Heero had spent many an hour sitting
in the window that was best for over looking the palace
grounds, and had been doing so routinely since the events
between the other two mages in weeks prior. He had been
so lost in thought that he was unaware of being watched
by the other Mages. Though if he had noticed the group watching
him, most likely it would not have fazed him in the slightest.
"He's awfully quiet. He's barely
spoken a word today." Trowa whispered to the others
showing no real signs of concern in his voice. "Do
you think he'll agree to it?"
"This is a terrible shock to
him." Quatre pointed out to the water mage inwardly
knowing that he truly was. "We've pulled him back from
his eternal rest and flung him into a world he knows nothing
of. And as much as we have tried to help him adjust, he
continues to pull away."
"And considering what happened
the last time
I would not be surprised if he never
speaks to any of us again." Wufei said, recalling the
disaster in the courtyard as he idly rubbed the side of
"Can we just ask him so we can
get going?" Duo whined impatiently having let the incident
slip from his mind.
Without saying another word on the
matter, Quatre and the others walked up to Heero. Even as
they came closer, he still remained sitting on the windowsill
just staring at nothing. Quatre politely cleared his throat
not wanting to startle the sullen man too greatly.
"Excuse me, Heero." Quatre
said as politely and as calmly as he could. There was no
response from the Blood Mage so he gently continued to speak.
"We're going into town and well... we wanted to know,
if you would join us." The silent Mage shifted his
position enough to turn and face the others with his expressionless
Heero's dark eyes bore into Quatre
as if trying to figure out whether or not the gentle blonde
man had any ulterior motives. After a minute of silent uneasiness,
Heero spoke up to them, "Why?"
"Well," stammered Quatre
surprised that he even said a word to them, "You haven't
left the palace in several weeks. And we've learned that
there is a festival today in the marketplace. Please join
us..... You might feel better if you had a change of scenery."
"Hn." Heero seemed to growl
beneath his breath at the notion of having 'fun' while their
duty was to protect this palace and the people within.
"Oh forget him Quatre!"
Duo finally piped up annoyed by how depressed the blood
mage seemed. Turning on his heels to leave the boastful
fire mage flipped his braid back over his shoulder. "You
know he's going to say 'No', so let's just get going so
we can have some fun before we have to find our God Protectors."
Apparently patience is not one
of Duo's finer points. Heero thought, as his gaze shifted
to the Fire Mage as he stalked off down the hall.
Trowa and Wufei just shook their
heads at the lack of manners, while Quatre turned red and
quickly apologized for Duo's rudeness.
"I'm sorry Heero. Duo's one
to find trouble head on if he's not careful."
Sliding off the windowsill, Heero
calmly walked passed Quatre and the others, speaking nonchalantly,
"Well then, I guess we better go follow him to make
sure that doesn't happen."
* * *
By the time the others had caught
up with Duo, he was already passed the main gates of the
palace. Seeming to be in his own world he didn't even bother
to look back once to see as if anyone was following him.
The young blonde watched this and sighed before trying once
more to get the fire mages attention.
"Duo!" Quatre's voice called
out. "Wait up!" The Fire Mage paid no heed to
the others as he continued on ahead.
The four young men entered the market
and found it full of revelers who went about their businesses
enjoying the events of the day. Just ahead of them Duo cavorted
in the crowd, generally making an ass of himself where he
felt the situation needed his touch. The other mages, minus
Heero, let out a deep almost humiliated sigh at viewing
his behavior. Heero could only coldly narrow his eyes and
felt his teeth grind at Duo's actions.
A woman appearing to be in her mid-twenties
approached towards Duo's location quickly, darting through
the crowd as though in fear for her life. She turned her
head to look behind her and before she could turn it back
she ran straight into Duo, knocking him to the ground and
then falling on top of him.
"Hey watch it!" Duo yelled
rudely before realizing that it was a young woman who looked
at him in fear. Staring for a brief moment at the woman
in certain area he realized that there was something wrong
with her. Grabbing at her shoulders Duo tried to help the
young woman to her feet in hopes of helping out his lovely
maiden in distress. But when he touched her arms with his
hands, the woman screamed aloud.
"Let me go! Let me go!"
"It's okay! I'm not going to
hurt you!" Duo quickly said, seeing that the young
woman was obviously frightened and fearful. "I
he stressed once again seeing as how it didn't catch on
the first time, "
won't hurt you."
"Please Sir, you must help me."
She began in between soft whimpers of fear, "There
are men chasing me."
"Five or six, I can't be sure."
The young woman continued to look back over her shoulder
"Well, I can take them on easy.
Don't you worry Miss, I won't let anyone touch you."
Duo leered at the girl he now hugged to his chest somewhat
chauvinistically. The girl looked at him in shock that he
was so confident in his abilities and thus thanked him.
