Chapter #3 Then Came the Rain
Kale rode behind the two prisoners who were forced to walk. Their hands were bound and a line connected their bonds to Sekhmet’s saddle horn. He was pacing his horse slow enough to let the two walk behind at a normal pace instead of making them run as Kale had suggested. If they ran Sekhmet wasn’t sure that the one with the blue hair would survive the trip. Kayura’s arrow hadn’t missed its mark like they thought it had. He looked back the wind rushing through his green hair and blinked his dark shaded eyelids. Speaking of the prisoner he looked exhausted and was struggling to keep up with even this slow pace. Perhaps they should stop and rest. No need to kill them before they got back to Kurayami Okoku. He started to slow his horse when Kale rode up beside him.
“Don’t stop Sekhmet, we’re going slow enough already.” Snapped Kale.
“B-but he looks unwell.” Said Sekhmet looking back with worry.
“Who cares.” Said Kale, “He can walk so let him walk.”
Dais was riding ahead keeping a look out for any people. Making sure that they had the clear way. Shuten was riding behind making sure that no one else from Korin was following them or tracking them in any way. Kale slowed to ride along side the prisoners to keep an eye on them. They were dangerous. When they had tracked them to the hut at the abandoned village they thought that it would be an easy task to apprehend the two since one was wounded but that was far from the right case. The one with black hair and wild eyes would set flames of fire to the air and the other would send a gust of wind throwing both the warlords and the flames about. They had nearly given up when Shuten caught the one with the black hair putting an end to the antics but Kale was still mad. His singed arm and hair kept reminding him of the battle. If it were his decision he would have killed them already but no, Shuten wanted to bring them back alive. He looked down and saw the black haired one whom he was closest to giving him an evil look. Just then the other stumbled and fell. Sekhmet stopped automatically. Kale frowned; he wouldn’t have stopped. Kayura rode up.
“What’s the matter here?” she asked.
“He fell.” Said Sekhmet frowning.
“His wound must have broken open again.” Said Kayura.
“We should keep
going.” Snapped Kale, “He’s not dead yet.
“But he’s not well.” Said Sekhmet frowning.
“We’ll keep going in a second.” Kayura growled back, “Shuten’s in charge of this, not you. He said keep them alive. If this keeps up he’ll bleed to death. So shut your trap.”
Kayura dismounted and walked over toward the prisoners. The black haired one was trying to help his friend but without the aid of his hands there wasn’t much he could do. He stood protectively in front of his friend as Kayura came closer. She held out her hands revealing only bandages.
“I’m not going to hurt either of you. I’m just going to reset the bandages.” Said Kayura.
The black haired boy watched her every move as she started to unwind the top bandages, which were soaked in blood. She looked up to see the boy hovering over her as she started wrapping the clean bandages. Kayura almost felt sorry for both of them…almost.
“Quit hovering.” She snapped.
“No.” said the boy, “I’m making sure that you’re not going to hurt him.”
Kayura smiled as she continued wrapping. She had to admire his courage, “What’s your name? Mine’s Kayura.”
“And why should I tell you.” Snapped Ryo.
“It was just a question. It’s not like I demanded an answer besides it’s better than calling you boy.” Said Kayura frowning at the other boy as he winced making the bandages move.
“I’m Ryo Sanada, that’s Rowen.” Said Ryo his brow creasing as he watched, “You’re making the bandages too tight.”
“I know that, but it’ll help him sit straighter in a saddle.” Said Kayura tightening the bandages again gently.
“Saddle? You’re going to put him on a horse?” asked Ryo.
“No, I’m putting both of you on a horse before the wound on your shoulder needs to be bandaged again as well. Kale’s is getting a bit antsy anyway.” Said Kayura as she tied the bandages off.
“Who’s Kale?” asked Ryo.
“The cranky man with the uncombed blue hair and the bad attitude.” Said Kayura as she helped Rowen to stand. He seemed really weak. She frowned in concern, “Are you going to be alright?”
Rowen just looked up at her with half open eyes and winced. Kayura suddenly felt so absorbed in those deep blue eyes, as if they were deep pools of water with endless depths. She was brought out of her trance by Sekhmet who brought his horse back toward them dismounting and cutting the ropes free of the saddle horn. Kayura took out a slender knife and stood before Ryo.
