Arthur's Point of View
"Arthur." Lucia said from beside me.
We were being escorted through the magical forest of the Druids and Dwarves. "Vitar!"
Camoa sighed. "Must you do this?"
I ignored them. "Vitar!" I called a little louder. "Where are you, you bundle of dwarven joy!?"
Many stared at us as we walked through the city. It was magical indeed. Little lights lit up the canopy as sunlight bounced through the treetops and off little crystals here and there. Honestly, their home was something you would expect of the elves, but being druids, I guess it was acceptable too.
Homes were built into the trees. Ranging from the ground to the very top of the trees, walkways, windows, and other establishments lined the entirety of the city. And it was a city. Druids and dwarves alike watched as we were escorted further in, but there wasn't anything that really stood out as a palace.
On the ground level, there appeared to be new buildings. Huts, workshops, and more were being constructed. No doubt for the dwarves. It was truly beautiful. Something you would expect from a city hidden in the forest.
"Will you stop that!?" Lucia smacked me as she flushed from what I assumed to be embarrassment. Mission accomplished. "King Vitar isn't to be called like some dog-"
"No one called him a dog." Lucia lips thinned as her eyes narrowed. "I specifically said bundle of dwarven joy."
Camoa stepped in front of her before she could pounce on me. "What Lucia is trying to say, is that a king should not be called out in such a manner. We are being escorted."
I shrugged. "Yeah, but this is more fun, don't you think?"
"Can't believe I came for this shit." Vome commented.
"It's really not." Dwar said as he escorted us. "Never before have we had foreign dignitaries arrive, only to have a war in the sand, before being attacked by one of their own party." The Dwarven General stated. "Truly, your way of diplomacy leaves others in awe."
"I can't imagine in a good way." Lucia pointed out.
"You don't know that. I could be an inspiration." I shot back.
Dwar kept quiet at that. "An inspiration to do better maybe." The lovely pink haired bunny in disguise replied.
We came to a tree. "We're here." The dwarf told us.
"This is a tree." Pointing out the obvious just made the others groan.
"Are you going to be like this the whole time?" Lucia pressed as she crossed her arms.
"Nah. Once I see Vitar, I'm sure everything'll settle down."
"What about me?" A familiar voice called.
A wild dwarf queen, formerly anyway, appeared. "It's the angry ch-" I was looking down at her and she immediately glared. "I mean, Ventari! How are you doing!?" Putting on my award-winning grin, the former queen rolled her eyes.
The woman scoffed. "We were doing fine. Business as usual." Her frown deepened as she cranked her head back to glare. "That is, until someone came into our city screaming my son's name." I opened my mouth. "Make a joke and I will kick you." She threatened.
"Why is everyone so violent?" I pondered out loud. Slowly, everyone, even those who heard me nearby, turned their heads to look at me with raised brows. "What?"
Lucia roughly pushed me to the side. "Ignore him." She said as I stumbled into Rock.
"Lucia," Ventari greeted with a soft smile as she stepped forward and took her hands in her own. "It's wonderful to see you. We heard some terrible rumors about why Arthur might've left, but I am glad to see they were unfounded."
Laughing awkwardly, the pink-haired girl replied. "Maybe not as unfounded as you think."
The former queen's smile vanished. "I see. Perhaps we will have time to speak, but for now, let me show you to where you'll be staying." Her gaze then drifted back to me. "Well, if you're planning on staying."
"Kind of just want to speak to Vitar about something." I admitted. "But we did plan to stay for a few days."
"Wonderful." The queen said as she turned to Dwar. "Show them to their quarters. We had them made for you as soon as we heard about your arrival." Her attention then moved to Rock. "Although, I'm afraid we might not be able to host your-" She paused as she thought about what word to use carefully. "Companion…"
Whispers could be heard as we had drawn quite a crowd. Normally, I'd say it was my fault, but not in this case. Not only was our little group quite unique, and I knew I was a hero to these people, more seemed to be staring at the golem that was the overprotective guardian to our home. Rock seemed to preen at the attention.
Although, I noticed many of the druids who were watching whisper as well. While the dwarves seemed excited at Rock's appearance, many druids appeared just as restless. However, it lacked a more positive energy. Mumbles, glares, and harsher expressions were also leveled our way. Well, Camoa's way, but she seemed to take it all in stride. Maybe a little too smug if anything.
Lucia gestured to the golem made real. "This is Rock. He's a golem created by Arthur and is technically his son."
Many eyes widened in surprise at that. "If you stay down here, can you play nice?" I asked the living boulder, which got a head bob in response.
Vome quickly latched onto the golem's arm. "I'd be delighted to stay with him!" At everyone's look, he cleared his throat. "Just to act as a go between, of course."
