Dragon Knights Fan Fiction ❯ Inside Tetheus's Head ❯ He's Lost It! ( Chapter 9 )
Working on my other story A Suitable Bride, which is angsty, which is not my forte and therefore requires more work, has improved my writing skills. Reading this story now, I see many painful areas that could do with extensive rewriting. So that's what I'll be doing while the story's on holiday. Tweaking, rewriting and brain-storming a few more chapters.
I've been very distracted by many shiny things recently. Hopefully this still reads well.
Alfeegi accuses Ruwalk, Cernozoa, Tetheus and Lykouleon of being spies for the Dragon Lord. Time for some changes to his medication. Unfortunately, something's gone very wrong at Kharl's House of Alchemy.
Warning! Tetheus is a grade A pervert.
Italics are his thoughts.
A bright autumn light fills the corridors of the Dragon Castle. Summer's long since ended, but only recently have the cold winds arrived and the chill of winter threatened the land of Draqueen. It is a time of warm fires, cosy evenings, cold mornings and freezing guard duty. The posts of the Dragon Castle are always fully staffed, as each new day brings Tetheus and his inspections. Having just completed his first round of inspections, he makes his way to the training grounds, for his mandated round of training.
Alfeegi's been really cranky lately. Hmm. It's been seven days since his last training session and I might as well drag him out to practise with me. It might get rid of some of his tension and he always makes me look good.
The huddled crowd of Dragon Fighters that disperse at his approach, are the first sign that gives Tetheus pause for thought. They look reasonably shifty. I should look into it when I've finished with Alfeegi. A loud thump is then heard, as a door is opened so violently that it bangs off the inside wall. Tetheus arrives in time to see Alfeegi pushing a bewildered Ruwalk over the threshold and slamming the door closed in his face.
"Ruwalk?" Tetheus strides toward his friend. Apply impassive face.
He looks around and takes a moment to register the presence of the Black Dragon Officer.
"Tetheus," he says, walking to meet the Black Dragon Officer and frequently looking back at the door.
"What happened?" It looks like it'll be really good.
"Alfeegi accused me of being a spy for the Dragonlord." Ruwalk can't stop glancing back at the door.
"So what's new there?" A light tone enters Tetheus's voice and Ruwalk fixes on Tetheus for the first time.
"He threw me out!"
"I don't know. It was so odd. I've no idea what set him off." Ruwalk turns again to the study door and doesn't turn back, until Tetheus speaks again.
"I'll see if I can calm him down. I was going to ask him to train with me." Maybe while we're sparring, he'll bitch about Ruwalk and I can find out what he's thinking.
Ruwalk boggles at that. "You'll cream him."
"So? He won't hold back." Tetheus lifts the corners of his mouth by a fraction, knocks and strides into the room without waiting for a response. He then speaks, before looking at Alfeegi.
"Alfeegi, you'll spar with me, won't you? It's been a week since you last held a sword and you'll get rusty if you don't practise."
Alfeegi approaches Tetheus with his head cocked to one side. "Spar with you?" he says.
"Yes." A drop of sweat forms on Tetheus's brow.
Alfeegi comes closer, now staring fixedly at Tetheus's right ear. "I know why you really want me there," he says softly. "You're like him."
"Like who?" Tetheus watches as Alfeegi circles him warily.
"Like him," he says, stepping into range of Tetheus, then out again. "You want me out of here so that they can go through my room and touch my things." He turns his back and waves at the room.
"Alfeegi, that's ridiculous. You need to go outside, take some fresh air and try to land a hit on me." Tetheus tries the same light tone, but stands rigidly and the two jar. Ah. Maybe I should have paid a bit more attention to what Ruwalk was saying.
"Shut up! You're just a spy for the Dragonlord! You'll not get me out of here. I'll protect it! I'll keep it all safe!" Alfeegi retreats to safe ground, behind his desk and Tetheus uses the room to get closer.
Alfeegi grabs Tetheus and attempts to push him to the door as he did Ruwalk. However, Tetheus is the Head of Security and the All-Dragons (over 500) Wrestling Champion and not easily moved. Well, this could be amusing.
