The Targeted Princess of East
Hitsumi frowns, slightly lowering his weapon and studying the demon. “Princess?” He glances from side to side while still keeping an eye on the demon. “What princess?”
The demon takes several steps forward the bandits backing away while the princess keeps her ground. “Come with me princess and your companions will be spared.”
Angel answers the demon’s offer not looking away from the demon or waiting for anyone else to answer for her. “No! I'll never go with you!”
The demon stands up on its hind legs roaring loudly. “Then I will take you with me by force!” It swings it claws and snaps at the bandit nearest to it. Growling loudly as it attacks the group.
Hitsumi runs up to the princess quickly pulling her out of the path of the demon’s massive claws, ducking down with her behind the tree Li is tied to using it to shield the two of them, a frantic tone in his voice as he begins to question the girl that has been following him up until this point. “Why didn't you tell me you were the princess!?” He obviously didn’t like the fact that the woman hadn’t told him such an important thing. After all if he would have known this he would have been far less rude to her requests.
Angel hits him over the head annoyed with the bandit’s obvious stupidity. “DO YOU THINK I'M STUPID ENOUGH TO RUN AROUND TOWN SCREAMING, ‘Someone help me I'm the princess!?”
The demon again swings his huge claws at the group causing them to scatter to avoid the attack, Hitsumi is careful to keep the princess safe as he watches the rest of his group from where he is. The last thing that he needs is for a princess to get hurt when she is with him. If the royalty she is from finds out that he has allowed her to become harmed he would be hung for certain!
Everyone manages to scurry out of the way of the demon’s claws except for Li, who is still unfortunately, tied to the tree. The Demon hits the base of the tree, Li pulls his legs up to avoid being sliced into pieces, the claws easily slice through the base of the tree and sends it falling back, Hitsumi and Angel quickly move out from behind it as it crashes down against the ground and then tips over and down into the gorge where lucky for Li, it gets lodged and stuck between the jagged ledges.
Li gives out a sigh of relief as he stares at the water below him, his body hanging on the bottom side of the jammed log. He begins to struggle against the ropes again rather annoyed with having run into the demon, the very creature he was trying to leave the forest and avoid, his inability to avoid the creature of course all thanks to that damn bandit.
He places his feet against the rock ledge he is now against, hoping that he would be able to figure out a way out of this, not sure of how he’s supposed to fix this problem.
Back upon land Hitsumi and the rest of the bandits are still struggling with the demon that attacked them, some of the men fight back attacking the creature, but the large beast simply forces them back with its massive swinging claws, the few that are slow enough to be hit being sent crashing into the ground, tress, and over the ledge of the gorge that they fought by.
Ashton quickly gets to his feet yelling over to the others, this obviously is not a battle that any of them are capable of winning. “Jump! We’ll escape it by going off of the cliff and into the water!”
Hitsumi snaps his gaze in Ashton’s direction not thinking that to be all that great an idea. “WHAT!? Are you crazy!? Do you know how high this cliff is? How far the water is below!? How quick the rapids are? You’re going to kill yourself!”
Ashton tightens the bag that is carrying his book shut so that water would not so easily be able to get inside of it, the bandit prepares himself for the jump to the waters below. “It’s pretty obvious that we’re better off taking our chances down there then here!” He quickly dodges another of the demons attacks before turning back from the creature and jumping, taking his chances with the rapids below. The other bandits soon follow his actions, the idea of facing the rapids below them more inviting then staying up here and trying to fight back against the demon that attacks them.
Hitsumi yells at them as they one by one leave him behind with the princess. “You guys are all chickens!” He gasps and quickly forces himself and Angel down to the ground as the tree he is hiding behind is smashed and sliced through by the demon’s large and sharp claws. Angel screams loudly as the tree crashes onto the ground next to them, Angel clings onto the bandit she is with tightly in fear.
Hitsumi gets to his feet, once more pulling his sword from his side and moving Angel behind him. It is now obvious that trying to hide for cover isn’t going to do him any good.
Li watches as the bandits fall past him into the water far below him one by one. The sight giving Li a slight tingle of relief when he knows that he isn’t one of them. “Least I'm safe here... no plunging into the wate-”
Li is cut off as Hitsumi falls and catches onto the rope binding Li, clinging onto it and stopping his fall into the water bellow them, his weight on the rope yanks it tighter around Li as Hitsumi struggles to keep himself from falling, the demon had thrown him off the ledge in his futile attempt to attack it.
