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|In the test for Jay's new blade, he faces several opponents, and meets the creator of Katana Shinuchi...||
Shin No Ippo VIII
“Vyse, what’s the matter?” Samantha asked, watching him stare out over the yard, a giant plain of grass covered in hills.
“Oh, nothing, my dear,” Vyse said half-heartedly.
“That’s not true,” She replied, “You always say ‘my dear’ when you lie. You always call me by my name. And besides, I know when my fiancé isn’t happy.”
“Hmm… it’s really complicated,” Vyse said, “But, the fact is, the country is under attack, and it’s only six people. Six damn people and we can’t handle them. I’m thinking… about picking up the old belts again.”
“Vyse! Just because you technically are a Grand General doesn’t mean you have to fight anyone!” Samantha exclaimed.
“It’s my duty, my purpose. I’m not at the top just because I can make things. I can fight,” Vyse replied, “I’ll have to, eventually. Especially if they gather forces… I will do what I am meant to do.”
“Vyse…” Samantha turned him around, looking into his eyes, “Don’t end up like the rest… don’t kill if you don’t have to…”
“Killing… isn’t right; I know that, but…” Vyse turned back to the balcony, “I have to. It’s my choice who dies, the killer or the future victim. It’s always your choice, no matter what. It’s just when those two wills face each other that the strongest chooses. I won’t die… it isn’t allowed for me to die…”
“Vyse… you’re not going now, are you?” Samantha asked.
“I won’t leave until I am summoned by Stefan himself, but until then, I will fight in the general area… if this village is threatened, I will crush the villains like wine grapes under a hammer. I have little regrets in the actions I choose, including joining the army,” He smiled, “I always prepare my decisions. I never go with just my gut, but with my mind as well.”
“Good. After all, Father is having his friends over again on Friday… He detests such fancy settings, but he does it anyway…” she laughed.
“He just likes seeing his friends from the military. And besides, he ends up going with them into another room and they tell stories while the old, snobby wives gather round the banquet table,” Vyse smiled broadly, “We’re not fit for this high life, are we? People like us belong out on the road, running with the breeze.”
“Well, someday we might get that chance, you scruffy mutt,” She laughed again, leaning towards him, “How did my father ever learn to like you?”
“Same way you did. A glance, a short talk, and a decent meal,” Vyse laughed, as did Samantha. They stood there, in the moonlight, clutching the railing as they laughed at the obscenity of the formality they lived in, and at how her own father despised it, yet he continued on with it.
. . .
“Well, this isn’t good,” Rayne lifted her katars, “How in the world will we get out of here in time to escape those three?” At this point, the three men had disappeared, hidden in the trees.
“We wont,” Owens replied, “Every damn time I hit this thing, I bounce right back.”
“So what’s the plan?” Mai asked.
“If they can get in, then maybe we can get out the same way,” Zordos said, arms folded, “Besides, I don’t think we’d be able to leave anyway. This might be a test.”
“Probably,” Lyn replied, “I’ve read of such things in the old texts, down in the island catacombs.”
“Then it’s a test. So be it,” Jay said, “I’ll beat down anyone who gets in my way. I’ll have a new sword, for the sake of everyone.”
“Amen,” Owens replied.
. . .
“Oroco, I see you’re here as well,” Selena wheeled about on her horse, staring down at him.
“Selena. It’s been a while. How goes your mission?” Oroco replied, bowing slightly. Oroco had little emotions, but he had respect for his fellow Generals.
“I’m heading for Silfortha soon. I must speak with Marques Roland, as soon as I have supplied for the journey and taken fifty from the barracks,” Selena nodded towards a large building. In the sunset, her armor shone a gold color, and, being in the capitol, the buildings glowed gold and red with the sunset.
“Hm. Perhaps you could visit Count Vigarde on the way? I’ve been meaning to deliver a letter,” Oroco asked.
“It’s on my way,” Selena replied, taking the letter.
“Oh, and your orders have been… modified,” Oroco said, “If Roland does not consent to our wishes, you will… persuade him to join us. I assume we understand each other?”
“Of course. I will serve Kitohasu with a steadfast heart and a steel lance,” Selena replied, and wheeled about, riding off.
