A/N: Here's the story where everything begins. This is the sequel to Sacrifice, so I hope those who have been reading that story will read this one. For those who have not, why not just start here? I hope that everyone enjoys this story.
Title: Crimson and Clover Chronicles
Author: Melissa Norvell
Warnings: Shounen-ai and possible yaoi with one couple. Violence, Language, Sexual innuendo and situations, gore and eventual dark themes and attempted suicide.
Summary: PREQUEL TO SACRIFICE. MXM FXM. A princess from a crumbling land must go on a journey for a legendary sword. But, is this sword a blessing of hope, or a forsaken curse?
Crimson and Clover Chronicles
By: Melissa Norvell
Journey 1: Crimson
A young man with long, white curly hair walked down a long, red carpet into what looked like a throne room. It was very elaborate with light blue walls and a gold and red throne made from the finest velvet and riches from their land.
The man glanced around with blue eyes at this familiar scene. This was the one room that he had always found himself residing in, in contact with a princess he had come to know and serve diligently for many years. As soon as he approached the throne, he kneeled on one knee and bowed his head. His armor made a clanking sound as he did so.
"Princess, I'm sorry to have failed you. I could not find him," he spoke, his Russian accent was very heavy but he spoke clearly so that the woman could understand him better. After all, they were from two different countries.
"What are we going to do, Gastov?" The princess was very worried as she glanced out of a nearby window. Her long, faintly pink dress with layers of white lace cascaded onto the floor and her long, tawny, wavy hair extended to her butt. Her green eyes glanced down at a part of her kingdom in sorrow.
"I do not know but I will keep searching," Gastov replied with determination. For the sake of his princess, he would not give up.
"Shogo still hasn't come back," the princess was worried.
"He was sent off into the northern region. He has not yet reported back."
"It's been a long time and I hope he's alright," She anxious as one of the maids came into the room. Her black high heels echoed through the open room and her blonde side ponytail bobbed up and down with her step.
The woman hardly seemed the maid type. She was of an athletic build and the look of a tomboy. She wore no makeup but her natural beauty made her stick out among the others, who felt that they had to wear makeup to look as beautiful as their princess. "Don't you think something's happened to Shogo if he hasn't come back now?" She held her ostrich feather duster in one hand nonchalantly.
"I guess you're right…Something must be done," the princess walked towards the maid and the knight.
"Princess," Gastov looked up towards the wavy-haired woman.
"What are you thinking, Princess?" The maid looked a little weary. She knew that her princess often came up with risky ideas and she had a feeling that this was no exception to the rule.
"I can't sit back any longer. I have to go out myself and find my father," the princess held up a white-gloved fist to her chest and wore a look of determination. "I can't just sit back and await his return. He should have come back by now. My father has been gone for far too long and he might be in serious trouble or even dead."
"If he is dead and you find it out after putting your life in danger, wouldn't it be in vain?" The maid ran a hand through her shoulder length blonde hair.
"It probably will but I still have to try," the princess was adamant about achieving her goals.
"Are you sure that you can handle this, Princess Teruna? You've not been out on your own," the maid asked.
"I can't stay here, Shizure."
"What about your country? Who will rule?" Gastov asked. Leaving her country would have been very dangerous for the princess to do. That would leave it open for anyone to take her throne.
"I will appoint my high mage to rule in my place," Teruna had a plan for everything and this was no exception. She had been thinking things through for quite a while now. She could no longer worry about what would happen to her father or even if he was still alive.
"I still don't think you should go alone," Shizure replied.
"I do not think you should go at all," Gastov agreed. It was far too dangerous for royalty to be venturing out into the world. He needed something to protect and Teruna was that something.
"Well," Shizure cast a glance at the white-haired knight, "you need a weapon."
"You want her to go?" Gastov looked to the maid in disbelief. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"We should put her through a test."
"Test?" Teruna blinked in confusion. Why would they need to test her, and what for?
"We feel that it's in your best interest, princess," Shizure informed.
"Yes, we are not disallowing you to go; we just think that you should be able to survive in the big world. There are many bad people out there," Gastov told her. He wanted her to understand that she had not seen what the two of them had. Princess Teruna had hardly left the castle and she wouldn't know the first thing about saving her country if she didn't know what she was truly up against.
"If you should try to get a sword, then go to the Diox Forest, west of the castle but be warned, there are many traps that lurk within," Shizure warned, "Gastov and I can't help you, so you'll have to go alone."
The princess nodded, "I understand."
"If you manage to get the sword, then we'll know that you are noble and brave as knight. We will put all faith in you as a warrior," Gastov replied. If the princess had passed their test, then they would grant her the ability to leave her kingdom.
