Qualified, Stressed Princesses.
Princess Samuel showed up at King Alan's palace, knowing his brother and brother's consort were there. "DEAN!" he bellowed. "We need a conference right the fuck now!"
Castiel leaned out of the meeting room, staring at him. "That was rude."
"Yay!" He stared at him. "Talk to Alan for a bit, okay? It's a brother thing." Dean strolled out and Sam hauled him out past the barn and out by the town's walls so they had some privacy. He looked around to make sure then looked at his big brother. "I just met with a king who looks a shitload like Dad. Could be his identical twin, just as snarly and kick your ass about things, and he's a military guy," he said quietly.
Dean blinked. "That's a great reason for the freakout. Where is he?"
"By King Steve. I was there doing the treaty with him and then King Clay showed up."
"Clay?" Sam nodded quickly. "There's no one by that name on the family tapestry or in the family book." He considered it. "Did you talk to him?"
"He sneered about the name curse. Called me a pretty princess until I nearly set him on fire." He stared at him. "Consort Danny broke us up and demanded a few answers so I told him why I was freaked out and was going to make sure that one wasn't a revived soul."
Dean nodded. "We in trouble with them?"
"No. Steve met Dad. He was a bit staring too." He shifted his weight and looked around again. "This is going to be horribly nasty. They're coming up here soon."
"Here here? Or our here? Xander's here?"
"Xander's here. It's near the next meeting."
"Okay," Dean agreed. "Though I think Alan wanted us to move them to Jethro's so there's no chance of that hole bothering us." He considered it, licking his bottom lip. "Okay, so how freakworthy is it?"
"I *swear*, Dean. Identical twins down to the voice and the mannerisms." He stared at him. "He didn't react to holy water. I had his dinner drink dosed. Danny glared at me when he heard but he agreed they had to figure this shit out. Steve's kind of amused but yeah, he's worried too with all the demon things going on in the last few years."
Dean nodded once. "Okay. We'll meet with him. Do we know anything about them?"
"They're like cousins to Steve's people but not exactly the same and more like some of us moved down south. Less dark and exotic looking than Steve's but a good portion of their people are actually very dark skinned compared to ours or Steve's peoples. His consort and one of his guard team were."
Dean shrugged. "Let's research them. See if anyone has things on them. Calm down. How soon is that meeting?"
"About a month."
"Sure." He nodded. "We'll figure it out. If they're renewed beings, then we'll definitely figure that out between Cas and Genjo."
"Thanks." He took a deep breath. "This is so freaky."
"Yeah, I'm agreeing," Dean said. "It's a great reason to scream in Alan's castle too. I'll keep him from paddling you like a kiddy princess." He took a deep breath. "Okay, let's go back inside. Call around to see what we can find out about them." Sam nodded, walking back inside with him. "Sorry but huge problem just possibly showed up while he was making that new treaty for everyone."
Alan stared at Sam. "Do I need to treat you like a kid?" he demanded.
"I ran into someone who looks *exactly* like our father. Down to the same voice, the same mannerisms, all of it." Alan winced. "In a neighbor of King Steve's. Even King Steve looked a bit worried that he was revived."
"Is he?" Alan asked.
"Not that we're aware of. I did a holy and blessed water test both and he didn't seem to notice," Sam said. "Danny tried to yell but then realized why I was so freaked out. Oh, and he made fun of the name curse."
Alan nodded. "We've seen that before and if he picks on you, sock him one, Sam." He stared at him. "Where are they from?"
"There's some islands to the south-east of King Steve's islands. They're from there. They're slightly military oriented but have a lot of the problems that Steve and Mac have to fight now and then, and so does Horatio recently." Alan nodded at that. "I'm sorry I yelled but there's no way we're not related and he's literally Dad's twin."
"I get that," Alan said, patting him on the shoulder. "Call Xander's generals first to see if they know about them."
"They're showing up for the next convergence meeting, which I thought was at Xander's."
"Jethro's. I hate that spot of evil in Xander's kingdom."
"It's fully locked up," Dean said. "Otherwise Cas and Genjo would be scratching all the time from the evil."
"Point. Sure, we can have it there. Though Jethro's closer to that set of docks."
"We can send an official notice inviting them to that meeting," Sam said. "And a map."
"We can do that. It's polite anyway," Alan said. "Go call and calm down, Sam."
"Thanks, Alan, and I'm sorry I screamed."
"It's all right. That'd freak me out too," he said patiently. He and Dean walked off. "Hopefully these new people will get along well with the other kings."
"I think they'll probably try Xander if he's a military guy," Dean said. "Most would to see how we're structured. The guys up north tried a few times and Xander basically sparred them into giving up."
"That's not a bad idea," Alan said. "Thankfully I'm more peaceful and his daughter will hopefully more peaceful too."
"She'll have to marry someone who knows about military things then." Dean looked at him. "No one else has kept a good army for the future."
"I hadn't thought about that. Yeah, we can do that." They went back to the meeting.
Sam sat down in front of the fire calling station, calling Genjo first. He was usually less busy. He got Goku. "I need a few generals and Genjo," he said calmly. "We found new peoples."
Goku nodded. "Do they have demons?"
"I don't know. I know their king was enough like my father that I freaked out so much I yelled in Alan's palace."
Goku blinked. "Revived?"
"No clue but he passed the holy and blessed water tests."
"Sure. Let me get the cranky one and a few generals." He walked off. "Genjo, go talk to Sam on the fireplace," he called as he walked past the throne room. "He found new diplomats."
Genjo frowned, coming to the fire calling station. "New diplomats?"
"Really freaky, but yeah. And they don't like the naming curse."
"Great," Genjo said dryly, staring at him. "Why are you so sweaty?"
"Their king, *exactly* like Dad," he said quietly. "So exact I did the holy and blessed water tests on him."
Genjo blinked, nodding once. "That's freaky," he agreed.
"I'm so freaked, I yelled in Alan's castle."
"That's bad. Are they a threat?"
"I don't know. I know exactly nothing about them and King Steve didn't know much about them either."
The generals showed up. "Princess Samuel," one said with a nod. "Huge problems that needs the military?"
"There's a new kingdom just noticed by me while visiting King Steve's people to work on a treaty. They're military oriented, to the south-east of Steve's kingdom, some bigger islands, I think two, and the king looks exactly like my father."
The other general frowned. "I don't know anything about them." He looked at his counterpart. Who shrugged and shook his head. "We can ask some of the others, just to see if we can figure things out. Do they have demons?"
"Not that I'm aware of," Sam admitted. "We know almost nothing about them. I know I freaked out when I met them and I'm still freaked now, a week and a half later. I invited them to the next meeting, which is apparently in Jethro's kingdom instead of yours. We need to send a formal one and a map."
"I can do that," Genjo agreed. "Name?"
"King Clay, with his consort Roque. Who's a bit unstable I think. And jealous."
The generals nodded. "Okay," they agreed. "We'll ask around before they show up. Including the new contacts we have in Queen Catherine's lands and down with those knights." They walked off to ask the other generals, including the retired ones. Someone had to know something. They had always paid attention to any nearby military forces.
Sam looked at Genjo. "They passed the holy and blessed water tests. Dean said that name's not on any of the family tapestries."
"We'll figure it out. He had to come from somewhere, especially if they look so much alike." He waved and hung up, going to tell Xander once he was out of the meeting he was in.
Sam calmed down, calling down south to talk to Knight Widow. She knew half of everyone, or at least knew of them. "Knight General Rogers, is Knight Widow around? I ran into someone strange and wanted to know if she'd heard of them."
"She's off on assignment, Sam. Who did you run into?"
"Someone that looks *exactly* like my father named King Clay? Southeast to King Steve's peoples?"
"I haven't heard anything about them," Steve admitted. "I can ask the others and her when she gets back."
"Please. I invited them to the next convergence meeting."
"That's nice. When and where is it?"
"Jethro's kingdom in about a month. We can send you an official notice." He grinned. "With the princess' usual mail."
"That's fine." He smiled. "She's a sweet kid." He waved. "I'll ask."
"Thank you." He hung up and relaxed, popping his neck. This was so weird and freaky. It couldn't be anything good.
The new royal envoy party landed and disembarked at the port, looking over their horses to make sure they were all right from the trip. The consort nodded at the messenger.
"King Clay's people?" the messenger asked politely.
"Yeah," Clay grunted.
"Map to King Jethro's kingdom, Sire. The meeting was shifted down there. It's also closer to the port." He nodded. "Have a good trip. The map's got inns noted as well so you can plan your trip easily. There's two kingdoms between you and there. Both smallish and not in real favor with anyone in the Joined Kingdoms, but they're not evil. If you rest each night, you should get there in just over three days as you're going across the pointy edges of those two kingdoms. There's three alternate roads if you wanted to avoid them and I've marked them as well. Those are messenger routes so they're the fastest and easiest rides." He bowed and left them to their trip.
Clay nodded, looking at the map. "It's detailed." He let the others see it.
"I say we avoid those two little kingdoms," Roque said. "No idea if they're hostile to outsiders if they can't be polite to their own."
Clay nodded. "It looks like it may add half a day." He traced the route. "That'll leave a long ride today to the first inn as it's after that switchback." He let the other two see it.
Pooch nodded, marking it with his finger. "Not too hard."
Cougar nodded. "Nicely drawn." They mounted up and rode into the town. There was a good sized market so they bought some things to eat on the road and rode on.
Clay rode into the castle's grounds first, nodding at the groom that hurried out.
"King John!" the groom said and bowed. "King Jethro is in his office at the moment preparing for the meeting in the morning."
"Who the hell is John?" he demanded. The groom looked so confused. "Whatever." He dismounted and grabbed his saddlebags. The other three did the same thing. He looked back at the others on his team, who nodded. They walked into the castle.
The majordomo of the castle stared. "King John?" he asked, sounding confused. "I thought you died during the battle to stop the demons."
Clay blinked. "I have no idea who this John is. I'm King Clay. We were invited."
"King Jethro told me about that, King Clay. We have a suite ready for you and your group. It's got three bedrooms?"
"That'll be fine," he agreed. "Can we straighten up before meeting the others?"
"Of course. Let me lead you up there. The others showing up know where Queen Abby would be and will pause to hug her first." He led them upstairs pointing out various areas like the meeting room and the kitchens. "This room looks out on the stables and the training compound." He nodded. "Ask anyone if you get lost and I'll spread around that you are not King John, Sire." He left them alone, going to tell the head housekeeper so she could tell her people.
"That's so weird," Clay muttered, going into the room to look around. His team spread around and got comfortable once they used the bathroom.
Jethro looked up as the new king was let into his office, staring at him. "No wonder Sam freaked out. You do look exactly like his former father."
"Is that John?" he asked.
"Yes." He looked and found a picture. "This was from one of Queen Stella's cousins' weddings. We had to dress native to her people." He let him see it. "In the back is King John."
