DARK skies with flickering flames was seen on the Northern Continent. Proud and dedicated Knights of Luyas who were born and breed, now barely ceased to exist. They had been replaced by the ruthless Spirit soldiers. The remaining Knights had been ...
DARK skies with flickering flames was seen on the Northern Continent.
Proud and dedicated Knights of Luyas who were born and breed, now barely ceased to exist. They had been replaced by the ruthless Spirit soldiers.
The remaining Knights had been brainwashed to vow and remained to be faithful and loyal to their new Ruler, the Spirit Queen.
One Spirit soldier hastily to the lower ground of the castle where hundreds of soldiers, completely armed, gathered around in the Knight Training Hall at the Academy of Knight.
They listened intently to the brief spoken by their superiors regarding of the battle plans before they moved out.
Meanwhile, flags were raising everywhere just outside of the border of Luyas.
Thousands of combatants from the combination Forces from the Kingdom of Eden and Rose, named ‘The League Army’, were waiting outside the boarders. Aiding them, was their loyal ally, the White Wolf Clan, led by the Clan’s brilliant strategist, Lady Hiira.
The Cavalry unit, consist of fifty soldiers from Eden, and fifty soldiers from the Kingdom of the Rose, and about thirty soldiers from the White Wolf Clan.
The Infantry unit consist of majority from the White Wolf Clan and only thirty amount of soldiers from the Kingdom of the Rose. Finally, the Archery unit, consist of majority soldiers of the Kingdom of the Rose and Eden.
The forces, led by a man with great sense of justice, Lord Eden IX. He stood among the Army, waiting for the first peak of sunrise to arrive.
Once the sun’s light touched the ground below, one high-ranked soldier came up to him.
The soldier saluted. “All preparations are complete, Sire. We’re waiting for your orders.”
Lord Eden nodded. He turned to face with the soldiers for a final briefing.
“Everyone, Listen up!” Lord Eden spoke loud and clear behind the mask. “Today shall be the day we retrieve the Kingdom of Luyas. Our main goal is to drive those Spirits rogues back to where they came from. Inside the castle, there is a portal that can send them back to the Spirit World. Now, I know many of you have many questions and curious to know why on Fulaina does Lord Ranfel has the portal in the first place, but as for now, your main priority is to retrieve Luyas from the hands of the Spirits. We can questions Lord Ranfel later when we’ve successfully secure the place. Anything else will be proceed as planned. Also, should you ever came across any of the Luyas’ Knights, please avoid casualties with them at any cost. They have been brainwashed to fight against you out of their own will. So expect for the unexpected.”
Lord Eden looked at a group of White Wolf on his left.
“White Wolf Unit Two, your main priority will be the civilians. If you encounter any of the civilians caught in the middle of the battlefield, bring them to the Safety Zone immediately. Your strategist will brief you more on it afterwards. Also, a signal will be given to let all of you know when is the right time for you to drive the Spirits further. Are we clear, Wolf Two?”
The White Wolf Unit Two members firmly nodded.
“Good. Are there any questions before we leave?”
One Infantry soldier from Eden lifted his hand.
“How would we know what the signal is, Sire?”
“The signal will be clearly see. I’d already made sure that the Special Unit I’d sent for the task make it happen. Once the signal has been released, drive the Spirits into the activated portals available nearest to you. Are there any more questions?”
All unit members shook their heads.
“All right then. If there’s nothing else-”
Just then, something interfered with the radio’s transmitter.
A male voice spoke out.
“Hey! Aren’t we forgettin’ someone? Look up!” As the voice over the radio had instructed, the others looked up.
Lord Eden had thought it was a rather odd when the trees and grass round them had suddenly turned to dark shades of hue. When he’d looked up, he found out why.
It wasn’t the clouds that had covered the skies, rather, the clouds themselves were being replaced by flock of gigantic birds as they came to view.
“What are they?”
Numerous muttered among the unit’s members, when the same male voice spoke again over the radio.
“Clear the area! We’re about to land.”
“You heard the man. Clear the area!” Lord Eden barked for everyone to make a clear space.
In less than a minute, a huge empty space was cleared, and the gigantic birds landed safely.
Two of the largest birds of prey stood before the gawking crowds. They were the Himalayan Vultures and the White-Tailed Eagles.
The Vultures had ruffled feathers that were spiky, long and pale brown with white streaks. The head’s covered in down which was in yellowish. Their pale blue facial skin was lighter, and their legs were covered with buffed feathers white feet.
The upper-side was streaked; pale buff with the tail quills, outer greater covert and wing quills being a contrasting dark brown, with the inner-secondary had paler tips.
