The crowds roared in joy as Chrysos stepped onto the stage, smiling broadly. Titanium stood hesitantly behind him watching with complete angst plastered in her nervous blue eyes. He could barely blame her but now was not the time to comfort her foolishness, he had two kingdoms to address.
"People of Polytima," his voice rang out and the crowds quietened, "and people of Ischyros. You were there to see me off when I left countless days ago to find our lost princess and now I have returned, victorious! The princess is safely with us once more!" again the crowds came to life as they cheered out.
"I give you; Princess Titanio!" Chrysos shouted over their roaring which increased significantly as he grabbed Titanium's wrist and yanked her onto the stage. Like a frightened animal, she looked at the thousands of followers which seemed to be overjoyed at her return. He kept a firm hold on her as he shushed the crowds; he did not want her running off and embarrassing him, "Our wedding has been set for a week from today. It will be an event to be remembered as two of the greatest kingdoms become joined!" The cheering had visibly decreased and Chrysos frowned inwardly, apparently the people were not as easy to persuade as Titanium was. Yes, she did not know the full story but what she was oblivious to could not harm her. All that mattered was that he had successfully charmed her into accepting his marriage proposal. Chrysos needed Titanium as his wife if he was going to earn the title of the most powerful king in history and the only thing that stood between him and his achievement was Ischyros, the one kingdom he was not able to conquer.
"Come, let me show you to your room," Chrysos purred into her ear as he led her off the platform, away from the people of her kingdom who were desperate for help. He would be damned if he let some peasant destroy his plans. Titanium stared breathlessly at the tall white walls of the passage they were walking through and Chrysos knew that the chances of her stumbling upon anything were relatively low. She did not know where to go in the palace and would easily get lost, not that he planned on letting her wander around. No, he had to keep her in one place until the wedding was over. What she discovered after the wedding was not a problem to him because he could easily have her annihilated.
"Here it is," Chrysos stopped in front of two tall oak doors and temporarily let go of her to open them. They swung open with ease and he led her into the well furnished room which served more as a house than a single bedroom. He had chosen a room set deep within the palace so if she happened to escape he would be able to catch her before she could reach the outside world. There were so many passages and tunnels in the heart of the palace that, if you did not know your way around, you would run in circles for hours on end, possibly never finding a way out.
"It's-," Titanium's voice broke into his train of thought and Chrysos concentrated on her once more.
"It is all you need, princess," he pulled her into the room which he had, not too long ago, had redone and refurnished. The floor was carpet in cotton candy pink and the walls were painted white. To the left was a sofa and two armchairs set on a plum rug with a cherry wood coffee table in the middle. To the right were rows and rows of cherry wood bookshelves, each filled with a countless variety of books. Further down the room, close to the end, stood a four-poster bed that was themed in a darker pink with gold swirl trimmings and fluffy white pillows. Also on the right, just across from the bed, was a single white door which led to the blue themed bathroom with the finest porcelain on all of Metallo.
"It's lovely," Titanium turned to him with sparkling eyes and he smirked inwardly; she was gullible to the point where it went from cute to ridiculous. Of course, who could blame her if she was being presented with a fairytale lifestyle?
"I only have once condition," Chrysos said in as sweet and seductive voice as he could, "you are to remain in this room until after the wedding. It is only mere tradition that we keep your beauty unexposed to the harsher elements of this planet." She seemed to buy into his story because she nodded enthusiastically.
'Foolish girl,' he thought as he planted a gently kiss on her head before slipping out the room and locking the door; he was not going to risk her curiosity getting the better of her. Chrysos slipped the key into his breast pocket and moved quickly down the passage; he had plans he needed to finalise. Even further into the heart of the palace was a hidden tunnel which led to his own private room where he finalised all his plans and kept his most secret schemes. No one but his most trusted advisor and the captain of his armies knew of this room and it was better kept that way; who knew where spies could turn up? Chrysos approached a painting of his great-grandfather, set within the residence wing which was forbidden to anyone but the king and the few people he deemed worthy.
'You would have been proud,' Chrysos thought as caressed the frame of the painting, finding a simple swirl which stood out just higher than the others. From just above the painting, a small metal ball shot off the wall and took a second to scan Chrysos before engulfing him in a bright white light. He was transported into a brightly lit passage which seemed to have no beginning only a single solid wall behind him. Hastily, Chrysos moved toward the end where the tunnel opened into a high-ceilinged room with maps, charts and sketches plastered all over the crème walls. Separating these were random bookshelves which contained volume after volume of battle strategy and history books. In the middle of the room was a large rectangular table with two chairs set on one side and a single chair opposite them. The captain of his army, a young red-head female, and his advisor, an ancient white-bearded male, were seated at the table waiting expectantly.
"Good, you are both here," Chrysos made his presence known as walked toward the single chair opposite the other two.
"You found her then?" the female asked disdainfully, disgust plastered on her face.
"Yes, I did," he replied shortly.
