When God created the World, He elected four leaders to protect all His creations, and bestowed upon them enormous powers.
Upon the King of Hearts, beastly instincts and mastery of animals.
Upon the King of Diamonds, fiery passion and persisting steely determination.
Upon the King of Crowns, control over the wealth of the lands and tears of the sky.
But the King of Spades' powers were the most revered and feared of all.
When Okumura Rin was six years old, he nearly died.
"Otou-san!" little Okumura Yukio, fraternal younger twin of said Okumura Rin, barged into the monastery he'd called home since he could understand the concept, breath caught in his throat in panic. "Otou-san! Nii-san is- Nii-san, he-"
Father Fujimoto Shiro, head of the village's quaint monastery, turned to one of his foster sons in alarm.
"Yukio," his touch on the toddler's face, however, was tender, large calloused hand wiping snot from tiny button nose. "Calm down. Take a deep breath and tell Tou-san what happened."
Blue eyes glossed with even more tears behind spectacle lenses before small, soft hands rubbed them. "N-nii-san and I were p-playing at Shiemi-san's garden when a group of l-large sc-scary men attacked u-us. N-nii-san s-said to s-split, and he ran to the fo-forest-"
"Thank you, Yukio," Shiro sprung to his feet after he gave the boy's head one last pat. "Kyodo, Maruta, Izumi, come with me!" He rushed to the back of the pew, not wasting any time. "Nagatomo, stay and watch over the monastery!"
The four priests working at the church quickly obeyed. The wavy-haired man with the kind countenance wrapped his arms around the startled, sobbing toddler soothingly. "Come Yukio, your knees are scrapped. Let's tend to them…"
"Tou-san!" Yukio wriggled away from his caretaker's embrace. "I want to help!" He pulled out his slingshot from his pocket.
"NO!" Tou-san's eyes glinted as he barked at Yukio, causing him to jump a few steps back. The man looked positively…feral. "It's too dangerous. Stay back!"
The tall grey-haired priest winced when he saw that he had frightened his ward further. But there was no time to pacify him. Kyodo, Maruta and Izumi were already waiting at the gates, armed with spears, swords and even guns. The villagers had begun to gather around them from the spectacle. "Nagatomo, have the medical kit ready for our return!"
"Yes, Father," the second eldest priest bowed his head as his comrades left for battle. "Come, Yukio," he gently nudged the boy deeper into the monastery, "You will help me prepare the medical kit, won't you?" Nagatomo tried to cajole his charge.
But Yukio was too distractible to be enticed. Within the blink of an eye, the tiny boy had ducked out of Nagatomo's hand and shot out to the gates, slipping through scant spaces between the villagers crowding the monastery as he ran after his foster father. "I'm worried about Nii-san!" he simply shouted without turning back.
"Yukio!" Leaving the monastery unmanned was not an option. Nagatomo couldn't help but let the boy go.
To Yukio, finding Father Fujimoto was not difficult; the priests didn't bother to cover their tracks, muddy footprints of four adults left all over the grooves in the grass. Yukio followed the trail doggedly through the woods he and his brother had so often played in until the shouting and noises from clashing of steel gave the location away. The six-year-old crouched behind the bushes and peeked carefully, mindful of the arrows flying in the air.
The carnage that greeted Yukio was beyond what he'd been prepared for – the familiar figures of the priests fighting brawny, scary men dressed in black and armed with large swords and shields, moving across mutilated corpses which were strewn all over the soil, blood spilling from large gashes or bullet holes on their armours, some still with weapons impaling their bodies.
Yukio flinched, the hand holding the slingshot shaking. Bile rose to his throat and threatened to spill out of his lips, but Yukio covered his mouth and tried his hardest to push it down. 'Don't let them know where you are!' He scolded himself as tears began to cloud his vision. 'You came here to help, not to make things worse! Don't be such a crybaby!'
"No! Rin!" Kyodo's voice brought Yukio back to the chaos before him. The bald priest had been knocked down to the ground, teeth gritting as he clutched his bloodied shoulder. One of the attackers, the one with pointy appendages and the symbol of the Kingdom of Crowns on his helmet, had his arm holding Yukio's twin securely against his chest, a blade pressing against Rin's neck.
Yukio's heart was caught in his throat.
"If yer don't want the brat to die, drop yer weapons!" The attacker growled at Father Fujimoto.
Maruta and Izumi looked to the head priest for cue.
Shiro narrowed his eyes at his blackmailer and clucked his tongue as he straightened up from his battle stance. His face looked calm as he released his gun and rifle.
Rin's jailer glared at his subordinates and jerked his chin toward Father Fujimoto. "Finish him!" he grunted.
They obeyed, and swung their swords toward the head priest.
"Noooo!" Rin yelled and began to struggle in the earnest, his eyes wild.
What happened next was so out of the world Yukio could hardly believe it was real. But it did happen.
A dark bubble appeared in the air, what seemed like electricity dancing across its murky surface, before it expanded so suddenly and engulfed the bodies of the attackers. They screamed in terror as they disappeared from view. Then the bubble burst, just as quickly as it materialized, and nothing could be seen of the men it had swallowed. Only limbs were left, blood oozing from severed arms and legs.
Yukio couldn't blink. He watched as more bubbles emerged, Rin's body - especially his eyes - glowing blue the whole while, two horn-like flames burning on his head. More and more men were taken without a trace; no bones or even ashes remained.
"Y-you Demon King!" The attacker with the pointy helmet turned to Rin, his expression livid, "Die! DIE!" He raised his blade above the boy.
The sound of a gunshot cracked through the air.
"That's as far as you can go," Shiro remarked as Rin's abductor fell to the ground with a bullet hole between his eyes.
Rin was slumped on the scorched grasses along with the dead man, unconscious. The blue flames that had enveloped him earlier were extinguished. Their foster father gently picked the boy up and carried him, supporting Rin's back against his chest. "Thank you," he murmured into the boy's hair.
Yukio twitched, finally returning to himself after what felt like an out-of-body experience. His mind whirled a mile a minute as he tried to retreat quietly back to the village-
"Who's there?" Shiro asked sharply, the click of the safety catch being switched off loud in the silence.
Yukio gulped. And slowly rose to his feet, both hands raised in the universal gesture of surrender.
His foster father inhaled sharply when he laid his eyes on the younger twin. "Yukio…"
"Tell me, Otou-san," the tiny boy stared unwaveringly into the tall man's eyes, despite the tremors in his weak legs, "What is Nii-san?"
Shiro did not reply for a moment, seemingly appraising the bespectacled boy as he rolled his cigarette with one hand. An eternity passed before the priest sighed.
"He's the King of Spades."
But the King of Spades' powers were the most revered and feared of all.
For the King of Spades can manipulate space and time.
A/N: Leave a comment please! They make my day :)