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The stories in this book are works of fiction. Any references to historical events, or

real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters and places are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2018 by Edwin Betancourt


Created in the United States of America


First Printing, 2018



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Even the Princess deserves heartbreak. Even the Witch deserves love.”

- Anonymous











Judias Grey:

“Heart of Lies”

(Vol. 2)





By Edwin Betancourt





Heart of Lies

11:35am:

The Magic Realm: Cobbleston Kingdom:

Prince Ezra Hunnington walked out of his luxurious bathroom, making his way toward an eight-foot tall head to toe mirror, located in the far right corner of his bedroom.

He smiled taken aback by his handsome reflection.

The 6’1 man’s short blonde hair was slicked back by the most expensive gel found in the Magic Realm. His vanilla colored face had not one visible pore and he was clean shaven-he could grow facial hair if he wanted to, but he felt if he did he would end up looking like a commoner rather than a Prince; a fact that disgusted him.

His aquamarine eyes were fixated on how slim the black leather doublet vest -embellished with the most expensive gems- and black leather skintight pants made him look.

Everyone in the Kingdom knew Prince Ezra thought highly of himself, this wasn’t shocking, so it came to no one’s surprise that he would be the best looking person on his wedding day. But honestly, the clothes he wore didn’t matter to him- hell the man he was set to marry didn’t matter to him! The only thing on his mind was the smell, touch and sight of Gold!

The Prince’s thoughts were interrupted by a faint knock on the door. He let out a frustrated sigh already upset someone would be so selfish to interrupt his thoughts.

Without taking his eyes off of his reflection he answered, “What?!”

“It-It’s Ida. C-Can I come in?”

The squeaky voice belonged to his servant Ida and hearing it made Prince Ezra wince.

If he had it his way, the woman would be in the belly of a fire breathing Dragon! However, his parents loved Ida and he was stuck with her- for now.

He took in a deep breath regretting what he was going to say next, “Sure.”

The door of his large bedroom slowly opened and the sight of a pudgy woman with short black hair standing in the doorway was enough for the vain Prince to lose his appetite. She smiled and let out a gasp of admiration. “Oh my goodness! You are so handsome!”

The Prince once again admired his own reflection and arched his right eyebrow. “You’re telling me something I already know.” He took a quick glance at the woman’s outfit for the day and he felt insulted.

She wore a red ball gown that didn’t really compliment her curvaceous figure, it instead made her look like a balloon wrapped in red tissue paper for no apparent reason. Sadly, this wasn’t her choice of outfit, it was the Prince’s choice and he made sure to pick the ugliest dress for her so she wouldn’t outshine him in any way possible.

Ida’s smile quickly faded and she cleared her throat prepared to give the Prince a few news he really didn’t want to hear. “The guests are just arriving little by little as we speak.”

The words caught Prince Ezra off guard and he glared at the woman’s reflection in the mirror, “Are you serious?! The invitations clearly specified that the wedding starts at noon and they were to arrive here two hours prior to the starting time and now everyone is arriving? Is everyone in this damn town incompetent?!”

Ida shook her head slowly, “T-To be fair your majesty, you didn’t supply anyone in the town with horse drawn carriages. The nearest town is sixty miles away and-”

“Is it my fault they’re poor?”

She chose not to answer the question as well as entertain him with a response, as it would’ve encouraged him to say more harmful things that made her skin crawl.

Ida had no idea how Prince Ezra became so shallow and vain. When his parents were alive, King Brex and Queen Samitta were charitable and whenever they invited anyone in the town to attend a ball in the castle, they made sure to supply custom made dresses and suits to the townspeople and they even donated transportation to make sure everyone arrived safely to the event. It hurt her to see how divided Cobbleston Kingdom had become due to an immature and irresponsible Prince.

While Ida wanted to change the subject more than anything, she unfortunately knew the newest topic would make the Prince’s head explode. “We also have another problem.”

Prince Ezra stomped his right foot on the ground as if he was a child throwing a temper tantrum. “Would you get on with it already?”

“It appears, sir that Sergio is missing.”

As if the servant called him a ‘Commoner’, he opened his mouth completely insulted at the words she uttered and he slowly turned away from the mirror to get a better look at the woman.

“What do you mean missing? He should be in the guest room putting on the suit I forced the seamstress to make for him.”

She shook her head slowly, “No he isn’t in there. I asked the catering people as well and they said they saw someone with a hood leave the castle.”

Prince Ezra knew exactly what happened and it enraged him. The last thing he needed was this kind of stress on a day that was about him.

The Prince stormed over to a black leather recliner and grabbed a black fur cape, made from the fur of a wolf, and he wrapped it over his shoulders causing Ida to gasp softly in shock.

“Your Majesty, you cannot leave the castle. What do I tell the guests?”

“You’ll distract them. I’m sure you can do that with ease. Tell them a story about your illegitimate children.” He stopped speaking and shook his head. “Scratch that! Instead, make your way to the Jewel room and grab some Pearls, Rubies and Emeralds. Then show it to them. Those peasants will be too mesmerized at things they could never afford to even care about the time.”

Ida watched as Prince Ezra grabbed his sword and walked over to the door of his bedroom. “And where are you going to go?”

He turned to her and gave her a wink, “I’m going to find a Witch and bring my fiancé back.” With that, he walked out of the bedroom and left Ida in a state of shock and fear.

She had no idea where Ezra was going, but she did know that wherever he was heading; he was bound to make a few enemies along the way.



*2*

Many Centuries Ago: In The Magic Realm:

The marketplace of Sherlane Road was filled with Magical Beings from all walks of life, trying to find amazing deals on various items like: vegetables, ingredients for potions, weaponry and even memorabilia from the Shadow Realm.

No one paid mind to the other merchants or customers because no one cared who they were shopping amongst which made it easier for Nathaniel and his bodyguard, Kyleson to walk amongst them.

Kyleson wore a black hooded cloak, black breeches, black boots and on the right side of his hip was his sword in its holster. Walking on the left side of him was Nathaniel wearing a black doublet vest, blue breeches, brown boots, he too also had his sword in its holster and he wore a black short cape over his shoulders.