Their wings and tail feathers were dark. The feathers on their bodies had pale shaft streaks. Their wingspan measurements vary from 2.56 to 3.1 m (8.4 to 10.2 ft).
Meanwhile, the White Tailed Eagle’s measured from 66-94 cm (26-37) in length with a 1.78-2.45 m (5.8-8.0 ft) wingspan. They had broad “barn door” wings, a large head and a large thick beak, and mainly in greyish-brown.
Some of them were exception for they had slightly paler head and neck, blackish flight feathers, and distinctive white tail. All bare parts are yellow in colours, including both beaks and legs. All of the birds wore protection masks and body guards, and packed with missiles and other weaponry.
Never before Lord Eden had seen such huge and gigantic birds in his whole thirty-eight years of living. Like the rest, he too had been gawking at the birds before him underneath the mask.
His eyes filled with an excitement of a child, as he giddily approached the Leader of the gigantic pack despite the warnings of his many bodyguards.
The leader of the flock, a spiked black haired man with leaned and muscular body, dressed in V-neck black long robe that split at the sides; with a dark blue orchid embroidery at the right side corner of the black pants, stood at the front, on the gigantic bird.
He wore a helmet with sharp talons around the crowd, and a mask; one side was the face of the White Tailed Eagle, and the other was the face of the Himalayan Vultures.
The man waved his hand at them before he climbed down from the Eagle, and walked toward the still gawking Lord.
“It has been a while, Lord Eden. Under the Master Oracle Fye's request, We, the Black Raven Clan, have come to offer you our services.”
“I thought it was you! Prince Toya! Who else would be crazy enough to fly all the way from the North to here, in short noticed, if not you people!”
Toya laughed heartedly. His baby-blue eyes looked at the older man before he looked at the rest if the still gawking crowd.
“Well, they didn’t call us as the best transportation in all Fulaina for nothing!”
As the two men were left to catch up with things, the rest of the crowds began to gather around them and joined in.
Lord Eden spoke up again after things settled down.
“Now that we have not one, but TWO Fulaina’s most powerful Clans on our side, it’s time for us to go to battle. All units, go forth!”
THE wind blew strongly from the North. Grey clouds surrounded the skies early in the morning, already indicated bad weather was approaching, and that it would last for the rest of the day, at the very least.
Nor sooner than that, the sound of thunder grumbled until the ground shaken. Before long, fine rains poured down on the soil.
Mika sighed at the unpredictable weather. Last night had been hot as hell. It had almost felt like a sauna was in session.
The temperature had increased completely from when they’d spent their nights at the forest two days ago.
It had been so hot Mika had even considered of sleeping nude that very night, had it not been for the tiny little voice inside her head that reminded her the majority of the male populations in the mansion.
Sure the Spirit Princess was given her own private chamber within the Mansion. However, with the guards that constantly roaming and guarding the Mansion, and ever since the arrival of their Clan’s Prince, the number of guards and securities had drastically increased.
As for her, being the ‘Chosen Apprentice’, she was put into a chamber closest to Shinji for cautious, in case of anything should happened to them.
Closing the curtain of the window in her room, Mika picked up her bag, making sure she didn’t forget to pack anything before she closed the door, and made her way to the living room.
When Mika arrived a minute later, two of her companions were already at the dining table, eating breakfast.
Shinji was reading the morning’s newspapers with a half-eaten toasted bread and a cup of strong black coffee, while Kazuo was burying himself with the breakfast meals like there’s no tomorrow.
Shaking her head with a smile, she took a seat beside the blonde latter and patted his shoulder gently, caused the said man to look up at her.
“Owf, Miff! Tuff the shcoot! The foud is groouf!”
“She can’t understand you, idiot. Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Shinji scolded. He flipped on the next page. “Hurry up and eat your breakfast, we have a long way to go from here.”
Mika grabbed whatsoever left of the breakfast on the table — blueberry muffins, mini buns, scrambled eggs and some toasts, and began to eat.
“Guy won’t be joining us.” Shinji spoke all the sudden, eyes still on the newspapers.
Mika stopped munching. Slowly, she swallowed the eggs and looked at her plate.
While she’d told herself repeatedly to respect whatever decision Guy made, it still saddened her that he won’t be continued his journey with them.
“We can’t afford to delay any more days. Besides, he still hasn’t made up his mind whether he wants to come with us or leave with his sister. On top of that, Milla had advised him to take it easy since he is still recovering from emotional and psychological traumas. It’d be best if he stayed here for a couple more days. If by then, he decides that he would like to come with us, he can catches up with us at the Kingdom of the Rose.”
Mika mutely nodded her head. Beside her, Kazuo suddenly let out a long sigh.
