The old walls of this castle were beyond ancient. Covered in overgrowth that had grown over the grey stone and died long ago, only to have new vines and new green grow over the old and die again. On the outside of this castle, hundreds if not thousands of years had clearly passed.
Inside though was an entirely different story. Grand halls lit with floating orbs of golden light. Floors made of pristine marble and walls hung with exquisite art. This was a place for a king, no, the king of kings. To one person in particular though, none of this glorious castle caught his attention. Not that he was immune to such luxurious riches but instead because he was terrified at the moment.
The pitter-patter of footsteps could be heard echoing throughout the long corridors and halls, as the young man raced to one side of the castle.
(Damn damn damn, why did this have to happen to me. Why when I’m in charge of the treasure vault this thing has to cause trouble.)
The thing the young man was referring to was a small box he carried or rather the object within. The box was nothing amazing, merely carved from black wood. There were no lines, decorations or indicators whatsoever upon the box. For all sense and purposes, this box was just that, completely normal, but the object it held within was anything but.
The object within was glowing bright enough to illuminate the black wooden box, causing the man to be even more petrified. Using his powerful body, the man accelerated even faster and his body began to blur with speed as he advanced faster and faster.
As the man raced down the halls he passed by soldier after soldier but none dared to stop him. As a matter of fact, once they saw who it was they specifically stood out of the way. The man took a corner and unfortunately there was a maid in his path.
The speeding young man with his incredibly tough body ran straight through her, causing her body to be turned into meat paste as bone flesh and blood splattered in every direction. The maid didn’t even have time to scream nor feel any pain and had died instantly.
The man didn’t even look back as he continued forward, feeling no guilt whatsoever. Rather he felt pissed instead having been slowed by a fraction.
(Hmph, getting in my way. You’re lucky you died so easily or I would have tortured you and your families three generations. Fucking bug.)
The few guards that witnessed this could only sigh and call some people over to clean up the mess.
A few moments later and the speeding young man came upon two large doors made of solid metal. Seeing these two doors he came to an abrupt stop and fell to one knee in respect.
The metal doors’ thickness was such that an army couldn’t break through them. Inscribed upon their surface were the images of two stars. One was colored a pure golden light, while the other was an abyssal pitch black.
A powerful spell was contained within the two stars and if you were not meant to be here then no matter who you were, the image of the stars would set you ablaze, reducing you to ash. This place was multitudes stronger than even the treasure vault that the young man protected.
Kneeling at the grand doors, the young man didn’t wait long as he heard the commanding tone of his ruler.
The doors, as though they were alive, followed the will of their master and slowly began to open. The young man stood up and slowly yet cautiously walked in with his line of sight pointed at the ground. All around him the room was filled with lavish items. Statues made of granite or crystal.
The floor was lined with azure brick with golden inscriptions placed upon them, another spell which laid in wait. Pillars of black stretched high into the ceiling and each pillar had its own unique carving of a mythical beast etched in.
At the end of this room was a golden throne, for this was the throne room. The man kept his sight down but he knew exactly who sat there and as he approached he could feel an immense pressure weighing down upon him.
There were nearly 100 knights that lined the surrounding walls. Each one was enormous, too big to be considered human. Covered from head to toe in black armor with either a spear or two-handed sword at their side. With their faces completely hidden away the only detail that could be made out from behind their helmets were the red glowing eyes that glared coldly at the young man walking towards their ruler.
The young man got within 30 feet and a voice from behind the throne roared at him.
“That’s far enough Vault Keeper!”
The young man felt a chill running down his spine. He didn’t dare look up. Hearing the strongest knight in the kingdom and his ruler’s second hand, he didn’t dare disrespect either one by glancing at them.
Once more the man called Vault Keeper knelt down.
The number one knight roared once more.
“You said there was something urgent, what is it? You’ve better not have wasted our ruler’s precious time.”
The Vault Keeper gulped hard and cleared his throat.
“M…My Queen, you’ve told me to never disturbed you unless it has to do with this.”
The Vault Keeper with his line of sight still pointed at the floor extended his hands and showed the wooden box to the Queen and her knight. The knight seeing the plain old box Roared out.
“You fool! You actually dare say that plain box is a…”
The Queen extended her hand in front of her knight silencing her. With a flick of her wrist, the plain black wooden box was torn from the Vault Keeper’s hands and flew directly toward the Queen like an arrow. Just before it hit her though it suddenly came to an abrupt stop and floated a foot or so in front of her. Opening the box, the Queen pulled out the glowing object and held it in her hand.
