Xander vol.1 Transmutation
In the mists of the elaborate training arena within the Oisian Kingdom’s walls, you could hear the clear sound of weaponry slicing through the air at rapid speeds. Followed by the sound of thudding as the sharp heads of the soaring spears collided with the walls, floor, and other objects. But never their target – Xander.
The prince laughed as he outran and dodged spear after spear. None of them were aimed at vital organs, but they were still missing their marks. He looked back over his shoulder at the man throwing them.
His friend and trainer, Sven, who was maintaining his focus, despite the mocking expressions coming from Xander. He threw another spear at Xander’s legs, which he leapt over with ease, landing with a roll and returning to his feet in a dash. He smiled back at his good friend, who was grinning back at him with a hint of approval.
“It’s like you’re not even trying!” Xander laughed with a shake of his head.
Sven huffed in response, picking up three more spears as Xander headed towards the far wall of the arena. Seeing that, Xander picked up his pace. The first spear hit just behind his foot, piercing the ground. Xander kept going, pushing his foot into the wall and using his momentum to run up a short length of it, just barely dodging the pierce of the second spear. Pushing just slightly off the wall, he balanced his footing on the spear lodged in the stone wall, ducking low before jumping from the spear and heading straight on the path of the third spear.
Spinning his body to the left, he reached out and grabbed just below the head of the spear. Continuing the pivot of his body, Xander turned the spear around with some fancy hand work and sent it flying back at Sven before landing on his feet. Sven, seeing the approaching spear, abandoned his remaining ammo and dove from the pillar he was perched upon.
He landed on his feet only a few yards away from Xander, who was still smiling. They stared each other down momentarily. Xander raised his arms to gesture to the move he had just pulled off. His brows rose, obviously impressed with himself.
“Eh?” he laughed.
Sven rolled his eyes, crossing his arms as he waited for Xander to finish his gloating.
“Come on, I nearly got you,” Xander insisted. “Did you see that dismount?”
“Big whoop,” Sven huffed.
“Wh –“ Xander nearly choked at the lack of praise. His hands fell to his hips. “Big whoop?” he repeated in disbelief. Sven shrugged, making Xander smirk. “Come on then, old man. Let’s see if you can –“
Xander was interrupted by the sound of approaching growling. Both of their attentions fell to the noise, both of them grinning in response. Sven took a noted step back as Xander allowed his ears to guide him in his opponent’s direction. On his left, approached – on all fours – his guardian.
The overgrown lioness was making her way over to the area of the arena in a low prowl. Her head low between her shoulder blades. Xander chuckled as she trekked forward, eyes sharp in her desire to spar. He made a gesture with his hands, encouraging her to run at him, which she happily complied.
Loni’s padded paws came thudding down against the floor of the arena as she charged at Xander, who was gently bouncing from foot to foot in anticipation. When close enough, Loni dove for Xander, who twisted his body to the right, narrowly avoiding her clawed paw.
He hollered a laugh, smacking her bottom as she landed, and getting a growl in response. Hitting the floor, she was quick to spin around and swing at Xander, who hopped back, curving his body in accordance to the paw.
“Come on!” Xander shouted, egging the feline on.
Loni huffed as she rushed up to him again and swung her left arm at his legs, aiming to trip him. And as Xander jumped, she morphed into a woman, her sandy blonde hair swaying about her fact as she spun her body on the floor with the support of her hands. As Xander’s feet touched back to the floor, Loni’s now stretched leg was swinging towards them with the same goal, this time succeeding.
Xander hit the floor with a thud, but before Loni had the chance to climb on top of him, he kicked her away. Not by much, but just enough to give him the time to get to his feet before she got to hers and charged again. Xander jogged backwards as she ran.
And as she did, she reached to her right and yanked one of the spears that had pierced the ground, broke its head against the tiled floor, and held it firmly in her hands as she closed the distance between them. Xander rushed through an expression of surprise as he turned around and picked up his pace, getting a chuckle from Sven, who was watching from the sidelines.
Xander rushed to the wall where the second spear had struck with Loni hot on his tail. Reaching the spear, he grabbed it and used his momentum to spin himself upwards, succeeding in a handstand on the spear just as Loni struck the wall with her staff.