He found the man who looked like him easy enough. It was seriously identical from what he could tell. Though you'd never catch him in a kilt. "That is freaky. I can forgive Sam for nearly freaking out on me for that." He handed the picture back. "So very weird."
"I know Dean's here already with his consort and his brother. Someone fetch Dean," he called.
"He's out sparring with King Xander," Abby called, opening the door. "You know how the boys are, Jethro." She smiled. "Wow. Are you realived? Was it an alchemist?"
"He's not John," Jethro said.
"That's so weird. I'll lead you out there when you're done with Jethro." She closed the door, going to find Sam. "When you said identical I thought you were exaggerating a bit, Sam."
"No, that's why I nearly caused a diplomatic incident in King Steve's kingdom." He shivered. "I have no idea what's going on. There's no splits from the family tapestry."
"Huh." She took his arm and walked him back to the office. She grinned at Castiel. "We're coming that way. Are they still sparring?"
"Yes," he said patiently. "I was going to find Genjo to trade books and scrolls."
"He's in the plant conservatory that Jethro's mom put in. He can smoke in there."
"That's a good thing then," Castiel agreed, clapping Sam on the arm. "You look worried." He looked over their shoulders, head tipping to the side. "I don't feel any evil or demonic magic," he said quietly. "I should for a revived soul."
"I'm not revived," Clay said dryly. "Sam, I had no idea."
"I'm sorry I freaked out, King Clay, but I'm sure you've seen why."
"Yeah, I can do that. Let's go meet your brother so he gets his shock out of the way."
"Sure." Abby took his arm and walked off with them while Castiel went to tell Genjo and the others in the conservatory with him. Though out of range of his smoking. Abby smiled up at him. "I'm Queen Abby, Jethro's wife."
She grinned. "You're polite sometimes. That's a good thing." She whistled loudly. "Boys!" Dean and Xander quit grappling and Dean stared oddly. Xander pulled a weapon. "Whoa, Xander! He's not John! Even Castiel said he's not realived. Calm down."
"I wasn't sure that Sammy wasn't making up a bit too much closeness," Dean said. "Damn!" He made Xander put the gun away. "He's not demonic."
Xander stared at him for a minute then at Clay. "No, you're not demonic."
"I'm King Clay, boy."
"I'm King Xander." He smirked. "Stepson to the slimy asshole DeMal and real heir to the kingdom thanks to King Arant."
Clay blinked. "I heard about your stepfather. I nearly overthrew him once but he was young and stupid."
"Rory or Tony?" Sam asked. "He's Tony's stepson."
"No, I nearly killed Rory for being a stupid, drunken dick."
Xander nodded. "I did kill him for being a stupid, drunken dick." Clay burst out laughing. "Seriously. At Princess Charlie's wedding."
"What is with the names?" Clay demanded, looking at Sam.
"There's a curse on any first born princesses so the positions are named no matter what. All first born are princes, all second are princesses. Then princess, prince, then alternating back and forth down the kids if you have more than four."
Clay blinked. "When did that happen?"
"Way, way, way back when," Xander said dryly. "Back when my people were mages."
"Huh." Clay nodded. "I'm guessing that's why Jensen's a princess since he's from somewhere around here."
"Is he from the people up north that have that ring device?" Xander asked. "Or from another kingdom we know about? We can easily pass on messages."
"Up north, lots of snow, lots of machines," Clay said with a shrug. "He babbles and I only listen for problem things."
"That's cool." They came over to the ring's fence. "Welcome to the Joined Kingdoms."
Xander smirked. "I may be young but I'm hell when you're mean to us." He smiled sweetly. "Just ask Abby."
"We sic Xander on anyone mean," she agreed. "He makes them really sorry very fast."
Xander hugged her. "I like you. You're so sweet."
"Hands off my wife," Jethro called from a window. "Before you make her want to go home with you to mother you, Xander."
"Yes, Jethro." He grinned at her and she smirked back. "If you want to run away to come class up my kingdom full of military people, you're more than allowed, Abby."
"I know, sweetie." She pinched his cheek and winked then strolled off. "I'm going to make sure no one in the kitchen is possessed and find those special ones in case they're needed, Xander."
"Okay, thanks. I'm okay today. We stopped on the way in."
She grinned back at him. "That's very polite, dear. Thank you." She squealed and ran over to hug Stella and Prince Calleigh. "You finally made it!"
Xander pointed. "That's Queen Stella, King Mac's wife and the senior queen around here. She's a great role model. The blonde is Prince Calleigh, from King Horatio's kingdom. The one getting out is actually my daughter," he admitted. "Hi, sweetie."
"Hi, dad," she called, getting her rightful cuddles.
Xander grinned. "That's my daughter Amellisame. She's a gifted healer."
King Clay looked then at him. "What if she wants to do other things?"
"My consort and I have a surrogate. She's to have about three of them for us."
"Not a bad idea, just in case."
"Oh, here's King Alan. He's in charge of our convergence meetings because he's the longest seated. Alan, this is King Clay."
Alan stared at him. "Sam was so freaked out he yelled in my castle. I can see why. My mind is babbling like Abby can." Xander tried to hide the giggles. "Boys, go do something less sweaty."
"My army won't spar with me," Xander said. "They're scared I'm going to lose my temper again on someone."
Alan stared at him. "When did your generals turn into damsels?" he asked dryly.
"When I had to beat that little shithead from Queen Catherine's kingdom for being a mouthy little dick," he said bluntly. Clay gave him a sideways look. "Large kingdom that was ruled by a warlord named Elinius over that way," Xander said with a point.
"I remember him. He was bad at it," Clay agreed.
"His daughter overthrew him." He grinned. "Her...I can stand. Her diplomat? He had better hope like hell I never find him again since he thought that my castle's staff was for fun playing and hurting. Fortunately Genjo's guard heard it happening and stopped it then brought it me so I could correct the stupid. Me beating the guy for over an hour apparently made all my generals squeamish." He grimaced at Sam. "Sparring?"
"Sure. In a few?"
Xander grinned. "Let me go get a drink. Dean?"
"I'm good. I'm gonna take a shower and find my mate."
"Headed to change books and scrolls with Genjo," Sam said.
"Nerds," he muttered, shaking his head as he walked off. "I married a warrior nerd."
Sam grinned at Clay. "Castiel's a good warrior, very strong and has special skills against demons since our kingdom has more than its fair share."
Clay stared at him. "Demons are real?" he demanded.
"Yeah. Our dad died getting things set up to remove them for a few more generations. We have so many that we have official battle plans against them, depending on what type they are." Clay shuddered. He smiled at the new person riding in. "Knight General Rogers," he said with a nod. "Thank you for attending."
"Sam." He dismounted and handed over his mount.
"That's not a groom," Sam called. "Amellisame, watch out for him." He pointed. The demon smirked and Sam shot him with his demon banishing gun. He went up in a small bit of fire. The horse danced off until Amellisame caught him to calm him down. "Thank you, dear."
"Welcome, Uncle Sam." She led the horse into the barn. "This is Knight General Rogers' horse. A demon tried to take care of it for him and if you're possessed too I'm telling my father." The demons fled, all but one. She scowled and pulled up her healing gift, touching that one on the arm. He screamed, freaking some horses out, and ran out fighting the pain going up his arm. She calmed down the horses and got to work taking care of them.
Someone from further away shot the groom for them. "Stupid ass demons," Xander complained. "Amellisame! Don't do that with your healing skills," he yelled. "Go confess to Hakkai, dear, and I'll handle the horses." She pouted but stomped off to do that. He looked at the horse she had been grooming, shrugging at her. "I don't know, Stars and Stripes. We'll figure it the fuck out. Huh?" He got her and the others calmed and made sure they had good food and water. A real groom came running, gasping in horror at him.
"I do train the warsteeds," he said dryly. "I've always trained our warsteeds. Ever since I could say the word 'horsie'. My daughter got it from me." The groom bowed a few times and came in to help him. "I already checked them. Make sure the demons that were in here didn't fool with the food and stuff," he ordered patiently. He checked the new horses, finding one had a loose shoe. "We'll fix that, sweetie." He patted her on the neck and got her a treat. She nibbled, happy with that. "Call the farrier. This one's got a loose left front shoe." The groom did that and checked on the rest of the barn.
Calleigh walked their carriage set in. "Do we have room or is the Not John's people's taking up all the spaces?"
"We have a whole other barn," Xander said with a grin. He took one of them from her to help her put them up. "He only showed up with three people and himself," he said quietly.
"Diplomatic visit size," she said. "Buffy's due back soon."
"She brought home four soldiers and a female diplomat from them," Xander said with a grin. "Her people are not amused that she's not marrying them and might just have illegitimate kids. Dawn's giggling madly though."
"Of course she is. She's young." They came out of the barn together, finding a rather large, ugly demon standing there. "Why are you here?" she demanded.
"That sort are summoned and sent," Xander said calmly. "I need my special blade," he noted. Calleigh ran up to get someone to get it for him. Genjo came out with it and his guys. "Won't work against them, dear. Needs silver and beheaded. This one is summoned and sent." He grabbed his blade and faced off with it, sneering some. "Who sent you?" he ordered. "Tell me the truth and I'll make it a merciful death."
"The Max sends his regards," the demon sneered back.
Xander shrugged. "Never heard of him. So he can't be that big with my intelligence network." He lunged in and damaged the demon, making it scream. "Sam, a silencing please so he can't spook the horses," he called. Sam did that and they fought the demon together, killing it fairly easily. They got a bit more sweaty and got a few claw marks but about normal.
"Damn," Clay said. "Boy, does your back hurt?"
"Yup," Xander quipped, grinning at him. "Dean and I got into a tickle fight and I landed on top of a rock." He cleaned his blade off and put it into his belt, walking off shaking his head. He didn't need the critique of his methods today. He really didn't.
King Steve stopped him, staring at him. "You overreached a few times but you did better than I could, Xander," he said quietly. "I can't fight things that tall yet."
"Most demons are stronger and faster, Steve. It's just training."
"I know. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Danny, he's swearing he's fine, come do to him what you do to me," he called.
His consort Danny huffed but came to check him over. "Healing cuts."
"I had a disagreement with the diplomat Queen Catherine sent," he said dryly. "For over an hour after he tried to sexually torture one of my people for his pleasure." Steve winced. "I did get a bit cut up then," he admitted. "But they're clean and all that. Thank you, Danny."
"Welcome. Stubborn guys like you and Steve need some fussing sometimes."
"Genjo has fussed quietly before. I nearly got my liver pierced by a demon once and he fussed over me all night." He walked off.
Danny looked at Steve, who smiled at him. "You're good at it," Steve assured him.
"I get way too much practice for it to be healthy," he shot back. "Quit getting hurt, Steven, before I have to get mean."
"Yes, dear." He blew a kiss before going to talk to the new king and the knight. "King Clay," he said with a nod and a handshake. "Genjo, I had Danny check him since he does so well with my fussing I'm fine. He's still got some cuts but Danny said they're clean and healing."
