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The Personal Bodyguard [Chapter 15]

TPB

 

Yooooooo~ I’m back~~~~~~ So much for studying in the holidays, I ended up procrastinating the whole two-week rush~ Now I know for a fact that I will be staying up all those nights later rushing work at the last minute. But hey, procrastination have it’s advantages~ ❤ I have completed this chapter, most of the next chapter of the JuriAnnin fic, and made progress with AGP as well (though not as much, I’m really stuck on this one). And I even finally got a banner thing made for this fic! Even it was actually completed aaaages ago~ So yeah! I can finally post an update to show all of you that I’m still alive and kicking! (Or more like twitching….)

Hope you guys like this update. It might be a bit long… Or not…. I don’t know~ My chapters are getting longer and longer… i am soooooo sorry! Somehow, I really can’t write short pieces of work…. if anyone knows how, do feel free to tell me! But that aside, enjoy this update! I will NOT be studying at all for my Japanese oral tomorrow so maybe with enough productivity, I might be able to get the next JuriAnnin chapter done!

 

NOTE: The big chunk of writing in italics are things that happened in the past, those that are not are the present. Hopefully they won’t confuse you guys too much???

The Personal Bodyguard – Chapter 15

…. Despite knowing that everything was over, everyone stood in silence for a while. No one moved, no one cheered. Everyone was simply staring at the horrifying bloody scene in front of them. Finally, Yuasa dropped his kata and dropped down onto his knees next to the dead body of his daughter. The door of the secret chamber slid open and Akane rushed outside along with some of the guards and went straight to her father. Jurina slowly released Rena and the girl opened her eyes. Rena’s mouth opened as if she wanted to say something, or even scream, but nothing came out. Instead, she just closed her mouth again and tried to not breath as all she could smell was blood.

 

Jurina stopped away from the mourning crowd and moved back to the table where one of the men still had Jurina’s dagger dug deep in their neck. Jurina pulled out the dagger and was surprise to find the man dead despite her dagger had not struck him in a deadly spot. Needing to double check, Jurina felt for the man’s pulse and sighed in relief when she found nothing. ‘Maybe I’m just lucky,’ Jurina thought to herself as she turned around and doubled checked on all the other men just to pass the paranoid feeling Jurina had.

 

Suddenly Jurina felt a quick movement behind her and at the same time as she turned around, she heard someone screamed at her, telling her to watch out. But by the time Jurina saw what it was that she was supposed to watch out for, it was already too late. Jurina felt a sudden coldness dug deep into her lungs and before she could react, it was gone. Unable to feel anything but her own energy gushing out from the stab in her lungs, Jurina fell on her knees and her body collapsed.

 

“Jurina!” Rena cried out and rushed forward, only to be met by the strong arms of the guards near her, pulling her back.

 

The men who had not yet died laughed, his blood still gushing out of the stab in his throat, “You think… we die… this easily…?” Held up his sword shakily and prepared himself for the strike to slice the girl’s neck open but two guards had already ran forward. One grabbed his sword arm and wrenched the sword out from his grip while the other locked him tight under his arm. Sensing the moment, the guard holding onto Rena released the princess, jumped forward while unsheathing his sword and sliced off the man’s head with one strike.

 

Rena immediately rushed forward to Jurina feeling no one holding her back anymore. “Jurina…” Rena breathed out as she looked at the sight in front of her. “Jurina…” Rena lightly shook the girl’s shoulder but the girl would not budge. One of the guards dropped down next to Jurina and took the girl’s pulse.

 

“She is still alive,” the guard said as he looked back up at the princess, “but her pulse is very faint.”

 

The emperor lifted up his own daughter’s body and mentioned towards Jurina, “Find the girl a healer.”

 

The guards quickly lifted Jurina onto the table and used the table as a stretcher. Another pair went back downstairs and brought up Airi. Along with the tired emperor, everyone made their way to the healers, senses still on high alert.

 

“So many people are dead… How many did these people kill…?” one of the guards mumbled to himself as they made their way across the hallway.

 

“More like how many did they NOT kill…” another spoke, having heard the words of his comrade, “We haven’t seen a living soul since we came out…”

 

“I was wrong to think that Togasaki would not attack straight after that battle…” Yuasa spoke to no one in particular, “He was so badly wounded I thought he would at least wait till he was healed… I had no idea he would sent people inside here…”

 

Suddenly, footsteps could be heard echoing from the corner. The guards rushed to the front and drew their sword. Two figures appeared in the corner and immediately drew their sword but lowered it again when they saw that iwas only their own men.

 

“It’s just us!” Two voices called out rising their arms, indicating that they will cause no harm.

 

“Commander Yagami!”

“And Kizaki-san too!”

