This article, Drake's Tale: My Journey and My Struggle, is property of Zicoihno.

"Endlessly judging you."

This article Drake's Tale: My Journey and My Struggle, is the sole property of Ashy and as such, please do not edit this article without my permission. If you wish to use or change this article in any beneficial way, please discuss with me...and be judged!

Academy Blues

It was a graceful morning at the Vista Manor. The sun was up as the day had just began. Birds could be heard chirping and singing a tune out the doors of the mansion. Along the vast grounds of the Vista Manor, birds fluttered in the sky. It was a normal day at the Vista home, life as usual....

"GET GOING!" echoed a female voice, heard for a far way even in a house as palatial as this. But it was none other than the voice of Ruzana Vista. Shouting to get her second son,Drake , out the house and off to school. A young man trudged through the corridor towards the stairs. Off to school, not just any school, but the school. Off to another day at the Fiore Regal Academy of the Combat Arts, Military Academy for short.

It's not that Drake did not like going to school, but it always started too early for his taste. He approached the start of the stair case and slid down the railing to the bottom; landing neatly. He made his way towards the main door, with his normal bag in hand. "I'm off!" he shouted. A magic vehicle was waiting for him with servant next to it. "Sir shall we go." Drake shrugged as he entered the vehicle. They approached the entrance to the Academy. The Academy was not on site of the Military Headquaters, rather near it in location.

"That's enough, I will walk from here." he said opening the door of the vehicle. The driver nodded at Drake and drove off. He sighed, "Another day of training I suppose." he thought. He walked through the large gates, to see people running to and fro. Fitness drills were in action at the moment. So begins Drake's ever going tale, his journey to become great.

After entering the main building, Drake walked through the halls towards his first class, "Long Range Tactics". Drake hated this course, it was never his cup of tea. It was one of the theorectical courses in the academy, all about thinking. As there were two types of classes- theorectical and technical. He had a blank expression, having no interest. He felt a slap on his back.

"Yo! Drake!" said a  young man with darkish hair. "Richard? You clown, I'm surprised you showed so early." Drake replied. Richard chuckled as he looked over to the class door, "Yea my mom made me this time. Anyway let's get to class, I need some sleep".

Both walked through the door of the class, the room was very large and the seats set up into three elevated sections in front of a small podium, where the sensei would instruct from. They walked up the stairs towards the higher seats. The class was basically full already, people conversing here and there. Drake to the aisle seat and Richard sat next to him. Yawning Richard dropped his head and went for a nap.

"Some things never change." Drake said shaking his head. "Hey Drake! Ready for combat hall training today?" asked a unnamed class in front of Drake. "It should be interesting, hopefully it's interesting this time around." he replied folding his arms across his chest. A few other classmates began conversing with drake about trivial academy stuff.

"Class is in session, zip your mouths and open your minds!" exclaimed a male voice.

A tall tanned man walked into the room with a bag slung over his right shoulder. He walked up the steps of the podium and set the bag on the ground. "Morning Rayle-sensei" said a voice. He smiled, "Hopefully you all know it's lecture day today." the whole class groaned at the very statement. He cleared his throat and set his eyes on a sleeping student. Richard felt a burning stare was on him, courtesy of Rayle-sensei, yet he continued with the nap.

"Mr. Buchanen!" the instructor shouted, no response followed. Rayle-sensei sighed and began to trudge up the steps towards Richard's seat. Some of the class giggling in the process. Drake had no interest and was staring off aimlessly. Now he was infront of Richard's seat and tapped on the desk a few times. Richard rose his head and cupped his mouth as he yawned. He looked around and then to the teacher.

"Oh Rayle-sensei, how goes it. Is class over yet." he asked with a obnoxious smirk on his face. A vein throbbed in Rayle's head. "It just started!" shouted Rayle as he pointed towards the front of the class room. "Stand in the front and learn all of it there. For today that's where you'll be!" Richard rose out of his seat and exited the row he was in. Drake shook his head. "This is stupid". Richard stood there for the reaminder of the class.

After the first class Drake and Richard move through the hall towards their next class. Of course not without going to "homeroom" first. Homeroom, check-in classes as they were originally called, were all seperated by class rank and year. So essentailly the best students of one particular year are in the same class. Sound good? Well not exactly the best situation.

"Man I can't wait for combat training, it's a weapons session today." Richard said. Drake nodded, "Yea! It could be interesting. " They continued down the hallway, seeing familiar faces every now and then. "Hey Drake, Richard on your way to homeroom." asked a young man who walked up next to them. "What's up Tiago, yea we are. See you in combat training though." Drake said smiling. Tiago nodded and walked off.

"Pretty nice day today." Richard said with his hands on his head. Drake looked over to his friend, "I suppose so." early in the day was always boring for them. "Homeroom should be normal as always." Richard smirked as he nodded in agreement.

"GET LOST!" echoed a voice through the hallways.

Everyone turned their attention to the source of it all. A young man hit the wall and fell on his butt. Walking towards him was a blue haired young woman. "Don't make moves on woman who don't want you. Especially not any of my friends!" she shouted, The young man ran off. The pretty young woman was none other Azuki Isshi, the tough beauty of the academy. Sometimes called "Azuki the Devil." She sighed at the sight and looked over to her friend, while dusting off her hands, "See no problem" she said with a smile.

Her friend she just stood up for was in equal shock with everyone else. But at the same time no surprised at the recent event. With a comical expression Richard looked at the sight. "Yea it's a normal day indeed." he said laughingly. Azuki's pupils shifted to the corner of her eyes and big smile creaked across her face. She spun around to face the two.

"Well look who it is! Drake Vista and Richard Buchanen." She walked towards them. "So idiot ready for combat trainining today?" she inquired. "Yea somewhat. What do you think you're some type of threat." Drake said slyly. She clenched her teeth. "You dumbass! As if your superior to me or something." she pointed her finger in his face. "I will beat you today, as we are eternal rivals." Drake stepped back a little. "Who decided this...."