"I noticed," he admitted, looking at him. "The diplomat was lucky Xander got him instead of Goyjo or me." He walked off. "Let me make sure he washes all those cuts clean so the sweat doesn't make them infect again."
"Talk to Ami about how she hurt the demon," Calleigh called. "Xander ordered her to tell Hakkai."
"Oh, she's getting it for that. It can warp healers," he promised. "I'm going to tell Gregory on her." Behind him, the ones who knew Gregory shuddered.
Abby looked at the new king. "Gregory's a healer and a princess of his realm. He's the king of snark and mean though. We all avoid getting hurt if we have to be seen by Princess Gregory." Calleigh nodded to back that up and so did Knight General Rogers. "The only two people who let him fuss properly and meanly at them are Xander and Knight General Rogers' friend Bucky."
"He did say some nice things about Princess Gregory," Steve agreed. "I like the guy as a man but I'd run from him as a healer. He's mean." He grinned at the new king. "Xander's whole army vowed they were not injured from battles they've had just so Princess Gregory couldn't be their healer. He's an excellent one, as noted by being so high up in the ranks, but damn is that man not nice."
Clay smiled. "Sounds like my consort Roque."
"No, he doesn't have any knives," King Steve quipped. "Who did you bring anyway?"
"Roque, Pooch, and Cougar. Jensen's our designated ass kicker if something weird happens."
Abby smiled at him. "We'd never kidnap you for more than orgies if the demons made us, Clay. Don't worry about it. I have Jethro and he's got focus enough to make me start to get happy just by staring at me." She smirked as she strolled off.
"I need one of those," Calleigh admitted, shaking her head. She sighed, looking at Steve. "Would one of you like Eric? He's really annoying myself and Ryan this week."
Steve grinned. "I know he's seen a few people in my kingdom but they never stuck it out."
"Eric never sticks it out with anyone more than two weeks," she said dryly. "Ever. Not even when he had triplets recently. Which got Horatio to nearly beat him to death."
Steve stared, looking confused. "How does one date triplets?"
"It's not easy, but it's damn sure fun," Clay quipped. "Bad girls have more fun in bed anyway."
Calleigh smiled at him. "I'd hit on you but I don't touch taken as Xander puts it usually. I'm too good of a good woman to be someone's mistress." She strolled off. "Let me go snatch cookies before Dean, Sam, and Xander eat them all."
Stella smiled at Clay. "Yes, it's stress relieving but she's a good lady. She has a good hand with their people. Hers and mine both go out to help our higher defense squads stop problems." She linked her arm to Steve's. "Have those gun runners come back again?"
"Worse. Wo Fat's people are back only now they're into drugs, slaves, and guns." She grimaced. "He actually tried to bomb the palace recently." She shook her head as they walked off. "Can I pick your brain about ideas against him?"
"Of course you can. We have our own like that and so does Horatio."
Clay watched them go then looked at the remaining person, who shrugged. "It happens," Sam agreed. "If we have problems we handle it together, depending on what it is." He walked him inside and let him go back to his room to tell the others. Dean was having a long drink in his suite so Sam took his beer from him to drink. "That's why I freaked, yeah."
"Even Cas freaked at that, Sammy. Damn!"
Sam smiled and finished the beer. "Yup." He went to his room to read.
Dean went to his room to lay down for a nap so he could keep his consort up later. Cas was fun that way.
Xander came down for dinner that night, having to button up his shirt as he walked into the dining hall. "Sorry I'm late. I was napping like a kiddy princess again," he said dryly.
Jethro looked at him. "You could've taken another two minutes to finish dressing, Xander."
"No I couldn't. I haven't eaten since yesterday." Jethro stared at him. He grinned back. "Buffy's people had a problem when we were riding past." Jethro groaned but shook his head. "She is back and her people are complaining that she brought back really cute soldiers as semi-diplomats. Ones who might even let her pounce them into bed."
"Is she coming?" Abby asked.
"Not sure. You'd have to fire call her to see, Abby. We could get Dawn instead. She was giggling at her sister again."
"That's fine. Dawn's a good girl. The same as your daughter is."
Xander looked down there. "Are you possessed? You're never that calm and formal."
"We have visitors we'd like to make a good impression on," she said, glaring at him.
Genjo walked in and looked at her, frowning. "I thought we got rid of all those problems," he complained, staring at Jethro. Genjo sighed and opened his robe, letting the scroll out. It started to move. Both demons screamed and fled, and the one pretending to be Horatio fled too.
Calleigh looked at the empty seat then at him. "I knew it wasn't him."
"I'm wondering how they got around the restrictions and why," Dean said, looking at his mate.
"I didn't get any feeling of weirdness from them," he admitted. "That gift seems to be fading recently."
"Maybe it went into your future kid," Xander quipped with a grin. Alan looked over from his table. "Just think, Dean. Some day we'll be the senior kings. You'll be my second in that."
Dean blinked a few times. "That's a bad idea, Xander."
"You were the last one throned. Castiel's family hasn't picked a new one yet. Genjo's family won't be naming a new one until after you. All the others are after you. So it'll someday be me in Alan's seat and you in Mac's."
Dean sipped his water, shaking his head. "That's going to so suck. Things are going to be weird."
Xander grinned at him. "Just think what'll happen when the demons come then." Dean shivered and moaned. Xander chuckled, a warm, happy sound, and looked at Alan. Who poofed up. So did a few of the courtiers and Stella's helper. Xander wiggled his fingers at them. "So," he said, staring at one. "Why are you here?"
"We want the Key," one said. "We were sent to get her."
"I'll kill you all so hard you'll forget your names," Xander said bluntly.
"The Max wants her."
Xander grinned at the demon. "Looks like I have a problem to solve then."
"He's our problem," Clay said quietly.
Xander grinned. "He's making himself my problem so would you like help?"
"Maybe," he admitted. "We had to fight because he's trying to discredit us and take us out."
Xander laughed. "Yeah, we've seen that before. Alchemist?" Clay nodded. "We can help if you want. We've handled a few of them." A demon ran in screaming with a dagger, right at Dean. Xander and Genjo both shot it. It screamed for other reasons as it went up in flames. "Cheery bonfire demons," he quipped. "GENERALS!" he bellowed. Two ran in, staring at him. He pointed. "Demons. Where are they?"
"Queen Abby went to help the healer because one of her ladies in waiting is in labor," one said. "King Jethro is, or was, in his office, King Xander. Who else disappeared?"
"I suddenly had a helper," Stella said. "We had a pretend Horatio. Some of the courtiers fled."
Xander pointed. "Those three open seats and that one there," he said. He looked at the generals. "Where's Knight General Rogers?"
"He's on his way up, Sire. He had to take a firecall." The second general looked at him. "Why did they show up?"
"One of our problems wanted to prove he had worth," Clay said, putting down his napkin. "We should go before he tries again."
The generals laughed. "King Clay, if they try again, we're here for that," he noted. "That's our job."
The second general nodded. "Which idiot magic user is it?"
"The demons called him The Max," Xander said, leaning back in his seat. "He sent the demons according to them."
The generals shared a look then looked at Xander. "He's powerful," one said.
The second nodded. "Very powerful. He has people bought in many places."
"Do I have to search out more of mine?" Xander asked.
"No, King Xander. He has higher weapons."
Xander grinned. "I love me some weapons, guys. Can I have some?" They shivered. Dean groaned, shaking his head again. "We made the others flee because some day soon I'll be in Alan's seat as the head King of the Convergence."
"Alan, Mac, Horatio, Jethro," Stella said, counting off on her fingers. "Rothmason. Pergal, no he was crowned after Dean." She considered it. "Genjo's family since they weren't uncrowned yet. Shit, we're seven away from yours."
"Eight," Calliegh reminded her. "Wouldn't Buffy be before Dean? Aaron would."
"Aaron's refused," Stella admitted. "He's busy and doesn't want anything administrative adding to it. Do we allow a head queen? Sam, have there been queens in charge?"
"The last time one was, we had a huge war among ourselves," Sam said. "So they blocked it. So that takes Buffy, the Ascelpian kingdom's queen, probably Castiel's family's queen since it's looking like they'll crown Emma." He considered it. "Damn it," he muttered. "Yeah, Xander's eight or nine people away from the head of the table." Xander grinned. "Then since King Aaron doesn't want it that would leave Dean two back after Pelgar's heir Pergal."
"Who we won't let take over," Stella reminded him. "He's talking to people who aren't there. Again."
Xander nodded, grinning at them. "You guys know I'll be a nice guy."
"You're going to drive us all nuts," Stella said. Then she smiled. "Not that you don't now, Xander."
"You give me such nice compliments, Stella." He looked at the two generals, who were moaning. He grinned. "So King Jethro's where so I don't have to take over to handle this issue? I was looking forward to some fun tonight."
"We'll get him out of the office, King Xander," the second general said, going to do that.
The first general smiled at Xander. "If you go after that alchemist, do be careful. He's ended more than one king."
Xander laughed. "If he kills me, Sam and Genjo take over my throne together to guard my daughter."
"Oh my goddess," the general muttered. He knew enough about Genjo of Sanzo to know that he'd never want to see him ruling a kingdom. "We'll make sure your daughter is safe as well, King Xander, and if you die, we'll make sure she's staying with Prince Don at least." He bowed and left to tell the generals who were having a meeting. They had to get the young prince a military advisor soon who'd listen to her. Max wasn't one to screw with and they'd hate to see King Xander dying for it.
Xander blew a kiss at his mate. "So, dear."
"You need your mind diverted," Genjo said dryly. "Please go pick up another concubine, Xander. Tonight."
He grinned. "We can try that. Until then, we can talk to King Clay about his idiot to see if we can ferret out his people up here." Clay nodded that was fine. "And if we have to, we can handle it if and when he shows up."
"He tried to have my group dropped off and killed in the jungle," Clay warned.
Xander grinned. "I haven't had a real problem that challenged me in a bit, Clay." Clay stared at him. "Really."
Knight General Rogers walked in, shaking his head. "Our problem didn't."
"The last one with the people up north was more annoying than a huge problem. Except for Stella." She smirked at him. "I heard you were pretty."
"Shut up, Xander." Xander grinned. "Were you poisoned again by something else?"
"Possibly. But I'm okay." She choked, groaning. "It's not affecting me more than making me giddy." He looked at his mate, who was staring at him oddly. "What?"
"When?" he asked patiently.
"Not totally sure," he admitted with a smile. "But I woke up this morning in a giddy mood with a fever. I would've asked Gregory but we left him in charge because my generals all turned into weeping girls."
"Fuck," Genjo muttered. "Those poor generals." Steve stared at him. "He left *Gregory* in charge."
"I feel sorry for them if they annoy him but they should be smart enough to go on field maneuvers for a few days." He looked at Xander. "Let me go find a healer for you."