"Of course." Rolling my eyes, I turned back to Ventari. "Rock won't hurt anyone as long as no one attacks him. He is fully intelligent as well. Make sure people are aware of that."
"We will be sure to do so." She turned to a few guards and nodded at them before they ran off. No doubt for them to spread the word. "Unfortunately, my son is busy in a few meetings at the moment." Gesturing to me, the queen frowned. "Are you okay with waiting? Vitar would see you if it was urgent."
"What meetings is he dealing with if you don't mind my asking?" I inquired more politely as I crossed my arms.
Dwar stepped forward at that. "The King is currently in a meeting with Lady Turiel. Talks are still in progress for many details concerning our new city and capital."
Ventari nodded at that. "Its name for one. Construction has been progressing well as you can tell, and while it might not be anywhere close to being finished, a name is important." She explained, and I nodded at her. "We also have several other issues that are rather vital that need to be addressed."
"Anything we can help with?" Lucia questioned with a soft smile. She was always so earnest with helping others. "We'd be happy to offer our aid."
"Until the king can meet with you, we cannot say, but I'm sure Vitar would be willing to at least discuss certain topics when he has a moment." Ventari replied. "I need to get back as well. Please enjoy your stay, and we will do our best to finish the talks as soon as possible."
"Take your time." I replied. "I understand how difficult this time must be for you. Show us where we're staying, and then we might just go exploring if that would be allowed."
Ventari seemed surprised at my tone, as did a few of the others. "We could offer a guide if you wish…"
"If that'll make you feel more comfortable, then by all means." I told her as I waved loosely.
"I must say, you are handling this far better than I expected, Lord Arthur." Ventari pointed out. "We half expected you to start running around as soon as you arrived just like last time."
With a slight bow of my head, I spoke. "Last time, your city was under siege, and we had just finished a long journey. There was no guarantee how long your defenses were going to hold, and they certainly didn't last very long after our arrival, but this is different. I'm well aware of the administrative work you must be facing." I explained simply with a firm wave of my hand. "You must have your hands full. We didn't come to cause trouble, so while I don't promise to be on my best behavior, you can expect me to act accordingly."
"Thank you." Ventari gave a slight bow in return. "That is a weight off my shoulders. Do enjoy your stay, and I will inform my son you're in no hurry at the moment. If something changes, please inform one of your escorts I will assign to you."
"Until later." Ventari said her goodbyes and moved to a lift on the side of a nearby tree.
I immediately turned to Dwar. "We don't have to climb fifty flights of stairs, do we?"
"No." He answered. "Not that it would matter for you. Come, I'll show you to your rooms." We entered the tree to come into an open living area that reminded me of a getaway vacation cabin. "Ground level would be best for you, but unfortunately, Rock will not be able to fit inside. We also ask you keep him outside to keep the stability of the tree."
Lucia looked alarmed at that. "Is there no magic supporting these homes?"
Dwar shook his head. "There are, but given his nature, we'd rather be safe than sorry."
"We understand." Camoa replied. "I shall make myself comfortable." She strolled off into a room causing Lucia to look at me.
I shrugged in response. "This druid is unfamiliar to me. How do you know her?" Dwar asked.
"She saved my life." Lucia answered.
"Truly?" Dwar seemed surprised. "Hmm." He hummed at my nod. "I see. I'll make sure to relay the information." The general's attention quickly shifted from Lucia to me. "Did you find the other High Elf you were looking for?" At my raised brow, he explained further. "You inquired about a pink-haired High Elf before you left while you were still injured. I asked if it was Lady Lucia you referred to."
"Right." That did happen. "While we were crossing the desert." Lucia turned to me surprised. "I was looking for Lucia's mother, and I had hoped you might have some information on her. Then again, there might be another lead I found, but I'm not positive. Until I know more, there isn't anything I can do."
Lucia's eyes seemed to shimmer. "You were looking for my mom?"
A frown came to his lips. "I've been looking for her. Not that any of your fellow High Elves have been much help." Credo and Pestilence came to mind, but I didn't say anything. "However, since we're on the topic, there is something you should know."
Dwar's eyes hardened. "I don't like the sound of that."
"We ran into another High Elf before coming here." I told him as I pointed down with a finger. "Here. In this forest." The dwarf's expression turned to granite as his eyes became an icy glare. "Trapped us in an illusion before we even knew what was happening towards the edge of the forest near the grasslands on the other side."
"Why did you head to the grasslands? Not many return from there alive. None if they actually enter from my knowledge."
Lucia answered with, "We didn't. Our party was enthralled before we even knew it and we traversed the forest within a few hours on foot."
He rubbed his chin as he seemed disturbed. "I supposed with your abilities, it would be possible to make your way through the forest with such haste that-"
"No." I cut him off.
Crossing my arms, I spoke with an edge to my tone. "We only walked, and somehow, we made it through the entire forest."
"That's not possible."
