Author: Suffering Angel PM
Umi wakes up in a strange place and experiences something that will forever more affect her. But is it for real, or just a dream? And what does the future hold? PG, just to be on the safe sideRated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Romance - Words: 9,223 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 3 - Published: 07-16-02 - id: 854484
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I do not own Magic Knight Rayearth. CLAMP does. Did you know that Mokona is that last name of a member of CLAMP? ^.^;;;
Umi: It's about time that you write a Magic Knight Rayearth fic.
Umi: I mean, with all due respect to the little brat, you liked us before Card Captor Sakura! (Sakura: HEY!)
Hikaru: ;_; I don't like you
Lantis: What's the matter, Hikaru?
Eagle: Yeah, what's wrong, Hika-Chan?
ChibiRaye-Chan: Aren't you in a coma? o.O (yeah, another Anime/Manga chaos, written by me ^^)
Hikaru: Look! ;_; *shows everyone ChibiRaye-Chan's notes for sequels*
Umi: You wrote the sequel... Before you wrote this?!
ChibiRaye-Chan: What are you complaining about? You're the star of both fics.
Umi: I AM?! *.*
Fuu: Hai -.- and I'm the sidekick.
ChibiRaye-Chan: Nope! ^_^ I keep putting mushy scenes between you and Ferio.
Fuu: YOU DO?! *.*
Hikaru: I still don't like you ;_;
ChibiRaye-Chan: Tough. On with the fic! *Looks around* Wow, this, worked better than in my CCS fic! ^.^ (warning, 'hidden' 'publicity' ^.^;;;) Oh, and this fic is strictly Umi and Cepphiro people. Sorry, I'll try finding an idea about Hikaru and Fuu that I like so I'll write something for them alone!
Umi slowly woke up and rubbed her bottom. Her entire body ached, as though she fell from very high, and at a very high speed. She could remember that happening twice, but that possibility left Umi's mind faster than it had came.
Slowly standing up, Umi looked around her. She was in the middle of a dense forest, filled with blossoms and trees. She got up and brushed some leaves away. She gasped when she noticed she was in her blue school uniform.
'How odd. The last thing I remember is going to bed. Then... how?!'
She looked up, trying to see something through the treetops. The sun was visible through a little hole in the leaves, and Umi could tell it was just rising.
"MORNING?! I WAS HERE THE ENTIRE NIGHT?!"
'That would explain why my body aches. Sleeping on leaves and branches after getting used to my comfy bed... Hey, I even slept well when I was in Cepphiro! I sure wish Mokona would've been here.'
Looking again at the sun, Umi sighed.
'It's gonna get hotter and hotter. I better find some shelter, and maybe some help. And knowledge of where on Earth... or beyond, I am!'
She started making her way in a random direction, pushing branches and stray leaves out of her way. Unknown to the 17 year old girl, she was being watched from the shadows, her every movement seen. She was being followed.
Ascot walked aimlessly through the castle's halls, looking for something to do. Most of the castle's inhabitants were busy with political things Ascot knew nothing about and showed no interest in. Lantis, like most days, was busy talking to a sleeping Eagle. Ascot didn't see the point; If Clef, Cepphiro's Master Mage couldn't help him, how a few words from a swordsman could? And Caldina and LaFarga? Well, they were busy... with each other. So Ascot was alone, to wonder the halls aimlessly, and sulk. Yup, what a wonderful life the now-adult summoner led.
"Hey, Ascot, come here for a minute!"
Ascot stopped and looked somewhat surprised at Clef.
"Yes, Clef? What can I do for you?"
Ascot noticed that the older Cepphirian looked tired and worn out. Probably from all those nights he and Ferio stayed up late.
Clef began with a sigh, and Ascot noticed that his voice sounded just as tired as he looked.
"There have been rumors of a giant portal opening down south. People began believing some weird beliefs about something that came through the portal that would mean certain death. Some even started an uprising."
"And you want me to go, see what that is, and then have Ferio say what is really is and calm them down, gaining their trust again?"
Clef nodded and surpressed a yawn.
"You didn't seem to have too much to do."
"Well, eh, I..."
Ascot blushed a bit. Was he really that useless?
"I'll go pack."
"No need. You'll find everything you need, waiting at the castle's entrance. I trust you to summon one of your... Friends to help you get there. Good luck."
The summoner nodded, and began making his way outside when Clef stopped him again.
"Oh, and Ascot? Be careful. We don't have the Magic Knights to help us this time."
Ascot spotted the bitterness in Clef's voice as he mentioned the Knights' absence. Ascot suspected for quite a while now that Clef harbored feelings towards the same Knight he himself had, only Clef would never admit it.
With nothing better to do, Ascot took the equipment Clef promised him, and summoned one of his flying friends. Then, he set out to the south, determined not to think about a certain blue haired girl until he got back.
"Finally, a village!"
Umi cheered as a rather large village came into sight. She started running towards it as fast as she could. Finally, she would get some information about where she was, but more importantly, some food and water.
She was about to enter through the town's gates when the two guards blocked her.
"Hey, what gives?!"
"I'm sorry, miss, I can't let you in without some proper identification."
"Identification?! Wha, where am I supposed to get those?!"
"What kind of a question is that?! Were you not born here?"
"Well, I don't know, since I don't know where 'here' is!"
The two guards started laughing at her, which got Umi upset.
"Hey, knock it out! I was just thrown here from my house, apparently fell from pretty high up, and you're laughing at me?!"
