Chapter 7

They looked through cupboards.

All sorts of foods were found by the group. After all the recent action, it was nice to think of more simple things- like what vegetables went into a stew and such.

Aarock after looking through the spices and such would taste each one and think. Some of the spices he’d put back and others he would add to the broth.

He directed the group to try and find certain things, probably to keep the younger ones occupied. Narika respected his direction. His confidence and direction made him a good leader. Narika hardly could compare himself- all he had had was a mission and allies with a similar goal.

After gathering all the ingredients- they started to work on putting everything together. However, it got somewhat conflicting- and eventually Aarock and Elera kicked out all the boys.

It was a little demeaning for Narika, Mika and Venu when the little Sari was picked as part of the kitchen crew over them. They looked amongst each other after having been kicked out then slowly worked their way to a side room with some games where they lounged waiting for the meal.

Venu looked aroudn the lounge area for something.

“What are you looking for?” Narika asked.

“The wizard probably looked for mental stimulus…” Venu said while opening up a giant cabinet with an, “aha.”

Narika and Mika looked at Venu curiously as he pulled out a board, with tiles and strange shapes.

“You ever play Manka?”

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Between Elera and Aarock’s meandering through and discussing flavors – they were able to come to a finished product. Aarock and Elera both tasted it with their respective spoons.

“Hmm…” Elera spoke pensively.

“Yeah… it’s missing something,”

Sari had been quiet the whole time, but upon hearing took a leaf of some sort off the shelf,

“Here you go,” Sari spoke quietly.

Aarock sniffed it and shrugged while he peppered some inside a small cup with the soup. He let Elera try the concoction.

“This is definitely it…” Elera said.

Aarock added it in. They gave Sari a taste and she nodded contently, “yep!”

Elera looked at Sari with a sense of amazement while Aarock put out a dejected smile.

Aarock patted little Sari on the head, “Three hundred years dabbling in cooking and I still can’t compete with inborn talent…”

Within thirty or so minutes- between the bread, nuts and salad, and main course of hearty soup – everything was finished. (author note: elves are vegetarian)


Narika didn’t consider himself dumb- but Venu had already won two games and offered that Mika and Narika work together to outsmart him. The premise of the game was simple. One must reach the other end of the board without losing the commander. Pieces could be captured, but upon obtaining ‘crystal’ which would reappear on the board every third turn, a piece could be returned. In this manner- even if the chief were captured, it was possible to reclaim ‘chief’ and continue the game.

The game board opened up into three different levels and there were seven different pieces. Assassin, Healer, Knight, Warrior, Artillery, Chief, Soldier. There was also the blockade piece, which hindered movement in lines beyond it.

Soldier allowed the construction of blockade and served as defenders for one turn. Thus if one wanted to pass a soldier, they must attack the soldier first before moving.

Assassins had the most maneuverability- they could move on the third level of the board and come back down to the second- thus ‘blockade’ would be nullified, but by being behind enemy lines, they were more vulnerable to attacks.

Artillary only moved along the bottom level, but could attack the level above.

Knights could defend a position and adjacent positions for three turns.

Warriors could move twice.

Healers could return lost soldiers and repair damaged knights.

Chief allowed for the command of soldiers: without chief, soldiers would remain in place. They also could move once per turn, thus making positioning for attack difficult behind walls.

Each turn, with the exception of warrior, every piece could move once, a certain amount of spaces.

While the game was simple in concept: certain rules allowed for the game to move faster and more strategically, ‘Sneak-attack’ could be used by Assassin, to move two turns in one move, but no moves in the next turn. Thus it was easier to capture Chief. ‘Rally’ could be used once per game, once a piece crossed the halfway point on the board- allowing every soldier to move twice in that turn. ‘Siege’ could destroy all blockades, at the cost of four soldiers. ‘Fortress’ could move all knights and warriors within two squares of ‘Chief’. There were assorted variations, rules, pieces, boards that had adapted to different regions making the game much more elaborate.

The three boys were absorbed in a battle of wits looking intently at the game board when the smell of something amazing came through the doors.

While Mika ran off to take a look – Narika was intent on finishing the match.

Somehow or another he would see it through to the end. Venu had outsmarted him twice with seemingly idiotic movements that would leave ‘Chief’ vulnerable and then a crazy offensive the next turn.