"No," I agreed, "It's not."
"This is disturbing news." Dwar stated. "But I'm glad you told me. We'll make sure to keep our scouts informed, but if someone was able to fool even you, I'm not sure we can keep them at bay."
"I'm not entirely sure you'll need to worry about him. A High Elf can be a problem, but this was a different one than the one that showed up in Dwardew." I told him before giving a small shrug. "Your illusions and barriers you have in place seemed to hold against me, but I don't use magic, so I won't tell you you'll be fine."
"Regardless, this information is good to know. I'll bring it to the King's attention along with Lady Turiel. Maybe they can come up with a solution."
Lucia smiled. "We'll help if we can."
He nodded gratefully to her. "Thank you, my Lady. Perhaps you two have a moment to tell me a few tales of what has happened since Lord Arthur has left in such a flurry." Dwar's attention shifted back to him. "Many wondered if it was due to your relationship with Lady Elincia being exposed. Not that the two of you were subtle by any means."
With the most unimpressed expression I've ever seen, Lucia turned to me with a stink-eye, and I flushed slightly. "I was drunk!" My defense was lacking…
Breeze's Point of View
Leaving wasn't an option. The creature had made that painfully obvious. While I was up high in the sky, the lava demon seemed to follow me on the ground. Even when hiding within the clouds, breaking line of sight, and merely floating along with the wind, the creature had remained directly under me. It was disturbing to see such senses in an enemy.
With a sigh, I looked over to the volcanic curtain in the distance. Part of me wondered if I should flee the area entirely, wait for my father to return, and then let him deal with this. While I could cool the heat surrounding him, the being would just seep into the ground before bursting forth once more. There was nowhere to fight it with it being able to retreat anywhere we would battle.
It wasn't until I'd heard the sound of flapping on the wind… No, not flapping. This was different. Like the air itself retreated at the sound he heard. A deep rumbling could soon be heard as the wind picked up and destroyed the smog, clouds, and other smoke nearby.
A roar rang out before the entire sky darkened. On instincts alone did I move. What felt like the sky falling down around me, or a meteor crashing down to earth, a massive blur shot past me before slamming into the ground. Lava, rock, and smoke erupted everywhere. Dodging in and out of the splashing of molten rock, I looked down upon hearing more roars.
To my shock, a massive dragon had appeared. Massive almost seemed to be an understatement. While Kandma was still larger than this new beast, it's size along gave him pause. Black spikes, spines, and armor decorated the dragons hide while a crimson hue seemed the most accurate description for the beast. A red dragon would be what kids would call it, but he knew better, and he knew what color it resembled most. The color of blood.
It only appeared to have one front arm… Leg? Shaking my head, I watched as the beast's one arm reached down into the lava and ripped the demon up into the air. With a mighty roar, the dragon brought its jaw forward and bit the creature in half. A screech of pain left the demon before it fell silent just as suddenly. I half expected it to spit the demon out. It did not.
Lifting its long neck to the sky, you could almost see the scales bulge as the lava slid down its throat. Then, to finish the foe, it ate the rest of the creature as it had gone completely still. A long tail swished back and forth similar to a dog, but this was anything but. Slowly, the dragon's gaze lifted and seemed to focus solely on me with eyes no doubt sharper than any other.
One armored claw extended as the dragon leaned back on its hind legs and pointed up at him. "Come down here." It rumbled in a deep baritone voice. I knew that I probably should've fled at that point. Something as powerful as a Ghoul or Ancient Demon was killed and disposed of in seconds. That did not bode well. However, I was quickly dissuaded. "Do not make me chase you." The dragon advised.
"I'm not sure I could get away." I replied in a mumble doubting he would hear it.
"You would not." The dragon answered immediately.
Treacherous thoughts came to the front of my mind. Can you outrun a dragon, Breeze? I need you for a mission only you can do… Ugh.
With no other choice, I lowered myself down towards the giant dragon that just ate something far larger than myself in two bites, mostly to make sure it was dead. The dragon kept its gaze on me as I stopped around eye level with the overly large beast.
"I apologize for trespassing." The words left my mouth as the sharp look from the reptilian eyes. "My father sent me to speak with-"
He cut me off. "Pyrite." The dragon rumbled. "Yes, I heard you before." That was surprising. Had this dragon been following me since I had arrived and just not revealed itself or did it use me as bait to lure out that demon? "We will get to that later, but first, what are you?" I did not expect such a question, nor did I expect the dragon to start sniffing, or rather, inhaling my scent deeply. "I've never come across a creature such as you before. You smell of the sky, use the clouds as aid, but have no wings… What manner of creature are you?"
"W-Well," I stammered out, a little intimidated, "I'm Breeze. While I do have siblings, I'm the only one of my kind. I represent air, while my sister and brother align with a different element. We were made."
