Rapunzel, chapter 3
By: Johnnyjosh aka Zoicyte Maxwell
Fandom: Saint Seiya.
Pairings: Ikki/?, ?/Shun
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, lime, language.
Beta: Kitsune Seven, Rugbygal
Notes: Parody, fusion, AU, OOC, TWT, PWP, general weirdness. Again, another of JJ’s fabulously fractured fairy tales. *chuckles* Just when you thought it was safe to start reading fanfiction again.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Saint Seiya, or the tale of Rapunzel.
Archived: Aff.net, MM.org, geocities.com/johnnyjosh/index.html. All others, ask first, and no MST’ing.
Summary: I’m sure you’re all familiar with the tale by now, aren’t you? Rapunzel, locked away in the tower by the wicked witch? Who will save our dear Rapunzel?
Further Note: To those that have asked, yes I will be continuing my other fic, twice bitten thrice shy ^^ Just need to remember where I’d intended to take it.
~~oOo~~ Change of scene or POV.
True to Ikki’s word, just after sunrise the next day, there was a tapping at the front door, sharp, fast rapping against the wood. Shun, who had barely been able to sleep all night from his excitement over yesterday’s discoveries, heard it and was at once out of bed and down the stairs. He opened the door and grinned as the raven hung nearly upside down, tilting its head and blinking at him.
“Well, good morning to you,” he chuckled, gently taking the parchment from the bird and shaking his head as it flew inside and landed on the edge of a counter. Once Shun had received the letter, the bird darted across the room and flew out the opened window.
“Mother, Father!” He called after moving to stand at the foot of the stairs. “Ikki’s letter is here!”
Soft murmurs, then more animated sounds floated down as the woodcutter and his wife awoke, dressing quickly and coming downstairs. All three of them spent several moments just looking at the parchment.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Shun asked quietly, before they all took a seat at the table and read the letter. After only a few moments Shun’s mother was in tears, reading of the lies Saori had told their son about their deaths, and her ‘kindly’ taking him in. The woodcutter’s fists clenched in anger as Ikki detailed all the things the sorceress had done, from his training, not to mention his constant battles with her henchmen, to his current living conditions.
“We’ve got to do something!” He hissed, lowering his head to hide the glimmer of tears in his own eyes as his wife continued to cry softly. “He’s trapped in that tower, like an animal in a cage. It doesn’t matter how well she provides for him, he’s still a prisoner. I won’t have it!”
“Neither will I,” said Shun, his own small fists resting on the table before him. He jumped a bit as his mother reached out, grasping his forearm gently.
“I know both of you want to charge in there and rescue him, I do too, but…what can we do? We’re just ordinary people, against her and her men, we’d have no chance.” She looked down then, as if ashamed of her own words.
“We have to find a way,” the woodcutter said, looking down a moment, before his gaze shifted to his son. “For now, we will send our letter back to Ikki, telling him we’re looking for ways to free him. After that, I must start packing.”
“Packing? Father, where are you going?” Shun asked, after retrieving the letter.
“I must go and speak to your uncle, Shun. As you are well aware from the time you spent with him, he’s very wise, he studies everything he can, and has a vast collection of books. If anyone can help us come up with an answer, it’s him.” The woodcutter smiled fondly and patted his wife’s hand as she made to protest. “I won’t be gone too long, and I’ll send word as often as I can.”
“But what of the chores, and your work?” The woodcutter’s wife protested quietly. “And won’t your absence be noticed? I’m still frightened of that witch having knowledge of Shun’s visits, thinking that…as she’s done before, she’s biding her time just waiting for us to think we’re safe, and then she’ll come after him too.” The woman held a worn, white kerchief over her mouth then, trying to hold back tears at the thought. “It would be just like her to come as soon as you’re gone, and try to take him away too.”
The woodcutter sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair. He knew his desire to bring Ikki home was clouding his judgment, and by leaving home he could be putting his wife and son in a rather precarious position. “You’re right, but we need to find some answers, somehow.”