This time Narika kept his eye on ‘Chief’ and possible offensives that Venu could come up with. He would have to come up with his own strategy of offense at some point, rather than react to Venu’s movements. Narika was sure that he had a good strategy this time. An unwitting Venu would be no match for it.

Venu, placed a piece down however and used ‘sneak-attack’ to recapture crystal and regain a soldier in the position that Narika was about to attack. Then he used soldier to cast ‘blockade’.

Narika’s heart dropped.

“That was a good move…” Venu replied, “Since I regained crystal to defend, I can’t make an offensive this turn. We’re about even now.”

On the plus side, Narika looked at the vulnerable assassin- by taking it, it could break Venu’s constant offensive and finally give him the lead.

Venu looked up, “hmm, that was a bit too aggressive though. You should’ve positioned yourself better before trying to take Assassin.”

Venu followed up by positioning his own side in a manner similar to Narika’s attack. Now that Narika had positioned himself to take Assassin he’d left his opposite side open to advancement. Even though Venu could no longer make aggressive plays like the last match, he could use soldiers to make an almost impenetrable advancement in the next few turns.

Narika repositioned himself, but once again, he’d put himself on the defensive.

“Oh supper?” Venu said as he looked up just now noticing. He finally ended the game by moving a warrior into ‘net’ and winning the game.

Narika sighed and shook hands with Venu. Three games- three losses.

“You’ll get better…” Venu replied, “…You have a lot of potential.” Venu really did mean it, but Narika couldn’t tell if it was just out of sympathy.

Narika still felt a sting at losing so easily, but it just meant that he’d have to try harder next time.

Meanwhile two doors moved as Sari came out of the kitchen, “it’s done!”

They looked at Sari strangely- because there was no food in her hands.

“It’s at the table!”

In the main hall there was a giant table surrounded by a variety of foods. In fact, there was probably enough to feed thirty or so.

“We spared no expense,” Aarock smiled at the three boys who’d come to the room, “after all, it’d go to waste if we didn’t cook it all up now.”

Narika had heard of kings before. Some were tyrants- some were wise- some were proud… To be serving them however, Aarock was very humble for a king.

To have the king cook the meal- he wondered what kind of king Aarock was.

For the six of them there were plenty of extra chairs they ended up sitting somewhat closer together on one of the sides- thereby making it easier to pass food. This was however, after Mika attempted to take the opposite side as one of the heads.

Mika initially was happy to be at the head- but realized how difficult it was to hear the conversation for one and impossible to get seconds with the distance from the group. He took up his plate and meekly joined the group.

Aarock smiled at the downcast Mika, “it’s lonely at the head isn’t it?”

Aarock himself had taken a side chair along with the others, and there was no chair at the closer head.

The all munched down happily on the food.

Aarock stretched in place. Narika thought it strange for a king to act so down to earth, but it did make him more personable.

To Narika’s glance, Aarock responded, “I don’t often get treated normally… I have to uphold appearances at the court and it doesn’t really allow for much opportunity to enjoy myself.”

That made more sense. Perhaps Aarock was so used to being treated like royalty, he just wanted some time to live normally. Hence the cooking and the seating arrangement.

They talked about normal things. Sari had taken a seat next to Elera and was talking to her about braids and such, Elera had tried her best to get used to girl talk, remembering things that she’d done with her sister as a girl before being taken into training.

Narika sat next to Elera- as he wouldn’t have it any other way. He definitely wanted to be with Elera, even if at the moment, they could only behave as friends. Elera too smile with a slight glance towards him when he’d made an effort to sit beside her.

Aarock it seemed was simply observing followed by gazing off to the side.

Mika talked with Sari a bit as a brother and sister would, and then to Narika and eventually Venu.

Venu had been relatively quiet, attempting to join in conversations that he understood- followed by simply listening because he wasn’t familiar with most conversations that came up.

As the conversation of Menka came up, Aarock glanced towards the group again with a raised eyebrow.

“Venu, are you good at Menka you say?”

“I’m good,” Venu responded with a smile.

“I see…” Aarock responded, “…I invented Menka actually.”

“You did?!” the entire group besides Venu said in unison.

