Chapter Two; The Metonite

Chapter Two; The Metonite

A Chapter by Knight

About 3,400 Words No less than after several hours, Circe reintroduced herself to the erratic Palace life since being away for nearly a week.

Minos accompanied his wife on a midday stroll through the Royal Palace’s lush garden, which now hosted such an empowered fragrance to it due to the maids cooking their favorite meal, sweet apple pie. The colorful flowers, savory herbs, and other forms of vegetation were all from the most alluring and marvelous parts of Marisea. In fact, it might have just been its own Marisean corner of the developed world.

“Oh, and Min, during my stay I met the new Emperor!” Circe brightly said.

“Did you? How’s that poor boy doing?” Minos humbly asked.

“He’s fascinating. I didn’t think someone so young could govern a country, let alone an empire. Although I’m positive he’s had a lot of help.”

The husband grinned amiably. Thankfully, neither Her Majesty or Minos had to address the problems of other nations. Being the continent’s policeman did seem like a beguiling job and one that no one wanted.

“Die...trich,” Minos struggled to correctly pronounce the name in his accent, “it’s a shame an emperor is in such a position.”

Circe chuckled and tilted her sleek head, “Let’s move on Min. Let’s not dwell on this too long; it’s not healthy for the soul. Especially when you can’t pronounce the boy’s name.”

“Then how’s it pronounced?” Minos’ chest marginally tightened.

“How should I know?”

Minos gazed pensively at the crystalline sky, “Where’s Emilia? Maybe she can tell us.” He suffered no issue accurately pronouncing the foreign name at that time.

“She’s praying in the chapel. Let’s not bother her,” Circe responded.

Minos nodded. That pious woman had to come out sooner or later, unless if Lazarus perpetually spoke to her. Emilia, the nun, introduced the two years back. If not for her, the Souli dynasty would’ve been nonexistent. Even then, nonexistence persisted as a legitimate concern. The Soulis didn’t have an heir. To an established monarchy, the lack of an heir resembled a dormant disease that appears at the worst time imaginable.

The two arrived at a stop in the garden where they accommodated themselves on a bench. The tenacious smell of apple pie remained, but the air gradually became sultry. A single strand of sweat traversed down Minos’ throat. He carefully loosened his collar and resolved to prudently keep his onyx jacket on for the sake of modesty and to look dashing in front of his wife.

Circe, however, dressed more liberally. After all, today was her day off the throne. Such a rare occurrence did not call for customary formalities, but Minos inevitably had to reluctantly return to work in a few fleeting hours.

Having been married for numerous years, the two naturally clung to each other’s hands and reveled in the tranquility and happiness in being around one another.

But the serenity, like all things, came to a brilliant finish. A small creature, officially called an Enfield, sprinted past the two. With the general appearance of an ashen wolf, the Enfield had eagle-like forelegs with wings that traversed up the same legs. Its head was that of a fox, but it retained the same sombre hue. Small and delicate, it was a pup with a sizable piece of meat beneath its snout. Circe’s azure eyes devotedly attached themselves to the tiny creature.

A guard, who retained the duty to routinely patrol the area, jogged past the two and didn’t even bat an eye. His flushed face yearned for some desirable water and fresh air.

Minos elevated himself up from the bench and offered his hand to his wife, “Shall we follow them?”

Circe beamed, “As long as I get to see that Enfield again.” She grasped his hand.

The two pursued the guardsman and the creature. However, the guard came to a complete stop once the excessive heat began to encumber him. He fixed his frayed collar and breathed.

“Where’d it go?” Circe placidly asked.

The guard’s ears perked up once he heard Circe’s radiant voice. He shakily swerved to face the two and stiffly saluted, “Her Majesty and Lord Souli! I-I am sorry for losing it.”

The Queen waved her hand, “Oh, there’s no need for an apology.”

The nervous soldier loosened his posture. While doing so, he listened to the hazy sound of an animal getting its fill. “That creature. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s still around here somewhere.”

Circe glanced around once she recognized the ephemeral noise. Minos noticed her attention, although he wasn’t confounded. A strength as much as it is a grave weakness, Circe’s love of animals was second only to the ardent love of her husband and her nation.

The distinctive sound of munching became more and more prominent. Minos was the one who first candidly acknowledged the creature; a bewildered expression overcame his face. The Enfield sat behind Circe like a gallant warrior before a frenzied crowd of formidable adversaries; the pup struggled to devour the cumbersome piece of meat it had managed to snatch.