“Damn. This sucks.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m talking ’bout Guy. This whole thing sucks. I mean that kind of shock and the image he had to witness won’t be easy to get rid of, for sure. Women should be protected and not beaten! If I ever found out who’d done this to Luna, I’ll crush ’em. TO PIECES!”
“Is that your rehearsal speech for ‘Can I date your sister’ to Guy? If it is, that’s so lame.”
“Oi, I’m being serious here! Women are delicate beings. As men, we should protect them instead of going against them.”
Hearing Kazuo’s thoughtful words about women, especially about protecting them, made the two of them stared at him.
“Of course, wooing his sister is also a part of the plan.” Kazuo smirked cheekily.
“I KNEW IT!” Shinji retorted.
Mika rolled her eyes and sighed as the two men continuously to chat animatedly about who’s right.
After a moment later, the trio finished their breakfast and were ready to leave and continued their quest.
INSIDE Throne Chamber at the Spirit Kingdom’s Castle, Queen Reza was looking over a magical Crystal Ball.
An image of Mika and her fellow companions heading toward to their next destination appeared on the crystal ball.
“Huh. So the little Princess is heading toward the Kingdom of the Rose, is she? Does she really thinks heading there will stop me from conquering the despicable human world? How foolish.”
Reza waved her hand at the crystal ball and the image disappeared. She walked toward the inner chamber where her private chamber was.
Pouring herself a glass of red wine, Reza sipped on it. Drinking the wine away, Reza put it down on the dark wooden table, and then picked up the thin scroll beside it, before she unfolded it.
Ever since that man came to the Castle to deliver her the scroll, her feelings had been unsettled. She felt restless and her mind filled with unanswered with questions.
Why did he come back? How did he got this scroll? Why gave it to me?
Reza tightened her grip on the scroll. Narrowing her eyes, her lips fumed at the words the man spoken by the man:
“What I ask of you is that you kept your promise ten years ago — The Princess and the Prince. I want them. Both of them, without any interference from you or other party. That is all I want.”
The thin glass on her hand scattered to pieces.
“DON’T MAKE FOOL OF ME! Does he really thinks I would just let years of endless efforts gone to waste just like that?! Who does he thinks he is?”
Reza summoned the Crystal ball again. “Show me where the young Prince is!”
The Crystal ball began to glow as it searched for the whereabouts of the said Prince. However, nothing happened even after a second had passed.
Reza tried over and over again, with each of them ended up in the same result.
She gritted her teeth.
“That useless brat. He’d cast an untraceable spell!”
Turning around, the Spirit Queen shouted out loud for someone none other than the Advisor Jun to come at her at once.
The frightened Spirit came running faster than a bullet the moment his name was summoned.
It was a good thing he had been waiting outside of the chamber, just in case he’d been summoned.
“Y-You summoned me, Your Highness?”
Reza summoned a small dagger and without warning, she threw it at the Advisor’s head, who was very fast on his flexibility and dodged it. Though, he nearly missed by the dagger within an inch of his forehead.
“Y-Your Highness?” Jun shrieked frightfully.
“Where is the Prince?” Reza asked coldly. “I’ve been waiting for his whereabouts’ reports for a while now, Advisor Jun. Where is he?”
“T-The P-Prince,” Jun stuttered nervously. Sweats were dripping from his forehead but he forced the words to come out of his mouth. “T-The Prince in the Human World... Our m-men have l-lost in contact with him...”
“Tell Tal to put one of his men on the watch then!” Reza barked angrily. “He can at least spared one of his men to do that task!”
“R-Right away, Your Highness!” Jun instantly fled from the chamber and rushed to inform the said man.
Her Highness The Queen had been very under the weather ever since that mysterious man came to see her the other day.
Every little things ticked her nerves down to the her core.
What had happened between the two of them? Jun wondered. He hardly met nor knew the man except being introduced only once ten years ago by the Queen.
Since then, the man even hardly showed up. But he did know that the man was an acquaintance of the Queen, at some point, before he had left her unknowingly to where.
Jun sighed and stopped running to catch his breath.
“Young Prince, wherever you are, please be safe.”
MIKA and her two fellow companions continued to embark their journey after breakfast. Unlike before, where the atmosphere around them filled with joy and laughter, the air around them filled only with silence.
It was a silence journey for all of them, only with the cool winds and hot sun as their companions. It was a good time to travel, nevertheless.
The heavy rain and cloudy skies had finally gave way for the sun to shine once again despite the weather forecast earlier in the morning.
What none of them knew however, a sunny day could sometimes changed into an unpredictable storm...
Still within the forest, the trio had been hiking for a mile from Milla’s mansion for about an hour, when Shinji suddenly stopped on his trek, as well as his two companions.