The two guards stopped laughing and looked at Umi strangely.
'Could they be... AFRAID of me?!'
"Did, di, di, did you just say, 'fall'? From high up?"
"As high as the sky, perhaps?"
"Well, I'm not ruling that out, but..."
The guards immediately aimed the spears at Umi's throat, forcing her to take a step back. Behind the guards, Umi could see the villagers notice that something was off. Some of them pointed at her and whispered. They too, like the guards, suddenly seemed afraid.
"We won't let you destroy our village! Not without a fight!"
Some of the villagers seemed to join in, and some even threw some of the rotten vegetables they found in the market place.
"Monster? Destroy? I... I don't know what you're talking about!"
"Go away!" "Leave us alone!" "Over our dead bodies!"
Umi didn't have much time to be confused, as the guards attacked her.
'If Cepphiro taught me anything, is to DUCK!'
And duck she did, as the guards tried to stab her. Trying to use what was at hand, Umi grabbed a nearby stick and tried fencing with it as best she could. She successfully disarmed one of the guards, but the other was too quick for her. Hitting her head with the not-sharp end of his spear, Umi fell to the ground.
'Don't pass out don't pass out don't pass out'
The spear came down fast, the sharp end this time, aimed directly at her heart. Umi's mind raced, as she was certain she was about to die.
'Mama, Papa, I still need to repay them! Hi, Hikaru, Fuu! What will they think?! And... I still haven't found love...It... It just can't...'
"IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS!"
Umi closed her eyes waiting for the hit, a single tear ran down her cheek. She felt the spear hit, but to her amazement, there was no pain.
'Is this what's it like, to be dead?'
"What, what kind of monstrosity is this?!"
Opening her eyes, however, revealed a completly different reality.
"My, my armor?!"
Umi was shocked to discover that her breastplate, the one she received from Clef 3 years ago, was protectively covering her torso. The spear lay discarded on the ground, the blade broken. Umi noticed that a small part of it was still stuck in her armor.
"Monster! She came to destroy us all! Get her!"
Umi looked in shock as the villagers started approaching her.
'I, I can't fight them! They're not even armed like those guards were!'
She quickly picked up the broken spear and held it protectively.
"Stand back! I don't want to hurt you!"
It didn't help. The villagers were afraid, in fact, terrified of Umi. Before she could even lift the spear the villagers grabbed her from all sides. She could feel them pulling in all directions, literally tearing her apart.
"OUCH! Hey, watch the hands, bastard! AHHH!"
One of them grabbed her hair and pulled backwards, hard. Umi felt the tears coming back to her eyes.
"Hold her tight, mates! Her armor's cracked! I'll break it and kill her!"
She saw the speaker running towards her with a knife in his hand. It was too much. Umi was thirsty, hungry, tired. Her body still ached from her apparent fall and sleep in the forest. And now, she was about to be slaughtered by an angry mob.
"I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!"
The gem on Umi's left glove glowed as she was suddenly surrounded by water at higher and higher speeds. The villagers ran in all directions, screaming in terror.
"STOP THIS! ALL OF YOU STOP THIS AT ONCE!"
Through the whirlpool, Umi could see a young and handsome man approach the scene on a beautiful, snow-white horse.
"Sir, this is it! That is the monster we believed would come and destroy our world!"
Umi stared at the young man, her gaze begging for mercy. However, she knew she would get none, as SHE was the one who got everyone scared, fought the two guards, and was now surrounded by a whirlpool of water.
"Sire, I think it's best we..."
"I said quiet."
The man didn't even need to raise his voice, just shot what reminded of a glare and the crowd silenced. He slowly approached Umi, with only whispers of disapproval from the villagers.
"My name's Kaiyou. You have my word that if you drop this, this whirlpool, no harm will befall you."
"You speak of yourself, Kaiyou-San. Can you say the same for your fellow villagers?"
"Yes, as I am their leader."
Umi glanced around her and saw that the villagers were reluctantly, VERY reluctantly returning to the village. When the only one left was Kaiyou, Umi closed her eyes, and upon opening them the whirlpool disappeared.
"Oh... NOT good..."
Umi fell to the ground, fighting to remain conscious. Kaiyou quickly ran and caught her. Umi looked up to see his eyes glowing a bright blue.
"Sh. You're safe now, my beauty. You're tired, you need rest. Sleep."
Nodding, Umi closed her eyes, and drifted to sleep.
"So this is the village of Alleram, eh? Hardly what I expected."
Ascot said as he jumped off the back of his 'friend'. The beast was much gentler than most of Ascot's friends, and reminded of the beast that carried the Magic Knights to Preasa's house when they first came to Cepphiro.
"So. I suppose it will take at least a few days... Why not fly around them mountains you like so much and wait until I'll call you?"
The Gryphon-like beast nodded enthusiastically and took off, keeping a low altitude as to keep away from sight.
'Well, time to mingle with the people.'
Ascot was amazed at the absence of guards, even for a village this peaceful.
'They're either the bravest people I have ever seen, or the craziest!'
Looking at the mess that was the market place, Ascot decided to stick to the later.
'Better get a room at the Inn. We'll start snooping tomorrow.'
As Ascot made his way through the dense crowd, a flash of blue caught his eye.
Looking again, he only saw the back of some eager villagers walking in some direction.
'Well, so much for not thinking about Umi...'
He sighed as he entered the Inn.
"Are you sure that's the girl?"