Her knight looked at the object curiously before whispering in confusion.
A small black compass rested in her hand. Opening it, a small blue arrow floated above it and pointed in a seemingly random direction. The Queen silently contemplated, while her knight picking up on the importance of the compass, asked the Vault Keeper some questions.
“How long has it been glowing like that?”
The Vault Keeper quickly replied.
“Nearly two days now.”
“What! And your just reporting it now. Are you a fucking simpleton?”
The Vault Keeper trembled but still responded.
“My Queens orders were to report to her and her alone and she has just recently come out from her closed-door cultivation, therefore…”
“Therefore nothing! Even if she’s in closed-door cultivation you should have immediately brought this to me…”
Before the knight continued the Queen interrupted her.
“Y…yes, my Queen.”
“You may leave.”
“Y…yes, my Queen.”
The Vault Keeper, having not shared a single glance with the Queen, quickly bowed and left before his Queen changed her mind.
Flipping the black compass repeatedly in her hand the Queen ordered.
The surrounding knights didn’t hesitate and they as well turned and left. The knight behind the Queen looked at her before she, too, headed out; the Queen though quickly stopped her loyal knight.
“Except you, Reya, you will stay behind.”
The knight called Reya nodded and the two waited for the final knight to leave. With the Queen’s will, the two heavy metal doors slammed tightly shut. For a moment or two Reya just stood behind the throne and the room grew quiet. As the Queen continued to flip the black compass over in her hand, finally she said.
“Reya, come before me, I have a mission for you.”
Reya walked out from behind the throne and gave a respectful bow.
“My Queen. whatever it is you wish me to do, it shall be done.”
“Reya, do you know what this is?”
Reya eyed the compass, thinking maybe it was a trick question but answered honestly anyway.
“It’s just a compass, right?”
The Queen sighed inwardly.
“When I was young, my mother told me a story about two stars. One was bright and shone with golden light and brought light and happiness to any that basked within its golden shining rays.”
Reya wondered where this was going but listened on as the Queen continued.
“The other star was one of blackness. Although it was a star, it only covered everything in darkness. Those that basked in it only felt hopeless despair. The two stars were each other’s opposite in every way and yet, were they not created by the same gods. In the presence of each other, these stars would constantly try to consume one another and chaos could only come from the two. Only when separated far away could the golden star thrive with the light and the black star thrive with the dark.”
The Queen held the black compass in front of Reya and proclaimed.
“This, this is my black star given to me by my mother. With its glow, it has indicated that the other star has once more returned to this world. My mission for you is this. Find the owner of the golden star and snatch his golden star and bring it to me. Only then will your mission be complete.”
“My Queen, how will I find this owner?”
The Queen pulled a golden ring with a clear crystal embedded atop it from her pocket. With a slice from her nail, she cut her finger and dripped a single drop of blood onto the clear crystal dying it blood red. Touching the ring to the compass an aura of power could be felt transferring to the ring. The Queen tossed the ring over and Reya quickly caught it.
“Concentrate and focus your mind on that red crystal and it will point you in the direction of the golden star.”
Reya slipped the ring over her finger and did as she was told. Focusing on the red crystal a small blue arrow condensed and hovered above the ring pointing somewhere to the west. Reya looked back up to her Queen and asked.
“Your majesty. If the owner of the compass doesn’t wish to part with it.”
There was no hesitation whatsoever in the Queen’s voice. It was as cold as a frozen lake. Reya felt herself shudder for some reason. Although her Queen showed no emotion on the outside, Reya could feel a storm of emotions brewing beneath the surface. Reya’s voice shook with her last question.
“My Queen, what does the holder of this star look like and when should I leave?”
The Queen flashed Reya a deadly look. Pulling out a small crystal, a holographic image of a handsome young man floated above.
“This is from ten years ago so his appearance would have changed but that’s not important. Your crystal will always point to the compass so it matters not whether he has it or a pickpocket on the side of the road has taken it. As for when you leave…NOW!”
The doors opened with the Queen’s roar and Reya bowed and turned tail and ran at her fastest speed leaving only an afterimage behind as she raced away to fulfill her mission.
Left in her throne room alone, the Queen bit her lower lip in agitation.
(Why? How have you returned? Not only that, after everything that happened, even you couldn’t abandon your compass. It seems we do share the same blood after all…Kazuki.)