Stood in front of their path and blocking the way was a short male figure wearing a black clad robe with a half-mask on his face, and arms were crossed arrogantly on his chest.
He looked calm and collected, but the trio knew better than to know he was just a mere traveler.
There was something strange in the arrogant way that he’d carried himself. As if the lad looked as if he had been waiting for their arrival.
Shinji had his gun on his right hand, already pointed at the intruder. His finger readily set on the trigger. He had detected an unpleasant presence earlier — from the moment they’d all left the mansion, he felt a pair of watchful eyes had been watching them from a far away distance.
Kazuo had his chained sickle readily on his right hand, while his other hand subconsciously pulled to the Spirit Princess behind and closer to him.
Like Shinji, he too had faintly sensed the unknown presence before they’d left.
Mika had her twin blades out from their sheaths. Not blinking nor taking her eyes off the mysterious intruder.
“Who the hell are you suppose to be?” Kazuo was the first to break the silence.
The intruder did not bother to introduce himself. Instead, he unwrapped his arms on his chest and put them on his hips.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” Kazuo retorted.
“So we meet at last, Princess Mika of the Spirit World.”
Immediately tension rose in the air. The trio’s increased their guards the moment those words came out from the latter’s mouth.
“How do you know my name? Who are you?” Mika asked cautiously.
“How? Well, you were a very famous Princess, once upon a time. Everyone knows your name. they knew your existence because of the Prophecy.”
The lad walked in circle around them.
“At ease, Princess. I am not here to fight you. Rather, it’s the opposite.”
“Enough babbling! Either we fight or you hit the road!” Kazuo barked. He hate dealing with chit-chatter enemies, and rather just fight than talk.
The mysterious lad kept quiet. With the mask covered his face, it was hard to tell what he was currently thinking.
After a moment, he spoke in a soft yet demanding tone.
“You two,” he pointed a finger at the two men. “What would you do if the Princess here was suddenly goes uncontrollably mad — as in berserk? Would you try to save her? Or would you end her misery?”
Shinji had intentionally missed the target by lowering his aim and shot the tree behind the intruder.
“Yap one more time and it’s your head next. Prat."
“You know very well what I’m talking about, Prince of White Wolf.”
“What’s he talking about, Shinji?” Mika asked, looking at him from the corner of her eyes.
The intruder looked at Kazuo, before turning his eyes back to Shinji, whose jaws were clearly tightened.
“Oh dear.” The lad taunted. “She doesn’t know about it. You didn’t bother to tell her — tell them about it?”
“Shinji... Goddammit! What the hell does he meant by that?! Tell us what?”
The loud sound of gunshot echoed throughout the forest. The lad had vanished in a blink of an eye when the gun was shot, and reappeared a distance away from them.
As soon as his feet kissed the ground, Shinji fired another two consequences bullets straight at him, caused the latter to flip in the air twice.
Each of the bullets were aimed at two of his vital points: the head and the chest.
The bullets fled in an incredible speed with sharp marks by the accurately aimed shooter.
At the very last minute, as the bullets approached him, the young lad swiftly dodged every single bullet aimed at him. He landed gracefully on the ground a couple distance away from them without breaking a sweat.
With an arrogant smirk hidden behind his mask, and on his hand, the lad held up where, in between his fingers, were the two bullets that Shinji had accurately shot at him!
Like gloves, the bullets slipped away from the his fingers, and onto the ground.
“What!” Mika swallowed hard.
Her eyes had been widened since the start of the gunshots. She had been with Shinji long enough to know that he was an expert and Master in Marksmanship.
No mere human could dodge or avoid a bullet from Shinji. Certainly, no one was able to caught them accurate bullets, except for their new friend here, apparently.
Worse thing was, he did not smell like a Spirit either.
So who or what was he?
“Fool. It takes more than just mere gunshots to actually kill me.”
The lad took a few steps toward them. “Let me cut the chase — I have no intention of harming you whatsoever, Princess. What I do want from you, is something that only you can do it and no one else.”
As he approached closer to them, both men stepped in front of Mika. Each of them held onto their weapons tightly with teeth clenched and a low growled sound came from their throats.
“What I want from you is simple.”
In a flash, both Shinji and Kazuo were being pushed away by a great unseen force and got hit against the trees, as the lad got closer to her.
“Shinji! Kazu-” A hand suddenly reached out to her collar and pulled her closer to his face.
Mika looked at the lad in horror. Her mouth agape with incredulity at what he might do to her. Her face was so close to him that she could feel the sharp pointed beak of his mask touched her nose.
The lad whispered. “What I want from you, is for you to be stronger."
Huh? Mika blinked at his words.
She didn’t have the time to react however, because as soon those words left his mouth, she felt something being forced into her mouth — down to her throat!
