Christian Ddraig woke up with a jolt from his dream of being driven into darkness by a golden knight.
It was one of, if not the strangest dream Chris had been bombarded with. He woke up to a cold sweat with the memories of the giant golden knight's metal hands wrapped around his flesh as the dragged him into the rough sludgy liquid that made him shudder in disgust as he remembered every sensation of the cold darkness across his flesh.
It might have been a dream or some kind of mental plane he was unsure, but what he did know was that he had lost his sleepiness to the hives upon his flesh from his dream.
His eyes were puffy and irritated from the newly high sun who's rays had rested upon his face. He rubbed his eyes multiple times in order to get rid of the stinging sensation caused by the light rays that were gliding into his room through the half open curtain.
He yawned as he stretched his limbs that felt heavy as if they were made from iron. The stiffness of the morning in his limbs was better than the weakness of limbs caused by the pain he had felt before sleep had taken.
His morning would have been as usual as it could be for him having slept within a medical ward whose stale smell had almost killed his sense of smell.
His silent morning was ended by a sound, it sounded like the loud chattering of children... no it was the loud chattering of children. He decided to place a pillow upon his head in order to block out the sound until it had left him but it only seemed to grow louder and linger far longer than any man could consider sane.
Chris groaned in annoyance as he managed to roll off the bed and hard upon the floor face first.
He pushed himself off the cold floor and like a mummy awoken from it's slumber, he lumbered on and on to the door as lazily as he possibly could.
He reached the black wooden door of the medical ward and he could hear the sound of a army of little children raising a riot with a single tired adult voice trying in vain to calm them down.
"This brings back memories " he said as he remembered the time when Venus was a child and how his parents suffered under the aptly named tiny terror. He had been glad then that he wasn't a parent yet, the last thing that he needed was to suffer at the hands of children.
He took a few deep breathes in order to steel his nerves as he prepared to walk into the army of little child devils.
The door was swung open to reveal a most strange sight, Benkei Ashikage Anjin was valiantly standing between Chris and a horde of little six to ten year olds who must have taken large amounts of sugar as they were either running up and down the corridor or they were speaking over each other in such excited and fast voice it felt like they were fast forwarding through time.
As soon as the creaking sound of the door open cut through the air, the children and his guard Benkei turned to him like a group of animals alerted to the sound of prey.
"Um..hey.." He nervously waved at the children who were unnervingly silent, unsure of what to do he simply stood there feeling those eyes piercing through him.
Benkei looked at him with a face that had relief painted upon. This face should not have brought such a deep feeling of dread to Chris's heart.
He quickly recognized that look, the same one that his parents would have before they abandoned him and Joan with the tiny terror, it had been something both siblings so feared that at times they would leave the palace for other places for entire hours to escape being the ones saddled with Venus.
Chris would not have it, he was just about to close the door when Benkei placed his rather massive body against it and halting Chris from closing the door, struggling against the Prince, who was trying his best to close the door but both he and Benkei were matched some what though Chris would admit that the other young man had the edge in strength.
"Your majesty it is great to see you" Benkei was looking him in the eyes as he spoke with a warm friendly expression that Chris replicated even if the battle at the door continued.
"Thank you good sir, now forgive for bothering you as i must continue resting" Chris tried to sound calm but it strained him even more as he put all of his might in pushing the door.
"You are not bothering me, my Prince, in fact these children have been expecting you. Also i think that it is best for you to be active, what with you being asleep for two days sir!" Benkei replied to him.
Chris was about to tell him that the children didn't need to see him, but Benkei wasn't going to have any of it. He turned and he fled down the corridor as fast as he could.
Chris was close to calling the man a coward but he could not as Benkei was finally out of sight. The children looked at him with the same wide eyed stare that Chris would look at his heroes with.
It was like a ticking time bomb, and before Chris could say anything to the tiny bombs they exploded into delighted squealing.
"Calm down, calm down, please" he pleaded with them but it only seemed to make matters worse as they began running up and down the corridor faster than before in their mad delight.
This sight should have been comical, but the effects of having recently awoken had left him in a bit impenitent for the madness of the children.
The madness continued as the child he had met the day before at breakfast jumped in front of him with a toothy grin from ear to ear.
"See, See, See, See " the kid turned to his friends as he gestured to Chris with his finger excitedly.
