Hello everyone, today’s Novel Feature is from the first book in my Trials of the Junsuikaoni series. I hadn’t done in a feature in the last couple of days, so here’s an entire chapter to make up for it. This is the prologue and how the series begins. Enjoy and thanks!
“My lord, the time has come” says a servant to his master. He waits patiently for a response.
“I see. Have you already summoned Laurent?” His voice is deep, husky and strong as he speaks.
“Yes my lord, he’s making the necessary preparations as we speak. Shall I fetch Mikael now?”
“Is that boy still sulking in his room?” His voice resonates through the room, startling his servant. “Ay, fetch him now. No respectable man would miss the birth of his own child.”
“Yes my lord” the servant says with a trembling voice as he quickly turns to make his exit.
“Oh and Henley?” The servant looks back at his master, who has finally turned to face him. The large, muscular man stares at him directly with his flaming eyes, causing him to shudder slightly.
“Ye-, yes Lord Cain?” Henley watches as his Lord grips his sword at his side and smirks devilishly. His blazing red hair and golden skin shines brightly in the glow of the fireplace.
“If he dares to refuse, you must do whatever it takes to convince him. If you were to fail…” Lord Cain’s face suddenly becomes morphed, losing it’s human like appearance and becoming more like a monster. He leers as Henley, sending shivers down his spine. “Do you understand?”
Henley shakes, struck by immobilizing fear, but quickly recovers his composure as he responds. “Ye-, yes Lord Cain, I understand. I will not allow him to refuse. Excuse me my lord.” He bows and hurries out of the room, to fetch the young lord as quickly as he can and escape his lord’s wrath.
Lord Cain returns to his human form and continues to drink his wine. He looks to the ledge over the fireplace and his expression softens a bit. He walks over and picks up a picture of a beautiful young woman. “Could this finally be the one my love?” He smiles and says, “Yes, I believe so.”
# (The Young Lord’s Bed Chamber, West Wing)
“Young Lord! Young Lord Mikael! Please open up, your wife is in labor. You must be there with her, she’s waiting for you. Young Lord!” Henley continuously bangs on the door to no end.
Behind the door a young man at the age of 20 lies on his bed and clenches his head with a pillow. He refuses to answer, no matter how much that gremlin lackey of his father begs.
“Lord Mikael, Lord Mikael! Please open up, you must for both our sakes! Your father insists!”
Finally fed up, Mikael lets out a yell of exacerbation and throws the pillow at the door. “I’m not going, no matter what you or father say! I’ve seen enough to understand how cruel you people are and I refuse to take part anymore, even if it is my child being born. You tell father that!”
“Young Lord I cannot, your father will kill me. I know it’s selfish of me, but I don’t want to die!” Henley waits in silence, but after a few minutes of nothing, he finally gives up any hope that the young lord will come out. Just as he prepares to face Lord Cain’s wrath, the door opens.
Henley looks up to see a tall, thin man with light blue eyes and pure white hair looking back at him. “Young Lord.” In the glow of the florescent light overhead, he looks almost holy and divine.
“I’m not doing this for father, or even you; I just can’t have someone else’s blood on my hands.” Mikael stomps past the trembling dwarf and makes his way down the corridor. “Well, let’s go.”
Henley smiles in gratitude at the Young Lord as he says, “Yes Young Master, at once!”
# (The Young Lady’s Bed Chamber, East Wing)
“Why is this thing still inside of me? I want it out now!” A young woman, at the age of 20, screams at her attendants in rage. She’s fed up with being in labor for the last five hours.
“I’m very sorry my Lady, but we can’t start the birthing process until you are fully dilated.”
“Why is it taking so long this time? The last one popped out in no time, though in the end it was just a dud. This one will probably be worthless too, why not just cut it out?” She frowns harshly.
The attendants look at each other in discomfort. How she can talk so harshly of her own children, they wonder, but they would never dare say it out loud. Instead they simply stay quiet.
