The Grand Revolution Of War!
Nelsie was still tired when Zane woke her up. She did stay up later than usual and she had one hell of a day yesterday. Still, the excitement and worry of seeing Maleen helped keep her awake. Zane said that the place where they're going isn't too far away so Nelsie thought she would see Maleen and have breakfast with her if she is awake and well enough. Unfortunately, the streets were much busier than usual. That was both good and bad. They can't take the rooftops without getting spotted by the abnormal amount of soldiers from the King but, because of the large crowd, Zane and Nelsie can hopefully make their way through the crowd unnoticed. Still, the journey was going to take a lot longer than what it should be.
"Zane, shouldn't you take your helmet off and wrap your weapon in cloth?" Nelsie asked, eyeing a small squad of three soldiers on a nearby roof, one of them peering down at the crowd below.
"No. H.G aren't threats. They know we don't want trouble in our part of town so, if anything were to happen, we would be the ones to stop it, not instigate it."
Nelsie still wasn't entirely sure. So far, she hasn't seen any wanted poster with her face or name on it but that still doesn't mean that the soldiers don't have the orders to capture her. At least there were no church soldiers about.
"Do you know why there is a crowd today?" Zane asked suddenly.
"A festival, right?" Nelsie guessed. There isn't really any other reason for the lower part of Gudha City to be crowded. Plus, the colorful decorations were a giveaway.
"Yes, but which one?"
Nelsie did not have an answer for that.
"Sorry, I don't know," Nelsie admitted.
"Don't worry about it," Zane told her, gently bumping Nelsie's left arm before he grabbed her hand and picked up the pace, "While the slums have few festivals, only two stand out."
"This is the Roland Festival. It is to celebrate the King's kindness towards the slums. No rich people can ever pick on the people of the slums, you know. The King made it illegal."
Nelsie was about to say something when she noticed the crowd suddenly went silent. Zane and Nelsie made their way past a couple of people and made it to the front of the crowd, or the crowd they were in. The entire street was packed. They made it through only because of Zane's intimidating figure. In the center of the street was a large white stage. Standing on the stage was the Royal Band. Not all of them but a good amount. Standing in front of the band on a pedestal was Baaluzikai.
Nelsie felt her heart skip a beat at seeing her and her head grew fuzzy. Baaluzikai, like how Nelsie saw her yesterday, was wearing a black cape with gold highlights. In her left hand was her baton. She pointed it up in the air again before setting the baton down on the ground next to her. She then pulled out what looked to be a violin bow only much more...sharper. It was hard to tell if it was a sword or a bow because of its weird shape.
For Baaluzikai, the long strange object wasn't a problem and she waved it around. Once she did, the band started playing. The Royal Band, or the Black Band, is known for its wide variety of instruments and their music. They have been officially ranked as the best band in the whole of Nostalisk. Even if Nelsie is afraid of Baaluzikai, even she loves her music.
The music was slow, starting off somber, the sounds of the instruments blending together so it was almost impossible to tell them apart. Instead of waving her strange baton to match the flow of the song like other band leaders do, Baaluzikai was barely waving it around. When the music ramped up, she didn't wave her baton upwards. She started tapping her foot. It was bizarre and awfully familiar. During the next part of the song, most of the band stopped playing, leaving only a few to make a simple and sad melody. It was then that Nelsie realized what Baaluzikai was doing with her baton. When the part started, Baaluzikai still slowly waved her baton around but was pointing it at the band. Now Nelsie could see that she was pointing at the band members who were playing. When the music ended its sad part and exploded in a cheery tune, Baaluzkikai put her baton against her chest, the tip of the baton pointing to her left, before quickly going back to how it was before. Then, when the band played in parts, one section playing then going silent while the other one played in a wave, Baaluzikai had held her baton up high and then spun it, the sun glinting off the baton...
'That's clearly steel.' Nelsie thought, frowning while studying the strange baton.
"That is Vara, as you called it. The actual name is Varakilara," Zane informed her, seeing Nelsie watching the strange baton.
"Is it a blade?" Nelsie asked.
"It is. A lot of the band members carry these weapons. They serve both as a great instrument, playing any string instrument, and as a weapon if need be."
'Ah. So the reason the band members from yesterday were carrying muskets was due to protection. I guess it makes sense. You can't be a part of a world famous band and not expect any trouble.'
"But, it looks too slim and long to be an efficient weapon," Nelsie pointed out. The blade Baaluzikai was carrying had to be at least four and a half feet long, which was almost as long as both Nelsie and Baaluzikai herself.
Zane didn't answer. After waiting for a bit, Nelsie's attention went back to the band. Baaluzikai now had her varakilara up in the air. The band stopped playing and Baaluzikai pointed at the band members playing drums. The large drums started playing and when Baaluzikai pointed at the trumpets, a more traditional band song started to take form.
