Hello everyone thanks for reading. Special thanks to TsukiyoTenshi for the reviews and letting me know someone is reading, now onto the story; also sorry for the long awaited update.
A Cover Up Story
It was finally time for us to go and rescue my brother. The training I had with Amu was crazy; she nearly killed me three times without really trying since she was holding back. Ikuto and I had improved quickly, but even I knew we were still far from anything special.
"I don't understand why we have to tell King Nagihiko and Queen Rima what we are planning to do," I complained, "They won't like it, but it has nothing to do with them."
"Akiyo, they need to know because Ikuto and I are a part of this kingdom. A war could possibly break out if we do this wrong. Also I have to report to my master. Any more arguments," Amu answered stiffly.
"Still what do we do if they say no," I asked incessantly.
"Shut, up," Ikuto muttered under his breath.
"They won't, now be quiet," Amu sighed. Amu knocked on the door to the throne room.
"Who is it," a guy's voice boomed loudly from the other side.
"Seems his training to be a king has paid off," Ikuto grinned over at Amu who was trying to hide her smile.
"It is I, Amu, your humble servant."
"We did not call for you," a girl's voice boomed a tad louder than the guy's. Amu silently shook her head with a small smile. That was Rima for you, always trying to not be out done by Nagihiko.
"True, but I have important matters I would like to discuss with the two of you. Although, if you would prefer not to talk then I will take my own liberties and act of my own accord since it is of my desires and not much relevant to you, but more so the kingdom," Amu replied calmly.
"Let them enter," Rima chuckled softly. The doors opened by the guards and without hesitating Amu strode into the room followed by Ikuto and then me. I had never been in contact with royalty my whole life and now here I am in the throne room feeling uncomfortable while Amu and Ikuto act as if it was daily routine. The doors shut behind us and we were completely alone with the Queen and King except for one other guard.
"What is it that you have wished to speak with us about," Nagihiko asked noticing that Ikuto and I were here as well.
"Ikuto and I want to help a friend, Akiyo here, rescue his brother from the clutches of Prince Kairi's King. I was hoping to avoid bad actions that could possibly lead to war," Amu stated simply.
"No war will start if ones closely associated with the kingdom are not involved," Rima nodded.
"I only ask that you let me take him to the person who he is looking for, and have the chance to protect him if things get too dangerous," Amu agreed.
Nagihiko looked at Rima in the eyes, the two seemingly silently communicating something. Rima nodded her head.
"Permision is granted, but anything beyond what has been stated here will be sure cause for punishment in death," Nagihiko said looking into Ikuto and Amu's eyes with concern.
"Amu I expect this to be done in a day. Yaya has her wedding to Prince Kairi coming up in a few weeks and we do not need to start off on bad relations," Rima added.
"Of, course your Highness," Amu answer with a bow.
"Amu, are you sure the best way to get to Kingdom of the Landslide is through the forest," Ikuto asked me.
"Yes it is the fastest route from where we are. Besides we can't get lost there is a path," I answered.
"So how did you find the person I described," Akiyo asked. I took lead making my horse go into the forest first.
"If you had kept the blade that punctured your shoulder, I'm sure I could've figured it out sooner," I said avoiding the answer, but hinting at it.
"Does that mean you know the person who did it personally," Ikuto asked beating Akiyo to it.
"Yes, you would be surprised how small the world may seem sometimes. I do know the handiwork of a lot of people though," I answered calmly.
"You answered that you know this one personally though. Who is she to you," Akiyo asked harshly.
"Does it matter? Is that really important to you or do you want to save your brother? Most people can only chose one goal as their priority and succeed," I answer back coldly.
"How could you question me? I want to save my brother and get out alive!"
"And that is what we will do," I said firmly. We continued the rest of the journey in silence. The treetops blocked our view of the sky and we lost count of time beneath the dark sky. Leaves crunched loudly under the hooves of the horses. I pulled my horse to a stop.
"We should create a fire now and set up camp. By tomorrow we should be at the castle," I said to the empty silence.
"Are you sure this will work," I asked nervously wringing my wrists with my hands.
"Of course Akiyo, who did you think you asked for help from," Amu glared at me.
"Well you can't blame a guy for making sure," I muttered back.
"Unless you can come up with a plan yourself you should really just shut it," Amu smirked.
"Amu you're different today," Ikuto whispered silently. Amu waits for him to say anything else and when he doesn't she pretends she didn't hear him.
"Okay now that everyone is clear on the plan we should get a move on," Amu ordered. I followed Amu out of the city and toward the entrance of the castle. A dozen guards stood in front of it and kept their eyes on us as we stepped toward them. The guard in the middle was decorated better than the others and must be their leader.
"I'm Amu Hinamori, the Pink Flare, and Queen Rima's top maid. I am here to give Prince Kairi and King Nikaidou a message from my Queen and King."