The door of the bed chamber slams open, causing the maids to jump. However, when they see who arrived, they secretly swoon. “Lord Mikael, we are happy you could be here for our Lady.”
He scoffs, “I’m not here for her; I’m here for my child.” He looks at the Young Lady in disdain.
She scowls in response and says, “You say your child as if that’s something to be proud of. Perhaps it’s your putrid existence that keeps soiling my potential to breed perfect little devils.”
Mikael clenches his fists and grits his teeth. “I really wish you’d stop speaking so harshly of our children. Whether they have what you’re looking for or not, they are still your children aren’t they? Also, have you forgotten, we share the same parents, so we are of the same blood, sister.”
“Ha! Don’t be a fool, we are nothing alike. That’s just an unfortunate technicality, a means to an end. I don’t see you as my brother any more than you see me as your wife. You’re disgusting.”
Just as Mikael begins to respond, a strict voice echoes through the chamber. “That’s enough you two!” They all become silent and turn towards the voice; it’s Lord Cain, followed by Henley.
“Father! You’ve finally arrived, thank goodness. Could you please do something about these incompetent maids, they are failures at this birthing thing” she says curtly.
“Now, now sweetheart, you mustn’t be rude to them. They are doing their best I’m sure, aren’t you ladies?” He sends them a side glare that strikes fear into their hearts all as he keeps a smile.
“Ye-, yes my Lord, in fact we believe she’s finally at an appropriate level to begin birthing.”
“Ah splendid! See, as I said, but I’m so proud of you my precious Remy. My sweet princess.”
“Thank you father.” Mikael watches as Remy basks in their father’s attention, shooting him sly side glances at him to rub it in.
He just rolls his eyes and turns away from the black haired young woman who’s supposed to be his wife. The thought still sickens him, though not nearly as much as the thought of having to lay with her each night. This trend of siblings procreating with each other has gone on for centuries in their Junsuikaoni family, all for the sake of some prophecy. Supposedly a child will be born of parents who are both pure and corrupt Junsuikaoni at the maximum levels of each extreme. Their family line began with the breeding of a pure-blood corrupt demon with a pure-blood pure demon and so to keep those two pure-blood lines pure, they only allowed each generation to breed with each other. The chosen child will rise to become the Supreme Demon and bring the world into a never ending darkness. Mikael scoffs at the idea. Who’d actually believe something like that?
“Mikael! What are you doing sitting over there scoffing to yourself. Come to your wife’s side!”
“She’s not my wife father! I refuse to accept that, and I’m fine right here. I’ve seen it once already, I don’t need to see it again. I’m just here to make sure you don’t hurt my child.”
“Hurt your child? What could you possibly mean? I could never hurt my own grandchild.”
“You say that, but it’s still a mystery what happened to our other child. You took it away to be tested by that shady monk and then he came back saying it was a failure. You claim you had it sent away, but you won’t tell me where. I can only assume it’s dead and you had it killed!”
“Mikael, how dare you make such hurtful accusations? As I told you then and I’ll tell you again now, I had it sent to another family to be cared for. You two were only just married and at 14 you weren’t ready to raise a child alone. Since it was born as a normal human, I couldn’t let it stay here amongst us demons and so I had it sent to a reliable human family. Be grateful!”
“You want me to be grateful? How can I be grateful when you sent my child away without even consulting us first? I’m sure Remy could care less, but I…” He begins to become chocked up. “I would’ve been willing to raise him! I was young, but I still could have. You didn’t give me a chance. I’ll never forgive you for that and I won’t let you do that again to this child. I swear it!”
As tears well in his eyes, he looks away, ready to leave, but then he hears the cry of a baby. He shoots his head around, just in time to see a maid wiping a baby and smiling. “It’s a boy!”
Mikael realizes he was so busy fighting with his father, he never noticed Remy had begun to birth the baby. It all happened very quickly and he found himself feeling a rush of happiness. “I want to hold him.” The maid hands over the baby. Mikael holds his son in his arms and sees the most precious thing he’s ever known. He never had the chance to hold his first son, but he was holding this one and he swore he’d never let him go. Just as he had reached ultimate happiness, he heard the maids getting excited over something.
