Ruki smiled and replied, “Isn't it obvious? We are going to find her and
bring her back safely!”

“That's all well and good, but don't you think we should investigate a bit
more before we go flying around the mountains practically asking for
someone to come and try to kill us? The king knows you know the
secret now, that's why he took Shina. He is sending you the message
that he won't give up without a fight. I know for sure that his
military is the most powerful out of all the kingdoms now, since
Feresat's is now almost completely gone. I also know the king is a
master of war, and he has faced all sorts of enemies, including
beasts like dragons, and has came out victorious. He knows about your
family, but I don't think he knows about me yet. I could be wrong,
but I may be our only hope to defeat him. I know he has a soft spot
for young Reprandese women, and he also loves having them dance for
him. I could infiltrate the palace, posing as a dancer, and-”

“You will do nothing of the sort.” Ruki exclaimed firmly. “What if he
somehow discovers who you are? I'm not willing to risk you getting
hurt or killed by his filthy hands!”

Sayumi glared at him and retorted, “Since when have you been in control of
what I do? Ruki, we need to think this through and not act so
irrationally. What would happen if the king found us?”

Ruki shouted angrily, “Who the hell cares?! I've busted my ass for you!
I've helped you with your problems! I didn't expect to have to rip
out teeth to get you to help with mine!!” And with that Ruki
stormed out of the house without a word. Sayumi dashed after him and
called with concern, “Where are you going! Ruki!”

Ruki didn't reply, but he flew towards the mountains. Sayumi sighed with despair, and walked into the stable. She started cleaning Kayo's wounds, trying to distract
herself from what just happened. Kayo turned his head to look at her
as she rubbed an ointment into a large gash on his rump. She sighed
unsteadily and started venting to Kayo. “I didn't expect such an
outburst from him like that. I just wanted him to think a bit more
about what he's doing and not get himself killed.”

Kayo nudged her with his muzzle comfortingly, and he replied, Well, his mother is very important to him. He hasn't been without her his whole life, and without his
family he has nothing left. He was hurt that you didn't seem to want
to support him in saving them.

Sayumi frowned and wailed, “That wasn't what I meant at all! Oh Kayo, what have I done?”

Kayo snorted and added, No need to get so overworked about it. Just go find him and help him. Also, apologizing might help smooth things over. This seems worse than it
is because it's your first fight, but I promise you will get past
this. And if you don't, it wouldn't work out anyway. Sayumi
finished dressing his wound, and hugged Kayo's neck. “You're the
best horse in the world! Thanks Kayo!” Kayo neighed happily and
nudged her towards the door. You best go now, before he gets any
farther away. Me and Haru will be fine, I have ways of keeping us
safe. Sayumi could have sworn she saw Kayo smile as she left, but
it didn't bother her at all. All she cared about was going to find
Ruki and patch things up.

Meanwhile, Ruki had quickly found the place where his mother had been held prisoner. However, the king had set a trap for him there. When he got there, he got his mother
out of her cell, and just as he was about to leave, soldiers
surrounded him and Shina. Before Ruki had time to start an attack,
one of the solders touched him with a Death stone. Ruki screamed and
fell to his knees, feeling intense pain as his powers were drained.
The soldier laughed and ordered, “Take him away, and if he gets his
powers back before we get back to the palace, you know what to do.”
The soldiers nodded, and started dragging Ruki behind them. They also
dragged Shina away, kicking and screaming as they started for the

Sayumi started looking on the other side of the mountain range, so she never saw the small group of soldiers taking Ruki and Shina away. It was getting late by the time
she found the place where they had been, and she had no way of
knowing they had been there, other than the footprints leaving the
place. It was snowing lightly, and the clouds cast a gray somberness
over the whole landscape. As Sayumi searched the prison, she grew
more and more anxious.

