The Land of Konantica
A/N: I wrote the first twenty pages of The Land of Konantica when I was sixteen. Seven years later, I re-watched some FY episodes and got pumped about the series again. I decided to take this shelved work back up. Of course, like my anime tastes, my writing has changed since 2001. The fic you read now has gotten a revamp of the biggest kind, and only loosely resembles its original form. Hope you enjoy!
PART I – Beneath Leaves
"Miaka! Where are you?!" The boy cupped hands to his mouth, calling again. Long-tipped ears twitched, listening for movement. Around him, a dense maze of branches hung heavy with still leaves.
"I'm not kidding! We need to get back!" A pair of translucent wings fluttered from his shoulders, beating worry into the air. "Your fiancé's gonna kill me!"
The boy heard a rustle by a large elm. Surging forward, he grabbed handfuls of foliage, whipping the green over impatiently. Empty, webbing stems stared back.
He sighed and took off through thick rays streaking from the forest canopy. His wings lit up with a rainbow of tint as he traveled under the sun. Moss green hair whipped about his face and he brushed it back absently, speeding past a nesting finch. The mother bird ignored the interruption, settling herself deeper into her warm roost. She was used to the comings and goings of fairies, living so close to a Kith Tree.
"Miaka!! Where are you hiding?" The boy hollered. "Come out or I'll tell him you've gone missing!"
"You do that!" A nearby leaf twitched. "He doesn't have claim over me!" A red-faced girl peeked out. Pale, yellow wings beat angrily. Olive eyes filled with threat and she pushed strands of waist-long brown hair behind pointed ears.
"Miaka!" The boy zoomed to her side. "I've been looking everywhere for you."
"Some best friend," she scowled. "You baited me on purpose Amiboshi."
He folded arms over bare chest. "I was getting desperate."
"Not as desperate as I'll make you!" She picked off a piece of bark and hurled it.
Amiboshi ducked. "You love it!" His face broke in a grin. "I still say you should be engaged to me."
"Oh right," she pried free more bark. "So I could fawn over you like those South Kith Tree girls? No thanks."
Wood sailed for his head. He caught it without breaking stride.
"I think you're secretly pleased with your father's decree. Set to marry the Head Council Member? What more could a girl want?"
"I tell you," his smile turned to smirk. "I'm right here."
Miaka rolled eyes. "In your dreams."
Her frown deepened. "Take that back!"
Amiboshi laughed. "Defensive much?"
"No!" She lunged forward, seizing the hem of his fern kilt. "Come here!"
The boy spit out his tongue and whizzed from her grasp. "You'll have to catch me!"
"Get back here!" She flew from her leaf.
Amiboshi rocketed through the forest, far from reach. "It's okay to admit you're embarrassed."
"Embarrassed I haven't whooped you sooner!"
"Whooped or wooed?"
"YOU WISH!" Miaka flew faster. "I'll make you sorry!"
"What's he saying?" Tamahome peered past his friend's shoulder, nudging with chin. "I can't see."
"Quit elbowing me!" Tasuki hissed. "I can't tell. Your big blue butt's in the way," he kicked a hoof at the extremity, proving his point.
The two centaurs crouched among tall sage bushes, peeking at a private glen sprawled before them.
"Move it!" Tamahome shoved the other man aside and squinted into gnarled thicket. He couldn't see anything but sage, and parted the leaves for a better view.
"Hey! I was standing there jerk!" Tasuki kicked again. Tamahome dodged the blow.
"What're you going to do about it?"
Tasuki snarled and reared forward, knocking the blue-haired man to the ground. "Ya uppity bastard!"
The pair went down growling. Tamahome kicked a blue-gray hoof at his attacker and the two traded punches and insults as they rolled on the forest floor.
They had been spying on the clearing. Mitsukake, known for reliability, had taken to disappearing from the Centaur Grounds, mumbling flimsy excuses when pressed. Tamahome and Tasuki, feeling duty-bound – and nosy – had followed their stoic friend.
They quickly learned why his absences had grown more frequent. And for who.
A stream spoke softly in the glen and a sea nymph bobbed from the water. Scales ran down her sides and back, framing blue-tinged skin. The scales glinted in the sun and bright hues danced across the water as she laughed. Light brown hair, tied up in strands of seaweed, had started to fall. Loose tendrils draped around her shoulders.
She gestured avidly to the centaur sitting across on the bank. Mitsukake listened with a smile as she spoke of her day. The sea nymph rocked back, bending knees up out of the river. Her elbows rested on them briefly and she returned Mitsukake's smile timidly.
While Tasuki and Tamahome traded barbs about each other's mothers, Mitsukake brought something out from behind his back.
The sea nymph's forehead creased in anxiety. Her people didn't like surprises. The centaur handed it over, urging with his eyes.
She took the present gingerly, weighing it a moment.
"Open it Shoka," his deep voice broke the glen's quiet.
"What is it?" She spoke Centaruian with a Neptune accent. Rippling waves echoed in her words.
Mitsukake wrung now-empty palms together. "Please. You'll see."
Carefully, she removed the dried-leaf wrapping. Her mouth dropped.
