Unmei: More reviews than usual, yay! Anyways, um, I've gotten a bit lazy with the disclaimer….

Disclaimer: Unmei no Hana is a girl, a GIRL for all of those people who didn't know that.

Unmei: Heh, yea… just wanted to make sure everyone knew my gender, so it's not like I'm being sexist and bashing women and blah, because well… I am one, and us women are AWESOME.

Of Clones and Outcasts

Chapter 10: Of Tortures and Compromises

Unmei no Hana

Last time:

"Mayor, I have returned." A mysterious woman with long blonde tresses and green eyes stood before Mayor Tanaka. The Mayor had her back turned to the woman and was looking out a large window which showed the city of Odaiba before her.

"Have you gathered all the information you need?"

"Yes I have. You were very right. Mura no Yume is celebrating its annual Sakura Festival and many other outcast villages are present there as well. Now will be the best time to strike it for if we do, not only will Mura no Yume go down, but several other villages as well. It will be very beneficial for all of us."

"You have done well. You're dismissed." The Mayor told the mysterious woman. She bowed and exited from the room. A cruel smile appeared on the Mayor's beautiful face as she looked at her city and said,

"Finally… the time has come. Mura no Yume, prepare for your destruction."

"Food. Eat it." A monotone voice echoed through the nondescript room. A pale hand shoved a bowl of what seemed to be rice gruel through a grate before retracting. Hikari looked at it disdainfully.

"How am I supposed to eat if my arms and legs are tied up?" She thought out loud. However, as soon as she did, the metal bands around her limbs retracted. Mildly surprised she suspiciously looked around the room while massaging her wrists. Soon she spotted a small camera in the corner of the room.

"I'm still not going to tell you anything, you know that." She told the empty room. Picking up the bowl she examined the contents and made a face.

'It can't be worse than what mom made I guess.' Mom being the clone from which she herself was cloned from. How long had it been since she had visited her? A week before she was kidnapped at the earliest. 'She must be worried sick… But then again, I'm sure Mayor Tanaka made up some excuse. I hope she's alright and isn't hurt because of me.' All this while, Hikari stared at the lumpy, supposedly white, gruel and fiddled with her spoon. 'Might as well eat it. I doubt I'll be getting any more food soon.' With a grimace on her face, Hikari spooned out the gruel and hesitantly ate some. Struggling slightly, she swallowed the tasteless gunk and felt it sliding down her throat and into her complaining belly.

"Mayor Tanaka, it's ready." A rather pretty clone told the Mayor. Mayor Tanaka, who had been reading a book, instantly closed and gracefully rose from her seat.

"Good. Tell Lady Fuji thank you for me." The mayor told the clone. She then swept her flowing skirts around herself and went through countless hallways before ending up in front of a door. She opened it and inside was the sleeping figure of Hikari. Mayor Tanaka knelt down before Hikari and shook her shoulders gently.

"What…. Mayor Tanaka!" Hikari cried out, startled. She attempted to say more but the mayor wrapped her arms around the girl, restricting her from moving any, and covered her mouth with a delicate hand.

"Now, now, Hikari. You mustn't try and lash out on me." She told Hikari as she attempted to release herself from the surprisingly strong grip of the Mayor. "I'll give you one more chance. Tell me, where are the outcasts?" She uncovered Hikari's mouth to hear her reply. But instead of a friendly answer, Hikari spat out,

"I'll tell you when pigs fly." She was about to say more when the mayor stuck a cloth under her nose. She soon felt her eyelids become heavy and her body began to sag.

"My, my, Hikari, I never you were so disagreeable. I'll have to change that now won't I?" Hikari feebly tried to struggle out of the Mayor's grip, but failed miserably as the Mayor tightened her hold. In a soothing voice, the Mayor told Hikari, "Relax Hikari…just relax. Soon your pain will be over. So just relax…relax." Her voice was gentle, hypnotic almost, and Hikari found herself succumbing to the sweet song of sleep.

"Dammit, where in the world are they?" A very frustrated Yamato slammed his fists onto his already worn out desk.

"I'm sorry sir. We have scanned the entire vicinity of Mura no Yume, however no trace of either of them were found. I am afraid to say this, but there have been rumors spreading throughout the town that they have been captured by the…" The messenger trailed off slightly and looked hesitantly at Yamato as if asking for his permission to continue. Yamato rubbed his temples and waved his hands at the messenger, signaling him to continue.

"I've heard that they've been captured by…" The messenger lowered his voice to a whisper and gulped hard before he continued. "…by women!" When Yamato heard this, his eyes grew big with surprise and fright.

"What! But how could that be possible? We haven't heard of any reports of women for the past three decades!" He demanded. The messenger shakily took out a vile from the inside of his jacket.

