Well I took forever and a day to upload this now didn't I. Rewrote pretty much the entire chapter yesterday because it was pretty crap before, so now I'm working on rewriting chapter 5. So that should be up soon. Sorry about the wait.

Chapter 4: In which the pirates prove themselves and there are shameless cameos

The city of Sibylvor was pretty much exactly how it had been when they'd left almost a week ago. The seedy district of Sibylvor was also pretty much exactly how it had been when they'd last been there. Jewel wrapped safely in his pocket, Fareus led Raden back to the tavern where they had met the men from before. And without fail, the two were at the exact same table they'd been sitting at previously. Their eyes lit up when the two pirates walked through the door, and they quickly ushered for them to come in.

"So?" The first man asked as soon as they were seated, and Fareus was beginning to wonder if he should ask for their names. Instead, he simply pulled the jewel out, placing it on the table in between them. And the shady men gaped at it in disbelief.

"You did it…" The second man uttered softly, clearly in shock, reaching out to hold it.

"Not so fast," Raden inserted, pulling the prize back, "Give us our money and you can have it." One of them eagerly pulled out the sack of money reserved for this exact occasion, tossing it to Fareus. Upon inspecting the bag, Raden finally passed the jewel over to the strangers, a grin breaking out on Fareus' face.

"Who's a pirate now?" Fareus muttered happily to himself, causing his first mate to shake his head with a short laugh, amused by the immaturity shown by the man he was supposed to call captain.

"We're impressed," the second man continued, pulling out a piece of paper and quickly scribbling something down on it before handing over to Raden, well aware that Fareus was too busy having a mental party, "Go here tomorrow, just the two of you, and meet with our boss. We'll put in a recommendation and he will get you more work. You in?"

The question was enough to get Fareus to end his mental celebrations, responding with a quick, "We're in."

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Raden asked under his breath, shooting his friend a quick look, to which Fareus responded with a glare.

"Don't worry about it." Fareus answered, his voice just as quiet and a familiar glint in his eyes, "We can do this."

The address they had been given looked as shady as it sounded, nothing more than a ramshackle warehouse that Raden was fairly sure had been legally abandoned years ago. "Fareus, I really don't think this is a good idea."

"Relax." Fareus replied, scanning the front of the building for a door, "Aha. Come on, we're going in."

"Fareus-" But the captain wasn't listening, and Raden followed him, albeit reluctantly, muttering under his breath, "You'd better not get us killed."

The inside of the building was just as run down as the outside had been, the only light inside coming from the high windows lining each of the walls. It was only barely enough to be able to see anything, and as they were adjusting to the darkness, a deep voice called out to them, "I've been expecting you." It took Raden a long moment to locate the source of the voice, a large man standing near the center of the building, turning the jewel they had delivered the day before in his hands, "I hear your guys have pulled some pretty impressive

"That's right. In the king's possession. Get it for me, and I'll set you up with the job of your lives." He continued

"Fareus, that is the most ridiculous thing that has ever left your mouth." Tasva stated point blank, familiar scowl set on his face. Their captain had regaled the rest of the crew with the details of their job, accompanied by unamused commentary courtesy of Raden. "You're not serious. You can't be serious."

"If this is what it takes, then we're doing it." Fareus added, "Do you know what this could do for us? This could be the gateway to a whole new world for us.

"It might not be that bad?" Cal offered hesitantly, squeezed between Ivrix and Zanar on the ratty couch they kept below deck, "Since we know Aleister, after all. What's the name of it? I might know it."

"It's the jewel of Esmerta." Raden answered, "Ring any bells?"

Cal shook his head, "Afraid not. But that might be better for us. I know almost all of the treasures in Marsevor, so this Esmerta might be something Aleister would be willing to give us. I think we have more of a problem with his uncle, Seystel, than anything. If you're dead set on this, Fareus, I'll go."

"You're too easy on him, Cal." Raden complained, "Are you going to go, Fareus, or am I?"

"I would appreciate it if you could go." The captain answered, "Not that I don't want to see Aleister again, but I have a couple of other things to take care of here. Any other takers?"

