Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ VIRUS ❯ The City of Flickering Destruction ( Chapter 5 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
By: Melissa Norvell
Chapter 5: The City of Flickering Destruction
Pushing off of the man and using his body as a brace, Bunmei landed on the ground with ease. The man's form was skewered on a nearby broken lamp post. His body hung there limply as blood showered the cobblestone below. The assassin stood from his kneeling position and looked at his team mates.
"That was amazing," Pazusu said in awe, eyes slightly widened at the gory sight before him. It was more than clear that anyone who stood in the infamous man's way was doomed to a messy death.
Behind him a few feet, Pippin watched the horror unfold as she clung tightly to Rosario's torso. Men charged from behind many of the houses, all dressed in the same familiar black clothing. They came running out towards the assassin, their prey marked in their sights as they drew closer with cruel blades. Bunmei swiftly reached behind his cape and threw a handful of black rose petals towards them. The delicate petals sliced the men's bodies like razor blades, leaving clean cuts in which little blood flowed. One of the flung petals easily sliced the throat of one of his enemies, causing them to keel over dead on the spot.
"Let's do this!" Pazusu took out his intricate scythe and pointed the blade towards his opponents, gathering a small ball of energy on the end, about the size of a beach ball.
"Silenced Scream!" The man held the weapon over his head and brought it down, releasing the ball, which formed into a beam when activated, blasting a white light into the crowd of men, killing three of them who stood in the way.
"Well, that was easy," Bunmei's golden eyes scanned over the battle field where the bounty hunters lay, slain. A sneer crossed his face at the victory at hand. "It's a nice change of pace from what I've been fighting against."
The group reformed around the fallen girl as they tried to assess her wounds. All eyes were on her motionless body.
"She looks pretty bad," Pippin was worried as she examined the laceration. A cut that deep was definitely something that would not be healed easily. It may even inhibit her movement for a while.
Pazusu squatted down with a hand under his chin, thinking of a way that he could approach the wound in a safe way. After all, he didn't want to have to violate the girl in order to treat her wound. She might not trust him after something like that.
"Here, let me see her," Bunmei placed his hands on the swordsman's left shoulder and shoved him out of the way. Pazusu let out a shriek before he fell to the ground as the assassin made his way through.
"Here," Pippin lifted up Rosario's torso a little, allowing him to get a better look at the wounded girl.
"Lay her on her stomach," Bunmei directed as the girl obliged and laid Rosario flat on the ground. She looked to him in question.
"How is this?" The short-haired girl inquired.
The assassin didn't reply, he simply stared at the wound for a few minutes before he reached down and grabbed her lacerated white shirt on either side of the opening. What he did next shocked the young girl and nearly made her brother have a nose bleed. In one fluid motion, the man ripped Rosario's bra and shirt off by pulling his hands in opposite directions, splitting the articles of clothing down the middle, leaving her ivory form exposed.
"What are you doing!?" Pazusu exclaimed with a wide-eyed expression. He'd never seen anyone so forward or brash in his life! Did he have no concept of decency? "You don't just rip a woman's shirt off like that!"
"Shut up, I'm trying to save her life," Bunmei leveled the swordsman with a serious expression. He reached behind himself, in a pack that resided on one of his two belts and pulled out some bandages and a needle. Examining the point, he stated his purpose. "I'm going to clean this as best as I can and sow it shut. The wound is pretty deep."
"I wish I knew a healing spell," Pippin knew that this was the best way to get her new found friend feeling better again, but at the same time hated her own inexperience as a magician.
"You seem like you're pretty good at patching wounds," Pazusu watched the assassin skillfully sow up the laceration after wiping clean with a fresh rag. Bunmei was quite professional for someone who seemed so classless for his prior act of carelessly ripping the girl's shirt off.
"Versailles is a wide-spread country and the only medical facilities are only here in this village. My medical skills aren't the best, but they will get her by," the spiky-haired man explained.
"How do you know how to do it so well?" The swordsman questioned as he looked back up towards the other male. Bunmei, from hearing about his reputation, had not lost any battle that he knew of, so how could he have experience in something like that?
"Just because I've never been beaten, doesn't mean that I've never been hurt. When you're by yourself and you don't have any other means to fix yourself, then you do what you can so you don't die," Bunmei informed him of the fact that there were vast areas of land in Versailles that were uninhabited and if one were to wander off hurt or find themselves hurt in such a place with no common knowledge of how to heal wounds, death was eminent.
