[Novel] The Zodiac Empire

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[Novel] The Zodiac Empire

Post by Linda-Senpai on Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:39 pm

First topic message reminder :

Hey guys sorry bout not giving you anymore chapters of Heaven Academy yet, my editor has been MIA. So to make up for it, I'll show you the other novel im working on, The Zodiac Empire.

Read in link below or the spoiler
http://sta.sh/07llp2htzep

The Zodiac Empire
Prologue
 
Spoiler:
Raging infernos and chilling frost. They say that this is all there was when the world began. To the south lay Rafendile, a land decorated by raging flames and boiling magma, inhabited by the giants, the only ones who could stand such blistering heat. To the north, Kricade, land of the dragons, the only ones who could live in the arid deserts of snow and ice which encompassed the continent. Though these regions lay on opposite ends of the world, their winds managed to reach each other, and through this phenomenon, a long road connecting the two lands was formed. When this path appeared, both the giants and dragons were curious of what lay on the other side, and so set off to discover what was at the end of this road.
When their paths crossed, both races were caught by surprise. It didn’t take either party long to suspect the other of trying to invade their land. Wishing to avoid conflict, Nircogard, leader of the dragons, took it upon himself to try and reason with the giants. The dragons were merely curious, he explained, of what lay at the end of this road which had suddenly appeared. They hadn’t known anything but ice and snow existed in this world. In response, Egitnafir, leader of the giants, explained that they too were curious, as they’d only ever known raging flames. So, the two sides struck a deal. The dragons would allow the giants to enter their home to show them what lay there, as long as the giants did the same.
The journey to Kricade was long, but certainly worth it for the giants. They were amazed by how much land there was in Kricade. Unbeknownst to the dragons, the giants had long since outgrown Rafendile, and so needed new land to sustain their people. So, while Nircogard and Egitnafir discussed the issues of their peoples, the greedy giants made secret plans to exterminate the dragons and take Kricade for themselves. So when the dragons were lead to Rafendile, they were not prepared for the sudden attacks launched at them by the giants.
The war was long, brutal in nature, and by the time it was over, no dragon remained. However, the giants had not escaped unscathed. Few giants remained standing, burning with rage due to the death of their own leader, Egitnafir. However, the giants knew that both Nircogard and Egitnafir would be back, as the end is always followed by a new beginning. In preparation for this, and to avoid the snowstorms that suddenly ravished Rafendile, the giants carried the corpse of Nircogard into the depths of Kricade, then returned to Rafendile to await Egitnafir’s return.
Centuries passed. A new continent known as Drazilwalnd formed to the west, with the souls of the deceased reborn as a new species, known as the Casters. These revived souls had no memories of their past lives. The only ones who did were Nircogard and Egitnafir, reborn as twins. They had remembered everything. However, as they were now of the same race, they agreed there was no more reason to fight, deciding to live their lives together in peace. Yet this peace was tenuous, for one day Nircogard awoke to find his twin sister missing, left only with rumours that she had fled south, in the direction of Rafendile.
Knowing he must act quickly, Nircogard told everyone of their past lives, warning them of the dangers to come. Some laughed in his face, while others toyed with him, pretending to believe him only to go behind his back and make fun of him. No one believed him, though he couldn’t blame them. Who would believe such a ridiculous story?
Alone, the dragon king travelled north, to Kricade. The journey took two months, traveling across glaciers and deserts of snow, before he found what he was looking for. The corpse of his dragon form, buried in ice, preserved for centuries. Knowing that he must be a dragon to stand against the giants, Nircogard struck from his corpse a tooth and an eyeball, from which he crafted a wand. With the wand, his magic was enhanced tenfold, and he was able to fuse himself into his original body. Returned to dragon form, he made preparations to fly back to Drazilwalnd, but when he felt the earth rumble beneath his feet, he knew it was too late. Egitnafir had arrived.
Flying with the utmost haste to meet his sister, Nircogard was horrified to find that she’d brought with her a legion of her giants, each wearing a necklace, strung with the corpses of the people of Drazilwalnd. Overcome, first with grief, then with insatiable anger, Nircogard struck, taking Egitnafir’s head off with one blow. Though he met with his demise soon after, Nircogard was glad that he’d taken the giant’s leader from them once more.
More centuries passed. Once more, the souls of those who’d been dragons were reincarnated as Casters. But this time, the giants had been reborn as powerless humans. These humans resided in another new continent that had risen from the seas at this time, known as Maeruthan. In addition, the giants that remained received a new continent for themselves as well. Residing between Rafendile and Kricade, this continent was named Nohegimat. And, as if destiny was trying to prevent another genocide, both of these new continents were surrounded by massive walls, trying to keep these races away from each other. Through all of this, neither Nircogard nor Egitnafir had been reincarnated, but it is said that their souls are reincarnated every eight generations.
“And the baby will be the eighth, right father?” asks the little girl, sitting in her father’s lap.
Her father chuckles, running his hand through the girl’s blonde locks, “That’s right, Cosena. Soon, very soon, your brother shall be born. Then, one day, he’ll lead us all, as king. King of the Zodiac Empire.”
“That’s so cool! My baby brother is an ice-breathing dragon! Tell the rest of the story!” Cosena replies, clutching onto a teddy bear.
Her father, however, shakes his head, “Sorry Cosena, but you know daddy doesn’t like to talk about what happens next…” He turned his head away with a sigh, brushing his fingertips across the cold, metallic mask that covered the right side of his face.
“But why!? I wanna know what happens next!” Cosena whines, jumping up and down in her father’s lap.
“Because,” her father began, grabbing her gently, “You’re far too young to understand.”
“How do you know that!?”
“Because you’re… ticklish!” he grinned, tickling Cosena roughly, causing the girl to fall back, giggling uncontrollably as she thrashed about to try and get him to stop.
“N-not fair!”
“Until you stop being ticklish, you’re too young for that part of the story,” her father said, letting her sit back up, “Speaking of which, I believe it’s your bedtime. It is eight, after all.”
“But I’m not tired!” Cosena retorted, giving her father a pout before yawning, doing her best to suppress it.
“You may not be, but someone here is,” her father chuckled, reaching over to his other daughter and running his hand through her magenta hair. She stirred slightly at this, before curling up, gripping a stuffed frog that was clutched tightly between her fingers.
“But Alsen is little! I’m a big girl!” Cosena pouts before picking up her little sister and carrying her to bed, “See! I’m big enough to put Alsen to bed! So I must be big enough to stay up all night!”
“You’re a very good big sister,” he smiled, kneeling down to look Cosena in the eye “And that’s why I need you to stay by Alsen's side forever. I need you to protect her in case anything bad happens.” Cosena stood silently for a moment, then nodded. Going to turn around, she hesitated, stopping to embrace her father.
“I want to see mother…” she whimpered, hugging her father tightly.
“I know you do, Cosena, I know. But your mother is far too sick for you to be around…”
“It’s not fair… She’s been sick for so long… I miss her…”
“Don’t worry Cosena… She’ll be better soon… I promise,”
“Then we’ll be a happy family again… right?” Cosena asked, wiping a tear from her eye “You, me, Alsen, mother and the baby?”
“Yes, We will. Always,” her father replied, patting the girl on the back “Now go to bed. You’ll see your brother in the morning,”
Once Cosena is in bed, he turns off the lights and walks off, shutting the door behind him. Walking through the castle to his office, he moves straight to the balcony, stepping into the cool air, staring up at the starry night sky.
He remembers all too clearly when this land was called Drazilwalnd, full of witches and wizards like himself. He remembers that history, doomed to repeat itself, brought destruction upon Drazilwalnd. For humanity, like the giants and dragons before them, outgrew Maeruthan. Overtaken by both curiosity and need, they explored beyond the walls around their continent until they found Drazilwalnd.
He remembers the first ships. The first armies. The strategic strikes. The destruction. He remembers the mountains of corpses that lined the city streets as the humans committed genocide, like the giants before them. He remembers the smell of burning flesh, the sight of red mist, both so potent that many who escaped fell sick.
During this, one young man named Sartur Raizu realised that there was only one way for them to survive. Gathering his best friends, he dug underground and hid throughout the remainder of the war. Once over, they disguised themselves as humans and snuck on a boat back to Maeruthan. Moving forward, they began to work to create their own empire, one in which they could live in peace.
“Why am I thinking of this now…?” he mutters to himself, shaking the horrific memories from his head. He sits down at his desk, staring blankly at a picture of him, his daughters, and a beautiful woman with sky-blue eyes, her hair a swirling sea of magenta and blonde.
“Freylar… Soon our dream will come true… Soon we will live in peace…”
“MASTER SARTUR!” Looking up, he sees an older man with scarlet hair, racing over to the desk. Skidding to a stop, the man rests his hands on the desk, panting heavily.
“Yes, High Priest Zephan?” Sartur asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Y-your son… Your son has been born!” Zephan exclaims, coughing hard. He’d clearly exerted himself greatly to reach Sartur’s office, “B-but… y-your wife… s-she’s…”
Sartur blinked, looking down to his knees. His hands curl into fists as he feels rage beginning to simmer within him. He grits his teeth, not wanting to hear what the priest would say. There's just no way something like that could be true.
“I’m sorry, Master Sartur… B-but there’s one more thing… Y-you’ll have to see it to believe it! Please, come quickly!”

