Under the Dark Sun

Under the Dark Sun

Feb 06, 2024

As he rode back to the palace, Aslan was reminded of the message he had received from the messenger phoenix. The hologram had shown the citizens of the town being marched away, accompanied by the Knights of Darkness. Then Sharai had appeared on the screen, pleading for Aslan's help.

Reginald remained silent, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword, Lament. The energy between them was palpable, and Reginald felt a surge of strength and power flow through his body. The sensation was a dull, constant ache that seemed to make his muscles grow stronger.

"How was your stay at Zurkaks?" Aslan asked.

"It was fine," Reginald replied nonchalantly. "How did you come by that sword?"

"I found it on the way out and decided to take it," Reginald replied.

"You should be careful with that blade," Aslan warned. "It has a tendency to destroy everything it touches."

"The Knights of Darkness seem to be able to wield them without any problems," Reginald pointed out.

"Perhaps they have some secret that allows them to do so," Aslan mused. "But we have more pressing matters to attend to in the kingdom. The Knights of Darkness are mobilizing the citizens for some unknown purpose."

"What do you think they're planning?" Reginald asked.

"That's what we need to find out," Aslan replied gravely.

As they traveled, Reginald couldn't shake the feeling that this wouldn't be the last time he heard from Lady Night. The memory of her piercing gaze filled him with a sense of dread at the thought of facing her again. She was the one who had helped him survive his first night, but also the one who had inflicted pain upon him. Reginald knew that she would come looking for him to fulfill her promise, and Lady Night would not rest until it was done.

As the sun reached its highest point in the sky, signaling the midpoint of the day, Reginald glanced back to see Zurkaks's tower shrinking in the distance.

Suddenly, a pair of wild phoenixes flew overhead, their red and orange tails leaving a trail of flame behind them. Aslan watched in awe as the majestic creatures soared through the air.

When they finally arrived at the castle, it was dark, with the setting sun casting a shadow over the town. Many of the torches that usually lit the streets were unlit, a testament to the Knights of Darkness's mobilization of the people.

As he walked through the empty streets towards the main gate of the castle, Reginald declared, "I am Prince Reginald. I demand to be let in."

The guards opened the doors, and Reginald and Aslan passed through.

The inside of the castle was cold and eerily quiet. Reginald noticed that none of his usual servants were present, and there were no royal guards patrolling the halls. Something was definitely wrong.

"Father?" Reginald called out as he entered the king's chambers.

King Frederick was standing at the window, staring out at the empty streets of the city that surrounded his castle.

"What's going on?" Reginald asked.

Aslan placed a comforting hand on the prince's shoulder, but Reginald shrugged it off, eager for answers.

King Frederick was silent for a moment before speaking. "I see that Aslan has been doing a good job training you, Reginald."

"Your majesty," Aslan interjected, "we have returned with news of Zurkaks."

"What did you find out?" the king asked.

"Reginald managed to infiltrate them," Aslan replied.

Reginald looked at the Knight of Light in surprise, raising an eyebrow in confusion. Aslan simply shrugged in response.

"I'm waiting," King Frederick said, still gazing out at the town.

"That's right," Reginald finally said. "I was able to obtain one of their swords."

"It seems we have a deal, then," the king said. "The Knights of Darkness are using our citizens to extract black metal from the mine. They have captured the dragon that guards it, and they won't have much longer until it breaks free. Unless we do something about it."

"But Father..." Reginald protested.

"I asked you a question," the king said, turning to look at his son. "We are at war. Get out of here and do as I ask."

"Yes, your majesty," Aslan replied. "We will make sure to release the dragon and protect the citizens."

"I will leave my son in your guardianship," the king said, raising his hand. "Now get out of here, I want to be alone."

Aslan left the castle and headed for Sharai's house. When he arrived, he found the door open, signaling that she was home.

"Sharai!" Aslan called out.

The sorceress poked her head out of the second-floor window. "I'll be down in a moment."

As they waited for Sharai to come down, Aslan and Reginald made small talk, avoiding the subject of their mission. Eventually, Sharai emerged from her house, closing the door behind her.

"What brings you here?" she asked.

"We have a job to do," Aslan replied.

"Is the pay worth my time?" Sharai asked.

"Have I ever let you down before?" Aslan countered.

"That's good enough for me," Sharai said. "What's the job?"

"We need to enrage a dragon," Aslan said.

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