Richard ignored Azuki and already made his way into class. "Just shut up and walk! Cheeky Drake" shouted Azuki. Both, tension between them, went inside homeroom. They went to their respective seats. Drake sat next to Richard, "Gonna be a long day...". Richard scrathced his head, "Lunch needs to come.". Drake smirked, "Try to be serious for once."

Lunch was over. Drake was making his way to west wing of the school, to get to the weaponry dojo to report for combat training. Combat training was the best thing to do, full of excitement and competition. Drake had changed into a uniform jumpsuit that all students had to wear during combat training. He entered into the huge dojo to find his fellow students standing in perfect rows before the instructor. "Drake, why are you late?" shouted the man with his arms folded.

"Sorry Higen-sensei, I just am" he replied as he got into his respective line and clapsed his hands behind his back like all the others. "Today will be somewhat of a simulation". Everyone was silent to listen to the words of Higen-sensei. "8 platoons and 1 faux-medic team. That's how you will be divided and assigned. Make your own teams this time around, think of that as my gift to you." He looked around at the faces of his students. Looked at Azuki and Drake then sighed.

"Also arm yourself with swords from the armory, all enemies must be defeated by precise cuts." All the studnets saluted the teacher,"Yes Sir!", and walked off. People formed teams together. Drake went to team up with Richard, Tiago and another guy named Urzu. They all had katanas strapped to their backs. The armory held only three types of swords: Katanas, Sabers, and Broad Swords. Everyone in the room was planning out their ideas to clear the simulation quickly.

Azuki had teamed up with her good friend Mya and two other guys. They had also chosen katanas, as they were the easiest to carry around on one's back. "Attention! Keep in mind the only magic you can use is Speed Magic, all else is to rely on your swordsmanship and brute strength." A few voices expressed annoyance at this. "Pipe down. We all had to go through this. It will only make you stronger." Higen stated walked towards the exit.

He opened the dual doors that lead to the simulation field. Turned back to face his class, "It's time." Everyone followed orderly behind him spilt up in their platoons.

May the best win

The training ground had a lush forest touch to it. It was made up of the huge forest near the main campus of the academy. This was their battlefield. What was the objective? Clear the field and make it tot he northern checkpoint. Keeping in mind the enemy platoons composed of your fellow students and the many traps and beasts in this forests. This was the usual exercise.

The forest was rather quiet and the sounds of nature were at full swing. Drake, Richard, and the other comrades trudged through the forest path. Drake was at the front, while Richard at the back. Richard, the planner he was, figured this was the best strategy. This was war, and they had to be smart with their methods. The time limit was one hour. And enemies were everywhere. Tiago was looking around his area, the side flank, ready to counter anything.

"We gotta finish this quickly. Timing and efficiency matter the most here," Drake said. Richard sighed at the comment. "Sucks though. We can't use any magic besides speed magic," Richard groaned. Drake peered over his shoulder to Richard, "It's essential though. You want to be a mage who is useless if your magic were to be temporarily sealed?" Richard shrugged, it still did not sit well with him.

" Come on now, we can't fail this time after repeated success!" Drake said, as he led the group, and the others diligently followed, with Richard sluggishly, but quickly keeping up with them. After a few minutes, which seemed like hours of silence, someone had finally talked, although not from their group." So, it is you who we will fight first?" A cheerful voice said, as a group composed of four members had appeared, with the leader seemingly being blonde haired young man, and the weakest seemed to be a short, young black haired man, with deep sky blue eyes.

"Elbert Newgate! This is going to be hard!" Urzu said, as he realized that two of the members of the other group were shaking." T-the L-legendary Drake Vista and Richard Buchanen!" The members said, as Elbert had to calm them down." Jin, go and get'em!" He said, as the black haired obediently followed his command, and attempted to break the formation of Drake's group, as Richard quickly defended from his fast assault." Oh, the new Ace in our ranks, Jin Terumi, I have already heard praises." Richard remarked, with a smirk on his face.

Drake grinned as he took a fighting Poston, hand on his blade over his shoulder. "This could be good. Great way to greet the newbies." Jin pulled his blade on Richard, who in return easily blocked it. Their blades were locked, but both were calm.

" So what will you do now? Legendary Drake Vista?" Elbert asked, as he drew his saber from it's scabbard." Interesting choice of weaponry, but it won't help you now!" Drake said, as he quickly went on the offensive. Elbert quickly blocked his sword strike in one swift motion, briefly warranting Richard's attention.

" Don't avert your eyes." Jin said calmly as he pressed on harder, as Richard quickly flipped backward, dodging Jin's powerful strike. While this was happening, both Drake and Elbert were fighting at equal levels, with Bystanders in awe with their level of combat skill." It seems you're not giving up!" Drake said, as Elbert suddenly leapt backwards, and Jin reluctantly followed." Well, we did as we were told, we have a council meeting now, see ya!" Elbert said, as he left with two of his teammates, leaving behind Jin." I am of the student council as well, this was a temporary team." Jin said, as he waved goodbye and left.

" I was having fun! Oh well, there is still our mission to finish." Richard said, as he went back into position with his teammates, including Drake and left.

After half an hour of traveling in the large forest, they had reached the designated area, where combat instructor, Yamamoto Sawada, was waiting." Well, you have finished first, congratulations. You are dismissed," He said.

Not Your Ordinary Family

School was out, it was time to get home. The Academy always closed at 4 pm, unless there were extra training sessions or other activities. But today was just a normal day. Drake was walking towards the front entrance of his house, it was nice out though. He nature a little, took a deep breath and exhaled. Inside he did his usual, get to the kitchen. "Damn I'm starving...."