Circe’s eyes glanced over Minos’ expression and veered around to witness what had bothered him. Lo and behold to her, the Enfield did not hide or cower. She cautiously lowered her hand, and the pup sniffed like an inquisitive baby groping at its mother’s dainty fingers.

“Well, that was easy,” the loyal soldier murmured. “What shall we do with it?” he respectfully asked the two.

“That’s a burning question, although I’m more concerned with how it arrived at the Palace in the first place,” Minos said. “How could it have gotten here? Enfields don’t venture far out of the wilds, do they?”

“Forgive my ignorance, Lord Souli. I do not know. Maybe it’s someone’s pet?” the guard solemnly inquired.

Minos exonerated the man, and he focused on his dear wife who fondly cherished the small Enfield in her hands. It definitely could have included an owner, although not many citizens adopted pets for financial reasons.

A feeling of skepticism embraced him, but an unexpectedly vaster sense of contentment enveloped the entirety of his body. His wife laughed merrily and held onto the Enfield with a firm, yet tenacious, grip.

“What shall we do with him? He’s too valuable to be left alone,” Circe said.

“We can keep it if you want. Although the maids might give us a hard time,” Minos responded favorably. Apprehension stuck to his heart as if it was some sort of organic glue. His cheeks flushed once the realization of envy dawned on him. However, his critical mind trod on the irrational thought. How could he be resentful of an animal?

“If that’s the case, then I’ll return to my post,” the guard announced. He dismissed himself after Minos had permitted it.

“What will we name it?” Circe asked.

“Let’s not give it a name for now. Our lunch should be finished any second-” the bells of the kitchen blared, “there it is.”

“What shall I do with him?” she continued with the questions.

“Go and ask Adriani. She’ll have an answer for you. In the meantime, I’ll go and fetch Emilia,” Minos said.

Circe grinned, “Sounds like a plan, Min.”

The husband nodded and left the Marisean garden. Its aroma faded, and the smell of clean and spotless corridors replaced it. He traversed the interior of the Royal Place as if it was a test with obvious answers.

An individual portrait of each past king and his family were situated in the hallways. They were all paired with opulent wallpaper, most of whom matched with the colors of the kingdom of blue and white. Other decorations and commodities, such as various realistic paintings, the occasional marble bust of a historical figure, and the doors that littered the halls, were also prevalent.

He arrived at the chapel where Emilia prayed. The sanctuary itself, having been dedicated to past generations, was small and quaint. The nun had utterly immersed herself in meditation, as her hands were brought together and her fingers were aimed toward the ceiling. Utter silence consumed the area, as the chapel itself purposefully hid away from the rest of the mansion.

Emilia kneeled before a mighty gold statue of a man. He wore a full suit of plate armor, and on his head was a sallet. A magnificent and jeweled crown adorned the sallet as well. In addition to the armor, the effigy bore a claymore-like sword that impaled the bronze skull of a demon. Six other skulls, each with a visible hole in their foreheads, laid around the divine man’s feet.

He was Lazarus, the benevolent god of humanity and eternal righteousness.

Minos observed Emilia as she finished reciting a fervent prayer of chastity.

She whispered tenderly, “God, bless me with the chastity that the Mother of the Church possessed long ago. And bless me with the admirable courage and righteousness of the Church Fathers now passed. I thank You and praise You, O Lord.”

He folded his hands, “Emilia, the apple pie’s ready.”

The nun stood up and smiled graciously, “Then let’s be on our way.”

Minos nodded and gestured for her to follow. The left the sacred chapel and casually walked through the corridors.

“So, Minos, how’s life going?” she merely asked while walking.

“It’s as you’d expect. The political aspect of it is… dreadful. But the marriage is fine, and we’re joyful,” he explained with a sense of evident dismay.

“Is something troubling you?” she fathomed him as if he was merely air.

“I’m uncertain, Sister. I don’t know what to do,” he dejectedly muttered. “So much has happened, I can’t deal with it all.”

“You don’t seem complete, Minos. This life isn’t desirable, but it’s the one that’s been forced onto you,” Emilia said. “Stress be damned. Enduring it will be difficult, but you will.”

He chortled, “It’s been too long since I’ve heard a nun swear. Much obliged for your encouragement, Emilia.”

“Of course. Although there will be a time when you’ll only have Lazarus by your side,” she replied.

“I have no doubt.”

The two arrived at the dining hall, but it appeared as though no one else had entered. However, the table was already set with delicious food, and the chairs surrounding it were slightly spaced outward.