“If I free your hands you are going to have to promise not to run away. That way you and your friend can share the same horse, if not you both ride with one of us. I just assume that you wouldn’t want the latter.” Said Kayura.
Ryo frowned but he had to admit that she was being fair, “I won’t run, you have my word.”
“Good.” Said Kayura as she slit his bonds; freeing Ryo’s hands, “You will take Sekhmet’s horse.”
Putting a foot in the stirrup Ryo swung onto the horse. With Sekhmet’s help Rowen was put on the horse in front of Ryo. That way Ryo could help support Rowen. The large horse’s reigns were tied to a rope, which was tied to one of the leather straps in the baggage of Kayura’s horse. That way it would lead the other horse. Kayura smiled at Sekhmet. He was like her little brother. Ever since his accident with a neurological poison he’s been a little absent in the mind. He mounted the horse first for he was going to ride behind her. Her horse would only answer to her at the reins. Kale rode up beside Kayura as she started to mount the horse.
“What are you doing?” he demanded motioning to Ryo and Rowen who were on the back of Sekhmet’s horse. Ryo had an arm around Rowen holding him up, as Rowen seemed to be falling asleep.
“You wanted to go faster, so we’re going faster. It will be easier for them on a horse and faster for you.” Said Kayura sarcastically, “Besides they’re both tired so unless we do this then we’ll end up dragging them back to the castle.”
“That would have been better.” Muttered Kale, “We’re not babysitters.”
“Oh, quit your griping Kale.” Snapped Kayura as she swung over the saddle and fell into place.
They continued on at a faster pace but Kayura still kept the horses slow as not to jar the prisoners too much. She glanced back after fifteen minutes of travel. Rowen had completely fallen asleep and Ryo wasn’t too far off but he seemed determined not to fall asleep as if afraid that something would happen to his friend if he did. She hoped that they would hold out until they got to the castle…well it wouldn’t be too much better for them there but at least they would get to rest in the dungeon for a few minutes before Arago would call for them. Perhaps she could fix them up a little before then. They looked terrible. Kayura shook her head why did she care so much; they were probably both going to die anyway. Arago didn’t keep many prisoners; these two wouldn’t be any different.
Soon the castle loomed before them casting its evil shadow on the poor villages before it. Ryo strained to keep his eyes open as they rode on. He couldn’t risk letting his hold on Rowen slip; his friend might fall from the horse. He looked at all the ragged people who rushed out of the way as the horses walked through. He felt sympathy toward them. They seemed so scared and frightened. Kale thundered into the castle leaving the others behind, Dais was soon to follow but Shuten stayed behind with Kayura. He looked over at the prisoners.
“They look dead.”
“Almost.” Said Kayura with a half smile at the joke, and then back to business, “How long do you think that they have before Arago-sama will call for them?”
“An hour in the most. We have a meeting as soon as we get back.” Said Shuten, “Why do you ask?”
“Well, I uh.” Started Kayura as a blush crept over her face.
Shuten smiled, “Which one seems to have caught you?”
“I just think they need a little rest and care before going to see Arago.” Said Kayura, “They’re filthy and in need of rest. That’s all.”
“Oh, really. I see.” Said Shuten smiling as Kayura kept blushing, “Well, I guess I can persuade Arago to take care of the other matters first and give you twenty minutes before the meeting to fix them up and forty minutes after. Then we’ll see about Arago not killing them if he doesn’t kill us first for messing up.”
The next thing Ryo knew they had reached the stables. He shook his head slowly to wake up, must have dozed off. Kayura was tying the rope that held Sekhmet’s horse to a stabling hook. She smiled at them and was about to tell them that they could get down when Kale jumped out of nowhere scaring the horse. It reared throwing both of them through the air and to the ground in a heavy crash. Kayura looked horrified for a moment as Kale started laughing.
“Kale you dumbass!” Kayura screamed at him then throwing a rock nearly hit him with it, “Get out of here!”
“Sure thing.” Laughed Kale as he left a cruel grin stretching across his face.
“Gods, are you two alright?” asked Kayura going over to them.