Umi turned her back on the voices, and half opened her eyes. Through the window she could see that the sun was rising.
'How long have I slept?! I wasn't even tired!'
"She matches the description perfectly. Even has Magic powers."
'They must think I'm still asleep!'
Umi closed her eyes again and listened.
"Yes, I have heard from the others about her... unique abilities. But what makes you so sure you can control them?"
"I need not control them. Once she sees that our cause is just, she will join in on her own, and lend us her powers."
Umi's curiosity forced her to open her eyes and slowly sit up. Looking at the two speakers, she saw Kaiyou and another, an old man.
"Good morning, Umi-San."
Umi played surprised and turned quickly to the window.
"Morning. Wow. I slept through it all?"
"Well, you were a bit bruised and battered."
"Thanks to your citizens."
The old man cleared his throat, obviously not happy with the direction the conversation was headed.
"Sorry. Umi, this is Barton, the village elder."
"Yes, I'm sure it is."
Umi was taken aback by the old man's rudeness.
"Why, I'd never...!"
"Umi, Barton is here to tell you a bit more about the village."
"And, the cause?"
Both men looked at each other, a bit concerned.
"Sorry, I was awake then."
"Why don't you change, and I'll show you around?"
Umi was about to get up when a messenger came in and whispered something to Kaiyou.
"It seems we may have some trouble."
"Anything I can help you with?"
Umi said with sincerity.
"No. Not at the moment, anyway, thank you, Umi. I will see you later."
Kaiyou left the room, leaving Umi with Barton.
"You have a new set of clothes waiting for you in the next room. I will wait for you outside."
He then left, using his cane. Umi looked outside of the window, and spotted something flying just above the treetops (hai, Ascot got there that morning, not the same morning Umi got there).
'It looks sort of... familiar. Perhaps... I really am in Cepphiro?'
With that thought, Umi changed into everyday clothes (for the village, that is) and went out to meet with Barton.
"Good, good. Follow me please."
They walked through the village and towards the south-most exit.
"I thought you were going to show me the village...?"
"There has been a slight change in plans. Please, follow me."
'Well, I might as well...'
Umi followed him, the image of the flying beast in her mind.
"Tell me, sir, am I in Cepphiro?"
"Cepphiro? Er, no, no. Never heard of such a place."
'I know I've seen that thing SOMEWHERE, and it was in Cepphiro! Question is, who's lying: Barton, or my imagination?'
"'This the devil, I tell ye! The Devil'll come, and kill us all!"
Ascot sighed as another villager tried getting money by providing 'reliable' information about the so-called danger.
"Thank you, I'll look into it."
Ascot reluctantly threw a small metal coin towards the villager, and sighed in relief as he left.
'Man, this is gonna be harder than I thought!'
"I know what thou seeks."
Ascot turned towards the voice and met a short, old woman. Her hair was silvery blue, her green eyes shining like a five year old's.
"I know where the real danger is."
"Oh? And how much is it going to cost me to know?"
The old woman grabbed Ascot's arm and dragged him into an alley.
"Did you find him?!"
Ascot looked at what was going on. Kaiyou stood there with some guards, and looked extremely worried.
"That's Kaiyou, the village leader. Even though Barton and I are much older and wiser, the younger chose him as their leader. Now be silent."
"No, sir. The summoner could not be found anywhere in this village!"
'Summoner?! They're... Looking for ME?! Could they think that my friends are the danger?!'
"Did you ask at the Inn?"
"Sir, yes sir. But the Innkeeper said he just left, all of his stuff with him."
"Not good. What else did she say?"
"Only that he had a lot of money with him, and that he was looking for information about the Dragon Legend, and.."
Kaiyou quickly put his hand against the guard's mouth and looked around, panic showing in his eyes. Once he was sure no one was around to hear it he let the guard go, but glared at him.
"You idiot! The fact that you haven't found the Summoner does NOT mean he's not here! Now spread out! Anyone you don't know, arrest at once! I want him out of our way!"
The guards scattered; Kaiyou looked around, and Ascot quickly dived into the shadows, a split second before the two made eye contact. Noticing movement, Kaiyou began advancing towards Ascot.
"Who's there? Show yourself!"
'Not good not good not good...'
Ascot had to swallow a yelp. He had forgotten about the old woman!
"Oh. It's just you, Kuma."
"That is no way to speak to your grandmother, young man!"
Ascot's eyes almost popped out of their sockets. This was the village chief's grandmother, yet, she was helping him?!
"Whatever. I don't suppose YOU've seen the summoner, have you?"
"Me? A summoner? Phht."
"You do know, Kuma, that siding with the Summoner would mean betraying me. And you know the punishment for that."
"The people will never harm me. I'm one of this village's elders!"
"True. And as such, your time is soon to come. After all, you're not Clef. Your magic cannot protect you from the reaper."
Kuma stared at his back as Kaiyou turned away.
"The girl will not obey you! Your so called cause stands against everything she believes in!"
"Well, I'll just have to take care of her beliefs, now won't I?"
His eyes flashed blue again and Kuma took a step back.
"You... you, what are you?!"
"Something beyond your puny perception's capable of."
"You, you... YOU GIVE ME BACK MY GRANDSON!"
Kuma's yell earned her some sympathetic looks from passerbys, but no one actually stopped to ask what was wrong; they were all afraid of Kaiyou.
Finally, Kuma made her way back to where Ascot was.
"A threat. BAH! The only threat to us is what possesses my Kaiyou!"
