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Untitled Fantasy Novel (Chapter 4)

Updated: Apr 14

Chapter 4


Five years before Aslan’s imprisonment, Aaron had started his political career in Oathville. 

In Oathville there was no separation of church and state. The church is the state. And Aaron had started his own church—claiming that he was pressured into it by the community who adored him. And when he made his move into politics, it was his church congregation that enthusiastically suggested that he attempt to join ‘The Court’—a group of seven elected men and women. 

The King held no real power in Oathville. The position was mostly for show, but still, the traditions in Oathville gave the appearance that The King was the authority. Change happened at a snail’s pace there. Aslan knew that The Court held the real power—Aaron had told him that several times, and Aslan also knew that it was Aaron’s dream to join the court one day. He also knew that Aaron had been planning his rise to power for over a decade. He had been planting seeds in the minds of his church congregation since the beginning.

“Once I join The Court, Aslan, I am going to make real changes around here. You’ll see.”

Aslan glanced up from his book for a second and then went back to reading it. He had been ignoring Aaron and his ambitions for years. 

Aaron had one major problem that was preventing him from joining The Court, he still wasn’t married. It wasn’t that it was forbidden for a single man to join The Court, it was just that the church preferred a married man, who had a family, to be on it.

There was a joyful man, who also ran a church, running against Aaron for a seat on The Court; but he mysteriously fell ill and died before the election was held.

Aslan found his death extremely suspicious, but no one else seemed to notice that the man demonstrated signs of being poisoned by the leaf of a Bactah bush—a sacred bush in Oathville, with black leaves that were deadly when crushed up and eaten. 

“If I only had a wife, I would’ve been on the court already, but none of these women here would make a suitable wife for me. You’re lucky you married Beatrice when you did, Aslan. I need to find a woman just like her.”

Aslan raised an eyebrow and then sipped his ale. 

“Are you sure you want a woman just like me?” Beatrice asked Aaron as she entered the room, sitting on Aslan’s lap. He kissed her neck and squeezed her left breast. She turned around and pulled his hair. He growled at her in response and then kissed her passionately. 

Do you mind?” Aaron asked, clearly annoyed. They ignored him. 

He got up and left. 

“Your brother's desire for power is disturbing, Aslan.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want him on The Court.”

“That’s because you know the real him. Everyone else sees the mask that he wears.”

She took both of her hands and squeezed his face. “You still don’t have one of those.”

“Nope,” he said in a voice that was muffled by her squeezing his face.

“Good,” she said. She reached between his legs and grabbed him. She whispered into his ear, “I love you the way you are.” And then she started to nibble on one of his ears. 

“Do you know anyone that we could set Aaron up with? He might relax a bit when he has a lady of his own. Most men do. He thinks that a high status will attract a higher quality woman. The only problem now is, he can’t get a higher status without a woman.”

“I wouldn’t dare set-up one of my friends with him. You know that, hun.”

“Yes, yes, but I was thinking . . . what if you set him up with someone you hated? Someone who would really fit him.”

“Like who, Aslan? He’s already courted every single lady in this town.”

“Not everyone,” Aslan said with a smile on his face.

“Oh no, Aslan, you don’t mean . . . Her??

“I sure do.”

“They’ll never go for it!”

“Maybe not,” he said to her as he stroked his beard.

“She’s diabolical, Aslan! She is a master manipulator! Sweet Rooctah, she’s worse than him!”

His smile grew. “Exactly.”

“Don’t they hate each other??”

Aslan reached inside of his jacket pocket and pulled out a book. Beatrice looked from the book and then back at him. “That’s mine!”

“The oldest smutty trope, enemies turned lovers.”

“You can’t be serious??”

“Usually not, babe, but this time, I am almost serious. It’s worth a shot, at least.”

“But, Aslan, think of what would happen if they both rose to power?”

Aslan slipped the book back into his pocket. “I have a plan for that, as well.” 

“You have a plan for your brother?”

He leaned back and smiled at her. “Of course, babe. The people who seek power should never be allowed to attain it.”

“And . . . Aslan, you think you are smart enough to take him on?” Aslan had never seen her look at him this way. He took note of it. 

“No, I think that we—you and I—are smart enough.”

Her face changed from curiosity, to shook, to aroused. She pulled his hair again, and with his head back—his neck exposed—she said, “Tell me your plan.”


***



Aslan was exhausted. His arms ached from the constant pounding he was doing with his new friend, Rocky, against his other new friend, Wallie. And his throat and stomach hurt from all the coughing he had been doing. His voice was gone. It had gone raspy and dry. He needed water. 

“Shadow?” he asked, barely above a whisper. Shadow stood up and nodded. “I need water.”

Shadow lifted up his arm as if he had a glass of water in his hand. 

Aslan nodded. 

Shadow brought his shadow hand up to his mouth and acted as if he was drinking from the invisible cup.

Sonofabitch— . . . wait, what??

Aslan's mouth was no longer dry, and his throat no longer ached. He was no longer thirsty. It was as if Shadow had cured his thirst somehow. When Shadow drank, somehow, in some unexplainable way, he drank as well. 

How is this possible?

“So this is your magic?” he asked Shadow.

Shadow shook his shadow head. 

“What? If it isn’t magic, then what is it?”

Shadow shrugged and he pointed at Aslan and then pointed at himself. 

“What you do in your dimension affects me here in this one?”

Shadow nodded. 

“Wait, so if you die in your dimension, do I die too?”

Shadow shook his head. 

“No? Then how does it work?”

Shadow shrugged. 

“What else can you do to me?”

Shadow held up one finger and then started to do push ups. After about thirty-five—which is normally when Aslan would fatigue—he started to feel the muscles in his arms burning. 

“Whoa . . .”

Shadow popped up and nodded in excitement.

“Will you do some crunches?”

Shadow nodded and did a hundred crunches in a row as Aslan watched him. He felt his abs working. It was incredible. He was getting fit without actually doing anything. 

“Shadow? You don’t sleep, do you?”

He shook his head.

“Can you workout while I sleep?”

Shadow nodded.

“And I’ll get fit by doing that?”

Shadow nodded.

“And it’s really not magic??”

Shadow shrugged. 

“You’re just getting more and more interesting, pal.”

Shadow nodded. 

“I’ll become shredded soon . . .”

Shadow nodded.

“Great! You keep doing pushups, crunches and squats, I am going to sleep.

Shadow nodded again and then started to do squats. 

I can almost read his mind . . . what is he, really??”

Aslan tried to get some rest, but his mind would not stop racing about Shadow. He watched him do a thousand squats in a row like it was nothing. Then, he watched him do 1000 pushups. He felt them, but also, didn’t feel them. His muscles pusles and his heart did pump faster, making it impossible to get any sleep. 

So, I can’t sleep while he works out, noted. 

After Shadow did a thousand crunches, he stopped him. 

“I need to sleep, Shadow. Good work. You can start again when I am awake.”

Shadow stuck his hand out, as if waiting for payment for his work. 

“Pay you? I don’t have anything to pay you with, Shadow.”

Shadow turned his head in confusion, leaving his hand out. 

“Alright, when we are free, you and I will work something out. Deal?”

Shadow didn’t move, and then after a few seconds, slowly nodded. 

“Great. Good night, buddy.”

I sure am making a lot more deals here than I thought I would . . .

Sleep found Aslan immediately. He really was exhausted. But, somehow he was feeling better than ever before. 


CH 4/13/24

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