"There is no telling. Right now we need to focus on what to do next. I think we need to inform The Empress Dowager of our plans." The Empress suggested tilting her head at the woman she respected. Clovis looked unsure, but nodded slowly. He stood and walked over to the cooking fire, stiring what was left of the stew as a way of steadying his nerves. If they were wrong… then this could result in their deaths. However, he knew The Empress Dowager well enough that he was sure that even if she didn't appreciate what they were going to do… she would understand why. She would respect his rights.
"The Fewer who know the better but… I think it's best we don't try and do this without your blessing." Clovis agreed and the Empress Dowager raised a elegant eyebrow.
She had never known either of these children to be the type to plot and plan. The mother and son had always been honest and good hearted people. Not a scale of black on either of their bellies. That was why they had been walked over so easily up to this point. Two white kittens could never defeat a black snake like the Queen Kira. A smile cracked the old woman's lips.
The Empress Dowager however, had her share of schemes to plot against and turn the tides of during her reign. She would do anything to protect her favored Daughter in law as well as her Good Grandson. "I see, what are we doing, my sweets?" She purred tilting her head to the side. The way she spoke and the twinkle in her eyes told Clovis she was already behind him, but he dare not count his eggs before they hatched. Afterall, he would be pitting brother against brother in the end..
"We are taking the crown." Clovis replied his eyes on his daughter's sleeping form. The shock on the Dowager Empress's face was expected. It was well known he never wanted this. He had always been more at home being a father than a ruler, no matter how well suited he was for it truely.
Seeing the way his eyes lingered on little Cherry Blossom's bruised cheek told the Empress Dowager all she needed to know. They had created their own worst nightmare, the greatest threat to any of the brother's ascending the throne was the Crown Prince by birth fighting for his birthright. If they had stayed clear of his bottom line, it never would have come to this.
'Their loss, the kingdom's gain.' she thought with a soft smile.
"Then Long Live the Emperor." The Dowager Empress nodded slowly, bowing her head just enough for her hair to fall forward and bare her neck to her grandson. Clovis smiled softly, one person's support was double had that morning.
Kyera slid her body into the river and let the water flow over her coat and cool the throbbing muscles under her skin. The pain having slowly lessened in her ribs but the pain in her heart still danced. Kyera let herself float on the current, her weight balanced on the comforting water. The smell of water lilies and lotus blossoms overriding the remnants of that stench. It would be a while before she could face that woman again.
Conflicting emotions still swirled in her mind. Her eyes slowly opened and she focused on the shadows near her. Something seemed to be moving in them. A leaf twitched, and Kyera tensed. There was no way she could take an attack right now. "For the Love of all that is divine…" She growled aloud frustrated. "I can't catch a break." She began to swim to the edge hoping she could pull off some sort of defense.
A soft, familiar chuckle caught her attention. "Kyera Darling, did you miss me?" A familiar voice asked. Kyera's fear drained away as a woman walked out of the shadows. Kyera raised herself onto her hind legs and allowed her body to shift shape. Her shoulder sorely out of place and bruised as the shadows formed a dress over her pale skin in the moonlight.
"By the God's favor, yes Mally I did." Kyera whispered walking closer. Mally frowned and took her hand, turning her so she could see the injured shoulder. Gentle hands of a healer moved over the tortured flesh lightly. A light gasp escaped Kyera as Mally forced her arm up with one quick thrust and shoved the joint back into place. "Oh Fu…..Ooooh that feels better" Kyera sighed deeply as the pain slowly lessened as her arm regained full motion.
"Unfortunately these bruises are not so easily tamed. Come with me, there's a place near here where we can see to them." Mally assured her offering a kind smile. The pair were truly happy to see one another again. It had been long years since the trickster's three ran together, long before the birth of Talis. The Leopardess and her Tiger pair playing games on heedless souls.
"The humans have seen my injury, I can't go back there human." Kyera pointed out with a frown on her lips. It would never do to be caught as a shapeshifter here. Mally gave her a cheeky grin and then scoffed as if offended.
"My Darling girl do you really think I need human help to heal?" Mally asked taking her old friends hand. She led her off into the forest and Kyera put herself in the woman's hands. No matter how much time had passed or how much they had both changed, she would never question the loyalty of her dearest friend.
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