 “Wait, you couldn’t possibly mean…?” Sartur leaps from his chair, knocking it over in surprise. Leaping over his desk, he follows on Zephan’s heels as he dashes from the office and down the hall.


Last edited by Linda-Senpai on Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total


Achievments in spoiler.
Spoiler:
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Won 29+ DA lives
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My current DA record: Wins:451 Lost: 81 Draws: 6
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First to ever reach the Abandoned Dark League
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Re: [Novel] The Zodiac Empire

Post by Linda-Senpai on Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:45 am

Chapter 19

Two Fall Apart

Spoiler:


He was in Kricade again, although this time, the snowstorm must have been twice as severe as ever. No ordinary wizard could have ever dreamed of surviving more than a few minutes in Kricade, but he was certainly not ordinary. The cold brought comfort to him and he didn't even feel the relentless hail pelting him. Pulsing with anger, he trudged onward through the harsh blizzard. How could she have betrayed him like this? They were both reborn as a wizard and witch, living together in the same continent, with the same parents, as a family. They both swore that there would be no more bloodshed between them. How could he have been foolish enough to fall for that? It took him six months to travel so far south on his own. He could only hope that she hadn't got to Rafendile before he made it here...

There it was, the corpse of his dragon self. Centuries had past since the extinction of the dragons, yet the corpse hadn't shown any signs of decay. It looked to be taking a long slumber, awaiting the day his soul would return to his body. And today was the very day that would happen. Wizard Prince Nircogard gently touched the dragon's corpse, and shut his eyes, deep in concentration. It only took a few seconds for his soul to get sucked out of his body and into the dragon's corpse, as if the dragon were a giant vacuum.

The dragon's eyes opened and he let out a mighty, wrathful roar before taking flight, zooming through the skies at blinding speed, causing tumultuous winds with every flap of his wings. It only took him a day to make it back to Drazilwalnd, but when he got there, he was met with a horrible sight. Egitnafir stood tall with her flaming sword raised high, licking her ugly, chapped lips in arrogant satisfaction when she saw him. She was surrounded by a legion of giants, all of them wearing necklaces that were stung together with the corpses of wizards.

Nircogard was overcome with grief for his people. If they had listened to his warnings, perhaps they would have been better prepared for this savage assault. His grief quickly became insatiable anger, and he bellowed at the top of his lungs, surging right past the balls and blasts of fire the giants shot at him, and severing Egitnafir's head off with just one strike.
The other giants roared in rage, and just like that, Nircogard was being pummeled to the ground by the hammers of hundreds of giants.

Naito awoke with his heart pounding in his chest. He was laying in a bed, staring up at a golden ceiling. Lined up against the walls were shelves of different vials and cauldrons. There was that same resonance within him that he felt whenever Mary was near. Jolting up and looking around frantically, he saw that Cosena was sitting in a chair besides his bed, with her head rested on the bed. Her eyes were open slightly, but kept slowly drifting shut, only for her to force them back open again. In her hand she held a glass bottle, half empty with a strange, black liquid. Drops of the black liquid were on her lips, making it evident that she had been drinking whatever it was.

Cosena?”

Cosena jolted up at the sound of his voice. “N-Naito...” she said, a weak smile spreading across her face as she rubbed her baggy, bloodshot eyes. She looked like she hadn't slept for days. “I thought you might never wake up.” She embraced him so tight it felt like she might crush his bones.

Where...where are we?” he asked, although he felt like he already knew the answer.

We're home, Naito.” Cosena replied. Home...they were back at the castle, though this was clearly not their bedroom.

Why...? What's going on? Where's Mary? I can feel her presence!” Naito asked, confused. His memory was fuzzy and the last thing he could remember was being pummeled by hundreds of giants just a few moments ago.

Alile found you and brought you back. If she hadn't...oh I don't know what would've happened.”

Found me? What do you...”

Then he began to remember everything that happened. The Magicians trying to kill him, chasing Mary into the woods, Shadow...Naito looked around frantically until he found his, Cosena's, and Alsen's wands placed on the table. He tried to get up and grab his, but Cosena's embrace was too tight.

Where's Mary? Where's Alsen?” He asked, still trying to break out of her embrace. Alsen couldn't be gone...Mary was just taunting him into fighting her! Alsen had to be here at the castle too, probably asleep in their room. But why would she be in there while he was in whatever this room was supposed to be? Wouldn't she be by his side, waiting for him to wake up, like Cosena?