The Prince’s scruffy facial hair was kept to a minimal length while Kyleson’s face was clean-shaven, a trait that most bodyguards maintained throughout the Magic Realm.

“I was in shock you decided to accompany me to the market.” Nathaniel said as they walked through the crowd of Magical Beings shopping.

Kyleson smiled and nodded his head. “Anytime. I’m normally not the shopping type but with your mother and father celebrating their 10th Wedding anniversary, I couldn’t bear to stay in the castle.”

A smirk spread across the Prince’s face and he shook his head trying not to think about how his parents would celebrate their special day. “That alone sounds traumatizing.”

Kyleson chuckled, “Yes it does. Besides I couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with my favorite Prince.” He said nudging Nathaniel playfully.

Those words alone caused Nathaniel to read between the lines. “Alright, what’s her name?”

The question caused Kyleson to smirk realizing he was caught red handed.

If there was one thing Nathaniel knew about his bodyguard of twelve years, it was the fact he never went shopping willingly unless it involved free food or a woman and in this case, he knew it was a woman.

Kyleson’s smile brightened up as he spoke, “I don’t know her name yet, but she owns a Crystal Shop, she’s recently single and she’s here every weekend.”

Nathaniel smirked as he lowered his eyebrows, “And you were able to catch all that information yet you couldn’t get a name?”

The Bodyguard shrugged at the question still smiling, “Say what you want, but I honestly am smitten with this woman, so smitten I can tell you she’s the one.”

“I think it’s sweet and charming.” The Prince replied. “Of course it would be even sweeter if you knew her name.” The Prince teased with a smirk as both men continued walking through the crowded market.

Nathaniel Echoes wasn’t like most twenty nine year old Princes in the Magic Realm. Then again, not many Princes wanted to give up their crowns to become a Knight.

The idea of being held up in a castle making laws, overseeing lands, properties and helping his father create taxes that benefited the kingdom, made Nathaniel nauseated. Sure, it was his birthright to be the Prince of Sandston, but he yearned to do more to protect not only the Realm but also his family and he couldn’t do that cooped up in the castle. Of course, his parents were shocked when he brought up the idea of becoming a Knight; but they supported him either way.

Kyleson shrugged off the Prince’s words and he looked a few feet away toward his left to see the beautiful woman he was looking for. She had golden blonde hair styled in a neat bun and wore a purple damsel dress.

Nathaniel noticed Kyleson’s attention drift off; he followed the Guard’s eyes and saw it landed on the blonde woman. “She is very beautiful Kyle. Much better than the Shapeshifter you were dating last year.” The Prince said causing the Guard to blush.

“Okay Nate-.” Kyleson stopped walking causing the Prince to do the same and he looked at Nathaniel nervously. “-How do I look? Do I look presentable?”

The Prince’s focus went to the Guard’s perfect smile. None of his teeth were missing- that is a huge accomplishment in the Magic Realm- and the black curls on his head were still intact amid the cold weather they were experiencing. “You look like a single middle aged man trying to court a woman. Just be honest, be yourself and get her name.”

Kyleson chuckled and he nodded his head. He straightened his posture, patted the Prince’s left shoulder as a sign of gratitude and made his way through the crowd keeping his focus on the blonde woman occupied with a curious customer.

Thankfully, no one bothered to pay the Guard any mind, which made Nathaniel sigh in relief. The last thing both men needed was the chaos that could ensue if any Evil Being found out Prince Nathaniel was shopping amongst the diverse group of Magical Beings; however realistically no one cared.

A chill ran down the Prince’s spine and he noticed a strange young man no older than twenty-seven years of age handing a small pouch of Gold coins to a green Ogre selling what appeared to be potions. On the table in front of the Ogre, were glass jars filled with different colored liquids; purple, red, pink, neon, neon pink, yellow, beige and white.

The young man wore a violet hooded cloak. He was no taller than 5’9- a guess Nathaniel made based on the fact the young man was the same height as a nearby Human Elf and 5’9 is as tall as they could grow.

From what Nathaniel could see, the man wore black breeches and muddy boots, but there was something different about him; something that kept the Prince’s attention.

The Ogre gave the cloaked male a medium sized glass vial that contained neon green liquid and he told the male something which caused him to nod slowly as he listened carefully.

Nathaniel was only twenty feet away and he couldn’t make out what the Ogre said but it was something that made the male worrisome.

The male placed the vial of liquid under his cloak. He turned away and walked through the crowd of Magical Beings heading towards a nearby alleyway.

The alleyway was known for its shortcut to the nearby towns, as well as its shady inhabitants who would frequent it, in hopes of robbing or murdering anyone who was brave enough to enter.

The Prince watched as the violet-cloaked male caught the attention of two dangerous looking men. Both men wore rags for clothes, they had dirty bandanas wrapped around their foreheads and red and black beads were tied unto their un-kept beards. It didn’t take a genius to know these men were Pirates.

Both men watched the male closely, once the violet-cloaked male disappeared into the alleyway and out of the Prince’s sight. Nathaniel noticed both Pirates slowly following into the alleyway and withdrawing their swords with one thing on their minds.

Nathaniel quickly glanced over at his Guard and tried to get his attention, however Kyleson finally broke the ice with the Crystal Shop keeper and he stood at her table laughing and chatting with her.

There wasn’t any time to waste as Nathaniel knew the alleyway’s history and knew the cloaked male was in more trouble than he bargained for.

The Prince decided to take a risk and leave Kyleson behind, he was safe amongst the crowd of shoppers just as long as he didn’t step on their toes, feet, hooves or claws.

Nathaniel walked through the crowd keeping his focus on the alleyway just ten feet ahead. He passed by merchants selling live snakes, jewelry found in an Indian Burial ground, stones rumored to be from the Pure Witch Athena and other items that made him wonder if they were even legal to own in this Realm.

He quickened his pace and finally made it to the entrance of the alleyway, when a drunkard stumbled out mumbling something about a “Witch”.