"We'll assist you on your mission as well," Shizure remarked. If the princes could pull it off, then there wouldn't be a doubt in her mind that she was the right person to venture off to find Shogo and her father. She had known the princess for a long time, and the two of them had become very good friends. The sword that she was advised to get was a very powerful one that would lead her to victory if she could acquire it. She just hoped that the princess would not fail or die in the process of obtaining such a weapon.
"I understand. I know you're only worried about my safety. If I can't pass your test, then I'll stay here," Teruna agreed with a kind smile towards her staff. They had always been very supportive of her and her goals. She didn't think that they'd let her down on this task either.
"Agreed," Gastov was pleased with her judgment.
"We'll be waiting at the sword, in the center of the forest. If you're not there by dusk, then we'll go looking for you. You have two hours to get ready," Shizure instructed and the princess thanked her in return. Gastov wished her luck before the two exited her throne room and left the princess in thought.
The girl sat by the window and looked out over the west side of her kingdom in thought. A small black, pudgy bird with a fat, curved beak, a hat with a black feather and two small white dots for eyes looked up at her in curiosity.
"So, you're going to leave the castle?" The bird asked.
"I feel like I have to. I owe father so much and I really miss him. If all of my knight's searches have come up blank, then there has to be somewhere that I haven't looked. Maybe Shogo hasn't returned for a reason," Teruna spoke to her small companion.
"Shogo isn't your most reliable knight," the bird mentioned. Shogo was the type of sleep on the job. Her success at finding her father shouldn't be based on someone so unreliable. He didn't even know why he hasn't returned had any effect on her judgment in this type of situation. That slacker was probably just taking his time.
"Gastov came up empty too and he's my best knight," Teruna made a point.
"Perhaps your father isn't in the vicinity," the bird replied. After all, they had only looked within the boundaries of her kingdom. He could very well be in another land.
"We've searched other countries and came up blank," the princess was saddened and frustrated by all of her empty searches. "Gastov just came back from Sodius Country by the far south."
"Sodius Country is only two countries away. I think he may be farther than that," the black bird was deep in thought. He too was worried about his princess' depression. If she dove too far into this state, then her condition would greatly affect her ruling and decision making abilities.
"So, do you want me to assist you on your journey?"
"No, I promised that I'd do this myself. I just wanted you to tell me about the sword," Teruna wanted to know more about the weapon that she was acquiring and she knew that her companion had a lot of knowledge on swords.
"Did you say it was in the Diox forest?" The bird asked.
"Yes, I did Sulphur," Teruna replied.
"There are two swords there," Sulphur advised.
"Two? Gastov and Shizure never told me about there being two swords," the princess educated him. She wondered which sword that the two of them had planned her to get.
"They were probably telling you about a specific one or one that seemed easier for you to obtain. There are two swords called the Crimson and Clover. Both are strong in their own ways and they must be obtained through in their own ways and must be acquired through a set of trials," Sulphur explained.
"Is there any one that's stronger than the other?" The curious princess questioned.
"The strength isn't particularly in the sword. It's in the wielder. One is harder to find out than the other because it takes a while to figure out its powers. A weapon is only as strong as the person who wields it. The sword that is probably most suited for you is the Clover," Sulphur educated the princess on the sword.
"Yes, the Crimson is known for being a more qualified sword for the experienced. Either way, you're going to have to defeat each of the guardians of the swords."
"Clover is guarded by a horse-headed goat called a Centire and the other is a dog-hybrid called a Raptorian," Sulphur noted.
Teruna looked a little worried. This seemed a lot harder than she thought. It also meant that she would have to do a knight's job in order to even obtain such a sword. She wasn't ready for such a task. "I've never fought anything like that before."
"You should do fine. I have faith in you," Sulphur reassured. He didn't mean to scare her with such information but he didn't want her to find out the hard way either.
"Will you come with me at least? In case I get hurt. I can always send you off for help," Teruna wanted to make sure that she didn't die and that someone could be notified when she needed to get out of there. Going with Sulpher would be ideal. Not only that, but his flying ability made it quicker and easier for him to return to the palace.
The black bird sighed. "I cannot say no to you, princess."
"Thank you so much," Teruna looked relieved. "I'm just really unsure of myself. I know you all have faith in me and I'm really glad that you do, so I'll do my best not to disappoint you all."
"Of course," the bird agreed.
"Then let's go to the Diox Forest," the princess commanded with a look of determination on her face.
The princess stepped into the forest. She was dressed in a pink and black outfit that consisted of a sleeveless shirt that was pink with a black collar and had double lines of buttons up the chest. It was short and her trim stomach could be seen. Below that was a black belt and pink skirt, which held the same double lines of buttons. She wore black stockings up to her mid-thigh and what looked like protective white leg coverings that began at the knee and were fastened together by a line of black buttons on the side. Her arms had similar pieces of fabric in the same design and she wore a pink hat with a black rim that resembled a cop's hat. A long, pink scarf adorned her neck and black shoes ornamented her feet. This was what she called her adventuring outfit.