Shun watched his father a moment, his expression pensive as his slender fingers drummed lightly on the worn wooden table. He knew the other man couldn’t leave for any length of time, for not only would the household work pile up, as Shun was unfamiliar with it, and his mother wasn’t strong enough to do it, but his father was also the breadwinner and without him, money would become an issue very quickly. His thoughts turned to his uncle, and the tales the other man had told him about the powerful sorceresses, wizards, mages and such that inhabited far flung corners of the land. The teen wondered if he could somehow locate one that would be willing to help free Ikki. Shun knew then that he should be the one to make this journey, for he had the strength and stamina of youth, and more than enough motivation to rescue his long lost brother.
“Why not send me, Father?” The emerald-haired teen asked quietly, sitting back in his chair. “I’ll be safe there, you can send a letter with me for Uncle, telling him of all this, and I can help him with research. We’ll send word back as soon as we find something.”
The woodcutter sighed, resting one arm on the table as the other hand came up, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose lightly. “I… Well I suppose I just wanted to rush out and do something, find the answers and make things happen right away. But I don’t think it’s going to be quite that easy, is it?” He smiled ruefully, reaching out and taking his wife’s hand in a gentle grasp. “I can’t just run off and leave everything behind; you, your mother, my work. It’s not right.” He looked over at his wife, then at Shun before nodding slowly. “You’re right of course, it should be you that goes, son. Lets write back to your brother, dispel all those awful lies that witch told him, and we can also tell him that you’ll be looking for answers with your uncle. That way none of us will have to worry about Saori trying to get her hands on you.”
Shun sighed and nodded slowly, getting up and giving his father a hug, before he kissed his mother’s cheek. “I’ll start breakfast, you two can start on the letter,” he managed a smile, and then walked over to the cupboards, opening the doors and trying to decide what to make.
Shun’s mother watched him with a pensive expression, then she finally spoke up as her husband began to write. “I know you don’t want to leave, after just meeting your brother. But you’re not really leaving him. You’re going to help find a way to free him.”
The emerald-haired teen nodded slowly, getting out some plates and cups. “I know, and I did get to communicate with him, at least a little. Maybe I can write separate letters for him, and you can pass them on for me?”
“Of course we will, Shun,” the woodcutter looked up from the parchment and smiled fondly at his son, pleased at the bond that seemed to have already formed between the two boys. “I’m sure he’ll want to hear all about what you and your uncle find. Maybe…he can even pass on information of his own. Perhaps…” the man said thoughtfully, before beginning to write again, “he’s seen something during his training and his time spent around that sorceress, that could lead us to finding a weakness, a way to free him from her grasp.”
Shun nodded, going over his own ideas silently while he made tea, toast, and some eggs, setting plates and mugs in front of his parents, before taking a seat beside his father.
The family ate quietly, the woodcutter writing the letter, while every so often his wife and son would suggest something to be added. Before long they’d written a rather lengthy letter, the woodcutter joking with them about whether or not the raven would be able to carry it back to Ikki. When it was finished, Shun rolled it up carefully and stepped out the front door, looking around for the bird.
“There you are. Have you been waiting around all this time?” Shun asked with a grin, holding up the letter. He chuckled as the large bird swooped down from its perch in a nearby tree, snatching the paper from his fingers and soaring off toward the castle. “Godspeed,” he murmured, shielding his eyes from the bright morning sun with one hand. The teen continued to watch the bird until it was little more than a dark speck in the sky, then he turned and went back inside. “I think I’m going to start packing, I want to leave as soon as possible, if that’s alright…”
The woodcutter nodded slowly, slipping one arm around his wife’s shoulders. “I understand, I feel your impatience, son.”
Shun’s mother got up and walked over, tears in her eyes before she pulled him into a tight hug. “I hate saying goodbye to you again, after such a short time…”
“I know mother, I hate it too,” the teen said, voice a bit hoarse from his own held-back tears. “But soon…soon we’ll find a way to end this, and we can all be together again. I promise.”
The two of them stood like that for several moments, in the middle of the kitchen, until the woodcutter joined them, holding his wife and son tightly, not wanting to let either of them go. Finally, he lifted his head and chuckled softly. “You’d better pack him some food, it’s going to be a long trip back to your brother-in-law’s,” he told his wife, before kissing her temple. “I’ll help you pack your things, son, then we’ll all go into town to see you off.”
