ooc// omg i forgot the e-mail I used to make this account, but I found it in my history. Thank God. I about had a heart attack there for a moment.
Asbel’s tone concerned him. He knew better than most the lack of faith his brother had in himself and his ability to protect the people he cared for. When the boy got into a spiral of self loathing, it became difficult to stop.
"Just alright?" A smile touched his face. “You’re being far too modest, Asbel. You have done a lot of good for that girl, taking her in like you have done."
His own hand reached for the sopheria, in a careful and calculated gesture as he slipped the stem between his fingers to cradle the flower in his palm.
"And Cheria? Have things moved forward?"
"Yeah. A little bit." He spoke at the topic of their childhood friend. "And I didn’t do that much for Sophie." He paused. "Just what was right." he continued, letting out a sigh. His eyes fixated on the sopherias in front of him, and he couldn’t fight the smile that formed on his lips from the sight of them.
There was a pause between the two of them as his vision stayed downcast for a moment, before he spoke up again.
"Hubert?" he asked in a meek tone, not making eye contact with his sibling. "Why did you come back to visit Lhant?" he asked, pushing out the question that had been on his mind since his brother’s return. "Mom said, you just came to visit." he started. "But it’s more than that… isn’t it?"
It seemed like far too long since Richard had the opportunity to spend any significant amount of time with his friends. His duties at the castle demanded too much of his attention and when he finally could escape them, it was never for long. He had all but leapt at the opportunity when the brief lapse presented itself, when he had found an invitation to visit Lhant written into one of the frequent letters he exchanged with his friends.
It was almost nostalgic being back in the manor, and while the room he had once been offered as a child now belonged to Sophie, seated against his bed in the guest room, he could not help but think back on those days. Richard often wondered what things would have been like had he remained in Lhant for the month that had been planned. If his father had not taken ill and he’d been allowed that time with Asbel and Sophie. They would never have ended in the catacombs… never have experienced the countless tragedies that ensued. Could things have been better? He supposed they would never know.
Though the moon already high in the sky, sleep would not come to the young king who sat in its silver light. So many late nights over the past few weeks had shifted his sleep it seemed so instead he watched the flowers as they swayed in the breeze, dancing for the stars that glittered overhead.
Had he not already been awake, Richard might not have heard the soft creaking of the door, footsteps as they silently took the stairs. Who else was awake at such a time? Richard stood from his bed and made his way toward the door to investigate, pausing a moment before claiming the rapier that sat against the wall. Surely here in Lhant there would be no such threat but Richard would not be caught ill-prepared. Here more than anywhere, there were things he wished to protect.
The blond exited his room as the front door closed, too quickly to make out who it had been. As silently as the one before him had moved, Richard slipped over to the window, leaning just enough to catch a glimpse of the one outside.
There he found Asbel, kneeling before the bed of Sophierias that his adopted daughter so carefully tended. The tension in his frame vanished and he paused a moment, choosing to simply watch as Lhant’s Lord, carefully admiring the blossoms. He sighed at that, a faint smile tracing his face. It took no more than that to know something was occupying his thoughts.
Richard pushed the manor doors open, the cool night air rushing in and pushing his blond hair out behind him, his gaze immediately falling on his friend, thoughts still lost among the Sophierias.
"It’s rather late for a stroll, wouldn’t you say?" Richard spoke softly, needing little to carry his words across the silent yard. “You look as though you’ve something on your mind. Is everything alright?
It had the young Lord overjoyed when he heard that his long time friend was actually able to take him up on his offer of coming to visit Lhant. He’d sent the invitation in passing, assuming it would once again be rejected, simply because when it all boiled down to it, Richard was the King of Windor, and thus was extremely busy. It was Richard’s letters about his duties that reminded him just how small a task running Lhant was when compared to the task of his best friend.
Even so, here he was in front of the flowers of his father’s garden, cowering in the night from a simple dream. It was a dream, nothing more and nothing less - but why did it rattle him so? He couldn’t put a finger on it, but it just simply bothered him.
He jerked his vision upright at the sound of the footsteps coming towards him. Seeing the night’s light shimmer within those familiar golden locks, he brought himself to stand quickly, wiping any signs of distress from his eyes. -Or so he hoped-
"R-Richard…?" He chimed, placing a hand behind his head nervously. "D-Did I wake you?" he asked shyly, hoping that was not the case.
He turned away from the other at the mark of his question, and the young Lord found it hard to answer. It was just a dream, nothing to worry about. ”Um…” He started, drawing out a long pause. A signature sign that Asbel was avoiding a topic, or at a lost for words. “Yeah. Just couldn’t sleep.” he half lied, not wanting his friend to worry.
So mother had been right.
It didn’t take a genius—though Hubert certainly was one—to see how distraught his brother looked. He had come at the behest of his mother’s many letters, getting more and more concerned.
When they were boys together, Hubert had been a victim of nightmares himself. He remembered being shaken awake by his young brother, pulled from violent terror. Asbel would smile his stupid, cocky smile and tell him that he had nothing to fear from bad dreams, because his brother was going to be a knight and protect him forever.
He slept soundly those nights.
The Strahtan soldier knelt beside his brother, placing a hand on his back. He tensed up a bit upon noticing Asbel’s trembling.
"How is Sophie doing?" he asked. He considered it best to begin simply. Asbel always warmed when Sophie came to mind.