She stared up at him, scowling as he twisted his body, kicking down at the head of the spear and breaking it off, his foot continuing for an aimed kick at Loni’s shoulder. She backed away in time, grinning as she pointed her staff forward, and waiting for Xander to do the same with his.
Xander snickered as he ran forward, his staff firmly gripped and ready to engage. The wooden staffs collided with a thwack, again and again, each of them taking turns in powering the other into moving back. Their bursts of energy lasted for minutes until they backed away from one another, each panting and trying not to show it.
Xander smirked, wagging his brow teasingly at his guardian. But his smirk faded when Loni smirked in return.
Noticing a bit too late that she had not charged back at him, Xander spun around, ducking as much as he could manage in the short notice, and just narrowly avoiding and strike to the back of the neck from Sven’s staff, that he had fashioned while watching the spar. Xander threw up his staff in order to back flip the rest of the distance away from Sven, catching it on its way back down.
He laughed at the two as they started to close in on him. He spun his staff between his fingers, bringing it around his back before steadying it in front of him. He rolled his shoulders, again, bouncing gently from foot to foot in preparation for the next round.
But then it occurred to him as they came closer, that it was time to change the playing field. He smiled as he threw his staff at Loni who ducked and swung at it, caught off guard. Sven’s attention was drawn to her for just a moment. And in that moment, Xander stomped on the floor, his foot, pointing in Sven’s direction, sending a shockwave along the floor to his body.
Sven’s staff hit the floor as his body spazzed, absorbing the short-lived shock.
Remnants of the shock wave fluttered about the room, making Loni shriek as they frizzed her otherwise silky hair. She quickly morphed back into a lioness, opting out of the spar as she hurriedly licked her paw, before gliding it along the top of her head, trying to flatten her fur.
Sven scoffed as he gave his body a shake, loosening his joints from the shock they just endured. His bright lime green eyes opened with a hint of mischief as he smiled at his friend of similar abilities. Repeatedly, he balled his hands into fists as he rolled his shoulders, steadying his footing as Xander carefully placed his. Xander returned the smile, beckoning him.
“Come on, old man,” Xander mocked.
Sven laughed as he pulled his hands back, touching them to his clothed chest and summoning a voltage of his own. Not wanting to give him the time to charge, Xander took off in his direction, his hands building a wad of electricity in their palms.
But just before he could get close enough to touch said palms to Sven’s skin, Sven pushed his charging hands forward with a grunt, sending several strings of electricity flying in Xander’s direction.
Xander hollered as two of the strands struck him, sending him flying back with flailing limbs until he hit the ground with a thud. Sven didn’t give him the luxury of recovery as he charged for him – literally. His feet picked up increasing amounts of static as he ran, eventually leaving a trail of sparks behind him each time a foot left the floor.
Seeing him coming, Xander pushed his charged hands at the ground, “whoa”-ing as the charge to the floor sent him soaring into the air in time to avoid a voltage-packed kick from Sven.
Jerking his head up, Sven smirked as he did the same thing with his feet, launching him into the air with Xander, and making his flail in a pointless attempt to avoid collision. Sven took hold of Xander’s waving ankle with both hands, sending a shock through him before flinging him back into the floor. Xander landed on his back, his armor cracking the tiled floor from the impact.
He grunted his exhale, his eyes squinting and blinking repeatedly as he groaned. They widened, seeing Sven coming in for his landing, his foot looking like it was ready to stomp down on his midsection. He rolled out of the way in time to avoid the impact, stopping on his hands and knees and looking back in Sven’s direction. Sven stood tall, looking over at his trainee with a smug grin and a cocked brow.
Xander huffed, standing and cracking his neck. He shook his hands, wiggling his fingers and drawing a current between them.
“Okay then,” Xander huffed.
Loni whined as her fur absorbed the static that was flying around the room once again, making it stand and tickle her skin.
And on the other end of the arena, with the doors to the place opening gradually, entered Seraphina. She pushed the doors open with the tips of her hands, calling a breeze to do most of the pushing for her with a single flap of her large, strong, white-feathered wings.