“-but I haven’t played it in a couple hundred year or so.”

Venu’s ears perked up, “…I’d love to face you.”

“I’d welcome a challenge,” Aarock responded.

Aarock began answering questions about all the different people he’d played across the ages.

The conversation took a turn to culture and then the different nations.

Thirty minutes or so passed this way and everyone’s stomachs were contented and the conversation started to die down.

Aarock took on a more serious tone, “I have something to discuss with you guys…” he paused as everyone turned their attention to Aarock.

“As you know… I have business across the continent at the moment.”

Narika had wondered about this. It was a fact that Aarock was a king- of course he wouldn’t have time to waste sitting for a group of youths. At the very best, he could probably guide them through the difficult part of the journey, but that was probably being too hopeful.

Oh no! Narika thought. Had they already lost their chance to stay with a legendary warrior? There was still so much to learn about this place and having Aarock would make things so much easier.

“Are you going to leave?” Venu voiced the question that resided in the group’s heart.

“I couldn’t possibly leave a group of kids to the unknown dangers that would face you in the desert,” Aarock responded.

This shocked the group. If he couldn’t leave them, then that meant…

“It was my plan however to check a couple places before I go back…”

Aarock looked at them as if he were asking a great request, “Would you all like to come with me?”

“You would want us to join you?”

Aarock then spoke seriously – “well- I could always request some of the trusted guardians at the castle to do the job… but I kind of prefer to do this sort of thing on my own.”

Venu responded, “you mean that you prefer to keep an eye on all the happenings yourself periodically and make sure that the territory is faring well right?”

“Well, yes… of course,” and then a little ashamedly he paused for a moment as if trying to relieve a guilty conscience, “but also…”

“you wouldn’t believe it…the castle gets so uptight! I hate politics!” he drifted off, “…It’s like a prison in there…”

With the exception of Venu who simply opened his eyes in shock- the group almost entirely fell over in bewilderment.

Aarock continued on with his hidden agenda, “If you would indulge me this request and continue with me for the next week or so before returning… this is sort of like my only vacation in a year.”

Narika wondered what sort of person considers defeating a dark wizard that threatens an entire countryside a ‘vacation’- but perhaps Aarock had faced so many difficulties in his past- that it wasn’t actually a threat.

He also wondered what sort of king would leave the castle for two weeks just as a vacation. Aarock seemed like an irresponsible child in this regard….

Then he thought more about it. Perhaps if he were in Aarock’s shoes he’d feel the same, After being a king for seven-hundred years- having to deal with politics day in and day out… wouldn’t he want a break himself?

Personally, Narika loved the idea of helping Aarock around the countryside- -but as of now- he’d sort of been the unofficial party leader- making sure that all the decisions that he made for the group were agreed upon.

“I can reward you of course, in return for your support of my diplomatic affairs.”

Narika noticed this as generosity. Aarock only felt obligated to guide them to Darantis out of maternal kindness – and not out of necessity. In this regard, Aarock was perhaps too kind…

Narika looked at the group, while Sari and Mika were excited, Elera had a more serious look and Venu looked a tad standoffish- as if he didn’t necessarily want to be involved.

Narika tried to weight the pros and cons- Aarock would definitely be a great help in their journey across a foreign land. He could also get a lot of experience and perspective by seeing the countryside. It was only a week, and by being rewarded and on good terms with the king- it could place them in a better position in the future. On the other hand- to foster a king’s negligence… and possibly endanger the group- even though he expected with Aarock- the two youths would probably be safer then not if they journeyed alone. He still thought there would be some unnecessary dangers by journeying- so everyone would have to be on board.

The main concern then would be… “Who’s in charge of the castle?”

“My leave is unofficial- Sardis my wife is handling the affairs while I’m away… while my head ambassador is taking care of any appointments.”

So the king wasn’t completely negligent, his wife Sardis? He wondered at this- was she also immortal?

Narika first looked at Elera who responded with, “It’s up to you…” she smiled. “I’m on board with whatever decision you make.”

He couldn’t express his gratitude enough to her support. That certainly spoke to Narika about their relationship. Elera was his most important companion. So then… Narika ignored the two kids who were jumping at the chance and looked at Venu who seemed to be harboring some resistance to the idea. If that were the case then.