The touch of a hand on his back, and the sound of the other’s voice did little more than startle him, causing the one who hailed to the title of ‘Lord’ to jump ever so slightly. The bi-toned gaze jerked up for a moment, to look into the matching blue eyes of his sibling and he sighed.
"Hu-Hubert.." he stammered, as the other took him by surprise for a moment. He pulled his hand back, away from the flower he was admiring, and he adverted his gaze from his brother.
There was nothing wrong.
It was a simple dream that was all. He was the older brother, and it was his job to be strong for the both of them. No it was his job to be strong for Lhant.
He braced himself for a prying question pushing towards his condition, but it never came. Instead it was a simple question, wondering about his daughter.
His lips moved into a small smile, as he thought of the flower named girl.
"Sophie…." he started. "She’s doing alright."
Ahiru had been snoring lightly, her head buried half under her pillow and the blankets pulled up over her head. She was no stranger to getting woken up unexpectedly, but it never failed to make her startle. A brilliant flash of ruby light burst from the pendent around her neck, jolting her to awareness. Wriggling frantically, Ahiru attempted to extract herself from the blanket cocoon.
"Huhwhatha — aaappened! Ack!"
All her flailing landed her onto the floor of her room with a hearty thump. After bumping her head against he bed frame, she managed to throw off the blankets for real. The pendent, now that it had her attention, simmered down to a faint, lingering glow before blinking out all together.
"A heart shard…" Ahiru scratched her head, sighing. “It couldn’t have waited until morning?"
But even being woken from sleep couldn’t quite deter her, now that she was becoming more and more awake. She was most eager for Mytho to have his heart restored, so without further adieu, Ahiru dressed and slipped outside of the inn.
Ahiru had acquired a certain intuition for heart shard finding; she set off in the direction that felt right, and was soon rewarded. Ahiru found herself tip-toeing into a beautiful moonlight-lit garden; and in the center of the flowers, a figure knelt. Concealing herself behind a tree, Ahiru stopped to watch; her pendent wasn’t glowing, but the lingering feeling that she was right to come here was prominent in her mind.
Though Ahiru couldn’t see the young man’s face, she knew waiting around wouldn’t do much good. Carefully ducking all the way behind the tree, she shut her eyes, focused on her pendent, on the heart shard, and on Tutu.
When she opened her eyes, a soft smile graced her face.
Tutu made her way toward the hunched figure, walking a steady toe-ball-heel, toe-ball-heel with her arms draped at her sides and over her skirts in a low fifth position.
Coming to a gentle stop before the figure, Tutu spoke.
"Excuse me," she said. Inclining her head, she made a curtsy. “My name is Princess Tutu…would you tell me, what troubles you so?"
He kept his eyes on the flowers before him, speaking to them gently as if it really was Sophie listening to him instead of the purple plants before him. He was so caught up in the thoughts within his own head he failed to hear the footsteps approaching, and was startled ever so slightly as a voice broke the silence of the night.
Princess Tutu? He questioned such an odd sounding name, but she didn’t seem like someone who would pose him any harm. He looked up to her, simply taking in the sight of the girl for a moment, before he stood.
His two-toned gaze looked her over, as his lips stretched into a smile. “Um… Hello?” he started, a bit confused as to where this girl had come from. Maybe this was all part of his dream too, and if that was the case it wouldn’t hurt to speak with her.
"My name is Asbel." He continued holding out his hand, offering a greeting of a handshake to her. "Asbel Lhant."
His hand wrapped the hilt of his sword as he pulled it from it’s stealth and let it’s blade tear through the enemies that stood before him. A second swing brought down the ones to his side, and a third defeated the group behind him.
What was going on? It’d been so long since the world found it’s self in any form of chaos. The nations had joined in a effort to keep the peace of the world, and after the incidents with Lambda and Fodra, no one really wanted to see the world crumble back to it’s previous divided state.
"Asbel!" He heard a shout, as he turned around to see the sight of purple hair tumbling to the ground in a defeated puddle. His eyes shot wide, as he ran to her. This wasn’t happening…it couldn’t happen.
A scream broke his concentration, as he looked over his shoulder to see ribbons breaking away from magenta as his childhood friend hit the ground in a broken pile.
"Cheria!" He screamed, reaching out for her, but his attention soon being pulled to the girl resting in his lap.
"Sophie…" he stammered out sloppily as he looked at her, shaking his head in denial and confusion. "…No. Hold on… I’ll get you help…you and Cheria…both." He spoke, as the tears lined his eyes, swearing promises to her in a tone that was almost as if it was purely meant to just reassure himself.
Her hand moved to stroke his cheek, as her lips stretched out into a smile.
"Asbel.." She started, as he held her tightly, on edge to hear her words as they left her weakly. "You didn’t protect us. You never could."
His eyes shocked wide, as she faded from his hands and the world around him disappeared. The darkness surrounded him, as he found himself alone.
Was this how Richard felt all that time?
He clutched his hand to his heart as life forced it’s self into his lungs and he jolted upright in bed. Sweat ran down his paled skin, as his chest rose and fell with his startled movements.
It was… it was just a dream.
He reassured himself as he placed bare feet on the floor and moved to grab his jacket from the chair it was lazily hanging from.
He needed some air.
Drawing in a breath, he moved through the house quietly, careful not to wake anyone as he moved outside, and took in the sight of the stars. It only took a few steps before his eyes fell to the sight of the flowers that littered the front of the mansion, and he couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the sophiras that now covered his home.
She really loved them…didn’t she? He thought to himself as he kneeled down in front of them, and gently cupped one in his hand.