Her pin-straight, nearly-platinum blonde hair swayed back as she stepped into the room, and immediately frizzed around her pale face, making it scrunch up in annoyance. Her hands immediately left the doors to pat down her hair, her wings flapping to shake the static from their feathers. She shrieked a womanly rage, drawing the attention of Sven, Xander, and Loni, who was sharing similar emotions as she worked on her fur.
“Ah! My wings! My hair!” Sera shrieked, shaking her head, her bare toes beating against the floor as she tried to shake herself of the static. “Stop it, stop it!” she demanded.
Craning his head back to look at the angel, Xander rose his brows, his hands automatically abandoning their charge at the sounds of her shrieking. Sven, on the other hand, got a kick out of Sera’s cries, and actually sent a small zap to her wings, making her cry out again.
Catching the game, Xander wasted no time in sending a warning flare in Sven’s direction. Sven laughed, but raised his hands in surrender as the angel ventured further in to the arena.
“Ugh!” Sera groaned. “You brute, Sven.”
She glared in his direction as she made her way over to Xander, who turned to properly greet the royal advisor. He nodded his head to her, as she gave a subtle bow, before composing her posture and continuing to fix her frizzing hair.
“You’re lucky Lilith isn’t here,” she whined at Sven.
Sven raised his hands higher, resisting a laugh.
“Oh please, no. Not the angel-smitten demon. Spare me,” Sven jested.
“Hello, Sera,” Xander greeted. “Sorry about …err, your hair?”
“And wings!” she pressed, having them span out dramatically, showcasing several of the feathers that had been disrupted.
“And wings,” Xander added apologetically. “Is something wrong?”
Sera sighed, letting her wings fold against her back, and her hands to her sides.
“Your father wants to speak with you. Asked me to come get you.”
Xander raised a brow questioningly. He glanced at Sven, who returned his glance, also curious.
“After training?” Sven inquired.
“Now,” Sera cleared. “It’s about Saphora.”
Xander’s other brow shot up.
“Saphora,” he repeated. “What about her? Have they found her dead?”
“Alive,” Sera corrected. “She’s returned.”
“Returned?” both Xander and Sven said in unison. Sera smiled, nodding with obvious joy.
“Yes. Your father wants to speak to you about going to Kiran to see her.”
“When?” Xander followed up.
“That’s what he’s going to talk to you about.”
“Don’t you already know? Or are already able to tell me?”
“That’s not the point,” Sera frowned. “Do not keep the king waiting.”
Xander sighed, looking over at Sven as Loni made her way to his side, now on two legs. They gave each other a knowing grin, as their match was cut short.
“Ah, well. I guess it can’t be helped. Next time, old man,” Xander toyed as he turned to walk with Loni out of the arena.
Sven scoffed, not bothering to answer as he rolled his eyes. Coming back down, they met the still glaring crisp blue ones of Sera. They stared each other down for a moment, before Sven flashed one of his devious smiles.
Pushing open the door to his father’s private armory, he nodded to the guard that had escorted him, signaling to him that he was free to go. The door was pulled shut behind him, and Xander ventured further towards his father, Edmon. The king of the Oisian kingdom.
He was sitting in one of the few stone windowsills in the room, watching one of his swords shine in the light of the sun as he turned it slowly in his hand. Hearing the door close, he sighed, setting the sword back into its sheath and setting it down on the floor, leaning it against the wall.
“Oh,” Xander called with somewhat of a chuckle. “Don’t stop on my account.” Edmon looked up at his son as he straightened his posture to lean back against the windowsill. “You know you look like a maddened blacksmith when you do that,” Xander warned.
Edmon scoffed a chuckle.
“Perhaps I am,” he countered.
“If you are, I’d be grateful not to know,” Xander sighed, making Edmon laugh. “So what’s this about Saphora? She’s not only alive, but on Athena? Did you summon me to reveal the joke?” Edmon subtly shook his head.
“It is not a joke. She is alive and well. And on Athena.”
“Since the day before last.”
“Why didn’t we know sooner?”
“Vida didn’t want to overwhelm the girl – and for good reason.”