Li immediately starts to panic as the bindings begin to get tighter and tighter. “STOP PULLING ON THE ROPES!!! YOU'RE CUTTING MY CIRCULATION!!” Li is positive that he would lose the feeling to the bottom half of his body in no time, and if he does happen to fall that may interfere with any attempts he has of swimming to safety.
Hitsumi quickly shakes his head unable to stop causing Li discomfort as the situation stood right now, Hitsumi having seen what’s below him when he is falling and refuses to look down again at it. “That’s too bad! I'm not falling down there!” He tries to climb up to the top of the log as to not continue to dangerously hang by the ropes that hold Li. This of course makes the ropes even tighter around Li who starts to try and kick Hitsumi in an attempt to knock him off, not able to stand the pain the tightened ropes are causing him any longer.
Hitsumi winces at Li’s painful and repetitive kicks to his side, Hitsumi reaches up and forcefully covers Li’s mouth and nose in an attempt to get him to stop. “If you don’t stop that not only are you going to uncomfortably lose circulation to your legs you’re not going to continue breathing either!”
There is a scream from the princess who is still high on the ledge with the demon, the terrifying noise quickly catches Hitsumi’s attention as he takes his hand off of Li’s face, ignoring him as he looks up trying to spot Angel. “Jump!!”
Angel stands near the ledge too scared to jump off of it like the others have done. With the demon having thrown Hitsumi over the edge with his companions she is now the only one left with nowhere for her to run or hide from the creature. She stares in fright at the demon knowing that she might possibly be able to escape if she jumped like the others had done but much too scared to do something as crazy as that.
The demon chuckles cruelly to itself as it watches the trembling princess, the beast knows that his Lord will be very pleased with him when he presents him with the princess they are so desperately searching for.
The demon holds himself back with great restraint, although he wants to attack and rip her limb from limb he knows that is an instinct he could not let take over, as he’s to bring her to his master alive and unharmed. He speaks to the princess hoping that she would be cooperative and not test his restraint. “All of them escaped me by jumping to their deaths. You are alone now. There is no one left to protect you.”
Angel timidly turns to look behind her at the ledge that all the others have escaped off of. Maybe if she was a little braver she could have easily done the same as them, but that isn’t the case. She isn’t brave like everyone else had been.
Angel stares back at the frightening creature that towers over her. Is this it for her? This is how all her trials would come to an end? After a life time of being told to run this is where it would finally come to a stop?
Her frantic questions come to a stop as a voice, a memory from her past, resurfaces as if it’s whispering into her ear. “Run... you must fight for your life, you must run and not let them take it from you! You must run and you must live!”
Angel stubbornly clenches her hands into fists as she stares up at the demon yelling her defiance to the creature. “I'd rather die!” She closes her eyes and despite her fear and general knowledge of not to do such stupid things she gets to her feet turning away from the demon and jumps off of the ledge as the others have done, not willing to give up just yet.
The demon bellows an angry roar as he watches the princess fall from his grasp, the demon moves quickly to try and rectify this situation.
Angel keeps her eyes shut tightly ready and bracing herself for the sting of the cold waters below her. Unfortunately instead of hitting the water Angel crashes roughly on the tree that has been lodged in the gorge, almost knocking Hitsumi off as he tries to climb up onto it.
She grinds her teeth tighter twitching as she painfully pushes herself up. She has been expecting to land in water not on top of the damn log. She stays silent whimpering for a moment before she begins to bellow her discomfort. “THAT REALLY HURT!!!
Hitsumi continues to struggle and try and pull himself up onto the tree, it isn’t as if he is in the perfect situation or condition either. “Yeah? Well my hands have rope burn!”
Angel rubs every sore inch of her, her whole body is aching in pain. “I'm the princess so my pain is much worse!” She argues back with the bandit convinced that anything the royalty experienced is far more traumatizing and meaningful than the pain a peasant feels, or a BANDIT to be exact.
Li dizzily stares down at the water below him, Hitsumi’s constantly struggles and cut of his blood circulation and airways getting to him. “Circulation bad... getting dizzy... can't feel anything...”