Shun nodded, wiping at his eyes with the back of one hand, trying to stop his tears. “Thank you father,” he said softly, before he gave his mother a kiss on the cheek. Then he turned and headed upstairs, the woodcutter following.
There wasn’t much talk after that; the three of them were lost in their own thoughts as suitcases and a bag of food were packed up. Once everything was ready, they took the family’s small, single-horse driven carriage into town, where Shun would board the coach back to his uncle’s estate. There were many hugs, tears and reassurances on all sides that everyone would be fine, letters would be sent as often as possible, and that yes, Shun would be very careful during his travels.
Shun waved from his seat in the carriage as it pulled away, watching his mother and father receding into the distance, until the coach turned round a bend in the road and he could no longer see them. After that, he turned around and leaned back in his seat, sighing softly to himself as his thoughts turned once again to his uncle’s books and records. Many of them told of brave and noble warriors, mages and sorcerers that fought in some of the wars around the land. His uncle had said that most of them were still alive and well, just staying far away from the general populace, because they didn’t want to get drawn into every minor quarrel in the various villages. “Ikki being held prisoner by that witch is no minor matter,” he groused softly, folding his arms as he thought about how best to word a request for assistance to people such as that.
“Well, he’s off without incident,” the woodcutter said, as the coach went around a turn in the road and vanished from view.
His wife nodded slowly, one arm around her husband’s waist as she too continued to gaze at the road. “Once the coach is across the river, he’ll be safe from Saori, for her power can’t traverse running water.”
Meanwhile, back at Saori’s castle…
Ikki leaned both forearms on the thick stone windowsill, staring out and frowning as he waited for any sign of his pet raven. A slight smile curled his lips, normally icy blue eyes softening as the bird came into view, carrying a roll of parchment. “Good, I was starting to wonder if you were alright,” he said quietly, as the teen moved aside to allow the bird a place to land. His eyebrows lifted when the raven dropped the paper on the windowsill, the dark-haired boy chuckling as he lifted it up. “My, seems my family had a lot to say after all these years, didn’t they?” With that Ikki turned and walked over to his bed, laying down on his side and opening the roll. He chuckled as the raven took up residence on his headboard, and the cat leapt up to curl itself into a warm ball that pressed against the small of his back. One hand idly reached back to curl in the cat’s soft fur, while the other held down the paper as Ikki started to read the long letter.
Jabu frowned as he leaned back against the wall, just down the hall from the large, elaborate wooden doors that sealed off Saori’s private study. He glanced up as he heard footsteps, quirking a brow as Tatsumi cautiously came around the corner at the end of the hall. “What are you looking so skittish about?” He asked, eyeing the man warily.
Tatsumi’s already deep set eyes narrowed; causing them to look squinted shut a moment, before he let out a low growl. “I’m not skittish about anything, I’m just suspicious of that boy and his blasted bird. I thought I saw it flying to the home of his parents earlier this morning, carrying something, and now it’s finally back.”
Jabu tilted his head, studying Tatsumi. “What was it carrying, exactly?”
“How should I know? It was high in the sky, heading for the tower when it returned, but it looked like… A letter.” Tatsumi shifted his weight from one foot to the other, looking downright nervous now. “I wondered if I should report it to Saori.”
“Well of course you should,” the teen said, rolling his eyes in annoyance. “You know what she’ll do if she thinks you’re keeping things from her. She jumps so quickly to the conclusion that everyone is plotting against her,” he sighed softly, running a hand through his dark-blond hair. “Even us if we don’t intuit what she wants from us correctly. “Come, she’s in here, but I think she’ll forgive us for intruding considering the news we bring.”
Tatsumi nodded, then sighed, wringing his large hands. “It’s just…”
“Just what? Spit it out, Tastumi,” Jabu said impatiently, glaring at the man as his hands rested on the large silver handles of the doors.