 

The guards sheathed their swords and pointed. The two new survivors rushed forward to the emperor, glad to see their leader alive. “Are you alright, my lord?” Kumi gave the emperor a quick bow. The emperor gave a tired nod but no other response was given. Then her eyes slowly trailed downwards towards the body in the emperor’s arm and the commander dropped to her knees, “I’m sorry, my lord. We have failed to protect the castle, and those in it. We are deeply sorry… Any punishment we will acce-“

 

Yuasa shook his head and mentioned for the guards to help Kumi back up, “None of us expected it. It was not yoru fault. If anyone is to be blame, then it will be me. For it was I who had let my guard down.”

 

Kumi stood back up and gave another long apologetic bow to the emperor and looked behind the men, silently easing her anxious mind with the sight of the other two princesses still being alive. Kumi couldn’t imagine what Yuasa would be like if either Akane or Rena was dead. Not only, Yuasa, but also Sakae, the whole faction itself. If the faction was to lose either of those two princesses, Kumi knew they would’ve already lost half of the war. Though it may be mean to say so, but if one of the princesses had to die, Kumi was glad that it was not those two. Akane, a battle formation mastermind, and Rena, a born-leader princess.

 

Kumi allowed her eyes to skim slightly over to Rena and saw that Rena was focusing somewhere else. Looking down to see what the girl was looking at, Kumi saw a badly injured girl that she had seen before but could not recall where. But seeing that the girl was not much of a threat, Kumi just let the topic dropped and turned back to the matter at hands. Being able to guess that the part was heading over to find a healer so Kumi decided to break the news, “If you guys are planning to head over to the medical bay, don’t bother. Everyone had been killed. That was the first place they targeted, looking for a girl name Jurina.”

 

“They killed everyone!?” Rena stared at the commander in horror, “How are we going to find a healer to help Jurina now!?”

 

“Jurina?” Kumi looked back at Rena, confused.

 

Yuasa mentioned to the girl on the table behind him, “the girl at the back is the girl they have been looking for.”

 

Kumi stared at the girl, “and she is…?”

 

Yuria tugged on Kumi’s arm, instantly gaining the girl’s attention, “Now is not the time for explanation. The girl is in pretty bad shape. Regardless of who she is, we need to find a healer. There must be some that have been walking around and hopefully survived.”

 

“We will split up and go search for survivors,” one of the guards suggested but was rejected by Yuria immediately.

 

“Don’t!” Yuria stopped the man, “You will get yourself killed. A man called Yamashita led the entire troop behind him, storming the entire castle looking for her.”

 

“Looks like we got the worst of the whole attack then,” Yuasa said, “Yamashita is dead, along with the entire troop.” Turning to the guards, Yuasa gave his command, “Go and search for healers. Come back to us immediately when you find someone.” Looking to another guard, Yuasa gave the guard another command, “You, find some other guards who are still alive. If not, then by yourself, go into town and call back the soldiers that have been given leave when we came back to rest at home. Tell them it’s an emergency and we need everyone back. While you are there, see if you can find the healers in town and get them to help out over here.”

 

Kumi watched as the guards ran off to perform their duty given to them especially by the emperor himself. Then the commander turned back to the group, “Should we find a more quiet place to let the girls rest? We need to stop the girl’s bleeding if we want to keep her alive. Not to mention, you, my lord,” Kumi looked at the emperor directly, “are also wounded and we need to tend to those cuts before they get worst.”

 

Upon seeing the approval nod from the emperor, Yuria gave her suggestion, “Let’s go back to Kuumin’s quarter next to the watch tower behind the castle.”

 

Yuria poked the door open with her spear and jumped in first, whipping around to check for any signs of hostility. Seeing it was fine, the girl came back out and nodded to Kumi.

 

“It’s clear,” Kumi said as she led the party inside. Going straight away to her closet, Kumi took out some bed sheets and laid them out onto her own bed and then signaled the guards to put Jurina on her bed. “Yuria,” Kumi waved the girl over, “See if you can stop the girl’s bleeding. I have some of those stopper powders that helps with stopping bleeding that the healers gave me before. See if they work on Jurina. I will go check on the emperor.” Pointing to two of the guards who had just moved Jurina onto the commander’s bed, Kumi mentioned to Yuria, “You two go help her.” The guards saluted and ran over to Yuria.

 

Kumi then backed away from the scene and returned to the emperor’s side, helping him onto her chair. “Excuse me, my lord,” Kumi said as she carefully opened the emperor’s robe enough to see his wound. His previous wound had broken open from the fight but because the emperor healed fast, it wasn’t as serious already but it nevertheless, it was still bleeding. Kumi reached over towards the closet and opened one of the drawers taking out one of the scarves inside, “Yuria, I’m gonna use your scarf.”

 

“That’s okay,” Yuria’s voice replied from within Kumi’s bed area, “I already used your red scarf for the girl anyway.”

 

Kumi chuckled and shook her head as she turned back to the emperor and helped cleaned the wound and quickly and tightly tied the scarf around the emperor’s waist to stop the bleeding. “Sorry my lord,” Kumi apologized, “That is the best I can do for now. We will get a healer to look at it against afterwards. This is just temporary.”

