Eternal Darkness: Chapter Five

***Disclaimer*** This is not my story. I have not changed or edited it in any way. It is the work of Captius.
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Here is chapter five. Sorry this one was published later than usual, I've had some problems. It's hard to get comfortable with a broken rib. But I pushed through it and got this chapter out. I'm not sure it will be that great as I am strung out on painkillers right now, but I did the best I could.
As always, please rate and comment. If you want to know when the next one will be published or you have a question, check the comments section as Mishikail and I usually answer there before posting the next chapter.






Chapter Five:
School Life and Transfer Students


The day after their wedding, Richard and Daiya had woken up past noon. They had gone through a very long and pleasure filled night that was spent entirely in their bed, their bodies writhing together as they sampled what the other had to offer. They ate lunch in bed and it was only when they both decided they needed a bath that they would leave it. It was when they decided to take a walk through the gardens when they were reminded of what day it was and how little time they had to relax. It was King Dycoz who spotted them on their walk and came to talk to them, a small smile on his lips as he tried to convince Daiya and he to stay in Elothia.

'Where is everyone?' Daiya asked when they hadn't seen any of their friends.

'They left last night after the reception,' her father replied and knelt down to look at particularly beautiful flower. 'The academy reopens tomorrow so they all needed to be back.'

'Crap, I totally forgot about school!' Richard exclaimed and stomped his foot into the ground at his idiocy.

'Don't worry, Richard. If we fly there on Loki and Cotaz we can make it before second period begins,' Daiya informed him with a sweet smile, but King Dycoz scowled.

'There's no need for you to go back to the academy,' he said harshly. 'You are above the level that they can teach you there, Daiya. And the whole reason for you to attend a school in a different country was so you could find a suitable husband, which you've done. You should stay here and train with your Master instead!'

'Father-'

'I don't want to hear any more about this! There is no reason for you to go back to that school!'

'What about Richard?' Daiya growled menacingly. 'Is he just going to sit around the palace while I am at my lessons with the Fire Master? His mother, both aunts, and all his friends are at that school so you don't have any right to keep him here!'

'We have many institutions where he can train, if he wishes!' the King countered and Richard suddenly felt like a dog toy, being pulled apart from two separate directions. 'He can continue to work in the Dragons Den as well! If he wants to go and be with his family then he can, but you are going to stay-'

'Oh, I will not stay here!' Daiya roared and both Richard and King Dycoz took a step back from her. 'Richard is only a first year at the academy and it is not right for him to just leave! And I, as his wife, will go where ever he is! I still have half a year I want to complete! Besides, you can't use the war as a reason to keep me home anymore. Are we not currently training the military for combat? Did you not agree to go into the war if Queen Reiea allowed Richard and I to be married? You have no argument, father!'

With that Daiya turned on her heel and marched from the garden, leaving a stunned Richard and King Dycoz behind. He had seen her act aggressive a few times before, but she had gone to a whole other level and he was extremely surprised. It seemed he had a lot to learn when it came to his new wife and he was sure it would take him more than one lifetime to discover every little facet of her.

Richard nodded to the King and made to leave, but he felt a large and strong hand on his shoulder stopping him from going. 'It's best to let her have some space, Richard,' the King told him with a small shake of his head.

'Are you sure? She looked pretty upset.'

'She'll calm down. While most small children cry or beg when they don't get their way, Daiya would grow fierce and find some argument or explanation that you couldn't refute. I've never been able to stop her from doing what she wants,' the King explained and patted Richard on the shoulder.

'So you're going to let her go then?'

'Of course not! But I don't have any other choice. Her mind is set and nothing with change it. I expect you two will be leaving in the next hour or two.' The King looked out over the gardens wistfully and heaved a heavy sigh before turning back to Richard, an unreadable look in his eyes. 'You should probably check on your dragons before it gets too late; wouldn't want them flying that vast distance on an empty stomach. Besides, I had the leatherworkers cook up a little surprise for Loki over the last few days and I think you'll really like it.'

