Silence as they stared at the empty chair. Not a single word for several hours was spoken. Finally, the flame-haired prince spoke, “Are we going to continue waiting for the Zenaku? My time is valuable.”
“Prince Tatsuya,” Said the man draped in purple, “Perhaps the Zenaku have just been delayed. Certainly the Prince of Aslann we have heard so much about has some patience.”
“Not when I am sitting across from the Shima.” The Prince spoke.
“Are we going to exchange petty words, Prince Tatsuya?” The Shima lord questioned.
The man draped in purple smiled, “Seems the battlefield is not the only war that is being fought, but I implore both of you to wait just a bit longer.”
Another hour ticked by and the man draped in purple sighed, “It seems that the delay of the Zenaku clan is not going to end any time soon. I suppose there is nothing that can be done about that now, too much time has been wasted and both of you, my lords have showed great patience. I have asked both of you here on behalf of the Maiba and the Zenaku clans. Your war wages on, mighty and fierce and our small kingdoms are caught in the middle. Certainly some compromise can be made here this day, to end this war.”
Both the Shima lord and the Prince of Aslann remained silent for some time, finally the Prince of Aslann spoke. “A small kingdom. Indeed you might be small Maiba, but tell me how it is your clan affords Kari assassins. Perhaps the Shima have offered you some protection…hmm?”
“You are right to question them Prince Tatsuya. I will not lie; the Shima did send the Kari to assist my Kingdom during this war.”
“It makes everything you say suspect.” The Prince responded.
“You are wise to be cautious, but I assure you. My only goal is for the two of you to reach a compromise to end this war, so that further trouble does not befall the small kingdoms trapped in the middle. Whether they have assisted us or not, is mote.”
“Mote you say. I wonder how much of that is true. How long will it be before your Kari assassins attempt to kill me?” The prince looked directly at the assassins. “The Shima perhaps sent them to serve you, but assassins will do as they are told by their masters or the powers that pay them. I certainly would not allow them to stand at my back.”
“You say that and yet, at your back are the snake clan.” The Shima spoke, “How far can you trust them?”
The Prince smiled, “The Tylo Clan and the Ishi Clan have an unusual relationship forged in blood, transcended through time itself. You can speak as you wish about them, but their loyalty is not doubted, they cannot be bought.” The prince said looking directly toward the Kari assassins, “The same cannot be said for others here.”
“Please my lords. If we can work out some sort of compromise…”
“The only compromise is simple. The Shima have been infringing upon the lands of Aslann. They have attacked our villages, harmed our people, taking some as slaves. We want our people back and for their attacks to cease.”
“We have told you, we have had nothing to do with those attacks.”
“So you keep saying, yet we have come into battle with the Saitama and members of your military repeatedly. Are you going to explain this?” The Shima lord grew silent. “It seems there is nothing more to speak on.”
The Maiba lord sighed again noticeably, “Perhaps a break. I would very much like to continue this tomorrow.”
“The New Aslann Empire has allowed for five days of negotiations, we will keep our word. As long as this ground remains neutral.”
The Maiba lord looked to the Shima, who simply nodded his head in agreement. “We will discuss things further then, in the morning. Hopefully we will have some word from the Zenaku clan, by that point.
Prince Tatsuya walked toward a small tent, taking a seat on a chair. “Poor nation is more like it. Was that awful business taken care of?”
“We have heard from your tactician and the Zenaku clan shall not be attending this meeting.” Kuro remarked as he smiled devilishly.
“When will Sohma return?”
“Three days.” Mikio voiced.
“Have all the preparations been made?”
“They have my lord.”
“Good.” The prince said.
“Prince Tatsuya, are you certain you wish to go through with this?”
Prince Tatsuya eyed the two men. “Are you worried about me Ishi?”
“Yes my lord.”
Prince Tatsuya stood crouching down enough to look into the face of Mikio Ishi, “I am not worried at all, and I have the mighty Ishi backing my every move.”
“We will not fail you.”
“That goes without saying Kuro. For the Ishi to fail in this task would forever cause disgrace to your clan. The Ishi will never face failure that is why I hand-picked your clan because yours is truly the most powerful in all of Aslann. Now, has Nao made the arrangements that I have requested?”
“The cargo is on its way as we speak.”
“You and your kin are prepared for this task?”
“We know our roles, Prince Tatsuya.”
“I have no doubt Kuro, that you will perform them to perfection. Well then, I should probably prepare myself for my grand showing.” The Prince stated.
“Prince Tatsuya.” Mikio only managed to address his lord.
The prince smiled, “Do not worry Ishi. Just make certain you do as I have asked of you regarding Sohma. It is important for him to witness this act. The other guardians are easy to deal with, their weaknesses are so obvious, but Sohma is brilliant. To battle him, we need to give him an enemy, and I think there will be no better enemy for him, then the Shima themselves.” The prince could tell that the Ishi wished to question what was about to transpire, with a hand soft and gentle rested to the shoulder of Mikio the Prince spoke, “Do not worry Ishi. When this is all said and done, you and your clan will have the greatest gift I can give you, the vassal that houses Tearra. Doesn’t that make all of this, a price worth paying?”
“It is my lord.” Kuro spoke up.
The Lord of the Shima sat contemplating the meetings that had been transpiring over the past few days with the Prince of Aslann and the Lord of the Maiba. “My Lord, you have a visitor.”
The Lord of the Shima turned his attention toward the tent opening and there standing before him was the Prince of Aslann. “I come in peace.” The Prince said and the Shima lord frowned, “Ah, come now, I am unarmed. I come bearing a gift. I promise it is not poisoned. Won’t you just hear what I have to say?”
