Chapter One- The Seventh Holy Grail War
A man with white hair and black eyes sighed, walking out from the shadows to stand before long rows of pews. Dressed in a black suit and a typical priest collar, he folded his hands behind his back. "So... It's beginning again, isn't it? Are you ready to start, Sin?"
Another man sat in the pews a few rows from the back, surrounded in the darkness of the church's poor lighting. "Of course." His voice was deep and strong, his golden eyes glowing with twisted excitement, "Let's begin."
"Hakuryuu! Hurry up! You're going to be late for school!"
"I'm coming!" Hakuryuu called back to his sister, who was downstairs making breakfast. He hurriedly pulled on his shoes and finished buttoning his beige school uniform. Lastly, he grabbed his schoolbag and ran down the stairs, pausing to say goodbye to his sister -Hakuei- before running out the door. He had no time to stop and eat breakfast. The walk to school was rather long, and class would be starting soon.
After just a few minutes of walking, he heard a familiar voice calling his name, "Hakuryuu!! Wait for us!"
Pausing, the teen turned around and smiled at his blond haired friend, "Hello, Alibaba. Are you running late as well?"
"Yeah," The blond breathed as he stopped in front of the other male. "I slept in. Aladdin, too." He jerked his thumb behind him, where a blue haired boy was running up to them.
"Alibaba-kun, don't run so fast!" The boy complained, adjusting the bag on his shoulder.
"Sorry," Alibaba smiled apologetically.
"Shall we continue? We'll get in trouble if we're late," Hakuryuu reminded.
"Yeah, yeah! Let's go!"
As they walked, Hakuryuu thought over his situation at the moment. He lived with his mother and older sister, his cousins living just a few houses down. The two families had lived together for a short time after Hakuryuu's father and older brothers died in a fire, but when his uncle died as well the family split; the eldest of his cousins taking the family crest with him. The crest had belonged to Hakutoku Ren -Hakuryuu's father-, and was to be passed down to Hakuyuu -the oldest sibling-, until both of them died in a fire along with Hakuren, who was just a few years younger than Hakuyuu was.
When Hakutoku's brother, Koutoku, came from China to live with the remaining siblings and their mother in Japan, he inherited the family magic crest. It wasn't long after moving in that the male died of sickness. Hence, the family crest was passed on to Kouen; not Hakuryuu. Although the magic crest should have been passed down to Hakuryuu -who was the rightful next in line-, because his uncle had it first, Kouen received it instead. It wasn't fair.
Why had Hakuryuu's siblings died anyway? Everyone was sure it was an accident. Just like they were sure Koutoku's sickness was natural. Hakuryuu knew it wasn't. He knew what really happened.
He had been caught in that fire all those years ago; He had the scars over the left side of his body to prove it. Hakuryuu remembered Hakuyuu telling him who did it. Who destroyed his family. Who nearly got him killed along with his siblings. Who took everything he loved away.
It was his mother.
His own flesh and blood mother had destroyed his everything.
Gyokuen worked with a secret magic organization, one the Mage's Association and the Holy Church knew nothing about at the time. This organization, Al-Thamen, was full of evil mages, Hakuryuu's mother being their leader. Hakuryuu wasn't sure what she was trying to gain from killing his father and siblings, but he assumed it was for the family crest.
Hakuryuu rarely saw Gyokuen anymore. She was always with the Al-Thamen members, researching and planning God knows what. He didn't speak with his cousins much either, besides seeing two of the younger siblings at school. Kouha and Kougyoku were good kids, but Hakuryuu didn't want to associate himself with them. A simple 'hello' in the school halls every once in awhile was enough.
Hakuei, however, seemed to enjoy their cousin's company a lot. She'd invited Kouen and his three younger siblings over for dinner several times, and she even worked in the same office building with Kouen as his secretary.
Hakuryuu knew he couldn't let his mother and the organization she worked with continue doing what they were doing. It wasn't right. Besides, she had killed his family. Her own family. She had to pay for that. Hakuryuu was going to make her pay.
That's why, when Kouen mentioned the upcoming Holy Grail War, Hakuryuu grew interested. The magical wish-granting grail could solve all his problems. It could kill Gyokuen, and destroy Al-Thamen. The only problem was Hakuryuu wasn't the mage of the family. That was Kouen. Hakuryuu knew a lot about magic, having learned from Hakuyuu when he was still alive, and then teaching himself afterwards, but it was unlikely the Grail would choose him as a master. Kouen would be the one to fight for the Ren family, one of the most famous magic families in all of Japan.
Funnily enough, Alibaba was a member of another famous mage family; The Salujas.
Hakuryuu would have never befriended the blond if he bore the Ren's family crest. Although Alibaba was the youngest of his siblings, he had inherited his family's magic crest. It was strange that he had it. He had two older brothers, both much more capable of bearing the Saluja crest, but when Alibaba's father died, he left the crest specifically to him. This infuriated his siblings, of course. Why was he so special? Hakuryuu could ask the same question.
The teen was reckless and immature, nowhere near fit to fight as the head of the Salujas in the Holy Grail War. The only thing everyone could hope was that he wasn't picked by the Grail to fight.
"Hakuryuu?? Hey, Hakuryuu! Are you listening?"
Hakuryuu blinked in surprise and turned his head to Alibaba, "Yes?" He had been so lost in thought he hadn't realized they were already at school. Looking around, he asked, "Where's Aladdin?"
"He cut off to head towards his own school a while back. He's still in seventh grade, remember?" Alibaba gave the black haired teen a worried look. "Did you zone out that entire time?"
Hakuryuu scratched his head, "Yeah, I guess I did... Sorry."
"No biggie," Alibaba shrugged. "Hey, I'll see you later, alright? I gotta get to class," He began backing away towards the direction his classroom was in. "Don't forget to change your shoes. See ya!"
Hakuryuu nodded and changed, setting off in the opposite direction of the blond mage. There was barely anyone left in the hallways, and when Hakuryuu entered his classroom, his teacher stared daggers at him. He smiled awkwardly and apologized, quickly taking his seat.
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