Dantega:Volume 2 Chapter 3

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Chapter 13: Her and the King

(PART 3)

Zurvick is running toward the source of the arrow, from atop a tree he thought he saw something move. As an instinct, he naturally looks at the area of sunlight that lies around twenty yards in front of him and spots the arrow zooming between trees and towards him with great speed. He jumps forward, tucks and rolls and continues running, the arrow flies over his head and lands on the ground behind him.

"Hmph! You gave up your position!" he shouts at the man who is perched in one of the smaller sequoia trees.

Zurvick puts his hand in a pouch that wraps around his back and pulls out a thin diamond shaped blade with a metal loop on the butt end of it. He twirls it around his finger and gets ready to throw it when out of the corner of his eye he sees another man swing a large sword towards his face. He slides on the ground and narrowly avoids a fatal blow. Now caught between a rock and a hard place, he needs to decide which man he'd be able to defeat without being killed by the other.

He chooses to run away from the man with the sword and go after the man with the bow. But much to his surprise the man with the sword doesn't chase him, on the contrary he turns around and rushes at Ash, who is closely following behind.

"Get out of there Captain!" Zurvick shouts.

Ash hears this but her view is blocked by a tree, she keeps running toward his voice when she sees the enemy soldier Zurvick warned her about lunging his blade right at her torso.

Zurvick looks back but his view of the two is blocked by the trees.

"Damn it! Ash!!"

In this moment of worry, he takes his eyes off of the bowman. With his head still turned in Ash's direction, he feels the wind of something blowing through his hair. An arrow zooms past the side of his head and slams into the trunk of a banyan tree.

Other than a few lost strains of hair, Zurvick is completely unscathed.

The luck of this happening is duly noted in the back of his mind, if he had turned his head in the direction of the bowman just a second earlier, bits and pieces of his skull would be scattered all over the forest floor.

The bowman quickly tries to reload; Zurvick is now only around thirty feet from the man's position, he cuts to the right and jumps on a low hanging limb of a tree. In order to get a better angle on the man's twenty five foot high branch, he immediately careens off the limb and rises to about twelve feet in the air.

Zurvick is ready to throw his handheld projectile blade, and the bowman is just about ready to shoot his arrow. It's as if this moment in time stands still, the two look each other directly in the eyes as they both fire their respective weapons almost simultaneously.

The one who blinks, will be the one that dies.

Just as much as it seemed the moment was crawled forward in a thunderous halt, it instantly resumes its natural speed, but instead feels at least ten times faster than normal.

Zurvick falls to the ground but quickly regains his footing, he hears a loud thud and looks to the source of the noise.

The bowman is dead on his back with the diamond shaped blade protruding from his left eye, he had fallen to the forest floor in a heap.

Zurvick checks himself for any injuries but finds nothing but a big slice in the outer layer of his dark shirt; the arrow had narrowly missed him.

"Whoooaah what a good break!"

He takes a sigh of relief, but inhales deeply at the sound of Ash's battle cry.

Zurvick rushes to the other side of the tree that once blocked his vision. He sees Ash holding her sword in a readied posture for a downward thrusting strike and is standing over the man, she is in an obvious position of victory. But she's hesitating, her hands are shaking, her eyelids are wide open and her pupils are small.

(I see…) Zurvick thinks to himself.

He rushes at her and shoves her away from the man, he then switches his sword from his left hand into his right and slices mercilessly into the downed man's neck. The man lasts for a few seconds until he fades off into death.

Ash is sitting shocked on the floor with her eyes stuck on the man that Zurvick had just killed.

Zurvick doesn't say anything to her and with haste begins to take the man's armor and uniform off.

He tosses it to Ash and bluntly says, "Put it on."

Ash looks at the armor with heavy eyes and sees that there is a good amount of blood on it, she tosses it aside and drops her head.


Zurvick replies in confusion, "Why? Well in order to sneak into their base camp, we're gonna need their uniforms."

Ash slams her fist on the armor and shouts, "Not that!! Why didn't you let me kill him!?"

Zurvick takes a deep breath and exhales, he walks to her and puts his hand on her shoulder.

"That would have been the first time you've killed somebody, right?"

Ash shifts her eyes away from his face and stays silent.

"Killing someone... it's the worst and most empty feeling in the world. I don't want you to experience such a thing, especially if I am here and able to keep it from happening. As my wife tells me, it's a man’s job to fight... It's your job to lead."