Bewildered, Minos left Emilia at the dining hall to search for his wife and any others he might’ve encountered. He found nothing, much like a traveler searching for rumored gold.

The nothingness would instantly change after one fateful turn.

His knees quaked, his skin shivered, his stomach came to be heavy, and his eyes became fixated entirely.

A new color painted the walls and floor. It consisted merely of a shallow puddle and chaotic spots.

    The ghastly hue was that of ruby. It was of blood.

The entire world had allegedly stopped spinning for a slim moment. He wanted to run, to flee. But his heart hardened and became indecisive. So, his feebling mind seized control.

  Minos shakily approached the ailing body. It was a guardsman, as his rifle sat in the center of the puddle of blood. A significant and savage cut damaged his throat. Another terrible wound occupied his back. Even Minos, who was under no circumstances a doctor, could tell the slashes were not from any blade. They were rigid and thick, the type only a claw could intentionally create.

Minos lifted up the gun from the puddle, and much of the residue remained on it. Crimson dominated half of the barrel. Nonetheless, his eyes could not stop staring at his face. His countenance was nonchalant as if the angel of death passed over him for only a second.

But his life was not claimed by an angel. It was a beast that would’ve devoured him if it could have grasped his soul.

Minos’ ears twitched, and his hands were perpetually shaky. The ominous sound of vibrant footsteps made his heart skip a beat. For a man who formerly considered himself a mage, he had fallen so considerably!

He swiftly left the morbid scene with haste. Minos steered himself into one of the spare rooms of the mansion. Inside of the room was an empty wardrobe, a turquoise bed, and a dark desk. The shoddy, yet expensive, guest room by the looks of it.

However, this bedroom had one occupant, and that number did not include the anxious Minos. The denizen consisted of a youthful girl.

For a slight moment, the man had sworn his eyes deceived him. The mage rubbed his eyes, as for a meager moment he believed to have witnessed a loving lady dressed in blue. But, only the young girl in a juvenile maid uniform sat next to the desk.

Blood drifted down her fragile face. However, no wound cursed her body.

Minos carefully approached the girl and his eyes instantly widened.

No fear impounded her innocent heart, and her hands weren’t trembling. She remained tranquil like a faithful saint.

She disturbed her breathless stillness and lifted her chin up to stare at Minos; he clenched onto the bloodstained carbine in his hands. She gave him a passive smirk and lackadaisically said, “I know you. My sister talked about you a lot.”

“Your sister?” Minos muttered. His brows became furrowed. Who was this girl? And what sister?

Then he discerned his blind and senseless nature. “You’re one of Adriani’s sisters? Do you know what happened? Or where anyone is?” he rapidly asked.

She tilted her head.

Minos sighed contentedly and felt his chest relax, “What’s your name?”

“I’m Mairi,” she said eagerly.

“Mairi? That’s an exquisite name. Tell me, do you know what caused all of this?” Minos politely asked.

“It had the shape of a man, but its head looked like a wolf. It had black fur all of its body,” she informed him.

“A werewolf,” Minos murmured under his breath. “So it’s a monster,” he said to the girl.

She nodded.

“I know your hands can’t even properly hold this yet, but,” he lowered the rifle in front of her, “use this if the monster finds you before I find it.”

“You’re leaving me?” she questioned.

“I’m going to find others and the monster. Yell or shoot if something happens.”

“Like my sisters? Will you find them?” she happily asked.

“I will. I’ll try to make sure nothing happens to them,” he said soothingly.

Mairi grinned and leaned back into the polished desk. She, with strenuous effort, recovered the carbine and had the barrel rest on her lap. Not a sole thought about how Minos would valiantly defend himself passed through her moral conscience.

“Good girl,” he said. Minos left the room soon afterward and began to tread carefully through the Royal Palace. More corpses were encountered, all of whom were still warm. And each was of guards. He borrowed a rifle from one of the bodies.

Minos assumed that eleven more guards remained somewhere in the Royal Palace. However, all was quiet. He arrived at the garden, his heart now prepared to combat whatever terrorized the Palace.

His mind was not ready for a surprise.

The werewolf, who had presumably captured his scent, pounced from behind him.

Thankfully, the sense Minos relied on the most for this very moment, his hearing did not betray him. His body instinctively swerved around, and his brain forced his finger to squeeze the trigger of his rifle.

The errant bullet pierced its leg, but the minor damage did not prevent its thunderous assault.

