It had been fifteen years since the great war against the Last Dark Lord. Fifteen years since anyone in the capital, or even the surrounding cities and villages, had seen even a single Goblin. The race had been declared extinct in twelve of the fifteen united human provinces, and the remaining provinces only refrained from the declarations out of an abundance of caution, or sheer lack of concern, one way or the other. It truly seemed as though they had been entirely wiped out, wholly used up as sacrificial fodder by the desperate Dark Lord before his final defeat.
So when the young Prince Zennen and his Elder Brother Markinth heard that the Demi-human Auction would include one, they could not help but attend. The young Zennen, who was being raised as a mage, had never partaken of the Demi-Human auctions before. He found slavery, even over the defeated minions of the last Dark Lord, to be profoundly distasteful, and insult to sentience and thought in all its forms. His elder brother however, had built up an impressive collection of slave soldiers, servants, and concubines. He did not share his brother’s scruples, raised to be a knight and champion of the people, and not a great thinker.
At least Prince Zennen was able to console himself with the fact that his elder brother was known for treating his property well, though, to Markinth, property they most certainly were. It was he who had told Zennen of the rumored “Item” which would be up for auction, the last of the Goblins, or so they said. With his elder brother as a guide, the two descended down from the sun-dappled marble streets of the capital, to the shadowed trails and alleys of the under-city which lay beneath. Here the less decent members of their victorious society plied their trades, away from the eyes of their betters, or at least, normally. But not that day.
Prince Markinth and Zennen walked side by side down the dark, buried street, and keeping pace beside and around them were eight guards, four of which held torches. Without those illuminating sources, the Prince’s and their guards would have been forced to use the scant torch and lamp light hung from the posts and dirtied buildings around them. The street was roughly cobbled, and the buildings which lined it were crooked, tightly packed things with an alleyway splitting them apart every couple of structures. Distressingly, at least for the younger prince, they were forced to take several of those slim streets between the nearly derelict buildings to reach where this particular auction would be held.
“Now, remember Zennen, this is no time to be playing hero or moralist. We are the Princes, so we can go wherever we please, but this is the doorstep of some of the nastiest gangs and crime lords that still exist in our kingdom, and beyond. Challenging them here would be…” Markinth began to say.
“Unwise?” Zennen supplied.
“Really fucking unwise.” Markinth said with a nod of his head.
“Don’t worry. I may object to much, or, all, that happens down here, but I’m not the mage because I’m the dumb one.” Said the younger prince.
His brother scoffed.
“Sure, maybe not dumb, but idealistic is just as bad most of the time.” Said the older prince, drawing a flush from his robed brother.
“I am not THAT idealistic!” He hissed.
His brother scoffed again, more loudly this time.
“Says the Prince who still masterbates because concubines are too below him.” Mocked Markinth.
“They are slaves, Mark! We don’t have any right to-” Zennen began to argue.
“Yeah, see, that right there. That's exactly what I’m talking about Zen. That kind of thing won’t fly here, so don’t bother giving it air.” the armored elder brother said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
Zennen grit his teeth, but was forced to capitulate to the logic presented. Between Markinth and himself, he judged they were likely among the most powerful individuals in the city, and that was not even counting their authority or wealth as royalty. But, surely some of the others who ranked close to them would be present here, and being ganged up on by a bunch of high level criminals was not the way the Mage Prince was set on dying. He strengthened his resolve towards self control, and stepped out with his entourage onto a wider, busier street, its buildings staffed with stalls proffering all kinds of distasteful or illegal goods and services.
A combination of red shaded and bare torches lit the way from many places, making their own lights redundant, and they were soon put out as they continued along the thoroughfare. The stone ceiling above dripped mineralized water from countless, pointed stalactites, simulating a dreary, weak rain, and they rushed through it and into a cracked, circular building which Markinth indicated towards. Once inside they dried off, Zennen snapping his fingers to enact a quick heating spell, before they continued into a set of dismal, dark corridors, stopping at a wide, iron door.
The elder prince knocked on the door in a particular way, and a shutter opened on it, a pair of red, inhuman eyes staring out at them.
“Blue sunshine is the rarest kind.” Said Markinth.