“She’s got the skill, but where does her heart really lay?” Oroco wondered aloud. He had felt the uneasiness in her mind, “But that’s not my concern. I have no extra time.”
. . .
“I suppose that Jay won’t be back for long…” Joshiro said to himself, sitting on a grassy cliff, high above the chapel. The church had been built under the earthen wall, but the sun always hit it, for the wall was southerly, “So what can I do for now? The ritual of the passed? No, I’m not going to be tied down by customs and rituals and all those idiotic things. Life has dealt me a sour hand, so why bother with the niceties?” Joshiro smiled slightly, “Anyway, I do believe that I just might have the time to go down to the catacombs. A little light reading may do me some good, since we cannot find the final seal… Not that I’ll tell Stefan about it… heh,” Joshiro smiled wider, “A little light reading… I made a pun without even realizing it…”
. . .
“Well, they’re almost here,” Rayne pricked her ears, “I can hear them still…”
“I suppose they’re going to fight us… Nothing else went down easy in my life so far…” Jay propped himself up, and he began to pace.
“Jay, what is it?” Mai asked.
“I suppose… no, it’s nothing…” Jay turned to them, and he smiled slightly, “Just a memory… Just a memory. It was bugging me before, but nows not the time. Besides,” He shifted his head, “They’re here.” The group turned to see who was there, and found themselves face to face with three men.
The three men were dressed simply, in basic clothes. One wore a simple shirt, blue, and white pants. He had long, brown hair and brown eyes, clean-shaven, and was wearing steel claws on his wrists. The second was wearing a green shirt and white pants, and had blond hair and green eyes. His hair was combed, with a small ponytail, and he had a small goatee. His face was almost chiseled; the lines cut deep and flat. He had a katana, the blade straight, unlike most Katanas, which were curved. The third had red hair and blue eyes, and balanced a Halberd on his shoulders, his arms drooped over it. He had a bushy moustache, and his hair was wild, standing up everywhere. The three stepped onto the platform, and everyone except Jay felt a pressing force, shoving them off the platform. A crystalline wall surrounded the stone Dias, and Jay watched the three standing there.
“I don’t suppose you three have names?” Jay asked, catching a sword the blue one had thrown at him. It was exactly similar to his own dragon blade, save it had no color, no luster, and this made Jay sure that the creature that had made his blade was somewhere nearby. Jay strapped it to his waist, and placed the other two blades next to the edge of the arena. The blue one stepped forward, and the Metal claws extended, reaching almost a yard in length.
“I am St. Sorrow, your first opponent,” The man spoke, his voice gentle despite his fearsome eyes, “I will peer into your mind to see if you are worthy.”
“I’m not so good with words these days,” Jay drew the blade, “I suppose you will just have to deal with my blade.”
“Jay…” the man said, catching Jay off guard, for he hadn’t told him his name, “I do believe you are true to your mind with your blade, but the fight is now.” The man swung, and they fought.
Jay slid across the floor, dodging the large claw and attempting to strike. St. Sorrow slid about as if a mirage, his movements fluid, as if he had rehearsed this fight his entire life. Jay saw the large claw swinging, and blocked it, holding back the tremendous force within a hair’s width from his head. Jay slid under the claw and swung his heel, striking St. Sorrow’s foot. Sorrow fell to the ground, but simply rolled forward, Kicking Jay in the chest. Jay crashed into the wall behind him, and stood up on what he realized was a dislocated leg. He shifted his weight, placing a heavy burden on it, making the bone slide back into place. He grimaced, but he had done it before, and had learned to deal with it. Sorrow rammed at the wall, and Jay rolled out of the way, which made Sorrow jump off the wall and swing his claw in midair. Jay fell backward, and rolled under Sorrow. He thrusted the blade up, piercing Sorrow’s stomach, and the two floated for an instant, then came crashing down. Sorrow stood up, and bowed. Jay tried to follow in suit, but his leg was still in pain. Before he even got up, he realized Sorrow was gone.