The assassin turned his back to the two traveling with him, giving Rosario some privacy as he cleverly bandaged her wound to make it look as if she were wearing a crop top, so that she would not be exposed to anyone. He gently placed his cape around the girl's neck, providing some further protection. As he pulled the two small, belt-like clasps shut on the left side, Rosario slowly stirred awake. He could see her emerald eyes, sparkling with pain as she stirred.
"Bunmei?" The girl questioned in a groggy voice.
"Don't try to move too suddenly," the stoic man advised. "You're hurt pretty badly. Your shirt and bra were ripped off so you'll have to wear this. I bandaged you so that nothing shows, since the wound was between your shoulder blades but I didn't think that you'd want to walk around shirtless."
Rosario self-consciously pulled the cape tightly around her. Everything had been a blur before she passed out from the immense pain. She knew that her clothes probably couldn't have been salvaged but she felt strange and a little violated, having known that everyone in her new group had probably seen her breasts. The girl knew that it was probably for her well being but that didn't mean that she couldn't be embarrassed. Inhaling, she let the scent of the cape intoxicate her senses. The smell was remarkably familiar, even though she had just met this man not too long ago.
'It smells like dirt, roses and blood…and it faintly smells like cologne…This smell seems so familiar somehow…' The girl thought for a few moments before Pippin was in her face with a look of concern.
"Are you okay, Rosario?" The short-haired girl asked.
"Huh?" Her comrade blinked a little before answering. "Oh, I'm okay, Pippin. It just hurts a little."
"I'm glad," the girl smiled.
"Who were those guys?" Pazusu looked to Bunmei, since he seemed so affiliated with the men.
"Bounty Hunters, they want the reward that's on my head," the Black Rose assassin explained. "We'd better hurry and get to that sorceress before we're spotted again by someone else." He knew how the hunters liked to lurk around and had a hunch that a lot of them probably lived in the city.
Rosario arose and gathered a few kunai that had been dropped on the ground by Bunmei, herself, the bounty hunters or all three and placed them in her skirt pocket. "I want to keep these with me as long as I can."
"Right," Bunmei nodded slightly. It was good that the girl wanted to be equipped when danger decided to show itself again to test their survival skills, "I have some more if you need them."
Rosario slowly walked up to him and looked up with a grateful smile on her face. "Thank you for helping me."
"Let's go," the golden-eyed man glanced away from her as he commanded the group to move forward. He didn't like staying in one place for very long, nor did he. In fact, he was constantly on the move and well-aware of his status as an assassin. There were several people after him and the more bounty hunters discovered his whereabouts, the more apprehensive the man became.
Pippin and Rosario walked after him, with Pazusu bringing up the rear. Green eyes glanced around at her surroundings as Rosario took in the sights while the brother and sister team walked slowly behind her. For what seemed like hours, all that could be heard were the sounds of shoes clacking against the cobblestone walkways.
Dead silence filled the still air. Not even night animals existed in Versailles. In fact, there seemed to be very few, if any animals in the strange land of darkness.
"I don't like that it's so quiet," Pippin finally spoke up. It was beginning to get to her and the odd quiet of the group made her feel a little paranoid. The young girl was bright and talkative. She didn't like it when everyone remained silent and there could not even be outside noises to provide the girl with creature comforts.
"I do," Bunmei confirmed. "If it's quiet, then you can hear someone sneaking up on you." In an assassin's game, it was all about killing the enemy before the killed you first. The silence was an aid in the very tactic that Bunmei had tried to preserve until the girl broke fourth with her words and ruined their cover.
"It does make you nervous though," to Rosario, the darkness was a shroud to who-knew-what that lurked around in the city. Bounty hunters had already hidden behind buildings in order to take them by surprise. It had her nerves working overtime, especially since she had been hurt as well. It only raised her chances for being a sitting duck.
"Don't worry. We'll protect you," Pippin tried to lighten the situation, although she knew that it probably didn't provide much help.
"Do you think that there will be more bounty hunters?" Pazusu asked from his position at the back of the group.
"More than likely, I run into about five to ten a day," to the Black Rose Assassin, they were simply irritating flies that continually buzzed in his ear. While fighting them was an adrenaline rush, it was hardly a challenge. With team mates, going on his usual killing sprees would be bothersome with new lives to watch after. It made his job all the more troublesome.