Angel points down to Li using him as an example. “See!?!! Even he has the pleasure of feeling numb!!!”
There is a sudden crash as the demon jumps down after them landing one the tree the three of them are safely complaining to one another on, snapping the trunk in half from its weight and sending them all plunging down into the water below.
Before the demon hits the water it reaches over digging its tough claws into the rocky edge clinging onto it, his heavy and large body sliding to a stop and leaving large claw marks in the stone side. It looks down towards the water, it’s impossible for him to see the target he has been after, the fog from the water is too thick, the current quick and having already pulled them either away, or under the water.
The demon snarls as it stares down at the thick fog and rapid waters below him, even with the situation as bad as it looks he does not believe the princess to be dead. “You will not escape me princess! I will follow you and all of your guardians until you are in the claws of our Lord!”
The man that has forced his way past the guards into the forest watches the demon as it begins to climb its way back onto the land, he then turns away from the creature and to the churning waters blow him, not a living soul in sight. “So they got to her before me?” He continues to search the water below but is still unable to see anything at all, the man turns and calmly walking away. “Pity…”
Hitsumi coughs violently as he pulls himself and the princess’s head out of the water, the bandit manages to catch onto a rock stopping them from being washed any farther down the river. He spots the edge of the rapids rather far from him, they being somewhere he wished he was right now.
Hitsumi begins to scan the area for a way for him to get there while still keeping a firm grip around Angel, he places his body securely against the rock as he lets go of it to reach out towards another rock just out of his reach that would bring him closer to the edge of the water, Hitsumi stretches his arm out as much as he could as he tries to reach it. A wave of water crashes into him causing him to slip off of the rock that is keeping him in place and wash farther down the river.
Hitsumi manages to grab hold of another rock and stops himself and the princess, this one is luckily for him much closer to the edge of the water he is trying to reach. Hitsumi uses the rocks just as he has done the other to try and pull himself to land while fighting against the push of the waters.
Finally he reaches his destination and is able to pull himself and the princess out of the water and onto dry land. He pants heavily for breath while coughing up any water he has swallowed, Hitsumi rests the unconscious girl down on the ground before getting to his feet and searching for anyone else that may have made it to safety.
He spots about half of his group not far from where he has ended up. The rapids have obviously slowed enough in this area to allow more than just him to be able to get to safety.
He holds his spinning head as he begins to count the bandits he sees to find how many managed to make it, his heart sinks when he finds that he is one short, Hitsumi turns to the bandit nearest to him calling out to him to question him about the person that was missing. “Where’s Ashton?”
The bandits look over at one another each of them giving Hitsumi the same shake of the head. None of them having seen or knowing where Ashton is.
Hitsumi looks back at the water behind him Ashton’s probably still within the river then, he looks back at the other bandits pointing down to Angel as he began making his way back to the river. “Look after the princess for me. I’m going to go look for him.”
The bandits nod agreeing to obey his order as they watch Hitsumi run back to the river as he begins to scan the waters for any sign of his childhood friend.
After a while of Hitsumi walks along the water’s edge and still finding no sign of Ashton he stops, the bandit stands alongside the water and stares into it, the chances of his friend still being alive getting lower by the second. “There’s no way he could have survived this many rapids. Not a wimp like him.”
Before Hitsumi is about to give up the search he spots something within the waters barely visible in the dark night along with the thick fog from the water. A familiar shadow could barely be seen clinging for his life on one of the large rocks within the rapids, Hitsumi laughs in relief when he recognizes it as Ashton glad to see that he is alive, Hitsumi raises his voice and calls over to him. “You okay?”
Ashton turns towards Hitsumi happy to see him but really not showing it at the moment. “NO!! Get over here and help me out!!” Hitsumi laughs shaking his head as he starts to make his way towards Ashton while his friend continues to complain. “Why are you just standing around watching me? I have a wife and three kids you know!”
Hitsumi picks up as sturdy piece of drift wood and jumps onto the rocks within the water that are by the edge he is standing on, reaching the wood towards Ashton for him to grab hold of. “Yes, yes... I already know.”
Ashton grabs hold of the stick clinging on for dear life as Hitsumi begins to pull him in from the water, Ashton continues his complaints despite the help he is now getting from Hitsumi. “You couldn’t have taken any longer you know! It felt like I was there for hours! I was on the brink of losing my grip and drowning!”
