Numbers of his Life
Story by: VeNgEaNcEoFrAiN
Disclaimer: Hidekaz Himaruya owns every personified country as well as this Cardverse AU ideas, I merely exploit his ideas for my own personal uses muahahah! Everything else is purely fictional, any resemblance to other stories is purely coincidental – I don't really know if there's a similar story around but this idea just popped up in my head so I decided to write it (all I can say is great minds think alike). Some fundamental ideas like how the pocket watch chooses the royalty in Spades is kept in this story. I would like to credit the person coming up with the idea but I think it'd probably be hard to track who started it. If you think I violated copyright laws, erm, I can take it down if you send me a mail or review.
Author's note: Phew, I made it. It's still August. It's gonna get more busy from now on but I'll manage. It's the same year in and out.
To 01blackcat02: Thank you for your concern, it's really nice of you :) And for the imaginations part, I get some ideas from random googling and put in a bit of my own ideal scenario then try to write them out the way I think of it. Sometimes I fail to capture everything but I'm glad you enjoyed it! To Jywy: Hahaha thank you for your review and yes! That's the both of them! I'm glad you liked my description! To OldNewLife: Lmao, I think I'll take another year omg ;_; To PurpleLilacFlowerOfTheMist: Thank you for the review and welcome on board the NohL 'crew'! I hope I don't disappoint you. Enjoy your time here! And good day/night to you too!
The fight scene might be a little messed-up (I'm not good at writing battle scenes) so I hope you'd forgive me on that and I hope you'd enjoy this chapter!
Chapter 6: Battle of Six
Part III: Mishaps
The sun was relentless and the heat unforgiving. Its bright rays reflected off the water's surface, making the sea sparkle like myriads of diamonds – a little cliché description, Arthur thought, though it wasn't far from the truth. The Gryffins couldn't be wrong in predicting the weather but it didn't look like it was going to rain anytime soon. The tense atmosphere lingering around the allied navy became lighter as the day went on. Of course, they kept their guards up in case of sneak attacks. Piscesa scouts have yet to return from their trip, or at least sent a message back. Gryffins and their riders soared through the sky, enjoying the little breeze brushing against their faces. Some of Diamond's Sylphs glided playfully along. It was a nice enough weather to maybe enjoy some tea, Arthur thought. Though the good weather wouldn't last long.
Arthur nearly dropped his teacup. That shout indicated their lookout has spotted ships, possibly enemy ships. If his men could spot them, the rest of the allied navy would too. "Red flags!"
"It's Hearts! All hands to stay alert, gunners take yer place." Raphael ordered as he took control of the wheel. The Heartian ships were a few good hours away even if they looked really close by. The time-space distortion over the vicinity of Spades made travelling in and out of the distortion sphere delay or quicken by a few hours. One either gain or lose a few hours of the day just by entering or exiting. It was known as a time gap or period lag. The Heartian ships are probably on guard near Spadian waters for any surprise attacks. Attacking them now wouldn't be as wise. Perhaps a wait till nightfall would be a better choice.
"Your Majesty, storm clouds are brewing off Northwest. The Gryffins have returned to their jewel forms. The scouts have confirmed that the King and Jack of Hearts are amidst the ships. Their strength around 20 galleons and 10 frigates. It's not the full strength, Your Majesty." Raphael reported.
"Let Diamonds know. We'll go with what we've planned. As for their reinforcements, make sure we have enough room for escape and retaliate with ours." Arthur instructed. He watched Raphael convey the message with smoke signals instead of using the carrier wyvern to avoid possible infiltrations and interruption of its magic. His gaze then shifted away, looking out towards the Heartian fleet. "This is it."
On board the Heartian ship of Adler von Lübeck, the Heartian King tapped his chin impatiently. They'd expected a sizeable raid party from the Allied navy but the exact opposite was happening. There were no sightings of enemy ships, no signs of an attack this close to the boundaries of the distortion sphere. It was either they were laying in ambush or had yet to arrive. The King knew patience was the key to this game. Knowing how rash and impatient Alfred was, Ludwig reckoned the one in command was his new Queen. It would be tricky to face off against people who knew nearly all your strategies, however, war was a field of the unpredictable, anything could happen. His Jack paced up and down the hull, fidgety altogether.
