Dantega:Volume 5 Chapter 6

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(PART 3)



“Damn it, what a useless soldier I’ve become!” Allia shouts as her and Celestia are running around in the weapons plant at the most southern point of La’Juune.

“Shut up and run, thinking about it isn’t going to do you any good!” Celestia replies as they turn to the left and begin running down a long flight of stairs.

There is a frantic way in which they are running, it’s more like the way a mouse fleas when getting chased by a cat. An injured mouse at that, Allia’s left arm is tattered; her blood drips on the stone stairs made from the wall of the volcano as she takes each step downwards.

The farther they go down, the hotter it gets; the temperature went from near freezing to close to a hundred degrees in an instant.

“Run to where!? Going deeper into the plant isn’t going to help us at all!”

“Going outside would be worse, we’d freeze to death out there.”

“Tch! How did things turn out like this!? We’ve been running and hiding for hours now!”

Allia’s usual calm composure has been shattered, perhaps it’s her wound talking for her, or maybe the heat, but something is certainly wrong with her.

Celestia, who is leading the way yells in reply, “Calm down Allia! We’re going to get through this alright?”

Dragging her bloody arm behind her, Allia shouts, “How!? I can’t even use my weapon with this arm! If we don’t do something about this fast I might have to amputate it. Don’t you get how screwed we are with that monster chasing us!?”

Celestia grits her teeth and continues her run forward until she sees three soldiers of the plant running up the staircase in order to stop them. The soldiers don't know who they are but they do know that the two girls aren't allowed in here.

Without a second of hesitation, Celestia throws her shield; the men who are unfortunate enough to be on lower ground don’t even have a chance. Their body parts are sent flying all over and Celestia and Allia continue their advance unimpeded.

Travelling down one more flight of stairs Celestia suddenly stops and says, “Hold on a minute.”

She takes off her thick red jacket that has a few girly designs on it, reaches into one of the pockets and pulls out the flask filled with alcohol and throws the jacket off the staircase. She is wearing a white turtle neck undershirt; she lifts the bottom part of it and slides it across her shield, ripping a huge chunk out of it.

She then points it at Allia and says, “I’m sweating like a whore in church here; I don’t need all this clothing. I’m going to use the alcohol to fight infection and wrap this around your arm to stop the bleeding. Since you’re already injured, I’d recommend taking off most of your clothes too. You need to keep as much fluid in your body as possible to avoid a stroke, you're already sweating from your injury so you have to stay as cool as you can in this heat.”

Allia takes off her brown jacket and reveals the fact that she is wearing nothing underneath but an expensive looking purple bra.

“Are you serious?” Celestia asks in an amazed fashion.

“What?”

“Where the hell is your undershirt!?”

“It was hot when we were travelling through the vents so I took it off. It was either that or the jacket.”

“Geez you sure do some pointless stuff every once in a while. Don’t tell me you’re not wearing panties either!?”

“Of course I am! They match this bra perfectly might I add!”

“Nyaah you’re so ridiculous!”

“It doesn't matter, I would've taken it off now anyways! N-Now’s not the time to be arguing about this. Just wrap me up so we can figure out what to do next.”

“Fine fine.”

After she tends to Allia’s beat up arm, she puts the flask in her back pocket and takes a deep breath as she looks over the railing and down to the floor.

This is the spot where all the weapons are made, with the help of the dormant volcano under the plant, metal is able to be molded freely in mass numbers.

The pool of magma down below is 150 meters long and about a 75 meters wide; all the machines used by the blacksmiths to make the weapons are resting about twenty feet above it.

There isn’t a floor in this entire level of the plant, all there is are metal bridge-like walkways and stairs that lead to different levels of the workplace. One slip over the four foot high railing will result in being melted by the lava below. With the threat of that present, and along with the intense heat and sulfuric fumes in the room, working in here is about the most dangerous job one can do.

There are more than fifty men walking along these walkways doing work, they have yet to hear of the intruders so it’s business as usual, but there is no doubt that once they find out, they will attack the two girls when they get the chance.

“Even though there are more soldiers to deal with down here, we can use this place to our advantage.” Celestia said, her eyes fixated on the bright orange color of the magma.

“What do you mean?”

“I had us retreat to this furnace because we would’ve been killed if we kept fighting Captain Red at close quarters. He only uses his hands, so being in that hallway gave him an edge over us. However, in here, since we specialize in long range attacks, we can now take the upper-hand.”

“I get it... But my arm.”

“Don’t worry about that, there are plenty of other weapons down here. There are five different assembly lines in this massive room, each one of them carries different weapons. I assume they are standard swords, axes, spearheads, broadswords, and that weird weapon that they plan to betray La’Juune with. We’ll put them to good use. I know you’re not too good of a swordsman, and it’s going to be difficult with just one good arm, but we have to improvise with what we got if we want to live.”

Allia frowns and looks at her bloody arm. “Damn it... There’s no worse feeling for a soldier than becoming a burden to her comrade. I was careless, I’m sorry.”

“Nyaha don’t apologize with such a cute look on your face, I can’t take you seriously.”