The chef was there looking through some cookbooks, but looked up as Drake entered the room. "Drake-dono, do you want anything." Drake smiled, "Yea thanks, something good and simple." In the Vista house, servants were treated very well. The cook handed Drake some food and he chowed down. But all good things come to an end, as the roar of where most of his irrritation came from rang out.

"DRAKE!!!!" shouted a female voice.

He could do nothing but sigh. "What do you want?" The young girl appeared with her fist clenched, she stomped to over where Drake was. "Why am I not surprised! You ate the last strawberries!" she shouted in a hunched over manner. "Siata , how am I supposed to know the quota for these things. It just happened, now shut up!", a vein throbbed in Drake head. The chef coughed to get their attention, "Siata-dono, don't worry there will more tommorrow" trying to keep a smile.

"No it's Drake's fault, greedy Drakey!" Drake clenched his teeth in comical manner. "What did I say about you calling me that!" He stood up to face his little annoying sister. Her face spelled rage. "I don't care damn it!". The chef could do nothing but watch, since this was just their usual afternoon shouting match. Drake and Siata often bickered all the time, no matter where they are.

The tension just amounted more and more, as they locked in a staring contest of sorts. Though stronger than her, Siata had no fear in taking on her brother, she was the fearless type. "You are way too annoying!" Drake exclaimed. Siata pointed straight at Drake, "You are one to talk!"

The they both suddenly felt a hit on their heads, a hit that silenced them for now and made them cringe in pain a little. "Both of you....CAN IT ALREADY" shouted a blonde woman behind them. "Mom?!" both of them remarked. "Aww thank you Ruzana-sama, theres nothing I can do sorry." Ruzana smiled and looked back at her two kids with an annoyed expression.

Only 4 people in this world, could get them to shut up. Their mom, Ruzana, was one of them. "Honestly, stop bickering over every little thing." Ruzana took a seat and flipped her hair, trying to figure out howw they both grew to be so annoying. "They were so cute years ago" she thought. Siata stormed off in her usual manner, off to her room.

Drake sat back in his seat to finish his food. "How was it today?" Ruzana asked. Drake looked back at his mom from his plate. "It was alright..." Ruzana frowned, "I know you wish you were an officer already, but the military has age requirments for such positions. Don't get frustrated." Drake smirked, "I'm fine, I really am. I get extra training anyway." Since Drake was 17 he could not be a commissioned officer, though his skill level would merit him a chance at S-Class trials in a guild.

"Patience is a virtue Drake-chan" Drake didn't bother to lookaway from his food. "It's also a pain in the a-" he was cut off by his mom slamming her hand on the table. "Watch your mouth boy!". "Sorry Sorry..." Drake got up and waved bye to his mom, he was going for a walk in the courtyards.

The Vista manor was massive, so there were plenty of places to think. But there was one in particluar to go to. Near the rear end of the house, was a courtyard with cherry blossom trees. Though they were out of season, it was still nice. Not to mention, no one really went to that one. It was here he had his "man to man" talks with his dad, you know about "guy stuff". He sat under one of the trees near the pond and leaned against it.

The pond glistened with the moon light, it was night now. He felt true relaxation here, it was a nice place away from irritations of this world. His mind wandered as he sat there slouched. "I just want adventure, life is too boring. Wheres the action in this life?" Drake was tired of routine training, desiring real missions and battles to vouch for. He found it annoying, all the mage guilds had 17 year olds allowed to do big things.

"So this is where you were" said a male voice. Drake turned to see a familiar face, a smile came as well. "Shisuke you came?" he asked. The young man scratched his head smiling, "Yea I felt like visting. Siata seems mad for some reason." He took a seat next to Drake, "What's up little bro.?" Shisuke was Drake's elder adopted brother, Drake had another older brother as well by blood, the eldest as well. Even though Shisuke was adopted, he was like blood to them all.

"Well you have to deal with it. That's how the military works man." Drake was not pleased with this answer, "Even s-" He was cut off, Shisuke stuck his finger near Drake face to silence him. The night wind blew, and the pond look even more magestic with the moon light. "Good things come to those that wait." Shisuke's statement resounded in Drake 's head for a moment.

"Where is dad anyway?" Shisuke asked. "Probably coming home now, he has been doing more office work lately. I usually hear him ranting on about it." Shisuke chuckled at the statement. "Sounds like him." "I guess you have been having fun huh Shisuke?" Drake remarked. "You could say that." Shisuke chuckled softly. He was an S-Class mage of the powerful Pink Petal Guild, one of the best guilds around.

Shisuke stood up, "Anyway it's about dinner time, let's get back. Mom is cooking tonight as well." Drake smirked as stood to his feet. " Yea let's get some grub...."

Richard's ordinary homecoming, with a twist

Richard was in a completely bad mood, and was very sluggish at getting home today, and when he finally opened the door to his small house, a large voice echoed." WHERE HAVE YOU BEEEEEEEEEENNNNNN!!!!!!" A powerful female voice shouted, as Richard was stunned, and looked down to find his younger sister standing there." Go away, I am tired." Richard said, as he shrugged her aside, and went to his room, which was the only place he could sleep.

" Man, stupid Military, I should be a captain, but nooooo! Instead, I'm forced to attend classes for absolutely no reason, and constantly get lectured from my younger sister." Richard said, as he was thinking about his parents, who had passed on while both Richard and Rihanna, her younger sister, were just children. Ever since then, Rihanna had stayed home, and become a mother for Richard. Then Richard fell to a nice sleep.

" Hey Richard, dinner's ready." Rihanna said, as Richard smelt her delicious food, and came running." So, what's today?" Richard said, as he sat down." We have Spaghetti Bolognese!" Rihanna replied, as Richard dug in, knowing that it was his favourite food." You sit down as well." Richard said, while eating." haha. So how are you two kids going?" A familiar male voice asked, as Rihanna replied." Uncle Craig!" Rihanna said, as she asked him to join Richard and her.

