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The Fallen Empire

By AccountPlease All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter One | Scarlet Lake

Leonardo Drake was a tall seventeen year old boy who lived with his small family in a coastal, inter-species, trading village, named Intsuka. Inter-species, meaning a village were humans and elves lived together in peace. His family ran a small shipping business along the coast, they did not have to worry about expenses much. However, something else entirely bothered Leonardo about his family. The fact that he was different and that he suspected he wasn’t really part of their family.

While Rize, his sister, and his parents had pale skin with dark black hair and eyes, Leonardo had white hair with deep sea blue eyes. If he studied their deposition, he could see similarities, but if he compared them with himself, it didn’t match up. He began to distrust what they told him and distance himself from his sister who he was originally close with. He didn’t blame her. He just couldn’t bring himself to be as close to her as they were, only the thought that she could be lying to him. She was a few years older than him, but she was physically smaller than him.

This passed through his mind as he walked with Rize, through the forest path, to the cliff where their school resided. It was a mixed school, academics on one side and magical arts on the other. Unlike Rize, Leonardo could not use magic, but Rize could since birth. They chose this school, the only one in the village that accepted both types of students, that was a long walk from home. Rize was always a shy and caring girl and her magic is healing oriented, she can only protect herself with the bare minimum of magical combat, so Leonardo was usually there for her. He didn’t mind, he hated how evil a person can become some times, and to a frail girl like Rize, he couldn’t imagine her standing on her own.

Their school had high stone walls along it’s perimeter and the high stone towers with red tiled roofs. Two stone owl statues rested outside the gate as the large iron gate was raised as students trickled in. They walked into the courtyard and paused at the fountain, the center of the school, the academic wing on the left and the magical arts on the right. They wore their school uniforms, white and blue sailor uniform with a blue skirt and a blue owl on the collar and a red tie for the girls; collared white shirt, red tie and blue pants for the men.

Rize smiled, “See you for lunch?” Leonardo nodded. “Yeah.” Rize nodded and inclined her head to him and walked away. Leonardo watched her until she met up with her friend, Iroha, a small, short and curly blonde haired elf girl with bright orange eyes, who was waiting for her. Leonardo raised a hand in greeting when Inoa waved at him. He yawned as he turned and walked to class.

Leonardo sat by the fountain at lunch time for some time, when Rize didn’t show, he went looking for her. As he neared the magical arts building, he heard running footsteps on the smooth stone floor. Leonardo paused as Iroha ran around the corner, she paused, “Oh! I’m sorry-” Her eyes widened when she saw Leonardo, “Leo!” She said, using the nickname Rize used for him, “we’ve got trouble!”

Leonardo became concerned, “does this have something to do with Rize?” Iroha nodded, “It was them!” She said and Leonardo immediately knew what she meant. Them where three students, Olin, Tomo, and Dae, three kids from the academic wing that only caused problems. Leonardo doubted there wasn’t a single person in the school, teachers included, that didn’t know them. “Where are they?” Iroha shook her head, “I-I don’t know! I think they took her to their spot by Scarlet Lake!” Scarlet Lake rested in the forest and over the hill, directly south from the school’s main gate. Them liked to hang out at the spot, a clearing just before the lake; away from the prying eyes of teachers during lunch break and whenever they could get away with it. What did they want with Rize?

Leonardo was one of the few who did not let them get away with everything, obviously this could be a stab at Leonardo through Rize, but they couldn’t possibly be that low? If she were to get hurt on his watch, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Leonardo shook his head, there wasn’t any time to hesitate! “Iroha, go get Rion,” Rion was the student council president, he was also one of the few who wasn’t afraid of them and he could use magic. He was top of the magic combat class to boot, he and Leonardo spent much time together due to their run ins with them, Leonardo was cashing in a favor. “Tell him exactly what you told me! I’m going ahead!” As he rushed by Iroha, something tugged on his shirt and he turned. “B-But, there is three of them! You can’t go alone!” Leonardo knew she was right, but he needed to buy time. “I won’t get hurt, I promise, just get Rion as fast as you can! You can do it, I know you can.” Iroha’s eyes widened then she nodded, “Y-Yes!” She took off and Leonardo ran for Scarlet Lake.

Leonardo paused at the crossroads before the school, should he go get the guard? He shook his head and ran into the forest. Due to the inter-species relationship, they were bound to separate laws and codes, unfortunately these towns and villages were a moral and lawful grey area. He might as well have tried to reason with a starving dog to let go of his meal, he would have had better chances. He crouched as he neared the clearing, he heard voices. “What should we do with her once we deal with Leonardo?” Said Tomo, his voice was easily recognizable. His brother, Dae, laughed, “We should have some fun.” They obviously paused to wait for Olin’s call, their leader of sorts.

Tomo and Dae weren’t a problem, Tomo was tall lean kid who Leonardo believed if he wanted, he could almost literally snap him like a twig. Dae was a short pudgy kid, he didn’t have real muscle was disliked fighting on his own, Tomo and Dae were so different physically, but were brothers. Leonardo could handle them with his arms tied behind his back, but Olin was his main problem. His family owned a lumber mill on the far side of town, he was tall and buff, Leonardo himself was toned, but he was no where near the size of Olin. What concerned him even more was the conversation they were having. Rize was tied up, being held in-between Tomo and Dae, with a cloth tied around her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and a cloth around her wrists and ankles, preventing her from fleeing. Olin stood proudly a few feet from them with his arms crossed, obviously waiting for Leonardo. We should have some fun echoed in Leonardo’s head. They wouldn’t mean... Leonardo couldn’t see a scenario to where he would be able to surprise them, the clearing was too large. Leonardo stood and walked out of the forest and into the clearing.

