We sat down for a coffee near by. I gazed at him as he sniffed at his drink. His hair was still a hazelnut brown, forgiving brown eyes framed by thick lashes and his nose was sharp as always.
‘That’s what you call coffee.’ I spoke, startling him. ‘Try it.’ He did and immediately sipped again.
‘It tastes like it smells!’ He exclaimed, smacking his lips. I smiled back at him. Cobalt had been like a brother to me; my only family. I had fled him thinking he’d be furious at me for forcefully sending him away years ago. Seems like I’d been wrong.
‘How have you been Lady Asper?’ Cobalt asked between bites of his scone.
‘Okay, wait, wait.’ I held up my hand to stop him. ‘One, we don’t talk with our mouths full here on Earth. Two, I’m not Lady Asper anymore. Just call me Asper.’ Cobalt frowned and nodded.
‘So,’ I crossed my legs from under the table. ‘How in Allura’s name did you find your way to Earth?’
‘The same way you got here.’ Cobalt shrugged and reached for another scone, pausing to look at me as if asking for permission to continue. I waved him on.
‘A wall fell on you?’ I raised an eyebrow and brought my cup to my lips. Just as the words left my lips, Cobalt choked on his scone. I motioned him to have more coffee and he did. I smiled at him apologetically and he raised his hand to tell me that he was fine. But how could he be? He watched me die. Of course he’d be bothered. I inwardly slapped myself.
‘I didn’t d-die…’ he cleared his throat and I handed him a napkin. ‘I met them.’
My eyes widened. ‘You are shitting me.’
‘No Milady, I am not…’ Cobalt paused and seemed to ponder for a while ‘shitting you.’ His accent slipped. It was a weird cross between a British accent and an olden slang. Still, I found it rather charming.
‘There you go calling me ‘Lady’ again.’ I sighed and nibbled at my chocolate chip scone. He bowed his head in apology. ‘Moving on, by Allura, how did you find the Gods?’
‘I was in Isatine, the land of blood and fog.’ I shivered at the thought of Isatine. Immortals who ventured there never returned. It was rumored that there was a river of blood that flowed in Isatine. Water from that river was highly priced as it contained the remains of brave immortal warriors. Dark magicians or warlocks usually bought these bottles of water to resurrect the warriors and keep them under their control. Since the water contained the remains of not one but a thousand warriors, the resurrections resulted in abominations that turned on their masters and hid in the darkness, preying on innocent villagers. These abominations were known as Chantis.
Cobalt snapped his fingers in my face, bringing me back to reality. ‘As I was saying, I was ambushed by hundreds of Chantis. I knew I’d never make it out alive if I fought, so I had no choice but to run.’ I bit a little more off my scone and chewed silently as I listened on.
‘Running, I chanced upon the river of death. It was red and thick. I couldn’t see through it at all. I had no idea what other species of Chantis lurked in the water, but it was much better than being ripped to shreds by the land-dwelling-flesh-eating abominations. So I jumped in.’ I made a face and he grimaced at the memory. Both of us shuddered, thoroughly disgusted at the fact that one of us had bathed in blood. ‘When I hit the river, the liquid got in my nose and ears. I could feel the pressure around me change as the chantis dove into the water after me. I had no choice. I swam deeper and deeper, where I eventually found a cave and wedged myself into it.’
‘All with your eyes closed?’ I stared at him, disbelieving.
‘Aye. Oden truly was on my side. I could feel it then.’ he drew his shoulders back. ‘ I crawled deeper and deeper into the hole. I was running out of air and in an enclosed area. It was sure death.’ Suddenly, I felt like dying by impact wasn’t too bad after all.
‘Then it happened. My hands reached a corner, as if I had reached the end of a cylinder. I pulled myself out and was met with fresh air.’ we both sighed at the same time, as if we had been holding our breath as he told the story.
‘And what did you see?’ I was beyond curious.
‘Well, hon, I saw rainbows and waterfalls. Managed to wash myself clean in a lake and ate from trees that grew the sweetest fruit.’ He made hand motions, showing me where the river was located and where the trees were. He was the only one I’d let treat me like a kid.
‘So Atlantis was right below hell, huh?’ I mused. ‘The irony.’
‘Mhmm.’ he sat back and bit into his croissant. ‘They even had a river of honey.’
My eyes bulged and I sat up. ‘Really?!’ He laughed out loud.
‘Aw hon, I’m just shitting you.’ he pinched my cheek.
‘You adjust way too fast.’ I muttered.
‘Anyway, I walked towards an elegant white castle and climbed up it’s endless flights of stairs.’ He rested his chin on his palm and twirled his finger upward. ‘I got to the top a good hour later.’
‘You’re kidding.’ I laughed.
‘Hey, you can’t blame a man who just got out alive from swimming in blood, can you?’ I smiled and nodded. ‘When I got to the top, I entered this huge room with a round table in the center.’ The Preevis. I hope he didn’t catch my face change.
‘They seemed to be waiting for me. Allura was as beautiful as a female could get while Oden was…’ Cobalt made a face. ‘Oden was a jerk.’ I suppressed a laugh.
‘It’s true!’ Cobalt huffed. ‘Allura was really nice, like ‘Cobalt, I’m so glad you finally made it. I’m so happy you made it in one piece.’, while Oden was all ‘I can’t believe you took so long. I could swim that river back home in three minutes with my hands tied behind my back!’.
‘ Allura told me that they were sending me to Earth, to find you. Which made sense since Xavier’s world and the kingdom has been falling apart since the vampire raid.’ I snorted and finished my last gulp of coffee. ‘She said that she couldn’t let the demon kingdom fall as it’d mess up the balance of Iroria.’