Danny got up and came over to test Xander's forehead and check his eyes. "Yeah, it's a light poisoning from our way. It's that flowery one that makes you giddy and stupid until you hallucinate." He grinned at him. "You're as bad as my Steve."
Xander hugged him. "You're so sweet. Dear, that's the second compliment he's given me today."
Genjo sighed. "Let go of King Steve's consort. You can't steal him. Steve would try to beat you," he said patiently. "Can we get a healer?" he bellowed. One came running in.
"He got poisoned with something from our area."
"Oh, dear," she said, coming over to check him. "That's not good, sire."
Xander grinned at her. "You're a half demon." She flinched back, nodding. "Okay. As long as you don't mean harm."
"No, Sire. I take my vows as a healer very seriously." She helped him up and out to the castle's infirmary. This was going to be so nasty. She had to call Princess Gregory to see if he had any strange dosing instructions thanks to his older poisonings. She *really* hated talking to Princess Gregory.
Dean looked around. "Does that make me senior?" Stella nodded. "Fuck!"
"Ditto," Genjo said with a wave of his glass of saki. "So, now what?"
"Now, we find out more about this Max guy," Dean decided, looking at Clay. "Then we sic the goofy, sick Xander on him to cuddle him into being a good boy." Genjo burst out laughing at that idea. "It'd make me be a good boy."
"Ditto," Sam quipped.
Consort Danny grinned at them. "He's cute when he's cuddly."
Steve growled. "Really?"
"Not like I'm looking to trade you in for a younger model. He'd drive me more nuts than you do because I've sanded down your bad edges at least a tiny bit," he said sarcastically, looking at his mate.
Dean looked around then at Genjo. "Could all this fighting be a spell?"
"You ask like I do magic," he said dryly.
"Point. Sammy?" he asked more loudly. "Could all this fighting be a spell?"
"Yup," he agreed. "I'm working on countering it."
"Thank you. Let us know please?"
Xander strolled back in. "Dude, Xander doesn't *stroll*," Dean called. "He struts. So demon begone." Genjo was sneering as he stood up to handle the demon. Cas was snarling as he moved to help him. "The demons are not getting smarter," Dean quipped. The demon left with a scream of pain once both hunters got to him.
"Let me go find out what's going on," Genjo said, strolling off. His guards followed him. Cas went with him just in case they were his sort of demon instead of Genjo's type of demon.
Stella cleared her throat. "I thought they were done for. That was the purpose of that wishing or whatever thing."
Dean nodded. "Different breed and a different plan. They were blocked from that problem and from bothering people. Not from impersonating people."
"Okay, so how do we solve this one?" Stella asked him.
Dean nodded. "We figure out the reason because they can't get into any of the Joined Kingdoms without already having possessed someone outside the kingdom or being sent." She grimaced but nodded. "We couldn't close the loophole of them taking over a new host when they were inside the boundaries."
"So, have to come in from outside," Stella said. "Is there some sort of spell to tell us if someone possessed crosses the borders?"
"If they're at a regular crossing, yes," Sam said. "But you can cross at other points at most outer kingdoms. Through forests and the like, Stella.'
She nodded. "Is there a way we can make sure of it?"
"I'm not a regular magic user. You'd have to ask one of those. I can start the research but they might know without it." She nodded at that. "Ask your alchemist academy, Stella. Make them do something good for everyone."
"That would be helpful. I'll talk to them when I get back." She sipped her wine then choked since it had been refilled. "What is that?"
"I had the wine holy water tainted," Castiel called from the hallway.
Dean sipped his. "Everyone take a sip please." They all did and the few others that choked got brought with the not-Stella to talk about things. They really needed to find out why the demons were here and where the real Stella was.
Dean walked into the meeting room that night. Xander was there, and still a bit goofy but mad looking. So was Princess Gregory. Dean stared at him. "How did you get here? It's a three day ride."
"Unless the witches upcountry send me." He stared at him. "Holy water," he said, holding out a hand. Dean handed over some, letting him drink it. "Thanks." He looked around. "They found the others and Buffy's on her way in. They called her." He shifted. "Stella, the two courtiers, and the others were found earlier in a cave by Mac. They're on their way here and Stella was complaining about why people were picking on her."
"Good," Dean agreed, looking at the other queens and senior officials. And King Clay. "All right, so who is not heard from?"
"Horatio but he's in the field chasing some homicide suspect," Xander said. "I called around while I was in the infirmary. Got Calleigh too."
Dean grinned. "Great. She disappeared earlier so that was a higher demon pretending." He grimaced. "Are they sending anyone?"
"Ryan's on his way in. It's a four day trip if he goes cross country and rides hard without many pauses. I'm not sure how good of a rider Princess Ryan is." He looked at Gregory. "Your people didn't send anyone yet again."
"I'm acting in their stead. I called before I got heaved this way."
"Then you should be at the table," Xander said with a grin. Gregory got up and came to the table. "That leaves....honey?" he asked with a smirk.
"They're still fighting. Mine and Cas's people are arguing."
"Why did your father step down?" Dean asked Genjo.
"A bad portent in his yearly offerings," he said dryly. He shrugged. "No idea otherwise. That's all they said in the official announcement and I doubt they would've told me even before then."
"Mine are still fighting about who should rule," Castiel said. "Many don't like the idea of a ruling queen. Emma's nice and steady but she's still female."
"They don't have any males that aren't part of that plot to get back their old status," Xander told him.
"I know." He grimaced. "There's a few but they're farther out in the lineage."
Xander nodded. "Should we go welcome Queen Emma?"
"No, not yet. The mystical choosing crown has to choose her. She's the regent at the moment while someone finds where my father put the crown."
"It's in the crypt," Xander said bluntly.
Castiel looked at him. "How would you know?"
"One of the demons sneered they'd never find it because humans don't like to deal with dead bodies. I stabbed him for you."
"Thank you, Xander." He got up to go call home. "Queen Emma," he said in greeting with a nod.
"Princess Castiel. What's going on?"
"An alchemist," he said dryly. "The crown was said to be in a crypt. One of them taunted King Xander about that."
She smiled. "That's helpful. There's eighteen family crypts. We can start there even if we have to check every single crypt in the country." He smiled slightly. "Are things going well?"
"Mostly. We're having a convergence when a warlord wannabe alchemist named Max tried to act up against the new kings we've found."
"Is that the one that looks like the late King John?" she asked with a point behind him. Castiel nodded. "Interesting."
"Sam and Dean both had a slight mental freakout." She laughed but nodded. "He has been sending demons."
"I'll let the others know that fix wasn't absolute."
"They have to be possessed when they come into the Joined Kingdoms. They can switch host bodies inside however." She nodded once. "And they can be sent directly."
"Which makes sense. All right. We'll handle that. Thank you for that information, Castiel."
"Let us know when the crowning is so we can show up as is proper," he said with a nod and hung up, going back to the room. He paused in the doorway, staring at people.
Xander threw something at him, making him blink. "The idiot tried a spell and it faded into an illusion thanks to the protections Abby had put on."
"Good," Castiel agreed, sitting down again. "They'll search for it."
Dean nodded. "That's fine. So this Max guy?"
"Bad news. He took out the king prior to me. He nearly took us out but we made it out of his trap. He took out some kids we had to save at the same time."
"That right there means he's an ass who's gotta go," Consort Danny said. "Today if possible."
"We've been fighting him for over a year," Consort Roque said. "He's like a hidden puppet master."
"He's tried to turn my team too," Clay said. "They thankfully shot at his people."
"It's a charming offer," Roque said. "He's removed people from their identities so they were declared dead. He tried that with us but Jensen popped up with an 'I'm not dead' note in public at the announcement. It sent him into a rage and the herald choked. The official there for the announcement heard why from Jensen's big mouth and got us restored at the castle."
Clay nodded. "I'm still going to gut that asshole for that."
"You've got help now," Dean told him. "We hate beings who take out kids."
"I've got an entire army who hates people who take out kids," Xander agreed happily. "They're going to be mad."
"They're going to be pissed you got poisoned," Dean quipped.
"That they think might make him less tempered," Genjo said. "I called. They think his temper's a sign of an earlier poisoning."
"I think it's just that they caused him to get mad," Gregory told him. "I told them that when I heard that speculation. That new general is an idiot and the others are letting him hang himself by starting rumors."
"I can fix that," Genjo assured him. "The guy can't even beat Goku, much less me."
"You spar?" Dean asked.
"No, I fight. I sparred when I was in training," he shot back with an evil smirk. "Did you think I got anointed to fight a great demon army without knowing anything about protecting myself or battles?"
"I never thought about it. You avoid sparring with us," Dean admitted.
"I hate being that sweaty."
"Who taught you?" Clay asked.
Genjo smirked at him. "Warrior monks."
Clay shuddered. "I trained with one of those for a few years. Meanest asshole ever."
"They all are. That's why they're so high up in their temples. Is it just that one general?" he asked Gregory.
"Princess Tony heard about one of the other newer ones, from the last batch he had to send up thanks to idiots. That one I tripped with my cane once or twice for being a moron."
"If I remember right, that was about the only choice with the experience issue. We've had a few groups that wanted to take over and return to the warlord days," he told Clay. "Then we had demons, and demons again, and last time we had some demons."
"They're trying to take out the strengths?" Clay guessed. Genjo and the others nodded. "That figures."
Xander smirked at him. "My people do cross-train with everyone's militaries. When my stepfather was taking over everyone whenever he wanted to visit their countries he made the army train with theirs. It made a lot of them stronger too. Then again, he's the reason my kingdom has so many problems with demons. He summoned them."
"Charming," Roque complained.
"Yeah, it wasn't," Xander said. "But I'm much better."
"Most of the time, yeah," Gregory agreed. "Now and then you show up like you're going to take over but it solves things. I heard how you went to solve things with the knights' kingdom, Xander."
Xander blew a kiss. "They didn't listen to the diplomat I sent so me showing up like the badass I am made them listen and talk. Plus I helped solve an invasion of their palace by their idiot alchemist."
"Why alchemists?" Clay asked. "I thought they did things like raising the dead and dealt with funny chemicals."
"The various types of magic users rolled a few different specialities into the alchemist name," Castiel said. "Then they included them in their academies."
"There's still others type of magic users," Dean agreed. "It's just the ones in the alchemist class that seem to bother us. The last time we had a mage problem, Xander's stepfather captured them and made them sorry in many horrible ways before finally letting their bleeding, slightly mangled body go."
Xander nodded. "He's teaching at the academy by Stella and Mac's place," he agreed. "I sent death announcements up there because I heard about that. That's while I was trapped in a tower." He rolled his eyes. "That way the poor guy wouldn't have to worry about him showing up again anymore."
"That's something I'd do," Castiel said. "How many did you have to write?"
Xander looked at him. "Don't ask. Really, Cas. Just don't ask if you don't already know." Castiel shuddered but nodded. "My father was an evil jackass and I'm only evil when I need to be."
