❯ Sakura Blossoms – Chapter 9 ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

-Chapter Nine-

Last Chapter:Doing as he said, all four looked up at the ball of white light. Images of Kayane’s face appeared, flashing and changing to new ones quickly, almost as if it were catching up with time. Slowing finally, it showed Kayane kneeling, groaning in pain from a kick driven into her abdomen shown a moment before…

Glaring up at Shizuka na, Kayane dug her nails into the ground the best she could. Despite the ground being made of some solid stone that she couldn’t see, even as her vision seemed to improve with each passing second, her nails seemed to break the surface of the floor, albeit barely.

She was in no way enjoying the challenge she was receiving from this character who seemed to have a highly unfair advantage over her. Both with the ribbon and sight.

It was as if she was being tested while trying to be killed.

With a snarl and a growl that seemed almost inhuman, she jumped forward, away from the reach of Shizuka, and lashed out at him with a spell.

“Skull blaze!” she shouted. When her hand stretched out all the way in Shizuka’s direction, many white skulls surrounded by dark violet and black auras circled around Shizuka and, with the added strength of speed, they landed on him in an explosion.

With a cry of surprise, but not pain, Shizuka jumped back and coughed at the fumes that were left behind by the skulls.

What was it about this girl that kept throwing him off concentration?

Or perhaps it just that she was more than a match for him…

Snarling, sounding much like Kayane had a mere moment before, Shizuka leaped to his feet and ran forward to attack her.

But all he saw was air.

Damn, where did the wench go now? Hiding like a child? he thought, whirling around several times to catch a glimpse of her. No matter how much he stared, he saw nothing.

Hearing a small sound behind, like that of fresh leaf falling on stone, Shizuka spun around and raised his sword to block Kayane’s own, and, as he raised his leg to kick her, he found himself flying backwards with a kick delivered to his chest.

“Come on, you can do better. You had me on my knees less than five minutes ago. Prove to me you can do it again,” she sneered dryly, her voice cold and careless to Shizuka.

Looking over his shoulder, he decided it was time to stop fooling around, and with resolute wave of his hand…

… He disappeared.

Blinking, her eyes as dark and black as the area around her, Kayane froze, listening for any sounds alert her of his position. Breathing as quiet as she could, her midsection heaving and aching from the earlier kick to her stomach, no sounds entered her ears aside from her own breaths and heart beat.

“Come on, you can do better. You had me on my back less than a minute ago. Prove to me you aren’t as foolish as you let on…”

Taking in a fast, silent breath, Kayane turned around as quick as she could and dark green eyes met flaring golden ones for a second.

Then the golden eyes disappeared.

Turning around full circle, she snarled when she felt her head jerk back as he took a fistful of her hair from behind her. Kayane bent backwards as he pulled her head down, taking hold of his sword that had been placed in its sheath while his attention was diverted with reaching into a high pocket for something she didn’t want to find out about, and winced when stinging pain was felt in her scalp.

When the hell had they upgraded everything to where you felt pain in the World?

She didn’t remember buying a new head-set or controllers…

Letting out a strangled yell as he kneed her in the back after seeing her small movements, she twisted her body suddenly and rammed her shoulder into his stomach. Pushing him back and off balance, she tripped him with the sword she’d taken from him, Kayane reached for one of the laces of his shoes with her right hand.

Feeling two large hands grab both her shoulders, Kayane found herself being swung to the ground and her chin hit the stone painfully. Lying on the ground on her stomach, she hissed as Shizuka held both her hands hard under the weight of his knee pressing them on her back while holding her head in place with one of his hands.

Her heart stopping for a second when his laugh echoed through-out the area, Kayane twisted her body, her teeth jammed together from the force of his hand on her head as he wrenched his sword from out of his hand.

“Patience, you won’t be stuck in this position for too much longer.” Raising his sword after finally pulling it from her grasp, Shizuka forced the blade into her shoulder slowly, listening to ring he felt in his ears as she let out a deafening scream and arched her back away from him.

This was far too much easier than he had presumed…

And enjoyable…

(-)

Balmung turned from where the rings were slowing to Shi’s fading form. He wasn’t going to let him win; wasn’t going to let another force of the World take a life of someone he cared for…

Raising his wings, despite Anissa’s crying out to him that he couldn’t take on three of them at once, Balmung sent a murderous glare to Kara, one to the almost white haired one, then set his gaze on Shi.