The eyes scanned him, and then the others, before the shutter slammed shut, and the door creaked open and inward, hauled on by a massive orc, the largest Zennen had ever seen in person! He hadn’t even realized there were any orcs this large left after the last war, much less one right under the city! It wore scaled up ringlet armor, and a heavy, bucket helm, holding an ugly cudgel in his free hand. He glared at them as they entered, but to Zennen’s relief, made no move to follow them down the proceeding stairs. They were met at the base of the stairs by what seemed to be, by all appearances, a well dressed man servant. The prim man bowed deeply to them both.
“Welcome my lords, Please, come this way.” He said, rising elegantly before turning, and leading them into a new set of corridors, and up one more set of stairs.
The building here, however, and the building back beyond the iron door, were like night and day when it came to their aesthetics. Ornate torch scones were mounted on the walls to provide light, and the ceiling was tall and well ventilated. The walls were plastered with a somewhat gaudy, but undeniably expensive wallpaper, and the floors were coated in a rich, red carpet. It was like they were all within some kind of vast underground palace!
“Pretty nice, eh?” His brother said.
Zennen was forced to nod.
“How the hell can criminals afford all of this?” He said, looking around.
“Rich clients.” Markinth answered, adding a shrug.
“We’re here, aren’t we?” He added just before the man servant led them to a glossy, red wood door, and opened it for them.
It led out onto a balcony with just enough space for the two Princes to sit comfortably, and for two guards to stand behind each. The remaining four guards took up positions outside the door that led onto the balcony, making sure no one snuck up on their charges. From their seats in the balconies, the two brothers had a good, elevated look at the center of a massive stage, one very similar to those used above to perform dramas and plays. But a different kind of drama would be playing out here, Zennen knew.
Around them was a ring of other balconies, though most who seemed present to participate in the auction were below them in a large, motley crowd standing before and about the stage. Each of them, the two princes included, had been given a signaling wand in order to make their bids. There was a brief conference with the man servant, as they discussed funds, delivery protocol, and payment, before the two were left sitting and watching the idling auction.
Zennen had already determined that he would not spend even half of what he had made available to purchase, even for the goblin, though he did not expect that, even the last Goblin on the planet, would sell for very much compared to the other “merchandise” which would be available at such a high end auction. But, even if the goblin was dirt cheap, Zennen still felt conflicted as to whether he would actually make the purchase. Then, with the blow of a trumpet, and the emergence of a single man on the stage, the auctions began!
What followed was nearly four hours of presentation, bidding, and selling. The well dressed Auctioneer would signal out a team to bring forth a slave, sometimes in shackles, sometimes in complicity. He would rattle off some facts and history about the presented captive, with a definite, marketing edge thrown in to make each look as flattering and worth their price as possible, always angling to drive the bidding up. Then the actual bidding would begin, time would be taken to see how high the price would go, and then, with the smack of a gabble against the hardwood podium the auctioneer stood at, the sale would be declared and concluded, the process repeating again and again.
Zennen had expected the auction to be more rowdy and chaotic, having imagined that the crowd of buyers below him would be largely composed of depraved criminal elements, who would vie and even fight amongst each other for the rights to purchase, as much as actually bid. To his surprise, the proceedings were incredibly organized, with even the roughest of the buyers below them appearing to adhere to a strict code of conduct. Even the slaves were organized into categories, and not just brought up randomly as he had thought they would be.
First came the hard labor slaves, minotaurs, orcs, some humans and dwarves from the northern expanses, and a couple of bugbears. Afterward, the service slaves. Elderly or spindly scribes of the hawkmen races, a Spirider with a knack for math, accounting, and finances, and others of similar skill and ability. Then came the slave soldiers, orcs, reave raiders, centaurs, and northmen, captured in skirmishes or campaigns, to be brought here as slaves and sold as gladiators, fodder, or mercenary filler.
And then, lastly, came the Concubines, or, as they were also known, the sex slaves. Some were brought forth by trainers and organizations whom had instructed the slaves, bathed them, and dressed them in fine silks and tantalizing garments. Others were hauled forth in chains, fighting, weeping, or despondent, wearing soiled or torn clothes, the same they had been captured in, usually the recent victims of raids or conquest. The princes were largely idle, eating some offered snacks as they watched the bidding from above, Zennen far less patiently than Markinth, who seemed well accustomed to the whole ordeal.
They both waited, watching as each slave was called up, and then sent down, wondering when the Goblin would appear.
“Ten Gold says that the Goblin is in the first line up.” Said Markinth.
“I mean, its a fucking Goblin. What else would you use it for?” He added.