 

The emperor shook his head and thanked the commander. Kumi bowed back before making her way to the kitchen and quickly boiled a pot of tea and poured out cups of tea for everyone in the room, including the soldiers. “Here, drink this, you guys will feel better,” Kumi carried the tea out on a tray, “It’s one of those special tea leaves I bought from one of the generals from Namba. The tea helps replenish your strength and stops bleeding so it’s ideal for wounded and tired soldiers.”

 

The house sat in silence, sipping on tea as Yuria finished cleaning up Jurina and even helped the girl into a set of fresh new clothes from Kumi, which fitted the girl perfectly. By then Akane was asleep next to Airi and Rena was asleep on a chair by Jurina’s bedside. The emperor himself was also asleep on the chair while gripping onto the hand of Kanako’s body, which he had placed onto the table next to him. There were guards keeping watch outside while the others were resting both inside and outside. Yuria and Kumi stood in the kitchen sipping on their tea in silence.

 

“What were those soldiers that attacked us today? I have never seen anything like them before…” Yuria started a conversation as she has never liked silence.

 

“I don’t know either…” Kumi placed down her cup of tea and began to twist the cup around while being careful not to spill any tea. The tea was expensive afterall. “But they did seem to know that girl…” Kumi continued, “We will get some answer when the girl wakes up.”

 

“Who is she anyway?” Yuria asked, stealing a glance at the figure on the bed on the other side of the room.

 

“Saa… It must be someone of big importance if Togasaki decided to stage such a big massacre right inside the heart of Sakae…” Kumi took another sip from her cup.

 

Yuria remained silent, sensing that there were more to Kumi’s words than she was actually saying. “What are you actually saying, Kuumin?” Yuria asked when the girl didn’t seem like she was going to speak further.

 

“Just for the search of a girl, Togasaki can strike us right at the root. Did you ever think that maybe he has been toying with us all this time? Maybe he could have killed us easily but choose to play around first?” Kumi asked the girl, fear and confusion clear in the commander’s eyes, much unlike her usual self.

 

Yuria thought for a while about Kumi’s words but then shook her head, disagreeing with Kumi for the first time even though the two had always thought much alike. That secretly being the reason why Kumi took such a big liking to the girl from the moment they met. “I don’t think so,” Yuria answered honestly, “Those men… were very arrogant. They were reckless. And Togasaki is a smart man. I think he was really desperate to find the girl, which was why he sent out such uncontrollable troops out. Normally, we see him sent out the normal battalions when he wants something right? Not that he search for people often. But today, he sent out something entirely different…”

 

Kumi looked at Yuria, her eyes widened as she decoded the meaning behind Yuria’s words, “You think Togasaki is losing self confidence in the strength of his army…?” As Yuria nodded, Kumi’s hand tightened around her cup, “We really might be able to knock Togasaki off his feet…”

 

Yuria gave a small smile and finished the rest of her tea, “We always have been able to. We were just being kind, that’s al.”

 

Kumi gave a tired smile back at the joking tone of her bodyguard. Yuria took the cup from the girl’s hand and placed it back on the bench next to her own empty cup, “Go rest, Kuumin. I will wake you up when there is anything new.”

 

***

 

“Commander Yagami… Wake up… Wake up!”

 

Kumi’s eyes snapped open and her hand immediately flew to the sword she left by her side. The soldier who had woken her up took a step back and pointed towards Jurina, “The girl’s condition is getting worst.”

 

Kumi jumped up and quietly made her way across the house to her bed while avoiding waking up the emperor and Akane and some of the guards which were still asleep. Kumi tapped Yuria on the shoulder, ‘Yuria, what happened?”

 

“I don’t know,” Yuria shook her head, “I just came to check on her and found that she is looking worst. Even though her bleeding has stopped, she is still burning up and her breathing is getting shallower and shallower. We are losing her…”

 

Kumi picked up Jurina’s hand and felt for the girl’s pulse on her wrist and could indeed find the girl’s pulse harder to locate now. Turning to the soldier that had woken her up, Kumi asked, “Has there been any sign of the soldier that were to look for the healers yet?”

 

The soldier shook his head, “No, commander. He only managed to find the off duty soldiers, and those are busy cleaning the castle right now. So far, there are no survivors that they could find, except for Princess Akane’s birds.”

 

Kumi nodded, “Go get more people to go out and look for healers. Or even their apprentice. We just need to find someone who knows about herbs. And also, go find my messenger. And tell her to take this,” the commander took off her commander seal and handed it to the soldier, “to the front field commander over a Namba. Ask her to help us out and see if she can convince their emperor to send down some healers to help us. And make sure they know that it’s an emergency situation.” The soldiers saluted and ran off, guarding the commander seal with his life.

 

Rena rubbed his eyes to the commotion and was surprised to find the girl pacing back and forth, much unlike herself, “Kuumin…”

 

“Rena…” What Kumi feared had come. Kumi had been afraid of seeing how the girl would react when she finds out about Jurina’s situation. As far as Kumi could tell, Jurina seemed really important to the princess.