Nathaniel withdrew his sword and entered the alleyway quickly.

He carefully crept in keeping his guard up and his focus on whatever he would find deep inside of the dimly lit alleyway. To his surprise, he found both pirates on the ground!

One of the Pirates was faced down with foam spewing out of his mouth as if a rabid animal bit him and his cohort was seated on the ground trembling in fear and pain.

“You there!” Nathaniel called out walking towards the seated Pirate. “What happened here?”

The Pirate didn’t acknowledge the Prince at first but once the question sunk into his mind he turned to Nathaniel. “Th-The Witch...D-Daniel was trying to steal the potion and h-he attacked him.”

He?!” Nathaniel thought to himself in complete shock. He had never heard of a Male Witch before or even knew of their existence and the fact one was in the same town he was visiting, made him worry even more. “Are you alright?”

The Pirate rolled his eyes, “Do I bloody look alright?!” He showed Nathaniel his left hand-well where his left hand used to be. The man’s hand was sliced off leaving just a bloodied and badly injured stump. “He used my own sword against me!”

Nathaniel didn’t have time to waste caring about the wellbeing of two Pirates who were about to rob the Witch, he needed to find this Witch before anyone else got hurt or worst.

“The Witch, where did he go?”

The Pirate used his right hand and pointed further down the alleyway, “D-D-Down there. But be warned, he is far more powerful than any Witch I have ever encountered.”

“I’ll take my chances.” Nathaniel stated and he ran down the alleyway leaving behind both Pirates.

The Pirate watched Nathaniel disappear into the distance and he shook his head taking out a silver flask filled with Rum, from the inside of his jacket. He used his dark colored teeth to unscrew the cap off and he spit it out on the ground. “Bloody Magical Beings. Next time we stay on the sea with Jack.” He took a swig of the Rum and laid against the wall of a nearby inn, patiently awaiting for his band of Pirates to find him and his cohort. He knew that if the Prince didn’t successfully slay the Witch, his Pirate brothers would.

*3*

Present Day: Agatha’s Loft:

“Nothing is wrong with what you’re wearing.” said Nathaniel Echoes. “It’s just…well I used to get distracted by your um…asset, back in the days.” The Knight heard the words come out of his mouth and he knew how crazy it sounded but it was the truth.

Judias Grey chuckled at the words “For your information my ‘asset’ was only distracting you because you were staring at it-”

“I was doing a whole lot more to it than staring.”, the Knight mumbled to himself although he was still loud enough for Judias to make out every word he said.

And for your information, it was not my fault tights were the fashion trend during the 16th Century.”

The Knight chuckled and let out a yawn. “We should really hit the hay before that damn crystal glows again.”

DING!

Both men forgot there was an elevator located in the loft.

The elevator door opened and Nathaniel stood up firm and straight facing the service elevator hoping their new guest wasn’t one of the assassins coming for the Witch.

A twenty nine year old male wearing a golden crown on his head, stepped out with a black cape hanging on his shoulders and a fur scarf draped over his folded right arm, he marched out of the elevator as if his presence was an honor for both men.

He stopped walking as he noticed both Nathaniel and Judias staring at him in confusion.

He cleared his throat and spoke with vanity, “Back home, when I enter a room people who are inferior to me, kneel down upon my presence.”

Nathaniel lowered his eyebrows trying to think if he knew who this man was and Judias gave the man a smirk and replied, “Welcome back to Kansas, Dorothy. Now who are you?”

The guest was insulted at the words spoken by such a unique male. The male-the guest was staring at- had dark brown curly hair and dark brown eyes to match his clearly dark soul, his voice was soft and feminine. If the guest was blind, he would assume the male speaking was actually a female!

The guest shook his head trying not to think about the unique male and he once again stood up straight and prideful. “I am Prince Ezra Hunnington The First, Prince of Cobbleston and I am in need of a Witch. Do you know where I can find one?”

As if he was in a lecture hall, Judias raised his right hand in the air and gave the conceited man a smile. “I’m a Witch.”

Baffled by this revelation Prince Ezra looked at Judias from head to toe in disgust and shock. “You’re a Witch?!”

Judias placed his hand back down. “I apologize if I’m not an oversized woman with green skin and covered in warts feeding on the souls of children.”

Prince Ezra nodded, “Apology accepted.”

Nathaniel could sense the anger build up inside of Judias and the last thing he needed was the Witch assaulting their guest, even though he truly was a pain.

The Knight cleared his throat and interjected, “What do you need a Witch for?”

Prince Ezra turned to Nathaniel and still held the same vain attitude. “As if you must know, I am scheduled to get married today and my fiancé decided to take a hop.”

“Can you blame ‘em?” Judias mumbled causing Nathaniel to shoot him a glare.

The Prince knew Judias said something but he didn’t bother to hear it again or let alone want to. He had important things to discuss and he couldn’t be bothered with the opinions of a Magical Being that took joyrides on a broomstick.

Nathaniel decided to break the tension in the air and continue with his interview, “So you want us to find her-”

Him” Prince Ezra corrected without wasting any time.

Nathaniel apologized for the assumption and continued on, “-You want us to find him for you?”

The Prince shook his head slowly. “Absolutely not. I know where he went. He went to be with the other band of Misfits. No, I don’t want you to find him. I need a Witch to create a Love Potion, so my fiancé can fall in love with me.”

Judias let out a sigh of frustration and glanced at Nathaniel, “So much for getting sleep.”

“I beg your pardon?” Prince Ezra asked.

“Oh don’t beg hun, it’s unattractive.” Judias stated. “I cannot and will not create a Love Potion because it is a forbidden act of Magic. The consequence of such an action could get me arrested or cause the Council to take away my powers and expel me to the Mortal Realm to live amongst housewives with botoxed foreheads and closet case husbands.”

“And what does that have to do with me exactly?” If the Witch or Knight expected Prince Ezra to feel an ounce of remorse or pity, they would be waiting forever.