Before it could continue anymore, the song ended with the sound of guitars, something Nelsie used to own which were made in Yalfime City. With the magic the band members used on them, the guitars created a weird yet oddly chilling and dark after tone.
"I think those are called electric guitars, though I don't know who came up with the name if they require magic to be used," Zane informed Nelsie again, though she knew that already.
The crowd went wild and Baaluzikai and the band bowed, though Baaluzikai was still facing her band. The drums and trumpets started up again and Baaluzikai turned around, sheathed her varakilara and took out her black baton, and marched off the pedestal, her band following behind her. They marched to Baaluzikai's right and the crowd made way for them.
"Looks like we are following them. They are going the way we need to go after all."
With that, Zane picked up Nelsie and put her on his back, her legs folded on his neck with his hands supporting her thighs, and started walking after the band with a quick pace that Nelsie definitely wouldn't have been able to catch up to without running. The crowd was walking with him so Nelsie still had cover. When they finally caught sight of Baaluzikai's band, they had all their three hundred members, all marching while playing a more traditional yet still great song. Nelsie felt like she would be caught up in the song's pace if it wasn't for her mission. At least this time, with her sitting on top of Zane, the urge to resist dancing was easier than it was during the first song.
After a few more twists and turns, Zane suddenly stopped walking and ran into a nearby building. It was empty luckily since it looked to be an apartment building. Zane ran up the stairs and made his way on the roof of the building.
"Um, Zane. What are we doing here?" Nelsie asked, remembering how Zane had said it was dangerous to be on the rooftops.
"The soldiers are gone," Zane simply replied. Nelsie could hear the worried tone in his voice.
"Don't tell me..."
"W-what?" Nelsie asked, hoping Zane would tell her what he is worried about. Instead, Zane shook his head and started running.
Maleen walked into H.G feeling a little worse for wear. Part of it was because of her wounds, part of it is because she nearly lost to a single mercenary shinobi, and the last reason is the entrance into the alleyway Nelsie lives in is blocked off by a barricade. She attempted to go up on the roof but the hum of magic stopped her. She was sure they had mines placed all over the rooftop and the walls so no one can climb their way in.
Inside H.G things were running as usual though Maleen did notice an increase in guards yet again. Though this time, Maleen recognized that they were in formation for war. Soldiers would be the better word for them. Maleen also recognized that many of the traps in H.G were prepped, ready to be armed and ready. Maleen even saw three Purāṇē yōdhē* standing together talking. She hasn't seen one of those in years, and there was only one, not three.
'Just what is going on? I thought that the church wouldn't have the balls to try and attack H.G over Nelsie. It would ruin their reputation and they might not even win against H.G. I am definitely missing something here.'
Maleen thought back to the strange light she saw when she was fighting the shinobi and wondered if it had something to do with that. She would have to find a leader to ask what is going on. First, she has to visit Nelsie. She must have worried her a lot when she disappeared from the medical tent. She would definitely be scolding her when she sees her.
Maleen stopped in her tracks when she saw a strange man inside H.G. Now normally she wouldn't pay a new face any mind but this man was not ordinary. He was massive with white hair and blue eyes. His armor and weapons were different, not like anything she had ever seen before. Standing next to him were Jason, Diggle, and even Merkel.
'Guess I am making my way over there.'
By the time Maleen made her way over to the four men, they were aware that she is coming. Even though the man was sitting down, he was still almost as tall as Maleen, and he was sitting on a curb.
"Hey, may I ask why are you guys are preparing for war?" Maleen asked.
"You're back already?" Jason asked back. Maleen nodded.
"Well, Nelsie and Zane went out to check up on you," Merkel explained. Maleen eyes widened in surprise but before she could say anything, Merkel continued.
"Do you know the prophecy?" Merkel asked.
"The Saint one?" Maleen asked.
"Yes. Now please, put two and two together."
'Wait! You can't mean-'
"Then why is she outside!?" Maleen practically yelled.
"The place you went to is safe," Jason explained.
"There is also a festival too so the church can't make a move," Diggle added.
"Is the slut doing the music?" Maleen asked, trying not to get worked up.
"Slut? Do you mean Baaluzikai?" The man suddenly asked.
"Yeah. By the way, who are you?"
"That is Luncan, and he is a Seraph," Merkel explained casually. Maleen turned to look at Luncan in surprise.
"Back to the topic, did you say Baaluzikai is a slut?" Luncan asked.
"Yeah. Don't you know she is the King's toy?"
The men here except for Diggle raised an eyebrow, though Maleen couldn't see if Luncan was since he was wearing a helmet.