He stands up and begins to walk off when he says, "There could be more coming soon, so put on his armor. Use some water from your canteen to wash off the blood."

Ash doesn't say anything in return but follows his order by dumping water onto the fallen Eiyalazonian soldier’s armor.

"Ooh! Speaking of canteen!" Zurvick takes out his sweet liquor and takes a quick drink. "Haaahhh! Delicious! I can’t tell you how good this is after a fight!!"

“I’m happy to see that you also drink when you’re relieved.” Ash said with a smile and an exhale, "Thank you for the help."

Zurvick turns, puts on a stupid smile and says, "You’re welcome!"

Sturgess sits in a gondola on the miles long river that surrounds the castle grounds of Troy; he is accompanied by two men, one in a blue robe, and the other is rowing the boat in a suit of armor.

Sturgess slides his hand through the water, the cold glacial water seemingly doesn't affect him. He turns to the man rowing the boat and asks, "So then Anders, you work the closest to the front lines. How is our King doing?"

Anders smiles and sharply replies, "On the fast track to death."

Sturgess laughs and asks, "So what is it this time?"

Anders takes a large row of the boat and lifts the paddle over his head and rests it on his shoulders. "Though it would be easier if I simply have one of my men kill him, that would be too obvious, so this will work out just as well. I sent him on a suicide mission behind enemy lines in the Liceiin forest. He was supposed to be by himself, but ended up being joined by his Captain at the last minute."

Stugress strokes his beard. "This Captain, will he be able to affect the outcome of this mission?"

"Hahahaha! Not a chance, the King's Captain is a weak nineteen year old girl who has no battle experience. Though she showed excellence in her training for both combat and leading, she is completely incapable of bearing the responsibility of being a Captain in a war like this one."

"So you specifically chose her to lead the King's division. Hahaha how clever of you, Anders, that's why when I become King, you will have my job as the Commanding General of the Trojian army."

Sturgess takes his hand out of the frigid water and leans back in his seat, the man in the blue robe throws him a towel and says. "Don't forget about me."

Sturgess giggles a little in his chest. "Of course not Cardinal Luudnt, you are the country's spiritual adviser and the minister of propaganda. Without you, the people of Troy would be outraged at the fact that their King is involved in such dangerous missions. No one would ever doubt that the King is fighting safely alongside the 105th Specialist division so long as you tell them that’s the case."

Cardinal Luudnt smiles as he grabs a vine of grapes out of an ice chest that lay to his side, he tosses one in his mouth and says, "Also, don't forget the trouble of reading through all the letters that the division sends to their families, and that includes King Zurvick's letters as well. In order to secure classified information, I worked tirelessly to keep my penmanship in tip top shape for forgeries."

Sturgess gestures to Luudnt to toss him a grape and says, "For a man of faith, you sure are one corrupt son of a bitch."

Luudnt's face turns contorted with a wide grin. "I may be a man of faith, but I am more a man of money... with you as the King, I'll have enough to build a house of gold!"

All three men laugh aloud, Sturgess puts his hand back in the water and says, "That's correct, though the title of the King technically has no value now. With you two on my side, a coup d'etat will easily be obtained. The Queen will become my slave and this grand country of Troy will finally be ruled with the iron fist of a man."

Sturgess tosses a grape in his mouth and begins to splash his hand in the water when he suddenly feels a constriction on his wrist. He looks down and sees a snake binding his hand all the way up to his forearm.

"What the hell is this?" he turns to look at Luudnt and Anders, but they are frozen stiff with the large smiles they were just expressing. Everything around them has the tint of red, the castle, the sky and all of Troy are red.

"Is only the title of King enough to satisfy a man such as yourself?"

This voice of an unknown man rings in his head like church bells.

"Who said that!?" Sturgess looks down to his hand, the source of the voice comes from this black snake with blood red eyes.

Sturgess is completely confused, there are no snakes in the northern part of Troy due to the climate, yet here is one talking to him from within the freezing cold water.

"This serpent? Is it you?"

The snake squeezes his arm a little tighter when it answers, "Would you allow me to ask you a question?"


"What if I said I could give you all the countries of the world?"

Sturgess's eyes are fixated on the face of the snake and answers curtly, "Then I would ask you how it is that you, a snake, can do that."