"You sure you want to tumble around in that?" Sulphur asked. It looked more like she was going to a party than to do battle with a monster of any kind.
"I don't know what else to wear so this will have to do," the princess settled as she looked to her companion, who flew above her.
"Let's go then," the bird did not ask questions. He flew through the forest with Teruna following suit. It was lined with trees and a dense fog that littered the floor. It was hard to see much of anything and the whole place reminded her of something that she had heard about from afairytale.
"It's foggy in here," the princess spoke up after a few moments of silence.
"It's always been this way. That's one of the reasons that it's so hard to obtain a sword. If you can't see it, then you can't find it," he replied. Many people had tried to find the swords and ended up walking past them and if it weren't for Sulphur, then Teruna knew she may very well be able to do the same thing. She was lucky to have a friend like him.
"I don't know which way to go…" She stopped as she looked from side to side at two separate paths.
"You'd better hurry. You only have so long before dusk," Sulphur reminded. It would have been very dangerous to let her roam the woods after dark.
Far worse things would happen if they did not find the sword before the allotted time and they would have to retreat.
Teruna nodded. "Right, looks like I have to rely on intuition for this one."
Making up her mind quickly, she walked ahead. Sulphur flew behind her and landed on her shoulder. He had flown all the way to the forest and his wings needed a rest. The princess walked around unsurely and tried to peer through the fog. "It's hard to make heads or tails of this place," she walked by a bush.
Suddenly, a bird plowed through the bush, causing the wavy-haired girl to scream and cover herself. She felt her heart slam against the inside wall of her chest as she placed a hand over her sternum to quell the pounding. "Just birds," She reassured herself and continued to walk.
"I hope that I'm not going around in circles-Ah!" She yelped as she fell over a massive fallen log. Sulphur took flight, not wanting to go down with her. The girl laid there for a moment with her arms over one side of the log and her legs dangling from the other. "Oh…It's hard to see and the fog is thicker on the ground," she sighed in defeat. Perhaps this was too much for her to handle. As her green eyes looked at a few shrubs ahead, she could make out two beady, brown eyes and let out a scream.
"But I can see that!" She shrieked and grabbed Sulphur by the head and took off running.
"What's wrong with you!?" The bird yelled as his head felt like it was in a vice grip.
"Eyes! Looking at me!" The frightened girl replied.
"What if it was the Centire that guarded the Clover Sword?" Sulphur asked as Teruna still had a death grip on his head.
"They were low to the ground, like a dog, or a cat," she hid behind a tree. Whatever it was, she did not want it to find her. "Sorry…"She finally replied when she noticed that she had a hold of her partner by the head. The wavy-haired girl then sat him down on the ground gently. "I hope I didn't almost pull your head off or something."
"Well, no," but it did hurt a lot.
Teruna sighed. "I could have been close to one of the swords and I blew it by running away…I have to go back," the girl stood and turned her body to face the direction of the eyes.
"Hm?" Sulphur looked back to her in question.
"I've got to be strong. I can't run away," the girl tried to will the courage to come back to her. She didn't know what was staring at her but she wanted to find out so that she could get one of the swords. The princess began to walk back in the direction that she came from. "If I can't stand up to an animal, how can I rescue my father?"
Sulphur flew up to her and asked her if she was going to go back. She nodded in response.
"I don't know how I'm going to get it with no weapons but I can try," the girl made her way back towards the bush. She saw the eyes through the fog but they had moved and they were much higher up. It was as if they were on the trunk of the tree. Maybe she scared whatever it was as badly as it scared her.
"There they are," she looked up at them.
"These aren't the same height as the others you described," Sulphur noted.
"But they are the same color," Teruna stated as an older feminine voice cut in.
"Excellent deduction," the voice complimented as a faint wind blew and the fog was lifted to reveal a dog-like creature that had the head and body of a dog with slender long back legs with slender feet and claws and wings with clawed hands at the top and tail of a bird. The creature was red and brown in coloration and had long, floppy ears. It was covered in medium-length hair.
"It's a Raptorian," Sulphur educated.
"Is she going to attack?" Teruna was a little scared by the strange creature.
"My name is Ito and I'm the guardian of the Crimson Sword," The Raptorian informed the two of her position.
"I finally found one!" The princess exclaimed in happiness. She could hardly believe that she'd found a sword and was overjoyed to know that she had made if before dusk. It had been very easy, despite of what Gastov and Shizure had told her. Now all she had to do was face off against Ito…or so she thought.
"Afraid not, child," Ito replied.
"Huh?" Teruna was confused. What had happened? Why was there no sword?
"Crimson is no longer here," the Raptorian informed.
