Finally...The next chapter is out. I know that this took a long time to push out, but I've been going through some personal troubles as of late. Please be patient as I try to continue writing.
THE NEXT MORNING...
Everyone was already awake and wanted to see off the heroes that helped them save them from a corrupt despot. The three person delegation from Biscotti were already mounted on their Cellkulls and ready to ride off home until the Dowager Empress herself stopped them, Jubei and her son Yukito by her side.
"Is there something the matter, Your Majesty?" Brioche inquired.
"Yes...I spent the last night writing this letter for your Princess. Please make sure that she gets this, Brioche." Eimi asked of her.
"I'll make sure of it." She smiled.
"Auntie Brioche? Will you come back again?" Yukito asked.
"Of course I will, Little Yukito." She teased the young prince.
"I'm not little anymore!" Yukito replied with indignation.
"Farewell!" Brioche called to the people who were like family to her as the trio rode off out of the city and up North to the Dauphine Mountain Range, the route home.
THE NEXT AFTERNOON
Brioche and her entourage made it through the castle gates in the early afternoon, being ushered inside quickly and urgently.
"Thank the Gods! You three came back this quickly!" Emilio exclaimed.
"Emilio...What happened around here? It looks like you're getting ready for another fight." Ichigo asked.
"Sir Ichigo...We'll tell you everything upon reaching the audience chamber. Please follow me." He instructed as he led them to the chamber to see the Princess and hopefully understand what was going on.
They reached the chambers wher ethey saw Rolan, Eclaire, along with Rizel, Amelita and the Elders, who were very happy that they had returned so quickly.
"Do all go well in Izumo?" One of the elders inquired.
"Yes...It was a resounding success." Brioche smiled winningly as they told them what had happened.
They were saddened by the passing of Lord Souzen, but glad that Ukyo had been dethroned. On top of that, the newly crowned Dowager Empress wanted to extend the hand of her Kingdom in friendship to Biscotti, offering their full support in return for helping them regain control of their country. It wasn't the reason why they went there, but they went far above and beyond the call of duty with this one. They were very glad that the threat that Ukyo and his followers posed had been completely snuffed out, gaining a valuable ally in the process.
"I knew we could count on the three of you!" Millhiore stated, completely delighted by the news. She and the rest of the immediate court were also thrilled that their Goddess of War had found her match in one of the Heroes, and that they were eager to make this relationship work out. However, it was time to get to the business at hand.
"Princess...What's been going on around here? The minute were reached the castle we saw troops running around like crazy." Ichigo inquired for the three of them.
The princess's cute and happy face then looked grim as she explained the announcement the previous day.
It had started out like any other day usually did, except that Millhi asked Shinku to accompany her on her morning walks. The two had a good time, letting the princess let her hair down for the first time in seemingly years and just have fun. The princess had an ultirior motive for this. She was very sweet on Shinku and wanted to get his attention, then she would confess what she felt for him. She had watched him for a long time and had fallen hard for the young blond. She was close to making her move.
When they returned to the castle and got started with their days, Millhi was in her chambers with her personal staff, watching a weather report when the caster suddenly got a news flash.
"This is Percy Gaudy, reporting in live from the front gates of Galette Castle! Just moments ago, Princess Leonmichelle made a shocking announcement! We now go to the footage taken just moments ago!" The news girl announced as the feed switched over.
It now showed the interior of Castle Galette's audience chambers, where standing at the podium in full military uniform was Princess Leonmichelle. She was ready to speak.
"We will be holding a military conference here in Galette Castle in four days time and I intend to change some minor details." She announced, switching gears before speaking again.
"Our last two battles with Biscotti have ended in defeat due to the arrivals of the two heroes of Biscotti and then the return of Dame d'Arquien. If we just turn and let these failures slide, we will be nothing but a disgrace to the legacy left behind by my late father and to the Lion Knights. In light of this, I propose another battle with Biscotti!" She announced boldly, drawing gasps from the media in attendance.
"Since the proposal of this battle is so sudden, I will allow Biscotti full rights to arrange for the post battle entertainment. I also invite and strongly encourage participation from all private businesses and corporations."
The citizenry were almost glowing with anticipation at the news. They were ready and waiting to throw themselves into the fray.
"Of course, there will be great rewards and lots of money to be earned. Gather and join in to make yourself some quick cash!" She said. The citizens of Galette were singing her praises in the streets.
However, in Biscotti, the Knights were all watching the broadcast and some of them were a little worried. Rolan and Eclaire watched the broadcast in his office with narrowed eyes. Something just didn't seem right.
"As soon as Biscotti agrees to this, we will begin selling tickets. I understand that this is very short notice and that people will rush to get involved. I will disclose more details later on, so continue to spread the word." She told everyone, but her smirk was saying that she wasn't finished yet.
"Additionally, there is something that I would like to use as a wager in the battle." She announced as the camera panned right to an object covered by a large cloth. A man near it pulled the cloth away to reveal the Holy Weapons of the Galette Kingdom, causing even more people to gasp.
