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Hanetsuno

A/N: This is kinda AU (Alternate Universe), assuming the term can be used for an original. It’s kind of medieval-ish, but there’s items/technology/knowledge/consumables/etc that wouldn’t normally be in this scenario. Some of this was inspired by RPGs of various titles, so this is weird in the same way.

Part I: Yesterday

What is this? Consciousness…? Is this what it’s like to be awake? How long have I been asleep? How much of our life is only a dream?

The Great Knight and his princess died fighting the evil ones. Did that happen? Yes, it was a very painful reality that forced itself upon my minds.

After all these countless years, have we really woken up? Why? Our minds are free from the protective barrier of sleep, and our body has escaped the lazy paralysis that held us so long… but why?

Ah, the boy of awesome power. The girl of fantastic beauty and grace. They return to the mortal world, and they need us again. I renew my pledge that our lives are for the purpose of your survival, so that the world may survive as well.

Chapter 1

Roughly eight years later…

It was puzzling how people often know more about life forms that were theoretically nonexistent than they did about animals that couldn’t possibly make themselves more obvious. You could approach a small group of people on the street and ask for information about the ‘common weaver finch,’ and most of your responses would blank looks. You could ask the same group of people about a creature called ‘pegasus,’ which would allow you to scrape up enough knowledge to write a short informational essay.

This ‘pegasus’ wasn’t a particularly active conversational topic, but it was general knowledge that the beast was believed to be a horse or horse-like creature possessing a pair of wings extending from its shoulder blades. It was common to believe that the horse was white and the wings were feathered. Some scientists suggest that the fable of the pegasus began when some esteemed idiot with bad vision saw a horse with a wing-like pattern of tree branches over it. Despite the color of the supposed horse, the thought of it being white most likely came from the legend mixing with that of the completely unrelated unicorn.

Some people said that the pegasus was actually a type of deer that went extinct, or that it was truly its own unique species before extinction. Some said that the animal was a rare species that still exists. Some said it exists at the bottom of a good-sized keg of beer. Some would say that, as with angels being winged humans, that the pegasus were deceased horses. This was rarely stated; the mention of this theory would spark biologists into a heated debate over the existence of angels with someone ending up religiously offended.

Real or not, this ‘pegasus’ was generally thought of as a majestic winged creature that only showed itself in fairy tales.

There were several insignifigagant little dots scattered across the map of the country called Felanci, and one of them was labeled as ‘Ministrair.’ If a pegasus chose to offer the world a single glimpse of itself, this was the last dot it would ever think of visiting.

Aikel Corselle, a teenager whose aura of civility boggled the dormant minds of his peers, knew just as much about this version of the pegasus as any average person, though the version he was more familiar with was quite different. This one did have wings, but it wasn’t really a majestic anything.

At age seven, a few days after his zestful half-birthday, he and a gang of his buddies decided to explore a cave near their town little town just for the sake of doing something they were told not to do. Due to a cave-in, he and his friend Mirran had each been left on their own within dark tunnels.

"AikelAikel! Wake up!"

The sound of his mother’s impatient voice jarred Aikel from his reflective dream. He jerked to a sitting position and blinked his green eyes in confusion, trying to recognize his surroundings. He wasn’t in a cave surrounded by terrifyingly ugly beasts; he was in his room tangled up in his sheets. His fuzzy white companion wasn’t flying around the cavern trying to fend off the beasts; he was sliding painfully down the far wall after Aikel’s sudden awakening had caused him to be flung across the room.

Aikel yawned and stretched, asking, "Are you okay, Pegasus?" He ran his fingers through his light blond hair and tied a brown band around his forehead.

"Uh-huh…" the creature mumbled. He was round and blob-shaped with a puppy-dog sort of face. He had a small downy wing on either side and a pair of small round ears. He bounced up into Aikel’s lap, but how he managed such with his wings folded was a mystery. Despite his collision with the wall, Pegasus’s big green eyes glittered with cheer. He smiled and said, "Good morning!"

"Good morning," Aikel responded, "Sorry about—"

"Aikew…!"

Pegasus was buried in a tidal wave of bedding as the door of Aikel’s bedroom opened. A blond six-year-old girl entered looking disgruntled and pouty. She stomped comically up to Aikel and pulled fruitlessly on his arm.

"What’s the point waking up, if your gonna sit in bed an’ talk to yourself all day?" she demanded, "Mommy wants your help making bweakfast."

"I’m coming, Sibylla," Aikel said to his little sister, using her formal name to show his annoyance. She continued pulling on him, so he got out of bed, carefully keeping Pegasus hidden without squishing him. He yawned again and allowed himself to be tugged out of the room.

* * *

Aikel’s friend and opponent hit the polished wooden floor with a pained grunt. His sharpened practice sword fell out of his reach.

"I’m sorry," Aikel said, lowering his own weapon and holding out his hand, "Are you okay, Mirran?"

Mirran blew the bangs of his long black hair out of his face and got up without Aikel’s help. He brushed himself off and grumbled something.

"Sorry…" Aikel repeated helplessly.

"You’re supposed to be practicing, not killing each other!" Aikel’s father, Ministrair’s combat instructor, sighed and excused himself from two other students and approached them. He ranted, "That’s the fifth-or-so time this week one of you have knocked the other down when you’re not supposed to…. It’s only Tuesday. Did one of you steal the other’s girlfriend or something…?"

"The floor’s slippery?" Aikel suggested cluelessly.

* * *

Mirran still seemed grumpy when most of the students got together after their class. As always, they met at the restaurant-like extension of the town’s grocery.

"Mr. Olsen’s new recipe looks like my mom’s sushi…" Aikel commented, poking at the brownish substance on his tray, as he sat down at an outdoor table with his friends.