The other Mages quickly joined Duo having thus far witnessed
the events that began their holiday. Duo quickly filled
them in on what the young lady had told him and they positioned
themselves around her.
"Why are they chasing you?"
"I don't know Sir." The
young woman turned around frantically when she heard angry
voices getting closer and closer. "Please... you must
A group of men burst through the
crowd just in front of the five Mages and the terrified
woman. "There she is!" They heard one man yell
as he pointed to the woman. "Hey! You there! Don't
let that woman get away!"
. Don't let them
hurt me!" She pleaded, wrapping herself around Duo
and hiding her head in the crook of his neck. "I have
"We'll handle this." Duo
said seriously, making himself to be the maiden's hero and
"Stand aside!" One of the angry men shouted. "That
woman is nothing but a common thief!"
"She's stolen from all of us!"
Many of the men voiced out seeming just as angered.
"Shut up, you oafs." Duo
yelled out obscenities at the crowd as he curved his body
to shelter the woman from any attacks. The other Mages,
however, while still standing protectively around the two,
seemed perturbed by crowd's accusations.
"Hand her over now!" The
woman winced hearing the accusations slipped swiftly out
of Duo's arms and pushed her way passed her would-be protectors
and disappeared into the crowd.
"There she goes! Get her! Catch
"All of you... just leave this
to us." Heero said calmly, standing before the mob,
Wufei, Quatre, and Trowa standing in support behind him.
Duo stood staring in the direction that the woman had run
off, wondering how she disappeared so fast. "If what
you say is true, then we will bring her to justice. Not
some unruly mob."
"And what makes you so special
that you can order us around? We've never seen you around
Sanc before. Maybe you're working with her." The man
accused narrowing his eyes towards Heero and the others.
Heero narrowed his eyes at the ringleader,
taking a step closer to the man as if to see what he would
do to him. The bandages on Heero's arms slowly came to life
and worked their way toward the man.
"Mages..." One of the other
men whispered in shock. "They're all Mages..."
The leader of the group paled and
quickly bowed before Heero nervously. "Forgive me Sir.
I didn't realize... We will allow you to conduct your investigation."
A moment later the men turned and ran in the opposite direction.
"So, are we going after her?"
Wufei asked looking back towards the still stunned fire
"Only if what they say is true."
Heero answered in annoyance that this had to happen in the
"It's true." Trowa spoke
with a great calmness in his voice, as if it were no big
deal. "But those men were incorrect when they called
Lady Sylvia a 'Common Thief.' A criminal genius would have
been a more fitting title."
"How do you know, Trowa?"
"When she ran into Duo. She
grabbed his money." The taller Mage said nonchalantly,
as he watched Duo pat himself down looking for the stolen
purse. "I wasn't sure at first, but there were little
signs that tipped me off. Plus I thought she looked vaguely
familiar. When I was a child I met her. She stole every
scrap of money and valuable items the mercenary group I
was in had at the time. The captain swore if he ever saw
her again he would kill her, but we never did. She was incredible
then and that was over ten years ago. If she has gained
any skill since then, you can bet she has already gotten
what she came for, and is already gone."
"That bitch..." Duo muttered
under his breath realizing that Trowa's words where true.
"How could I have missed that?"
"She's good alright, but not
that good." Trowa replied, as he pulled Duo's purse
out from a hidden compartment in the scarf he wore around
his throat and tossed it to him. "Catch." The
others looked at Trowa closely, especially Quatre.
"But how...?" Wufei asked
wondering what else he didn't know about the taller water
"When she pushed passed to escape
those men. She made sure to bump into me. In the process
of trying to take my money, I took Duo's back."
"You mean you
"Some habits are hard to break,
* * *
Having turned aside the rabid crowd
of men, the five Mages went in search of the lovely female
pickpocket. Trowa continued to explain that she more than
likely was working with several others and that they should
be on their guard. The others agreed that they should, even
if she wasn't working with others only since her appearances
where very deceiving to begin with. This was not a matter
they wished to bring anyone else into.
It wasn't long before they found her
hiding place within a deserted alleyway. And Trowa was correct,
she was most definitely not alone. Surrounding the lovely
female thief had been at least thirteen men in various street
garbs. The young woman was laughing and handing out the
stolen money purses to the men.
"Now here's your share. You guys
just have one last task to do and I'll get the prize. Are
you ready?" As if on cue, the five Mages entered the
alleyway to break up this gathering of thieves.
"Give back those pouches you've
stolen!" Duo ordered in mild anger, while taking the
lead into the alley. The four other Mages followed closely
behind keeping watch on both the fire mage and the men with
the woman. Lady Sylvia and her band of thugs turned calmly
as if expecting their five new opponents. Sylvia carefully
moved behind her men and mockingly laughed at Duo.