"My Kingdom's prized weapons : The Axe Granveil and the Holy Sword Ex-Machina!" She cried as she stood up and looked directly into one of the cameras.
"I hope that you're watching, Princess Millhiore. We would like Biscotti to offer something of equal value to match, such as the Twin Holy Swords, Exillion and Palladion. On top of that we would also like you to wager the Holy Blade Ensis Celesti, wielded by the Hero Ichigo."
With the princess, she and her staff watched and listened with worry. They were wondering what kind of hidden motive Leo had for such a thing and what would make her run such a gambit.
"Citizens of both countries, be it for your own reasons, if you have the guts to fight, join us on the battlefield!" She yelled, rasing her fist aloft. Both nation's people cheered wildly, eager to fight.
"What could that girl be thinking?" Brioche wondered to herself.
"Why would they want my sword for? No one can use it but me." Ichigo also wondered aloud.
"I do not know, but I would never wager your weapon against your will, Sir Ichigo. You came to us with it, so it is yours and yours alone, a final reminder of your people."Millhi assured him.
"Don't worry about it Princess. I'll do it, then decimate them again and take it back. I told you that I swore my loyalty to my new home and I'll do whatever it takes to preserve and protect it." Ichigo swore.
"...Thank you. I know that we have no right to ask that of you, but thank you." Millhiore thanked him again as they concerned themselves with what to do about this.
"So...These Holy Weapons are like national treasures, right?" Shinku asked, walking outside in a courtyard with Ricotta and Yukikaze.
"Yes, though sometimes other countries will lend them out to another as a way to cement good relations, but Princess Leonmichelle's actions defy logic." Ricotta mused while answering the question.
"You are most likely correct. However, the citizens believe that this is just that, good relations. Something else is going on, but I cannot figure it out." Yukikaze spoke up as they walked through the courtyard.
Meanwhile, in the planning room...
"What has happened with Princess Leonmichelle? It's as if she really intends to conquer us." Elder #1 stated.
"I would like to think that isn't the case, but still..." Elder #2 added, worry in his tone. Rolan cut in.
"However, she clearly stated that she wishes for us to wager our Holy Weapons. Amelita...Do you still have the battle proclamation?" The Knight Captain requested.
"Yes...I will read it out." She said as she unraveled the scroll and cleared her throat.
"According to the proclamation, the winner will hold on to the weapons for no longer than 60 days. During which time, to display or use them is at the discretion of the two countries as long as they are treated properly and returned during that 60 day period. That is all." Amelita said, reading the scroll verbatim.
"If that is so, then they can use our weapons as they see fit, even turning them against us." Elder #1 spoke, dreading what they could be used for.
"Can't we refuse this?" Elder #2 said, his face in his palms.
"No...She already made sure of that. She rallied the people with that message." Brioche stated.
"If we don't offer our swords as well, we will look weak and at fault." Eclaire added to that.
"Other forms of compensation will require massive amounts of money...I do not know if our treasury can handle the financial strain." Amelita informed them, her tone grim.
"I see...Our choices either way don't look too good. She deliberately worded her declaration so that we would lose face should we decline. Underhanded, but smart." Ichigo piped up, adding his input.
"Princess...What shall we do?" Elder #3 asked of her.
Millhiore had sat through the entire meeting with a downcast look on her face. She didn't know where Leo learned to love fighting so much. It was as if the Leo she knew and loved like a sister didn't exist anymore.
Out in the courtyard again, Rico, Shinku, and Yukikaze were still walking along and discussing what had happened.
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Shinku asked.
"I am afraid not. The most we can hope for is for the Princess and her council to reach a decision since this is a political matter." Yuki replied.
Just as they finished their conversation, they heard a guard shout. They looked over and saw a crowd of guards surrounding someone with their weapons drawn, so they ran over to investigate.
"What are you doing here?" Emilio demanded.
"Agh! I've been caught!" A female voice cried out.
"Don't tell me that you have been spying on us prior to the start of the battle." Emilio said, his sword drawn.
"No no! It's not like that at all!" Jaune exclaimed.
"Emilio! What's going on here?" Yukikaze inquired.
"Dame Panettone! We found a Galette spy masquerading as one of our knights!" Emilio informed her.
"I already told you, I'm not a spy! I was sent here my Prince Gaul to deliver a message to Hero Shinku! That's all!" Jaune stated, handing a letter to Shinku, who opened it and read it.
A few moment's later, Shinku and Jaune left the castle, where Prince Gaul was waiting for them to arrive. They arrived at the designated meeting place.
"Gaul...What's going on here?" Shinku nearly demanded to know. He wasn't amused by the pressure that was being piled on Millhi due to this.
"You know what it is. It's about this upcoming battle. Godwin and I were against this, but she went ahead with her plans. This battle is pointless." Gaul answered him.
"I see. We were actually starting to wonder if she really intends to conquer Biscotti. Sempai would go ballistic if that were the case." Shinku replied.
