The sound of the arrow whizzing through the air was totally unexpected and the fact it slammed into the head of the assailant, that Lucas had just unmasked, shocked Kyoko greatly. These people were so keen to keep their identities a secret, they were willing to kill each other if they had to. Kyoko released her captured breath, and fell back slightly after releasing the dead man’s hand. Lucas checked over the corpse, and was able to get some valuable information from his clothing and his face. They were humans, and this particular one wore the clothing of a Wyvern rider.
“Bringing Wyvern here would be too obvious, its no wonder they were on foot.”Kyoko said, now aware as to why they were watching Lucas and Kyoko in the first place. The Crown Prince needed to know about this breach in security right away. Course the way back meant carrying their gliders, so it would be about thirty minutes to make it back. With her glider secured, she followed along behind Lucas, who knew the way back better than she did. He complimented her on her defense against the now dead Wyvern rider. Kyoko blushed slightly since she knew he was probably going to put it on report too. This wasn’t exactly how she expected her first day out to be like, so she had to wonder what Kazu would say.
“Thank you, I just wish we could have brought that man in for questioning.” Kyoko really wanted to know why the spies were in the capital, and if this meant they were after the royals.
Kyoko’s perceptive abilities were very good for someone who wasn’t born in Desnonia. Wyvern were large and boisterous creatures. Kyoko was right; bringing them along would have drawn unwanted attention to the humans. Lucas nodded his agreement and reassured her of their inability to bring back a hostage.
“Not to worry. We probably wouldn’t have gotten anything out of him anyway. The humans are a proud race who will do anything to please those they happen to serve. The one I fought let themselves be burned alive before being captured.” As they conversed the time fly by quickly. They were approaching the city gates and two sergeants stood on guard and cleared them for entry. The large wooden gate rose slowly and Lucas ducked under it before it had gone all the way up. He followed the winding main avenue and made a left when they neared the base. Judging by how long they had been gone Lucas knew he was going to get in some trouble with Kazuhiko. “Just a head’s up… Kazu will probably be furious when we return.”
Carrying the glider up and under the gate, she followed Lucus up the winding main avenue, and then left when they neared the base itself. They had been gone for sometime, but had a very good explanation for this. When Lucus said, that Kazu would be furious when they returned, Kyoko simply shook her head.
“But he entrusted me into your care, and we were doing exactly what was expected of us. You were showing me the gliders, and then we stumbled on the invaders.” Kyoko said freely, setting down the glider as soon as they got close to the Arsenal head quarters. Kyoko wasn’t even sure if Kazu was back yet, from dealing with his pressing matters as yet, since she couldn’t see him.
Kyoko placed her hands on the base of her back and stretched, after walking back all that way. It’s little wonder that gliding was so much easier, than walking one back. Straightening, she looked around and asked.
“So, do we wait outside, or go into the headquarters?’
Lucas, Kazuhiko and Kahue
“He entrusted me to entertain you for a bit. To be quite honest, I acted quite rashly. Eventhough you outrank me, I didn’t know your skill level and we were very ill-prepared. At the very least, I should have ran back for Kahue,” he said speculating. “Not to mention, Kazu is falling for you.” Sometimes Lucas thought so logically that he didn’t realize when he was saying something that he probably shouldn’t.
“We might as well return. The longer we stay out the more angry he will be,” he said as he took his tags out to open the door to the Arsenal Headquarters. Kazuhiko was pacing back and forth and looked the spitting image of his father while Kahue watched at her position at the table with an amused look on her face. Lucas knew he had to be mad because he never paced and often made fun of his father and sister for the habit. When Kazuhiko saw them come through the door, he stormed over, an angry scowl on his face.
“Where have you been? I was only gone for twenty minutes.” he said evenly, though you could hear the animosity in his words. Lucas went on to explain the situation, while Kazuhiko listened quietly. “So you left the base unarmed and decided to go after intruders you knew nothing about? That was reckless and irresponsible. She could have gotten hurt!” he said trying not to look Kyoko in the eye. He took a deep breath and regained a little composure. “We just lost two of our own. Now is the time to exercise caution. We will avenge our fallen comrades, but we will do so with the utmost discretion.”
