Chapter 1 – Heir

Chapter 1 – Heir cover made by David Aragón

Our story starts a late evening in the kingdom Xion’s Island near the capital Kuzuyama. The sun had left the sky but because of the many stars and the moon it was still light. Two riders slowed down in form of a mighty gate which together with the wall surrounded the emperor’s palace. With no sound other than the gate creaking, it opened and a group of men came. They bowed before they helped the riders off their horses and brought them inside the palace while the gate closed behind them once more. The two men entered the palace itself as the men disappeared with the horses and they were all alone in the hall’s light up by torches on each side of them. The men removed their hoods and revealed they are prince 000006 of Xion’s Islands and his most trusted bodyguard and general 000002. “It is a beautiful evening, the dragons are honouring your father, my lord” 000002 said almost whispering and 000006 just nodded as they continued walking thought the hall before they reached a heavy guarded door. The guards took their coats and opened the door into a dark room which was only light from the moon outside. The light revealed a man standing a few steps away from a bed, which also had a man inside. “Nice to see you, brother 000006” The standing man said without moving or looking at the men who had entered the room as the door closed behind them. “Nice to see you, brother 000009” 000006 said and bowed to his brother before a word but another dry coughing voice replied “Is… it… you… 000006?” And quickly 000006 moved to the bed and bent over the man while holding his cold hands. “Yes, Father, it is me… can I bring you anything?” The eyes of the old man in the bed meet 000006. “No… As long as you are here, then nothing else matters.” The two men looked at each other and a silence followed and the only sound heard was an owl outside in the moonlight hunting. 000002 looked at the silhouette of two men before 000009 broke the silence, “Do you mind sending out Xiao Chang, so we can be alone when father dies?” He asked in a simple voice which almost gave a set in them all and 000002 looked directly at 000006 who without words just nodded. 000002 knew what it meant and bowed to the two men before he left the room in silence. 000002 stopped as he reached the hallway and turned around to watch the guards, but instead of small talking he kept the silence. In the meantime, back inside the bedroom was the silence returning, the moonlight growth in strength. Suddenly 000008 broke the silence with his weak voice “It is getting dark in here” and with some quick looks at each other 000006 and 000009 moved over to the side of the bed was away from the moonlight, giving the soul of 000008 every chance to escape the room when he died. “We are here father, do not worry we are here to help you overcome the darkness and guide your soul thought the window and up to the moon” 000006 said calmly but strongly while he held his father’s hand. “I love you both so very much even… it was hard for me to lose your mother when she gave birth to 000006” 000008 replied with the voice almost gone and the eyes of both 000006 and 000009 filled with tears as they knew if their father was talking about their mother, he did not have long to go. “I am going to meet her soon…” his voice broke, and it took seconds before he was ready to continue “but… I have a last request before I join her in heavens” 000008 managed to say and 000006 moved closer to hear what he was saying. “I… have… a… last request” 000008 repeated as his breath got more and more heavy. “I… I… am giving…. The kingdom to you…” – “Yes father, we know that the kingdom to me” 000009 broke in. 000008 closed his eyes afterward for too long after 000006 mind to return so he turned against 000009 and yelled loudly “You prevented a father from speaking his last words” but 000009 was prepared and yelled back “Maybe, but at least you got here before he died while I have been with him the past week” 000006 was about to yell back once more when he felt his father ice cold hand trying to make him stop. “I… am… not death… yet, fouls” 000008 broke in and continued “You act like a group of babies trying to get the last toy…” and with tears in their eyes “Sorry father” 000009 and 000006 said in unison voice while there were still lightning shooting between their eyes. “As… I was trying to say… I am giving the kingdom to… 000006 instead of you, 000009… because you always have been so power hungry, not thinking clear when you talk to the people who always demands peace” 000009’s face became wild and slowly more and more red and yelled “How could you!?” but before his words had left his mouth was 000008 breathing gone and his eyes closed a last time. “I cannot believe it” 000009 continued almost furious. The body of 000008 had taken the control of 000006 and blocked out every sound and noise coming from 000009. His eyes grew bigger while getting filled with tears, both of the pride of his father’s decision and his death. Outside the room was 000002 still standing near the door and