Zennen shook his head.
“You're on. It's gotta be skilled labor. Why else even bother capturing a goblin to sell? I would understand collecting the last Goblin, but catching it just to put it on auction…it's a seamster, or a scribe, or something. I’ll be shocked if they try to sell it for hard labor.” Said the younger prince.
To their Amazement, they were both wrong, as the hard labor and then skilled labor categories came, and went, both without anything greener than an orc or smaller than a kobold. They watched eagerly as the slave soldiers were presented, both silently wondering what manner of fear Goblin the auction would try to sell as a warrior. But again, the two were left without any revelation, the Goblin failing to appear at all once more. Neither held out hope for the last category, which was concubines. As unlikely as Zennen had thought a Goblin labor slave would be, a Goblin sex slave seemed even more outlandish, and his brother appeared to be of the same mind.
Still, that did not stop Markinth from leaning in as the Concubines were announced, and the first of the women, a bashful northern slave in silks, was led daintily onto the stage.
“Gods damn it Mark, was there ever really a Goblin?” Zennen complained, crossing his arms in frustration, hating that he was any part of this, especially now, when his academic curiosity was left as dead as the species he thought he’d find here.
“As far as I knew. Could be they lied to me to get me back in the auction.” Said Markinth, not looking away from the woman as she twirled on the stage.
Now it was Zennen’s turn to scoff.
“As if they would need to say anything like that to get YOU back in here.” He said with a roll of his eyes.
“Maybe they lied to get YOU in here for the first time?” He suggested.
“For the last time, at this rate. I don’t know how you put up with any of this.” Zennen groaned.
“Hey, far as I see it, anyone down there would be lucky to be purchased by me, and not by anyone else who winds up bidding in this kind of place. Speaking of which…” Markinth said before raising his bidding wand.
A red flare shot from it, and his voice was temporarily amplified as he yelled, “25 Silvers!”
His mage brother huffed, but resigned himself to waiting out the rest of the auction, watching on silently. And then, they were both shocked for the third, and final time, as the Goblin finally made her appearance.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, up next we have a rather rare prize! We know that many of you came here just on the rumor that such merchandise might be up for sale! Some of you may, conversely, feel disinterested in this product on name alone, but we assure you, anyone who has stuck around until now will find a pleasurable use for this particular product!” The Auctioneer began to yell.
Zennen perked up, sitting upright and leaning in.
“No way.” Said his older brother, who was sitting back in his chair, legs up.
“A Goblin concubine? The hell is the world coming to…” He muttered, but Zennen wasn’t listening.
“From the steamy jungles of Opalis, from across the sea in the Emerald isles, where tribes of Wild Goblins once roamed, we bring you an exotic, and vanishing beauty. Most of her tribe was annihilated when she was young, and she was raised among the elder women who survived the initial breaking of the war. They did not survive the hunters that came after, but, luckily for all of us, the Emerald Islanders recognized the prize they discovered, and thanks to that wisdom, I have the honor of presenting you all with this newest product! The last Goblin!” The auctioneer concluded, flourishing towards the curtains, which opened to reveal two orcs, each holding a chain, and a small, green figure between them.
She was short, no more than four feet tall, and at first the clever mage prince suspected that she was nothing more than an orc child, but that thought did not survive a close inspection. Though short, her body was proportional, much like a gnome as opposed to a dwarf. Her arms were shackled behind her back, from which one chain originated, held by the orc behind her, while her neck was viced in a thick, metal collar, from which another chain was connected, this one held by the orc in front of her.
The goblin wore nothing, her green skin utterly bare for all to see, though she seemed to try to crouch forward in a vain attempt to hide her body. Her heavy breasts were large on her small form, and her curvaceous rear made Zennen swallow nervously, unable to help but ogle. Her skin was naturally a vibrant green, but she had been tattooed, presumably by her tribe, with bright red markings which striped her from head to toe. Her hair was long enough to reach the backs of her knees, and was glossy and black, like onyx strands.
The silky look of it as it draped over her body made Zennen think she had likely been prettied up before being placed on the stage, as she was absent the caked dirt and general lack of hygiene that he had been expecting to see on a Goblin. The whites of her eyes were yellow, but not in the sickly, stained way that human eyes tended to be when they took on that color. Hers were more like the color of open sunflowers, and uniform in their coloration, striped down the center with a thin, black pupil that darted and looked about in obvious, barely constrained fear.
