Chapter 4: Grains of Sand

Gray hair? I am way too young for this! The short, turquoise-haired lady plucked out the various hairs out of neatly organized assortment of hair that reached just to her shoulders. The mirror in which she gazed into was a beautiful as the room in portrayed behind her. The mirror's gold frame went beautifully with the base of her bed, a dark brown oak. The silk veils that surrounded her bed were a deep shade of royal purple; the room had a desk that matched the bed and a variety of odd oil lamps on dazzling gold stands that made the room look complete.

I don't need all this! She slammed her fist against the desk that stood to the left of the mirror. She sighed, and turned around. A sharp knock came from the door. "Come in." She said nonchalantly.

"Lady Subaru, I…" The man that stood before her wore a fearsome skull-like mask with horns that entirely enveloped his face. The only holes in the mask were for eyes, two tiny holes just below the nose, and a mouth, and even then the eyes had a strange red filament covering them, presumably for eye protection.

"I told you not to call me that! If you want to use titles, just call me Ms. Subaru! I don't go around calling you Silver Knight, do I Ginkan?" The wings on Subaru's back twitched involuntarily in silent frustration.

"No, Lady, I mean Ms., Subaru, you do not. I came to convey the message that Crimson Knights have just captured the thief that has been terrorizing Mac Anu's market. What do you wish to be done to him?"

"Bring me to him. Have someone prepare my gondola."

"Yes, Lady, Ms. Subaru." Ginkan then left without another word, ending his salute prematurely. Subaru's thoughts rose up in frustration. Ugghhhh. I really wish he would stop calling me Lady. The only reason I have such a high title is because that pig-headed fool Apeiron was proud of the how well the Crimson Knights do at their job. I really, really, really need a vacation. A courier came and announced the gondola's readiness. Maybe Ginkan made the Knights a little too efficient. She than left her room, dropping a generous amount of money in his hand. The look on his face made her smile and she thought, Happiness like that is something you don't see everyday.

Fifteen minutes later, she arrived at her gondola. An aide handed her an axe, her axe, a weapon that was just a light as it was lethal. She stepped into the gondola and waved a hand to the Knight with the pole. He began to guide them through the marvelous canals of Mac Anu. Mac Anu's only form of mass transit was the canals, but today they were surprising empty. Subaru looked into the water and received a mirror like reflection of herself. I don't see how the water stays so clean, especially with how we rely so much on it. She drifted into deep thought, and when she was roused from her 'sleep' she got out of the gondola and onto a dock. A building made of aspen wood lay before her. Ginkan guided her into the building. Nonetheless, he is a gentleman. He opened the door for her and she walked inside. Inside she saw a struggling boy of about 15 fighting the grip of two Crimson Knights.

"Let him go." She commanded. "Come here, child. Do you know who I am?" Her tone was pleasant but stern.

"Lady, Lady Subaru!" He gasped as he stepped back a bit. Again with the title. She thought that to herself as she prepared a response.

"Yes, but please call me Subaru. Why have you been stealing from the market?"

"My family can't find employment because no one in this city wants to hire us. We don't know why, but I think it may have something to do with my brother's incident."

"I see," She responded. The incident he was referring to was that of his brother, a mailman. He was never very popular, but he was treated literally like garbage due to some rumors created by his ex-wife. His gradually became more and more mad, until he finally started a killing spree in which 5 people were killed and 10 injured. She could never forget that. "How about this: are you willing to work very hard?" His head bobbed up and down spastically. "Then you shall be forgiven your crimes. On the condition you start to train to become a Crimson Knight." His face lit up like a fire and he saluted.

"Yes, Lady Subaru."

"And on the condition you never, ever, call me Lady Subaru. No matter who tells you to."

"Yes, Ms. Subaru!"

"Then go and tell your family." The boy ran off and as soon as he was out of sight yelped with joy. All that done and still not noon yet. Oh well, it was worth it. A Knight in full battle armor entered the room, panting heavily under his mask.

"Lady Subaru! The Wild Hunt is moving towards a village not very far north of here. They seem to be chasing someone on a Grunty! Your orders?"

"Get your squad together and meet Ginkan and myself at the Chaos Gate." He ran off and began his task.

"Ginkan, go and arranged for two more squads to be ready. Meet me at the Chaos Gate.

Thirty minutes later, the group stood face to face with an oncoming horde of the undead. The Grunty rider was holding onto a child that was dangling behind the Grunty and was almost at the village. She called out to him and ordered him to retreat into the village. The navy blue haired man nodded, too out of breath to really respond. Subaru then motioned for the army to come closer to the Hunt. At the back was their leader, the fool known as Luashboin. She barked orders out for them to defend the city at all costs and to send one squad to protect her as she engaged the leader. They moved into position and with a cry from Subaru, the squad followed her as it dashed towards the Wild Hunt. Subaru easily out ran them, gaining a lead with incredible ease. As she began to enter the fray, she drew her axe and began her dance.

Her axe easily parted the oncoming monsters. They lost head, arms, and legs, but no blood. Most of them fell to the ground, killed by their lack of head. The one who had lost their legs could no longer move and she left them to the Knights. The ones with no arms just kept on charging. She spun her axe in a ring of death around her, cutting down countless waves of the undead that ran at her with no regard for their 'lives'. This is way too easy. That fool Luashboin is really beginning to slack off on his training. As these thoughts crossed her mind, she came to realize that the battle had come to a standstill. About 50 of The Hunt were surrounding her, spears and swords all ready to strike. Subaru turned around and saw Luashboin atop his Grunty. He waved and smiled at her, and then snapped what was left of his fingers nonchalantly. They all began to fall in about her. I guess it's time for a little magic then. She took her left hand off the axe and raised it into the air, where it began to shine a bright red. She then took her hand and stroked the blade of her weapon. "It's go time boys!" She leapt into the air and raised her axe high above her head. From her spot three feet above the heads of the horde she saw looks of shock. She smiled. As her descent began, she took to a more graceful position then let gravity do the rest. The glowing red blade hit the ground and everything within a 100-yard radius went soaring into the air, including Subaru, who rode it on her back as she flew higher than everyone else.

As she touched down, she made a slight curtsy in the direction of Luashboin then charged at him. He ordered Havok and Payne to stop her. They ran forward, scimitars flailing. With unearthly speed, she was soon just past them. They froze realizing their mistake and they were knocked unconscious by a blow to the head by the butt of her axe. She continued her charge towards Luashboin. She leapt into the air one more and performed a brilliant down slash move against Luashboin who caught it with his weapon gauntlet. Subaru began to hack with her axe slowly beating Luashboin back. With an air of finality, she performed a large overhead swing that shattered his gauntlet. Sensing inevitable defeat, he called for his remaining troops to retreat. Two Grunties grabbed Havok and Payne by their tunics and dragged them away as the rest of The Hunt hopped onto their Grunties and retreated.

Subaru returned to the Knights the main group and when they reported the village was fine she smiled again. "That was easy."

Author's Note:

Please, I would like to take a moment to thank my editor, Marlo Voltaire. If it hadn't been for him, the entire idea that started the very story you're reading now wouldn't be any more than a stupid drawing on my science book cover. Give him a big round of applause and get ready to find out what happened to Lark.