"I err, forgot to mention that while we hadn't found any trace of Takeru and Hikari, we did find these hairs of branches. While they may be from women around here, we aren't sure. I've sent some samples to the hospital to get a DNA test." The messenger told Yamato while rubbing the back of his neck in nervousness, hoping dearly that Yamato wouldn't punish him for his slip in memory. Yamato however, much to the messenger's great relief, just sighed deeply and told him,

"Very well. Report to me immediately when the DNA test results are out. You are dismissed now." The messenger saluted him and left the room. Yamato sank further into his chair, his hands cradling his head.

'Takeru…Hikari, where are you? Please, be alright.'

'What happened…?' Hikari thought groggily as a very bright light awoke her. She tried to shield her eyes with her hands but realized that she couldn't move her hands due to restraints around them. 'Wha…!' She trashed around on the cold metal chair that she was bound onto, memories of the night before flooding back to her. She tried call out but a piece of cloth was tied tightly around her mouth. When her eyes finally adjusted to the bright light she made out the figure of Mayor Tanaka and very well known woman, Lady Fuji, hovering above her. The Mayor had her signature cruel smirk on her face when she realized that Hikari had at last woken up.

"Have a nice sleep Hikari? I hope you did." She said in a sweet voice. Overly, sickly sweet. Hikari tried to mumble some curses through the gag in vain.

"As disagreeable as ever I see Hikari? Ah, but you'll soon regret that. For you see this devise you are on? Well, you'll have fun with it I'm sure." Attempting a stifle her laughter she walked out of the room, Lady Fuji following behind her. Hikari calmed down slightly once they left the room and surveyed the machine that she was hooked up to and felt the blood drain out of her face. She was sitting in a cold metal chair, a hollow half sphere covering the upper part of her head with thousands of wires coming out of it and connecting to various places on her head and body. But before she was even able to think, Hikari felt a surge of insufferable pain coursing through her entire body. She screamed and trashed about, trying to somehow get rid of the pain she was feeling. But the pain continued despite all the efforts she made.

'Someone, please, stop the pain. Stop it…STOP IT!' Hikari thought desperately as tears streamed down her face, staining it. But when she thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. Mayor Tanaka's voice rang out through the room.

"Hikari, forget everything about the outcasts. They're the reason you're feeling so much pain. It's their fault. You hate them; we hate them. Just forget about them. Forget them. Forget them…"

"Sir, we have gotten the DNA test results back and we have confirmed that the hairs we found were not from any of the women in this village. When we discovered this, we hacked into the main computer and discovered that this hair comes from a woman named Kaitlyn er…I can't exactly pronounce her last name. It seems French, however…" The messenger was cut off by Yamato slamming his hands against his now, very beaten up desk. Frightened at the reaction Yamato had given him, the messenger looked up only to see Yamato standing up, his face overshadowed with his long blonde bangs. As the messenger scurried out of the room, obviously perplexed, Yamato shakily sat back down.

'What's she doing here? How did she find us? What am I going to do…'

The creaking of the rusty prison door woke Takeru from his restless slumber. Tiredly, he looked up in surprise to see the Mayor standing before him. He tried to lunge at her, but the restraints around his legs and arms prevented him from doing so.

"What do you want?" He spat out. The Mayor looked at him with a cold face and walked over to him, not even flinching when he lashed out at her. Much to his great surprise and confusion she took out a key from her pocket and released him from his restraints. Takeru rubbed his wrists a bit, attempting to get more blood flowing into them before looking at the mayor with a questioning look. She jerked her head as if telling him to follow her and lead out of the prison and to what he presumed was the city gates. There she told him sharply,

"I see you were smart enough not to attack me. I'll give you that much credit. But don't think I'm doing this because I'm becoming soft."

"Then why did you do this?" Takeru asked. "What do you gain by releasing me?"

"Everything." She replied mysteriously. Mayor Tanaka then took out a piece of rolled parchment from her pocket and held it out. "Give this to your brother, Yamato, leader of the outcast village of Mura no Yume."

"Tch, you must think I'm an idiot to do this favor for you. I'm very much aware what your intentions are. I'm guessing you're going to send some spies to follow me to Mura no Yume so you can find the location of it. Well, too bad, that's not going to happen!" The Mayor however did not reply but instead started to laugh.

"My, my, both you and Hikari have quite imaginative minds. Why in the world would I do that when I already know of the location of Mura no Yume? No, no, that is not my intention at all. I am offering your little village a compromise. Seeing how you're the brother of Yamato, I believe I can tell you what it is. Either your village surrenders to us along with all the other villages that are residing in it for your annual Sakura Festival or if we do not have your reply in three days, we will attack with our full force. Not just Obaida, but all of the cities. I am sure that you aware that you're puny army will stand no chance against our full combined forces."

