Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, only the plot.
Beta'ed by: MysteryPT
Sorry for taking so long this time. I got a lot going on in real life...like overcoming heartbreak LOL. And thanks if you're still willing to stick with me :)
Guest: Thanks. I hope you will keep liking it ^^
Bluebellmika: Sorry for taking so long :D
Thank you all for your review...and here's the next chapter. Enjoy~
Chapter 7: Darkening Sky
For the longest time, Ouka had always had power. At one time, though it stayed nothing but flashes of blurry events, Ouka was feared because of it. Both she and Teito were monsters to some, freaks to others, and aliens to their families, if they could ever named those strangers parents or siblings. For that longest time she was protected, Ouka lost her understanding about physical pain. This was the first ever that she woke up with throbbing head.
"Ughh," Ouka groaned. Her slim fingers automatically flew to massage her temple.
It looked like she was unconscious only for a few hours. The sky was still a spread of white and blue. The sun shifted only slightly. A few hours had probably passed.
"Where..." the girl stood up from the cold floor that was her unattended bed. The room was familiar as ever, except for the mess of things and no daydreaming brunette by the window. "Teito..."
Fear was the first feeling to invade her heart although not for long. Anger replaced the former in mere second as memories dawned on her finally. She didn't see the attacker but Ouka remembered seeing flash of gold. It should be that gold-haired man she despised. But oddly, she felt wrath toward Teito as well, even stronger.
The notion that she was betrayed by the only person she cared about hurt her so much. Her world was in a wreckage, just like this room. Pieces of glasses was her heart. Shattered and impossible to fix. Rage consumed her and her power unleashed like a sudden storm.
Sudden gust of wind swirled around her, making things flew and hit the wall. Smaller pieces of broken glass and furnitures broke even smaller until only dust remained. Sharp blades of wind was her shield. The damages had been done. All Ouka wanted was to kill both the intruder and Teito. And to achieve that, Ouka would do anything.
It had been a long while since he last visited the two children in the tower, Ayanami mused to himself. He didn't intend to neglect the two, but war kept him away for too long. In fact, it began to make him feel what he usually ignored: longing. Ayanami didn't realize he was still capable of experiencing that for all his humanly desire was voluntarily suppressed. The third prince wouldn't be too surprised if any of his people actually think he was heartless.
Snorting mockingly, the prince put down the map he was holding and sighed. The war had been demanding so much of his time, he couldn't even rest for a while. As result, he had abandoned the two children and not even allowed to think about them. At least, for now the heat had receded and the youngest prince could find more time to visit.
"You're smiling, Aya-tan. Is it the world's end?" The prince glared sharply at his right-hand man. The latter raised his hands to surrender, grinning ear to ear. "I'm joking. Anyway, I have good news."
"We're done for now. The King - or rather - that man has issued withdrawal decree."
Krowell stopped reading the report paper he received this morning and looked up to the raven. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. Knowing Hyuuga, despite his lack of seriousness attitude, Krowell knew the man better than most people. Hyuuga wouldn't come to report trivial things to him. He knew the prince hated unimportant news.
"I have expected the retreat, but not so soon. At least, not after unreasonably starting the war."
"Regarding that, I found some information. Apparently, Miroku - that old racoon - was searching information about the Eyes."
Krowell's eyes lit from interest. "Eyes? The legendary Eye of Mikael and Raphael?" Hyuuga affirmed it with a short nod. "I leave the withdrawal to you and the rest of Black Hawk. I'm going to the Tower now."
"Are they the ones?"
Pausing midway to the door, Krowell turned his head halfway, regarding his right hand man from the corner of his amethyst eyes. The sharp gaze didn't linger for long. The pale haired man turned back and exited the room. He didn't have to tell Hyuuga word by word for the man would catch what he meant. His stares was meant as warning and affirmation. After all, it would be troublesome if his finding about the tower was known to that old snake.
Halfway toward the exit of the camp, Krowell nodded curtly at two soldiers. "Are you going out, your Highness?" the taller of the two regarded carefully.
"I am. Don't expect early return. We have received withdraw order. I'll return to the castle alone."
The order was short, but clear, leaving no room for further discussion. Not that the prince expected any response from lower ranked officer. They were usually afraid of his presence. For that, he was thankful to have Hyuuga under him. The man was one of the few who didn't display fear but still held utmost respect for him as an individual.
Krowell hastened his steps, preferring to avoid any more soldiers. He had no time for salute and formalities. For now, the prince felt rumbling fear spreading like virus. It was nothing but intuition but somehow he could feel something was wrong. And the source of that displeasure was undoubtedly came from the Tower.