"I'd love to go, but gods know what would happen to you lot while I'm gone." Vhon added teasingly, "Surviving off of Tasva's food? Gods forbid."

"Shut up." Tasva snapped back, as short tempered as always when it came to his cooking skills - or lack thereof, "I'm going anyways."

"If there's no complaints, I would like to tag along." Zanar piped up, familiar grin on his face.

"Then the four of you will leave in the morning." Fareus said, "Dismissed."

Ivrix was exhausted by the time he got to his bed that night, having spent a good deal of the evening with Zanar, since his friend was leaving in the morning, and there was no way to tell how long it would take for them to return. Faar was waiting patiently for him when Ivrix got back, silently reading a book as the younger flopped down on the mattress heavily, his eyes falling shut.

"I'm exhausted. You'd better not have gotten me sick, Faar."

"Who? Me?" Faar asked with a sly smile, glancing up from his book, "We've only been making out and occasionally having sex, I don't see why you'd think that that might potentially make you sick."

"Shut up," Ivrix grumbled, pulling his pillow over his face, "I'm tired. Let me sleep."

"You know, you should probably change first." Faar stated, and when Ivrix made no movement, he walked around to that side of the bed himself, leaning down to carefully unbutton the younger's shirt.

"If this is going to lead to sex, I don't wanna." Ivrix added sleepily, "I love you to death, Faar, but I'm really freaking tired."

"I won't. Just get changed. That can hardly be comfortable to sleep in." With a tired sigh, the younger pushed himself upward, undressing himself slowly, tossing his discarded clothes in the general direction of the closet to the side of him, before climbing back into bed in only his underwear. "Come on. You're just wearing underwear to bed, and you expect me not to fuck you?" Faar demanded, "That's not fair, Ivrix."

"Shush. I'm gonna sleep now." Ivrix murmured, out within a minute. With a light sigh, Faar too changed his clothes before joining his lover in bed.

Ivrix was sound asleep, Faar was well aware of that. Any hopes he had for getting some tonight were dashed, and he settled for wrapping his arms around the younger lovingly, pressing his chest up against Ivrix's back, "I love you." He mumbled into the back of Ivrix's neck, and the red head sighed contentedly, even in his sleep.

The group left early the next morning. Marsevor was quite a ways away, taking a week or something to get to. It was quite a travel, but they'd do it. It had, after all, been almost a year since they'd last seen Aleister, since he saved them from their fates at Arcis. His absence had been greatly felt aboard the Discord, but he was a king now, and there was nothing anyone could do to change that.

"I just don't know anymore, Raden." Cal confided to the first mate during one of the days of their journey, "When I called him Farry… his exact words were 'oh, it's just you'. Just me."

Raden cast him a sympathetic smile, "He's changed lately. Don't worry, we'll get it sorted out, and he can go back to actually being himself."

"I don't know, it just doesn't make sense." Cal continued, "He's the one that was so insistent on being over Talon, because I'd gotten used to being second best. I'm not sure what to think anymore…"

"He'll get over himself eventually," Tasva added from the other side of Raden, "He's just so wrapped up in being a pirate right now, because that's what got him over Talon in the first place. Being told he isn't one probably brought up so many memories that he's gone back to his old mentality. Give him time, Cal."

The brunet shrugged, "I'll trust your guys' judgment on that, then. After all, you've known him for a hell of a lot longer than I have."

"As far as changes in personality go, I'm way more concerned about Beret." Zanar offered, a couple paces behind the others.

No one could deny it, the way Beret had changed so drastically over the few months following their misadventures in Arcis last year, but at the same time there was nothing any of them could do to fix it, "He just needs time." Raden answered, "Hanth's death was hard for him. With enough time he'll start to heal. Until then, we just have to be there for him."

They arrived at Marsevor five days after they had departed, the city bustling around them just as it always did. "This brings back memories…" Cal murmured, primarily to himself, but Zanar overheard him anyways.

"From what? Childhood?"

"No," Cal answered with a shake of his head, "Of being here last year, it was exactly like this. Except this time I'm not on my way to be executed."