The Shima lord waved off his guards and the Prince stepped forward into the tent. “Forgive me if I seem skeptical.” The Lord of the Shima spoke as he gestured for the Prince of Aslann to take a seat.
“I have been pondering the conversation this afternoon; the contents of that meeting have been plaguing my thoughts. Do you think me such a callous Prince to not understand the plight of your people?”
“I believe that the Prince of Aslann, wants what he wants.”
“Perhaps I am guilty of such a thing, but I assure you, we both want the same thing, our nation’s safe from the onslaught of war. Yet, your Dragon Lords have repeatedly assaulted the great nation of Aslann and your kingdom and its people refuse to take responsibility for the blight you have allowed to remain loose upon both of our kingdoms. A single act will change the course of this war.”
“Like the death of the Zenaku clan?”
The Prince laughed softly, “I am surprised you have uncovered that so quickly, though deeply impressed. Forgive my callousness, Lord Shima, I simply could not allow the Zenaku to further involve themselves in this situation. Those beasts are far too dangerous.”
“So you massacred them all.”
“Just the men, the women and children are being transported to Aslann.”
“So you will use them as slaves.”
“They will be given to the noble houses. You cannot judge Lord Shima; your kingdom is filled with slaves as well.”
“I am doing my best to free all of my people, but have been met with resistance.”
“I have heard that there are many within your kingdom that have made things difficult for you. We suffer the same in that regard. As you are well aware, my father is a relic of a different time. Many of his views were the views of his father and most likely are the same views you are coming face-to-face with within your own kingdom. Relics of the old ways, like the Dragon Lords. This war is their war. We are simple the lords that lead the charge, are we not?”
The Lord of the Shima nodded his head. “That does not change the fact that we lords that lead, are just as much at fault for this.”
“You are right, which brings me to why I am here. I will end this war, at Shimragata. We both know that this meeting is not going to amount to anything because neither of us is going to be allowed to compromise. The question is, are you willing to sacrifice the lives of a few, to end this war?”
“I am listening.”
“Keep only a handful of soldiers to defend Shimragata. Deep in the bowels of the castle, leave only women and children. I promise you, no harm will come to them. I will make a stand before my men, and refuse to kill them. My refusal will ultimately end this war, when we retreat from your kingdom I will be exiled as punishment for my act of treason.”
“Are your cursed eyes telling you that this is the only way?”
“You just expect me to take you at your word?”
“No, I offer a gift.”
“A bottle of wine is not going to make me trust you.”
The Prince of Aslann stood, “The Great Nation of Aslann holds many secrets.” The Prince spoke while unfastening armor pieces.
“You think that I will be seduced by a man?”
The Prince smiled, “You will be seduced by the Prince of Aslann.” The Lord of the Shima kept his eyes fixed on the Prince, as the chest piece fell to the floor. “Tell me Lord Shima; are your eyes so blind as to not see the true secret of Aslann?” The Lord of the Shima’s lips parted as each piece was dropped at the prince’s feet. He swallowed on the small lump that had formed as he began to anticipate each piece being removed until the Prince of Aslann stood before him in nothing. “I like that look, Lord Shima. It seems that you appreciate this secret of Aslann.”
Lord Shima stood, licking his lips as he took a single step toward the Prince of Aslann. “Is this the gift you offer?”
“Lord Shima.” The Prince spoke softly. “Would you like to conquer my kingdom?”
“Yes.” The Lord spoke, though was careful to keep his distance.
The Prince smiled, “Then I am yours to conquer, but only if we have an agreement. Limit your troops at Shimragata. Leave only women and children in the bowels of the castle. I promise no harm will come to them and you may do to me as you wish.”
“You are asking a great deal of me.”
“I am allowing you to conquer me. I am the Prince of Aslann, the price I pay is far greater than the one you do. I am giving my body to my enemy, allowing him to enslave me, break me. I want you Lord Shima, to conquer every inch of my body until I submit unconditionally to your will. Would you like me to beg you Lord Shima?”
“What happens after the war, when you’re exiled?” He asked having stepped in closer to her.
“What do you want to happen?” The Prince smiled mischievously at the Lord of the Shima, “If you want me to find my way to your Kingdom, Lord Shima, you better make sure that you seize my lands like no other.”
The Lord of the Shima smiled, “I intend to.”
For the Prince of Aslann it was just sex. Giving up her body was nothing when faced with what was to come, so she allowed him to do as he wished to her and she encouraged him by calling him Lord Shima. By the time he was finished with her, there was not a portion of her body that he had not laid siege too. “Lord Shima,” She whispered breathlessly.
“Seiji,” He responded.
“Seiji.” She whispered.
“What do I call you? I mean, what is your real name?” He asked her as he lay on top of her staring down at her face.
She had a faraway look in her eyes, “Tationy.” She whispered.
“Your name is in the teachings of the Shima.”
“I know. What a fitting name, don’t you think Lord Shima?”
His eyes focused in on her delicate features. The Prince could tell there was much the young lord wished to say. He had been the perfect choice because he was a Lord filled with emotion and with the biggest heart. He did not wish to see his people suffer, and certainly if he could save them all he would. He would do anything to end this war, anything that was required of him, even make a deal with the devil herself. He just had not planned on being bewitched by her. “What if your father decides to kill you?”
“Are you concerned for my safety Lord Shima?”
He forced himself to pull away from her as he moved toward the table, opening the wine she had brought and offering her a glass. “You seem to have put a lot of thought into what transpires at Shimragata, certainly you have thought about the fact that your father might decide to execute you for treason.”
