The Vengeance Crusade: Allegiance
This was it.
It had finally come to this and Kei had never been so pissed off in her entire life.
Not when her entire town burned down…not when Mallory was first kidnapped, not even when Blaine sacrificed himself and was publicly executed by the firing squad to allow them to escape.
This seemed to have topped the list of things that had pissed her off; mostly because of a small miscalculation, which would now cost her own life.
As much as Kei hated to admit it, even though she outright refused to admit it, there was one thing that was certain…
Takehiko had outsmarted her and won.
“Hands up, Englert…now,” Takehiko ordered menacingly.
Kei closed her eyes and steadied herself as she felt the cold, heavy metal of a handgun pressed to the side of her temple, before she raised her hands up slightly in surrender. As she raised her hands, she felt Takehiko removing her sword from at her side and by then, Kei was becoming livid.
She was almost certain that Takehiko wore his usual smug look upon his face as he held his small dark gun to Kei’s head; fully ready to pull the trigger and release the heavily poisoned bullets that could easily kill a hanyou like her.
There was no way around this.
Takehiko wanted to capture her badly, that he had nearly risked everything, so that he could bring her before the Empire and earn his rewards.
Of course, it’s only natural for a reward of money and a good title to be worth more than someone’s life; it was Takehiko, after all.
The spoiled, arrogant brat of the Western Lands had finally beaten her.
That fact made Kei absolutely sick.
Kei flinched and screwed her eyes shut when she heard the large, metal doors behind her slammed shut; her heartbeat rapidly increasing as she had thought the noise had come from the gun.
However, she opened her eyes again as Takehiko forcefully grabbed the collar of her shirt and spun her around, still keeping his gun to her head as he did, so that she could face the metal doors of the extremely bright white room.
Shakily, Kei gasped in horror as she held back the tears that started to blur her vision.
No… Kei thought in despair as she watched the scene in front of her.
Kneeling on the cold, steel covered floor with guns also pressed to their heads were Rory, Emma, Quincy and Roxy. All of her friends, with the exception of a very frightened Emma, looked just as angry and defeated as she did, because they had taken extra care in executing their plan in order to prevent this sort of outcome.
Kei had hoped, prayed even, that at least part of her planned worked and that her friends had managed to escape; making it safely onto the cargo ship heading straight to India.
How the hell did they find them?
The ship had sailed earlier that morning and was probably in the middle of the seas; unbothered by anyone as it made its usual delivery.
What could’ve possibly gone wrong?
“You’re a clever little runt, aren’t you? I have to say, that your little plan nearly worked, but you’ve forgotten one tiny detail,” Takehiko said smugly.
“What…?” Kei breathed as she stared at her friends’ lowered heads.
“With fugitives now hiding in this part of the continent, every mode of transportation is subject to thorough and daily inspection. This includes cargo ships,” Takehiko stated before he roughly grabbed Kei by the hair and spun her around to face him.
He landed a swift, yet hard kick to Kei in the stomach and caused the young inu hanyou to slam into the floor; gasping for air as the kick knocked most of it out her lungs.
“Kei!” Emma shouted frantically before one of the guards angrily yanked her long, copper colored hair, causing the young girl to cry.
“Emma…” Kei groaned as she held her newly bruised ribs while watching Takehiko’s perfectly polished boots approach her from her position on the metal floor.
“Did you honestly think that I was going to let some hanyou bastard and a pack of useless humans get the best of me?” Takehiko spat angrily.
Carefully, Kei managed to pull herself up onto her forearms, but before she could even look Takehiko in the eye, he placed the cold gun in the middle of her forehead.
Emma continued to sob uncontrollably as she closed her eyes; not wanting to see Kei getting shot in the head.
Kei forced herself to smirk at the young youkai above her, despite being deeply hurt by the anguish cries coming from Emma. She wasn’t going to be submissive, not to Takehiko and he couldn’t kill them, even if he wanted to, since the Emperor would want them transported back to him…
…that would be another opportunity to try and escape.
“Do you really think that the Emperor wants me dead? I’m pretty sure that he would want me to be alive to face execution,” Kei said smartly as the bangs from her lowered head covered her eyes.
Takehiko chuckled darkly; catching the slightly younger inu hanyou off guard.
“Stupid little mutt. The bounty on you and your pathetic human friends have been raised so many times, that even the conditions of your capture have been changed,” Takehiko informed as he reached into his pocket with his free hand.
He held out the familiar ‘WANTED’ flyer with Kei’s picture posted on it and shook the piece of paper as if to make a point.