Raden turned back to look at the former prince, "You know this place the best, Cal. Can you lead us to the castle?" With a simple nod of his head, Cal pushed to the front of their small group, hesitantly moving through the crowds of people on the street. With his expert guidance, they reached the castle with little trouble, approaching it with ease.

One of the guards at the gate recognized Calyne instantly, his eyes lighting up, "My prince!" And Cal couldn't help the smile that rose to his face.

"It's just Cal now, Releo." He stated as he got close enough to his former guard to give him a tentative hug, "How are things with you?"

"They're alright. Are you here to visit His Majesty?"

Cal nodded, "Yes. Might we be allowed in?" Releo smiled affectionately at him.

"Anything for you, my prince." Cal shot him a look, "My apologies… Cal. Come on, right this way." Releo gestured past the gates in front of them, ushering the four of them through it.

Of course, the instant they were past the gates was the very instant that Seystel, former king of Pelavor in Aleister's absence, was wandering by, and spotted the four strangers in the courtyard. Huffing and puffing, he approached them, "Now hold on here. Who do you think you are, and why are you in my courtyard? Who let you in here?"

Cal stepped forward, bowing his head in respect for the man, "It's been awhile, Lord Seystel." Seystel's eyes grew wide.

"Calyne!" Seystel exclaimed, "Yes, yes, it's been what, a year now?" His eyes glanced behind the brunet at the undeniably shady looking men, "And are… they with you?"

"Yes, they're members of the crew that housed Aleister until last year. I apologize for not sending word earlier, but might we be able to see him?"

Judging by the look of distaste that twisted his face, Seystel didn't seem to care much for the idea, "His Majesty is very busy." He answered, "I can take you inside, but there's no telling what time His Majesty will be able to see you."

"We can wait." Cal answered, a pleasant smile on his face, though it didn't reach any further than that. He had always found Seystel to be an insufferable kind of man, and this was proving no different. With no further retort to fall back on, Seystel caved, gesturing them towards the large wooden doors of the castle.

"Right this way, then."

No further conversation was passed between any of them during the walk to a private room deep in the castle's interior, Seystel finally stopping them in front of an empty room, "This is His Majesty's private library. I will let him know you are here." Without a further word, he turned on his heel and walked away, leaving the rest of them in a combined state of confusion and annoyance.

"Is he always like that?" Zanar eventually asked, glancing over at Cal, who merely shrugged, walking into the library and dropping down into an armchair, "Cal, seriously, does he have a permanent stick up his ass or what?"

"He's bitter." Surprisingly, it was Tasva who answered, having made his way over to one of the many bookshelves lining the walls, finger running along the spines as he read the titles, "Think about it. He was never going to be king, as the second son, and when Aleister was born, the lineage continued without him. Then Eidor and both his children die during the invasion of Divalte, and he finally manages to become king. Five years later the supposedly dead prince shows up again and takes it all away from him. He feels slighted."

"Exactly." Cal said, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger, "Though he was hardly any better when he was king. And an awful king, at that. I never came down here after Aleister died, but Seystel would make trips to Arcis on occasion. He's not the snake my uncle was, but he's not much better. If Aleister doesn't show up we'll probably just need to go looking for him. I wouldn't put it past Seystel to not even tell him we're here."

"And by that I assume you mean you know where to find him." Raden said, eyebrow cocked curiously Cal.

"I could probably manage." He answered, "I just hope it doesn't have to come to that."

The peaceful silence they had fallen into was shattered by the library door slamming open, a huffing and wheezing Aleister in the doorway. His hazel eyes grew bright at the sight of them, "You guys… are really here. I can't believe it."

"You're out of breath. Did you just run here?" Cal asked with a laugh, standing from his armchair just as Zanar practically tackle hugged the King.

"What else would I do?" Aleister asked, a grin on his face, "It's not like I get to see you guys everyday anymore. What's going on, where's everyone else?"

"Just here for business, I'm afraid." Raden answered, clapping Aleister on the shoulder, "We have to ask a favor of you."

"What kind of favor?" Aleister prompted, urging Raden on.

"We're here to rob you."