A-Alsen will be b-back soon, Naito.” Cosena said, her voice cracking.

What do you mean 'she'll be back soon'? Where is she? Let me go! I need my wand!!!” He exclaimed, struggling to escape her embrace to no avail.

I-I'm s-sorry, Naito...this is all my fault.” She cradled his head against her chest, and Naito could feel her tears dropping onto his face. “If I hadn't managed to sleep through it all...”

I SAID WHERE IS SHE?!”

Cosena flinched and let go of him, blowing at her sleeves. Naito saw that the sleeves of her nightdress had somehow caught fire. Did he do that...? How had he used fire magic? Part of him wanted to apologize, but at the same time, he couldn't be damned to care about something so petty right now. He jumped out of bed, feeling a sudden surge of pain in his head, then grabbed his wand. Pointing it in the center of the room, he focused then chanted 'Animal Spirit – Wolf!', but all that came out of his wand was a puff of gray mist.

No...”

He kept casting the spell over and over until he was too drained of energy for even gray mist to come out of his wand. If he couldn't summon Shadow, then he really must be...

AHH!!!”

Naito flipped the table over. He grabbed the chair that Cosena was sitting in before and slammed it against one of the shelves, cracking glass and spilling liquid all over the floor, then threw the chair into the fireplace, watching it burn. Then he turned back to Cosena, who managed to put out the fire on her clothes, though not before it burned away half of her sleeves, exposing hideous, fresh bruises on her skin

WHERE IS SHE?! He demanded again, seething.

She was kidnapped...King Maru has her.” Cosena said with her eyes downcast, confirming Naito's worst fear.

Naito paced around the room, taking deep breaths, trying to calm himself down, but how could he possibly be calm right now? Shadow was gone, Alsen was kidnapped, and against all odds, Naito was still alive. It made no sense. He died, didn't he? He witnessed his own funeral! His anger boiled up again, and one of the shelves caught fire before toppling to the floor, shattering more glass and spilling more liquid.

The door swung open and Zento, Alile and Casele rushed in. Casele looked surprised to see Naito awake and the fallen shelf on fire, which she quickly put out. Zento looked like this was the last place he wanted to be right now, but Alile's face showed no emotion. Naito paused and stared at her directly in the eye. Cosena said Alile had brought him back...

You!” He exclaimed, closing in on her. She backed up as he advanced on her until her back was against the wall.

M-my lord!” Casele exclaimed, clasping her hands against her mouth in shock.

What's going on?! What happened to Mary?! WHY AM I STILL ALIVE?!”

I shall tell you everything that I know, my lord.” Alile said, staring back at him, unblinking.

She began from the beginning, telling him how Alsen had told them that Mary lured Naito into a trap and they rushed off to find him.

I knew that lady Alsen was going the wrong way, so I diverted from everyone else and to where I knew Mary had lured you. It was quite a far distance to run, even for me, so I was barely able to get there in time.”

IN TIME?!” Naito shouted, grabbing her by the collar. “Shadow is DEAD, and you say you got there IN TIME?!!!”

My lord, you will understand best if you listen without interrupting me.”

Naito didn't let go of her, he was her king and he had every right to interrupt her if he wanted too.

By the time I got there, you were lying on the ground, trashing around and screaming, and Mary standing over you, hesitating to go for the kill. It looked like you had already pushed her to her limits, so she had no choice but to retreat with me there. I believe you were dying, but I was able to bring you back in time. You've been unconscious for five days.
Now, as for lady Alsen...I was not there when it happened, so you might want to ask Zento or Casele. I do know what happened though, so I could still tell you, of course.”

Naito looked from Zento, who suddenly become highly interested in the shattered glass, to Casele, who had tears in her eyes and was sobbing now.

I-I'm sorry, my lord...” Casele spoke, bowing down to Naito, “We were too weak...”, but she spoke no more, and the only sounds coming from her were her sobs.

Lady Alsen, Casele, and Zento,” Alile spoke when Casele didn't continue. Zento shot her a nasty look, but she continued to tell Naito everything in perfect detail, as if she had been there herself. When she was done, Naito stood silently for a moment, then turned to Zento and Casele.

So...it's your faults that Alsen is gone, is it? Think your lives are more important than my sister's, you lowly soldiers?!”

He motioned as if to throttle Casele, but Zento pulled her behind him, glaring at him with a furious look that clearly said 'if you want to hurt her, you have to go through me', but Cosena held Naito back, and once again, he was trapped in her embrace.

Naito, you have every right to be angry...but I'm the only one you should be mad at. If I hadn't been asleep, I could have stopped you from wandering off on your own, and none of this would have ever happened.”

Stop him from wandering off on his own? Naito remembered everything he heard when he thought he was dead. Alsen, Shadow, and Cosena all told him everything was his fault...Was Alsen alone, blindfolded and tied up inside the dungeon of King Maru's castle right now all his fault?
Naito, still trapped in Cosena's embrace, turned to the soldiers and tried to apologize but for some reason couldn't bring himself to do it.

As for your current condition, my lord...” Alile said.

What do you mean my 'current condition?'” he asked as calmly as he could.

Have a look for yourself.”

Alile took one of the cauldrons and sat it on the bed next to Naito. Naito raised his eyebrow at her before peering into it. It was filled with a clear liquid Naito assumed to be water. Staring back at him in the cauldron was a pale skinned boy with pitch black hair and blood red eyes. It took a moment for Naito to realize that this was his own reflection. He looked back up at Alile, waiting for an explanation.

Unfortunately, it seems that you have awakened your Shadow Side.” she said, calmly, twirling a string of her hair in her fingers.

My what?”, Naito had never heard of any such thing.

Your Shadow Side. It awakens when a wizard let's the darkness in their heart become too strong. Remember Tirdipsowl? The illusions we saw there were trying to destroy us by bringing out our Shadow Sides. There are many different dark feelings that can evoke the Shadow Side. I assume yours was evoked by your pride over being king and Nircogard, and then the wrath you felt from losing your Wolf Spirit...”

HOW DO YOU KNOW ALL THAT?!!!” Naito shouted, cutting her off.

Unless being psychic included the power to read minds there was no way Alile should have known about the prideful things Nircogard had been saying to him.

I know many things, my lord. As I was saying, I believe those feelings are what evoked your Shadow Side. Your mental turmoil naturally must have played a part in it as well...”

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN MY HEAD!!!” Naito shouted again.

As if by the sound of his voice, the chandelier caught fire again.

I know many things, my lord.” Alile said again, coolly.

Casele was no longer bowing and stared at Alile with a mixed expression of shock and anger as she put the fire out.

As I was saying...when your Shadow Side awakens, it turns your hair black and your eyes red...pretty dumb if you ask me.”

So all it does is make me look like a freakshow?” Naito interrupted her yet again.

Your personality also changes...for the worst. How your personality changes is dependent on what type of feelings evoked your Shadow Side. You've been...raging quite a bit since you've woke up. That's not quite like your normal self, is it?”

