The Journey To Save A Princess: Chapter 3.
Notes: As I thought, I really can't stay away from fanfiction. It is my not-so-guilty pleasure after all and I really do enjoy updating my stories and reading reviews. So you get one chapter of 'The Journey To Save A Princess' and maybe one of 'That Which Binds Us' in the middle of my hectic mid-holiday revision period.
Summary: A freak accident involving a jewel, the moon and KID sends Shinichi tumbling down the metaphorical rabbit hole to end up in a dark forest with no idea on how to get home - or if he could even go home for the matter. Added to that, he's got a pair of brown ears and a tail and KID has somehow sprouted wings! This certainly can't be happening to him… Right?
Shinichi could safely say that he belonged on the side of the law and abhorred murderers and those who committed heinous crimes for their own selfish pleasure so he had always considered himself a fairly… light, individual. Seeing as quite possibly the element you had an affinity to affected your personality to some degree, references being the calm and gentle, Aegis, the silent and aloof Riysen yet with a bright and warm side as well as the unassuming yet reliable Kevak from what he could tell of them in the short time they had traveled together.
(His mind helpfully informed him that despite what he wanted to think, Kaito wasn't all that bad and despite being a thief, he didn't really do what constituted as 'evil' so having light as his element wasn't very surprising. Shut up, he told his mind because he didn't want to think about the fondness he had been feeling recently for the other teen even before they were transported here.)
Regardless, this was not the time for introspective thoughts and he better refocus his attention on the crystal ball in front of him. Snapping to himself, Shinichi watched in fascination at having a chance to see the crystal at work up close and possibly figure out how exactly it worked beyond just simply 'magic'. He put his hand on the cool, almost chilled surface and felt as if something was hooking itself onto his midsection and yanking something out - gently though and with no pain, instead sending a rush of warmth flowing through the arm touching the crystal ball and causing it to light up just as brightly as Kaito's although in a much different way.
If it was at all possible, it glowed black with a fierce intensity that was interwoven with sparse threads of fiery red and just the faintest hint of green. The colours danced in the confines of the crystal ball, seemingly wanting to break free and Shinichi heard someone take a deep breath. Belatedly, he realised it was him even as he removed his hand and the lightshow came to a sudden and abrupt end. Casting a look around, he took in the shocked faces and felt slightly concerned for the wizened old man who looked nigh about to faint on his feet for the second time, a few stunted words wheezed out amongst shuddering breaths.
"D-d-darkness element, e-ex-ceptionally high. Fire e-element, m-moderately low a-a-and w-wind element exceptionally l-low."
Shinichi stole a glance at Kaito to see his reaction but found out that the other teen's face was almost unreadable and felt slightly startled at the honestly unexpected reaction.
"It appears that there is more to you than we thought…"
The words were spoken by a warm and calming voice and Shinichi rested his gaze on Riysen who had a small smile on his face while Aegis was staring at them with a blank look, unnatural for the seemingly gentle and mild-mannered man while Kevak was muttering under his breath to himself. Shinichi didn't bother to reply as he almost unconsciously took his place beside Kaito, lost in his own thoughts of the weird look on Aegis's face. Aegis had by then regained control of his expression and gestured towards the door, usual smile on his face.
"Well then, I think we're done here. Would you like to walk around the marketplace?"
The marketplace couldn't really be called a marketplace. Instead, it would be more apt to call it a bazaar. Small stands were draped in garish colours and literally dripping in decorative stones, shells and bead with plump merchants standing behind them, displaying varying wares that ranged from unusual-but-not-uncommon to worth-quite-a-pretty-penny and bulky bodyguards of different races and, occasionally, starved-looking slaves wearing threadbare clothing and wooden boards hanging around their necks denoting a price sitting on the dirty cobblestone floor. These slaves were usually unusual looking members of the beast or fey races and young children at that, treated as more of a possession and a trophy than actual functioning members of society. Shinichi felt as if he were going to be sick at the display of blatant human-trafficking that was apparently perfectly legal and he could feel Kaito tense up beside him, powerful wings quivering in barely contained rage hidden well behind an impenetrable Poker Face. The subtle clenching of fists and gritting of teeth told him that their companions felt the same way.
As they walked deeper inwards, the sight of slaves grew rarer until they completely disappeared and more magical beast parts appeared on the velvet-clad tabletops. What was scary and even more infuriating than the slaves, however, were small tags placed before certain jars and items that proudly proclaimed the item as 'Advanced-ranked Angel's Wing' or 'Regular-ranked Lycanthrope's Eyes' and Shinichi felt disgust well up inside him. These people didn't have an ounce of humanity despite being actual humans and would resort to such a vile manner to earn money. Aegis seemed to be the most affected out of the other three and Shinichi watched his face carefully, ears pressed flat against his skull and tail bristling in anger.
Disgust, anger and hatred flashed across the older man's face, eyes partially shadowed by sepia-coloured hair and unable to be seen. What Shinichi could see of his face, however, proved to be curious to say the least. There was a well-hidden (but not well enough, chasing after KID really raised your observation skills) and deep-set sorrow that went far beyond normal mourning for the deceased. It spoke of someone who had experienced such losses before and was still hurting from it. It was not a reaction one would expect.