The old woman began crying; not knowing what to do, Ascot put his hand on her shoulder, and then drew her to a hug. She pushed him away.
"It's not important. What is, is that you save that girl."
"The girl that fell out of the sky yesterday."
"So, the legends about a falling monster are true?!"
Ascot found it a bit hard to believe, even after being in love with another legend (LEGENDARY Magic Knights, destined to save Cepphiro ^.^ and no, I will not shut up about Ascot's love for Umi!).
"A monster. Phe, the girl seems nicer than most people I've met!"
"What can you tell me about her?"
"Only what I've seen, actually. She's pretty tall, something like this..."
The woman pointed with her staff at the wall, showing Ascot Umi's height.
"...And blue hair and eyes."
Ascot's mouth dropped and his eyes went wide again.
'That... Could it be... STOP THINKING ABOUT HER, ASCOT! There most be tons of other blue haired and eyed girls!'
"I beg of you, you must save her!"
"I'll do my best, Ma'am. But I don't know which way to go to!"
"Well then, why don't we help you?!"
Before Ascot could turn around, he felt something hard hit the back of his head, and fast. He fell to the floor, struggling to remain awake.
"Well, well, well, looks like you ARE good for something after all, Kuma!"
"You, you tricked me!""
"But of course! And be honest, my dear; What reason does an old hag such as yourself have for jumping out of dark alleys? Restrain him!"
Two strong men grabbed Ascot and he felt something cold tighten around his neck.
"There. A suiting pet for our queen to be!"
The last thing Ascot heard was Kaiyou's insane laughter as he was dragged away in the forest's direction.
"Are you feeling better now, Sir Barton?"
"Much, miss Umi. Thank you."
The two had stopped after a while. Barton, after all said and done, was an old man.
For a while, the two sat down in silence. Then Umi decided that unless she was going to ask her questions, she would go insane.
"Sir Barton, may I be as bold as ask you a question or two?"
'She is so polite to her elders... A monster; How could people believe this girl to be a monster?!'
"Ask even three, child. I'll answer the best way I can."
"Back in the village, people seemed to respect Kaiyou much more than they do you, one of the village elders. Why is that?"
Barton sighed and Umi could see that the subject was touchy, but it was too late to withdrawn the question.
"One day, Kaiyou went out with several friends to the northern woods, to hunt. They went missing for several days."
He stopped, and Umi remained silent, enabling him to gather his thoughts.
"His parents were worried sick! His father immediately arranged for a searching party, and his mother, my daughter, may her soul rest in peace, cried herself to sleep every night."
"I'm so sorry."
"Thank you. Ahem. So eventually, they were found in these woods, several miles off of where they were supposed to be. When asked about it, they all had the same answer: That a bright yet dark lady brought them here. When they returned to the village, the change was obvious. Kaiyou became more dominant around the village. Became maturer. The others who were with him accepted his leadership without question, and eventually so did the rest of the village."
"His mother is your daughter, meaning that you're his grandfather!"
"But, oh, how can he treat you with such disrespect!"
Barton smiled again.
'Indeed, she comes from a good home. Kaiyou used to be that way...'
"You still have two questions."
"You said 'my daughter, may her soul rest in peace'. What happened to her?"
He sighed heavily. Another question Umi regretted.
"Soon after Kaiyou returned home, arguments started between them. His mother tried convincing him to drop the ridiculous idea of being village chief at such a young age; To leave it to older, wiser people. He would say that the old know too much, that's why we're afraid to try new things. That it was time for a change. He started to drift away from her. Soon afterwards, his father joined Kaiyou's followers. His mother couldn't take much more of it. She wanted to move away, even on her own."
"But, her husband and son are here! And her parents, obviously, since I'm talking to you!"
"She said that too. But she still wanted to move out. But before she did, she wanted to know why Kaiyou held this part of the forest dear to him."
His voice cracked, and tears seemed to form in his eyes.
"She... She never made it back. She... She had the most beautiful blue hair, a bit like yours and the most radiant blue eyes... You remind me so much of her..."
Umi put her hand on his shoulder yet drew it back quickly when his eyes glowed blue for an instant. His whole appearance seemed to change. It became stronger, more aggressive.
"I'm sorry, Umi. We had better get back on our way."
"Wait, but I still have another question!"
"You said I can even have three!"
Umi sensed his honest confusion and sighed.
"Never mind, just trying to lighten everything up with a joke. Didn't work. Ready when you are!"
They both got up and began walking again. To Umi's amazement, Barton wasn't using his cane.
'Quoting some English girl: Curiouser and Curiouser!'
After a while of more silent walk, they heard someone run after them. Barton did not seem disturbed. Umi had to look.
Kaiyou came to a stop next to Umi; that's when Barton finally looked at him.
"Ah, Sir Kaiyou! To what do we owe this pleasure?!"
Umi was shocked.
'But, that's his grandson! Why is he acting like that? Like a... Like a slave...'
The mere thought made Umi feel sick.
"Oh, I just thought I'd come here and escort this fine lady. With your permission, of course, honorable Barton!"
Umi felt sicker at the fakeness in Kaiyou's respect towards Barton.
"Not at all. Please, join us, Kaiyou!"
"Don't mind if I do! Miss Umi?"
"I really don't have much of a saying, do I?"
Umi said and continued to walk in the direction they have been going in since they left the village. Her commoner's dress made it harder than she was used to, having always hiked in pants or shorts. Or her short school skirt and two thigh high boots.