Hitsumi smirks as he pulls Ashton onto dry land, having been rather busy just trying to keep Angel from drowning. “Well, I had a princess to save.”
Ashton nods his head. “Sure, save the princess and completely ignore you best friend...” He looks around him the princess reminding him of something else. “Where’s Li?”
Hitsumi gets an annoyed look on his face. Ashton hadn’t even thanked him for his help and is instead asking about the wellbeing of that annoying good for nothing blond brat that has dared to make a fool out of him by punching him in the face in public. “How should I know? If I’m lucky he died in the fall.”
Ashton glares over at him for a moment before turning away from him as he begins to search the waters for any signs of the blonde that Hitsumi so despised. “I can’t see Li anywhere.”
Hitsumi frowns as he thrust the end of the stick he has used to help Ashton into the water. “Good! I hope he’s very deep.”
Li’s hands grab onto the stick Hitsumi has thrust into the water, pulling him off balance and almost dragging him into the water. He tries to hold on and pulls himself out but loses his grip, Hitsumi quickly falls forward and grabs onto his arm before the current takes him away. Ashton comes to his side to help as the two of them pull Li free of the rushing water.
Angel slowly opens her eyes and moans uncomfortably in pain. Her entire body aches now and she doesn’t want to move anymore. Unfortunately she knows that despite wanting to just stay there until the pain went away she has to get up, after all there’s no telling if the demon is still after her or not.
Angel sits up and looks around her catching sight of the bandits from Hitsumi’s gang, all of them regroup with one another and are doing quite well considering what they have just gone through, one of them rather rallied up from the experience and screaming out with his arms trust into the air. “That was one hell of a rush!”
Angel shakes her head this is not going well at all. She has gotten attacked by a demon and as if that isn’t bad enough she has somehow ended up with a group of filthy bandits. “I knew it was unsafe to travel alone… but traveling with these guys isn’t much safer.”
She gasps in horror as she frantically starts searching through the bandits surrounding her, looking for any sign of the bandit leader who has tried to defend her from the demon. “Where's that guy!? He said that he would help me after this was done! He was supposed to take me to Bronze Riverton!” She becomes even more troubled as she continues to see no signs of him. “Don't tell me he died!”
One of the bandits turns back in Angel’s direction having overheard her concerns, the bandit laughs at her worry before assuring her that she would be fine. “Don't worry young lady he's fine. He just went to find Ashton.”
Angel calms down slightly at the information, the princess then thinks over what the man has told her. “Ashton? Who was that again? It has to be that weirdo with the book, after all he looks to be the only one missing.”
Her thoughts are soon interrupted by the very welcome voice of the boastful, alive and well, bandit leader. “Didn't take me long to find Ashton either! He was right where I thought he would be, lodged in the rapids fighting for his frail little life.”
Ashton glares over at Hitsumi with a look that read. ‘You’re going to pay with your life for saying that.’ No one else needed to know about his embarrassing situation.
The other bandits all laugh at Ashton’s misfortune, having all been lucky enough to make it out of the water around this area before reaching the really rough rapids that Ashton had found.
Hitsumi points his free hand to Li while still holding him up on his shoulder. “I also managed to find this.”
Angel gets a tired look on her face when she recognizes the figure that Hitsumi has been constantly at war with. “You're not going to go back to your fighting thing are you?”
Hitsumi drops Li to the ground a satisfying thunk filling his ears. Though he is still annoyed with Li in every possible way and wants badly to deal with him it seems necessary to insure the princess that he wouldn’t continue with his attempts of revenge. “No because it's clear that I won.”
Li slowly pushes himself back up as he glares at the bandit who dared assume that he has given in. “What makes you think that you've won?”
Hitsumi smiles widely as he looks down at Li, it being very apparent from the condition that Li os in that he now finally has the better of him. “Because you Li, Are my prisoner.”
Li falls silent at the announcement, surrounding him are Hitsumi and his crummy little gang group of bandits, it is clear that there is no way he really could escape at the moment, especially when Li could barely move from the pain of falling and hitting the water with a tree trunk tied to his back, then using up all his strength and energy to free himself of the tree and ropes while trying to keep his head above water. It isn’t something that happens everyday and has been an extremely painful and draining ordeal. Li sighs to himself as he closes his eyes hanging his head. He knew Hitsumi is right, he has lost their feud and is now Hitsumi’s prisoner.
