Hello everyone! How're you?
Here's a new story. Maybe, this is my first non-romantic story. Since there's no pairing, it's available and open for everyone. :P
Inspired from: (Not so) Small moments by Galaxy-of-fireflies.
I dedicate this one-shot to Indigo Jupiter (Pardon me Noni, I've given you such a childish story in your birthday. So sorry for presenting it so late!). Belated happy birthday, Noni. May Allah keep you happy always :*
Darkness. Just like the skin of a brawny black stallion, it was lidding the small village named Tsurui under its parasol. The wind of the late autumn blustered through the appeased leaves of the huddling trees, making the waves of the creek by the area dance a bit. Sitting on their tops, round-eyed owls revolved their ogles and heads in 90 degrees; left and right, right and left. Bats played football without a ball in the ceaseless murky field of the sky. Somewhere, looking above, a wolf howled, trying to freeze everyone's blood. Maybe, it was missing the presence of the moon. However, its attempt went in vain as everyone in the village was lost in the paradox of peaceful siesta. Nope, except three.
The trio was at the entrance of the village. One holding a spear, another's hands possessing a mass and the third one with a bow and arrows. Rubies, citrines and sapphires-these gemstones were shimmering as their owners were standing vigil and agile, erecting their spines. Before a lot of hours, they had enjoyed their last sleep. Dark circles were evident beneath their eyes. Wafts were pulsating their night, evening and daylight bangs. Though the winter hadn't come yet, they could already feel the presence of the arctic season. Their fangs clattered and they shivered, yet, they didn't think to give up once.
"I'm hungry!" The navy-haired guy nagged, "Give me something to eat!"
"Hush!" The neko-jin put a finger on his lips, "We have been appointed here to protect the villagers, not for waking them up, Tyson."
"But my tummy isn't understanding this, Ray," The dragoon-wielder complained, "I forgot when I ate last."
"Then do one thing, Tyson," The blonde leered, "Tie a stone around your belly with a rope. You won't feel hungry."
The Chinese hid his mouth behind his palms in order to resist laughter as the glutton grouched, tightly seizing his mace. His stomach growled again, he sighed.
"Why cannot the king take necessary steps to finish that dacoit, guys?" Tyson kowtowed on the ground, "Staying here for nights without any sleep or food, I'm going way crazy!"
"Relax, Tyson," The hyperactive American placed a hand on his shoulder, "We, the subjects, are the strength of the kingdom. Why should we always depend on the king? Don't we have the ability of safeguarding ourselves from the robbers?"
"This Masefield is also very annoying, people," Granger breathed, "Why doesn't he surrender to us? Believe me, in this 20-year long life, I have encountered a lot of bandits but never faced such a unique piece like Brooklyn Masefield. He's really a pain in my butt..."
"Not only in yours, but in ours too, Tyson," The Chinese agreed, "Though I don't want to admit it, truly, he's very strong and cunning. I wonder whether he's more powerful than his Majesty of Kai Hiwatari or not..."
"Hold your tongue, Ray!" The navy-haired snapped, "Don't you know anything about our king? He ascended the throne when he was only sixteen years old! He can defeat one hundred well-trained soldiers single-handedly. Not only that, he's very caring and kind. He looks after his subjects as if they were his own children. Only at the age of 21, who can be like him? The answer is: None but he!"
"Your words aren't false at all, Tyson," The neko-jin nodded, "But if it is, why hasn't he come to help us yet? Why doesn't he know anything about the miseries of the people of this village? Why isn't he appearing?"
The conversation among the guards stopped as their ears twitched at the footsteps of a person. They were progressing towards the entrance of the village. Knowing clearly what to do, the young people rushed towards the gate, not leaving their weapons. In the shades of light and shadow, a faint figure became visible before their eyes. It was tall with round shoulders. Mesomorphic chest seemed rock-hard, legs were toned. The tips of the arrows from the quiver attached to his back were noticed by the watchmen.
"Hey!" The eldest of them called, "You cannot enter the village!"
