Carpathia III: Episode 61 - New Jobs
Zhail City, The Palace
Adell's eyelids fluttered as he awoke from the deepest sleep he'd had for as long as he could remember. It was the first time since he arrived on Yseri that he didn't sweat while he was sleeping, though he sweat plenty before going to sleep. He'd forgotten how wonderful air conditioning was and, even though he was awake and feeling fully refreshed, he didn't want to remove himself from the plush, soft covers of the bed.
Adell rolled over dramatically, allowing every inch of the covers to slide over his nude skin, and looked for Riven in the space next to him. He was surprised to find that Riven wasn't there. At that time, he noticed that he could hear water running. It took him a moment to realize what it was. A shower! For so long, he'd bathed either in the waters of the Rising Falls or with a bucket and a bar of soap that he'd forgotten what a shower sounded like.
Assuming Riven was in the shower, Adell rolled onto his back, continuing to enjoy the lush bed. Shortly thereafter, the sound of the shower ceased, and all around him was silent. As though on cue, there was a knock at the door just after the shower stopped. Adell wasn't sure if he should answer or say anything, but he didn't have time to mull over the question long. The door opened and several men and women, smartly dressed in black jackets and frilly shirts, entered carrying silver platters with large, dome-like lids. Paying Adell no mind, they each placed a platter on a table at the opposite end of the room and then turned and marched out the door.
Adell sat up in the bed, clutching the covers around him, unsure of what he was supposed to do. He was relieved when the door on the wall adjacent to the bed opened. There stood Riven with a towel in his hand drying the backs of his ears. He wore nothing and Adell's eyes were immediately drawn to Riven's glittering, wet torso. Behind him, Shai appeared, slipping his arms into the sleeves of his jacket.
Shai: If there will be nothing more, I shall take my leave.
Riven: There is nothing more. You've done excellent work, as always.
Shai only took one step before Riven gave him a hearty slap on the rear. Trotting forward a few steps, Shai regained his dignified stature and marched to the door, giving a nod to Adell on his way out.
Riven grinned and nodded to Adell before he turned his attention to the table with the silver platters.
Prince Riven: Ah, I see that breakfast has arrived with the customary promptness. I'm going to dress a bit. You can either eat now or have a constitutional if you require.
Adell: I'm fine to eat now, thanks.
Prince Riven: Very well. I neglected to ask you what your dining preferences are, so I requested the kitchen send up a variety of dishes. I'm sure you'll find something to your liking.
Riven strode towards his dresser and slid open the top drawer as Adell giggled. Riven's ears twitched and he turned to find Adell covering his mouth.
Prince Riven: Is something amusing?
As he awaited a response, Riven pulled out a pair silky, purple briefs.
Adell: Sorry, sorry. It's just that you're being all formal now. I think it's funny how you seem to flip back and forth.
Regardless of what Riven's answer would be, Adell wouldn't hear it as he lost his train of thought while watching Riven pull his briefs up his smooth, supple legs.
Prince Riven: I guess you could say that I was rather unguarded last night.
Riven retrieved a shiny, purple undershirt which matched his briefs and slipped it over his head.
Prince Riven: Out of the bed with you, now! There is no more joy in frigid food as there would be in a frigid lover.
Reluctantly, Adell swished the covers off his body and turned to the side of the bed. As he put his feet on the floor, he expected them to find the plush carpet, but instead, they landed on a stack of neatly-folded clothes.
It was clear that the clothes weren't his. Not his simple shirt, vest, and drawstring pants that he had when he was working for Sra. He recalled that the last time he saw his clothes, they were strewn all around the bedroom. This new stack of clothes was far more luxurious. Just from his foot touching the fabric he could tell that it was made from soft, luxurious cotton.
Adell picked up the stack and laid it on the bed next to him. On top was a small, sleeveless, white vest with red trim and black and gold accessories. He laid it aside and the next article was a pair of red, silk briefs of the same style as Riven's purple underwear. Adell stopped checking the articles and pulled on the briefs.