"Bend with the knees Alfeegi and use your body mass to pivot me." Grunts erupt from Alfeegi. "That's not the best hold Alfeegi, try this one." Tetheus twists Alfeegi's arm slightly, breaking his hold and forcing him into an awkward angle. "If you twist a little further then, you'll unbalance me, like this." Tetheus follows his own instructions and backs Alfeegi into the wall. Alfeegi looks at him, then starts to cry.
"You're not playing fair. I don't want to leave. I don't want to. You're mean. You bully me. Leave me alone."
"Waah! Waaah! You're mean. I want to stay. I don't want to go."
His whining achieves what Alfeegi's brute force could not and Tetheus lets him go and backs away from him.
"I'm sorry, Alfeegi. I didn't mean to hurt you. Now come and fight with me in the training hall."
Alfeegi looks at him incredulously, before erupting in floods of tears.
"I mean sword fight."
"It's like pretend, play fighting, not real fighting. Alfeegi?"
Alfeegi's screams escalate.
"Oh brother." Tetheus looks around for something shiny to distract the White Dragon Officer with. Why am I subconsciously looking for a giant rattle? "I'm going now Alfeegi. Calm down. I'll send someone up to you."
"SPIES!" he erupts.
"They're all spies! For the Dragonlord." Alfeegi wipes some of the tears, with his sleeve.
Well, there's one person who can't possibly fit into that category. "I promise not to send you a spy, Alfeegi. Goodbye."
Tetheus hurries to the door and closes it gratefully behind him.
"So how is he, sir?"
Tetheus looks at the speaker. It's one of the Dragon Fighters that he saw acting suspiciously earlier.
"Has he been like this all day?" he asks.
"Yes sir. We're the ones that called the Yellow Dragon Officer sir. He kept saying that we were spies and that we'd never get it. Whatever it is."
"Yeah." A second fighter speaks. "We weren't in the slightest bit interested until he mentioned it."
Tetheus arches an eyebrow. "So what did you do?"
The fighter swallows. "I just looked at his desk, to see if there was anything interesting on it. I couldn't help it. It was a reflex action."
His neighbour speaks up. "I just eyed the shelves nearby."
His confession is followed by the cough of a blonde Dragon Fighter. "I may have opened a drawer, but just one."
"Yeah, Alfeegi slammed it shut so fast, that I'm surprised you still have fingers."
"We'd have been okay if he hadn't heard me rustling through his papers though", says a fifth. The group sigh together.
When did they get so mercenary? They're obviously spending far too much time with Thatz. Mental note: Alfeegi is my plaything, not the dragon fighters. For attention in the near future. Tetheus frowns at the group. "Keep an eye on Alfeegi. I will fetch someone who may snap him out of it. Do not scare him any further. The White Dragon Officer is not a toy."
Lecture given, he steps away to find Lykouleon. He can hardly claim that Lykouleon is a spy for the dragonlord. Laughing at his cleverness, Tetheus reaches Lykouleon's study. Being quite bored with matters of state, Lykouleon is easily persuaded to buck up his smallest Dragon Officer. As soon as he enters the study, Tetheus reaches into his pocket and pulls out his trusty glass. He then joins the fighters, who are already eavesdropping at the door, evicting the blonde who's taken position at the keyhole.
"I can hardly be a spy for the Dragonlord, Alfeegi. I am the Dragonlord."
Alfeegi gasps, his voice strangely squeaky. "You ARE?!"
Lykouleon smirks. "Yes I am."
"You admitted it! I can't believe it," he squeals, his lip quivering as he approaches the Dragonlord.
"Well, it's true." Lykouleon speaks softly, vainly believing that he's reached Alfeegi.
Alfeegi pulls his arms into his body and his eyebrows reach to each other for comfort. "You're spying on me!"
The Dragonlord's mouth falls open. "No I'm not!"
"You just admitted it. You said 'I am'!" Alfeegi's voice grows more squeaky as the conversation progresses.
"I am the Dragonlord." Lykouleon leans toward Alfeegi as he speaks, but Alfeegi draws back from him.
"See, you said it again. You're a spy."
"SPY! SPY!" Alfeegi doesn't let him finish.
"GET OUT, SPY!"
Defeated, the Dragonlord withdraws.
Lykouleon motions to Tetheus as he emerges and they step away from the dragon fighters.
"Maybe we shouldn't have medicated his behaviour."