He knew that if Ichigo found that she were trying to conquer and subjugate his new home, then he would be on the warpath that very minute ready to not just defeat, but completely destroy the threat in the most brutally efficient manner possible. He knew enough about his sempai to know that he would readily take on the entire Galette Royal Army alone if he had to, and would do extreme damage before he was taken down.
"I know. This is too extreme, even for my sister. I wouldn't think she would risk making an enemy of the guy she's been so infatuated with. This just doesn't make any sense." Gaul stated, racking his brain for answers, but none came. With a sigh, he launched into an explaination.
"Our two countries have been friends and allies for many generations. An invasion at this point is unjustifed and pointless, but at this point, the battle in unavoidable. I'll try to get her to be more specific on the terms concerning the weapons, but if I fail...Please win this somehow. I know that with that other Hero fighting in your corner, you can do it." Gaul confided in him.
"Why do you care so much about this?" Shinku questioned.
"I really like it here. I like the scenery, people and the food, not to mention Millhi. Besides, a battle here is supposed to be fun for everyone, win or lose. But...This battle is going too far." Gaul finished, turning his mount around with Jaune doing the same thing, heading back for Galette before he is missed.
"Thanks, Gaul!" Shinku called out.
"Don't mention it! Just don't tell anyone we spoke." Gaul replied as he and Jaune broke into a full gallop and vanished into the treeline.
Shinku remembered Millhi telling him that she and Leo were very close when they were younger, so he thought htat she might have a little insight as to what was going on here. Upon reaching the castle, he found that Millhi was busy elsewhere, but Amelita filled in the gaps for him on Miilhi's sister-like relationship with Leo.
"Well...King Basillio and King Armand were very close friends, having been practically raised together from a very young age. Naturally, this close bond transcended them and carried on to their daughters. Princess Leonmichelle was like an elder sister to our princess, and they spent a lot of time together. As they got older, they got interested in different things. Princess Millhiore was interested in the welfare of her people and how to run a government while Princess Leonmichelle excelled in the Arts of War. However, this hadn't lessened their bond, in fact it got stronger when their father's died. The first problems began to occur around six months ago, when she began to act strangely." Amelita said.
"Strangely?" Shinku parroted.
"Yes. She was beginning to meddle in the affairs of our nation. She usually suggested that we increase our fighting strength, or post more bodyguards around our princess. We took her suggestions under consideration, but Princess Millhiore refused the extra protection. Princess Leo then began to build up her military strength at an alarming rate. Then, three months ago, she cut off all communication with the princess without warning." Amelita informed him, now looking at him.
"She is very confused and heartbroken right now. She feels as though her best friend from childhood has turned against her, adding to the deteriorating relations between our countries. If they take our Holy Weapons on top of this...We fear for the worst." Amelita finished gravely, leaving Shinku to think on it.
Shinku was at a loss over what to do. He wanted to tell his sempai badly, hoping that he would know what to do, but he promised Gaul he'd keep a lid on it. Winning this battle, however, was the one thing he could count on him doing everything in his power to accomplish.
A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER...
A massive crowd had gathered at the balcony of the palace, with a huge amount of media coverage to document what the Princess had decided. Lining the balcony on both sides were Rolan and Ichigo, a small contingent of her personal staff with them. Ichigo had been given a cloak with the Biscotti Army signet on it to signify that he deserved to be there, a Knight Captain like Rolan.
Back behind the curtains, the elders were getting antsy.
"Are you sure this will be okay?" Elder #1 asked.
"The princess has made her decision. The best we can do is carry it out to the best of our ability." Brioche replied a shuffling of feet and light clanking of armor telling them that the princess, escorted by Eclaire and two Knights had arrived.
The procession made their way out to the balcony, where Millhiore walked up to the edge and was greeted by the cheers of her people. A maid handed her a microphone, so that she could address her people. She looked to the camera crews set up on the balcony, who gave her the cue to start her speech.
Behind the scenes, Shinku and Amelita walked up to Yuki and Brioche, who saw them come in. They all waited for her to speak.
"Hello, there!" She greeted her people spiritedly, a thunderous roar of applause ripping around the area.
"I know that you all saw the news this morning. We were also taken by surprise by this sudden declaration of war by our neighbors. The elders were so surprized, they nearly passed out!" She joked with the crowd to break up the tension.
"Rest assured that only their pride was briused!" She added, her people greatly appreciating her good humor before she got started.
"Ever since I came to rule, we've lost battle after battle with Galette. the battles may have been a lot of fun, but not being able to deliver you the victory you deserve was very hard. Even still, we are not a weak nation. The only reason for our streak of losses is because of my inexperience as a ruler and my inability to accurately marshal our strength." She explained but the people would have none of that. They full heartedly supported her and let her know it.