It is a quiet night for the people of Bronze Riverton. After a long day of working within the work mills that line the river running through the village the people are now sleeping soundly in their homes, getting the good nights sleeps they need and have earned.
A white figure streaks over the town through the night sky, a white owl with bright yellow eyes swoops down into the town having finally reached its destination. It lands on the statue of the King of West that stand within the middle of the town as a monument, the detailed and well made sculpture the centerpiece of a large water fountain that was well taken care of and truly a sight to behold.
Unfortunately, because of the statues placement it is very wet and slippery, and the large bird is unable to get a good grip on the smooth wet rock that he has landed upon, slipping down the statue’s arm and falling off of it, hitting the fountains waters below the statue.
The splash alerts a dog that has been sleeping outside one of the buildings near the fountain, the dog quickly jumps to its feet running over to the fountain as it barks loudly at the animal that has fallen into its waters, the dog growls and snarls at the poor creature that has fallen and is now struggling within the water, the loud noises that the dog is making causes several people to wake and emerge from their warm houses and into the cold night air to see what is going on.
The owl splashes franticly as it tries to get out of the fountain it’s too deep for it to stand in, the water that is has collected on his wings keeps him from flying. The splashing the owl makes gets the dog even more excited as its barking and jumping on spot becomes louder and quicker. Soon the splashing comes to a stop as the owl stops flailing and sinks into the water, the dog stops its barking as it lifts its head over the side of the fountain and stares at the water in it curiously.
“What is that stupid dog barking at now?” One of the neighbours questioned as the animal’s owner runs over to the dog, grabbing onto its collar and dragging it back to his house.
“I don’t know…” The owner looks as pleased as the neighbours are be woken by the animal, the dog whimpers as it pulls against its master wanting to go back to the fountain to stare and bark at the animal it has seen in it, it’s master pulls against him as he tries to keep the dog under control. “Stop that! There’s nothing there!” He pulls the dog inside his house closing the door behind him. The neighbours all do the same as the town gets back to the sleep they’ve been interrupted from.
The dogs head can be seen looking through the window of its house as it at stares towards the fountain, the animal’s interest still upon it.
There is another splash accompanied by a coughing sound as a wet hand reaches out of the fountain grabbing onto its side. The dog again begins to franticly bark at the fountain as a young boy begins to pull his soaking figure from the fountain’s waters, the boy falls out of the large fountain and onto the ground, his drenched robes creating a puddle of water on the ground.
The child shakes the water out of his white hair moaning tiredly as he holds his head, the ordeal that has just happened to him having been frightening and exhausting. He comes to his senses and opens his bright yellow eyes staring ahead of him and looking through the town he is now in. He turns away from the buildings and without saying a word begins to wring the water out of his long white cape while getting back up to his feet.
He turns for a moment to look towards the barking dog while still trying to get the water out of his clothes. It’s barking even louder than before as it paws at the window to get outside.
The boy turns away from the animal holding his right hand out next to him, a strange staff appears by his palm and floats on spot until he takes hold of it. The boy looks to either side of him once again gazing over his surroundings.
The window lights up as the dog’s owner once again comes to see what the dog is barking at. “What the hell’s your problem!?” He looks out the window spotting nothing that could possibly be of any interest, the man chases the dog away from the window. “There’s nothing there.” He is about to go back to bed when he sees the puddle of water in front of the fountain, he stops to get a closer look, realizing that there are bare footprints upon the ground leading away from the puddle of water in front of the fountain. “What’s this?”
Siren, the old wizard within the castle of East begins to speak to a collection of dust that has gathered and formed into the figure of a young woman, these strange particles are a way of communication to the young girl now formed by the dust. This girl is the real princess the demons are so frantically searching for, it’s his duty to warn her of the danger that would be fast approaching her. “Princess, I have some urgent news. Please listen closely to what I must say.”
The small female figure turns towards him with a worried face. If it is an urgent message from the old wizard it’s most definitely not good news. The small figure’s worry seems to grow at the sight of the wizard’s concerned face. “Siren! What happened!? You do not look well.”