Ryo got up first for he had fallen into Rowen’s chest, “No, but I’m alive. You alright Ro?”
Rowen groaned and put a hand across his ribs as he tried to stand, “My ribs hurt.”
Ryo helped him up, “Careful, you might have broken something.”
“Come on. Let’s go. I’ve only got twenty minutes to take care of you before I have to go and unless you want to stay in the dungeon as filthy and hurt as you are I suggest you just do as I say.” Said Kayura taking up Rowen’s other side as they entered the castle’s interior. She led them to a corridor then set Rowen down in a chair, “Stay here for a moment, I’ll be right back. If you try to escape or go anywhere else it’s the dungeon for the both of you got it?”
Ryo nodded though he wished that there were someway to get out of here. He watched Kayura walk off then looked back to Rowen who was still clutching his ribs, “Are you alright Ro?”
“I don’t think they’re broken just bruised.” Said Rowen wincing, “As soon as I’m able I’m going to have a little fist to jaw talk with that Kale guy.”
“Yeah, if we stay alive long enough. I don’t know what they’re planning but this Kayura chick seems nice enough for someone who just trashed a bunch of villages.” Said Ryo, “I didn’t think that they would find us so fast or I would have had something set up. We have to find some way to get out of here and back to Korin. Seiji-sama’s probably worried sick.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll think of someway we can get the message to them.” Said Rowen.
“Alright, so for now-“ he was cut off as a red tunic and a black pair of pants were thrown at him hitting his face.
Ryo looked up to see Kayura smiling at them, “I hope they fit, I’m not the best size guesser around. That room there is the washroom, get cleaned up and I’ll fix your wound up with a poultice.” Ryo looked down at Rowen then up at her. Kayura understood, “Don’t worry I’m not going to kill him while you’re gone. He’s going to get cleaned up too.” She held out a blue tunic and a pair of black pants.
Ryo gave her an unsure look then he left for the washroom. Kayura took hold of Rowen’s arm pulling him to his feet, “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” asked Rowen as he stumbled down the corridor with Kayura’s help.
“That’s the first thing that you’ve said to me.” Said Kayura grinning, “I’m taking you to another room to get cleaned up. I don’t have much longer to get you two fixed up.”
They soon arrived at another room. Kayura walked Rowen in and sat him down on a chair then set the clothes off to one side. Rowen closed his eyes for a moment taking a moment to rest; he was tired. Suddenly he felt something on his face. Opening his eyes quickly Rowen saw that Kayura had a wet washcloth in her hand and was attacking the grim on the side of his face.
“Hey!” he started.
“Oh be quiet. You can’t even walk by yourself. I doubt that you have enough energy to do this.” She said as she scrubbed at his face taking the dirt off of it.
Rowen frowned, it’s not like he could stop her from doing that anyway. He doubted that he could do much until he got some rest. He started nodding off again. He was awaken by a cold feeling on his shoulder.
“What the-HEY!” Rowen flushed. Kayura had taken his shirt and was scrubbing his shoulders.
“Geez, calm down.” Said Kayura as she saw his face turn red. It was so cute, “I have to check your ribs and clean the wound anyway. You sleep like a rock, I even washed your hair.”
“But-but-but.” Stuttered Rowen, now noticing that his hair was damp as well.
“Look, I bandaged you before it’s not like I haven’t seen your skin already.” Said Kayura smiling, “Your hair is very soft, you know.”
Rowen choked back his embarrassment as Kayura started to put the cold cloth to his ribs, he jumped a bit, “That hurt.”
“Of course it will, you have two bruised ribs. I already checked and none of them are broken. I’ll but a light bandage on them after you’re clean and perhaps that will help. Now stop squirming and let me clean.” Said Kayura putting the cloth back across the ribs gently cleaning the grime. She frowned as she got to the bandages, she’d have to clean the wound or else it would become infected. She started unwrapping the bandages until she came down to the last wind, “You do realize that this will hurt.”
“Yeah.” Said Rowen then taking a deep breath and exhaling.
As gently as she could Kayura pulled the bandage from the wound exposing the mess of scab and blood beneath, “I didn’t know that I did this much damage to you. No, you must have done something else. There’s no way my arrow would have done this alone.”
