Author: Wings of the Valkyria PM
To calm the hot-blood citizens of Kimlasca and Malkuth, a marriage is needed, even it is a farce. And it is Luke who puts himself forward as a willing sacrifice.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Asch & Luke - Chapters: 38 - Words: 71,177 - Reviews: 184 - Favs: 93 - Follows: 109 - Updated: 05-16-13 - Published: 01-20-11 - id: 6671787
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer : I claim no rights to the anime/game/manga Tales of the Abyss.
Enjoy the Chapter.
Chapter Thirty-Four : Approaching
A rush of familiarity came over Luke as he, Natalia, Asch and Sync stepped back into Grand Chokmah. It was good to be home again, but he wished that it had been under better circumstances. He wondered if he could visit his adoptive Father?
"We don't have time for small visits." Asch stated, reading his mind as they walked across the small, white bridge leading to the palace. "I know that you miss your family, but it is important that we get this message to His Majesty as soon as possible."
"And besides," Sync spoke up with a cheeky grin. "Guy is probably waiting for you at the palace. Think how disappointed he'd be if you didn't go to see him first?"
"I'm pretty sure that he would understand." Natalia said smoothly, cutting Sync's attempts to start an argument off quite viciously judging from the scowl the former God-General was giving the Princess. Luke supposed that it was time that someone put the little bastard in his place. He just didn't think that it would be Natalia of all people. Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course.
"Halt!" the two guards crossed their spears over the entrance of the palace. "Identify yourselves!"
"I am God General Sync of Daath." Sync stepped up and folded his arms. "I have come with a message from His Majesty King Ingobert about the war."
The guard on the left snorted and tightened his grip on the hilt of the spear. "We have no intention of surrendering if that is what that old croak wants."
"I didn't know that guards could be such smart asses." Asch cut in smoothly. "I wonder what Emperor Peony would think if he found out that his own men were acting like a bunch of bullies to emissaries?"
"He would think nothing of it." the guard on the right took his spear away from his partner's and pointed it in Luke's direction. "In fact, he would honor us for removing Kimlascan scum like you from the face of Adulrant."
Luke placed his hand on the hilt of his blade and began pulling it out of his sheath when a cool gloved hand settled over his own and darkly amused voice caressed his ears. The familiarity of it caused Luke to smile and drop his hand away from the hilt of his blade.
"That is enough." Jade commanded, causing the two guards to startle and salute in a rather clumsy manner. "I never thought I would see the day where General Aslan's men would act in such an atrocious way. I wonder what he would think if he found out that his men were treating Lord Luke Gardios in such a horrid way. I assume that the both of you know who Lord Gardios is, do you not?"
The sound of dropping spears followed Jade's words and the guards were standing at attention so rigidly that Luke wondered if the men's backs were going to break. He stepped away from Jade and held his hands up in a calming gesture.
"You needn't be so formal." Luke said softly. "I apologize to the both of you. I should have introduced myself from the beginning."
"The mistake is ours alone, Lord Gardios." the guards stepped aside and opened the heavy blue door. "Please, step inside, Lord Gailardia is residing with the Emperor."
"Thank you." Luke mumbled, fully aware of the heat rushing to his cheeks as he marched inside with his friends trailing behind him. Honestly, did Jade have to make that into such a spectacle? He would make sure to apologize to the guards when he had the chance.
"That was amusing." Sync chuckled as Jade took the lead and led them to the audience chamber on the second floor. "I thank you, Colonel Curtiss, for giving me a bit of entertainment for the day."
"You're welcome." Jade stopped outside a set of blue double doors. "I assume that you have brought a message for His Majesty? What does it entail?"
Natalia huffed and folded her arms and Luke knew that an argument was going to happen, but fortunately, Asch laid a hand on Natalia's arm and prevented the Princess from saying any harsh words toward the Colonel.
"King Ingobert wants to stop this war." Luke responded, smiling when Jade simply raised an eyebrow at his words. He could hardly believe it as well. "I know that it sounds unbelievable, but I explained the situation with Van and believes that we need to put a plan in action to stop him."
"I agree that this war needs to be stopped, but the people and the soldiers would not be as happy as you are with this, Luke." Jade stated solemnly. "The purpose of your engagement to Asch was to stop any hostilities between Malkuth and Kimlasca, but that fell through when Akzeriuth was destroyed by your hand-unwilling or not."
"I know that." Luke lowered his head but it was quickly pulled it back up and he found himself staring into Asch's serious eyes. "Asch?"
"We'll stop this." Asch said, and much to Luke's surprise, laid his forehead against Luke's. "I promise you that we will stop this."
"This is sweet, but we need to get inside before the Emperor and General Aslan decide to send another force out." Sync drawled dryly, nodding his head to Jade who opened the door to show a rather moderate size audience chamber with deep blue walls and floors and two lone thrones sitting in the center and on one of those throne was a tall, slim man who looked to be in his early thirties with deep tan skin, a naughty smirk and green eyes that had a hint of amusement in them.
"Your Majesty." Luke greeted, bowing down and hiding his smile when Peony grimaced at the sight of him. He didn't know whether it was because of his part in the destruction of Akzeriuth or that the Emperor didn't lift a finger to help them.