The wizard answers her as quickly and simply as he could, trying to keep a calm tone in his voice. “As we have feared the demons have come. They have massacred everyone within the castle including the King and Queen, even the woman that poses as you.”
A worried, fearful expression fills Angel’s face when she hears this. She shakes her head slightly from side to side while holding her hands to her aching chest. “...no.”
Siren began to explain. “Quickly princess, as we speak they are searching for clues on your whereabouts. You must leave as quickly as you can.”
A shocked looked fills the young girl’s face. “I have to go alone!?” Traveling alone with demons hot on her trail is the last thing she wants to do. “Please send me a guard! I cannot do this by myself!”
“Princess, there isn't time for you to wait for one, as well as a guard will do very little against the demons.” The wizard begins to explain, trying to advise the princess that seeking such help would be meaningless.
Angel shakes her head, crossing her arms and turning away from him holding her nose in the air, the small dust figure refuses to budge from her spot on the table. “I refuse to travel alone!!”
The old wizard sighs in a way that clearly expressed the stress of his many years. One thing he understood well is that when a member of the royalty makes up their mind it’s near impossible to try and convince them otherwise. He would have to let her have her way.
“Very well, I will send my pupil Echo to join you in the nearest town.” He paused for a second, as if trying to reach deep into the back of his mind to pull out the name of the town closest to her. Finally he found the title he is looking for. “Bronze Riverton. From there he will take you somewhere where you can be safe from the demons.”
The princess although slightly relived to hear the announcement, is still not completely satisfied. Still she looks for more lenience from Siren. “Bronze Riverton is too far! I have no chance if they find me and I am alone!! Please you must-”
The princess’s figure disappears, the magic link ending at that.
Angel stares over at Hitsumi and the other bandits, that’s the end of her explanation. “And that was it… our communication was interrupted before any more could be discussed.”
Hitsumi stands with his back leaning against a rock that lay near the river he and his group have so recently escaped from, the bandit listens intently to everything the princess has to say, the information she is telling him is definitely important and in fact is probably the most important situation that has happened to him in his entire life. He couldn’t help wishing that Angel had told him all this sooner, if she had he certainly would have treated her with much more respect than he has, the bandit os now starting to feel awful about how he has treated the princess prior to finding out who she is.
Hitsumi stands up once Angel finishes talking, vaguely repeating and trying to summarize everything that she has just told him. “So let me get this straight. Demons have killed your family and everyone within the castle, but your parents knew that the demons would attack because you're some kind of key to releasing a great demon power. So they sent you away from the castle before the attack, replacing you with a double so that the demons would think that was you, but it didn't work, they found out and now they're looking for you?”
Angel nods her head relieved to see he has understood her so well. “Yes!” She’s sure that her nervous babbling may have lost him at some point, but then again Hitsumi’s own language is mindless babble so he probably has no difficulty understanding her. “Siren, the castle wizard sent his pupil to meet me in Bronze Riverton. If I can get there to meet with him he will be able to help me out! But... I don't want to travel alone. If I’m found by another demon like the last one without anyone to protect me I won’t stand a chance.”
Ashton looks over at Hitsumi an unsure look on his face. He grabs onto Hitsumi jacket, pulls his leader back out of the princess’s hearing range so that he could speak to him. “Royalty? Last time you dealt with the royalty you almost got killed. They really don’t like you.”
Hitsumi looks back at Ashton this situation being different. “That was a long time ago, not to mention it was the South Royalty I dealt with. Not the East.”
Ashton shakes his head that still does not mean that this royalty is any less of a danger for him to be messing with. “Still, your name got around really fast after that incident. Everyone in the four continents knows the price on your head better then you’re name. ‘Two Million in gold for the capture of Hitsumi the river bandit, Wanted alive to stand trial for the disappearance of th-”
Hitsumi lifts his hand up to Ashton interrupting him from saying anything else. “Do you have that stupid old notice memorized or what!? I know! I know!” He looks back at Angel unable to just leave her stuck in this situation, Hitsumi looks back at Ashton and continuing. “But she needs help. She’s got demons after her for God’s sake! You saw it yourself!”
Ashton still didn’t seem comfortable with the entire idea. “What if she really doesn’t need help? What if she really isn’t a princess!? She could be a bounty hunter after the reward trying to turn you in for the gold!”
