I'm posting yet another multi-chaptered fic because trinityhelix asked me to, and she owns the TachTez part of my soul XD In her defense, she had no idea what the fic was at the time...so she is absolved of all responsibility for the posting of this utter ridiculousness.
And, by the way? This is crack. Don't take it seriously! I just wanted to do a TachTez fairy tale, and also I like writing swordfights and wanted to write more, so...here it is! *g*
Title: The Prince and His Knight
Rating: PG (but will be more highly rated later on!)
~The Prince and His Knight: Prologue~
Kippei Goldenmane, knight of the realm, gazed intently into the eyes of his prince, his liege lord, and his lover. Their fingers were interlaced as they stood together in the shadow of the small alcove. Their hair was mussed and both of their tunics unlaced so that they stood skin against skin, pressed against each other and sharing body warmth. Kippei smiled slightly as he breathed in the scent of the prince’s lavender soap mingled with the salty tang of sweat.
“Kunimitsu,” he murmured, leaning in so their foreheads rested together as well. “I can wait no longer to ask you...are you willing to be mine, to wed me?’
Prince Kunimitsu hesitated for the briefest of seconds, then pulled away, although his hands still gripped Kippei’s tightly. He shook his head and closed his eyes with a sigh. “My guardian will never permit that. You know it.” He turned his face away to stare at the stone wall opposite.
“I know it,” Kippei confirmed. Releasing one of the prince’s hands, he laid his palm against Kunimitsu’s cheek and gently guided the other to face him again. “But I care not whether anyone objects. I will take you away from this place, if you will have me.”
Again Kunimitsu seemed reluctant. “To escape would take much planning,” he said, his tone composed, with no trace of his emotions showing through; an obvious mark of his royal training and upbringing.
Then the prince’s eyes narrowed as he saw the look in his lover’s eyes. “You have already planned it,” he stated flatly.
“To speak the truth, yes,” Kippei admitted, his gaze steady. He raised an eyebrow, as though that would help him ascertain Kunimitsu’s hidden thoughts.
“How like you,” the prince said quietly. “So then you’ve prepared horses, a destination...?”
Kippei dipped his head in acknowledgment. “We can away the instant you consent, if you so choose. If you will accept me. And,” he added. “if you realize that I have no palace in which to house you, no silks in which to clothe you, no feasts...none of those fine things that you so richly deserve to have.”
Kunimitsu’s carefully wrought mask of stoicism slipped then, for the first time that evening. “I care not,” he said, a hint of passion flaring through in those three small words. “You know I care not for such things.” He reached up to smooth away the golden locks of hair that had given Kippei the name of Goldenmane. One strand fell back into place over the knight’s left eye, giving him a youthful and rakish look.
“Then you will come with me?”
The two of them strode across the darkened palace courtyard. It had been Kunimitsu’s idea for them to walk without stealth or guile, but rather as though this was any normal occasion. Indeed, they were seen in each other’s company often enough at all times, walking together on the stones of the courtyard and in the gardens. Perhaps this time they were closer to one another than usual, perhaps some tension could be seen in their shoulders, but nothing would have alerted a casual observer to their true mission.
Kippei, however, refused to go unarmed, something that most definitely would indicate that all was not well to anyone who saw him too closely. There had been no sign that anyone in the castle suspected their plan, but still he felt uneasy. It felt too much as though they were walking into a trap. He had not told Kunimitsu that his men were waiting nearby in case of an ambush, although the prince would surely guess that Kippei would not go unprepared into a situation like this one.
Kunimitsu had guessed that Kippei’s men were concealed somewhere in the vicinity, and he wholly approved. As a matter of fact, he’d taken precautions of his own while collecting the few possessions he cared to bring with him. A slim dagger lay cold against the skin beneath his tunic, in an inconspicuous leather sheath made especially for the weapon. Its delicate shape did much to hide its efficiency; the blade was sharp enough to cut silk with ease.
Suddenly, the courtyard blazed with light. Both Kippei and Kunimitsu threw up their hands to shield their eyes, but it was of no use. The light was magically created and blinded them even through their fingers, and they were put at an extreme disadvantage. Kippei, eyes tightly closed, let out a piercing whistle as a signal to his men.
The knight and the prince had both drilled in combat until their movements were second nature, instinctive; despite their surprise they both had their weapons drawn in an instant. They turned so that they were back-to-back as though they’d practiced this exact scenario thousands of times before. Both took on “guard” positions, half crouching to make smaller targets of themselves as they used precious seconds to blink and adjust themselves to the light.