“I am serious!”

“I know you are. But you don’t need to be, you said it yourself, we’re comrades. Comrades are never burdened by each other no matter how bad the situation gets. Comrades find a way to win with each other, injured or not. So get rid of those thoughts and fight with me.”

Allia smiles gently and replies, “You can be quite the level headed person sometimes you know that? It always amazes me how much your personality changes when things get intense.”

“Nyahaha, I am a genius after all!”

The two share a momentary laughter until they are interrupted by a loud noise coming from the top of the stone staircase about three stories up. The bang came from the door exploding and flying into the furnace room, the sound of the metal door clanging off the metal walkways below gathers the attention of all the men working on the assembly line.

“QUIT YOUR DAMN RUNNING ALREADY!!!”

Captain Red Spektor walks through the smoke of the doorway and instantly catches sight of Allia and Celestia down below. He has a wicked smile on his face as he begins to make his way down, and following closely behind him are ten other soldiers.

“Shit... I was hoping to make some kind of strategy while we waited for him to arrive.” Celestia said deeply as she puts her guard up.

“Celestia...”

“What?”

Allia gestures her to look down, she does and what she sees adds to the severity of their disposition. The men once working at the assembly line are gathering freshly made weapons and rushing up the staircases leading up to them. With Red and the others coming down to them, they are surrounded with nowhere to run.

“What should we do?”

“We take out the guys at the bottom first. Captain Red can only use his hands to attack remember? If we get rid of the small fries first, we’ll have a better chance at winning the main battle.”

Allia looks up and then back down before replying, “Right.”

The two start running down towards the oncoming blacksmiths.

“Hey hey!” Red shouts, “Don’t ignore me!”

That is exactly what they do, they don’t even bother to look up at him as they make their way down the winding staircases.

“I SAID DON’T FUCKING IGNORE ME!!!”

GGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSHHHHH!!!

The stone staircase connected to the volcano wall that separated the two Knights from the blacksmiths is ripped to shreds by a black liquid that engulfed it and blew up violently. The ground which they were running on shatters and starts falling apart, stairs drop into the magma like rain drops and the sound of them melting can be heard.

“!?”

“Go back up!!” Celestia yells as the stairs that are breaking continue to rise toward their position like falling dominos.

She pushes Allia back and while doing so, loses her footing. She slides helplessly down the crumbling stairs until there is nothing under her except the heat of the magma.

“CELESTIA!!!”

Celestia tries to think of someway she can get out of this as she begins her descent towards death, but sadly, nothing comes to mind. That is, until she feels her arm being grabbed and the sensation of helplessly falling ends abruptly.

“Wha?”

Looking up, she is met with a red liquid falling on her face; this blood is coming from the injured arm of Allia.

“I got you...” Allia says as she winces in pain.

With her bad arm grabbing Celestia, and her good arm latching onto the guardrail of the destroyed staircase, she finds herself in quite the pinch. It’s only a matter of time before one of her arms gives out, both of which will result in the death of her comrade.

“Ghhhhh! I-I'm going to pull you up!”

Allia pulls as hard as she can and as a result the wound in her arm rips open even wider and turns the white of the shirt used to bandage her a deep red.

“UUUUAAAAHHH!!!”

“Allia! Don’t strain yourself! Let go of me!”

“A-Are you kidding!? You just got done giving me that whole speech about comradery, there’s no way I’m letting you go!”

“Would you just do as I say!?”

“No!”

Red, who is staring at the destruction he had just cause can’t help but laugh, his own men who were at the lower part of the staircase are falling into the magma one by one due to the aftereffect of his attack.

“Hahahahaha would you listen to the sound of them falling in!? It’s like throwing bacon onto a burning hot skillet! Beautiful, gorgeous, perfection!”

“Damn that sick bastard.” Celestia says angrily as she looks behind her and notices that more than half of their pursuers have fallen in and the survivors are scrambling away from the broken staircase.

“Grrrrraahh!! I thought he could only use short range attacks with hand to hand combat!?” Allia asked, gritting her teeth as the pain of Celestia’s weight pounds on her body.

“... You’d think he’d have used that attack on us earlier if he had the chance... I was wrong.”

The reason why he didn't use that attack which could have torn them to shreds in the hallway earlier is revealed by the loud voice of Red.

“Hey hey!!” he shouts, “I highly recommend that you guys get moving! I only missed you because that was the first time I tried that attack! I aint gonna miss twice!”

He holds out his hand and that destructive black liquid forms around his arm once more.

“Shit! Hang on Celestia!!” Allia shouts as she uses all her strength to pull her up.

“Just let go of me Allia! I can use my shield to latch on to something so I can get up!”

“What!? Why didn’t you tell me that earlier!? My damn arm feels like it’s about to fall off!”

“You’re supposed to listen to me without me having to explain, you damn exhibitionist!”

“Exhibitionist!? Fine then I’d love to let you go!”

Allia prepares to let her go when the voice of Red is heard from above shouting,

“IT’S TOO LATE!!!”