Lucas was surprised that Kazuhiko had reacted relatively calmly. It seemed that having Kyoko around caused him to have more of a level head. “Understood, sir. I won’t let it happen again,” he said respectfully. Kazuhiko let out a deep breath and his expression relaxed. He gave Lucas a pointed look letting him know he was about use thought speech.
How did she do?
Her skills are a thing of real beauty and she will have no problem with the written part of the exam either.
Kazuhiko couldn’t help but let out a small smile as he turned and faced Kyoko for the first time since their return. “You have been approved for the aptitude test. It will be held here tomorrow. I’ll explain more about it over lunch. Shall we?” he asked letting her lead the way. He had skipped breakfast in his haste to apologize and felt famished. A big lunch at the castle would be nice, the food vastly better than what the base cafeteria offered.
Lucas’s revelation that Kazu was falling for her took her by surprise. It was hard to read him at the best of times, since she had only known him for less than 48 hours. Lucas though knew Kazu for far longer and would have had a good sense to pick up on how Kazu was feeling, especially about Kyoko; his intended bride.
When they did enter the room, Kazu was angry, and Kahue sat in the back ground looking totally smug. Kyoko braced herself for the outburst to come, and it did, though it was more aimed at Lucas if anything. Lucas did a fine job of explaining just what happened, and in good detail, to which Kazu listened to silently, till then letting rip that Kyoko could have been hurt. But wasn’t that always a risk as being part of the Arsenal? People die.
Lucas’s apology was curt and swift, whilst being respectful, and all though this Kyoko remained silent. Something just seemed a bit off. The two men shared a look, and Kyoko couldn’t quite determine if they were still mad or not. She dismissed it, when Kazu rounded on her, and said that she had been approved for the aptitude test. Kyoko nodded politely, and then when asked if they could discuss it over lunch, she happily agreed.
“Lunch sounds great, Kazu.”
She had gotten out of the habit of calling him “your Highness” as she settled into being part of the Arsenal. Time would only tell if she truly fit in.
The sun shone brightly in the sky and the air was warm as Kazuhiko walked beside Kyoko on their way back to the castle. The citizens of Albisas, consisting mostly of Nephilim and witches with small amounts of the other races, went about their day completely unaware of the breach in security. Kazuhiko was worrying, a feeling he tried hard to avoid. It was obvious that something ominous was on the horizon as the humans rarely traveled outside of their territory. Since the founding of Albisas, they had stayed clear of the area, but suddenly they were keeping tabs on the Nephilim.
In his distraction, Kazuhiko barely noticed when they made it back to the castle. He glanced over at Kyoko and tried to clear his head. Lunch was always served around the same time everyday and unless she was busy, Kazuhiko knew his mother would be dining in the grand hall with a handful of the ladies of the court. They mostly gossiped and he knew they would be watching the couple closely. He didn’t want to subject Kyoko or himself to that kind of torture.
“If you trust my sense of honor, we could dine in my apartments. My mother is a wonderful woman, but she is conniving to no end. She will try and talk me up to you and I’m not prepared for that kind of embarrassment,” he said hoping Kyoko wouldn’t find his request too forward.
Such a change from the mornings adventure with Lucas, to now be walking back with the Crown Prince to get some lunch. She was well aware that he wasn’t happy that Lucas and her took so long on their trips with the gliders, but the information they did get on the intruders would surely help the Arsenal in their investigations and beefing up security. Kyoko’s hair at the front was a little windswept, after her flight, and she kept reaching up trying to rake it back. But it seemed to have a life of its own, and in the end she just shrugged and went with it.
Kyoko thought they were going to some grand hall to eat, with the other royals, but it seemed that Kazuhiko had other plans.
If you trust my sense of honor, we could dine in my apartments. My mother is a wonderful woman, but she is conniving to no end. She will try and talk me up to you and I’m not prepared for that kind of embarrassment,”
Kyoko could see where Kazuhiko was coming from. No doubt having the Crown Prince and his future bride dining in the same room as the Queen and her hand maidens would cause a right stir with many questions being fired off, meaning that getting a chance to eat in peace was practically zero. Kazuhiko’s suggestion that they dine privately in his apartment was met with a reassuring nod.
