Meanwhile, the princess lay waiting for her prey, stark naked on top of the king's bed. The hours of the afternoon were beginning to wane, and so was Aira's patience. The whole lapse of her loneliness was spent contemplating her terrible revenge on Damian, and the lustful things she would do to Cole to enact that vengeance.
"And after I am done with him," she said, rolling over onto her stomach, exposing curvaceous cheeks and a slender backside, "Cole will take me away to West Sparrow." Then she sighed, slowly kicking her legs into the air and down again, one after the other, "That is, after I rid him of that pesky little priss. The king would be more easily tamed without having to master his tamer. Ruby is a thorn in my side."
Her imaginings drifted away from the thought of her rival; her seemingly mortal foe, more so than the new Dragon King. She wished not to spoil the mood, so she thought of the world which each star-born king had recounted to her. "West Sparrow," she said, quitting the movement of her legs, then rolling over onto her back once again.
Though her thoughts were devious, they failed to stain her angelic appearance. Her figure was a portrait of alluring beauty as she caressed the sheets. The dark blanketing of the bed, as well as the glow of sunlight streaming through a window, outlined and highlighted her pearl-colored anatomy, producing a celestial glow.
"West Sparrow, that sounds infinitely more interesting than Avelen. Certainly more entertaining at least, since there has been no mention of some Oracle," she said bitterly to herself. "All of the years I have spent dedicated to courtship, raising this kingdom from its lowest lows, but never will I be recognized as Queen Aira - not while every denizen worships this Oracle. Yet this West Sparrow sounds ripe for ruling."
She stretched her limber body, expanding her extremities to the four corners of the bed. Her hands playfully swept across the surface of the sheets, and another rush of scented musk filled the atmosphere. Aira's mind wandered to thoughts of Cole.
"He's no Damian," she said fondly, then sneered, "but it could be worse; he could have been a woodsman. How much more handsome the king would be without that scar, yet there is a certain charm to how he keeps his hair."
She let out a giggle, but the sound was mixed with a tone of malevolence. "He seems to adapt so well here, truly he must be the one who will liberate me, from this place. When he returns to this chamber, he will be mine." Her velvety hands stroked through silky tresses of hair, then down onto her skin. She licked her lips with moistening delight. "Oh yes, he will be mine!"
Her fingers tantalized and titillated as they gently massaged her torso; sensations of pleasure vibrated through her entire being. A phantasmal fantasy of the young man appeared to her in a dreamlike vision. He was adorned in royal garments and jewels, crowned with the authority of the kingdom; his cut physique exposed under a burgundy and gold cloak; his trim jawline was slanted with an expression of infallible confidence; his youthful and hardened body pressed against her own; his world opening to her.
Aira's hands were no longer satisfied roaming her torso alone, and they commenced exploring deeper regions of stimulus, but as the royal maiden lay trembling in feverish passion, with more fantasies of Cole mounting all of the true glory of the kingdom, the door of the bedchamber suddenly creaked loudly as it opened.
The princess sat up in suspense, certain that her time had finally come to capture the heart of the king, but to her great horror a scratchy voiced and thin bearded sage entered the bedchamber.
"My king," the Elder began to say, but started in surprise upon such a dissolute discovery, "I was hoping to have a word with you - oh my!"
Aira shrieked, then swiftly drew the sheets of her body. Her face was colorless, and a blank expression of a loss for words left her quite embarrassed.
"Princess Aira! What, by the great Oracle, are you doing in here?" The elderly sage covered his eyes with his hands, averting his gaze away from the royal maiden. "What is the purpose of this affair?"
"This is not as it appears, Elder," she stammered and stumbled off of the bed, draping the bed sheets over her voluptuous body.
"Are you suggesting my eyes be blinded by some strange magic? Do you mean to say that this is all some great illusion? Do you know how that sounds, my lady? I have to assume you have gone mad or-"
Then the sage's speech halted, and the wisdom of his aged mind placed certain pieces of the puzzle together. Aira could sense in the flash of the Elder's eyes that he had guessed a buried secret.
"Aira, you have gone mad! Why? Tell me you didn't do this to Felgroth. Please," be begged pitifully, "please, tell me you didn't!"
"His name is Damian!" The innocent appeal of her complexion was wrinkled by a wicked glare.
"It was you then, Princess! You corrupted the poor king's soul! His desire for you weakened his spirit; his heart was not strong enough to combat the nefarious black magic of the wyvern. You do not understand what this means - I must confer with others immediately, they will want to know of this!"
"They shall not hear of it," came the voice of the princess from behind the sage, just as he turned to depart from the chamber. Aira quickly drew a sleek cutlass from its sheath; the same blade designated to her most feared opposition. Before any other noise could be heard, the Elder was ran through, and collapsed upon the floor as a dead mass.
Aira wasted no time covering up the horrid change of scene. She felt no remorse from her action, believing that she deserved to be in West Sparrow, regardless of the pawns it would take to arrive there. She was mechanical, and in a few hurried moments, the whole chamber looked as if there had been a struggle, and the sage lay slain upon the floor. She was dressed again in her robes, and finished cleaning the blood off of the sword.
When all of the other servants heard the princess scream, they rushed to discover what happened. How sad of a tale it was: a wretched imposter once again wearing royal garments had been searching to assassinate the king, but instead found the Elder, and murdered him in Cole's place.
Malachai, as well as Ruby and Cole, felt discouraged about the circumstance, while all other sages of the Council wept grievously for their slain tutor.
"This terrible sadness could not have come at a worse time," the woodsman said, "indeed, how dreadful is our enemy's persistence and wit." When he said this, his glance pierced the very soul of Aira, though he continued on, addressing all royal members present, "I shall make the necessary preparations for his burial, but we cannot afford to delay for even a moment."
Malachai turned to Cole and Ruby, "We must make ourselves ready. Tonight is a great Fae festival; tonight in the village, they celebrate the honor of Tahni, or friendship. The Elder had arranged a covert meeting with the leaders of the Fae, hoping to solidify a treaty, recognizing you, my liege, as the true king of Avelen. Without his presence, we may not be able to persuade them of such, even with the golden feather."
His voice was heavy and grim. "I had hoped to avoid risking your lives, but it seems no longer are we safe, even in the castle. You two will accompany me tonight, absconding to the festival, without any outside knowledge of this. We may yet win the favor of the Fae."