 

“Y-Yuria?” Rena turned to the girl next to bed, “W-What’s wrong? Why are you guys crowding around Jurina?”

 

Kumi refused to budge and stayed between Rena and Jurina, “Everything is fine, just calm down. Your father and your sister are still sleeping. Let them rest.”

 

Rena looked back at her sister and then turned back to Kumi and spoke in a smaller voice, “if Jurina is fine, then why won’t you let me see her?”

 

Kumi pulled Rena away from Jurina and sat her on the chair on another chair slightly more further away from the bed. “Rena,” Kumi looked straight at the princess’s eyes, “Do you believe me?”

 

Rena seemed to become even more nervous at the girl’s question but nodded her head anyway. Kumi never lied to her unless it was for her own good. If Kumi was deemed dishonest, then no one in the world should be called hoenst.

 

Kumi smiled and ruffled the top of the girl’s hair, “Then trust me when I tell you that the girl is going to be fine.”

 

“But-“

 

Kumi shushed the girl, “If you trust me, then don’t question about the girl again.”

 

Rena looked down and bit down hard on her bottom lip to stop herself from questioning the girl any further. She trusted Kumi but she is just so worried about the girl she can’t control herself. The need to find the reason behind her worries didn’t even matter to her anymore. The strange attachment that she felt towards Jurina was more than enough for her to keep worrying about her despite Kumi had already told her not to worry.

 

Suddenly, Jurina started moving around in the bed with small groans of pain. Rena immediately jumped up from the chair, wanting to see what was happening, but Kumi quickly pushed her back down onto the chair, not caring if the girl was the princess. Then pushing between her and Jurina, Kumi rushed over to check on the girl’s condition.

 

Jurina began to cough weakly but was still barely conscious. Yuria quickly went back to the kitchen bench and took one of the cups of tea that she had prepared for Jurina in case she woke up and made her way back to where the girl was lying down. Without needing any words exchanged, Kumi took the cup from Yuria and Yuria lifted Jurina up as gently as she could so that she was leaning her back on Yuria instead. Yuria lightly stroked the girl’s back to try sooth her coughing, avoiding the girl’s wound, while Kumi slowly poured some tea into Jurina’s mouth, hoping to keep the girl hydrated.

 

Noticing the difference in Jurina’s breathing, Kumi quickly untied the materials around Jurina that had been intended to be used to stop the bleeding. A small gasp escaped her lips when she saw that through all the dry blood, there was a ooze of green around the cut and Kumi’s eyes widened as she looked back at Yuria, whow as also looking at Jurina’s infected wound with the same expression. Kumi held out her hand and Yuria quickly dashed off to get one of the cloth that she had found while she was bored a while ago, and threw it to Kumi. Kumi caught it and carefully using he corner of the cloth, wiped away the substances formed on the side of Jurina’s wound and then quickly held out her hand again. Knowing what the girl had wanted, Yuria gave the girl a cup of water which she had just poured out.

 

Kumi gave a small smile at her bodyguard, shortly losing herself admiring Yuria for knowing exactly what she needed without tell her, but then quickly moved back to Jurina and poured the water onto the flesh. There was a loud hiss coming from Jurina and all of a sudden, Kumi felt a strong hand grab onto her own, cutting the blood circulation.

 

“If you would be so kind to let us clean your wound, Jurina, it is infected,” Yuria said softly after recovering from the surprise state that both she and Kumi jumped into when Jurina’s eyes suddenly flew open, red with little blood vessels, and her hand shot up.

 

“You should be glad that we are even helping you,” Kumi said coldly, wrenching her hand from Jurina’s grip as she glared at Jurina’s eyes which was filled with hostility, “In Togasaki’s search for a person like you, hundreds in the castle had lost their lives. Family, friends, comrades. You are the very cause of the most tragic even that had ever happened to our Sakae history. Logically speaking, you are a prisoner, we should not even be treating you in the first place, let alone let an entire castle of people be slaughtered for you.”

 

“Kuumin!” Both Yuria and Rena called out at Kumi’s choice of words. Rena tried to stop Kumi from talking any longer, knowing how easily affected Jurina is by other’s words as she had witnessed before how easily affected the girl was by the simple words that Akane had blurted out at her in her burst of anger a while ago.

 

Jurina, instead of answering, pushed the hand away and pushed herself away from Yuria. Kumi shoved the cup of water back to Yuria and sent a fury glare at Jurina, “I don’t know what made you so important to have such inhuman troops killing everyone to look for you, but I don’t want such things to happen again. You have brought not just death of soldiers, maids, and healers. You also caused the death of one of our princesses. One of the most innocent princesses I have ever known. Our faction has lost a wonderful princess thanks to you and whatever problem you had with Togasaki. So if you want to die, go ahead. I am not going to bother treating someone who is nothing but trouble if they themselves, don’t even want to continue to live.” Turning on her heel, Kumi stormed out of her quarter.

