I sighed mentally, today was the big day and I was practically shaking, trembling where I stood. “The day has come.” Kotake’s voice from the doorway caught my attention turning around on my heels in front of a tall, silver framed mirror, fumbling with the fastening of my white and gold Greatcoat which hung heavily on my shoulders.
“Yeah, but the day I would finally learn how to get this thing on properly hasn’t,” I muttered, grunting with frustration.
“That’s why you have me,” Kotake said simply, stepping inside and within a few seconds the tricky fastening had been tamed by her hands. “Though I must say, this still looks a bit too big on you,” She noted, taking a step back and looking at the large cloak over my shoulders.
“What can I say? I haven’t gained much body these years,” I shrugged nonchalantly, and the gesture made the Greatcoat look even bigger on me, slipping on my shoulders slightly. “By the way, I take it that it’s time already?”
“We’ll leave in thirty minutes,” Was her reply.
I furrowed my eyebrows together, “You are aware of my other plans correct?”
“Yes, I am Your Highness
“Good, anyway, go pick up Deo and Nagisho. It’s not a good idea to leave either of them alone for an extended period of time, not with their current state of mind. Call my brother and say they can slip in with you if they’re late. I don’t mind,” Taking a look at myself in the mirror. My rather lithe frame was almost drowned under the Greatcoat, and my face looked even more pale with such an enormous amount of white fabric surrounding me.
With a small nod, Kotake left the room leaving me alone with my thoughts on how to get rid of the too heavy Greatcoat shiftily. It didn’t help my discomfort that the high collar of this woolen and silk uniform was too tight around my neck, and it was hot as hell with the matching pants. I really didn’t like the cloak but rules were rules and traditions were traditions. Meaning if I wanted to participate in initiation day to become the rightful heir to the throne, the heavy, annoying cloak with the suffocating woolen uniform was a must and there was no squirming out of it. Whether to be king or queen, the traditional outfit was required for this big event with little changes able to be made. The only thing I had changed about it was the colours and design adding gold lining to it.
The great Church of the Gods had been constructed by Father during the middle of the war, one which had fortunately been halted due to both Princes undergoing our ceremonies, which lined up perfectly. I actually kind of hoped that maybe the current ceasefire could last a considerably longer amount of time than anticipated but knowing Dad and his warmongering attitude that dream would probably be crushed soon after this ceremony. Regardless, the church located inside the sprawling Hellstrand manor which was swirling with people all around the region. Royalty, nobles, politicians, all the prominent figures of the society had gathered there by the invitation of the Hellstrand family. The private churches had served my family for centuries on the important day of the heir of the throne turning 14 years old. A week after their birthday, the heir would be taken to the Ceremony, led by the Speaker, to hear their initiation mission given by the Gods. Only by clearing their Divine Mission would the heir be accepted by the Gods and be then officially recognized as the true heir of Zelastrad.
And today, on the 12th day of August, when the sun was lingering between the dark skyscrapers of Draconia and behind the grey clouds that loomed above cascading an almost golden light over the city, it was my turn to step in front of the royal Speaker and to receive my Divine Mission. During the Astral Ceremony, I would also learn and gain the ability to use the power of Kings as well as gaining my own special ability specific to me personally that however would be determined by the Gods.
It would have been a total understatement to say that I was nervous. Even though I was internally freaking out, I tried to keep my face as straight and as calm as possible. This day had arrived a lot faster than I had anticipated despite the fact that I had grown up knowing the path to the throne wouldn’t be just a straight line. I needed to deserve it, needed to earn it. While standing in front of the tall painting in the front of the church’s altars, waiting for the ceremony to start properly, I scanned the room to see my royal guardians. There was father, silver hair pulled back and amber eyes that seemingly glowed in the light. His face was calm and content despite the fact that he was wearing a much larger version of the coat that I was wearing except his was black as opposed to white, symbolizing his step down in power, dressed as if this were his funeral, the passing of the old King. On king, Xerxes’ right side sat Deo with a slight sheen of sweat covering his face, as he had just barely made it in time, his scarred and burned skin covered by the black outfit he was wearing. Kotake had her eyes on me and she gave me a small encouraging nod, which I returned back. Nagisho had found himself a spot near a tall marble pillar close to the front row. As a photographer, he had been given special permission to roam free inside the church during the ceremony, as long as he didn’t disturb anyone. Otherwise, his place would have been somewhere in the back row with others, despite being my best – and only – friend. A normal friend, not part of my life because of my position as Prince.
