"An eclipse?" Juri asked stunned.
"Yes tomorrow at noon time. We have to stop Reo!" Taiga yelled, already getting everything together to leave their hideout and head to the palace.
Juri didn't help him though and his look slowly turned bitter. "Are you ready to face him?"
Taiga threw him an angry glare at first, but Juri slowly shook his head. "I know you don't blame him for what happened, but you know that in the worst case you have to fight him."
It was something Taiga knew, but stopping a friend from doing something stupid and killing a friend to rescue others were two totally different cases.
"I...know. But we've to try everything possible to rescue him, are you with me?"
The question was necessary, Juri knew that. He had betrayed Taiga's trust once already and while he had caught up on a lot of their past he still felt like an outsider. Slowly he nodded. "I promise you to never hurt any of your friends again."
"What are you up to?"
"Nothing special? I'm preparing for the celebration tomorrow," Reo replied with a calm smile towards his older brother, but as always Myuto gave him a doubting look.
His little brother had changed so much since the incident, but he couldn’t actually scold him, because was he better? Hadn’t he been bitter for years too?
"Okay, whatever. Make sure Kentaro is with you tomorrow, because I've a bad feeling about all of this."
Reo's smile grew even wider, but it didn't gain even the tiniest warmth. His smiles were always cold. The emptiness in his eyes had given him the name ‘child of the moon’ in their town when they were only children. But he had been indeed more lively back then. Together with the child of the sun, Taiga and another friend they had been such a chaotic trio! But times were different now, people had changed and some would never be the same, others wouldn’t even come back…
They were rushing through the streets of the town, but the laughter of the people was still like the sun shining above them. It wasn't too late yet.
"Aren't we heading to the palace?" Juri shouted, trying to keep up with Taiga who ran through the twisted back streets as if he had lived here forever while he had been hiding away from this place for the past years.
"We are, but I know an easier way in!"
They had barely minutes until the eclipse and they needed to find Reo before it started.
They reached a hidden passage after a few more turns, leading them directly into the palace. But now they were deep down in the basement and they needed to hurry.
"This way, we will make it up to the main hall the fasted over these stairs."
Taiga jumped on the first steps, but before he could start getting up the round staircase he was kicked back down and luckily Juri was fast enough to catch him.
"I knew rats like you would always come from the darkest place."
"Kentaro, we don't have time for you now," Juri hissed at him and drew his sword, stepping in front of Taiga intuitively.
"What a shame that I've all the time of the world to keep you company," the short boy replied and drew his sword as well, forcing the other two to take a few steps away from the staircase.
Juri gave a side glance to Taiga and while he knew the meaning of it he wasn't at all fond of the idea. Nevertheless he nodded, because he knew they didn't have time and Juri had promised him to not do something stupid again.
Juri jumped at Kentaro without a warning and the boy shouted after Taiga who used the opening to dash up the stairs.
Juri would be fine he had to believe in him. He had lost against Kentaro before. He had let Kentaro hurt Taiga and his hurt pride would definitely help him to get the upper hand!
A felt eternity of climbing steps Taiga finally found the main floor and a painful familiar feeling took over him. All the times they had spent sneaking around the castle when they were children. The dozens of times they got caught and thrown out. Reo sneaking out of the palace to play with them and getting dragged back in to get scolded by Myuto who joined their adventures in the end after all.
Until the last stupid trip they went on. The last time the child of the sun smiled and the first time even the last light in the eyes of the child of the moon disappeared. Painful memories were haunting them all, but it was for their friend’s sake as well. He needed to stop Reo, because this was definitely not what he would have wanted for him!
As he kept running down the long hallway he realized in shock that the light of the sun piercing through the windows was getting less.
"Damnit, not yet!"
He reached the main hall seconds later, but as he had expected no one was in there anymore.
People were cheering outside already. The balcony! It was the day Myuto would receive the crown as the older brother and the people were there to celebrate with the brothers. They were loved by their people as had been their father. But Reo would change this if Taiga wouldn't make it in time.
"From now on I swear to try and be the same good king for you as our father was, maybe even better!"
Taiga rushed over to the balcony, but it was too late for the first bad impact as the eclipse swallowed the sun completely the moment Myuto was about to receive the crown from Reo who had requested to be the one to hand it to him.
The people gasped and pointed at the sky and at Myuto. But soon there was nothing to point at anymore as the pitch black darkness swallowed the palace and people ran away in panic.
Of course the citizens had heard about the magician born every time their country seemed to need support, but until now they hadn’t actually made anything public. Years they have been hiding, but now everything would change if the citizens actually thought of the new king as a dark magician who took the sun away from them.
Taiga lost no time and dashed out towards them and took Reo by the wrist at the last moment.
The boy gasped and looked with wide eyes at Taiga. He had been so confident with this plan, so ready to go through with it and yet he looked like he had been caught in an act he actually didn’t do willingly.
On Reo’s shaking voice Myuto finally turned around in the darkness surrounding them, now it was his turn to gasp as he stepped back from the sword which had been barely stopped inches behind him. The sword his own brother was holding on to.
“Reo, what are you doing?” Myuto asked in shock, but soon rage took the upper hand. He had been so worried about the sudden eclipse that his attention was on the people and never would he have thought that his own brother could betray him like this. He had indeed changed, but this was something he wouldn’t believe if it hadn’t just happened right in front of his eyes.