“I’m not sure, it’s just a feeling really, that she might have something to do with the bird’s seeming intelligence…” He lifted his head and looked at Jabu. “What if she already knows, if she herself made the bird able to do this?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, why would she do such a thing? She wouldn’t want him to have any news of the outside world, after all, it’s not like he’ll ever be…” The teen trailed off, realization dawning. “Of course, what better way to torment him, than to let him have glimpses of a world he’ll never be a part of? Oh, that is cruel, I never would have considered something so spiteful,” he said softly, gazing at Tatsumi with wide eyes.
“My point exactly, now… Do we tell her of this development, or assume she knew?” Tatsumi asked.
Jabu’s jaw clenched as he considered the question. “Well, it’s not like she informed us of this, she kept it to herself if it’s true. She might see us as vigilant of Ikki’s activities if we report it, then tell us of her plan. But if we don’t, she could see us as negligent, or trying to help Ikki plot against her by communicating with his family.”
Tatsumi nodded slowly. “Hm, you’re probably right. If we didn’t report it, she’d wonder why we hadn’t noticed. Alright then, let’s go.” He tensed as the teen grasped the handles, groaning with the effort of swinging the heavy doors open.
Both men stopped and stared at the sight before them as the doors finally opened, revealing an almost Spartan room with plain stone walls and an equally plain floor. The only points of interest in the room were the large white marble fireplace, a tapestry of what looked like some kind of star chart covering most of one wall, and an ornately carved white marble throne that sat facing the fireplace.
In the middle the large room stood Saori, white dress and lavender hair billowing around her. The sorceress’ eyes were pure white, and she was surrounded by a brilliant golden aura. Her voice sounded like the wails of dozens of people in agony as she chanted in some ancient language known only to her, as her power stirred up a stiff breeze, ruffling Jabu’s hair and Tatsumi’s red tunic as it blew past them.
“Wh…what is she doing?” Jabu asked, the knuckles of his right hand turning white as he gripped the handle of one door tightly.
“She’s casting a spell, a powerful one at that,” Tatsumi murmured, licking his lips and looking about nervously. “We should go, now. We’ll come back and tell her later.”
“There is no need, I know what you came to report,” that haunting voice spoke directly to them, making both men jump. “I read the letter from Ikki’s parents, he has it now. He can keep it, for that will be the only pleasant news he receives from his family.” The glow around the sorceress intensified a moment. “It is done, the younger brother will be killed before he reaches that river. I can’t let him move beyond my power. I will kill this false hope of theirs forever.” That said, the glow vanished, Saori swaying a bit before she turned and moved to the marble throne, nearly falling into it, breathing heavily. “Leave me.”
Tatsumi and Jabu looked at each other, then at Saori. “Yes,” they both said quietly, bowing to her before turning and exiting the room. Both men jumped as the doors slammed shut with a bang.
“What was that about?” Jabu asked, shooting Tatsumi a puzzled look.
“I think Ikki’s parents must have tried to send the younger boy somewhere safe, but… It seems Saori has other plans.”
Shun had fallen asleep in the carriage after eating a snack of bread and cheese from the bag his mother had packed for him. He was having a very pleasant dream, of himself and his brother walking through the woods outside their parent’s cottage, the soft voices of their mother and father engaged in conversation coming from up ahead. Without warning, there was a bloodcurdling scream, and all Shun and Ikki saw was a spray of blood from up ahead, then horrible snarling and tearing sounds as something attacked the woodcutter and his wife. The two brothers raced forward to help, only to be confronted by large creatures that Shun could only describe as hellish versions of wolves. The creatures had long, shaggy black fur, large glowing yellow eyes and jagged, pointed yellow teeth that gleamed in the dim light that passed through the trees. There were four of them, and Shun realized that he and Ikki stood little chance. He backed away as two of the wolves started to creep forward, long black claws digging into the soft ground as they approached, baring their teeth and growling deeply.
The emerald-haired teen jerked awake with a start, barely biting back a scream as he realized that although he was no longer asleep, the frightening sounds were still continuing. There were snarls, growls, and scratching sounds from the front of the coach, then came another weak cry. He gasped as the carriage lurched to one side, and another scream rose up, this one not even sounding human. “What’s happening?” He cried, eyes widening as blood ran down the opposite wall of the carriage, coming from what must have been the driver’s seat. Shun heard another piercing scream, this one not even sounding human, then a second one joined it, and he realized that the horses must be under attack this time.