Naito didn't respond. Thinking about what she just said, he couldn't deny that he wasn't quite acting like himself.

You also gain dark magic...”

But he's been using fire, not darkness.” It was Cosena who interrupted Alile this time.

I'm getting there.” Alile said, “I had a little chat with Mary before she retreated. She told me that it felt like you absorbed some of her soul? I don't know of any magic that can do such a thing, but maybe that's some of the dark magic you gained...and if you truly did absorb some of her soul, that would explain why you're suddenly setting things on fire.”

Naito thought about how his body had just acted on it's own and squeezed Mary's face. Was the aura that he was absorbing from her body really her soul? That would explain why he feels like she's near despite there being no way she could have gotten into the castle.

Why did you let Mary get away alive?” Naito asked, unable to keep the accusing tone out of his voice.

Because saving your life was more important than ending hers, my lord. You should be back to normal soon, as long as you let the light in your heart overcome the dark. Mary, on the other hand, is too far gone in the dark to ever see the light again.”

What about Alsen? If King Maru has her, why are we just standing around here?! Take me to her!”

Nothing else mattered right now. If Mary was with King Maru and Prince Silver and they had Alsen, chances were Alsen was being tortured all this time, yet Naito was here, asleep for five straight days.

No, Naito, you can't go...” Cosena said, embracing him so tight he had to gasp for breath before she realized she was suffocating him and loosened her hold.

How can you say that?! You expect me to just-”

They want you to try and save Alsen, Naito, that's exactly why they took you! King Maru made an announcement saying that they have her and if our king wants his sister back, he's going to have to turn himself in, unarmed.”

Then I have no choice but to go!” Naito said, prying at Cosena's arms to no avail.

There's no need! Father is already preparing to send the High Mages and soldiers to war as we speak. He's going to get Alsen out of there himself. S-she'll be back soon...”

Master Sartur is a very powerful Air-Sign. I assure you he will not have any problem saving Lady Alsen. Now, if we may be excused, we have a meeting to attend.” Alile said.

Fine. You're dismissed!” Naito said.

Zento didn't need to be told twice. Grabbing Casele by the arm, he dragged her out, followed by Alile. There was an awkward tension between the three of them. Zento kept muttering unintelligible words under his breath, stomping furiously down the stairs, dragging Casele along so forcefully it felt like he might rip her arm out. Casele winced in pain and told Zento to calm down, but he didn't seem to hear her. She occasionally glanced back at Alile, who was following quietly, but didn't say anything. Neither of them spoke until they were in the Great Hall.

Ablaze candelabras hung from the ceiling, although the sun was shining through the windows, providing more than enough light. The walls were decorated with paintings of dragons and wizards, some of whom dated back before even Sartur's time. Over a hundred doors stood beneath the windows, and in the center of the hall was a statue of a massive dragon, being looked up at admiringly by three much smaller (but by no means small) dragons. This statue was so clean and shiny it must have been polished several times a day.

You passed the Meeting Room already, Zento.” Alile said, causing Zento to reel to a sudden stop.

What?!” He asked furiously, apparently having not heard anything she said other than his name.

Shall we go, then?” Alile said, walking back in the direction of the Meeting Room.

You go! I'm not fighting for those damn Raizu's!” Zento said, a little too loudly, as passerby magician's stopped, staring blinkingly at him, but quickly went back to their business when he glared at them.

Shh! You wouldn't want master Sartur or King Raizu to hear that, would you?” Alile whispered calmly.

What do you mean you're not fighting...?” Casele whispered, bemused.

Zento had been giving everyone the silent treatment for five days, so it wasn't as if she didn't know everything that happened was bothering him. However, she didn't imagine he would break his silence by saying something so seditious.

You're not fighting either!” Zento whispered, looking around to make sure anyone wasn't eavesdropping.

Zento, don't be ridiculous! It's our duty t-”

Screw our duty, that's all you freaking care about!” he nearly shouted, but toned his voice down when Alile shot him a warning look. “I'm not putting my life on the line for them again, and I'll be damned if I let you put yours on the line either!”

But the most important part of being a soldier is the will to sacrifice our lives for the king and his family!” Casele exclaimed.

Yeah, well I chose to save our lives instead of turning ourselves in to save their lives! Guess that means I'm not worthy being a soldier, even though they weren't killed regardless! I'll bet you think I don't deserve you anymore because of that” Zento said, indignantly.

Casele looked abashed by his words. “What are you saying...?”

I'm saying you don't give a damn about anything but being loyal to that snobby little king! You don't care that his father killed out mothers-”

You have no proof of that!”

You don't care that the masked bastard killed my father, you don't care that I saved you from being held hostage, and you don't care that you're the only thing I have left to care about! You haven't thanked me even once, because you wish I had let you turn yourself in! I prioritized you over my duty as a soldier, but because you don't appreciate that, I've lost you anyway! What reason have I got to stay here now? ”

Casele was on the verge of tears now. “Zento, you're being ridiculous! You haven't lost me, I-”

Oh please, save your breath! Everybody knows you want Naito to make you his queen! You even say his name in your sleep! You don't give a damn about me...”

Casele blushed profusely and tears started to roll down her cheeks. “I-I do...? That's not...!” but she didn't know what else to say.

Covering her mouth with both hands, she dropped to her knees, choking back sobs. Passerby magician's began to stare curiously, but Alile shooed them all away.

What's wrong, cat got your tongue? Tch, I'm out of here...from this day on, I am no longer a member of the Zodiac Empire.” Zento stuck his hands in his pockets and began climbing up the stairs, no doubt about to leave the castle and never return.

W-Where will you g-go...?” Casele asked between the sobs she could no longer keep inside.

Like you care...but hey, who knows? I might just bump into Mary. That chick did seem like she always had a thing for me, didn't she? Not that she could ever make a move since I was with you.” He spat indignantly.

Casele didn't let herself believe he was truly gone until his footsteps were no longer audible. Shamelessly, she lay on her side on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably and letting all her tears fall freely.

You'll be fine...get up, you two already attracted unneeded attention.” Alile said, taking Casele's trembling hands and helping her up to her feet and hugging her, gently patting her back. Casele didn't speak until she had no tears left to cry.

I-Is he going to be okay?”

Alile pretended to not hear her. “Are you done? Let's get to that meeting already...I don't think either of us want to face master Sartur's fury if we're late.”

Alile...” Casele said, looking up at her and wiping the tears off her face. “Is he going to be okay?” she repeated.

Do you really want to know...?” Alile asked, staring off in the distance expressionlessly.

Yes! Please tell me, I know you know!”

Zento will not be okay.”

Casele felt her last ounce of hope wash away and her legs bucked, almost slumping back down to her knees, but she held tightly onto Alile's shoulders, forcing herself to stay up. Then the sharp sound of her slapping Alile across the face echoed throughout the hall. Casele stood there silently with her fingers pressed on the red imprint of Alile's face left on her cheek. She showed no signs of surprise.