"You want these?" She said
teasingly while holding up several string purses that hung
off her fingertips, "Come get them." She challenged
with a wild grin, as she no longer had the need to pretend
to be the meek young woman who had asked for their help
"Wha...? You don't think we
can handle you? You're just a girl and your men look to
be even less of a threat! Don't you know who we are?"
Before Duo could say anything more that would be foolish,
Heero placed a hand on the Fire Mage's shoulder.
"Don't." Heero said gently
towards the angered mage, the slightest of smiles crossing
his lips. "Let them find out for themselves who they
are dealing with." Duo's eyes smiled back soon understanding
what the Blood Mage was saying and nodded his head in agreement.
"Bring it on." Duo grinned
widely, his eyes flashing a deep purple.
they're all yours!"
The alleyway suddenly exploded with
commotion, as the combatants poured out into the busy market.
Each was armed with either a knife or their bare fists as
they charged forward. The Mages nodded towards one another
and prepared themselves for the incoming attacks.
* * *
Three men immediately set upon Heero
figuring him to be the leader of these do-gooders who dare
challenge their boss's authority. They rushed at Heero who
sidestepped this way and that, not giving the men a chance
to touch him. He showed no need for weapons or magic to
dispel these ruffians. Seeing it was obvious that their
attacks where unrefined and not as challenging as fighting
off demons. The rest of the Mages noticed that Heero was
able to handle himself and quickly scattered throughout
the market place, with groups of Lady Sylvia's men hot on
* * *
Duo led three more men on a merry
chase through the busy market place. He taunted them to
no end, making them even madder than they were before. Duo
leapt and dived over carts that were in the center of the
market place. Once out in the open and sure that the three
men were still behind him, Duo made his stand to face them.
The braided hair young man didn't have to wait long as the
three men burst through the crowd, pushing and shoving spectators
out of the way. A crowd of people hovered at the edge of
the market waiting in anticipation as the young man with
the flaming tip of hair waited with not a care in the world.
"There he is!" One pointed
"Get him!" The second shouted.
"Make fools out of us, will
he!" The first said.
The third man stood back as his companions
rushed the idle young man observing the fight at least for
the moment. The target just stood there as if he had no
fear at all continued to grin wildly.
Why is he so cocky? The third
thought seeing as how the braided boy ran from them only
moments before. Then he saw the braid whipping round and
round, and soon realized what they were going against.
* * *
Duo stood casually twirling his long
braid in his hand as he waited for his adversaries impatiently
then yawned. The tip of his braid left a fiery trail as
it was spun around in small circles. He looked up as he
heard the men shouting and smiled wide as if this where
nothing but a game. He readied himself as two of the men
came at him both with fists clenched tight. Duo noted the
third man falling behind and curiously watching the battle
for the moment. Since he wasn't actively fighting against
him, the Fire Mage decided to pay him very little attention
at least for now. The Fire Mage's eyes suddenly darkened
as his opponents descended upon him and his grin became
The first man charged towards the
stationary man with fist cocked back ready to fly. Duo dropped
his head down as the man drew near and released the burning
braid from his hand. The flaming tip of his hair whipped
around and smacked square into the man's chest setting his
clothing instantly on fire. Duo then threw his head back
up, flipping the larger man over his shoulder and back.
As Duo straightened up, the second thug plowed into him
knocking back and tripping him on the writhing body of the
previous attacker. As Duo fell back his feet kicked out
landing with a stomach-turning crunch in his attacker's
jaw. The man threw himself to the side howling in pain and
clutching his most likely broken jawbone.
The third man looked on as the high-spirited
mage quickly took down his comrades. Mages were never this
active and never this fast at least that was what they had
been led to believe. He looked around anxiously, and grabbed
a broken tent pole that lay on the ground nearby. He waited
until his opponent had climbed to his feet before crying
out a challenge and charging forward.
Duo froze as the man rushed towards
him, a long sharp-ended stick aimed straight for him. Glancing
quickly around, he could see nothing but the two men at
his feet. He dove and rolled off to the side as his assailant
made his first pass, barely missing Duo's chest as he came
by. As Duo sprang to his feet again he grabbed the cloth
wrap that had served as the belt of the man with the broken
jaw, and pulled it off from him. The last attacker swung
around and prepared to charge again as Duo ignited the length
of fabric in his hands.
The last man began his second pass, certain that the Mage
could have no place else to go, and no defenses left. But
as he ran, his certainty turned to terror as he watched
a simple piece of cloth quickly ignite and shape itself
into a short fiery scythe. The Mage wielded the simple weapon
expertly and unable to stop his charge, the man screamed
as the flame formed weapon sliced like butter through his
makeshift spear and half way through his shoulder.