His brain was hurting now from the volume of the sounds these children were making and the laborious task of having to sort through the sounds in order to listen to and understand the children.
One of the kids walked towards him and as soon as she was near enough she caught his right arm and began to tug upon it over and over again as she shouted "Mister, Mister, hey Mister!".
He'd hoped that refusing to acknowledge her would perhaps name her go away. It showed just how little Chris remembered about having to deal with the tiny terror, because she became even more insistent on gaining his attention to the point that her tiny foot made sharp contact with his shin.
Finally with his blood boiling hot enough that it could have turned to steam and his brain feeling like it was being compressed he shouted as loud as he possibly could " Silence, now! ".
The children near instantly paused from their madness. They all paused in everything from their running to their loud chattering, to even the little girl who had been so instant on tagging upon his hand and they remained silent as the dead with only their eyes on him.
" What are you kids doing here?" His voice was much softer as he rubbed the bridge of his nose in an attempt to curb the headache that had been beating down his brain.
The kids shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, a few of them looked like they were about to cry while others looked like they were too nervous to pick up any words and address him.
The bravest amongst them proved to be the child he had met during his first meal with the Ashikage. Chris tried remembering the name to this particular face but he did not have any luck.
Was it Shin, Hini or maybe Shingi he could not remember. He watched the kid look back all his friends with the biggest grin he had ever seen a child muster before and deep down he knew that he wasn't going to like where this was going.
"The others didn't believe that you were here, so i brought them to see you as proof" the kid directed at his friends who all seemed to look at Chris as if he was some kind of a once in a lifetime attraction.
As he looked closer he noticed something about the the children. They all wore clothes with the colours of the various families.
"You guys aren't all Ashikage are you?" The question seemed to genuinely confuse them.
"Yeah, of course" The Shin kid said as if it should have been the most obvious thing to him, though from their perspective it made sense.
"Aren't your families fighting each other?" He wondered why these children were allowed to the Ashikage private household.
"Yeah, but we aren't fighting. That's weird stuff you grown ups and its needlessly complicated" the lead kid said with a shrug.
" Curse you little kids for being adorable " He thought as his shoulders fell in defeat.
This was the part where he would have told them to go away, but either consciously or unconsciously the little kids had the biggest puppy eyes known to man and Chris's will instantly crumbled.
"Hey, my name is Christian Ddraig" it wasn't his most enthusiastic wave or voice, but to children it was as if Deus himself was greeting them.
They burst into more and more shouting as Chris tucked his head into his hands and he internally wept as the children returned to their state of madness driven joy.
Ursa felt different after the last night. The dream she had had was unlike any she had ever experienced with the sole exception of her original journey into that strange world.
She still felt her skin tingle from the feeling of dark sludge that had consumed her. Within it she had felt cold at first, but dare she say it she had grown to like the feeling of the dark ink. The thought made her shudder, but try as she may, she couldn't deny it.
She looked at the tower in which her father had hidden into. It was a forty meters high tower, it was a grey bricked building that her father had locked himself in since yesterday, since her shame.
Her hand trembled in fear of what was too come as she reached the door separating her and him. She steeled her nerves and with a deep breath she reached for the door handle
And she pushed open the red door before she walked into the room. She could feel the heat from crackling magical energy in the air, it brushed against her flesh as the world in her dream last night had.
The workshop was littered with tool, metals, wires, paper's and crystals filled to the brim with Mana. She had to be careful as she walked in not to accidentally get her foot caught in a cable or not to bump her toes into a any of the giant pieces of scrap metal laying around.
There was a comfort in seeing something that reminded her of her home. Her parents had the habit of moving their home in spirit everywhere they went.
Some of the metals she recognized as being part of the items that Chris's father had gifted him, like a sort of morning star and a dagger, while others must have been taken from her aunts and uncles for her father to work on.
" I hope he was genuinely given these " this thought was followed by the unnerving thought that her father had stolen her best friends property while he was unconscious.
Knowing how much the king had taken pride in his creations, she didn't want to see the king descend from Avalon in a rage with his immense power ready to atomise them for daring to touch his creations.
At the center of the room was were the heavy equipment was. She could see the her father there with a blue metal shield that he appeared to be dismantling with a buzzsaw like machine.
