When Yuno arrived back at his Division, he headed straight to his office to mull over what he saw at the Fourteenth earlier today. He's never seen Yuri at the Division Headquarters, and every time he's been there, the Mages are always disgruntled and miserable. Heck, there were some from the Fourteenth Division who practically became a part of his. So what was happening now?
He's been hearing rumors that Prince Yuri had amnesia due to the Youma attack in his room, but would amnesia change someone to that degree? Even Hiroki, who resented the Prince were chatting and laughing like best friends. He's never seen the two talk before, and if he did, they most likely having an argument.
He had always been against the King's decision to give Prince Yuri a division, and seeing the months passed, only strengthened his belief. Prince Yuri was highly unstable ―he was a ticking bomb that could go off at any second, and still reset for another time. His Magic was extremely destructive as well, earning him a title of 'The Miniature King'. Plus, the boy wasn't afraid to kill anyone who rubbed him the wrong way. Yuno had seen it with his own two eyes, when Yuri almost killed his own brother. The boy was a monster, both figuratively and literally and the Division Leader strongly believed that someone like that shouldn't be given such responsibilities at a young age.
Which was why he used this opportunity to save the Mages from utter decay. Although he praised Hiroki's efforts, since the young man had stepped up and kept the Division together. He would make a good Division Leader one day, but Yuno felt that if he should be given the Fourteenth Division, Prince Yuri would control Hiroki from the shadows. Which would be disastrous for his plans. While he was helping out the Mages of the Fourteenth Division until a permanent Leader is chosen, if he could achieve great feats with them as well, then he's likely to be considered for a promotion, either to become a General or join the Purple Berets.
Yuno sighed and leaned back in his swivel chair. He looked up at the ceiling with a pensive face. If all goes well, then he'll be killing two birds with one stone.
⎾ The meeting is tomorrow, huh? ⏌
Just then, he heard the office phone ring once, after which an announcement was made.
« Alert! Alert! Youma Horde approaching Nagoya City. Tenth Division, please act swiftly. »
Yuno exhaled and smiled. This was a good way to relieve stress, and it just so happened that his Division was in the rotation. Saishi's Military operated differently than that of Earth's, being that all the Division Headquarters are located in and around the Royal Capital of Kanagawa, so when Youma hordes are spotted elsewhere in the country, the Mages are instantly teleported from the base to the area.
Jumping onto his feet, Yuno marched out of his office and into the common area. With quick instructions, he and a couple hundred of the Battle Mages left for Nagoya City while the Engineers and others stayed back and monitored the area in case there was another horde coming, another set of Battle Mages could head out.
"Let the battle begin!"
"Hey Yuri, there's something on the TV you should watch." Akira said as he entered Tachibana's room. The older Prince didn't even knock, which elicited a shriek from the Japanese teen. Both he and Hiroki were in the room, thinking up battle tactics and formations to use in case the division should get called to tackle a Youma horde or an aggression from another country. And since Tachibana had divulged information on the Elemental Combinations, they had to work out a formation that could utilize it well. But also, it was a way for Tachibana to take his mind off the possibility of losing his Division to someone who he barely knew.
"Akira! Why won't you knock!?" Tachibana nearly screamed. "I nearly had a heart attack!"
"We tried to warn him too Your Highness, but he wouldn't listen." Ken sighed, Kibou beside him nodding in agreement.
Tachibana sighed. He was still getting accustomed to having siblings and frankly, it was a task he doubt he'll ever get completely used to.
"So what is it that Yuri should watch, Your Highness?" Hiroki asked. He was only ever formal with everyone else of the Royal Family, except Tachibana (or in his eyes, Prince Yuri). It wasn't that he was disrespectful to Yuri or Tachibana, but neither of the boys wanted to be addressed with such formalities.
"The Tenth Division is battling a Youma horde. I thought it'll be good if he watches it." Akira replied with a shrug. "He doesn't have to if he doesn't want to."
It was a typical thing for Youma battles to be broadcasted. As a matter of fact, it was on the military channel, which showcased anything pertaining to the Self Defense Force. And Saishi's citizens loved to see their military and police force in action.
"Isn't that Yuno's division?" Tachibana asked, remembering when he read up about the different divisions of the Army.
"Yes it is." Both Hiroki and Akira came out at the same time in some sort of a deadpan.
"Good. Let's tune in then."