"We should prepare our beast for when we do not have time to summon it, Ludwig." The usually cheerful voice took a serious turn. His voice trembled a little from fear of an ambush. "If they get to it fi-"
"My dear Feliciano, haste not for it is the Queen we're up against. From our previous encounters, it seems the Queen know very little of this world and the magic. He's still an amateur compared to you." The deep voice rolled off his tongue smoothly. The Italian smiled at his King's kind words, seemingly reassured. "I do agree, however, that we should get our beast summoned." Feliciano licked his lips as it curled into a smirk. "As you command, my King."
Arthur paced up and down the length of Relíquias' hull. He was hesitant on whether they should attack or lay around for an ambush under the cover of the distortion boundary. If they wait, chances were that scouts from the other side would discover them and have enough time to report back. He could take the chance and use the storm as cover. He could perform a large scale illusion using the extra water from the storm to hide their presence, though fooling an experienced King and a powerful Jack would be rather difficult.
"Relay my message, Rafael. We'll attack once the storm starts pouring. Every ship is to move under the cover of my illusion. Once they're ready, I'll lift the illusion." Rafael nodded quickly and sent a Sylph carrying the message. Francis and Vash agreed on the decision to prevent a stalemate or a possible defeat, they sent an all-clear towards the Spadian fleet. With the calculations done to meet the storm properly, Arthur wasted no time to cast his illusion. "Wish me luck, fellow Queens." He kissed the little pendent remnant of what was the Hand of Time. It was his own miraculous way to carry that giant clock around – by using a little transformation magic and space-time manipulation.
A wall of cascading water started to envelop the entire fleet in a protective bubble as they entered the storm. The Axian fleet lay motionless, unaware of the approaching danger. Perspiration rolled down the Queen's head as he struggled to keep the illusion up. It was rather taxing on him to camouflage the entire fleet. "A-are they done yet?! I can't hold on much longer!"
"A little while more, Your Majesty! Just one more ship!"
"ARGHHHHH. Move that sorry arse for Christ's sake!"
The last ship aligned itself with its enemy, cannons erect and loaded with gunpowder and cannonballs. Everything was in place, well maybe except Arthur's little hat which was blown away from the initial blast of magic. The moment Arthur dispelled the illusion, a huge explosion happened beside Relíquias. A winged monster of gigantic size screeched after crashing into one of the ships, thoroughly destroying it. It had a grey body lined with uniform spikes which looked as sharp as blades. They were as reflective as mirrors and its icy cold eyes stare right into one's soul, freezing them with fear. The distraction allowed Axian sailors to board the Allied ships easily and with less resistance.
Arthur's pupils widened with every passing second as his brain authorized an emergency shut-down. Mixed emotions ran through his entire body as adrenaline coursed through with it. He could hear his own heartbeat right at his ears, he was too afraid to scream.
"Minokawa ho! All hands steady, fire at will! Defend your ships!"
Arthur stood rooted to the ground, unable to pry his eyes off that creature. He stepped backwards with every breath to stablise himself both physically and mentally. He couldn't let fear overwhelm him. Many lives depended on him and to face such a horror right at the start was a wake-up call that war wasn't just a game. He snapped out of his frightened state and sorted his thoughts. He needed a plan urgently.
"Ok think Arthur, think! That huge-ass monster is god damn huge and we're bloody tiny. We need another f**king huge-ass monster to fight it." He paused as he realized what he said. "That's it! Summoning another monster! You're as brilliant as always, Arthur!" He ran down the decks amidst the chaos, looking for his summons book, searching frantically for anything that he could summon in a short while. "Drake, too small. Flying Manticore, too long. Hydra! Perfect!" He rushed back up the decks, chose a suitable spot and performed the summon right there and then. He began chanting the words to the summon, protected by a few sailors who happened to be nearby from enemies. His chanting was about complete when the Minokawa's spiked tail sent a strong gust their way, knocking everyone off balance and sending ships dragging through the water.
A swirling mass began spinning within the circle. Slowly, it developed into a whirlpool, then a maelström. Lightning seemed to strike in random places within the vortex as the magical light became brighter. Arthur looked terrified, disoriented from the spell. He was lost for words. He wasn't sure what he summoned, but he knew being cut off halfway during a summoning ritual had dire results.
The swirling waters gradually calmed to its pre-storm form.
