*Looks around* …Where am I? Wait… nostalgia's hitting… OH! Blue Dragon Fanfiction Archive! I'm home! :D
Err… Ignore that idiotic phrase up above. But yeah, after like… one/two years, I'm back in the Archive that inspired stories jumbled up in my messed up head! And MAN the Archive grew significantly while I was gone. I guess I should explain that last part. *Ahem* The computer Kasumi and I shared got messed up… pretty badly. ._. Our phones were still able to let us go on and read stories of our favorite authors(Yamadori, Inita, Rune, An, Growlmon, etc.), but we couldn't write anything. It. Was. TORTURE. So much torture in fact, that I actually saved up money to get a new computer. Result: we got a new one! :D And as Kasumi made her comeback, I shall make mine. With the second/actually third chapter of Blue Dragon: The Sacred Stones! Enjoy new and old readers. And it feels great to be back.
King Konrad apologizes for not being able to provide more soldiers on Kluke's quest. However, the two soldiers he has provided have proven to be more than useful. Realizing this fact, Kluke is grateful for Konrad's aid.
Chasing rumors of Shu, Kluke and Bouquet set out for Grado. The group's first stop in their journey is the remote villages of Ide, which was, until very recently, a peaceful place to live and a part of Renais.
Here, Kluke sees the devastation that has befallen Renais with her own eyes.
Chapter Two: Clinging Onto Life.
Kluke stretched, turning to Bouquet, Furioso, and Vermilion. "Jiro has mapped out a route for us. We'll travel south of Renais and pass through the town of Serafew into Grado territory."
General Furioso, a white haired soldier with a sword sheathed on one side of his Frelia uniform, and a bow kept at the other, scratched his head. "Hm, that does seem like a sensible plan. Assuming, of course that we can avoid any run-ins with those psychos from Grado."
General Vermilion, another Frelian soldier mounted on a horse, looked Kluke in the eye. "Princess Kluke, may I have your leave to scout ahead?"
Jiro tapped Vermilion's shoulder. "I think I should do it. From the sky, I'll have a better chance of spotting any nearby troops."
Vermilion looked at Jiro. "Just don't get shot down by any archers. I've seen what happens to Wyvern Knights when that happens."
Bouquet cleared her throat, having everyone's attention. "I think I'll be the one to scout. Unlike Wyvern Knights, Pegasus Knights have exceptional evasiveness and stealth."
Jiro blinked, pointing behind Bouquet. "My apologies, Princess Bouquet, but where is your Pegasus mount at the moment?"
"Huh? That's an easy question. It's right over-" Bouquet turned and saw Daner and Zola, but no Pegasus mount at all. "-…Where is my Pegasus mount?"
Zola scratched her head sheepishly. "I believe you.. erm.. left it back at Castle Frelia."
Bouquet deadpanned, waving her hand to Jiro as if telling him to go on and scout. Jiro, somehow knowing exactly what Bouquet was trying to send to him, nodded and flew to the mountain range.
Daner looked on at Jiro's retreating form. "Err.. shouldn't we press forward slowly just for the sake of advancing?"
"Silly Daner. We'll die if somehow there happens to be soldiers on the way." Zola smirked, patting Daner's head.
"H-Hey! Stop that!"
Jiro flew to the villages of Ide. He then had his Wyvern rest on a flat part of the mountain as he watched the village closely.
Ide was composed of three small villages all separated by a long mountain road. There seemed to be nothing on the first two villages, so Jiro decided after he finished scouting the third village, he'll give the note that it's safe to cross.
A few minutes passed, and Jiro saw no threats at all. With the safety of Ide proven, he hopped on his Wyvern and proceeded to head back to Kluke and the group.
…That was before he heard a fire.
"What-? What was that?" Jiro turned to the fire in the third village. On closer inspection, there were no villagers residing there except for two individuals who had just escaped the burning village. "Who could've started that…? Grado? No, this is too low even for them nowadays. But who-"
Jiro's train of thought was cut off as he noticed five men with axes marching out of the village. He flew closer to them in order to hear any sort of conversation, but he still kept hidden.
"Damn it! Just when I thought this low-down village would have something useful, it proved to be just deserted garbage!" A fairly tall man with light brown hair and a beard connected to it cursed.
Another person from the group, with red hair, a short beard, and bucked teeth, tapped the man's shoulder. "Hey, Boss! Look over there." He pointed at the other two villages. "There are two more villages ripe for the picking. Maybe they have somethin' inside worth taking."