He shoots a blast of that black liquid directly toward them; with the position that they’re in, there is no way they can avoid being torn to shreds by it.

“!?”

“Damn it!!”

All they can do is close their eyes as the sound of the blast reaches their ears.

BBBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNGGGG!!!

However, the explosion is heard rather far off in the distance.

They open their eyes to see that Red’s attack had missed them and hit around twenty yards below them.

“Huh??”

"Ehh?"

They both mutter as they stare in confusion.

And that’s when they hear the screams of people above falling all the way from the top of the room to the molten ground. With a rough sizzling sound, ten men land in the magma and die instantly.

The two Knights look up and see that no one is there, then they catch sight of another man falling in their peripheral vision.

It is Captain Red, except he ends up landing on one of the metal bridge like walkways twenty feet above the lava and with a loud bone crunching thud.

“I had this feeling that you two would have trouble with this mission.” Came a voice from above where the Captain once stood with his men.

Another chimes in, "Holy shit did you see that!? I was all like 'bababoooooosh!' and he tried to duck but I still hit him anyways and he went 'waaabaaaammm!' and fell off the side taking a couple others with him!!"

"Would you just shut up with that! You're fucking up our totally cool entrance. Don't you get how awesome it is to save a couple girls from trouble in the nick of time!?"

“There's nothing special about saving girls at all! I’m telling you man, chicks are no good for anything other than cooking! My dad always told me that and he was smart!”

“If he was involved in creating you I highly doubt that!”

Allia and Celestia instantly recognize these two voices and they both look up in surprise. They see two of the last people they’d ever think to see. One has brown hair and is carrying a large ax over his shoulder, and the other is a spear wielding chrome dome with a black tattoo on his forehead that stretches down below his eyes.

“What are you guys doing here!?” Allia and Celestia both shout simultaneously.

In reply, the two men both say, “We’re here to back you up.”

The reinforcements are none other than two more Knights of La’Juune. Two of the ten deadliest warriors in the entire world.

Olin Strausslend, and Jessiah Riddings.




“Well look who it is.” Jeffrey says as he greets a carriage at the gate of the Eiyalazonian Castle.

Out of the expensive looking carriage comes Noah, hand and hand with Rain.

“I hope things are going well here Jef--- No, Harold.”

“Hmm I guess you can say that.”

Noah looks around and asks, “Where’s your wife?”

“She’s tailing the brat right now.”

“I see.”

The castle guards let both Rain and Noah through the gate without so much as a question, just the fact that someone from inside the castle came to greet them is enough to show that they should be allowed access.

This is the kind of shoddy security this place, and castles like this have. The guards want to do their job and be strict with things, but they also fear that they’d lose their job if they did something to anger a nobleman. The guard knew that Jeffrey came in with the King and Queen, he’d be foolish to question him now. If his questioning angered him he could be severely punished, getting fired would be a blessing if the noblemen was the kind of person who thinks guards and such are nothing but dogs.

The three of them safely get through the gate and head on the pathway toward the entrance of the castle. One of the guards in front escorted the chauffeur and the carriage to a nearby stable so they are now on foot.

“I see that the girl isn’t talking as much as she used to.” Jeffrey said, as if poking fun at Rain, who has her head down and has been silent this whole time.

Despite being back home for the first time in months, she looks as though that's the last thing on her mind.

“Don’t worry about her.” Noah sternly replies.

“Gladly.”

“You know, I don’t like it when my Knights split up from each other, you all work better as a team. That being said, I hope there is a good reason why Elise isn’t here with us.”

“That kid, he’s going to do something today I’m sure of it. If we both left in order to get you into the castle, we’d leave the King and Queen vulnerable.”

“What do you mean by that?” Rain finally speaks.

“She doesn’t know?” Jeffrey asks, slightly raising his voice.

“.....”

“I don’t know what?”

“.....”

Now the both of them grow silent and this makes her realize it is something very important. She squeezes Noah’s hand and shouts, “What’s going on with the King and Queen!?”

Noah sighs, after a deep breath he stares at her intently and answers, “Prince Dice... He’s going to kill his parents.”

“What!? Why!?”

The shock of hearing that is apparent on her face. Though she had never liked the King and Queen, hearing that their own son is trying to kill them is disturbing.

Noah again stays silent, coaxing Jeffrey into speaking in his place, “He’s doing this for you.”

“F-For me?”

“You know that brat loves you right? Well, the Devil manipulated him into believing that his parents were the ones that sabotaged you back at Tronoble.”

Rain had just met the true culprit behind the failure at Tronoble, and he escorted her and Noah all the way to the Capital. She can’t believe that Dice would even consider his parents as suspects in this particular matter.

“But I don’t get it, why would he go so far as to kill his own parents for something like that!?”

Now Noah again joins in this conversation, “Because the Devil also convinced him that by him doing this, it will get you to see how much he loves you. And that you’ll return his feelings for doing something as devoted as killing his own parents in your honor.”

“I’d never allow something as ridiculous as that! We have to stop him!”

“That’s what we’re planning on doing.” Jeffrey said in a way that's stating the obvious.

“How?”