“I would…” Narika spoke to Aarock and then looked at Venu’s standoffish glance.

Venu noticed Narika’s glance. Venu’s tone changed, “It’s ok… I think it’s a good opportunity…”

Narika tried to grasp the change in attitude, however Venu simply went back to a melancholy appearance as if there had been no resistance.

After hearing Venu’s reply, “we do so agree…”

“Great!” Aarock spoke clapping his hands, “Narika- you must have some good qualities for this group to respect you so…”

Good qualities? Narika thought. As much as that spoke to his ego, he didn’t want to think it was all his doing. Everyone in the group had their own ‘qualities’.

“So what are we planning on doing then?” Narika replied.

“Hmm well actually… I’m keeping in touch with my old contacts across the realm- seeing what kind of resistance or chaos Lucifer is up to right now.


Aarock began to explain, “Lucifer is in competition to maintain power over the demonos realm.”

“Uh…” Narika spoke, unsure of any of it. “Sorry… what are demonos?”

The entire group except Elera looked at Narika with bewilderment to his ignorance.

Aarock appeared shocked for a moment at Narika’s ignorance, but realizing it was a legitimate question did his best to answer him.

Hm where should start…” Aarock spoke… “Long ago…there was a war…”

“Dark and light…”

“A war?”

“Between God’s first creations -the Angelos…”



“oh. Sorry.”

“God granted the Angelos unique powers – to carry out his will… The Angelos were given responsibilities and the rights to manifest God’s power- however, some believed that they should surpass God- to recreate the world in their own images as rulers… and they rebelled.”

Narika’s interest was perked.

“A war began across stars… not too much is known about it… the important thing is the rebellious were banished…Instead of the mercy and grace he’d so often shown them – God showed his wrath. In a flash of light – he banished them all from his kingdom- to live in the darkness for eternity… without the light that God gave – they became deranged creatures- Demonos.”

“After a time…God carried on with his plan to create earth. God created humanity.”

“Wait… why didn’t he kill the demonos?”

“They are immortals.”

“How do we defeat something that’s immortal?”

“That’s a different story,” he spoke. “The demonos have already been beaten… they work within the rules of creation that God made… they have great powers, but aren’t allowed to supercede humanity’s freewill…”

“Why would humanity allow them to do that?”

Aarock sighed, “Humanity is already a corrupted species- greed, hate, fear. It’s quite common for them to take assistance from demonos in exchange for power or wealth…”

“Why would God allow that?”

“God gave them freewill.”

“Okay…” Narika responded, starting to get a picture.

“So then what?”

“When humanity was created- a demonos named Lucifer led his fallen comrades to deceive them. Humans and demonos were both cursed for this. Humans were cursed to die- demons were cursed to exist without a form… God created the first Elfa- Guardians to protect humanity. Humanity lived in a corrupted state- Elfa tried to watch over them, but with humanity’s freewill they could only defend them from the darkness and not stop them from going strait towards it.

Many humans- motivated by greed, fear, chaos, hatred- made pacts with demons for power.”

“The demonos war…”

“these pacts with demons created beings known as demon-kin….”

Aarock reflected for a moment. “back then…”

It seemed he was lost in thought, “Both my parents… my family… most of my friends… except for Sardis.”

“Aren’t you immortal?”

“Myself and Sardis can live forever… in that regard yes… but we can also die unnaturally… I wasn’t always as strong as I am now. If we were unable to live…”

Sardis would have been his wife.

“Are there any other Elfa from back then?”

“Many survived the demonos war- but they were cursed a mortal life after their sin and passed away within a thousand years…”


“Although well-meaning, the reason that humans have magic, the reason for all the corruption in the races, the reason for dark wizards… is because of the Elfa.”


“The demon-kin war…it was our responsibility.”

“I was a young man at the time… two hundred seventy…. Eager to prove myself… I signed up quickly after the war started…”

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Author: jackpennnovels

Hey there. I'm a 28 y/o aspiring author - looking to inspire youth and entertain the masses with fantastic stories. i enjoy travelling the world and understanding different ways of life- and my second dream would be to help others understand what it's like to live in different parts of the world- in the hopes that cultural exchange can open the eyes of those who've had theirs shut for so long.

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