"We've seen other warlords," Clay assured him. "Mostly they're all that bad. Max just has magic on top of it."
"That makes him an extra special asshole to take out," Xander agreed. "We need the bigger weapons." Clay stared at him. "My father had a serious yen to be an engineer," he said with an evil smirk. "He got beaten by them so whenever he could capture one for a bit he made them build his drunken ideas."
"We've got a third of the academy in one of our outbuildings looking them over to see if they can make anything of them," Genjo said. "Including Alan's second son and that son's spouse. They're only halfway through with the building and getting to the more practical things."
Xander nodded. "Mine they looked at and cooed over but the instructors took them to work on." He grinned. "I have good ideas usually."
"Is that why there's a fountain in our moat?" Genjo asked him.
"It's pretty. Plus the people that can ignore there's a moat will notice the fountain so they don't walk into the moat again and possibly drown. Again."
"I take it the options were a fountain or a moat monster from King Aaron's kingdom?" Genjo asked dryly.
"We already have a selkie. She's really happy in our moat. She agreed to hand over any kids that get tossed into it but adults are fair game if they walk into it."
"So the fountain's a second choice. Great," Genjo said dryly. "It's not even a huge moat."
"It's five feet wide and has a huge wall behind it," Gregory said. "I still handled seven drownings in two weeks from idiots who walked into it. And three that got thrown in there by someone else."
Xander nodded. "Did we get that guy who drugged his wife and threw her in?"
"Yup, and the mother who snapped and threw her kids in," Gregory said. "Her the guards caught and beat the living fuck out of her for it while saving the kids. The selkie helped the guards rescue them."
"I like her for that. She's sweet."
Genjo nodded. "I'm sure I'll like her too when I meet her." He used his fan for the original purpose, to cure his overheating moment. "Dean, can you open the windows?"
He looked then sighed. "No, Nailed shut."
"Crap." He kept fanning himself and Xander when he leaned closer, but he did roll his eyes at his husband's antics. "How do we find him?"
"He finds you," Clay said.
"Like that idiot Zemo," Xander said dryly. "Great."
"Who?" Roque demanded.
"Knight General Rogers' people was dealing with a group that was run by an idiot alchemist named Zemo," Genjo said. "He did neat things like revive King Horatio's brother and had Xander poisoned." Xander grinned up at him. That got him smacked on the head with the fan, earning a yelp. "Xander helped break him."
"They were swearing allegiance to an octopus and calling it a hydra," Xander quipped. "I offered to summon the one that King Steve was dealing with so they could swear allegiance in person."
"I wouldn't have minded if you had," Steve admitted.
"No, you wanna do that, go right ahead," Danny agreed with a grin. "Was he part of Zemo's plans?"
"Don't know," Clay admitted. "I never heard anything about a Zemo or a hydra of some sort." He looked at his second-in-command, who shook his head. He looked at the goofy kid. "What did that one poison you with?"
Clay blinked then moaned. "Damn."
"Yup, his second one," Dean agreed. "After two months in a coma-like state...." Clay shuddered. "Gregory has a paper on how to handle it if your people want it."
"Please, just in case. We've only had one case show up in the fifty years we've known about it but it was about ten years ago."
"I wanted to put forward a plan to destroy all those flowers, no matter where they are," Xander said. "Before another one tries it. Next time I might have to turn into an incubus to stay alive."
"I thought most of us eradicated the flowers in our countries," Castiel said.
"Your people are selling them openly," Xander told him. Cas groaned, shaking his head. "One of the military guys tried to hand me one as a joke. His commander caught him first and beat the living fuck out of him." He looked at Dean.
"Bring that before everyone, Xander. I agree, I don't want dosed with that. That'll screw up everything if I am since our kingdom doesn't allow infertile rulers." He looked at Sam, who shrugged. "Have we proven it?"
"Yep," Gregory quipped. "I sure have. He has no active little swimmers and his fluid is actively able to infect someone else with Gentrus poison." He looked at Dean. "He's more dangerous to fuck than an incubus."
"Wow," Dean said, looking at his brother. "Did you know that?"
"Why do you think I use those condom things every single time?" he asked dryly. "Are we really discussing my sexual organs here and now?"
"Sorry, little brother." He looked at the others. "If you guys need us to find your kingdoms an emergency incubus we can do that. Xander keeps one tied up in his prison and lets him sometimes feed on the really stupid ones." Xander nodded.
"An incubus helps?" Clay demanded, looking at Xander.
"Yeah. If you've had the poisoning you have to release it from your blood by sexual contact. Otherwise it grows and you end up dying from it or becoming really sensitive to any touching of any skin. Which makes it worse and then you end up dying eventually."
Clay blinked. "So an incubus could suck that out of you," Roque said. Xander grinned and nodded. "I didn't even think about that use."
"They can also suck out some black magic exposure," Castiel told them. "Which has helped many survivors of it in the past."
"They're also great for post battle stress because they can fix that without the sex if it's inconvenient," Genjo said. "Or you're celibate."
"I didn't think they were for more than fun," Roque said, blinking at them.
"No, they're for fun too," Xander quipped. "They think I'm really hot and nearly as good as chocolate." He grinned. "We need a fan." He wiped off the sweat. "Okay." He got up to open the door and sighed in pleasure. "Someone open the front door and some windows. It's steaming in here," he called.
"King Jethro had the windows nailed shut because we need structural work," the nearest page said. "They're shut until we do the work."
Xander looked at him. "Then open both the front and back doors so we get some breeze?"
"The stables bring in a stink, King Xander. The housekeeper complains."
Xander groaned. "Great. Leave the door open. Make sure no one's eavesdropping."
Xander went to sit back down. Dean was shaking his head. "I say we hold this meeting on the roof. He has a nice flat roof or a tea garden."
"Some of us aren't really tea garden sorts," Roque complained.
"It's next to the river, so it's got to be cooler down there. And if we have to, we can skinny dip for it," Xander said, grinning at him. "We're not formal, stick up the ass sorts in the Joined Kingdoms in case you didn't realize that."
"No, we're not," Genjo said. "Though some of us don't skinny dip either." He glared at his mate.
"You can pull a chair closer, dear." He got swatted with the fan. "Ow!" he complained, rubbing the sore spot. "That's mean."
"Yes, I can be," Genjo said sarcastically.
"It comes from denying yourself everything good in life outside your drinking and cigs," Gregory quipped. "I agree, we need to go to the river. It's *got* to be cooler down there." He flapped his shirt a few times. "Is there a dragon or fire elemental in here?"
Xander went to look and came back nodding. "Fire elemental in the kitchen," he said with a point. "In the oven. It's about fifty feet that way and the vent pipe's in the wall." He pointed.
"River's good," Gregory decided, standing up.
"Let's go down to the river. Those who want to swim can, the rest of us can sit on the bank and talk," Dean agreed. He grinned at Clay. "Xander would be in charge but since he got poisoned we need to have him proved sane and well."
Xander blew a kiss. "Alan would say I've got to prove that most of the time." He ducked the fan swat this time. "Or we can break up the meeting until everyone else gets here and just swim tonight."
"Let's just swim," Dean said. "I'm out of ideas until we get some intel." They all nodded and left. Roque went to get the other two while Clay followed the boys and others to the river area. It was nicely set up with a sitting area, complete with iron tables and lounging couches that were comfortable, and a nice swimming area already marked off by ropes. Most everyone went into the water. Genjo sat on one of the couches enjoying the breeze while talking to Castiel about how to fight this new alchemist. Their mates tended to get way too hurt doing that so they had to take a lot of the work from them.
Dean and Xander were ignoring their husbands' bitchfest and plotting. It was diplomatic of them and made for a less pouty consort.
Clay decided everyone in the Joined Kingdoms were like Jensen, and that was okay enough but it was annoying too. He'd have to put up with it for allies.
Xander walked out of the kitchen that next morning, handing everyone cups of coffee. "Morning. We agreed last night that we'd help Clay with his idiot alchemist problem that got you guys taken." He grinned. "Dean's in charge though because somehow I got poisoned by someone to make me more goofy than usual." He walked off. "Going to the stables to spend time with my kid."
"Sure," Alan agreed, nodding slightly as he sipped his coffee. The others drank but Horatio, who got glared at until he did. "I figure he dosed the coffee with something to make sure none of us were possessed."
"Yes I did," Sam called. "Jethro, when are you fixing the windows? We adjourned the meeting last night to the riverside."
"I knew I let her put in that meeting area down there for a reason," he said dryly as he walked off.
"It's cute and me being happy means I don't play with succuba," Abby quipped with a grin at her spouse's back. "A happy Abby is a content Abby."
"As Speed used to say, happy wife, happy life," Horatio agreed. "Because he could get cranky when he wasn't busy doing something." He walked off. "Let me see who's not here yet."
"Mac and Stella are behind us somewhere snuggling," Abby quipped. "They keep picking on poor Stella." She bounced off. "Let me go check on things so we can hold a real meeting later. Good morning, Consort Roque."
He grunted and nodded. "Everyone back?" he asked between bites of food.
"Mostly. A few are still a bit away. We'll be restarting the meeting properly later."
"Good. The boys are playful."
She smiled at him. "Of course they are. They're boys and demon hunters. Any happies are to be enjoyed because things will get bad again soon." He nodded he understood that. "Let me check on food stuff."
"Why do you have a fire elemental?"
"It likes me." She grinned. "It's sweet and eats my burned cookies." She went to talk to the cook, who was feeding the fire elemental burned bread. "Aww, thank you." She grinned and hugged the older woman. "You're very helpful to my friend Bert."
The cook patted her on the arm. "He's helpful, Queen Abby. I've got lunch planned to be minor nibbling things. We've already dosed the wine for today with holy water, just in case on orders of King Dean."
"That's fine, dear." She grinned. "We could use it anyway." She bounced off. "Let me bathe and change."
"Of course, ma'am."
Roque watched the bouncy, happy queen go, blinking at her energy. She and Jensen were not allowed to hang out together he decided. The world would be bounced into debris.
Xander walked into the stables. "Morning, my daughter." She stared at him. "Where's Cougar?"
"He's at home. He wasn't feeling good."
Xander stared at her then handed her his coffee. She sipped and shrieked but disappeared. "Someone's going to die." He looked at the horses, who were all staring at him. "Huh." He walked off nodding. He summoned something in the practice yard, staring at the higher, yet not very high, demon. "Who. Has. My. Daughter?" he asked calmly and coolly.
"Who?" the demon demanded.
"Amellisame. My daughter."
"She's Alan's daughter."
"She's fostering with him. She's my daughter." He stared at him. "And a healer. When did she disappear and who has her?"
"She's...it wasn't us, King Xander," he said, backing away. Xander pulled his special dagger off his back waistband. "I swear it was not us! She's near here!"
"Was it that idiot Max? Or another demon? Since she had been replaced?"