The buzzing sound of metal being cut open had a irritating ring to it. Ursa shuddered as she placed her hands to ears to stop the sound, though she couldn't stop the whole sound from reaching her.
She shouted to her father as loud as she possibly could but like would be expected, her father was too driven into his work to hear her. She knew that she had to wait for him to be finish his work, in order for him to notice her.
It took a few minutes for her father to finish cutting the shield in half. He finally turned off the buzzsaw, he placed aside the buzzsaw and he began to inspect the shield.
"This is the part were i cough and you notice that i am actually here" she said out loud and in response her father jumped in fright as he shrieked out in a manner that would help him pass off for a shrieking child.
"Ursa..." He turned around as he held his heart as if he had almost had a heart attack "...Please don't scare me like that again kid".
" I am sorry " she might have meant it, but it didn't mean that she couldn't have a good laugh at her father's face.
"How are...how are you doing, do you need any water, any food. I swear i have something here" her father rumbled on as he flipped through the mini refrigerator that he had in his workshop, but Ursa could only see energy drinks within it.
"It's okay dad, i am good" she wasn't that hungry but her father would not stop going through his fridge.
"Nonsense, i have these egg roles that i haven't had as a kid and trust me they are still good...i hope that i didn't eat them all" in his search for his egg roles Ursa saw more energy drinks than should have been in a single fridge.
"Those are a lot of energy drinks" she pointed out " More than should be healthy for you i think ".
" i don't have time to sleep and i am drinking them in moderation so you have nothing to worry about " he grabbed a half finished drink and in a single gulp he devoured it all.
She wanted to tell him how unsafe it was to drink this alone, but she just stopped it. She turned to the table where the split shield was resting. The cut edges of the shield gave off sparks if Mana.
"This is Chris's" she said to her father as she inspected the beautiful designs of the shield.
"I know, him and his father gave me permission to research through their stuff" he hadn't given up on his search for his egg roles " This stuff is the best arcane code that i have ever seen. It's so interwoven into such a complex tapestry i don't think that i have even scratched the surface".
"How long were you planning on staying here?" The question brought a unwanted silence to the two of them.
Her father pulled himself out of the fridge and his face had shame and fear written all over it. He closed the fridge with his face looking downwards, unable to turn and meet her own.
" Did your mom tell you to come and see me?" He asked as he walked to a chair with a heavy and tired posture to his body.
He had lost the energetic youth that she had found him with, like the energy drink had just been drained out of his system instead of giving him a good energetic kick.
He was looking at the shield now and he still refused to meet her gaze. There weren't many times when Ursa couldn't read his mood, sometimes it felt she knew her father very well, but now, she couldn't tell exactly what he was feeling.
Her father looked confused, and worried. But there was something on his mind, something she couldn't quite put her finger on.
"Dad, please tell me what's wrong?" She joined him pulling a chair right next to him as she thought " It's me isn't it, my behavior yesterday and my loss. I have failed you, i have failed everyone ".
"I...i am afraid, i can't watch you risk your life fighting to save me from my family's evil. You shouldn't be doing this, you should be living your life, not fighting my fights" he replied to her.
" I am never ever going to let these people suffer because of grandfather. I don't care what happens to me. You and both know that i can't do that ".
" But you shouldn't, i am your father. My one job is to make sure that you don't get hurt, to not use you in my fights, to make sure that you are safe and protected!" her father's face lowered even more "I should be better than mine ever was. Deus curse him to the darkest pits of hell for him to rot".
The amount of anger, venom and pain that flashed on her father's face as he mentioned his own father should have been enough to cripple a mythical creature.
" You are not like him" she pleaded with him, but her father's face did not loose the anger and sorrow upon it.
" Letting my children fight my battles because i can't be bothered to, yeah i am like him. The ironic truth is that i am just as he wanted us to be, maybe i might be a golden goose for him like his precious Kazuto is" he sneered rather hard at Kazutos name " I am helping in his greatest dream anyway".
"Something is wrong between you two?" She had seen the body language between the two of them.
" The bastard is just like Dad. He wasn't interested in helping me work on a way to undo the seal and spare hundreds of families plus our own having to be banished and split" the table besides them shook as her fist came upon it.
"He doesn't want to help you with undoing the seal?" She couldn't understand why, Kazuto had spoken about the seal in the same kind of anger as her father had.
