You follow the blaze of Chiyoko’s anima. Your footsteps echo off the stonewalls of the passage. You run until the moonlight glow behind you fades.
“Here!” Chiyoko, anima fading, pushes the secret door open. You emerge in an empty hallway. You recognize where you are. The roaring party you encountered earlier has settled into a somber murmur.
Adrenaline drains from your body and you waver. You sword bounces to the carpet. You reach for Chiyoko before you fall over. She hisses when you grab her arm. With her other arm, Chiyoko eases down to the floor.
“Your arm.” You forgot she broke it earlier, her cast hidden by the long sleeves of her nightshirt.
“My arm is fine.” She rips at your shirt, examines your wound, and frowns. “Is there anything you can do about your shoulder?”
“My shoulder is fine.” You rest your head against the wall. “Actually, it doesn’t hurt at all.” Your arm is still numb except for a strange tingling feeling.
“Svante, that isn’t a good thing.”
She’s right. You concentrate on your numbness and push it away. You cry out when the full pain of your wound hits you.
“Shhh…” Chiyoko hushes you and glances over her shoulder in the direction of the ballroom. “We need to get out of here.”
You focus on the pain and feel it drain away. It took much more effort to duck away from your injuries than usual. All that is left is the strange tingling feeling and a sense of unease. You are still in danger, but from what?
“We need to go,” Chiyoko lifts you with her good arm. “Aiko and Masaru are waiting by the staircase.”
“Elder Kejak.” You mumble.
“My uncle.” You correct yourself and continue in a stronger voice. “He needs to be told about the Chimera, the Lunar, everything.”
“We will get into trouble.” She whispers.
You grab the front of her nightshirt. “We already are in trouble.”
Chiyoko nods. She whispers a message to the Shogun’s Secretary, as she leads you down the hallway. How long was it to the staircase? It did not seem this long when you walked it earlier this evening.
“Chiyoko?” Chiyoko tenses at deep male voice calling behind you. “What are you doing out so late? Are you well?” The mocking tone wars with the words of concern.
“Let me handle this.” Chiyoko turns around. You lean against the wall. A fire aspect in gleaming jade armor stands before you. His orange hair shorn short and his skin glows red as an ember. Other Dragonblooded and their mortal entourage surround him. Two silk clad fire aspect women, identical to the expressions of concern on their face, confer off to the side. Another fire aspect, in battle worn armor, steps forward. His expressionless face carries a scar from the top of his cheek continuing as a streak of ash though his garnet hair. He loosens his sword and scans the hallway for threats.
“Uncle Hayate,” Chiyoko smiles in relief, though the tension does not leave her body. “Svante and I got separated from our circle and we were attacked by something in the passages.”
Lung Hayate crosses his arms and stares down at Chiyoko. “Chiyoko, what did I tell you about playing in the passages? It’s dangerous down there.”
Chiyoko’s eyes do not leave her uncle’s. “I’m sure my father will lecture me when he gets here.”
“My little brother has been too soft on you. If you were my daughter…” Hayate’s voice fades out as you focus on the other Dragonblooded. One of the twins makes to go to you, but the red headed Dragonblooded shakes his head. The twin frowns, but stays where she is.
Danger, danger, danger. Too many people. Too many things. The Chimera did something to you. Poison? Perhaps, but that does not seem right.
You slide down the wall to the floor, but a hand stops you. “My lord, this boy needs medical attention.”
“Akachi.” You feel his cool hand on your forehead and look up at your guardian as you have never seen him. Peacock feathers trail down his hair and his face painted with swirls. Akachi wears little but a cloak over one shoulder, a silk cloth around his waist, and jewelry.
“Hush, child,“ says a voice as clear as a bell. “Don’t waste your energy to speak.” A Neomah kneels by your side and strokes your shoulder. She extends her finger and shoves it into your wound. You bite your lip from crying out again. She removes her finger and watches your blood drip to the floor with a pensive look. The Neomah licks it off the tip of her finger. Everyone in the hallway is silent as she does this.
Chiyoko reacts first. “What are you doing to him?”
“Mortal, get your demon away from the boy.” Hayate orders.
“Mayura, come here.” One of the twins holds out her hand as if Akachi was an errant child.
The Neomah ignores them all. “There is something inside him that tastes of the Wyld. It feeds off of his essence as a child feeds from its mother’s womb.”
Akachi brushes your hair over your forehead. “How much time does he have, Nimi?”
“Sorcerer, I would not worry about the boy. My doctors could see to him.” Hayate nods to one of his entourage to pick you up.
“No!” Chiyoko pushes the demon away and stands in front of you. “My father will be here soon. Thank you for your concern, uncle. We will be fine. “
“Now, niece. Don’t be obstinate.” Hayate motions his fingers for Chiyoko to follow. “Come along. “
What do you do?
- Go with Hayate and Akachi
- Stay and wait for Guanyu and Elder Kejak
((You found the hidden Akachi rabbit hole. ))