“You were the archer?” asked Rowen opening his eyes wide.
“I’m not that good, I just started learning a week ago.” Said Kayura as she gently put a new cloth to the wound.
“That was at least nearly two hundred yards.” Said Rowen then wincing as she worked a bit of the excess scab off, “You can’t be that new.”
“Well, after I rewrap your wounds I’m going to go get your friend and fix his wound and you had better be dressed in those clean clothes by the time that I get back or I’ll dress you myself.” Said Kayura smiling as he paled. She put a poultice on the wound before wrapping it again, “That should speed the recovery.”
Rowen caught her wrist as Kayura stood up, “What’s going to happen to Ryo and me?”
“I don’t know.” Said Kayura, “That’s completely up to Arago-sama.”
Silently Kayura left the room and went down the hall. She hoped that they wouldn’t be killed or at least not Rowen. Ryo was waiting in the hall dressed in the clean clothes. She dressed his shoulder much like she had Rowen’s cut. After assuring Ryo that Rowen was ok they went and retrieved the now cleanly dressed boy. She took them down the hall and put them in a room. With Ryo’s help she put Rowen on the bed and covered him up. He fell to sleep as soon as his head touched the pillow. Kayura turned to Ryo.
“You have an hour to rest and get some sleep, don’t waste it trying to escape and don’t wreck my room alright.” Said Kayura. Ryo nodded and sat in one of the chairs. Kayura walked out of the room and into the hall only to bump into Kale.
“What do you want?” she growled at him.
“Prisoners are supposed to be in the dungeon.” Said Kale crossing his arms.
“They’re doing no harm.” Said Kayura trying to ignore Kale.
“Oh, really.” Said Kale, “I noticed that you seem to be pretty attached to them for some reason, Kayura.”
“Get real, Kale. Now let’s go before we are late for the meeting.” Said Kayura slinging her long black hair in Kale’s face as she walked on down the hall.
Joining Shuten on the way the three walked into a dark hall and sat at a rounded table. Shuten took his place as the leader. Here they would discuss the work of the a.k.a. Unknown army, which they commanded then report back to Arago. They looked at Sekhmet as he entered nearly tripping as the pile of papers that he had in his hands stacked over his head blinding his line of vision. Kale resisted the urge of tripping the other masho only because it would take them forever to get the papers back in line. Dais started unstacking the papers and setting them on the table in smaller piles.
“These are the reports from generals of the army attacking the northern kingdoms. Including the reports from the squad in the Konga area.” Said Dais.
“I think that it has come time to push Korin’s hand. They aren’t prepared for us. There’s no way they would withstand a frontal assault followed up by sending some troops through the northern countries to fall behind their border force. Trapping those worthless warriors in the middle quickly exterminating them. Korin would fall with the time of one day.” Said Kale pointing across the map.
“A good plan indeed, Kale.” Said Shuten then glaring at the masho, “IF we wanted to give away what country we were from! Baka!”
“We caught the spies before they got back to the inner kingdom, so no one else knows but them.” Said Dais looking at them through his one good eye. A black eye patch lay across the other from where a kid from the country of Konga had taken it out during the fight. His long white hair waved as he moved his head.
“True.” Said Kayura, “So sending a frontal assault at this point in the game would be detrimental to the plan. If we mess up we would lose our element of surprise.”
“That’s why we won’t mess up.” Said Kale.
“You didn’t factor in the abilities of the armors. We know that the monk went in there. He’s probably already given the armors out so we don’t know who has them right now nor do we know how much experience that they have.” Said Shuten frowning and folding his hands in thought.
“We can question the prisoners.” Said Sekhmet, “Perhaps they know.”
“Arago will question them.” Said Kayura quickly killing that statement. She didn’t like the look that Kale had gotten.
“I suggest that we send our first troop through the northern kingdom and attack there first then send another from the south part of Korin.” Said Dais, “That way we can keep them off the scent of where we are originally from.”
“Our main troops we will send by boat to go around and attack the eastern shore. The castle can be easily taken from that point and they will most likely have all of their soldiers at the border thinking that we won’t attack that way.” Said Shuten.
