Hello. This idea is just a tiny preview (more like a rough draft, though) of an original series called Sekai Knight Chronicles, which takes more inspiration from recent anime tropes. I hope you like it.
The giant shadow of the world ring stretched from one horizon to the other, cutting the small town of Nunkas and surrounding forest in half. The midday sun shone on the other half and revealed the black-clad men in the small main street. Armed and dangerous, they glared at the equally ferocious gang in white, who popped in the shady side of the street.
“Well, isn’t this a nice setup?” commented the young man watching from the sidelines.
A breeze blew his cloak aside, and he glanced down at the little girl by his feet. She might have been no more than six or seven years old. The splotches of dirt didn’t hide her dull gaze, like she was used to seeing fights like these. Not to mention, she was the only other person outside. Everyone else hid in their houses, the windows and entrances boarded up by large planks.
The emotionless look on a girl so young was enough for the stranger to sigh and tug on a golden bang. “I guess you’ve seen this a lot, huh?” he asked, but the girl kept staring forward, ignorant of what he had said.
She noticed when the man gently tapped her shoulder. “Hey, do you want a better view?” he smiled under his hood, extending his hand. “I think I know a good spot.”
The girl’s blank stare went to the gray glove then the stranger then back at the glove. Slowly, she placed her hand in it.
And the stranger quickly tugged her onto the open street, where the two sides began to rush at each other with chipped blades and broken sticks. “Excuse us!” he called to the gangs.
Men and women in black and white screeched their charges, kicking up sand while shouting “Woah,” “What the-,” “Who in the-,” and so on. The ten paces between the gangs gave enough room for the stranger to walk along the shadowy divide, a shoulder facing either side. “Pardon. Sorry. Don’t worry, you’ll get back to fighting soon,” he said, dragging the little girl behind him.
Angry glares went blank at the figure intruding on their “battleground,” and a few barely caught the silver glint under the guy’s cloak. Members of the black and white-clad gangs looked at each other, muttering as low as they, which was still loud enough for the stranger to hear.
“Dunno. I think I’ve seen 'im somewhere before.”
“Why’s he taking her?”
“Who cares!? Now, we gotta go back and start over 'gain!”
“Better than bein’ close to you.”
The stranger smirked to himself, seeing the two gangs return to their original spots. It would only take a little more time until it all unfold… but that didn’t mean he could have fun watching it.
Looking ahead, the stranger found himself on the other end of the street. There, a tall tower made of four beams and wooden planks. It was old, but sturdy enough, which the stranger proved by putting his boot on the tower’s ladder. “Hmm,” he said then looked to the girl. “Alright, now why don’t you get on my back, and I’ll-hey!”
The tiny girl had cut the stranger off, skirting under and out his cloak for the ladder. “… huh,” said stranger remarked, while the girl climbed up the ladder.
Soon, the planks squeaked loudly under the stranger’s weight. The ladder made so much noise that the stranger wondered how it didn’t bother the girl above him. The entire skeletal frame shook a little from the girl sitting atop it. She had no trouble, no doubt since she most likely climbed up the tower before. It was the stranger’s first time.
It showed as the flat top wobbled under his weight, a pair of boots dangling the edge and a grin under his hood. “Well, this is a much better, isn’t it?” the stranger asked the girl.
The girl didn’t answer. Below, the shadow of the world ring shifted slightly. It uncovered another couple houses, a few from the town’s two rickety rows of homes. It was the only sign the group in white had to find their original spot, just as the group in black found theirs easily. Maybe they had been in several skirmishes before. Never like this, though. Nothing so serious.
Staring at either side in the upcoming battle, the stranger asked, “So, who do you think will win? I’d say the guys in white. They have a good number of men. Plus, they seem more… thorough than their compadres.” His shaded eyes turned to his fellow spectator. “But I guess you would know better.”
Again, the girl didn’t answer. Her tiny hands held onto a protruded beam, propping herself on legs just as small. Her hair, dark from the same dirt covering her ragged dress, fell over her dull gaze. The stranger did catch the slight interest in what was happening below. Clearly, something like an all-out brawl never happened in Nunkas.
And that hadn’t happened yet. The gangs only threw insults, not weapons. Typical protocol for a small-time civil war, the stranger guessed.
It would be a while before any blood was split, so he tapped his fellow spectator’s shoulder. “Hey, you want to know a secret?” the stranger whispered. Raised a gauntlet hand, he held his index finger and thumb a centimeter apart. “I might be a teeny, tiny bit responsible for all of this.”