It was a full-on blizzard by the time she had checked all the rooms, and she threw her hands up in frustration. She sat on the stone floor, and sighed. She searched for
Ruki's mind as a last resort, and she was surprised to find that he
was very hard to find this time. After a while, she picked up
something faint, then his mind grew stronger and he shouted in her
head, Sayumi!! Help me- Sayumi's eyes widened, and before she
could reply his mind cut out again. She tried to find him, but she
couldn't. She whispered in shock, “Ruki!”

Sayumi sprinted through the prison and back onto the roof from where she came, and she found the snow storm hadn't let up hardly at all. She could barely see the city from
there, but that was all she needed. She made a will-o-wisp to keep
her warm, and flew swiftly through the storm.

After about twenty minutes, Sayumi noticed, that the city didn't seem to be getting any closer. That was odd, since it only took her ten minutes to get from the mountains to
the city normally. Sayumi was flying as fast as the snow would allow,
and it just didn't seem she was getting anywhere. She stopped, and
floated in midair for a few minutes. Her will-o-wisp was still
burning, and she looked around. She noticed she seemed to be in a
sort of bubble, and she suddenly remembered a conversation she had
with Will before she fell asleep one night. It was about something
called space bubbles. Will had told her: “Space bubbles are a
phenomenon where there is a sort of bubble formed around someone,
which causes them to remain in their current position as if they were
stationary, no matter how fast they are moving. The only way to get
out of a space bubble is to break it.”

Sayumi took her will-o-wisp, and threw it as hard as she could in front of her. She heard a loud popping noise, and she tried flying again. This time, the city seemed
to get closer at the appropriate rate, and Sayumi smiled. But she
couldn't shake the eerie notion that the king of Repremendant had
some incredibly powerful allies, that definitely didn't want her to
find Ruki.

“How did she know to break the space bubble?” The King of Repremendant paced around his study, scratching at his beard. His general, who was an elven magician and
doctor, was also confused as he stared into his crystal ball that was
focused on Sayumi. The King asked, “Is there any way to stop her

The general flipped through his spell book, but replied, “No my King. It seems we are going to have to wait until she's in the city now.”

The King grumbled to himself, “I should have killed him first, that would have been easier! Then I wouldn't have to worry about this little witch coming after him. Who
is she anyway?”

The general replied after clearing his throat, “I believe that may be the princess Sayumi from Feresat.”

The King's eyes widened. “I thought Eliah told us she was dead! That lying bastard, I knew we shouldn't have trusted him. He always did look a bit off. But since
when was Sayumi a witch?”

The general stared into the crystal ball, and he glimpsed Sayumi's right hand. “She has the seal of fire on her right hand, must have gotten the fire faeries to help her
find her power.”

The king groaned. “Not another one of those! Last time we encountered a fire witch she burned up half the palace! Not to mention they are difficult to kill.”

The general added hopefully, “But let's not forget your highness, that she hasn't had her powers for very long. She is inexperienced, and doesn't know the full extent of
her abilities yet. This will make her easier to kill.”

“Or just a bigger mess when we do, who knows what she's capable of?” The King sighed. “Well, there's not much we can do about it now. I guess we just have to
watch and wait to see what she does. Well, let's go see how Ruki and
Shina are doing. I'm sure they will be begging for mercy soon.” The
general nodded, and they both let the study with mischievous grins on
their faces. The general had traded his crystal ball for his spell
book, since he had quite the repertoire of torture techniques written
in the footnotes.

Sayumi landed just inside the city walls, not wanting to waste time dealing with the guards. Sayumi figured she was probably being watched, and she didn't like that. She
needed more information about the King, since all she knew was the
war stories and a general description of what he looked like. She
didn't want to ask anyone, since that might look suspicions. She
though of what Ruki had done when he had killed that warlock and had
frightened her, and realized that would be a perfect way to gain
information without looking suspicions. It was nighttime however, so
the streets were barren. She quickly realized she would have to find
somewhere to spend the night, but as she walked up to the inns, each
one closed their doors before she even got close.