“We’re going to kill him.” The Captain of the Ten Knights replied without a moment’s hesitation.

“You can’t do that!”

“What are you talking about? The kid’s a goner; if we don’t kill him he’ll kill his parents. And if that happens, your country is a giant shit stain on the face of the planet. Both ways, Prince Dice dies; I don’t know about you but I like the first option a lot more than the latter.”

Rain looks at Noah with pleading eyes and asks, “There has to be another way out of this, you saved me from the Devil... Can’t you save him too?”

Noah keeps his gaze forward on the road leading to the front entrance of the castle. He pauses for a few moments before speaking, “I... I don’t know if I can.”

“Please Noah! It’s my fault that he’s in this situation, I don’t know what I’d do if he died because of me.”

“From my understanding.” Jeffrey interjects, “You disliked Dice to the point of him turning himself into such a monster. What’s with the sudden change of heart?”

Rain grits her teeth; what he said is true and it hurts when he puts it into words like that. If she would have at least given him a shot, perhaps things could have drastically turned out in a different way. Instead she was cold to him, and occasionally led him on in order for him to do things for her. In hindsight, he’s continuing the same behavioral patterns so he can achieve the same results as before. The only thing different from now and then is the scale of what he’s doing to prove his devotion for her, and adding to that is the fact that she didn’t ask him for this.

He’s doing this on his own by way of a love that has been distorted and bent to accomplish the desires of a third party.

“Of course I never liked him... But I didn’t hate him either, and he’s my best friend’s brother! How can I look her in the face when she comes back to find her only brother dead and I didn’t do a thing to stop it!?”

Jeffrey reveals a rare frown, he clinches his fists in anger as he raises his voice, “You’re not doing a damn thing to stop it! You are asking Noah to do it for you! You’re treating him no differently than the way you used Dice!”

“W-Wha?”

“Don’t you get it!? What you’re asking my King to do is die for your own selfish reasons!”

“I’m not----“

“You are, and you don’t even know it! He’s-----“

“That’s enough Jeffrey.” Noah calmly interrupts.

Jeffrey immediately stops and stands astute in a natural reaction to Noah’s order.

Noah then turns to Rain and asks, “Do you want me to save him?”

“I do...” she replies weakly.

“Then I will save him.”

“King Noah! You’ll----”

“Quiet...” he says, shifting his gaze in Jeffrey’s direction. “She is right about the two Princesses of this country. His death could cause more problems in the future, so I will save him.”

“That’s not your reason for doing this and you know it.”

“Hmm I guess not. But it’s an added bonus.”

Jeffrey has a strained look on his face, as if he’s holding himself back from doing something that he’ll regret. “You never think about yourself do you? It’s always about someone else.”

“That’s right.”

Jeffrey clicks his tongue and turns his back to Noah, which could be considered a huge insult depending on how one looks at it this. And if that’s not bad enough, he says, “Please pardon my insult your highness... But you’re a fucking idiot.”

Jeffrey speeds up his walking and gains distance between Rain and Noah, leaving them to themselves.

Rain can’t help but glare at Noah worriedly. There must be something behind all that, she wants to pry but doesn’t want to become a nuisance, especially after he agreed to help her.

All she can say is, “Thank you, Noah...”

He adds an extra bit of tightness to his grip on her hand and smiles, a tender smile that tells her that he’d do anything for her. The kind of smile that makes her feel secure, and she is extremely grateful for it.

That’s when the words that he spoke the day before suddenly hit her,

(I’m going to die...)

With that in her head, her eyes start watering, she hides her face in his shoulder and says through a broken voice, “Noah... I... I----“

“Shit!” Jeffrey shouts from in front of them.

“What is it?” Noah asks.

He points up to the middle of the castle about twenty stories up at a flashing light through a window.

“That’s Elise, she said that if something was up while I was getting you, she’d shine a light with a mirror through a window in order to alert us.”

“Could it be that Dice is attacking the King and Queen!?” Rain asks, her face still a little flushed from the earlier conversation.

“I don’t know, but this means that we need to hurry. Let’s go!”

The three of them rush into the castle and head to where they saw the light. Not knowing what to expect when they get there, anxiety builds in their chests as the determination to stop this assassination grows with each step.




Screams, horrible screams of agony resound around the entrance of the Trojan castle as people seemingly die every second.

All of the men of the rebellion are here attempting to break through the wall; these are regular people who just a few days earlier were likely going about their daily business. People who were going to work, taking care of their families, enjoying the moments of normal living. These people are now fighting to the death in order to restore the country that they love so dearly, they are fighting to protect the lives they left behind in the first place in order to fight.

“It’s not working!” A man shouts in the crowd of people storming the massive wooden door keeping them from entering the castle.

The sense of hopelessness taints their morale as they are killed off so easily by the men atop the castle walls. Be it searing tar, flaming arrows, or shrapnel bombs, people are dying terrible deaths.

And for what?

They aren’t advancing any further than they were when they first made it here.

“Don’t give up!” Zurvick shouts as he joins a group of around twenty men using a large cut down tree with prongs on the side of it for holding.