* * *
Trowa had been caught off guard as
he tried to keep an eye on Quatre and defend himself as
well. The thieves had plowed into him, throwing him into
a seller's booth scattering its wears all over the place.
Killing the three men that had attacked him would be easy
enough, too easy for Trowa. However he knew that if he did
so, Quatre would become upset and he knew he would be unable
to face those sky-filled eyes. The very same ones that did
nothing more then only reflected back the Wind Mage's true
feelings. Throwing off one of his attackers into a small
cart, he grabbed a second by the collar and swung him into
the third as he scrambled to get up from the broken pieces
of the cart. The first charged towards him again, with his
fist aimed at Trowa's face. Trowa looked up narrowing his
eyes as he met the charge and blocking the man's clumsy
swing, he quickly drove his own fist straight into his assailant's
* * *
"Please, I don't want to hurt
you." Quatre said taking a step back from the two men
whom approached him. The Wind Mage continued to back away
from the two advancing thieves acting as if he was truly
worried about confronting them. Both men had easily outweighed
Quatre by at least 300 pounds. The men laughed at Quatre's
comment of 'not wanting to hurt them' and briefly looked
at each other with a sinister look upon their faces, then
charged the delicate looking man. Shaking his head with
a heavy sigh, Quatre threw his hands out in front of him
and a blast of wind toward his would be assailants. Just
as the two men came into range of Quatre's attack, they
were picked up off their feet and thrown back several yards
by the force of the winds. "Stop this now!" Quatre
yelled at the two men as they were moved further away. "I
don't want to be forced to hurt you!"
The men looked up from their landing
place and saw storm clouds start to spiral inward towards
each other. As they combined, the winds began to surround
the slender formed Mage on the ground, who seemed to be
centered just beneath them as their fulcrum. His head was
lowered in concentration and they could hear the murmur
of his voice just above the rush of wind that began to pick
* * *
Trowa noticed the sudden increase
in wind and quickly glanced back to where Quatre stood.
His gaze was quickly forced back as one of his attackers
tackled him from behind, throwing him to the ground. As
he struggled to get up, his eyes once again came to a brief
rest on Quatre's image. The rush of the wind around him
blurred the delicate figure but it was obvious to tell that
he was in there. His eyes were squeezed tight in concentration,
so he did not see the four larger men forcing their way
over through the gale forces that tore and turn.
"Quatre!" Cried the immobilized
Mage. "Quatre you are..." Trowa struggled furiously
against the man who was now sitting on his back. His assailant
had grabbed a length of rope from where he landed earlier
and was now using it to choke Trowa. The wolf like Mage
clawed at the rope to no avail, it was too tight against
his throat. In a last ditch attempt, he tried to roll underneath
his attacker in order to get the pressure off his neck.
Half way around he realized his imminent danger of being
punched and pummeled in a less advantageous position. Looking
up he also saw the storm clouds swirling above. His eyes
widened as an idea came to him.
* * *
Quatre knew the four men were approaching
him, but he was not ready yet to implement his plan. He
continued to concentrate and let the wind lift him into
the air until he was hovering about three feet off the ground.
He tightened the swirl of the wind around him until it was
traveling at an immense speed but in a radius of only a
foot beyond his body.
Feeling the pressure they were fighting
against slack off, the four men rushed toward the hovering
Mage, drawing short swords and daggers from within the folds
of their clothing.
* * *
Trowa shot a mental cry into the sky
above and the clouds rolled as thunder cracked and suddenly
rain began to fall. The man pounding on Trowa stopped and
snarled in pain as a single raindrop fell past his cheek,
slicing it with a scalpel's delicacy. The attacker brought
up one hand and touched his cheek. Pulling back his hand,
he found the side of his face bleeding. He seemed confused
about what he saw. Trowa looked up into the man's eyes and
smiled grimly. He was unable to move because the attacker's
knees had pinned his arms. Then without warning, the rain
began to fall quite rapidly on the two of them.
Biting back a cry of pain as a silver
raindrop shot through his thigh and another nicked his ankle.
Still the water mage remained focus on staying alive long
enough to help Quatre fend off his attackers. But it was
the man on top of him that bore the brunt of his attack
as it became far worse. It had only been moments later when
the rain slowed to a stop and Trowa rolled the man's limp
form off of himself.
* * *
As Quatre's four adversaries reached
striking range, the fair skinned man shot straight into
the air disappearing from sight. He paused briefly about
fifty feet above his surprised attackers who searched the
sky for him. Looking down, he watched with a brief concern
as Trowa picked himself up off the ground, the body of a
man at his feet. Thus assured that his companion was safe
he allowed him-self to return his focus to the task at hand.
