Chapter 10

Under the cloak of the night, two men navigate the darkened woods. One of them, a large man with a carefree disposition, handled the reins with ease. The other, a skittish man with average build, looked warily round their dark surroundings. Seeing the tension from the other man, Kiyoshi Teppei tried to assure his companion.

"Relax Furihata-kun. We're almost there," he said in a light-hearted manner.

Furihata Kouki, knowing the easygoing attitude of the other man, was far from being reassured. He continued to eye their surroundings cautiously as if expecting for something to jump out of the darkness at any moment. A high-pitched squeak reverberated in the quiet of the night when he noticed a tall bush moving.

"Whoa, whoa…" Kiyoshi pulled on the reins making forcing the horses to halt. "What was that?" He felt Furihata grabbed at him while he made an effort to soothe the startled horses.

"K-k-kiyoshi-senpai," Furihata stuttered and pointed at something. He peered into the darkness and before he could make out anything several figures burst through.

The figures stopped at the sight of them and after a moment, "Teppei!"

XXX

In the chaos of the hall, the slaughter continued and the group of Seirin remained backed in a corner. As they hack down an enemy, another would appear. Few of the guests who managed to survive the initial shock are now, like them, armed and cutting through enemies. Aside from the suddenness of the attack, arms and weapons were banned from the gathering making it accountable for the high toll of casualty.

"Kagami!" Riko shouted in an effort to be heard amidst the noise. "Where is she?!" She asked frantically.

"I lost her!" the man shouted back as he swung his sword against an opponent. "She was gone! I can't find her!"

Riko closed her eyes in frustration. Bringing her along was the worst idea. "Izuki! Find her!" If the man can't find her then no one could.

The man scanned the room and focused on searching for their blue-haired companion but without success. "It's no use!" Izuki shouted. "She's nowhere in the room!"

Riko bit her lip hard. To their left is an exit and they can make it if they start moving now. But they are still missing Kuroko. She swept her eyes round her companions and she noticed that they wouldn't last that much longer.

She has to decide.

And she has to decide fast. Their lives depended on it.

She clenched her fist tight and barked out an order. "Seirin!" They didn't respond but she knew they were listening. "Head for the exit!"

They all looked at her with a startled expression. Riko knew what they're thinking but she can't risk their lives too. Some of them looked like they were about to argue, especially their redheaded companion, but Riko shook her head firmly. They can't find Kuroko but they can't dally here any longer. They can just hope that their blue-head comrade is safe.

Though frustrated, they obeyed and managed to reach the exit relatively unharmed. Some enemies pursued them – looks like they really meant to leave no one alive – but they were able to fend them off until they finally made it out. The trek through the woods was uneventful save for the sound of ragged breathing, and occasional groans. They were not familiar with the place and they did not know where they were heading. It was already too late before they noticed the tall hedge in front of them and they ran smack right into it. They were even more surprised with what they saw beyond the hedge.

"Teppei!" Riko was the first to react.

Kiyoshi Teppei recognized the voice before he recognized the figure. Who could blame him when the group before him was wearing masks and clothes like they just came from a ball?

"Riko?" the large man asked.

Riko frowned at the enquiring tone. And then she realized, ah yeah, I'm still wearing the stupid mask, and ripped it off her face. "What are you doing here?"

Kiyoshi's eyes narrowed as the group walked nearer towards them. "What happened?" he gravely asked. Now that he can look at them better, he noticed that their clothes were disheveled and their faces were smeared with blood. They were wearing dark clothes but he could guess that even those were probably stained with blood.

"Rakuzan is under attack," she said simply.

"Under at-tack? Rakuzan is?" Furihata asked.

Riko nodded in acknowledgment of the other man's presence. "It was a slaughterhouse back there."

"And Kuroko?" Kiyoshi asked surveying the group. "She's not with you?"

The question was met with silence. No one was looking at him. Even Riko looked distraught.

"No way!" exclaimed by Furihata. She can't be –

"Don't even dare finish that sentence," the redhead growled. "Coach, we need to get back. She could still be back there!"

"'She's not there Kagami."

"We can't just do nothing!" He carded a hand through his hair in frustration and slumped on the ground. Really, had this been any other situation they would have laughed at his childlike tantrums. Except that right now they all feel the same. This trip was nothing but a series of disaster for them. A rustling of leaves alerted them of a presence. Arms ready and tense, Seirin trained their eyes to locate the noise when a white figure emerged from the darkness.

XXXX

Meanwhile in the residence of Rakuzan, the chaos finally calmed down.

"My, my… you've made quite a mess Akashi-kun," a bespectacled man reproached, though his eyes were shining with amusement.

"Shut up Imayoshi," the head of Kaijou grunted. Imayoshi only laughed. But really. This is quite a mess right here. The hall is unrecognizable from its previous appearance earlier in the evening. Blood is everywhere, so are dead bodies and shattered glass. The place is now swarmed with armed Rakuzan men. Those who were injured are now being tended. Only a handful survived before the men of Rakuzan barged and joined the fray. The attackers now all lie dead along with their victims.

"Oh? What happened to Momoi-san?" Imayoshi asked.

The unconscious Momoi is being cradled by Aomine. "She doesn't need to witness that."

Imayoshi hummed and then he chuckled. "Still soft, aren't we?"

Aomine only scowled at the head of Touo.

"Aka-chin. Can we go now?" the purple-haired giant from Yosen asked with disinterest as if they hadn't just witnessed a bloodbath moments ago. Actually, the members of the five major Houses are too calm despite the situation.

Everyone looked at Akashi expectantly.

"Yes, Atsushi. Everyone may go now. My men will handle everything from here."

XXX

As the red emperor dismissed his "guests", the group of Seirin back in the woods readied themselves for a possible attack. As a white figure emerged and materialize from the darkness, Seirin bated their breaths. Except their "attacker" is not what they expected.

"Kuroko!/?" they almost simultaneously shouted. Wide, blue eyes blinked at them.

"Where have you been?!/ Are you hurt?!" A variation of the questions assaulted the new arrival. Kuroko remained silent and waited for them to calm down before she answered their question.

"What happened?" Riko demanded after the others finally exhausted themselves.

"Someone dragged me right after someone screamed and led me into a passage."

"Someone? You didn't know who it was?" – Hyuuga.

"No. I didn't see his face and he was gone once we were out."

"He? So it was a guy?" – Kagami.

The blue-haired girl only shrugged.

"How did you find us?" – Koganei.

"I heard voices – some shouting. I just headed towards the noise. I didn't know it was everyone." Then she added after a moment, "Though I am glad it was you guys."

They were silent for a moment. Now that the tension and adrenaline is gone, they were suddenly at a loss.

"Kiyoshi-san. I did not know that you're following us." Kuroko said in her usual monotone.

"Hm? What are you talking about?" Kiyoshi asked back. "Riko's instruction was to come here immediately."

"What do you mean my orders?" it was the brunette's turn to ask.

"Eh? We received a letter some few days ago telling us to come and meet you here guys ASAP. We arrived last night," explained Furihata.

The original group looked at one another. "We only sent one dispatch to tell you of our situation and that was only two days ago. It would have reached you only today."

"Hmmm. Seems like someone is looking after you guys," Kiyoshi said with an ironic smile.

Unknown to them, the events of this night will define the following events in Teikou. With the death of many leaders, a new regime will be ushered and change is imminent. Whether it will be for good or otherwise, only time can tell.

XXXXX

And that's that. Ha ha. I don't know how to close this part so I'll leave it just like that.

The last three chapters were written bit by bit so it might be fragmented. Anyways, until next time?