Suddenly he hears the maids reacting to something and looks up to see Remy pushing once again.
“Good my lady, just a bit more.” After several more pushes, another baby finally arrives. “It’s another boy!”
Mikael can hardly believe it, but his excitement level rises even higher. “Let me hold him too.” He gently takes his second son in his other arm and relishes in them both. Ever since they had their first son who his father had sent away, they’ve never been able to successfully conceive more children. But now, after six years, they have two sons. He feels so much happiness he could die. Just then, Laurent, their personal monk, approaches.
“Young Master, if I may.” He holds out his hands for them, making Mikael defensive.
“Why? I won’t let you take them this time.”
“Calm yourself Mikael, he’s just going to inspect them and determine their potential. He’ll give them back.”
He still feels hesitant, but the look in his father’s eyes say he has no choice, so he hands them over.
Laurent places them down and holds his hands over their foreheads and then chests one at a time. When he’s done, he looks over to Lord Cain, who walks over. “So, what’s your analysis?
“I can sense great potential from this one on the right, I’m certain he’s the one we’ve been looking for. I’ve never felt a soul be so purely evil before. He will definitely be our Supreme Demon Lord.”
“The other? What are your readings from him?”
Laurent looks nervously at Mikael and then at Lord Cain. “I’m not sensing anything from him. It’s as though he has no Junsui energy. Although slightly different, it feels as though he’s the same as…as the first one.”
Mikael immediately has a realization. “Are you saying he’s also human? He’s not a Junsui like us?”
“It would appear so. Hmm, this is quite troublesome. I know I promised you son, but I’ll have to send-.”
“No! You’re not going to send this one away too. I won’t let you!” He looks at Remy. “Say something too!”
She looks up as if it’s a chore and says, “What’s there to say, he’s a weak human and so he’s worthless.”
Mikael looks at her in astonishment. “You truly are evil aren’t you?” She just laughs. He turns away in disgust and then looks to his father. “I’ll leave then. I’ll leave and bring him with me. I’ll raise him on my own.”
“Don’t be a fool Mikael, he’s human. He’d die long before you and most importantly, you have to think of your other son. He needs his father to grow up to be the man he’s destined to be, so I’m sorry but this is just the way it is. I’ll be sure to find him a really nice family, just like your first son. It’s the best thing for him to be honest.”
He clenches his fists and prepares to fight his father, but then he thinks sensibly, knowing he’d never beat him. So he backs down and pretends to submit to his father. “I see, you’re right. I’m sorry father. Do as you wish.”
“Good, now that’s the type of sensibility I like see.” He turns to the maids. “Bring them to the nursery and care for them. I’ll have Laurent fetch this one once I’ve made proper arrangements on a family to send him to. I’m going to take my leave. Remy, you’ve done a wonderful job. Your mother would be proud.” She just smiles. Then he looks to Mikael and says, “I know you may hate me now son, but you’ll see it’s for the best.”
As he makes his exit, Mikael responds with a simple, “Yes Father.” He’s already decided that he’ll figure out a way to escape with his son. He won’t let him be taken away again, even if he has to die trying.
# (The Kitchen Corridor, South Wing)
Mikael runs down the corridor as fast as he can clutching his son against his chest. He knew the guards would act quickly, but he never expected them to catch on so soon. He knows he’ll never make it out the main entrance and so he heads down into the cellar to use the secret passage way. He hurries through the dark tunnel, as he hears the echoes of the guards yelling behind him. He finally sees the soft glow of the moonlight and knows he’s almost reached the exit. The tunnel exits out to ledge overlooking a lake. “Damn this mountain castle!” He curses in the air as he ponders where to go. The kitchen worker told him about this passage of escape, but he never mentioned it let out to a dead end. Was it all a set up? Just as he questions this he hears movement. He turns around to see his father standing there, eyes burning and teeth bared.