He grabs onto to one of the prongs and shouts with all his might as he and the men run forward and slam the jagged edge of the tree into the massive castle door.

The door to the castle barely budges but a few more hits might result in the door caving in. The only problem is that with each strike, the tree gets heavier because about five people are killed in the process by archers from above.

The carnage has gotten so bad that a lot of the people fighting with them are too afraid to attempt to help in fear of being that vulnerable. Anyone who stands defenseless on one of the prongs can be easily picked off, or burned to death with hot tar.

Seeing people hesitate, and even flee from the castle door, and sensing the dismay of his peolpe, Zurvick desperately shouts, “Just a little more!”

But the people won’t listen, their morale has been shattered and the way they fight has lost its intensity.

Knowing full well that if this continues there’s no way they can win, Zurvick presses forward with the remaining survivors at the door. They get ready to make another lunge when a voice is heard from behind Zurvick’s ear shouting,

“Stop!”

Zurvick turns around and finds London standing there, looking almost too calm considering the hectic situation they are in.

“Don’t waste your energy on something as pointless as that.” he said, walking toward them in a nonchalant manner.

Even when a flame tipped arrow zooms pass his face, he simply moves his head to the side and continues walking as if nothing happened.

“But we need to get through this door! Can’t you see we’re getting slaughtered out here!?” Zurvick retorts.

“I can see that, that’s the reason why I’m telling you to do this instead.”

With his hand, London gestures to someone in order for them to come.

From in between a mass of fighting soldiers of the rebellion and castle guards comes Haas and Lennox. They run up to the tree and London joins them.

“This tree should be just the right height.” Lennox says, “Now! Seiri!!!”

From seemingly out of nowhere, Seiri comes running. Perhaps due to her size she is relatively unnoticed by everyone there. She jumps up and effortlessly lands atop the tree that has been used as a barricade buster.

“If you want to destroy a castle door, why not use the strongest weapon possible?” London asked with a slight smile.

That’s when Lennox shouts, “Stand this tree up! On the count of three!”

Zurvick doesn’t ask questions, these Knights are the best at what they do, so he’d be foolish to not listen to them.

To get the others to join in without any problems, Zurvick initiates the countdown.

“3,2,1, GOOO!!!”

With that, the log that weighs tons is lifted up with great speed by the strength of all the men holding it. Being on top, Seiri jumps forward right at its apex and is sent flying as if her small body had just been shot out of a cannon.

After a couple smooth looking flips in the air to maintain her balance, she lands softly on the top of the wall that holds the door to the castle. The men who were raining down arrows and hot tar onto the rebellion stare at her in amazement as they try figure out what to do about this.

“Oh don’t look so confused guys. Just because I’m a little girl doesn’t mean I’m not here to kill you.”

There are dozens of soldiers to each side of her, encircling her, waiting for someone to make a move.

But unfortunately for them, the first one to act is the La’Juutian Knight. She pulls two flasks out of a duffle bag she is carrying on her waist and uses her mouth to take the lids off them.

After spitting the two lids out, a cute smile forms on her face. “This is something I think you’ll all find interesting. I haven’t used it yet so even I might lose my arms doing this if something goes wrong. One thing’s for sure though, all of you are gonna to die.”

She slams the butt end of the flasks together and moves her hands away as fast as possible.

BBAAAANNNGG!!!

BBAAAANNNGG!!!

The two flasks are shot off in opposite directions as fast as a bullet and rip through the air, causing a loud cracking noise. They strike a guard standing on each side of her who had no clue what was happening and they fall back violently before crashing into a pile of other soldiers.

Seiri folds her arms and smiles, “Well hey what do ya know, looks like my arms made it out just fine.”

BBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!

From each side of her a massive explosion rips through the foundation of the wall holding the entrance to the castle. The soldiers are blown in all directions as Seiri stands safely in the middle of the two blasts. The hot wind blows through her long silky black hair as she smiles at the destruction she caused.

Excluding the area in which she stands, the wall is blown to bits and crumbles down to the ground.

Of course, some of the members of the rebellion on the ground below are knocked back but surprisingly none are injured. The trail of devastation flowed around them as they are left standing in the middle as if they were in the eye of a hurricane.

The door that everyone tried so desperately to break through still stands, but the castle wall around it is gone.

“Now that was easy wasn’t it?” Lennox says as he pulls out his sword and runs into the ruins of the entrance.

“Come on Haas, let's go.” London says as he and Haas rush in to join him.

This is the way the Knights go about things; what the average man struggles mightily to do, they accomplish it effortlessly and think nothing of it once they’re done.

Zurvick can’t help but be amazed by this as he regains his senses and shouts to the rest of the men,

“Into the castle!!”

With that command, hundreds of rejuvenated people storm in and the battle continues on inside the castle. Running through well-kept hallways that have never seen a bloody event such as this, Zurvick comes to the realization that he hasn’t seen Ash in a while. Fearing that something might've happened to her without him noticing, he turns back around and looks through the faces of all the people fighting behind him.

“Look out!” someone shouts.

