Chapter 4: Departure

(Max POV)

For the first time in years, I woke up to the rays of the sun making themselves noticed. I sighed. I could hear faint voices. Takumi's voice was the most prominent, considering how loud he talks when he becomes excited. I could also hear Nudge's voice mixing with Takumi's.

I got up and groaned softly. The voices outside silenced. Wow. They can hear better than I can remember, I thought. I opened the flaps of my handmade tent. Walking down the row of sixteen tents, I noticed that instead of silence coming from the numerous fire pits, there was faint whispering. As I got closer, I realized that there was a certain hierarchy between the flock and my brothers.

Of course, Nudge and Takumi were sitting next to each other. They were the more talkative of the two groups. Hideaki, Raiden, Aki, and Akira were talking to Fang and Iggy. Angel was having a conversation with Dai. Somehow, I didn't find that surprising. The rest of my brothers were drawing something in the dirt and looking at it worriedly. I went over to that group.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"A messenger hawk just left a letter for us." Daichi started nervously. "It was from... mom and dad."

I gasped. "What are we going to do?"

"Your brothers and I are going to stay here to fight their little army and you and the others are going to escape to Alaska."

"Why can't you guys come with us?!" I protested.

"We will be easily seen if there are sixteen of us flying in a group."

I started to protest again, but my logical side shut me up. Daichi was right. He always is.

"Okay." I said shakily. "Where in Alaska do we need to go?"

"In the heart of Alaska, there is a circle of mountains. It could be compared to a cauldron. In the center of those mountains, there is a large encampment. That encampment contains a gift from us."

"What is it?" I asked.

"An army."

I fell silent.

"A-an army?" I finally spit out.

"Yes. There is a prophecy warning us about the humans discovering our...

kind and then going to war with us. Since you are the heir to the Kingdom of

Nariko and our culture is female dominant, you will be leading the kingdom's army."

"What about... Mom and Dad."

"We predict that they will be the ones informing the humans about us."

This fact did not surprise me. I guess that I always expected that kind of thing from them. Dai walked up to me.

"It is time for you to go, Imōto-chan." Dai told me, sadness his dominant expression. "But before you go, I would like to present you and your friends these."

In his hands were six sheathed swords.

I said thanks quietly, taking the swords and passing them out to the flock. Each sheath had our initials on it. Mine read M.O.K... Makkusu Ōkami Kurokarasu.

I nodded solemnly. I traded looks with the flock. They all nodded.

"Alright, it looks like we will be taking our leave." I started. "I just wanted to say that I love you guys so much. I know we just got back together, and we will be split apart again, but it is hopefully only for a short while."

Twelve sets of teary eyes stared back at me. I smiled through my own tears. Surprisingly, it was Momoru who pulled me into a tight hug. Next was, even more surprisingly, Fumio. Then there were the two sets of twins, Goru, Daichi, Hisoka, Hachio, and, Takumi. All were crying. Finally, Dai approached me and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. He buried his face in my hair.

"I love you, kiddo." He said into my hair.

"I love you, too."

Dai released me so I could leave. I walked away slowly over to where the flock was waiting for me. I turned around.

"Be careful!" Dai shouted.

"You, too!" I responded.

Then we were off.

(Fang POV)

As we continued flying, I noticed that Max wouldn't look up. I looked closer and saw a steady stream of tears trailing from her eyes. I wanted to comfort her somehow, but didn't know how. I then decided to just leave her alone. I didn't know how she would react to sympathy from a near-stranger.

Then she looked up.

Her eyes were no longer a deep violet, but an icy blue. I gasped. I then realized that I had been staring at her and she was giving me a funny look through her tears and long bangs. Quickly, I looked away, blush dusting my cheeks.

I never thought that we would be harboring a princess of sorts. Then I got an idea on how to cheer her up.

"So, Max. You're the heir to the Kingdom of Nariko?"

"Yeah, so what."

"So, you're a princess."

"You could say that."

"Okay, Princess Max." I said casually.

"Don't call me that." She spat out, growling, an almost feral gleam in her now red eyes.

So her eyes are linked to her emotions. How did I miss this before?

It still didn't shut me up.

"When we find a place to land, would you like a massage, princess?"

"Actually, yes." She said, surprising me.

"I-I was kidding Max. You do know that right?"

"Yep, but I just wanted to mess with you. You seem to do a lot of that to me," She said casually. "But two can play at that game."

Now her eyes were a playful but creepy yellow. I shuddered.

"Can we rest for a bit?" I heard Angel ask tiredly.

"Sure." I responded. I looked down at the ground below us and my eyes found a good sized cave surrounded by a thick cluster of trees. I could barely see it, so I was sure that Erasers couldn't find it.

I dived down and the others followed suit. As we came close to the cave, I noticed smoke trailing out of the entrance. The others saw it too. As we came to a quick stop, I could hear max making a sniffing sound.

"Erasers." She growled, malice in her voice. There were about twenty Erasers in front of us.

We then proceeded to land in a nearby tree.

Max unsheathed he sword and held it at ready. I started to motion to Max to put her sword away, but she didn't notice. She just proceeded to jump out of our safe place in the tree and attack the Erasers. Even from over here, I could notice that the color of her eyes was the same shade of the blood on her blade.

Her sword strokes were swift, precise, and efficient. I couldn't help but stare.

"What's happening?" I heard Iggy ask.

"Max is cutting the heads off of three Erasers in one stroke. Now she is stabbing one with a really sharp stick on the ground. Ooh. How did she get a gun? It's a fully automatic and she is blowing about a million holes in the remaining Erasers. Ow. How did she get a grenade? And she just blew up the already dead Erasers."

(Max POV)

Man, did it feel good to kill those Erasers. My grip around my sword tightened, and I looked down at the familiar black blade. This was my childhood weapon, the only sharp edge I was allowed. My abusive parents had spent hours teaching me how to handle a sword properly. Every time I made a mistake, they made sure I wouldn't do it again and beat me senseless. They only stopped completely when I could defeat Dai in hand-to-hand combat.

Finished, I walked back to Fang casually and hummed to the song "Disasterology" by Pierce the Veil.

The Flock looked at me incredulously.


They just continued to stare.

I sighed. "Fighting is my life."

Fang chuckled to himself. "She'll fit right in."