Following Akira's instruction, Tachibana used voice command to turn on the TV and switch on the appropriate channel. There, they saw a battle between Ningen and monsters, raging on on a plain, devoid of Ningen life. In the faint distance, the high rise buildings of Nagoya City could be seen but watching the spectacle, Tachibana felt his breath hitch.
Fire Mages released a torrent of their Flames, scorching not only the Earth but the monsters before them as well. Not even waiting for the smoke to clear, the Earth Mages dashed forwards, and the sounds of metal clashing could be heard. Deafening roars rocked the area, Tachibana saw a few of the monsters being displaced into the air, after which arrows of white light pierced through their bodies, rendering them into nothing.
The camera ―Tachibana had no idea what was filming this― then turned to focus on the Archers who stood atop high rise pillars with their magnificent bows before them. The young Japanese noticed that unlike the bows and arrows of Earth, Ningen bows were far larger, extending past their owner's height. The bows were reminiscent of Recurved Bows on Earth, and what Tachibana noticed was that the recurved part of the bow seemed to be embedded into ground before the Archer, the Riser section above the Archer's head.
Tachibana thought of this to be strange, and wondered how they managed to release an arrow like that. However, he soon got his answer.
With arms high above their heads, the Archers prepared once more, gripping their bows and pulling back their bowstrings. Then, swirls of Fire, Water, Air and Lightning &Thunder manifested before they were released at the monsters.
"That's weird." Tachibana gave out aloud. Hiroki looked at him with confusion because he couldn't see what the boy meant.
"What's weird?" He asked.
"It's just...I thought that there would've been a more intricate formation here." Tachibana quickly said to save himself. He couldn't say that it was because of the Archers' posture and gigantic bows.
Hiroki laughed. "We do have that, but this is not a serious situation. If this was something complex with smarter and stronger Youma or even a battle between countries, then tactical formations would have been used. But this is just slaughter so there's no need to neat up anything."
"Oh. I see." Tachibana nodded. He refocused to the TV, watching intently at the scene before him. It was different from what he was expecting, and frankly, he wondered to himself if he could replicate that with his Division, if given the chance.
"Oh look! Shit! It's Sir Yuno's golem!" Ken and Kibou nearly screamed out.
Tachibana snapped back in time to see a giant stone creature, in the shape of a man. It was swift and had huge stone sword, which with a swing of it, sliced most of the monsters before it in half. Yuno rode atop its head, using his Earth Magic to control it and give it the nimbleness it had. This was fascinating, as Tachibana had never seen golems move like that in fiction. They were strong, yes, but they were bulky and predictable.
However, Yuno's golem wasn't so.
It's body was modelled off of a man, tall and slender. And thinking that the giant sword it carried would have slowed it down, Tachibana was proven wrong. The golem was practically a blur on the battlefield, Yuno controlling it like a puppeteer. It was an amazing feat, and somehow, Tachibana was awed by it.
He's read about the (current) different Division Leaders, especially those of the specialized Divisions. He's read up on Yuno as well, and found that the man was formerly a Mage of the Second Army Division, more informally known as 'Team Seismic'. This Division only specialized in Earth Magic, which meant that only Earth Mages could join. It was from this Division that Yuno found his fame, using his fearsome Golem as a weapon on the battlefield.
The Giant tore through the battlefield, displacing the Youma which made it easier for the other Mages to attack. The Water Mages glided on their element before brandishing their weapons. These weapons varied in types, and there were some Tachibana had never seen before. The Mages slashed, ripped, stabbed, everything one could think of, without falter. Tachibana didn't know whether or not to describe the scene as gruesome, but he couldn't look away. Since Magics being thrown about on the grassy plain, unique weapons wielded so effortlessly by the Mages and seeing monsters being ripped to shreds made Tachibana remember that world was indeed like a fantasy. With the advanced technology about, there were times when the young Japanese was disappointed, but seeing this now, made him feel at ease. It had such familiarity with it, that he wasn't at all disturbed by the chunks of flesh flying about.
The battlefield was now silent, becoming a graveyard for the unburied, which were mostly monsters. Mounds of the bodies were piled up, the Mages scouring through for anything useful. Tachibana's eyebrows rose at this, remembering that Adventurers in fiction usually take spoils from monsters to sell, which in turn would be used to make weapons. He turned to Akira with a shocked face, the Second Prince shrugging as he couldn't read Tachibana's expression.