“That is always a possibility, one of many that I have seen.” She voiced as she accepted the drink. “Do not worry Lord Shima; I have taken precautions to ensure my safety.”
“What sort of precautions?”
She smiled at him, “Do you think the Ishi are here because my father sent them?”
He eyed her, “You control the Ishi?”
“Of course I do. My father thinks that he still has sway over his people, but that ship has long since sailed. I will be able to succeed him with no resistance, especially after his people lose faith in him. My first order as Emperor of Aslann, will be to unite the kingdom with that of the Dragon Lords. Would you like to unite our kingdoms, Lord Shima?”
He smiled, “You do that on purpose.”
“Do what?” She asked innocently.
“Everything you say is dirty.”
She laughed softly, “I think perhaps the Lord of the Shima just has naughty thoughts running through his mind and is reading into my words. If I truly wanted to say dirty things, Lord Shima, I would simply say them.”
“Oh?” He asked as he placed his drink to the table and stepped toward her wrapping his arms around her. “Say something dirty to me.”
The Prince smiled as she leaned in, her body pressing against his. She whispered softly in his ear and Lord Shima chuckled boisterously as he licked his lips, “What do I get if I do that, my lady?”
Her finger trailed lightly over his chest, “Anything you want.”
“Well let it be known that I am a man thoroughly willing to please, my lady.” He said as he lifted her up in his arms and took her to the small cot in the corner, to oblige her every desire.
Early morning the Prince departed the tent of the Lord of the Shima. When she arrived at her own tent, she came face-to-face with her rather unhappy guardian. Sohma did his best to keep a neutral expression. “Sohma, when did you arrive?”
“Last night, young master.” He responded.
He had been her guardian since before she was even born and even though he tried desperately to hide it from his voice, she could hear it. “You should have come to find me.”
“I did, but you were in a meeting with Lord Shima.” He voiced. She smiled inwardly, keeping her expression as neutral as his. He could not hide his unhappiness. If the Ishi had done as they were told, then Sohma definitely witnessed her and the Lord of the Shima getting familiar with each other carnally.
“We were just working out details for surrender.”
“Really, would that be ours or his?”
Inwardly she laughed, “His of course. Is something troubling you Sohma?”
“No young master.”
She allowed her eyes to look over him once before she spoke, “I want you to head to the troops, prepare them for the next stage of battle. We will be attacking Shimragata.”
“What of the Lord of the Shima’s surrender?”
“The Shima never give in to demands I was told.”
“Well then, I will head toward our encampment and inform the troops. Young master,” Sohma said and then waited for the Prince to acknowledge him, “Is our goal to take Shimragata?”
“Of course it is Sohma. You have the most brilliant plan laid out for the siege, do not worry, Shimragata will be ours and the Lord of the Shima, will fall.” Sohma had nodded his head to the words of his prince as he departed the tent.
The moment Sohma was out of sight Kuro had entered. He went down on one knee, bowing to the Prince of Aslann. “Your guardian is controlling his anger rather nicely. Did things go as you wished, my lord?”
“They have. My eyes are telling me that he has planted his seed.”
“What will you name the little Shima?”
The Prince laughed as she pretended to thoroughly consider his question, “You are a devil, Kuro of the Ishi. I shall name the child Osa.”
“How appropriate that you would think to use the word for revenge,” Kuro remarked.
“I was a little worried that Sohma would not be angry enough, but I think this is working out better than I could have even planned for. His anger against the Shima will be so grand that as he transcends time he will not be able to stop himself from killing any Shima that exist and tactically his mind will be so occupied with the Shima as an enemy that he will not realize what I am up too.”
“The Ishi, will do their part and hunt the guardians during that time. We will ensure that they will suffer.”
“I have no doubt that the Ishi will do as I have requested of them. My guardians deserve no less. How many lifetimes will they kill the one person they are supposed to protect? The things my eyes have seen would even make your demon blood boil with anger. For now, I need you to ensure that my guardians are doing as they are supposed too. Sohma will be the only one of my guardians with me at Shimragata. Ensure that the troops that my other guardians are leading are close enough that when I go against the will of the Emperor and pull out our men that, my guardians hear about it quickly. We cannot afford for anything to go wrong, and we certainly do not want for Lord Shima to die in this battle that would spoil the fun for later.”
“Yes Prince Tatsuya. Is there anything else you need of me?”
“A large basin tub with some water. I need to wash the Shima off of me.”
The Ishi laughed, “As you wish my lord, but you will not be able to clean all of the stain of him off of you.”
“Perhaps not, but I would like just enough so that I might feel clean.” The Prince voiced.
“I will have a basin brought to you with some water.” He said as he bowed again to his lord and departed the tent.
It had been well over four months since the meeting with the Shima and the Lord of the Maiba. “Unhand me….Do you know who I am.” The words traveled to every part of the old stone building that Prince Tatsuya was being dragged through. She and Abe had been cornered after their young prince had been exiled for refusing to kill children and women at Shimragata. That battle had gone so quickly and exactly as the prince had planned for. In the end, the war had ended because Emperor Miroku could not justify his wish to kill women and children when his own son had defied him. “Abe.” The prince yelled out the guardians name; multiply times until the prince was finally pushed into a room.
The prince looked to the men in the room and each of them instantly went to bow, but the prince had halted their movements with a single wave of the hand. “That is not necessary.”
“You sure do have a set of lungs on you, my lord.” Kuro smirked.
“That was not for your benefit.” The Prince responded.
“That does not mean I did not enjoy it.”
“Are you flirting with me, Kuro of the Ishi?”
“This lowly servant would never dare to even consider such a thing, my lord.”