He reached down and grabbed the letter to his uncle off the seat beside him, opening the door and peering out, face paling as he realized the creatures in his dream were in fact, very real, and were now devouring the horses. He decided to try and take advantage of their distraction, slipping out of the carriage and keeping it between himself and the wolves as he tried to move away unnoticed.
However his escape attempt was short-lived as a large shadow fell across him from behind. The boy turned and looked up, nearly shaking with fear.
There, perched on top of the carriage, was one of the huge wolves, baring its fangs and snarling viciously, the creature’s muscles bunching beneath the thick black fur as it prepared to lunge at him.
“NO!” Shun turned and tried to run, seeing the shadow move into the air. He swore he could feel it’s breath on the back of his neck, teal eyes clenching shut as he tripped and fell forward.
“Rozan Shōryū Ha!” The deep voice came from the teen’s left, and suddenly there was a rush of wind, as if something large and powerful passed by him. The wolf that was about to attack him howled in pain, then was gone as quickly as it had appeared.
“Diamond Dust!” This time the voice came from the front of the coach, and Shun shivered, as the air grew noticeably colder. There was a stiff, frigid wind, and suddenly a plume of white shot up and over the roof of the carriage.
“Is that…snow?” He sat up a bit, staring in disbelief as he saw a foreleg and part of the head of one wolf around the edge of the coach. It appeared to be encased in a layer of ice, frozen in an attack pose, jaws open, hackles raised. “I don’t understand, what..?” He scrambled to his feet, turning quickly to his left and gasping as he saw one of his saviors. “Who are you?” He asked shakily, staggering back a step.
“My name is Shiryu,” came the quiet answer. The stranger had long, straight, jet-black hair that fell nearly to the backs of his knees, and deep, blue-gray eyes. His skin was nearly bronze and he wore strange looking armor that was nearly teal in color. A large shield protected one of his arms, and the shoulder pieces had claws on them, while the helmet vaguely resembled a dragon’s head. “And you are?”
“I’m Shun, I’m on a journey to find someone to help me save my brother.” He glanced toward the front of the coach, studying the other stranger curiously.
“Save him from what?” Asked the second warrior, before he moved over to stand beside Shiryu, then rested his hands on his hips, studying Shun with open curiosity. The teen was very different from his traveling companion, fair-skinned, with thick golden-blond hair that fell just past his shoulders. His eyes were pale, an icy blue that seemed somehow fitting given the power he possessed. His armor was silver, all smooth graceful lines in contrast to Shiryu’s dragon armor, and his headpiece was shaped like a swan.
Shun studied him right back, not willing to give in to his usual shyness around strangers. He’d seen their strength and knew these two warriors might be a good place to start in his bid to free Ikki.
“Excuse my companion’s rudeness, this is Hyoga,” Shiryu said, casting a sidelong look at the blond. “And behind you is our master, Mu.”
Shun gasped and started to turn around, just now sensing the presence behind him. He cried out softly as there was a touch on the back of his neck, then everything started fading to black.
“Master, what are you doing?” Shiryu cried, he and Hyoga taking a few steps forward.
“Saori wants this boy dead. For his own safety, we must make sure she and his family believe that he is, for now. Come, we can send the wolves back with the memory of killing him, after the boy fought off one and knocked it into the river, where it would have been destroyed.” Mu picked up the unconscious teen, gently handing him over to Hyoga. “Then we can see about helping him find the strength he’ll need to free his brother.”
Hyoga looked down at the slender teen cradled in his arms, then glanced up at Mu’s words. “Find the strength, do you mean…”
“Yes, he’s one of us,” the older warrior answered quietly, moving toward the still-frozen wolves, his hands glowing faintly.
Oh boy, you had to know that was coming, Saori wasn’t going to just let everything go as planned. But I bet you didn’t see the appearance of these three though, now did you? *chuckles* Read and review! And yes, for those that asked, I will eventually be updating Twice Bitten, Thrice Shy!