"Sir, you remember how great the first few weeks were. All I have to do is speak to Kharl the Alchemist and he can tweak Alfeegi's medication. It shouldn't take longer than a few days, to get a better balance of pills."
"Ah." The Dragonlord breathes in heavily and glances at the ground before continuing. "There's a small problem there."
The hairs on the back of Tetheus's neck, begin to get itchy. "Sire?", he encourages.
"You see, Rath has been to visit Kharl," says Lykouleon slowly.
"And?" Alarm is noticeably missing from Tetheus's voice, but his lips are pressed closely together.
"It turns out that he's a yokai. Who knew?" Lykouleon raises his hands helplessly and gives a false laugh, but can't disguise his worry.
"Oh no. Is he?"
"No, no, he's still alive. Rath couldn't kill him. He is quite powerful. Apparently, he may be working to undermine me and take over Draqueen. But who isn't?"
Tetheus breathes again. "Then we still have a chance. I can find him and get some more pills. It might be hard to get him to work for us, since Rath did try to kill him. Do I have your permission to offer him whatever's necessary?"
Lykouleon pauses, but a refrain of "SPIES!" from the room nearby is swiftly followed by a nod.
Tetheus bows "I'll tell Rune to prepare for a journey then."
He leaves Lykouleon and returns to his own room, where he fills a small bag and then goes to look for Rune. Where would I be hiding if I were a wet fairy?. He finds him meditating in the pond, without the rest of his posse. Tetheus lifts him bodily and manages to sneak him to Rune's room before he comes out of his meditation.
"Tetheus?" he says, looking around. "What's going on?"
"We're going on a highly important mission for the Dragonlord. We don't have much time. Pack light, you won't be needing much," he says briskly, grabbing one or two items from Rune's drawers and throwing them at him. He pauses at one or two tasteful items and notes the drawer that's locked and obviously holds Rune's secrets. Looks like a three lock. I'll have to remember to bring the proper tools with me, next time.
Rune pulls a pair of trousers off his head and mechanically stuffs them into the bag that lands beside him. "Where are we going?" he asks.
Sounds like he's still groggy from the meditation. Perfect.
"We're helping Alfeegi," Tetheus answers, pulling Rune from the bed and hustling him out the door.
"Okay, are Rath and Thatz meeting us?" he continues, his feet sliding down the corridor.
"No, I don't need them." Tetheus banks Rune to the right and corners at speed. They're now almost at the Castle lobby.
"Oh," Rune states quietly. "Hang on! I have to say goodbye. They won't know where I'm gone!" Rune starts to struggle and Tetheus has to slide his arm around Rune's waist and drag him along.
"It's okay, Rune. The Dragonlord is talking with them as we speak."
As always, mention of the Dragonlord shuts up the sychophantic Rune. He mumbles that they'll get into trouble without him to keep an eye on them, but starts to move his arms and legs and is soon walking unaided, although not at the pace that Tetheus would like. Luckily, neither Rath nor Thatz show their faces and he is able to escape from the castle with his prize.
The journey could have been an uncomfortable one, but Rune is easier to handle than his friends. By ignoring Rune's questions and speaking only when absolutely necessary, Tetheus gets away with not explaining where they're going, why they're going there and what they're going to do there. Mile after mile, town after town, yokai attack after yokai attack, Rune holds his tongue and makes do with occasional mutters and an aura of worry. The land they pass through grows darker and more twisted and Tetheus chooses to hide from more yokai than he fights. From time to time, he stops and sniffs the air. Blip, blip... blip, blip...blip, blip. The demon aura is strongest in this direction. He sets off again with the compliant Rune in tow.
Following a journey of several weeks, they break through a patch of clinging trees, now wet with the blood of yokai attackers and take their first sight of a magnificent castle. Rubbing the sticky, red liquid from his face, Rune frees himself from the underbrush and joins Tetheus.
"It's almost as big as the Dragonlord's Castle!" he gasps.
"I suspect that most of it is an illusion." Tetheus speaks calmly, but he moves closer to Rune.
"Is that what we're looking for, Tetheus?" Rune turns to his companion, hoping that he is wrong.
"Aye". Playing a heavy hand on young Rune's shoulder, he guides his charge down the hill, towards the castle.