The prince drew her attention to Nao of the Ishi quickly, before looking toward the table. Esoteric users, Togore of the Ishi and Maito of the Waichia stood near a table with a man on it. They were engaging in esoteric chants. “He is not what I expected.”
The rather silent Ishi spoke, “Forgive me Prince Tatsuya, this man was the only one that met your specifications perfectly. His name is Agito.” Nao had responded about the man lying upon the table. He was in a trance like state, brought about by the esoteric chants of Togore Ishi and Maito Waichia.
“I know who he is. He is of the lowest Tylo house, his family lives near the entrance just inside the palace grounds. They have often requested to live amongst the masses, only to be refused. His father had been an advocate for freeing the slave clans before his death. This is the state of the Tylo clan when the only one left amongst them that can obtain the power of the cursed eyes is the one with the least amount of Tylo blood running through his veins.”
“I would warn you again regarding the risk.” Nao spoke.
“I have weighed the risk. Kuro, tell me of the guardians you and the others have encountered, have you dealt with them?”
“Your mighty general and silent assassin have fallen. I would have preferred a more challenging opponent, my lord.”
“What is the state of the military?”
“Commander Kari and Commander Ishi are waiting at Sonato.”
“Kuro I wish for you to journey to the military, and inform them that my most brutal warrior is in Rideormat. After you have informed them, I wish for you to return here.”
“My lord, my skills are better suited battling against that beast of yours. It would be wise to leave me on the battlefield.”
“Chochi will kill many men and damage our military, but it is important for those soldiers to face that man.”
“Forgive me my lord, your eyes have seen much, but certainly even your eyes can be wrong.”
“Perhaps, Kuro, but I think your thirst for battle is driving you. Do not worry, you will get your chance to face Chochi, but now leave him in the hands of Oro and Hiko. This time, it is their battle and you have a mission that is far more important than any other Ishi, when you return.” Kuro reluctantly bowed his head.
“Mikio, I ask of you to perform the hardest of task because it is one that will most likely damage your sanity.” Each Ishi, bowed their heads at the words of the Prince. “Atsuki will wait in the swamp of the Forest of the Ancients. It is a battlefield better suited for Togore and Maito, but only you can fight Atsuki there. He will be in his element and have the advantage. You will not just be fighting him, but the illusions cast by the spirits of the swamp. Even if you lose your mind to the spirits, you must return with Atsuki’s weapon. It must be given to Jin. This is important. That weapon must be returned to Aslann and be kept in the safe keeping of the Ishi.”
“I understand, Prince Tatsuya.” Mikio responded.
“Taku and Sohma will be left in the hands of those at the palace. Their mission is one with little success, I am sure that Jiro can handle them.” The prince turned her attention toward Nao. “Leave just enough of my essence in this vassal to be convincing. Inflict your worst punishment on this body and make sure Abe witnesses every bit of it.”
“We will not know if the process has worked until you have woken, it might be too late.” Nao voiced his concerns once more.
“Then I will die with my guardians, but we have worked too hard on this for us to turn back now.”
“Yes my lord.” Nao responded. Kuro and Mikio moved to depart the room, leaving the prince in the hands of Nao, along with Torgoe and Maito. She gave them all a single nod, to let them know that it was alright to proceed as planned.
The process was painful, and the mind of the young prince traveled back to how it all began. “The Ishi are not going to appreciate us being on their land.” Sadoo had spoken to the young prince as they looked toward the shrine devoted to the Gods, “Certainly Prince Tatsuya, coming here late at night is not appropriate.”
“The Gods, if they could see this world do you think they would like what they see?”
“I cannot say, Prince Tatsuya.”
“I serve you, Prince Tatsuya. As long as it does not put you in harm’s way, I see no reason to tell the others.”
“That is a good answer. I would like for us to visit the Lord of the Ishi, this evening.”
“It is late, Prince Tatsuya.”
“I need to do it at a time when the others will not find out. You understand?”
“Is this part of that secret you wish for me to keep?”
“Then let us pay our respects to the Lord of the Ishi.” Sadoo responded.
They had waited to be allowed in and Sadoo had told the young prince not to expect much that the Ishi might not wish to have visitors so late in the night. While Sadoo waited patiently the prince walked about, looking at every little thing within the estate. That was when she had caught sight of movement, so she moved through a little archway, and her eyes fixed on an Ishi training in a rather overly crowded room. It was obvious that the room was some sort of trophy room, to acknowledge the victories of the Ishi through the ages.
She knew the Ishi as being one of her fathers guardians, though other than that, she knew very little about him other than his name was Kuro and he was the brother of the rather powerful Ishi that she had seen one day not long ago, with Abe and Otoha. As he ran through Rom Kaga, the style of the military his body turned and he caught sight of the young prince watching him. He offered the smile of a true demon. His eye was badly damaged, he had a scar upon his face, and his smile sent a chill through the young prince. His presence was different from the other Ishi. The fact that he was dangerous was not hidden.
“Prince Tatsuya.” Sadoo scolded, “You should not be wandering off, it is rude.”
“I am the Prince of Aslann; I should be able to wander where I please.”
The Ishi had stopped his movements entirely as he smirked, a soft laugh leaving his lips. He did not bow; he offered nothing in any form to acknowledge that she was the future ruler of the Kingdom. She wondered why the Ishi were so bold as to disrespect her. “They have summoned the Lord of the Ishi.” Sadoo remarked.
“Sadoo, I would like for you to wait outside.”
“Prince Tatsuya.” His voice was stern.
“It is alright, I just wish to speak with the Lord in private.”
Sadoo reluctantly agreed as he bowed to his young lord and moved outside the Ishi estate.