“Ahhh, caught your eye eh? You know you can bid right? You have a wand right there.” Markinth said, laughing when Zennen bristled and crossed his arms.
“I won’t be a part of this.” Zennen grumbled as he watched on.
The auctioneer had the newest slave brought to the very front of the stage, allowing all to get a look at her, and doing his best to talk around several vital facts, such as whether the supposed Concubine could even speak the language of the capital. The Emerald Islanders most certainly did not, Zennen knew. She did not seem to be resisting them intentionally, but they were forced to pull her chains to maneuver her into turning around for the audience, which told him everything he needed to know in regards to that.
He blushed, unable to stop himself from growing stiff in his robes as he watched them display her, before the crowd, some aspect of her appearance, or perhaps, her demeanor, striking a heady cord within him. He had thought a Goblin being sold as a Concubine would be a dubious proposition at best, but in spite of her short size, she did seem to be every bit the natural beauty that the Auctioneer made her out to be, even if she was a lost little savage. Zennen admired her while he could, and when the bidding began, he followed the bidders as best as he could manage, curious as to where the little Goblin would end up, and with whom.
The bidding was actually rather heated, one of the more competitive moments in the market in fact. But, ultimately, the choice was taken out of the hands of those in the crowd below, as the bids of the other balcony dwellers rose above what most could afford. In the end, the highest bid for her came from a large orc sitting in the central-most balcony. Zennen looked over at him several times, as the green criminal continued to vie and vie for the Goblin below them, normally being the first to raise the bids, and finally silencing all others with an offer of Twenty Two gold Pieces, a fortune when it came to the purchase of a Demi-human slave.
The orc seemed unguarded, though it was more likely that he simply kept his guards outside his balcony door, since the balcony itself was far too full for anymore people to join him. The orc was surrounded by slaves, concubines, Zennen assumed, though he seemed to treat them more like furniture. An orc maiden stood to his right, nude from the waist up, and holding a tray on which sat a bottle of wine and a single glass, which was half full. To his left, a slim connecka kneeled, holding a bowl of grapes he was eating from, the large green beast taking moments to stroke and tease the kneeling concubines long rabbit ears, making her shiver and plead in what seemed more fear than pleasure.
Before him was one of the savage northern women, on hands and knees, his feet up on top of her like a leg rest, and lastly, a nearly nude, furry wolf maid sat in his lap, cuddling into his chest, submissively licking his chin and neck. Over all, the orc seemed to fancy himself a connoisseur of the chained, even more so than Zennen’s own brother, who suddenly frowned as he realized who was likely to get her.
“What's wrong?” Zennen asked.
“Ah, what a fucken waste. Looks like she is going to end up one of Ornveer's broken toys. That orc over there, he shows up at every one of these auctions, always looking for…replacements. He’s some kind of crime lord, though I don’t know very much else. All I do know is that his concubines don’t last. So much for the last goblin, eh?” Markinth said, sending shivers down his brother’s spine.
“Well…what do we do about it?” the mage prince asked.
“There is nothing you can do. Ornveer is untouchable, he is close to level eighteen, even I couldn’t touch him. Even father wouldn’t want to. When a man achieves a level like that, he basically owns the earth he stands on. Don’t get me wrong, it helps that he isn’t an open nuisance to us in the city, but even if he were, he’d need to be pretty bad for father to deal with him. I’m about thirteen now. You?” asked the Knight Prince.
“Err, ten. I’ll be at eleven before the end of the month though, if I can keep up my studies.” Said Zennen, blushing meekly.
“So neither of us could confront him without risking something serious, and as for ganging up on him, well, man’s a crime LORD. The fact that he has lackeys shouldn’t shock you. He would have been purged during the war, but Ornveer and his tribe didn’t side with the Dark Lord, so they largely escaped the fighting, I think.” Markinth said.
“Unbelievable, so we just let him keep ruining people?!” Zennen spat.
“Slaves, not people. And yes, unless you have an idea that would keep us from getting turned into smears by him. Man must be in the top three levels in the city.” The Knight prince said with a shrug.
“Eh, what’s it matter anyway? It’s not like the world is begging to have more goblins. Almost poetic justice, in my opinion. After serving wicked orcs for all their history, now the Goblin race will be ended by them as well.”