Judias let out a sigh which caused Nathaniel to worry he might say something he wasn’t supposed to. “You don’t seem to get it so I’ll use fewer words. Love Potion is bad. It has horrific consequences because no Magical Being is meant to mess with Free Will.”

Prince Ezra stomped his feet and he let out a whine, “I am a Prince! Surely the Council of Magical Elders could give me an exception; like the Republicans giving the Rich tax cuts.”

The Witch shook his head, “There are Five Kingdoms in the Magic Realm. You aren’t superior to the others.”

“I may not be superior to you Witch, but one thing I am is rich and resourceful. If I can’t find a Witch to create this damn Love Potion, then I shall find a Cupid that will!” The overly dramatic Prince clapped his hands twice and in a sparkling white light, he disappeared from the loft causing both men to sigh in frustration and defeat.

“What a…a…Prick!” Nathaniel stated in disgust.

“A Prick? Such a harsh word.” Judias replied sarcastically.

“Yeah well, that’s the cleanest word I could think of at the moment.”

“That’s it!” Judias gasped causing Nathaniel to freeze in place as if he said something that incriminated him.

“What is it?” The Knight asked nervously.

Judias smiled and he walked around the table and grabbed his purple and black messenger bag off the back of a wooden chair no one ever sat in but most likely, it was used for decorative purposes. “Prince Edgar-”

Ezra” corrected the Knight.

“Whatever!” Judias snapped back. “Anyway, he said his fiancé is where Misfits hang out. So we need to go over there and find him.”

“You’re not suggesting that we help that scumbag, are you?”

Judias placed a small vial of pink liquid in his bag and turned to the Knight. “Absolutely not! But didn’t you find it strange he would rather have me concoct a Love Potion instead of finding his fiancé?”

Nathaniel gave a nod and Judias continued on, “Which is why we’re going to find his fiancé and find out what the hell that conceited Brute or-.” He teased Nathaniel with a smirk, “-That prick is hiding.”

The Knight smiled at the Witch’s taunt and he placed his hand on the grip of the sword located in its holster on his waist.

“Okay let’s get going. Wait! Where are we going?”

Judias gave him a smirk and a wink. “To the Land of Misfits. It’s a town that caters to all Magical Beings who are outcasts. ”

The Knight glanced at the Witch and asked softly, “And how do you know this?”

Judias smiled warmly at him. “It’s where I called home, Centuries ago.”

In a purple light Judias disappeared and in a blue light Nathaniel followed.

*4*

Many Centuries Ago: Somewhere In The Magic Realm:

Nathaniel continued to run down the alleyway as he chased after the purple hooded man. Every twist and turn made by the mysterious man was in hopes of losing Nathaniel, but it came to no avail.

“I do not wish to harm you!” Nathaniel shouted, his voice echoing throughout the alleyway.

“Then why do you chase me?” A soft feminine voice answered back causing the Prince to lower his eyebrows in confusion.

After a few seconds, Nathaniel refocused and he continued on following the mystery-hooded man even as he slowed down. “I am not chasing you to arrest you or to harm you. You are wounded. I was able to catch up to you because you are leaving a trail of blood behind. Please let me heal you, based on the amount of blood you have lost; you are in mortal danger.”

The words caused the man to stop running-well that and the fact the direction he took was a dead end which led to the sidewall of a nearby brothel.

Without turning around the male asked, “How can I trust you?”

Nathaniel stopped about ten feet away, secretly regaining his breath by panting and he placed his sword back in its holster. “If I wanted to harm you I would not have chased after you in hopes of getting your attention.”

The hooded male slowly turned around and faced Nathaniel, he took off his purple hood and the Prince couldn’t believe his eyes.

Standing before him was a handsome man with dark brown curly hair, caramel skin, dark brown eyes and full lips. The male pushed back the cloak to reveal a stab wound on his right side.

Nathaniel raised both his hands in the air as he slowly approached the male, “I am unarmed and I’m not looking to hurt you. This is not a trap. Just let me see the wound, please.”

The male noticed how innocent Nathaniel looked and he nodded. He slowly lifted up his shirt revealing a deep puncture wound.

As if Nathaniel could feel the man’s pain he winced at the reveal, he placed his arms back down by his side and approached the male getting a closer look at it. “That is a nasty wound. If it got any deeper, you would be dead. Thankfully you had someone like me chasing after you.” Nathaniel smirked hoping to get the male to do the same just to make light of the situation and he was successful as the injured male smiled back.

“What are you a Healer?”

Nathaniel shook his head slowly and helped the injured male sit on a wooden crate that was nearby. “No I am not a Healer.” He answered kneeling down in front of the male.

“Well forgive me for being frank, but how do you plan on healing me?”

Nathaniel gazed into the male’s eyes and he felt a chill run down his spine; it was a chill he had never felt and it made him nervous. He licked his own lips and untied a small black pouch that was dangling seconds ago on the left side strap of his breeches.

The Witch smirked glancing at the pouch and arched his right eyebrow at it.

The male felt a strange sensation omit from Nathaniel, it wasn’t a sensation he would get when he was around Mortals or other Magical Beings; the sensation coursing through his body caused every inch of his skin to get goosebumps. “What exactly are you?”

Nathaniel didn’t say anything, he instead gave the male a wink and opened the pouch, he poured some glittery dust from the pouch unto the wound and in a glittery light the wound healed!

“I’ve never met someone who walks around with Fairy Dust. Are your wings going to pop out?” The male asked in fascination and Nathaniel reacted to the question by shaking his head.

“No, I’m not a Fairy. I just have some friends who are.”

The Male Witch nodded slowly still fascinated at the effects of the Fairy Dust. “Well, I thank you for healing me. Although Fairies and Witches are not really the best allies, but you did just save my life, so thank you for that.” He placed his shirt down covering where the wound used to be and jumped off the crate.

Nathaniel hid his blushing cheeks as he tied the small pouch back to the strap of his breeches, stood back up on his feet and stared at the male. “What do they call you?” His question was out of curiosity.

“Oh they call me many things, but my birth name is Judias.”

Nathaniel extended his right hand at the male and smiled, “Pleasure to meet you Judias. I am Nathaniel.”