Slowly, Kei looked up at the flyer from her position on the floor and began to read it entirely. As she started to read the conditions for the capture, Kei visibly began to pale as the color slowly left her body.
The sick feeling in Kei’s stomach threatened to return as she glanced in the direction of her four friends; suddenly she started to feel lightheaded.
“The Emperor doesn’t care whether you arrive to him dead or alive, as long as you are brought to him. You’ve made a mockery of the Empire by your countless escapes, so I think it’s safe to say that you all know the option that I’m going to choose,” Takehiko smirked as he pressed the gun harder against Kei’s head.
So this was it.
They were all going to die here in this cold, metal room where other criminals were privately executed for their crimes.
They were going to be shot here like animals, have their blood and spilled brains thoroughly rinsed and cleaned by human slaves from the room, before they have their bodies transported back to Japan, where the whole world would see their corpses strung high above the gallows in the Emperor’s own execution square.
Kei could barely swallow the urge to vomit as she forced herself to look boldly back up at a smug Takehiko; the smell of strong chemical cleaners used in the room was filling Kei with dread.
She had to find a way out of this, if not for her, then at least for her friends. They didn’t deserve to die this way; it was her fault that they were caught up in this rebellion.
Just then, the large metal doors slammed shut again and Kei’s heart sank into her stomach as she saw who had entered into execution room.
Kei knew that their deaths were certain now, as she watched a sad, yet beautifully dressed Reika enter gracefully into the room, accompanied by Lord Shinji.
“Ah, Lord Shinji…I’m glad that you and Reika were able to make it here on time on such short notice,” Takehiko said pleasantly as he still continued to glare down at Kei.
Kei glanced over at her four friends, knowing that in their heavy hearts why Shinji had brought the human teenager all the way over to Europe.
Reika was going to be the Medic for their execution tonight and Takehiko most likely wanted to make sure that they were all dead with no possible chance of surviving. He probably had his mentor bring her over to do their autopsies, since Reika, despite her dislike for doing them, was the best in her field of work.
Reika, their sweet, gentle friend, who had secretly helped them out of trouble more times than anyone could count, was going to be forced to witness their execution and examine their corpses for the Empire.
Kei could already tell that it was killing the young girl on the inside.
Perhaps, it was the reason why Lord Shinji was there to accompany her; to offer her emotional support. Reika was just like Emma and Mallory; very sensitive to violence, despite it being practically everywhere with the ongoing war.
Kei began to tremble as a combination of anger and fear as Reika’s sad, large brown eyes briefly met Kei’s stormy blue ones, before she tore her eyes away.
Gently, Shinji reached up at his collar and began to unbuckle the ornately decorated crescent moon-shaped brooches that pinned his cape to his sophisticated clothes; wrapping his silver and navy blue cape around Reika’s slender form to keep her from getting cold.
“Stand down, Takehiko,” Shinji ordered firmly as he took a bold step forward.
Kei’s heart nearly stopped as she watched Takehiko raised a confused eyebrow at Shinji’s words.
Was Lord Shinji actually going to help them out?
“My Lord?” Takehiko inquired as he barely looked over his shoulder.
Shinji took a few steps forward, but was careful to not venture too far away from Reika, as he glared at Takehiko’s back.
“I said: stand down,” Shinji growled as he reached down at his hip and drew his sword.
Takehiko closed his eyes and smirked, not once removing the small handgun from Kei’s forehead.
“Lord Shinji, I’m surprised. These captives are enemies of your father’s Empire…are you saying that you wish for me to release them? The repercussions of releasing them would tarnish your reputation as well as earn you punishment from the Emperor himself,” Takehiko informed.
“I’ll deal with my father, later. Put down your weapons and release the captives to me,” Shinji ordered as he pointed his sword at Takehiko’s back.
Kei heart stopped again and she felt as though she couldn’t breathe when she heard Takehiko’s gun clicked; his finger steady on the trigger.
“So, you’ve chosen to become a traitor, Lord Shinji… I used to look up to you when I was a child, but now I’m fully disappointed in you. I never knew why you and Reika chose to help these pathetic criminals from time to time, but I said nothing as I’ve figured you had your reasons. Unfortunately, now I must place you under arrest,” Takehiko said as he snapped his fingers in the air.
Kei watched helplessly as more guards entered into the execution room, hesitantly surrounding Reika and Shinji with their guns shakily trained on the pair; the guards were undoubtedly too nervous to even harm the young Taiyoukai.
“It is unwise to kill the Emperor’s son, Takehiko. No matter how favorable you are to him, killing any of his children would certainly warrant a punishment far worse than death, I can assure you,” Shinji warned as he angrily eyed the nervous guards who were aiming their guns at him.
