Well it seemed a shame not to post this seen as I'd written it...so here it is Chapter 4 (apologies for the double post, the word count is somewhat smaller these days :/ )
It had been a long day. After sending his rebellious niece and nephew home from this morning’s execution he had set about performing his usual duties in and around the city. Though not before promising himself to find out exactly how the pair of teenagers had managed to sneak out of the palace unseen in the first place, after all if they could sneak out then somebody else could sneak in and that could prove disastrous…possibly even fatal.
After spending most of the day performing his official duties he had gone to meet with his eyes and ears; a network of strategically placed people loyal to the crown that could watch the comings and goings of not only the city but the entire country and even some of those that bordered it. Yet after hearing what little they had to tell him today Sync couldn’t help but suspect that something was seriously wrong. Things were too quiet, no plots, no disgruntled murmurings even the usual petty squabbling between the border lords were somewhat lacking today, almost as if they’d decided to put aside their ambitions for the time being. No, something was definitely going on because although his men were good at keeping the kingdom safe they weren’t that good.
Located on a small estate on the outskirts of the capital, Sync’s home was a relatively modest villa with a pair of small cottages for the servants to live in, a vineyard and an ice house. As the king’s half-brother and spymaster it wouldn’t have been out of the question for him to live within a far grander and more decadent property; perhaps even a palace with a noble title of his own. But Sync was more than happy with his lot in life; loyally serving the man that he had been tasked with killing and the queen he had tried to steal from him. It had taken him a long time to fully atone for those sins and he felt that his little corner of the world was reward enough for his efforts despite what Glasya said.
However no sooner had he set foot within his home he realised that something wasn’t right; the house was too quiet and too dark and there was no sign of the servants anywhere, not that he had many; a pair of maids, a cook, a butler and a gardener and although they didn’t wait on him hand and foot he’d have expected one of them to come and greet him upon entering his own home.
Pulling a dagger from a hidden fold within his robes Sync embraced his magic; feeling the power radiating out from his very core. He had learnt much from mages guild that Mei had set up within the kingdom, albeit in secret as he didn’t wish the entire world to know that the king’s half-brother was a mage, let them find that out when it was far too late for them to do anything about it.
A noise suddenly came from across the hall. Crouching low Sync slipped across the hallway using flows of air to muffle his footsteps to near silence; his mind actively seeking out the aura of others hiding within his home. His foot suddenly made contact with something dark and soft lying upon the floor, a piece of clothing of some kind? He could examine it later but first there was definitely someone in the next room.
Placing one hand on the door handle and using the other to tightly grip the slender bladed dagger he slowly pushed open the door using yet more magic to stifle the hinges into silence; tensing his muscles ready to spring into action and with at least three spells already at the front of his mind, ready to cast at a moments notice Sync opened the door.
With the door fully opened and with his dagger ready to strike Sync would let out a relieved sigh “hello baby boy, miss me?” Glasya purred from where she lounged within the large square bath.
The bathroom had been her idea and was probably her favourite room in the house. The walls and floor were covered in shimmering blue and white tiles with the bath; which was the size of a small swimming pool, located at its centre with a beautifully rendered mosaic of what she had called a firebird at its bottom. Releasing his hold on the magic within him as he returned the dagger to its hiding place Sync addressed his partner with obvious surprise “Glasya you’re back…Had I known you were returning…”
“I know, but I wanted to relax… so I sent the servants home and made myself comfortable” she continued with a chuckle; raising a single shapely leg from out of the water before making it disappear once again with a gentle splash. From what Sync could see Glasya had wanted to really relax as she lounged within the bath in her natural form; her long dark hair trailing out behind her as she lay within the water in stark contrast to her coppery coloured skin and blood red eyes, with the construct catching a brief glimpse of her long, sharp canines as she offered him a seductive smile as she purred to him “Join me?” Sync didn’t need asking twice as he stripped out of his work clothes and climbed into the bath with a grateful sigh. The warm, scented water doing wonders for his aching muscles as did Glasya’s hands as they gently kneaded his shoulders and back “So…how was your trip?” he quietly asked, enjoying the sensation of her bare skin against his own “hmm…productive if not particularly enjoyable” she murmured vaguely before gently kissing his cheek “oh baby boy you’ve gotten old” she said with a touch of disappointment in her voice. For where as Sync had aged like the rest of those who had fought within the war Glasya still looked to be in her mid thirties and dazzlingly beautiful to boot.
With a weary sigh and a rolling of his eyes Sync gently placed his hands over his face only to remove them a few moments later to reveal a young man of around twenty five “Better?”
“yes…much, though one day you’re going to have to tell me whether you’re an old man who makes himself look young to keep his rather shallow partner happy, or a young man who pretends to be old in order to blend in with the world?” the Ifrit’s question prompting Sync to chuckle to himself over the question that he’d been asked so many times over the years.
Turning around so as to face her, Sync pulls Glasya in close and kisses her; his aura flaring in such a way that the love he held for her was unmistakeable before then whispering his reply “well…I guess we’ll never know, will we?” the Ifrit giving a girlish giggle before kissing him back. Despite the fact that they probably should make an effort to go to the gathering up at the palace; after all they had been invited, though both Glasya and Sync suspected that a lot of it was down to politeness rather than actually wanting them there. A necessary evil… wasn’t that the term? They performed a function and performed it well but they weren’t exactly loved for it with Glasya especially being tolerated by the royal couple though who could blame them considering her actions during the war?
For now however they had time to kill and there was something to be said for arriving fashionably late, in fact it was kind of expected of them so who were they to disappoint?