Appearances are deceiving…
Suddenly, Aegis stiffened, palpable tension emanating from his still form. as his head tilted slowly to the side before in a burst of motion and bloodlust that seemed scarily unnatural on the gentle man, he ducked into another lane with Riysen and Kevak exchanging glances before sprinting after him. Shinichi felt Kaito tug at his arm, unspoken words between them before he followed suit, both wary and yet intrigued at what caused such a change over the water mage. Unfurling his wings, Kaito grinned widely in mischief at Shinichi - hardly any consolation for what he was about to do - and snagged him by the armpits before rocketing into the sky and leaving a shower of long, brush-like feathers over the crowd below who looked up in both disdain and fascination, depending on the age and race of said person on the receiving end.
Shinichi's flailed slightly at the disconcerting sense of groundlessness while Kaito, as expected, looked perfectly at home in the air. His wings had doubtlessly increased in strength since that first day and he could now carry two people's worth of weight for an indefinite amount of time though his speed would be greatly reduced. Although this was a comforting thought (they were more likely to successfully escape from danger unlike with that dragon) it only served to further remind them how long they had spent away from their home. Up ahead, a black-and-red shadow flitted into the air while a brown figure leapt up onto the roofs of the building and began to run, the low mutterings being exchanged between the two letting Shinichi know that they were indeed Riysen and Kevak who had taken to the skies and rooftops respectively to better track Aegis (how did the mage run so fast? Weren't mages supposed to have low stamina and speed or something? At least that was how the games usually went). The water mage was hard to make out in the crowd though and Shinichi was struggling to track his rapidly moving figure.
Kaito didn't seem to have such a problem though by some magical (HaHa) phantom-thief-sixth-sense and flew the both of them through a veritable maze of streets until they arrived in a large circular plaza, Riysen and Kevak already there and watching the scene unfolding down below from the shadows of some eaves. There was a commotion in the plaza and the elf-plus-fallen-angel barely glanced up at them as they landed, eyes riveted on one blue-clad figure amongst the many earthy colours of the villagers. There was a massive stage in the middle of the plaza and a horrifically fat moustached man was currently bumbling around, folds of fat jiggling as he waved a plump, jewel adorned arm at the crowd while his two bodyguards stood at attention and a 'servant' wearing little more than rags with shackle encircling his ankles and wrist, a matted black tail twisted around one of his legs and triangular ears that looked to be clipped at the tips and were bleeding slightly shuffled forward, back hunched in an attempt to look smaller as he presented a tray to the merchant (scum, Shinichi thought, angered) who picked up the object lying on the cold metal. Shinichi had to strain his ears to their maximum before he could hear what the man was saying and he helpfully repeated it to Kaito who didn't have as sharp hearing as he did.
"Next, we have a special treat! This is a merfolk life scale acquired from a merman who was found in the ocean on the edge of Terios. He was travelling alone and going alone was obviously asking to be killed, don't you think?"
The crowd roared rambunctiously and Shinichi spat those words out, watching the myriad of emotions flutter across the other three faces. Even from this height, Shinichi could see glimmers of greed shining in the eyes of some wealthy-looking merchants and adventurers and Aegis looked to be barely repressing his anger, a murderous aura emanating from him. How unusual, he hadn't shown such emotion before… Maybe the scale belonged to someone he knew.
"This one was a feisty one and it took three of our warriors at the Master rank to finally take it down. Just look at the colour on the scale. It was evidently on the verge of breaking into the Master rank and this scale will be very useful in the creation of some magic treasures. Merfolk are greatest at water and ice magic and this scale will be best used in mage staffs and robes!"
Here he held up the scale and the crowd roared in excitement. The scale was a beautiful aqua blue that had a tinge of lavender at the edges and looked much like a petal of a flower. It also had a certain aura about it and Shinichi had to admit that it looked… magical. A chill, almost unnoticeable, permeated the air and instantly his eyes darted to Aegis who had his head bowed and hair shadowing his face. Interestingly, nobody seemed to notice his extreme reaction, much preferring to continue listening to the smug merchant.
The chill steadily grew stronger and Shinichi found himself rubbing at his arm to stave away the cold, Kaito having wrapped his wings around his own body when suddenly, it stopped and Shinichi saw that Aegis had managed to suppress his anger, a good thing. It wouldn't be too good to cause a scene here.
"-for fifty gold Dien coins!"
Shinichi caught the tail end of the merchant's words and heard a sharp intake from beside him. Kevak was muttering again, this time about something like 'such an exorbitant price' and 'most people wouldn't be able to afford it'. Shinichi could gather that this was a very, very high price.
So it was to his absolute astonishment that when nobody stepped forward when they had previously been fighting over the scale until they heard the price tag, it was Aegis who had walked over to the stage and throw a pouch onto the stage which spilled over on impact and glistening gold coins littered the stage. The merchant smiled widely at Aegis, reminiscent of the cat that ate the canary. Aegis ignored him, picking up the scale from the tray and turning around, walking off while the merchant swept the coins up before bringing out the next item, some rainbow root or something.
How strange, Aegis doesn't seem to be the type to splurge like that. What on earth is going on with him and that scale?
A/N: The quality got really substandard at the end there but the next chapter, I promise there will be more action and they will finally leave the town to the next location. My question for this chapter is, if you have noticed, I haven't mentioned what species Aegis is so can anybody tell me what species you think Aegis is as well as who the owner of the scale is to him. The closest answer will receive one KaiShin fic request from me. Any prompt you want rated K-T. It's just for fun and I want to see if subtlety is my strong trait (probably not). Anyways, please leave a review as well as favourite and follow. Thanks!
Have a nice day!