viii. Presage

I.vii

Disclaimer/s: Art is from Alice from Zerochan. It’s an entry for Touhou’s Kaguya Houraisan. All credits for this art goes to each respective owners.

Some of these parts were written by Parad1gm. Half of the credit goes to him.


 

Arcadian Capital Regalia, Market Commons…

 

          Walking out of the store and awaiting upon his magical companion, Azrael let his thoughts stew a bit, looking up into the sky.

 

          Today is Resha’s big day – her coronation day. And he will become her royal guard. And then Yuhan shows up in town. With a small smile, the Knight began to recall all their fun adventures around the Academy of Magic, dashing through the gardens and listening to Resha coo in wonder at the many different floral citizens within it. They would all watch Yuhan perform small feats of magic, some of which were very advanced for his younger age. And finally, Azrael would boast and show off his amazing strength, some of the guards and other knights have taken aback by a mere child’s prowess. Such fun memories and now they all would be together again. Azrael patted at the necklace he had purchased, feeling a bit excited and impatient to give it to Resha. Would she like it? He hoped.

 

          Yuhan hurriedly tried to catch up to Azrael’s pace. The young sorcerer almost tripped on his feet as he ran outside Ms. Karla’s shop, eliciting a few giggles from some of the people who saw him. Pathetic, yes, but Yuhan could not help it. He may look calm and composed most of the time, however, when it comes to issues regarding Resha, he could be out of it. He was not even sure what or why it was; it was something that Yuhan really did not take the time to decipher or anything. Perhaps he was just that excited to see the princess. Ah, how long has it been since he last saw her.

 

          “W – Wait up, Azrael!” he yelled at his knight friend as he weaved his way through the large crowd of people on the streets. Yes, he may be one of Sol Academy’s best sorcerers, but when it comes to anything physical or stamina based, Yuhan can be quite lacking. As expected of a sorcerer. The capital was filled enough with different kinds of people flocking to witness Princess’ Resha’s coronation and Azrael could at least slow down on his pace.

 

          The Royal Knight grinned and walked backward with hands behind his head when he heard Yuhan call out as he rushed to catch up to him. “Hop to it, you dolt. Resha will have already passed a hundred laws and reforms by the time we get there at this pace.” He snickered and taunted, sticking his tongue out before turning around to the front to get a jogging pace going. “Haha, seriously though! C’mon!” He waved his arm to rush Yuhan along, both men soon picking up the pace. Yuhan had skills in magic and with his height now, but when it came to any sort of athletics, Azrael shined brightest. The general of the Arcadian army often would attempt to beg or bribe the Commander of the Arcadian Knights to let Azrael fight on the forefront against any terrifying beasts, knowing that Azrael’s strength could quell any foe. However, Azrael shied away from the battlefield, focusing more on his knighthood, especially when the position to fill Royal Guard for the Queen was made known.

 

          Yuhan merely let out a grunt every time Azrael threw him sarcasm. If only the place wasn’t packed, he would show him who’s the turtle. “Yeah, as soon…as I catch up… to you, I’ll show you…” he said in between huffed breaths as he tried to catch up to his friend’s pace.

 

          “Hah! You might have all that magic of yours, but you could never catch up with me!” Azrael proclaimed back as he had a good six or seven feet ahead of Yuhan, looking backwards and easily zipping through pedestrians, grinning from ear to ear.

 

          “You…” Yuhan cursed under his breath.

 

          Suddenly, the sorcerer felt a jolt inside him when he sensed a strong magical presence approaching their way. The young sorcerer stiffened for a while, his eyes wide in shock. ‘What is… this… Strong magic powers I sense?’ Being a sorcerer, Yuhan could easily pick up and sense anything with magic.

 

          Seeing his friend stopped and seemed to freeze on his spot, Azrael surmised that Yuhan must have given up already. “Ha! You must have some spirit of a turtle or something’ on you. Hurry up, you…–“ He was cut off his words when he sensed an intimidating air around them. Suddenly, Azrael came to a halt, going wide-eyed.

 

          An immense sense of dread passed over them, making their body go stiff. Azrael’s fists tightened as his gaze set forward, unable to move or relax for the briefest of moments. To any bystander, it was but a mere few seconds. But to Yuhan and Azrael? It felt like an eternity. Worse than that, it felt like they were about to die.

 

          Brushing and shrugging off that dreadful feeling, Azrael whipped his head back and forth, looking around them. He was shaking for a moment, feeling a sense of fear linger as he attempted to find out what this source of danger was. And yet, no matter how hard the knight tried, all he could see was a group of people as they stood just outside the Arcadian Royal Castle. Panting ever so slightly, he looked towards Yuhan, as if to confirm that he felt the same way. He searched Yuhan’s face, not uttering a word.

 

          Yuhan stood frozen on his spot and beads of cold sweat present confirmed that he felt the same as Azrael. His usual cool demeanor was gone, and a dreading look present in his demeanor. A powerful and intimidating air surrounded them, and he could feel as if someone was looking at them from afar. Brushing off that feeling, Yuhan looked around them as he tried to locate what was causing them to feel that way.

 

          A few seconds later and Yuhan caught a glimpse in the corner of his eye, a certain long-haired woman donned in imperial clothing walking down the other direction. Although there were a lot of people around them, Yuhan was able to single out the woman and it felt to him as if there were only the two of them present. He watched the woman’s retreating back, his feet still nailed to the ground. With a blink of his eye, the mysterious woman was nowhere to be found.