“To think my own son would betray me this way, your mother would be so disappointed.”
“Disappointed? No, if mother were here she’d be disappointed in you! How could you want to raise your own grandson to become a killer? All for some stupid prophecy at that! Even worse, you are going to send your other grandson away for the simple fact that he’s human? Human or not he’s your grandson! I’ll protect him. I’ll raise him alone and one day I’ll come back for the other one and save him too. He’s not destined to be evil just because some crazy loon said so centuries ago. No one is bound by fate. We have the ability to choose out own paths!” He backs up slightly, still planning his escape, but he sees that there is only one way.
Realizing what he’s preparing to do, Lord Cain morphs into his demon form just as Mikael is turning towards the ledge. He slashes at his back as Mikael pushes off, causing him to yell out, but even still he makes his jump. Lord Cain watches as they disappear under the mist. In scorn he yells out, “Mikael!” His voice echoing all over.
Mikael can hear the roar of his father’s rage just as he hits the water and then there is darkness. He wakes up on the ground, unsure of where he is, but then remembers his son. He looks at the bundle he has in his arms and is relieved to see he’s still breathing. “Thank goodness.” He feels striking pain in his back and can feel the slash marks of where his father clawed him, though he can feel it healing already. He looks around to see they are surrounded by a forest of trees. Just up ahead he sees what looks like a village and thinks they could offer them solace. However, he realizes, that his father won’t rest until he’s found them and he will certainly kill him when he does. This would put the entire village in danger and he wouldn’t want to involve innocent people. So he decides that he must part from his son, and lead his father away from this place. Once again, he will lose his son, but this time he’s giving him away himself. How ironic, I’m going to do just what I hate my father for. He looks at his son once more, observing his grey hair and eyes. He realizes that the other twin’s hair was purple and his eyes were violet. “I guess you guys weren’t identical huh? Oh well, you’re still brothers just the same.”
He wraps him up more tightly and says, “I’m sorry we couldn’t be together longer son, but I’ll find you again, I promise you. I’ll save your baby brother and then come back for you. After that, the three of us will go together and find your big brother too, and we’ll be a family. You be a good boy.” He kisses his forehead and then places him on the stoop of the outermost house in the village and knocks on the door, hiding behind a bush immediately afterwards. A woman opens the door to see the baby lying on the ground. “Oh my, it’s a baby.”
“Mama why’s there a baby outside? Is it alone? Is it ok? Are we going to keep him? Will he be my brother?”
“Caleb shush, it’s late and you’ll wake the neighbors. I don’t know where he came from and if we can keep him or not yet, but for now we need to get him inside. We’ll sort it out in the morning. Come on, inside we go.”
They walk back inside and shut the door. Mikael breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness. It looks like you’ve got yourself a good family son. Good for you. Until we meet again.” He scurries off into the woods just as he hears the sounds of the demon guards in pursuit. He allows them to see him just long enough to make them think he was fleeing in the opposite direction of where he’d just left his son. He’d run for as long as it took, anywhere he must, but he wasn’t going to let them find him. He transforms, despite hating doing so, in order to effectively outrun them. He never stops running until even he no longer knows where he is, it’s all he can do.
# (Lord Cain’s Bed Chamber, North Wing)
Laurent walks hesitantly towards Lord Cain and says, “No sign of them my lord?” His silence gives him an answer. “Oh dear, that may be a problem. You see, it seems that there was another side of the prophecy. Apparently the great savior will be born in a child who’s an unbound Junsui, a child whose powers will awaken later in life rather than at birth, which is why I didn’t detect anything. If so, he will be able to stop the supreme.”
“Oh is that so?” Remy enters her father’s chamber. “So I gave birth to both the savior and the supreme one did I?” She laughs with a devilish grin. “This makes this all the more interesting then. I will raise this child to be the supreme lord, and then I will have him face his brother, the savior, and make sure he kills him. How deliciously twisted!” Her evil laughter echoes through the hall as Lord Cain just simply smirks at the irony of it all.