The prince was shown to the office of the Ishi Lord where she waited for his arrival. She had not expected the one she knew as Kuro to enter. Casually he leaned himself against the desk of Jin, and looked down at the young lord. He had a devils smile. “What brings the little lord to the lair of the serpent?” He questioned.
“I do not believe that is any of your concern, Kuro of the Ishi.”
“Oh, you know my name. I am humbled that the mighty little prince of Aslann has taken it upon himself to know a lowly servant of the Ishi.” Even as he spoke the young prince could tell that he was hardly humble. The man oozed with smugness in everything he said and even how he moved. “So what shall we talk about then, my little prince?” There was something in his tone that the young prince could not identify, but it seemed as though he was trying to antagonize her.
“If you are attempting to cause me to anger, you will have to try harder Ishi, I am not hot-blooded.”
The Ishi smirked as he pushed away from the table, leaning himself down to come eye to eye with the little prince. “Isn’t that interesting? That to me, my little prince, seems a grand challenge. I wonder what it takes to get your blood boiling.”
“Are you flirting with me Ishi?”
The Ishi’s grin broadened, “I would never dare, my little prince. A lowly servant such as myself is not worthy of the attention of the Prince of Aslann.”
The prince felt as though the Ishi was mocking her. He moved away from her the moment Jin had entered.
The lord looked far different from how he did in the grand throne room of the Emperor. He stifled a yawn, “Please forgive me my lord; I was not expecting company so late in the evening.”
“It is I who owe you an apology, Adviser Jin. I have intruded upon your lands often these past few days. Something has transpired rather recently and it has caused …” The young prince paused her words.
Kuro eyed the little prince carefully as Jin spoke, “Is something troubling you, my lord?”
“Many things as of late, but I am not certain where I should begin.”
“Start from the beginning.” Jin voiced.
The young prince sighed, “Actually, I will start with what I can do for you.” Both Ishi’s eyed the young prince suspiciously, “There have been rumors in Aslann for a long time now regarding the Gods. That Hisoka, Kazuma, Ryozo, and Rin already walk among us, but as time has passed there has been no sign of Tearra. I know why.”
“You are telling us, you know why Tearra has yet to be reincarnated?” Jin asked making sure he understood what the young prince was saying.
“You have my attention, Prince Tatsuya.”
“I would rather have a blood oath from the Ishi. This information is valuable.”
Kuro made a sound of disbelief, “What a bold little prince.”
“You think we Ishi enter into blood oaths so nonchalantly?” Jin questioned the young prince.
“No, but if you truly want Tearra you have no choice because without my help you will never know how to find her.”
“We are Ishi, Tearra cannot remain hidden forever.”
“She can if she does not exist in this time and place.”
Jin frowned, “So for us to acquire Tearra, we need to be able to transcend time.”
“Not just transcend time. We are talking ancient techniques that are forbidden. We are talking about techniques that have never been used before. We are talking about bringing down an entire kingdom, and that is just the beginning. Now, Jin of the Ishi, how much is Tearra worth to the Ishi? When you can answer that question, I hope you will find me. I want blood oaths from every Ishi in your clan and from a Waichia called Maito. Once the oath is filled, Tearra will be yours. Decide if it is worth it.” The young prince remarked as she turned to leave then stopped suddenly, both men of the Ishi stood their ground, keeping their eyes fixed on the little prince. “Oh and I would not mention this to my father. If he discovers that I know the whereabouts of Tearra and that the Ishi wish to obtain it, he will massacre your entire clan.”
“How long?” Kuro questioned halting the young prince from departing the estate further.
“If you are asking me how long my eyes have been active, just after the Saitama paid me a visit.” Both Ishi frowned, “If you wish to know more, I suggest you consider my offer.” The young prince responded as she disappeared out of the Ishi estate.
“How did it go?” Sadoo questioned.
“It went well.”
“Are you going to tell me what you talked to the Ishi about?”
“I wished to talk to the Adviser Jin about this union with the Waichia.”
“I see. You thought that perhaps he would be able to dissuade your father from allowing the union to happen?”
“Is it wrong that I do not wish for this union?” She questioned. Sadoo simply closed his eyes a moment as he shook his head, before he and the young prince departed the estate of the Ishi.
As quickly as the memory was there it was gone again and time passed as the prince was escorted back to Aslann by Kuro.
Kuro stood near the wall, watching Agito. His fingers were running lightly along his face and chest. “Is it not as you expected it to be? Are you still not use to the change?”
Agito looked over his shoulder toward Kuro before looking back to the mirror. “It is strange to have the outside and the inside match, but I still feel like something is missing.” Agito looked over his shoulder at Kuro again, “So you are no longer planning on bowing to me Kuro?”
Kuro smirked, “You are no longer the Prince of Aslann.”
“Even when I was, it took years before you and your kin would bow before me.”
“That is because we were uncertain of your strength.”
“Was it because I was a woman?”
“Perhaps,” Kuro responded as he pushed away from the wall and moved toward the Prince of Aslann, who was now housed in the body of Agito. Kuro gave his prince a once over before speaking, “Nao sure is scary.”
“I never imagined you would say something like that.”
“I don’t really understand what they do. I am not a smart man. I am good at killing. Messing around with stuff that you cannot even see that goes beyond what I am capable of understanding. Weren’t you afraid that he would fail?”
“No, I have faith in the Ishi. There is no clan that strives harder to succeed than yours. Failure was not an option; he understood that so did Togore and Maito.” Kuro paced the floor behind the prince, his eyes kept fixed on him. The prince was still running his hands over his face and chest, “I still cannot figure out what it is that is missing.” The prince noticed that Kuro was pacing behind him, “Are you feeling caged, Kuro? You understand I had my reasons for not sending you into battle against my guardians further.”