"I don't usually run into that many enemies," the swordsman crossed his arms over his broad chest. True, his reputation was not as infamous as the assassin's, but he figured that he'd at least run into someone who wanted to challenge his skill. Hardly anyone seemed that way.
The only one, who even rivaled him, if he could call it that because there was no active opposition, was the man who stood before him and he knew that Bunmei had no intentions of starting a rivalry.
"He must have a bad crowd," Pippin stated with a smile as she held up a finger matter-of-factly.
"Well, that doesn't count the people who want revenge for me killing someone they knew or someone they were related to," the assassin had more of a 'bad crowd' than he'd like to lay claim to.
"You must have a lot of people after you," Rosario said, looking at his serious face over his shoulder and watching as his two, long, rat-tail like ponytails swayed with his movement.
"I do," the man narrowed his eyes and said lowly.
"Great…" Pazusu rolled his eyes and sighed. This was no easy task, not that he had thought that it ever would be, but if definitely complicated things.
"What? Is it a burden to Mr. Legendary Swordsman?" Bunmei turned and leveled the man with an arrogant expression as he placed his hands on his hips.
"No, it's just irritating, that's all."
"I can sharpen my skills," his sister found some benefit out of their adventure.
"Even Rosario can kick more ass than you," Bunmei looked to the girl for a confirmation. "Isn't that right?"
"Oh, I don't think I can," she said modestly as a bit a flight shot through her. Rosario didn't really know what to say and she felt a little caged with being asked such a question and put between two men of such status.
Blowing it off and not taking it too much to heart, everyone simply laughed at the moment except for Pazusu, who didn't find it too humorous.
"Well, I'm not happy about it," Pazusu pouted and looked slightly annoyed as he placed his hand behind his head. "I kinda like taking it easy."
"He likes to sleep a lot," Pippin interjected happily, causing the group to burst out in laughter once again.
"That's not funny. I've killed plenty of people."
"Okay, so you want to be lazy then?" The spiky-haired assassin asked with a sneer planted on his face. Pazusu didn't know how to answer the question so that it didn't make him look like a dolt.
"You guys always pick on me."
"We're already getting along," Pippin smiled momentarily before something whizzed by her head, dangerously close. The girl's eyes widened as she saw the glint of cold steel. "Look out!" She warned.
"Crap!" The Black Rose Assassin cursed to himself as he wrapped his arm protectively around the girl as the shurikens barely missed them as well. They only managed to put a few tiny scratches on his bare arms and rip up the tattered cape a little more than it already was.
Suddenly, he felt a jolt to his chest as he was shoved back violently by Rosario. "Hey!" He looked her direction to see Rosario flinging some of the knives that she picked up into the darkness. An intense cry was heard as the shadow of a man fell through the darkness. The figure was dressed in black, as the other bounty hunters were and had one knife sticking out of his bicep muscle and the other protruding out of the side of his head.
"How did you see him in the dark?" Bunmei looked to the girl with slightly widened eyes. She had managed to hit the man in a vital point through the abyss that she claimed not to see in. If she wasn't a good marksman, then she was damn lucky to pull off something like that.
"I didn't," the girl replied honestly, "I just looked in the direction that the shurikens were thrown. It was a fluke that I hit him." Turned out she was just damned lucky.
"I knew there were more of them," the golden-eyed assassin had a reason for trying to stay silent for as long as he could and figured that Pippin's voice gave them all away. Unsheathing his sword, Bunmei suggested flushing them out of hiding as he swung the sword from one side to the other. A large, golden laceration was summoned fourth and cleared the area of any bounty hunters that tried to hide.
Several screams were released as the wave caught the men and swept away, falling to death's grip.
"I knew it," Bunmei muttered to himself. His hunch was correct. They were definitely being followed.
As he was distracted by the others, a lone bounty hunter decided to take advantage of the fact that his back was turned. He sped towards Rosario with a sword in his hands. Jumping behind the unsuspecting girl, he drew back his blade far over his head to deliver the fatal blow.
Quickly turning around, Rosario steadied herself, positioning one of the throwing knives to her chest as a defense.
'Well, here goes nothing.' She thought to herself, ready to attack her enemy without a moment's notice.
"Rosario!" Bunmei shouted turning around to notice the girl's predicament.