Mika’s eyes were widely opened with watery eyes as a bitter taste of liquid suddenly rushed over her throat. She shove the lad away with great force as soon as possible and coughed heavily.
Her eyes were watery and her throat hurt like hell. Her head spun so terrible that she feared she might just collapsed if she tried to move.
Once Mika managed to gather enough strength and focus, without any hesitation, she threw a hard powerful punch at the lad — hard on his face.
Her punch must have came unexpectedly, as the lad stumbled his feet backward, and almost tripped on his foot. All the while, he held on his rapidly bruised right cheek.
“What have you put inside my mouth, you bastard?!” Mika screamed at the top of her lungs at him.
Grey eyes narrowed and glared at her through the mask. He could taste his own blood where he had accidentally bit his own tongue when he’d got hit.
“Poison.” The lad replied, bitterly.
“Poison.” He repeated again, and louder this time. On his hand was a small empty potion.
“The poison that you drank just now, will allows to unleash it.”
“W-what’s ‘it’? What are you talking about?!”
"‘It’, Princess, means your other self. The Spirit that dwell inside you that you have clearly forsaken and abandoned for the sake of the Humans. Oh, have you still not notice yet? Whenever your life is in great danger or being threatened, the other ‘you’ awakes and took over your body. That is, to say the least—”
“You’re lying! The only time I’d ever lose control of myself was when this bracelet that Shinji had made and gave me broke! Once! It had only broken just once!”
“Do you honestly think a bracelet made by a man could easily hold off the mad and devious Spirit that is a part of you? You’ve got to be kidding me. What a naive little Princess you are. If anything, he has been deceiving you all these years, my dear.”
He pointed a finger at the bracelet on her left wrist.
“That bracelet means nothing. It does not sustained your Spirit self. Rather, it feeds on it and causes it to rebel even more. The more it rebels, the stronger for its own will to take control over you. And if you don’t do something about it, one day when it’s will has grown stronger, it’ll be hard for even your precious human Prince to deal it — deal with you. What you need to know, Princess, is to learn how to control it, and not letting it controls you. What I did to you just now, was merely seed planting for you to learn how to control it.”
He grinned. “Considered it free of charge service.”
A sound of a gunfire echoed throughout the forest. Shinji and Kazuo were charging at the lad with bleeding heads, from getting hit by the trees.
Kazuo charged, swinging his sickle with all his might before he brought it down toward the enemy. He could barely touched the enemy when the young lad vanished in thin air — and reappeared above him.
Kazuo quickly rolled to the side. He bared his fangs at the latter and hissed.
“I won’t waste my time fighting if I were you.”
He pointed at something behind Kazuo — Mika was on her knees, coughing and was in a lot of pain.
Forgotten the annoying brat, Kazuo rushed over.Shinji was already beside her, holding her in his arms while patting her back and checked her pulse.
“Something that your friend over there should have done in the first place.”
Mika had her eyeballs rolled at the back of her head and bubbles came out from her mouth. Her body was shaking tremendously.
“Why are you doing this?” Shinji hissed. Panicked was evidently in his eyes.
“So that she may be able to defeat the Spirit Queen. With her current level, do you seriously think you people could stand the chance to defeat her? Not even close. You knew that, Prince.”
The lad took a step forward before he stopped and crossed his arms.
“The Spirit Queen is planning to take over this world as we speak. She already has one of your Kingdoms in her palm — with the help of someone from the inside, of course. Defeating the Queen requires more than just brute strengths. You need to be more than what you are now. Most importantly, she,”
The lad pointed at Mika. “needs to be invincible.”
“What makes you think we’re gonna listen to a brat like you after what you’d done to her?!”
The lad shook his head. “Doesn’t matter to me whether you believe me or not. Bear in mind that time’s ticking. The poison that I’ve injected into her mouth should have already working now. I’d run if I were you.”
“What do you mean by-”
The young lad vanished after his last words, leaving a deeply confused Kazuo and an irritated looking Shinji.
Somewhere not far off from the trio, the lad reappeared on the branch among the trees where his partner-in-crime was already waited for him. She waved at him, holding a binocular on one hand.
“Welcome back, Captain. Oh my, she did hit you very hard, didn’t she?”
“Worth the pain. I wasn’t expecting it to happen though. Any news from Tal and the others yet?”
“Not yet. It means we’re still on this mission.,right? Say Captain, do you mind if I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“What’s the purpose of doing this? Won’t Tal be angry if he found out what you’re doing?”
At the questions asked, the lad put one hand on his chin.
“There’s no doubt he might go ballistic if he knew about this. However, this will gives us the one chance to finally confront him on what he has been doing behind our backs. All we need is time. For now, we’ll just humour him.”