"What have you two been talking about so far, Dros?"
Kaiyou asked Barton, both their eyes glowing.
"I do not know, sire. Our link broke for a short while. I fear I might have told her the truth."
"Hm. I suppose you couldn't have told her anything too harmful. She is still willing to go with us. Nonetheless, I will stay close by, from now on."
"HEY, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! YOU WANT ME TO GET LOST HERE OR WHAT?!"
Umi yelled at their direction, having walked quite a distance away from them.
"However did she guess?"
The two seemed to Umi as though they were laughing about a private joke.
'Weird. But then again, what ISN'T weird about this place?!'
Looking up, she spotted the winged beast again. She gasped.
'It can't be, it just can't be! That's the exact same Gryphon Clef gave us when... When we first came to Cepphiro. Then if this really is Cepphiro...'
She looked back to the two men who only now started to approach her.
'...I wonder what else they were lying to me about.'
"Do not be scared, Miss Umi. That is a mere bird. You wouldn't believe how large they can become around here! Shall I slay it for you?"
Kaiyou shoved his elbow to Barton's ribs. Barton cleared his throat, and laughed.
"Of course, I was merely joking, child! Now, let us continue!"
Barton continued on, Umi and Kaiyou a bit behind them.
"He likes to joke a lot. Don't mind him. He probably lied about everything that came out of his mouth since you left this morning"
He flashed a grin at her, but she forced herself to look away. Something in his eyes annoyed her.
"Well, I find pretty much everything here hard to believe!"
He glanced in another direction, and then the grin became a smirk.
"BARTON! WE'D BEST HURRY!"
All the way to wherever, Umi kept getting looks and grins from Kaiyou. She, on her part, tried to ignore him. And succeeded.
Clef paced back and forth in his chambers.
'Why hasn't Ascot contacted us yet? Surely, he had gotten there safely, the beast he had chosen rivals my own. The villagers are peaceful and welcoming, so there's no problem there... Could the legends of our doom be true?!'
Clef did not allow himself to think about the matter for too long as he buried himself again in his work, this time trying to continue an old project: A device that would enable connection between the world of Cepphiro, and that of the Magic Knights.
Ascot woke up with an intense pain at the back of his head, and the cold thing was still around his neck. Finally opening his eyes, Ascot noticed it was a metal collar, attached to a chain. The other end of the chain was held by one of the people who guarded him, a person he met in the village. The two guards in the room were with their backs to him.
"So what do you think Kaiyou's gonna do to him?"
"I donno. Heard something about a sacrifice, though."
"I thought the chick was it, no?"
"A pretty thing such as her? It would be such a waste!"
Both guards laughed, and one turned towards Ascot.
"Well, good morning, sleeping beauty! Heh!"
"Well, Kaiyou's oughtta be here soon. Don't wanna keep him waiting, now do we?!"
And darkness welcomed him once more.
"Another rest?! Miss Umi, this is like the sixth in the last hour!"
"Well, Ask Barton! We stopped to rest earlier too! Right, Barton?"
"Eh, er, um, yes. Yes we did, Sir."
Kaiyou eyed Umi suspiciously, yet he had to agree.
"All right. We rest."
Barton sat on a log, while Umi leaned against a tree. Kaiyou just stayed standing.
"Well, I'm actually happy that you're here, Kaiyou-San."
Kaiyou answered happily.
'Could the plan be working?'
"You could answer a few questions Barton was unable to."
Kaiyou glanced towards 'Barton' as the older man looked away.
"Well, ask away. I'll see what I can do."
"What's your cause?"
Kaiyou's eyes widened.
"Ex, excuse me?!"
"Well, before I woke up, I couldn't help but hear you telling something to Barton about a cause."
Umi tactfully dropped the part where Kaiyou was positive that she'd follow the cause.
Umi noticed that Kaiyou and Barton kept exchanging glances, so Umi decided to let them figure out what to say to her. She again looked at the sky, hoping to see the Gryphon again. What she saw, however, was a pair of yellow eyes staring down at her.
'There's something familiar about those eyes... but what?!'
/Umi... Be careful.../
A hand came in front of her eyes, and when she looked again, the eyes were gone. She sighed.
"I'm sorry, Kaiyou. You were saying?"
"Thank you. Our cause will become clear enough once we venture deeper into the woods. Now come on, we've rested long enough."
He led the way again, Barton following him like a lost puppy.
'Weird. The more we venture into the woods... Why am I feeling those weird vibes from those two?!'
Umi hugged herself as a cold breeze picked up. Noticing the other two had gone quite far, she started running as fast as she could in her dress.
/Be careful, Umi.../
Looking back one last time, Umi noticed something fly away from where they rested.
Before them stood a massive, temple-shaped building with a hexagon above the main entrance.
'Just like the Temple of Water... But it wasn't here before, I'm sure of it!'
Kaiyou said as he gestured Umi inside.
"Um, thank you, I guess."
The moment Umi stepped inside the weird building, the doors slammed shut.
"Miss Umi, can you hear me? Are you all right?!"
"Yes, but the door's stuck!"
"Oh dear. We'll be back as soon as possible with help!"
She heard footsteps getting farther and farther away, and not that fast, either.
Turning around slowly, Umi saw a blue spirit hovering in the air a few feet away from her.
"Help you? Ho, how?!"
The spirit did not answer. She merely floated deeper inside. Umi sighed and reluctantly followed the spirit. Once deeper inside, the door opened.
"Well, the nerve of that girl, not to wait for us!"