'Your Majesty...'

'Do well in your studies, son. And take care of my daughter, I fear dark times are ahead of us. Now, if you'll excuse me, there is something I must do right away.'

King Dycoz patted Richard on the shoulder once more and then walked away, heading into the cool palace and out of the blazing sun. Richard stood in the garden for a few more minutes then decided to take the Kings advice and go check on Loki and Daiya's dragon. Loki was a pain to deal with on good days, but when he was hungry he was almost intolerable and Richard didn't want to have to deal with that flying nine hundred feet above the ground.

The Dragon's Den was buzzing with activity and trainers, tamers, and soldiers ran back and forth in a frenzy as the dragons roared, screeched, crowed, and caused general havoc. They had gone back to their normal selves and no one could explain the strange turn around; Richard had a pretty good idea though. After his fight with May the hatchlings had started to do better and he figured May had left the area with her massive red dragon. It had probably been that beasts presence that had been freaking all the other dragons out.

Loki's new nest was located near the top of the volcano and was quite a walk through long and confusing tunnels. Apparently the trainers had moved him up there after the big brute smashed through his wall and fled, with Richard screaming on his back as he tried to hold on. There was more space in the new nest and Loki seemed to be fairly happy with it, or that's what Richard thought anyways. Most times he looked out a palace window he would see him sitting on the lawn enjoying the sun instead of being with the others of his kind. It was honestly a little scary looking out a window when you first wake up and seeing a massive black dragon staring at you with a hungry glint in his eyes. The only reason Loki had gone to the Dragon's Den today was probably because Richard hadn't gotten up early to feed him.

When Richard finally made it to his friends nest he was surprised to see the great lug snoozing in a corner, his massive and powerful tail curled around him like a baby. What surprised him even more was the saddle sitting in the corner closest to the door. It was pristine white with black stitching and could easily fit four people on it comfortably. At the very front, where Richard would sit, it looked like it had been reinforced and gave off a slight hum from some powerful spell that had been cast on it. It was probably a protection spell and it reminded him that he was now technically in the Elothian Military. It would take getting called Dragoon Lord a few hundred times for it to fully sink in, even during war time.

Richard quickly fed Loki and groomed him by scrubbing his massive pitch black scales with water and a massive brush. With the amount of food Richard had given him, Loki didn't seem to worry so much about the sudden bath and even seemed to enjoy it a little. He must have been able to sense that they were leaving soon because he kept glancing at the new saddle in the corner with an almost excited look in his big yellow eyes. If there was one thing Loki loved, it was flying. Richard only hoped that didn't change after the long flight they had ahead of them.

After bathing him and putting on the saddle, which took over an hour because he had no idea what he was doing, he patted Loki on the side and promised to be back soon. He made the long trek back to the palace and headed to the private wing that had been set up for them, planning to pack quickly and check in on Daiya. When he walked through the door of the bedroom they were currently using he found three large bags already packed and sitting by the entrance. Daiya was standing in front of the mirror and adjusting the straps on her leather Dragoon armor that hugged her body like a glove. Richard couldn't bring himself to break the enchanting vision by saying anything for a few minutes.

'How long are you just going to stand there?' Daiya asked softly a few minutes later without even turning to look at him. He could see her reflection in the mirror smiling at him and he blushed a little.

'S... Sorry,' he replied lamely and stepped further into the room.

'Did my father keep you behind to try and convince you to get me to stay here?' she asked and Richard noticed the cold sting to her words. It could have either been directed at him or her farther, or both.

'Actually, I was getting Loki fed and ready. I think someone else was tending to Cotaz so I thought I would come and pack; it looks like you've already done that though.'

'My, it's like we share the same mind,' Daiya laughed lightly and finally turned to face him, a playful smile on her face. Her cheeks were a little flushed and her pupils dilated, so it was easy to tell that she was excited. He had seen that kind of face many times the previous night. Without a brain riddled with passion and lust anymore, Richard found himself feeling embarrassed under her gaze now.