Chanting softly Quatre gently flicked his wrist, which caused
the upward draft beneath him to dissipate.
The first man hit the ground screaming
in agony, his left shoulder was broken and twisted at a
sickening angle behind him. Quatre had dropped from the
sky at an immense speed, the protective wind acted as his
shield while he plowed into the first of his attackers.
The wind mage flew passed in a heartbeat using the shielding
winds to give him a sense of slight levitation. As he came
to the second man he latched onto his arm and swung sharply
around. The man was shocked, for now his sword hand swiftly
became caught in Quatre's grip. Now helpless to do anything
as he was wrenched around and slammed into a stone obelisk
in the center of the market. The other two men disappeared
into the crowd before Quatre was able to make a third pass.
Quatre gently set down
next to Trowa and made a quick inspection of the taller
Mage's throat and his other injuries. Determining that no
serious damage had been done, Quatre sent Trowa off after
the two fleeing men as he began to clean up the mess that
had been created by the fury of his wind based attacks.
* * *
Wufei's face was extremely grim as
he sidestepped and dodged the punches thrown at him. To
him the two rugged looking men had been far too slow and
too easy to disarm in this fight. This was just like another
exercise that his Master would have put him through for
training, except for one small difference. Wufei's current
ability and speed had kept the two men busy and he noticed
that the two were tiring quickly as they continued trying
to touch the smaller man. This feeble display left Wufei
empty on the inside, for within his heart he knew his true
challenge awaited him somewhere in the darkness of the shadows.
The very same dark shadows that had ruined village after
village within the last few weeks.
It was too dangerous to call forth
Nataku in the market place, since there was the chance of
others who had nothing to do with this to become injured.
Besides, she liked having to deal with crowds even less
than he did. He would have to dispatch these villains another
way so this display of skill versus lack of skill would
be finished swiftly. To him they were no different from
the countless children and adults who had tormented the
young lightning mage in his youth. Their attacks were easily
quelled and Wufei stood there watching as the two men left,
fleeing in a cowardice retreat.
* * *
In the confusion of all the fighting,
the young woman smiled from her vantage point. For she had
been positioned high upon the rooftops of a nearby building,
which had been over looking the market below. Sylvia smiled
and shook her head as she watched her thugs being taken
down by two of the Mages who had challenged her. Her men
were working out perfectly, although she was certain they
would look on their role in her plot a little less favorably.
In that regards she didn't even care, to her they where
nothing more then pawns for her amusement. Her eyes scanned
the rest of the marketplace until she found the right person
she was looking for. Pulling the hood of her cloak that
she wore up and over her head and then wrapping an additional
scarf around her throat to conceal her features even more,
she turned her back on the activities below and jumped from
the roof into the crowd disappearing from sight.
* * *
Wufei came running around the corner
when he heard cries of help worrying that innocent lives
where dragged into this battle. Upon arriving closer he
discovered the Wind Mage Quatre standing there quietly talking
to one of the sellers in the market.
"Quatre, are you alright?"
Wufei asked, slightly winded having pushed himself to try
and reach the once endangered shopkeeper.
"I'm just fine." The blond
haired man answered with a warm smile, has he handed the
young woman in the booth some money for all the trouble
she had to endure with. "I'll take this one. Thank
you." Quatre bowed and tucked a slightly damaged book
under his arm for safekeeping. To him this was the least
he could do for dragging the young lady into such a horrible
"What happened to the..."
"Oh, they're about." Quatre
smiled towards his new friend, pointing a finger above the
street casually as if it was nothing unusual. Wufei followed
the direction of Quatre's finger as well has his gaze upward,
then smiled coyly back at the Wind Mage who continued smiling
as he spoke. "Trowa went after the other two."
"You're good. I would not have
thought you would do such a thing."
"Thank you." Quatre said
bowing modestly with a shy grin upon his gentle features.
"Shall we find the others?"
As the two Mages walked off, high
above the market, and clinging for dear life were two of
the thieves that attacked Quatre only moments earlier. One
held up the other who seemed unable to use his left arm
and wobbled a bit from his perched location. Both had been
far too terrified to look down from the top of the obelisk
in the center of the market place.
* * *
Heero looked at the circle of men
brandishing swords and knives with a calm expression upon
his face. Most of the crowd had left this area, although
there had gathered a few small clusters of spectators huddled
in protective debris of shop stalls. That of course was
his only reason for being unable to avoid the three men
who were attacking him, but he wasn't one to let a situation
escalate into something he couldn't handle. When the thugs
that attacked him were joined by more of their band, it
seemed that his fate was sealed.
"Give up while you can!"
Called out one of the bandits in a gruff yet smug voice,
"There is no way you could possibly defeat all of us."