"Luke." Peony returned cautiously. "I-I'm sorry that I did nothing to help you in your moment of need and Gailardia and his Father have definitely let me have an earful of their current opinion of me."
"I'm sure that they did not mean their words, Your Majesty." Luke rose up from his bowed place to give the Emperor a reassuring smile which was slowly, but surely returned. "What matters now is that Asch and I along with Princess Natalia and General Sync are here and we have a message from King Ingobert." Luke stepped forward and placed the letter into the older man's hand. "I think you will be pleased at the contents." he stepped back and hung by Asch side as the Emperor read the letter with weary eyes. He placed his hand into Asch's and waited for his rulers reply. If Peony accepted Ingobert's proposal then the war between their countries would be over and maybe, just maybe he and Asch could get married not because they had to for the sake of their countries.
But because they loved each other. Pure and simple.
Peony lowered the letter. "I too wish for this war to come to an end, but a simple meeting will not be that simple." Peony stared at Luke and Asch with pity. "Your marriage will not be enough to quell the people's hatred."
"What will be enough then?" Natalia asked. "What do you want, Your Majesty?"
"A new contract." Peony replied. "I want Asch and Luke married immediately and I want you married to a Malkuth noble."
"You can't be serious." Sync drawled. "Do you honestly think that a double marriage will work?"
Peony turned to Jade who narrowed his crimson eyes. "A marriage between the Colonel and Princess Natalia." Peony raised his hand when Jade opened his mouth to protest. "Jade "Necromancer." Curtiss, Dr. Balfour, The Father of Fomicry and Princess Natalia Luzu Kimalasca-Lavendear, the Princess of the People is a marriage that will truly unite our lands just like Asch and Luke's marriage meant to."
"A truly political marriage." Luke whispered, his heart clenching as Natalia paled at the thought of it. Of course, he knew that King Ingobert would disapprove of it at first, but he would soon see the benefits of it and would have no choice but to agree.
"Or you could marry Princess Natalia." Guy's amused voice came from the entrance and Luke spun around to see his brother and Tear leaning against the open doorway. He rushed towards his brother and wrapped his arms around Guy, and smiled when the embrace was quickly returned.
"How's Father and Mary?" Luke asked, stepping away from his brother and staring into the pair of familiar emerald eyes. "Are they okay? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Guy ruffled his hair. "I was worried about you after I didn't hear any word from you for a while, but I'm glad to see that you haven't caused any trouble." Guy dragged Luke back to the throne where Peony was waiting. "Now, what's this about you marrying my fiancé off?"
"F-Fiance?" Luke blurted out, staring at Guy and Jade before turning back to his brother again. "You mean you accepted his proposal?"
"After a while I figured that it was pretty useless not to accept his proposal." Guy chuckled. "Would you believe it when I say that he won Mary and Father over?"
"Considering how charismatic Jade is, I totally believe it, but what have you been up to until now?"
"We have figured out a way to stop this war, but with your arrival, our plans have turned for the better." Peony waved the letter in the air. "I will send emissaries to Kimlasca to tell Ingobert that I accept his terms along a few of my own. It is indeed time for this war to come to an end."
"I shall go with them." Natalia said, smiling at Asch shake of the head. "Someone has to because you and I both know that they would be shot on sight."
"I will go as well, if those Malkuth guards try anything." Sync grinned in the face of Peony's scowl. "Don't act sour, Your Majesty. For you know it's true."
"Indeed I do, but it is not a pleasant thing to hear." Peony gave Natalia a solemn look. "If you do not mind, Princess?"
"Of course not, Your Majesty."
"Good." Peony clapped his hands and three servants appeared. "These beautiful women will lead you to the guest rooms. Please, rest, while I write the return letter."
Luke embraced his brother again once the door was closed firmly behind him. He smiled into the older man's shoulder when Guy chuckled against his hair. "How many hugs am I going to get?"
"Enough to satisfy me." Luke pulled away and sat in the chair that was near the window. "When did you accept Jade's proposal?"
"About two days ago to be exact. We were sitting in the dining room at home when I suddenly turned to him and said yes in front of everyone." Guy grinned. "I really wish you could have seen the surprised look on Jade's face. I'm always going to remember it."
"You should have taken a picture for me." Luke pouted. "Even though I didn't see it, I'm glad that you're getting married and you'll definitely be taken care of with the amount of money that Jade makes and yes, I know that money doesn't matter."
"Good. I was hoping you were going to say that. And speaking of marriages, what's going on with you and Asch? Have you made any progress."
At Guy's words, Luke's face became a hot red and Guy leaned forward in interest. "Oh, you two didn't have sex did you?"
"Of course not!" Luke screeched. "We just kissed, that's all!"
"Awww," Guy cooed, pinching Luke's cheeks. "My brother's first kiss."
"What makes you think that was my first kiss?" Luke questioned, cheeky, and much to his surprise Guy fell to the floor in surprise. "Guy?"
"Who? What was his or her name?! I demand to know their name!"
Luke snorted and folded his arms. "I'm not telling you who he was, Guy. You might go out and kill the man."
"I am, but we'll get to that later. What have you been up to? Where have you been?"
Luke smiled, albeit sadly, and waved a hand to the bed. "You better sit down. It's a long story."