"Thank you, everyone. This is the reason why we have been preparing ourselves for these past six months. So that we can dig in our heels and stand our ground. Filliano Industries has just released the newest models of weaponry and armor, to give our soldiers every chance we can give them out there. Our youngest knights have become much stronger, especially with the arrival of out heroes to help them train. All of this...Is why Biscotti will accept the declaration of war from Galette! We will not run nor surrender without a fight!" Millhiore declared boldly, her people once again erupting with applause.
"Of course...We will uphold the wager of our Holy Weapons against Galette's...Because I have faith in every one of you!" She added, the crowd going nuts down below.
'Good...She's a brave girl, she just needs to believe in herself a little more.' Ichigo thought as he observed her with a small amount of pride.
'Naruto...Is this how your reign as Hokage would have gone? If so...I would have gladly given my life to your service.' Ichigo thought once again.
The princess turned around and addressed her commanders and advisors.
"The battle with be in two days time, giving people enough time to register and gather our forces." She stated as Rolan turned to the elder Hero, the one who had made Biscotti his new home.
"Sir Ichigo...You will lead the Vanguard, the tip of the spear we will ram into Galette's defenses. You have valuable leadership experience and that is something we desperately need to counter General's Godwin and Bernard. I look forward to working alongside you again." The Elder Martinozzi said, the two men shaking hands.
"Likewise. They won't know what hit 'em. We should discuss the strategy a little further, iron out some of the details with all parties present." Ichigo replied, everyone else agreeing with him.
TWO DAYS LATER...
It was early in the morning and the sun had just barely risen over the horizon. Shinku had just been at the portal sending a message back home when he got to thinking about all that he'd gotten involved in since coming here. He was recieving actual ninja training from a real, honest to God Master Ninja, had a quasi-crush on a cute princess and she seemed to like him, as well. He was an Ordained Hero, along side his ninja sempai/mentor. Now, he was getting ready to head off to fight a war for the princess who summoned them, his sempai having been given command over a company of Knights to spearhead the attack.
"I need to be strong, like sempai...I'll fight like there's no tomorrow!" Shinku vowed as he vaulted onto his Cellkull and thundered off to the staging area.
In the staging areas, over 20,000 troops had assembled there to fight for their country and princess, not counting the regular Knights who were mounted and the shinobi, who were given the task of protecting the main H.Q. As stated the previous day, Ichigo had been charged with leading the Blitzkrieg. He was even given armor to signify his rank as a Knight Commander like Rolan and Brioche, but he opted to wear his usual Konoha Jounin uniform and Battle Coat.
They were all currently mounted and formed up behind him, as were Brioche's and Rolan's troops. Eclaire had to admit that Ichigo filled a gap in their Army that needed filling. They had Rolan to counter General Bernard, Brioche to keep Leo in check, but Godwin was free to do as much damage as he wished. Now, he was their counter to the Lion General, their military strength now equal to Galette's.
A screen that was floating above had flickered to life, showing the princess looking so perky in the morning.
"Hello everyone! Thank you for coming so early in the morning!" She called out cheerfully, the soldiers going nuts with applause.
"Today is the big day...Our battle with Galette! Did everyone get a good night's sleep? Eat your breakfast?" She asked them, the crowd once again thundering their answer as one.
"Okay then! All normal participants, please form up according to the instructions of the Knight Commanders and their Lieutenants." Milihi instructed as they got into rank and file, ready for the battlefield.
Each officer had their own mission to fulfill. They would all push forward together on a united front up until the Chappal Marshlands, where Rolan would peel off and hold. Brioche, Yukikaze, and Ichigo would continue on until the Athletic Valley, where they would stay and fight while Ichigo would commit to the final push and blow open a hole in their HQ's defenses at Grana Fortress, being the very tip of the spear. Their aim was to quickly overwhelm their defenses and not give them time to manuver. All in all, it would be a Blitzkrieg attack, utilizing shock and awe to great effect, something Ichigo specialized in as well as masterful swordsmanship.
"Any troops unable to keep up or feeling under the weather, please feel free to visit the medics that will be accompanying each battalion." Millhi informed them, drawing more cheers. They looked at clock and saw that the time had come to deploy.
"Alright! All troops, assemble and move out!" Millhiore cheered as the troops formed on their battalion leaders and followed them into combat.
Inside the castle, Millhi and Rico turned to faec the elders and the Academy scholars.
"Well, we will be going now. Please guide the country while I'm gone." She asked of the elders.
"Very well...Please be careful out there, Princess." The elders returned.
"Now...Please continue to find a way to send Hero Shinku back home, okay?" Rico asked the scholars.
"That we will!" The three young ladies stated as Rizel and her maids came up.
"Princess, Chief...It is time." She said as Millhiore and Ricotta spoke quietly to each other.
"Are you ready for THAT plan?" Millhi asked. The small girl grinned widely and held up two leaves.
"Yup! Ready!"Rico comfirmed as they followed Rizel and her maid detail.
AT THE FRONT...