"Um...I really don't know," he begged. "I don't know! I really, really don't know!" He saw Steve and started to wail. "I had nothing to do with it! I promise. Please!" he begged, falling to his knees.
"Steve, would you please tell Jethro my little girl is somewhere around here but missing?"
"Um, yeah," he agreed, hurrying to do that and sending Sam and Dean to help him.
Sam strolled out, blade in his own hand. "I didn't know *anyone* was that stupid," he admitted, staring at the demon. "To take Xander's little girl. His only child. The one that rides one of Impala's sons." The demon was sobbing on the ground. He glanced at Xander, who was livid. "Am I here to prevent the mess?"
"Steve asked you to help, Sam. I can destroy him myself."
"Sure, I'm here to prevent you from having to clean up a mess." He grinned. "If she's still here, we'll find her. It's not like we have a power point in this castle like in yours."
Xander nodded. "They replaced her with a simaculum."
"So they were going to remove her from the castle later," Sam decided. "Wow. Someone really wanted their whole country destroyed." He nodded once then smiled at the demon. "Who is behind it? I'm sure you've heard rumors at least."
The demon sniffled, staring up at him. "I had nothing to do with any of this! He summoned me!"
Abby came jogging out. "Xander, are you torturing him?" she yelled as she ran.
"Not yet," he called back. "But a demon kidnaped Amellisame and tried to put a golem in her place this morning."
"Oh fuck," she said, stopping her running and staring at them. "No wonder we're searching the castle." She stared at the demon. "Is he behind it?"
"No but I'm pretty sure he knows who is. I just need to know if it's a demon's plan or if it's someone like Max's plan."
"Max wouldn't want her," Sam said. "He hasn't started to come after you yet, Xander."
"Maybe." He glanced at Abby, smiling a tiny bit. The demon moved so Xander threw the blessed dagger at it, killing it. "Let me handle this guy." He winked at her. "Go find my baby girl?"
"Yeah. I can do that and make cookies. It's important after big problems." She ran back inside as fast as she could. "Jethro! We have to find his baby girl before he goes after all the demons and the idiot alchemist! Xander's so cold he's smiling at the fun."
"Fuck," Alan said. "He won't save me any."
Abby stared at him. "They seemed to think they haven't snuck her off yet, Alan. I know she's like your kid or grandkid." She gave him a hug. "You can help Xander dismember the demon he summoned for information."
"I'll do that after I make sure Amellisame's fine." He walked off to help search.
Abby unclenched all the tense muscles, including her butt ones. This was going to be super messy. She heard the 'whoomph' from outside, looking out to see the demon bonfire. There was more than one in there. Yup, Xander was being efficient. She went to search some of the more weird area of the castle. She had explored it when they had first moved her in to protect her and so she could assist Jethro as his secretary. She found the girl locked in a tower, asleep on a bed. "Oh, baby," she cooed, coming over to check on her. "SOMEONE GET ME PRINCESS GREGORY!" she bellowed like Jethro. "I FOUND HER!"
Jethro ran in and looked around. "How did you known this was up here?" he demanded. "This was boarded up when I was a kid."
"I explored when I first moved in." She hefted the baby up. "C'mon, let's go back downstairs since apparently they couldn't find the hidden door." He nodded, following her. Alan took Amellisame from him at the bottom of the stairs. "I think she's just asleep, Alan. I yelled for Gregory."
"He couldn't find the door," he admitted. "Gregory!" He came limping in and took the kid from him to check over. "Is she all right?"
"Just under a sleep hex," he admitted, looking up. Xander and Sam walked in together, Sam behind Xander. "Sleep hex."
Xander looked then nodded and Sam ended it. "That all that's wrong?"
"We can check for demon taint later," Gregory said calmly.
Amellisame woke up and yawned, rubbing her eye. "Daddy Alan, why am I here?" she mumbled, falling back asleep.
Alan blinked, looking at Xander.
"You're doing the job," Xander assured him. "I don't mind, Alan. She should grow up like you and Don anyway. It's better for her and she'll be a better queen."
"True. Do you want first watch over her?"
"I'm going to figure out who had this bad idea," he admitted. "How long has she been without Cougar?"
"Six weeks," Alan said. "He turned an ankle so he can't travel. She's been fire calling him each night to check on him. Except maybe last night. She was pouting in the corner after Gregory yelled at her for using her healing skills against a demon."
"I sent her to be yelled at," Xander admitted. "Because that could've hurt her a lot."
"So far she seems all right. Anyone seen Hakkai?"
"He's on his way up from the river," Genjo said as he joined them. "He spotted another demon and went after it with Goyjo." Goku stomped in and got swatted by Sam to let Xander, Alan, and Gregory nearest to the kid. "Goku," Genjo ordered quietly. "Let the parents do parent things."
Goku nodded. "I hope she's okay. She's nearly as neat as Dawn is but she likes books more." Xander grinned at him. Hakkai hurried in. He squatted down to test her with his own skills, nodding some. Xander relaxed.
"Not demon tainted," he noted. "The sleep hex is wearing off, feels like some herbal encouragement as well. She should be fine, Alan and Xander." They both nodded. "I don't know why they'd want her so hard. Healers aren't as wanted as those who are seers."
"No, she doesn't show that gift," Alan admitted. "I had that tested by Tara's coven."
Xander nodded. "It runs in my mother's family. Hers had a few healers but no seers. Mine got activated by a demon hugging me once during a fair," he said dryly. "I had no idea why but my stepfather threw a huge fit about it."
"It does make you harder to beat," Genjo said quietly. "Will she be fine?" Both healers nodded. "Bed?"
"She can rest on my bed," Alan said.
"We can ward it," Sam agreed. "Plus sit someone with her." They nodded, Gregory getting up with a moan and some help.
"I'll sit with her," Hakkai said. "I can't help much with the current problem but if a demon comes for her I'm multi-talented at killing them."
"Good," Xander agreed. "Alan?"
"That's a good idea," he agreed. He picked her up and carried her to his bed so Sam could ward it with Castiel and Hakkai could set up as her guardian for a few hours.
Sam paused, looking at both parents. "The demon yesterday mentioned the Key. Could they think it's her?"
"They could be that stupid," Xander agreed. "If so, I can sneer about that as I destroy them."
Alan nodded. "I can't help too much with that but I'll gladly help where I can." Xander patted him on the arm with a grin. "I need to teach her what I taught Don about leading a military. Don't I?"
"Yeah," Xander agreed, nodding some. "Some day she may have to lead mine. I'm about to sic a general I know is good enough to teach on her education."
"I'd welcome that," Alan decided. "They have to be stronger than mine." He kissed Amellisame on the forehead then they went to tell the others.
Xander stepped back to consider things going on around them. He knew Clay wasn't at fault for this. There was still some stress there. He went down to call his people. His general blinked back at him once the page had seen it was Xander and went running to get him. "Two things, General Brofton." The general swallowed. "One, some idiot alchemist tried to kidnap my daughter," he said very, very calmly. The general shuddered. "She's safe and fine. I want *everything* we know on this idiot Max."
"He's powerful but your stepfather sneered at him many times, Sire. Are you still in King Jethro's kingdom?" Xander nodded. "We'll send what we can up there tonight by special fast courier. What was the other thing?"
"Some day my daughter may have to lead all of you."
He winced, but nodded. "King Alan's generals are good for what they handle but our army has to stay stronger," he agreed. "I'll pick out someone to advise her."
"To teach her," Xander corrected. "I know very well advisors can be waylaid. I want her to have someone like General Ashton was to me."
"The old bat taught you very well, Sire, and I'll try."
"Also, I've heard the rumors," he said dryly, staring at him. "Stop them before I stop them. I need something to wear this anger out on until I can get my hands on that idiot alchemist."
"Yes, sire." He nodded and backed up. "Have a better day, sire, and I hope she's fine. Amellisame is a great little prince." Xander nodded and the general hung up, calling the others as he went to the military's guard house. "Get the other three in here," he ordered to their military majordomo. "You can warn two of them that the king's heard their rumors too." He walked into their meeting/dinner hall. It was safe back there. They had protocols to make sure they weren't poisoned and attacked.
He settled into the head seat. The others came in, two of them frowning. "Yes, he heard about the rumors you've been spreading. Princess Gregory probably told him," he said bluntly. "He's in an awesome temper today as well, not just because of you two though." The last one came in and shut the door, his guard standing in front of it. "The king called in two notes. One, that idiot Max tried to kidnap his daughter. Amellisame's fine but he's *livid*."
The generals looked at each other and nodded at each other. "We need to fix that problem."
"Interestingly enough, we've heard rumors that they met up with King Clay," one of the new, trouble making, generals said.
"He did demand anything we knew be sent down by courier. He's at King Jethro's for that meeting." The other generals all nodded. "Second, it escaped all our notices that Amellisame is someday going to be our queen, and therefore in charge of the military."
"She's female," one of the new ones said.
"That doesn't matter. This kingdom's been run by queens in the past," one of the older ones said. "Xander's grandmother ran it for nearly ten years between her marriages and we were strong then, if not stronger than usual." He looked at the head general. "We can teach her how to run the military."
"He asked for her to have a tutor like he had with General Ashton."
They considered it then nodded. "The old asshole did the king good," another agreed. "We can figure that out."
"The king pointed out advisors could be turned against you so she'll need to know how to run us herself with some input."
They all nodded. "It's safer," they all agreed.
"What if she marries?" the new idiot one asked. "Wouldn't he want to take over?"
"A consort can never lead the kingdom unless they're a regent," the oldest general said. "Even if King Xander dies, Consort Genjo is only Amellisame's regent. With Princess Sam by what the king said. Consort Genjo doesn't exactly have patience."
"Which is probably better for her in case something happens," the other new general agreed. "That way if something happened, Princess Samuel could handle it while Consort Genjo handled the kingdom. Princess Samuel proved himself very good to us all when he took over for the king while he was repoisoned."
"True," the oldest general agreed. "What're we doing about that idiot Max?"
"He's powerful," another general warned. "Don't be overconfident."
"I'm not but I'm pretty sure our king would go on a vendetta hunt and kill his ass all by himself if no one stops him." He smirked a tiny bit. "He might turn the guy's things against him."
They all considered it then nodded. "Max did do the one thing that is sure to set off the king, touching his daughter. The demons learned after last time. Pity the alchemists haven't."
The oldest general smiled. "You have no idea. I saw the boy the last time he was in a temper like that. Remember that move we had toward Elinius?" That got a nod, though a few looked confused. "The boy fixed that by going behind his back and ruined our whole military at the same time. Didn't kill any of us but turned us all against his stepfather." He stared at one, who realized what he was doing. If that story got out, someone was telling tales out of hand. "He could take us down and out if he had to. Most of us didn't fight when the palace got attacked, we were busy." They all nodded at that, a few smiling. "We did great raising him to be our king. We can do it with his little girl."
"Can a healer fight?" one asked.