"And what if I choose not to inform Yamato about this?" Takeru asked defiantly.

"Well, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't? After all, you're only hurting your village by not informing them. We are being kind enough to give your pathetic villages a fair warning as to what is to come. You should thank us for that. And plus, I doubt you'll do that if you want to see your precious Hikari-chan again." The blood drained out of Takeru's face as the Mayor told him this.

"What have you done with Hikari? Where is she?"

"Oh, you'll see your lover soon enough…that is if your village agrees to surrender. If you don't, well, you'll still be able to see her, but I'm sure you'll be quite shocked."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Like I said, you'll find out soon enough. Now hurry along and deliver my message. Time is running out for you." After she handed over the scroll to Takeru the Mayor mysteriously vanished. Takeru took one last glance back at Odaiba before hurtling into the dark forest.

'Hikari…wait for me. I promise I'll save you.'

"Lady Fuji, is she ready?" A soft voice called out. Lady Fuji, her face unemotional, nodded. "Good, please bring her out so I can see her." A girl was led to in front of Mayor Tanaka. A crude white garment outlined her petite figure and her mousey brown hair hung limp. Her crimson colored eyes were dull and mindless. The mayor asked her, "My child, what is your name?" Monotonously, almost mechanically, the girl replied,

"Yagami Hikari."

"How old are you?"

"I am 19 years old."

"Good, good. Now tell me. What do you think of the outcasts?" The girl's facial expression darkened.

"They are my sworn enemies. My life's goal is to annihilate each and every one of them. They must pay for the pain they have caused me."

Unmei: Okay, once again so sorry it took me forever to update and so sorry it's well… short and bad to put it bluntly. The plot is definitely getting darker now! I know there isn't too much romance in this fic so in the chapters to come I'll definitely try to incorporate some more into it. Um, please give me some ideas for how to finish this fic! I'm really running into a wall when I try to figure that out. I'm probably going to have about mmm… four or so more chapters, but I still can't think up of a good ending! HELP!

Anyways, hope you liked it despite its rather morbid tone. Oh, yes, I must thank all my reviewers. You guys have no idea just how much your reviews mean to me!

d: Haha, very creative name. Anyways, thanks so much for your very kind review. Sorry it took me so long to update—more than one month!

Moppy: Mm, Oreos and ice cream. I love sweet things so much! And yes, of course I'm so clever and stealthy. Jk, jk. Thanks so much for reviewing always. Love you muchy!

sushimonster724: Haha, yay! I'm glad more people are discovering, reading, and enjoying my fic. Thanks so much reviewing.

LilKittyCrazie: Hmm, that's a good question. I haven't thought whether I should include Takeru's mom in this story (does anyone know her Japanese name? I forgot what it was and I'm too lazy to look it up…) Sorry my chapters are short. I'll really try to make them longer. Thanks for reviewing!

anime latina: Thanks so much for the advice. I did try to add some more of Takeru's thoughts…I'll really try to add some more! Thanks again for reviewing. Hope you keep on reading, reviewing, and most of all enjoying my fic!

Kaydreams: Haha, thanks so much. I'm glad you liked it a lot—that makes me really happy! Thanks once again, love you muchy as well!

Malcolm Yuy: Haha, yea, I was extremely busy (and still am.) Sorry this update took a long time—I'll try to be faster. Thanks for always reviewing!

happyplacegn: Dun, dun! The plot thickens indeed. Glad you enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for always reviewing!

Shuu234: Ah, yes, Taichi. Ah, dammit I keep forgetting to put characters into this fic. There's so many…I'll try to work him in somehow. Thanks for reviewing.

sakura's conscience: Oops, sorry, forgot to ff reply you. Hope you don't mind…Anyways, I'm glad you enjoy my fic! Thanks so much for reviewing.

shadowtailmon: Haha, yea, I would be pretty pissed off too if I was reading that part but since I'm the author well… it's kinda hard for me to be pissed off at my own work. Thanks for always reviewing! Hope you keep on enjoying my fic.

luvisgood: Once again, so sorry it took me FOREVER to update. Thanks so much for your very kind review!

Lightseer: Yay you're back from well, wherever you've been. Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for always reviewing!

Takerus Lost Angel: Haha, yea, sorry my chapters are short. I'll really try to make them longer. Thanks for reviewing! I love you, and all my reviewers, so very, very much!

Unmei: Well, I'd like to have this updated in about 2 weeks, but realistically, it'll probably be another month before I have the next chapter out. Sorry for the long delays, but school, etc is making me very busy and I just can't find the time to squeeze not only this fic but my other one in as well. I will try my hardest to finish this fic before the New Year, I really will! Thanks to everyone for sticking with this fic for so long already. Please give me your thoughts and advice; they're really a great help to me!