Sensing something amiss, Zurvick again turns his head and spots an enemy soldier swinging his sword down on him.

“Shit!” he hisses as he tries to parry the man’s attack.

Suddenly, the enemy soldier’s blade is stopped and his blood is sent flying onto an expensive painting on the wall. He was defeated in one strike and fell to Zurvick’s feet.

“What the hell are you doing spacing out like that you idiot!?” shouts Ash.

There she is, right by his side just like he had hoped. She was the one who had perhaps just saved his life in his moment of distraction.

Zurvick sighs and smiles stupidly, “My bad...”

“Come on let’s get going! I need you to lead the way to where the Queen is. I’ve never been in here before!” she yells as she pushes forward.

“Right!”

The two fight their way through the cluster of bodies in the hallway. It has gotten so crammed with people that if one fell, there is no doubt they’d be trampled. Hundreds of people fighting to the death in the now narrow hallways of this castle.

Around the first bend of hallway that leads to the stairs going up, the enemy soldiers park themselves in lines of ten and in five deep rows with their body sized shields out in a defensive position. When soldiers of the rebellion clash with them; the guards on the second level of the blockade stab their spears through the gaps in the shields. The ones unlucky enough to be the first wave are easily impaled and fall to the ground.

“There’s gotta be a way past them... Ash!” Zurvick shouts, gesturing for her to do the same thing they did on the bridge over the moat.

Without even speaking she agrees, but her shoulder is grabbed before she can make her move. The one holding her back is a big black man, his name is Haas Avondale and his expressionless face is joined by a nod of his head, telling her to stay back.

“...I’ll... Go...” he struggles to say.

He rushes through the openings of bodies and right past Zurvick, who was knelt down in order to give him a boost. However, Haas doesn’t use anyone to help him; with just a short running start he easily leaps over the heads of the guards and lands on the other side of the five deep blockade.

Something as ridiculous as that should be impossible; his vertical jump was well over seven feet high and between the first wave of guards to the last was almost twenty feet.

None the less, he gets behind them and with the twin blades he carries in each hand begins slashing in a meticulous manner, killing off what seems to be three men with each strike.

He is doing this so smoothly because his specialty is hitting the vital points of his enemies. Though a lot of these vital points are small, and hard to aim at in the heat of battle, he has a direct hit every time due to countless hours of training. Sometimes he aims for nerves that instantly incapacitate a man, and others he aims for an organ that if severed will lead to an instant death.

The point of this is to keep the usage of his stamina to a minimum; if he were to leave a man alive after his first strike, than that means more effort to kill him off, and more effort means less enemy soldiers dead.

Before the blockade even knew it, half of their fifty men are slain and they are easily overwhelmed by the surging rebellion.

With that, the first floor of the castle has been won. There are still plenty more floors to go, and having the severe disadvantage of fighting an enemy from a lower position, the battle is far from over.

The rebellion continues to the stairs and just as they thought, there are enemy soldiers waiting for them with arrows drawn. With the order of a superior officer from above, a storm of arrows is sent flying down on them. Dozens of people die in that instant and the large staircase leading up begins to become tattered with bodies.

“Let me handle this one.” Lennox says with a smile as he takes the lead in running up the stairs.

He is holding a body sized shield taken from one of the dead guards in one hand, and his sword in the other.

The archers atop the staircase reload and send more arrows directly at Lennox. The shield is large enough to cover his body, but it is not strong enough to withstand dozens of arrows being shot at it from such a close range. But, Lennox uses it to protect himself anyways, the arrows hit the shield and it instantly starts falling apart. The shield drops and is sent hurling down the stairs, the archers above think that the one who had just charged them must have been an idiot.

However...

Looking closely, they see that the shield that has been impaled by the arrows is not being held by anyone at all.

Where did the man carrying it go?

That question is answered when they hear a voice, “I’m right here!”

Lennox is running on the wall as if defying the laws of gravity.

He jumps into the middle of the couple dozen archers and smiles as he says, “There are two things I like about fighting archers. One: Is that they put so much focus on their targets they don’t even realize when something is off.”

Lennox swings his sword and sends limbs flying, the men scream in agony as they try to scramble away from him.

“I was plainly in front of you but you didn’t notice because your target was the shield. Archers attack like bulls do to the color red.”

He slices a couple more viciously and he starts to laugh.

“And two: Is that they usually don’t carry any other weapons!”

This happens to be true in this situation, the archers that were raining down death just a few moments ago are now defenseless.

Due to certain issues, be it monetary, or efficiency, archers will likely only carry bows because they are normally used for long range attacks. Only when the battle is planned to go to close quarters at some point do they carry small swords on their sides. Unfortunately for them, the nature of this battle was a surprise so they are left with just their bows.

Sure, some might have small daggers to fight with, but they are no match for the La’Juutian Knight, being virtually unarmed against a man like him equals a guaranteed death.

The rest of the rebellion rushes up the stairs and onto the next floor, not knowing what awaits them next.

“Damn it, we’ve lost so many people in just these two floors alone... Just how many more are there?” Ash asks as she runs up the staircase next to Zurvick.