You...you bitch!” Casele exclaimed, fuming.

Watch your mouth, or I'll have to wash it for you.” Alile replied, calm as ever.

I bet you think this is real funny, don't you?” Casele said, slapping her again.

Have you ever actually seen me laugh?” Alile asked, grimly.

It's not very hard to laugh behind our backs, is it?” Casele slapped her a third time. “You knew every single thing that was going to happen, but you did nothing to stop any of it!”

Casele, we've been over this before, and I do not wish to repeat myself.” she turned her back on Casele and made to walk away, but Casele spun her around and slapped her again, twice as hard, so Alile continued, “Unlike you, I saved King Raizu's life while y-” but Casele slapped her again mid sentence.

You... could... have... stopped... us... from... falling... for Mary's... trap!” Casele slapped Alile between every word, yet Alile did not strike back nor try to block, which she could have done very easily.

Why didn't you stop King Raizu from walking into the trap? YOU COULD HAVE PREVENTED ALL OF THIS! ZENTO IS GONE BECAUSE OF YOU! BITCH, SAY...SOMETHING! DO...SOMETHING! STRIKE BACK AT LEAST!”

Casele was caught off guard when Alile suddenly blocked her next slap. “...Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it tenfold.”

Alile slapped Casele so hard that she was nearly knocked off her feet. And just like that, all hell broke loose. The two girls were suddenly on the floor, wrestling and pummeling each other with their fists. Neither of them chose to use any magic – this was one hundred percent physical.
But the Great Hall was certainly not the smartest place for a fight. It wasn't long before a huge crowd of magicians were watching them, though none of them dared to step in. When the High Mages Zart and Vozlar came out of the meeting room and noticed what was going on, Alile had Casele locked in a chokehold, and Casele was grasping hopelessly at Alile's arms. Rushing over to the scene, the High Mages had to pry the girls apart.

What's the meaning of all this?!” Vozlar demanded, brushing dust off of Alile's clothes, a bemused expression on his face.

Alile had a few bruises on her face, a busted lip, and several red imprints of Casele's hand on her cheeks from being slapped so many times, but she wasn't showing any signs of being in pain.

Your daughter assaulted my daughter!” exclaimed Zart, fumbling in his robes for his wand so he could heal his daughter.

Casele looked like she took a far worse beating than Alile. She had a black eye, bruises on her face, neck, and arms, blood dripping from her forehead, and she was clutching onto her stomach. Despite her condition, she tried to lunge back at Alile, but was held back by her father.

Don't be absurd, you know as well as I do that Alile wouldn't hurt anyone without a good reason!” Vozlar shouted at Zart.

She had her in a chokehold, you senile old fool! Casele would never give anyone a reason to assault her like this, look at her!” Zart shouted right back at him.

Do you mean to imply that Alile assaulted her just for the hell of it, like some street hooligan?!” Vozlar said, digging into his robes for his own wand.

That's clearly what happened here! I-”

Zart had not expected a stone to suddenly zoom through the air, knocking his wand right out of his hand.

You cowardly fool! I believe respectful wizards bow before a duel? With you for a father it's no wonder your dau-” Zart was cutoff midsentence by Vozlar pointing his wand directly at his chest.

No longer held back by their fathers, the two girls immediately started brawling again. Their fathers were too caught up in their own little argument to even notice. The magicians watched on bemusedly, unsure if they should do anything or not. After all, there were already two High Mages involved. That left only two people of higher authority they could alert of the situation: Sartur or Naito.

Ahem.”

The Great Hall was filled with so much chaos and confusion that nobody heard the cold, dry voice. However, this man had more than one way to get everyone's attention. With a simple flick of his wrist, Alile, Casele, Vozlar, and Zart were planted against the wall by a forceful gust of wind, then slowly slumped back to the floor.

Looking up, they saw Sartur standing over them with his arms folded behind his back and a terrifyingly serious expression on his face. The magicians quickly scurried about, pretending to be busy doing something else when they noticed him.

M-Master Sartur...” Zart said, rubbing the back of his head.

My fellow High Mages...” Sartur spoke, sauntering from side to side.“We are late for a war meeting, and here you are, barking at each other like little chihuahuas, making fools of yourselves in my Great Hall? Get up. We have no time to waste on such trivial foolishness.” Sartur turned his back on them and walked off, hands still folded behind his back.

My apologies, Master Sartur...” Zart said, bowing his head low before getting up.


Yes...as you know better than anyone, a man can act quite unreasonably when someone hurts his daughter...” Vozlar whispered under his breath so that no one else heard him, then brushed off his robes, got up, and followed Sartur back to the Meeting Room.


Achievments in spoiler.
Spoiler:
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Won 29+ DA lives
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Won more DA lives than anyone else. Alot more.
Supreme queen of May 2012, April-May 2013, and May 2014.
Three time Survival Master
My current DA record: Wins:451 Lost: 81 Draws: 6
Former Teacher and Assistant. Former Moderator.
First to ever reach the Abandoned Dark League
Moderator of the year 2013.
DA Regionals 2012 and 2013 top 4
Badass since 2011
First to ever pass the Slifer Exam, with a score of 34/35.
Much more.

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Re: [Novel] The Zodiac Empire

Post by Guest on Sun May 22, 2016 9:12 am

Finally had time to read the 3 newest chapters. All greatly written as always. Keep up the good work!

Spoiler:
#RIPShadow
Please give Naito another spirit animal or bring Shadow back somehow! Q.Q

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Re: [Novel] The Zodiac Empire

Post by Linda-Senpai on Sun May 22, 2016 11:30 am

Spoiler:
Naito will indeed get a new animal spirit and I'm sure you can guess what it will be.

Thanks for reading, glad you liked em :D

Chapter 20


Spoiler:

Naito could not sit still. Nothing could take his mind off of Alsen. What was taking the High Mages so long to launch their attack? Three days had already passed since Naito found out what happened to Alsen. Didn't his father understand how much pain Alsen was probably enduring right now? The empire could take down the kingdom of Maeruthan without breaking a sweat! What was the point of Sartur's constant war meetings? And why was Naito, the king of the empire, not allowed in them? It felt like a huge act of disrespect. If the king wants to be present for these meetings, he should have every right to be there!
“Naito, you need to eat.” Cosena slid his breakfast plate closer to him.
“I'm not hungry.” Naito rose from his seat, pacing nervously from side to side, hands in his pockets.
Asides from Naito and Cosena, the dining hall was practically empty, at least, in comparison to how many people were there for the feast on the day of Naito's coronation. The only other people present in the dining hall now were the magicians that served the food. Naito was highly annoyed at how they kept coming back and asking him if he needed anything else, or if he would like to eat something different, or if he would like extra salt...Did they not understand he had no appetite? They wouldn't either if they're sister was being held hostage and probably tortured! At the very least, they showed him the proper respect a king deserved.
“Naito, Alsen's going to be fine, father will bring her back safely...starving yourself isn't going to help her.” Cosena gently placed her hand on his shoulder.
“WHEN?!” Naito bellowed, setting his plate on fire. Cosena flinched and drew her hand back. The magicians quickly ran over, put the fire out, and carried the plate away. Naito still could not stop himself from setting things on fire whenever he lost his temper. He tried hard to keep his cool at all times, but that was far easier said than done.
“I'm...going to my room.” Naito said, then walked out of the dining hall. He heard Cosena's footsteps following him but paid them no mind. She'd follow him wherever he went even if he told her to go away. It was like she was afraid she'd lose him too if she let him out of her sight for even a split second. How could he blame her? He couldn't shake out the feeling that she might suddenly turn up kidnapped too one day.
Naito now had the freedom to go anywhere in the castle he pleased, except in the Meeting Hall during his father's war meetings. Contrary to how amazed he was at the castle when he first left his room, he now agreed with Cosena that there was nothing to see here. He didn't want to be here, being in the castle made it impossible for him to stop thinking about Alsen. He couldn't leave the castle because the whole world knew his identity by now. Every time he read the newspaper, he was always the headline topic. There was a million dollar reward for anyone that could turn him in.
When he got to his new room, Naito threw himself onto the bed. He refused to ever go back to his old little room. There were far too many memories it would bring back that he would rather not remember at a time like this. He now had his own, king sized bedroom, which he shared with Cosena.
The only things he found himself capable of thinking about other than Alsen were Mary, and the words his mother said during his near death experience. When he fought Mary in the woods, she said that he remembers her, and demanded he tell her who she is. She seemed almost hopeful, but Naito told her she's a worthless piece of trash that shouldn't even exist. His words seemed to truly cut her deep...
Why had she expected him to know who she is? The first time he'd ever seen her was the day he left the castle, and she tried to kill him. Whenever she was around, he had that strange feeling inside him that he knew her. It had to mean something. He racked his brain for any clues that could help him solve this bizarre mystery, but nothing made any sense.
Perhaps he needed to think deeper on his mother's words. She told him to remember, but what was he supposed to remember? After she told him to remember, he heard his father's voice and a baby crying. His father said something about his calculations and one of the other High Mages, he believed it was Zephan's voice, said something about how Sartur shouldn't have such a heavy sin fall on his shoulders...
Zephan...could he have something to do with all of this? Why had he attacked Sartur during the coronation? What did he mean when he said he knows what's really going on? What was this sin he had took off of Sartur's shoulders? Who was the baby, or babies, that were crying? He needed more information...
Did any of this even matter anyway? Regardless of what this all meant, Mary still needed to die. She killed Shadow, constantly tries to kill Naito, and thanks to her, Alsen was being held hostage. Once Naito regains his dragon form, Mary would no longer be able to fight him...he'd hunt her down like a wolf after a rabbit and make her pay for all she's done.
“Naito...” Cosena said, sitting next to him on the bed, placing her soft, gentle hand on his shoulder again. “What's on your mind? I can tell you're thinking really hard.”
Naito hadn't told Cosena about how he saw their mother, nor had he told her about how Mary expected him to know her. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to tell her...they could probably come to a reasonable conclusion if they discussed it together.
“I think I saw mother.”
He waited for her reaction. Her eyes grew wide with surprise, then she looked away from him.
“What are you talking about? She's dead, Naito.”
“Yeah, but I almost died too. And I saw her, I know it was her. She called me her poor, sweat, innocent baby...”
Cosena looked back at him, her face full of surprise, so he told her everything. When he described their mother's appearance, he could see realization dawning in on Cosena and a tear even trickled down her face, although ten years ago she had told him that she never got to see their mother. The description Naito gave her must have been as clear to her that it was their mother as it was to Naito.
“You think there were two babies?” she asked, a couple of minutes after he finished telling her everything.
“I can't be sure, but it could have been.”
Cosena cupped her chin in her hand, deep in thought. Naito didn't speak, giving her silence to think this out. She might be able to put together the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle that he couldn't. She's older than him by five years, surely with so many years ahead of him her brain would be ahead as well.
“I think...no, that's just silly.” Cosena spoke, rapping her knuckles on her forehead.
“Say it.” Naito said, curious to hear what idea she might have came up with.
“Right after mother told you to remember, you heard Sartur, Zephan, and the crying baby, right? What if...the baby was you?”
“Me?”
That thought had crossed his mind as well, but even if he told himself he was the baby, it still didn't make any sense.
“It could have been the day you were born. Feel free to laugh at how silly what I'm about to say is, but let's assume there really were two babies. What if...what if the second baby was...” she paused and shook her head.
“What? Cosena, say it! I'm not going to laugh, this is serious.” Naito said, firmly.
“What if the other baby was Mary?”
“I...what?”
Naito didn't know what he expected Cosena to say, but that surely wasn't it. Why would Mary have been present during the day of his birth?
“Yeah...it's a stupid idea, sorry, but hear me out. Father's 'calculations' were wrong, right? It could be that he hadn't expected twins. Remember the 'Plan C' that Mary mentioned when you fought her in the woods?”
Naito nodded, feeling his heartbeat pick up. Was it truly possible that he was related to Mary? That they were twins? But that still left so many questions left to be answered...
“If Tirdipsowl was Mary's plan, then doesn't that mean she somehow communicated with the giants? Nircogard and Egitnafir were both around since the beginning of time, and then they were reborn as twins. It could be possible that they were reborn as twins a second time, as you and Mary, couldn't it?”
Naito rose from the bed and began nervously pacing from side to side again. It made so much sense...how had he never considered this? If he was the third coming of Nircogard, then following history's pattern, Egitnafir had to have been reincarnated as well! His father most likely had believed his mother was pregnant with only one child, so he calculated that Egitnafir wouldn't be reincarnated this time...he thought that the cycle was broken!
Naito stopped pacing. Clever as Cosena's theory was, it had a fatal error.
“No. If Mary was my twin sister, that would mean we were born on the same day. That's impossible. She's a Fire-Sign and I'm a Water-Sign. We had to have been born on two completely different days.”
