A/N: sorry for the long hiatus. Here's another chapter for ya'll to enjoy.
Man, I've got far too many stories to tell. XD;;
man it's been far too long since I've written. I hope it comes off well!
The caravan proceeded along the border of the city; musicians playing for the Golden King and his wives as well as the men as they proceeded through the warming lands of Briton. The last Gilgamesh had been there the snow was so thick that his carriages nearly got lost in it. Now, all around him was beginning to look more like the legends of the land told; small patches of green grass coming up through the snow, trees beginning to bloom and a flower or two coming out of the ground. A shout from one of the soldiers alerted Gilgamesh, however, to the appearance of a group of men on horses.
"We have soldiers coming at us, my king!" cried one of the men.
The knights in black armor came closer and closer to the gilded caravan as Gilgamesh walked out of the largest carriage and pulled his cloak around him tighter. He hated this British weather! His men on their horses moved around the carriage to protect it without him having to raise a hand to indicate that was what he wanted. He smirked at himself, relishing the power that his wives' families had given him and the power he now had over the people of his land now.
He recognized the man at the lead of the Camelot entourage; there was no mistaking that white blonde hair and feminine face. However, there were a fair few more men than the last he had seen of this place. Gilgamesh crossed his arms in front of his chest expectantly as the group neared and stopped.
"King Gilgamesh," said Bedivere, "What is your business in my king and queen's lands?"
Gilgamesh raised an eyebrow. So the little witch found herself a man to be her king? "I was coming from Ireland and found myself in your lands," said Gilgamesh. He smirked a little more and chuckled for a moment before he felt rather than heard his wife Mei's voice stab him in the back.
"If all you are going to do is taunt the fellow, then at least let me have a chance at using him for target practice." Her head was leaning out from the door of the carriage with a rather annoyed expression on her lovely powdered face.
Bedivere frowned in irritation at the woman and then looked to Gilgamesh. "I am here to remind you of the last time you trespassed without permission, King Gilgamesh. If you wish to come into the city, you will have to order your men to lower their weapons and remain civil. If not, I will allow my queen and king to remind you just why it is you were cast out from Briton so easily," he said, his tone colder than usual.
Gilgamesh felt a shiver run down his spine at the tone in Bedivere's voice, but refused to let it show. "Mei, please move back into the carriage. We're guests, after all, and guests that threaten aren't welcome guests," said Gilgamesh without turning to look at Mei. Mei smirked very faintly and moved back into the carriage as she was asked before Gilgamesh turned his back on Bedivere and headed for the door of the carriage as well. "Thank you for being our escort," he said, pausing for emphasis toward the white-blonde haired man, "Sir Bedivere."
Bedivere grunted and waved his hand to his men before turning his horse and galloping toward the castle. Gawain sighed as he looked to Galahad. Galahad shook his head. "I know, I know," said Gawain, "But it would be more entertaining to make a remark on his rather pissy attitude at the moment in comparison to a woman." There were a few snorts and chuckles from the others around him, out of ear shot of Bedivere, as they too turned and allowed the caravan to come up the middle of their ranks.
The ride back to the castle was a long one. They couldn't ride as fast as they had getting out to the edge since the caravan was moving slow for the sake of the carriages, but it was at least not as boring as it could be. The prostitutes cat-called at the "foreign" knights as they progressed; the prostitutes bared their arms and legs toward them with painted faces and coquettish glances. Gawain grinned in spite of himself as he answered some of those calls with some of his own; Galahad near him turned bright red, however, when one younger woman leaned out and she was barely clothed in anything substantial. When they finally reached the city walls, Arturia and Cuchulainn walked out from within the castle.
The caravan made its way toward the castle and then came to a stop. People from the village came out of their homes to see the entourage in curiosity. When the final horse stopped, three women came out of the main carriage behind a relatively tall, handsome man with short blonde hair and intense red eyes. The first woman that had walked out was of some Asian decent, her slanting gold eyes accentuated by the make up she wore; her long black hair pulled up in an elaborate hair style that included gold beads and bells that jingled as she stepped off the carriage. The second woman to come out was a demure woman with a dark blue dress on and a sheer blue veil around her long dark hair and covering her pale, rosy cheeks and rosy lips, leaving only the darkly lined eyes of hers to be seen. The third woman was tall and commanding looking. If there was a princess among these three women, it would have been this one. She wore deep red in her dress and a sheer red veil over her hair; bright green eyes lighting up her dark features like lanterns from behind the veil. Gold adorned all three women in ways that most of the villagers had only imagined.