Zurvick looks almost embarrassed when he answers, “Twenty-four...”

“Haah!?”

The castle is twenty five stories high; though not as large as La’Juune’s and nowhere close to Eiyalazo’s, this castle houses a lot of different people. Unfortunately the Queen lives on top.

“It’s going to take forever to get up there!” Ash shouts.

“No it won’t.” London calmly states as he runs to their side, “The enemy defense is going to narrow the further we go up. I’m willing to bet that the top floor holding the Queen only has a few soldiers guarding it.”

“What makes you say that?” Ash asks.

“You can tell just by looking at it. A castle goes from wide at its base, to thin at its top. Assuming that they have all the soldiers stationed at the castle in order to defend it against us, it’s safe to say that there is no way they’d be able to fit a large amount of them at the top. They’re basically using the brunt of their force down at the bottom floors to keep us from reaching the Queen.”

“He’s right.” Zurvick adds, “Though our castle hasn’t ever been attacked before, we’ve made preparations in case it was and it goes exactly as he says. It’s going to be tough until we get past the fifth floor because of the design of the castle. But once we’re through there, we’ll be able get to Lelaine!”

Feeling quite relieved after hearing that, Ash smiles and shouts in determination,

“Let’s do this!!!”




Sturgess is standing in the Queen's room looking out of an open window with his hands behind his back. The morning sun shines on his salt and pepper hair as the black of his dark eyes soak in the light. An empty glare is being sent out on the castle grounds and the Capital; he can see plumes of dark smoke rising in the air and through his narrow focus, he can hear the subtle sounds of screams coming from the floors below him.

What he sees with this glare is everything this morning has to offer, the beauty of the oncoming day, the ugliness of death, the hopelessness, the determination.

What he sees is the rebellion.

Yet here he is, not doing anything to stop it, it has been over an hour since it started and he hasn't made any effort to help.

But why?

Why is he standing around doing nothing? Perhaps he is confident in his victory? Perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to fight?

The frozen glare from his cold eyes is warmed by the sun and a thin smile surfaces on his face. The answer to those questions had just knocked on the door.

“She’s ready...” A frail voice of a woman said from outside of the room.

“Bring her in.” Sturgess replies as he walks away from the window.

The door slowly opens and in comes Lelaine, accompanied by a maid. The maid still wears a frightened expression as Sturgess’ eyes molest Lelaine’s body from head to toe.

The Queen is wearing a transparent white gown that gently sways when a small gust of wind enters the room through an open window. Her hair is down and blows along with it as the sunlight hits her gold eyes.

This woman, the object of Sturgess’ deepest desires is standing beautifully before him, defenseless. She is now his to take and he won’t allow anything to stop him.

He looks to the maid and says, “Leave.”

Since the maid thought that he might’ve killed her once the job was done, she takes a big sigh of relief and hurries out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

“You look amazing. It’s like I never put you in that hole to begin with.” Sturgess says as he walks to her and puts his hands on her bare shoulders. “Come.”

He pulls her along to the bed and lays her flat on her back.

“I see you’re not fighting me this time Lelaine?”

Her blank stare which carries even more emptiness than his own is seeing through him as if he wasn’t there. Her emotionless expression signifies the pit of despair a person obtains once every last part of them has been broken. This is the stare signifying that Sturgess has won; no matter what the battle down below them results in, he is the victor.

She’s given in...

Sturgess finds it difficult to hold back a triumphant laugh as he gets atop of Lelaine and mounts her; oh how he’s wished for the moment he could see her flat on her back on a bed like this. Years and years of dreaming about it has finally come to fruition.

He leans down and whispers into the ear that most likely can’t hear him, “Is it okay?”

Lelaine still stays motionless like a statue and doesn’t reply.

“Hahaha, if you don’t say no that must mean that you want this right!? Such a whore you are my Queen!”

By now his face is beginning to distort like a portrait on fire. He pulls his shirt off from over his head and tosses it up against the wall.

“Oh Lelaine, I want this too...” he says, his voice begins cracking in an almost inhuman way as he grabs a lock of her hair and begins smelling its sweet fragrance.

Lelaine doesn’t even flinch, she is letting this happen. However, this isn’t because she wants it, she simply can’t move. She can’t speak for that matter, she can’t hear, she can only see through a blurred vision. Yet she is conscious, trapped in her own mind as a man she despises is fondling her inappropriately.

She wants to move, no, she has to move, she has to shout, she has to fight... But she can’t.

(W-Why can’t I?) she asks herself, the feeling of his tongue sliding down her neck hits her senses.

Her heart beats furiously at this, she grows sick when his scent hits her nose, it’s as though someone is stabbing her repeatedly in the chest. It’s as though an anvil is holding her body down.

She doesn’t like this, she hates this, she wants it to stop. But her body simply just won’t move.

Why is that? It could be that her body has just grown that weak due to lack of exercise in the cell.

Or maybe this is the result of losing everything that gave her strength in the first place?

That's it, losing her daughter because of a poor decision, and losing her husband because of another.