"Do you like it?"
The water sprite's eyes widened as she pulled away the last leaf and saw a heavy, pink conch shell.
"I was told… its custom for your people… when asking… for—," Mitsukake flushed.
She cradled the shell, running fingers over its pearly edge. Tears brimmed in her eyes. She didn't bother wiping them away. Shoka smiled through the wet and leaned across the riverbank.
"Yes, you were right. And yes… I accept."
Mitsukake let out the air he hadn't realized he held. "Really?"
She set the conch shell beside him and nodded.
A giant grin took his face. He shouted and scooped her from the water. She shared his grin and Mitsukake bent to kiss her.
Tasuki and Tamahome had finally stopped throwing punches. They stared, slack-jawed.
"Oi! What's going on here?!"
"Shut up!" Tamahome clamped a hand over Tasuki's mouth. "He'll hear us!"
Tasuki bit fingers. "Your hand tastes like dirt! Leggo!"
Tamahome swore. "Quiet!"
Mitsukake lifted his head with narrowed eyes. He turned toward the field's edge. A volley of expletives rose up from a sage bush on the periphery.
Shoka heard only faint murmurs and strained to pick words out. Out of water, all the excess oxygen severely limited her senses.
"Who's there?" She leaned into Mitsukake and thin arms wrapped tight around his neck.
"Don't worry, I know them," the centaur set her down gently. "They're idiots."
She sank to the ground, tucking blue legs under her trembling body. Water sprites were wary of happenings on land and she was no exception.
Mitsukake watched the thicket move and trotted over to the makeshift spy post. Glowering, he pulled apart wide bushes.
"Come out you two! I know you're both here, acting like ugly, prying, little Satyrs!" Mitsukake bent a final bush to reveal two different colored centaurs, one blue-gray and the other fiery red. Both stood with hands on hips, indignant.
"What did you say?!"
"I'm no Satyr!" Tamahome cringed. The squat, half-men, half-goats were known for spreading gossip throughout the forest. Not the nicest thing to be called.
Mitsukake scoffed. "It's true! The colts I train are more mature than you guys. This is the most important day of my life!"
Tasuki shrugged and Tamahome stared down in discomfort. The brown centaur shook his head, palming face.
"Mitsukake?" Shoka spoke from the bank. "I should leave. I'm sorry, but you know I don't like crowds. I'll come back tomorrow."
A splash accompanied her goodbye and she was gone before Mitsukake could turn around.
Tasuki grunted and slung an arm over his tall compatriot. "Don't waste your time with girls Mitsukake, they only leave heartbreak."
He frowned. "You were the one who scared her away."
"Oh, details, details," Tasuki ducked as Mitsukake's fist flew through the air.
A merman swam up into the quiet lagoon and surfaced in one of its shallow pools. Looking around, he spotted Hotohori sitting alone on a wide rock. His king stared off at nothing, seeing things faraway. The merman kicked his purple tail and swam past a towering granite face, trickling with remnants of a drying waterfall.
Hotohori noted the man's approach and absently made room on the rock. His visitor came up, grabbing the boulder. Strong arms pushed against it and he hoisted himself from the water. Hotohori brought his gaze back to the present and frowned.
"What do you need Nuriko?"
The dripping merman smiled in greeting. "I came to find you sire."
Nuriko squeezed his wet braid, swinging it carelessly over his shoulder. "Something the matter?"
He watched tense lines appear in his king's face. His smile fell. "What is it? Another premonition?"
"What did you see?"
His frown deepened. "Evil."
"In the sea?" Nuriko glanced to the water. His cheeks drained of color.
"No," knowledge slumped Hotohori's shoulders. "The forest."
"I sense a great cold coming from the trees. The sprites are in danger. I feel it in my fins," Hotohori flicked his green tail.
"What do you need us to do?"
"We must warn them Nuriko. Warn all of Konantica."
A horned ogre covered in old scars shifted his bulk. Enormous shoulders straightened in watchful anticipation. The creature waited for his master in the light of Konantica's twin moons, Pen and Lunelle.
The ogre let anxious minutes pass by. The night aged and the gloom grew thick. He studied the sky absently. Feeling eyes on him, he turned back to the dark forest. He spotted a trace of gold fur.
"Ashitare," a voice of iron pierced the shadows.
The ogre bowed. "Sir."
"Your journey was not tracked?" The question was flat and full of disinterest.
"No, my lord."
"Good," a hoof stomped. "You're doing well. Stay in the mountains and keep hidden till I call for you."
"Is it almost time?"
"Nearly," the hoof bit more earth. "Wait for my signal. We must be cautious; I don't want the sprites to suspect anything."
"How will I know your signal?"
The outline of his master's face turned upward. "Look to the sky you seem so preoccupied with. You'll know."
Ashitare grunted, hefting his spiked club to a shoulder.
"And don't let yourself be seen," the order dropped heavy and harsh. "We'll never get near their royalty if they learn an ogre has migrated from the Bestial Territory."
"Yes master," Ashitare licked black lips.
Menace poured into the voice. "It's only a matter of time... soon... soon the girl will be ours and her power, mine."