“She’d been on another planet this whole time. A planet called Earth. She lost her memory during the landing, and is still recovering it. She wanted to see how she’d handle simply being home, before bringing in another royal family.”
Xander grimaced at the mention of Saphora not remembering who he was – and quite possibly who she was in its entirety.
“She doesn’t remember me,” he stated more than asked.
“I can’t say for certain,” Edmon grumbled. “Nor can I for the rest of us.”
Xander’s head shook slightly at what that meant. He could be made to marry a stranger. Before Saphora’s departure, the kingdoms had agreed on their courtship, thus conjoining the two kingdoms. But hearing that Saphora no longer knew him … it was jarring. He had been wary of their marriage if she were to ever return with her memory. But without?
“Then …” Xander started. Edmon glanced back at his son, his eyes having wandered. Xander frowned. “Father, you can’t possibly still expect –“
“Oh,” Edmon interrupted. “No. Your mother has already made sure of that. That would surely end in disaster.”
Xander let out a sigh of relief, his shoulders slumping. They almost immediately perked up with his follow up conclusion.
“So, I am once again a bachelor!” he exclaimed. Edmon rolled his eyes. “Or rather, I am now, seeing as though I technically never was.”
“Slightly more accurate. Though I wouldn’t get too attached to the idea,” Edmon advised with a smirk. “Your mother is already making alternative plans. She has been for some time.”
Xander’s shoulders slumped again, his eyes nailing themselves to the ceiling. His father laughed, slapping his hand against his shoulder, grasping it and shaking him.
“She’s arranged for you to meet some of her choices. Should be fun.”
“Don’t mock me, father. And why is it that I cannot choose for myself?” Xander demanded.
“You are choosing,” Edmon argued. “From her selections,” he laughed. Xander groaned, frowning as he shrugged off his father’s hand from his shoulder.
“And if I refuse?”
Edmon scoffed, crossing his arms as well as his ankles.
“You’ll have to deal with your mother. And without me.”
Again, Xander groaned, turning away from his father in annoyance.
“Don’t worry. She’s also told me she would consider women you present to her,” Edmon offered. Xander shifted his body to look back at him skeptically. Edmon grinned. “Though I can almost assure it was said to settle any rage you may have towards her.”
“Wonderful,” Xander sighed, running a tensed hand through his maroon hair, which was clinging in strands from his vigorous training. “How generous of her.”
“You can’t necessarily blame her, you know,” came Edmon.
“With the option of Saphora gone, time has become of the essence.”
“Time?” Xander scoffed. “I’ve just barely become of marrying age. Have you forgotten our lifespan, father? Or rather, has mother?”
“It is natural for a mother to wish companionship for her children.”
“I suppose,” mumbled Xander. “But enough of my future. What of Saphora’s?”
“She is still to take the thrown.”
“With no king by her side?” Xander said with brows raised in what almost looked like shock. Edmon gave a subtle shrug of his shoulders.
“I cannot say. Though Vida did not object to breaking the agreement, she did not say anything of her plans for Saphora’s courtship,” Edmon sighed. “Though, given her history, I would think Vida would be inclined to letting Saphora decide for herself.”
“How just of her.”
“Mm, that is not to say that she will approve of whatever choice Saphora makes.”
“And she’d still allow her to make that decision?”
“Do you think the king and queen before her approved of her decision?” Edmon reminded, referring to Dolphus. Xander fell silent in realization, giving only a slight noise of response. “I could only expect her to have some empathy when it comes to something like that.”
Xander gave a slight nod.
“I suppose,” Xander nodded. “And what of the war? Is she still expected to fight in it?”
“Fight in it,” Edmon scoffed with distaste. “They’re still expecting her to carry it. Though they’d never have the gall to admit it.”
“Carry it?” Xander repeated in disbelief. “You can’t be serious. She’s gone her entire life without training. And they’re expecting her to carry the war?”
“I don’t know,” Edmon groaned, waving his hand dismissively. “They consider her an asset. But I know their citizens are still dependent on her unseen abilities.”
“And their military?” Xander went on.
“If they are, they are foolish.”