The snake's tongue slides out of his mouth and back in. "Allow me to show you."

A flash of numerous scenes from a glorious future beams through Sturgess's head; the views consist of him as the grand ruler of the entire world, he has Lelaine clinging to his side as they watch the execution of Zurvick. A sensational pleasure flows through his body as many more images of what he perceives to be pure bliss pass through his subconscious.

As quickly as the visions started, they stop, this moment of ecstasy dissolves and leaves him drooling for more.

The snake continues to speak as it slithers further up his arm. "Is that not the future you desire the most?"

Sturgess's eyes cock sideways as he speaks with a cracked voice, "YES!"

"Then I shall make it yours."

Sturgess shakes his head and regains his composure, he asks, "What's in it for you?"

The snake postures up and puts its head on the same level of his, looking into the general’s eyes. "I am a simple being, compassionate to people of strength. I have deemed you worthy of ruling my world, that will be enough of a transaction price for me. Will you accept my help?”

Sturgess closes his eyes to regain a little bit of the incredible feeling he had just felt, he takes a deep breath and answers, "Yes."

The snake slides back down his arm and says, "A wise choice."

It opens its mouth wide and bites the back of his hand violently, Sturgess flinches his arm and the snake flings into the water and disappears.

The red tint that surrounds everything instantly vanishes and the sound of Anders and Luudnt laughing aloud is once again heard.

Sturgess uses a rag and wipes the blood off his hand and says, "Why wait until the King dies?"

The two stop their laughing and look at him with confusion as he continues,

"This is a volatile time for Troy, now more than ever the balance of power is at its most vulnerable state. As soon as we gather enough men, we shall immediately stage our coup."

Anders and Luudnt pause in silence as they think it over, they glance at each other and then back at Sturgess showing wide grins as if indicating that they agree.

Sturgess smiles and shifts his attention to the wound on his hand; much to his surprise, instead of seeing two teeth marks he sees a large black pentagram.

He laughs for a moment and stops abruptly, he puts his hand back in the cold water and with a grinning frown says,

"It looks like I have just made a deal with the Devil."

"Quite the handsome young man you make Ash." said Zurvick with a satisfied smile on his face.

Ash frowns and punches him in the back of the head and sarcastically replies, "Ohoho! What a comedian you are!"

The two of them are wearing the two deceased soldier's armor and uniforms. Since the Eiyalazonian military doesn't allow women, Ash has rubbed dirt on her face, tied her hair up and hid it with a bandanna and helmet making her look more like a young boy than a young woman.

Zurvick rubs his head while he fiddles her helmet over her eyes. "Hey now, that was a compliment ya know."

"Considering the fact that I am a girl, being called a handsome boy is hardly what I'd call a compliment you idiot!"

He sighs and with somewhat of a teasing tone says, "Well, either way it's a good thing that you have no sex appeal, otherwise we'd instantly get killed once we reach their base."

This statement truly contradicts the actual appearance of Ash, though she is fairly short and her chest isn't that large, she has long legs and her tanned skin gives off a nice shine. Her facial features match her body perfectly in unison, one can't help but wonder how pretty she would look wearing something other than her bulky Trojan armor.

The aura around Ash turns black, a vein can be seen in her forehead and her eyes begin to burn like a raging fire. "Do you want to die??"

Zurvick's face drops in fear and he nervously tries to retort, "Oaahh! C-Calm down Ash! It was only a joke!"


She viciously kicks him right on his butt, he shouts his ouches and screams as he runs away with Ash in hot pursuit.

After a few minutes of playing cat and mouse, the two are out of breath and leaning on a tree.

Zurvick is breathing so hard that he feels like he is having a heart attack. He turns to Ash with a horrid face full of fatigue and says, "I- haaaaa- I'm- haaaaa- sorry!"

Ash, who is also tired, punches him in the gut with all of her remaining strength and he falls to the ground like a limp noodle. Being out of breath, combined with having the wind knocked out of him from her punch makes him feel like he is literally about to die.

Ash grabs him by the collar to lift him up, with a smile she says, "Now we're even."

The two burst into a tired laughter and they both share a moment of carefree relaxation.

With a little time to recuperate, both are close to being fully energized. Zurvick pulls out the map and sees that they should only be a few hundred yards away from the enemy base camp, he turns to tell Ash their position when they hear the approaching voices of a couple men out in the distance.