"I've got it!" Pippin called out as the two metal, blade-like devices in her headband pointed out straight. A small, bluish white energy ball formed at the tip of the devices and expanded until it consumed her form and looked as if she were encased in a bubble. The pixie-cut girl threw both arms out to either side as she called out her attack. "It's time to show you all what I can do! Buster Cannon!"
A large beam busted fourth from the sphere with so much force that it caused a strong wind to nearly blow everyone back.
"Damn!" The assassin was nearly blown out of his shoes.
"Wow…" Rosario stared in awe as she blocked her forehead and face with her arms. The tattered cape that the assassin gave her, as well as her sailor fuku bottom blew violently in the gales, revealing her wrappings.
The blast lit up the entire area as it blasted the man, sending him flying back to where he was out of everyone's sight. The light revealed several other men who had hid in less conspicuous places.
"That's just the break I need," Pazusu raised his scythe. "Fissure!" The purple-haired swordsman summoned his attack as he slammed the tip of his weapon into the barren earth, causing it to shake violently and crack down the center, sending several other men falling into the deep chasm below.
One of the men jumped at Rosario again. Thinking quickly, the girl flung her knife, which was knocked off-course by the winds. Knowing that her weapon wouldn't reach him in time, Bunmei quickly got in front of her and decapitated her opponent in a brutal slash of his sword.
"Bunmei," Rosario was in shock. Inside, her heart felt relieved that he had done that. If not for his interference, she would be dead.
"Let's take these guys on a ride!" Pazusu was about to execute another attack as he lifted his scythe above his head and spun it around, gaining speed with each swing, "Cyclone Fighter!" The tan-skinned summoned. His scythe became a blur in the air, gathering the stray winds and harnessing their energy, turning them into powerful gusts that swirled around his form and knocked several more bounty hunters off of their feet and sent their forms flying into the air.
As Bunmei and Rosario shielded themselves against the high winds, the assassin felt something jerk his neck. Wincing at the contact, the man opened one eye to see one of the bounty hunters clinging to him for dear life.
"Get the hell off of me!" The assassin bashed him in the face with the hilt of his sword, causing him to let go and be swept into the attack.
Soon after, the winds died down, leaving nothing but a barren battlefield in front of them.
"What the hell kind of magic is that?" Bunmei glanced towards the brother and sister duo with an impressed expression. He had never seen such techniques before and wondered how in the world they acquired such skill.
"A special kind!" Pippin smiled, flattered by his compliment.
"Are you sure that you're a legendary swordsman and not a legendary magician?" The assassin glanced to Pazusu.
"Oh no, the magicians here are way stronger than me," the purple-haired man commented. As flattered as he was, he couldn't accept a title like that. Compared to the magicians in Versailles, he was nothing.
"We'd better hurry and get to Seishira's before they come back," Bunmei instructed.
"Those guys really want your head, don't they?" Pazusu looked at the spiky-haired man. No wonder he was so infamous, and it seemed like his hate base was large enough. It made Pazusu feel happy that he was just a swordsman. Bunmei didn't answer his question, he simply took off running. Heading deeper into the village.
"Wait!" Rosario ran after him, her tattered cape flapping in the wind.
"That guy really is private, isn't he?" Pazusu wondered aloud as he and Pippin ran after their two allies.
"He and Rosario seem really fired up about reaching Seishira, don't they?" His sister looked to him in question.
"They both want to really get out of here."
"Don't you?" The girl asked her brother with large, inquisitive eyes.
"I don't know…" The swordsman was in deep thought for a few minutes before he spoke again. "This place is all that I've known. Even if I do get out of here, where would I go? Where is it that we come from, Pippin?"
The girl blinked and looked at him as if she were silently wondering the same thing as he was.
Running ahead of the two talkative relatives, Rosario glanced to Bunmei. "A lot of people want to kill you here," the girl was concerned.
"Whatever," the assassin shook her off.
"Were you an assassin in Japan too?" She asked.
"I don't know." Another distant answer came from the man's mouth as he closed his eyes.
"You don't?" Rosario looked a little confused.
"I don't remember much."
"Neither do I," the girl found that oddly similar about the both of them. It seemed as if she were running into more and more people who had so little memory. "I wonder if-" She began, but never got the opportunity to finish as the ground exploded beside of her.
The blast sent up flying rocks and other debris as Rosario let out a scream in both shock and horror as her body was flung to the side. Bunmei was sent in the opposite direction and landed on his feet. Rosario, however, wasn't as lucky and managed to do a belly flop on the ground.