Zennen grit his teeth at that, and jumped a little as the Auctioneer began to call out the count, and this time, no one was raising the bid. Zennen looked back down at the small green figure on the stage, and swallowed hard.
“Going twice! Going thrice! And Sol-” The Auctioneer was saying.
But he was cut off as a bright red flash of light heralded another bid, Zennen’s bid. He stood on his balcony, holding out his signal wand, face tense, and then, slackening as he realized what he had just done. His brother, Markinth, looked just as shocked, but twice as amused, sitting back and folding his hands smuggly, as the room waited to hear the offer.
“Uh, t-twenty five gold pieces!” He yelled, stuttering at the sound of his amplified voice.
“Twenty five gold pieces for the emerald treasure of the isles! Will anyone rise to that challenge!” The Auctioneer yelled.
In response, another red flash, and amplified voice. The orc in the balcony beside them barked out his next bid.
“Thirty!” He bellowed, deep voice echoing across the room harshly.
Zennen looked over at the orc, seeing the large green man glaring at him, and glaring right back, firing off his signal wand before the Auctioneer could even begin to speak.
“Forty gold coins!” The mage prince declared, drawing some hushed gasps from the crowd below them.
“F-Forty Gold coins ladies and gentlemen! Such a-” The Auctioneer began.
“Forty five!” The orc shouted, not even using his wand, and simply bellowing the bid from where he sat, his voice more than loud enough to be heard by all.
But Zennen would not be beaten, flaring his wand once more.
“Eighty Gold pieces!” He yelled.
The room reeled in a stunned malaise, and the Auctioneer's jaw dropped open. Markinth was grinning so widely Zennen thought his teeth might fall out of his mouth, but the mage prince was beyond backing down now. He may not have been as strong as the orc was, but as the Prince, he did have one severe advantage over the criminal, royal wealth. It took the auctioneer almost a full minute before he realized that the glaring, fuming orc was no longer raising the bid.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this may be among the highest bids ever taken in this esteemed market! Eighty gold Pieces! Going once! Going twice! Going thrice! Aaaand…Sold! Thank you patrons, masters, and mistresses, this final bid concludes today’s market! New owners, please come down to the lounge to collect your property, we will have them prepared for you when you arrive. All others please exit out the main doors behind you, and remember, the day's offers may be over, but the market never closes! Good day!”
“No.” Markinth said with a chuckle.
“But why not? I purchased her, shouldn’t I be the one taking her back?” Zennen asked, unable to even talk about what they had just done without a fresh, red flush staining his cheeks.
They were walking through the undercity again, this time a spell cast over their heads that shielded them from the dripping pseudo rain which fell from above. They only had four of their guards with them now, the other four having remained behind.
“Haha, no Zen. Why do you think we brought eight guards? Two for each of us, and two to escort our individual purchases. They will go collect them on our behalf, and you can play with your pretty new toy once we get back home.” The Knight prince said.
“She isn’t my toy Markinth! She is a thinking being, who doesn’t even know the language of anyone who is speaking around her! She has to be handled with care, not hauled about like an object. I should be the one making sure-” Zennen began to say.
“Zen, for the love of the Gods, stop. Sheesh, I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. We are PRINCES Zen, fucking royalty. You know? Symbols of the people? Of the Crown? We can’t be seen walking back to the castle with sex slaves in tow.” Said the knight.
“And why not? You said so yourself, we are princes! We can go wherever we want, with whoever we want! No one is going to oppose-” the mage began to say before another laugh cut him off.
“Ha! Oppose? That's not the reason why Zen. Do you remember when I got this yellow cloak?” Markinth asked, indicating to the bright yellow cape which hung to his shoulder pads.
“Yeah, I told you it looked atrocious, by the way. But that has nothing to do with slaves.” Said Zennen.
“No, but it has everything to do with trends. As atrocious as you think my cloak is, and you're wrong by the way, the maidens think it's striking, like a lightning bolt.”
“I guess, if you count flashiness.” Zennen murmured.
“The point, Zen, is that, as bad as you think it looks, what happened in the court the day after I started wearing it? Do you remember?“ Markinth continued.
“Of course, half the blasted nobility came in wearing some kind of yellow cape. The damn throne room looked like a hive of bumble bees!” Zennen said.
“And there it is.” Said the Knight.
“There what is?” Asked the mage.
“My point, dear distracted brother. We are trend setters, not just authorities.