Heero smiled harshly as he slowly
drew out a six-inch dagger from a concealed sheath at his
side. He shook his head when he saw Trowa wend his way towards
him from one of the larger crowds of onlookers. As if he
really needed any assistance in disposing of these foes.
Heero focused on emptying his mind of all thoughts other
than the seven men positioned around him.
Lady Sylvia gasped as the young dark-haired
man raised a small dagger into the air then quickly brought
it down again, burying it deep into his chest. This would
be easier than she thought, but it was shocking that a purported
Mage of no small power would give up his life with so little
a fight. Narrowing her eyes slightly she could not bring
herself to look away from the events that followed.
Heero fell to his knees, his hands
clutching at the hilt of his dagger. Blood trickled down
the blade and onto the hilt, seeping between Heero's fingers.
The rasping pain in his breathing seemed deafening in the
suddenly silent marketplace.
"Wait, Heero!" Trowa cried
out in horror seeing the heavily bleeding mage. He plunged
through the ranks of Heero's adversaries and rushed to the
crumpled Mage's side. Heero's survival was of great importance
and spoke with a hint of nervousness in his voice, "I'll
go get Quatre!"
away from me!"
Heero choked out painfully, blood bubbling from between
his teeth with every breath. Waving Trowa off with a bloody
hand, Heero continued to speak, "I can't contain them
ahhg!" He panted in agony as he continued
to warn his ally, "Get away from me now!"
Trowa had started to back off quickly
but not nearly quick enough. From Heero's hunched form,
came what seemed to be hundreds of bandages, which shot
forth in every direction latching onto anything living around
him. The bandages wrapped themselves frantically onto Heero's
attackers. Trowa brought his hands up in defense as several
of Blood Mage's wrappings caught him as well, catching his
arms and legs. The tall Mage pulled and struggled to free
himself, as did those around him. Trowa had seen what the
Blood Mage's bandages were capable of doing to a person
from having witnessed the fight between Duo and Wufei. The
quiet Water Mage did not wish such a fate upon himself.
Heero's body spazmed and jerked him
to his feet against his will. His scream was unearthly as
his back arched and his hands, unbidden wrenched the offending
dagger from between his ribs. The Blood Mage's arms were
outstretched to at his sides, as his wrappings moved and
coiled on their own snaring everything in its path.
Lady Sylvia crept towards one of
her now almost motionless men wrapped in Heero's strange
bandages. A single tendril un-looped itself from the man's
torso and drifted sinuously toward her outstretched hands.
With a blinding swiftness, she sliced through the wrapping
with a tiny silver dagger in her right hand and with her
left she scooped up the writhing bandage into a concealed
box in her cloak. Having completed her task, she melted
once again into the shadows of the crowd behind her and
* * *
A crowd gathered at the entrance
of the alleyway talking amongst themselves as they looked
on in horror at what lay within. Having pulled Duo away
from a half dozen or so young ladies, who marveled at the
way the Fire Mage had dispatched the thieves, the three
remaining Mages made their way back toward the alleyway
and where Heero and Trowa had last been seen. As they neared
it, the talkative crowd slowly quieted down and parted making
way for the three Mages to walk through. There was an uneasy
calm that hung thick in the crowd as they passed. As they
neared the opening of the alley, Quatre was the first to
see what the crowd was gawking at - nine motionless bodies
literally scattered about like forgotten rag dolls. Duo
walked into Quatre, since he wasn't paying attention at
time. His reasons for being a distraction was his boastful
bantering at Wufei, whom was trying to ignore the chatty
Mage and remain calm.
"Quatre? Why'd you stop?"
Duo asked curiously looking at the back of the blonde mages
When Quatre didn't answer Duo and
Wufei exchanged glances and looked around and past their
fellow Mage. The fair-haired Mage continued to say nothing
as he ran into the alleyway. He quickly knelt beside Trowa's
still form and placed a trembling hand on the still Mage's
cheek. His skin was still warm. Quatre relaxed his mind
as he touched Trowa's face. The empathic Mage sighed in
relief finding that Trowa was uninjured, just only in a
deep sleep. Quickly glancing over at Heero, Quatre saw the
bloodied dagger on the ground lying within arms reached.
" The others
heard Quatre say as he gently rolled Heero onto his back
to examine the wound in his chest. Quatre lightly touched
the blood soaked tunic and found the entry wound. As he
had thought, the wound was already healed. Softly he sighed
and spoke low for Heero to hear, "
there was no
need for such extreme measures
"Quatre!" Wufei called out
as he remained at the other fallen mages side. "Trowa's
"What about these guys?"
Duo asked, as he knelt over one the unconscious thieves
and poked at the still man with his finger almost childishly.