“Understood Sir. No matter what happens, I will stand by you. Always.”
“SHE’S stopped breathing!”
Kazuo dug into Mika’s backpack, hoping to find some medical goods they had packed that could helped them somehow.
Shinji however, begged the differ. No matter how strong and good Suzumi’s medicines were, it would not do them good as the poison had obviously made from the Spirit World.
As much Shinji hate to admit it, no matter how highly-skilled that he had or how Medically advance the White Wolf Clan possessed, it was nearly impossible for them to produce drugs or cures for any poisons that came from the Spirit World.
“Shit! Isn’t there anything that we can do?!”
Shinji clenched his teeth. Still holding the now bubbles turned foams and shaking princess in his arms. After a moment of deep long silence, he sighed, heavily.
When he talked, his voice was surprisingly and unusually calm.
“I was hoping it would never come down to this. But I was wrong. There is a way. A dangerous way, unfortunately. But it’s our only bet if we are going to save her at this moment.”
Shinji looked right at Kazuo in the eyes. “Do you trust me?”
Kazuo looked at him. His vermilion eyes looked down at now stilled Princess before he firmly nodded his head.
“I trust ye.”
“Good. Cause I’ll be removing her bracelet — it’s the only way to save her. I’m not a hundred percent sure what will happens afterwards — it’s a highly risk to take. But we’ll gamble it anyway. Once she goes on berserk mode, at the very least we could avoid the worst case-scenario.”
Kazuo looked taken back for a minute at his friend’s ramblings. “Berserk mode. You mean...”
“We don’t have time to be hesitate about this! Are you in or out?!”
“I know! I’m in! It’s just...” Kazuo shook his head, took a long deep breath and exhaled.
“Let’s do this!”
“All right. I’m removing it now.” Shinji muttered a little prayer and took a deep breath. He then, took a medium size rock nearby and crushed the jaded bracelet that was on Mika’s left wrist with all his might and thus, breaking it.
The silence was madness.
Together, they anxiously wait for something to happen.
“Come on — COME ON!" Shinji gritted his teeth, and clenched his fists tightly.
Why is it taking so long now? By now she should have already...
Shinji looked up, at the trembling voice of his friend.
He gasped when he saw many layers of thin red strings surrounded them. The strings came out from every direction on the forest — like spider webs.
“What are these...strings..?”
“They’re the ‘Soul Binding’ Spell. The Clan must have surrounded the forest with the spell just in case of the Spirits managed to get through the security and came here.”
“Soul Binding — what does it do exactly?”
Not answering the given question, Shinji hastily grabbed Kazuo by the arms, and pulled him toward the bushes few distance away from the Princess — much to the latter’s great surprised.
“H-hey! Why are we hiding?”
Shinji’s eyes gazed at his Apprentice,still laid unconsciously on the ground from afar.
Sweats began to form on his forehead as he explained.
“The Soul Binding Spell works on anyone with a tormented soul. It binds the tormented soul and cleanses it from within — also known as the ‘purification’. However, not all souls can be cleansed. And..”
Shinji’s fists clenched.
“Back in those days, the Soul-Binding spell worked best with the Spirits because of their already tormented souls. The Spirits, as we all know, are cold-blooded creatures. They are what you’d called as ‘savage beasts’ — Nature’s deadly predators controlled by only blood lust if left untamed. It’s not even a surprise if their souls are tormented as well. Which was why we created the spell in the first place, hoping it could tame the Spirits before they lose control of themselves and kill themselves or be killed. The jade bracelet that I’d made for Mika has a little bit of the spell in it. It may not helped her to control it yet,but at the very least it’ll helps her to tame it even for a little bit.”
Shinji gritted his teeth. “However, not all souls are able to cleanse. Some went rage and had gone mad. In Mika’s case, however-”
The air around them suddenly felt heavy and compressed against them.
“What is this — this heavy pressure?! It’s making me suffocate!”
Kazuo fell on his knees, both hands clenched on his chest. His face was red to his ears as he began to cough heavily. Beside him, Shinji was the same.
“It’s her," Shinji said with a raspy voice. “The Soul Binding is entwining with her soul. Since Mika’s soul is unlike the rest — it’s not torment, the only thing that the spell could cleanse is her Spirit self!”
The heavy atmosphere around them grew. It was getting harder for them to breath even from the distance. Kazuo was on his knees, chest against the ground.
“We... oughtta do something... Fast...”
“Shit.” Clenched his teeth, and with a shaking hand facing the sky, Shinji pulled the trigger.