"Who are the two behind you," the decorated guard asked.
"These are my companions. Ikuto here is the number one tracker and is here on behalf of our King and Queen as well," Amu answered.
"What about the other guy?"
"He is King Nagihiko's trusted servant here to make sure we accomplish what we came here for," Amu answered again not even a hint of a lie across her face.
"Okay, wait here while I send one of us to alert the King and Prince," the decorated guard looked at his underlings, "New guy go and tell the King and Prince!"
"Yes sir," said the smallest of the guards who then ran off inside the castle.
"Having the new guy do it? Isn't that a bit dangerous, do you know if he is loyal enough," Amu asked.
"Don't worry someone is tailing him to make sure he does as asked," the decorated guard grunted.
"Quite intelligent you guys are," Amu smiled gratefully.
"It's nice to get some appreciation," one of the guards mumbled.
"Pink Flare, remember? I'm a knight as well," Amu smiled politely.
"Ah so it is true, Amu and Ikuto are here," Kairi said followed by the guard.
"Would I lie," Amu asked sweetly.
"You would if it wasn't an order," Kairi said looking her in the face, "and others would definitely lie."
"As smart as always," Ikuto chuckled.
"I'll take that as a compliment," Kairi nodded his head in Ikuto's direction with a small smile.
"Nice to meet you Prince Kairi," I offered.
"Yes, and let's keep it that way. The King has asked me to escort you to the throne room," Kairi said. The guards moved aside to let the three of us enter and quickly closed the gap behind us. I looked around the hall and into rooms with the doors open as subtly as possible. Other than finding some good hiding places if things got out of hand, I found nothing interesting—well nothing interesting to other people.
"So what have you come here to say," Kairi asked looking at Amu. He held some sort of odd respect for her that I can't figure out.
"Well I was hoping to give you more information about last time, in exchange for information you have," Amu answers. I'm glad she had come up with a good reason, because I had no clue how to make an excuse. Fuyuki was always better at that than me. Ikuto gave her a questioning look. She smiled back clearly saying 'back off'.
"What information do you want in return," Kairi asked raising an eyebrow.
"I can't bring myself to ask in front of these two. In truth I brought these two as companions on my journey here. Does the King want me to speak to you before I speak to him," Amu said avoiding using my name.
"That is fine I can understand why you would want to talk about it in private, but what will those two do while we speak," Kairi asked.
"Actually I wanted to catch up with Kukai and he could show the two of us around. Is he busy," Ikuto asked. Ikuto did well at this part of the plan.
"He is busy in the training grounds teaching some kids the basic defense skills against sword attacks. He will be finished soon, but feel free to interrupt he needs someone to be an example anyway. I assume you still remember the way to the grounds," Kairi watched Ikuto carefully.
"How could I forget? I was forced into a battle to the death and nearly died after a short amount of training," Ikuto chuckled dryly. It seems that just after Amu and Ikuto were split from Fuyuki and me some scary stuff happened. I'll have to ask Ikuto later.
"True, I can't say that was a good time in my life, but then again most of my life is…challenging," Amu frowned.
"Well, come on we better get going and find Kukai," Ikuto said waiting for me to follow. I nodded my head and followed looking at Amu one last time before turning the corner.
"So I heard about your wedding! I'm so happy for you two and quite surprised that you convinced your King and sister— the Queen— to accept Yaya," I smiled. Kairi looked down at his feet guiltily and his body tensed. Quickly he lifted his head and relaxed his body when he looked me in the eyes and smiled.
"It was difficult, but I managed to convince them to see it my way." Kairi said just before the knights outside the throne room opened the door. I followed Kairi into the room walked closer to King Nikaidou, then found the appropriate distance away and kneeled.
"It is an honor to meet with you Sire," I said loud and clear.
"Amu Hinamori—the Pink Flare—I only wished I had known sooner that you are the infamous knight. I trust the new Queen and King of the combined Kingdom are doing well," Nikaidou asked.
"The two are doing better than anyone could have possibly imagined," I answered.
"So Kairi, what is it the Flare wants," Nikaidou asked turning his head to look his step-son in the eyes.
"Information, only I don't know what kind," Kairi answered stiffly.
"I see, and what will you exchange for the information you want," Nikaidou frowned.
I held back a sigh, "I offer to tell you everything I know about King Roth. I was once his slave before I became Queen Rima's."
"I see that is a good offer since not many who have gotten to get close to him have lived to tell a soul, but I must ask what information you want in exchange," Nikaidou asked carefully.
"I want to know why you wanted to have control over Ikuto and me if we were the ones in the prophecy, which everyone suspects we are. I know asking you to tell me something like that truthfully must have an equal worthy amount of information," I answered.
