Part 2: Hunter's POV

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The sky was painted with the bright oranges and pinks that followed the break of dawn. The Golden Guard had just returned from his most recent mission to Eclipse lake. Hunter felt exhausted and pushed far beyond his physical limitations, but he had collected what he set out to find; titan's blood. Coven Scouts were awaiting him in front of the extendable bridge, which was also the main entrance into his Uncle's palace. Hunter always thought the long hallways that tunneled the palace, were dull in the early morning light, but today they appeared especially gloomy. After climbing all 832 stairs to the floor above, Hunter came to the mighty wooden doors that stood before Emperor Belos's throne room.

Without him even having to knock on the doors, a voice rang from the other side.

"Aaah, he's here. Steve, let the Golden guard in." It was Hunter's uncle. He checked that the portal key was still in my grasp and checked that his clothing was somewhat presentable. The doors swung open on their incredibly rusty hinges before stepping into the room. 

"Emperor Belos." The Golden Guard adressed his Uncle with a formal nod, removed his golden owl mask and got down on one knee. 

"Steve. You. Are. Excused." Belos said firmly and coldly. "It hurts me to say but, Hunter, I am very disappointed in you." Hunter felt his heart sink like a broken ship. 

"I'm sorry Emperor Belos. I only-"

"Silence!" Beloshim me off before he could say any more. "You willingly snuck out of the castle in search for titan's blood without my knowledge, you were captured by the Owl Lady, and you have the audacity to come back here empty handed." The Guard's breathing grew heavy and he broke into a great nervous sweat. "What am I going to do with you, Hunter? As my second in command, it is crucial that I know where you are at all times."

"Emperor Belos, please, I didn't return empty handed. I stole the portal-key from the Owl Lady." 

Uncle could see every expression I had on my face, and Hunter knew that could be very dangerous. One wrong move and... He'd be finished. Hunter looked up at his superior, resisting the urge to retreat to the safety and comfort that his mask provided.

"It has titan blood! I have exactly what you need to make the portal work."

Belos rose to his feet, and gestured for Hunter to hand the key over. "Bring it to me, Hunter." Hunter tread over to the throne carefully and bowed his head in respect. He placed the key in the Emperor's gloved hands and he held the key at eye level to examine it. Hunter turned my gaze to the giant heart behind behind his uncles throne and watched as it's beats became more and more frequent.

"It is indeed the real key. But you forgot one very important detail, THE EYE CONTAINING THE BLOOD IS CRACKED!" Belos was absolutely livid. The poor sleep deprived and depressed 16-year-old-boy looked away not wishing to see his uncle stabbing the wall again and again.

"KIKIMORA!" Belos roared.

"Yes m-my emperor." Kikimora seemed to be just as horrified as Hunter felt. The tiny red demon handed over a palismen. Belos split the poor fox in two, and held it directly above the eye slits in his mask. The green slush trickled from the remains of the palismen and landed directly in both holes. 

"More! I must have more palismen!" He barked at Kikimora, leaning into the arm of his throne.

"Right away my Emperor." And at that Kikimora scurried out of the room.

When Kikimora returned, her body quaked as she broke the news to Belos, "My - ehem - Emperor Belos - um, I regret to inform you that their are no more palismen l-left in the palace." Belos's arm morphed from a normal limb, to goop attached to his body, and finally, into a sharp spike. Hunter's eyes snapped shut as the spike propelled through the air like a torpedo, very nearly impaling her head. Her eyes darted from Belos, to the Emporor's limb and back again. As any sensible creature would, she scooted her tiny little body away from his arm. (If you could even call it a limb.)

"That's impossible! We can't be out of palismen!" He retracked his arm and turned to face me.

"Give us some privacy, Kikimora." She bowed and carefully backed outside.

Hunter normally respected the honorable man he believed his Uncle to be. All his life, Hunter worked tirelessly day-in and day-out, waiting for the moment that he'd finally earn the love and respect that he deserved. But that moment still hadn't come in 16 years and the poor teenager was beginning to wonder if it ever would. The Emperor was not a merciful man, and his condition caused him to have violent outbursts. Hunter thought to himself, he loves me, right? I'm the only family he has! I WISH HE'D JUST LET ME HELP HIM! He can get better- I know he can. 

"Uncle, let me help! Your only getting wor-" Belos silenced his nephew once more. He turned his body back in Hunter's direction and stared at the giant heart that was located above his throne. That was the other problem with this condition, his episodes would make him very irritable.

"Hunter. I believe I have your next mission."


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