'If... uh... if we're going to go we should do it pretty soon,' he stammered and tried to force a smile on his face. 'We should probably say goodbye to your family before we do though.'

'Our family, you mean,' she corrected and now her face took on a deeper shade of pink. 'We'll do it just as we're leaving; that way my father doesn't have much of a chance to try and stop us.'

Daiya crossed the room to him and wrapped her slender yet strong arms around his shoulders. She leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on his lips, the heat of her skin sinking deep down into Richards mind. She looked him in the eyes and he knew exactly what she was thinking; it was beginning to claw at his emotions as well. She was a totally different person in these moments and Richard had a hard time believing she was still the same person he had first met.

'Are you still not satisfied after last night?' he asked teasingly and kept himself from kissing her deeply.

'Don't get the wrong idea, I am thoroughly satisfied. I just want to keep that feeling alive. Is that such a bad thing?'

'No, not really,' he mused and she kissed him on the side of the neck lightly, 'but if we don't leave soon we'll never make it to the school before classes start. It does suck that we didn't get to have a proper honeymoon.'

'Honeymoon?' Daiya asked curiously and took a half step back so she could look at him better.

'You guys don't have those here? On Earth, newlywed couples typically go on a honeymoon right after the wedding. It's kind of like a get away to exotic places where the couple can just be together for a little while, without having to worry about their lives or their obligations,' he explained and Daiya smiled slightly at him.

'That sounds like fun,' she giggled and wrapped her arms tighter around him once more. 'Maybe we should take one of these honeymoons before going to the academy.'

'After the speech you gave the King earlier? I'm not sure that would be the best idea.'

'Ugh, I guess you're right. Shall we go then?' she asked and Richard nodded. Before releasing her grip on him she pressed her lips to his and her tongue danced over them in a long and passionate kiss. She finally pulled herself away from him with a sad sigh and they left the room with their luggage.

When they got to the back courtyard they found that Loki was already sitting there waiting for Richard, and Daiya performed a spell created for the Dragoons to call her dragon to them. There was a startling difference in size between Loki and Cotaz. The only reason Richard was noticing it now was because this was the first time he had seen them standing side by side like this. Loki was a good four feet taller than Cotaz and their wings spans reflected that as well. While Loki was built like a fortress, Cotaz was slimmer and looked to be built purely for maneuverability.

They tied their luggage on the back of Loki's saddle and then climbed onto their mounts backs, grabbing the reins and preparing to leave. Richard didn't have much experience with flying with a full saddle and reins, but Loki was attentive and could make up for whatever flaws Richard had as a rider. A moment before they were about leave the palace doors opened and the King, the Queen, Nadia, and Saphrin quickly came out and flagged them down.

'I hope this isn't what it looks like,' Queen Rina said with a small smile and she placed her hand on Cotaz's snout gently, 'because it looks like you two were going to leave without saying goodbye.'

'S... sorry, mother,' Daiya answered in a soft voice and couldn't meet the beautiful Queen's eyes. 'We are in a hurry though.'

'No need to explain. If you stayed here any longer your father would find some other reason for you to stay. Isn't that right, Dycoz?' she asked and looked at her husband in an annoyed manner. The King shifted under the harsh gaze and mumbled something Richard couldn't make out.

'Can I go too?' Saphrin asked and her eyes were wide with excitement at the possibility of following her older sister to another county.

'I don't think so,' the King growled and the little girls face fell, 'I want to keep at least one of my daughters at home!'

'Wait... where is Nadia going?' Daiya asked and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. Cotaz shook his large head from side to side as if he had already pieced together what wasn't being said.

'I'm going to be attending the Majou Academy for Magic starting tomorrow,' the sour and angry looking girl said in a monotone voice; she obviously wasn't excited about it and Richard figured it was the Kings decision and not hers.

'What is the meaning of this, father? Are you seriously sending Nadia there to babysit me?'

'Not at all!' the King retorted but the Queen held her hand up in front of his face to stop him from saying anything further.