"You are indeed quiet right, although even if I did tell you the truth you would have no proof to make others believe I said such a thing. I think I will take some time to think this over. Kairi you should practice you're fighting skills against her. I will send for someone to find you once I have made my decision. The both of you are dismissed." I stood up and bowed before following Kairi out of the room.
"So do you want to have a rematch? Kukai and the others should be done by now," Kairi said looking at his watch.
"Sure, that is if you aren't afraid to lose because this time there isn't going to be interference," I smirked.
"You're on," Kairi frowned.
I found Kukai in the middle of his lecture and continued to walk straight toward him followed by a nervous Akiyo. "…worst case scenario you might have to grab the blade with your hands, but I would only use it as a last option defense. Know if I could just have someone volunteer to help me demonstrate how to defend yourself," Kukai thought allowed.
"Do you mind if I offer to help," I said loudly over the concerned voices of the students
"Ikuto, how nice to see you buddy. I guess you'll have to do, but the last time I saw you with a sword you weren't that great," Kukai practically shouted from excitement and had a huge grin on his face.
"Well then, I'll guess you will be glad to hear that at the very least I can promise I have improved," I smiled lightly.
"Well let's see what you got. I can tell you already have a sword on you so why don't you have a go at me," Kukai suggested.
"You don't have to ask me again," I said whipping my sword out of its sheath. I swung my sword from Kukai's left side to the right. Kukai dodged just out of the swords grasp and held up his hand causing me to pause.
"See how he swung the sword at me from the left to right. Instead of dodging the sword by moving back and to the right I took a step back toward the left close to where his sword stopped. By doing this it will give you the chance to run away or prepare for the next attack. See Ikuto has lost the momentum he had in the sword and will have to take the time to pull it back and strike again, however if he chooses to jab the sword forward you need to be prepared to dodge that attack. It is important that you use the time that it takes to build up momentum to your advantage," Kukai explained.
"Wow Kukai, that's an amazing point. I was just going to try to gather momentum. I never even thought about jabbing the sword at you," I said in awe.
"You still have much to learn about fighting with a sword, but I admit you have improved. Your stance is more firm, the elbows at the right distance, and the way you hold and attack with the sword has improved," Kukai listed.
"Can you show us how to avoid the jab," a student asked.
"Sure, that is a great idea. Ikuto will you demonstrate a jab," Kukai asked raising both eyebrows.
"Anything for you Kukai," I teased.
"Now that's what I wanted to hear," he laughed. I took a jab at Kukai feeling a little nervous about him being able to dodge it. Kukai didn't even blink and started to move back before I even had the chance to jab. When I did jab the sword he was already out of my range.
"What I did isn't too hard to remember. All you really have to remember is that again his momentum ended with the first swing. Anytime you get the chance to move out of the swords range. Before he even had the chance to pick up his momentum I was already backing up expecting the worst. Any more questions," Kukai asked.
"What if you're badly injured already and are slowing down on dodging the movements," a boy asked.
"Well in some cases you can act dead. For example, if this guy isn't attacking you in particular, but a crowd you can pretend to be dead already and he will move on to other targets as bad as that sounds you have a good chance of survival if the injury isn't too severe," Kukai answered.
"If that isn't the case then I would suggest using your own blood to your advantage. Force the swordsman to slip on a puddle of your blood or blind him with it by aiming for his eyes," Amu said from behind us.
"That would take quiet some skill, but you do have a good point," Kukai turned to her with a smile.
"I thought you said they would be done by now," Amu said turning toward Kairi.
"They should be," Kairi sighed.
"Well then class you heard the Prince, my lecture is over," Kukai smiled sheepishly. The students left the training ground loudly discussing ideas and theories.
"Sorry I got so excited that I lost track of time Prince Kairi," Kukai bowed.
"That's fine, but Ikuto and his friend have been waiting for you to show them around the castle so I suggest you do that. Amu and I have business to attend to," Kairi responded.
"I will do as you say Prince Kairi," Kukai said, "You two follow me and I will show you things you can't accomplish anywhere else."
"So you think I can't win? I have been practicing," I said pushing my glasses closer to my nose.
"I know you have been, but what makes you think that will help you," she asked with a grin that didn't quite fit her usual character.
"I'll tell you a secret. I practice every day," Amu smiled.
"You are taking me too lightly, don't you think Amu," I said frustrated, "Today you have been acting strangely.
"Shall we get to the fight Prince Kairi, the King will make his decision soon enough." I nodded my head to Amu and pulled out my swords as a reply. Amu smiled darkly and dashed at me without unsheathing her own sword, which surprised me, but I had seen her give Kukai a hard punch and win because of it. I could not risk underestimating her. I flicked my wrist and expected the sword to cut into her, but it was only a tiny scratch. Before I could even start to move my sword back for defense I attacked with the other and then pulled the other sword back to defense. She pulled back in time to miss the blade then quickly stepped closer to kick one of my swords from my hand.
