Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: A Night To Remember

Element U

What happened?

A loud ring left Daisuke dazed as he tried to figure out what was going on. He leaned forward to only collapse onto his back, quick to feel every little rough wave of pain that rippled throughout his body. Bones stiff and rigid, muscles torn and exhausted all over.

I can’t—get up. Where am I? Where is everyone?

Heavenly moonlight shone down from the cloudless night sky on the deep green valleys of the freshwater plains around him. An outline of trees could be seen in the distance further down the hill. From behind, a brief rattle was vaguely audible in the distance. A rough clamor of noise that only tickled Daisuke's ears, muted by a static buzz.

Are those. . .stars? They're so . . . they’ve never been so clear.


The roars of dying voices went unnoticed, muffled beneath the sight sprawled out in front of him. Unable to comprehend the scene behind, Daisuke gazed up at the sky, eyes broadening at the as he tried to take it all in. He tilted his head down to scope out the luscious canyon ahead between the mountains. Countless overgrown weeping willows and lush low sprawling vegetation he had never seen before thrived in this unknown land. Vibrant colors and morphed vines scaled up and down along the tree line, a magnificent sight to behold.

Wow . . . Daisuke squinted at every unique species he could spot, almost as if it was a world he had never stepped foot within. His focus swayed side to side taking in the full view, unable to control it as he fell onto his left side. The scenery lost at the sight of his friend Monterio’s back facing him. Stiff and motionless.

“Monterio, do you see all of this? Everything out here and there . . . it's so much. It’s all—different.”

Clang! Slash!

Thunk! Whiff! Whiff! Whiff! Clink!


Swords clashed uphill, arrows rained down from the cliffside, and voices screamed in the distance in the ensuing battle. All the while Daisuke laid upon a field of flowers, absorbed within his pleasant enlightened trance. Hands reaching toward the starry night sky, he was caught in a moment of wonder. His first time outside of the homelands in a whole new ambience. It was refreshing.

“Everything outside of home is pretty. Like it's alive, I guess. It’s so . . . soft here. Monterio. I’ve never seen flowers like this. Monterio, look.”

Daisuke stared at the back of his silent friend waiting for his response as petals blew by along a breeze that wafted between them. But Monterio said nothing. Lips sealed and body slumped on his right side, he leaned against the soft delicate white petals that enveloped him.

“Monterio . . . hey, Monterio. What do you think? Hey, say something.” Daisuke pleaded anxiously.

Daisuke stretched his left arm across the bed of tulips and nudged Monterio’s back repeatedly to get his attention. Body rocked back and forth, Monterio rolled over to face Daisuke. Back laid flat upon the field an unholy sight presented itself to Daisuke's young tender eyes. Death itself was revealed, Monterio caught in it's cold heartless clutches. Three arrows were lodged in his chest near a gaping sword slash that cut from his right shoulder deep into his gut. Blood streamed down from his body onto the blossoms beneath him, a hearty putrid river. The remnants of his life poured out over the white cosmos tulips that became stained a stomach curling crimson.

Yet Daisuke smiled.

“Monterio. Just look up . . . it’s never been this clear. This peaceful.

Delusional from blood loss, Daisuke remained engrossed in the new world around him as his friend’s body went cold. Monterio’s pupil-less eyes darker than the night reflected Daisuke’s weary innocence. Attention turned back up to the night sky as a trickle of blood drizzled down Daisuke’s face. His right yellow pupil darkened by the scarlet river that ran so deep.

“Is it getting—darker?” Daisuke said strangely as he wiped at the blood leaking from his forehead.

His own pain didn't phase him. Blood smeared across his face, Daisuke snickered at the slick feeling that blemished his supple skin. Arms reaching out toward the horizon, he remained amazed by the wondrous habitat sprawled out before him. Questions aspired within his mind over what could be found in such a unique place. What was there to discover?

But his body was slipping out of his realm of control before answers could be contrived.

“I feel so lightheaded . . . Monterio, where is every—what the hell?”

Nerves cried out across Daisuke's chest that went numb. A subtle yank out of the euphoric scenery he once dreamed of as a child. All of it nulled by the bittersweet reality that clasped ahold of him.

Daisuke pressed his hand upon his chest, the thick armored leather fabric now felt so soft and squishy as his fingers dug in. Lifting his hand back up to his face, he found it caked in a dark mucky scarlet ooze that dripped down like saliva back onto his squadron kit. Disgusted, he dropped his hand to the side and recoiled at the anxious thought that escaped him. All the searing pain forgotten within a snap. Too woozy to concentrate, to think clearly, to care about anything but the world around him then and there.

The stars above were heaven's departing gift as Daisuke's skin grew brittle and frigid. Death's door nearly within reach.

Joints stiffened and breath muddled, Daisuke’s body gradually gave up on him as he laid there in pitiful oblivious splendor. Legs numbed by the unbearable anguish and lungs nearly filled with blood, the last minutes of life he had left wheezed out of his throat. Seconds wasted as they were coughed up onto the once untouched innocent flowers around him.

The white canvas had become tainted with a scarlet curse. One marked with death; an inevitable end on the rise. Monterio’s tarnished body became unrecognizable to Daisuke’s weary conscience, mind entrapped by the same dire questions that elevated the situation. Estranged looks made at his torn armor and gnashed bare skin as he drifted out of euphoria.

Was I stabbed?

What’s happening?

I thought we were just—just going out to scout. . . Daisuke thought imperatively as he squished the pierced hole in his chest.

His time left to figure it all out had fizzled away. Crushed into the earth beneath such haste.