"Did she accept the offer?" the male enquired in a gentle, fading voice which showed traces of once being powerful.
"Of course she did," Chrysos smirked, "Ischyros will be ours in a week."
"What will happen to her then?" the female, Exousia, sat forward, a dangerous look in her eyes. Chrysos frowned at her, she would be a definite problem if she tried to take Titanium on. It was not that he doubted her strength, she had, after all, made it to the top of his armies, but if Titanium was injured or killed then his goal would once more be out of his reach.
"Perhaps I will keep her around," he replied in a calm yet deadly voice, his eyes darkening dangerously, "it depends how easily she is to manipulate." Distaste and anger replaced the look on her face as she sat back.
"Exousia, keep yourself in line," Sofos, the male, lectured and she shot him a deadly look, "it is for our king to decide what he wishes to do."
"That it is," Chrysos' smirk grew gradually. Once Ischyros was his and he was king of all, Titanium would be an interesting toy to keep around for a while but once he had lost all interest in her she would be just as easy to destroy.
Titanium turned once as she attempted to take in all the wonderful things that surrounded her. She had everything she could ever want; she was a princess with a beautiful room and she was marrying a handsome king.
"I'm finally home," she let out a sigh as she fell onto the soft, springy bed and giggled. It felt as though nothing could dampen her mood and she grinned at her carefree state. Life was beautiful. Magical. With overflowing energy, Titanium sprung up and bolted for the tall closet doors which stood between two of the towering bookcases. As she flung them open she caught her breath at the sight of all the flowing, beautiful dresses which cried out for her to wear them. There were at least five different colours for each style of dress and Titanium wondered if she would have enough time in her life to try all of them on. As she sauntered into the walk-in cupboard, the rows of dresses gave way for row upon row of shoes. From stilettos to boots and ballet shoes, Titanium was completely overwhelmed by the amount of clothing the wardrobe held. There was enough to clothe hundreds of females for more than a year. The pathway turned sharply to the left and she followed it curiously. The shelves and rows started to thin out until she came to another wall which had been turned into a massive display case that contained more diamonds and other precious jewels than she had ever created. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets and crowns twinkled at her from behind the glass and she wondered if all this was really hers.
"It's a wonderland," Titanium muttered breathlessly. With a grin plastered on her face, she headed back to the beginning of the closet and started to try countless combinations of different dresses and shoes. Each outfit fitted and complimented her perfectly and Titanium lost herself in the clothes until she came to a certain outfit. As she sprung in front of the mirror she was forced to pause; the flowing black dress and thigh-high boots reminded her of something. Or was it someone? The memory seemed to be just out of her reach as sadness gripped her heart. Whatever the outfit reminded her of was definitely sorrowful and she felt obliged to rip the clothing off; she wanted nothing to do with anything that was upsetting.
"Princess?" Chrysos' voice floated into the cupboard and immediately her mood was brightened again, "I see you found your new clothing." Titanium launched herself at the entrance, all thoughts of the memory and outfit gone from her mind.
"Yes, I did!" she skidded to a stop in front of him. Chrysos took her in and immediately frowned, something passing through his eyes. Titanium could feel her face flushing as her confidence evaporated; perhaps she did not look as good as she thought she did.
"Where did you get that?" he enquired, his expression neutral once more.
"In the cupboard," Titanium whispered as she dropped her eyes to the floor.
"I wonder how that got there," Chrysos murmured as he took a moment to figure out. Deciding to think about it later, he continued, "take that off. Black does not compliment you."
"I don't think I like it either," Titanium looked up with confusion present in her eyes, "it made me feel weird."
"Well then, all the more reason to dispose of it," he smiled warmly at her, "why don't you put something else on and give that dress to me?"
"Alright," she giggled as she traipsed into the cupboard once more. The decision of what to change into bewildered Titanium because the possibilities were almost endless. Eventually she decided on a pink dress with a floral pattern and a pair of white ballet flats. The black dress lay forlornly on the floor and Titanium hesitated, why did Chrysos want to get rid of the dress anyway? Even though it made her upset now it was still a nice dress and maybe, one day, she would be able to wear it. Making her mind up, Titanium slipped the dress into the place of the one she now had on and put the boots back on one of the back shelves.
"Much better," Chrysos' smile grew wider as he took in her new appearance, "where's that other offensive item?"
"I thought I'd keep it," Titanium replied honestly as she flopped down on her bed, "maybe, someday, I can wear it." She wondered if it was her imagination but it looked as though his smile had faltered slightly. In the blink of an eye, however, his smile was just as large as it had been before and she guessed she was merely seeing things.
"I highly doubt it, princess," Chrysos purred, "as I said before, black does not suit you."
"I like it though," Titanium said defiantly, oblivious to the dangerous undertone in his voice.
"Very well then," he replied through clenched teeth making Titanium look at him in shock and for her sake, he gave her a fake seductive smile, "My apologies. I just don't like the colour black." Completely blinded by his charm, Titanium bought into his story and gave him a toothy grin in return.