"Yup. I've seen Princess Gregory with a foil. She can if she trains it. She's got a few years before she goes into hard healer training. She does good with her horse too."
"King Xander still trains our warsteeds," one agreed. "He's got a lot of work with the new crop."
"Princess Samuel joked that some fertility goddess showed up to pet the mares," one of them said dryly. "I think he may be right. We have nineteen foals so far this year." The others all nodded. "Maybe she'll learn from him about training them. She did good with Cougar and Princess Charlie's consort helping her."
"She's almost exactly like her father but doesn't have his temper," one of them said. "Thankfully."
They all smiled and got down to taking down information they knew for certain and any rumors they had heard. They'd ask the others later and make sure Max didn't have anyone in their ranks.
Dawn got the message from Xander's kingdom, staring at it. She grimaced, walking out to show it to Buffy. She held it up and let her sister snatch it. "Is the use-by date gone past?" Buffy asked her. Dawn nodded. "Can you be used in other ways?"
"Maybe." She walked out, heading down into town. She was sure that someone down there was looking for Max's information. She walked up to one she knew was a real bard who sold information. "Has there been anything written about me being chased by Glorificus?" she asked.
"What?" he asked. "Prince Dawn, who is that?"
"A hell goddess that meant I had to be guarded while Buffy was off fighting up north."
"Um..." He looked. "I haven't heard of anything written about that subject but I'll gladly look for you, Prince Dawn."
She smiled. "Thanks. I want to see how right they got it. Because if it's too right they got into classified information and we need to know why and how. We think there's a new idiot alchemist trying things just past King Steve's islands."
"Huh. I'll gladly ask the other bards for you, Prince Dawn."
She pinched his cheek with a smile. "Thank you, dear. I'm escaping my sister cooing at the new diplomatic soldiers so I'll be in town for a bit longer." She strolled off.
The bard closed his cart and went to talk to the others in town. Only one knew anything about that situation and he didn't know that much that he'd say. One of the junior bards in the kingdom was trying to make his first story about both their prince and queen going off to fight menaces but he didn't know more than why they had. There had clearly been battles. Queen Buffy came back with people from another military and Prince Dawn had shown up with Sanzo kingdom guards who trained her daily. So something huge had happened. The bards called a few others he knew in other kingdoms, getting a larger story. Which he did slip to that one junior bard. They'd need someone to replace them some year, might as well make sure they had the skills now.
Prince Dawn came back that night with a few new tidbits having been found. She paused in the dining hall, staring at her sister. "Someone spread that the event happened, that *she* was going after someone, but they thought it was Amellisame. I've subtly pointed out it was me if you know what you're looking for. Oh, and a tiny bit of the story about why you have new friends down got out. Not a whole lot. All they know is there had to have been a battle. Though there's rumors that Queen Stella is telling one of the bards in her kingdom to help him get a good start."
Buffy shook her head, sipping her wine. "Great." Dawn grinned at her. "Did you eat?"
"Yeah, I was in town at the pub. I talked to a lot of people. They're worried about field strength again so I suggested they ask one of Tara's coven to come check the planting fields this fall so they could bury whatever they needed to rest all winter."
"That's good. Any other problems?"
"We have umpteen billion bards in town and that's because they're expecting huge news out of you, Sister. Not a wedding because they're sure they won't hear that sort of news." She strolled off. "A few asked when I was getting married but I pointed out there weren't that many who were worthy of me out there."
"You're not to have the sex anyway," Buffy called after her. "Even if you are married."
"Shut up before I go pounce some people like you have."
"Hey!" The military guys laughed but she pouted. Her word was law and Dawn was to stay a virgin.
That one bard that sold information made a fire call to a contact he had down south, staring at the cloaked face. "I have some information that Max would want since he's incorrect about who the Key is. I know he was looking for it."
"Who?" the figure asked.
"Payment." A bag was dropped next to him on the table. "Prince Dawn was the Key. She was the one that a hell goddess was going after for her extra power." The figure nodded once, seeming to almost grimace in the shadows that hid his face. "That's why she's got guards and is in training. My queen went up north to fight in some battle up there but Prince Dawn got hidden by a coven and was overprotected by everyone. Including being chased by some sort of knights after a marriage meeting event."
"Interesting. Max will be pleased."
"You might want to warn him that pissing off King Xander about his daughter is deadly," he noted. "King Xander may be young but he's not nice. He's the one that took down Zemo's people with those knights."
"He's of no concern to Max," that figure sneered.
"Max tried to take his daughter thinking she was this Key thing. He's now a concern of King Xander's."
"That king can change hands."
"If you're certain. I wouldn't be." He hung up, going to his cart to get ready for the night. That bag of money would be sent to him or he'd curse that guy again. They'd had that talk once before. He avoided the poisoned food and drink Max had sent at him this time so he couldn't tell anyone else. He looked up with a smirk. "If you kill me, the first person who touches my things will get told. I've already laid that curse. Even if you burn it all, the ones who come to put out the fire will hear. And if not, I'll simply send my spirit back to talk to someone. I'd be bored in the afterlife." The poisons disappeared.
Xander listened to the new news that he had gotten from a bard, nodding. "Thank you. Any idea where these people are?"
"No, sire," the bard said quietly, staring at her king's feet. Xander tipped her face up. "We know not where he is. He is said to never appear to any but he has seconds-in-command who do things for him."
"Wise of him. Thank you." He paid her. "Be safe." She nodded and ran off. Xander went into the meeting room, nodding at Alan, who stared at him. "Go ahead, I'm digesting new information."
"Who was the messenger?" Dean asked him.
"A bard." He grinned. "Dawn laid an information trap to get the idiot away from my little girl."
"Good," Alan agreed. "So whatever reason he wanted her is actually Dawn?" Xander nodded. "The same reason?" Xander smirked and nodded. "Excellent. Then what?"
"Then I got told that almost no one's seen this person. He's got seconds-in-commands."
"If he can find a way to make them stay loyal it's an ideal protective solution," Clay agreed. "But you can usually break those loyalties."
Xander nodded. "Yes you can." He looked at Roque, who glared back. He stared at him. He grinned. "We can draw out an attack. Or you can go hunting," Xander told Clay.
"Hunting I can do. We have been. Drawing out an attack hasn't worked."
"He wants you dead, Clay. If he knew you had to be publically visible and out in the open for at least a little while, would that work?"
"Maybe. But we don't have anything like that."
"So hold a marriage," Dean said. "Or a vow renewal."
"We're not married," Roque said. "It's not allowed among our people. Our military would kill us."
Xander nodded. "Perhaps. How many of them are in Max's debt?"
"Probably at least half," Clay admitted.
"So start binding vows among teams." Xander stared at him. "Nothing like 'I'll be with you forever' but something along the lines of 'I will not break from my team' or something like that. That way if they turn on you it'll be noticeable when they get injured from it."
"Might still happen but it'd be part of a plan," Clay said. "Thinking ahead of time we could word it so that wouldn't violate it. Do those actually work?"
Genjo nodded. "Depends on how you do it. If you want one that'll visibly punish the ones that break it, then I'd get a few types of priest to do one. Otherwise it's just a swearing of a vow like you did to your military commanders."
Knight General Rogers walked in and nodded at everyone. "They all okay?"
"That Max guy tried to step into Alchemist Zemo's shoes and lost. Hard." He sat down. "He lost three of his top people to that."
"How many does he have?" Clay asked.
"No idea," he admitted. "I can share what we got later on if you want."
"Please." Rogers nodded. He looked at Xander. Who smiled and handed over the notes his military had sent. Clay looked through them. "Not a lot we didn't know but a few things we had hints of." He stared at one then at Xander, who stared back. "How sure?"
"Bard given rumors. They heard it somewhere and no one's sure of the originating source."
Clay nodded. "That's something to figure out." He let Rogers have it and he nodded as he handed it back. "You heard?"
"Yup. One of the new prisoners noted it."
Xander looked at Genjo. "I'm a priest in name only," he noted dryly. "I can do it but it might not be as strong as a regular priest. Me or Castiel doing it wouldn't have the same force."
"We have three priests in town," Abby said. "One's a Sanzo priest of the pretty lotus flower crown people. He wanted a visit, Genjo."
"I can do that." He looked at Clay. "If you wanted to try that with your present team?"
"Could," he agreed. "They'd agree and we'd get Jensen on the way home."
Buffy smiled at him. "One of the soldiers I hang out with remembered him." She had just barely gotten there before the meeting started again.
"He's from up that way by what I've heard," Clay agreed dryly. "He talks a lot too but hardly ever says anything."
"Yeah, that's because they're not supposed to tell about what they've seen," she agreed. "I get a lot of that then remind them I saw the things too." Clay smirked at her. "It was freaky fighting on another realm. Especially since that one was a really hot jungle and this end of the portal was snow covered."
"We had fun," Xander quipped, smirking at her. "At least things are going to get nicer."
"True. My nobles' council likes the military guys I'm not going to be marrying and said if one showed up who was marriage material they'd celebrate that. By the way, Dawn's to stay a virgin prince, people."
Xander snorted. "Are you sure she's still one?" She gaped in horror. Xander stared back. "Things come for virgin witches, Buffy. They have rituals for that. Plus it'd taint that little blood problem she has so it's less useable."
"You're just uptight because she's your sister," Xander said bluntly. "If she was a brother..."
Buffy slumped but grimaced and nodded. "I wouldn't care if she was a boy. I guess."
"Thanks." Amellisame walked in and went to Alan to sit on his lap. Hakkai walked in and nodded at Genjo, handing over a note before leaving. "Thank you, Hakkai," Xander called after him.
Amellisame looked at her father. "You're going to be evil, aren't you?"
"You sure bet I am since he tried to kidnap you." He stared at her. "Is Cougar all right?"
"I called him earlier. They bring him to the kitchen to talk so he can nibble veggies while I talk to him. He's fine. His hoof's nearly healed. Though he's getting cranky for some reason and glared at me."
"He's about old enough to want to start having foals," Xander said. "It does it to all of us sometimes."
"Oh. That nasty stuff," she muttered, shaking her head. "Okay then we'll figure it out. He'll come back?"
"Probably. You can ask Impala," Dean said. "She's in the barn."
"I could do that. Do I need guards?"
"Um, yeah," Xander quipped with a grin for her. He got a hug when she walked near him. "I want you to be safe. That's why I'm making the generals teach you how to do great things that way too." She nodded with a grimace. "It's one of the jobs if you take over the crown, dear."
"I know but it sucks."
"Then marry a warrior who'll help you." He stared at her. "You have to learn it and use it when you must." She nodded. "The same as you're starting bigger self defense lessons just in case this idiot alchemist tries for you again."
"I can do that, Daddy. Thank you." She kissed him on the cheek. She kissed Genjo on the cheek too. "Thank you for lending me Hakkai too." She got down and straightened out her t-shirt and jeans on the way outside. "Goku, I'm going to the barn to talk to Impala," she called.