The girl slightly tilted her round head to the side, indicating confusion. The stranger pointed a finger down, beginning his tale. “You see, I happened to hear about these guys from a couple villages back, how they’re causing problems for everyone else. So I thought I’d stop by, and good thing I did. It really looks like you have a problem here too…”
His lips closed in time to see two figures stepped onto the street. With the silky, black robe on the woman and the man’s neatly-pressed, white uniform, they showed themselves as the gang leaders. They stood across from each other, glaring venomously and began talking in commanding tones.
“First, I talked with some of the folks here,” the stranger continued. “Can’t say they’re nice or naughty, but they told me about your problem: two warring gangs joined together in an alliance. Not exactly good to have if everyone else is so scared.”
On the street, the gang members rumbled. Their leaders’ fine talk rose, each going one after the other in an argument. It was a nice segway for the stranger.
“I managed to chat up some henchmen. They can say what you want if you ask the right way. And they gave me clues to the alliance… Two keys, a gift for an upcoming wedding.”
The roars below became mixed, incoherent. The leaders were a married couple in the worst of quarrels. Their pale faces went red, and grey flashed from the crooked daggers in their hands. Above, the stranger reached into his cloak.
“It helped that they cut loose the other night…” In a flash, the stranger twirled two pairs of golden keys around his armored finger. “… and while they were partying, I took these little guys!”
The girl’s eyes changed at last. They widened in surprise, their dullness glowing in the keys’ shine. Everything else went ignored, even the stranger’s grin.
“Hah! Now, those guys will never figure out I duped them both! Two birds, one stone!” he laughed out loud, so sure of himself.
A little too sure that he never noticed something was missing from his finger, and his eyes blinked when he did.
“Huh? Where are the keys?”
The stranger found his answer dangling off the tower’s edge and in the girl’s small hand. Behind the long, dirtied locks, she called out in intelligible screeches, ignorant of the stranger reaching for the key. “Hey, give those back!” he said.
The girl had already thrown the keys. They soared, rising shortly in an arch. With partly-hidden shock, the stranger could only watch the keys fall right onto the street. They bounced off the lit side and landed in the shade. Even then, they gleamed in the dim sunlight.
Right between the gangs for all eyes to see.
His plans thwarted, the stranger whirled to the girl. “Are you insane?!” he cried loudly to the girl, who didn’t register the words.
She, and the stranger, did register the people below. Walking from either side of the keys, the gangs turned. Their eyes, and the eyes of the men and women, had gone from shock to sheer rage. The stranger’s own eyes looked down at the glares approaching on a unified front. It only took one shout from the leaders-
“BRING IT DOWN!”
-and the tower shook. It was a violent shake, caused by men and women hacking at the thin beams with axes and their own weight. The two sides ganging up on the tower worked. “Woah!” yelped the stranger after almost sliding off the tower’s top.
At the second shake, he did slide off, just after the girl. One hand caught the girl by the wrist, and the other grabbed onto another protruding beam. His cloak dangled, and his armored arms were pulled in two different directions while he dangled off the top of the tower and held onto the girl.
“This is what I get for helping!” the stranger grimaced.
The third shake was followed by slow cricks and cracks. Then, one beam bent inward of the tower. Hopefully, it wouldn’t-
At last, the wood snapped, splinters shooting out. Then, the tower tilted-
-and it fell.
The following cry was drowned by the tower falling onto the town’s shaded side. By its extraordinary length, the tower’s tip would extend past the town’s paper-thin walls. And it did, as the tower’s long frame went CRASH on a slanted roof.
A cloud of wood dust and wood chips went up in the air, but by then, the stranger had already slipped off the tower’s edge and fell onto the trees. His back ungracefully broke the twigs and leaves that caught him, but the branches firmly held up his weight. “Ugh…” he groaned, blinked his eyes, and snapped them open in concern for another. “Where’s…?”
Beside him, the girl’s head rustled and popped out of the branches. She coughed a little, spewing a bit of wood dust. The stranger pursed his lips and sneered in a mocking tone, “Not so good helping out the bad guys now, huh?”
Another cough answered him, followed by a distant murmur of voices. “Wooh, that’s probably my cue!” the stranger said, reminded of the danger inside the village as he began shifting-well, trying to shift-his weight around. “Just gotta, get-!”
The branch cracked, and down the stranger went. A short drop, he bent his knees, rolled, and popped his rear on the ground with an “oof!” sound. His lips curled into a frown, and his eyes shot up to the little girl staring back down from her haven in the tree. “Thanks a lot, kid! Real helpful!” the stranger barked, hoping the sarcasm would get to her.
It didn’t, and at the sound of nearing voices, the girl’s blank stare followed his every movement while he rushed into the woods.