“I think it would be a top idea. I am not ready for the inquisition from your Mother just yet. I still feel like I just got here, and everything is happening so fast.”
It was true, that Kyoko was feeling a bit rushed, and the adrenalin that she felt surge through her whilst gilding, only added to it all. Peace and quiet conversation in Kazuhiko’s room sounded like heaven.
“After you, Kazu.”
Kazuhiko liked how agreeable Kyoko was. She seemed to not mind any of his suggestions, but he knew there was still definitely the real possibility of making her mad. His whole life he had grown up around seemingly difficult women. You could never tell what his mother was up to and his sister was quiet and brooding most of the time. Factor in the most snide woman he had ever met, Kahue, and no wonder Kyoko seemed like an angel by comparison.
He led the way quietly to his room and opened the door letting Kyoko go through first. There was a nice sized dining room off of his living quarters with windows that stretched from floor to the ceiling and a door on that left led out to his balcony where he sometimes sat and enjoyed the warm breeze. He told Kyoko to relax while he went to inform a servant of their lunch plans. When he returned he sat at the opposite side of the dining table and smiled nervously. What did women like to talk about anyway? He wasn’t quite sure, so he went the safe route and talked about the upcoming test she would be taking the next day.
“The test tomorrow has three parts. The first part will test your knowledge of the Air Brigade, which could include but is not limited to history, procedure and battle strategy. The second part will test your glider skills; how you handle the glider and your aptitude for glider assembly. The last part will let you showcase your combat skills in a one-on-one fight,” he said as he stood to get them both a glass of water. All of the talking was making him thirsty. “Tomorrow will be a long day and it will probably feel like you’re back at the academy, but I have complete faith that you will rise to the challenge.”
Kyoko entered the open planned dining room that were off Kazuhiko’s living quarters. The windows were open and allowed a simple warm breezed to circulate and giving off a a very relaxing space. Keeping her hands behind her back, she tapped the back of her right hand on her left while watching Kazuhiko go to inform a servant that he and his intended bride would be dining in his room. This gave Kyoko a moment to tour the dining room, and look at the family portraits as well as the ornaments that adorned the cupboards and shelving. Not long after leaving, Kazuhiko was back and he moved to the opposite end of the dining table, taking a seat. Kyoko followed suit and sat herself down, looking at the Prince expectantly for him to start the conversation.
Thankfully, he decided to broach the subject of the written part off the testing, along with showcasing her combat skills in a one on one fight. This part had Kyoko smile broadly, reaching for her glass of water and taking a sip. If there was one thing she truly enjoyed, it was getting her hands dirty and fighting with them. Though many that met her in the last few days would suspect her to be a trophy bride to the Prince, they were all in for a terrible shock.
“Kazu…would there be any chance that it is you that I go up against in the one on one fight?’
Kazuhiko watched Kyoko closely as he spoke, looking for any signs of apprehension. If there were any to be found she hid them very well. When she asked him if he would be the one she would fight tomorrow he raised a brow, impressed with her deductive skills. Who better to evaluate a prospective member of the Arsenal than the current members of the Arsenal. “You really are quite clever, Kyoko,” he said trying out addressing her informally.
“The Arsenal is responsible for testing its new prospective members. Lucas will administer the written portion of the exam, Kahue will test your glider abilities and yes, you will fight me one on one.” In truth, Kazuhiko was excited to go up against Kyoko. Lucas wouldn’t have rung her praises if she wasn’t truly talented. His days had been boring as of late and a little action was in order. “There is a bit of a running tradition the night before the test to set the prospects at ease. There is an underground nightclub that is run by the witches. It is very high tech; loud music, drinks, shimmering lights… y’know, the works. You are not obligated to go, but it’ll be fun and Lucas and Kahue will be there. And of course I will be there.”
He waited for her answer, realizing he was dominating the conversation. There was a small knock at the door and a servant came in with their meal. It was a gorgeous looking set up of fish stock, potatoes mushrooms and mauh mauh. Kazuhiko loved the taste of fresh seafood and it was all he could do not to chow down like a savage.