'You speak so highly of the academy and you seem to enjoy being there that I thought Nadia could use that experience. She's always cooped up here in the palace that she could use some experience out in the world.'

'The headmaster has already been notified of the situation.'

'Give me a minute to grab my bags,' Nadia groaned loudly and turned to leave.

'You'll have to find your own way there,' Daiya warned her younger sister and there was a hint of anger in her words.

'She can ride with you on Cotaz,' King Dycoz offered but his willful daughter shook her head at the thought.

'Richard is still learning to ride Loki with a full saddle and reins, so I need to be able to help him out quickly if the need arises. If I jump off the back of Cotaz it would leave Nadia there to fend for herself on someone who won't listen to her commands. It would be far too dangerous. So Richard and I will leave now and you can try and catch up.'

Without waiting for a response, Daiya flicked her reins hard and Cotaz leapt into the air and began to fly away. Richard knew she was just making up excuses so she didn't have to deal with riding with her sister; there was no real danger with Richard flying on Loki anymore. After that first time when he had no control over his friends actions, Loki had come to treat Richard like a brother and the only problems they had were when it come to bathing him.

'Um, thank you for everything, Your Highnesses,' Richard said weakly and smiled at them as Nadia stormed away. 'I'll make sure we come back for visit as soon as possible.'

'You are very welcome, Richard,' Queen Rina smiled and waved to him. 'Take care of Daiya. She relies on you more than you know.'

Richard nodded and then bowed his head towards the sulking King before flicking his reins gently on the back of Loki's neck. The massive black dragon let forth a triumphant roar and leapt high into the air before beating his gigantic wings and speeding off after Daiya. She had left the city limits by the time he caught up to her and it was easy to see that she was not a happy camper right now. Richard couldn't really blame her; he wasn't exactly happy that Nadia was going to be coming to their school either. She still seemed to hate Richard and no matter what he tried to make her warm up to him it had no effect.

'You going to be okay?' he called out loudly over the rush of wind in their ears.

'I'll be fine. Let's fly as fast as we can so we're not late!'

Daiya urged Cotaz to fly faster and she shot away from him like a shooting star, a small yellow dot in the distance. Richard simply patted Loki on the head and he beat his wings faster until they caught up once more. For most of the first day of their journey neither of them spoke, and the atmosphere felt a little tense. Mountains, forests, plains, and lakes passed under them and before night had even fallen the snow that Richard had left behind a week ago was prevalent once more, covering the land as far as they eye could see like a thick blanket. The winds were so cold that Richard had to go into his bag and grab himself his winter cloak just so he didn't freeze. He wanted to ask Daiya if she wanted hers as well but she seemed to be doing fine on her own. She didn't so much as shiver.

As night fell on them both dragons began to pant and they landed near a small lake where they could take a short rest and get some much needed water. Richard set out some slabs of meat for them to eat and then went under the massive tree that Daiya had set up small fire beneath. She handed him a small cup of hot tea and they settled down for a break of their own, cuddled up underneath a heavy blanket to warm up against the cold night air.

'I'm sorry about earlier,' she said softly after a few minutes. Both Loki and Cotaz were currently tearing at their slabs of meat with abandon.

'It's alright, there's nothing to apologize for. We'll be back at the academy soon and away from your over protective father,' he replied with a slight smile and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

'How long will that last though?' she asked quietly. 'If the war gets any worse the school may be closed down, and then there will be nothing stopping my father from bringing me back to the palace.'

'We can always stay Aura's mansion,' Richard suggested, 'I'm sure she wouldn't mind. Besides, with Elothia joining the fighting this war should end soon.'

'I'm not so sure about that,' Daiya said softly and there was a long pause before she spoke again. 'Since the beginning of the war there hasn't been a major offensive and both my father and Reiea fear one is coming soon. Even with the Elothian military and the Dragoons, we will be outnumbered going against three nations at once. And no one knows what started this war to begin with. There had been peace between the kingdoms for over eighty years and then out of the blue Alysia gets attacked. There's something strange going on here, that much I am certain of.'