“St. Sorrow isn’t the kind to stay when wounded,” the red man stepped forward, motioning to the mountains, “He’ll call the dragon and heal himself with its power. Don’t worry, you’ve passed, but that was the first test,” The man in red straightened up, holding the Halberd like a pool cue, “I’m St. Anger, and I shall peer into your heart, as St. Sorrow peering into your mind. This fight is the second of three. Obviously, you’ve been wounded,” Anger motioned to the several cuts Jay had received, the bruises on his back, and the recently dislocated leg, “I can give you one hour reprieve to bind any wounds, but that’s all. Even if Sorrow had slit your throat, I couldn’t give you more. You’ll be drawn back in soon, so hurry.” Anger sat down, and Jay walked out through the crystalline wall, watching it separate for him.
“Lets be quick,” Owens grabbed Jay’s shoulders and sat him down on a stump, like a boxing coach, “Rayne, get me those bandages, Mai, find me water, and Zordos, see if you can’t fix that leg.” The three nodded soundly, and Owens went off, looking for food.
“Well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought,” Jay smiled a little, “In fact, I don’t think he was trying at all,” at this, Jay tried to stand up, but fell down when he felt his leg, “Ghaa…”
“Jay!” Lyn exclaimed.
“He must have fractured it…” Jay muttered, “Of course, the dislocation outweighed the fractures, and it hurt my entire leg… Dammit, they’re whittling me down. St. Sorrow just took my mobility, and even if I beat St. Anger, what about the third?”
“If you let me help, I can probably fix it,” Rayne bound the leg tight, making Jay wince when she got around the bone. Jay stood up, and found it not necessarily comfortable, but much easier to put weight on his leg.
“Leastways I can move now…” Jay nodded, “That’s a good trick.”
“I learned it from my Grandmother. She could fix anything,” Rayne smiled, “I suppose I took what I needed from her texts.”
“Thanks, grandma,” Jay muttered, a smirk on his face, “I owe you one…”
“There’s no time to chat, we have to clean you up,” Lyn took a strip of gauze and began to bind the other cuts, since Jay couldn’t reach them on his back. Jay began to tie off the ones on his arms and legs.
“I think I’m alright,” Jay moved about, stretching and shifting on his legs, “I can move fine for now.”
“Good,” Lyn smiled, and handed him his sword, “Jay, remember why you’re fighting. It’s not just for a new Katana, you know.”
“So, this is how you remind me of what I really am, eh?” Jay smiled a little, “not just some swordsman on a tangent, but a bit hero, too? Well, I never wanted to be a hero…” Jay turned to the arena, “but I guess that just comes with the territory I’m working in. Hero to some, villain to others… I don’t have too much time to talk. I’m going back in.” The others noticed that, with Jay’s movements, the bleeding seemed to begin again, if only the slightest bit.
“You’re back already?” Anger asked, pushing off from the crystal wall. Jay nodded, and lifted his sword, “You aren’t the kind to say anything if it doesn’t mean anything, are you?”
“That’s about it,’ Jay replied, “A word wasted is a moment missed, by my standards. I don’t mind explaining what I think, but I’d rather just let my actions speak for themselves.”
“You and I… are similar, in some ways,” Anger replied, shifting the halberd to an offensive stance, “So let’s see which one of us has more riding our steel, eh?”
“Fine by me,” Jay replied, and the fight began.
Anger rushed forward, his movements like a berserker’s. He swung the halberd wildly, forcing Jay backwards. Jay couldn’t find a way in through the random thrusts, and even if he could, there was always the threat of the axe blade coming around and cleaving him in two. Anger continued to thrust, and soon had Jay cornered. Although Jay tried to dodge, Anger managed to stab Jay’s left arm, even if it wasn’t a direct hit. Blood poured out of the wound, and Jay slipped his left hand into his pocket. He grimaced at the cut, but was relatively wasn’t phased by it. He wouldn’t absolutely need his left hand to fight. Jay slid to the left of Anger, and began to start his own offensive. Jay swung, and began to force Anger back. Jay continued his assault, and began to strike at Anger. Anger spun, swinging the Halberd at such speed, Jay was faced with two options. He ducked, but Anger simply reversed the Halberd and struck Jay’s chest, the Axe blade off angle, so it just left a gash on his upper chest. Jay rolled across the stone Dias, and hit the wall. He stomped his left leg under him, and realized it was dislocated again, for he hadn’t given it proper time to secure itself. He wobbled on his leg, the right up, his left still on his knee.