 

“K-Kuumin!” Yuria called after the girl but Kumi had already left. Yuria turned back to Jurina and bowed her head apologetically, “I apologize. Kuumin is just really tired and confused about everything. You seem to be the only one that knows everything that has been going on so when you woke up, I guess Kuumin just took all the stress from the confusion, out onto you. Please forgive her.” Seeing that Jurina wasn’t replying to her, Yuria let the topic drop and held up the cup of water in her hand again, “We need to clean your wound. It’s infected by something, probably poison if it was formed that fast. If we don’t get it cleaned, your condition could get worst.” Jurina’s only reply was the movement of her arm, slightly covering up the sword wound that was cut deep into her ribs, piercing her lungs. Yuria sighed and backed a step in defeat, knowing she can’t do anything to help.

 

“Yuria,” Rena called out and held out her hand. Yuria hesitated at the look on Rena’s face first but then sighed again and gave the cup to the princess before bowing to her and running out after Kumi. Taking the cup in her hand, Rena sat herself on the bed next to Jurina. “Jurina,” Rena called out to the girl and lightly tapped her leg to gain her attention. But Jurina didn’t look at her. She didn’t even show any sign of reaction showing that she had heard Rena’s calling. “Jurina,” Rena called again as she reached over and turned Jurina’s head to face her. “Your cut needs to be cleaned,” Rena stated firmly.

 

Jurina pulled her face away and shuffled away from Rena, trying to get off bed. “W-What are you doing, Jurina!?” Rena exclaimed as she frantically placed down the cup of water and tried to help Jurina back into the bed. Jurina however, fought against Rena and tried to poush Rena away, only to hiss in pain when she moved too much and her legs grew week from the pain, making her lean back against the side of the bed, gasping for air.

 

“Jurina, where are you going?” Rena asked as she stood next to Jurina, her arms reaching towards Jurina, scared that the girl would suddenly collapse. Having received no answer, Rena looked closer and saw Jurina staring intensely at something else. Turning around, Rena saw that Jurina was looking at Kanako’s dead body and then the girl’s eyes shifted towards where Akane had placed Airi. Turning back around, Rena saw Jurina’s eyes were filled with tears, threatening to spill.

 

“J-Jurina…?”

“That’s all that happens…” Jurina weakly spoke, her voice hoarse compared to what Rena remembered, “People around me just get hurt…” With nothing but her will, Jurina continued to speak, “I have to go back… Before more people die…”

 

“You can’t, Jurina!” Rena held onto Jurina’s arm, refusing to let the girl go back to her doom, “Jurina, if you go back to Togasaki now, you will die! Even if you don’t die from the infection of your wound, Togasaki will kill you the moment he sees you! Don’t you understand that!?”

 

“Better I die than more people die,” Jurina replied simply and tried to pull her arm away from Rena’s grip but was way too weak in her current state to draw out any strength.

 

“What about Airin!?” Rena reminded the girl, hoping the girl remembered what they had talked about before, “What about you saying that you will come with us and take Airin to see the snow in the summer days of Sakae? Didn’t you say that Airin have never seen snow before!?”

 

“….. Just tell her I’m sorry…” Jurina mumbled as her gaze dropped onto the floor.

 

There, Rena did something she never thought she would do again and slapped the girl in the face, making the girl lose her weak grip on the bed and drop back down onto the floor. “I will not!” Rena screamed, “If you want to tell Airin how sorry you are for leaving her side so that you could go play hero sacrifice and die just like Togasaki wanted, you will hav eto do it yourself because I refuse to hurt Airin any longer! Airin has suffered a lot ever since you left! How much longer must you make her suffer in her longing for her best friend to return to her side!? Do you think you are doing everyone a favor by leaving the world!? You will bring nothing but pain to those around you with your death!”

 

Jurina coughed as she dug her nails deep into the flesh of her pam to hold in the pain that she was feeling, both physically and emotionally, “W-Why… do you even care? I… tried to kill you remember…? I killed many people… I should have been dead a long time ago… a life for a life right…?”

 

Rena remained silent as she pondered over Jurina’s question. Why did she really care? She couldn’t’ come back with a proper answer for Jurina. Instead, she pushed away the question and just shook her head, “We are not having this conversation again, Jurina.”

 

A deep voice spoke from Rena however, bring the topic back into the light, “She is right.”

 

Rena jumped and turned around and found her father standing behind her, “F-Father!” Jurina saw the emperor standing in front of her and her eyes just suddenly found a magnetic pull to everywhere but the emperor himself and the princess.

 

“Father, you are still hurt! You should rest more,” Rena said, gesturing for her father to sit on a nearby chair.

 

Yuasa shook his head and chuckled a little as he patted Rena’s head, “I heal fast remember?”

 

Rena smiled a little and nodded proudly, “You do.”