 

          And whatever that dreadful feeling was, it was gone now.

 

          Yuhan snapped out of his frozen state when a young girl accidentally bumped him. The little girl apologized to him before running towards her father. ‘Who was that…?’ he thought to himself before glancing at Azrael.

 

          “What the hell was that?” Azrael inquired as he swallowed a lump in his throat and trying to calm down his senses.

 

          “Yeah, I sensed that too…”

 

          “Bah! Forget it!” Azrael exclaimed as he rolled his arms. “As if I’d let something happen! If anyone tries to ruin Resha’s coronation, they’ll have to answer to my fists!” Azrael then pumped his fists.

 

          Yuhan let out a scoff. That foreboding feeling was nowhere now and with Azrael being this ostentatious, it was hard not to dismiss. “Right…” he commented in a rather mocking tone before walking down to the direction of the Arcadian Royal Castle. Azrael grunted as he followed behind his sorcerer friend and quickly passing him by.

 

§[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §

 

Arcadian Royal Castle…

 

          As soon as they reached the Arcadian Royal Castle, they saw the nobles flocking in from their carriages. Dismissing what happened earlier with them, Yuhan just followed Azrael inside the castle. He could figure out what and who the mysterious woman was earlier after the coronation is over. The most important thing for him to do at that moment was to see Resha and congratulate her on her coronation.

 

          Getting inside the Arcadian Royal Palace was not that hard, especially since he was with the soon to be queen’s royal guard.

 

          “Azrael,” he called out to the soon to be royal guard as soon as they reached the insides of the castle. Various pictures of past Arcadian rulers hung by the walls, in addition to the flambeaus. A grand, dual staircase also stood in front, guarded by two knights.

 

          “What is it now?” The royal knight grumbled.

 

          Yuhan stopped on his tracks as he called his knight friend once again. “Azrael, I’ll just wait here.” Azrael stopped and looked at his friend, a brow raised. But before Azrael could say anything, Yuhan continued. “I don’t want to intrude on the princess’ preparation. I’ll just wait here for you both.”

 

          “What’s eating ya?” The knight asked with his arms crossed. Between the two of them, Yuhan was actually the first to meet the princess when they were kids and the reason why he became friends with Resha. Azrael was also clearly the rowdier one and Yuhan was the genteel one. “This is Resha we are talking about! The same Resha who hang out with us back at Sol. She’s our friend!”

 

          “Yes, but she was the princess then. Today, she will be queen.”

 

          “What’s gotten into you?”

 

          “Just… just go, alright? I’ll wait here.” Yuhan insisted, waving a hand at Azrael as if to shoo him away. Though he could not wait to see the princess again, he needed a little more time to prepare and make himself presentable. After all, he just got back from his journey to the Astrean land and well, he was not in his best state to face the princess.

 

          “Fine, suit yourself. Be back in a few,” Azrael stated before taking his leave.

 

          Yuhan heaved out a sigh as soon as Azrael left to get Resha. The young sorcerer rubbed his hands together as he started to pace around the room. His mind soon raced as it was filled with thoughts of what he should say to her or how should he act around her. Should he call her Resha? No, that would be impolite. Should he address her as her highness or her majesty? Yes, that would be better. After all, he had no way of making sure that Resha still remembers him.

 

          “Yuhan!” Headmaster Triskelle’s voice came from the direction of the palace entrance. The young sorcerer turned around to watch his adopted father waving at him like a giddy little kid. Headmaster Triskelle may be the Headmaster of the prestigious magic academy, but he has a tendency to act like a kid when it comes to his adopted son.

 

          “Da…—” he was cut off his words when the Headmaster suddenly gave him a bear hug, much to his surprise.

 

          “Daddy has missed you so much! It has been a while since we last saw each other, my dear son!” he exclaimed ecstatically as he nuzzled the young sorcerer like a doting father he is. The knights that stood guard by the stairs let out a low chuckle at the sight.

 

          Yuhan let out a sigh. He could only hope that Azrael would not come and see him at his current state or else, he would never hear the end of it.

 

§[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §[] §

 

          Eyes still wide open in shock, Resha let out a small gasp upon the realization of the situation she was currently in.

 

          On top of her was a man she had not seen; a scholarly one, based on how he looked and dressed. A student from Sol Academy, perhaps? Or a noble from Eau? For a split second, her eyes met with his and Resha noticed the sincerest apologies in his eyes.

 

          “I am terribly sorry, milady! I…” The man apologized but was soon hit with the realization that he bumped into no other than the princess herself. His face immediately dropped and turned pale, and the look of disbelief and horror on her servants’ face did not help ease the situation they were in. “Y – your highness…!” he stammered, panicking. The poor guy started to shift his body and tried to get off her, making sure that he would not hurt her in the process. If any of her knights find them in their current state, he would surely lose his head.

 

          It was only a matter of seconds before Azrael came to the scene.

 

          “Get off her!” Came the Royal Knight’s snap, rushing over as the man was getting off. Even as the man apologized to Resha and the servants coming to her aid, Azrael spun the man around and snatched him up by the collar. “Who the hell are you, huh?! What were you trying’ to do to the princess?!” Azrael was barking with such ferocity, suddenly overprotective even for a Royal Guard.

 

          Then again, it was the coronation for the future Queen. Azrael should be on guard! Was this a poor attempt at an assassination?!

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