Chapter 14

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When the Barians gave up, they quickly left. Black Mist snickered. What cowards. Probably going back to Nasch to tell them that the Number king knew of their plans.

Feeling sleepy, Black Mist got out of hiding and went back to his chamber. He put the cloak away, got into bed, and fell asleep.

**********

The next morning, no one came to remind him that he had lessons. That was strange to him. Tera normally sent someone to remind him.

I have to tell Hope what I found out, Black Mist told himself. He got out and made his way to the knight's quarters.

"Hope!" he called when he saw the guard.

Hope turned to the young king. "Ah, good morning. Have you slept well?"

"Yes, fine. I have important information that you must know."

"What information would that be?"

Black Mist dropped his voice to a whisper. "The illness Mother had, it was a Barian disease. It passes through heredity just like other viruses."

"What!? How is that possible? Queen Mikasa was never around the Barians."

"Unless..."

Hope caught on. "Unless there are other Barians in this very kingdom!"

"Exactly. Now, who was taking care of Mother when she was sick?"

"Hmm..." Hope thought for a while. "There were many healers and magicians. I will have to look into it."

"Please do."

They parted. Black Mist upstairs to his chamber and stepped out into the balcony. It looked over the garden, which they liked to keep. Many of the monsters were tending to it. Splended Rose was the head of the gardeners. Unlike the others, she was not an XYZ, Number, or regular monster. She was a Synchro Monster. They were very rare nowadays. Splendid Rose was an adult Synchro with light blonde hair. She had a tunic with three different shades of green: dark, light, and regular. A sort of rose adorned her ankles. Just like him, she could summon whips. Instead of goo, however, they were rose vines with lethal thorns.

Black Mist watched as she tended the roses. He liked the garden, too, but he often didn't have time to go. Not even when his father was still alive. In fact, he has never been to the garden. He decided to go today since there was nothing to be done.

Black Mist went out the back to get to the garden. He passed through many rose of plants, he came across Splendid Rose. She looked up when she saw him.

"Who might you be?" she asked. She spent so much time in the garden, she didn't keep up with any information.

Black Mist knelt next to her. "I am Number 96 Black Mist, king of the Numbers," he said.

"You? King? You are far to young to handle the pressure."

"Well, Father and Mother died. That gave me no choice."

"I see." Splendid Rose went back to her gardening. "I have never seen you around here. Is this your first time in the garden?"

"Yes. I wanted to come, but I was always so busy."

They lapsed into silence as Splendid Rose went back to watering the roses. Black Mist was intrigued. The plants grew with only light, soil, and water. Plus, they sprouted out of tiny seeds.

"Interesting, isn't it?" Splendid Rose said, breaking the silence. "Interesting how a beautiful rose like this sprouted from a seed like this." She held up a small seed.

"How does it do it?" Black Mist asked, looking closely at the seed.

"Hmm...how do I explain it? They grow within this seed. When the shell cannot hold it anymore, the stem sprouts. The roots grow and anchor the plant down to the soil. If the plant has the right amout of nutrients, sun, water, and carbon dioxide, it will grow."

"All that for one plant?"

"Yes. It is a long growing process."

Just then, explosions sounded. The wall surrounding the kingdom was breaking. The Barians were breaking through.

Black Mist flew off, shouting orders. The top knights joined his side, and they managed to get to the trouble up front. They saw that the Barians were smashing through. At their head was Barian Emperor Gilag. He chuckled, held up one hand, and the army stopped.

"The king demands that you surrender!" the Barian boomed.

Black Mist snapped his fingers twice, and a stable hand brought his darkling immediately. Black Mist mounted and rode to face Gilag along with Hope and Dyson.

"Barian Emperor Gilag," Black Mist greeted. "Out of your crystal, I see."

"So this is the new king," Gilag scoffed. "Mizael told me about you. A pitiful little Number."

Black Mist kept his face like stone. "Is that what he told you? It seems people change over the days. They learn new things, they grow wiser. I cannot say I have grown wiser, but I have learned things."

"Really, now? Have you learned your hidden powers?"

"Father said I had yet to learn." Black Mist looked Gilag right in the eye. "So, how have you been faring?"

"Ah, same old, same old. So, how about that surrender?"

"I would rather die!"

Gilag got off his mount and strode up to Black Mist. "Well then, we'll see if you die today."

Black Mist looked to Hope, and the Number nodded. Black Mist took out his sword out of the scabbard and put it in front of him.

"Let us duel, then."

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