"It's too quiet." Francis pressed his lips into a thin line, concerned about what was happening.
Antonio swung his axe at the enemy's soldiers before taking his place beside his King. "What are they planning? What's going on?" He took a glance at Francis from over his shoulder. He wore an equally concerned face with a frown.
"The question should be: do they even know what they summoned?"
The summoned beast emerged from the seas and bright light from the magic circle, revealing its identity. The sea burst open as the creature broke its surface. A long snout lined with razor-sharp teeth, a long arched neck like that of a snake, bony spines lined its entire visible length. Its smoothly-scaled, serpentine body seemed almost luminous under a few streaks of lightning. Water rushed down its sides and edges as it scanned its surroundings. Everything stilled for those few fleeting moment. Everyone's heads were facing the same direction, eyes on the same thing. Feelings of fear, confusion, and awe all jumbled together amongst the sailors.
"I believe we have our answer, Sire." Vash stared wide-eyed at the creature.
"S-Serpendra…" Raphael's voice broke in shock on board the Spadian vessel.
Large, bony fins flared out in anger as the beast let out a long throaty roar. Its long whale-like tail slapped down against the surface of the choppy waters, sending huge waves crashing into ships in the vicinity. It looked as if it was angry at either the Minokawa for intruding into its territories or at Arthur for summoning it. It seemed to glare in Arthur's direction with its crimson eyes glowing ominously. Arthur couldn't decide what to do. Anyone would be frightened at just the sight of such a creature. His mouth remained agape at the sheer size of the creature. He didn't even realize that he'd swallowed nervously and quite audibly. The raging beast roared again and begun moving towards Relíquias.
"All hands on deck! I repeat, all hands on deck! Hoist those sails if yer don' wanna be shark bait!" Panicked sailors scurried to positions, attempting to hoist the sails for the ship to move even if it were in stormy weather. Raphael would risk anything for the safety of his crew but to do that he must keep Relíquias and Alice in one piece. Enemy sailors jumped off Relíquias in hopes to save their own lives. Arthur was shaken out of the daze by his Portuguese Captain.
"Your Majesty! Pardon my impudence but WHAT IN DAVY JONES' LOCKER did you just summon?" Rafael's holler barely made it through the loud crashing waves.
"I don't know! It's not-"
"No answers needed, we don't have time for that! Make it stop or we'll be fish feed!" Raphael made a mad dash up the stairs to the steering wheel while spewing out commands to his crew. Even though they've braced through many Giants, a fuming Serpendra would be in a league of its own.
Arthur threw another glance at the approaching serpent. He gritted his teeth in frustration. It was supposed to be another creature, a friendlier one to help fight Hearts' beast. Who would've thought things would go terribly wrong. A loud screech echoed the skies as the Minokawa swooped in and attacked it with its blade-like wings, unintentionally buying time for Relíquias to escape. Having both creatures' attention shifted elsewhere brought temporary relief to the entire allied navy. With two gigantic creatures fighting in proximity, unnecessary waves and turbulence damaged and capsized ships from both sides of the war. Upon getting his foothold and after a near capsize of the ship – it must have been Alice's powers protecting them, the sudden disappearance of the Serpent gave the Spades Queen a bad surprise. He wasn't sure if Serpendra was defeated or that it has submerged itself underwater only to reemerge and killed its summoner.
The giant bird flapped its wings and hovered near the surface. It got wary of the waters and scaled to a higher altitude to wait out the serpent's reappearance. The streamlined body of the serpent made gaining speed in the water easy and adding its strong tail muscles, it bolted out of the water, lifting itself airborne. With nearly its full length out of the water, its jaw clamped shut on the bird's wing and allowed gravity to pull both of them down into its domain. Serpendra tilted its head and body, enabling it to fall with Minokawa crashing into the sea first while its sides hit the water. The motion was similar to the combination of breaching and a common hunting technique in the animal world. Tsunami-like waves rippled out from the crash and threw ships off balance.
Arthur was thrown off his foot and he tumbled across the deck. He rolled off the railings on the left side but managed to hold on to a stray rope dangling by the side hence, preventing his fall into the untamed sea below. Two crewmen rushed to his aid, pulling him back on board. Arthur ran up the deck and confronted his captain at the steering wheel while trying to stabilize himself on the rocking ship. The only thing keeping him from vomiting was the adrenaline pumping in his veins.