Arturia and Cuchulainn moved closer toward the group. Arturia nodded her head toward Gilgamesh, gazing at him with those cold gold eyes of hers. Cuchulainn, however, seemed a bit friendlier with how he regarded Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh immediately didn't like the way the man seemed to come toward him. His grin was cheeky and his entire attitude reminded him of a dog. "So you've found yourself a man that is compliant enough to allow as your king, little queen?" said Gilgamesh with unrestrained disdain for Cuchulainn. "You. Regard me with more respect than that grin of yours! I am a king as well!"
Cuchulainn's grin turned rather scary as those red eyes of his flashed a bit in anger. Gilgamesh took note of his eyes, knowing full well that the red eyes were the mark of a god. Cuchulainn cleared his throat and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Arturia, do you mind if I skewer him just yet?"
"My king, would you please not get us killed?" said Asma from behind Gilgamesh with a rather intense glare with those jewel green eyes of hers.
Arturia bowed this time, sweeping out her skirts wide as she did so. "King Gilgamesh of the arid desert lands to the south," she said, "I have not seen you in so very long. Was your trip back home well?"
Gilgamesh blushed faintly and was about to say something else, clearly very angry and embarrassed, but he heard Fathia behind him clear her throat rather loudly. He didn't even need to look behind him to know exactly what looks the three women behind him were giving him. Fathia didn't glare, but hoped clearing her throat might remind him of who was behind him. Asma would have been giving him the most terrifying stare that he had ever seen and likely would make certain he remembered it for a while later. Mei, however, would be as calm and cool as Arturia before him; gazing at him with those gold eyes and making him really wish he had not kept all three women. He sighed in defeat and bowed to the two. "King and Queen of Briton and Ireland, I am King Gilgamesh of New Babylon. It is a pleasure to meet you."
"All right, all right," said Cuchulainn, watching Gilgamesh. It was rather amusing to see him bowing himself down, but the looks of the three women made him understand just why he was doing it. The one in red with her green eyes especially attracted his attention. "Welcome to Camelot, King Gilgamesh."
"You may stay with us for a little while if you wish," said Arturia carefully, "But do no overstay your welcome. You have not been forgiven." With that, she turned and walked back toward the castle. Gilgamesh watched her and that old hunger came over him when he watched her walk away.
Cuchulainn saw the look and grew very irritated at the man for even considering it. The frown turned back into a grin as he turned up the charm in his actions and his words. "With such lovely ladies behind you, King Gilgamesh, it would seem you would not have eyes for much else!"
Gilgamesh twitched involuntarily at the rogue's lofty tone toward his wives and a possessive snarl came from his lip before he stood up straight and laughed haughtily at Cuchulainn. "Ah, but you see, you do the same, I see. With such a pretty little woman, I would expect my wives would not seem so interesting to you!"
"Only because I enjoy the sight of beautiful women," said Cuchulainn, grinning more as Fathia's cheeks grew pink.
"And I enjoy the sight of a strong woman who can equal a king," said Gilgamesh, sneering, "Though I expect she's made herself king and you are the queen now. Does she give you to her soldiers for favors?"
"Gentlemen, it would seem you both are very fine fighting men, but I would rather not have to burn my clothes, thank you. I rather like them and blood is very hard to clean out of silk," said Mei calmly. Then, she walked up toward Cuchulainn and offered her hand, covered in the long sheer silk sleeves she always wore. Cuchulainn bowed and kissed her hand as she eyed him as coldly as Arturia tended to.
"Your husband once caused this place a great deal of trouble," said Cuchulainn, "and I'm here now to make sure he doesn't."
Mei plucked her hand from his quickly and opened her fan, covering her face in an almost flirtatious manner, though her eyes were still as cold as ever. She smiled, her painted lips curving up slightly against her pale face, though as she spoke, it faded into an angry snarl. "King Cuchulainn, I would think that that duty was not for you, as we are his wives and we are the judges of his behavior and his conduct. Not you." She bowed and then walked off toward the doors to the main hall.
Cuchulainn raised his eyebrows and smirked faintly. She was a sharp tongued little woman if he had ever met one, but he still knew an even sharper woman a lot more intimately. Asma came closer toward Cuchulainn, pulling her veil up a bit more in the pinning on her hair, gold earrings jingling on her ears. She bowed to him and then walked on swiftly without a word toward him. The last did not go up with her fellows. Fathia stood back and took Gilgamesh's hand in her gently and pulled on it. When Gilgamesh didn't move, she looked back with those dark brown eyes of hers. "Please?" she asked softly. The very sight of her tugged at Cuchulainn's heart as he watched her. She was so soft-spoken and gentle; he wondered just what misfortune caused to be married to the great bastard in front of him.
