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09 May 2011 @ 01:41 am
/tries to assemble brain  
Story: Black cat, white mage - Part 9
Pairings: Kurogane/Fai, Sakura/Syaoran, Yukito/Touya, the usual suspects.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: One creepy religious fanatic?
Summary: A lost princess. A mage running away from his past. A crippled warrior doing his best to forget the man he used to be. And a young man carrying a terrible curse. All of them are inevitably drawn into an adventure where love might save them... or doom them.
Note: Yep, so a fairly short part, but I was having NO END of troubles from this one. Ugh. Anyway, Fei is disturbing, we meet our assassin, and SERIOUSLY WHAT IS IT WITH SAKURA AND ATTRACTING EXTREMELY POSSESSIVE PARENTAL FIGURES? Also, I added an EXTREMELY scetchy map at the end of this chapter, just so that you all can see roughly what is happening. Hooray for Paint! Cut quote from "You know who I am" by Leonard Cohen.
 
***

 

“Let him go!”

The prisoner struggled against the soldiers holding him, but the man seated in front of him casually raised the tip of his sword, so that it rested almost gently against the throat of the chained man lying curled up by his feet.

“Stop that, or he dies.” The statement was spoken with no malice, but with a certain amount of self-satisfaction, as if the man was considering a job well done. Around him, stone-faced men lifted their crossbows, all in one beautifully co-ordinated movement, but their master called them off with one casual wave of his large hand. The single drop of blood running down the chained man’s neck from where the tip of the sword had pierced his skin was more effective than an army would’ve been – and if he’d needed an army, that could’ve been arranged.

The prisoner sagged at his words, hanging suddenly lifeless in the arms of the soldiers. But when he slowly lifted his head, his eyes were narrowed in hatred. His quiet voice, raw from screaming, thrummed with absolute conviction. “I’ll make you pay for this, you bastard,” he growled. “I’ll find a way of freeing him, and I’ll make you pay.

“There is no need for that,” his captor replied, amused. He seemed aware of the force of the hatred that was directed toward him, and smiled benevolently at his prisoner, like an indulgent older relative towards his very favourite nephew. “All you have to do is perform one little favour for me, and I’ll set your friend free.”

“We don’t have time,” the prisoner raged, face twisted up in both loathing and sudden apprehension. “It’s too dangerous. If he finds us...”

“Ah, yes. That determined young man working for the Circle.” The man tapped the armrest of his chair, and his brow furrowed as if in deep thought. “He could be troublesome for you, couldn’t he?” Then he smiled, and there was no mercy to be found in that smile. “So you should really get to work. Because I can’t promise you I’ll be able to keep your little friend here safe if he should find out he’s here. However, if you do manage to kill that abomination...” He lifted the tip of the sword a bit higher, forcing the chin of the chained man upwards. He hissed sharply as a vivid red line blossomed in startling contrast to his pale skin, and his captive brother’s breath caught painfully in his throat. Their captor nodded, apparently satisfied that he had their full attention. “...If you do,” he said, “I might be able to help you.”

“What do you mean?” The soldiers had let go of the prisoner now, and he was standing straight with as much dignity as a captive man can muster, glaring hatefully as his brother flinched and shuddered at the touch of the blade, blood flowing unhindered from his wound.

“I mean that if that heretic priest dies, if I am given the power I seek, there will be no more Mage’s Circle. I will determine which mages are righteous enough to wield their power, and I will of course remember the favour you have done for me.” His hand on the sword was steady, his focus that of a warrior even as he spoke; he smiled in amusement as he saw his prisoner trembling with his desire to attack, stopped only by the knowledge that he’d never get there in time to save his brother. The men carrying crossbows didn’t move, but their eyes followed every move the prisoner made with one simple purpose written in their features.

“And of course,” the man in the chair added, as an afterthought, “I’ll personally make sure that the young man hunting after you is executed.”

No!” the man at his feet gasped, his eyes widening in horror.

Without so much as changing his expression, his captor drew back the sword and kicked him hard in the face. He cried out and crumpled on the ground, blood gushing from his nose, and the soldiers once more had to rush forward to hold back his enraged brother. All around the room, the steely tips of two dozen bolts fixed steadily on him. But he only stopped struggling as their captor, still seated, once more raised his sword in an almost lazy, mocking gesture, this time letting the point hover right over the chained man’s heart.

“It’s your choice,” he said simply.

Kamui.” The chained man’s voice was barely more than a whisper. “Don’t do it. Please.”

His brother’s face twisted in indecision for a moment, but then his eyes hardened. “I’ll do it,” he spat. “I’ll kill him. But if you lay so much as a hand on Subaru again while I’m gone, I’ll kill you too.” His face was white and his hands were trembling, and he looked away as his brother let out a quiet sob, curling up on the floor.