Despite the circumstances, however much they were going according to Shi’s plan, Shi was frowning like his most desired thing went up in flames, and a small, but wicked smile played on Balmung’s lips barely.

“Try all you want… but you won’t be able to save her…She will die…”

With a swing of his sword, all of his strength behind the sweep, Balmung cut through the air Shi had once stood, landing in between the two accomplices still remaining, growling at Shi’s departure.

Bending his knees, he jumped to the side, into the player unknown to him and the others, just as he was drawing his heavy-blade. Scraping his sword along the rocky but smooth ground as he lashed his sword out at the player, Balmung glanced over his shoulder at the Kara.

Even being a CC. Corp Administrator, he wasn’t able to see the character info as simple as the name of the one he was battling with at the moment.

That fact alone unnerved him deeply.

Catching his breath, then watching as Shugo took the offensive along-side him, attacking the unknown player, he turned back to Kara, who had moved herself from narrowly missing the blade of his sword to sneering at him on a rock.

“And he wanted Kara to get close to you all, find out what makes you tick… and what makes the ticking stop,” he drawled, his voice dry and emotionless, fitting in almost perfectly with his appearance. “Thank Kami you were all idiots and she didn’t have to spend more than an hour with you all.”

“Just shut up,” Balmung snapped, raising his sword, “and fight, damn it.”

Eyes widening in surprise, though a smile crept onto his face, in an almost sadistically delighted way, he rolled the long sword in her hand anxiously. “Well… cursing wasn’t the first thing I expected you to end your sentence with, but nonetheless… I can’t say I’m disappointed that you have some spunk that isn’t as goody-two-shoes as the rumors say about you.” His blue eyes glinted as some of the light in the area dimmed a bit, changing from the midday glow to the nearly ominous, and foreshadowing dusk. “Let the battle begin…”

As a flash of lightning clashed in the sky above still reaching into the depths of the crevice, Kara leaped forward, icy rain beginning to fall a split second after Shugo’s cry of pain behind him.

As Balmung fought sword to sword with the nameless player, Kuroi, Rena spun around in a full circle, her blade cutting open the small of Kara’s back deeply and sending forward off the rock and onto the ground. Ignoring the groan coming from Kara’s body, Anissa twirled the blades in her hands and narrowed her eyes at the ribbon on Kara’s blade laying beside her. What’s with the ribbons… whats the whole point of them? she thought. Snorting to herself and making a mental note to try and find out later, she pushed past Shugo, who was setting his gaze on Balmung and the black clothed player, and Rena, who was tightening her grip on her blade and raising it to strike Kara.

With a cry of attack, Anissa sliced her blades through the air, creating white, searing hot streaks of light in the air in the form of three X’s upon Kara’s back. “Triple X!”

A short, loud bark of laughter erupted in the air and the attack was reflected back at Anissa, after Kara had put her sword up and blocked the attack, hitting her with full force on the chest and sending her to the opposite wall of the crevice.

Still holding her sword up, Kara deflected Rena’s attack as well, and sent a wave of thunder to both of them s short second afterwards, striking them with the power of both darkness and lightning together. Continuously, she sent waves of thunder and darkness, laughing as they jumped to dodge attacks, narrowly missing but a few powerful ones, not paying any mind to the two others battling her fighting companion.

Keeping her main attention on Anissa, Kara seethed inwardly at the blonde. As much as she hated to admit it, Anissa was the type of person that she had feared as a child.

Strong, friends in high places, as Shi was more of a captor then a friend, people who care, Kuroi was another power hungry boy with his head between his legs most of the time, and family, which she remembered nothing of.

Watching as Anissa leaped up into the air and pushed herself higher the best she could, catching small rocks sticking out of the crevice wall, Kara raised her sword, ready to follow, and felt a sharp blade cut into her back. Falling forward, turning to see her attacker, Kara groaned when her body made contact with the stone ground and everything went black on her screen.

She had been killed.

And she hadn’t been in anyone’s party because it was every player for themselves…

“Well, now that she’s taken care of…” Rena muttered, watching as Kara’s body started to glitch then fade away. “Let’s go help Balmung and Shugo.”

Landing on the ground in a kneeling position, hands flat on the ground, Anissa nodded then turned her head to Balmung, who was currently hitting blades with the remaining foe. Shugo was standing paralyzed by a spell.