Olin smirked, “So you actually showed up?” Leonardo smirked himself, “Of course. Who’d be afraid of you three? We’ve been here before, and,” Leonardo tried to sound as intimidating as he could, “we all know how it always turns out.” Tomo and Dae seemed to be slightly taken aback, but Olin’s smirk remained which made Leonardo hesitate. What advantage did he have now that made him so arrogant? Leonardo threw caution to the wind, he wouldn’t let them harm Rize. “Then let’s settle this, once and for all between us.” Olin dipped his head. “There are no Instructors or Rion around to stop it this time. Once this is over, we’ll never have to deal with you again, and we’ll gain ourselves a pretty little play thing.” Leonardo’s disdain for them immediately turned to hatred. He hated the very sight of them.

Leonardo took a step forward, his rage in his voice, “I’ll never let you lay your filthy hands on Rize.” Olin scowled at that, he also stepped forward. “As if I’ll let you take her back.” Leonardo scowled himself, “It doesn’t matter if you’ll let me or not.” Leonardo and Olin stared into each other’s eyes as tensions rose and the air became thick. Then Olin smirked and extended his palm at Leonardo, his palm began to glow. Leonardo was shocked, but he ducked just in time as a fireball soared by where he was standing and exploded into the forest, setting a patch of the forest ablaze. “Oops.” He said sarcastically, in front of him, Leonardo tried to dodge but he was unnaturally fast. He elbowed Leonardo in the back, he cried out in pain as he was hit with more force than normal, he slammed into the ground, knocking the wind out of him. He gasped for air, something kicked him in the rips, knocking him airborne for a brief second, he hit the ground and rolled to a stop. He heard muffled screaming and shuffling of clothes, he managed to look up to see tears streaming down Rize’s face as she tried to fight against Tomo and Dae.

Leonardo found it too difficult to move, he coughed, it hurt to breathe. Something must be broken, he thought to himself. Olin planted his boot on the back of Leonardo who groaned in pain, “You’ll watch here.” He laughed as he walked by Leonardo and over to Rize who began to panic even more, but then Olin held her down with more than enough force for how frail Rize was. “Olin! You bastard! Rize, listen, stay calm! I’ll...” He saw them fighting to undress her and Leonardo hated every second of it, he has to do something! He couldn’t stand to standby and watch, he shook his head and struggled as his body rebelled against him. Please! He thought, Someone... please... When Leonardo began to lose hope, a warmth blossomed in his chest, a rush of energy filled his limbs and he could feel his pain numbing, then vanishing.

He stood as the intense energy filled his body and mind, his vision blurred for a second, then focused sharper than ever before; he was able to make out every individual leaf on the trees around them, every fiber on Olin’s shirt. Leonardo took a step forward and Olin snapped in his direction. “What the, how? I broke your ribs!” Leonardo didn’t know what was going on either, but something didn’t seem right. He took another step forward and Olin took a few steps back, Tomo and Dae seemed confused themselves. Olin fired a fire ball at Leonardo but, instinctively, as if he had known how to fight with magic his whole life; rose his hand and when the fire ball reached his palm, he closed it, snuffing out the flames. Olin seemed as surprised as Leonardo was, then before he could control himself, Leonardo pushed outwards and an invisible force rolled through the air from his palm and slammed into Tomo, Dae and Olin, sent them flying into Scarlet Lake.

Leonardo took a few deep breaths and he slightly collapsed, then was surprised to feel something warm. He looked up to see Rize, her clothes were a mess, but she was okay. “Leo...” She said softly as she lowered to the ground with Leonardo in her arms. She began to tear up, “Leo... I..” Leonardo simply just smiled and reached up, wiped the tears from her cheek. “Don’t mention it.” Just as Olin and his friends were climbing out of Scarlet Lake, rustling was heard and Rion and Iroha burst into the clearing, his hands glowing with magic. “Leonardo!” He said and ran over. He looked at Olin, Tomo and Dae who were struggling to stand and were soaking wet.

Rion had Iroha help Rize fix herself, then had them take Leonardo to the infirmary, he would deal with Olin and his crew. As Leonardo rested in the infirmary, a tall room with beds lining the walls and a large window on both sides, illuminating the room with faint sunlight; with Rize and Iroha sitting on stools to his right, Rion walked in. He paused and gave a sympathetic smile, “Who could have guessed, dumb as a rock Olin, would be able to use magic. I want your side of the story too. If all goes well, I’ll have enough to finally make a case strong enough to get them expelled.” For the next ten minutes Leonardo spent recounting the scenario and answering Rion’s questions. He chuckled, “And now you can use magic,” He sighed. “The world keeps changing, I guess, I am too naive for wanting things to stay the way they are, huh?” He shook his head. “I am sorry that you went through this, Rize, Leonardo, I, on behalf of Intsuka Academy, apologize.” He bowed to them and Leonardo smiled. “We accept your apology, but don’t blame yourself, you came as fast you could.” He stood up straight. “That may be so, but I need to do better in the future. I bid you farewell for now.” He bowed again before promptly leaving.

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