Judias glanced at the Prince’s hand for a few seconds unsure of whether he should shake it or not.

After a few seconds of contemplating, the male shook Nathaniel’s hand giving it a firm shake. “Likewise Nathan.”

The Prince shook his head smirking. “It’s actually ‘Nathaniel’.”

“Eh” Judias shrugged taking his hand back, “I like Nathan better.”

Nathaniel placed his hand back down and cleared his throat. “What happened back there with the Pirates?”

“They tried to rob me for the potion I bought at the market. And before you ask me a bunch of questions, there is nothing illegal about buying a Potion at the market…Especially this one.”

Judias took out the vial filled with glowing neon green liquid and Nathaniel’s eyes laid in fasciation on the item. “Wh-What is it?”

“It’s called the ‘Morbicus Potion’. The Ogre I bought it from only sells it once a year for a hefty price. I’ve saved up enough money in the past few months to buy it from him, but those blasted Pirates thought they could steal it from me.”

Nathaniel shook his head in disgust and anger at the lengths Pirates would go through just to steal items from people, but why on Earth would they want a Potion? What use would they have for it?

Before the Prince could ask those questions, Judias straightened his posture as he saw a group of eight Pirates heading towards the pair with bloodlust in their eyes.

“We have company.” He said placing the vial back inside of his hooded cloak.

Nathaniel quickly turned around and watched as the Pirates withdrew their swords smirking and laughing at both men, they stopped eight feet away from the pair and smiled.

“Hark!” Nathaniel shouted to the surprise of Judias. “I am Nathaniel Ec-”

One of the Pirates angrily threw his sword at Nathaniel interrupting him. The Prince quickly ducked down causing it to miss him by a few feet and it stabbed through the wooden crate.

“Guess they didn’t ‘hark’.” Judias teased causing the Prince to roll his eyes.

“Arrr! We do not mean ye harm Nathaniel. We are here for the Witch.” A bald headed Pirate shouted out causing the band of Pirates to cheer in agreement.

“Hand us the Witch and ye can be on yer way.” Another Pirate stated- this one was shorter than the others and he had a wooden right leg.

Judias rolled his eyes impatiently noticing Nathaniel was hesitant on making the first move. The Witch stepped in front of the Prince and he swung his right hand causing all eight Pirates to disappear in a purple light.

Nathaniel gasped and glared at Judias in shock. “You did that?”

“Yes.” Judias answered him turning to face the perplexed Prince. “I’m a Witch and don’t worry I didn’t kill them. I just tossed them into the Antila Sea which is in the opposite direction…I think.”

The Prince didn’t know what to say or let alone what to do. The last Witch he met was a woman who wanted to devour trespassing children who entered her cottage and ate her furniture. This was the first time he ever met a male Witch and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, the Witch was an attractive one at that.

Judias could see the puzzled look still plastered on Nathaniel’s face like a Shakespearean mask and he smiled at him. ”Do not worry, I don’t bite.”

The Witch walked closer to the Prince, he cupped the man’s face softly and leaned in placing a soft tender kiss unto Nathaniel’s lips.

The Prince jolted in shock and confusion, but he didn’t fight the Witch off because the kiss felt… right!

Nathaniel closed his eyes, grabbed Judias’ waist and pulled him closer deepening the kiss.

Judias’ tongue danced around the inside of Nathaniel’s mouth as if it was doing the Waltz with the Prince’s tongue- the metaphor might sound stupid, but that’s how Nathaniel felt about the beautiful and passionate kiss. It was a dance between two souls, uniting to become one.

Judias softly pulled away from the kiss and smiled at the Prince who opened his eyes. “I do apologize.”

The Prince lowered his eyebrows at the apology and smiled as he asked softly, “Why are you apologizing? The kiss was ama-ama-ama-zing.” The Prince’s speech slurred and he stretched out his right hand to grab the Witch’s arm but he couldn’t! His vision started to blur and the alleyway around him began to spin.

“Wh-what did you do-do to me?”

Judias smirked, “Poppy Extract, it’s one hell of a toxin. But don’t worry, it will all be over soon.”

Nathaniel’s eyes rolled back as he fell onto the ground in an unconscious state.

In a purple light Judias disappeared hoping to never deal with Pirates or Nathaniel ever again.



*5*

Present Day:

In a purple and blue light both Judias and Nathaniel appeared in the middle of a brightly lit town.

Many of the townsfolks were smiling and chatting amongst each other not paying any mind to their obvious differences.

Dwarves, Ogres, Humans and Human sized Elves made up the population of 110 people and it made Nathaniel happy to see so much cheerfulness in a diverse town as this.

He smiled watching everyone, “Where are we exactly?”

“It’s a pronunciation no one in the entire Realm and the other four, can say without butchering the name, but many people just call it ‘Land of The Lost Misfits’.”

A trio of young women smiled as they passed by Nathaniel and giggled flirtingly as he nodded his head greeting them causing the Knight to blush. “They don’t look lost to me.” He replied back to the Witch.

“Society sees them as being lost. The Beings you see are here by their own accord. Most of them are outcasts from society, disowned by their parents for being their authentic selves and disowned by the religious nuts who use a book published in a publishing house to dictate how they should live. This is a land they built with their own blood, sweat and tears, a land where they can call home and welcome in other fellow Magical Beings with open arms.”

“So this is a land without laws?”

“A land without laws?” a deep throated laugh caused both men to turn around and watch as a tall man approached them with a smile on his face.

The man was no older than thirty-one; he was a handsome man with chocolate colored skin, light grey eyes and short black hair. He wore a black doublet vest, dark blue jeans and a pair of black steel-toed boots.

A scar was located just a few inches above his right eyebrow and his smile was warm and sincere. “Seems your friend here Judias, is not educated about our land.” His eyes met with Nathaniel’s and he continued on, “This land has laws just like every other land. But unlike your land, we don’t discriminate against Beings then take their hard earned wages in the same breath.”

Nathaniel bowed his head in remorse and Judias interjected quickly sensing how embarrassed the Knight felt. “Forgive him, he’s not really from this part of town and also he’s an Echoes.”