Dim vapors moved away, leaving some place for the moon. Her mellowing rays fell on the earth, illuminating the small area and encircling the young trespasser. His whole body was covered in the white attires of a shinobi, including a silvery scarf swaying, embracing his neck gently. With bows and arrows behind his back, a Dao sword was hanging from the black belt around his waist. Almost all the parts of his physique were lidded except the area around his amethyst orbs and fists. From the gap of the black headwear and the mask, the pupils gleamed in sarcasm as though their owner had heard a joke.
"Woah!" He exclaimed, "Is it the tradition of this village to serve the guests in this way?"
"We have never made any guest return from this place, stranger," The American explained, "But in the last night, bandit Masefield attacked here. So..."
"So, you're scared," The trespasser completed, "In the last night, due to the raid of a robber, the entry of a docile and peace-loving man is forbidden in this village, isn't it?"
"Sword hanging from the waist, bow and arrows close to the back," Ray glanced all over his appearance, "Even though the man may be peace-loving, I don't think he's docile at all."
"Is holding weapons a crime?"
"No," The navy-haired guy shook his head, "But we also have the rights to be alert."
"Alertness against a single person can be proved as a sign of fear to the villagers."
"Sorry stranger, but we really don't have the mood of enjoying your jokes," Ray puffed, "We have enough reasons behind doubting you."
"The chief commander has informed us that Brooklyn Masefield took shelter in this village with his gang before a few days," Tyson answered, "He has also ordered us to stay prepared. That's what we did. The previous night, when Masefield assaulted the house of Stanley Dickenson, we became successful to stop him. Defeated, he fled away with his team. But as far as we know, he won't give up so easily. Soon, he'll attack us again. That's why, we don't want to provide shelter to any stranger for a few days."
"Hn," The outsider nodded, "Surely, alertness is needed. But...the nightfall has arrived. If I spend it in the forest, my life will be at stake. That's why..."
He turned his head left. Surpassing the height of the trees, the pinnacle of a temple could be seen. To its dome, a pair of stone-made wings were linked. They were spread wide. The man felt that the holy place would fly away with their help.
"Okay..." He pointed at the apex, "That temple is beyond the territory of this village. I'll spend my night there."
The suggestion wasn't unusual. Yet, hearing it, the hearts of the watchmen leapt. They gasped, exchanging stares. Clasping their arms, they furiously shook their heads.
"Don't do this!"
"Why?" The non-villager cocked an eyebrow, "How can you stop me from going to the house of God? Especially when it's not in the village?"
"Stranger, you don't know..." The navy-haired bit his nails, "That temple is a cursed house of death."
"Then, you have to know everything..." Breathing deeply, the neko-jin started, "Before a long time, a cold war was going on between the head of this village and the priest of that temple. Banishing the priest, the ruler appointed a new cleric. Before leaving the place, the former priest cursed that whoever would enter the temple would simply die because of the wrath of the phoenix. Nobody took it seriously then. But after a few days, the newly assigned priest disappeared."
"Worried, the villagers brought another man for the service of the phoenix deity," Max continued, "Within less than a week, he also vanished like smokes. Then, the villagers became scared. No religious man wanted to take the charge of that temple. Visitors stopped going there. Absent of people and devotees, surrounded by wild vines and shrubberies, the temple kept living, being the silent witness of a dreadful curse..."
"But the cheetah which used to haunt the cowsheds of the village didn't know about it," Ray added, "Chased by the villagers, it entered the temple for its safety. At night, people fear to go inside. That's why, we kept an eye on it throughout the entire night. In the morning, when we entered the place, we couldn't see the beast. We also hadn't seen it going out. It means..."
"Lucky the cheetah was," The shinobi smirked, "But I don't think the deity will accept this sinner. In the morning, I may remain alive. Well, can I have a torch?"
"Yeah..." Going to a tree, the neko-jin untucked one. Holding it, the visitor grinned once, then disappeared in the bushes.
"He didn't listen to us," Tyson's jaw was stiff, "He has entered that temple."
"Maybe...he won't be able to see the sunrise of tomorrow," The neko-jin sighed, "Let's go guys. Still we have to stay awake."