When I didn’t say anything, he sighed and continued. ‘If it makes you feel any better, Oden had called him an insufferable twat that didn’t know how to suck it up. And that it was a mistake to make him so damn good looking.’ I looked away and nodded at the statement. If there was one thing that made me always forgive Xavier, it was because of his looks. One stare was enough to melt me. Back then, that is.
‘Isn’t he married?’ I spat. ‘Isn’t Eliza queen?’ Her name burned on my lips. She’d been cruel to me while I was still in Salvator castle. She got me into lots of trouble with Xavier and thought she had the right to boss me around. Even in front of Xavier himself. The night I stood up to her, she had timed everything so perfectly that Xavier intercepted and slapped me hard across the face. The shame I felt that night. He did it in front of the servants and maids as well!
‘Eliza’s dead.’ My little hate bubble popped and I looked at him, confused. Xavier would have protected her with his life. She had be his ‘true mate’. Or at least that’s what he’d told me on the very night he slapped me. ‘Besides, they would have never been able to produce a heir.’
‘Why’s that?’ I waved a waiter over and ordered a hot chocolate. ‘I thought storm demons were very fertile? Plus he’s free to screw anyone. Storm demons aren’t bonded by fate.’ I stabbed my ham and cheese croissant.
‘You forget that Xavier is a vemon. Which means part vampire?’ He looked at me expectantly. I mouthed him a very emphasized ‘Soooo?’ and he sighed. ‘Vampires have mates;brides. Which means Xavier has a mate.’ I frowned. I didn’t like where this was going.
‘So our job is to find his mate here because his mate is mortal?’ I gave him a look of disbelief. ‘Allura resurrected me so that I could play fairy godmother to a mortal?’ If that was true, I would be thoroughly insulted. ‘And what’s all this about not being able to produce a heir? Can’t he just have an ‘oopsie’ with some random princess and worry about it later?’
Cobalt visibly facepalmed and raked his hands through his hair. It was something he did when he was frustrated but I swore a couple of girls fainted in the background.
‘No, no, no.’ he muttered.
‘Wait… no to which statement. The first, second or-‘
‘NO TO ALL OF THEM.’ His voice rose and his eyes turned black. I flinched and instinctively reached for my bag to make a swift getaway if things got ugly. He noticed my insecurity and and leaned back, away from me, closing his eyes. ‘Look. I just want you to listen to what I have to say. Alright, Asper?’ I nodded slowly.
‘Xavier has a bride, and that bride is you.’ I hissed and he glared at me. ‘He can’t have… Oopsies with random girls because his vampiric genes wouldn’t allow that to happen. Neither does he want to do things like that anymore. By Oden, he hasn’t done more than glance at a girl in the last 3 centuries!’
I blinked. ‘3 centuries? But I’ve only been on Earth for 3 years.’
‘Yes, and I’m fully aware that time crawls over here on Earth.’ He sighed heavily at my confusion and reached out to snatch my hands in his. ‘Asper, I’m begging you. The last 300 years has been agonizing for him.’
‘I can’t do it, Cobalt. For a few very simple reasons.’ I pulled my hands from his grasps. ‘One, I have no more feelings for him. In fact, I’ve never been happier without him! Two, he’s been a total man whore the whole time I’ve known him. Who knows what immortal STDs he now carries. Three, I offered him my love and commitment uncountable times and what did he do? He threw it on the group and stepped on it! Four, whatever happened to all the promises you made to me in my cellar, huh? About taking care of me, being my family? Satin sheets and home cooked meals! And five, I have no idea how to get back to Iroria so I might as well enjoy my life here. Take it as a retirement from that hell hole I’ve been at.’
Cobalt nodded at each reason I gave him. I loved how understanding he always was towards me. But at my last reason, he had froze and looked down.
‘What’s up?’ I snapped, irritated.
‘It’s just that I was counting on you knowing how to get back to Iroria.’ He fiddled with his thumbs.
‘Well, I don’t. What so bad about that?’ I tilted my head in confusion.
‘I kind of wrote Xavier a note.’
‘YOU WHAT?’ I shrieked. ‘That’s impossible. I hexed you. You couldn’t tell anyone. Not while I still live!’
‘I couldn’t tell anyone.’ he defended. ‘But there were still loopholes. I could write things about you on pieces of paper and hope that he accidentally finds it.’
‘I can’t believe it!’ I shrieked. ‘You of all people, who knew exactly what I went through, would bother finding loopholes in my hex to let that male chauvinistic pig find me?!’ He kept quiet and looked down at his half eaten croissant. Shaking my head in disappointment, I sat back in a huff.
‘And exactly how did you plan on him finding your little bromantic love notes?’ I hissed.
‘Well, I never disappear from the house for more than a year or two, no matter how dangerous a mission I go to.’ he started slowly. ‘I’ve been on Earth for 6 months and it took me roughly 3 months to get to Isatine. If I’m not wrong, that would be roughly 20 Iroria years…?’
‘Oh my Allura…’ I sighed deeply. ‘ What did your note say?’
‘I can’t remember clearly, but I do know that it screams ‘ASPER IS ALIVE AND SHE’S ON EARTH.’.’
My hands flew to my temples and massaged them. ‘He’s going to be frantic, isn’t he?’
‘Would-do-lots-of-dumb-things-just-to-get-to-me-kind of frantic?’
‘If it wasn’t illegal here on Earth, I’d kill you.’