Their captor chuckled quietly, but he said nothing. He’d have to kill the both of them once the deed was done, of course. He’d be sure to let this little puppet of his watch his brother die before he too perished, and as always he’d feel the satisfaction of knowing that they were getting what they deserved. What all mages deserved, renegades or not. And as the Mage’s Circle crumbled under its own corruption, there would be nothing to stop him from getting to the whore who blackened his son’s soul.

 ~ * ~

The scent of the sea alerted them of that they were approaching their goal long before they could see the actual city. Fai breathed the salty tang of the air gratefully, greeting it like an old friend, but like always there was a twinge of hurt at the memory of the first time he’d felt it.

That day when he’d been brought to Celestina, Ashura waking him up from his fretful slumber so that he could gaze down upon the most beautiful city in the world. With her sprawling, busy streets, the lush expanses of her parks and gardens, and the dome of the Cathedral gleaming at her very centre, like a pearl the colour of fresh blood. He’d been fourteen then, and she’d stolen a piece of his heart away.

All those memories tied to that one, faint scent, impossible to forget once you’d felt it...

It had only been three years later, hadn’t it? Yes, because he’d been seventeen when they were standing out on the Grand Pier, with the salt spray of waves splashing their faces and dripping from their hair, both of them laughing and free. It had been one of his games, one of the ones where he ran away and Ashura, affecting worry that was belied by his laughter, would chase after him. ‘Yuui, you’ll slip! Yuui, come back at once!’ But of course he hadn’t even tried to catch up until they were well out on the glistening stonework of the pier.

That was when he’d finally managed to gather his courage, and as a huge wave broke over the pier, completely soaking them well above their knees, he had pulled the older man close and kissed him. Ashura had gently pulled free after a few seconds, a soft gasp leaving his lips, and Fai couldn’t tell if it was shock or anger, or maybe just the cold water. And then he’d looked up, and Fai had seen his own longing reflected in the soft, warm gold of Ashura’s eyes, if also tinged with sadness.

“This is wrong,” he’d said.

And Fai – Yuui – had laughed and said that after all, they were mages. They’d live longer than most people would in any case, so what was a few years between them? And then he’d kissed him again, and this time Ashura hadn’t pushed him away. It wasn’t until later, much later – too late, in fact – that he found out what Ashura had meant. That he hadn’t been talking about their age difference, or even the fact that he was Fai’s adoptive parent by law.

That he’d been right when he said that it was wrong.

He was brought back to the present with a jolt when at last they broke through the forest and were bathed in the golden light of the setting sun. The road in front of them wound along steep chalk cliffs which ended in the white roar of waves, and further along it, where the cliffs made way to white stone beaches, stood Drottensburg, city of roses. Her fair walls were gilded by the sunlight, and she looked inviting rather than foreboding, as if nothing bad could be sheltered within such a beautiful creation of men.

He glanced sideways at his travelling companions. Syaoran’s wide-eyed, silent admiration spoke volumes. The young man had probably never been outside Flammen’s walls from the day his parents drove him there. And considering his memories of wherever he’d lived before were, to say the least, fairly sketchy, this must be an overwhelming experience for him. Just like it had been for him, that very first day he gazed down upon Celestina. He found himself smiling at the young man, who grinned hugely back at him.

Kurogane was wearing his customary scowl, his eyes slightly narrowed as he watched the peaceful scene before him – had he been to this city before? It seemed likely, if he’d been a templar. Drottensburg was famous for its many beautiful churches, most of them dedicated to the Lord of Peace and the Mistress of the Sea, and pilgrims from all over the world travelled there to visit the grave of St. Emeraude, patron saint of children and lost souls. Had he prayed by her grave when the princess went missing? Twelve years ago... had he been a templar then?

Little Cat was stretching leisurely and looking down at the city in anticipation. They’d been there before, of course, on their continuous travels throughout Clow, and they had both enjoyed the city immensely.

Some of those churches were extremely poorly guarded.

He watched her turn to smile at him, the image of a young Kurogane kneeling before the grave still in his mind, and once more he thought ‘What if...?’

But the thought was fairly ridiculous. Firstly because the royal family were all powerfully gifted, both spiritually and magically, and the plain fact was that Little Cat didn’t have so much as a shred of magic in her entire body. She was, in fact, uncommonly void of any kind of mystical energy, as if she was just a bit more real than the rest of the world. It was virtually impossible for a child like that to have been born to the royal family.