Earlier, sudden energy blast hit him like rough ocean wave. But it didn't last long before disappearing without a trace. He had suspicion that the two children held secrets for he always felt oddity oozing like fume from both of them. Though he never once voiced the thought, Krowell had his guess. They were most probably what or who Miroku was trying desperately to get.
Increasing the pace, Krowell reached the stable. With a turn of his head, the stable boy hurried in and brought his horse. The beast was his friend, being closer to him more than most human. Besides, the beast was beautiful. Its mane was silky white, in contrast to dark skin. Hard muscles made it an uncomfortable ride but it was faster than any horse. Most importantly, it was Krowell's loyal companion.
Stroking the mane, Krowell smiled as the beast neigh happily. The prince waited, his hand never cease to comb the horse's mane, until he felt readiness from his ride. He then swiftly climbed up. As soon as he landed with grace on top of the horse, it moved. Krowell never had to force the beast too hard because the smallest tug from him and it would obey.
They were cutting though the vast wilderness in less than an hour. That showed only the strength of his ride. But Krowell had no time to spend too much time praising the animal. The prince gave his horse encouraging pats and tied its rein to nearby tree. He double-checked that the tying was sloppy, just in case there was something happening so the horse could escape.
"Wait for me here." The horse gave a loud huff which was understood as affirmation by the prince. Giving a small smile, Krowell patted the horse one more time before fixing his rapier and entered the sealed wood.
Trailing though the path he always took and Krowell reached the entrance of the tower soon. The door was closed but the prince could felt something odd was or had happened. Cautiously, he reached the door, pushing it with one hand, another hand flew to grab the hilt of his rapier.
The door swung open, revealing the same darkness he knew, except with the smell of dried blood. He had been soldier for too long and easily recognized the smell. While the day was still early and sun still up high, black spots that were smearing the floor was clear. It was blood.
Beside the blood, footprints were slightly blur but still visible. It definitely did not belong to a child's. The only feasible answer was: someone other than him knew about this place and could pass the seal. Even with that, he could nailed the people down to some. Only royalty, either Raggs or Barsburg, that could pass the entrance seal. Knowing none of his brothers knew about this place, the only possible answer was Barsburg. And that meant, the King is the only person possible, for he was the last of Royal line in that Kingdom.
"This is getting complicated."
Having Miroku on his tail was bad enough, but at least it was internal problem. Barsburg was not. If the peace treaty was still taking effect, then this matter wouldn't be too hard to solve. They were at war. And this was the worst situation he could expect.
Krowell looked up towards the long flight of spiraling stairs. It looked intimidatingly endless at a glance, but having actually climbed it, he knew, a spell was put in this place. With the right shift in Zaiphon, one could be transported at least halfway. Did it twice or thrice, and he could cut the distance to a few round of climbing. And so he started to climb the steps and did his cheat.
A few short spell, and he was nearing the top. Not thinking much, he passed through the door, reaching the spacious living room. He stopped momentarily, trying to find any thing that looked different. He saw none. Continuing, he reached to the only room he visited: Teito's.
He was expecting to see some disappointed faces as well as happy. But when he entered the room, he saw none but a face distorting in anger. Gust of wind swirled around the lithe body, protecting the child with razor sharp blades. Ouka was looking at the empty chair where Teito usually sat while the room was in total mess from the wind.
"Ouka, what had happened? Where is Teito?"
The girl turned around. Anger flashed in her wine-colored eyes. Krowell immediately grasped the situation, understanding basically what might have occurred in this place.
"Calm down, Ouka." The prince commanded coldly. His tone left no space to compromise. Although fire was burning still in her eyes, the wind around Ouka diminished slowly into the air. When it had disappeared completely, Ouka took a step forward. Hate distorted her beautiful face. "What happened?"
Ouka sent another sharp look at him and then turned to look at the broken chair by the window. Krowell followed her line of gaze and returned. "Let us speak outside." He knew if they stayed in the room any longer, Ouka's mind would wander back to the destroyed chair. Knowing the man was right, Ouka nodded and followed him out.
All the way to the living room, her head was lowered down. Now that calm had once again returned, Ouka felt her eyes stung from unshed tears. She was angry still, but the lost was overwhelming. She never expected this day would ever come. She was hurt. Really hurt.
"Have you calm down?" Ouka glanced up and nodded hesitantly. Krowell was far from convinced but situation required urgency. So he pushed on. "Now, tell me everything."
