Chapter 17: Love?
As Kalon, Luna and Ephram stood by the fountain catching up with each other as running footsteps echoed out across the stone path before stopping behind Ephram's giant body. He was big enough to block a person completely, and no one noticed that he was even there until a slight, timid cough came from behind Ephram.
"Ahem, I have an order from the emperor stating that Kalon Tavos should visit him in his study as soon as possible to discuss the details of a private matter." A short and fat looking man with two tusks sticking out from his bottom lip said as he laid eyes upon them and then directed his gaze to Kalon, who was still being held by Luna.
'A hog man?' Kalon asked himself. He had heard that the majority of the hogman race had been wiped out by humans who mistook them for regular hogs since they would bath in the mud like real hogs, deep within the woods. He didn't expect that there would be one of them working within the palace, and it surprised him a little bit as he looked at the man who was smiling unnaturally.
"Father has asked to see Kal?" Ephram asked with a suspicious look on his face. He didn't know what was happening, but given his father's track record with family affairs, Kalon would be in trouble if their father was looking for him.
"Yeah, it's because Kalon's mother was thrown into the dungeons. If he wants to save her, then he will have to do a job for the council so they can reduce her sentence. It shouldn't be anything too serious since he is still young, so there is no point in worrying about it." Luna said to ease Ephram's mind. She knew he was the emotional type and would blow a gasket if he thought that anyone was planning to hurt any of his siblings. Even if this was the first time, they had met each other since childhood.
Ephram had developed a bond with Kalon when he was young, and that was something that he never forgot, even though they were split apart by their father. Now that he had been reunited with his younger brother, he was determined to make sure that no one hurt him.
As Luna and Kalon were thinking, Ephram looked down at Kalon's wrist to see a white piece of fabric wrapped tightly around his arm. He knew what it was immediately, but he wanted someone else to confirm it for him.
"Kal What is that thing around your arm?" Ephram asked with questioning eyes. But before Kalon could even answer, Luna was quick to scold him.
"We already talked about this a few days ago, you stupid idiot. He was attacked by a group of assassins that were sent to kill all of us, remember?" Luna asked. It seemed as though she had told him the same thing many times, and given Ephram's reaction, it made sense why she had to repeat herself.
"Oh yeah, I was planning to find more of the assassins earlier By the way, do any of you know what I am doing out here? I forgot what I was doing again." Ephram said with a giant grin on his face as if the words that had been exchanged between them had gone in through one ear and out through the other.
Luna sighed with disappointment once again before Kalon spoke up.
"You said that you were going to get another blanket because Octavian ripped yours" Kalon said with a face of doubt. He couldn't believe that someone of Ephram's age could be so forgetful and clumsy.
"Oh, that's right! I need to go!" Ephram shouted out in a panic before running away at top speed through the palace grounds. As Ephram ran away, both Kalon looked up at Luna and awaited an explanation.
"Don't mind him. He has always been a bit of an oddball. But he is nice, so you should try to get along with him, okay?" Luna smiled gently.
"Okay." Kalon smiled before looking back at the man who was still awaiting a response from them.
"Okay, then we will head over there right away then," Luna said and then grabbed Kalon's hand. She knew that Octavian had people who worked for him within the palace, so she wasn't willing to let Kalon go anywhere alone. She had already planned to go with him from the start, but as she looked back at the hogman, he seemed to hesitate.
"Well About that. The emperor said that he just wanted to see Kalon" He said with a troubled look on his face.
"Is that right? Then I guess that he won't have a problem with telling me that in person, will he?" Luna smiled as she suspected him of being one of Octavian's lackeys.
"Well, okay then. But make sure you tell the emperor that it was your idea and that I did warn you not to come along. I want to keep my head planted firmly on my shoulders." The hogman said with a bit of chuckle and then began to lead them toward the emperor's study.
Luna seemed a little suspicious as they walked along the corridors of the palace before coming to a stop outside of the study, which they had gone to just a few hours before. The hogman knocked on the door, and a deep voice easily recognisable as the emperor's called back in response.
"Kalon, come in. Luna, You can return to your room. I will talk to you later about not following my instructions." Dorian shouted from the others side of the door.
Kalon looked up at Luna with Questioning eyes. He didn't feel comfortable being on his own since he was still in a foreign place. He wanted her to remain beside him, but he knew that his father wouldn't allow it even if he asked.
"It's okay, Kal. You go on ahead. I will wait for you outside." Luna said and then turned her back to the door. Kalon, on the other hand, reached out his hand towards the door handle, but as soon as he placed his hand on it, the door was pulled open from the other side, and he stumbled into the room before hitting something both firm yet soft.
"What was taking you so long?" Dorian asked as he looked down at his son.
"I'm sorry, I was just saying goodbye to Luna" Kalon replied but then felt something warm and gentle upon his head. It felt as though someone had placed their hand on his head.
He immediately looked up, and to his shock, he saw that his father was now standing in front of him and was messing up his hair with his hand.
"Well then, How about you come and take a walk with me, and we can discuss the job in more detail? Dorian asked as he looked down at his son with loving eyes despite their red glow.
Kalon looked up at his father for the first time since he was a child and didn't feel fear. He felt loved, and that was something he wasn't prepared for. He couldn't bring himself to answer his question with words.
"Mhm!" Kalon hummed and nodded his head as he enjoyed how it felt to have his father rustle his hair. He closed his eyes and smiled while his head was tilted back towards Dorian's face.
Dorian's eyes became cold and indifferent once again before a sinister smile appeared from his lips as he looked down on his unsuspecting child.