Kaoru dodged tree to tree, looking out at the dirt road and the surrounding golden fields. Behind him, the other sorcerers were gathering in the shadows and planning their attack. Kaoru didn't care one bit about their plans. Kaoru had one plan… to kill the Queen and be reunited with Hikaru. He ground his teeth together as he glared out at the distant castle in the city.
"Kaoru, are you listening?" Daichi called from where he stood near one of the older men.
Kaoru turned his head and leaned back against his tree. "Yeah…"
"So you know that we are arriving through the south end of the city. We are going to blend into with the villagers."
Kaoru shook his head at the men. "No, too many civilian will be in the way of the blades. We best take the east route. It is quicker and fewer innocents will chance our paths."
Daichi's eyes flicked to the leader in question. The man nodded. "Very well. Lead the way young Kaoru."
Quickly, Kaoru turned and dodged back into the trees. It was best to skirt the edges before they invade the city. He hadn't been outside the castle walls often, but he sure knew enough from his lessons and maps to fight his way through. So he took the way he had left the castle and led the pack closer.
They were all wary and all grew quiet as their target grew taller and taller. The journey had been two days already. They needed rest, surely, but everyone was determined to settle this. So they moved onward.
Finally, they reached the portion of the forest that faced Kaoru's escape route. Here, they would invade. "This is it," Kaoru whispered, glancing into the waving crop, which had grown so much taller in his time away.
"Perfect," Daichi murmured, moving beside Kaoru. "How do we proceed?" he asked the elders, turning his head against the shoulder of his chain mail.
Kaoru shifted in his own uncomfortably as the leader's eyes snapped onto him. Looking away, Kaoru looked at all of the warriors around him. Their army was made of boys and men, girls and women. There was no discretion. And all of these people would have to fight well-trained warriors.
The leader spoke, "We will take a shade of invisibility but it will only last for only a matter of time."
The people around him nodded. Kaoru let out a shaky breath and turned his eyes onto the city intently. He could do this, surely, without losing himself. "We'll be okay," Daichi whispered to himself.
Suddenly a mist of magic covered the group in tingling sensation, making Kaoru feel heavy and light simultaneously. "Here we go," Kaoru murmured as he watched his hands before him disappear from his view.
"Go!" someone shouted behind him and suddenly Kaoru was off, running with the sorcerers towards his old home. The crop flattened out around him in an almost eerie way. It was like one of the gods had flattened his hand across the land.
Kaoru panted as he pushed his muscles as far as he could so that he shot across the field and into the edge of the city. A farmer dropped his basket, crying out, "By the gods!" as Kaoru rushed by.
They burst into the city streets, a silent force, skirting the people easily. So far there were no guards, only villagers but even they were starting to notice something not right. "What is it, papa?" a girl cried as they watched footprints pound into the dirt.
"Demons," he said gruffly, pulling her into their hut.
Kaoru turned his gaze away and hurtled further into the city. "It's going to fall!" A sorceress cried to his left. And suddenly Kaoru could feel the disappearing magic as well.
The group burst into existence and villagers gasped at their appearance. "Call the guards!" a civilian hollered.
Daichi turned and clobbered the man over the head with the end of his sword and just as he did so, guards burst into the city street almost by magic. Kaoru roared and he swung forward without a thought, clashing his sword with the nearest soldier. "Let us through!" Kaoru shouted at them. "We have no quarrel with you!"
The boy didn't listen and swung a quick blade just at Kaoru's chest. Daichi appeared and shoved his sword through the boy's heart. The boy cried out in a gurgling mess as Daichi withdrew the blade, all bloody, and dropped the boy limply into the dirt. "Kill all and any!" Daichi hollered in a feral growl.
That's when Kaoru noticed the black veins climbing up Daichi arms and neck and the blackish tint to his eyes. He was going mad! But, before he knew it, Daichi was turning with a hand outstretched and he blasted a group of villagers with a burning green light. They screamed, engulfed in flames.
"Stop!" Kaoru screamed. "These are innocents!" But his friend did not listen; he only laughed and ran further into the city street.
Kaoru turned back to the other sorcerers, looking for anyone to help, but he was horrified to see all of the others slaughtering just cruelly with black shrouding their skin. Did the Queen's proximity heighten the dark magic?
Abruptly, Kaoru screamed out in pain as a sword slashed his side, ripping through his skin. He had not enough chainmail to cover his whole body and of course, this guard had aimed true. Kaoru saw red as he turned to the warrior. It was a face he recognized, Kaoru realized. This was a boy he had seen on the training grounds. But in that moment, Kaoru didn't care.
Kaoru felt the black spidery design crawl up his arms, taking him over. It was like a hazy feeling of serenity. Everything felt powerful and under his control. And as the black magic grew and grew with his hatred, Kaoru grew giddier as he gazed upon this frightened young warrior. His lips turned upwards into a cruel smile. "Today is not your lucky day," Kaoru laughed.
He raised his hand and caught the boy into his magically grip. Kaoru didn't even have to touch the boy to crush his every bone in an instant. It was a quick death and Kaoru was spilt into ecstasy as he watched the boy's mangled, dead body drop heavily onto the ground. It was perfect, this death. He had to have more!
Kaoru turned, elated, onto the street. So many possibilities.
He would kill all and any.
Nozomi ran through the great hall and up a staircase that led into the east tower. She stumbled on the stone steps but kept up her pace, pushing up higher and higher. "Hikaru!" she cried, reaching the door. She wrenched it open to reveal her son, standing at the window, gazing out into the city. Distantly, they could hear the screams and explosions. This wasn't just any old war any more. "My son, the Queen calls for you."
He didn't look up. Hikaru only tightened his fingers around the hilt of his blade.
"She wants you to…"
"I know." Hikaru turned towards her, bringing his sword with him. "I know what my destiny is. I will finish this." His murderous glare was turned upon her briefly before he brushed past her.
"Be careful!" she called after him with tears in her eyes.