Cosena sighed and laid back on the bed, rapping her forehead with her knuckles again. “You're right...how did I forget that? I knew it was a silly theory...I should have thought it out more before speaking.”
Naito sat back down. “At least you thought of something...I can't think of anything. But now that you mention it, Egitnafir should have been reincarnated too...unless the cycle was broken for whatever reason.”
Naito and Cosena sat together in silence, trying to come up with another theory. Naito's head hurt from thinking so hard. If they were going to piece this puzzle together, they would need even more information. They'd have to talk to someone who would know about this. Like their father, or the other two High Mages, or...
His thoughts were cut off by an unexpected knocking on the door. Naito frowned and Cosena jolted up in surprise. It was probably the Magicians, bringing him a new plate of food...
“I TOLD YOU, I'M NOT HUNGRY!!!” Naito shouted.
“I do not come bringing food, my lord. I come bringing a message.” replied the calm voice on the other side that Naito recognized as Alile.
Cosena opened the door and Alile sauntered in with an imperious swag to her step, hands behind her back and her expression blank as ever. She bowed to her king before speaking.
“My Lord, we will be taking off shortly. Your sister will be brought home safe and sound. Please do not try to sneak on the jet with us.”
“Finally...” Naito whispered under his breath. It was about time they took off. He had no doubts that they would overpower the kingdom of Maeruthan without breaking a sweat, but he still had to shake out the idea of sneaking on the jet with them. There wasn't a chance in the world Cosena would let him do that.
“Goodbye for now.” Alile bowed again, then pulled the hood of her robes over her head and turned around to leave.
“Hang on, Alile. There's something we want to ask you. Sit down.” Cosena said.
“There is?” Naito asked in surprise. He didn't have anything to ask Alile.
Alile turned around to face Cosena, then sat on the floor, hands folded on her knees. “How may I be of service, my lady?”
“We were wondering...what do you know about Mary?” Cosena asked.
Naito knew they needed more information, but why was she seeking it out of a soldier? What would Alile know about any of this? The High Mages were the ones likely to have the information they needed.
“We are prohibited from talking about her, my lady.” Alile replied, calm as ever. Naito stared at her, blinking in surprise. She does know something!
“Alile.” Naito said, sitting on his knees in front of her. He cupped his hand under her chin, making her look him directly in the eye. “I am your king, and I order you to tell me whatever you know about Mary. Understood?”
“If it is an order, I will do whatever you say, my lord.”
Naito removed his hand from her face, and she looked up at the ceiling. “I wish to tell you everything, my lord, but that will take forever. There is a lot to tell. I think she'd be quite embarrassed if I told you everything. Did you know she has a birthmark in the shape of the sun on her butt? Or that she's allergic to chocolate? Poor girl...she can't enjoy the glorious taste of chocolate...” Alile's mouth started to water.
“Is this a joke?” Naito asked her, eyebrows raised. “Are you going to tell us what you know, or sit there and make fun of us?”
“My apologies, my lord. There's nothing quite as savory as chocolate, you see...” she wiped the drool off her face shamelessly, then continued. “I do not have time to tell you everything I know, for I fear your father's wrath if he has to wait on me. He is already furious that Zento walked away, you see...Shall I tell you only the most important things I know, for now?”
“I hope you're not considering trivial things like her favorite food or color important, Alile.” Cosena said warningly.
“I thought you might wish to know that her favorite color, but I'll keep that secret if you don't care.” Cosena took a threatening step forward, which caused Alile to flinch as if she were about to be hit, then continue, “Mary is a former member of the Zodiac Empire. She was the head of the Fire-Sign Coven.”
“I thought so..., continue.” Cosena said, sitting back down on the bed, legs crossed.
“Mary was a weird case. As far as we knew, she was a magician, not a wizard, and the only magician to be head of a Coven, although she was clearly far more powerful than any magician. She hated life working for the empire. Just like all the other magicians, she never had any family that she knew of. The magicians, you see, have lived here as far as they can remember. Serving the Empire is all they know. They don't even think to question it. But Mary was different, she always questioned it. She wanted to know who her family was and where they were while she was being raised as a child soldier, she wanted to know how she ended up here, and wished she could live a normal, happy life.
“Mary never hesitated to speak her mind, and was regarded as weird by the other magicians. She was bullied quite a lot. Her and Zento got along rather well though. Both of them had a bit of a vendetta against your father, master Sartur. They both believed that master Sartur, or as they like to call him, 'The Masked Bastard', was responsible for the deaths of our mothers. High Mage Zart, High Mage Zephan, and my father, High Mage Volzar were all married to human women. Eight years ago, their wives, our wives, were reported dead. We were told they were executed by King Maru, but Zento and Mary never believed that. They think that they were killed by master Sartur, because your father isn't exactly fond of humans. I am not making any accusations against him, of course.
“Now, as I said, Mary was bullied by the other magicians, but she had a bad habit of always fighting anyone that picked on her or laughed at her. On the last day she was ever seen in the empire, she got into a fight with three other girls. Zento's father, High Mage Zephan, broke up the fight and dragged Mary away. She was never seen again. I believe Master Sartur prohibited us from talking about her because it shames him that a member of his Empire escaped without a trace. I believe this is all the important information I have.”
Naito crossed his arms and shut his eyes, considering everything Alile told them. He tried to imagine Mary as an innocent little girl with no family, but innocent was the last thing he could see her as, after everything she's done. Everyone thought she was a magician, but she was a wizard...why had she been told that she was a human? Where was her family anyway? And Zephan...what did he do or say to her after he dragged her away?
“Very interesting...” Cosena said, scratching her chin. “Can you think of any reason why she would expect Naito to know her?”
“No. That was everything important I know about her, unless you really do want to know her favorite food and color?”
Cosena shook her head. “No...you're dismissed.”
Alile stood up, bowed to Naito, then walked away, shutting the door behind her.
“I'm more confused than ever now.” Naito said with a sigh. His head hurt too much to do any more thinking.
“Yes, this does raise even more questions. If she's a wizard, then that means she has to be the daughter of one of the High Mage's, since two humans can't produce a wizard. If she were Zephan, Volzar, or Zart's daughter, I can't think of any reason why her identity would be kept secret from her, which means she'd have to be father's daughter, making her our sister...”
“Cosena, Mary is not my twin sister! We've been over that already, remember?” Naito said in annoyance.
“Right, right...I'm just trying to make sense out of all this, Naito. Do you remember when we were at the beach, when we read that article about the missing children?” she asked him, massaging her temples.
“Yeah, what about it?”
“Well...Alile said that the magicians have lived here for as long as they can remember, and don't know who their families are. You don't think...maybe father is the one doing the kidnapping, and the magicians are all the missing kids?”
Naito imagined his father sneaking into people's homes, kidnapping their young children, and raising them as his own army of magicians. It was far from a pleasant thing to imagine.
“Cosena, why would you even let a thought like that cross your mind? Father wouldn't do something like that.” Naito said, doubting his own words.
“You think so? It makes perfect sense though. If any ordinary person was kidnapping those kids for so long, they would have been caught by now. Now, if it was a powerful wizard like father, it makes sense that the culprit hasn't been caught. Why do you think the magicians don't know who they are? Because they were kidnapped while they were too young to remember!”