" Hey Uncle Greg!" Richard said, as he burped out loud, making Greg laugh at that concept." Richard, MIND YOUR MANNERS!" Rihanna shouted, as Richard replied." Pardon me, well, I'm done, so I'll take a walk on the road. Take care of yourselves!"

As Richard was walking down the path, he met up with a familiar face, shopping at the markets." Jin Terumi? What are you doing here?" Richard asked, as Jin was surprised to see him." Oh, I was buying groceries for my brother, but why are you here?" Jin asked." Well, I was just taking a walk." Richard said, as Jin decided to accompany him.

" So, how has the academy been for you?" Richard asked, as Jin replied." It's been cool, although many people are picking on my short stature!" Jin shouted, as Richard laughed." That's a good thing to be short, you can move around so much easier!" He said, as Jin smiled." Thanks, that's a good thing to hear from someone like you!"

" Well, Uncle Greg, how has farming been going?" Rihanna asked, as Greg replied joyously." The crops have been growing great, here I brought some!" Greg said, as Rihanna took them with a smile, then suddenly some thugs had barged in through the front door!

" Hey girl, where is that Purple Haired Idiot!" One of them shouted, as Rihanna took a fighting position." You mean Richard, he's gone for a walk, so for the mean time, fight me!" Rihanna said, as she jumped high onto the table and made an aerial attack on the weaker thug, taking him out effortlessly.

" Well you're interesting, but I'm stronger than him." The thug said, as he charged at Rihanna, who dodged the attacks quickly." I can't hold him for long, where is that damned Richard!" Rihanna thought, as she got hurt by one of his attacks and got flown backwards, when suddenly Richard came in and caught her." Took you long enough!" Rihanna exclaimed, as she fell asleep." Nice job Rihanna, now it's my turn."

" There you are, you are dead!" The guy said, as he charged at Richard, who had effortlessly countered with a low kick, and then quickly kneed him in the gut, and threw both bandits outside." Never mess with MY family again!" Richard exclaimed, as the two bandits were ling there pitifully.

" Uncle Greg, please get some water from the tap." Richard asked, as he immediately complied, and gave the water to Richard, who sprinkled some on Rihanna." You okay?" Richard asked as she woke up." I'm fine, but Richard, can you teach me some magic?" She asked, as Richard laughed." Fine, I'll teach you a bit tomorrow okay, now go to sleep." Richard said, as Rihanna went to bed.

" Well, that was an unexpected homecoming? Oh well, it was fun!" Richard said, as he laughed to himself.

Night of Horror

A few days past. It was nighttime, yet the academy was still in operation. Apparently after extended trainining sessions, there were some important student affairs. A few dozen students stayed behind to help with these things, it was a team effort of sorts. Among these students were Drake Vista, Richard Buchanen. They had all assembled in the dining hall.

"That was not fun....." Richard stretched his arms and sighed. He looked around the room, this was not how he wanted spend his night. Especially since when he gets home, it will just be his sister nagging him to teach her magic. Drake smirked, "Doing these kinds of things help us keep our image clean. Especially needed for a certain someone who can't show up to class" Drake coughed and pointed at Richard.

"Oi Oi, I'm just a simple man. Why waste my time with classes I don't need." Richard continued looking around to find a familar face, preferably someone interesting. He spotted Azuki, a frown showed itself on Richard's face. "Crap..." He didn't like the idea of her being here, given how she acts. He bumped Drake with his elbow and pointed over to Azuki. "Well this sucks." Drake didn't give any sense of emotion to the remark.

In that moment Azuki noticed the two of them looking at her. An annoyed grin crossed her face and she stomped over to them in her usual mad manner. "What are you looking at!" she shouted staring at the two. Richard uttered no response, she turned to Drake. Drake looked downwards and pointed his finger. "What are you looking at Devil girl!"

The tension was strong. They locked in a serious stare, little comical sparks of electricity showed themselves. Everyone looked away, as it was just another one of Azuki and Drake's shouting matches. Unlike with Siata, Drake could never win with this woman in these types of things. Another person came and patted them on the shoulders to stop.

"Enough for tonight. Let's all scower the building to make sure nothing was left on.". Drake and Azuki quickly turned away from one another. Drake took a few steps and put his hands in his pockets. "Good idea Tiago... I'm this way." Richard was totally ignoring the situation, but was yanked by Drake. " Hey don't get mad with me, she's your problem." he shouted as their voices faded as they walked away.

The comment annoyed Azuki, but she was not qucik enough to reply. She looked at her friend beside her. "Julia let's go that way as well." Her friend shook her head, "I don't like the idea of this." They went through the same hallway as Drake.

Most of the lights were off, there was nothing too bad. All the teachers seemed to be gone. Drake and Richard looked around as they passed classroom after classroom. "Wow what was the point?" "We gotta check anyway man." Richard chuckled a little. "That was pretty funny though." Drake ignored Richard's comment, knowing he was referring to Azuki.

Not to far way around the corner was Azuki and Julia were doing the same. "You guys need to stop fighting all the time." Azuki looked over to Julia. "What?" Julisa shook her head. "Everytime and all the time, you guys just bicker. I wonder why that is. They say lovers can communicate through anger before confession." She said with a chuckle. "Oh Shut up!" Azuki remarked, rolling her eyes at the very thought.

The power running the building suddenly shut off. And a deathly silence broke out. Drake and Richard suddenly stopped, wondeirng what had just happened. Same with Azuki and Julia who were surprised and began to look around. Something was off, Richard could feel it. "Drake." Drake turned to Richard. "Something is terribly wrong." Despite being top students and having strength that would earn praise in the guild world, both felt somewhat nervous.

What was this ominous feeling they felt. They heard a scream and raced towards its' source. They came to find several bodies of students layed on the ground unconsious. Shock rattled their brains. "What's going on here?" Drake exclaimed. Footsteps could be heard as Azuki and Julia showed up behind them. Azuki panted a little, "What's wrong?". Drake was kneeling on the ground looking at one the bodies. "We don't know. But they are alive, at least for now."