Producing a large boom, the door of the temple which hadn't been opened once during the last twelve years got parted. Following, much sand flew, blinding the refugee. Coughing, he tried to remove them from his face. Once the mini sandstorm ceased, with the lit torch in his hand, his feet stepped inside. His eyes roamed all over the inner environment. It was looking like a haunted house more than appearing as a holy place. Hugging the grills of the windows, through their gaps, slithering, wild creepers gained an entry there. Fissures appeared on the marble floor. Melted wax was clinging to the rusted candle-holders.
On the circular podium, there was a broken statue of a phoenix. Its broken head was rolling down at its talons. If it had remained in one piece, it would have touched the roof. From its left wing to the right, the spider webs were scattering. Strangely, no spider was there. Penetrating the shades of red, the earthen flesh of the idol came out. Instead of flowers, there was a pile of dry leaves beneath its feet. In the motionless light of the taper, the emeralds which were placed in the eye-sockets of the head glistened once. Even in its beheaded position, it seemed to have some life inside the lifeless body.
"Once upon a time, it was majestic..." He muttered, "Because of the scarcity of proper care, its condition has been miserable now."
Putting off his weapons from his body, he placed them on the ground. Attaching the torch to the wall, he laid his scarf below. No sooner had he bent down than his eyes went widened. Someone's wet footprints were visible on the floor. They didn't belong to him. They were someone else's. He could easily say that.
"It means...I'm not alone here..." Clenching his teeth, he headed for his bow and arrows which were kept at a slight distance from him.
"Hey! Don't touch them!"
Raising his head, the refugee looked at the owner of the voice. The hiding man was as tall as he with ruffled orange hair, touching his neck. Aqua eyes flickered like those of a ferocious and hungry nocturnal animal, sneaking around for a perfect prey. His smile was cold; keen like a knife. However, it couldn't pierce the heart of the first person.
"You must have hidden behind the idol."
"Yeah," The orangette nodded, "If you didn't notice my footprints, I wouldn't wish to come in front of you. But...of which metal are you built? Let alone at nights, people fear to come here in daylight too. Who're you?"
"I'm a pedestrian," The amethyst-eyed replied, "You must be Brooklyn Masefield, the notorious bandit-king?"
"My my!" Brooklyn's eyebrows almost crossed his forehead, "You...know me? Nope, I think you're a spy."
Gasping, the dual-haired guy strode back, gritting his fists. The orangette simply burst out laughing seeing his action.
"That's nothing, buddy..." He remarked, "Just a piece of the roof."
"Hn..." Again, the first cocked his head up. His eyes carefully scrutinized something. To him, something must've been fishy. It was his nature to inspect everything. Even a pin fallen on the ground couldn't escape from his eagle-like ogles.
"What're you seeing above?" Brooklyn chuckled, "Don't worry, I'm preparing to send you right there. Utter the name of the deity of your clan. I'm gonna murder you."
"Idiot!" The amethyst-eyed grimaced, picking up his sword, "The one around whom the death is hovering wants to take the life of another?"
"Around whom the death is hovering, I'll make you understand..." Popping out a dagger from his waist-strap, the robber was about to approach his opponent, but before it...
"Yawww!" The navy-haired boy grasped his own mouth in order to control his yawn. He was feeling sleepy but letting everyone know it was something that used to embarrass him.
"Okay okay, your hard work hasn't been futile, Tyson," The blonde nipped his arm, "Soon, the sun will rise in the east. Bandit Masefield will not dare attack us in the daylight. Let's go to sleep."
"Yeah...let's go..." Rubbing his eyes, the dragoon-wielder was about to step forward but before that, the neko-jin grabbed his shoulder from behind.
"Aren't we forgetting someone?" He aimed at the pinnacle of the temple with his index finger, "We must visit him once."
"What will we do visiting him, Ray?" Max shrugged, "We all know that he's no more now. In the curse of the phoenix, he's gone forever. Then why to risk our own lives?"
"No Max, Ray's right," Tyson objected, "He was our guest. Making him return from this village, we did very wrong. If something happens to him, we'll also be responsible for it. Just for giving some condolence to ourselves, let's check him out."
"Okay..." The hyperactive boy murmured. Giving a flashy grin, the neko-jin walked along the navy-haired. Hesitating a bit in fear and tension, finally, the blonde also followed the elder boys.