Kaiyou laughed at his own joke, then turned to the other 'villagers'.
"My friends, our time has come. Soon, our glorious mistress shall rise again, and no one will stand in our way!"
The villagers cheered, but the cheering slowly turned into cries of pain as their bodies began to change. The only thing that sounded more horrible, was Kaiyou's inhuman laughter. And he was still in human form.
"Hey, wait up!"
Umi cried as she ran after the spirit.
"I want to help you! Just please, wait up for a minute!"
The spirit seemed only to speed at Umi's calls.
'This is insane!'
The spirit did stop, and Umi ran right through her.
When Umi finally came to a stop she looked back, but the spirit was gone. And so was the corridor from which Umi came through.
'But, how?! I just came from there, and…'
~Thank you for coming…~
Umi turned around quickly and faced an almost mirror image of herself, only several years older. The woman had long silver hair with a strong blue shade, and deep blue eyes.
"She... She never made it back. She... She had the most beautiful blue hair, a bit like yours and the most radiant blue eyes... You remind me so much of her..."
Umi lowered her guard and took a step towards the spirit.
"My, You're… You're Kaiyou's mother, aren't you?!"
~Yes. I am Orin, and I must ask for you help!~
"Well, you got it! What do you need me to do?"
~You shall see. Follow me.~
Orin disappeared into another corridor, and fog covered the area. Umi was about to follow, when a sharp pain in her arm brought her to her knees.
~What's the matter?!~
Orin came floating back and Umi pointed at her arm.
"I don't know what's wrong, it just hurts so much…"
Orin examined the arm, then with a flash of light, the pain was gone.
~Come. There isn't much time.~
Umi stood up and looked at her arm amazed.
"Hey, wait for me!"
Kaiyou walked victoriously through the structure's halls, the hoard of once-human beings obediently following him.
Entering the first large hall, he signaled the beasts to stop as he noticed Umi's body on the floor. He smirked as he approached her and two beasts picked her up. He then noticed that her arm was twisted in a weird angle.
"She must have fell on it hard."
A flesh of light lit the area momentarily, and when it was gone Umi's arm appeared to be back to normal.
"What do you think that was?"
Dros, now out of his disguise as Barton, asked his leader.
"Oh, I suppose mommy dear met with her. All the better."
Kaiyou gently held Umi's face in one hand and put his other on the back of her head. His eyes glowed blue and soon, Umi's eyes opened, glowing with the same color.
"Ah. Good morning, my dear. How are you feeling?"
Umi just stood there and stared at him blankly.
"Excellent. Shall we be off, then?"
His monsters for companions look at her suspiciously until she started following their master obediently.
'Until mother dearest explains everything to the girl's spirit, I'll have full control over the most powerful being in Cepphiro!''
Kaiyou laughed as the group entered the innermost chamber, where an altar and a statue were, a certain summoner chained to the altar.
Umi ran after Orin as the spirit led her through what appeared to be a temple. They stopped inside a large room, filled with bodies. Dead bodies.
"What… What happened to them?!"
Umi looked around the bodies, until her gaze fell on a woman with silver-blue hair. Orin noticed where Umi's gaze was fixed, and sighed, a sad smile on her lips.
~Yes. That is me, child. And that is what became of all who opposed Kaiyou.~
Looking around, Umi saw several and several people from the village.
"Then, the people in the village…?"
~Fake. Monsters sent to fill their place. Of course, not all ended up like this. Most of Kaiyou's followers chose to obey.~
Deciding that then was not the time to hold back questions, Umi 'pointed at the elephant in the room'.
Orin seemed so sad to Umi at the moment and her corpse seemed more alive then her spirit.
~My son, apparently, was the one to open this temple. And out of the so-called goodness of her heart, this temple's goddess decided to appoint him leader of her beasts. She had taken my son's soul away!~
Orin started to shake with sobs, but Umi just couldn't give the deceased mother the much-needed weeping time.
Orin stared at her, her misty eyes filled with angelic tears.
~You don't know? But… You've faced her!~
"Who is it, Orin? Who is this goddess?!"
Orin looked away, and Umi took a step forward to reassure her. A whisper was heard, but Umi couldn't make anything of it.
Orin said, now shaking with… Was it fear, Umi wondered.
~The goddess's name… Is Dabonair.~
"Can you feel it, my friends? The power of our glorious goddess! And we have the pleasure of serving her!"
The monsters stood still, half-listening, half making sure Umi wouldn't even breathe without Kaiyou's command.
"The last pillar her sent her away. But assumed dead, she reached out to us. She gave us strength and guidance, where the so-called Prince only cared for politics!"
"Debonair?! But… She was killed! She's dead! Long gone!"
~If only it was true…~
"Then, if this is a temple to her…"
"Behold, my friends, as one of the pillar's closest allies, one of the Legendary Magic Knights, helps us in achieving our goal! Call for it, my pretty…"
Kaiyou said the last part softly in Umi's ear, and obediently, she called for 'it'.
"Call for it, my pretty…"
Umi looked around her, trying to find the source of the voice, when her sword appeared in her hand out of no where.
"Whe, where did THAT come from?!"
~Oh, no! Quickly child, you must hurry! They have began the ceremony, and unless you are back in your body by its end, you will be lost forever!~
"What? My body? Then… I'm a spirit now, too?!"
~It was the only way I could communicate with you! To show you the more horrible truth of this place!~
Umi glanced again at the corpses and shivered.