The next article was a black, silk undershirt. Just from looking at it, Adell could tell it was very short and would barely reach to the lower portion of this chest. As Adell put on the undershirt and as he slid it over his chest, his stomach growled. Deciding to forgo checking the rest of the clothes, he stood and made his way over to the table with the platters where Riven was already seated.
Prince Riven: Have a seat. I hope that you find something to your liking.
Adell took a seat next to Riven.
Adell: So, what do we have here?
Prince Riven: If you have a guess, I am certain it is equal to mine. I simply instructed the chef to prepare a variety of dishes for you to sample.
Riven raised the dome from one of the platters, revealing a delectable assortement of fine cheeses. Lifting another dome revealed a tray of rich, hearty meats. Yet another contained juicy, colorful fruit. This continued for platter after platter with each revealing a different theme.
Adell sampled something from every platter and each bite was better than anything he'd ever had before. The cheeses were rich and smooth. The meats were slathered in rich sauces and were tender enough to cut with a fork.
Adell and Riven talked about nothing more than the food before them. Riven cheerfully advised Adell what he should sample next and Adell happily obliged. Before all the food before them was even half eaten, Adell decided that he'd had enough.
Adell: It's great, but I just can't take any more!
Prince Riven: I am pleased that you enjoyed yourself.
Adell: I did! Don't get me wrong, but I hope you don't eat like this all the time. I don't think my body could handle all this rich food three times a day.
Prince Riven: Indeed, not all the time. Just for special occasions such as this.
Adell wondered where all the food was going to go, now that they had eaten their fill. He suddenly thought about Artemis and wondered if he had eaten anything yet.
Adell: Can I take some of this to Artemis?
Prince Riven: Aw, I was hoping we could talk about Carpthia for awhile.
Adell supressed the urge to grin at Riven's sudden child-like demeanor.
Adell: Don't worry. I'll be back soon. I just want to see how he's doing.
Prince Riven: I believe Erosia has already escorted Artemis to his new laboratory. Just go to the elevator. If it's not on this floor, pull the handle until it arrives. Enter the elevator, push the handle down, and allow it take you to the bottom. You should be able to find him once you have arrived. You have full access to the palace except, of course, for Dad's bedroom and study next door.
Adell: Easy enough. So, what I need to do now is pick out some food. I'll put a little of everything on one platter. That way, I can carry it.
Together, Adell and Riven started taking a wide variety of selections of meats, cheeses, and fruits and moved them to one platter. It wasn't long before they had a nice selection ready to go. Riven put the dome on the prepared platter and Adell prepared to pick it up so that he could take it to Artemis.
Prince Riven: While I appreciate that you want to make sure the food is warm when it reaches Artemis, I highly recommend that you don't wander the palace dressed as you are.
Adell looked down, having forgot that he was wearing nothing but an undershirt and a pair of briefs.
Prince Riven: As you have seen, I have prepared some clothing for you. Allow me to assist you in donning your new garments.
Riven lead Adell back to his stack of clothes. Adell had no trouble with the regular stuff, like the vest and pants, but underneath that was a silk bag full of accessories. There were gold bracelets, armbands, and a pair of white gloves. The belt buckle was a delicately carved gold dragon and his new boots laced all the way from his toes nearly to his knees and were topped with more gold accoutrements
Prince Riven: Now you are properly prepared. Please do return with haste.
Adell: I will.
Adell took the platter and placed a dome on top of it. After casting one final glance at Riven, he carefully held the platter in one hand and turned the doorknob with the other. The unairconditioned warmth of the hallway hit him like a furnace as he closed the door behind him. He wondered how he could stand the heat before.