"Ow," the girl whined as she slowly pulled herself to her knees and held her aching stomach tightly as she winced in pain.
"Damn it, they're here," the assassin was displeased. He wanted to try and beat the bounty hunters to Seishira's before they had a chance to tail him again. It seemed as though their back up men hid out ahead of them and caught them by surprise.
Rosario pulled herself off of the ground and turned to see one of the black-clad men swinging around a chain with a large kusarigama (1) on the end.
Letting out a fierce battle cry, the man hurled the weapon at Rosario, who barely managed to jump out of the way before the blade dug into the ground. The man sent it at her once more as she barely stumbled to get out of the way of the blade again. Trying again, the man threw it into the crowd of allies, sending everyone shooting off in different directions. Again and again he tried desperately to hit something. Finally, his patience had paid off as the chain wrapped around Rosario's leg.
The wide-eyed girl glanced behind her to see that her limb had been snagged by the weapon. She let out a yell before she was yanked backwards and pulled off of her feet, falling on the hard, unforgiving ground.
"Rosario!" Bunmei shouted, followed by the shouts of Pippin and Pazusu as they ran to aid her.
"Hold on Rosario!" Pazusu reached over his shoulder to pull out his intricate scythe but he was stopped by his sister's hands.
"No, we can't save her," the short-haired girl informed.
"What do you mean?" Her brother was confused at his sibling's words.
"We might hurt her if we use our magical attacks." It was too risky to free her with magic. They might accidentally kill her rather than save her life.
"You're right but what can we do then?" They had to do something or she was going to be beaten to death like a homely rag-doll.
The black-clad man chuckled with sadistic glee. "Now, I'll get you." He told his pink-haired victim as he yanked the chain backwards. Rosario's body jerked as she let out a small scream and was pulled backwards across the cobblestone of the street.
Thinking quickly, Bunmei threw a rose at the man, who simply caught the flower and nearly laughed at such a frail attempt to stop him.
"Your cheap weapons won't work for me," the man said, carelessly noticing the small ring around the rose's stem as it spun around. He tossed the blossom to the ground harshly enough for the stem to stick into the earth as the flower-shaped bomb began to tick away.
"If I can't get him, then I'm going to get that chain," Pazusu ran into harm's way. Attacking the entire situation wouldn't do them any good, but attacking the chain itself would. If he could throw enough magic and strength into it, then he could break it free from the girl's leg.
"Be careful," his sister wished him luck from the sidelines.
Pazusu ran towards the man and swung his scythe around. "Steel Cutting Blade!" The swordsman tried to execute his attack but his attempt was quickly blocked by the chain as the clever bounty hunter wound it around his large weapon, entangling it amongst the links.
"Huh?" The purple-haired man was confused and shocked as he saw that he was now rendered disabled. "Ack!"
Suddenly, a tall staff tapped against a single stone as a monotone voice uttered the word 'shatter' simply. The skies turned a disturbing color of ebony black and became a solid mass, shattering into different sized shards that shot through the air and flew past the group of allies. Several of them slashed the chain, eventually cutting Rosario free from her bind as the girl fell to the ground on her stomach, her cape blowing in the wind. The shards also managed to cut Pazusu free as well.
"Argh!" The man yelled as he fell to the ground in a crumpled heap.
"What the hell is that?" Bunmei exclaimed.
"Wow, what an attack," Pippin complimented as she held her arms in an 'x' position as she blocked herself from the shards and high winds.
Looking over, Bunmei saw a strange woman who wore a black, one piece, form fitting, long-sleeved dress that went to her mid-thigh, accompanied by long boots and arm warmers that only looped over one finger. The woman was tall and thin with extremely long hair that curved around her calves and made a large curl on the ground. On her clothes were mirrors, one on the top of each boot, one on the chest area of her dress, above her breasts and one on the back of each hand of her arm warmers. She also wore two large, oval shaped ones sticking up from either side of her head like mouse ears. In her hands, she held an intricate staff, also composed of many mirrors both large and small in the shape of a bird, intertwined with golden accents and red stones.
"Who the hell are you?" The assassin asked, having never seen this woman before in his life.
"I am Seishira…sorceress in Versailles."
…To Be Continued…
Kusarigama 1- a large cutting weapon that resembles the blade of a scythe.