“That will take too long!” shouted Kale standing up.
“A war is won by patience not rash decisions, Kale.” Calmly said Shuten refusing to allow his anger to be aroused by Kale.
“That’s why we haven’t won yet.” Hissed Kale storming out of the room, “These meetings are as useless as the leader who orders them.”
The others discussed battle strategy and formation and after a while they called an end to the meeting. Kayura left to get ready for their meeting with Arago. He wouldn’t be happy with her or Sekhmet for letting the spies get back into their own country before their capture. He was a very irritable person. When Arago got mad people got hurt.
Meanwhile Rowen and Ryo had gotten thirty minutes of sleep. They spent the rest of the time thinking up a plan. Rowen sat up trying to ignore the pain in his ribs only to double over as soon as he got sat up. The kanji orb was knocked from his pocket and went rolling across the floor.
“Catch that!” shouted Rowen as he saw the orb roll away.
Ryo made a dive and caught it before it could roll out through the crack in the door. He handed it back to Rowen, “Here.”
As soon as the orb came in contact with Rowen’s skin a dark blue light illuminated him and suddenly he felt his pain relieved as the orb disappeared into him, “Weird.”
Ryo stared at him, “Weird? Is that all you can say? That was freaky. Where’s the orb?”
“I think I absorbed its power.” Said Rowen looking at his hands. Then he jumped up from the bed. No pain, “Amazing.”
“Stop that, you’re wounded.” Said Ryo raising an eyebrow at Rowen.
“Not anymore.” Said Rowen with a smile, “It must have healed me. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anything that does this. Get your orb out.”
Ryo pulled the red kanji orb out of his pocket and held it up. Instantly he was washed in a red light as the orb slowly disappeared. He felt the wound across his shoulder heal over. Shuten had been the one who had cut it when they were fighting. He felt so much stronger. He could sense that his connection with fire had heightened. He looked back to Rowen who had sat back down, “We should still pretend to be wounded. Let them find out on their own. Perhaps we can use this to our advantage.”
Suddenly Kale and Shuten opened the door. Shuten’s was a face of stone but Kale’s face was glowing with ill will. Shuten spoke, “It is time. Arago will see you now.”
Ryo had the thought of fighting their way out swirling in his thoughts but he saw that the other masho were behind them and knew that it would be useless to take on all five of them at once. Slowly he got up followed by Rowen who was still feigning a wound. They studied their surroundings well as they were taken to the throne room. Perhaps this information would serve them well later or in any case they would have to find someway to escape if they were sentenced to die. Their hands were bound before they started into the throne room.
The throne room was black with some purple flamed candles. A giant floating head was at the far end of the room. Ryo frowned; it was Arago. He grinded his teeth trying not to get angered but for some reason he just felt his fury build up like a kindled fire. He saw that Rowen had narrowed his eyes as well. They were shoved to their knees before Arago as the masho stood behind them bowing reverently on one knee to Arago.
“Arago-sama.” Said Shuten.
“You have returned. It is well that you have brought the two spies back. If you had lost them I would have been very displeased.” Said the huge head looking at the masho, “Korin must not find out otherwise I will have no use for you anymore. You have done well with the tasks assigned to you I expect you to keep them up.”
“We have not been able to find any of the armors yet.” Said Sekhmet.
“You have been given enough time!” growled Arago.
Rowen who was directly in front of Sekhmet started as he heard the crackling of energy. Arago was going to shock Sekhmet but since he was so close he would be caught in the energy too. He closed his eyes as he felt the energy rush forward but suddenly he felt it strike against something in front of him. Opening his eyes Rowen say a dark blue shield of energy before him deflecting the attack. Everyone was surprised.
“What is this?” demanded Arago as he stopped his attack watching the shield disappear as well, “Could that be…”
The evil lord let his word trail as he thought, “Yes, it must be. But I must be sure.”
A beam of power shot out of Arago’s seemingly depthless void eyes and hit Rowen; freezing him where he stood. Arago seemed as if he were reading something.
“Ah, yes. I see now.” Said Arago as he continued to shift through Rowen’s aura as if it were a book. The fabled city…”
Ryo’s temper rose as he finally worked his bonds loose. Holding out a hand toward Arago he concentrated on the burning candle beside the dark spirit. Perhaps if he could make it flare then Arago would be distracted just enough to release Rowen.