When the church bell rang in a hollow tone, I took a deep breath, readying myself for this big event. I had stayed up almost the whole night thinking about what kind of a mission the Gods would bestow upon me. Would it be something very dangerous? Or difficult? Would it take a short or long time to clear? Would I need to travel far away with my guardians or would the Gods ban any outside help from him? As I took a step towards the altar, invited there by the Speaker Kane – my childhood friend – mentally crossing my fingers to get a mission which was just slaying some beast and then return back home.
“Azazelion Gaisma Hellstrand,” Kane’s voice echoed loudly throughout the large room, “The Gods are calling you to fulfill your destiny as the next heir of Zelastrad’s throne and to have their blessing. Are you ready to receive your Personal Power, Royal Weapon, and your Divine Mission?”
“Yes, I am,” I replied like I was supposed to, as firmly as possible.
Kane nodded holding out the palms of his hand, as a dark black and green flame enveloped them, “Will you, Azazelion Gasima Hellstrand, heir to the throne of Zelastrad, accept this power as your own?”
With a warm smile, Kane nodded at me approvingly and closed his eyes again. The flame seemingly lifted from his hands and rose only slightly, slowly making their way towards me before burning a hole into my shirt, into my outfit. The heat, almost unbearable as it shifted and pressed against my bare skin before receding into my body sending an unnatural shiver through my spine as a feeling of cold washed over me. While I still had no clue what power they had given me I knew that I had at least been deemed worthy enough to wield the power of Kings as I could feel the familiar energy seep into my body. It was the Gods turn to speak and as am unearthly voice played inside the church and ethereal, almost transparent from appeared me, chanting filling the air, My heart felt as if it were about to burst from my chest from the sheer anxiousness. She was telling me my Divine Task.
“Azazelion Gaisma Hellstrand, heir of the Zelastradian throne and the rightful King of Zelastrad. You are tasked to go forth and find comrades, those whom shall guide you along your path and lead this nation unto the next era. Set forth and find your rightful partner, with whom you shall rule alongside.”
The whole audience in the church gasped and surprised mumbling started to echo quietly from the seats behind me after the God spoke her statement. My eyes widened, lips parting slightly. “What? But I have comrades.” I gestured towards Deo, Pain, and Kotake.
The god shook her head, “Will you Azazelion Gaisma Hellstrand, accept this Divine Mission to gain access to the throne? Should you decline or fail, the throne will be given to another, for this is the law of Zelastrad.”
“As to every heir, you are also given three free questions for your personal Astral regarding your Divine Mission. Do you want to use one of those questions now?” The god asked, her gaze landing on mine.
In all honesty, I didn’t have a single clue as to where I was going to even have to look let alone where to find them, they could be anywhere or anyone. So I suppose my first task should be to narrow down that list. “Yes, I want to use one of the questions now,” I answered, clearing my throat. “I wish to know since the gods have decided upon my partner already, are they male or female?”
There was a small silence until the ethereal voice was heard again. Her words sounded thoughtful and almost motherly and nervously awaited her answer. “Your chosen partner is male, and as a gesture of good faith from the Gods, we shall direct you. Go forth to the city of Umbra, there is where you shall find them.” Finally, once the God had finished, she vanished like smoke her already transparent body fading away, leaving me with a pounding headache, a barrage of questions and a bleeding nose. I suppose I hadn’t anticipated that the strain the ceremony would place on my body would be so high. Fortunately though, when my legs didn’t have the strength leftover to uphold my weight and I fell forward, Kane was there to catch me, stopping me from hitting the marble floor, as my vision blurred.