Ash stands up and holds out her hand to Zurvick to help him up, with a deeper, and more manly voice she says, "Let's go."

He grabs her hand and they walk toward the voices.

There are two Eiyalazonian soldiers; Zurvick and Ash walk up to them and give them their military's salute. The men both salute back and one asks, "Were you the two guys sent for guard duty?"

Ash replies in her deepened boyish voice, "Yes, we never spotted anything suspicious so we decided to return. Were you guys looking for us?"

The other man begins to speak, "Yeah, Captain Ditreig has called a meeting for our attack on the Trojans. It starts in an hour so he wants everyone to gather on standby until then."

Zurvick butts in and asks, "If that's the case, would you mind if we joined you guys?"

The men gesture the two to follow them and they all walk to the base.

Ash and Zurvick follow a few feet behind the two men that are leading them to their base. Zurvick grabs Ash's sleeve and whispers in her ear, "We need to assassinate Captain Ditreig before this meeting starts."

"What? Why that fast?"

"If the regiment gets the proper attack info, they will carry out the attack even if Ditreig were to be killed. But if he dies before he can give out the orders, the regiment will have no choice but to retreat and wait for further commands."

Ash glances at the two men to make sure that they aren't being heard. "That makes sense, but wouldn't the Captain have his orders and attack plan written down on paper already?"

Zurvick postures up, with a serious face he says, "No, he doesn't work that way."

By him saying this, it indicates that he knows Captain Ditreig personally. She catches this and shows an expression of wonder. He looks away and is about to answer her body language when they come upon the sight of the enemy base camp. Hundreds of soldiers are all getting ready to gather into one massive group, tents that intertwine throughout the trees give off the feeling of a small city.

The four of them begin to walk towards a large wooden stage carrying the podium for Ditreig's address; Zurvick grabs Ash's hand and they ditch the two men who are leading them and run into an alleyway of trees.

"Hey where are we going?"

Zurvick doesn't answer her question as they keep on running.

They come across a lone soldier who is holding a notebook, Zurvick walks up to him, does the Eiyalazonian salute and asks, "Excuse me sir, but if you don't mind me asking. Would you happen to know where the Captain is?"

Through his glasses, the man looks through his notebook and replies with a question of his own, "And who might you be?"

Ash jumps back and looks at Zurvick with wary eyes; he is standing astute and without a flinch he replies, "I am Sergeant Corbin Mizlesh." He gestures to Ash and declares, "This is Sergeant Applic Stellson."

The man scopes them up and down and then looks in his notebook, after flipping a few pages he says, "Oh, you are the two that were sent out on guard duty?"

Zurvick sternly replies, "Yes sir, some men told us to come back to base for the Captain's meeting, we wish to speak to him in order to give him a direct report."

The man twitches his eyebrow. "You can tell me, I'll make sure he gets the report."

Zurvick bows his head and in a polite yet stern tone replies, "I'm sorry sir, but this is something that needs to be heard by the Captain alone." The man clicks his tongue and walks away, he buries his head back in his notebook and says, "Every day around this time, the Captain bathes in the lake a few hundred yards that way. Keep walking and you won't miss it."

"Yes sir."

Zurvick nudges Ash and they walk towards the direction of the lake.

"How the hell did you do that?" asked Ash with an astonished look on her face.

Zurvick looks confused and asks, "Do what?"

"The names, everything! How did you pull that off!?"

He grabs the helmet that looks three sizes too big off of Ash's head and points to the inside of it, a large tag with the name of the dead Eiyalazonian soldier written in bold.

Applic Stellson.

Ash hides her face in her forearm from embarrassment and softly says, "Oh..."

He stuffs the big helmet back on her head and says, "The mission is almost over, so just hang in there."

Ash shoves him away, "Don't baby me!"

He sighs like usual and says, "Sorry about that."

They have finally reached Captain Ditreig's position, they have arrived at the lake and are first amazed by the beauty of the scene. The lake is darkened with the reflection of the overhanging branches. The entire area surrounding the lake is much darker than most of the forest, thus making the light peeking into the lake from the numerous gaps in the branches of banyan trees that lay overhead make it seem like they are looking at a night sky that is filled with stars.

On the shore of the lake is a tent, and laying to the side of that tent is the green and red Captain class armor. Zurvick sees this and looks out in the water assuming that Ditreig is in there.

