As dawn licked the horizon, the second day set in, and Zalair awoke with a groan. The fight from the previous two days didn’t wear him out in the least, he was in top condition. If anything, Keigo’s personality was annoying and exhausting him.
Zalair decided to make it his top priority to avoid Keigo, but he knew staying in the room would just leave him as bait.
Instead, Zalair spent the morning following the cooks around the kitchen and dining hall. He made sure not to get in their way, but was having fun annoying them. He’d do little things, like move a bowl of apples from one table to another, or arrange all the silverware with the spoons in the cups and the forks on the seats.
After the children woke up, Zalair went and played with the young princess and the three young princes. He had fun showing them how to pretend to be surfing on a broomstick lying on the floor.
A few hours passed, and the children were ushered down the halls for their studies.
Once again bored, Zalair left to wander about the castle. Finding nothing of particular interest, and no sign of Keigo, Zalair left to the town surrounding the castle. There he found entertainment from the people going about their daily lives.
He looked at all of the trader’s and merchant’s goods. He inspected the young women for kind and sweet smiles by offering his own. He challenged the young men to a game of sport, racing down one end of the town to the other along one snowy road.
After the race, he tested their endurance by ordering them to help all of the adults in moving things they needed moving. Cleaning the houses, moving furniture, he made sure they helped, and all were happy to.
Then Zalair circled up all the children to the center of the busiest part of town and ordered that one man began to play his drum to a catchy beat. Another man was ordered to start his trumpet, and another a guitar.
In a few moments, Zalair was singing a catchy song with the tune.
“Now you listen to me, dear children,” he sang. “This way is left, and that way is right. But which way is up?” They all pointed up. “That’s right!” He laughed, “And which way is down?” They pointed down. Zalair sang as he spun himself round, “So spin to the left~” The children began to dance with him. “And then stop and go two steps forward! Stop once more, and go one step left. Jump up, step back. Spin again and then raise your arms up hiiiiiiiigh and sing aloooong.”
The adults began to crowd around, listening as Zalair sang, his voice clear and solid.
“The day is here, it’s time to sing, it’s time to dance. Spin around, grab a partner and spin spin spin. Stop my friends, and then swing! Smile and be as happy as you can, for even though it’s cold, it’s only snow, it’ll go awaaaaay.” Zalair sang, starting to laugh as he tried to move and lead the children.
Bored, some adults began to join in.
“And spring’ll come your waaaay~” He took a breath, leaning down. “So look out to the west, over there,” he pointed, “that’s the sun’s destination~ And when it’s bright right there, it’ll be the brightest right here.” He laughed, watching the children starting to spin around again. “So, spin spin spin, and then twirl twirl twirl. Jump jump up, step back, step back. Left, right. Right right, left, forward, back, jump, back, left, forward. Back, back, left!”
The children kept up with all of Zalair’s instructions perfectly, laughing and dancing with him.
Zalair stopped, “Now strike a pose! A strong pose! One arm up, and one on your hip. Smile and look up! Hold this pose. Hold it…. Hold it…” He was silent for a moment. “Now spin spin spin spin and spin spin spin. Jump jump jump, then spin spin spin again!” Then he took another breath, waving his arms out like a horizon, “Now stop!” All the children froze.
Zalair laughed, with a nod, “Now that’s the end!”
The children laughed and giggled, starting to recite the tune and the song between themselves, urging the musicians to keep playing.
He stood there and watched for a while. Then, when the children got tired, or were called in for a late lunch by their families, Zalair headed back to the castle.
Upon returning into the halls, a spear came down at Zalair’s side. Zalair jumped to the left, avoiding it, spun around, grabbing the spear out of the attacker’s hands. Zalair straightened up, spinning the spear around in his own hand for a second, then pointed its tip to the other.
“You know, Keigo, just because you stopped using a sword doesn’t mean you can beat me.”
Keigo huffed, holding his arms up. “Dammit!” He looked around, spotting an axe on the wall. “Well then, how about this?” He rushed over, picked up the axe and swung it around at Zalair.
Zalair ducked, the spear getting flung from his arms. He looked up in time to see and crawl forward away from a swing of the axe. Zalair grabbed the spear, and turned around just in time to stab the spear up through the hole of the axe’s head and yanked it from Keigo’s hands. Then he used the movement already gained, and flung the axe down the hall.
Keigo grabbed the spear with his hands next. The two fought over the spear for a moment, trying to use brute strength to push the other one way or the other.
Giving in, Keigo let himself be shoved back to the wall where he grounded his feet. From there, he shifted his hand away from the base of the spear and grabbed at Zalair’s hair.
Yelping, Zalair jerked the entire spear at Keigo’s stomach.
Keigo coughed, falling over, and since he still had Zalair’s hair in his hand he pulled him down with him.
The two hit the floor hard.
Zalair tried to get up off of Keigo’s arms, still holding onto the spear. Keigo tried to grab at the spear, holding now Zalair’s wrist instead of his hair. The two fought like this for a moment, then Keigo rolled himself on top of Zalair. Zalair jerked up his legs, hitting Keigo in the lower stomach.
Coughing and jerking, Keigo slammed Zalair’s wrist onto the stone floor.
The shattering sound that followed made them both freeze.
Slowly, the two looked to Zalair’s hand.
Zalair’s green eyes grew wide. Instantly he shoved off Keigo and the spear, and rolled himself over to look at the red shards on the stone ground.
In shock, Keigo sat up onto his knees to watch what Zalair’d do.
Zalair stared at the red shards for a moment, then inspected the empty socket of the back of his hand where the ruby once sat. Without a word, he shifted up to standing and, stepping over the shards, started down the hall.
“Zalair… I…” Keigo started to say.
Zalair turned around quickly, making Keigo stop in shock as he saw the teary face. “You what?! You’re sorry?!” He shouted, “You freaking ass! DROP DEAD!!”
Keigo was in such shock that he didn’t even notice when Zalair had turned and started back to the guest room.