"This is Percy Gaudy reproting live from the head of the Biscotti forces! I've never seen such a large turn out before! There has to be over 20,000 troopers down there and at the head of all of these brave soldiers are our three strongest warriors, their lieutenants, Countess Martinozzi and Hero Shinku! Countess Brioche d'Arquien, Count Rolan Martinozzi, and Sir Ichigo Uzumaki are leading the charge for our nation! How are things in Galette, Charles?" The news girl announced, cueing her counterpart.
"I'm here at Galette's Panneto Castle! A grand total of over 23,000 fighters have assembled and mobilized to the front, being led into battle by our very own Princess Leonmichelle and her two top Generals, Bernard and Godwin! Such a grand army!" Charles announced, scanning the advancing troops.
"Oh! It seems as though Prince Gaul and his Genoise have also joined the battle!" The newscaster exclaimed, said people looking at the camera and flexing.
"I believe that Biscotti's forces will reach the battle grounds by early this afternoon." Percy estimated.
"Got it! For all those watching at home, stay tuned to follow this titanic battle royale! As always...I, Charles Framboise of the Galette Broadcasting Network..."
"And I...Percy Gaudy of Biscotti News Studios, will be following the action!" The two news anchors stated as they signed off for the time being.
GALETTE FRONT LINE
The Galette army, over 23,000 strong, were currently marching into combat along a road wide enough to facilitate them. Along the way, the girls of the Genoise began a rather odd conversation.
"Hey Noir, Jaune..." Vert called out to her two friends, who turned their heads to face her.
"I hear that parts of this battlefield won't have any protection whatsoever." Vert told them, worry in her tone.
"The area has been exhaustively scouted and we will only be fighting in the safe areas. There's nothing to worry about." Noir replied.
"Even so, I hear rumors that monsters have been sighted near Grana Fortress. I just have a bad feeling about this. I really don't like monsters!" Jaune confided in her teammates.
"Morons...What's all this about monsters? If one shows up, we'll just cut it down. End of story." Godwin chided, cutting into the conversation.
"That's our General Godwin...Afraid of nothing." Vert commented.
"Then again...Apart from monsters and spirits, demons have been known to appear in areas with little to no protection." Noir stated, making her two friends go a little pale.
"Neither human nor beast, they bear sinister shapes and guises, leaching off of the Flonya power of the land. They bring nothing but misfortune and disaster where ever they go." Noir recalled, causing Jaune and Vert to panic.
"T-that's too scary!" Jaune wimpered.
"No more scary stories!" Vert whined.
"More of this talk of monsters? Don't stories and legends tell of demons and the like being sealed away centuries ago?" Godwin scoffed.
"All of the current investigations and theological research point to that, but people still report seeing them everywhere. However, I have heard reports of people who hunt down and slay these demons and monsters, Demon Hunters." Noir replied to his skepticism.
"Bah...A load of rubbish. Who would believe that bedtime story?" Godwin replied, making Noir frown and sulk.
"But...They do exist. I'm not lying..." Noir pouted.
"General...Don't get her too depressed." Jaune leaned in.
"Yeah...It'll take hours snapping her out of it." Vert added with a dramatic sigh. One could almost see the frustration in the Lion General.
"Like I care about crap like that!" He bellowed.
Further back, Leonmichelle was in silent contemplation on her way to the front, remembering the events that brought them to this day.
"What?! Why would Princess Millhiore and her Heroes will die?!" Violle exclaimed.
Leo and her two top advisors were in her stargazing room, looking at her oracle mirror. It still displayed the grim end of the young princess and her heroes, the eldest of them at least trying to shield them, but only in vain.
"Six months ago, while I was reading the stars, a message came that told of Millhi being in extreme danger." Leonmichelle replied.
"I see...That's why you're so concerned about her." Bernard surmised.
"Then, three months ago, the message changed...It said that she would die." Leo continued, gripping the mirror hard.
"Around that time, I learned that trying to warn her only made things worse. The heroes coming made them worse still. It's not Millhi and the heroes that will die, but the owners of Exelide, Paladion, and the Holy Blade. At first, I was confused about what the third weapon was, but as soon as Sir Ichigo appeared, I instantly recognized the sword." Leo sighed shakily. She turned her head to look at her General and Aide.
"I know it seems somewhat foolish to believe in Star Readings. I know it is, that it'd stupid of me to rally my, or others people for this. This vision has been haunting me for the past few months, I just can't stop worrying." Leo concluded.
"At least we know why you've been acting so strange." Violle said.
"I wish you had at least told us." Bernard sighed.
"Sorry...I stand by my convictions that a country shouldn't be run on divinations, but if they die...It will be the beginning of the end for both our countries. Given these circumstances...i will step down from the throne." Leo declared, making her Aide and General jump with surprize.
"What?!" They cried.
"I will borrow Granveil and see what I can do about it myself. If I can steal those weapons, the star heralding their deaths may pass them by." She reasoned.
"To leave the throne empty...What would happen to Galette?!"Her aide exclaimed.
"I will leave it to Gaul. It was supposed to be his anyway. I am only regent until he comes of age. He still has some growign up to do, but he has our father's charisma. Give him some responsibility, along with some solid support, he will be the leader Galette needs one day." Leo explained.