"It looks like he is by himself." Ash says as she scopes out the area, she finds this odd because this lake is quite far away from the heart of the base camp so she figured that he'd have at least one guard to accompany him.

Their attention is snagged by the sound of splashing water, emerging from the darkness of the lake is a man with sparkling black hair. It seems that the lake isn't too deep because he is fairly far out and half of his body is still showing.

Zurvick and Ash hide behind a tree as the man walks out of the lake and gets dressed.

"I want you to go back and stand guard." Zurvick said in a serious tone.

Ash frowns and replies, "No way! I'm going to help you."

He looks at her and reveals a frown himself. "I don't want you to get involved in this, so just do as I say and don't interfere."

She is taken aback by his reaction, she has never seen him show such a face, and for some reason seeing him like this makes her not want to be argumentative, she tut tuts and walks away.

"Don't you dare die."

Zurvick smiles and says, "Not a chance."

Lelaine walks through the innards of the Trojan castle, the hallways are lined with the portraits of past Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses and other members of the royal family. She is in an entranced state as she slides her hand on the wall as she walks.

She reaches a large oak door that leads to a room, on the door is a sign that has letters written in bold saying, 'TROJIA'. She grabs a key out of her pipe bag and opens the door.

She then enters and sees that Trojia's room is exactly as it was when she left to La'Juune in order to be married. Lelaine takes a deep breath and sits on the edge of a large bed.

"I knew I would miss you when I sent you off to be married... but at least I would have known where you were and that you were safe." she said to herself as she plopped her back on the bed.

With her eyes she analyzes the room and sees all the framed pictures of artwork and portraits. On the dresser she spots one of the pictures that has been purposely placed face down, and decides to stand up and go to lift it upright.

To her surprise, she finds that the photo is of both she and Trojia embracing in a fun looking pose while they are both smiling, this causes her to reveal a strained smile. She thinks back to the reaction that Trojia had when she first informed her of the triple marriage between the tree superpowers of the world.

"What!? You're sending me away!?" shouts Trojia.

The two are sitting on a dinner table that lies in a massive dining room. Lelaine shakes her head and replies, "It's not like that, this is for the greater good."

"How is it for the greater good that you give away your only child, and only heir to your throne??"

Lelaine rests her head on her hand and says, "Peace Trojia, think about what this could mean for our people, and the world for that matter."

Trojia slams her hands on the table and stands. "It means nothing! You have to be blind to not see that this is a gimmick, you yourself used to tell me that there is always a catch! The Kings of both Eiyalazo and La'Juune know that without an heir to the throne of Troy, this country will become vulnerable and easy to manipulate. They will use this to destroy you mother!"

Lelaine clicks her tongue and pulls her pipe from her waist pouch. "I know all of the pros and cons to this situation. But I refuse to be the one who let the chance of world peace slip between her fingers. You are going to get married whether you like it or not."

Trojia grabs one of the glass cups and throws it against the wall, it hits and shatters loudly. She pauses for a moment and takes a deep breath, using that as a trigger to calm herself down, she softly says, "Let this be fair warning... this will end up being the exact opposite of what you're hoping for... Mother, you whoring your daughter out, will lead you to nothing but grief."

Trojia walks out of the dining room and leaves Lelaine by herself, she takes a long drag from her pipe and blows smoke out abruptly.

After Lelaine reminisces this, she fast forwards to the last time she saw Trojia, and cringes when she remembers the last words her daughter had spoken to her.

Standing at the front gate is all of the castle's inhabitants wishing a departing Trojia a safe journey. Zurvick was on the other side of the country so he wasn't there to witness her departure, so the only two family members are Trojia and Lelaine. The heaviness of the silent air surrounding them isn’t lost on either of the two women.

Lelaine walks to her daughter to say her goodbyes when Trojia turns her back, this sign of disrespect certainly angered the Queen, but in order to not make a scene she bites her lip to relieve her tension.

Trojia takes a deep breath and turns to her mother with a face much like a begging child and asks, "Please don't send me away."

Lelaine's gaze shifts away as she replies, "I can't do that."

Trojia's eyes instantly lose its shine, she pauses for a moment and her face turns cold. "Very well then... for wasting my life to La’Juune... I will forever hate you for this."

Her words pierce Lelaine's heart, she jolts in shock at this feeling, she watches her only child enter the carriage followed by her body guard and five nuns.