A pair of footsteps crunched the fertile blades of vass upon the ground as they approached Daisuke from behind, rapid forceful steps that made themselves known. One after another taken in succession down the gradual slope of the hill. The stomping came to a sudden halt directly in front of Daisuke, mere inches away.


Ounces of fear doused the boy’s mind, but it all washed over as recognition settled in. Daisuke felt overjoyed toward the man who now stood before him, his smile expanding as his arms reached up to embrace him. Moonlight formed a subtle halo above the man Daisuke pitted as his savior, his protector, his teacher. Someone blessed by the Sun.


As his primary teacher from the training village, even dressed in an all black cave crawler skin and hand woven silk gear, Daisuke recognized him. His narrowed yellow-pupiled black eyes peeked through a slit in his ash-cloud gray head wrap. Those reflective orbs all that could be seen of his bare body besides his pale thick fingers gripped onto the leather hilt of a long sharpened bone sword sheathed at his side.

“Teacher, Takeo . . . Teacher, is that you? Do you know where we are?”


He didn’t respond. Takeo drew his sword and cocked his arms up above his head prepared to deliver the final blow. Fingers tightened upon the blade's hilt, he took a deep breath and flexed his muscles. Mind cleared and focused on what he had to do. There was no choice in the matter, the decision not even his to make.

Regardless, he started to shake. Tears trickled out of Takeo’s eyes and down his mask, distressed by the act he had to commit. The life he had to take.

“Teacher . . . wh-what are you doing?”

“Forgive me Daisuke. You're too young to understand.” Takeo muttered woefully between the folds of his musty head wrap.

“Y-you don’t mean that.” Daisuke babbled out nervously, hands lifted up between himself and Takeo in defense.

Daisuke started to shift back, fingers sunken into the earth, but he could only get so far before the agony spiked throughout his body. Arms giving out, Daisuke slipped back and collapsed on the gentle blood stained tulips. A naturally cushioned death bed.

“We have to keep the village safe. To keep you all safe.” Takeo relayed, statements that only went over the disoriented child's head.

But it didn't matter all the more, the time had come, Daisuke’s luck fresh out.


Takeo closed his eyes and tucked down his deep regrets. The blade fumbled in his hands as he yelled out in agony, a final cry, a claim of victory for his prey. Traditions and customs upheld by the Paladinian purebred, sacred manners instructed to be done in stride in order to keep one's body from becoming darkened. Respect a borderline between a soulless murderer and a passionate warrior.

Unable to move, Daisuke watched in horror as the man who trained him for years sanctioned himself to take his life. Takeo about to prune a precious flower before it could blossom. A premature end to Daisuke's journey from the very man he idolized. His protector was now his executioner. A glistening angel of death that basked in the night’s rocky light.

“Please, please. You—don’t have to.”

“Forgive me Daisuke. You weren’t even supposed to be here.”

A thick river of bloodied tears painted Daisuke's pale sunken face as he grasped the situation. They rolled down to his chin and slid off his neck onto the flower bed cradling his head. His valiant blue robe adorned on his neck discolored into a bleak purple hue as he coughed up blood with his regretful sobs. Grief tugged his mouth open, revealing his sharpened barbaric teeth seeping blood through the gaps between them as he tried to scream, to beg for his life. Only blood swelled to the surface and was spat out into the bleak air between them. Teacher and student.

No joy or wonder was left for Daisuke to grasp upon, only devastation. Reality a harsh truth.

“Wait-wait-wait don’t!”

WHIFF! Sler—ch! T-thud.

Takeo swung his sword, but it never made contact. It fell to the wayside onto the ground, Takeo’s body going limp with it as he looked down to notice the two short kunai knives pierced through his chest. He had been beaten. His last bits of his energy spent in a gander up toward the sky. One last longing look.

He smiled.

Shlink! Thoomph!

Relief weighed upon his mind as he took a stagnant breath and slumped to the side. His part in the fight brought to an abrupt end, wasted at the hands of another.

Behind him his successor, one of his many other students. This particular child a league above the rest, a prodigy marked by the High Priest's destiny itself: Kiyo.

Stood behind the teacher’s mangled dying body, the full moon overhead gleamed down on Kiyo’s newly adorned warrior gear soaked in blood. The leather was slashed apart and covered in stagnant scarlet stains not of Kiyo's own. The boy's undying strength was evident in his vengeful stare. Kiyo’s eyes set aglow, a vibrant blonde-green that shined through his white blonde tipped hair, a natural genetic marker of his species now lathered in blood. Takeo one of many slaughtered souls for Daisuke's benefit, his salvation.


Comfort fell to confusion as Daisuke stared into Kiyo’s eyes, an enraged murderous soul all he could find within the battered body staring back at him. His friend was absent, whisked away by the murderous rage that continued to consume him. But why?

Kiyo panted heavily, exhausted from the carnage, his torn gear revealing a bright green gleam that passed through his veins. This radiated glow a definer of the endless energy encapsulated within his young body, the very source of his strength. Of his potential.

The extravagant scenery was swept away as Daisuke narrowed in on his childhood friend. Now relapsing from his drunken rage, he began to break down and crumpled onto his knees, scarred by the many lives taken by his hands. Rage turned to discomfort, guilt heavy on Kiyo’s young adolescent mind. Emotions within became crossed as he knelt there and heaved it all out.

Daisuke could only stare, utterly horrified yet a wisp of concern spiraled within him. His insight shallow and corroded beneath visual uncertainty brought on by death’s grip on his feeble heart. A single question pumped to life in his mind.

“Kiyo . . . what’s happening?”