Come on, come on! Thought Ryo furiously, Work!
Nothing happened. Why wasn’t it working, he could always move a flame! Ryo’s temper rocketed then all of a sudden he found himself wearing some kind of red and white sub armor. Still he refused to get distracted, his friend was in danger! Fire seemed to erupt from around him as magically heavy armor started to form atop key areas of the sub armor. Front plate, back plate, then the gauntlets, shoulder guards, and thigh guards, finally the shin guards appeared as well letting the fire disappear. The one that had kindled in his soul however was still burning with ferocity. Ryo’s gaze was locked on Arago as the fire sought a way out.
A blazing rush of fire burst up from the ground striking Arago. The attack didn’t hurt the spirit lord but it did startle him immensely causing him to drop his scrying spell.
“WHAT?! The Yoroi no Rekka; here!” shouted Arago glaring at Ryo, “How very interesting things have gotten.”
Ryo drew his two katana letting the rage of the fire within him guide his every move. Shuten leapt out at him swinging his kusari gama. Soon they were exchanging blows. Ryo noticed that the masho had donned armors as well.
Arago glared at the others, “Aid Shuten, I want that armor!”
A fierce battle took place and in the end Ryo was defeated by the sheer number of his attackers. Kayura had kept Rowen under the guard of her Starlight Swords preventing him from doing anything to aid Ryo. Soon Ryo was held in a kneel before Arago by the other warlords. He was still glowing from his battle rage. The fire still burnt with power.
“You have done well my masho.” Boomed Arago’s voice, “With the Yoroi no Rekka finding the other four armors will be all too easy. Take both of them out to the courtyard, I will meet you there.”
Kayura and Sekhmet took Rowen and Dais, Shuten, and Kale dragged Ryo none to gently out to the courtyard. There, the floating head of Arago awaited them. He smiled down at the struggling Ryo.
“Call the others to arms, Rekka.” Said Arago.
Ryo just glared, what did this madman mean call the others to arms. Arago just kept smiling, “Speak, Rekka.”
Ryo found everything growing dim as if he were getting further and further away from everyone. He could hear voices speak but they seemed slow and dampened. He felt his mouth move but he couldn’t understand what he was saying. Unable to stop himself Ryo struggled to clear his head, he felt so far away.
“Yoroi to arms!” Ryo shouted or rather Arago using Ryo’s body and voice to say by blocking Ryo’s mind from the rest of him.
Ryo cleared his mind only to find that a glowing red light was shooting up from him in a pillar to the sky above. He saw that the warlords’ armors were doing the same thing, what did it mean? A green light shot up from Korin followed by a light blue and orange one. Ryo blinked what was happening? Rowen hissed out an obscenity, his arms around his ribs. It looked as if he were in pain, trying to hold something back. A powerful gust of wind blew up from the ground as streaks of dark blue power shot all over him like static lightening setting his hair on end. Finally unable to contain it anymore Rowen let go with a shout and his power shot up into the sky forming a pillar like Ryo’s and the armor of Tenku formed around him. Arago seemed very pleased.
“I thought it was you Tenku. You are unable to hide any longer.” Said Arago looking at Rowen, and then he looked to his side where a young lady was standing. She was wearing black leather armor and had her large black wings folded around her like a cloak. She smiled as she watched the warriors energy calm back down doing nothing more than leaving them fully armored up and in the case of the two people from Korin, weak, “What do you make of this, Siren?”
“They are new to their armors.” She said looking at Ryo, “Unused to the expense of energy the armors require. I doubt that you have much to fear from the new bearers of the Ronin armors.”
“And of the others location?” said Arago.
“They are in the very heart of Korin. The castle to be more specific and together.” Said Siren, “If we find one then we find the others.”
“Speaking of the castle my lord, “ said Dais, ”I do believe, if I’m not mistaken, these two are part of the Council of Knights for Korin.”
“How many are on this council?” asked Shuten.
“Four and the king himself.” Said Sekhmet.
“So, Seiji no Korin has one of my armors.” Said Arago, “Interesting…”
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