Shadows of the KingMature

Elseron stood dumbstruck by the sight of her, she was here. Stood before Atlas, light meeting dark, fire meeting ice, silver meeting earth, younger meeting older. Despite his best efforts to make sense of the situation In front of him...alive! It was impossible. How did she get here? Why didn't I feel her as she entered the building? How did Pilot meet her? So many questions stormed through his head as he stared at the missing Atlantean Princess. Atlas stood at his side, her hand crushing his with all the power of a vice. Smashing the digits together as she stared into the eyes of her older sister. Elseron felt her thoughts, but they were meaningless to him, just a complete buzz of questions and feelings that went far too fast for him to recognise or comprehend. She was just as confused as he was. Oh my Little Princess. Looking briefly to Pilot Elseron found the dark dweller looking to him already, such a smug and arrogant smile on his face he wanted to reach over and throttle him. He was enjoying this. Her reaction, his reaction. He'd planned it to be like this, Elseron was sure.

Eden was just as beautiful as Atlas, they could have been twins if it wasn't for the long chocolate brown locks, she was as much an Atlantean Princess as her sister, their Missing Princess. She looks so like her mother. He thought staring at her older more angular face, the same time, she looked nothing like her mother. She was the King, from head to toe. Her hair, nose, lips, chin, even the way she held herself screamed of the Great King Atlas. All while this was happening Arisa was sitting in the huge armchair, her mouth open wide in wonder of the peculiar spectacle that was performing in front of her, her pencil toppling from her grip. As if in slow motion Eden raised her hand into the air, palm facing Atlas. Equally as slowly Atlas returned the gesture with her free hand, her grip tightening around his as she did, then when their skin touched palm to palm in the ancient Atlantean greeting a bolt of lightning struck Elseron. Their tattoos flared into life, glowing the surreal Atlantean blue. Eden's tattoos glowed brightly at her sister’s touch, the blue swirls and patterns across her face, arms and legs flaring back into life. As quickly as it happened. It stopped.

A brief moment fell between the two sisters before the finally crushed into one another, hugging each other so fiercely Elseron doubted he could ever separate them. Tears flowed freely now, great sobs racking their bodies and making their shoulders jolt up and down. 'Why...Sir Elseron! I dare say I don't think you've ever looked better!' Pilot smirked over the tears. Glancing at him he only had that same look of smug arrogance set across that scared face, his sparkling eyes glinting with malice.

'Els!' Atlas said suddenly. Her tone of shock and the use of her private name for him where what made him look down at his hands, nothing. He was about to ask what they were talking about when he caught a sight of himself in the mirror. For the second time in ten minutes, Elseron was struck dumb. His tattoos were back. Running to the large mirror to get a better look he nearly ripped his shirt off trying to reveal them all...but they were there. The tattoos his anonymous forebears had give to him; all of them were back, bright blue and flickering with life. Across his chest, stomach, biceps, shoulders, back...everywhere. Even the two tiny triangles beneath his left eye. They were back, the tattoos that had long since faded away over the years.

'Cool! I want a go!' shouted Arise bouncing up and down in her chair, sending sheets of detailed and talented drawings floating to the floor. Grabbing hold of the mirror Elseron sighed and looked down at the floor. His tired, confused, angry, delirious mind trying to comprehend the situation.

'Arisa collect your work and let us leave her Majesty and the Princess alone for the time being,' noting his hard tone the small vampire didn't object. She nodded quickly collecting her drawings before following him out into the corridor. Pilot remained where he was. 'Alone, Mr Gallo.' the dark dweller turned at his words, his emerald eyes sparkling with mischief; he looked like he was going to disobey him. But deciding it would be more fun to anger the Guardian further he slowly moved out into the corridor. Dante and Melody appeared from their room at the end of the hall just as Elseron shut the Princess's door.  

'What's going on?' asked Melody just as they reached them, Phaedos seemed to appear from thin air and soon the whole of the Queens renegade bunch of protectors were out in the small hallway. When Melody saw Elseron she froze. '!'

'Arisa continue your work in Phaedos's room, Phaedos, Melody guard the Queens door. Pilot...come with me.' the last words were nothing but a hiss. Thundering down the hallway with Pilot's light footed steps following close behind him Elseron just heard Melody say, 'Go with them!' to Dante. That was probably for the best; Dante was the only one who could stop Elseron from killing this vampire. Booting the fire door open the thick metal bent off its hinges with the force of the kick, left to hang loosely on its last remaining hinge. The cold air did nothing to cool his anger as he stepped out onto the open topped roof, Pilot followed him and Dante kept a respectful distance by the doorway.

'What now Sir Elseron? Going to scold me?' he didn't even think. He just acted. Spinning too fast for even the dark dweller to dodge the punch hit home on the side of Pilot's face, sending his head reeling to the right.

'You b*astard Pilot! All this time, you knew! All these months and you told no one!'

'It wasn't my secret to tell.' he said cracking his neck back into place and wiping away the small contrail of blood from the corner of his mouth with the back of his palm, being careful not to get blood on his cuff. 'But aren't you glad you didn't act on your threat.'

'I should have killed you when I had the chance! I should have cut you up bit by bit and burned you!'

'As if you could.'

'Don't push me dark dweller, not today!' that was his warning. He wouldn't be getting another. 'You reunited them on purpose. To see her reaction, to see my reaction! See her pain!'