"I know a good deal about his character..." Bernard started.
"But it's entirely unrelated to your stepping down!" Violle tried to reason with her, only for Leo to spin around and clamp her ears down.
"Come on, Princess Leo! Don't just shut us out!" Violle yelled.
"Erg...Once she's like this, she won't listen to anything we say." Bernard grumbled.
"Princess Leo! You shouldn't do that!" Violle scolded, but was met with further silence, making them groan in frustration.
"Oh dear..." Bernard sighed again as he scarmbled for an idea she would listen to. Suddenly, one came to him.
"How about this...Why don't we initiate one huge, popular battle, wagering the prized weapons as the reward?" He suggested. Her ears perked up, telling him that it was working.
"Our soldiers are clamoring to redeem themselves after losing two consecutive battles and Lord only knows Godwin and yourself are chomping at the bit for a rematch. I think this is a golden opportunity to wage a new war." Bernard explained him plan as she turned around to give him her undivided attention, blushing at the opportunity to face her crush once more.
"Once we defeat them, we can take their weapons and hide them away in a place no one knows about. Of course, this is only to prevent theft, since these are extremely powerful weapons we're talking about, and completely unrelated to the Star Readings. Just a simple proposal from one country to another. How's that?" Bernard finished.
'That was sheer genius on Bernard's part...' Leo grinned as she and her troops continued their march towards the front lines.
BACK WITH THE BISCOTTI TROOPS...
The Princess's carriage was proceeeding on it's planned route to the front as a newscaster cart with Percy and her cameraman pulled alongside.
"Our troops are making good time to the front lines. Princess Millhiore is alos making good time, protected by her knights. Her favorite steed, Harlan, is also doing well...Ah! The princess is waving at us! Hello, Princess!" Percy exclaimed.
On a cliff that overlooked the procession, Violle and her squadron of Imperial Guards we looking down at them, waiting for the right time to strike.
"An assualt such as this is against the rules of conduct. It'll be bad enough if only I am criticized for this cowardly action, but..." Violle lamented, but a voice from behind her cut in.
"Even so...We will still follow you. We of the Imperial Guard, will follow you anywhere, Lady Violle." The young woman declared, the rest of her number agreeing whole heartedly.
"Right! Today's mission will be raiding and looting the enemy's main camp! Our primary target will be the Holy Weapon Exelide, which we will steal from Princess Millhiore herself!" Violle declared as they made ready to spring their trap.
At the head of the pack, we find the three adults, Eclaire, Yukikaze, and Shinku all riding along toward the front when Brioche makes a comment.
"Teaming up again, Eclaire and Shinku?" She asked.
"Yes...I'd rather not, but I need to look out for this dummy." Eclaire sighed, making Shinku sulk.
"How mean..." He muttered, making Yuki next to him giggle.
"Now, now...You two should get along, Shinku." Brioche teased.
"Why are you tell me this? She's always barking at me!" Shinku whined.
"Quit whining...It's because you're always doing something stupid." Eclaire replied with a light huff.
"Stupid things?" Brioche wondered, looking to her lover as he shook his head and sighed, cueing Yuki to respond.
"During their first time teaming up, Shinku grabbed her breasts and stripped her naked." Yuki replied, fanning the flames.
"Really now?" Brioche answered, almost busting out laughing at the looks on their faces.
"Wait! It's a misunderstanding!" The two teens replied in unison until Eclaire looked over to Yuki.
"Wait a minute...How do you know about that?!" She yelped.
"Oh...Rico showed me the video." Yuki replied with a sly grin.
"Oh my...That was very bold of you, Shinku. I hope you take responsibility and marry her." Brioche teased him, making him go red as a lobster.
"That's not all...During a sparring session between the two of them a few days after the rescue incident, he pressed his forehead to hers in a rather intimate manner, suggesting that she slept with her stomach exposed." Ichigo added, dumping fuel on the fire.
"SEMPAI/SIR ICHIGO!" Shinku and Eclaire exclaimed loudly as she started to kick him, remembering both times.
"Ow! Cut it out! Why are you kicking me?!" Shinku whined as he pulled away from her while the adults talked.
"'Cause your face pisses me off!" She yelled back.
"I really should look into having Hero Shinku as a future groom for Eclaire. They get along so well." Rolan commented.
"They look like they would work together well enough." Brioche added.
"Yes, My Lady." Yuki answered.
"However...I am still worried about the demons." Brioche confided.
"Hmm...The skies look good and there is a protective wind blowing all around us. Even Konoha doesn't sense anything." Yuki replied, trying to assauge her worries as they continued on their way to the venue.
"It is now afternoon and both armies have arrived at the established frontline and are now lining up for combat at the starting signal." The announcer stated, both armies gearing up for that initial charge.