“I don’t have the intention of killing you, my Lord. You will be expedited and transferred to a prison cell back in our homeland, but as for the humans and this half-demon, they shall be executed here and now,” Takehiko stated as his finger started to squeeze the trigger.
Kei glanced over at her friends one last time and started to think about all of the things she would never get to say or do before she died. Like how she would never get the chance to express how she felt about Rory or never get the chance to apologize to Emma for kissing him behind her back…
“Wait!” Reika cried out as she raised her hands defensively.
“I will not listen to a lowly human, even if it’s you, Reika.” Takehiko growled.
Cautiously and steadily, Reika took a few steps forward as she warily watched the guards that were prepared to kill her.
“What if I could give you something better in exchange for them?” Reika said in more serious tone.
Takehiko huffed irritably; not even bothering to look over his shoulder at the human female.
“I don’t want your filthy money, no matter how rich you are. Now prepare to die,” Takehiko spat.
Reika straightened herself and glared defiantly at the youkai noble’s back.
“I command you to release them, now.” Reika ordered firmly.
The execution room’s occupants were silently astonished at Reika’s tone of voice.
Kei and her friends were mostly taken aback because Reika was such a humble and quiet young girl that always seemed to fear youkai, while everyone else was surprised that a human had such audacity to speak to a demon in such a way.
Slowly, Takehiko looked over his shoulder at the beautiful teenaged Medic.
“What did you just say to me, human?” Takehiko said threateningly.
Reika straightened herself up and tilted up her chin at the similarly aged youkai as Shinji warily watched her approach Takehiko.
“Reika…” Shinji warned, but she merely shook her head dismissively.
“I’m offering you an exchange; one valuable life for five insignificant ones. Let them go and you’ll receive rewards from the Empire that is beyond your wildest imagination,” Reika explained as she continued to approach Takehiko.
Reika only stopped as two guards approached her from both sides and aimed their guns at her closely.
Takehiko glared over his shoulder at the young woman.
“You’re lying. What life could possibly be worth five of them, considering that they are on the top of the Empire’s enemy list?” Takehiko scoffed.
At first, there was nothing but silence as everyone waited for an answer. They watched as Reika hesitantly glanced back at Shinji and offered him an apologetic smile before turning back to Takehiko.
“Mine,” Reika finally answered as Takehiko raised a curious eyebrow.
Shinji took a step forward as he tried to approach Reika’s side.
“You don’t have to do this-” Shinji warned softly, but Reika shook her head again.
She took another bold step forward and began to remove the eye contacts lenses from her eyes; revealing two stunning stormy blue orbs instead of her usual brown irises.
Carefully, she reached up to the color of her dress and began to pull down one side, revealing her smooth porcelain colored shoulder with a dark blue crescent moon on it.
Slowly and silently, Takehiko lowered his gun in complete disbelief; turning his attention fully to the young woman standing behind him.
“Impossible…” Takehiko breathed as he turned around fully to face her.
Quietly, the guards lowered their guns and stood back from the young woman.
“My name is Kagome Higurashi. I demand that you release the prisoners now, in exchange for my arrest,” Kagome stated.
“Mother…” Shinji whispered in concern.
Shinji knew that she forced herself to do this, in order to protect Mizuki, but he also knew that it was a hard decision to make because she had hidden herself for so long; away from his father.
For her to voluntarily give herself up in exchange meant that she would have to go back to being by his side...
…A man who had continually raped her, up until her sudden disappearance over five hundred years ago.
That’s Shinji’s mother? She looks too young, there’s no way that she’s the miko from the old tales…Kei thought incredulously as she glanced from Kagome to Shinji; noting their similarities, but also how closely she resembled Airi.
“I’m offering myself up in exchange for their lives, but I want you to release them and drop all charges you have against them,” Kagome said firmly as she glared at Takehiko.
Takehiko opened his mouth to protest, but the words suddenly died on his lips.
He would be the one to return the Emperor’s beloved mate back to him; he would be favorable with the Emperor once again…
But then again, his opportunity to catch Kei was slipping by, because Kagome had ordered their release. Takehiko had waited so long to capture Kei that he wasn’t willing to let that opportunity to just pass him by.
“My Lady, forgive me, but I think you are unaware of these fugitives’ crimes. I must execute them and bring them back with us to our homeland-”
“Their crimes were only minor offenses, especially since we are currently at war. Are you willing to go so far as to kill children or defy me? Release them,” Kagome demanded as she placed her hands on her hips.
Takehiko blinked in astonishment before bowing low, apologetically.