"Maleen..." Jason started but Luncan put a hand up.
"Let me," Luncan said, sitting up straight.
"Tell me what you know about Baaluzikai."
Nelsie and Zane made their way onto the opposite buildings across the street and were in front of Baaluzikai's band when they saw the band stop its march. In front of them was a big army of soldiers with a large man leading them, a big greatsword in his hands. The moment the man took a step forward was the moment the music stopped all at once.
"Z-Zane, let me down. I want to see what is going on," Nelsie complained, breaking free from Zane.
"Now is not the time," Zane told Nelsie in a worried yet strict voice.
Before the argument could continue, Baaluzikai spun around.
"Alright, everyone! This show is over. Please leave."
The crowd was slow to leave at first but, after seeing the army in front of the band, they left quickly. Baaluzikai didn't wait for the people to leave before she turned around.
"So, Duncan, where is the King?" Baaluzikai asked, cocking her head and the smile on her face growing.
"The King doesn't have time to deal with you," Duncan snarled. At this, Baaluzikai's smile died a little and her expression turned into one of slight annoyance.
"Is that so? I figured as much but it still hurts."
"Baaluzikai is the leader of the Black Band, which was named the Royal Band ten years after it started. She was learned how to lay any instrument and searched all around the world for all different kinds of music. However, when she started servicing the King at age sixteen, she became his toy because of her looks and childish mind and for the special quirk she has. She is immortal, or at least a lot of people claim she is. She can't die and...because of her healing factor, she will heal back from anything no matter what happens to her,"
"Because of that, she has been raped by the King, by bandits, and even by monsters. She has been tortured and flayed alive. Eaten, thrown into lava, and poisoned. She even came back after hanging herself in an attempt to commit suicide. Eventually, she stopped resisting, enjoying her torture and truly becoming the King's toy."
It was a sad story but Maleen doesn't think anyone can be broken and trained. People aren't animals like horses. Baaluzikai herself enjoyed what happened to her. In the end, she can only blame herself and the King.
"You're right so far except for the last part," Luncan told her, nodding.
"You see, Baaluzikai isn't a simple toy or a bandleader. She is a weapon. You know the war and fall of Yallham?"
"An entire city that crumbled under a war that took a billion lives."
'Who can forget it?'
"Listen here. For your letter which threatened the King-"
Baaluzikai cut him off with a small giggle.
"Threatened? I just told him that I am going to start a revolution. I never said what it was about."
Duncan snorted, annoyed.
"You said you were going to have some fun with him."
"I've had a lot of fun with him. A lot. Now, I want to have some True Fun with him!" Baaluzikai said, showing some of her pointy sharp teeth.
Zane grabbed Nelsie and shook her.
"We need to go now!"
"Well, Baaluzikai was involved in the City Yallham. She led her army into the city, her way of training them accidentally making them good at fighting. However, her army, especially her, was scarred on that day. They never recovered from their time. They prolonged the entire war and massacred everyone, not caring whose side they were on or who they were. Only a select few citizens were spared from her and her armies' wraith. This was when she was twenty years old. When Baaluzikai returned, she kept up with her daily tortures but she started hating the King. When she was two hundred years old, a lot of nobles know that, when Baaluzikai talks about the King and blushes, she isn't thinking of getting laid by him, she is imagining all the ways of killing him and plunging the entire city into war."
Luncan met Maleen's eyes.
"Baaluzikai isn't a slut. She is a mentally broken immortal Warmonger. Her entire army is a ticking time bomb. One day, she will start a massacre and her soldiers will kill thousands if they aren't stopped right away. If they aren't defeated, they will kill millions. That is what Baaluzikai is."
"I've had enough of this talk! Listen here. Surrender or die!" Duncan yelled out.
"Hmmm. Let me think about that-"
Duncan raised his hand and his army aimed at her and her band with their muskets. Baaluzikai was silent for a moment, her smile gone, until it came back, showing all of her teeth in an insane smile. Giggling, she put away her baton, pulled out her sword, and pointed it in the air. Instantly the instruments the band members were carrying were either put away or disappeared in a flash of black smoke. They then shifted, crouching down while others pulled out shields and jumped in front of the band and Baaluzikai, all in two seconds. Duncan's army fired, their bullets killing or even harming no one. By the time they realized that Baaluzikai's band had moved, let alone that none of them fell, Baaluzikai twirled her sword in the air. At once, the band members not holding a shield cartwheeled over the ones with shields. In their hands were black muskets and rifles. Baaluzikai stepped from her band and raised her free hand, the silver claws on her fingers catching the sun. Duncan's eyes were wide.
"BRACE!" Duncan roared while his army scrambled to get in formation.
Baaluzikai took it all in and sighed, a blush on her face, and whispered,