listening to the obscured voices coming from inside the room but as the guards did not react, he felt it could only be sadness of their soon loss of lord 000008 and instead he walked to the nearest window and watched a firefly flew against the moon, telling him that the old leader had died. Suddenly a chilly feeling runs down his back and even that the guards are still standing like statues in front of the door, his feelings tell him something bad is happening and he returns from the door and with a serious voice he says “I think the old lord is death now, maybe you should go get the priest…” more he could not say before the cold feeling is getting worse and instead of waiting for the guards to open the door, he opens it with such for that the door falls to the ground with a loud noise. In the next he yells ”My Lord, look out” and throws his sword against the far post of 000008’s bed. 000006 wakes up from his focused on his death father and ducks before the sword hammers inside the post. He is about to yell at 000002 in anger before a sound of metal against metal silence him and turns his face against 000002, sword hanging above him blocking a strike from 000009. “Why brother?” 000006 says before 000009 notices that his attempt of killing his brother has failed. With tears starting to run down 000009 cheeks 000002 fears that his cold feeling was a mistake but a cold voice from 000009 quickly tells him otherwise “I am sorry, brother… You have to died after hearing our father’s final words about the future” 000006 looks at his brother and at 000002 who decides he needs backup to take down 000009 and bring him to justice. “Guards” 000002 yells even that the door are open and everything else between him and the guards is missing. 000006 uses the chance to repeat his question for his brother “Why, my dear brother… why are you trying to kill me” he asks gentle like nothing have happen yet but before 000009 answer is 000002 groaning in pain and when 000006 looks around, one guard has attack 000002 and cut him in his left as he tried to block an attack. “Our father has been death for less than a minute and you are already trying to kill me, your own brother, just because father gave me, your position and you prove that everything father expected came true” 000006 yells loudly while looking harshly at 000009, making the other guard step back in fear of what happens next. “I am sorry, brother… where are my manners… hand over the title of the emperor to me, like you know is tradition and I promise to let you, your family and that dog Xiao Chang leave the palace alive” 000006 looks at 000002 who is holding on his wound to stop the bleeding a bit and is about to agree to the demands of 000009 even 000002 eyes is telling him otherwise. In the next it feels like the time slows down as 000006 is about to answer and give into demands, but 000009 feels he has waited enough so instead of hearing the answer he attacks once more. As the first blood drop from 000002 hits the ground, he is already besides 000006 and has pulled out his sword from the post and blocked another attack. “My lord, stay behind me” but 000006 is not leaving his most trusted man in a fight alone against three others and pulls his sword too. ”No, Im will take care of my dear brother, while you take care of the guards as it seems like everyone here was against me leaving the room from the beginning” Clouds outside started covering the moon and removing the light in the room as the fight continued like nothing had happened. 000002 can barely feel the pain in his left hand as he swings his sword against the guards so 000006 can focus on his brother 000009. “It had been less than an hour from they arrived and the old lord had died and now they was already going to spill more blood” 000006 thinks as his and 000009 sword hit each other with such power that they expected a loud crack but lighting lights up the room for seconds before a deafening thunder fills the room. 000006 used the silence that followed, “Why can we not be family and go back to how the things were before father’s death?” The breath in his voice revealed that he was not used to fighting so 000009 laughter filled the room while mocked replied “you were always father’s favorite no matter what I did, it was never good enough for him so no I rather see you death than go back” the lightning and thunder continued outside as rain slowly fell down heavy too. A scream filled the room just as the thunder before and for a moment 000006 fear it was 000002 but when he turned against the fight, a lightning revealed it was one guard who had died and the fear in the remaining guard almost made him forget his own fight. A thunder followed and 000002 tried to yell but the sound was too loud and only his quick movements prevented a strike from 000009 to hurt 000006. “You have both broken my heart, please just die already so I can claim my rightful throne” 000009 yelled as he noticed that 000002 had blocked the attack. “Guards” he yelled in continuation before he and the remaining guard formed a circle around 000006 and 000002. Suddenly the room fills by light from another lightning and the thunder follows just as quickly once more before the rain falls on the roof silencing everything except for 000009 who yells again “Guards” as nothing had happened. 