Dragomir leaned back on the couch as he watched Karteley from the corner of his eye. It wasn't long before she had vanished around the corner and left the full extent of his senses, which were nothing to scoff at. He looked at the clock on the wall and his eyebrow arched. It was only seven in the afternoon and his wife had no plans on returning until eleven or twelve unless she had to. He had no intention on making her come back before she was due.
His eyes lurched from the clock on the wall and settled on the crib in the corner of the living room. It was made of an old Elondri tree that he remembered growing outside his childhood home. Needless to say, he had made the crib out of something that was of sentimental value to him. But that wasn't the important part. The object of his attention lay inside the crib, eyeing him in return. Elizabeth Karteley Ionescu. His nine month old daughter.
Karteley hadn't had time to herself in the last few months. She was busy with the baby and working over the internet while he was out of the house, guiding the next generation in the use of their Magick. He had eventually decided that enough was enough and gave her a free pass. She had the rest of the night to enjoy herself while he looked after Elizabeth. Kart had worried at first as he'd expected. While she loved her husband just as much as she had when they got married, she was doubtful of his parenting skills.
Dragomir had killed men in the blink of an eye and walked away without a problem. He had commanded battalions of men in the battlefield and watched as they faced the Morecast invaders. He was the retired Court Mage of Elondri! He had learned the dark secrets of Magick and chose to surpass the need for them, resulting in his unparalelled skill in the Arcane Arts. He had lived through more than his fair share and told his story more than once. Parenting? His smile held no small amount of amusement.
"I just need to make sure nothing bad happens for the next... four hours?"
Ionescu looked back at the crib and noticed one very troublesome fact.
Elizabeth was missing.
How in the name of Rebria herself did she just disappear? Dragomir bolted upright and he looked behind the couch, his heart racing. Goddess, please help him! Elizabeth wasn't there and immediately he was on the move. The first place he checked was behind all the furniture in the living room, on the stairs, and in the kitchen. He kept his senses open just in case he managed to sense her. At the age of nine months, Elizabeth's magical aura wasn't strong enough to notice without putting in an effort.
It was still much stronger than someone her age would normally be.
Dragomir overturned the couch and looked underneath in the vain hope that she was there.
His next guess was on the second floor in his and Karteley's bedroom. Everything was thrown around as he intensified in his search for his missing child.
"Come on. Papa is getting worried, Eli!"
This was the subsequent trend for the next three hours and forty-five minutes. Until...
Dragomir eyed the clock on the wall and frowned. He was starting to worry more than at the start. His heart was racing in his chest, his sight was blurry around the edges, his breathing was increasingly shallow, and his skin was pale. By all rates, the retired Magi was looking one minute away from a full heartattack. He wasn't even worried about that sort of thing, more concerned of the consequences for losing their daughter!
He was this close to pleading with the Goddess to reveal Elizabeth's location. He had tried looking through the entire house by hand, had tried to use his senses in finding her, and had even tried to use Magick to aid in his endeavor. Not even the last one had helped. While it was curious, as Magick that dealt with tracking someone was fairly on spot and never failed, there were different ways to protect someone from it. Even the Forbidden subjects had managed to dabble in ways to defend. Using Time-Space to erase the victim from that point in time or removing them from that dimension indefinitely. Mind Control had created a way in which to erase the victim from memories in a certain radius.
It was harder to actually track someone that one hadn't met in the first place.
Ionescu fell upon his knees and held his hands together, assuming the stereotypical position for prayer.
'Rebria... dear Goddess, I am begging you. I know you aren't my best friend since you kind of got me stuck in the Millennium Staff to begin with and me and the others stay in the back of a museum for awhile. But I don't hold that against you. Say I wasn't one of the Weaponians, I never would've met Karteley. I never would've known that she was my soul mate and I would've never had such a beautiful daughter with her. Please... help me find my Elizabeth!'
Dragomir looked up from his place and saw Elizabeth crawling in the hallway before him.
"Eli!" the Magi swooped in and picked her up, holding her close.
"Papa was so worried! I almost thought I'd never see you again and Momma would punish me and both of them are not options and I would've had to let your Momma know and I keep talking and I don't even know why I am even capable of talking this mu-... you called me Papa, didn't you?"
Elizabeth looked up at him and blinked her gorgeous little eyes, smiling that demure little smile of hers.
Dragomir never stood a chance.
"Papa! You really called me Papa! You finally said your first word! Papa!"
The young Ionescu cocked her head to the side and giggled.
Dragomir spirited away his daughter with a small teleportation technique, appearing in the middle of the destroyed living room. Elizabeth was gently held in his arms and it was just the perfect scene for a picture. And that was exactly what Karteley walked in to. "Drago... sweetheart, what happened to the house while I was gone?"
It was funny to see the way that he froze.
"We were playing hide-and-seek. By the way, Eli said her first word today."
Karteley forgot every punishment that she was concocting in her head for her husband at the news. Not even the disarray that the house was in seemed to faze her as she leaped toward her family and embraced them. Drago would just have to help clean the place himself. "What was her first word? Oh Rebria, I just had to get away and spend time with Gemma and Bananda when this happened! It isn't fair!"
Dragomir looked at her with his smug little smile. Immediately she didn't like where this was going.
Karteley frowned as she understood the game he was now playing. She knew Drago better than he even knew himself and the same went for him, and she knew that he was indirectly challenging her to see who Elizabeth grew up liking more. Oh it was so on! Her little girl was going to be a momma's girl, through and through. She would rather eat a lemon than admit her defeat. "Challenge Accepted, lover boy."
"Want to make the stakes a little more... interesting? I win and you go through with whatever I want on our anniversary. You win, and you can ask for whatever you want."
Kart weighed the consequences of this challenge and barely held back a grin. On one hand, she could ask for anything she wanted. On the other hand, they would probably end up having some fun in the bedroom. They had been married for almost two years now and the sex life was still just as happy as ever. Not that the others of their little group had wanted to know such information. Rebria, she loved the odd prank here and there. And Drago was quite the convincing actor when he wanted to be.
"I don't think I need to repeat myself, now do I?"
Dragomir revealed his own grin as he saw that seductive little smile of hers, almost forgetting about the precious package in his arms.
They would be having some fun as soon as Elizabeth was laid to rest for the night. Sweet...!
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