 

Jurina felt a strange throb in her heart as she was forced to have to witness such a caring and loving scene that showed what a true family is really supposed to be about. The pain was much more than just jealous. It was missed with many other emotions that Jurina cannot place words on. If her father had not died than she would not have to watch something like this. She could experience it for herself. She would be able to experience what it was like to still have a father around. When she thought about it further, if her father had not died, then she would have never had to become a killer to make a living and neither Airi nor herself would have to taking another’s life. She wouldn’t have even met Airi in the first place!

 

Everything was Togasaki’s fault. It was his fault that her father died. His fault that Jurina couldn’t enjoy her childhood with love from both her mother and her father. His fault that both her and Airi had to turn to thievery and murder for a living. His fault for Airi being unconscious. His fault for all the lives that were lost today, enemies or allies. Suddenly, Jurina felt so much better pushing all the blame to Togasaki. Everything made sense. But everything made so much sense that she was staing to feel angry. Togasaki’s very existence is a harm to Jurina’s life, to Rena’s life, to everyone’s life.

 

Without her realizing, both Yuasa and Rena had long stopped their conversation and was looking at the girl. The girl was still in the same position that she had fallen into right after Rena slapped her. The girl looked like she was lost in her own thoughts, her face slowly growing redder with each passing second. Concerned, Rena made her way to the girl and sat down on the side of the bed as she held the back of her hand against Jurina’s forehead, which made the girl jump and her eyes immediately looking back at Rena.

 

“Your face is burning up, Jurina,” Rena said as she withdrew her hand and helped Jurina back to lie down onto the bed. Glad that she could hide the surprise she felt from the lack of resistance of her action on Jurina. “Rest more, Jurina,” Rena patted the girl’s shoulder as she picked up the cup that she placed down before and stood up from the bed, “We will clean you wound later when Kumi comes back if you are really that against it.” Seeing Jurina neither voiced nor showed any sign of complaints, Rena backed away from Jurian’s bed and made her way to the kitchen and placed the cup of water down on the bench.

 

“Rena, why do you care for the girl so much?” the emperor asked, having followed his daughter as she left Jurina’s side.

 

Rena didn’t turn back around as she once again tried to question herself the same question. But her mind came up with the same answer… which was no answer. Rena found still found it impossible to come up with a proper answer. After a while, Rena turned back around to her father and answered with true honesty, hoping her father could help her out, “I don’t know, father… I really don’t know…” After a bit more thinking, Rena came up with a better explanation as an answer to her father’s question, “It is like trying to ask Churi why she cares about Airin so much.”

 

The corner of Yuasa’s lip twitched slightly and turned into a knowing smile, “But your sister said she likes the girl a lot before. Is that the same with you? Do you like the girl Jurina?”

 

Rena’s eyes widened at her father’s words and she immediately shook her head, “Nononono, no way! I don’t even know Jurina! How can I like someone who I don’t even know!”

 

Yuasa chuckled, “I thought the younger generations believed in love at first sight more than we do?”

 

“E-Eh!?” Rena stared at her father.

 

Yuasa patted his daughter’s head and clapped his hand on Rena’s shoulder, giving it a firm squeeze. “When I first saw your mother at the summer festival, I was only a childish prince messing around in my teens along with the other soldiers. Your mother caught my eye the moment I saw her. Beautiful, elegant, fraceful, kind, I could even swear my heart stopped beating at the sight of her. And when she turned around to look at me, the moonlight reflected off her face, giving her a sort of magical glow. It was really charming. And that was when I realized that I have fallen in love, despite seeing your mother for the first time and not even knowing her name or where she came from.”

 

Rena giggled slightly and poked her father’s chest, “Sounds like a fairy tale story, father. The prince falling in love with a common town girl.”

 

Yuasa chuckled again, “Perhaps. But what I am really trying to say, is that love at first sight does exist, my dear. And whether you believe it or not, fairy tales do sometimes happen in real life. If my life was a fairy tale, why can’t the life of my daughter be one too?” Renna shook her head with a small smile on her face. Yuasa continued, ‘Just be careful and take care of your heart, my dear Rena. You are still young and your heart is still fragile. Make sure your other half does not break your heart, and you do not break the heart of the other.”

 

Rena nodded and gave a small bow to her father as he excused himself to go check on the condition of the castle, taking with him half the guards.

***

>>Back to the present – Airi’s room<<

Airi gulped and her hand unconsciously trembled as she listened to Akane’s words. She felt like there was a heavy rock weighing down on her heart, deep in her chest, as she listened to Akane. She kept waiting for Akane to say the three words that she really wanted to hear right now but all she would hear was the sound of birds chirping outside her window.