The hallway was silent as Adell padded towards the elevator. Without an escort, he felt awkward, like he was invading a luxury hotel. His footfalls were eerily silent on the plush carpet as he made his way to the elevator. When he arrived, he could see that the elevator was on another floor, so, following Riven's instructions, he pulled the nearby handle up and the whirring gears came to life. In short order, the elevator arrived on his floor. He opened the gate and stepped inside.
Once inside, Adell closed the gate and pushed down on the elevator handle. The mechanism jolted to life and he quickly descended, watching all the different floors pass as he went. He felt he was moving rather quickly and he realized he forgot to ask Riven how he would know when he was close to the basement. He didn't want to slam hard on the bottom of the elevator shaft.
Adell recognized the palace foyer as he passed and guessed that he must be close to the bottom. He eased off the handle a little and the elevator slowed slightly, but not much. Just as he was about to ease off more, the elevator began to slow of its on accord and came to a gentle stop. Adell opened the gate and quickly found the air much cooler than it was on the other floors. The walls and floor were made of large, heavy stones and lit by electric lights strung on wires down the walls. It strongly resembled a dungeon, albeit a well-kept one.
As Adell stepped out of the elevator, the clop of his footsteps echoed loudly all around him. Unlike the top floor, it would be impossible to be stealthy down in the basement. He stepped out of the elevator and closed the door. That's when he heard various noises coming from his left. He could hear some shuffling around, objects being placed on tables, footsteps, and a myriad of other things. Guessing Artemis was in that direction, Adell followed the noises. Soon, he came to an open door and looked inside. Inside, he saw Artemis, organizing his new space.The room had a large, wooden table in the center made with thick, heavy planks. The walls were covered with shelves containing various bottles of liquids he couldn't identify. There was only one, small window in the back of the room that faced more stone. Adell guessed it was a vent that lead to the surface.
Adell: I brought you some food.
Artemis's ears perked up on his head.
Artemis: It's okay. You can come out.
Right away, Phobos and Deimos emerged from Artemis's backpack and immediately went to work examining the bottles on the shelves. Artemis took several moments to scan Adell from top to bottom.
Artemis: I see you got some fancy-pants new clothes. I'd just like for mine to get washed.
Adell walked over to the table and placed the platter on it.
Adell: I'll talk to Riven. I'm sure I can convince him to get you everything you want. How has your day been so far?
Artemis: Better, now. Earlier, old cobwebs-in-her-cooter banged on my door at some ungodly hour and threatened to drag me down to my lab again. Seriously, that woman needs a volume control. It's been nice since she left. Anyway, I haven't eaten anything yet. What did you bring?
Adell lifted the dome from the platter, revealing the glorious selection he prepared for Artemis within. Artemis's eyes widened.
Artemis: Oh! This might not be so bad after all!
Artemis took a fork and stabbed at a particularly tender-looking piece of meat. After placing it in his mouth, he looked even more pleased.
Artemis: Your prince has very good taste in food!
Adell smiled, watching Artemis cheerfully shovel all the delectable meats and cheeses into his mouth.
Adell: This is your lab, then?
Artemis: It is. I was expecting worse. It's not that bad, really. I like being down here where I won't be bothered. Plus, I don't have to worry about Phobos and Deimos being out. They have super-senstive hearing and even I can hear when the elevator comes to the basement.
Adell: That's good to hear. Hopefully, we can find out if the others have come here.
Artemis: Hopefully. Anyway, how was last night.
Suddenly, Adell smiled and looked at nothing in particular, with a dreamy look on his face.
Adell stood at the end of Riven's bed and observed his expert handiwork. Riven's wrists were tied securely to the headboard as he gazed at Adell, wide-eyed.
Prince Riven: What are you going to do?
Adell put one leg up on the footboard and smiled devilishly.
Adell: RAWR! Shut up and submit to the one-eyed demon!
With increasing discomfort, Artemis stared at Adell as he continued to gaze at nothing in dreamy silence.
Artemis: You know what? Never mind. I don't think I want to know.
All city pictures from SimCity 4