”
“No apology needed, you always come across a 'fucking bitch’ in your life at some point in time.” Fayruz noted. “Even I have those who I do not care for in my court. The only difference is, in my kingdom, they can only spite me but never do anything directly against me.”
“Should I execute anyone over 60 and start anew?”
“You could if you wished.” Fayruz reasoned with Zannah. “Or simply use them until they become useless to you. Every person on my court has a reason to be there; a purpose. All have a job to do.”
“As forward and demanding as my council is, they do serve the functions of my Empire.”
“If no one has a function, then get rid of them.” Zannah suggested to Fayruz. “Or simply insist that the person retire.”
A figure that was not Hasai approached the two women. They had a monkey tail and sharp pointy ears. “Empress. Your dinner will be ready soon.”
“Thank you. Dismissed.”
“From one mother to a new mother, though, Zannah, you must find a way to balance your life with your children.” Fayruz gave Zannah the best advice she could. “Your twins will become a light in your life. I may ot be able to stay the entire time here, but I try to return for when the birth is near. For now, I believe—?!?!” The matriarch heard a most ferocious roar from outside and a shriek. She took a moment to inhale deeply and then stated, “I believe… my Naunet is not happy.”
“Oh no! Fel’lath!”
Zannah ran up the stairs she could. She saw her dragon standing over Naunet, holding her head down with one paw, and the other holding his now bleeding nose. “She bit me. I tried to establish a communication and she bit me.”
Fayruz made sure to follow Zannah, which was not hard, seeing the woman had to waddle a bit to even move.
“RRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!” Naunet was not happy. How dare he lay his whiskers on her?! She did not give permission! Peasant dragon! She was royalty! From a line of ferocious desert drakes and malicious Daidan crocodiles of the river! The insults from her mouth flew, matching the raging of her hormones. Growling, the crocodile tried the 'death roll’ to get out of Fel'lath’s grip, snapping rapidly at his claws.
“… oh goodness…” Fayruz rubbed her forehead. “Naunet, sweetheart, don’t you think—”
“… she is really pissed at you. What happened?” Fayruz put her hands on her hips like a mother ready to scold both the dragon and her companion. “Who started it?”
The dragon placed both paws on Naunet to keep her in place. “Behave.” Turning to the ladies, the Dragon huffed smoke out of his mouth. “She did.”
Naunet was having none of the pressure on her body and whacked Fel'lath’s already bleeding snout with her tail. Hard. Once she was released, the crocodile snarled at the dragon before stomping over to her mistress. “… and Naunet is saying he did.” Fayruz understood her crocodile’s body language. Noticing a little puffiness near her hind legs, the matriarch arched an eyebrow. “Not to sound overly forward, dear dragon, but did you try to mount her at any chance? She’s eaten every male that’s tried thus far. Might be why she bit you. I understand that the pheromones might be too tantalizing to resist, but she’s very testy right now since she’s in heat.”
The dragon let out a roar and flow of rainbow coloured fire. Once done, he lasered in on the crocodile. “No. I brushed my main against her. And you need to cool off Princess!” Without sinking his teeth in, he grabbed her by the tail with his mouth. With one toss the croc was thrown through the air into the waterfalls pool. It was scary, but ultimately harmless. “Ha!”
Zannah gripped the sides of her head in shock. “Fel’lath! What was that for?!”
“That was for the pain and calling me a peasant. Let’s see her sing a different tune.”
“NAUNET!!!” Fayruz actually broke the facade of a stoic expression and looked slightly panicked. Picking up her dress to her hips, the matriarch ran to the pool, hopping into the waist deep water. She hurried over to her dazed crocodile, putting her hands on Naunet’s head, and tried to rouse her crocodile. “Naunet! Naunet! Naunet, wake up!” She patted the crocodile’s huge head something fierce, insistent on waking her companion.
The Dragon shot a pink beam at the croc, healing any potential wounds and waking her up. He could now communicate with her with growls. “Stop being a drama Queen.”
“Rggrrrggg.” Naunet released a dazed grumble, causing Fayruz to release a breath of relief. The matriarch was truly worried for her companion. While Naunet was huge and fearsome, she was still a mortal creature. Then Fayruz turned her attention to Fel'lath, a dark glare on her face.
“Not you. Naunet.”