“Damn shame,” Anger said quietly, spinning the halberd above his head into a centrifuge as he walked forward, “You’re strong, but you can’t overcome me.” Jay saw Anger grip the halberd tight and wound up, and the rest watched the two blades come down on each other.
Jay was still on his knee, with the Halberd about an inch from his face. He had let go of his sword, which was protruding from Anger’s shoulder. It had found its way between the bones, effectively becoming a wrench in the gears, stopping Anger’s swing abruptly. Jay had heard the bones crack, and knew Anger’s arm had probably broken, maybe even his collarbone. Jay stood up, wobbling slightly, and pulled the blade out of Anger. He wiped the blade off on a rag, and patted Anger on the shoulder.
“You’ll be fine, if you get that healing done,” Jay stared into anger’s eyes.
“You’re not just sound of mind and heart, but smart, too,” Anger replied, shifting the halberd to his left shoulder, unable to move his right, “I think we’d be good friends, in another life.”
“Maybe, maybe,” Jay smirked a slight bit, sheathing the blade as Anger walked up towards the mountain. He turned to the third man, “Neither of them will survive, will they?”
“Anger might,” the third stood across from Jay, his left hand resting on his sword, “But I doubt he’ll be able to use a weapon again. He’ll probably just ask the dragon to let him pass into the afterlife. The two of them will be happier there, not having to wait,” the man made the crystal wall open, “for you anymore. That’s our purpose, after all. To be defeated by the one who deserves to wield the true Katana Shinuchi, the Katana of God, as the dragon calls it. You must have received one of the earlier works,” the man continued, “Since a god sword is a smith’s greatest work, it must be attempted several times. Now bind yourself up and get moving.”
“Jay, you need to rest,” Lyn handed Jay a mixture of herbs, and Jay began to rub it on his cuts. He also began to bind the wounds, and soon he had bandages around his leg, his arms, and his chest. He slid the left half of his Gi down, and tied the sleeve to his belt. He shifted the Gi so it was set well on his shoulder, and tied the sword back onto his belt. Finally, he pushed the leg back into its socket properly, making sure it was secure. Once he was done, he stood up and walked about for a few moments, pacing.
“Jay, don’t worry,” Zordos stood up, patting Jay’s shoulder, “I’m not one to make rash judgments, but you’ll win. I’m sure of it.”
“You aren’t the kind that loses,” Rayne said, standing up and handing Jay a bottle of water. Jay put it down, since he wasn’t very thirsty.
“I doubt this will be easy,” Owens locked Jay’s eyes to his, and they both grew serious, “but this is the kind of thing we have to learn to handle. It’s too bad, that you have to fight all the time, but you are the one who must pass this test.”
“So let’s get it over with,” Mai put on a reassuring voice, “After all, we’ve got things to do.”
“Jay, this better not be the day you lose. If you do, I’ll never forgive you, especially for not completing what you promised you’d do,” Lyn stood close to him, and then smacked him, shocking the others, “that’s so you won’t forget why you’re here,” she hit him again, “and that’s so you don’t fail. Understand?” She smiled slightly.
“Well, I suppose that was useful,” Jay placed his foot on the Dias, about to enter, “but… I think I didn’t really need to be smacked twice, do you?” he smiled. She had barely hit him, and the redness was gone already, “I suppose, we’ll settle our problems later.” Jay stepped up, and the crystal closed behind him.
“They’re like your family, aren’t they?” the man asked, stepping across from Jay.
“I suppose they’re the closest thing I have to family,” Jay replied, “Of course; they can’t hear us, can they?”
“True,” the man replied, “But, that’s for another day. I am St. Regret, your final opponent. I will see your true soul in this battle. Are you ready, Jay?”