Sayumi sighed as she found out firsthand just how much prejudice there was against witch-folk in Repremendant. No one would even talk to her, and as soon as they saw
her they ran into the closest building they could find. Sayumi
started to feel crestfallen, so she walked to the only place she knew
wouldn't turn her away.

She arrived at the group home where Midori and Hikari lived, and knocked on the door. Midori opened it a few minutes later, and smiled when she saw Sayumi. “Sayumi! Come on
in, good to see you again!” Inside, Sayumi saw they were having a
party again, but this one was much less rowdy than the one Haru had
attended. Midori had her braids tied up in a sort of bun-like style,
but there were a few that were sticking out in various places. Sayumi
thought it made her look exotic, and wondered if sometime she could
try a similar style.

Midori led her over to a table with Hikari and some other young witches and gave her a mug of ale. Midori announced, “So what brings you back here so soon? I see you got
your powers.” Midori pointed to her fire seal, and Sayumi gave her
a confused frown. Midori lifted her left hand and showed her the
back. It had a similar symbol surrounded by a circle, and Midori
explained, “I had a brownie help me: brownies seal the left hand,
faeries seal the right. They are both technically faeries, but brownies aren't as
powerful as faeries so they seal the weaker hand.” Sayumi nodded,
and Midori leaned in close and whispered, “Did something happen?
You seem preoccupied.”

Sayumi sighed and started explaining all that had happened in the past two weeks. She left out no details, and when she was done she added, “So, now I need all
the information you have on the current King of Repremendant.”

Midori nodded, and she went quiet for a while. Sayumi was curious what she was doing, so she looked into Midori's mind and listened in on her conversations.

Hey Tenma! What do you know about the King?

Well, last time I checked he was working on a law that forbade any
witch-folk from living within his domain at all. That would mean all
of us would have to leave the kingdom! Can you believe that? He's a
horrible king!

Okay, thanks Tenma. Hey Misaki, you got any dirt on the King?

Oh, I do! Apparently, after he got that elven sidekick, he got that guy
to stalk that princess from Feresat, Sayumi. He “thought she would
be a threat”, but it seems really creepy to me. I wouldn't want to
be her!

Okay, thank you Misaki. Then Midori turned back to Sayumi and explained, “Alright, so basically the King is the younger of two brothers, and he took the throne when
his older brother died. Rumor has it that the reason he banished the
queen was because he made advances on her, but she rejected him. He
ascended the throne on the condition that the prince was never found.
And if he was, then he would have to step down from the throne. Well,
obviously he didn't like that. So, ever since he has been searching
for the prince to kill him so he can remain king.

“It sounds like he probably took him to his castle, to make sure no one outside of his men knows about the prince. He will probably kill him as soon as possible, so you
need to find him fast. However, with that elven guy stalking you it
will be impossible.” Midori looked around, and continued using her
thoughts, I'm not saying it out loud because he may be listening
in still. But what is going to happen is tomorrow I will go and find
the sidekick and make sure he stops talking or make it so he can't
see you anymore. Then after that, you can stow away with the girls
that are going into the palace to dance for the King, and make sure
you look like you know what you're doing when you go. Just copy what
the other dancers do; they will practice before they preform so you
must memorize the moves exactly. I will make sure you won't be
recognized. Sound good?

Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. Thanks for helping me Midori. Midori smiled and they
started to talk about other things, just simply getting to know each

“I really wish that stupid crystal ball could read their thoughts too. Its sort of pointless to
spy on a witch when she is talking to other witches because they can
plan things without talking. But I assume they were talking about a
way to get into the castle. Well, it won't be too hard to foil them.
After all, we can see every move she makes.” The King sighed. After
torturing Ruki and Shina for around half an hour, they had still
refused to give him any information. It seemed that he would have to
wait until Sayumi arrived so that he could use her to make Ruki talk.
The King asked his general, “Hey Alfred, why do elves have such
strange names?”

Alfred shrugged his shoulders. “Your highness, to elves you humans have strange names. And your traditional language puzzled us as well.”

