“That power…it’s the same as his…the one that destroyed my home…Lapis.”
Fiethsing turned over the words again and again in her mind as she, Zero, Millium, Kaguya, Charlotte, and Lunya made for the northern mountains to rescue Lumia. The air turned cold as the party followed the path across the plains. The road to the north was not one frequented by most, the mountains were known to be unforgiving and the old stories of strange metal men wandering them kept the superstitious away.
“That strange power...” Fiethsing muttered in thought. Lumia’s abduction was too timely an event to be isolated. Coupled with Fiethsing’s own premonitions of the ever nearing future, she was certain something big was about to begin.
Fiethsing walked over to Zero and pulled on her sleeve. “Zero, I gotta ask you something.”
“What is it, Fieth?”
“I want to take Kaguya on a separate mission.”
“Why?” Fiethsing winced at the question. She knew if it wasn’t a good enough reason, Zero would never approve. A thousand years had done little to temper her strict demeanor.
“I’ve got a feeling something big is coming. We’re going to need the other sages. I don’t think it’d be wise for us to concentrate all our efforts on rescuing Lumia. The four of you is more than enough. Kaguya needs to meet with the other sages before things get bad.”
“Me? But I’ve never even seen them before.” Kaguya stuck her head in between the two conversing women. She had been eavesdropping. Fiethsing knew her words to be untrue, but not a lie. Kaguya had met them before, in a previous life. It was important for Kaguya to recover the memories of her previous incarnation to reach her full potential, and meeting with the other sages could prove a key event in that regard. Even Zero couldn’t deny that.
“Well...alright.” Zero shot a distrustful look at Lunya who was strolling ahead of the rest of the party.
“Its fine, it’s fine.” Fiethsing assured her. “If things get bad, just signal us and we’ll be there in no time, I promise.”
“You never keep your promises, Fieth.” Zero practically sighed as the words left her mouth.
“What? Don’t lie!” Fiethsing said. Lunya’s body twitched noticeably at the word ‘lie’. Fiethsing had suspicions about the girl, but didn’t doubt that her intentions were sincere. Whatever she was before, she was an ally now, and they needed all the help they could get.
“Anyway, if you’ve got no problem with it, Kaguya and I will be splitting off from you all when the path diverges up ahead. If all goes well, we’ll all meet back at the Light Palace.”
After a short time, the group of six arrived at the forking path and Kaguya and Fiethsing split off from the group, following a thin dusty road westward towards a dark forest.
“Are you sure they’ll be okay? I’m worried about Charlotte.” Kaguya frowned as she spoke.
“We’ll have to trust them. She’s got Zero with her, so I’m sure she’ll be fine. Zero’s too stubborn to let anything exciting happen anyway.” Fiethsing joked.
“Well...okay.” Kaguya still looked remorseful to part with her new friend.
“Our journey is bound to be far more dangerous anyway.” Fiethsing said. Kaguya, startled, nearly choked from the surprise. It took a moment of coughing before she could for the words.
“What?” She wheezed at last.
Kaguya had never seen the western forests before, but could still sense the unnatural gloom that hung upon the place. Thick fog wafted through the air and seemed to form shapes that would grasp at her from the corner of her eye. The forest floor was matted with mud and damp leaves, and the only life that appeared to be growing were the large pale mushrooms that littered the ground.
Fiethsing hadn’t said anything since the two had entered the forest. Kaguya looked worriedly to at her, but didn’t say anything either. The silence weighed upon the two.
“We’ve got a visitor. He’s been following us ever since we split from the others.” Fiethsing said at last.
“A visitor?” Kaguya looked up, confused.
“He’s been keeping himself hidden, but the winds told me of his presence.” Fiethsing stopped in her tracks. “Your magic can’t hide you, creature! Great Holy Sealing Wave!”
A pulse of green light lept out from Fiethsing and passed over the nearby area. A small distance from the two, the wave seemed to bend around something invisible. The ripple of magic then contorted itself around the space, removing whatever magic concealed their pursuer.