"This is like a bad dream." Richard went tot he window to look out. He saw bodies of students laying on the ground. It was a feeling akin to a horror movie(via lacrima) he had saw a while back. "Drake, Azuki, Julia!" All three of them turned their attention to him. "We need to put our differences aside and work together." The very notion made Drake and Azuki equally cringe.

"What are you going on about Richard?" Drake protested. He walked over to them. "If we want to survive, we work together. Someone has infiltrated the prestigous academy of the Military while the teachers left. We need to take care of them, whoever they are." Julia cleared her throat. "It's more than a matter of strength it seems as well." Richard nodded. "Exactly the enemy knew of the teachers' absences and took advantage. Perfect infiltration play."

He may not seem it, but Richard's sense of tactics were far beyond him. Azuki looked at Drake. "If has come to a battle of survival I guesss can do that. Don't try out do me Drake, I plan on protecting the Academy." Drake smirked at the comment. "Let's see who does the best. I'm in." Julia smiled. "Seems they have an agreement." A smile cracked on Richard's face, with this they could take down what devious enemy had made a play for the school. "I've decided on us going out in pairs, ones that suit our talents." Everyone listened in.

"I and Julia will move out to the West wing, while Drake and Azuki go to the East." Both stood up. "If we're in a big group then fine but-" Drake interjected."Exactly why would you." Richard had a stern face, no more time for petty things. "This is how it's gonna work alright. After we had done some investigating for 20 minutes, we meet up at the weaponry dojo. Roger that people!" Julia nodded in agreement, while Azuki and Drake forced out a "yes" while groaning. "Alright let's move out!"

Uncovering the Enemy

Soon enough, Julia and Richard had moved west to find out any clue of this enemy." Well, if these enemies have taken out the power, most people would think that they are at the power station, however, it is highly probable these enemies have magic, and as such. They would be here!" Richard said, as him and Julia were running, and he opened the door, to find a mysterious person over there, who was charging an attack.

" Julia, watch out!" Richard exclaimed, as he quickly moved Julia out of the way, and blocked the attack with a dark shield." Dark Blast!" Richard chanted, as a powerful dark blast was heading to the unknown enemy who swiftly dodged the attack." Mist!" Richard chanted, creating a powerful mist which allowed him time to escape.

" What was that!" Julia wondered as Richard held her hand and was running." Judging by it's looks and abilities, it was either a dark mage, or an illusion of great power!" Richard said, as he was deciding the next course of action." It would seem that we must head to the library." Richard said, and Julia asked." Why?" Richard then replied with a smirk." Just wait and watch." He said, as he left with great speed, and Julia tagged along.

They soon got to the Library, where Richard was hiding alongside Julia in the books." Now, let me think, if that person was an illusion, then..., no it isn't possible, that person is too powerful to be an illusion, damn it, who conjured up this strategy! We have to get to the Weaponry Dojo immediately!" Richard said, as they left for the dojo, making sure they weren't found by the attacker.

Meanwhile, up East

" I really don't want to work with you!" Drake said, as Azuki replied with anger." Who said I want to work with you!" Azuki said as Drake sensed something amiss." Hey, Azuki, use your eye magic, to scan the area, I can sense an ominous presence!" Drake said, as Azuki found the thing's location, to which the enemy fired a powerful blast of energy." Water Encampment!" Drake said, as he created a shelter of water, which was able to protect him and Azuki for a while.

" It seems that this guy attacked the academy, if that's so, we should head back to the Weapon Dojo!" Drake said, as Azuki exclaimed." What are you talking about, I can handle this person on my own!" Drake then got frustrated." You idiot! Don't be reckless, what would I say if something happened to you! Come on!" Drake said, as he and Azuki were running to the Weapon Dojo.

" Is it following us?" Drake asked, as Azuki investigated with her eye magic." It seems that it's stopped following, or is planning another attack? Let's hurry!" Azuki said, as she sped up alongside Drake. After a while they reached the dojo, where they found Richard and Julia.

The Assault

"You guys as well" Azuki pointed at Richard and Julia. Richard nodded in agreement, "The mage was strong as well, it seems this infiltration is a team effort." Drake was on the look out for any enemies, but was still listening in on the conversation. "Now that we know theres more than one enemy, we need to be more alert." Richard twiddled his thumbs for a moments, thinking on things.

"I know one thing to be true, next time we face these attackers will escalate into serious battles." Azuki interrupted Richard. Everyone turned to listen what she had to say. "The enemy we encoutered used some type of powerful magic, and is probably a mid range fighter as well. Adding on to the fact they easily breached the Academy grounds, we can conclude they are very skilled". Richard knelt on the ground, "So?"

"We are going to need to go all out on these mages, I suspect there are more than two." Azuki stood up straight and flipped her hair. "Let's go with the original plan and be ready for the worst. "she smirked and looked over to Drake."How's that Mr. Vista?" He smirked and took his hands out of his pockets. "Just don't slow me down alright...." Richard smiled at this, it was possible they may just work together well for now.

Richard knew this could get ugly, he had a bad feeling about the enemy. What would be the outcome? He could not predict it, but was hoping some teachers would catch on to what's happening right now, hopefully. Julia coughed to get the group's attention. "Make sure you three don't destroy the school in your fights." All of them nodded in agreement with a half cracked smile. Drake had planned to push his enemy to the forest training grounds in actuality.

"Damn I got a bad feeling about this." Richard thought.Outside was dark and barely illuminated by lights placed around the academy, so movement was hard to keep efficient. Azuki and Drake ran back to the east wing, but took the outside route. They dashed along the wall, it was time to training into practice. Richard and Julia made their way to the east, also outdoors this time around. They would use all means necessary to protect the school and their companions.