Akane too, knew Airi was waiting for her to speak, waiting for her to tell her that the girl was alright, waiting for the words, “Jurina is fine.” But she couldn’t’ do it, because Akane knew she wasn’t. Or, the girl was no longer as fine as she used to be. Instead, Akane allowed silence to enveloped the two of them as she sat there in silent, her fingers stroking the bracelet she held in her hand, something her little sister had once made her before everything happened. She had found it again when they were tidying up Kanako’s room… then Akane suddenly felt something warm sliding down the back of her neck down her shirt. Akane turned around in surprise and saw Airi sitting there with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Akane reached up with her hands and wiped the tears away from Airi, hoping to get rid of her pain, despite knowing she couldn’t. But at her action, Airi’s tears were no longer silent and at every sob, Akane felt her heart ached more and more. She wanted nothing more than to just take away Airi’s pain. Letting her body work on its own, Akane reached up further and pulled Airi’s face down towards her own and silenced Airi’s sobbing with her lips. Akane didn’t know why she did it then. All she could remember was that the salty taste of the mixture of Airi’s pain and tears, brought Akane herself to tears again as she released all the emotions she had been keeping inside herself. The word that she had compressed within herself ever since the beginning of the war, death. The death of her sister, the death of all the troops that night in the massacre, the almost death of her father, and the almost death of Airi.

When Akane finally pulled herself back due to the need to replenish the oxygen in her lungs, she kept her gaze down away from Airi. She didn’t know what she should do, or how she could look back at Airi again. But Airi gave the girl a small nudge with her chin and a small smile under the tears on her face, assuring Akane that she need not to worry about what she had just done. As small token of thankfulness for cheering her up, Airi pulled the princess into a tight hug.

***

“Jurina, where are you?” A girl’s voice called out as she paced around the castle, looking for the one person she has been searching for. Hours have past of her taking care not to trip over her kimono as she ran all over the place. “Jurina, you haven’t taken your medicine yet, where are you?” the girl called again.

Another girl trailing behind shook her head, “Rena-chan, we are never going to find her like this. Let’s just get the troops to go look for her, the medication is getting cold anyway…”

Rena frowned “Mai-chan, if she doesn’t take it, she is going to be in pain again… she is like that every time she doesn’t take her medicine.”

Imade sighed, “But just turning circles in the castle is not going to help anyway. For all we know, Jurina-san could be out in the city.”

Rena’s eyes widened, “She is not allowed!”

“And who will or can stop her?” Imade pointed out, “It would not be the first time she has snuck out before.”

Rena dropped down onto the floor, massaging her leg. Imade kneeled down next to the princess and placed the bowl of medicine on the floor next to her and helped the princess. “We need to find her,” Rena started again, “If she is out in the city when her lungs starts acting up again…”

“I know, Rena-chan, I know…” Imade gently patted the princess’s shoulder, calming her down, “I will get the kitchen to keep the medicine heated up and then continue to go out into the city and look for her okay? You just go back and rest for a while.”

Rena looked up at her friend, “Are you sure?”

Imade nodded, “Better me getting tired than you. Besides,” the girl added with a smile, “I can run faster than you.”

Rena smiled and jokingly slapped the girl on her arm, “Take care then.”

Imade excused herself from the princess and left the castle to search for Jurina who had once again decided to escape from the medication set for her lungs, the medication that she had had to take ever since that massacre. The healers from Namba arrived just about 2 weeks after the massacre and Jurina was already on the verge of death. The wound had green liquid oozing from it every now and then and the girl’s skin was so pale that someone could lie her into the middle of a snow field and her skin would almost match the colour of the snow.

Jurina was immediately cared for and she recovered quickly once enough medication was given. However, the infection from the poison was so deep in her system that her lungs, where the attack had pierced through, was too greatly damaged. The poison in her lungs could not be cured. The only thing the healers could do was slow down the speed of the spreading of the poison to a very slow pace, and this could only be done if medication was consumed regularly. If not taken, the poison will spread to the rest of her lungs and eventually to her heart, causing enormous pain as it spreads. One could say the medication was almost like painkillers. Ones that Jurina must keep on consuming for the rest of her life, least she no longer wishes to live.

Rena on the other hand, although not wanting to give up the search for Jurina just yet, no longer have the energy to go after her anymore. Running around from day to evening is more tiring than people think. Making up her mind, Rena decided to go and rest herself in the library. It was close for the moment because the scholars are too busy sorting out something that she wasn’t supposed to know about, but hey, she was the princess and who was going to stop her?

Rena was not surprised, to find the library door not fully close, they were supposed to be inside anyway. The scholars were known never to be good at keeping secrets. As if proving a point, they had left a gap open between the doors as they sort through their secret things. Not very secretive, from Rena’s perspective. However, it surprised Rena to find no one inside.

‘Oh well,’ Rena thought to herself as she slid open the door and pulled it back closed behind her, peering around the room to double check that no one was there as she entered. A smile floated onto Rena’s face when she was sure that she was able to get the library all to herself. Tiptoeing to her favourite part of the library, Rena quickly took out her favourite book and flipped to the page with her mother’s image. Her thumb quickly made contact with the image and gave it a quick stroke as Rena whispered to the book, “Hey mother, I’m back again. You wouldn’t believe what happened today again!” With exploding excitement, Rena gave a full explanation of the day’s event so far to her mother, including that of not being able to find Jurina again, as if her mother was really here.