Richard gave the troubled looking woman a long hug under the blanket and pressed his cheek against hers. She sighed and hugged him back before kissing him on the cheek and grabbing his hand. The dragons had finished their meals and Loki was staring at him like he was raring to go, his eyes locked on Richard intently as he growled softly in his throat. Taking the hint, they put the fire out and packed what they had taken out, jumping onto the dragons once more and taking off.

The night was long and cold and Richard was already missing the tropical weather of Elothia. It was hard to believe they were going west instead of north. By the time the sun began to rise, Daiya informed him that they were still a few hours out from the academy and probably wouldn't make it there in time for their first classes. It wasn't that big of a deal for her because she had first period off in the second term, but Richard had no idea what his classes would be. He hadn't been there for three months and never even got to take the exams; so for all he knew he might have to repeat math and history.

A few hours later the two hundred foot tall towers came into view and the dragons seemed to be reenergized at the sight of their destination. Cotaz had been to the academy before and looked eager to get back there, where as Loki just saw something shining in the distance and automatically got interested in what it could be. When Richard and Daiya touched down and dismounted, they retrieved their belongings from the back of Loki and placed them inside the door of the main tower that held the administration offices. Daiya quickly patted Cotaz and the smaller yellowish-green dragon took off into the air while Loki looked towards Richard curiously.

'Go on, follow Cotaz. I'm sure he knows of a good place to stay around here,' Richard told the massive black dragon with a hard pat on the scales. Loki tilted his head and continued to look at Richard as if he didn't understand what was going on. 'Um, what is he doing?'

'Looks like he doesn't want to leave,' Daiya observed with a small grin. 'He's become pretty attached to you.'

'Come on Loki, get going, I have to go see the headmaster about my classes before I miss them all. I know there's snow around here and not too many mountains, but Cotaz seems to do pretty well out there.'

Richard turned to walk into the gleaming white marble tower and Loki whined, digging his massive claws into the ground and tearing up the earth hidden beneath the thick layer of snow. He huffed loudly and Richard could feel something warm on the back of his neck. Turning around he found the massive black dragon staring at him with a sad look in his eyes and trickles of flame in his slightly open mouth.

'You'll be fine! Look, I promise I will come see you every day after class is over. We can fly around for a while. Sound fair?'

Loki continued to look at him before shaking his gigantic body and turning around, almost kicking Richard's legs out from under him with his massive tail. He flapped his wings hard and shot off into the sky, kicking up large swirls of snow and wind that hit both Richard and Daiya in the face. He quickly became a speck in the distance as he chased after the more experienced dragon, Cotaz.

'Are you sure he's an adult?' Richard asked as he and his wife turned back to the door and entered the building. 'He acts a lot like a baby.'

'He's twenty years old. Dragons become full grown at eight years,' Daiya explained. They located the large spiral staircase and made their way up to the top floor where the headmasters office was. 'I will admit that he does seem a little odd. That's probably because you helped save him from a full grown red dragon. Blacks and reds don't get along very well and have to be separated in the Dragons Den; even when they are in the nursery.'

Richard took that into consideration as they reached the landing of the top floor and headed down the curving hallway towards the office. As they neared the door they saw it open and a young woman with short flaming red hair, fair skin, and had a small smattering of pale freckles across her small button nose. As they drew near she looked towards the two late comers and smiled at them as they passed. There was something in that smile that had Richard a little on edge though. He couldn't put his finger on it but there was something there. Like she had been expecting to run into them or something. No words were said however and they knocked on the headmasters door before entering.

Massive book cases covered every single wall of the large office and a large polished wooden desk sat near the far wall on a small raised platform. The headmaster sat at her desk, thick glasses over her ancient eyes and she was more wrinkles than anything else. Richard had heard she had spent almost her entire adult life at this academy and it looked very possible. She was the mousy type of person who always had their nose buried in a book. He had actually seen her with a smudge of ink on her nose on occasion. She looked up as they entered and beckoned them further into the room, motioning for them to sit down in the chairs right in front of her desk.