"So what have you learnt today?" Akira asked with a playful jab.
"That Yuno is friggin' awesome." Tachibana confessed. There were no casualties on the Division's side, if anything, the Mages still looked ready to go for Round 2.
Hiroki rolled his eyes with disgust. "Yeah, yeah, what's due to Cesar give it to him. But still, Yuno is an asshole."
"Agreed." Akira hummed.
Tachibana ignored the two and stood up, going to his window to look out. Ken and Kibou had already gone back to their posts since the broadcast was over. He couldn't see the battlefield from there, since there were so many high-rise buildings, but the Japanese wondered. If his Division were to be called to face a Youma horde, would they broadcast it too? He remembered both Akira and Seiya stating that they go to regular schools, and no one in the country knows what the 'Three Princes of King Ayumu' looked like, so would't that just expose him? But then again, Tachibana felt pride swelling in his chest. He'd want to show off his Division's prowess with the Elemental Combinations, and the Anti-gravity shoes that they were currently working on, hoping to at least get some good credit on the name 'Prince Yuri'.
After all, Tachibana was the new 'Prince Yuri' so he'd want to start a clean slate with everyone while getting rid of the bad that his counterpart had left.
"Hiroki." Tachibana started, forcing the Water Mage to stop midway his sentence with Akira. He turned to look in Tachibana's direction before the new prince started up again, "Are we going to get called on like that too?"
Hiroki laughed. "Of course, Your Highness." he said jokingly. But he had a feeling of where this was going.
"So in essence, we have to gear up then."
"Of course, Your Highness." This time a wide grin was on Hiroki's face. "However, due to you being absent for so long and the King sees that you're trying to rebuild, we may not be called upon anytime soon. After all, there are fourteen divisions for the army."
Tachibana turned back to the window and grinned. "All the better. More time for us to get our things together."
Akira snorted before getting up and walking over to Tachibana. He placed a hand on the boys's shoulder and said, "Remember that you have that council meeting tomorrow. Worst-case scenario, you'll lose your division."
"Burst my bubble, will you?" Tachibana said in sarcasm.
"But don't worry, even if you do, you could always fight for your division. That's how we do it here. Winner takes all."
"I can work with that."
The Council of the Armed Forces was established many centuries ago, in order to regulate Saishi's Self-Defense Force. It was made up of Division and Vice-Division Leaders along with the King and Prime Minister. And while the current King, Ayumu, had complete authority over the military, in the Council, majority rules. That meant, if majority of the votes were against the King's idea, then, he would be overruled.
Which is why King Ayumu was so nervous.
No one else but the Monarch's Royal Family (that excludes his brother) and Prince Yuri's closest friends knew of the situation, so there's no telling what the Council would rule in the meeting. Everyone knew of his son's behavior and frankly, many were fed up with him. So, he wasn't surprised if the Council ruled that the someone else should take over the Fourteenth Division until 'Prince Yuri' man-up and accepts his responsibilities.
Exiting from his car, King Ayumu headed towards the Council Hall, a three-story building painted in the country's colour. His brother, Prime Minister Eisen hasn't arrived yet, but even so, King Ayumu believed that Eisen would prefer to give the division to someone else for the time being.
King Ayumu would've done this too, if it were his son here. But this was a different Yuri, from a different world, with a different mindset. The boy was hardworking and did everything to the best of his abilities, so in fact, this was unfair to Tachibana.
So, lost in his thoughts that he hadn't realized when he arrived at the meeting chamber. It was only when he heard the loud chatter that his mind snapped back to reality. Looking up, he saw that there were quite a few Mages already here. The King went to sit on his throne, his eyes looking across to his left. There were thirteen seats, one for a Division Leader, while on his right, there was not only a throne for his brother, Prime Minister Eisen, but thirteen other seats for the Vice-Division Leaders as well.
"It's an honour to be in your presence again, Your Majesty." One of the Division Leaders greeted with a bow. She was a tall woman, with fiery red hair and green eyes. She wore the standard white Military double-breasted jacket, with a black short shorts attached to white thigh high boots. Her name was Mieko Ikehara. "I take it that all is well?"
King Ayumu sighed. "Everything is as fine as it can be."
"How's the Third Prince doing?" She asked. "I've heard that he's got amnesia."
"He's a ball of sunshine." King Ayumu said with a chuckle. But what he was a little shocked about was that word has even reached the other divisions. Sure, he had announced it in the Palace but the Division Leaders weren't present.