The man’s light eyes widened at the name and he bowed respectfully before the Knight, “Please forgive me my Prince. I was unaware we were expecting royalty.”

Nathaniel nervously smiled at the bowed man before him and he cleared his throat. “Please just refer to me as Nathaniel. I’m not a Prince, I’m a Knight.”

The man straightened his posture and looked at the Knight as if he was crazy. “What? Are you not Nathaniel Echoes? As in Echoes royalty? As in the Prince of Sandston?”

“By birth yes, I’m a Prince. But I’ve given up the crown and I’m just a Knight.”

The sentence caused Judias to shake his hand holding in anger he felt, the same anger that took over him the day Nathaniel asked for a divorce.

The man nodded his head in both amusement and admiration. “Ah a noble man. That seems to be rare to find nowadays.” He smiled causing Nathaniel to blush a little.

Judias noticed the awkward tension between both men and he clapped his hands together breaking the silence. “Nathaniel, this is Ulkin he is the Mayor here.”

Nathaniel bowed his head at the man in a sign of mutual respect and Ulkin took it with stride. Judias rolled his eyes as the stares between the Knight and Mayor lingered for a few seconds.

“So what brings you two here to Mysteriaumslonixeral?” The Mayor asked both men although his eyes were mainly on Nathaniel.

Judias was right! There was no way to pronounce the name of the land even if Nathaniel tried.

The Witch answered, “We’re here because we understand you might have a new tenant hanging about. He was supposed to get married today to Prince Ezra.”

Ulkin took his eyes off of Nathaniel and placed them on Judias. “You know more than anyone else Judias, I don’t give off information about anyone who decides to make this land their new home.”

Judias nodded. “Understandable, but we believe he might be in danger.”

The word ‘danger’ caused Ulkin to glare at the Witch. “How much danger can he be in?”

“Prince Ezra wanted Judias to create a Love Potion for him and when he refused to make it, he stormed off making suggestions he’s going to find a Cupid.”

Ulkin shook his head in disbelief at how much information the male refugee neglected to tell him when he sought shelter from him hours ago. “Does Prince Ezra know where Sergio ran off to?”

Judias nodded. “That’s how we knew where to go. But please Ulkin, we don’t want to drag him back to Ezra at all, we just want to keep him protected. We don’t know what this faux-Prince is capable of.”

Ulkin weighed out the possibilities in his mind. The last thing he needed was a war waged between any outside forces with the land he had worked so hard in keeping a secret from closeminded Magical Beings. But if there was one person in the world he trusted it would be Judias.

“Okay.” The man sighed with a smile, “I’ll fetch Sergio. Feel free to enjoy the Hot Chocolate Fudge special over at Granny Goose’s Tavern, it’s on the house and whatever you two do, do not tell anyone why you’re here. The Beings sought refuge in this land to get away from conflict; we don’t need this getting back to them.”

Both men agreed to his terms and they watched as he walked away from them.



Later at Granny Goose’s Tavern:

When somebody thinks of a Tavern the first thing that pops into their mind is a spacious area where a diverse group of people enter and socialize amongst each other. Or sometimes they are just hunched over a table completely drunk babbling on about the ‘end of days’; this was not like those Taverns.

Granny Goose’s Tavern pride itself in creating a cozy, safe and warm environment where the guests can relax, enjoy their private time and bask in the deliciousness of the food prepared by top Chefs in the Magic Realm.

The Tavern’s wall was decorated with a bright display of rainbow colored twinkling lights that would make any drunk person hurl just by staring into them for a few seconds, wreaths decorated with multi colored Gems, medium sized booths, tables and a bar counter, made up most of the interior. To Judias, it looked more like a Christmas style diner than a Tavern.

Judias and Nathaniel entered drawing in smiles and glances from the guests all enjoying their morning breakfasts consisting of coffee with toast, coffee with chocolate chip cookies, orange juice with toast topped with… living Beetles?!...Well considering the guest who was enjoying this unique breakfast was an Ogre, it made sense.

The occupants watched as both men took a seat at a booth that could fit four people and they smiled warmly welcoming them into the establishment.

Judias let out a sigh and looked around the Christmas decorated Tavern smiling to himself. “Nothing here has changed that’s for sure.”

Nathaniel glanced at the Witch. “So, did you call this place home prior to you and I meeting for the first time?”

Judias smirked at the question and turned his attention to the Knight, “Yes and there will be no follow up questions.”

The Knight nodded his head smiling.

A man with short black hair-decorated with red highlights approached the seated men and he nervously looked at them. "Hello, my name is Sergio. I understand you two are looking for me?”

Sergio had dark brown eyes, caramel colored skin and he wore a black turnip over a pair of blue skinny jeans.

“Yes.” Judias answered with a warm smile. “Please sit down.”

Sergio nodded his head and he sat next to Nathaniel nervously trying to avoid eye contact with both men. The male was no older than eighteen- a fact that Judias realized could be a reason why Ezra was so drawn to him.

“My name is Judias and this is my associate Nathaniel.”

Nathaniel smiled and extended his right hand to the nervous teen but Sergio shook his head shyly avoiding physical contact and looked down at the wooden table before them.

“-We’re here because Ezra paid us a visit a few minutes ago and he told us you got a case of cold feet.”

Sergio nodded without saying another word. He looked as if he was about to get scolded by his parents, he didn’t want to make eye contact with either of the men in fear of what they’d do.

Nathaniel interjected with his question, “Is there a reason why you left?”

Judias noticed the uneasiness written all over the young man’s face and he smiled warmly at him as Sergio finally made eye contact. “We aren’t here to bring you back. We came to hear your side of the story. He wasn’t at all too shocked to hear you ran away, so I want to get to the bottom of why you ran off. Please, you can trust us. I’m a Witch and Nathaniel is a Knight for the Echoes Kingdom. We aren’t bad people.”

The young man nodded his head once more and to the surprise of Judias he replied back, “I don’t love him…I-I never did.”