'I suppose congratulations are in order,' she said but there was no smile on her face, just a hard creased line where her lips should have been. 'And now that we have that out of the way, we can get to the real issue here.'

'Issue?' Richard asked as he found himself a little confused.

'I don't appreciate having the heads of two kingdoms send me word that two of my students have broken the academy rules and gotten married. The fact that I only received word yesterday makes matters even worse.'

'There was an amendment made to the law preventing students from getting married though,' Daiya explained but quickly found herself the subject of the headmasters harsh gaze.

'Yes, I've been made aware of that. The Alysian government is free to make whatever exceptions they want to this schools charter, but I do not like it when it is done behind the schools back! Now I know you two aren't entirely to blame for this, and I should speak with your parents instead. What I do need to discuss with you is what your marriage will change for your time at this school. In the long one thousand and seventy nine years this academy has accepted aspiring mages, there has never once been a marriage between two students.'

'How would it affect our experience here?' Richard asked honestly. He wasn't trying to be a smart ass or anything, just curious as to what the old woman meant.

'First of all, you both have two classes together each day. I expect you will both remember that this is a place of learning and take that seriously. I don't want to hear any complaints about public displays of affection from any of the students or professors. During your classes you two will uphold the moral standards of this institution. Is that understood?'

'Yes,' Richard and Daiya answered together. The headmaster took off her thick glasses and placed them on the top of a book on the desk before regarding them once more.
'Good. Then the next thing would be deciding what to do about your living situation. Now, even though this academy prides itself on the equality between students we encourage, there are some discrepancies among them. You both are royals and have both been allowed to have large private rooms. In Lord Richard's case, an entire floor to himself. However, we've never had a male student and a female student stay in the same room before.'

'If it helps, Daiya and I can live in the city and fly here every morning,' Richard offered but the headmaster shook her head gently and clasped her hands together.

'All students must live in the academy while attending classes. And even if that rule didn't exist, Princess Daiya is still the head of the disciplinary committee and must be on school grounds for that reason alone.'

'Are you planning on making us remain in separate rooms?' Daiya asked quietly. Looking over, Richard found that she was blushing slightly and it was easy to tell what was on her mind.

'I'll admit that that was my original intention, but I have come up with another that should satisfy everyone. Currently Lord Proud is staying on the top floor of the first and second years tower, and Daiya is on the thirteenth floor of the fourth years tower. Since the top few floors of each tower are for males only, and the uppermost being for royal males, I am willing to allow you both to stay together on the top floor of either of those towers; since there is no one currently occupying them. The rules on female students going onto that floor will be lifted as long as they are invited. All you have to do is choose which tower you will both stay in.'

'I don't mind staying in the fourth year-' Richard began but Daiya quickly cut him off.

'It's frowned upon for lower year students to enter the upper year towers, so we'll use Richard's tower. That way his friends and my friends can come over without getting into arguments about knowing their place.'

'That's a good point, older students can be pretty territorial so this won't cause too many problems. There is one more thing we have to touch on, and this is the biggest. While sexual relations are allowed between couples in the privacy of their own rooms, there is still a no pregnancy law. While either of you attend this academy I will not stand a pregnancy. If there is one, you both will be expelled immediately. It shouldn't be too hard to avoid one, just make sure you keep your rune on, Daiya.'

'We understand,' Daiya answered as Richard was blushing too hard to form a coherent sentence. 'Was there anything else?'

'No,' the old woman answered with a wave of her hand. 'Now second period will be starting in a few minutes so you both better head to your classes. And don't be late again.'

Daiya and Richard stood, but when Daiya turned to leave Richard stood his ground and looked down at the woman who was once again opening her massive book and picking her glasses up. She peered over the thick lenses at him and made an annoyed clicking sound in the back of her throat. Richard persisted though.