"Yeah, if he could get power and survive this, he could reach dad's dream's, but then, he was always father's true son" her father threw the energy drink bottle on the table away in frustration.
The bottle sailed through the air and struck one of the brown bottles that her father had pulled out of the fridge. The bottle instantly leaked out a brown liquid that had a strange yet familiar smell.
"Is that tea?" She asked as she sniffed through the air for the substance that easily reacquainted itself with her nose leaving her drooling.
Her father turned to her with a confused expression but then his eyes went wide with as he shouted.
"That Old Witch!".
Another arrow struck it's mark and Tomoe Ashikage felt a swell of pride within her. She hadn't used the bow in that much and the fact that she was still good with it was enough to place a grin upon her face, especially after yesterday.
Thinking of yesterday she felt the numbness that still remained from the blow her cousin had given her.
She massaged her jaw swearing holy vengeance against the girl who she had tried to be helpful and had been answered with a punch for all her trouble.
" Stupid girl" she muttered before drawing her bowstring and let lose the arrow that didn't strike it's mark and hit the near edge of her board.
Whatever feeling of joy that she had felt before was instantly put off like a fire by water. She growled tightening her hand around the bows shaft before she angrily threw it to the ground.
"It's not that bad you know" she was halted as she heard her father's voice behind her.
She twirled around and found him looking at her with a smile. Her father looked paler than usual with circles under her eyes and a stubble had began to form upon his chin.
"Father, how is your morning?" She quickly fell to one knee showing him proper respect.
"Stressful, aunt isn't off my back and Hiro spent most of last night yelling at me" Kazuto Ashikage let out an exhausted sigh as his muscles seemed to relax.
"Why is uncle Hiro angry this time" Tomoe didn't know what to think of her uncle.
Before she had thought less of him after she found out how he had escaped the family, how he had fled from his duty. She knew about how difficult her grandfather was but Tomoe could not imagine leaving her family even in such conditions.
That was until she met the man and his family. No matter how much she tried to dislike their nature made it difficult for her to do so. That was with the sole exception of Ursa, she had tried to get to like the girl for the sake of her parents but after yesterday, never again.
"He wanted to try undoing the seal. The fool, it can't be done " her father rubbed his eyes as he spoke and Tomoe couldn't tell if he was rubbing away tears or if the redness in his eyes came from his general tiredness.
"Why not father?" If they could undo the seal then she could finally put her heart at rest since she found out about it.
Tomoe could not deny that she enjoyed her times away from the clan as a whole. But being banished from it, losing her friends, watching families that were intermarried between families either torn apart or be forced to chose one over the other was too much to bare upon her shoulders.
"The arcane seal is only one part of it. The second part of the seal is having the high members of the other families who he swore it before to agree in refusing the seal. Trust me i have tried since i discovered it, but we have enemies in other families and none of them are willing to compromise" he answered now looking angry.
"I am sorry father".
" you have nothing to apologize about dear, i failed. Hiro doesn't understand, he thinks that i refused because i am just like father. I hate him just like them but none of them get!" Kazuto slammed fist into the wall making Tomoe almost jump in fright.
"Di... Didn't you explain it to him?" Tomoe asked him.
"Can't say, i will admit that was a lot of yelling between the two of us" the anger within him began to deflect within him " Enough about me, how about you, how are you feeling? ".
" angry" Tomoe could never lie to her parents, her father especially.
"You and Ursa, why do you to fight each other?".
Tomoe paused trying to think of the right answer as to why she despised the purple archer but she couldn't think of one that truly originated her dislike for Ursa.
" You don't know, do you?" Her father had a smile as he spoke and she couldn't help but feel her face burn up from embarrassment.
"No... Yes... It just happened, it can't be explained okay" she said in a frustrated tone of voice but her father kept his smile and she could have sworn that it grew.
"Well if that is the case, then you and her can make peace, because your little rivalry is based on nothing" had she been drinking something, she would have choked on it.
"Father, after this" she said flabbergasted as she pointed to her chin " never".
"Well then i guess that i can get Ursa to apologize to you and that would fix things since we have come across an a cause of real hatred between the two of you" he said as turned leave with a playful tone in her voice " I am off to do it".
Tomoe wished that she could say something but for the first time in her life, she found herself so truthfully speechless.
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos