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This article, In Blackest Night, is property of Zicoihno.

The events in this chapter take place 12 hours prior to Team Vista recieving the "message".

War

The alarms wailed through the night as lights flashed around the Military HQ, the foot steps could be heard as Soldiers ran through their halls to their specific destinations. Ranked officers were barking out orders as to make sure panic did not ensue. A troublesome situation was unfolding before them, before Fiore as a nation itself. The airship hangars were in full activity, soldiers were piling into them.

A young soldier stepped before the ship, as he was the last to get there. Taking a deep but nervous breath, he stepped onto the airship as the doors closed behind him. The military was on full alert and deploying forces. A grand threat stood before them, the threat of war.

"Raimo-sama !"

Raimo peered over his shoulder to find a messenger huffing and puffing. Raimo's expression nothing short of stern and serious. "What is it?" He asked quickly. The messenger held the paper out before the Supreme Commander. "All the last of the air ships have been giving their courses and are en route to their places on the battlefield." The words didn't relieve Raimo, but were good news.

With that, he kept walking at a brisk pace, He entered a room. It was circular in shape and very large. People were moving about, keeping up communications. Lacrima screens were placed all about the room. In the middle there was a chair for Raimo, the seat of the Supreme Commander. This was the Central Command Center, or as the soldiers call it Centro.

"Iker ! What's the status on those three? " Raimo asked, walking over to Iker who was giving out instructions to all the technicians. Iker put on a smile. " Well, Franz and Oros are situated at the right region of the western border. And Giotto is at the left side of the western border. It seems they've set up all the initial camps for their men." He replied calmly. This was a serious situation, and all orders had to be as efficient as ever.

Raimo nodded as a sign of satifaction at Iker's words. He turned to the others in the room. "No screw ups, people. I have faith in you all!" Raimo remarked, walking near the center of the room. The situation was a bad one. Two nations, not just one, two powerful nations were in high tensions with Fiore. They were acting on the pretense that "Fiore had started it". Despite denials by the King's messangers, they would not listen.

Raimo found it all abit strange, but troublesome nonetheless. The King had given the right to do what was necessary. Given the situation, Raimo went out of his way too send three Commanders to the frontlines. His train of thought was cut off by someone barging into the room, and none other then Xena .

"Why the hell am I stuck here?!" Xena moaned. She made her way over to Raimo, a scowl on here face. "Come on, old man. Why leave me here?" She asked, raising a hand in question, Raimo turned away from here, to ignore that annoying face she makes. " You're the youngest of the big 4. Also someone has to protect HQ, right? " The reply didn't make her happy. "But you're here, ain't nobody able to--" Raimo cut her off at that. "The Supreme Commander should not need to fight, kid. "

"Sir, we have confirmation of enemy forces moving near the border. " Iker shouted across the room. Raimo cocked an eyebrow, "We're just now getting confirmation? Damn, kids these days are slow. " He said shaking his head. Xena chuckled lightly. " As usual with you, old man..." Xena remarked, turning her attetion to Iker. "....wait. Iker, what about the Navy?" Iker set his clipboard down. "They've already gotten the major aquatic regions covered."

Xena crossed her arms across her chest. She had never been in a full scale war. Well, this was still more of an "on edge" situation then anything else. She had wanted to go to the border with Oros, but apparently Franz got that opprotunity. For lack of better words, she was stuck on her ass here. The door suddenly opened as a blonde woman stepped into the room.

"Raimo-sama, was Oros already deployed?" She asked. "Oh Milena, yes, he's with Franz at the right flank of the Western Border. " Raimo replied, turning to the newest person to show up. "Southwest, huh. I guess I'm stationed here?" She asked as she walked further towards Raimo. He nodded in agreement. "Don't worry Milena . Oros-sensei will be just fine. " A young woman said, getting out of her seat.

"Oh Alia, you were here? " Xena remarked. "Yea." She replied. "Hopefully my husband doesn't do anything over the top though." Milena said, rolling her eyes. While being a General, she was also the wife of Oros Richards. All they could do was wait until something happened on the battlefield.

Raimo grabbed a random subordinate by the shoulder. "Contact Fairy Tail and Lamia Scale, they're the closest to the border and should be in high alert." He commanded, releasing their shoulder. He turned his attention back to Xena, Milena, and Alia. "I have missions for all of you. I don't want to hear complaints." While Alia and Milena complied quickly, Xena moaned out a "yes".

Tension Under the Night Sky

A hawk soared through the night sky, overlooking splotches of light all over the forest near the south-west border of Fiore. Those splotches being the camps of the beyond numerous platoons stationed there. Outside of the main camp, there were 4 major check points, and also 5 or so emergency medical camps. Aside from those, there were numerous small camps set up by soldiers. The airships were stationed over the mountain pass behind the waiting army.

Above the main camp was a large rock cliff, from there one could overlook all the many small camps and much of the battlefield. On that cliff stood Oros and Franz, the night air billowed through their coats. Or in Oros' case, his white haori. The battlefield was a bit chilly, leaving a bit of an eery feelling for the rookies and an ominous one for the veterans.

"Calm before the storm, huh. What do you think Franz?" Oros asked, turning to his companion. Franz kept his eyes on the scenery before him. "It's not a good situation. Fiore hasn't been in war for a long time. I hope the rookies don't get shellshock after whatever happens here." Franz replied, his expression was still calm as ever. Oros noted that Franz had always been a cold person, who'd do anything to uphold "justice".

That also meant Franz rarely mourned the death of soldiers, as he'd usually dismiss them as simply have been "too weak". Oros cocked an eyebrow, "You're worried about that type of thing?"He remarked surprised. "Well, if such a thing happens, our forces will be cut down in terms of numbers." Franz answered quickly. Oros just sighed at the statement, typical Franz.

"Anyway.." Oros said, cracking his knuckles. ".... this front is covered. Everything is moving properly, But let's just pray this war doesn't happen for real." On the inside he couldn't help but feel things were a bit weird all together with this situation. The situation was 2 on 1. It's not like they couldn't handle it, but it's still a grave issue.

He put his hand on Franz' shoulder. "Let's get back camp, and contact Raimo-dono." He requested. Franz complied, as they vanished with pure speed.

The Northwest Front

"How troublesome can things get, ugh. " Giotto groaned.

Unlike the southwest front, the Northwestern front was blocked by a chain of mountains, or rather was that chain of mountains. It was that natural defense that helped Fiore many a times in wars past forgotten. Through the mountains, however, were a series of giant tunnels constructed by the nation years ago to make transportation. There were numerous small camps at the foot of the mountain, also that was the location of the main camp.

From the cliffs of the mountains stood a well placed series of magic cannons, these were for ranged warfare. Unlike Oros and Fraz, Giotto had the notably simpled task of keeping the enemies at bay using the mountains as an advantage. Giotto turned to the sound of footsteps behind him. "Oh General Charles , how are things looking at the final tunnels?" He asked calmly.

"It's all set and done. The enemy won't be able to get through our frontline much less the tunnels." Charles replied, a smile crossing his face. "I like that type of news. According to Tina , who just contacted me, it seems both fronts are covered...." Giotto remarked, folding his arms across his chest. "....now we just wait and see how things unfold. Tina Amakusa was the head strategist of the Military and also Raimo's assistant, knowing her tactical prowess, Giotto had no doubt in her words.

Giotto and Charles walked from inside Giotto's tent to outside into the main camp. Soldiers passed them here and there, carrying guns, ammunition, food and water, medical supplies, or lacrima. Those who didn't have their hands full were sure to salute the passing Commander as he made his rounds. "You know what sucks, Charles?" Giotto asked, as they kept walking.

Charles cocked an eyebrow, "What would that be?" Giotto let out a big sigh. "With how serious things are, I may have to fight. I don't feel like it, to be honest." Giotto groaned. The veteran General sweatdropped at the comment. This was a Comander, part of the Military's greatest offensive power, one of the top mages in the world. And all he can do is complain? That Giotto for you.

A young woman, moderately clad in fitted armor and a short cloak, walked up to them. "Sir! All supplies is accounted for, and with a considerable surplus." She said, saluting her superiors. " Does that surplus include food?" Giotto asked suspiciously. She nodded in agreement. Giotto smiled, "Nice, I'm starving. Tell the cook to prepare something simple for me to eat, please." The Commander requested, With a smile, she complied.

Like Raimo, Oros, and Xena, Giotto believed in treating his subordinates with respect. That even meant saying "please". Despite this being the military, he didn't mind doing such a thing. And in times of conflict, being liked among their underlings was a wise thing.

The Tension Builds

Communication technicians rushed back and forth through Centro as they kept Raimo and the others updated on the developments of the impending war. Xena had taken a seat at the side, waiting for something to happen. Alia and Milena were over by Iker, helping out with the communications and what not. In times of war, you could never have enough help. Raimo turned the doorway as a red-haired woman with a smile on her face stepped through; made her way to him.

"I've went of over the plans a few times and even set up secondary and teritary plans," She remarked, scratching her head, " so any mishaps are accounted for." She finished as she saluted the Supreme Commander. "Nicely done as usual, Tina ." Beep sounds cut them off. "Sir, Guran Doma's HTM is coming in!" Iker shouted. Raimo nodded with pleasure, "That's fine, link him."

A holographic image appeared before Raimo, on a raised platform designed for these means of communication. “So, Guran, I have a request for the council.” Raimo remarked, folding his arms across his broad chest. The others in the room were in silence. “To think Fiore is at the threat of war. I hoped such days would never come again. What is it?” Doma asked. “The military has their hands full with this whole situation; can’t let up, since we are up against two enemies. So I’m asking the Council to deal with domestic issues.”

Doma cocked an eyebrow at the request. “What did you have in mind?” He asked. That was everyone’s question. This was the first either Xena or Tina, Raimo’s assistant, had heard of a request. “Send out your forces to evacuate the most threatened areas near the border, and also spread awareness of this impending war. We don’t have time for such matters, I leave it to you.” Raimo finished, turning to see Tina’s reaction.

“Consider it done, Raimo. What is the status in regards to the border?” Doma asked quickly. Iker cleared his throat to catch their attention. “Oros, Franz, and Giotto are all about to report in. It seems all things are going well, for now.” The words brought a bit of relief to the Magic Council Chairman. He gestured at Raimo to end their conversation, as his hologram faded. “Alright, put them on.” Raimo replied.

Three life sized holograms appeared before Raimo, Oros flanked by Giotto’s and Franz’ holograms. Alia turned her attention to the new developments. “Oh it’s Oros-sensei!” She said smiling. Milena, Alia, Xena, and Iker stood behind Raimo. The room once again went silent. “You looked bored, Oros, no fun on the Southwest front?” Xena interjected, breaking the silence.

The veteran Commander rolled his eyes at the comment. “Raimo-dono, things are fine as of now here. The artillery unit just finished setting up extra magical cannons near the escape routes. And so….” Oros lost his train of thought. “…..where’s Yotsuki?” Oros asked. Raimo sighed, “That’s what I’d love to know. Anyway, just get back to what you were saying. “

Oros nodded in agreement. “Right, if anything happens, my men will be ready.” Satisfied by the the answer, Raimo turned his attention to Giotto—who was currently in a daze. Xena chuckled, that was your typical Giotto for you. Milena shook her head and Tina followed in suit. “Giotto!”

He snapped out of his daydream. “Oh sorry old man, “ Giotto said, avoiding Raimo’s glare, “ yea things are moving pretty smooth here. Oddly enough, things are going just how I wanted them to, smoothly.” He finished. It wasn’t that Giotto wasn’t happy things went 100% as planned. But with how weird this tension began and those preparations have seen no issues, it was like a military exercise.

“Well good to hear, hopefully it stays that way.” Tina remarked as she stepped next to Raimo. The strategist clapped her hand as a huge horizontal holographic map appeared before them, at waist level. She pointed to the areas where soldiers had been deployed, each changing color in response.

“All areas are accounted for, now all there is, is to wait for our enemies.” Franz interrupted. Giotto raised a hand in protest, “Are we seriously going to war though. I mean, this isn’t the first time we had war level tensions and it was resolved.” Everyone was silent for a moment, giving the statement some thought.

"As it stands, yes, now stop whinning, Giotto." Raimo retorted. he turned to Milena, Alia, and Xena. "You three know what you need to do, so move out." The words earned of a cocked eyebrow from Oros. "Wait, you gave Milena a mission?" He asked in a worried voice. Before Raimo could say anything, Milena stood before Oros' hologram. "I'll be alright, honey. You needn't worry about me." She said, turning away to make her way to her air ship.

Raimo sighed softly. The Commanders' holograms had vanished. Xena and Alia had left, and Iker as well.

"I have an uneasy feeling about things."

Next Chapter

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