“If only you were here mother… You might actually know what to do with Jurina…” Rena sighed, “I mean, I understand what she told me before when she said that she didn’t want to rely on medicine her whole life… but… it just hurts me so much to see her in so much pain, rolling on the floor clawing at herself trying to stop the pain. I wish I could just make the pain go away…”

A tear rolled down Rena’s cheek as she recalled that frightful night the first time Jurina refused to take her medicine. That day, Jurina’s bad mood had been playing tricks on her, mainly because Airi still wouldn’t wake up. As a result, the girl had refused to take her medicine, as her own punishment on herself for causing Airi to be in the state that she was in. That night, the girl was screaming in pain and she wasn’t able to sleep at all. In fact, no one in the castle could sleep. That was how loud Jurina was. Rena know Jurina can endure a lot of pain in silence, the way the girl herself preferred it. Which was why Rena can never imagine how much pain it must have been for Jurina if the girl was actually screaming…

Rena sighed again and flipped through the pages to the back of the book casually, “I wish Jurina would understand…” Her words trialed off when something dropped from the book onto the floor by her feet. Curious, Rena placed the book back onto the shelf and picked up the dropped envelope from the ground. Flipping it over, Rena was surprised to see the letter addressed to her, her name written in neat handwriting, though it was not one that she could recognize from anyone around her. Sitting herself comfortably on the floor, Rena opened the letter and quickly skimmed read through the letter. A gasp parted from Rena’s lips and she re-read the letter again from top to bottom. After reading every single word on the letter, Rena immediately jumped up from her place and ran downstairs and out of the castle towards the watch tower, where Kumi’s quarter was….

 …………………………………………

“Dear Rena,

 

I’m not good with words, so bear with me. I thank you and everyone else for everything they have done for me so far. For me and for Airin. I really appreciate it. I really do wish I could stay, but I cannot. I will not allow something like the massacre to happen again. Now that Sakae has finally recovered fully from that event that night, I must take my leave. I have to do this, sooner or later, anyway. I still have many unfinished business back in Akihabara and I must return there. I don’t know if my mother and the people I care about, still lives. I have been away for too long and I fear for the worst, which is why I must confirm it myself. Not much people in the castle appreciates my presence anyway, so my departure will do more good than harm.

 

My only request is that you help me look after Airin. Even after so long, Airin still haven’t woken up. I don’t know if I can wait any longer. I only stayed behind so long because I had hoped that Airin would wake up soon enough so that I could discuss with about my return to Akihabara. But of course, time is not on my side so I made this decision on my own. Do not come look for me. I know the land of Akihabara more than any of you. I can survive, you can’t. Keep yourself out of danger. And give your sister my best wishes and tell her that I am sorry that I still could not work out the courage to apologize to her for causing the death of you two’s sister.

 

I will bring an end to everything.

 

Matsui Jurina

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~ by takoyakirabu on October 13, 2013.

11 Responses to “The Personal Bodyguard [Chapter 15]”

  1. OMG Jurinaa.. I’m crying reading this
    Thanks for the update btw

  2. JURINA!!!! I dun want you to die!!!

    Rena-sama, you have to do something!!! Kumi, stop being such an as*hole, no matter how right you are on being one, and help Rena-sama get back her jailbait crush, which she still refuses to admit of.

    Hah, Tako-sama, you’re back! \(^~^)/

    Sakuchan is so happy and pleased to see this wnderful work of yours being posted~

    I’ll be waiting patiently for the fllowing updates, especially JuriAnnin one~ ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Tako-chan, I’ve been stalking your longer fics for a while. It must be a lot of work to write such long fics with loads of characters while maintaining this level of quality and I honestly find it awesome how you manage to do this between all your study schedules. I hope you don’t push yourself too much, take your time with the updates~ ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

    Being the WMatsui-crazed shipper I am I really hope that they are going to get much closer from now on, that is, as long as stubborn Jurina doesn’t get herself killed. *sigh* Poor Rena is only starting to realize the extents of her affection. I’m hoping we will get to see a happy end~

    • I don’t think I’ve ever realized that Luffel-san was reading moi writing nyan~ ❤ I'm glad you like it! And this level of quality is still not that good, I'm still hoping to rise it up even further! (^m^) Until I am able to do that, let's hope Luffel-san will still stick around ❤

  4. Finally I was able to finish this chapter, you have been doing very long chapter, well I don’t mind, in reality I enjoy them heheh =w=
    Anyway, I guess the end is coming soon hm? I’m worried about Jurina, I hope for everything end well D:

    • The end is still a bit far… Maybe about 4 to 5 more chapters? I actually don’t know myself. I might decide to add some little extra scenes here and there if I suddenly have a new idea popping out here and there. (^^)

  5. oh my…… ^0^ likeeee it…

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