“Why did you agree to marry him?” The Knight’s question came out of curiosity.

Sergio placed his hands on the table and intertwined his fingers together as he started to speak. “I didn’t agree to marry him at first but he gave me no choice after he took Liza…even after I agreed to marry him he had Liza killed.”

“Who’s Liza?”

“My Wolf. She was my Familiar.”

Judias raised his eyebrows. “You’re a Witch?”

The young man shook his head, “Not at all…I’m an Aurumanbus.

Before the Knight or Witch could ask him what he was talking about, Sergio grabbed a bottle of Ketchup from a nearby empty table and he placed it in front of him. Both men stared in confusion as Sergio gripped the bottle tightly with both his hands and in a matter of seconds, the bottle turned into solid gold!

Nathaniel and Judias’ eyes widened in fascination at the abilities displayed and Sergio released the grip on the golden bottle. “As you can see, I turn things I touch into gold.”

A gasp of interest came out of Nathaniel’s mouth, “Just like King Midas from Greek Mythology!”

Judias wasn’t fascinated by the young man’s power because he had seen it before many centuries ago, he instead was fascinated by the fact he solved the reason why Ezra wanted to marry Sergio. “Ezra was going to marry you to take your powers, wasn’t he?”

The Witch’s words caught Nathaniel off guard and he turned his attention to Sergio wondering if it was true.

Sergio nodded his head slowly.

“Wait a minute!” Nathaniel stated. “They’re still doing that? I thought the Council stopped that tradition after you and I were married?”

“Apparently not.” Judias stated.

The information Nathaniel just received caused him to rub his forehead in frustration not at all because of the law but mainly because he was specifically told, that law was going to be made illegal after he decided to end the marriage to Judias.

Sergio looked at Judias and Nathaniel, he wouldn’t have thought both men were once married to each other but he was more curious about this law. “So, how does this law work exactly?”

Judias answered calmly, “Every marriage that takes place in the Magic Realm is performed by a member of the Council. The Council member recites some kind of marriage spell and whomever was chosen between the spouses; inherits and shares the power of the other. This has been happening since the 5th Century, the Council believed that true love is permanent and powers should be unified. It was an idiotic idea but most cases where the marriage was false were never reported and if they were, the Council chose to look the other way. And in the case of Nathaniel and I, I inherited his Immortality; which made us both Immortal.”

“And while Ezra has abilities, he would have married me to make sure he inherited my Golden Touch abilities?” Sergio asked finally realizing what was truly happening.

Marriage isn’t just tricky in the Mortal Realm, it was especially tricky in the Magic Realm as well, because you never knew if the person marrying you was truly in love with you or truly in love with your powers. It was one of the many reasons why Judias never approached the topic of marriage…well until he met Nathaniel, Centuries ago, and even then he was still nervous about it.

“Ezra said he knows where you are. So I think it’d be safe if you pack a bag and I take you to my friend’s crystal shop. You’ll be safer there.”

Sergio was secretly honored Judias-a complete stranger- would offer him refuge away from the insane Prince of Cobbleston, but Sergio didn’t want to be a burden and he felt he would be if he went with both men. “I-I can’t. I’m renting a room upstairs and I can’t just break my lease and-”

Judias nodded understanding the situation and he gave Sergio a warm smile. It was a smile that Nathaniel had seen earlier when the Witch was exchanging words with Ezra and it got him scared. “I apologize if you thought that was a question. You are going to pack a bag and you are going to lay low until we can find a way to deal with Ezra.”

The young man didn’t want to back talk the Witch especially after everything he’s doing for him.

He slowly got up from the booth and bowed his head at both men. “Give me a minute and I’ll be back with my things.”

Judias gave him a nod and Nathaniel watched as Sergio walked out of the Tavern closing the door behind him.

Nathaniel smiled looking at his ex-husband, “Why didn’t we have kids again?”

Judias rolled his eyes, “Uh because that would be biologically impossible for starters.” He quickly changed the subject, “Okay we have time to get Sergio over to Haneltha’s shop so we can thoroughly investigate what the hell Prince of ‘Nothing’ has up his sleeves.”

Nathaniel’s thoughts were elsewhere as he asked, “Can I ask you something?”

Judias arched his right eyebrow and glanced carefully at the Knight, “Does it have to do with this specific problem?”

“Yeah, sure.”

The Witch had been with Nathaniel long enough to know when he was lying and this was one of those moments.

He let out a sigh of frustration hating what he was about to say next but if it made Nathaniel refocus on the task at hand, he figured why not entertain him. “Sure, shoot.”

The Knight nodded, “After you and I broke up…did you ever find love?"

The unexpected question caused Judias to chuckle and he smiled at Nathaniel. “Love.” He said softly, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life and from being a Grey, is that Love…never loved me.”

*6*

Many Centuries Ago:

In a Cabin Located Just Outside of The Whispers Forest:

It had been hours since Judias brought the Morbicus Potion, defeated a few pirates and caused a Good Samaritan to fall into a deep slumber. Now all the Witch had to do was wait for the potion to finally take its effect.

The Witch let out a deep sigh of frustration as he stepped out the front door of a cabin located in the far off distance of The Whispers Forest- a forest where there is rumored to be a man-eating creature occupying inside, although Judias never had time to investigate, he believed it to be true.

The cabin was currently where the Witch called home for the time being.

The cold Winter wind blew against Judias but he didn’t care. His purple hooded cloak wasn’t ideally the best attire to keep him warm but his mind wasn’t occupied on the frigid winds, it was occupied on something-someone- else.

It is too cold for you to be out here.” A voice whispered in the dark night causing Judias to look around only to find trees, a garden of Poppy flowers a few feet away from him, another garden of vegetables just six feet away and dirt roads where no horses stomped and no Magical Beings had ever stepped foot on.

“Who’s there?!” He called out shifting his gaze cautiously observing every space between the trees in the far off distance, but nothing and nobody was there. No figures were hiding behind an oak tree and nobody was around the cabin, just a bright lightning bug fluttering in the night sky.