"That's good to hear." She smiled as she took her seat. She sat in the seventh seat, which corresponds to the Division that she was in charge of. "But I still want to know why in Amaterasu's name is this meeting being called for."
The King was about to answer when she continued, "I mean, couldn't you have dealt with it on your own? Why is that bastard Yuno creating unnecessary fuss?"
"My thoughts exactly." King Ayumu sighed.
The two fell into friendly chatter after that, slowly but surely, the other Division and Vice-Division Leaders were trickling in. When everyone was seated ―Division Leaders were on the King's left, while the Vice-Division Leaders were on Prime Minister Eisen's right. Below the Chamber of seats was a platform, where both Yuno and Tachibana stood facing the Leaders.
"This meeting is called to order to discuss the fate of the Fourteenth Division, led by Prince Yuri Tachibana." One of the Council members started. He was a tall and slender man, with short bleached blond hair and dark eyes. He was Haruki Edano, Leader of the Fifth Army Division, more informally known as 'Team Inferno' since they specialized in Fire Magic.
Haruki's eyes swept across to Yuno, who stood on the platform below them. "What is your claim, Sir Yuno?"
"Prince Yuri Tachibana has been neglecting his work for months, Sir Haruki. And as someone who had to be promoted to Division Leader, I know what the Mages of his division were facing. So I propose that I act as Division Leader until he gains some maturity and accept his responsibilities."
King Ayumu bit his lip. What Yuno said was indeed fact, but he had no idea how he'd bail Tachibana out of this mess.
"That can be done. Anyone who rejects?" Haruki said. Like Mieko, he really didn't see the need of this meeting. So he wanted to end it quickly. This was a petty matter, since there were numerous times in the past when Division Leaders weren't pulling their weight. And of course, either the King or the Commander (whoever it was that had authority) dealt with it swiftly without calling a meeting.
"But Yuri has been stepping up these days. He's started to do what a Division Leader is supposed to. So, I don't think we should take away his Division now." King Ayumu said, hoping that this would've done something.
"But Your Majesty, Yuri only has recently started to do this. And isn't it because you threatened him the other day?" Yuno said, a small smirk on his face.
"That doesn't matter."
"Of course it does. When he's out of the trouble, and you're off his back, he'll revert to his lackadaisical ways." Yuno argued. "I mean, the Prince has always stated that he doesn't want to be the Commander. What's stopping him from giving up midway?"
"Shit." King Ayumu couldn't refute that. He looked to Tachibana who was sitting nearby with sorrowful eyes. He could see that the boy was distraught of having to lose his division, but there wasn't a thing the King could do. And there was nothing Tachibana himself could've done. After all, Prince Yuri dug this grave and nothing he said could've get him out of it.
"Come on, cut the brat some slack, he can get a second chance." Mieko spoke up. "And why would you be so brazen to act as Division Leader for the Fourteenth? Why didn't you suggest that the King take control over it then?"
"Seems to me that Yuno just wants more power." A Vice-Division Leader said aloud.
"But wait, doesn't the Prince have amnesia? Should he be even doing this kind of stressful thing in the first place?"
Haruki was tired and didn't want this to spiral into a scream fest like they always do. He quickly got back to the agenda and said, "So, let's cast our votes again. All those in favour of Sir Yuno Tokugawa taking over the Fourteenth Division, raise your hands."
"Wait!" Tachibana shrieked. "Why not Hiroki? He's been acting as such in my absence! Why not choose him!?"
"Hiroki only did what needed to be done so that the Division doesn't fall into chaos. He doesn't yet know what it's truly like to be a division leader." Haruki said.
"What? That's nonsense! Can't you see that Yuno just wants to take my Mages from me?"
Haruki sighed and rubbed his temples. "Frankly, I really don't care. I just want this foolishness over with."
Tachibana was stunned into silence. This blatant 'I don't care' attitude was enough to send the teen into speechlessness. And to make matters worse, his father couldn't do anything about it. Here, Tachibana cursed Saishi's rules. Unlike Earth where in eras gone by where the Monarch had absolute power, in Sekai, especially Saishi, it varied. Currently, the King had absolute power when it came onto external affairs, and the military while Prime Minister Eisen had absolute power for Internal Affairs and the Police Force. But there are certain areas in which neither of the two men had all the authority.