Richard's Struggle

As Julia and Richard were making their way to the west, an unknown figure takes Julia silently and without any trace, had left, Richard then heard a faint cry for help, yet once he turned around, he saw Julia had been abducted without any warning given." What, Impossible! Julia has been taken away!" Richard exclaimed, as he realised this enemy was no meager one." Damn it, where are the teachers when we need them!" Richard shouted, as he got to the outside of the west wing, to find an enemy standing before him, with Julia in a magical cage.

" Richard, please help me!" Julia cried for help, as Richard became mad." That's it, you're going to die here!" Richard roared, as he drew his longsword, and made a stance that was reminescent of a ninja." Shroud!" Richard chanted, as he created a dense mist that prevented any sight for his enemies. He quickly attempted to defeat the enemy with one blow, but suddenly the enemy effortlessly dodged and caught his blade, shocking Richard.

" What reflexes!" Richard exclaimed, as the phantom like figure punched Richard in the gut, making him fly away metres and crash into a tree." Richard, are you okay?" Julia asked with concern as she attempted to get out of the cage, yet it repelled all her attempts." Don't worry Julia, you'll be out of there soon." Richard said, as he stood up with injuries." Coiled Mist!" Richard chanted, as mist once again appeared in the air, but this time, it solidified and coiled around the enemy.

" Now die!" Richard cursed as he quickly charged in to give the finishing blow, when suddenly the enemy generated a blast from his mouth, which Richard had trouble defending against." Damn it!!!" Richard howled, as he was once again thrown back from the battle.

" It seems that is the only way for me to go. Firstly; Merging Mist!" Richard chanted, as a powerful mist was conjured, and Richard was this time, undetectable." Where did Richard go?" Julia wondered, as her hands were scraped with bruises." Dark Concert." Richard chanted, as a dark and menacing aura had surrounded him, and a strange tattoo pattern was at his arm was glowing.

" Melody of Darkness!" Richard chanted, as a powerful sound wave had pulsated, and it was injuring the phantom like enemy." Reaping Panther!" Richard chanted, as his sword was covered with dark energy and he sliced it down the enemy's torso, finally killing him, and breaking the cage that Julia was trapped in.

" That was very difficult, we actually m-managed." Richard said, as he fell to the ground after using too much magical power.

At the same time, Drake and Azuki were moving down the east wing, when someone lunged from the darkness. Azuki quickly got between Drake and the attacker, requiping a weapon instantly to counter the attack. The mysterious mage skidded backwards to dodge. There stood Azuki, halberd in hand, she took a battle stance.

"This is not the same assailant Drake..." Drake squinted his eyes, "Now that you mention-" Azuki twirled her halberd. "I'll take this guy, theres another waiting in the forest." Drake scratched his head, "Wait what? How did you?". Azuki smirked, "Dumb Drake, my eyes can see such things." The attacked dashed at Azuki suddenly, they entered into combat.

Azuki quickly dodged the intial attacks and countered with a slash of her halberd. "What are you waiting for? Drake nodded and ran off towards the woods. Azuki dashed towards the enemy, weapon was stretched forward a little. It began to glow, "Let's get this started." Azuki had a determined smile on her face.

Win or Lose? The Battle to Survive is Here!

Drake had left Azuki to fight the mysterious mage from before, he had entered the forest trainining ground. According to Azuki, there was a person waiting, it could be the leader. Drake dashed through the forest, thanks to speed magic. He narrowed his eyes as a figure into sight, then suddenly a blast came at him. He barely dodged the attack, but was sent to the ground by the explosion's impact. Right before impact he flipped to his feet.

He looked at the figure before, panting. "Crap." Drake got an injury or two due to his carelessness, he couldn't mess up now. He regained his composure and focused on the enemy before him. "And you are?" The mage looked at him with a grin. "Kids shouldn't mess with grownup." Drake scoffed at the comment, he edged his foot in preparation to attack. The shifting of his enemy's hand caught his attention.

"What's your objective? Why have you breached the Academy?" Drake asked, he took a light fightng stance. "It's all part of the plan. You should run away before you get hurt kid." Drake was getting annoyed now, this guy kept calling him kid. Like Richard, he was tired of all this uneccessary crap just because he wasn't 20. He shouldn't even be at the academy, just a waste of life.

The mage suddenly dashed towards Drake. He snapped out of it and leaped back as he whipped his hand forward. "Ice Tundra!" a large torrent of swirling ice came at the figure. The mage evaded the attack, Drake attack from an angle to surprise his enemy. They traded blow for blow.

Kick for kick, punch for punch. Drake's hand to hand combat was being tested to their limits. He dodged the man's left kick and skidded backwards. He clapsed his hands together as a magic circle appeared "Water Dragon!" he shouted. From nowhere water swirled into existence and rushed towards the enemy. It formed a dragon's head. The mysterious mage dashed away from it, as to escape or find a more spacious place to counter.

The attack collided with the man, sending him crashing into the ground. It wasn't over, Drake dashed towards him. He had more to come. Then suddenly a leg appeared before his face as he was still in motion. "What? What speed?" he thought, suddenly it collided with Drake, sending him through several thick and sturdy trees. He emerged from the natural rubble with some injuries. Blood trickled from his forehead.

The man walked slowly towards Drake, both soaked and bruised. Drake was panting, "This guy is good." He leaped from the rubble towards a clearer area. Drake really felt that last hit good. The attacker lunged forward as his hands glowed, launching an attack of somekind towards Drake.

The young Vista spread his legs and clapsed his hand together. "Water Magic Encampment!", magically enhanced water swirled around him. The blasts collided with it and both were neutralized. The mysterious mage came from an angle at Drake, but Drake dodged. He sent a series of kicks and punches at the enemy. The area he was in was not great for his water magic.