If you and I, or just you in fact, walk through any public place with an obvious slave in your shadow, then the next day every holier than thou noble who has been bashing the markets will be showing up with a veritable army of concubines. If you hate slavery so much, you shouldn’t be so eager to show it off in front of the people who’ll imitate everything they see you doing.” Said the elder prince.
Zennen felt his face flush anew as he absorbed the logic. All of Markinth’s words made sense, too much sense, and Zennen was forced to confront, once again, that while he was the academic among the two, Markinth was most certainly the more savvy when it came to the interpersonal maze of royal appearances and the science of court cause and effect. He was about to admit as much when a figure stepped out in front of them. A large, green figure.
“Stop.” Said Ornveer the orc.
He was alone, no lackeys, slaves, or guards in sight, though the four remaining guards who were protecting the princes stepped forward regardless, hands on the swords at their waists.
“Ornveer…” Markinth said, his own hand falling on his bastard sword, which the tall prince kept on his belt.
“And what exactly do you want?” He added.
Zennen felt a hot rush of adrenaline almost right away. Despite his defiance of the orc’s will, he had not expected to be confronted, though hopefully, this would not turn violent.
“The goblin. Where is she.” Ornveer demanded, looking straight at Zennen.
“Where she belongs…” Markinth said, drawing an inch of his sword out of his scabbard.
“Why do you care? The Auction is over.” Said the Knight Prince.
“I’m not talking to you, pipsqueak. I’m talking to your dress wearing brother.” Said the orc.
“It's a robe!” Zennen fumed with a stomp.
“It's irrelevant.” The orc said, stepping closer.
“Tell me where that goblin is.”
The Guards drew their swords, as did Markinth. Zennen swallowed hard and reached into his robes, withdrawing a block of chalk which was carved into the shape of an hourglass. Perhaps nothing unnerved the mage more than the way the orc was talking. He sounded far more literate and educated than an orc should have, not slurring or fumbling his words in the least, despite his tusks and thick, orcish lips.
“Why don’t you tell me what you want with her first?” Zennen said, working hard to firm his voice.
“That's none of your concern.” The orc shot back, thick arms crossed over his chest.
“Actually, it is his concern, seeing as he is the one who purchased her, and not you. Better luck next time Ornveer. Now get out of our way.” Said Markinth.
“Careful boy. You're lucky I’m even bothering to talk to a couple of blue bloods like you. If it weren’t for your uncle, I’d have taken your heads off already.” The orc said, his crossed arms bulging with muscles.
“You mean you’d have tried. I think you're maybe overestimating yourself a little bit. We aren’t just any blue bloods. Now, unless you’d like to get a closer look at your own blood, then get out of the way, orc.” Markinth said.
“I’m not handing her over to you. I don’t care what you say or threaten. It's not happening!” Zennen added a moment behind his brother, hand sweating as he clutched the chalk statue.
The orc glared for a long, drawn out moment, and then sighed. He uncrossed his arms, and then balled his hands into fists, raising them.
“Maybe you won’t hand her over,” the orc began to say, knees bending.
“But I bet your father will trade her to me, in exchange for the two of you.”
Markinth scoffed, a bright glow building in his sword as he invested it with his strength. He wasn’t holding back, Zennen could see, and from the sweat trickling down his face, he could also tell that his older brother was far from as confident as he was making himself look and sound.
“I think you’re underestimating how hard it would be to actually ‘acquire’ us for that kind of trade.” Markinth warmed.
The orc laughed.
“The hardest part about this, is going to be tapping you lightly enough not to kill you.” the big green brute threatened, tensing for a moment before he spoke one more word.
Then, there was a sudden gust, an expansion of air pressure coming from the orc, as a red, almost fiery aura spilled out from him, and coated his body. His muscles bulged unnaturally large, the orc himself seeming to nearly double in size within a single instant, revealing what class of warrior the crime lord was. A barbarian! His rage unleashed as raw power, the guards sprinted towards him to intercept, while Markinth reeled back his sword, preparing to use his once per day ability.
But Zennen was frozen, and could only watch, his eyes struggling to keep up with what happened next. The four guards were thrown out of the way like men who had charged head first into a rockslide, trampled or tossed aside without slowing the orc in the slightest. They never even stood a chance, but Zennen liked to think that their diversion had created the opening that his brother now exploited. Markinth bellowed a battle cry, his sword exploding with a purple and red light, and his armor gleaming bright silver as he lurched forward, chopping down with his wide sword.