And secondly, it was geographically ridiculous. He’d been fleeing from the Mage’s Cirlcle, and had been right on the Nihon border the night he’d found Little Cat. That had been the very night the princess had gone missing. For a three-year-old to get from Celestina to a spot in the middle of the woods, some fifty miles north-northwest of St Tsubasa, all in one night, wasn’t just silly: It was also damn nigh impossible. There were precious few mages that would even dare to try performing transportation spells, and mostly these experiments concerned inanimate objects. Not, in fact, princesses. Especially if one wanted to keep them alive – and more to the point, in once piece – and why else would you go through the bother of dropping her in the middle of a forest instead of just killing her?

In fact, there were only three people he was certain were capable of such a stunt, and he was also certain it could have been none of them. Mainly because at that very time, two of them would’ve been preoccupied with hunting him, and the third possible suspect was, in fact, him.

No. No matter how much it seemed like a ridiculous coincidence, that he should find a lost little girl in the woods the very day the princess went missing, the fact remained that Little Cat and her highness Sakura wasn’t the same person. Wherever Little Cat had come from, it was of little consequence now. She was his daughter, no more and no less.

~ * ~


 

 


 
 
 
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 9th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
/tries to assemble her brain

/realises it is, in fact, on the floor

/cannot get enough coordination to pick brain up

/stares gormlessly at the screen

Hnarglskjgh? Asdkjdsrlshagrnan.

I. Guh. Bshinafgh.

...

...at the beginning, I had no idea who that was, but damn, raw desperation was just dripping from every damn word. AND AND THEN IT WAS KAMUI AND SUBARU AND ARRRRRRGH.

And FAI! FLASHBACKING! PAST ROMANCE WITH ASHURA DOOMED TO END SADLY and the image of that gorgeous ocean just felt so damn real and OF COURSE SAKURA IS NOT A PRINCESS, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

...I'M SORRY I CAN ONLY EXPRESS MY AMAZEMENT BY SHOUTING AT THE MESSAGE BOX!!!

I just. Yes. /brainfail/ More. Soon. Please????

(.../loves you/)
sweetjerry: Not a pry barsweetjerry on May 10th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
/throws self to the floor and lovingly cuddles your brain

LOL I was trying to be as cryptic as possible, but it got very hard after a while, so I didn't know how well I managed <3

And they will all do a lot more flashbacking, except for Little Cat of course, because her memories were sort of stolen. Or actually not stolen so much as taken. Ahem.

/BASKS IN LOVE AND SHOUTING

I will attempt to fulfil your wishes, gentle lady ^^
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 10th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
I LOVE THIS FIC

/is still shouting her amazement

/allows brain to be cuddled

The crypticness was handled well, it was confusing in just the right way. YAY FLASHBACKS and any fanservice you care to throw our way /is shot/

Thank you, kind and awesome writer /loves you/
sweetjerry: Iphaelsweetjerry on May 10th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
/RANDOM SCREAM OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS

Hooray! Cryptic weirdness all around! Oh, and more fanservice! And flashbacks! And less shirts!

/reciprocates said love and creates an unending cycle!
Cloverfieldfieldofclover on May 10th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
/SHOUTING WITH JOY

I approve of the crypticness + fanservice - shirt plan!

/loves even more exponentially, creating a spiral of affection
mikkeneko: curse of doommikkeneko on May 9th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Hmph. I like that Fai even entertains the notion, even if he dismisses it immediately. I see it doesn't occur to him that there might be some spellcasters out there that he doesn't know about.

I have been increasingly alarmed by hints such as "the third suspect was him," if Sakura ever does get found out to be the missing princess, a lot of people are going to be looking to clap Fai in irons pretty quick. :(

Also, ah, Ashura/Fai... I love it, even though I know I shouldn't...
sweetjerry: Smack an emosweetjerry on May 10th, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
^^ Indeed. And his assumption that he knows exactly what those two others were up to is also pretty rich xD

That is a very sensible thing to be alarmed at :/ And he won't be the only one they'll want to clap in irons either.

SOB I KNOW. I was like... melting all over the two of them while I wrote xD

/all the huggles
Mayoumayou on May 9th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
yeah! amazing! a new chapter! as always, not enough for addicted people like me, but I liked it very much. Wonder how much you have in store for this story and where it will lead?

lg

mayou
sweetjerry: In ur kitchensweetjerry on May 10th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
<3! Don't worry, hopefully there'll be a new part up soon. And so far I have ALL THE SHITFUCKERY in store for the heroes xD Because I'm a bastard like that.
youkohiei_fanyoukohiei_fan on June 8th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
I think I've forgoten to comment on any of these chapters, so while I was rereading I figured now was a ood time. I'm really liking this, it's a bit differeent than other's fics I've read and I like the dynamics between all the characters. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going. <3
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