"Don't mind him, Fathia," said Gilgamesh, sneering at Cuchulainn. He gave him a look over and snorted derisively, much to Fathia's displeasure. "After all, it is not worth fighting over a bastard son of a lesser immortal such as this man is." With that, Gilgamesh walked past Cuchulainn, letting go of Fathia's hand quickly as he did so.
Cuchulainn's blood boiled. How dare that man insult his father! His fists clenched, Cuchulainn turned to wallop Gilgamesh with a fist to his kingly chin, but a gentle hand on his clenched fist stopped him. He looked to see Fathia standing with her eyes cast down. "Please do not hurt my husband," she said softly, "I know as his wife I have more rights than if I were not, but I know I don't have the right to tell you what to do with yourself." She looked up at him and his heart went out to the little woman before him. Her eyes were big like a little girl's eyes. "Please, your highness, don't pursue this matter. He is baiting you into a fight."
Cuchulainn grunted and looked away at the mention of a fight. He would have loved nothing more than to shove Gae Bolg right into the bastard's chest, but he supposed that another fight with Babylon would result in possibly another outcome or worse. With effort, Cuchulainn calmed himself enough to offer his arm to the woman. "I am Cuchulainn," he said, introducing himself with a flourish of his hand and slight bow toward her, a charming smile on his face.
Fathia's cheeks once more darkened behind the veil and she giggled a little behind a hand. She took his arm and bowed her head toward him. "I am Fathia," she said softly, "It is a pleasure for me to meet you, Lord Cuchulainn."
With a broad grin, Cuchulainn ushered Fathia inside the castle. Unbeknownst to him, Emiya was watching from their room's windows, Ferdia in his arms asleep. Emiya frowned faintly and moved back into the room to put the child to bed so he might continue his nap and went out of the room to join his queen.
Arturia watched as well as the pair walked into the main hall and separated. A strange monster, a devil almost, seemed to tug at her insides at the look Cuchulainn gave the wife of Gilgamesh. As she looked at the little woman, she could understand why. She had a certain likeness to Emer with her graceful movements and gentle appearance. A strange calmness came over Arturia as she gazed at Cuchulainn, however. He looked very angry, ready to kill, as he moved further and further away from Gilgamesh toward Arturia. The calmness was unusual in that as she stood there, a monster ripping apart her heart inside her chest, it felt as though a pair of arms descended around her and hugged her gently. The monster died down and regurgitated what it had eaten, giving back what feeling she had left as Cuchulainn touched her hand with his and grasped it.
"For what reason do you look so angry, Cuchulainn?" she asked softly. "Is it because that woman reminds you of Emer and you don't want her near that man? I can hardly blame you for it, since that man tried to rape me once."
Cuchulainn was taken aback by Arturia's signature bluntness, but recovered. He smiled faintly at his wife and queen and stroked her thumb with his before looking toward Gilgamesh with disdain. "I despise him on principle mostly," he said, keeping his tone low, "He attacked our people, tried to eradicate us all from the islands and then comes back with three women and insults me in front of them."
Arturia gazed coolly toward Gilgamesh as he pulled off his cloak and pulled on a long coat that still bared his tattooed chest to the rest of the castle. The Chinese woman and the other two followed him as they were all led up to their rooms. Cuchulainn leaned down and nuzzled into Arturia's hair and kissed her earlobe gently. "You got jealous, didn't you," he said softly.
"Shush," she said sharply, her cheeks flaming red.
Cuchulainn grinned boyishly at her before kissing her knuckles; he kissed her and walked off to make sure the horses were put into the stables and were fed. She watched him leave and noticed Emiya leaning on the wall of the stairwell, his white hair down in his eyes. She walked toward him and walked up the stairs with him. "Is there a problem, Shirou?" she asked.
"I was only watching," he said in a low voice.
"Watching with a very accusing look in those hazel eyes of yours."
Emiya blushed faintly in his tanned cheeks and coughed. "My queen, it is only because I fear for your marriage to the king."
Arturia eyed him. He glanced at her and looked away. "It is because you saw him talking to one of the wives, isn't it?"
"If my queen saw it and has no problem with it, then I will have no problem with it," said Emiya quickly. The mask was forming once more over Arturia's doll like face. She did have a problem with it, but once more a strange warmth came over her as though a gentle pair of arms hugged her. For a moment, just a moment, Emiya thought he saw a light forming around Arturia, like a small woman hugging her for comfort. "Arturia?"
"I'll… be fine," she said. Then, she walked off quickly to the room, leaving Emiya standing and watching in slightly disbelief and more than a little worry. After all, the woman he had seen hugging Arturia for comfort was the one he had killed on her orders; it was Emer, former queen of Ireland and wife of Cuchulainn.