"Go find the authorities and
have them arrested." Quatre replied looking calmly
at Duo not wishing to discuss this openly at the moment.
* * *
A young woman walked with utmost confidence
into Treize's private chamber within the palace. She stood
patiently as she waited for Treize to make his appearance.
Glancing about the room, she began admiring all the little
trinkets and art that adorned the room.
"You return so quickly?"
Treize said, as he entered the chambers, his long cloak
rustling behind him with the sound of flapping bat wings.
" The woman
said loyally, as she bowed before the Demon. "I have
brought what you have requested. Something that belongs
to your enemy." From within the folds of her cloak,
she produced a small wooden box and stepped forward just
enough for him to see more clearly. Holding the box out
in front of herself, she opened its lid and showed Treize
Treize's eyes narrowed and he smiled
cruelly as he looked up from the box to the face of the
young woman. "Yes, I can feel his magic within it.
You have done very well. Better even than I would have expected.
You will have to impart how you managed to get hold of something
that is more than likely the core of his very being."
"Thank you My Lord." Sylvia
smiled then beamed towards the demon, bowing again as she
replaced the lid upon the box. "Of course I will tell
you everything I know."
* * *
The Empress found the five Mages
sitting together in what was most appropriately named the
'Sun Room' of the castle. Since it was one of the few rooms
within the palace walls that let in enough light that you
felt as if you where sitting outside. It had been almost
a week since the incident in the Market Place but almost
everyone knew. The news had been spread fast like a wild
fire throughout the Kingdom. This news of course had been
that the Empress had brought together five Mages, but for
what purpose no one really knew. Though with speculation
and rumors spreading as swiftly as the news, she felt now
was the best time to dispel all false rumors and let the
truth be put into light.
Upon reaching the room, Empress Relena
made sure to dismiss her personal guards as she entered.
The Five Mages stood as she came into the room and bowed
to her. Looking upon their faces she knew that she was in
no better hands then theirs. Additional guards would simply
be nothing more then additional bodies where there could
be other matters to attend to, which is what she calculated
thus off they went.
"You're Highness." They
collectively said as they stood up better.
"Gentlemen." She smiled
warmly as she continued to look upon each of their faces,
"Won't you join me for a walk in the garden?"
* * *
Relena walked within the garden,
her hand resting on Heero's arm. Though inwardly she felt
her heart flutter by the attention and their current closeness
to the former Earth Mage. But it was he who had spoken first
to ask if he could escort her, and so she accepted. The
others walked loosely behind the pair to give them space
but had also been listening to what she had to say. "Tomorrow
you five will set out on a journey that will hopefully save
our Kingdom." Her voice was soft and delicate, but
held tight with worry. "You must do this as quickly
as possible. Everyday, I receive more and more news of towns
and villages being attacked. The people of this Kingdom
look to me for guidance and I am at a loss to help them."
"Do you know who is responsible
for the attacks, Empress?" Quatre asked as he felt
his heart sank within his chest at the memory from the dying
woman he once held in his arms. If more had to have suffered
so greatly as she did then he had to do what he could to
prevent more tragedies from occurring.
Relena regrettably shook her head
in answer to the Wind Mages question. "Many of the
attacks continue to come at night as you have seen for yourselves
from that one village you had gone to. So no one sees what
actually happens during that time." The Empress sighed
with a deep sadness towards how helpless she felt while
her people suffered, "Only twice have there been attacks
during the day and those villages were completely slaughtered."
She sounded as though her voice would crack and tears would
begin to fall but carefully held back to regain composure.
"Not one eye witness?"
Wufei asked almost shocked that not a single person was
"Not one that has survived.
There have been conflicting reports as to whom or what is
doing this horrible thing to our people. It's heartless
and this enemy must be stopped and stopped soon. For I fear
something more terrible is on its way."
* * *
A high-pitched whistle from near
by caught the attentions of both Heero and Trowa first.
Both Mages stopped suddenly and listened to try and locate
the direction in which the sound originated.
"The trees!" Trowa yelled
the moment he realized where as he pointed toward a small
grove on the Castle's Estate. Pulling out a pair of daggers
from beneath his wrap, Trowa made no hesitation as he launched
them into the nearby grove. As quickly as he had thrown
the knives, he brought up an ice barrier, covering their
small party with all intent on keeping the Empress protected.
Upon it's creation a hail of arrows that where nothing more
then just a sound moments ago, bounced harmlessly off the
"Get down!" Heero exclaimed
loudly, as he pushed Relena to the ground and covered her
with his body.
"What's happening?" Relena
asked with worry in her voice.
"How many Trowa?" Heero
inquired, still not moving from his present location. Until
he was positive it was safe for Relena to stand once more.
