Chapter Five

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Note: Sorry for the extra long wait on this one. I had the flu from hell and it just wouldn't go away. Even now I'm still coughing and get fevers every once in a while. It really made writing this hard, which sucks because the next few chapters are what I have been looking forward to writing for a long time now. The duel between Richard and Daiya is finally going to happen!

Chapter Five

Heir Apparent

Daiya walked through the open and large halls of the Elothian Royal palace as maids, servants, aides, and military personnel muddled about and headed off to various destinations within the large and ornate palace that was the crown of the whole country. Three days had passed from when Daiya had left the Eternal City, and only now was she just arriving back home from a trip that should have taken her a day and a half by dragon at most.

The reason for her tardiness was due to the spell book that May had seen fit to give her in preparation for the Warriors Contest. The first time she had looked into it had been during a time where she let Cotaz rest her wings for a few minutes. She had just meant to glance at it, but once she opened the heavy and large leather tome she was quickly engrossed by its contents that four hours had passed before she knew it.

There were just so many high level spells written within its pages that Daiya just couldn't tear her eyes away from it. There were incantations she didn't know if she would ever be able to recite perfectly and even certain ways she had to control her magic as it flooded into the world. The difficulty of even the easiest spells within that book were far above anything she had ever come across, and she was totally absorbed on reading what they could do. And because of that she took far more breaks than she normally would have.

In the end it mattered very little that she was late. Word of Frand accepting their terms was still a week and a half out by May's estimation, so Daiya didn't have to worry about running out of time yet. She was also sure her father wouldn't mind too much, as the time that Daiya had just spent had been away from combat and that's all he wanted from her. In fact he would probably be pleased that she had returned to the palace, and as Daiya walked down towards the private dining hall that was closest to her and Richard's private wing of the building she began to wonder how much fuss her father was going to give her on what she had to tell him.

A moment later Daiya opened the door and entered the smaller of the first floor dining rooms and found a portion of her family there, just like the guard standing outside the throne room had told her. Her father and both of her sisters, Nadia and Saphrin, were sitting around the table eating a late lunch. The atmosphere seemed a little quiet, but it soon changed when the sound of the door opening caught her father's attention and his eyes rose up from a sheaf of parchment before him and narrowed softly on her.

"Daiya!" he exclaimed and suddenly a wide smile split his bearded and scarred face. He stood up from his seat and held his arms open, motioning for her to go and give him a hug; something she did without having to be told twice. "I am so glad to see you safe! What are you doing back home? Did your business at the Eternal Palace finish already?"

"Sort of," she admitted and enjoyed the hug from her large and strong father for the short moment she was allowed to. Despite the two of them never seeing eye to eye on everything, Daiya still missed her father as much as he had missed her. "I've returned to inform you of what happened with my meeting."

"Ah, very good! Have a seat! You must be hungry," her father laughed loudly and then took his seat once more, waving with his hand for Daiya to follow suit. As soon as she sat down he moved his nearly full plate of delicious looking salad towards her with a nod, offering her the rest of his meal. "Go on, eat up. Tonight we will host a feast for the family to celebrate your return! And, since your return is a safe and happy one, I will have the chefs prepare some dishes of meat just for you!"

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