Mirran snorted. Whether or not it was meant as a laugh remained a mystery.

Their friend Terdoan leaned across the table for a better look at the so-called food. "Before or after it’s been digested?" he questioned. His messy chin-length tan hair hung down in his eyes, but he ignored it.

"There’s not much difference…" Aikel joked, "Appearance-wise at least."

Flenn looked at Aikel’s food and calmly stated, "That’s why I never eat at your place…." His hair was short and brown with two long strands of bright green hanging down on either side of his face; he pushed them behind his pointed ears when they slid down in front of his blue eyes.

Linness ventured to ask, "What’s it taste like?"

"I’m afraid to try it," Aikel said.

Flenn started to speak, but Mirran’s half-sarcastic voice cut in with, "Hey, Kyri, spending time with Daddy this morning?"

The others looked over at a distinctive shade of blue as the girl Mirran was addressing turned toward them. Her eyes, which matched her gray-blue hair, flashed angrily.

"Please convey my congratulations," Mirran said, "that he was able to walk today even though it’s been so long since the last time he stopped slacking off long enough to stand up." The others laughed slightly; Aikel smothered a snicker.

Kyri’s eyes were piercing, and her face reddened. She kept her cool and said, "You really ought to try putting your foot into your ear instead of your mouth. Boot leather isn’t big on intelligence, but it has to do better than that rock you’ve got up there now."

"Oh, I’m hurt," Mirran feigned. As Kyri quickly walked away, he muttered, "Blue-haired freak…."

"Don’t call her a freak because of her hair color," Flenn said indifferently, taking a drink of soda.

"Why not?" Mirran asked, sounding a bit bitter.

Flenn looked up and at him. "Part of my hair’s green, man," he pointed out.

"That’s because you’re an elf."

"Half-elf," Flenn corrected. Mirran rolled his eyes and shrugged.

"Maybe that’s why the rest of it isn’t green," Aikel laughed.

"Anyway," Mirran said, "She a human, believe it or not. Humans don’t have blue hair."

"Hmm…." Flenn shrugged and returned his limited attention to his soda.

Aikel sighed and let his eyes wander to the sky. It was flawlessly blue and was accented by a pair of fluffy rainless clouds. The sun shined brightly onto the unpainted wood-constructed houses. All the buildings were on short stilts to lessen to worries of the wet season’s floods, and most of the houses looked fairly similar save the unique flower pots, wind chimes, gardens, and other homey adornments. The streets were wide curved paths where constant trampling had prevented grass from growing, and they usually forked in accordance to a tree that was older than the rest of the village.

Aikel spotted Kyri coming back in their direction. She tried to move obliviously to avoid their attention. She probably forgot to buy something, he concluded as he decided to ignore her. Just as she began to pass them, the world seemed to pause in start; everyone in the market area froze as a shrill sound ripped through the air from halfway down the street. The sound was so rarely heard in such a peaceful town that it took a moment for everyone to recognize it.

A scream?

"Whaa…?" Linness began, standing and looking down the street.

Just the result of someone’s practical joke, Aikel thought calmly. Mirran had the habits of a prankster, and Aikel was sure he saw him hide a grin.

Tredoan leaned back to see around Linness. Both of them, along with everyone else on the street had ghost-white faces. The crowd’s shock wore off, and everyone in the know screamed. Everyone else tried to see what was happening, but it was blocked by panicked people.

Tredoan turned to his friends and stuttered, "This is… p-probably… not what… it looks like…but… let’s get the hell outta here anyway!"

Seeing as Tredoan never shouted or stuttered, Aikel immediately took the unidentified situation more seriously. Mirran and Flenn stood, the latter dragging Aikel out of his seat. He seemed speechless, but he pointed frantically away from the screamer, so Aikel allowed himself to be half-dragged as he ran.

The source of disturbance came into view. A row of five people were sliced apart in mid-step. Aikel froze and gaped at the huge burly ugly humanoids whose sword swipes had been so fatally effortless. One of the three visible soldier-like creatures sliced down another row of fleeing victims. Two men, a woman, and two small children

Their blood spattered on Aikel’s clothes. Still bolted to the ground, he looked at the two kids, who were holding each other’s hands as they fell. He gasped.

"Aikel!"

The surviving people in the area were dispersing around him. He pried his vision upward and saw that a soldier had singled him out because he wasn’t moving. His sword swung.

Something popped Aikel aside the head and knocked him over as the blade cleaved through the air where his neck used to be.

"Aikel! Go!"

"Pegasus?!"

"GO!"

He scrambled up and edged backward before turning around and running. Oh, Sibby…! he cried silently. Pegasus hopped up and clamped his teeth on the warrior’s nose. The warrior tried to shake him off before slashing at him. He cut a mark across his own face.

Aikel tripped on someone’s arm and skidded across the dirt. He got painfully to his knees and began to feel a pain sharp pain in his lower leg as something landed on a roof. It was large, green, and bipedal, and it was armed with large scaly wings, sharp claws, and a deafening screechy roar.

"A dragon…?" Aikel questioned in awe. The creature looked at him, roared, and turned toward something else. It roared again and swooped down. It faltered before its target and skidded to a hesitant landing. Aikel did a double take.

Kyri Valshiron had intimidated the beast with a broom held at her side like a staff. She had her legs together, tiptoed like a still dancer, and her free hand was held away from her side as if for graceful balance. It was not any sort of fighting stance, and her face was thoughtfully blank, but the reptile stepped back uncertainly.

One of the strange warriors yelled something at the beast in another language. It’s head snapped forward, but Kyri slid to the side of its snapping jaws and jabbed it in the eye with the end of her broom.

Aikel stood and stumbled back down. He looked down at his right lower leg, where there was slash in his pants and skin. His wince tightened, but he struggled up again.

"Sibby!" he called.

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