The two, and only people that kept her going are gone and nowhere to be found, neither of them is going to walk through that door and return that strength to her. She has come to the quick and ugly realization that she has become nothing without them. She ‘is’ nothing without them.

With his big hand, he grabs the blouse area of Lelaine’s dress and rips it off like nothing. In that simple motion, the full form of Lelaine’s beautiful body is feasted upon by the eyes of Sturgess. What was once only imagined in dreams is now projected right in front of him.

Mercilessly looking at her up and down, he notices something on her face.

Tears...

Through the blank of her stare, a stream of tears fall down her cheeks from each eye.

“Oh?” Sturgess mutters, that wicked smile never leaving his face. “So you are still in there huh?”

And that’s when he bursts out laughing, a sick laugh that should only belong in a horror film exits his mouth.

“PERFECT!!!” His hands latch onto her shoulders and he moves his face close to her. “YOU’LL KNOW EXACTLY HOW I FELT WHEN YOU SAID NO TO ME ALL THOSE YEARS!!!”

Sturgess takes off his belt and pulls his pants down, ignoring the ever flowing tears on Lelaine’s face, he leans in to speak to her once more.

In a mocking tone he says, “Time to get started...”




Zurvick slashes his way through a couple more soldiers and reaches the twenty-fifth floor of the castle.

“We made it.” he said, breathing hard while doing so.

Standing beside him is London. “It was a lot easier to get here by leaving the others behind. Travelling in a large group would just slow us down.”

Zurvick leans against a wall for a quick rest and asks, “Was it really okay leaving Ash and your two men to fight through an entire floor alone?”

The reason he said two and not three is because Seiri has been stationed outside this whole time using explosions to keep reinforcements away. She is doing it quite effectively too, because there seems to be a different explosion sounding off from all across the castle every minute or so. None of the other soldiers have been able to get in yet.

London pushes up his glasses and smiles almost arrogantly, “With Haas and Lennox accompanying that girl, I doubt your Captain would have to fight at all.”

“You’re awfully confident about that aren’t you?”

“I’m positive of it. I can just see her running around like a kid trying to keep up with them and getting frustrated at the fact that she can’t help.”

Zurvick laughs, even though this isn’t something to really laugh about, the image of it lightens his mood up a little. “I can see her doing something like that too...” After his laugh he sighs and reveals a strained smile, zoning out on the wall he finishes, “She’s such a good girl.”

“I agree; people like her are a rare case nowadays. My comrades, and even my King see that too. So you don’t have to worry, she’s in good hands. All you need to think about is saving the Queen.” London said, revealing an unusual expression of emotion.

Zurvick’s face tightens up a little when the thought of seeing Lelaine reaches his mind; he gets up from the wall and replies, “You’re right. Our room is over this way, we should get going.”

He starts to run, but halts when he notices that London isn’t following behind.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s more fitting for you be the one to rescue the Queen. I can hear enemy soldiers coming our way, so I’ll keep them from interfering.”

With a quick flick of his wrist, London causes his fencing sword to make a whipping noise and turns away from Zurvick. He stands there unworried, waiting for the arrival of the enemy soldiers knowing that he’d be outnumbered.

Zurvick can’t help but admire people like him, he never would have thought that he’d come to respect a La’Juutian soldier other than Napoleon, but he has found four of them.

He smiles and begins to run towards his and his wife’s room, but not before leaving the Knight with some final words, “After this, we should all go out for a drink!”

London smiles and huffs air out of his nose, waving his free hand he replies, “Sure thing.”

Zurvick continues his sprint towards Lelaine, each step the anxiety rises. He hasn’t seen her in months and he’s missed her dearly. He misses her smile, her voice, her eyes; he even misses the smell of the smoke from her pipe. All of those feelings are about to come to an end because he finally gets to be with her once more.

He has gone through so many hardships in order to reach this point. From fighting on the front-lines with the 105th Specialist Division and killing his old friend Ditreig Von Ronheim. From being stabbed at a Ball in Tronoble and almost dying in the inferno that ensued shortly after. All the way to fighting against his own people as part of a rebellion.

Through the most hopeless and trying of times, one thought kept him going, one feeling helped him in making his fight for survival all the more fulfilling. Even though he had the help of others, one person and one person alone kept him alive up until now.

That person is his wife Lelaine, the person he loves most in the world.

And once Sturgess is out of the picture, and once Trojia returns safely to their arms, they can live the happy life that they have been blessed with once more.

After one last final turn, he reaches the large double doors of his old room, pushing back the feeling of nostalgia; he opens it and shouts with a smile,

“Lelaine!”

That’s when a sight is sent like a ball of fire into his eyes.

The mere sight alone knocks the wind out of him as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to his gut.

His body shakes uncontrollably as he falls back, if it wasn’t for the door shutting behind him there’s no doubt he would have fallen to the ground.

In an instant, everything seemingly grinds to a halt. His eyes are so wide that the reflection of what he is looking at can be seen perfectly in his pupils as if they were mirrors.

With teeth chattering, he lets out a voice full of anguish.

“W-What..? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!?!?”


Their Rebellion: (END)



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