A Melting Of A Heart Chapter 4

I Don't Like Zeal

By Key Mima

Sunev felt a blast of cold wind hit her as they entered the palace. Everything seemed normal except for the chilling wind that curled around her face. Had they invented air conditioners here in Zeal? Or was it...

"Magus, what is it?" she asked, looking up at him.

"What's what?"

"That wind..."

"You feel it?" he asked, stopping and staring her in the eye.

"Is that the Black Wind?" she asked. He nodded.

"Your power extends further than I thought. Yeah, this place is congested with Black Wind. It's more ominous than any place I've ever been."

Sunev pulled her shawl closer around her and started up the stairs with him. When they reached the door to the Throne Room, she felt a rush of adrenaline. The door attendants let them in, and Queen Zeal and Dalton, who appeared to have been in deep conversation, looked up, surprised.

"Who do you think you are, coming into the Throne Room without my permission like that?!" she cried, standing up.

"Your Majesty, I am a wandering prophet. I have come to tell you of a danger approaching your Kingdom."

"Is that so?" she said, leaning forward. "Come here." Magus moved toward the tall woman, standing before her. He put a hand up to stop Sunev from following. "What kind of danger?"

"Some evildoers will be coming to this land with the purpose of stopping construction on the Ocean Palace." Zeal's eyes widened.

"Is that so?" she repeated thoughtfully. "Well, there's really no way they can stop construction, because it's virtually done, but they could harm it... No, there's no way I'm losing my immortality now... You will stay with me as a member of my council. If your predictions are false, I will have you killed." Sunev gasped. She hoped Magus's predictions were right. Of course they were, she had played this game before. "Who is she?" the queen asked, pointing at Sunev.

"She is my apprentice," Magus said, with a hint of a smile in his voice.

"She has no magic..." Zeal frowned with disappointment. "Well, she can stay here for now. Prophet, take Dalton's place. Dalton, come here and you, girl, stand by Dalton. Now where is Schala? She's late again..."

Sunev looked over to Dalton, who was studying her intensely.

"You're kinda pretty..." he stated. She frowned. "Do you talk? I wanna hear some dirty stuff outta you..."

"Go find your eye you dickhead," she told him calmly. He whooped, gaining the queen's and Magus's attention.

"This one is feisty!" he cried, pointing at her. Sunev's eye twitched and she sighed. "Hey," he said, poking her side. "If you come to my room after all of this, I can give you what you want..."

"How do you know what I want?" Sunev asked.

"Because we want the same thing..."

"I want you to shut up and go away."

"I'm afraid I can't do that. I'm an important person, ya know?"

"No, I think I mistook you for Captain Dalton, who should act more dignified than you are."

"Ha!" Dalton snorted. "I normally act dignified, but when it comes to the matter of human need..."

"I didn't think you were human. I thought you were Enlightened."

"Oh. Uhh... Yeah! I am. It makes me better in bed."

"Oh, my God..." Sunev put her head in her hand.

There was a creak from the door, and from the bright light of the hall stepped Schala, Princess of Zeal. Sunev immediately looked to Magus, whose hands were balled up into tight fists. She couldn't even imagine what he was feeling. Schala was a pretty girl about the same age as her. Sunev frowned when the thought crossed her mind that Schala would probably be considered prettier than her. Oh well, she thought. It's not like Magus is gonna choose her over me. He couldn't go out with his own sister.

Sunev's jaw dropped. She tried to dismiss the last thought she had out of existence. But the truth was, she wanted to impress Magus. Did she? Yes, she did. Was she in love with him? Yes, she was... Sunev grimaced and turned away, as the queen began to talk to her daughter.

Magus's hands were clammy in his gloves and his throat was parched. Oh, God, Schala... It had been about twenty years since he had last seen her, and he was choked with emotion. His eyes stung him for some reason and became blurry. He sniffled. No one seemed to notice. He reached a hand up to wipe away a tear. Maybe it was because the air was so cold that his eyes were watery. Yeah.

"Schala, this is a wandering prophet. He has predicted that a group of people would try to stop construction on the Ocean Palace."

"I hope they do," Schala said defiantly. Zeal's eyes flew open.

"How dare you! You know that Lavos needs you! I need you! You could be immortal, Schala! Wouldn't that be better than you are now?"

"Not at all. I quite like the way we are now."

The queen reached out and clasped Schala's neck. Magus's sister gasped and tried to pry her hands off. "You listen to me, Schala. I know what my priorities are and I won't let you get in the way. So cooperate, alright?" She let the girl go, dropping her to the ground. Schala took her place beside Magus and rubbed her neck. He watched her interact with everyone, noting that she hadn't changed at all since he last saw her. But he last saw her... after this. He wished he could tell Janus to be a nice little boy so he could have better memories later on about his sister, but it was too late for that now. And besides, what would he think if the prophet came up to him and told him to be nice? He'd probably run away and hide.

Just when he thought Schala had forgotten about him there, she turned to him and nodded.

"Pleased to meet you," she said.

"Pleased to... meet you too," he replied quietly. Schala turned back to her mother and got into another argument.

Magus looked over at Sunev, who was turned toward the wall and deep in thought, he guessed. He crossed the room and went over to her, putting his hand on her shoulder.

"Are you alright?" he asked. She started and looked up at him.