"How do I make it stop?!"
"Use your blood! When the summoner's blood touches the beast's energy source, it'll cease the contract and return the beast to where it belongs!"
"Where the f**k is that energy source?!" Arthur snapped at his captain while dodging a flying piece of ship wreckage from a nearby ship. They really couldn't afford the time.
"I don't know, Your Majesty! Only you can see it!" Raphael hollered once more on top of his voice as he struggled to keep control of the wheel.
Arthur whipped his head around, taking the moment of stability to scan the beast for its energy source. The thrashing beasts, combined with a raging storm, were making everything beyond chaotic. Amidst the chaos, a small twinkle caught Arthur's eye. Arthur scoured the same area again and spotted another twinkle. It was a blue twinkle like that of sapphires right on top of the serpent's head.
"OH FOR F**K'S SAKE!" Arthur cussed out loud. He doubt anyone would hear him over the crashing waves and it didn't matter anyway, this was war, war had far greater priorities than some usage of crude language accusations. Now that he'd located the energy source, getting his blood up there is another problem. In the violent winds, Gryffins could do nothing about it. A dragon would work but its spell was too long. A water Drake might be nimble enough in such weather. He wasted no time and casted his spell, taking advantage of the Serpent's temporary immobility from lodging its rows of teeth into the injured Minokawa's wing and the strangling constriction around it with its snake-like body.
"Come forth, Aquila!"
A serpentine creature materialized within the magic circle. It spread its wings and stood tall on its webbed feet. It looked sternly at Arthur and bowed at recognition. The two-leafed spines on its back flared a little, it seemed happy that it could be of use. Arthur patted it on its spiky head, magically linking himself with the draconian girl. Her scales felt slimy from the contact with the pouring rain. "Aquila, can you bring me to the head of Serpendra?" The creature nodded, bright amber eyes sparkled with pride. "Good girl." Arthur patted it once more before allowing it to take flight. Subsequently, he climbed up the main mast steadily and balanced himself at that height.
"Here goes nothing." He made a mad dash across the sail yard and leapt off the end. He was relieved he didn't slip and fall a terrible death in that mad weather. The winds rushed against his face and made his cape flap wildly. Free falling wasn't a bad feeling when you know there was something to catch you or break your fall. Aquila came round, swooped down and caught the Brit in time. He held on the little Drake for dear life. Intense numbing pains rippled through the parts of his body that landed hard on the Drake's back against its softened spines. He would have to do it again the next time he summons a Drake. Drakes weren't able to take off with loads on their back, instead they were able to carry load two times their weight while they were in the air. No one knew why.
Aquila made it past the blasts of wind from the violent struggles Minokawa was making. There was no bleeding; however, bits and pieces from its wings began to disintegrate the moment they fell off. It felt like the beast was nearing its limit. With a long screech in distress, it exploded into a myriad of specks of light. And admist the light debris Arthur spotted the Jack of Hearts. He hovered around the area on a Hippogriff with far greater wings than any of Spades' Gryffins. Feliciano was staring at him, angrily. He looked like he was about to kill anyone who'd harmed his beloved pet. Aquila weaved through the uneven air currents in attempt to get closer to the single beast present before a bolt of magic flew her way. She lost her balance and frantically tried to ride another air current to climb to a higher altitude – far away from reach of Serpendra. The victory thrash-about Serpendra did was only making the situation worse.
The Hippogriff gave chase and was evenly matched in aerial superiority with the little drake. Arthur held on dearly, the material of his clothes were the only things giving him grip on the drake. He froze a bunch of rain drops and directed them towards Feliciano. He knew it'd only be a distraction but it was all he needed. His aim was clear. Aquila swooped down at high speed towards the Serpent's head, successfully depositing him on the head of the beast and getting away from the Serpent's attack. Arthur grabbed onto one of the horns firmly while the beast chomped onto the pursuer. The Italian leapt away in time and summoned another being to help him stay aerial. The energy source of the beast sparkled brilliantly.