"One, two… -holy Dragonov! You're right. Ha ha ha! I love a good war! With all those stupid Renais soldiers preoccupied, we're free to pillage as we please!" The man, now revealed to be the boss of the group, turned to the red headed one. "Right, Bone—you're in charge. Grab everything that isn't nailed down and bring it to the hideout."
Bone nodded. "Yes sir!" He saluted as the man left.
"Bandits..." Jiro cursed under his breath. "Of all the ill-mannered dastards our troop has to deal with… it had to be bandits…" He sighed. "I have to warn Princess Kluke- Hm?"
Jiro's attention shifted to the two people who escaped the now ruined village. They both had green hair and wore cloaks. But one of them was… a child.
The adult, a mother, looked at her son. "Stay hidden in the bushes. I'll try to clear the path of bandits so we can get to Frelia safely. Understand?"
The son, actually a young teenage boy, nodded. "Yes. I understand. B-But… I don't want you to go off and risk your life. I want to fight those bastards too!"
"No. If you were to die, I would be betraying your father's dying request. Just stay. Do you unders- Look out!"
A lone bandit sprinted to the two, axe in hand. The mother acted quickly, unsheathing her sword and slashing him across the chest.
She turned to her son. "When we get an opportunity, I want you to flee as fast as you can."
The son nodded fearfully, patting a lump on his leg.
Jiro cursed under his breath again as he turned to the direction of the troop. "I can't stay. We have to rescue those two as quickly as we can."
"Hey! You! Wyvern!" A voice called out in the distance.
"Son of a…" Jiro looked in the direction of the voice and saw a bandit archer standing on the mountain range across from him. "What do you want?"
The bandit yelled. "I want that Wyvern of yours. Now."
"And if I say no?"
The bandit smirked and readied his bow at Jiro. "Then you die. I'm not stupid. I know what arrows do to winged mounts."
"Hmph.." Jiro glared at the bandit.
"I'll give you 'til the count of th- !" The bandit was easily silenced as a javelin was soon seen in his back.
Jiro blinked. "Who in the world…?" A Pegasus landed right beside Jiro. When Jiro looked, he saw who the rider was. "Princess Bouquet! How did you get your Pegasus back?"
Bouquet smiled. "My father sent it over. It's a good thing I came just in time, no?"
"Yeah." Jiro nodded. "Thank you for the assistance. Shall we head back to the troop?"
Bouquet nodded as well. "Yes. Let's."
Jiro and Bouquet flew back to the group in a hurry. None of them bothered to land as soon as they arrived.
"How's the territory, Jiro?" Kluke asked.
Daner stared. "How bad, General?"
Bouquet sighed. "There are bandits ahead, and lots of them."
"Really? Just bandits?" Furioso chuckled. "Well, this'll be easy then."
"I wouldn't assume that so soon. Let's go into battle and see for ourselves." Vermilion told him.
"Right! Let's go!" Kluke hopped on Jiro's Wyvern as everyone took off toward the scene of the raid.
The mother was still fighting off bandits and killing them off with quick strokes of her sword. The son just watched as his mother did all the fighting. One the one hand, he was relieved to see that his mother was okay and that she was protecting them both. But on the other hand, he felt enraged at his own weakness and inability to fight.
"What are you still doing here? Run!" She yelled to her son, quickly slicing through another bandit.
"O-Okay.." The son nodded and began running to a nearby brush.
Unfortunately, one bandit spotted his retreating figure. "There's one!" He smirked, flinging his axe at the boy.
"Noi!" The mother dashed toward her son, diverting the axe's path and grazing her shoulder in the process.
"M-Mom!" Noi ran to his mother's safety, completely unaware of the approaching horde of bandits.
"J-Just run.. go.." She struggled to stand up, holding her bloody shoulder.
"No! I'm not leaving without you!"
One of the bandits snickered. "Fine. If you wanna die together.. charge!"
The bandit horde ran full speed at the defenseless pair. Noi looked on in fear as the mother glared at what was to come. The bandits raised their axes as they got ever so closer. Then, out of the forest, Zola tackled the bandit in front, stabbing him in the chest.
"What the-? Renais?"
Both a sword and a lance came in contact with most of the bodies of the bandits, making them fall to the ground lifelessly. Jiro and Bouquet flew down and took their weapons, unleashing the same projectile attack.
Furioso hid in a tree, positioning his bow to the bandits' direction and firing it, hitting more than one in just one strike.