The castle is an obscure mirror of their home. Where the Dragon Castle is beautiful and awe-inspiring, this one is ugly and inspires only fear. Each window rises to a dangerous point and is expertly dusted with cobwebs and gelatinous resin. The walls are covered in an evil smelling moss and the gardens are filled with poisonous brambles and thorns. A fetid swamp sucks to the east side and bone-chilling howls erupt from the dingy forest to the west. A lone tower surveys the expanse, with an unblinking light indicating that someone is home. Or else that arsonists can fly.
Rune crouches behind a handy rock, infested with small insects. "How are we going to sneak in?" he whispers.
Tetheus strides past, walks straight up to the front door and knocks boldly. There is no answer so he tries again. Knock, knock.
A voice inside echoes "Who's there?"
"Tetheus who?" it queries.
"Tetheus from Draqueen, on a mission for the Dragonlord", he answers.
"We don't want any!"
"I'm here to get a new prescription for Alfeegi, the White Dragon Officer."
"I'm not interested in working for you dragons any more. One tried to kill me!"
"We can pay you in fairies!"
Rune turns to Tetheus, with his mouth gaping open and a red haze rising from his skin. Tetheus shakes his head, mouths "not you", then clamps his hand around Rune's mouth and draws him into an iron embrace. While Rune struggles futilely, Tetheus waits. The door creeks open to reveal the bird-haired alchemist, now sporting a fetching cut on his left cheek. He smiles widely at his visitors.
"Come in, come in." He gestures them inside and then closes the door, before shuffling back beside them. Looking down, Tetheus notices that he's wearing slippers. Kharl smiles widely at the captive Rune. "Thank you for your offer, but I have all the fairies I need now. I'm not interested in buying more. The market'll disappear soon, if you're still going to look for a buyer."
Tetheus release his grip on Rune slightly, but keeps his hand firmly in place. "I'm sure that there's an alternate deal that we can easily make," he says.
"Oh, I'm sure!" agrees Kharl, resting his arm around Tetheus and steering him towards an ominous door. "My Garfakcy will look after your little companion, while we do business. He'll be perfectly safe."
Tetheus nods and Kharl calls out. "Garfakcy? I need you to look after our guest."
A bored looking young boy turns up and pulls Rune away from Tetheus, without speaking. Rune stares desperately at Tetheus, but Tetheus only has eyes for Kharl. He'll be fine. Now, what can I offer Kharl that won't make Alfeegi sicker? The ominous door opens, without being touched and the two enter, to begin their negotiations.
Rune nervously talks to Garfakcy, but gets no answer from the unresponsive boy. He settles for fidgeting and preparing a water spell or two. Relatively soon after, the door disgorges Tetheus and Kharl, Kharl with a huge smile on his face. He amiably shakes Tetheus's hand and walks him to the door.
"Rune?" says Tetheus, as Rune gulps. "We're leaving now." His voice is unemotional as ever, but it seems as though his spine has relaxed a fraction. Rune sidles away from a scowling Garfakcy, who pulls a knife from his pocket and proceeds to clean his fingernails. Before they can escape Kharl exclaims and returns to the door. He heads inside and comes out bearing a small bottle, which he gives to Tetheus. Huh?
"This is the love potion I promised you. It's extra strength. As a token of faith." He lowers his head and his grin turns into a smirk.
I'd forgotten about this. "Thanks, Kharl, but I don't need it any more."
Kharl's head flips around and it is Tetheus's turn to smirk. "Only a few drops should be sufficient to achieve full potency. An overdose is highly dangerous and should be avoided." He continues in a mutter, "I was going to suggest that you use the entire bottle and a large amount of wine."
Tetheus tucks the bottle into an inside pocket and pats it. Even if I don't need this for Ruwalk, it's always fun at parties. The guests are ushered out in silence, Kharl calling out before he shuts the door, "now you won't forget?"
Tetheus responds calmly, "If you'd seen Alfeegi when we left, you'd know that there is no risk of me letting you down."
Kharl's full beam return and he closes the door.
"Tetheus," Rune whispers, horrified. "What did you offer him? And would you have...have..." His body starts to shake.
Don't go Alfeegi on me, Rune. "Of course not. I'd completely forgotten that you used to be an elf. It's as if you'd always been a part of the Dragon family, Rune. I just needed an in to talk to Kharl. Rath nearly ruined things, with his murder attempt. I had to be shocking to get him to listen to me. Kharl was actually most reasonable." And catching fairies is tricksy. The bastards can escape through the slightest gap.