"How can that be?" Sulphur asked. Last time he had checked both swords were there.
Ito flew down and landed in front of them. They could then see her clearly. She looked like a two legged dog with her chest puffed out as she sat on her haunches. She had no front legs, only small fingered claws at the tops of her blood-red wings. "Don't you think that it's odd that you've not ran into any traps?" Ito looked up to both of them.
"Yeah, especially since I was warned about them," Teruna put a finger up to her mouth in thought.
"Cimson is gone. A young man battled me for it. I saw his true potential and he was truly worthy of wielding such a weapon," Ito informed.
"But, what about Clover?" The bird asked.
"You would have to ask Cella about that. I don't know that anyone has acquired Clover but I have nothing to guard unless you wish to obtain Crimson from its current master."
"Depends, did they beat you easily?"
"If they didn't do you honestly think I'd give them the sword carelessly? Do you think I'm a fool, Sulphur? I was created to be in charge of the Crimson by High Priest Kagato for a reason," Ito was insulted that the bird would dare to ask her such a ridiculous question. "My opponent over powered me easily, even at my fullest strength. I am the strongest living entity in this forest- even more so then Cella. I could not even use my magical jewel on him and that amplifies my powers by eighty percent," she gestured with her long, pointed snout to a jewel that was tied around her neck with a purple silk ribbon. "With this jewel, fighting against me makes the Crimson the hardest sword in the country to obtain. He rightfully deserved it."
"What was his name?" The princess asked. "He seems very strong."
"Well, as for last names, I cannot be sure but he called himself Hiroshima," Ito stated.
"Hiroshima…" The bird repeated the name.
"Do you know if the Clover is nearby? Are we close?" Teruna asked.
"Not nearly, Clover is at the opposite end of the forest. I'd assist you in your quest but I cannot leave my realm. I have to keep watch incase the sword comes back," Ito replied.
"Comes back?" The wavy-haired girl asked. She didn't know that it could come back. How would it do a thing like that? Should she be worried about her own sword coming back if she receives it?
"Yes, the sword will come back to my realm if it's used wrongly. Since the sword has great powers, it also has strict limitation on what it can be used for. It also voids certain thoughts of its user," Ito stated.
"It's almost like the sword has a personality all its own," Teruna seemed interested in the special properties of the swords. "If you do something that it doesn't like, it can just go back home."
Ito agreed, as simple as her statement sounded, it was the truth.
"Thank for the help, Ito-san. Well, we must be off. We have some things to take care of," the princess waved as she headed back towards the opposite end of the forest. She wanted to ask Ito more but she didn't want to take up any more time than she had to. Who knew how long her battle would last to get the Clover. She had to get it before dusk and she didn't have much time.
"Farewell children…" Ito's voice could be heard as her form was covered up with fog once more.
Thbe princess ran through the forest as fast as she could in an attempt to make up for lost time. She knew that going the wrong way had set her back a considerable amount of time and the faster she got to the opposite side, the more time she could spare for confrontation.
"I hope we get there by dusk. It's already a little past noo,." Teruna brushed a few stray wavy brown locks from her face.
"Are you sure this is the right way?" Sulphur didn't quite trust the fact that his princess simply headed off in the opposite direction without double-checking or even thinking about what Ito had said. That was a careless move that could result in her death. One did not simply just listen to everything in sight and act based off of their judgment. Doing so was considered living dangerously.
"Well, it's the opposite direction of Ito-san," Teruna replied. It made perfect sense to her.
The two headed towards the conflicting end of the forest as quickly as they could and even though the fog was dense, Teruna managed to adjust her eyesight and could now see things a little better through the dense blankets of water that filled the forest floor.
Soon running turned into walking as her legs and feet grew weary. She walked past a line of shrubs and complained about how she had been walking for what seemed like forever. The wavy-haired princess stated that she was going to take a break and then heard a rustle in the bushes behind her.
Teruna quickly turned around and uttered her comrade's name in question. Perhaps it had simply been him that had created the noise. If that was the case then she could just relax but there was nothing behind her.
Unsure of what it was, and beginning to grow paranoid, the girl took off running as fast as she could. While she had been trying to keep her face from being cut up by low-lying tree branches, she ran into something large and solid. It also felt furry and was a white color.
The young girl fell on her butt and opened her eyes in surprise to see the large beast before her. Sulphur flew up to her when he had realized what had happened.
The girl's eyes widened in surprise.
"Ah! Cella?" She was unsure if this was the beast that Ito had spoken of. She didn't know what her answer would be but she had a feeling that she would soon find out.
To Be Continued…
A/N: Hope you enjoyed my first chapter of Crimson and Clover Chronicles. It gets more exciting in the next chapter so please stick around! Hope you leave me some feedback on this one.