Zannah was losing her breath running up and down the stairs. “Please… stop…”
Fayruz made sure Naunet knew she would be right back and gently kissed the reptile’s snout. Then she tromped up the stairs, motioning for Zannah to sit down if she was winded. She would handle this herself. Growling herself, the Nara was enraged at the treatment of her crocodile. “I warned you that she was not in a good mood and you still pushed it, you overgrown lizard. If a lady says no, she means no.” Fayruz hissed at Fel'lath, showing her true nature with those slit-eyes and razor-sharp teeth. Naras were notorious for having short tempers. The matriarch had to learn patience and grace in all her years. Yet, right now, she was in the mood for the lecture of a lifetime. “You may be right in the matter that she needs to calm down. You may even be right that she’s a drama queen. But you never, ever lay tooth or claw on her again, or the goddesses so help me, I’ll beat your scale covered hide to the depths of hell itself.” Her tail flicked wildly; teeth bared. “She’s my child and you won’t touch her. Now go away before I bite you myself.”
Then, she huffed loudly, still irritated. “Zannah, I apologize for my harsh words to your dragon. Do you require assistance getting up the stairs?”
Fel’lath took a moment to think of a response. With three strawberry rings of smoke puffed over the Matriarch, the Dragon stood up. “Relax yourself. Just as Naunet is doing. It is foolish to fight a luck dragon. For you’ll have no fight to begin with.” The Dragon smiled a toothy grin and took off into the air.
“I’ll have a lot of luck turning you into a purse, you arrogant bag of teeth.” Fayruz cursed in Al-Daidan as the dragon flew off, still growling. “Get back here and I’ll show you what I can do!” She was steaming, wanting to teach the dragon a lesson. “May your dick shrivel up and fall off.” After she knew he was not coming back, she kicked a nearby flower pot, it shattering into hundreds of pieces. “… I will pay you for that.” Clearing her throat, she took a deep breath and then went halfway down the stairs to join Zannah, stoic face back in place. “Forgive my outburst.”
Zannah paused a moment, before giggling to herself. “I’m going to remember this till the day we die~”
Fayruz watched as Naunet crawled out of the pool and then began to piss in Fel'lath’s drinking fountain. The matriarch tried to keep a straight face, but failed, laughing. “Naunet is just as petty as I can be.” She snorted. “In her defense, I did warn him she was in a foul mood.”
“Please, laugh some more.” Zannah’s giggles grew some more.
“Why don’t we take a bet that she’s going to shit in his food tray?” Fayruz snickered.
“He’ll know, but I appreciate the gesture.” Zannah laughed aloud. She started to laugh so hard tears rolled down her face. “This is so stupid. Why is this so funny?”
“Because a male pissed off a female and now he’s going to pay for it.” Fayruz giggled, putting a hand over her mouth. “And will continue to pay for it.”
“Please don’t hold a grudge against my deity dragon.” Finally calming down, Zannah recomposed her emotions. “Thank you for making me laugh. It was nice.”
“A grudge? No. Punching his snout the next time I see him? Yes.” Fayruz then held out an arm for Zannah. “Come. I don’t want to make you miss lunch.”
With a strong grip, Zannah took it, rising up.
Wrote with @ridersoftheapocalypse
Just as Zannah promised Fayruz, it was three days away from the anniversary of her stay. The Empress was getting to know each and every one of the Hasai slaves as she could, readying a place for them in the Empire. She had become quite bilingual, and her royal studies were complete in her eyes. Now, she had one final test, according to the Matriarch. Apparently delegates from a ‘surprise’ kingdom would visit.
Knowing Fayruz, this would be either Hyrule or Danjur. But which? Knowing the meeting wasn’t set until tomorrow, and the royals shouldn’t have to engage with her, Zannah was using her spare time to fix T0-D, writing up blueprints for his design as she went along. In a work shop, the Empress was covered in sweat and grease, her hair tied up into a bun with goggles on her face. “How did Bellum connect the power to his core?”
Each time Zannah would have her back turned for a moment, staring at blueprints, a tiny hand would snatch a tool, fix a wire, or even tighten a bolt.
Zannah reached for a wrench when she noticed it was gone. “Huh?”
Looking around, she searched up and down. Looking back at the table, she noticed someone tinkering her android. “Hey!”
The little 'grease monkey’ was actually hiding underneath the table. She had taken a copy of the blueprints and was studying it diligently. However, when Zannah bent down to look at her, the young little girl with golden hair only had one thing to say. “… you’re doing it wrong.”
Zannah reached down to snatch the blueprints. She looked out of place here in this land. “Those aren’t for you to look at. And I didn’t ask an audience to help.”
