Chapter 26 | Payment

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"Emporer?" I bark for the millionth time.

I know he's back there lurking in his private chamber. I'm to tell him of our arrival as routine would have. He usually comes out almost immediately.

I don't have time to waste. Yesterday, I came back to find Greta gone, again. I spent all day looking for her and turned up empty handed. I'm really starting to consider tying our wrists together so we won't get seperated. Was my room truly that boring to make her wish to leave?

I knock again, hollering louder, "Father!"

Maybe he's been on rounds. I doubt it though. Someone else would have seen him by now.

I'm not leaving here without him.

Fed up, I heave the heavy door open.


I step back, surprised to find water still dripping from his hair. It looks soaked. His face is beat red, either in embaressment or arousal because for once he doesn't look mad.

Who knows what he's been doing back there.

The upper portion of his tunic is sloppily wrapped around his torso. One robe looks completely torn and hangs down getting wet in the puddle he stands.

He's barefoot...

"You have arrived," he states while not moving from the doorway. "How was your trip back?" he asks in a heavy voice.

Did he run all the way here from his bathing pool?

I scratch my neck feeling very uncomfortable seeing him in such a state. "Shulor is still...recovering. Everyone else is fine. Urdmin has been looking for you too. You missed dinner last night. Where have you been all day?"

"Is today already tomorrow?" he asks slowly looking stunned.

"Yes," I inform him. "You have been missing since yesterday. Mother, and your advisors, have been waiting for your appearance to show. I am the only one who had the courage of coming here to find you."

Adler looks in complete disarray.

Well, this is going down in my memory vault. He's finally lost track of time, and for once, has missed his court appearance. After every desert outing, the courtwomen record events from his tellings. The same is for myself, but my hearing is over.

"Are you feeling well?"

A scowl forms on his face as if insulted by my question.

"I'm very tired from the trip, Enoch. I will be paying you all for your trouble. Come," he beckons me into his cave.

Paying us? I can't wait to tell the others! Maybe he should take long baths more often.

"Alright," I mutter.

I pick up my lantern, following him inside the very dark chamber.

It's no surprise why his guards try to keep out of it. Even with my lantern, I can barely see my hand in front of my face.

It's night. A convenience for me since I happened to bring a light source because he carries none. I haven't been back here for years and it's still as dark as I remember -- nearly pitch black.

He probably keeps it like this so no one can escape easily if they happen to sneak back here and try to kill him.

Adler knows this place like the back of his hand. I don't know how else he'd find his way around. He must be in a really good mood too to wish to bring me with him back here.

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