Princess Guard
Chapter Two: The Eternal Veil

Well, I have to apologize. I didn't update nearly as quickly as I wanted to but in this time I've read up to Chapter 158 of Tsubasa. All I have to say is... wow. Things sure do take a twist. A lot of twists. Anyhow first I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed along with having just read. I'm just to old fashioned on to utilize the reply function. Now for a little something I forgot in the first chapter...

DISCLAIMER: I, Ari, do not own Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. That belongs to the wonderful team of CLAMP.

Now on to the part people actually come to read. On with the fic!

"Would you look at this pretty? Oh she's fresh! I bet her blood still bleeds sweet..."

Twisted would have been a prime word to describe the face. Horrified, the young, chestnut-haired girl could only stare. Despite the heavy veil of darkness surrounding the area she could see the monster perfectly; a scraggy, pale man with long, thin ebony hair that hung in a sickly mess over his face. She had tried to hide her fear and yet could not help feeling her whole body tremble from staring into murky, viridian-hued eyes.

"Not the brightest girlie are you? Walking out at night all alone... All the better." The man gave a sick grin, stepping closer to the young girl. She tried to move back but found her feet frozen, but it was not just fear. Her gaze was locked with his own, body paralyzed. Thus was the power of this creature of the darkness.

He bent over the girl, looking with rapture at the soft skin covering her neck. Opening his mouth his pointed canines grew even larger into beastial fangs but he was never able to sink down at that moment, meal throughly interrupted by a blade through his back.

"Not up for grabs, freak." Twisting around, face contorted with rage the man broke the spell his gaze had placed upon the girl. Sakura stumbled backwards regaining control over her own body. Looking up past the monster she couldn't help but feel a rush of relief. Kurogane.

"You dare attack me?! Well if you're looking for death you've got it." Kurogane continued to glare at the gaunt being before him, blade ready at his side. The darkness had shown a curious effect on the environment. Despite his honed senses when closing his eyes the ninja could not see any auras at all but it was different from the Country of Oto. Yet here, standing clearly in front of him, the aura was definitely not that of a human. It seemed warped, bearing the characteristics of something between both life and death, definitely hostile. He had no time to further consider the matter though as the man disappeared from his sight right before his very eyes.

Cursing, the warrior turned around, trying to rely on sound but that too proved useless as every mere noise echoed from each direction. "Hey Princess! Stay where you are, got it?" He kept the corner of his eye on the girl, barely able to make out her petite form in the darkness. Feeling a sudden gust he quickly strafed away only to find what felt like a number of razors cutting through his back.

Slashing at the space where the attack had come from there was again, nothing. He heard a low laugh echo throughout the air around him and swore. How the hell was he supposed to fight something he couldn't even see?! On top of that to protect the Princess... Running wasn't even possible at this point, only a greater risk to run into more of these freaks.

"What's wrong tough guy? I'm right here." Hearing the voice inches away from him he slashed again, only to hear the same taunting laughter resound through the air. But this time he noticed something and the world became stranger. As he had slashed through the air he had caught sense to the aura of a part of the surrounding environment, a bench to be specific. Slashing again at nothing in particular he was able to sense the aura of a nearby tree. But just as soon as he caught sense to it the aura would disappear, enveloped by the ever-looming darkness.

"What's that now? Scared are you? Slashing at the shadows... you humans really are so silly." Kurogane drew his sword back, scowling.

"Not really, asshole." He swung the sword forward and a blaze of light erupted in the form of a dragon. "Senryu-Hikogeki!" As the blast swept forwards the world was illuminated. It was still night but now the sky could be seen along with the forms making up the surrounding area. There, standing only a few yards away was the gaunt being, shocked. He moved his mouth hopelessly, forming silent words.

"B-but... how?!" Kurogane gave no answer as he saw the darkness from before begin to take over once again. Lunging forward in a rush he struck the sword straight through the man's chest, through the heart. The monster opened it's mouth in one last, silent cry before the blade was removed and his own body was engulfed in an orange flame, turning to nothing but ash and bones instantly.

"Kurogane-san!" Turning, he saw the young girl rush over. "Are you alright? You're back..." The older man ran his own crimson gaze over her for a moment. Not hurt. Good. He winced though as he looked over his own shoulder to see the damage done by the vampire. Five cuts across, the longest even deep enough to be considered a gash. But as he saw the worry in the Princess's emerald eyes he pretended to shrug the wound off.

"I've had worse," he said as he sheathed the blade. "You alright? What're you doing out here anyhow, you heard the warnings from the locals too. No one can go out at night unless they wanna get killed." Sakura frowned, twisting her hands in both concern and acknowledgment.