The bullet shot upward through the sky where it hit its mark- at the centre where there was an invisible barrier that was the source of the red strings; caused it to unbound the cocooned Princess, and she fell on the ground with a hard thud.
It did not take them long before the heavy and compressed atmosphere was lifted and the men could breathe easily once again.
Kazuo coughed out loudly before he inhaled a good amount of air. He looked at his best friend and gave him a thumb up.
Shinji was on his one knee. He too had coughed loudly from the lack of oxygen. Gripping his gun tight, he got up to both his feet, and started to head to where his Chosen Apprentice was, before he stopped abruptly.
Cold blood ran through his veins.
The Princess was gone.
Not single hair of her found within the area with the exception of the red strings around the shape of her body laid on the ground.
One hand to his head, Shinji began making a drastic plan in his head when all the sudden, he heard a sound of dashing footsteps running on water.
Don’t tell me.
“Shinji!” Kazuo’s loud voice came from behind. “I saw something flashy is heading toward the mansion — where’s Mika?!”
INSIDE a small living room facing an open garden, three people were currently occupying the room. One man and two women.
Guy sat facing the small garden. Sitting beside him was his younger sister, Luna, and sitting opposite them was Milla, the Lady of the Mansion.
The three of them had just finished with their briefing on the plans regarding of Luyas. Guy, had been well enough to walk and moved around comfortably after he had plenty of rest, all thanks to Milla’s handful works.
Now was the time for him to decide whether he would stay and follow Mika or return to Luyas with his sister.
“...So Luyas is in very horrid condition,” He whispered softly.
Milla nodded. “We’ll be sending some of our troops to the Main House for reinforcement. Of course, should you made up your mind to come along, we will be gladly to have you with us. Both of you are after all, friends to our Prince. Therefore, it makes you our Honourable guests. It is our duty to serve and protect you.” Milla smiled in courtesy.
Guy returned a polite smile and nodded. Before he could speak out, an alarm broke out.
“W-what’s going on?” Luna nearly jumped out from her seat upon hearing the alarm.
Just then, a guard came to the sliding door that connected to the indoor garden. The guard bowed and saluted to them.
“I’m sorry for the interruption, Milady. We’ve detected a Spirit trapped by the Soul Binding Spell nearby. Unfortunately, it managed to get away and currently is on loose. It’s heading toward here, as we speak. What are your orders, Ma’am?”
“A-A Spirit?!” Luna shrieked in fear.
Milla got up from her seat.
“Activate the barrier and gather everyone at the control room immediately!”
“Right away, Milady!” The guard left quickly.
“You two,” Milla turned to the two siblings as soon as the guard left. “We need to head to the Control Room now. Hurry, quickly!”
“Wait, just now he said a Spirit is on a loose. How?” Guy asked on the way to the Control Room.
“Just as you’d heard, we’ve set up a sort of a trap for the Spirits that roamed around here called known as the ’Soul Binding Spell. It’ll helps us to detect any Spirits that got into the territories. Looks like one had caught by the Spell.”
A sound a speaker being switched on, followed by a male voice spoke over it.
“Activating the Barrier.”
The whole mansion glowed in green as the Captain in charge pulled the device in the Control Room. In less than a minute, a thin fairly invisible green barrier started to surround the whole mansion.
“To the Control Room. Hurry!”
Guy and Luna nodded their head and followed the woman.
Once they reached the Control Room, the room was packed with the White Wolf’s men. They all made a way as Milla approached the Captain in charge.
“What’s the situation, Captain?”
“We have not yet identify who’s the Spirit, Milady. However, now that the barrier is activated, there is still time for preparation. Rest assured, Ma’am.”
“Good. In that case, prepare for an attack should the Spirit comes within the area-” Her order was interrupted by one of guards who showed up in haste.
“Urgent news, Milady! Captain! His Royal Highness Prince Shinji is heading toward the mansion way, right now as we speak! He and Sir Kazuo are coming through the forest behind the mansion. Their speeds are catching up with the same speed as the Spirit on hands!”
“Then the Spirit is-!” Luna gasped, with eyes widened at the realization.
Meanwhile, Guy looked at Milla, worried and anxious were written in her eyes, not on her face. Her face remained calm, yet her forehead began to sweat.
With time ticking and all eyes were on her — awaiting her decision, Milla made a risky choice.
“Deactivate the barrier once His Highness is within sight!”
HER command received very loud negative responses from the rest of the crew.
“B-But Milady, with all due respect, that would be suicidal for all of us! If the Spirit came first before His Highness when the barrier’s deactivates, we all be done for!” Spoke the Captain, nervously.
“I’m fully aware of that. That’s why I need you to trust both His Royal Highness and I. Deactivate the barrier as soon as His Highness is within sight. Then, the moment he enters, reactivate the barrier again! It’ll be a risk, but it’s a risk that we will take. It’s our duty to protect the Prince no matter what. Understood?”