Naito could not deny how much sense that made, yet he still refused to believe it. He could not bear the thought of all his loyal soldiers having been kidnapped as infants, with families out there that have no clue what happened to them. That's just pure evil. He'd rather have no empire at all than tear families apart like that.
“Well then, just like with everything else, we're just going to have to ask father about it, won't we? Come on.”
“W-What? You're going to question him about all this...right now?” Cosena asked, apprehensively.
“Of course. You don't expect me to wait for him to return from battle do you?” Naito did not wait for her to respond. He got up, opened the door, and ran off. He heard Cosena call after him, but he did not slow down. If he did, Cosena would try to stop him, and if she were to grab him, he knew he wouldn't be able to break away from her. He had to get to his father before they left.
By the time he made it to the Entrance Hall there was no one there but the two sentinels. Had he made it there before his father? He hoped that they weren't already gone...
“K-King Raizu?” stuttered one of the sentinels, caught off guard by his presence.
“Has my father left yet?” Naito asked in a demanding voice.
“Yes, King Raizu. Master Sartur and the others left in the private jet just moments ago.” replied the second sentinel.
Naito leaned and banged his fist against the wall with a heavy sigh. He was too late. How long would it be until the battle was over? Alile was psychic, wasn't she? He should have asked her how long it would take.
“Naito.” Cosena said, having finally caught up with him. “I don't think...”
“It's too late anyway. He's gone.”
“O-Oh, he is?” Cosena sighed in relief.
Naito brushed past her, and they returned to their new room without a word. Naito clasped his hands behind his back, pacing from side to side. It was taking everything in him to resist accidentally setting everything on fire.
“Naito, can you please stop that?” Cosena asked, holding her arm behind her back, avoiding meeting Naito's eyes.
“Stop what? I'm not even doing anything.” Naito did not stop pacing.
“The pacing...father does the same.”
“So?” Naito stopped, raising his eyebrow at her, “What's your problem? You act like your scared of father or something. He can't hurt you any more now that I'm king. You know that.”
Cosena flinched and bit her lip. Did she not believe she was safe with Naito as king? Naito remembered what he saw when he thought he was dead. Cosena was in the castle, yet she was badly hurt. Naito was dead and Alsen was kidnapped, but Cosena should have been safe...
“Let me see your arms.” Naito reached for her sleeves but she jumped back.
“What are you doing, Naito?” she asked incredulously.
“Didn't you hear me? Let me see your arms. Your legs and back too.” Naito waited, tapping his foot impatiently.
Cosena turned her back to him but he could see that her face was flushing red. “Being stuck in this castle while Alsen's kidnapped isn't doing you any good, Naito. You need some fresh air.”
Naito laughed. “Are you suggesting I leave the castle? That's a death wish! The whole world will know who I am by now!”
“We can disguise you. The fare is in town, we could go, it'll be fun. They have rides and games and even a petting zoo, you'll love it.”
“How am I supposed to have fun when Alsen could be getting tortured as we speak?!”
“Naito, father will bring her back. Stressing over it isn't going to help her. Going to the fare will be healthier for your mind than waiting here for father to return with Alsen.”
Healthier for my mind or yours? Naito thought. He could not deny that going to the fare was tempting, but it wasn't hard to tell that Cosena wanted to get out of the castle for the sake of her mind, not his.
“Fine. I'll go if you show me your arms.”
She wrapped her arms around herself and turned back to Naito, still avoiding his gaze. “Why do you want to see my arms? That's a little weird.”
“We both know why.”
Cosena looked from side to side as if she feared someone might be watching. She sighed in defeat. “Don't ever tell Alsen about this...”
Cosena placed her fingers on the hem of her shirt. Her fingers trembled in hesitation before she finally pulled her shirt over her head and tossing it to the side. She quickly slid her pants down and stepped out of them. She sat on the bed, twirling her braids and her fingers and staring at the floor as Naito took in the horrible sight of her body.
Just like in Naito's near death experience, Cosena's back, legs, and arms were decorated with hideous bruises swollen purple, red welts, and cuts. Seeing it in person was even worse than in his near death experience. Naito's eyes widened and he covered his mouth, inhaling sharply. Cosena buried her face in her hands, her body silently trembling as if being exposed to Naito's eyes brought her even more pain.
“Father did this to you.” Naito said once he was able to catch his tongue.
Cosena nodded.
Naito smashed his fist against the wall. It caught on fire but who cared about something so trivial? Their father really was still putting his hands on Cosena! Naito threatened to have their father banished from the empire if he ever put his hands on Cosena again, but he did it anyway.
“Cosena...” Naito sat next to her. He wanted to comfort her, but feared he would bring her pain if he touched her. “Why does he do this to you?”
“To vent out his anger, I guess?” Cosena shrugged feebly.
Naito pet her head carefully, as if she were a fragile piece of glass that might shatter at his touch.
“How long has he been doing this to you?”
“Sixteen years.” Cosena's voice was thick and raspy.
Naito always knew that whatever their father did to Cosena when he dragged her out of their room couldn't be anything pretty, but he never imagined it would be this bad (though that was probably because he tried not to imagine it at all). How did she always remain so strong when suffering like this?
Naito couldn't shake away his own guilt. If he had listened to Cosena all those times when she tried to keep them out of trouble, she wouldn't have ever had to take the blame for him, and she wouldn't have ever been beat so brutally by Sartur.
“Cosena, I'm s-”
The word got stuck in his throat. Stupid Shadow Side. The pride of his Shadow Side was no doubt trying to stop him from apologizing.
“Don't be.” Cosena hiccuped.
“You're crying.” Naito could hear it plain in her voice.
“N-No, I'm...” Cosena erupted into a fit of hiccoughing from trying to suppress her sobs.
“Just let the tears fall. Tears are water. Do you know what water does?”
Cosena didn't reply.
“It heals. There's no sense in holding them. Cry every single tear you need to cry, and I promise you'll feel better. Just like the clouds can't hold their water in forever, we can't either.”
Cosena obliged. She removed her hands from her face. Even though she was half a foot taller than him, it felt like she was looking up at him as she let her tears fall freely.
Cosena was like an immovable wall. No matter how much was thrown at her, she still stood tall. But her bricks were falling apart, little by little. Once that first brick fell, the rest came crashing down with it.
But Naito was there for her, patting her head and rubbing her back softly. He let her cry in his shoulder until her eyes dried. He may have been responsible for her falling apart, but he would atone by picking her bricks up and putting them back together one by one.

When the one who so persistently worked on knocking her down returned, Naito would stay true to his word. Father or not, Sartur Raizu would learn how foolish it was to hurt a dragon's family. Naito would not think twice about it, nor would he have any regrets. Sartur would be banished from the empire.


Achievments in spoiler.
Spoiler:
DA League S2, S9, and S11 winner
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Won 29+ DA lives
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Won more DA lives than anyone else. Alot more.
Supreme queen of May 2012, April-May 2013, and May 2014.
Three time Survival Master
My current DA record: Wins:451 Lost: 81 Draws: 6
Former Teacher and Assistant. Former Moderator.
First to ever reach the Abandoned Dark League
Moderator of the year 2013.
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Much more.

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