The journey home is uncomfortable this time and Rune sleeps well away from Tetheus. He's too little for me anyway. I don't like short guys, they make me look ungainly and disproportionate. I never pull as easily when I go out with a short guy.
The new medication works and Alfeegi's paranoia is soon returned to more normal levels. Each new shipment from Kharl gets Alfeegi closer and closer to equilibrium and he is allowed access to table knives and safety scissors. Tetheus is often seen patting his left breast in times of stress, where a small bulge can be seen and local rumour fills in all the gaps in ever more preposterous ways. Tetheus never speaks of the deal he's struck, although when pressed, he says that it is acceptable to the Dragonlord.
Then, one fine day, Ruwalk comes upon Tetheus in the corridors of the castle holding a suspicious brown parcel. He smiles, cocking his head slightly and greets his fellow Dragon Officer.
Sending a parcel to a girlfriend, Tetheus?" he laughs, caramel tones hanging in the air. Tetheus smiles and steps aside for his friend. A deft flick of the wrist knocks the parcel from Tetheus's hands and into Ruwalk's grasp. He reads the address on the parcel and laughs even louder.
"This is it, one of the mystery parcels?" His eyes glinting with delight, he fends off Tetheus's grabs and unwraps the parcel. He reaches into the paper and pulls out a purple thong. Tetheus falls back, resigned as Ruwalk splays it on his fingers and holds it up for a better view. "Oh Tetheus, you didn't agree to send him", he sniffs, "your dirty underwear?"
Tetheus sighs. "What can I say, Alfeegi needed help and I was willing to make the sacrifice." He looks Ruwalk in the eyes. "I'm not ashamed of it."
Ruwalk bursts into gales of laughter. "Well, you should be. Tetheus? What were you thinking?"
"You guys seem to be having fun." Cernozoa joins the party and Ruwalk displays his prize to her, proudly.
"Tetheus is sending his soiled underwear to Kharl the Alchemist, in return for Alfeegi's continued mental wellbeing. What a noble friend. Truly." Laughter spills out once more as Cernozoa examines the thong, with a frown on her face.
"But Tetheus," she says. "You don't wear these. I've never seen you in anything but boxers."
The laughs continue, the gap between guffaws growing larger and larger, each one more forced than the last, until it dries up completely. Ruwalk re-examines the garment in front of him, the blood slowly draining from his face. He suddenly thrusts it at Cernozoa, then runs off at full speed. Tetheus calmly plucks the thong from her bewildered hands and parcels it up again.
"Cernozoa, dear", he says lightly. "There's a runner at the front gate. Could you please hand this to him and tell him to run like the wind?"
She nods and deserts her lover, before Ruwalk returns.
Tetheus doesn't have long to wait. Ruwalk returns shaking and red-faced, his emotions see-sawing between anger and embarrassment.
"Tetheus! Why do I have no underwear?" he hisses.
Tetheus holds up his hands and responds. "Ruwalk," he says. "I offered, but Kharl wasn't interested in my underwear. It's actually quite a compliment if you think about it."
"COMPLIMENT?" he screams, before lowering his voice to a hiss. "What makes you think that knowing that a pervert is collecting my underwear, is any sort of compliment?"
"You're taking this badly. I thought you'd be upset." Tetheus steps away with every phrase he utters, but Ruwalk presses into him again.
"Why didn't you send him someone else's and tell him that they were mine?" he demands.
"He'd know," Tetheus replies calmly. "He's a wizard."
"Eeewwww. And you were stealing them from my room? Why didn't you even ask me?"
"I didn't think that you wanted to know that a pervert was doing unknown things to your undies."
"You're damn right I don't want to know. Ah! Why me?"
Tetheus blinks. "Well," he begins, before he's interrupted by Ruwalk's powerful embrace. His lips suckle Tetheus's mouth and his own opens slightly, promising a hot and sultry tongue. Tetheus's knees start to buckle, before Ruwalk slams him against the wall. "That's the last kiss you'll ever get from me."
I am in no way suggesting that Tetheus was going to hand Rune over to Kharl, in exchange for Alfeegi's pills. I'm implying it for humourous purposes. That's completely different.
Thanks Millenia. I wasn't sure if anyone at mediaminer liked this fic.