Suddenly Drake felt somethng that stopped in his tracks. The sound of a large explosion roared through the night suddenly. "Azuki!?" he shouted. He looked towards the direction she was in. "She shouldn't lose, she's strong. Maybe I should of stayed Dammit!" A race of thoughts rushed through his mind. Suddenly he was sent hurling into another set of trees.

The mage smiled, "Pay attention. You're strong, but not good enough to just ignore me like that. I hope your little girlfriend isn't dead.Though she must of spotted with me with what eye magic?" A evil grin crossed his face. Drake appeard to the side of the mage suddenly. "She's not my girlfriend, just a bossy and rude girl!" He instantly shot another blast of ice towards the nameless enemy.

He dodged the attack barely, getting his arm frozen as a consequence. Drake smirked as his attack connected somewhat. "Rude and boisterous girls like her don't lose". He stood up straight, Drake had sustained some injuries, though his bruises hurt alot that he even cringed every now and then.

"Who are you calling rude!" shouted a voice from a far.

A beat up Azuki appeared walking towards Drake. A smile of both relief and assurance came to his face seeing her graceful figure move towards him. It seems Azuki had won her battle, but Drake's was still going sadly. He didn't know how to beat this guy, they seemed matched more or less. She analyzed the situation, but she didn't go all the way to Drake, but just decided to stay away.

Drake suddenly dashed towards with a smile. He had just remembered the creek not too far from here. He dashed past his enemy towards it. Naturally the mysterious mage followed after Drake, he sent another attack his way. But Drake skillfully dodged. Azuki sighed as she followed them. Running, he saw the creek come before him; the plan was in motion.

"One big attack, this next one decides." Drake skidded on the ground to a halt. He clapsed his hans together, a magic circle appeared under him. It was was silver and ornated withe insignia of the Vista house and his own symbol.The body of water swirled into the air as he manipulated it with his magic. "That's not it!" he shouted. His enemy's eye widened.

He made another motion as ice appeared and swirled around with the water. Time to end this!" He lunged his hands forward as he launched the massive attack. "Sea King Arctic Vortex!" Drake exclaimed. A huge vortex of water with Ice spiraling with it closed in on Drake's opponent. Azuki watched in awe of the attack, "What is that?" she thought as her eyes widened.

The Mage tried to block but was enveloped in the vortex of water. As the attack subsided, the man was nowhere to be found. It was over, the fight was his victory. Drake smiled alittle, and was panting. He felt light headed as he waste so much magical power. He felt his knees buckle as he stumbled to fall, but he was caught by someone. The skin was soft and smooth. Azuki had caught him.

She carried him towards a large tree and pressed him against it. She sat next to him knees up as she watched him cringe in pain for abit. Drake caught his breat and turned his head to Azuki who was very close to him. "Thanks devil woman." She smiled, "I'm surprised an idiot like you could use magic like that. Not that it compares to me of course." she remarked. He chuckled, Drake had never noticed Azuki's lovely smile before.

"I'm sure Richard won, theres no way he would lose. We took down the people attacking the academy. We should all be proud. I'm sure you dad will be happy with you." she squinted at the silent Drake. "Too tired to talk? That's boring sir." Azuki chuckled a little. His arm was aching, "Crap I overdid it." he yelped in some pain. Azuki shook her head. "She wrapped some bandages around his arm, the blood had stopped dripping thankfully.

"Thanks Azuki.." She looked at him. "For what?" she asked. "I don't know, just thanks." It was a small sentiment, but still there. "I know we won. But the fact that someone attacked this place is serious business. We need to tell the head master." Drake nodded in agreement as rose to his feet. "A conspiracy may be in the works. The enemy is still out there planning things maybe." Suddenly he was caught off.

"Not exactly..." a male voice said.

The turned to see a man sporting a dark haori with a hat and clog shoes land on the before them. He held his cane tight. " It's about time to reveal it now." Both their eyes widened in shock, "What?"

The Truth is Revealed...

" Who the hell are you?" Drake questioned the man's sudden appearance. Azuki tapped him on the shoulder. "I believe he is Yotsuki of the Covert Special Task Force. He's pretty important." Yotsuki tipped his hat at her. "Aw don't flatter me little lady, but yes I am Yotsuki." A vein throbbed on Azuki's head. "Don't call me little lady" she grumbled. Yotsuki smirked, "You did a hell of a job doing damage to the school the three of you."

He tapped his cane on the ground. "But I expected this impressive skill." Drake was serious and in no interest with beating aorund the bush. "What the hell are you talking about?!". he looked intently at the older man. "This was the final stage to collect data on you three, the final test I gues you could call it." Azuki raised an eyebrow at the remark. "Test?"

Yotsuki nodded as he walked over to them. "You see the enemies you three: Azuki Isshi, Drake Vista, Richard Buchanen just took out were not real." Drake stomped his foot. "Not real?!" Yotsuki stuck up his index finger in comical manner, he nodded slightly." Yes they were extremely powerful illusions." Suddenly you could feel the tension boil around him. "Bull, no illusion is that tangible and powerful" Azuki hissed.

"Oh the words the of the inexperienced. They were very much illusions and very much powerful, don't get mad that you had trouble with illusions. They were basically low S-Class mages. It's a feat you all won. Azuki you were dealt the least damage it seems, you got a good match up unlike the other two."

Drake narrowed his eyes at Yotsuki as he regained his composure. "So why did you do this test. And what was the purpose of it being here anyway." It was obvious to Azuki, Drake was holding in his anger, she knew him well despite confessing her hate for him. "I want to join me." Both raised an eyebrow and were equally confused. "All three of you could contest to be S-Class mages in the top guilds of the continent. In the military you have to be 20 or so to be a commisioned officer. So I have a proposal."

Drake rubbed his hands a bit. "A proposal?" Yotsuki snapped his finger. Far away all the students that had mysterious fallen unconsious were awake and wide awake at that. "This spell is called Prism of a Thousands Worlds, took a long while to set up. It's not a single mage spell, I had alot of skilled mages powering it. Anyway, I am thinking of new unit. A small unit composedof the strongest students of the Military Academy. The council and the Supreme Commander are fine with this. I want you, Azuki,and Richard to join up with us."