“But you’re doing it wrong!” The little girl insisted as she climbed up on the table with Tod’s parts. “This wire goes here,” She used her grease covered hands to do the work quickly. “This needs a larger screw to allow for better rotation of the arms,” Removing the screw with a screwdriver and tossing it over her shoulder, she placed the correct one in the slot. “And your power core isn’t working because you need to re-route it and override the original source. It’s been dismantled here, here, and here.” She pointed with a finger. “Not to mention, a new battery would do wonders. This is crap, it’s got dried battery acid on it.”
“I don’t need some kid telling me what I already know. A battery for a mechanical marvel of this scale needs a proper core and the magic to keep it lasting infinitely.”
“Bleh!” The tiny girl stuck her tongue out at Zannah. “You don’t need magic, just another source of power. Magic is just another source of power, why use it when someone could manipulate it against you? Just use…” She started digging through the old parts and pulled out a second core which needed some work. “This! Just charge it for a while until the power feeds on itself by utilizing the particle waves, and you have a new battery.”
“What are you, ten?” She raised a brow at the core and her reasoning. “You want charge, look at this.” Raising her hands, Zannah placed her hands on the core, channeling lightning to power it up. The energy looped around, igniting and feeding itself. “My magic IS power.”
“I’m seven, what are you, a hundred?” The girl asked with an equal amount of sass. “Only old people rely on magic which will eventually die out. Machines are the future and deserve endless energy of particle waves.”
“I’m twenty. Twenty-One soon.” This was just a kid after all. “Magic is never going to die out. It’s a valuable source of energy that binds all living beings.” Taking the core, Zannah placed it in the head case. “You don’t look like you belong here kiddo.”
“That’s not what Daddy says, he says we’re living in the past and have to look forward into the future.” The girl crossed her arms defiantly. “I do too belong here, I know how to fix Mister Toddy-Gears!”
“Its just Tod.” Zannah sighed, shaking her head. “I have all the components here, but I don’t know how to connect the wiring properly. Why should I let a stranger touch him?”
“Because I’m smarter than you.” The kid replied with such certainty in her voice. “I don’t try to use non-insulated wires in an insulated robot.”
“You’re also rude.” Zannah grabbed a box of wires, placing it on the table. “Do you think you can do this correctly?”
“You were rude first.” The girl argued back with a huff. “And I know I can.”
When the girl took a wire, Zannah gripped her hand. “If you wipe his memory out, or leave him as nothing but scrap, I will kill you. I don’t care who you are or who your daddy is.” Letting go, Zannah got to work on connecting the joints. “No pressure little one.”
“You don’t scare me, old lady, you have nothing but fancy words.” The girl scoffed at the threat as she started working on the wires with the skill of a true engineer. She even grabbed the small welding torch and fixed a few dents on the core, and then locked in the mechanism to the body. Giving the older woman a hard stare, she then attached the battery she insisted on using. After that, the young kid attached all the limbs and the head, she then sat still for a moment, overlooking the work. Patting the robot’s head, she then stretched. “Okay. Give him a few minutes and Toddy-Gears will wake up.” Yawning, she then said, “I’m going to bed. Nighty, rude lady.” And with that, the kid started to walk off in the palace.
Zannah watched the kid waltz out, giving her a shake of the head. True to her word, the Android came to life. “Self Destruct in Five! Four!”
“Tod! Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!”
The Android stopped blinking, shocked to see Zannah. “Query: Princess Zannah?”
“I did not know you would still be alive. I estimated a 343% chance of the royal bloodline dying off.”
“Same. I thought for sure you were scrap.”
“Query: Grand Admiral Bellum. Emperor Nihilus. What has become of them?”
Zannah shook her head in dismay. “Both dead.”
“Ah. So we lost the war.”
A moment of silence fell between the two of them. “I can fill you in on it later. How are your functions?”
T0-D got off the table, feeling himself down and moving his limbs. “Analysis: Fine. I suppose you are Empress now?”
The android gave her a bow. “Proclamation: Then I am in your service, Empress Zannah.”
Zannah let out a sigh of relief. To have T0-D back on her side would smooth the road ahead. “Thank you Tod.”
This was it. The big day. Zannah tightened her clothes together, and took a deep breath. It was time to pass Fayruz’s final test. “Servants, please have the rest of my clothing ironed by the time I return. Tod, remain silent as you accompany me.” With a power walk, Zannah strolled to the chambers to have her sit down.