"At least four attackers."
"Check it out!" the stoic
blood mage ordered.
The Water Mage nodded his head at
the order then motioned with his hand. "Wufei, Duo
"Are you all right Empress?"
Quatre asked as he examined her for injuries. Heero slowly
stood at attention, scanning the grounds for anything out
of the unusual. He brought up a shield as well, protecting
himself, Relena, and Quatre from any further attacks.
a bit." She tried to smile, obviously disturbed by
the whole incident. "What's going on?"
"It looks like our enemy knows
who we are and doesn't want us to find the God Protectors.
That, and they want you out of the way as well." Heero
"How can that be?" Relena
asked in shock that someone could have guessed what she
was going to ask of the mages. "I have made no announcements
of our plans."
"The Market Place!" Quatre
said in horror as it suddenly dawned on him, "It must
have been Lady Sylvia."
that is possible."
Heero replied still grim as to the situation. As the other
three Mages headed back toward them, he noticed that one
was carrying a body with them. Palace guards ran toward
the Empress as they heard the yelling from the garden. Though
their appearance and assistance was a few moments too late.
The unidentified man was dropped
at the feet of the Empress. A dagger that had been thrown
by the water mage currently remained protruding out of his
"Do you recognize him?"
The Blood Mage asked in general seeing as how Trowa had
known of Lady Silvia before hand.
" She said shaking
her head, horrified by the man's grim look. "I have
never seen him before."
Turning to the guards that arrived,
Heero addressed them, "Take the Empress back indoors.
Keep her away from all windows until we return. Quatre go
with them." Once Relena was safely indoors, Heero turned
and addressed the others still with him. "Anyone else?"
Heero asked slightly glancing Trowa in hopes that the group
"No. I was only able the catch
one and part of a second's cloak."
"We need to split up and search
the grounds for anything out of the unusual." Ordered
Heero once more not wanting these thugs to get away with
a near attempt on the Empress's life.
* * *
It was some time after
the attack on the Empress's life that a strange young man,
dressed in a semi-loose green tunic and pants had appeared
before the castle gates. Remaining behind him, a snow-white
steed with two strange shapes draped over its back stood
patiently as it casually glanced around the area. The gates
opened before the young man after a short wait, allowing
both he and the beast to enter within the castle walls.
Heero stood just inside the gates
and watched as the boy made his way toward him. The gate
guards had told them that someone had wished to specifically
speak with the Empress on a matter of great importance.
The other Mages were there, as well standing just behind
him, save Quatre, who had remained inside to make sure the
Empress had suffered no hidden injuries.
"Who are you, and what business
do you have here today." Heero questioned coldly, wary
of the figure that now appeared in his view.
The young man smiled slightly and
bowed his head in deepest respect. "And a good morrow
to you Lord Heero. I have come to visit with the Empress
Relena." Even though the man looked very young, his
manner and the way he spoke were archaic, reminding Heero
of a strange familiarity from his previous life.
"Who are you?" Heero repeated
trying not to waiver from the memories of old. "And
how do you know who I am?"
Again the man smiled in a slight manner.
"When I was but a little child upon my mother's knee,
she told me of a young warrior with a pure heart who would
save the Kingdom when he found the God Protector, Wing Gundam.
A year later she was killed in the battle which determined
the fate of the Sanc Kingdom." Lifting his gaze to
meet Heero's the young man spoke again, "As has always
been my family's role, my mother showed you the resting
place of the God Protector Wing Gundam. I am called Thea.
Empress Relena summoned me here today most likely for the
purpose of leading you each to your God Protectors."
"You're Amara Sinha's child?"
He said inwardly surprised as looked upon the young man
before him, though his face did not show such emotion his
eyes told of his expression, "I remember her. She was
a trusted friend." The fond memories came back quickly
as Heero remembered the Elvin maiden. She had been his friend
and confidante in his past life. Amara had been a dear and
perhaps his only friend for which he could talk to when
things became too rough for him.
"She was a good woman and her
memories live on at our village. She like you, dear warrior,
has become a great legend within our homes and hearts."
Thea replied gently, shaking his head for a moment then
quickly changed the subject. "I believe these two men
whom you are looking for." Looking over his shoulder
and whistling like a songbird in the wind, the white steed
trotted up toward Heero. Draped across its back with two
men with short arrows sticking out of their bodies.
Trowa and the others moved up and
removed the dead bodies from the animals back. The Water
Mage noticed a tear in one of the men's cloak as he settled
the corpse onto the ground. Studying the tear more carefully
he knew immediately that this was the man his dagger had
come close to hitting.
"It's them Heero." Trowa
said confidently as he stood up once again and looking back
towards the Blood Mage. "Word will not get back to
our enemies now."
* * *