"I-I know but... Kurogane-san was still out so Fai-san and Syaoran-kun left to find you, even Moko-chan. But they wouldn't let me come and... well, I was worried." It was Kurogane's turn to frown.

"Do you think it's any better if you were to get hurt? If the kid and wizard got back and found you gone can you imagine their worry?" He stopped seeing her own pained expression and sighed. Though he was a ninja, though he had killed countless number of men in his life, he still couldn't stand seeing that look. "Come on... let's get back. That darkness disappeared around here when that guy burned, we should be able to see a bit now." As he began back though he noticed her wince in pain as she moved her right foot. Maybe that little assessment of injury wasn't so good.

"I-I'm sorry... I didn't notice when I ran over here really, I think I was to afraid that... if something happened to Kurogane-san. I must have fell when that vampire found me..." She looked to the ground, ashamed at the burden she was causing to the older man but was surprised as she felt herself lifted off the ground.

"Come on. You know the way back right? Tell me and keep a look out for any more of those freaks." Sakura blushed. She knew there had been times when she was asleep where Kurogane had also carried her but now awake... Shaking her head she nodded. She really was lucky to be blessed with companions such as him. Truly under that rough exterior and short-temper there was a kind soul...

"Princess Sakura!" Upon opening the door to their quarters Kurogane was faced with exactly what he had expected. The white manjuu and the kid had rushed over in seconds and he had to shove them off just to put the Princess down on the couch. The fair-haired man came over from where he had previously been in the kitchen area, usual smile replaced with a slight show of worry.

"What happened?" Removing his torn coat and sitting down, Kurogane retold the run-in with the vampire. In less than an hour though the Princess's ankle had been properly bandaged along with most of the ninja's back. Despite all this though Syaoran continued to look worriedly at the girl.

"Are you sure you're alright Princess?" She nodded with her usual smile, emerald eyes sparkling.

"Yes, I'm fine. Kurogane-san was there and he took care of everything. I only wish I could have helped..." She turned her gaze onto the raven haired man for a moment. At first Kurogane had only tried to shrug it off but returned her gaze until the room grew silent from her staring at him. In those few seconds he grew highly uncomfortable, blinking and trying to look away at miscellaneous artifacts about the studio. Fai and Syaoran could only look between the two oddly, the Princess's gaze unwavering until she finally fell over, fast asleep. As Fai smiled letting out a slight laugh the other two could not help but stare around oddly.

"Well Sakura-chan's had quite a day now hasn't she? Poor girl, mind must have fallen asleep first, even with her eyes open! Oh well, Syaoran-kun can you take her to her bed?" The young boy nodded and Mokona insisted on helping, though the creature only "helped" by riding on top of Syaoran's head. When the two children had left the room Fai turned to Kurogane, smiling though with a certain weariness in his eyes.

"So I suspect Kuro-pon's encounter was really quite exciting huh? But still, what you said about that darkness... Maybe this country's curse isn't really a curse. What do you think Kuro-wan?" Kurogane scowled, partially due to the nicknames and partially from the obscure matter at hand.

"It's not cursed with eternal darkness. It's just at night, when those things come out. That darkness is their own power. The fact that no one can leave the country too... Something's wrong about all this. You think this is like Oto again?" He turned to the blonde wizard who only tapped his chin in thought, leaned over the kitchen counter.

"No... It's real. Those monsters are real and those innocents who're killed... they're all real. But... I think there's more to all this than we've been told. If it's been like this for so long, over decades, then why haven't the citizens done anything? The city hasn't been wiped out either. They say those who leaved are shun, forever followed by the curse. But is that really true when they also say that no one's left for years now? It's all very strange..." They both stayed there for a while in silent thought until Fai yawned loudly, stretching his slender arms across the counter. "All this thinking is making me tired! Kuro-rin you should go to bed too. We'll have to see a doctor tomorrow morning before trying to find out about Sakura-chan's feather again."

Kurogane only continued to look out the window, lost in his own thoughts. Whatever was wrong with this city he really didn't care, it wasn't his problem. But whenever things like this happened the Princess's feather was usually connected. Wherever the feather was though he'd find it. To get back the feather now... It was starting to mean more than just to go to the next world. A lot more.

Ah, finally done. I know that was a bit longer, hope it wasn't boring. Still setting up the whole scene however, but there'll be more actual KuroXSaku love to come! As always, all reviews are highly appreciated and loved. Flames are tolerated, as long as there's good reason behind them.