The Council of the Armed Forces was one such.
Tachibana hated how the Royal Family was so fair-minded because in instances like these, he wouldn't even be here. But most importantly, Tachibana despised his princely counterpart. Everyone hated him because of his ill-mannered behaviour and now, the consequences for the Prince's actions are all coming down on him, the one who did nothing wrong.
"How can you not care!? I'm trying my best with my Division and you're going to let some greedy son of a bitch take that away!? Where the hell was he when he claimed I wasn't doing anything?! Why didn't he step up to the plate then?!I Instead, he watched Hiroki do all the work!"
"I was busy with my Division." Yuno snapped.
"Oh. But aren't you still busy now? I didn't know you could take abrupt vacations." Tachibana quipped.
"Alright, so Yuno Tokugawa will take over the Fourteenth Division until Prince Yuri comes of age." Haruki didn't bat an eye at Tachibana's behaviour. It was as though he was used to it. Tachibana gripped the podium at which he stood with force. He's never felt the urge to strangle somebody so much before in his entire life.
"May I say suggest something?" Yuno then asked.
"I would like to have make an outpost in the Hokuriku Region, more specifically on Sado-ga-shima." Yuno replied. "I've noticed, and I'm sure you all as well, that there are increased attacks coming from the sea. Both from the Youma and from Waseda. With the Prince at an outpost there, I'm sure it can deter ―"
"You must be out of your fucking mind! I will not send my boy out there!" King Ayumu roared. Yuno was pissing him off in more ways than one.
"But Your Majesty…"
"Waseda had always wanted him and to send him out there is like handing him over to the slaughter. Are you fucking nuts?" This time it was Prime Minister Eisen. He placed a hand on King Ayumu's shoulder and forced him to sit down. The King obeyed, since Eisen was his big brother. "My nephew is staying in the Kingdom, where it's safe.
"But the Prince loves to kill Youma and there are more Youma popping up there than anywhere else so…"
"I'll go." Tachibana said, startling the entire chamber.
"Yuri…You don't have to! Why ―!?"
"Because I want to prove myself. If I can lead the outpost to successfully defend against Youma and Waseda, then you WILL give me my Division back." Tachibana's face darkened, his red eyes gleaming murderously towards Yuno.
Yuno shuddered at the look, remembering just how dangerous the real Prince was.
"Deal!" King Ayumu said without hitch. A grin nearly spread on his face, seeing that he could always help Tachibana in this aspect. And if push comes to shove, he could always disguise himself as the young boy and lead the outpost in battle. No one would know.
"Alright!" Haruki rose his voice higher since the chamber had ascended into noisy chatter. "Until the Third Prince successfully leads his Division into battle, he will be stationed at a military outpost on Sado-ga-shima while Sir Yuno Tokugawa will act as Division Leader. Any objections?" No one said a word. "Alright. This meeting is adjourned."
Tachibana was dropped off at the Fourteenth Division by the King. He was sulky and didn't say a word the entire ride, and the King could understand. He felt bad as a parent, that because he didn't train his son right, the Yuri of Japan had to be facing all these consequences for his son's actions.
"Call me when you're ready to come home, alright?" King Ayumu said in a soft voice.
"Couldn't I just get Hiroki to give me a lift?"
"Or that too."
That said, Tachibana exited the car and walked lifelessly up to the door. Hiroki was seen behind it, as though he had been waiting. The King saw Tachibana speak to Hiroki before the Water Mage took him inside while rubbing his back.
King Ayumu drove off, feeling like shit.
Inside the Division, the Mages were horrified. Hearing the verdict from Tachibana was heartbreaking although if it had happened earlier, before the real Prince ended up in Japan, then probably, they wouldn't have cared.
"So what are we gonna do now?" One female Mage asked.
"We're going to hide our things. Or better yet, move them with us to the outpost." Tachibana replied.
"The outpost is basically a deserted island. There's just one village there so we're free to do what we want." Hiroki grinned. "When that bastard Yuno thought that he was destroying us, he actually made things easier for us."
"But still, I don't really have command over you guys. I can't do anything that I'll want because of him."
"And that's the thing. Since we're going to be an outpost basically, I doubt he'll come by often. Remember, he has his Division to take care of." Hiroki said, trying his best to soothe the boy.
"I see." Tachibana nodded. Hopefully as Hiroki said, everything will turn out for the best.
Thanks for reading!