Amu caught the sword perfectly in her own hand then stared at me with an amused expression. "I never said I would need to use my own sword to defeat you,'' she said.
"Who said I was already defeated," I asked. Amu smiled and simply tossed my sword at me, which I blocked with my other sword. I didn't see it coming, but she had sent her own sword right after I blocked mine and lowered my defense. The sword fell short. It had been aimed at my heart.
"Hey you said you didn't need to use your own sword to beat me," I gasped with shock.
"Who said I needed to tell the truth," Amu asked, "There are no rules in life. Fight and use everything to your advantage otherwise you could die."
"Prince Kairi and Amu the King has made his decision. He waits for you in the throne room," a guard said interrupting the two's intense stare down.
"We shall come," I said after a small pause.
"Yes we shall," Amu agreed.
"So how is Utau doing," Kukai asked with a frown on his face. He didn't even show us around the castle instead he just talked to Ikuto.
"My sister is doing fine, but I admit she misses you. She has been busying herself with any task she can find," Ikuto answered giving Kukai a pat on the back.
"I miss her too, but I have to prove myself to my brother before he will let me marry her otherwise it is an arranged marriage I will have," Kukai sighed, "So how is your relationship with Amu going?"
"Is it bad to say odd since we have never had a calm moment after we got together. We always have something to worry and stress about so we really don't have much time to put effort into our relationship. We love each other though and that is what matters most," Ikuto said.
"You two have strong bonds, if you two can't make it then I doubt any of us can," Kukai smiled, "So you two better make it."
"Even if we don't make you better take care of my sister," Ikuto growled.
"I promise," Kukai answered sternly.
"So know that we have everything all cleared up. I need to ask you a favor. Amu told me to pass on something to a girl named Ri. She said you would know who she is, so I was wondering if you could lead us to here," Ikuto asked.
"I could and would, but she is busy with a prisoner. You will really have to never say a word about this ever again if I do lead you to her," Kukai groaned.
"Deal, now help us find her before we have to leave," Ikuto promised.
"Okay, fine then follow me and don't you dare get lost," Kukai waved for us to follow him. He led us to a staircase that went downward. The floor was dimly lit by torches. We took to many turns left or right to count and finally he stopped in front of a door. A girl with long black hair tied back in a ponytail and piercing blue eyes looked over at me with shock.
I smiled and reached out my hand toward her, "You must be Ri, I found you." (I want to end it here, but I haven't posted in a while so I'll continue)
"You, how did you find me," Ri exclaimed.
"I have some good connections, my friends are amazing," I said.
"Wait! Ikuto are you saying there is no message from Amu," Kukai asked panicking.
"No she does have one. Amu told me to tell you Ri that you owe her one," Ikuto said.
Ri sighed, "She must mean that time. Okay you may take Fuyuki, but leave here at once. I'm the one who will get in trouble for his absence. I didn't see any of you down here. I went to a bathroom break and came back to find him gone."
"But Ri your punishment—"
"Kukai let it go. I have had far worse punishments before this. Amu knows that and she took that into account when she made her decision," Ri smiled, "Ikuto give Amu this message: Walk carefully for the red's consumption is upon you."
"What does that mean," I asked.
"That is not for you to know, but for Amu to figure out. Now get him and get out of here I am going to the bathroom," Ri growled.
"I'm sorry your offer is really good, but I have decided that I will not take you up on it," Nikaidou said looking down at me. His face said he had made up his mind and he wouldn't change it. I smiled.
"King Nikaidou, if I may say so I do truly like you. It is hard to make tough decisions as a King since you have to place all of your people's safety in mind. I really didn't want to talk about that past anyway. So here is my summary advice of King Roth free of charge. Sire, never trust what he says unless it be a threat. I wish you luck on you journey," I bowed politely.
"You are dismissed Amu," Nikaidou said firmly.
"Why did you say that," Kairi asked me astonished.
"Because I know just how interesting things are going to get after your wedding with Yaya. I know things have changed, you have changed," I answer hinting at what I have found out.
"You can't possibly know," Kairi gasped.
"What if I do? What if I think you made a tough choice, but a good one? Take care of Yaya for me and I'm sorry for acting so strangely earlier," I smile sadly.
"I—I'll see you at the wedding," Kairi hesitated.
"Yes you will. Let's make the best of the time we have left. Things will change quickly after it is all over," I advised.
"I hoped it wouldn't," Kairi said in pain.
"I have to go Kairi, make sure you take care of yourself," I said giving him a tight hug.
"You as well Amu, I know that danger follows you around every corner. Make sure to conquer it," Kairi said hugging me back before leaving me alone in the corridor to think about how everything was going to fall apart.
Thanks for reading! This story is going to reach the climax soon. I'm excited! Are you ready for it?
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Word Count: 4,263 (Not counting my notes at beginning and end)