The Spadian Queen hung dangerously off the Giant's head, apparently unnoticed. He struggled to climb up the side of Serpendra's head while its attention was on the little drake and Feliciano's mount. The violent movements as Serpendra tried to follow either one of the flying duo swung Arthur from one side to another. His body hugged the side of the Giant's head a little closer, creeping nearer to the source with every movement. When he was finally there at his destination, he unsheathed his personal dagger and swiped a long cut across his palm. His fingers curled up, responding to the pain registered by his brain. Blood began dripping down the wound and onto the serpent's source. Each droplet made the energy spot burn a little brighter before the light engulfed Arthur's being.
Serpendra let out a loud cry as it was quickly enveloped with a layer of growing crystalline structure. The layers hugged it scale-tight, restricting its movement rapidly and thereby subduing the monster. When the last crystal formed, Arthur heaved a sigh of relief, trying to ease the effects of adrenaline previously. A few bolts of magic flew his direction and it was too late to mutter any counter-spells. He watched agonizingly as his little drake blocked that attack for him. Her form exploded into a cloud of smoke and that returned her to where she came from.
Using the smoke as cover, Feliciano launched a physical attack on Arthur. The latter leapt away in time and rolled down the snout of the crystalised giant to break his landing. The impact rocked the entire structure. Serpendra disintegrated into tiny bits of sparkling dust in seconds, leaving Arthur falling towards the still-raging sea. He tried to keep calm and think of something but his blank mind betrayed him. He struggled frantically as he fell and plunged through the surface with most of his back. The impact caused Arthur to be temporarily paralysed with numbness. The force at which he plunged through brought him deeper down from the surface. Any attempts to resurface were futile.
The young Queen sank quickly into the dark abyss.
Footnote for animals/monsters mentioned so far. Skipping Serpendra and Minokawa cause they're already described and Piscesa too, except I have this to add for Piscesa: The first shoal of fish were found off the coasts of Spadian Islands. They inhabit the colder regions of the oceans surrounding Spades.
A powerful creature with an eagle head and front body and legs, lion body, hind legs and tail. It is usually docile but can be territorial. They are known to attack any strangers whom threaten their young or land. Their nests are usually located in cliff-faces and mountain-side caves. One would have to spend time and sincerely treat the creature with respect before one could gain its trust. Until its trust is gain, one cannot tame it. Their wings are strong enough to withstand strong winds in a storm, however, most are naturally afraid of storms. And because of their 'herd-like' nature, they'll all return to their jewel forms on nights of storms, using a force-field to protect themselves. Gryffins are native to Northern Diamonds and most of Clubs. They were brought along by the first explorers to Spades and have established populations ever since.
A distant relative to Gryffins. It has an eagle head, a pair of wings and a horse body. They are usually friendly and tamed. They live amongst people in hills and some forests. They prefer to stay near any permanent body of water. They are slightly less agile than Gryffins and prefers the use of magic fields over brute strength. Little is known about the history of Hippogryffs. Some say they're God's gifts to the locals who toiled hard, some say they were formed from a magical fusion of an eagle and a horse by a powerful sorcerer. Hippogryffs are native to most parts of Southern and Eastern Hearts while a few were spotted near the borderlands of Hearts and Clubs.
Sylphs are mostly gaseous creatures who resemble the forms of their last master. Most have wings and glide gracefully through the air on windless days. They are social creatures but are often shy to humans. Sylphs are also powerful enchanters, however, they cast spells only to get away. A trained and tamed Sylph can deal great damage to anyone whom its master/summoner wishes. They are native to all of Diamonds and found nowhere else.
A smaller version of a dragon, often mistaken as the young of dragons. They look like they have immature wings but are strong enough to lift loads of up to 2-3 times their weight. However, their way of lifting things are unconventional - they can only do so if they swoop down to catch their load in air. There are many types of drakes. Drake types correspond to the elements in which the land is associated to. For example, Water drakes are found only on Spades. Drakes are seldom used by humans as they can be aggressive depending on type. Water drakes are likeable and friendly, Wind drakes are agile and quick tempered, Earth drakes are laid-back and relaxed while Fire drakes are aggressive and powerful. Drakes are usually hard to locate as they reside in areas where elemental magic is high. A Fire drake would make itself at home in volcano tops while a Water drake in a deep lake. When one does find one and befriend it, they have a creature who would fight to the death for them.
I do not take full credits for these creatures. But I try to make them different and unique to this story. If there're any questions, feel free to leave me a question in review or through private message. I'll get back to you asap. Hope you've enjoyed this chapter and see you guys probably in September. Thank you and have a nice day!