“Ah, I see you have your ro-bot working again.” Fayruz looked at the android with much curiosity as she laid sprawled out on her fainting couch with Naunet at her feet. “I imagine you were up all night doing such a job. I do hope your mind is still bright enough to handle today’s meeting.” She informed Zannah, “Today, you are meeting King Fabrizio, Queen Leonora, and their daughter of Danjur. You will want to secure ships to transport your people and he has the best available of any country.”
“Danjur. They were only caught in the tail end of the war, but I will heal any wounds between us regardless.” Zannah gave Fayruz a respectful bow. “I won’t disappoint you.”
There was a crash heard from the hallway and the ruler of Danjur came stumbling out, sheepish as ever, having ran into a servant. He was certainly a lanky fellow, wearing glasses which made his eyes have a bugged appearance, and his wild hair was something to be said, especially since he was wearing since an elegant crown and high quality of clothing.
“Oh goodness, my apologies, madame, I wasn’t watching where I was going. There is such fascinating history in these walls and I couldn’t help but read the inscriptions along—”
“Daaaddy, you promised! No more history lectures, it’s boring.”
“Now, now, Annie, it’s not a lecture on history, it’s a lecture on mythology! Did you know—”
“Daddy, you’re going to be late.”
“Oh, right you are, my darling, come, come, we must say hello to—GOOD GODS!” King Fabrizio halted in his tracks when he saw Naunet. “Annie, look! That is a Daidan crocodile! A most rare breed for that type of scale pattern, did you know that approximately 1 in 100,000 of those crocodiles hold the diagonal scale pattern like that one?”
“Daddy, the Matriarch is staring at you.”
“Ah! Matriarch Fayruz, what a delight to see you again!” King Fabrizio approached with a giant smile on his face. “I do apologize for ah, running into your servant back there, I was reading your amazing history!”
“Daddy, the gift.” The tiny girl was the one from last night, pulling on her father’s sleeve. “Don’t forget the gift.”
“Right, right, Matriarch, I have here some blueprints of a boat that will suit your narrow and shallow rivers!” King Fabrizio held out a long parchment of paper with an etching of a longboat for the leader of the Nara. “Designed to suit your tastes, of course.”
Not only was the king a bit of a klutz, he was most certainly a chatterbox. “King Fabrizio,” Fayruz finally spoke. “It is good to see you as well, but I was expecting Queen Leonora.” She then asked, “I hope she’s well?”
“A bit under the weather, I’m afraid, but she’ll be well soon!”
Zannah’s eyes locked with the kid, and she raised an eyebrow in alarm. “Hmmm. Interesting.” Quickly, she hid her surprise. It was the King she would need to train her focus on. “King Fabrizio. Good afternoon.”
The little princess had a scowl on her face when she saw Zannah. “It is lovely to meet you Empress Zannah, though, I must say I am surprised.” King Fabrizio admitted. “There were rumors circulating that you were dead.”
“Like a Dragon, I’m not so easy to kill. And like a Phoenix, I rise again.”
“Heh, I see now that is true.” King Fabrizio then gave the blueprints to his child. “This is Princess Annuciata. I brought her with me to see this beautiful kingdom. Now, sweetheart, why don’t you give these to the matriarch?”
“I don’t want to become crocodile chum, thank you.” Annuciata hid behind her father’s leg, eyeing the huge reptile. “I’m fine right where I’m at.”
“Annie, don’t be rude.”
“I’m not being rude, I don’t want to be a snack! Or a toothpick, for that matter.”
That actually earned a laugh from Fayruz, snorting from behind her fan. “Smart little one, you have there.” The matriarch remarked in good humor. “I like her straightforward nature, King Fabrizio.”
“Ah, thank you, Matriarch Fayruz, our little Annie is quite the handful sometimes.” He gently placed his hands on his daughter’s shoulders. “She is brilliant though, she helped me on these blueprints for you. She really has a knack for fixing or making new things. Wants to be an engineer.”
“Interesting choice for a little lady so young.” Fayruz leaned up from her couch, walking to Annuciata. “Princess, my Naunet only eats people when they’ve been bad. You haven’t been bad, have you?”
“No.” Annuciata answered really quickly. “My brothers have though.”
“Annie!” King Fabrizio chided, but Fayruz laughed once more. “Brothers are like that sometimes, princess.” She held out her hand. “May I have the blueprints, please?”