"Listen up...While the others are busy securing ground and bridges, we will be charging ahead, cutting straight through them and pushing as far as we can." Ichigo instructed them, Shinku and Eclaire nodding as she turned to the Knights behind them, Ricotta cloistered in the middle of their ranks.
"Artillery...You won't need to fire. Just protect Rico and follow us!" Eclaire instructed, all of them, even Rico herself, rogering up.
"Thank you all for waiting. The battle will begin any moment now! I am Evita Sales from Biscotti State Broadcasting and I will be bringing you all of the live action with my co-host..." The female anchor announced, cueing her co-host.
"Jan Kazo, from Galette National TV." The male host introduced himself.
"The countdown will now begin! Everyone down on the battlefield and watching from home, please countdown with us." Evita asked, everyone eager to see this grand battle kicked off.
"3...2...1...START!" The pair announced as both sides barked orders.
"All troop, advance!" Rolan ordered, having his soldiers rush in to meet their enemies.
"Warriors of Galette, attack!" Bernard barked to his troops, the wall of Galette warriors rushing in behind him.
Literal tidal waves of soldiers rushed at each other, to meet in battle. Ichigo turned to his squad.
"Alright...It's time to go. Follow me and don't let them bog you down!" Ichigo barked out.
"Got it, Sempai!" Shinku acknowledged eagerly, knowing his sempai knew what he was talking about.
"Yes!" Eclaire stated as they thundered ahead of the main force, knowing that with his experience, this would go much more smoothly.
As they darted ahead of the main forces, they managed to slip right past most of the opposition, but a wild looking squad caught sight of them and bore down on them.
"Gotcha! Surround 'em!" One of them yelled, more of the burly and rough looking soldiers bearing down upon them.
"It's not as you said!" Shinku yelped.
"No plan survives contact with the enemy! Keep going!" Ichigo ordered.
"Fire the arrows! Don't let them breathe!" The Captain ordered to his archer to fire.
A rain of arrows poured down on them as Shinku and Eclaire prepared to use their Seal Arts, but Ichigo stopped them.
"Save your strength, I've got this." He assured them as he wove through a set of three handseals.
FUUTON : DAITOPPA!
Using the Great Breakthrough, he managed to blow the arrows away from them using minimal chakra, but this lapse in their attention allowed the wild looking men to get close.
"Die, heroes!" One of them bellowed with a manic look in his eyes. Before the young ones could even blink, their shinobi guardian had already intercepted them in midair, dispatching them with ease.
"C'mon...Let's go!" He yelled, getting them to follow him again, more of the Knights following them, whooping wildly.
"Stopping us won't gain you anything. If you don't get out of our way, I'll turn you all into furballs!" Eclaire stated angrily, one of them getting ahead of her and cutting her off.
"Can't have that can we, Droopy-Ears?" A scarred soldier taunted as the apparent leader rode up.
"We have orders to retrieve Paladion and the Holy Blade the other hero carries." He announced.
"Yeah...Princess Leo will give us a huge reward if we bring them to her!" Another sneered.
"So that makes you...Useless." The first sneered as he prepared to take her out, but he was cut down from behind, the group quickly following him as Eclaire and Shinku took that opening to strike, defeating them all in a flash.
"You want it so badly? Pry it from my cold, dead fingers first." Ichigo commented coldly, his eyes having a cold fire burning in them as he rounded on the archers who fired the volley and the rest of the troops.
"Eclaire, Shinku...Use a Seal Cannon shot after I fire off my jutsu." He commanded, the two getting charged up.
DOTON : SHINRIN NO IWADO YARI!
Finishing his handseals and slamming both palms to the ground, the very ground erupted into a literal forest of stone spires that eliminated over half of the 60 archers and 50 troops in one shot while at the same time, the two teens released their Seal Cannon blasts which mopped up the rest of them.
"This is bad...They're targeting our weapons!" Shinku exclaimed.
"I know! Something's not right, but we need to continue with the battleplan! Use another weapon, I'll seal up my Ensis Celesti and use the Fang. Let's go!" Ichigo ordered as he sent his mount back to the stables since he can keep up on foot and unsheathed his trusty chokuto, the two teens nodding and following his lead. Shinku had picked up a Galetteian Battle Glaive as his new weapon as they continued thundering towards their objective.
"Things are really heating up out there! The two armies have already clashed and the points on both sides have jumped tremendously! Dame d'Arquien, after two years of absence from the battlefield, is just as strong if not stronger than she was before! Dame Panettone is also sweeping the battlefield clean of her enemies with her still beautiful skills! The newcomer hero and from what we have heard, new resident of Biscotti Ichigo Uzumaki is showing splendid leadership skills as well as a tremendous fighting spirit as he mows down every enemy in his way! The people they have defeated are really piling up!" Jan announced.
"But that's a problem. The quicker they are defeated, the sooner they can rejoin the battle, am I right?" Evita pointed out.
"Ah, that's right. Even if defeated once, everyone should be able to enjoy these battles to the fullest." Jan replied.
"Now...Down to Percy on the frontlines. Percy?" Evita asked.