The King laughed. “Only the elders speak that language now, and in my opinion I think that it's a good thing too. That language was a pain to speak, and even harder to
understand. What's more, only us Reprandese could speak it, and none
of the other kingdoms wanted to take the time to train translators.
So in the end, it's better that all of us speak the same language.”
Alfred nodded, and the King stood up and stretched his arms. “I'm
off to bed now Alfred, you keep an eye on her please. It would be bad
if somehow we lost her trail.” As the king left, Alfred waited
patiently until he was gone. Then he pulled out a small slip of paper
and started writing a report to the elven king on it. When he was
done, he rolled up the paper and took his dove that was in a cage on
the other side of the room and attached it to the dove's foot. Then
he sent the dove out the window, and smiled to himself. “Soon this
kingdom will be set right again, I know Sayumi can do it.”

Later, Sayumi was rather drunk, a sensation she had never felt before. Midori made sure not to drink too much, making sure she kept an eye on Sayumi. “Sayumi, we should
go to bed now. We have much to do tomorrow.”

Sayumi looked at her, and suddenly burst out giggling. Midori sighed, and stood up and used her mind to move Sayumi out of the chair until she could use her shoulder to
support her. Sayumi could hardly walk, but she was still giggling.
Midori sighed and commented, “You think this is funny now, wait
until you get a hangover tomorrow. You won't be giggling then will
you?” Sayumi threw back her head and laughed loudly, then she
started to float away. Midori kept a firm grip on her, not wanting
her to hit her head on the ceiling. “You really can't hold your
liquor!” Midori grunted as she dragged Sayumi into her room down
the hall.

The next morning, Sayumi felt like her head was going to explode. No one had mentioned this part of getting drunk to her, but now she realized why her whole life she had
been raised to avoid alcohol. Midori gave her a glass with liquid and
told her to drink it. Sayumi was too miserable to care what was in
it, so she obeyed. When she tasted the liquid, she nearly spat it
back out. Midori explained, “That is a form of tea that is very
good for curing hangovers. A friend from a small village down south
showed me how to make it; it's one of the best things that has ever
happened to me.”

Sayumi moaned, and Midori smirked. “I remember the first time I got drunk was very similar to this, except I woke up next to some white guy who kept calling me Ledasha.”

Sayumi couldn't help but smile at that, but she asked groggily, “What do you mean by a 'white guy'?”

Midori looked confused for a second, but then she replied, “Oh, I forgot you aren't from here. Reprandese people refer to the people from Feresat as 'white' because
their skin is so pale. Likewise, they call us 'brown' because our
skin and hair is darker than theirs. They call the people from
Hetalia 'black' because their skin is even darker than ours. I think
it's okay as long as they aren't using the terms to degrade anyone.”

Sayumi sighed and replied, “There's so much about the world I don't know. How will I ever remember all this stuff?”

Midori patted her gently on the shoulder and replied, “You will catch on soon. At least you don't have to learn the traditional language we used to speak. It was very
hard to understand.”

Sayumi felt the tea Midori had given her start to work, and she found her headache starting to go away. Midori smiled and got up saying, “I'll go get us some
breakfast, you like breakfast cakes with jam and butter?”

Sayumi nodded eagerly, and Midori left. Sayumi's headache was almost gone, but when she tried to look for Ruki's mind, an intense pain shot through her head and she
winced. She lay against her arm on the table, wishing that she could
just sleep the day away.

Meanwhile at the palace, the King had nearly forgotten all about Sayumi. He was preparing for the annual feast where the royal family from the three major kingdoms
meet and discuss business. It was a rotating feast, and the kingdom
hosting usually used the opportunity to show off their wealth. The
King walked through the bustling servants running about the castle
and sighed happily. “Everything is going exactly as planned. Soon,
people will not cease to boast of the beauty of Repremendant, and we
will become the most beautiful place in the world. Feresat will bow
before our glory!” The King continued walking through the halls,
asking the servants about the progress, and making sure they stay on

The End

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