"Um, yeah," she answered, looking a bit distracted. Dalton looked over at them.

"Whoo!" he said, grinning maliciously. "Seems you two got a little something going on, huh?" Magus and Sunev both put their hands up and shook their heads violently.

"No!" they cried in unison.

Dalton nodded with a crooked grin and turned back to the conversation.

"So..." Sunev began, rubbing her temples. "How do you feel about it all?"

"It all?"

"Yeah, like Schala being here and everything. It all."

"I don't know how I feel. I'm not used to feeling." Sunev smiled, her pretty face lighting up.

"Well I'm glad you finally can feel."

"Ehh..." Magus turned away.

Queen Zeal's spiked head came up for a women and she pinned Sunev with her glare.

"Girl," she called, looking Sunev in the eye.

"Yes, ma'am?" Sunev answered, watching Magus as he retreated to his side of the aisle.

"I have a job for you, since you have no magic." Sunev's eyes narrowed. Blah, blah, blah, she thought. You don't have magic so therefore you are useless. "Go find my son, Janus. I want you to watch him for the day." Oh, no, Sunev thought, dread filling her stomach and nearly making her wretch. Janus despised her, or so he had shown the time they met.

"But mother!" Schala protested. "Janus won't want a baby-sitter! You know how he'll be." Queen Zeal said nothing and smiled at her daughter.

Sunev felt about ready to scream. All of this was done merely to pick on her? She said "Yes, ma'am," and when the queen looked away, she slammed Dalton in the arm to let out some anger. By the time he recovered and turned around, Sunev was already gone.

Sunev looked around the palace to find Janus, but he was nowhere to be seen. He was probably still at Enhasa, but there was still a chance that he had gone somewhere else. If I had a ten year old boy I wouldn't let him wander as he pleases. There's a chance he could be hurt, Sunev thought. But with a kid like that...

Sunev stopped for a moment on the staircase of the palace. She used to like Janus in the game. For some reason, actually being there influenced her feelings differently. Sure, she could like the kid if she didn't have to watch him or put up with his rudeness. But in real life it was like a baby-sitting job at the Jameses'. Little Robert had been a pain in the ass since the beginning. And how Magus had grown up to be such a commander had shown her part of what he had gone through when he was taken to 600 A.D. She resumed her walk when her thoughts were diverted by someone coming up the staircase.

Back at Enhasa, Sunev prepared for the worst when she opened the door. She found the little boy in an empty bedroom reading a book and stroking his pet cat, Alfador. He only acknowledged her when she cleared her throat.

"I thought I told you to leave," he said, looking up at her finally.

"I know, I'm sorry. I didn't want to see you again either," she replied. Janus frowned. "But, I've been told to watch you."

"You're going to be my nanny? No, thanks. I'll walk the plank."

"Ha... Well anyway, that's how it goes, so pack up your stuff, it's off to the castle. Wouldn't you like to visit the center of the universe?"

"I live there, I've seen enough of it."

"Oh, really?" Sunev said, pretending to be interested.

"Yes. Now leave me be."

"I'm afraid I can't do that, little man," Sunev stated, approaching him.

"And don't refer to me as 'Little man.' "

Sunev pulled out the prince's chair and wrapped her arms around his small waist.

"What are you-" he sputtered. Sunev plucked him up and hefted him onto her shoulder. Janus began to yell and hit her.

"Shut up!" Sunev said, covering his mouth. He bit her hand. "Whoa, watch it with the cannibalism, squirt!" She gasped, shaking the pain out of her only free hand.

"Put me down!! This is not how a prince should be treated!!" he yelled, nearly in tears. People in the building began to gather in the doorways to watch. Sunev assumed Janus was not their favorite person. But... She still had a heart, so she would embarrass him in private.

When the door closed and they were safely outside, Sunev placed the sniffling, blushing prince on the ground, holding his shoulders to keep him from bolting.

"I can't believe you did that..." he whispered. "I'm the prince... I'm not to be treated like a bad serving boy..." He wiped his nose.

"But do you deserve better?" Sunev asked.

"Of course I do. I'm-"

"The prince," Sunev finished for him. "Well I did that just to teach you a lesson."

"And that would be...?"

"That I can treat you just like people will treat me. Because you know what? You have no magic either. You're just as useless and unspecial as I am. So I deserve some respect outta you. And so do all the Earthbound people down there. Cuz you're..." Sunev brought her face close to the boy's and placed a finger on his nose. He looked horrified and hurt. "Just. Like. Them."

This seemed to have an effect on the boy that Sunev hadn't expected. He started to cry softly and turned away from her. She was totally dumbstruck. What a bitch she had been! She thought that he would suddenly magically have a huge amount of respect for her and treat her as well as his sister.

"I know," he croaked. "I was produced from the two most powerful people in the world, how could I be like this?" he gasped.

"I..." Sunev started to say. Janus held up a hand to silence her. She felt like telling him that he would become the most powerful person at some point, but he wouldn't understand. He wiped his face on his collar and turned to her, fully composed.

"You didn't see or hear any of that," he informed her.

"None at all," Sunev agreed. Janus managed a smile and started off to the castle ahead of her. She watched him for a moment and grinned lightly at some of the Magus qualities in him. Then, she went to follow him.


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