“I would think they should know better. Will she receive any training at all? Is there even time?”
“I’m told Vida has already had her begin training.”
“Hm,” Xander nodded. “She’s in good hands, then.”
“It wouldn’t matter if the Supremes were training her themselves. We’re too close to the brink of war for it to make a difference.”
Xander scoffed, crossing his arms as he looked back at his father.
“When did you become such a pessimist, Father?” he chuckled. Edmon raised a brow at his son, wondering how he himself was not. “So, when are we visiting?”
Walking through the elongated hallway to the throne room of the Kiran castle, Xander couldn’t help but let his eyes wander around the walls and décor of the structure. Though he’d been back to the castle sparingly, he hadn’t been to the throne room, or in its hallway since the first outbreak of war. And it was clear that this wing, possibly the entire thing had fallen under attack during the siege.
The stone was brighter – newer than that in other places, and it seemed to even be reinforced. It was thicker than most, and had far more security. Which, for the most part, was a standard feat for the throne room, of course. But even to Xander, it seemed a bit excessive.
The guards and sparse citizens bowed their heads respectively to the passing royalty. Aredelle and Edmon, his mother and father walking in front of him. They all gave nods of acknowledgement in return as they were lead to the throne room’s large wooden doors.
Xander let himself admit to being excited to see his childhood friend. And was even more earnest in knowing that he was almost impatient to hear of her time on Earth, which he found himself more and more obsessed with with each passing moment. It almost pained him to stay at the steady pace set by his parents when Saphora was so close. When Earth’s secrets were just behind those doors.
And just as he thought to himself that he would just run past them to the room himself, they arrived. The large doors swung open with an ancient grace, revealing both Vida and Saphora, who had been talking inside. They both turned to see their entrance, and start the ritual of greetings.
“Almost on cue, Aredelle,” Vida giggled, walking to the doors with her arms open.
Saphora turned around to see a woman a bit shorter than Vida coming into the room, followed by two men, one of which she somewhat recognized. The one by the name of Aredelle laughed as they embraced.
“Well, you know I have a knack for timing,” Aredelle complied, raising her own arms for their embrace. The intricate and elegant fabrics of their gowns mingled with one another as they wrapped their arms around each other.
“Indeed you do,” Vida laughed with her. “How are you?”
“Well enough with this handful of mine,” Aredelle giggled, gesturing to her son, the shorter of the two men, and the one Saphora had recognized.
Xander felt himself smiling as he looked at Saphora, taking her all in at once. It was almost in disbelief, seeing her standing just a few feet away from him, and looking so very different than he had remembered. She’d grown taller than he expected, landing just shy of five feet and nine inches. Her hair had gotten longer, and was much more successful at framing her face, which had noticeably become more womanly, as well as her figure.
Having always been a bit childish himself, seeing her as an all-together woman after being separated from the child he knew, it was almost jarring. But for some reason, he still found himself smiling.
She squinted at him while he stared at her. Finally, he gave a grin as he approached her, his hands in the pockets of his trousers. Saphora adjusted her posture as he approached, preparing to engage.
He stopped about a foot in front of her, his heels clicking together as he adjusted his head to look down at her, nearly a six inches taller. There was a slight hesitation between them. Though it was more amusement for Xander.
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me, Saph,” Xander scoffed as he folded his arms.
Saphora squinted at the nickname, it burning through in the back of her handicapped memory. It was like two magnets clicked together as her eyes widened, and half a smile tugged on her lips. Xander nodded arrogantly, a grin smearing his features.
“That’s right,” he said, stretching his words. “Let it all flow back.”
She looked at him with a new set of eyes. Ones that were warmer and more welcoming.
“You grew,” Saphora commented, her eyes darting from his feet to his forehead.
He snorted, unfolding one of his hands to press his index finger into her forehead, trying to offset her balance, and almost succeeding.
“So have you, short stuff.”
Saphora stepped back to regain her balance, running her hand against her hairline self-consciously.
“The plethora of nicknames are coming back to me now.”
Xander chuckled, nodding as he looked around the throne room once more. It seemed smaller than he remembered. But at the same time, held more importance. Coming so close to taking the throne himself, he wasn’t surprised.