000002 looks worried at 000006 as he whispers “I cannot protect you and your family from all your father’s personal guards alone, but I will died trying, my lord” 000006 smiles and removes the sweat from his head as he replies “I am not letting you leave that easily” A group of five guards enters the room but instead of joining 000009 and the remaining guard they blocked the exits and the leader took a step forward against them all. “Attack them” 000009 yelled off the leader before he could say or do anything except for standing still, and even the guard who had been fighting at his side moments before had stopped and was just watching him with his sword on the ground. “They killed the former emperor 000008…” his face became more and more red, and 000006 was about to speak up to defend himself against the crimes he had not done, but the leader opened his mouth first. “000009, I arrest you for treason against the former emperor and the new one… I suggest you follow me and the guards to the dungeons quietly if you want a chance see the morning sun” the leader said with no doubt in his voice and he pulled his sword to show he meant it. 000009 could not believe his eyes and ears, as all his life, he had been the next inline after his father, but in less than an hour he had now lost that place and forced away like an animal. He placed the sword on the ground and walked over to the leader but as his crossed path with 000006 the rage inside him grew too much and he yelled “I will return and take my rightful place, my dear brother” and as a lightning light up the room he turned before continuing “And you, 000002, I will send you to the darkest cell I can find in the entire kingdom where you can rot or die for all I care” The guards just looked at 000009 ignoring his threats and words. “I did not ask for this brother” 000006 answered, trying to defend his actions before forcing his brother head to turn against him and look him directly in the eyes. “I knew nothing about our father’s plans but I can see why he did it as your hunger for power is as much as a normal mans need for air… Guards would you mind making sure his sons capture and are place in cells too” The leader nodded and they continued out of the room when suddenly 000007 walked past with 000005 in her hands, trying to keep him calm in the bad weather, knowing nothing about the events that had just happened. “000006, glad you are here, come here and help me make your son sleep again… No wait stop” but it was too late 000009 had stolen a sword from a guard and was now holding it against a terrify 000007. Before anyone could do anything 000009 had already taken a hard grip and formed her into a human shield with a crying 000005 in her arms. 000009 was the first to speak after the turn of events. “Let me go or I will kill your beautiful wife and only heir to the throne” 000002 looked at 000006 who had lost his force and was speechless, making him take the command “Guards, on behalf on Lord 000008, I request you to stand down and let him leave so back away slowly” His eyes watched as the men one by one laid down their swords and soon he was the only one with a sword. “You too” 000009 yelled with anger in his voice and Xiao Chang dropped his sword like the others. 000009 slowly and calmly walked past the men who did nothing else, then following them with their eyes. Xiao Chang was the first and only who moved after him and followed him out of one room into the next one until they reached the throne hall. “This will be mine, soon enough” and a mighty thunder rolled in the sky with the rain falling more and more heavy. 000005 started crying again, but the knife against 000007 made it impossible for her to take care of him. “Please lord, let me stop him from crying, I am sure that you are free to go now” She wanted to say more but 000009 just held the sword closer to her neck and yelled “Silence, you of all should know, what kind of man your husband is” and force her out of the door, out to yard where the rain had already turned to ground unto mud. “Servants bring me a horse” 000009 yelled loudly in the rain and a lightning crossed the sky with no thunder to follow and revealed the iris of a man, 000002. “Are you here to bring me a horse?” 000009 yelled and laughed in the rain before the thunder made everything else silent. “No, I am here to return the empress and crown prince to my master and lord 000006” 000009 looked at him like he had seen the void dragon Oryu and yelled “No, you want to death” and pushed to 000007 to make her move faster against the stables as no servants had appeared with a horse but the muddy ground made it hard for her to move in her fine clothes. 