“Kunimitsu, my prince.” The voice was melodious and disapproving. “Where do you intend to go this late in the evening, hm?”
Kunimitsu considered throwing his dagger in the direction of the speaker, but caution warned him against it. It would be unwise to rid himself of his only weapon. He would have to wait until a better opportunity arose.
“Never mind, though,” the voice continued pleasantly. “I know where you’re going with that lowborn knight. You should be more thoughtful of your responsibilities than that.”
“I am prince and not you, Syuusuke,” Kunimitsu said coldly, his vision slowly clearing as the light faded a bit. He could now see the slight, fair-haired figure of his guardian. “You would do well to remember that.”
Kippei let out a quiet curse, and Kunimitsu glanced quickly behind himself. He, too, cursed, but silently. Kippei’s men had all been captured and were being held by a score of the palace guards. Their only hope of rescue had vanished.
Kunimitsu acted with haste then, maneuvering his left hand in a way that even Syuusuke would be unable to detect. He did not flinch as he made a tiny cut in the tip of his index finger with the dagger, disguising the movement as a shift to a different guard position. He brushed his finger against Kippei’s hand, knowing the other would recognize what he was doing.
“Yes,” Syuusuke agreed amiably, his witchlight fading until it was a mere halo around the slim man’s body. “But you do not yet rule, Kunimitsu, and until you reach the age of majority it is I who makes the decisions that concern this kingdom. Is that not correct?”
“It is,” the prince agreed, but grudgingly.
“And is it not also true that for the kingdom’s sake, a marriage of state will be more profitable than a marriage to a common knight?”
A silent signal that came in the form of a tensed muscle was all the warning Kunimitsu was given before Kippei let out that same high whistle once more. The knight’s men, who had been standing sullen but compliant in the grip of the palace guards, now sprang into action. They escaped their captors with ease. Kippei leapt to aid his men, and Kunimitsu would have followed, but Syuusuke moved fast and gripped Kunimitsu’s arm.
Kunimitsu glared at his guardian. “Release me, now.”
Syuusuke chuckled, low in the back of his throat. “You should not have let me lay a hand on you. This is the second time tonight you have fallen into a trap of mine. How disappointing.”
Kippei whirled when he heard Kunimitsu’s furious exclamation, the knight’s golden hair flying like a banner in the breeze. Kunimitsu was held fast in the clutches of his accursed guardian, seemingly not able to pull away. The prince and Syuusuke were fading as though they were spirits, and even as Kippei sprinted for them, they disappeared altogether.
A cry from one of his men gave him no time to damn himself for being too slow. He leapt back into the fray, his sword wheeling and spinning as he fought like a man possessed, with the righteous rage lent him by Kunimitsu’s abduction. His men, heartened by the presence of their knight, redoubled their efforts.
With a shout of triumph one of the men, Akira, defeated his foe. The others soon finished their fights as well, and the remaining guards lay senseless or dead on the cobblestones. Kippei alone had taken on four of the guards and won.
The celebration of the men was short-lived, however, as they noted their lord gazing soberly off into the distance. The battle had been won, but it was an empty victory. Prince Kunimitsu had been taken to somewhere unknown, and they had no way of finding him.
The men watched Kippei expectantly, waiting for further commands. They did not have to wait long. Kippei wasted no time, turning on his heel and surveying the condition of his fighters. Seeing that none of them were grievously injured, he said a short but firm, “Let’s go.” They all loyally followed after him, although none had any idea where they were being led.
As Kippei walked, he glanced down at his hand, and at the streak of blood running across the back of his knuckles. It was not his own blood, however. In that time when he’d been standing back-to-back with Kunimitsu, the prince had somehow managed to prick his own finger with the dagger, brushing the cut against Kippei’s fingers.
It was their key to finding where Syuusuke, an enchanter, had taken the prince. Surely Syuusuke knew that Kippei’s men would conquer the guards of the palace, and would likely conceal Kunimitsu somewhere difficult to find. But whenever there was a piece of magic, there was another that could best it. With this spot of blood, a part of Kunimitsu left behind, Kippei could track even a trail concealed by a magic user.
Kippei smiled bitterly to himself and clenched his fist, careful not to so much as brush the drop of blood. Wherever his love was hidden, Kippei Goldenmane would find him. “We will be together once more,” he whispered fiercely, a promise to Kunimitsu and to himself. “I swear it.”