"That does not answer my question." The dragon's eyes narrowed. "I ask what you are. Not your name, nor about your siblings, but the type of race you belong to. Are you a spirit?" A deep rumble accompanied the question.
"Not in the way you're thinking, and I don't have a race. As I said, I'm one of a kind. My father made me to be unique."
"Unique, indeed." He agreed. "Who is your father, and how was he able to create you?" Walking caused all manner of sulfur to shoot in the air as the dragon disturbed the fragile ground below.
"I'm actually here on behalf of my father to speak with Pyrite. Perhaps you know him."
"Perhaps. His name." He demanded. "It would be wise to answer my questions with more haste, Breeze."
I nodded. "Arthur Pendragon is his name. The dragons should know him by another name, though. Its-"
"Mordred." He seemed to hiss.
An alarming response from such a large creature. "Yes." Was my simple response.
A rumble began to gather in the dragon's throat, and I readied myself to run if needed. "What does Arthur Pendragon want? To make a mockery of our name?"
My head tilted at that. "What?"
"He took the name dragon, did he not?"
"Then he sent you here to speak with us? Why not come himself?"
"There's been a few incidents he's needed to address. He hopes to speak with the dragons in a more official capacity if you'd let Pyrite know."
"Does he?" I gave another nod. "And what would he wish to speak about?"
My lips thinned as the dragon's eyes turned into slits. A clear sign of anger. "I cannot say for he did not tell me. He comes in peace and wishes no harm to you or your people."
Scoffing, the dragon hissed out, "Neither did Arceana or Elincia, but they did more than harm us."
A spark of anger rose in me. "My father is not Elincia, nor is he Arceana, and I would not have him compared to the two."
"I suppose being compared to those two girls would be an insult." He agreed as a burst of steam left the cracks in his teeth. "But how did Arthur create you? What manner of creature would he need to sleep with to have such a child?"
"My siblings and I were created with the use of magic. Arthur Pendragon and Aydan Farro's combined efforts created us through magic."
"Elves and their magic." The dragon all but spat as he eyed him with greater disdain and less interest. "They would go so far to create life with their own magic without the thought of what it could do… Disgusting."
A deeper frown came to my lips as I had to bite back an insult. "Your thoughts on my existence aside, would you be willing to inform Pyrite that Arthur Pendragon would like to speak with him?"
"Why would I do that?" The dragon inquired. "I have no reason to meet with him nor inform anyone else about his request."
"Not even because of the demon that was clearly wandering your lands?"
"I think you saw what happens to demons who enter this land." He replied gruffly. "Leave. Do not return."
Another sigh left my lips. "I will do so, but I'm not so sure my father will refrain from coming himself next."
"Then I will deal with Arthur Pendragon when he arrives next. I felt his magic running rampant across our lands not long ago. Whether it be to threaten us, or from a different confrontation, make sure he is aware there will be consequences if he tries to find us."
"If you could just inform Pyrite that my father wishes to see him, I'm sure-"
I didn't get to finish as his tail shot out like a whip. Coming down just beside me with enough force to pull me down in a downdraft as his tail slammed into the magma below. Losing my balance made it difficult to dodge, but thankfully, I still had my barrier up keeping most of the debris away from me.
My eyes drifted to the dragon that's mouth was aflame as it stared at me threateningly. "Leave. Do not return." He spoke as fire dripped from his maw. "Warn Arthur Pendragon we do not wish to speak with him."
"But-" Was all I was able to get out before his jaw practically unhinged.
If there wasn't any fire built up in his mouth, I probably would've been able to see the back of the dragon's throat, and maybe even down to its stomach given how big it was. As it was, the hissing sound grew louder before the dragon roared an unleashed a torrent of flames toward me. Cursing quietly, I flew high in the sky, but it did little as the air seemed to catch fire.
Angry roars could be heard, along with crashing throughout the ground. I doubt the dragon was chasing me, but I did glance back. The dragon remained where it was. However, it was not happy if it destroying everything in sight was anything to go by as its flames seemed to reignite the very volcanoes underneath the ground that had gone cold or cooled over into mere rock.
"Really wish we had a fire sibling right now." I said with a sigh as I headed for the curtain. "Father will need to know about this. Hopefully, he won't be too disappointed." That didn't seem very likely. "I wonder how Rock is doing with him right now…"
Arthur's Point of View
Rock was preening under all the attention he was getting from the dwarves and even some of the more curious druids. "I think he's happy." I commented.
A few dwarven children were hanging off of him as Vome boasted about the golem. I didn't understand why he would boast about anything regarding Rock, but if he was happy, it was fine. The giant boulder would raise metals from the earth at the applause of the dwarves, which caused him to roll his eyes a little as he bobbed up and down happily.
"You think?" Lucia asked back sarcastically.
"All the time. You should try it."