“I’ve always been ready. You aren’t just men, are you?” Jay asked, pushing his blade up slightly with his thumb, so the lock between the hilt and blade was undone, “You’re, in reality, my own sorrow, anger, and regret. St. Sorrow wasn’t strong because I’ve overcome it, St. Anger was beatable since I am in control of my anger… but you… my biggest problem is my regret. You know everything, don’t you?” Jay laid his hand on the blade.
“Yes, I do. And, while we are your manifestations come to life, you wont have to worry. After all, if you can’t overcome yourself, then what hopes do you have of overcoming others?” Regret replied.
“Heh… then you aren’t manifestations. After all, manifestations aren’t self-aware of what they are…” Jay smiled, as did Regret, “then you are just guardians…”
“Yes, but you did believe it, didn’t you?” Regret replied, “Nonetheless, We are testing you to see if you are worthy of a new blade.”
“Well, I suppose that’s the way it goes,” Jay replied, and gripped his blade tight. They both drew, and they began the final duel.
Regret and Jay both swung at once, their blades stopping each other. They backed away, putting about ten feet between them. They stood, for what seemed like hours, waiting for the other one to make a move. Finally, the two slashed again, moving faster than lightning, stopping each other again. And so it continued, the two waiting for minutes, and then striking. Finally, the two sheathed their blades, and both untied them, holding them slightly away from their bodies.
“Battojutsu, the art of the single strike,” Rayne stood up, “they know that if they go at it, they’ll both die, so they’re going to end it now, without even beginning to fight. That’s what they’ve been doing, but they’re on such an even playing field, they can’t handle each other in a real fight.”
“So they’re going to give one strike their all and hope for the best?” Mai asked.
“Sounds about right. I can’t tell what Jay’s thinking,” Zordos said, arms folded, “But I know one thing for sure; the next strike decides it. Life or death, victor or loser, win or loss.”
“It’s all up to the next move,” Owens sat down, “We’re going to see someone die today, you know. And honestly, it could be either,” Owens leaned back, “I really wish I could say for sure it would be Jay that wins this fight, but… I’m not sure.”
“Jay…” Lyn moved closer to the crystal wall, “Jay… don’t die, Jay. Don’t lose.” She put her hand to the crystal, which Jay heard. Jay glanced, his eyes locked, his soul in chains to restrain himself.
“Are you ready?” Regret asked.
“I’ve realized something, Regret,” Jay turned to him, “I’ve always locked away my emotions, my will to live, everything when I fight. But, the truth is…” his face locked along with his eyes, “I fight with too much to simply put aside everything. If I die, my mission will be buried with me… So now, I must fight with my soul as well as my mind. I must… give it all.”
“Back to the river then, is it?” Regret asked, “You’re willing to, as you say, ‘give it all’ to make sure you win?” Regret’s smile turned to a locked face as well, “Well, then, I must put everything on the line as well. Today is the day of one dream’s end, one path’s final destination. Prepare yourself.” Jay shifted his feet, and the two ran forward. Everyone watched, wide eyed, as the two swung.
Jay stood, Regret’s sword in his right shoulder. Regret was leaning over him, Jay’s sword in his chest. The two were transfixed, waiting for nothing, as if they were statues. After what seemed like an eternity, they smiled slightly, as if some greater thing had been done than sealing a death. Jay let go of his sword, and Regret sheathed his. Regret stood tall, even with the blood coming out of his chest, and the sword still there.
“You need to be patched up,” Jay said.
“No… if I die, then I get to go to your world, the real world,” Regret replied, “The other two have passed, so now I shall as well. Thank you, Jay,” he smiled, “I can go home now, and sleep peacefully.” Regret laid down, drawing the sword from himself. He wiped it off, and handed it to Jay, “Consider it a memento.” With those final words, Regret closed his eyes, and his chest stopped moving.
“So long, St. Regret,” Jay smiled, “So long.” Jay turned and walked away as Regret’s body disappeared, leaving no trace of him except a sword.
“Jay…” Lyn turned, but Jay just walked up the hill. Jay turned, looking at the Dias.
“You’re wrong, St. Regret. No dreams died today,” Jay said, with a slight smile on his face, “I’m just going to make sure your dreams come true. Your goals in life will be met, because now you can rest peacefully in our world, and live your life again.” Jay continued walking up the hill, but then stopped again, turning to the others.