Taiga’s presents was also startling him as he hadn’t seen him in years, but before anything else could happen he stormed to the front, taking them by such a surprise that Taiga let go of Reo who dropped the sword as Myuto took him by the collar.
“IS THIS YOUR GRATITUDE? IS THIS YOUR LOVE TO YOUR BROTHER?”
When Reo didn’t reply anything and didn’t even look up at him Myuto finally lost it and stepped back, hitting him so hard that he landed on the ground.
It was when he wanted to go again that Taiga stepped in his way. Of course Myuto wasn’t exactly happy about that, but as outraged as he was he didn’t realize what Taiga had actually realized!
“Myuto, calm down. Something is off here!”
“Oh really? Like what, my own brother trying to kill me?” Myuto hissed with a sarcastic chuckle.
“I found out about what was going on a few days ago when I researched the eclipse, but we’re talking about Reo, he is the child of the moon! His powers should be so strong at the eclipse that he could have killed you and all the citizens with a snap of his fingers, but he didn’t.”
“Come to the point,” Myuto hissed again, but Taiga only stepped out of his way and pointed at Reo who was sitting on the ground, finally looking up at them.
“Did you ever see Reo using his powers for something bad? Even after he changed through the incident?”
It took a moment for Myuto to catch up and Reo also looked at Taiga as if he didn’t have a single clue about what was going on.
“Trying to kill someone with his powers or with his bare hands doesn’t change the facts,” Myuto said, but now his will of attacking was gone and he stepped away from his little brother.
“Think about it Myuto! My powers, Reo’s powers, they are like day and night and with the eclipse I cannot use mine while he should be able to. He liked his powers even though they were hard to control. He found out how to help people with them, yet-”
“Yet he didn’t use them at all lately,” Myuto finally caught up and looked at his little brother. When he took a step closer though Reo flinched and crawled a bit to the back.
“Reo, why did you attack me?” Myuto asked directly.
Reo seemed to want to say something, almost yell an answer at him, but then he whined, holding his head in pain.
“Reo, what’s going on?” Myuto asked worried now, but before he could approach his brother his powers activated. Blue lightning covering his own body as if he was trying to attack himself with his own powers. “Idiot what are you doing, stop it!”
“His powers are the only thing that cannot be controlled,” Taiga said on which Myuto lifted up Reo’s sword. “What are you doing?”
“Finding whoever is controlling him!” Myuto shouted, but Taiga tried to stop him.
“And then what? Think about how powerful that person must be? For the first time two magicians got chosen and maybe the person who controls him is the reason for that?” Taiga made sense, but Myuto had redirected his rage from Reo to the person who was messing with his brother’s mind.
“Don’t go after him,” Reo whined behind them.
“What?” Taiga asked shocked. “You know who is doing this?”
“It’s not his fault. I allowed him to. I needed to make up for my mistakes, but- but I didn’t want him to hurt anyone. He broke his promise.”
“Then he needs to pay for that,” Myuto yelled. “I will kill whoever is hurting you!”
A laughter echoing through the main hall behind them stopped their conversation abruptly and Myuto ran inside, pointing the sword through the dark room. “Who is there? Show yourself you bastard!”
Reo immediately got up, but he wasn’t in any state to fight. Had the power used on him somehow worn him out or was it him fighting back? For now Taiga had to stabilize him or he wouldn’t even be able to walk.
“You would kill anyone?” A voice echoed from the darkness.
“Try me!” Myuto yelled back, but there was no way they could see anything. But at least a little bit of luck seemed to be with them as they heard fast steps from the corridor and the next moment Juri stormed into the room with a lit torch.
“Juri!” Taiga shouted in relief over him being okay. “Where is Kentaro?” He added immediately as he realized that Reo tensed.
“Well, somewhere behind me, but I cut him pretty heavy on the leg so he will take some time to make it up the stairs,” Juri explained with an apologizing expression, because he knew of course that Taiga considered Kentaro a friend as well, but the boy had been a pretty good fighter and as much as Juri wanted to hold back, the beginning of the eclipse made him lose his patience.
“What is going on here?” Juri asked as he stepped closer to Taiga and Reo, looking over to Myuto who kept pointing the sword into random directions.
“We have an intruder, messing with Reo’s mind,” Taiga explained.
“Well now I am pretty sorry for stabbing you before,” Juri said towards Reo who managed to show a teasing smile even in this messed up situation.
“Guess this time you have to stab me if you want to get the right person,” the voice in the dark was heard again.
“SHOW YOURSELF YOU COWARD!” Myuto yelled again and this time Juri walked up to him with the torch, lighting more of the big room and then there were steps!
“Coward?” The steps got closer to them and Juri lifted his sword as well. Reo though clawed his hands into Taiga’s clothes. Another laughter from the voice before the person hiding finally stepped into the light of the torch. “Something I don’t want to be called by you, after you left me to die!”
Shock, agony, sadness, disbelieve…
There were so many emotions visible on Myuto’s face that it hurt even thinking about what he was feeling. All these years he had fought with his remorse! So often had he fought with Reo about the topic and Taiga had watched his suffering from afar, fighting with his own remorse and sadness. Yet they all had been wrong. So wrong…
But it wasn’t a reunion of friends anymore. The latter’s hands were sparking with blue lighting. The power originally belonging to the child of the moon. Explanations had to be done, but were should they start?
Myuto slowly took down his sword before he let it drop to the ground and made a step forward on shaking legs. There was no happiness in this reunion yet all he ever wanted was to see his face again.