It slashed its cruel claws at Minos’ chest; the stock of the carbine received the brunt of the attack and prevented him from imminent death. As an unfortunate result, the weapon flew out of his hands due to the werewolf’s robust strength. Minos was now completely defenseless.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While not intentional, Minos’ potency in magic naturally kicked in to defend himself. He finally broke an old promise.

An enormous gust circulated around Minos and the werewolf temporarily fleed with a confounded look in its sapphire eyes.

The mage breathed deeply and fell onto his knees. A sense of regret overshadowed him, but inside he knew that Circe would understand. Meanwhile, he prompted himself of the hidden abilities of the arcane.

Minos followed the werewolf for what seemed to be an hour. But the trail turned cold.

So many thoughts dominated his head. Where was his wife? Or the maids? Or the armed guards? He prayed to Lazarus that no one else was killed or hurt.

He stopped by the dining hall, but Emilia vacated the contested area. She too was currently missing. He clenched his rifle in raw anger.

After another short search, he discovered the body of a guardsman. The entirety of his military uniform was gone, as well as his weapon. His head had a deep gash.

Minos made sure to analyze the man’s face thoroughly, or at least, the parts that weren’t covered in blood. His appearance inadvertently confirmed Minos’ fear, that werewolf was a crazed Druid. Shapeshifting was only one of their abilities.

He glared at the ground and felt his blood boil. “I should have known sooner,” he whispered. “That Enfield! That… beast!”

The sound of a gun discharging blared through the courtyard and Minos pursued it after determining it couldn’t have been Mairi’s. The courtyard, which was distinct from the garden, consisted of a sea of grass and a single pine tree.

As Minos turned into the courtyard, he was confronted with the end of a carbine’s barrel.

There he stood, the Druid, over the bleeding body of a maid. His face was morphed into that of the deceased soldier, and it had been nearly perfectly reproduced. The unique difference subsisted in the deep wound, as well as the tiny semi-healed bullet hole on his leg.

“I’ve finally found you, aristocrat,” the Druid angrily said.

Minos didn’t respond and instead focused on the maid.

Adriani.

Wrath seized absolute control.

“Not going to say anything? So be it. For the Metonites!” the Druid, now the Metonite, began to press his finger on the trigger.

In that instant, Minos memorized the political subject wholly. Metonites.

A bullet fired, and blood frantically began to seep from a deep shoulder injury.

But the injury didn’t belong to Minos.

The Metonite gasped as he abandoned his destructive weapon and collapsed onto the dirt. He braced his shoulder and wailed in pain. The durable hide of a werewolf didn’t preserve him this time.

The man who shot him stood in a gaping window from the mansion and was the guard formerly seen in the garden.

Minos clasped the rifle before the Metonite could reach it. The assassin watched with a painful expression and reddening eyes.

Thus, the Metonite initiated his pitiful escape. He stood up onto his own two feet and began wobbling away, but Minos bashed the battered stock of the carbine into the back of his right leg. He crumbled and fell onto his knees.

A group of five guardsmen entered the courtyard; the world finally started to make sense.

They arranged themselves into a firing line besides Minos. One of the guards asked, “What will we do with him, sir? He’s not going anywhere.”

“Where’s my wife?” Minos abruptly questioned.

“She’s safe, Lord Souli. That damn Enfield tricked most of us! He trapped most of us one by one, and killed the others,” the soldier responded.

The Metonite vociferously laughed, “Those are only the start! The rich and powerful who abuse the poor will suffer in the revolution!”

One of the soldiers chuckled, “Ey boys, I think we got a socialist!” The other men guffawed.

“Go ahead, take me prisoner!” the Metonite yelled.

The five men anticipated a decision.

Minos faced the Metonite with an intense gaze.

Ensure he has a closed casket funeral, guardsmen.

The Metonite’s horrified eyes bulged, and his lips began to tremble uncontrollably, “W-What! Take me prisoner!” He pleaded and pleaded.

“You heard him, lads,” one of the disgruntled soldiers said.

They all lifted up their rifles.

“Fire!”

Bullet after bullet discharged from their respective weapons. They all fired more than once, and a dozen filthy holes occupied his carcass.

Mairi, as well as another miserable girl who appeared to be in her adolescents, mourned over the body of Adriani.

Minos turned away in overwhelming shame to see his wife and Emilia anxiously watching.





© 2019 Knight


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Added on March 14, 2019
Last Updated on March 15, 2019


Author

Knight
Knight

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Hey, you can call me Knight. I'm someone simply trying to get my writing critiqued so that I can understand my weaknesses and strengths. I typically write fantasy, but I can be flexible when the need .. more..

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