He couldn’t believe that this was happening; Kei was right in front of him, ready to be executed.
She was letting them get away; excusing them from their crimes…
Why was she trying to let these worthless beings escape?
Silently, Takehiko closed his eyes to calm himself from acting out of anger and released a shaky breath as he opened his eyes again, before gesturing to the guards to release the prisoners.
As Kei and the humans rose to their feet, Shinji put away his sword and allowed the guards to quietly arrest him.
Shinji knew that his father was going to punish him for hiding his mother away this entire time, but as long as he didn’t know that Airi was in on the plot too, he could bare it.
Reluctantly, Takehiko turned around to return Kei’s sword back to her, as she nearly smirked at the bitter look on his face, before he went over to Kagome’s side.
They were free, but it was at expense of someone else’s life.
Just as Takehiko was prepared to seize Kagome’s arm, she stopped him.
“Wait,” Kagome said quietly as she started to walk over to Kei.
Unsure of what to do as Kagome approached her, Kei tried to bow respectfully to her, but as she did, the young miko grabbed her hand as she shook her head.
“I’m sorry that we have to leave this way, but it was nice to get to know you,” Kagome said with a sad smile.
Kei nodded numbly as she stared at the miko’s sad blue orbs; the only other nobles she had ever met were Shinji and Airi, which would explained why they were just as kind as she was.
“T-thank you, my Lady. We’re grateful for all you’ve done for us. We’re not worthy of your kindness and we owe you a lot-” Kei faltered.
Kagome squeezed her hand as she shook Kei’s.
“Yes, you do owe me a lot. So as a favor, I want you to promise me that you’ll stay out of trouble…for good. Understood?” Kagome hinted with a smile as she squeezed Kei’s hand again.
This time, Kei could feel some sort of card being placed into her hand.
Kei raised her eyebrow curiously at the young miko and Kagome nodded before she smiled knowingly.
Kei swallowed nervously.
“I promise, my Lady,” Kei said quietly.
“If you should ever need anything while I’m…away for a while, I know someone who would be more than happy to help you, as you know she is a good mutual friend of ours,” Kagome implied in a quiet voice as she released Kei’s hand.
There was only one other person that Kei could think of and if she was who Kagome was referring to, then there was slight issue with finding her...
Where could she find, let alone even contact the gorgeous and mysterious inuyoukai?
Although she was very helpful, Airi came and went as she pleased. She was just as unpredictable as her brother, Shinji and it wasn’t as though Kei had her phone number to call her up anytime she needed her.
Kei glanced down at the small business card that the legendary miko gave her; it had some address in New Zealand neatly handwritten on it.
Was this where Airi was located?
Just as Kei began to open her mouth to ask about the female Taiyoukai, Kagome placed a loving hand on Kei’s cheek; catching the young hanyou off guard.
“I’m sorry that I can’t be of any more help, but this is goodbye,” Kagome said sadly before she turned away and allowed Takehiko to quietly escort her out of the room with Shinji accompanied by nearly all of the guards.
Kei watched as Kagome looked sadly over her shoulder back at her as she was being escorted through the large metal doors and Kei couldn’t help but to feel her heart ache at the young miko.
Kagome sacrificed herself for them, but why?
Kei hardly knew her and even though she considered her a good friend, it still didn’t make any sense.
Kagome struggled to tear her eyes away from the young inu hanyou; choosing to focus on where she was going instead as the doors closed behind them.
As they were walking through the large, bright white hallways, Takehiko pulled out his cellphone with his free hand and began to call to make transportation arrangements. While the young wolf youkai was preoccupied, Kagome glanced back her concerned son and gave him a sad, yet reassuring smile.
She knew that Shinji would do his best to protect her, as he did for the past 17 years when she remained hidden inside of his vacation home back in America, but Kagome couldn’t allow him to that any more.
Sesshoumaru would most likely try to punish their son for his actions, but she would do her best to protect him and as Kagome could clearly tell, 517 years seemed to have made the stoic inuyoukai even crueler than before.
Once she returned home, Sesshoumaru would certainly notice that she was no longer pregnant…and would probably do anything he could to obtain Mizuki’s whereabouts.
She could only count on Airi to keep her younger sister hidden, now that she and Shinji were heading back home. As long as Kei stayed where she was going, then the young hanyou could remain safe.
Kagome faced the front again and sighed dismally as she heard Takehiko dialing another number as they made their way towards the front lobby; asking someone on the phone to be connected with the Emperor.
Goodbye…Mizuki. I hope we never meet again, because if we do...I don’t think I could save you from your own father.