Ouka was once very fond of this man. That was before she saw the glitter in Teito's eyes everytime he looked at this man. Teito adored Ayanami for many reasons. And for that, Ouka hated him. But after what happened, for once, she tolerated him. From the way he talked and the urgency in his voice, Ouka could tell. This man had nothing to do with Teito's disappearance. If all, Ayanami would do anything to get the boy back. If he did think of such, Ouka would help in anyway she could. After all, Teito was hers.
"I'll tell you."
Krowell was thinking. Hard. From what Ouka told him, he was almost certain that Teito was taken by the King of Barsburg. Though, the fact that the man was taken here by Teito was most disturbing. Teito was nursing someone, Ouka said. He used the salve Ouka made from her healing power. That meant the man was injured somehow. If his memory served correctly, the only wounded person around that day was the spy he fought. A thought crossed his mind, but that was impossible. Why would the King himself spied on a small army in the outskirt of the town?
If he was asked how close the probability of him guessing the right person, Krowell would say less than a percent. How many people in a day would be injured? Even the injury itself was something unpredictable. There were too many reasons for a wound. Still, the tugging feeling was too strong. It was too much of a close coincidence. If the person he hurt was indeed the King, it would be bad. Really bad.
Sensing his discomfort from the frown, Ouka broke the silence. "You know something." It was more of a statement than a question, but nothing worth debating, so Krowell ignored the question. Instead he went for something which had been plaguing his mind since he found out about Teito's disappearance.
"Ouka, how did that stranger managed to take Teito out from this place? There is a strong seal which prevents any of you to go out and others to go in."
"You're...right..." the words trailed off. Many different possibility were formed involuntarily in her mind. "Then...how come you can enter this place?"
Krowell gave her a mysterious smile but instead of answering the question, he offered something completely outrageous. "Why don't I try to take you out, Ouka?"
"Why don't I try to take you out." He repeated, clearly amused.
Ouka's eyes were widened in shock. "You...you can do that?"
The light-haired prince gave her a small smile, clearly enjoying the tease. He didn't instantly gave his answer. Instead he stood up from the chair he was sitting, taking Ouka's hand into his. Ouka was flustered though she managed to compose herself rather well.
"Who are you?" the girl asked, changing the question when she felt that her first question would never be answered. At least for now.
"My real name is Krowell. Let us leave, Ouka."
And then, magically, Ouka managed to leave this place. It was like the barrier was never there. Not even a spark was ignited. Though she noticed a small trail of red on the tip of Krowell's hand. It looked like blood. Maybe it was.
So many months had passed when Miroku finally managed to get a complete hold of the King. His plan was perfectly crafted. Clever. Sly. Dangerous. But it was necessary to get the power he wanted. The Eyes. Zaiphon of beginning. The magical power long lost and forgotten by most but the royals. When he first decided to take over Raggs, he was a bit doubtful. Even when he picked the place for the number of royal bloods, there was still no guarantee he might find what he wanted. Though at least he had more blood stock than Barsburg which had only one person.
Zehel, the Death Scythe. That was the King of Barsburg's title. He was named a genius being able to handle any kind of weapons like his own hands. Battle was his field, much like Krowell. They were often compared, being two of the same kind. And the latter was a hindrance to Miroku's plan. That brat suspected him and his ever-so-loyal Black Hawk was a pain.
Still, no matter how clever the third prince thought he was, Miroku was a step ahead. His net of information was vast and he knew the youngest prince had found what he was looking for. He also happened to find out that Krowell had made contact with the children.
The man didn't answer immediately. He rose from his seat beside the King's bed, looking down at the sitting King's blank stare. Now he had a doll by the name of King. His dream had taken a step closer.
"What is it?" answered the man finally.
From beyond the door, a soldier appeared. His face was obscured by helmet but Miroku knew the voice of his spy. "Reports from Barsburg has arrived. The King took back a child from the tower. It's highly possible that that child is the one."
Miroku's eyes immediately lit up. Finally! After so long! The plan was for Krowell to get a hold on the children. Though the plan was slightly diverged, the plan was still in the right track. Now, all he had to do was to send his people to fetch the child. But for now, he had to create diversion for his men.
"Sent a word to Barsburg. Kill the King and take the child. Also, the time has come for us to take Barsburg. Send Krowell out."
"Yes, my lord!" The man saluted and left hastily.
Finally. Finally after so long. He would gain the supreme power. No one could stop him now.