All at once, the man appeared. His skin was pale, and his hair was grey. His eyes shone a deep and sinister shade of crimson. Somehow he looked both aged and young, as though his existence had been stretched across many lifetimes. A thin smile revealed sharp fangs on either side of his mouth. A vampire.
“Quite impressive of you to notice me.”
“Invisibility doesn’t make you intangible. To the wind, you’re as visible and anything else. Who are you?”
“I, am Mikage Seijuro.” the vampire introduced himself with a bow. He regarded the two so casually, it was as if they were guests in his home.
“Never heard of you. There were vampires in these lands long ago, but they were not of this world and were sealed away. Can I assume you aren’t from this world either?”
“A reasonable assumption. But I see there’s another question you want to ask isn’t there? ‘Friend or foe’?”
“What? It’s obvious you’re an enemy!” Kaguya hastily shouted a response. Fiethsing motioned for her to be still and quiet.
“We need information, not a fight.” The sage whispered to the girl, then she spoke again to Mikage Seijuro. “I don’t really think you’re an ally, but it doesn’t seem like you’re looking for a fight either. Are you waiting for something?”
“How terribly perceptive of you. One as sharp as you only comes around once every hundred years or so.”
“I’d prefer if you made it once every thousand years. What are you doing on this world?”
”What will you do if I tell you?” Seijuro’s confident expression didn’t falter for a moment.
“I guess that depends on what you say.” Fiethsing sneered.
“Father, may I kill them now?” A younger voice, as confident as its father’s called from behind Seijuro. A small girl, no taller than Kaguya, stepped out from her father’s shadow.
“Shara?” Seijuro asked, making it clear the girl really hadn’t been there until just a moment before. “I don’t think...Actually it’s been a while since I’ve let you have any fun. I suppose it’d be alright.”
“Thank you father.” Shara stretched her arms. “I’m feeling a bit anemic. So you guys are gonna be lending me some blood!” Shara pulled back the long flowing sleeves of her kimono and brought a white hand to her mouth. With a sadistic smile, she bit her thumb, and a single, pale drop of blood fell from it and splashed on the damp ground. Almost immediately a large angry looking horned creature coalesced from mist at the spot where the blood had fallen.
“Summoning magic.” Fiethsing observed.
“Oni! Go get ‘em!” Shara commanded, and the creature called an oni, charged toward Fiethsing and Kaguya with a furious cry.
“Uwahh! What’s with that? So creepy!” Kaguya exclaimed. Fiethsing looked to Kaguya.
“I think it’s kind of cute. But I guess you’re still too young to appreciate such things. Alright, it’s been a while since I got in a fight, so I guess I’ll go over the basics. We’ve got some weird blood mist that summoned a big oni guy, what do you do, Kaguya?”
“What? Don’t just leave me here!” Fiethsing shouted.
“Fine~...how about, uh, defeat the oni?”
“Do you really think you’re going to overpower that giant?”
“Then...its gotta be the mist right?” Kaguya pointed past the charging creature to the trail of mist connecting the oni to the point where it had first appeared, just in front of Shara.
“Correct! Summoning is difficult stuff so a lot of people will use some kind of channeling focus. For this girl it seems like its her weird blood mist. We just have to sever it.” Fiethsing clapped her hands together, then thrusted one arm out. A spiraling stream of wind burst from it, passing the oni and tearing through the trail of mist, blowing it away. The effect was immediate, the summoned creature faded back into crimson fog.
“Vampires might be immortal, but you’re still just a kid in terms of spellwork.” Fiethsing taunted.
“What?! Why don’t you try saying that when you’re dead!” Shara furiously shouted. She lunged forward, quickly gliding across the air to strike Fiethsing.
“That’s enough Shara!” Another female voice boomed from behind her. An older looking vampiress had appeared when no one was looking. Her hair was darker than Shara’s, but she bore the same blood red eyes.
“But!” Shara began to protest.
“You can’t win against that woman.”
