As soon as the sun set, Hinata packed his things away and started to head off into the night.
He wasn’t concerned, as the King’s assistant he was taught well in the ways of reading the stars and knew how to navigate in the night so as soon as the first star was visible in the sky he got up and walked in the direction of home, using it as a marker.
The sun set, and with it the temperature dropped. At first it was a pleasant change but then it got colder and colder and he had to keep moving to ensure he wouldn’t freeze.
Through the night he traipsed, keeping on walking until first light, and then he sat down to rest, choosing another rocky outcrop to rest near so that it would shield him from the heat of the sun.
Tucking himself into a rocky crevice, he lay his head on it and fell asleep, exhausted from his night time travel.
It was late afternoon when he woke again and squeezed his way out of the crevice and into the open.
He looked around, but still couldn’t see home, although he knew he couldn’t be far off.
“I should start now and reach the kingdom of Karasuno before it gets too late, lest the guards think I am an intruder and fire upon me,” he thought as he packed his bag back up and flicked it up onto his back.
Off he started again, heading out onto the burning sands, under the blistering sun, on the last legs of his journey home.
He was almost back to Karasuno when he saw two men approaching him across a sandy ridge and he paused, raising a hand to shield his eyes so that he could see who they were.
They didn’t look familiar, and he wondered if they were new soldiers patrolling the area.
“This could go badly if they think I am a spy,” he thought as he took his bag off his shoulder and rummaged through it to find some form of ID.
“You there!” one called to him and he froze then looked up as the men approached him.
“I mean no harm,” he called back fearfully, hands raised in surrender.
“State your name and intentions!” the other called out, reaching across his body to hold onto the hilt of a small dagger he had hidden inside his cloak.
“I do not carry a weapon,” Hinata called again, holding his hands straight up in the air.
The men approached him cautiously and he remained still, praying they wouldn’t attack an unarmed man.
At seeing that Hinata was indeed grossly unarmed, the men relaxed.
“Are you on a mission?” the first man asked lowly as he got closer.
Hinata nodded, thinking that they were men from Karasuno.
“Yes, I am midway through my—,”
“We are of kindred spirit,” the other said, putting his dagger away, “we also, are in a mission.”
“Oh?” Hinata asked, “what is you mission?”
“What is yours?” the first cut in, stopping his friend from answering by putting an arm across his chest.
Hinata looked closely at the two men, trying to figure out if he knew them or not.
“Who is your captain?” Hinata asked, knowing that if they were truly from Karasuno then Daichi would be their captain.
The man, who had initially taken a hold of his dagger reached for it again and Hinata stepped back.
“Are you Nekomites?” he asked pointedly.
“Are you of Karasuno?” the first man asked.
“We cannot let him escape,” the one with the dagger said as he drew it, “it appears we have been caught?!”
“You are spies!” Hinata gasped.
The man with the dagger had drawn his weapon and lunged viciously at Hinata, narrowly missing him while the other man tried to grab him to hold him down but the orangette was determined to get away and danced around the other two, keeping them on their toes.
“Captain!” Wall guard, Ennoshita, called loudly as he ran to the captain’s quarters, “captain! Come quickly!”
“What is it?” Captain Daichi asked with growing concern when the younger guard came running in, panting and pale.
“Sir! There is a fight in the dunes beyond the gates. One of the men looks to be Hinata. He has unmistakable orange hair.”
Captain Daichi flew into action and chased after Ennoshita as he raced back to the gates.
“I must go!” Captain Daichi called, grabbing the reins of a horse nearby and jumping aboard.
“I will come!” Sergeant Tanaka said from where he had just jumped aboard his own horse.
The pair dug their heels into their steeds and cried for them to hurry, bending low behind their manes as both horses jumped into a gallop and tore through the open gates and onto the dunes.
The fight was taking place about 800m from the gates but it felt like forever as the pair of experienced guards bolted to the rescue.
As they got closer they could hear the yells getting louder and saw the man with the dagger had Hinata on the ground and was stabbing at him.
Sergeant Tanaka’s steed was that little bit quicker than the captain’s and took the lead in front of captain Daichi then he pulled his legs up and placed them on the saddle, launching himself from the seat of his moving horse, and landing right into the heat of the brawling lot.
With a well placed arm, he hooked it around the throat of the man attacking Hinata and slammed him sideways into the ground, laying his fist into the man’s face repeatedly.
Captain Daichi had grabbed the other man by now and had him pinned on the ground too.
“Hinata, are you sound?” Sergeant Tanaka called to the orangette as he lay groaning on the ground surrounded by a pool of blood.
“He needs medical attention,” Captain Daichi called to Tanaka, “take him back quickly, I will deal with these men.”
Tanaka released his hold on the man who had the dagger and confiscated it, leaving the man dazed and confused, and thankfully he just lay there, defeated, while Tanaka ran to Hinata’s aid.
With ease, he scooped the comparatively lighter man up and placed him over his horses withers then jumped aboard.
“I will return, captain!” Tanaka called as he turned his horse around and headed slowly back to the kingdom.
As he got into a rhythm, he increased the speed of his horse to a slow canter, then entered the gates and headed for the clinic.
“Call for the medic!” he shouted, looking down to see blood spilling down his horse’s shoulder from Hinata’s wounds.
The orangette had gone limp and was almost unresponsive by the time the medical team had gently taken him down from Sergeant Tanaka’s horse and carried him into the room there.