Five thousand years, the tribute had been required. Five thousand years, she came. She came, the great queen known as Reikoku Kisaki. She conquered the village with pure fear. Fear of barbaric tribes destroying their world.
Her protection of magic was just what the people had prayed for, and they were safe. But this was not all free. Oh no, not free at all. There came a price for this protection. No money, no crops, no metals required. What the queen wanted were sons... Sons of sixteen and older to join her great military elite…
The kingdom was named Sixteen. Sixteen, the magical number. Every boy knew that in the kingdom of Sixteen, when you turn sixteen you would go join the tournaments, to prepare you for the queen's army. Every young lad would wish to impress the queen with his bravery and skill.
Young boys across the realm would spend their free time crafting wooden swords in order to practice with. They would have a grand old time, fencing and jousting, laughing it up. Weary eyed mothers would stand by, frowning upon their activities.
When a boy hits the age of sixteen, he would join the tournaments and never return outside the coliseum. Mother's dreaded the day, the day they lose their sons forever.
Children would always wonder why there were no fathers in the kingdom of Sixteen, yet there were so many children with mothers. It remained a mystery till adulthood.
No one questioned the system arranged by the queen, a system that had been in place for almost five thousand years… Was what the sons went through worth the protection of the kingdom?
Blue eyes squint at his opponent, the setting sun making it hard for him to see. Cream colored hands grip tightly to a polished hilt of a simple wooden sword. "I am going to nail you good this time!" says the boy of strawberry blonde hair, still squinting his eyes.
"I doubt it!" replies the figure, standing with the sun at his back. A charming smile set over his gently tanned face. His clear, violet eyes watch the shorter boy's moves with ease. His auburn hair flutters in the wind, his hands also gripping his own wood sword.
The blue eyed boy runs at the other, grinning. He slashes his sword towards the other's stomach. The violet-eyed one blocks his sword, then pokes him gently in the stomach.
The smaller boy grits his teeth and slashes his sword upwards, catching the auburn boy under the arm. "Ha ha! I chopped off your arm!" chuckles the fair skinned boy. "So you have," replies the other, jabbing his sword next to the blue-eyed boy's stomach. "And I just killed you with my other arm," says the taller boy with a grin.
Blue eyes frowns, pulling his sword away. "You always beat me," he mutters. "Not always, just sometimes," corrects the one of violet eyes. "Seems like most the time," mutters the other again.
The auburn one slips his sword back in his makeshift sheath. "It's getting late, Sei. We should head on home," he says. Sei looks up at his friend, then nods. "If you say so, Jou," he replies.
The two boys walk home slowly as to enjoy the cool brought on by the night. Jou looks up at the sky. "Tomorrow, Sei, we get to join in the tournament," says Jou, sounding excited. Sei looks over at him and nods. "Yeah, all the boys turning sixteen this year are to be inducted," says Sei. Jou lightly flicks his ear. "Don't talk like a bookworm," says Jou with a friendly snicker. Sei scrunches up his nose, then sticks out his tongue at the other boy. "At least I know I will always excel over you in that area," retorts Sei smugly.
Sei and Jou walk up to the Moroi household. They bow to each other, showing their own discipline and the other one dignity. "Till we fight again," says Sei. "Yes, till then," replies Jou. They stand up straight. Sei opens his door. "Bye," he calls as he walks into his house. "Bye," replies Jou.