The carriage drives off into the distance while she still stands frozen in the same position. She never thought she would hear those words come from Trojia, but even more so, she never thought that if she were to hear it, it would affect her so much that her soul would feel like it has been sucked out of her body.

The current Lelaine is once again laying on the bed zoning out on the picture that depicts them in such a happy and loving state.

"You were right... everything you said was right..."

She starts crying, she regrets more than anything that she gave up her only daughter for nothing but a war.

"If I had just listened to you, you'd be here with me and there would be no war. It's all my fault and I'm so sorry. I just want you back..."

She shuts her eyes and wonders where Trojia is, along with this thought she suddenly feels a bolt of energy flash in her body. She opens her eyes only to see that the entire room is of a red tint and the picture she holds in her hand is completely black.

"What if I told you that I know exactly where your daughter is?"

This voice beats on the back of Lelaine's brain, she is surprised at this and looks around the room to see where this is coming from. Out of the framed black photo comes a black snake with red eyes, she tries to fling it off but for some reason she cannot move her body.

The snake slithers up her arm slowly.

"Huh? Am I dreaming?" she asks herself aloud.

"This is no dream, I can help you."

"You know where my daughter is?" she asks with a crack voice.

The snake continues its slow methodical slither. "Yes Queen Lelaine, she is in a place that I can easily access. If i wish it so, I can bring her back to your arms."

With a needy smile she asks, "You're saying that she's alive??"

The snake pauses for a moment and answers, "I am simply stating that I can bring her back."

Lelaine thinks about this for a few moments and calms her fast beating heart to regain her composure. "What's the catch? What is it that you want in return?"

Blaire's Drawing of Lelaine (1).jpg

The snake sticks out it's tongue and smoothly says, "I am simply a being that is compassionate toward loving parents who have been separated from their children. Seeing your reunion with your beloved daughter would be enough of a transaction price for me. Will you accept my offer of help?”

Lelaine smiles with wide eyes at the thought of getting Trojia back, it seems like the snake's mouth is growing larger with a Cheshire cat grin as it eagerly awaits her answer.

Lelaines eyes sharpen, her brows steepen and the tips of her mouth rise up revealing her teeth, she bluntly replies, "I refuse. " The snake recoils back and the red tint of the room begins to fade away as she continues, "I used to tell my daughter to never believe in anyone who offers you a gift and says that there is no catch. Trojia reiterated this saying to me once, and it took me until now to remember how true it is."

The snake begins to slide back into the darkness of the photo, only the red of its eyes can be seen as it says, "A wise choice."

The snake disappears and the red tint that once surrounded the room is no more, the photo of a happy mother and daughter can once again be seen. Lelaine rubs her tear filled eyes and says to herself, "That was some kind of weird dream..."

She takes one last glance at the photo. "I don't need anyone to tell me where you are Trojia, I know you're alive, and I know that you will be back one day. When you do, I can properly apologize."

She tenderly smiles, lays back down on her daughter's bed and gently falls asleep.

"It's been a while, Ditreig." says Zurvick as he runs his hands through his hair.

The black haired and blue eyed man has a scar on his cheek that can be seen through his five o'clock shadow; he looks like a character larger than life, and the aura around his is glowing as a ray of sunlight hits him through the trees.

Ditreig looks at him and quickly turns away to put on his boots. "You know soldier, you look just like an old friend of mine. For a second there I thought you were him.”

Zurvick starts to laugh and says, "Your eyes aren't fooling you, it's me."

Ditreig ties his boot straps and turns around. "Holy shit it really is you!"

He smiles, runs to him and gives him a big bear hug.

Zurvick's face begins to turn purple from lack of air in his lungs. "O-Okay I get it! Let go!"

Ditreig drops him and says, "Sorry about that, you know how I'm not good at containing myself."

Zurvick breathes hard and says, "Me and you both, but you’re a hell of a lot stronger than I am so you need to be careful!."

"Anyways, what in the world is the King of Troy doing here in an Eiyalazonian uniform?"

The reunion is cut short by the drop in the mood coming from Zurvick, Ditreig sees this and takes a few steps back. They look in each other's eyes for a few long moments when the silence is broken by the Captain.

"You have been sent to kill me?"

Zurvick shifts his eyes guiltily and replies, "Yes."