“Here you go.” Annuciata handed the blueprints to the matriarch. “I hope you like these. I added room for tiny pool on the boat because I thought you had a baby crocodile, not a…” She looked at Naunet. “Giant.”
“Maybe we could re-purpose the pool for a lounging area for Naunet?”
“That could work.”
“Good.” She patted Annuciata on the head. “Now, to the issue which I’ve asked you here, King Fabrizio,” Fayruz then stated, “I know you are on shaky ties with the Hasai, however, Empress Zannah wishes to concrete a better union. Will you hear her piece?”
“Of course.” King Fabrizio nodded.
“King Fabrizio. I will say this in your tongue so there is no mistaking my words.” Zannah took a breath before speaking fluent Danjurian. “King Fabrizio. I know that you are a close ally to Hyrule. I understand that you were once close allies with the now destroyed and dead kingdom of Libertas. I know that it can take a long time for both lands and relationships to be rebuilt from fire. I want you to know that I am not my father, or my brother. I will not lead the Hasai down a path of genocide or war. I know Hyrule has most likely advised you to not hold dealings with me, but I urge you to reconsider. Under my rule, I wish for fairness and to share power with friends. I would like the kingdom of Danjur to be a friend of the Empire.” Getting up from the table, Zannah got on her hands and knees, bowing directly to the King. “Forgive me for any hardships my people gave you from the war.”
King Fabrizio was surprised that the Empress had learned Danjuran for this conversation. He was even more taken aback that the empress was apologizing for the war’s impact on his country. While King Fabrizio was never one to actually see the front lines, he had heard horrors of the battlefield. He only wished for peace and a prosperous era for the rest of his reign and that of his heir.
“Empress Zannah,” King Fabrizio’s tongue in the Hasai language was not perfect, but he tried. “Hyrule is a good friend and has many words of wisdom. Yet, Hyrule does not dictate what Danjur does. Please stand.”
Zannah stood up, keeping eye contact with the king. “And what is it that Danjur wants?”
“Danjur wants peace, empress.” King Fabrizio told her. “We are tired of seeing other countries fight and our people suffering because of it. While Hyrule does not dictate what my kingdom does, I cannot help but heed some of their cautionary tales.” He then asked her. “What assurances can you give me that my kingdom and yours can coexist while you still harbor hatred for Hyrule? You know I cannot take your side if you wish to fight them, and I will not take their side either. Danjur has always been a neutral country.”
“A question to answer a question. Labyrnna claims to have a rivalry with you. Is this true?”
“An age-old rivalry.” King Fabrizio sighed in annoyance, thinking of how King Free always bragged about superior intellect. “The kingdom says their technology is better. Though, we cannot rely on magic forever in this day and age. It could be corrupted or even fail or be broken. Engines, particle waves, combustion, that always works.”
“I want a straight forward answer. Do you believe yourself better then them? Is your advancements lesser then Labrynna’s?”
“Of course not.” King Fabrizio stated firmly, but not with an air of arrogant but sincerity. “We use our advancements to help our people, not to make it for the sole purpose of money. While our factories build ships and generate income for the kingdom, it also provides jobs. The doctors are able to give those who lost limbs in the war a new arm or leg for free under our health care. We have clean energy and do not have to harm the environment around us. Labrynna cannot say the same.”
“Hyrule, regardless of what propaganda King Ganondorf might share, is not my enemy. The Hasai hold a respect for Hyrule. I have no desire to wage war with anyone.” Zannah placed a fist on the table. “King Free, however, lied to me. He held Hasai slaves against my knowledge. Even the Matriarch was forward with me. I will honour my agreement in giving them the blueprints they desire, but King Free will not be my first priority as an ally. If you want to help people, help my Empire. In turn, you will have a powerful ally at your back. Open trade, 1st pickings. A friend.”
“Danjur is always happy to have more allies, empress. I do apologize for King Free’s uh… secrecy.” King Fabrizio did not want to directly insult the man, but then added as an afterthought with a slightly sneaky smile. “You know… prototypes are known to fail if all the correct parts are simply not there to properly function. Right, Annie?”
“Yep.” Annuciata nodded. “We’ve already had 37 Land Riders blow up. What’s one more to get wrong? We’ll get it right eventually.”
“Empress, why don’t we make a deal for your kingdom’s benefit, Matriarch Fayruz’s, and my own?” King Fabrizio presented her with an option. “Let me design the blueprints for you. Give me your word in writing that the Kikai Empire will respect Danjur’s decision to remain neutral. Trading will commence once your island is back on its feet. In return, I will supply you with enough metal and factory goods to rebuild a good home for your people.” He held out his hand. “What do you say?”