“Royal Execution!” He yelled as the blade swung, and connected with the intercepting forearm the orc put in the way to shield himself.
The blow was heavy enough to stop Ornveer in his tracks, the street shaking with the force of it as the Orc’s feet cracked the dirty cobble stone beneath them, sinking almost two inches into the ground. Yet as the dust and grime that had been kicked up by the strike cleared, both Markinth and Zennen found their eyes bulging in unbelieving shock. The orc’s skin had not even broken against the strike, the blade still pressed firmly against the green beast's forearm.
“What in the-” Markinth began before the orc swung with his other fist, punching the knightly prince in the stomach, denting his armor in and driving all air and thought out of the young warrior’s body.
“Mark!” Zennen yelled as his older brother staggered back, drool slicking from his open mouth as he dropped his sword and cupped the dent where he had been punched, gasping as he dropped to his knees and fell onto his side, twitching.
“That's one.” The orc said, rising to his full height before turning to fully face the remaining prince.
“Are you going to make me take you out as well?” Ornveer asked, taking a step towards the mage.
“Stop!” Zennen ordered, raising his fist, where he still clutched the hour glass shaped piece of large chalk.
“Hahaha, magic? You should know, there isn’t any fire you can conjure that will stop me before I can reach you, no ice wall you can erect to keep me from getting what I want.” The orc said with a smirk.
Zennen looked at his guards and brother, before gritting his teeth in an unpleasant smile that he shot back at the orc.
“I’m not a black mage or a conjurer you simpleton.” He said, almost growling the words.
“I’m a chronomancer!” He declared, watching as the orcs eyes widened, and then as the brutes whole body tensed as he made to charge across the distance between them, a distance which barely existed.
His fist was less than an inch from Zennen’s face when the mage crushed the chalk in his hand, and cast his own one per day spell.
“Royal Reversal!” He yelled, and the world went completely black.
He felt his guts churn, felt his body tumbling and falling as if he had been tossed down some endless, black well. He had to hold back a cry of adrenaline, gritting his teeth as the invisible world sped around him, faster than the speed of time itself. And then...all at once, everything grew still, and Zennen opened eyes he had not realized he had closed.
“No.” Markinth said with a chuckle.
They were walking through the undercity once more, the time delaying spell above their heads freezing the false rain drops that fell from on high, their fall only resuming once the brothers and their guards had passed. Zennen said nothing at first, stopping where he was and looking around .
“You aren’t going to ask why?” Markinth asked, turning to look at him, reading the expression on Zennen’s face, and instantly losing his levity.
“What's wrong? What happened?” The Knight prince asked.
“Ornveer, he’s waiting for us up ahead. He’s going to attack us, kidnap us to exchange for the Goblin.” Said Zennen.
“What?! Thats fucking insane, we’re royalty! How do you know any of that? Did you use the-” Markinth began to say.
“Royal reversal? Yes. I don’t know why it's so important to him, but he’s going to take his shot at us, and we can’t beat him. We can’t even get close.” The mage prince said.
“Damn…and he’s sure to know the undercity better than either of us. Do you think we can just circumvent him?” Markinth asked.
Zennen shook his head.
“No, he’s damned determined, and he’s aware about uncle Raren’s level. If that's not enough to put him off, then I don’t think turning on a different street will either. What do we do?” Zennen asked.
Markinth paused to think for a moment before sighing heavily and drawing out a circular pendant from under his armor.
“W-Wait, you're going to call Reigna?! Are you serious?! She will kill us both for having been down here!” Zennen sputtered when he saw what his brother intended.
“No, she’ll probably only kill you. She already knows that I’m into this. Besides, do you know anyone else who can teleport us out of this place?” Markinth asked.
Zennen reluctantly shook his head.
“W-Well, not exactly…” The mage admitted.
“Alright then. Looks like we either get out with her, or we go through Ornveer. I’m choosing the one who’s going to punch me less.” Said the knight.
“Less? Maybe not as hard…” Zennen mumbled, but made no move to stop Markinth as he raised the amulet to his forehead, where it began to glow.
“Hey, big sis? Yeah, me and Zennen are in a bit of a tight spot, and we could really, really use a port right now... Mhm, both of us… Thanks sis... Where are we? Well, about that…”
To Be Continued In The Next Story