“I think… that you all need to know something,” Jay said, and the rest stood still, listening, “None of the men I faced today are going to be alive tomorrow. They have all died, and they will be reborn in our world. This is their chance… to really live.” Jay’s face became what it normally was, and he continued up the hill. They remained silent, none of them knowing what exactly to say. It was a mixed emotion, part happiness for the three for their release from their duty, part sadness that they had to die to return to the real world.
“We’re here,” Lyn said, walking next to Jay.
“Yes, we are,” Jay said, looking down into the small valley.
The valley was grassy, and, from a small cave, a pebble stream flowed, offering fresh water. Near the middle of the valley was a gravel bottom pool, and, beside it, was a tree, almost the size of a normal house. It was easily four stories tall, and was very wide. Up, near the opposite side of the valley, was a house, and a warm light glowed from it. The fog and uneasiness of the strange world had disappeared, as it had during the battle, and Jay continued forward, followed by the others. When they reached the house, Jay lifted his hand to knock, but, instead, simply opened the door.
“I was wondering when you would come, Jay,” a voice came from the corner of the house, and Jay turned, looking for the voice. In the corner, there was a chair, and in it, said a man. The man stood up, and Jay saw the light reveal the creature Jay had searched for.
The man stood, easily seven feet tall, and walked over. He had long, brown hair, tied back into a long ponytail. The man’s eyes were gold, and were as normal as gold eyes could be. His skin was of an average tan, and was weather-worn. He wore a white vest and brown pants, and, as Jay saw, had dragon-like wings, folded behind him.
“You… are the dragon, aren’t you?” Jay asked.
The man nodded in reply, saying, “I won’t show you my true form, but, as you know, your blade is ready, or, rather, will be ready. Wait an hour, and I will put the finishing touches on it. The blade itself is complete, but it needs a sheath and to have the hilt bound. In the meanwhile, rest, and relax by the pond.” They turned, and sat down outside.
“Maybe I’m going crazy,” Owens said, “But after that fight, did this place get more… normal?” The rest sat for a moment, and then nodded. The strange, ethereal feel was gone, and it seemed realistic now, save the lack of sound.
“It does seem more normal now,” Mai replied, “I wonder if it’s just because we’re up here now…”
“No,” Jay said, “I noticed it when we were fighting. As each of the men died, this world became more real, more solid and clear.”
“Jay,” the creature called from the house, standing before him. He held up a sword, bound in black cloth, “Your blade is complete. Come, and I will give it to you.” Jay stood up, and walked into the house.
Jay and the creature stood, facing each other within the house. The fire behind the dragon’s wings cast an eerie shadow on the wall, and, as the flames leaped and danced, Jay’s shadow danced with it occasionally. The dragon held the blade, and began to unbind it, and Jay saw it unfold.
The blade was unseen, hidden within the gray, metal sheath. The hilt was quite normal, with two dragons engraved within it. The handle itself was normal, bound in a gray cloth. The new katana was far less ornate than Jay’s older one, but, when Jay laid his hand on the sheath, he felt a surge of ethereal power, a strange feeling. The dragon held it in both his hands, and held it in front of Jay. “This katana may not seem it, but it is my greatest work, and has only one peer, the sword I gave to Joshiro so many years ago. If I’m right, Joshiro has completed the task that will befall you,” the dragon locked Jay’s eyes to his, “Jay, you must gather the elements for this blade, or you’ll never be able to break Stefan’s armor, and to defeat his power. You alone must face the beings that protect the elemental shrines, and you alone must ask for the elemental power for your Katana Shinuchi. Without the elements, not even my work can be strong enough to defeat your enemies,” Jay nodded, “So, you must scour the world, finding these places, and you must gather the blessings, and, hopefully, you will succeed in your fight. This is all the advice I can give you. Take what is rightfully yours.”