“....Very well, sister.” Shara said acidly. Shara returned to Seijuro’s side. Fiethsing reasoned she must be the youngest if she was being ordered around by the other girl. Suddenly Fiethsing was reminded of Zero. She was the youngest sage, but much stronger that this girl. The elvish sorceress sighed.
“Really should have said more to her before I left...” Fiethsing paused for a moment. “Kaguya?”
“You can hit them now. She tried to hit us, it’s only fair.” Fiethsing gave the girl a smirk. Truthfully Fiethsing didn’t expect a fight to break out, Seijuro had let Shara attack to test their strength, now it was their turn.
“Wahahaha! It’s about time!” Kaguya dusted off her hands. “Phantom moon power!” Kaguya raised her staff to the sky, and all at once a large shimmering moon appeared in the sky. Like Shara’s blood, the moon was Kaguya’s focus. A bit harder to sever than the vampire girls, Fiethsing thought smugly. The massive orb’s pale light pierced through the heavy shadows that permeated the forests, clearly illuminating the vampires.
“Take this! Super Moon Beam!”
From the illusory moon, rained down dozens of streaks of light, that burst with magical power upon impact with the ground.
“That’s not even a beam!” Shara protested.”
“Shara, Rinka, come here, quickly!” Seijuro said sternly, his calm facade breaking for a moment. His two daughters stepped into his shadow and the three faded into a silhouette on the forest floor. The shadow attempted to dodge the bombardment but was still struck by one of the many falling rays. After a moment, the spell ended and the three emerged from the ground. It was clear they had been hurt. Not mortally, but enough to be visible. However, their wounds seemed to be healing themselves with no trace of magic being cast.
“Wh-what? That’s not fair!” Kaguya pouted.
“Well then, I think we’ve both got an adequate appraisal of each other, for now anyway.” Fiethsing smiled at Seijuro.
“What?!” Kaguya exclaimed.
“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Seijuro grinned slyly.
“What?!” Shara echoed Kaguya’s sentiments.
“Well then.” Seijuro turned his back on the two. “I think it’s time we leave. I expect we’ll meet again soon.” With that, the vampire and his two daughters turned to shadow again and disappeared from sight.
“What just freaking happened!?” Kaguya practically screamed.
“Haha, I’m not all that sure either.” Fiethsing shrugged. “But I don’t think he’s our enemy. At least, not for the moment.”
“Huh? Why?” Kaguya asked, as the light from the phantasmal moon still poured down from the sky.
“What kind of enemy wastes time letting the opponent test their power? When you thought they were enemies, you wanted to strike full power right away, didn’t you?”
“I see...I guess you’re right.” Kaguya muttered, clearly still pondering the entire encounter.
“Kaguya.” Fiethsing took a deep breath. “Things are only going to get more serious from here on.”
“Wasn’t that already pretty serious?”
“He was certainly some kind of irregular being, but this is just the beginning.”
“Blech, I’m tired just thinking about it” Kaguya slouched.
Fiethsing looked as though she wanted to respond, but whatever she wanted to say was cut off by a horrible sound that pierced through the skies. It seemed to echo from every corner of the world. The noise was almost indescribable, it sounded like a deep bellowing sound, but it had a weight to it, it was palpable. Kaguya’s illusory moon and the sky around it bent and shuddered, collapsing inwards upon themselves to form an immense tear in the plane. Air sped into the vacuum that suddenly appeared. At last the noise seemed to die down, but the sensation never truly faded. From the rift, dozens, if not hundreds, of otherworldly, floating vessels, each large enough to carry a small city, emerged from the planar gap.
“Wh-what is that?” Kaguya stood dumbfounded, the unimaginable weight of power billowing out from the rift was overwhelming her.
“I...don’t know.” Fiethsing answered, equally stunned. “But I’d guess this is where things get serious.”
-Lore written by Rajadeem the Seer, last of his order
Part 9 Curse of the Frozen Casket
Kaguya's Adventure In The Light Palace
Kaguya and the gang make for the Light Palace with urgent news.