“I say this.” Zannah took a slow breath before beginning her reply. “I will make the designs. I will honour my end of the agreement to King Free. Those blueprints are my hard work and I will not give him faulty craftsmanship on purpose. Even if he does not have honour, I do. I will sign as many documents as you desire, and I look forward to our partnership. But I have an additional request from you King Fabrizio.”
“Boo.” Annie did like the idea of messing with King Free. He was always mean to her father, despite King Fabrizio trying to be polite. “Screw him, he’s a meanie.”
“Annie.” King Fabrizio chided. “Hush.”
“What is this request, Empress?”
“That you teach your daughter to hold respect for others.” Zannah shot a look at the girl as she stood up like a military commander. “She is gifted, yes. Is she smart for her a girl her age? Absolutely. But she holds a critical weakness. Pride. Even if you excel over someone, it is not your place to demean them. If her behaviour is not corrected, not only will she never make any friends, she will inherit a kingdom that will come to loath her.”
“While you are right that she needs to learn a few more manners, she is still young, and you will not instruct me on how to raise my children. When you become a mother one day, I shall not do the same to you. That is an insult, empress, to say I do not know how to parent.” King Fabrizio was older, wiser, and did give the empress a hard stare. “And if you are going to lecture her on pride, then shall I do the same for you? Your people hold you in high regard, but that does not mean you look down upon others. I’m old enough to be your father. You should know what boundaries that shall not be crossed.” Fayruz winced at Zannah’s words. The empress probably did not know that Queen Leonora was bedbound and gravely ill, having no time for her youngest daughter. Even though the princess was a bit of a brat, it was still an overstep. “I apologize on behalf of the empress, King Fabrizio.” Fayruz interjected before anything else was said.
“Please, forgive this slight. She knows not of your wife’s struggles with illness.”
Zannah looked to Annuciata, an almost alien and neutral look to her. “Ultimately, it Annuciata’s choice on how to behave. We all make choices that we must live with. Often, you find yourself making choices you can never take back… no matter how hard you wish you could change the past.” Closing her eyes, Zannah took a breath, and her more natural features came back. “Apologies King Fabrizio. I did not know the condition of your wife.”
“My queen has not been well since the death of our firstborn son.” King Fabrizio took Annuciata’s hand. “Draw up your papers, empress. My princess and I shall wait until you are ready. We leave in two days.” He then spoke to his daughter, “Come now, dear. Thank the Matriarch for her hospitality. We need to finish the design for Naunet’s pool before we leave.”
“Thank you.” Annuciata courtesies with her puffy dress and then followed her father back to their shared room.
“Thank you for helping me reactivate my Android Princess Annuciata.” Zannah immediately went to work on preparing the papers she needed.
“You need to find Toddy another core, that one won’t last long in it’s condition!” Annuciata told Zannah over her shoulder.
“Annie, we talked about this.” King Fabrizio scolded her lightly. “No yelling, it’s not very lady-like.”
“Sorry, Daddy.” With that, the two entered their room.
“Will do.” With them gone, Zannah set to work like a machine. “Tod. Gather a suit of Theron armour. We shall present it as an apology gift to King Fabrizio. I’m sure he’d like to improve the armour.”
“Affirmative. Your wish is my command.”
“I’m going to stay here and finish my first negotiation papers with Danjur.”
“A sincere apology will do much better than a suit of armor, dear.” Fayruz stood from her lounging chair with Naunet following close behind her. “Queen Leonora has been ill for a while. She did relay that she would like to try to come to the meeting, but I suppose she’s not well enough.” She sighed sadly. “Losing Leonardo must have been harder than she anticipated.”
“I gave my genuine apologies. I did not know. Her health, however, does not change what I said about Annuciata’s behaviour. I want her to succeed Fayruz. Princess or not, everyone needs friends.”
“While that is true, you do not insult another member of royalty, regardless of how badly their attitude is when you need allies. You must think of making friends first before the princess. Her brother is suited to sit on the throne, not her.” Fayruz’s voice had a scolding tone of her own. “And that is why you always tread carefully on matters unknown.”
“Very well. I will not make that mistake again.”
Finish your work, dear.” Fayruz motioned for Naunet to follow her.
“I’m going to take care of my darling and I’ll be back. Should you need
me, send a servant. After all, I want you to succeed as well.”