He followed, shaking his head. "You could've had some of the other guards."
"I know, I was just telling you that." She gave him a look. "I have to learn icky military stuff."
"Yup, because if you're the queen you'll have to run your dad's military. And possibly train your kids to fight demons."
"Yuck." He laughed but patted her on the back. "I know. It's all the life that a prince must live." She walked into the barn, noticing a few horses shied away from them. She stared at one. "I'm not mean." Goku backed off. Still away from her. "Huh." She frowned, going to Impala, who laid her ears back. "I've been a good girl. I haven't hurt anyone but that one demon. So why do I stink to you?"
Impala faded to her elemental form and sniffed her then nudged her on the chest and returned to normal horse form. "Am I tainted?" The horse nudged her again. "I wish you could tell me like Cougar did with the thought stuff." Impala rested her head against hers and showed her. "Huh. I'm marked by a demon. Is that why Cougar's hoof isn't healing very fast? He chipped it in the field." Impala nodded. "I've got of fix that. Is it older or from when they tried to kidnap me?"
Goku went to the pages. "Go find King Xander." He ran off. Goku went back to guard this little prince.
Xander, Genjo, and Castiel walked in. "She said I'm marked, Dad. Somewhere on my chest."
Castiel walked her off to see if he could find it with Genjo's help. Xander looked at Impala. "How is she marked?" She showed him. "Mother fucker. No, she can't do that. It's my job until I get banished as a ghost." She stared at him. He stared back. "It is." He walked outside and took the chalk Genjo carried to mark something on the ground, staring at the demon. "Unmark my daughter. Even if she's the queen some day the blood bindings on my kingdom are mine and mine alone. She'll never have to update them." The demon stared at him. Xander stared back. "Really. Take it off. Before I lose my temper. It's already pretty high. And do you know anything about that alchemist named Max?"
"He's going to taint her so your protections go down."
"He can't do that. I rebuilt them with my blood with one of Castiel's kin."
The demon blinked at him. "That means you'd be there."
"Yes I will be." He smirked. "I'll get to see all my generations of kids." The demon shuddered. "Now, remove it. Please. And tell Max what I said. If he wants me that much, he can come for me. Otherwise he's a coward. A stupid one at that." The demon shrank down. "Now please." He reached over and took the mark off her. Impala strolled out and checked then glared at the demon until it fully removed everything. Then she nuzzled the girl and let her run inside. Xander smirked at the demon. "Be a messenger. It'll save your life." It fled. He looked at Genjo. "I'm going to be totally unethical."
"That's fine. Don't bring home anything like an STD." He lit up and stared at his mate while he smoked. "Don't make me clean up your mess."
"Do you need a minion?"
"Not yet. You could use a few. Maybe." He took another drag. Impala glared at him. "I'm not in the barn. I know better than to smoke in a barn, Impala." She snorted but nuzzled Castiel before going back inside. Amellisame was petting every horse and doing their mane brushing for now.
Xander grinned. "Let me go find that out."
"Figure out the one problem first," Genjo ordered. Xander nodded, walking back inside to report that. Alan was livid. It was making Don hide in fear of his ass being beaten. It wasn't going to get pretty. Genjo looked at Castiel. "How can we deal with this?"
"The demons need to give up," he noted. He scuffed the markings until they faded and then went back to help Amellisame with the horses. Genjo went to talk to his team. That way they could hide from the upcoming evilness Xander would be using.
That night, Xander knocked on Clay's door, nodding at him to walk with him. "I have two points of information you may not have," he said once they were on the roof. "One, they have someone who trained near you or worked with you as his second-in-command. Named Wade?"
"Wade's a psycho," he said. "He enjoys it."
"Okay. Second, yeah, he's turned." He held up the contract. Clay snatched it to look at, growling. "I had to pay off a former concubine who made the mistake of drawing Max's attention." He flipped it over to let him see the drawing. "She wasn't great."
Clay stared at the picture then nodded. "Okay." He looked at him. "Thank you."
"He's gonna pay and pay damn hard, Clay. Even if you don't handle it."
"I can and will. It's our lives he's playing with."
"One of the seers in my kingdom said beware of the witch Aisha who isn't fully on your side. She's on her own. She'll take your whole team once she's taken down Max."
Xander grinned. "Yup, and mean. She's waiting on you to come back."
Clay nodded. "I can handle that."
"You can send your team, outside that one, up to me to guard. I've helped them before. That way they're not caught. I heard one's got a kid, Clay. I'm not that sort of leader."
"I can do that," he agreed. "Thanks."
"Not a problem. I'd hate to lose more steady, straight influences that could help hold the world steady if we have another demon invasion that my mate has to handle."
"Yeah, if it comes down to that, they're hurrying to you."
He nodded. "I'll leave Aisha alone for you to handle if you want. But if Max steps foot this way, he's ours."
"Agreed." He shook his hand. "Any idea how he's moving around?"
"He has a hidden house. You've heard of genie bottles?" Clay nodded. "He has something like that only it's to hide him. One of his minions always has it. Almost none know what it is, just that it's important. It's hard to break but it can be done."
"Wade has it most often. Apparently Max gives him his fix."
"We can take out Wade."
"You hope," Xander corrected. "He has Jensen."
"Yup. Though." He grinned. "Let me do something kinda evil." He pulled out something he usually carried these days, rubbing the small bauble. A form faded into view. "I wish for his teammate Jensen to be here and to be listed as a guard for my daughter Amellisame until she's of age to handle it herself." The genie moaned. Xander grinned. "Please?"
"Fine." He summoned him and the guy who was touching him. Clay killed that one. Xander put the bauble back into his pocket while he worked on the new guy's chains. Xander looked at the still hanging around genie. "You needed to be there?"
"Yup. To make it so he can find her."
"Amellisame?" he called quietly. She was down the tower from them and slept with a window open all the time. Jensen was drawn to hug her.
She stared at him then concentrated and healed him. "That's mean of someone." She looked at her father. "Who's he?"
"He's one of Clay's guys. As you get older, he's going to be teaching you military things from their people. Whenever he's around, he's your guard."
She blinked then smirked at him. "Sneaky, Daddy."
"And slightly evil in the name of good." He smirked back. "Take him down to clean up."
Jensen stood up. "Who're you?"
"He thinks you're an annoying flea."
Xander grinned. "I know. He's wrong though." Jensen shivered. "Go with my little girl please. Just...accept it for now. It'll only matter when you're close enough."
"Thanks for the rescue." He looked at Clay. "Wade had me."
"I heard. That's why he had you summoned."
"Huh. How?" he asked Xander. Who pointed at the genie. "Wow. That's....wow." He walked the kid off. "C'mon, before you have to see nasty things. You're too young for that."
Clay smirked at the younger king. "You're a smartass."
"Yes I am." He looked at the genie. "I wish we had Wade and Max's other top minions in the brig right now. And all the traitors he's turned in the Joined Kingdoms with them."
"Yes, sir," he sighed. "Can't you give me hard things?"
Xander grinned. "You can ask Genjo if he'll wish to help him find something." The genie went to do that. Hakkai would freak out but yay. He grinned at Clay. "Shall we?"
They went down to see them as they appeared. Clay pointed. "Separate that one out. He's a killer. So is the blond." They struggled but got them out and to separate cells. The others were all taken up by quite a few people. Some bards. Some military people. A few advisors. King Steve's personal majordomo. A good haul. Especially when Roque came flying out and landed in a cell. Clay stared at him.
Xander patted him on the back and went for a walk to give him time. He knocked on Alan's door, getting Don. "I used my little genie I found when I was younger to help with both things. Jensen's one of Clay's guys. He's military. He's protective yet fun by what I've been told. He'll like to play with her and go on long rides. So when he's near her she's being guarded by him by the wish to save him." Don groaned. "She's fine. She healed most of his injuries and walked him off." He grinned. "He's got a niece about her age." He walked off to talk to Jethro. The guards glared at him. "I just filled your brig." He reached between them to knock, getting Abby. "Jethro in the shed?" he asked her. She nodded. "I can go find him there."
"What did you do?"
"I used my little genie to wish your brig full." He grinned as he walked off. She moaned and went back to bed. That was a Jethro job. He found him in the brig house again. "I used a wish with my little genie."
Jethro looked at him. "I heard. That one guy?"
"Clay's youngest team member."
"He's got a niece her age," Clay said. "He's good with kids and he's super protective of them. Plus he can teach her a lot of stuff. Jensen's really bright but bouncy."
"So's Abby," Jethro agreed.
"If he wasn't blond, I'd say they were related," Clay said dryly. "She healed most of his injuries."
"That's strong for someone her age." He looked at Xander. "Hakkai?"
"Probably. Or Gregory. She knows to let one of them check her workings." Jethro nodded. "Sorry to fill your brig."
"No, I want them out of the way. This is a good way to do that. That way he can't try again." Clay handed over that note. "From?" he asked.
"One of my former concubines." Xander grinned. "She was kinda vanilla in bed but I guess he's not that creative or good with what she complained about with that note. She said he was boring in bed. She hadn't had to squeal and didn't believe that women needed pleasure."
"Great, one of them," he said dryly. He looked at the picture on the back, then smirked, handing it back. "Great." He stood up. "Let my people know if you need help, Clay. Be damned if I want their sort around my kingdom. They might make Timmy mean." He walked off with Xander following him. He looked at Xander. "Genie?"
"Yeah. I tripped over him when I was twelve. I talked him out of changing places with me too. He's kinda bored now and then so I let him play sometimes. Usually small things so he keeps in practice. He's nagging Genjo to use him to do something more exciting."
"We'll ignore him beating you in the morning," Jethro said dryly, going up to his suite.
Xander went to his own. Genjo was glaring at him but Xander blew a kiss. "He's bored, sweetie." He went to his own room and locked himself in before Genjo could think about grabbing his fan or any other weapon.
"I'd kill him but I'd have to take over," Genjo complained. "Where's Hakkai? I need a headache potion."
"Hopefully she's checking what Amellisame healed," Xander said from his safe area. It didn't have a good bed but he had given that to Genjo anyway. He usually did.
Genjo glared at that door then laid back down. "Fine. Begone, genie." It fled back to the bauble in Xander's pocket. He huffed and seethed. He'd get his husband in the morning. When he wasn't as self protective. Hakkai came in. "She do okay?"
"She missed a few deeper injuries but she healed all the superficial things. Very strong healing at her age. Jensen's a lot like Goyjo but got a darker bit to him so he's like Goyjo and Xander had a kid."
"Don't say that with a genie around," Genjo said blandly.
"It's usually in his pocket." He went to his own mat to sleep for now.
Genjo huffed but seethed the rest of the night. He was going to smite his mate yet not kill him so he didn't have to take control of the kingdom yet.
Note: I worked in some of the bunnies and the rest may be in later parts if there's later parts. Some people didn't like the last part but this one was written right after that one.