“You never really explained.”
“No I suppose I did not. You were killed.” Kuro stopped pacing suddenly. “I could not allow you to face Chochi and risk the Ishi losing you. While we wait for the return of that vassal to this time, there is much that needs to be done and Kuro you are very important to the Ishi. Your brother is the reincarnate of Rin.” Kuro frowned, “Chee Hamara is the vassal that houses Hisoka. Takuya of the Waichia is the mighty Ryozo, far away in a village belonging to the Kari is the vassal that houses Kazuma. Jin plans on taking the power for himself. He thinks me such a child to have not seen his plotting.” The prince spoke, “You’re going to kill him and take the Ishi for yourself. You are going to lay siege upon this world until all of Aslann, all of the Kingdom of the Dragon Lords, and the world as a whole is laid at your feet.”
“So you’re telling me I will never be a God.”
“You would never want to be a God. Sitting in their heavenly kingdom, bored because they have nothing better to do then meddle in the lives of mortals. You are a man that wants to fight with your own hands. Lead the charge of battle and slay every enemy that gets in your way. You are going to rebuild the Kingdom that the Gods wanted, and when you do they will bestow upon you immortality. You will reign as this words King for as long as you wish too. You will slay countless enemies. You will mold this world how you wish it, isn’t that better than being a God?”
“How exactly am I supposed to do all of this?”
“I will guide you.”
“How are you going to do that without your eyes?”
The prince sighed, “I have time before the vassal returns to get these eyes to work. I just have to be in the right frame of mind. First I need to figure out what is missing.” Lost in his own thoughts the Prince had not realized that Kuro had moved closer until he found himself pinned to the mirrored walls in front of him. “What do you think you are doing? How dare you put your hands on me.”
The protest was evident in the voice of the prince as Kuro smirked before leaning closer to his ear and whispering, “Accepting your challenge.”
“You don’t remember?” The prince stiffened as Kuro’s fingers trailed down along his back until his finger slide lightly between the butt cheeks of the prince. Kuro could have easily had forced his way in, but he just ran his finger lightly along the little budded opening, teasing the Prince. “You told me you weren’t hot-blooded. You are already getting aroused, and I have not even done anything yet.” His words were both malicious and teasing, it was his way.
“Stop this. We both know you’re not into men.”
“I do like the soft flesh of women.” Kuro did not deny it, “The things I do to them, the agony I cause them, brings such a smile to my lips, but you have been my little prince since that day you came to Jin’s estate. You gave yourself to me then.”
“What are you…” The prince had his words cut off.
“I knew the moment I turned and saw you watching me what you desired. You wanted this Ishi. Deny it.” Kuro challenged. “I did as you wished of me and stood by as you allowed yourself to be taken by Hiko of the Kari, Taku of the Kensuku, and even the Lord of the Shima, but I am not going to stand by anymore. This body of yours belongs to me and your challenge from that day is accepted and you are currently losing, my little prince.”
Kuro forced the prince to look into the mirror at himself. He was aroused and could not hide it. The shame of it all caused a pink hue to travel over his face. “You need to learn to control your body, Prince Tatsuya. That thing you are missing…” Kuro paused, “I might not be smart like Nao and Mikio, but I know people. The thing that you feel like you are missing is your control. The little prince had a remarkable way of keeping her emotions in-check. I will guide you.” He said as his fingertip pushed into the little bud, just enough to let the prince squirm a little.
“Please stop, Kuro.”
“No.” Kuro voiced. “I am going to torture you.” The panic overtook the prince as he fought to get away. Kuro smiled, “It is alright, my little prince. I simply plan on punishing you any time you lose control. You are not allowed release your pleasure, until I give you permission. If you do, I will have to punish you.” He pushed his finger in up to the knuckle, which caused the prince to grind his teeth.
The prince told himself to not enjoy it. He had long wished for Kuro of the Ishi to claim him, though had never expected Kuro to be bold enough to actually do so. Kuro was right. The prince was losing. He felt pressure building from deep within his loins and then disappointment as Kuro pulled himself away from him.
Kuro was laughing softly that devilish smirk upon his face as the prince turned slightly to look at him. “You are cute when you are pouting.” Kuro remarked thoroughly amused at the look on the prince’s face. He gestured for the Prince of Aslann to follow him. The prince’s body gave in and moved, even though his mind kept protesting. They moved toward the lavish bath just off of a bedroom. When the Prince had finally entered the room Kuro had already removed his clothing and was sliding into the water. The prince kept his eyes fixated on anything, but Kuro which caused Kuro to ask, “Are you disappointed in me, my little prince?”
“What do you mean?” The prince questioned.
“You have not looked over my body once. You could not take your eyes from me when you were small, have things changed for you since that day?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” The prince spoke. “You just, think you can tell me what to do.”
“Get in the bath.” Kuro demanded and as the prince continued to protest about being told what to do; he had complied with the demand of Kuro. When he realized that he had done exactly what he was telling Kuro he did not appreciate, he looked to Kuro and frowned which only made Kuro laugh more, “Your lips are so disobedient, but your body complies much too eagerly. I think I will have to get those lips of yours to stop defying me and punish your body for being much too eager.”
Even as he said those words he was pulling the prince to him, his arms wrapping around him. “You’re going to tire of me.” The prince whispered. “Some woman will come along and you will desire to torment her. Then what? You think I am just going to stand by and allow you to do as you please?”