The door of the temple was open. Running in, the morning breeze was taking all the crunchy leaves out of the room. After a long time, the place was being cleaned by the nature. But, she couldn't wipe the large mess fallen on the cracked ground. A gigantic python, having green spots all over its black body, was lying there with its head severed from its throat. Its blood was slowly spilling on the floor. Yet, it hadn't died dissatisfied. Before its demise, it could have smothered the fire of its wrath. At least, the limp human being tied in its body was saying so. It was a young man around 21-22. Once upon a time, he'd been a great warrior. That morning, he was nothing but a corpse. Seeing it, the eyes of the guards were widened.
"Such a terrible snake!" The dragoon-wielder exclaimed, "Maybe, the outsider breathed his last hugged by it."
"Let's check it out!" The neko-jin suggested as they hurried towards the dead-bodies. Since they neared those lifeless beings, it was the turns of their eyebrows to touch their temples. The human being had ruffled orange hair scattered all over his forehead, clinging there because of cold perspiration. His tongue was out of his mouth, aqua orbs were wide-open in fear and pangs of death. Froth was coming out through the corners of his lips. Blue veins were visible under his fair skin due to the lack of enough oxygen in his lungs. The watchmen knew him very well.
"Oh my goodness!" Tyson's jaw dropped, "It's...it's..."
"Bandit Masefield!" Max and Ray completed in unison, still not able to recover from the shock.
"Last night, Brooklyn died in the embrace of this snake," The blonde tried to inspect the area, "Before his demise, he revenged himself by beheading this serpent. But...I cannot understand from where it came..."
"You're wrong, Max," The neko-jin pointed at a fallen stiletto on the ground which was clean, "Look at it. It is the weapon of Brooklyn but there's no sign of blood on it. It means...Brooklyn didn't kill the snake. It is the outsider who ended its life. He had a sword, remember?"
"Look at that crack!" Tyson steered at the fissure in the junction between the roof and the wall through which the dense forest could be seen with a branch of a tree entering, "The snake lived in the jungle, beyond the sights of common villagers. When it got perfect chances, it used to enter the temple by climbing that stem and fulfill its hunger by eating people. Then, it used to return to the forest."
"It means..." The blonde commented, "The cheetah which disappeared..."
"Nope Max, not into vanity," Ray shook his head, "But in the stomach of this python. Actually, there's nothing called miracles. The curse of the priest and the arrival of this snake-they were mere coincidences."
"But I cannot understand one thing," Tyson scratched his head thoughtfully, frowning, "Why did the outsider leave this place after killing this snake? Who was he?"
The sun had already opened its eyes from its slumber. Yawning, it spread its soft crimson glow all over the sky. The droplets of dew from the grass blades started becoming vapors. In the riverbed, tussocks of white catkins blossomed. Tired, owls returned to their nests. Sparrows came out and rubbed their beaks gently against the branches of trees. Soon, nightingales would begin their first music lesson on that day. Like fallen angels, dry leaves were helplessly rolling down under them, staring at the new ones which were growing from the twigs. Some remained still, some blew with the flurrying airstream.
Little by little, a shinobi in white attires was advancing to the river. A wicked leer was rising in his lips. The edges of his silvery white scarf swung like sine waves. One of his hands was holding a naked sword to which beads of blood were still clinging. His amethyst orbs enjoyed the sunrise of the new day. Taking a sharp intake of breath, he exhaled. Finally, he'd been able to be alive. He'd been successful to view the new sun along with showing it to a lot of superstitious and scared people. Ultimately, his goal had been achieved.
"Villagers will never know..." The dual-haired mumbled, grinning, "They'll never learn who actually came to their village..."
Okay, who came to their village? xD
Noni...once again, I'm extremely sorry because I couldn't control my hands to write some adventures and mysteries. But...you're really such a sweet and caring elder sister who'll surely forgive me (Won't she?)
People...please do read and review. I know you are interested in romantic stories more...yet, please! Pardon the grammatical and the spelling errors along with my stupidity :'(
Take care :D
-Misty ^_^ ^_^