“That was one hell of a vacation you took, Saph,” he sighed jokingly, his eyes coming back to hers, which rolled at the humor.
“My ride home was a little late.”
He smiled, the white of his teeth contrasting with the rich mocha of his skin tone. He gave an amused nod as his arms crossed once again, the chatter of their mothers talking behind him.
“Just a little,” he toyed. “So, how was it? That planet.”
Saphora gave a shrug as her brow arched, then furrowed.
“Why is everyone so interested in Earth?” she asked, having been asked the same question, as well as related ones since she had arrived on Athena.
On one hand, she couldn’t blame them, as she had many questions about Athena. But at the same time, knowing of Earth, and its far lesser wonders, she couldn’t help but wonder what it was about it that drew everyone’s interest.
“Uh, only because it’s where the long lost princess ended up and thrived,” he scoffed. “How could anyone not be interested in Earth?”
Saphora paused, not having thought of it that way. She laughed at herself, and her obliviousness to her own importance. Nonetheless, she shook her head.
“Very easily if they tried.”
“A bigger question would be why you don’t want to talk about Earth.”
Saphora grimaced, but then played it off by nudging his folded arm.
“I mean, those weren’t exactly my golden years.”
“You don’t think so? I would give just about anything to explore another world.”
Saphora’s grimace became a little more noticeable upon hearing how easily Xander was willing to cast away his family just to get to a planet he knew nothing about. She scoffed, shaking her head again.
“Be my guest.”
“Saphora,” came the melodic call of Aredelle, Xander’s mother and queen of the Oisian kingdom.
They both turned in her direction as she came towards her, her husband, Edmon, following closely behind.
“You’ve gotten so big!” she exclaimed, her arms fanning out as she came closer.
Xander stepped to the side as her arms came wrapping around Saphora’s back. Saphora returned the gesture of endearment, looking over at Edmon, who gave a small bow of acknowledgement.
“She’s still a squirt,” Xander mumbled to himself with a bit of a huff.
Aredelle pulled away from the embrace to look Saphora in the eyes, smiling with joy.
“We’re so glad to have you back, darling.”
“Would you like a beverage, Edmon? Aredelle? Xander?” Vida offered, playing the role of the host.
Edmon shook his head, as did Xander. But Aredelle’s hands left Saphora’s shoulders to turn around and accept.
“That’d be wonderful. A drink while we catch up,” she suggested, walking back towards Vida, who called in someone to fetch their drinks.
The two queens gathered over by Vida’s private library, shortly calling the king over to leave the heirs to their own catching up. Xander nudged Saphora’s arm to bring her attention back after looking after the royalty.
“So? Are you going to tell me about Earth, or not?” he pressed. She gave an annoyed smile, turning to him.
“What’s there to tell? It’s got its good and bad, just like Athena does.”
“Do they have kingdoms? Kings? Queens?”
“Sort of. They’re called presidents.”
“They rule over a certain amount of land, and their families are pretty much considered royalty.”
“Were you a president?”
“No, they haven’t had any female presidents.”
“What?” Xander scoffed. “How do they expect to gain more?” Xander made a noise of appall. “Don’t tell me the males reproduce.”
Saphora laughed again.
“No. One man is president for four years, sometimes eight. The people of that country vote for a new man each time.”
“A new man? With a new family?” Saphora nodded. “What madness is that? And what happens to them when their term is done?” Saphora paused.
“You know, I’m not entirely sure. They go in the book of presidents, I guess.”
“Madness. There must be chaos everywhere.”
“Pretty much. But it’s an understood chaos.”
“No chaos is understood. I can only imagine what the humans are like.”
“Why don’t you find out for yourself?”
“Right,” Xander scoffed. “Like mother would let me off this planet.”
“No, I meant … I brought two of them back with me. A boy and a girl. You could talk to them.”
“Oh? Are you planning on breeding them?”
Saphora’s mouth fell agape as she grimaced and slapped Xander’s arm.
“No! They’re my friends!”
“Oh … Are they young? Old?”