"I must commend you for your effort, it's quite amazing that you made it to me without being noticed. But I gotta ask, why is it that they sent you of all people to kill me?"

Zurvick calmly removes his sword from its sheath. "I don't exactly know why myself. But I do know that I am the perfect man for the job."

Ditreig laughs loudly and asks, "You'd kill your old friend?"

Zurvick's eyes turn cold. "It's a King's job to protect his people; and it's a father's job to protect his daughter."

"Hmph, the funny thing is that I completely understood that, I have a daughter of my own you know? I fight for her too.”

Ditreig picks his sword up off the ground and they both charge at each other.

“Let’s make this fun!”

Ditreig slashes low and Zurvick jumps over the strike and leaps off his shoulders and over his head. Zurvick lands and pulls another one of his diamond shaped blades and chucks it; Ditreig swings his blade and knocks it away.

Being rushed, Zurvick is forced to back up all the way to the water, knowing that he has no more land left to back away one, he leans over and grabs some dirt and tosses it in Ditreig's face, blinding him momentarily.

Zurvick then swings his sword at his foe's neck but it is somehow dodged by Ditreig who jumps into the water to get the dirt out of his eyes.

The commotion caused by two men fighting is rising in a fever pitch, and Ash becomes worried when the sound of water splashing rings through her ears. She sees that they are so far away from the base camp that she has no need to be on guard duty for now, so she decides to run to the lake and hides behind a tree in order not to be seen.

She sees the enemy emerge from the water as Zurvick stands on the shore with in an intense battle posture. She waits and watches with the intention of helping him if he ends up needing it.

Ditreig comes out of the water wearing a wide grin, "It's been a long time since I've had my blood flowing like this. Not since the battle of La'Juune, do you remember King Zurvick?"

Ash hears this and thinks to herself, (I knew it! They do know each other!)

Ditreig begins to step further away deeper into the lake as he continues, "It was you, Sturgess, and I at the gate of the city of grandeur, fighting together and winning! We were so close to destroying the kingdom of La'Juune until that bastard Napoleon came in and put this horrid scar on my face. He put a nasty on on Sturgess as well, of course with your luck only you got out unscathed. Don't you remember? We shed blood together as comrades."

The reason he says this is because Troy and Eiyalazo were once allies in a war against La'Juune; leading the charge against the capitol city was the two of them including Sturgess. Victory was very close to being attained but once at the gate of the city, Napoleon was there and fought all three of them personally. On top of that he was somehow able to hold them off while sending orders to the rest of the La'Juutian army, who eventually obliterated the allies under his leadership and forced them to retreat.

Zurvick rests his sword on his shoulder and smiles, "Yeah that was some kind of battle, it's quite a shame that things ended up this way. When I heard that you were the leader of this squad, I was excited that I'd have one last chance to speak to you. Though I am surprised that you only have the rank of Captain."

Ditreig splashes his hand in the water and laughs, "Haha yeah, since I was the Commanding General of the Eiyalazonian military during that failure of a battle, I was demoted all the way to Sergeant. It took me all of the ten years to even get this rank back."

Zurvick smiles and sighs, "Well that's understandable, that was quite an embarrassment, being stopped by a fifteen year old kid like that. But I'm not one to judge you on rank, this is the highest rank I've ever had and I'm only a Specialist."

Ditreig’s smile is replaced by a frown when he says, "You have got to be blind to not see that there is something sketchy about that."

"Whether it is or not, I like fighting alongside my men, I think all Kings should do the same. So I have no problems with being a grunt in the military."

Ditreig huffs air out of his nose and grins, "You are way too honorable Zurvick, it borderlines on stupidity... anyways, enough with this idle chit-chat. Are you gonna fight me or what?"

Zurvick sighs, rubs his head and says, "Alright then."

He jumps over the water and thrusts his sword down on Ditreig, a big splash causes the scene to be quite chaotic. Once the splash dissipates, the sight of Ditreig disappears as well.

"Where the hell?"

Zurvick suddenly feels a sharp pain on his left calf and it causes him to fall.

"Shit he's hiding under the water!"

He has been sliced so he swings his blade through the water blindly at the hope of hitting Ditreig. He cannot see anything through the water because the reflection of the trees above and lack of sunlight make it too dark, because of this he stands completely still in silence and waits for some kind of sound.

He shuts his eyes and feels the water flowing in an odd way towards him.

