The knights stood in ranks near the throne, impatiently awaiting the queen’s arrival along with the rest of the court. The court chattered loudly, and finally Dragon decided to follow suit. “I’m bored.”

Masako grinned. “Aren’t we all? It’s funny how they make us stand in ranks a few hours before the queen actually comes in.”

“We’re knights aren’t we? We’re supposed to be able to do this without complaint, “ muttered Shadow (DarknEvilShadow) from in front of them.

“…Doesn’t change the fact that I’m still bored,” Dragon said grumpily.

At that moment the doors to the throne hall slammed open. The chattering that had filled the hall immediately ceased, and everyone seemed to stand up straighter. They bowed as Queen Koneko entered the hall, followed by her cousin, Princess Armadaos. Koneko sat in the throne at the end of the room, and Armadaos stood behind her.

Two girls suddenly raced into the hall. The queen smiled at the young, but powerful girl Seers of the court. “What is the rush?” she asked, grinning.

The older of the two, Raygirl, looked up into Koneko’s face. “Rei [Ayanami] had a vision just now, outside the hall. A short one.”

The queen turned to the younger Seer. “Really?”

Rei nodded. The court seemed to grow even quieter as she spoke. “Yes, Koneko, I saw the princess.”

Armadaos shifted slightly from behind her cousin’s throne, but remained smiling. Koneko leaned forward. “What about her?”

Rei shrugged. “It was a bad feeling. I can’t explain it.”

“But I can.” Everyone’s eyes moved to the doors of the hall once more. A familiar, yet somehow unknown figure stood there.

The guards took a step forward, but Koneko stopped them. “I see this is a gathering of Seers, then. But that is not a bad thing, if the greatest of them all will give us a few moments of his presence.” She smiled, and her tone was less formal. “Yurei, I could swear that it’s been at least a year since I saw you last."

The cloaked Seer said nothing in reply, but a few who were near him saw the faint glitter of a smile underneath his hood. He took a few steps forward, then stopped in the middle of the room. “That for the moment is not of the greatest importance.” He pointed to Rei. “Her vision is. The princess is in danger. Immediate danger.”

Armadaos frowned. “How so? I can use magic and weapons both, and I am surrounded by knights and guards.”

“Despite all this, you are in danger. The shadows come to take you – ” His words were cut off as an explosion resounded outside the hall.

Koneko stood. The knights all drew their weapons.

“Still bored?” asked Masako.

Dragon answered, “Only a lit- ”

Another explosion blew in the doors to the hall, and a black mist floated in. It rose to the top of the hall, where it took an almost-human form, and from there it gave a high-pitched whistle that made everyone clap their hands over their ears.

The knights winced at the noise, but didn’t let go of their weapons. And they were glad of it, too, when many orange-clad people raced into the hall and towards the throne. The knights broke ranks and stood in front of them, but the orange-clad people would not stop. They attacked the knights (and, of course, the knights defended themselves), but there were many more of them than of the knights.

Armadaos and Koneko both grabbed weapons from the nearest guard, but at that moment, one of the orange people broke through the knights’ defense, and grabbed Armadaos. She stabbed him, but more came. The black mist at the top of the hall floated down and wrapped itself around Armadaos. Then it, the princess, and the rest of the orange people disappeared, leaving the rest of the court in shock.

onto Part II