Hitsumi groans, the possibility of Angel being something like that’s very low. “A demon! Do you remember being attacked by the demon!? I remember being attack by the demon! It was a painful horribly embarrassing event that was quite possibly one of the most unpleasant experiences to happen to me since Tia.”
Hitsumi’s mention of that name doesn’t go well with Ashton, his companion getting an angered look on his face as he snaps back at him. “Don’t you dare drag Tia into this!”
Angel taps Hitsumi’s shoulder interrupting the two’s conversation and getting their attention. “Excuse me… have you made up your mind on if you can help me or not?”
Hitsumi looks from Angel back at Ashton who is shaking his head and silently mouthing the word ‘No’ Hitsumi ignores him turning back to the princess. “I’m still thinking.”
Angel clasps her hands together throwing away any pride she has left and begging the bandit for his help. “Please…?”
Hitsumi places his hand on his chin as he thinks the situation over carefully. Whether his group would accept this task or not is completely up to him, Ashton and his gang would follow him without question even if Ashton didn’t agree. Also, he really couldn’t forget that it’s a very bad idea to refuse aid to the royalty when they ask, by law such actions is regarded as treason and although Hitsumi has no problem disobeying the law he did have a problem with directly mingling with the royalty again. “So all I have to do is take you to Bronze Riverton, and that's it?”
Ashton hits Hitsumi on the back of the head bringing Hitsumi’s attention back to him. “No!” He yells barely above a whisper.
Angel nods her head quickly, it looks as if Hitsumi is going to fulfill her request. “Yes! I'll pay you handsomely!
Hitsumi shrugs his shoulders not really seeing why he shouldn’t aside from Ashton’s obvious dislike for the idea. She’s willing to pay him after all, and she definitely looked and acted like a princess and not a bounty hunter like Ashton though her to be. It couldn’t be that terrible of a trip and besides, maybe if he helps the princess out maybe the royalty would take off the price he has on his name. “Sure why not, we're only...” He stops for a moment, even though he is a bandit that travels from one place to another he actually isn’t quite sure where the heck Bronze Riverton is, that particular town holds absolutely nothing that might interest a bandit or even a simple thief. He turns back to his group of bandits, there are eleven of them so at least one of them should know. “How far is it to Bronze Riverton?”
One of the bandits speaks up answering his question. “Almost a day’s walk, but it's easy to get there. All you have to do is follow the river downstream.”
“A DAYS WALK!?” Hitsumi nearly chokes on the information. He was hoping for it to be a little closer then that after all he knows it to at least be in the general area. The princess looks up at him worriedly hoping that Hitsumi hasn’t changed his mind.
Hitsumi takes a deep breath and smiles in the way he always did as he looks casually to the side like nothing is at all wrong. “I mean... it's only a day’s walk... and it's on our way.” The princess lights up while Hitsumi nervously adds in quietly to himself. “If that was the direction we were going in...”
Ashton shakes his head as he gives a sigh of disappointment not liking the idea at all. But despite his dislike for the entire situation Hitsumi is getting him and the others into he’s still ready and willing to follow his leader, after all who else is going to help Hitsumi get back up once he screwed up?
Li’s voice rises above theirs with an angry and annoyed tone to it. “It's out of my way. I'm not headed to that town.”
Hitsumi closes his eyes as he tries to hold back his frustration. Ashton’s nagging is one thing to deal with but this dumb kid’s a thousand times worse. It is plainly obvious to anyone here that the boy’s getting on his nerves, every chance Li has he would say something, insult or complain, and it is definitely testing Hitsumi’s patience.
The brat is the noisiest prisoner that the bandit leader have ever had the misfortune of dealing with, and if there had been a way to make him shut up permanently without killing him Hitsumi would have already gone through with it.
Hitsumi turns towards Li walks over to him, kneeling down next to him and tightening the ropes that are binding him, giving him even more discomfort. Li obviously doesn’t seem to comprehend that he is a prisoner and isn’t in charge. “Yes you are going.” He stands in front of Li talking in a voice that a teacher would a very dull student, hand signals and all. “Because you are my prisoner and where I go, you go.”
Li stares at Hitsumi. “You do know that when I get out of this you are going to die.”
Ashton pulls Hitsumi away from Li as he began to try and talk to him regarding Li again. “Hitsumi about Li, you have to listen to me on this one. I think it's really important that you know this!”