Wait a minute!” Judias thought to himself as he got a closer look at the lightning bug to find it wasn’t a lightning bug at all! It was a tiny creature with a pair of legs, hands, feet, eyes, pointy ears and a nose. It had the face of a man and a pair of bright glowing wings.

“Fairies? What the hell are you doing here?” His right hand began to glow purple and the only thought running through his mind was to kill the fairy. Cruel? Probably, but by Judias’ logic Fairies are annoying little deviants.

However, his concentration was cut short when a voice stated from the darkness, “I would appreciate it, if you do not harm my Fairies.”

Judias quickly spun around to find Nathaniel standing before him with a few Fairies perched on both his shoulders. Each Fairy emitted a different and vibrant color that made Nathaniel look as if he was wrapped with flickering Christmas lights.

Judias let out a gasp at the sight of the man. “How are you still conscious?! That toxin I used was made from Poppy flowers. Right now you should be in a comatose state.”

Nathaniel smirked as he crossed his arms across his chest. “I’m a Knight which means I’m Immortal and that also means, things that can harm other Beings have no effect on me.”

The Witch rolled his eyes and glared at the Fairies on the Knight’s shoulders who started to snicker; their high-pitched snickers reminded Judias of wind chimes blowing in the wind.

“You’re a Knight that happens to hang out with Fairies? I’m not sure if that’s progressive or sad.”

Nathaniel gave him a smirk. “What? Is it uncommon for a Magical Being to hang out with other Magical Beings never focusing once on their differences?”

“Eh, I could care less.” Judias shrugged. “But Fairies are not Magical Beings. They’re just little bugs that need to be squashed.”

The Fairies simultaneously stuck their tongues out at Judias and he smirked rolling his eyes. “Now, can you please explain why you’re here and how you found me?”

“You were in trouble and I needed to make sure you got to your destination safely. Unbelievably Judias, not all Magical Beings want to harm Witches. Especially a Knight like myself.”

“Yes and I’m the King of Cobbleston.” Judias replied sarcastically.

The sound of a door squeaking open caused both Judias and Nathaniel to turn their attention over to the cabin’s door where they found a husky man -dressed in rags with stringy short black hair and scruffy facial hair- stumble weakly out of the door.

The man’s face was covered with sweat as if he just took a bath in his clothes.

Judias’ eyes widened at the presence of the man leaning against the door in pain, “What are you doing out of bed?” He asked as he ran over to the man.

Nathaniel straightened his composure at the man, “I-I’m sorry to disrupt.” The Knight said feeling a sense a guilt rush over him.

The Witch tried to grab the man’s arm but the sick man froze in place as he saw Nathaniel standing a few feet away from him. With the little bit of energy he had, he knelt down honorably before the Knight, a notion which baffled Judias.

“F-Forgive me Prince Nathaniel, I was unaware of your presence.” He bowed his head down.

Judias jolted at the word ‘Prince’ and he glared at Nathaniel, “You’re a Prince too?!”

Nathaniel ignored the question and he approached the sick man causing all the Fairies to flutter in the air and observe the scene. He grabbed the man’s right arm and helped him up to his feet. “There is no need to kneel. Please, here, I’m just a Knight. What is your name?”

“M-my name is Zachary.” The respectful man got up from his kneeling position and tried to straighten his posture but was met with failure as he lost balance and Nathaniel smiled holding him steady.

“It is an honor to meet you Zachary, now let us retreat back inside so you can lie in bed.”

“I-I should be heading into town to fetch the Butcher.”

Judias lowered his eyebrows, “There is no Butcher in the town.”

“Rest is essential. Trust me. I will let the…um… Butcher know you are not well and I can see to it, he makes a home visit instead.”

“N-no.” Zachary stated shaking his head “Th-The Butcher would never come up here.”

Nathaniel tightened his grip on the man’s right arm. At any willing second Zachary could hurl the Knight across the fields with just one swift notion because that’s how strong he was, however that wasn’t going to happen any time soon because Nathaniel could feel how hot the man was; he had a dangerously high fever that would make any Healer nervous.

The Knight glanced over at Judias as he started to guide the man back inside, “You wait out here.”

As much as Judias wanted to make a rebuttal, he wasn’t left with much of a choice as Nathaniel already entered the cabin with Zachary in tow.

The multicolored Fairies giggled as they fluttered around the Witch.

You look angry.”

Yeah don’t be angry.”

Nathaniel is a benign soul.”

Yeah, a benign soul that you think is cuuuute!”

“Shut it before I make a necklace out of your corpses.” Judias snapped causing the Fairies to flutter away from the Witch and perch on top of the cabin’s roof.

After a few seconds, Nathaniel rejoined him outside and he silently closed the door behind him as the cold wind picked up again. “He’s hotter than the breath of a Dragon.” The Knight said lowering his tone.

“Yes I know.” The Witch replied. “That’s why I brought the Morbicus Potion. If anything that should heal him.”

The Knight walked away from the cabin and approached Judias so they could speak privately without being in the ear shot distance of the cabin’s window. “I hate to say it, but if your boyfriend’s body rejects the potion and his illness gets worst, you might have to end his suffering.”

“He isn’t my boyfriend!” Judias snapped causing Nathaniel to secretly sigh in relief. “-And I know that. But the potion healed a rash he had earlier. I am giving it time to heal his fever as well.”

Nathaniel nodded his head listening to the words of the Witch and the Fairies fluttered off the roof and once again found comfort sitting on the broad shoulders of the Knight.

“I loathe being a pessimist, but you must understand if the potion doesn’t work in a few hours, Zachary will not survive the night.”

“I know that!” Judias stated emotionally. “You don’t think I know that? Every potion I brewed, every spell I recited and every ritual I did failed. The Morbicus Potion is the only hope I have right now to save Zachary…I can’t lose him.…Zachary is my best friend…I cannot lose him!”

Nathaniel fought off every whisper and thought he heard about consoling the Witch. He couldn’t risk touching him if whatever Zachary had was contagious and the last thing he wanted to do was touch the Witch because then… he wouldn’t want to let him go.


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