"What, my dear, do you think of a pre-wedding masquerade?" Chrysos purred as he stepped toward her.
"That would be wonderful," she muttered, her breath taken away by his hypnotizing green eyes.
"Very good," he placed a finger under her chin and planted a soft kiss on her lips. It surprisingly had little effect on her, barely sending a jolt of electricity through her body, yet still she felt completely ensnared by all of him that surrounded her.
"When will we have one?" Titanium could barely breathe as he slowly pulled away from her. She reached out for him, clinging to the dizziness he made her feel confusing it for a wondrous feeling.
"Tomorrow night," Titanium mistook his smirk for a smile. She was captured in a world of fantasy and fairytales and could not see the darkness which lurked behind the beautiful picture she had painted of the king. Chrysos slipped out of her reach once more and sauntered out of the room; Titanium was captured and it seemed like nothing would be able to wake her up in time.
Around every corner he expected to see her and in some cases her memory haunted him to the point he where he had, once or twice, seen her in someone else. Already she was starting to fade from his mind and he hated every second that he forgot something about her.
'Like the day she disappeared,' Blackheart thought solemnly. The day she had gone home was still plastered freshly in his mind and he knew it would be the one thing he never forgot, that and the pain of losing her. Hell was a monotonous blur to him as Blackheart moved subconsciously through its depths. There was nothing for him to do anymore and each minute of his existence seemed to stretch by into unbearable hours and days. How much time had passed since she had said goodbye?
"I need a distraction," Blackheart muttered and promptly teleported up to earth hoping desperately to find something to do. He turned his back on the rising sun, a hateful sight and painful reminder of the last words she had said to him.
"Tomorrow can never be because yesterday is all that fills my mind," he slowly turned to face the sunrise again but instead saw the silhouette of something else before it. The floating contraption hovered over a clearing just lower than the cliff he was standing on. Out of curiosity he teleported into the trees just surrounding the clearing and watched two men hurrying about, trying to clear up random bits and bobs.
"It's time to go! We have enough information for the king!" one of them shouted at the other, obviously starting to get impatient.
"Should we bother him before the wedding?" the second male enquired as he packed up the last of the numerous items which had littered the grass.
"He told us to give it to him as soon as we had enough!" the first snapped before disappearing in an all too familiar bright light. The night Blackheart had gone to the scrap yard to find Titanium returned to him in a wispy replay of events ending off with the bright light which had carried her away. These people were from the same planet that she was now one and were probably about to return to it. Already an idea was formulating in Blackheart's mind and he decided that he needed to see her one more time. He would not force her to return with him but just wanted to have one last conversation with her, to say goodbye properly. With no idea what was in store for him, Blackheart teleported into the strange spacecraft as the male in the clearing disappeared. The inside looked somewhat like an airplane did with two rows of blue seats on either side and similar controls at the front.
"We're ready to go," someone said from the front and Blackheart ducked into the shadows, it was best for him to stay completely undetected until they reached their destination. Just after the pilot had spoken the same white light completely engulfed the spacecraft from the outside, pouring in through the windows, temporarily blinding Blackheart in the process. The light started to dim and change colour almost immediately after until it looked exactly like rays of sunshine which were penetrating the glass of the windows.
'That was fast,' Blackheart thought as he peered out. The vegetation outside looked almost exactly like that which you would have found earth with only one visible difference; the leaves were different shades of blue instead of green. Wasting no time, he teleported out of the spacecraft not caring to hide himself anymore. Who would notice his existence anyway? He followed one of the men directly into the heart of the town taking only a moment to admire the towering palace in the distance.
"Did you hear?" a group of females pressed passed him, whispering frantically to each other, "the king is having a pre-wedding masquerade in honour of the princess. I still cannot believe that he found her!" the last part caught Blackheart's attention. Could it be possible that Titanium was the princess they were speaking of?
"After that terrible law got thrown out, I'm glad he tracked her down. Where was she again?" one asked, glancing around nervously.
"Earth," another replied before hissing, "now hush!" Blackheart knew all the pieces fitted together; Titanium was the princess and she was marrying the man who had come to fetch her. A fresh stab of pain ricocheted through his body at the thought of her getting married. Blackheart knew it would have had to happen eventually but now that it was he felt like he had to stop it.
"Will you really keep her from being joyous?" he asked himself as he laid his eyes upon the palace once more, "Why do you want to stop her from marrying someone she might love?" Blackheart knew the answer but refused to voice it; it could and would never happen. For some reason, he got the feeling that there was more to it, another reason why he wanted to prevent the wedding. As a reassurance to himself and his overactive imagination, Blackheart decided to check on Titanium and assess the situation she was in. If she was content and wanted to stay he would return to earth without her ever knowing he had ever been there. The only thing that worried him was how he would get into the palace for long enough to efficiently survey the situation and environment.
"Well," a mask in a shop window caught Blackheart's eye and he smirked, "it seems that I am going to the masquerade."