"He's there!"

He slams his sword downwards through the water and feels that he pierced something.

(Did I get him?)

He checks to see if he did, he lifts his sword out of the water and much to his dismay, he sees that it is connected to Ditreig's heavy piece of armor.

From behind him a loud voice of a girl is heard screaming, "BEHIND YOU ZURVICK!!!"

An instant after this shout the sound of a loud splash startles his senses.

He turns around as fast as he can but it is too late, through the countless water droplets he sees his old comrade Ditreig thrusting his sword only inches away from Zurvick's gut. They stare into each other's eyes with intensity, one wears the eyes of desperation whilst the other shows confidence.

However, in this short time span Zurvick hears a piercing thud and Ditreig's eyes turn from confident to surprised. Zurvick thinks that he has just been stabbed but due to adrenaline he hasn't felt it yet. He shuts his eyes and with a battle cry pushes his blade forward until he feels that he has hit something.

Zurvick opens his eyes to see that Ditreig's blade has missed safely to his side, and sees that his own blade has impaled Ditreig right above his naval.

Ditreig drops his sword in the water, coughs out blood and says, "Once again... your luck knows no bounds."

Zurvick is completely surprised about this turn of events, he completely thought that he was dead to rights. That is until he looks over Ditreig's shoulder and sees a different sword stuck into his back, and around twenty feet out in the distance is Ash, her body frozen in a throwing position while breathing very hard.'

"It was you..." Zurvick says softly, he frowns and with a voice full of anger yells, "I told you not to interfere!”

Ash drops to her knees, with her eyes stuck on him she says, "I had to... you could have... you could have!"

Before Ash can finish she is interrupted by Ditreig. "Come on Zurvick, give her a break... she just saved your life, haha I had you completely fucked."

Ditreig starts to cough and laugh loudly, he slides off of Zurvick's sword and into the water.

"I can't say that I'm happy to die in such a place, but I can say that I am pleased I was killed by the King of Troy."

Zurvick looks at him with saddened eyes as he helplessly floats on his back.

"I don't need your pity, so don't look at me like that."

Zurvick smiles and walks out of the water. "I’m sorry Ditreig, I never would have thought our friendship would have ended this way."

Ditreig's face has become incredibly pale but he still musters up the strength to laugh, "Hey now, who said we can't still be friends?"

Zurvick laughs as well, "I guess you're right."

"Can you do me a favor?" Ditreig asks, his voice growing ever more faint.

"What is it?"

"My Daughter... She's a brilliant girl, she just might be the death of you during this war, so I'm sure your paths will cross at some point in the future... please just tell her that I love her, and that I'm sorry for everything."

Having a daughter of his own, Zurvick can't help but feel the guilt of taking him away from his child. He can sympathize with his fallen friend's emotions at wanting the child he'll leave behind to know that their father was thinking of them at the end.

"I promise, Ditreig. I'll tell her."

The shine in Ditreig's eyes dissolve and grow dull, with his last bit of life he says his dying words.

"Thank you Zurvick... as a friend, I need to tell you one more thing... General Sturgess... be wary of that man, I've always known that fuck has had an out for you..."

With that, he slips into death and sinks in the water.

Ash is still on her knees in a frozen state, Zurvick walks to her and holds his hand out to help her up.

She looks at him with eyes that are asking him if she did the right thing or not, prompting him to smile and pat her on the head.

"You did good Ash, thank you."

She smacks his hand away, with a melancholic tone she says, "I told you to stop doing that."

Zurvick laughs and walks away, ignoring her statement he says, "People might be coming soon so let's get going... I need to hurry home."

Ash gets up and tilts her head, "Home? You mean back to base?"

Zurvick turns and looks at her with a serious face. "No, I mean that I need to go back to Troy."

"What!? Why would you do that?"

He once again starts walking away and with his back turned to her says, "Something has been eating at me for a while; and after hearing Ditreig confirm it for me, I am positive that I need to get back immediately.”

He then smiles and sheaths his sword.

“Also, I haven't seen my wife in a few months... she may act tough when other people are around but by herself she is terribly fragile."

Ash runs to him and grabs his arm. "That means that you're going to leave us?"

Zurvick giggles and teases her, "Awh you're gonna miss me? How cute."

She punches him in the head and shouts, "Of course I won't! Because I'm coming with you."


Her and the King: (END)

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