'Do I take pleasure in seeing the great Stalwart Shield being brought down a peg or two? Yes of course, who wouldn't? Did I introduce my wife to her sister for my own twisted pleasure, no. My wife has longed to know where she comes from and who she is. Now tell me Elseron....are you angry for the pain I caused Atlas? Or because I did what you couldn't?' closing his eyes Elseron had to physically stop himself reaching for his axe. 'You were the one that was sent to look for her, were you not? You're first mission as a Royal Knight...not a brilliant start was it?' barging past the vampire Elseron strode towards Dante who shot him an 'are you alright' sort of look. But he was too angry to acknowledge him right now. 'It must have hurt her mother.' he stopped. 'The Queen...what did her face look like when you went back to her saying you couldn't find her first born child? She must have been heartbroken.' His axe roared in his hand. He couldn't stop himself. Elseron hacked and slashed and cut and punched at the dark dweller who rolled away and dodged every attack with ease. But that just made Elseron faster.

Three centuries of martial power pushed against his skin, resulting in him eventually slicing part ways through Pilot's right bicep. A dark energy surrounded them both, Elseron felt the way of the world alter as some unknown force lifted him from the floor and threw him through the air like a ragdoll. Crashing into the charging Dante the two huge men hit the floor hard. Elseron's bulk nearly crushing Dante's head. Looking up with a groan Elseron saw pilot for what he truly was, his eyes were black, no whites, no colour, no pupil. Just black holes in the middle of his usually handsome face, like two bottomless pits of coal. Around his eyes looked black and sooty, the veins pumping dark blood around his face. And his mouth contained not just the one set of fangs, but two, upper and lower. 'Do not attack forces you cannot comprehend old man.' said the dark dweller straightening the cuff of his jacket. 'And I would have thought that a warrior of your upstanding moral code would have seen how unfair attacking an unarmed opponent was!' Dante shot to his feet, hands changing to claws as he did.

'No!' roared Elseron jumping to his feet. Dante looked back at him and stopped, albeit reluctantly.

'Isn't that sweet. The Stalwart Shield's gotten himself an attack dog...or should that be bear?'

'Watch your mouth netherworlder.' rumbled Dante.

'So that's where you get your've crossed the River Styx and returned.' Elseron smiled as he moved towards him. 'It'll be my pleasure to send you back there! Hold this!' tossing his axe to Dante Elseron lunged. The daemon Pilot dodged the attack with ease just leaving a trail of twisting smoke in his wake. A coal hand gripped his heart. Stopping it dead. Falling to his knees Elseron fought to remain conscious as Pilot drew the life from him, he could taste ash at the back of his throat, the touch of death itself. Pilot stood before him and crouched.

'Give in can't defeat me.' Now. Tapping in his magic Elseron felt his soul snap back into his chest, blue light radiating out from his tattoos, from his eyes too. Firing upward Elseron wrapped a powerful hand around Pilot's throat who looked shocked at what he was seeing.

'Yeah.' smiled Elseron. With an overhand throw he launched Pilot into an air conditioning unit, ripping it from its moorings with the screech of shearing metal. But the netherworlder wouldn't go down that easy, clenching his hands into fists he bolted. His movements nothing more than smoky blurs. Elseron sparked his hands and stood ready for the attack, crackling eldritch lightning surrounding his massive fists. Pilot hit him with all the force of a speeding truck. Elseron locked his body however and pressed against the charge, skidding backward on his feet for several metres before Pilot released him and threw a punch with murderous intent. Ducking the attack the punch whistled over his head but Pilot had expected this movement and struck out with an uppercut. The force of the punch shook his teeth in their sockets but Elseron dug deep and took the offensive. Rugby tackling Pilot to the ground Elseron straddled his chest, pounding his face and body with a set of killer blows. Pilot struck back but again Elseron countered, grabbing his wrist and spinning it into a lock. But doing so loosened his position and Pilot took the advantage, thrusting upwards into a roll he reversed the lock onto Elseron.

His shoulder screamed in protest as the daemon pushed against the limb, powerless Elseron tried to find a weakness but the dark dweller held strong. 'I hope you can swing that axe of yours left handed Elseron.' Pilot whispered in his ear. With a great roar and surge of ethereal power Elseron flipped head of heels, cancelling out the lock before landing on his feet and wrapping an iron hand around Pilot's throat. The world bent. Elseron was flung through the air one way and pilot another before both falling to the floor metres apart from one another. Atlas and Eden stood by the fire door, with Dante, and Melody, and Phaedos, and Arisa. Atlas's eyes were crackling orbs of lightning as she stared at him, her hair floating upwards with the arcane powers she was using.

'Pilot, go with your wife downstairs.' she commanded with all the power of a Queen. Letting the dark dweller up his eyes shifted back to their sparkling leafy orbs and he brushed himself clean of the cinder dust and moved towards the door, before Eden finally smacked him around the face and lead him away down the stairs. 'Leave us.' muttered Atlas. The others faltered, 'I said leave!' her bellow shook the building and they all soon left, apart from Arisa, she stayed, looking at Elseron with pure fear in her eyes.

'Arisa...Arisa no please...' Elseron began reaching for the small girl but she ran. Tears streaming slowly down her face. Atlas watched her go before finally releasing hold of her powers and letting him up. It was that look, that look that broke him in two. It wasn't anger, or fear, or even confusion. It was heartbreak and disappointment.

'I hope you're happy Elseron.' she said the words with a complete lack of emotion, then left him. Turning her back on her so-called Guardian. I'm sorry my Princess.

The End

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