"What am I to do?"
Orin smiled apologetically and turned to look at a huge door that was locked up until now.
~You must stop Kaiyou before he forces you into sacrificing one dear to you. If you kill while under his spell, then the ceremony will end, and he would win. But I know that your will is strong enough; otherwise, he never would have chosen you, Magic Knight.~
Umi walked towards the door as it opened. Weird chanting began to fill her ears and she looked back to Orin.
~Indeed. I wish you good luck, child. And please, save my son…~
Umi merely blinked, and Orin was gone. The canting became stronger, more passionate, and to her horror, Umi could feel herself drifting away.
'I'm running out of time!'
She began running through the rooms of the temple, following what she assumed was Kaiyou's voice.
'I can't be too late, I just can't!'
Kaiyou stopped chanting as mist covered the hall. He looked at Umi, an insane glow in his eyes.
"Do you see it, my pets? The thing that will bring our beloved goddess back to us!"
The mist surrounded the spot where Umi stood. However, one could never tell just by sight that the creature standing there was indeed once Ryuuzaki Umi, Magic Knight of Water. In her place, still clutching the sword, stood a hybrid. Half human, woman, to be precise, and half… A Dragon.
Her dark blue wings were folded around her protectively, covering most of her upper body.
"Do not be shy, my pet. Show us your beauty!"
The creature did as she was told, and spread her wings. Her hair and eyes were still blue. But so was her skin. Scales as blue as Celes's and a face to match, the only things the body had to show for its once full humanity was the body's limb structure. The hands that held the sword were now razor sharp claws. From her lower back sprouted a mighty tail that could easily knock adult men away.
"Beautiful! Simply marvelous!"
Ascot finally opened his eyes, due to Kaiyou's happy outburst.
'This has got to be the worst nightmare I have ever had!'
He thought as he saw the dragon/human creature that was standing next to the altar, holding a sword.
"Well, well, well. Looks like sleeping beauty is awake now, don't it? All the better. Oh, precious? Kill him."
Kaiyou casually said, and the dragon/human lifted its sword. Ascot closed his eyes, waiting for it all to end. However, not feeling anything, and positive from the ache in his head that he was alive, he opened his eyes, to find the blade mere millimeters from his neck. To his amazement, the creature seemed to be in a great deal of pain.
Umi ran through the corridors until finally reaching the inner sanctum. She gasped in horror as a huge statue gazed down at her, shaped like Debonair. Umi quickly ran through the monsters, who didn't seem to notice her. She then felt sick. Where she felt her body, was now the creature, holding a sword next to an altar… With Ascot tied to it. She heard Kaiyou give the order, and felt she had to do something, spirit or not.
'You cannot have it, Kaiyou!'
Kaiyou turned around at the sound of Umi's voice, trying to find her.
"Look again, witch! I already do!"
Ascot glanced at him. To everyone else, Kaiyou was speaking to shadows.
'No, you don't. And you know it.'
He turned around, to find Umi standing next to the altar, holding the creature's sword at bay with her bare hands (yes, there's a reason why I'm calling it a 'creature' and not 'Umi'.)
'What happened to you, Kaiyou? What made you into such a monstrosity?'
"Monstrosity? That's a good one, hag! Did you happen to look at what's left from you body?! Oh, excuse me. It's no longer yours!"
'Wrong again, Kaiyou. Are you ready to see just how much?'
Umi closed her eyes and vanished, even from Kaiyou's eyes. He looked around, but still could not find her.
"Where are you, hag?! Did you finally see the truth?!"
"The only truth to be seen here, Kaiyou…"
Kaiyou turned to the creature, horror and shock written all over his face.
"Is that you lost."
Drawing her sword away from Ascot's throat, Umi glanced at Kaiyou from her now only semi-human eyes. She then lifted her Escudo-made sword again, and shattered Ascot's chains. He stared at her in disbelief.
"Because I'm sure your friends could help us here."
He stared at her. Umi's voice sounded so familiar to him, as it WAS Umi's voice. But it also sounded much deeper and thicker, as befitting a dragon.
"How did you know?"
"Doesn't matter. All that matters is that you summon one now."
"Not in this life time! ATTACK THEM!"
The monsters, which so far only watched, awaiting their master's command charged at the two. Ascot, not wasting time, created a hexagon from thin-air.
Two large bear-like beasts came out, and started to slice away at the smaller, much weaker monsters. They made their way to the exit, and Ascot started to follow. He then turned.
"I don't know what you are, but I can't just leave you here!"
Umi was touched by his generosity.
"Go. I have unfinished business here."
Before either could react, the monsters all disappeared, as vines crept out of the walls, and tightened around Ascot's friends.
"VEGA! MUSA! NO!"
Umi turned to face a now smirking Kaiyou, her sword still ready.
"Let them go."
"If you say you obey me, or defeat me in a fight."
"Ascot, stand back."
"Huh? Wha, how did you know…"
"Just do it, pretty-boy."
Ascot blushed at the nickname this creature, which appeared to be female, gave him. He stood back a bit, and tried to see if there were any immediate injuries his friends suffered which he could take care of.
"This is such a let down, you know. I mean, here you are, in such a powerful state, and what do you do? You fight your creator."
"You are not my creator. And if you think for even a second that you had any part in the origin of this form within me, you are greatly mistaken."
Umi didn't know whether what she was saying was true, but she prayed it to be with all her might.