“Come on, Balmung of the Azure Sky, I thought you were going to be a challenge. You aren’t even making me crack a smile of entertainment,” the player clothed in complete black taunted, tightening his grip on his heavy blade a moment before his blade struck with Balmung’s. With a loud, metal clang ringing throughout the air like countless others before it, a wave of red energy traveled down Balmung’s blade to his hands, making them burn on the insides and ache as if over-used.

“Maybe its just you.” Twisting his wrists, Balmung pushed away the heavy blade and took a swing at his chest. “Considering the fact that you’re virtually unknown in the World, even by me.”

Smirking when he heard an aggravated growl coming from his opponent, Balmung sent a wave of ice-like daggers toward him, then turned to relieve Shugo of the Sleep Spell.

After spinning around at a laugh, Balmung saw nothing in front of him and instinctively looked up to see him coming down from the air with his blade aimed for him. “Maybe its cause I prefer not to tell the World of my deeds, despite the fact they wouldn’t be considered honorable by society.”

Jumping to the side and avoiding the sword meant for his flesh, Balmung frowned in response to what he said. “Mind telling me so I can find out just what you’ve done?” Something told him that despite the truth in the statement and how much it gave away, the player would reveal his name, proving to be as cocky as he seemed.

“Ah, well, I can’t say it’ll hurt, considering you won’t have any time to do anything with the knowledge of my name,” he mused darkly, partially smiling when the sleet weather seemed to increase tenfold. “Kuroi…”

“Interesting… Tell me then… Are you an illusion…?”

Blinking, both Kuroi and Balmung, as well as the others, looked up to the dark shadow standing on a short, marble blue pillar, his black hair shifting in the wind and his ruby eyes glowed mysteriously in the dark as they fixed puzzled and surprised gazes on him.

Balmung, taking in his appearance the best he could, assumed he was another one of Shi’s follower’s, and backed away from Kuroi so he could have both players in his sight. “Who are you?” he snapped, his gaze flicking back and forth between Kuroi and the newcomer. “And where’s Kayane?” he added, sending a quick glare at Kuroi when he took a step forward.

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve only just arrived, sir,” he replied, a small smile gracing his face while staring down at them.

Eyes narrowing and a frown setting on his facial features, Balmung sent an uneasy gaze at the unknown player. Just who was this character…

… And where did he come from?

Turning back to Kuroi, who seemed as clueless and confused as he was, Balmung heard a familiar cry ring out in the crevice and he wasn’t the only one who recognized it. “Oh no…”

Whipping his head toward the source of the sound immediately, the ruby eyed man clothed in utter black bent his knees, eyes glowing a deep red, and he leaped off the pillar, running to the voice on instinct.

Upon the faint echo, Anissa took in a sharp, surprised and gasping breath and her eyes widened noticeably, freezing in her steps to stand beside Shugo and moving her gaze from the ruby eyed man to the edge of the crevice.

“Kayane!”

(-)

The intensity of the pained cry died down quickly, reducing itself to a slightly low moan, disappointing Shizuka by the short scream he received. The sword still embedded in her skin, he moved the blade back and forth, and side to side, smiling openly as her body writhed beneath him.

Shifting his weight while on top of her, oblivious to the black haired player who’d just arrived to his right, he unknowingly relieved a small amount of the weight on her hands. Shizuka drew back the katana then positioned it above her right shoulder, preparing to repeat the act of embedding the sword in her, watching as her back rose with every ragged breath taken. Ignoring the sudden brush of movement he felt under his knee, assuming it was another struggle to free her hands, he lifted the sword up into the air and his eyes widened as he was suddenly being forced out of the position he was in.

Placing her hands on the ground as quick as she could, Kayane drew her knees up to the ground and pushed him off her back then, unbalanced, she pushed herself forward to put distance between the two of them.

Almost sputtering, he stared at Kayane.

Watching as she stumbled forward, falling to her knees and the palms of her hands then turning around quickly to keep her eye on him, Shizuka mentally berated himself and wondered just what she had done.

It had gone so fast…

Ready to leap forward, the silver flash of a metal blade made him freeze in his tracks, Shizuka turned his head to the his right. Falling back when an wave came through the air toward him and pushing him back while in mid-air, Shizuka watched as the area seemed to ripple and as Kayane moved to avoid the same wave.

With a grunt caused by her shoulder’s resistance to move, Kayane’s eyes narrowed and she leaped as far back she could, the wave sending a small shock through her body and causing her to land on her back, disturbing the wound on her shoulder even more.