'What's the situation with my classes?' he asked and she looked at him curiously. 'I missed a lot of the first semester and I didn't get to take the exams. Will I be repeating math and history? Or can I take a makeup exam?'

'Did no one tell you that you passed both those classes? Even without taking the exams and missing so much class work, you still finished with a high enough grade to move forward. I believe you barely passed in history with a fifty two percent grade, and you received an eighty nine percent in math and a strong recommendation from Professor Meetra for private lessons as your knowledge on the subject exceeds what we teach here. Your current academic courses are First Year Languages and Physical Education. You missed PE so you have languages now.'

'Wow,' Richard exclaimed at the information she just rattled on about, 'you can remember that without looking at my file?'

'I have an eidetic memory. Now go before you are late, please.'

Richard and Daiya left the administration tower and headed off to their classes; leaving their luggage behind for an attendant to take to their room. Daiya had math right now and she wasn't looking forward to it. Even though she was one of the top students at the school, she still struggled with the subject apparently. Richard would gladly trade her though; he was sure learning languages he had never even heard about before would be extremely difficult for him to accomplish.

They newlyweds said a quick goodbye and went their separate ways. It felt strange for Richard to be walking through the halls of the first year tower again. Only a few weeks ago he had thought he would never see it ever again. He had to admit that it felt good though. He had never enjoyed school until he came here and he really enjoyed having friends and good teachers. When he arrived at the class room on the eighth floor he was surprised to find that both Karo and Lisbeth were in the same class, and they seemed to be pretty surprised to see him there too. They were sitting near the back of the class and there were two empty seats by Karo, so Richard quickly jumped on the one next to him and put his book bag down heavily as Karo just stared at him.

'What?' Richard asked when his friend still hadn't said anything.

'We... we didn't expect to see you back at school so early,' Lisbeth answered.

'Yeah,' Karo spoke, 'I was sure you would spend the next week locked up in the Elothian palace with Daiya.'

'Karo!' Lisbeth groaned and smacked him on the shoulder. 'You don't say things like that out loud!'

'Why not? It's what everyone was thinking!'

'Well we weren't going to miss school,' Richard said quickly, hoping to cut this off before it started. 'Daiya has her work with the student council and my mother happens to be a prominent professor here. So it's not like we could get time off even if we wanted. Besides, someone has to keep an eye on you, Karo.'

His dirty blonde friend looked at him with a wicked smirk on his face and slapped him on the back lightly. 'Well either way, we are glad to have you back. School wasn't the same without you.' Karo then leaned in and spoke so only Richard could hear him; 'We'll spend some time together on your floor tonight and you can tell me all the good details about your wedding night.'

'Yeah I don't think that's going to happen,' Richard groaned and Lisbeth looked at both men curiously, not sure what Richard was talking about. 'Daiya is moving in with me and I'm sure she would burn you to a crisp if you asked about that in front of her.'

Karo flashed him a dejected look, but the time for talking had thankfully come to an end as the professor, a short middle aged woman with close cut hair walked into the room and raised her hand for silence. She placed her books down on her desk and then stood in front of it, probably mentally going over every face she saw trying to find their names. This was the first time any of them had been in this class before as the new semester had just started that morning.

'Before we begin class, we have two transfer students who have just been enrolled at this academy. Most of you have probably met during the previous semester, so I would like to take a moment to let the new students introduce themselves. Come on in, please.'

Two girls entered through the open door and Richard recognized both of them. Nadia was easy to pick out with her long ears, icy good looks, and tanned skin. The scowl she wore on her face when she noticed him in the class was also hard to miss. Richard had seen the other girl coming out of the headmasters office when he and Daiya had gone to meet with her earlier. She wore a polite smile on her pale face and her long red hair hung over her shoulders in a loose way. They both walked towards the professor and turned to face the class, Nadia being the first to introduce herself.

'I'm Princess Nadia of the Elothian Kingdom, second born of the royal family. I'm transferring to this school at my parents request,' she spoke loudly and then bowed her head slowly. A moment later she nodded to the professor and then took a seat at the very front of the class, as far away from Richard as she could manage.