“The boy, Maverick, he’s around our age. And the girl, Lyla, she’s only nine.”
“Both fairly young, then.”
Saphora nodded. Xander gave an audible sigh as he slapped his hands together, sanding them against one another in excitement.
“Right. Bring them in!” he shouted to one of the guards at the entrance of the throne room.
Perplexed, the guard looked over, at a loss of the exact direction. Saphora rolled her eyes, unable to help her snickering as she gestured to the guard.
His expression changing to that of understanding, the guard nodded, bowing before running off down the hall. Xander looked down at Saphora in slight shock.
“Did you just beg a guard?”
“You said please. To that guard.”
“And, you’re royalty. You’re to be queen. You do not beg your servants.”
“I wasn’t begging. I just asked him to get Maverick.”
“You never need to ask. What have they done to you on that planet?”
“Given her the manners that you lack,” Aredelle called out with laughter, joined by the king and queen. Xander scoffed.
“The day will never come that I ask anything of my subjects.”
“And that is why you’ve yet to take the throne,” Edmon commented. Xander grumbled, his folded arms tightening.
“Then what’s the point of the throne? If you cannot command?”
Edmon shook his head disappointedly as Aredelle frowned, her goblet rising to her lips.
“It’s that which you need to understand. Tell him, Vida,” Edmon suggested, gesturing his hand to her. “Tell him how an attitude like that cost Ares the throne.”
Saphora’s eyes widened at the mention of Ares, while Vida’s narrowed. Saphora stepped towards the king and queens, hoping that Vida would comply and tell them just what he meant. Instead, she played it off, raising her own goblet.
“The children don’t need to hear such a story, Edmon.”
“Children?” Xander questioned, feeling his manhood under sudden attack.
“Yes, Vida. They’ve grown quite a bit. Aren’t they old enough to hear?” Aredelle insisted.
Vida’s eyes lingered on Aredelle’s, their grey orbs giving silent refusal. Aredelle’s face twisted in confusion as to why her friend was ruining their good fun, and then it dawned on her.
“Vida, don’t tell me,” she began, as if scolding a child. Vida stood before Aredelle could finish, slowly stepping away from the library’s small table. “You haven’t told her?” Vida was silent. “What are you waiting for?”
“It’s not a matter of time, Aredelle, I assure you,” Vida argued as Saphora stepped forward, just as Dakota walked in.
“Please, Mom?” Saphora pleaded. Vida scowled in disapproval as their eyes met, before bouncing over to Dakota.
“We’ve spoken about this, Saphora. Besides. It’s time for your training. Dakota’s here and waiting for you.”
Both Saphora and Xander’s attention shifted to the awkwardly waiting Dakota, who swallowed nervously. Xander turned back to face Vida, who was slowly making her way back to the small table.
“Now wait a minute,” Xander protested. “We just got here and you’re going to send her off –“
Vida spun on her heel, her eyes piercing into Xander’s and cutting him off. She rose a brow.
“What good is the throne if you can’t command?” she repeated.
Xander held his tongue as his words were thrown back at him. And though he did not agree with how she was handling the situation, he knew better than to speak against a queen, regardless of the relationship between their families.
“Exhibit your Earthly manners, Saphora. Don’t keep him waiting,” she insisted.
All were quiet as Saphora looked from Vida to Dakota, who was silently regretting coming to check the status of their outing. And as Saphora struggled with the decision to go or not, the guard returned with Maverick, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Xander watched as Saphora looked towards who he assumed was Maverick, hesitating before walking over to him and having a brief discussion. Before Maverick could even fully respond, Saphora had started rushing off down the hallway, with Dakota hurriedly heading after her.
He frowned, glancing to Vida with disapproval as she continued sipping from her goblet. Aredelle closed her distance with Vida to proceed in scolding her. Xander made his way over to Maverick, who was still looking down the hall at Saphora until she left his sight. His shoulders slumped, before springing back up when Xander’s hand came clamping down on his shoulder.
Maverick slowly turned, his brown eyes meeting Xander’s purple ones and showing their apparent fear. Xander gave a cheesing smile in return, gently squeezing Maverick’s shoulder.