“No. I imagine if I do anything that displeases you that you will have me punished or killed.” Kuro said as he leaned in and claimed the mouth of the prince. When he finally broke the kiss he continued, “I am going to make certain that you only become aroused because of me. You will be, my little prince, and no other man will have you. You can command me when we are among others, but when we are alone it is I who commands you.” The prince trembled with anticipation as Kuro leaned in to claim his mouth again only to stop himself. His lips brushed against the princes, teasingly as he spoke. “When the vassal returns, I want your permission to kill Hiko of the Kari.”
“Hiko, is nothing why would you want him killed?”
The prince felt his hand being guided to Kuro‘s body, running along his chest and down to his need, and the look of surprise and trepidation did not go unnoticed by Kuro. “He had you first.” Kuro remarked, “He had your love.”
“You do not have to worry about him, Kuro. Hiko will never look at me like this. He will never see me. You have no need to kill him.”
Kuro bowed his head, “I look at you when you are like this.” He noticed it even though the prince tried to hide it. There was hope. Hope that Hiko of the Kari might look at him and see Tse, the person he fell in love with. Kuro could not hide his anger as he forced himself upon the prince.
The Prince of Aslann pulled himself from the comfort of the sheets. Kuro had taken him, and there was not a single part of the bedroom and bath that had been left untouched from their lovemaking.
His entire body ached. Not even when he trained under Abe, had he ever felt his body ache like this. It made him acutely aware of how very different this body was in comparison to his former. While he had been of the weaker flesh that body was still in good condition, capable of easily keeping up with the men. This body, however, had never seen a hard day of training ever and certainly could not handle what Kuro did to him that night. He realized much too late that he had made a small sound to acknowledge that pain and Kuro was laughing. “You’re not funny.”
“Is my little Prince in pain this morning?” Kuro was so quick. His breath was hot along his neck and back. “You still have a long way to go before you master the control you once had.” Kuro lectured.
The Prince of Aslann could feel the tip of Kuro‘s cock pressed against the soft flesh of his bottom. “Kuro.”
The Ishi smiled knowingly, “Didn’t you have enough of me last night, my little prince?”
His body was hot and anticipating what Kuro would do next. The prince could not help, but feel both ashamed and alive. While he had loved Hiko desperately, it always felt wrong in that body. All thoughts of Hiko were pushed to the side as the head of Kuro‘s cock was pushed into the small budded opening. The Prince gripped the sheets, gritting his teeth tightly and the wave of pleasure traveled through him as his body betrayed him completely.
Kuro had stopped pushing forward, as he noticed how the body of the Prince reacted. His fingers lightly teased down along the back of the Prince before a sharp slap on the buttock had caused the Prince to yelp in pain. “Did I give you permission to do that, my little prince?” Kuro denied him as he pulled himself free of his lover.
The prince at first did not dare to move. Waiting anxiously for Kuro to come back and pleasure him, but by the time he ventured to look at his lover he realized that Kuro was getting dressed and departing the room without a word.
Prince Tatsuya frowned as he reluctantly pulled himself from the bed extremely disappointed over what had just happened. This was his punishment. Every time he lost control, Kuro pulled himself away. It made for a very excruciatingly long night. The prince found clothes in the closet to put on before he ventured toward the office of the Lord of the Ishi, the adviser to the Emperor, Jin. There he found Mikio Ishi sitting on the floor, along with Kuro and Jin. Mikio‘s face was covered in scars and the weapon he was supposed to procure from Atsuki was leaning against the wall behind Jin. “It seems that my worst fears regarding Mikio were true.” Prince Tatsuya whispered softly.
“He is rather calm considering, but he has marks all over his body. The wounds are shallow and when prodded for how he got them, he said he did them himself on his journey back here. You were right to suspect that he was Rin.”
“I am sorry this must be a massive blow to the Ishi seeing him like this.”
“Mikio knew the risk when he went after your chalta. It was a risk he was willing to take; he will find his way out of this and be his old self once again.” Kuro remarked.
“Rather supportive of your brother, Kuro. It is unlike you.” Jin responded.
Kuro’s cold smile traveled over his lips, “I have already decided if he does not find his way back, I will kill him for being useless, how is that for supportive?”
“I stand corrected.” Jin responded. Mikio was whispering to himself incoherently, before his head would suddenly jerk and dart back and forth as though he was looking around for an enemy. “Wonder who he is talking too.”
“Sounds like he is hissing,” Prince Tatsuya responded, “Perhaps he is talking to the serpents.”
“Would make sense,” Jin responded before he drew his attention to a book in front of him. He glanced at it briefly before looking to Prince Tatsuya, “Kuro will escort you to the palace grounds. People are starting to wonder why Agito has not returned from his trip. The palace guards are looking for him, so it is important you return to the grounds. Use the time wisely, you will need to retrain your eyes to see all possible outcomes before the vassal reemerges, otherwise we will be at a disadvantage against our enemies.”
“I understand what is required of me, Lord Ishi.”
“Of course, forgive me Prince Tatsuya, I forget sometimes that you are all grown up. Kuro please escort the Prince back to the palace grounds.”
After the Prince changed into something more appropriate, he walked with Kuro toward the palace. “I give you permission to kill Hiko.”
Kuro had stopped moving, which caused his prince to stop as well. He ran his fingers through his hair, tilting his head to the side and stared at the prince, “Are you certain?”
“Why are you questioning me?”
“Forgive me, my little prince, it was rude of me to question you.”
Prince Tatsuya frowned, he hated it. Hated how he relented and gave in to him. He wanted the Kuro from last night, the one that was in control, the one that knew what he desired, and was willing to do anything to have it. He did not want this weak hearted Ishi. “I can find my way on my own.” The prince said as he began walking, leaving Kuro behind.