"Why should we join?" Drake asked immediately. "Because you won't be stuck training all day anymore, though you will technically be a cadet. You will doing real missions with real dangers, behind the scene. This isn't something to advertise to the world. The best of the youth basically." The sun was rising, as sunlight came into sight. "If you want to come, in one week from today meet me at the airship hangar of the Military HQ. It's your choice, I must be going now." he vanished with the wind.

Both were almost speechless and shrugged at each other. "We need to get back to Richard and Julia." The proposal was stuck in their head as they set off to meet up with their comrades. It was over, they lived to fight another day. Even with these revelations, they were proud of their heroic actions.

Another Day, But a New Adventure Beckons

A few days had passed since the incident, the academy had actually closed for a few days as a result of all the damages ensued by a particular group of three mages. So as a result, everyone went on their ways, simply put a free day. Though it was a military academy, it still ran much like a school. Azuki Isshi was on her merry way in town.

Azuki walked through town, the town was bustling with people everywhere. This town was not too far from the Academy, and by extension the Military HQ. Soldiers, Students, Mages overall visit this place. But it was here that somethig important belonged to Azuki's heart. While the sight of it was enticing to a visitor, Azuki was used to it. She knew this town like the back of her hand.

"Looks like the usual wave of people are flocking around here." She had a big smile on her face, not a normal sight at the academy safe to say. She flicked a coin at a man near a stand and took a cup from her. "Come again" he shouted at her. She sipped the drink inside, rasberry juice. "Theres nothing more heavenly than a good cup of fruit juice." she thought.

She walked up to a moderaltey large building on the side of cobblestone streets. People rushed past her. She went through the door as the bells chimed. She entered a large restaraunt type setting, many people were spread about and getting nourishment. There several servers here and there handling things. She shook her head and went towards the back of the room and through another door.

A woman was filing through some papers, she was in a rush seemingly. "Hey mom!" The woman turned to Azukia and smiled. "Oh Azuki you're back. Your dad stepped out on business, we are pretty packed. So just relax somwhere." Azuki flicked her wrist to catch her mother's attention, "I'll help too!" she said confindently. "That's nice, just don't lose you temper Azuki-chan." Azuki helped her mom out, busing tables and serving people. The time flew like nothing.

Her mom wiped her forward and sighed. She looked at Azuki, "Good day for business indeed." Azuki loved to see her mom happy. Though at the academy, she was known as "Azuki the Devil", she could be quite sweet at times. "So anything new happen in your life" Before Azuki could answed, her mom interjected. "Besides fighting." Azuki uttered no response and blew her bangs.

"You really need to do to other things. Azu-chan" Azuki sighed, "Must you call me that mom. I'm fine, I have friends and all that good stuff. But training is my escape I guess. I enjoy it alot and it brings me closer to my certain goal." Her mom raised an eyebrow. "Certain goal?" Azuki hadn't meant to say that last part. "Such a strange set of priorities." The woman worried her daughter did not care too much for "womanly things".

"What's this goal of yours?" she asked her daughter intently. Azuki exhaled, knowing she could not escape her mother's questioning "To surpass some one who annoys the heck out of me." The older woman touched her finger to her lips, showing she was interested in the story. "Oh so it's another student then." Azuki shook her head. "Naw he's annoying as heck. His name is Drake Vista, my eternal rival."

Her mom's eyes glittered, hearing a boy's name for once. "Azu-chan has a crush? Surely a mixed gender rivalry leads to love and marriage. So cute!" she swung around in a comical manner. Azuki smacked her own forehead. "Oh I said nothing of the sort. Aren't you listening?" Her mother stopped swaying suddenly. "Vista? As in the House of Vista. Oh my, if my daughter marries into such a family. I won't need to ever worry again. My daughter, the wife of a Vista man?"

"You've gotta STOP IT!" Azuki howled, a light blush came upon her. Her mom chuckled, "Hehe, I won't tease my little Azu-chan anymore". She had had her fun, she needed to do the books for today's sales. She stood up, "Well it's time for the books." she began to walk away. She turned alittle back to her daughter, Azuki looked over to her mom once more. "Azuki. You can't lie to your heart. Something to think about." Azuki sat there half annoyed, but also wondering what her mother meant.

The next day came quick. Drake found himself twidling his thumbs in Tactics class. It was boring, boring beyond baring it for him. As usual Richard was snoozing, but Drake wasn't like that. There was something big on his mind, he hadn't slept well for a few days to bat. All he could think of was Yotsuki's proposal and supposed unit.

What would happen. What path would he end up on? What lied ahead? These questions ran through his mind over and over again. The fact stood that his, Richard's, and Azuki's life were going to change. Of course none of them had spoken about the proposal together, it was an indvidual choice of course.

"What do I do now. It's up to me, I should not need help deciding." He leaned forward in hs chair, he was just focused on the problem totally. Suddenly a strong voice broke the silence, Rayle-sensei had entered the room. "Well guys we have a guess speaker today. Please give her your attention." Drake was ignoring it all, until it happened. She stepped forward, blonde hair, cocky smirk, noticable bust. The guys in the room were stimulated, literally(haha).

Different voices went on about her appearnace. "Who is that?" "Isn't that?". Another voice interjected."It's the Supreme Commander's wife, Ruzana-dono". Drake's eyes opened wide, wide as a valley in embarrasment and annoyance. His expression spelt OH MY GOD. Ruzana smirked, "Alright brats, it's time to learn something. How about the young gentleman in the back with the black hair be a volunteer!"

Everyone giggled knowing she was his mother. Drake trudged down the steps of the class. "This is gonna be a long day....."

"Let's begin!" she shouted.

Next Chapter

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