Walking forward, the black haired and ruby eyed interference sheathed his weapon and let a small smile creep onto his features, eyes gleaming dangerously. As Shizuka moved to stand, he pulled his sword and aimed it at the ribbon threaded through the holes of Shizuka’s boots, the smile never leaving his face.

Watching the unfamiliar man walk up then hold his sword out at Shizuka, Kayane moved to catch her breath and held onto her shoulder, speaking the best she could. “Who – Who are you?”

At the same time as Kayane’s voice sounded softly, but raggedly, Shizuka asked his own blunt question, “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Turning his head, the unnamed player responded to Kayane, his voice soft, as she was injured. “At ease. I would not speak if I were you.” Going back to Shizuka na, he straightened his arm out further, moving the blade of his sword closer to the crimson ribbons in Shizuka na’s boots. “I’ve had enough of this fight. Its going nowhere.”

“If you hadn’t interrupted, I would have already finished her o-”

The blade was quickly repositioned from near the ribbons to dangerously close to Shizuka’s throat, in a perfect place to cut his neck. “While she’s in a weakened state? How honorable of you…” he turned to Kayane, “Pardon my hypocrisy…”

Narrowing her eyes, she turned her head away from him slightly. “Your hypocrisy’s pardoned…” she muttered more to herself, than to him. Opening her mouth to continue, she paused as she was unsure of whether to speak anymore or not. This… character… wasn’t normal, didn’t act in anyway she knew how to react to.

He looked over at Shizuka na once more, blade still pricking at the surface of his throat. “i don’t remember you being ordered to kill anyone,” he muttered. Looking over at Kayane again, smirking, his eyes glowed once more.

Kayane kept her gaze fixed on the one who’d saved her, right hand holding onto her shoulder and her left arm around her stomach.

She was better than this, a better fighter than she had been while fighting Shizuka na. Not being able to see shouldn’t have affected her so much, and the ribbon had taken more out of her than she had expected. While she never thought she was invincible, Kayane never imagined that she would nearly fall prey to anything like Shizuka.

Had he not came, she would probably be fighting Shizuka still, or there would have been a victor decided.

But just what had the ruby eyed player meant when he said he didn’t remember Shizuka being ordered to kill someone…?

Sure, she believed the idea that she was supposed to be killed fully. It was more than easy to tell with the gaping wound on her back, the bruise forming on her stomach, the red mark on her face from where he’d elbowed her, the stinging of her scalp where he’d pulled her head by the hair.

It was just the question of whether Shizuka and the man knew each other…

(-)

“Kayane!”

Looking away from Kuroi, to the black figure leaping off the pillar and racing toward the edge of the crevice bottom, jumping into the blinding white light and disappearing, Balmung bent to follow but was grabbed on the arm, by Rena.

“Hold on, you don’t know if that was Shi or not!”

“What do you want to do then? Not take a risk and end up having Kayane get hurt if she is over or take a risk and take down Shi?” No getting anything in response, he turned back toward the edge and scowled when Kuroi stood in the path.

They really weren’t going to let him pass by.

At least… Not without putting up a fight.

Raising his sword for what had to be the twentieth time in an hour, Balmung charged forward to attack.
I’m not going to let her die like Shi said as a good-bye.

“Try all you want… but you won’t be able to save her…She willdie…”

I won’t let her die… I can’t…

He took a swing at Kuroi, cutting through the fabric of his jacket.

I’ve already lost Ouka and Mireille… I won’t lose Kayane…

Kuroi laughed at the sudden quiet of the knight before him, extreme determination written on his face almost like a mask. It made Kuroi wonder just what the knight of the azure sky felt for the great Kayane.

I lost people who were my friends…

Running at Kuroi with twice the speed that Kuroi expected, Balmung brought his sword down on the side of his shoulder. He watched as he fell to the ground, then tightened the sword for another attack, lifting it up while setting a foot on Kuroi’s back.

And I will not lose one I love.

He lowered the blade quickly and swiftly…

~End Chapter Nine~

-Muwahaaahaa, I’m a bitch for ending it how I did, yes, but that is what I will hold you with until chapter 10 is finished by Moi. So… we find out that Kayane means more to Balmung than just a friend met over the Internet… or was it just a spur of the moment thought…?
Stay tuned to Find out!

-Arisa Niwatari
Sakura Blossoms – Chapter 8
Sakura Blossoms – Chapter 10