The prince really did not understand what happened between him and Kuro, though Kuro had started to keep his distance. He suspected it might have something to do with Jin and even angered him that Jin thought he could dictate to him what was allowed between them.
Almost each day, the prince found himself at the Ishi estate near the shrine. Nearly two months after it all happened, the prince found himself there again. “Have the Gods answered you?”
Surprised the prince turned quickly, “Mikio, you look…” The prince was going to say well, but truth be told he did not look well at all. His eyes were strange. Though the green shined brightly, they looked hollow, dead even. His face was covered in scars; he had been cutting himself up. “How are you doing?” The prince quickly changed gears.
“Who knows.” He responded which elicited a frown from the prince. “How long are you and Kuro going to do this dance?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You gave him permission to kill Hiko, did you not?”
The prince stared at him, was that what all of this was about? Kuro had been keeping his distance; he had assumed it had to do with Jin. “I did.”
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
“I don’t understand what does that have to do with anything?”
He could tell that Mikio was considering saying ‘who knows’ but instead he responded, “Hiko is the one that killed your brutal guardian. The guardian you would not allow Kuro to face-off against because he would die; now you are telling him that he can kill Hiko. He might be lacking in intelligence, but he is not a stupid man. If he goes and kills him, you win. If he goes and dies, you win. Either way he ends up losing. You will hate him if he kills Hiko and if he dies….”
“That is not it at all.” The prince argued.
“Oh, seems pretty clear.”
The prince sighed, “Mikio.” When the prince said his name he turned his attention completely on him, “When the vassal arrives, push Hiko toward her. Make him fall in love with her.”
“Are you doing this for you or for Kuro.”
“Hiko will never see me like this. I am not so blind as to not know that. I was well aware of that when I allowed my consciousness to be transferred into this body. As much as I want him to be happy, I don’t want it to be with anyone, but me. I can be honest about that. Kazuma will not be able to tolerate what Hiko stands for. He is everything that is wrong with the Kari, a defiant Kari that serves fallen lords and goes against the ways of the Kari. Kazuma will challenge him for the vassal; he will not allow her to remain with Hiko. A Kari challenge is only won with the death of another.”
“I think you should just let it be, Prince Tatsuya.” The Prince eyed him. “Kuro would not like it if you did it this way. He would want Hiko to live and return to Aslann, but more importantly he wants you to turn Hiko away.”
“I don’t think I can do that.”
“Imagine your life with Kuro.” The prince instantly blushed from head to toe. He suppressed the soft moan that threatened to escape his lips as his body, radiated with heat. “Now imagine your life with Hiko.” He frowned. What he himself had let happen to their relationship forever changed Hiko. He was cold now, heartless even. He could not even imagine any scenario where he would touch him like this, let alone bring him any sort of pleasure. It was not that Hiko had not been a tremendous lover, but he was so bottled up, even back then. Kari men did not like to lose control and while Kuro was dominating and demanding, with a well placed touch the prince could bring him pleasure.
The prince sighed, “I will leave it be.” The prince remarked, “Do you think Kuro is still upset with me?”
“Who knows.” Mikio responded.
The prince frowned as he looked over his shoulder toward the shrine of the Gods. “I am a terrible man, for what I plan on doing to the vassal.”
“Tearra has to walk this path; it is the only way for her to be accepted by the other Gods. She needs to be humbled, loved, pursued, hated, and even damaged. She needs to experience the life that Tearra led as a mortal. A life filled with joy, suffering, love, and loss. Only she can make Kazuma see her. Until she accomplishes that, the Gods will forever be reincarnated and never resurrected.”
“You act as though you are not Rin.”
“Perhaps it is because I do not wish to be. My father was a terrible God and an even worse human being. Why would I want to become him?”
“I am sorry Mikio that your path is forever set in stone. There is no changing your path, when Kazuma sees Tearra, this world will cease to exist for you and the other Gods and you will travel back to your kingdom. What it must be like for you to know that your time is coming to an end.”
“You talk about my life rather casually. Have you informed Kuro your fate when Tearra enters the Kingdom of Heaven?”
The prince frowned, “I have not.”
“Don’t you think you should?”
“She and I are linked. Even though my consciousness is within this body, a part of me is bound to that small homestead where Atsuki performed the reincarnation ritual and another is bound within the vassal that was killed by Nao. It is why she will have some of my memories when she returns because essentially she is the essence of Tationy Tylo, but she is also what remains of the unborn child Osa. The vassal needed to be both Tylo and Shima for the transference to work because only those who have the blood of the Dragon Lords can have their consciousness shuffled around so easily. For that, I owe the Lord of the Shima my thanks, for if he had refused me, we would not be having this conversation. The child Osa…”
“Your unborn child,” Mikio acknowledged, obviously not liking how the young prince referred to Osa as nothing more than a means to accomplish a goal.
“Yes I suppose that is what he was. That child made all of this possible thanks to his Shima blood. You think me callous, Mikio?”
The prince nodded his head once, “I suppose I seem cold and selfish being unable to comprehend what it means to have a child or parents that love them unconditionally. Osa is part of Tearra, there is no better place for him then with the mighty goddess who brought Mikio Ishi into this world. I am sure she will protect what remains of him that is locked within her.” Mikio nodded his head only once to the words of the prince. “I should go.” The prince began to walk, but stopped briefly to look back at Mikio, “Everything will work out as it is meant too Mikio. You do not have to worry about the vassal, she will not come to harm. I will make certain that all the players are in the appropriate positions.”
“This is not a game of Bagola.” Mikio stated.
“Sure it is.” The prince responded with a smile.
To Be Continued