"Hello! I'm here with Captains Rolan Martinozzi and Ichigo Uzumaki, leading the way for Chief Elmar, Hero Shinku, and the rest of their forces as they advance through the Chappal Marshlands!" The perky girl reported.
"Framboise here! Prince Gaul's forces have just passed by my position, en route to Cerise Fortress! It's very uncommon for the Prince to strike from behind like this." Charles commented.
AT CERISE FORTRESS...
"Everyone! Protect the princess! Let no one through!" A guard captain ordered to his troops as Millhi sat in her command tent, awaiting news from the front. Suddenly someone called out from the outside.
"Princess, I bring urgent news. An emmisary from Galette has come with a message for you." The voice requested.
The guards insied looked to her for instruction. She nodded to let the person inside the tent. once they did that, Violle stormed the tent, knocking out two guards in her way, two of her subordinates finishing the rest and holding the maids at bay as she knelt before Millhi.
"I apologize for this cowardly action, but I have my orders. Princess Millhiore, please hand over Exelide." Violle stated, but the answer she got made her eyes go wide.
"Um...Sorry, but I'm not the princess." Millhi replied.
She was engulfed in smoke and when it cleared, Ricotta was in her place, dropping the disguise. Without warning, the maids moved quicker than they could react and took the Imperial Guardswomen down, dropping their transformations to reveal Kaede and Kotaro, who had been hiding in plain sight and waiting for this to happen.
"W-what?!" Violle exclaimed. Before she herself could even blink, Rizel appeared at her side, a blade to her throat.
"Best not to move." She suggested in a sickly sweet tone she was infamous for.
"Ano sa...Don't sound so shocked Violle-dono. You don't have a monopoly on trickery, you know?" Kaede quipped playfully.
"Mendokuse...It's hard pretending to be a girl. I got hit on at least three times!" Kotaro complaied.
"But you were such a cute girl, Kotaro-kun." Kaede replied jokingly, making the male nin deflate even more as Rizel sheathed her sword skillfully.
"I'll go make us some tea. The least we can do is hear you out, yes?" The head maid suggested. As she left to go do that, Rico stomped down on the plunger for her signal flare.
BACK ON THE FRONT...
The Vanguard group saw the signal go up and knew what it meant.
"So. She really did try that. Looks like your call was dead on." Ichigo commented, dropping in next to them as Millhi dropped her disguise.
"I'm afraid so. Princess Leo is hiding something from me and I tire of these secrets kept from me, especially after that fiasco with Izumo. I want to know what she means by trying to obtain our Holy Weapons. We will go to Grana Fortress and drag the secrets out of her if necessary." Millhi declared, her determination blazing.
"Got it!" Shinku affirmed as he and Eclaire urged their mounts after her while their shinobi ran along the top of the canyon to watch for any ambushes along the way.
AT GRANA FORTRESS
Rouge and Leo were overlooking the battlefield as the head maid knelt behind the princess.
"Princess...I'm afraid that Lady Violle's attack on Biscotti's HQ was a failure and that she and her troops are now captives. It seems as though they were expecting this from us and mobilized two of their more powerful ninja to act as guards." Rouge informed her Princess, who sighed in disappointment.
"I see...How about Gaul?" She asked.
"He is attacking the rear guard with his troops as ordered...But it seems as though he has no enthusiasm for this battle." Rouge told her.
"That's okay..." Leo sighed as the fighting went on.
BACK AT BISCOTTI H.Q...
Gaul had discovered that Millhi wasn't there after all, so he decided to let his troops and himself have a little fun, letting the rear defenses have it with both barrels. Their opening attack left a gaping hole in their defenses as Rizel and Rico prepared for the next leg of the battle plan. She was to ride Harlan out to the front and meet up with the Princess, but Galette had archers down there ready to pick her off. The head maid ordered her girls, some of which were skilled archers, provide her with cover fire as she took off from the platform. She managed to get through the first wave of arrows, but down on the ground, Vert had already taken aim and fired a much stronger arrow. Rico used her gun in an attempt to block the shot, but it slipped around her defenses and hit her squarely, stripping her of her clothes in the process, much to the enjoyment of the viewers and onlookers below. She may have been hit, but she and Harlan managed to continue onward.
"Got 'er!" Vert cheered, but her victory was short lived.
Screaming directly at them was a powerfully charged lance that they saw coming only too late, the lancing impacting dead center of their formation. The rest of the archers had been changed into furballs already, but Vert was the only one still standing. She let out a sigh of relief, but without fail, everyone still present and conscious was treated to a show as all of her clothes save for her lime green bra and panties ripped away.
"Gah!" She squealed as he scrambled to cover herself.
"Chief Rico...Your sacrifice was not in vain. Galette archer group wiped out." Emilio, who threw the lance, stated as he engaged the forces himself.
A/N: I'm afraid I have to stop here for now. I've been having some personal troubles as of late, and that has been taking up much of my time. I will tell you this, that I will not abandon my fics. You have my promise on that.