Ossillion shook his head, snapping his eyes to meet Listross’s. “After I fled the potato plantation, I stumbled upon an abandoned temple where I found this sword and a note. We need to stop this pointless squabbling if we want the world to survive.”
“An abandoned temple?” Listross stood and looked out the window at the pink sky.
“Yes, when I drew the weapon, my wounds were instantly healed and I could see the note and sword.”
When had there been a sword in the abandoned temple? Memories flooded Listross’s mind. Ten years prior to receiving the crown, he and Flouth had longed for freedom. They tried to escape, figuring if they could make it to a more wooded area, they could fend for themselves. But somehow the Roughlins had discovered their plot. Listross and Flouth heard the horse hooves plodding through the woods when they reached the abandoned building. The large gray bricks stretched towards the sky on one corner. On the other, the tower lay like a felled tree, taking half of the front of the building with it. The large archway still stood, but of the wooden doors, only the hinges remained. The two of them ducked between the crumbling altar and broad tree that grew inside of the roofless building. They scanned the large room as the clatter of hooves approached ever closer, but they had cornered themselves. No, there hadn’t been any sword there. If there had been, Listross or Flouth would’ve used it.
The prince turned his gaze back to Ossillion. “You lie. There wasn’t a sword there. No one had been to the temple since…”
“I assure you, Listross, I would’ve thought-”
“That’s Prince Listross to you.”
Ossillion let out a sigh, squinting against the pain. “Prince Listross, I would’ve thought the same, but I was leaning against the wall, using it to stabilize myself, realizing that I was going to die, when I felt something sticking out. I couldn’t see anything, but my hand was clasping onto something. As I pulled it out, it scrapped against the stone and gave off a brilliant flash of light. In an instant, I was down on the ground, my wounds healed, this mighty blade in my hand and a note slowly fluttered down into my lap.”
Ossillion took a breath to continue his story and noticed Listross’s head bob as he tried staying awake.
“And?” Listross didn’t bother opening his eyes.
“Why don’t you rest, we can discuss more when you’re awake.”
Listross’s eyes shot open. “I’m plenty awake.” He stood. “But yes, we have other matters that need to be taken care of. For now, I’ll keep you out of the dungeon. You should rest and try to patch up that cheek of yours. It looks disturbing.”
“The note. It said that the sword was a gift from Tavala. The god above all other gods. Tavalask was formed because the other nations chose to walk away from Tavala. He said that he would leave the world to the lesser spiritual powers for now, but a year after the sword and note were found, he’d return and bring judgement for all those who don’t believe in his wake, but for those who do believe there will be reward.”
Listross stared hard at Ossillion. The usually noble magistrate was bloody and exhausted. He licked his cracked lips, his jade eyes large and pleading. The same shade of jade as Emmya. Listross stood up straighter, still just staring.
“So yes, you know, us Ferronians were wrong, not only for treating your people the way we have but for forsaking the Tavala.”
Ossillion rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger. “What about my eyes, Prince?”
“They’re a pale green.”
“Yes, that’s not odd for Ferronians.”
“But it is odd for Tavalaskians.”
“Prince Listross, I mean no disrespect, but this seems extremely off-topic. Perhaps you should go find a bed upstairs and rest.” Ossillion rose to his feet, but nearly fell. He caught himself on the couch, holding his head.
“Was there ever a slave in your house named Ideara?”
Ossillion paused. “I… Does it matter?”
Listross narrowed his brow.
“Knock, knock.” Flouth poked his head into the room. “All that you asked for has been done.
Listross nodded. “Go find a house to sleep in then, friend. I’m going upstairs to sleep. Ossillion, you’re going to sleep outside my door and keep watch in case that stupid girl gets any other funny ideas.”
“You trust him to do that?” Flouth looked skeptical.
“Not completely, but I’m exhausted, as are the rest of our men. I can’t very easily have anyone that we trust stand guard.”
“So you believe me, then?” Ossillion’s eyes filled with hope.
Listross eyed him once more. “A bit. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out.”