The redhead from before took a step forward and scanned the class, her eyes moving over each face before moving onto the next. When she got to the top level where Richard and his friends sat, her eyes narrowed and she began to walk towards the stairs. Before she could take one step up, the professor quickly cleared her throat and she froze for a second.

'My name is Lillin DuColt,' she said and then continued on her way. She climbed to the very top level and turned towards Richard, tossing her bag down on the desk right next to him and taking the empty seat there. She didn't so much as look at him when she did this, nor did she say a word to him.

Both Karo and Lisbeth looked at him with raised eyebrows, but all Richard could do was shrug his shoulders at the strange behavior. He didn't have much time to worry about it as the professor began to write on the chalkboard. Richard couldn't read any of the writing but was glad to see that it looked like most of the other students were just as lost as he was. Most of them had blank expressions on their faces and a few even looked like they were furiously trying to figure out if they had come into the right room or not.

'Welcome everyone to First Year Languages. I am Professor Mindel. We'll be starting off with basic Elfish and by the end of the term I expect each of you to be able to hold a small conversation in this language. Can anyone here read what I have written on the board?' the teacher asked and immediately Nadia's hand shot into the air. 'Anyone besides someone who speaks it already?'

'It says 'May all who come be graced' right?' Lillin answered without putting up her hand and everyone looked towards the new girl.

'Correct! Two points to your academic score,' the teacher announced and then continued with her lesson. 'Over the next few weeks you'll be learning some basic phrases and how Elfish phonetics work. Would you all please take out some parchment and your quills and we will begin the class.'

To say that Richard struggled in that class would be a huge understatement; he couldn't follow a single thing that was being said. To make matters worse, he was married to a Dark Elf and his sister in law was in the same class as him. It couldn't get much more humiliating than that. Most of the other students seem to get the hang of what they were being taught after a while, but Richard struggled no matter how long he listened to explanations and examples. Even Karo was doing alright, which was strange because he usually wasn't good with academic courses.

By the time the bell tolled for lunch Richard had a brutal migraine just behind his eyes and a parchment full of information he didn't understand. He had never been good with languages and had flunked Spanish in high school a few years back. He vowed to never take another language course again after that, but it was apparently mandatory here. He ended up leaving the class with his friends in a daze and didn't realize where they were going until they were sitting down inside the first/second year dining hall on the bottom level of the dormitories.

Steaming hot and hearty looking food was being placed in front of all the students who clambered to find seats with their friends and Richard was grateful to get something into his belly. For the last day he had only been eating the dried meat that Daiya had packed for their trip and he needed something substantial in his belly. Before he could lift his spoon to his mouth he was interrupted though. The loud talking and laughing that filled the large room suddenly stopped and Richard looked up to see that everyone was staring at the open door where a tall and beautiful fourth year was entering. Daiya noticed Richard sitting with Karo and Lisbeth and she quickly hurried over, an exasperated look on her usually gorgeous face.

'What's wrong?' Richard asked as she sat down next to him.

'I hate math!' she growled. She must have been pretty hungry herself because she ended up taking a large buttered bun from his tray and started devouring it like she was ravenous.

'If you want I can help you get better at it,' Richard offered and Daiya stopped chewing on the bun to flash him a massive smile. 'Only on one condition though.'

'Hmm, and what would that be?' Karo asked for Daiya and he was wiggling both of his eyebrows in an obscene way. Lisbeth quickly stepped in and smacked him on the side of his head hard, causing his eyes to cross in pain.

'You have to help me learn your language. I couldn't understand anything in class today.'

'Deal!' Daiya yelled and kissed him on the cheek, covering it in bread crumbs that he quickly wiped away.

Daiya was quickly given her own tray of gourmet food and she was even nice enough to replace the bun she had taken from his. People still looked over at their table with curiosity, but most had gone back to their own meals and friends as the room was quickly filled with noise once more, allowing Richard and his friends to eat and socialize ...


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