Vermilion rode in directly at the remaining bandits, plowing them over and slashing the ones he can reach.
Only one bandit was left standing. "…I… I need backu—Urgh!"
Kluke's rapier was suddenly lodged into his chest, killing him quickly. Kluke pulled out her rapier and turned to the mother and son with a smile on her face.
"We're sorry to be so late. Are the two of you okay?"
Noi nodded shyly as his mother stood up.
"Yes. Thank you." She smiled, then observed Kluke carefully. "Tell me, are you the Princess of Renais?"
"No, I'm erm… a mercenary name-"
The mother pointed at Kluke's bracelet and grinned. "It's okay. I'm sorry to have pried about your identity. But I do thank you for the help, Your Highness."
"Please. It was no trouble." Kluke reassured her. "Anyway, we must be going. There are undoubtedly more bandits along the mountains."
The mother pondered for a moment, then spoke to Kluke again. "Princess Kluke, allow me to join your side in the war."
"H-Huh? Are you sure, madam? I-I mean-"
The mother reassured her. "Please, call me Hildegard. I need to make this world safe for my son Noi." She motioned to Noi, then continued. "I will at least keep him someplace safe, then go with you."
"What? No way! I'm going too!" Noi cried out.
"Noi! You know it's dangerou-"
"I know that! But I'm not about to watch you put yourself in danger for me!" Noi stared into Hildegard's eyes. "Please, I'm not a bad fighter. I learned from Dad."
"Whether you're a good fighter or not, I'm not going to let you risk your life in the war!"
"I lost Dad! There's no way I'm going to run the risk of losing you too!" Noi's words shocked Hildegard, but he continued to speak. "I'll protect you! I don't want to watch you die!"
"Noi…" Hildegard closed her eyes. "…Fine. You can come with me. Is that okay, Your Highness?"
Kluke smiled and nodded. "We'll take care of him too."
"Um… not to ruin anything, but…" Jiro pointed at the mountain. "More bandits are coming."
"Bzaba's Bandits…" Hildegard growled. "They've been close to Ide, pillaging our village for quite some time."
Jiro pointed at Bone. "He's the one we need to take out. If we take out their leader, they may retreat for now."
"Right!" Hildegard spun her sword around, running toward Bone and his bandit forces.
"H-Hey! Don't go off alone like that!" Jiro flew to Hildegard, the group following.
Hildegard slashed through any bandit standing in her way. Surprisingly, Zola caught up with her and began doing the same thing.
The way Hildegard battles… where have I seen that before…? Jiro pondered, stabbing through some bandits with his sword.
Bone looked on at the oncoming group. "W-Wait a minute! Who are you people?"
"This is for Ide!" Hildegard slashed at Bone, but he rolled out of the way in time.
"Tch… blasted wench!" Bone threw his axe at Hildegard, hitting her in the wound from before.
"Ack!" Hildegard stumbled and fell as bandits began to surround the rest of the group.
"Hildegard! Hang on!"Kluke and the others began to fight off the crowd of bandits, but they just kept coming.
Bone snickered, walking slowly toward Hildegard with his axe at the ready. "Now… you'll be the first to die!"
Bone swung his axe down, but a flying dagger hit the center of it, shattering the axe completely.
"Who did that?"
Noi pulled out another dagger, snuck behind Bone, and stabbed him right in the back.
"Noi!" Hildegard tried to stand up.
"Urgh… bl-blast it all…" Bone fell, the other bandits looking at his body in fear.
"…Retreat!" The bandits ran away from the group in a disheveled panic, clearing the area quickly.
I understand now… Jiro offered Hildegard his hand and she took it, standing up. "General Hildegard of Renais… nicknamed the Green Tornado. That's you, isn't it?"
Hildegard chuckled. "And here I was hoping my past would stay dead. Yes, I'm that same person. But I retired as soon as Noi was born."
"I understand." Kluke walked toward the two talking. "But if you're retired, what made you change your mind and fight alongside us?"
Hildegard looked at Noi, then back at Kluke and Jiro. "I want to make this world safe for my son."
Noi grinned. "And I'm going to protect my mom. End of story."
Kluke smiled. "We'll help you too."
"So long as we defeat Grado…" Zola looked at the sky.
"Right. Let's go." Bouquet hopped on her Pegasus mount, flying toward the road ahead with Kluke and the group in tow.
…I'm done? Woo! I'm done! :D
Well, I don't have much of an ending note. Sooo… bye. XD