"You said this was not Cepphiro when we first met. Yet this young man proves otherwise. What else have you been lying to me about, Kaiyou? Oh yes, the true nature of your cause."
Umi looked at the statue.
"That matters not. You are my slave! You WILL obey me!"
Kaiyou's eyes started to glow again as he tried to hypnotize her. Umi laughed in his face and sent a strong stream of water towards him. He was knocked against the statue, as the vines around Ascot's friends began loosening.
"My mistress, give me strength!"
Strong winds began blowing in the room, yet with one flap of her huge wings, Umi stopped that attack.
"You said it yourself. This form is strong. Too strong for you, boy. So stand back."
Kaiyou took another stance, and Umi noticed it was closer to the statue.
'So, that's what he's hiding…'
"You will never get past me! I'll give my life up for my goddess!"
"Debonair doesn't deserve you, Kaiyou."
Ascot gasped at the sound of Debonair's name.
"No! It is I who doesn't deserve her! I have failed her…"
The statue's eyes glowed. All in the room turned to look at it as the ground began shaking.
"YES! I knew it! My mistress will not desert me! Go, Debonair! Show them your true strength!"
"Ascot, when I tell you to run, run. Understand?"
What other choice did he have? He nodded.
"What good will running do to you?! You are doomed!"
Her eyesight now enhanced, Umi could see that the longer the earthquake continued, the weaker the vines' hold on Ascot's friends was.
'It's draining her powers…'
Slowly, yet surely, Ascot's friends broke free from the vines. Umi sighed in relief as she turned back to Kaiyou.
"I am sorry for your mother. But this has to end!"
Using her new wings like she was born with them, Umi flew towards Kaiyou, and knocked him towards Ascot. Ascot grabbed a loosen vine and used it as rope.
"Ascot, get ready to run."
One of the beasts took hold on a now unconscious Kaiyou as Umi flew to the top of the statue. She held her sword and concentrated all of her will power.
"Tell Clef about what happened here. Hopefully, he will know what happened."
Before Ascot could ask how Umi knew about Clef as well, the now charged sword slammed against the statue's forehead. The quake stopped, but then the temple began crashing.
"Go, go, GO!"
They ran out of the temple as it collapsed on itself. Umi felt bad about leaving the villagers' bodies inside, but Orin showed up.
~Do no worry about it. Finally, we will have the burial we deserve. And thank you, Umi.~
She disappeared, leaving Umi feeling a bit better about herself.
They finally reached daylight and Ascot and his friends collapsed on the ground. Umi still flew, when her sword began to glow… And change. Looking up into the treetops, she saw that pair of yellow eyes.
/Well done, Magic Knight. Well done…/
Her sword suddenly burned, moments before it disappeared.
/It will wait for you when you'll need it. Goodbye, girl from another world…/
Umi's body started to glow. Ascot stared at her.
"Wait, don't go! I know people who can help you! WAIT!"
He stared as her body became human again, but she was covered in light so he could not recognize her. And in a flash of light, she was gone.
"Oooooooooh… Where am I?"
Ascot turned to Kaiyou as he woke up. Kaiyou looked at the destroyed temple, and then at Ascot's friends.
"Wha, what happened?!"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
He then called the Gryphon, and they were on their way.
Umi woke up, covered in cold sweat. For some reason, she felt more tired than when she first went to sleep. Looking at the clock, she noticed it has only been 12 minutes since she went to sleep.
'It was just a dream… JUST a dream…'
She held her head with both hands, when she felt something wet go down her cheek. Drying it with her left hand and putting it in the light from her night lamp, she was shocked to see…
She then looked at her right hand, the side where the blood was coming down from. She screamed. Her father came rushing in and Umi was just barely able to hide her right arm under the sheets and turn off the light so that he won't see the blood.
"Umi-Chan, what's wrong?! What happened, why did you scream?!"
"Just… A bad dream, Otou-San, nothing for you to worry about."
He turned to leave, not really convinced. Umi then looked again at her right hand, tears coming down her cheeks, as well as the blood. She wasn't staring at a human hand. She was staring at a dragon's claw.
A/N: OK. Loooooong! Hope you forgive me for it! ^__^ Ok, I'm gonna write the sequel, something like this:
I'm gonna create at least two timelines, in each I'll write about one of the Umi pairings I like, one of them definitely being Ascot+Umi! ^___^ Or you didn't see it coming ;) the other… well, I have ideas, and if you don't know what couples I like, hurry up and check my profile! Arigatou!
Fuu: Mushy scenes between Ferio and myself, huh?
ChibiRaye-Chan: Gimme a break! You weren't even in the fic, how could I write about you?!
Fuu: You could write about how unconcentrated Ferio is because we're apart!
ChibiRaye-Chan: Like almost any other MKR writer on FFN? -.-
Fuu: ^^;;; good point
Ferio: What's bad with that idea?!
Hikaru: AHHHH! SHE HAD ANOTHER IDEA FOR A FIC! I HATE YOU!
ChibiRaye-Chan: Geez, Hikaru, from your reaction one might think I'm bashing you or something o.O
Hikaru: No, you're nice to me. But I still don't like you! ;_;
Lantis and Eagle are reading the fic ideas
Eagle: not bad, not bad…
Lantis: A bit OOC, but considering the situation, it's ok.
Hikaru: YOU'RE NOT HELPING ME!
Lantis and Eagle looks from Hikaru, to me, to Hikaru, and to the fic ideas
Lantis&Eagle: We'll live.
R&R, MINNA! ^___^