Hitsumi pulls his arm from Ashton’s grip and stays his ground. “I think I have heard enough of your precautions for today Ashton!”
Ashton shakes his head that not being what he needs to talk to Hitsumi about right now. “This isn’t about Angel, we’re on a different topic now.”
Hitsumi doesn’t let Ashton say anything further. “If it's about Li I don't want to hear it.”
Hitsumi turns away from Ashton plugging his ears with his fingers and starting to play the game that all young children play when something is being lectured to them that they didn’t want to hear. “I can't hear you! La, la, la, la~”
Ashton sighs as he turns away from Hitsumi, there’s really no point in trying to convince Hitsumi of anything when he is going to be acting like that. He walks away waving Hitsumi off like something that’s a big waste of his time, having had enough of dealing with him for one day.
As soon as Hitsumi saw Ashton give up he unplugs his ears and begins to address everyone else that’s with him. “Alright everyone let’s get some rest. It’s been dark for a while now so we might as well get some sleep before we go. We'll be leaving at daybreak so get a good night’s sleep ‘cause we are going to need it.”
The bandits all nod their head to show their acceptance for the idea as they listen to their leader’s request and begin to settle down for the night.
Ashton is more than a little frustrated by the idiot of a friend of his. He would try and explain to him about Li once again at a later time, but the chances of Hitsumi actually listening to something he didn’t want to hear are rather slim. Hitsumi has a million different ways of ignoring a person and Ashton is well familiar by now with each and every one of them.
Ashton looks pestered by Hitsumi’s command. His leader is obviously aggravated by Li in every way possible. He looks back to Li apologizing again for this inconvenience. “I'm really sorry about this, I'll clean things up as soon as I can.”
Hitsumi’s annoyed voice interrupts the two. “Ashton!! Stop pampering the prisoner!”
Li closes his eyes as he leans back on the ground to sleep. “What could you possibly do? No matter what you say it's not going to change his mind about me being a prisoner.” He looks for a moment over at Hitsumi who is also getting himself comfortable for a good night’s sleep.
Soon all the lights the bandits have lit to converse under during the night go out, and the travelers including the princess try to get as much sleep as they can before daybreak, despite how uncomfortable each one is as they have no shelter or comfort of any sort, not to mention the one that is tied up.
It is late at night when Hitsumi is awakened by the sounds of someone stirring. He sleepily opens his eyes and looks around him trying to find which person is making the sound. After looking over the usual crowd and finding nothing amiss his eyes fall on Li to find that he is slightly stirring in his sleep.
Hitsumi looks a little baffled by what he sees, it isn’t everyday he saw someone sleep so uncomfortably even with this horrible sleeping spot. “What's with him? Is he trying to escape?” He moves slightly in his spot so that he could get a closer look at him, Li was definitely still asleep, yet something is greatly bothering him. “He's having a nightmare?” Hitsumi is a little surprised by his discovery, finding it a little hard to believe that someone as though as Li would be haunted by nightmares.
Li's eyelids open as he suddenly awakens from the nightmare he has been in and startling the bandit leader that has been watching him. Li takes several breaths before managing to calm down, closing his eyes and cursing quietly to himself as he felt his body shake from the dream he has. He turns towards the night sky with a tired look on his face, the dream troubling him.
After a moment of being awake Li turns away from the night sky and begins to tug on the ropes binding him to see if he could escape now that all the bandits are sleeping.
Hitsumi quickly notices that Li has awaken and is now trying to free himself, Hitsumi grabs onto a pebble that is near him, picking it up, throwing and hitting Li in the head to get his attention. “Hey! I see that!”
Li glares over in Hitsumi’s direction having not realized that the annoying bandit is still awake, Li turns away from him and closing his eyes to try and get back to sleep again, Li knowing that he really is in no position to argue with Hitsumi right now. “Go to sleep and leave me alone.”
Hitsumi frowns as he lies back down still keeping his eyes fixed on Li, the bandit is not pleased over fact that Li has managed to wake him up when he’s so tired. Li is a pest even when he’s sleeping, you couldn’t get more annoying than that! Hitsumi picks up another rock and chucks it at Li for his own relief of stress and after hearing a satisfying smack on the head he turns around and goes back to sleep.