000009’s face became more and more red, and the rain made everything look even worse. A lightning crossed the sky again and thunder followed quickly with a heavy win that opened the gate to the palace. “The water dragon has allowed you to leave this place, so please let go of lady 000007 and crown prince 000005” 000002 yelled to try calm down 000009 who just got even more furious and pushed even harder to 000007 who almost dropped 000005. “Move now” 000009 yelled, but 000007 could not move at all in the mud. “You are working with him, trying to stop me from escaping and make sure they capture me” He yells directly in her ears and a bit of red appears on the sword. “Stop hurting them or you give me no choice to prevent you from leaving this place even you have the word of my lord and the will of the dragons” 000002 yelled and 000009’s face become even more red as the sword in his hands. In a quick movement had Xiao Chang danced across the mud and appeared next to them and used his left hand to hold the sword away from 000007’s already bleeding neck while using the other to push 000009 away. But instead of being pushed away as expected was 000009 just laughing loud as the rain continued to fall heavily and used the sword to hurt both 000007 and 000002 as he attempted to cut them both before pushing 000002 away like a doll. “Look at what you made me do, I am sure that your lord would hate you and throw you in the cell he wanted me in” a taunting laughing 000009 replied and as 000002 had gotten focus once more 000007 fell to the ground while blood appear in her mouth and around the neck with a screaming 000005 in her arms. 000009 raised his sword and was about to strike after 000005 too but Xiao Chen moved quickly and blocked the attack, making 000009 laughter disappear instantly and instead he started running away from the screen into the stables to get a horse. “Take… Take… care of them” 000007 aud with an almost gone voice in the rain as 000002 opened his eyes again after blocking the attack. She was just watching the sky while blood ran out and mixed with the muddy ground and before 000002 could do anything she closed her eyes. “No, no, no, this is not happening… please let her live” yelled 000002 yelled into the heavens while 000005 was crying just as loud. “Take me instead” 000002 continued before the screams of 000005 got too loud for him to bear. “I am sorry, it was all my fault, little one” he said while holding 000005 into him and covering from the rain. Suddenly a horse whinny in the back and only a quick movement saved them both from the wrath of 000009 who had found a horse and had seen a chance to kill them all before riding for the gate. 000002 thought quickly and turned around with a force and throw a knife against 000009 as a last attempt to revenge 000007 and his mistakes, but the knife only brushed the check of 000009. “You cannot hide who you are anymore” Xiao Chang yelled while 000009 slowly harder and harder to see because of the rain, which now fell even more heavy than before. It felt like an eternity later when finally some soldiers and guards appear in the stables and yard, but at first there was no sight of 000006. “What took you so long?” 000002 half crying half yelling of the first soldier who tried to help him and take away 000005 but no one around felt the need to answer him so instead he stood up by himself with 000005 in his hand and waited on 000006. He looked at 000005, who had calmed down and was now fast asleep, and walked inside the palace again, becoming more and more slow for each step as the pain grew higher and higher inside. As they reached the throne hall, he finally meet 000006 who was still broke about what happened with his brother and his face did not get better when he noticed only two had returned. 000002 fell on knees and handed over 000005 and his sword to 000006 in silence, who took him and held him into his chest while warming him with his clothes. “Arhhh” 000002 yelled of pain before continuing “I am sorry my lord, I could only save one, your wife lady 000007 is… is…” he felt a hand on his good shoulder and looked up in tearful face of 000006. “Death in the yard” he said before the pain almost took him out, but he tried to stand firm. He took the sword he had tried to hand 000006 and held it against his belly, ready to strike it on a single word while he said with a serious dry voice “I have failed you my lord, I will guide you into heaven while protecting her from harm until you will meet her, as an old man” he said and pressed the sword against the belly and feel the blood appear a bit but something stopped him and held the sword away. “Stop, my friend… I know you did your best to save them both and my brother has showed me he does not care about anything else than himself so you have not failed me” 000006 spoke with a sad voice which made it hard to know if he was angry or not. “You have saved more than any other of my men could have done, and you blocked a strike from my brother even you was told to wait outside, thank you for that so please no more blood today” 000002 wanted to reply his friend and lord, but he fell to the ground like a doll together with the sword and as all turned red in front of him, the last thing he heard was “Help him… Don’t…”

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