The other guards still looked rather unconvinced as they waiting for the Captain’s order.
“You all heard the Lady! Stand by to deactivate the barrier!” The Captain barked orders to his men.
He then turned to Milla. “I have and will never doubt any of Milady’s words. And I have absolute faith in His Highness Prince Shinji.”
“Sir,” One of the guards called out. “His Highness the Prince is now within our range! Deactivate the barrier now?”
“Not yet!” Milla shouted. “Wait until he gets closer to the gate then we will deactivate it.”
From far, they could hear the sound of something rustled coming from the forest, followed by a fast-paced movement within the forest.
The echoing sound of gunfire, followed by another echoed through the forest.
“Shinji?!” Guy gasped. Beside him, Luna was already shaken with fear.
“Should we prepare for a division attack on the Spirit, Milady? That will give His Highness’s time to make it here,” the Captain suggested.
“...Aim nearby. But do not harm the Spirit.”
“Right away, Milady! Prepare the arrows!”
The guards whom had their crossbows ready and prepared to take aim on the Captain’s order. Together they waited patiently.
The sound of rapidly gunfire getting louder as the three figures approached the mansion.
There! There it was.
In the wide opened field, came the Spirit Princess who was charging toward the mansion in a speed of light!
“Take aim!” The Captain barked to his men. “Remember, we are not to shoot the Spirit at any cost!”
Milla watched and waited patiently. Her left hand lifted in the air, ready to give out the signal.
Come on. Come on! Where are you lots?
A slight movement came from the bushes further down from the Spirit caught her eyes and she put her hand down.
At the same time, the Captain barked an order loud and clear. “RELEASE THE ARROWS!”
FAST running footsteps and heavy breathing passed through the thick forest before they ran through the opened field.
Close-up, Shinji was having a hard time catching his breath. Behind him, was Kazuo.
Shinji was fit of course, however, he wasn’t as fit as the latter behind him. The fact that they have been running non-stop in rapid pace.
Moreover, trying up with a wild maniac Spirit on loose was suicidal enough. Nevertheless, for the better or worse, he needed to be there before she does!
Shinji just hoped that Milla had followed the instructions he had left her before they departed, in case anything like this should ever happened.
He was always well-prepared for any situation at any given times.
Just then, something caught his eyes on the skies; hundred of flying arrows shot down behind them — to where his Chosen Apprentice’s was at.
“What the hell are they doing?!” Kazuo yelled angrily behind him. “They’ll kill us!”
“They won’t! We have to hurry, Kazuo! They’re giving us time to catch up!”
Without wasting time, both men added more speed as they ran harder toward the mansion.
MIKA jumped here and there, back and forth, evading the many fierce falling arrows aimed at her with her perfect agility. They were determined not to let her come near the mansion.
The Spirit growled deeply and hissed in frustration. Just then, she saw what looked like shadows running toward the mansion, few distance away from where she currently stood.
Letting out another growl, she began to charge at them while avoiding the flying arrows.
Kazuo ran as fast and pushed himself harder as his legs possibly could.
All the sudden, the hair on his back rose and goosebumps crept on his skin.
The man could sensed something dangerous was coming from behind him. So when he turned, his poor heart almost stopped at the sight of one wild and angry Spirit charging at them in full speed!
“Shinji, faster! She's right behind us!”
Kazuo sped up, actually shoving the young Prince in front of him to run faster. They were just a few distance away from the mansion.
The countdown began.
“Deactivate the Barrier!” The Captain barked.
The green invincible barrier was gone as soon as the order’s received. Now they were just waiting anxiously for Shinji and Kazuo to make it before the Spirit Princess.
Shinji’s foot slipped on one of the tree’s root hidden among the grassy dirt. He fell flat on his face.
“GET UP!” A harsh loud voice came from behind him.
Before Shinji could react, he was hauled up from the ground, and was carried by a pair of strong arms.
Milla and the crowd were shouting for them to hurry up, while the archers doing their absolute best to keep the raging Spirit from catching up with them.
Kazuo let out a heartfelt roar as he hurled himself, along with Shinji, into the mansion’s gates. As soon as they got in, the barrier reactivated once again — just in time Mika reached out her sharp claws at them.
The moment her skin touched the barrier, she was electrocuted. Her whole body bounced back into the depth of the forest with a great force.
“We did it! Milady! We’ve done it!”
Cheers came from inside of the Mansion as the guards celebrate.
Milla let out a rather long sigh and shook her head. She thanked all the guards for their hard works and cooperation before she attended to the two worn out and out-of-breath men.