“Thank you, dragon, and may I not fail your greatest craft,” Jay gripped the hilt, and the dragon let go of it. Jay drew the blade, slowly, and saw why what he held was the greatest sword of any the dragon had made. When Jay held it, it felt perfect, balanced and easy, and the edge was clearly sharp, and shone in the light coming from the window. Jay sheathed the sword, and tied it ho his waist with the same cloth he always had. Jay stepped outside, and found his friends waiting by the door. The all looked at the sheathed sword, and Rayne, Owens, and Zordos nodded in approval, Lyn smiled, and Mai picked up the old sword.
“What do we do with these?” she asked, lifting the sapphire sword as well.
“You’ll need the Aqua Brand,” the dragon said, stepping out of the door, “but I’ll take the old Dragon Blade. Jay, bring that sword back to where it was, and you can begin the first part of your mission Oh, and Jay,” the dragon looked at him, “I can feel one of my better works, on the other side. Be cautious.” Jay nodded, and shook the dragon’s hand.
“I owe you quite a lot,” Jay said.
“You’re one of my children, as far as I’m concerned,” the dragon replied, “But I don’t want to see you here again. That’d mean my best work had been beaten, after all,” he smiled, just slightly, as he turned around, “So get moving, you two, my beautiful, graceful daughter and my strong, willful son. Be worthy of the names you carry,” and with that, the dragon closed the door.
“Well, we have no time to lose,” Owens raised his fist, “So let’s get a move on!”
“Yeah,” Zordos nodded, “I have little patience for pointless waiting.”
“Fine, then let’s go!” Rayne ran ahead, and the rest caught up quickly. Since they were heading downhill, they reached the Dias quickly.
“Time to go, everybody,” Jay stood on the center of the Dias, and, much like before, a pool of light appeared, and they sunk into it.
. . .
“Looks like we made it back in one piece…” Lyn stood up, looking around. The sun had risen just slightly over the waterline, casting light into the chapel.
“Jay…” Rayne’s ears pricked, and she sniffed the wind.
“I know…” Jay replied, “Joshiro, come out.” Joshiro jumped from the top of the church’s ceiling, landing between the door and Jay.
“It’s been a long time, Jay,” Joshiro smirked, “You didn’t even send a letter.”
“I haven’t had the time, sorry,” Jay stepped forward, his left hand resting on his sheath.
“So, you’ve just got your new sword?” Joshiro asked, his hand grazing his sword, “So did I, but that was a while ago.” Joshiro’s sword was black, and had a black, polished hilt, “I gave the old one to Oroco. You know, when you present one of the Dragon’s works to someone, it changes shape and form? The Sword of Serpents became the Black Raven.”
“So, I take it you have no intention of following tradition?” Jay asked.
“Tradition is a waste of time, when we should be concentrating oh the future,” Joshiro grew serious, his eyes sharper than before. Like needles, they pierced into jay, but he held his ground and composure, not showing any sign of weakness.
“So, you run to the future, while I try and take the morals of the past with me?” Jay asked.
“You mean drag the past along at a snail’s pace, barely able to keep up with me,” Joshiro replied, “I came here to fight you, originally, but I haven’t the time. We’ll meet again, Jay,” Joshiro turned around, and then quickly drew his sword, spinning into a wide slash. Jay drew his blade quickly, and the two swords crossed each other, with a loud ringing. Joshiro sheathed his sword, saying, “At least your sword hasn’t gone dull with time.”
“We should do this again, sometime,” Jay sheathed his sword, watching Joshiro walk towards the beach, where a large ship was docked.
“Jay,” the priest walked forward, “Don’t worry. No one except Joshiro has come off that ship, and I’m thinking there aren’t too many people on it.”
“I know,” Jay looked at the priest, “How long was he here?”
“If I were to guess, he got here last night. He couldn’t have managed to dock that ship without someone seeing it along the way. It was probably hidden under the cliffs,” the priest looked at Jay, “I’ll get you some supplies. The trip back is much longer than the one to get here, no doubt.”
“At least three days, if we can get past the ‘full-moon whirlpools’ without much event,” Jay walked to the door, “Not to mention that the tides will be pushing us back.”
“Your boat will be ready by noon,” the priest shuffled out as well, and everyone watched as the ship sailed off. After spending the day preparing, and finding two new boats that could carry them all, they decided to spend one more night at the Island. As the six settled down for dinner, Jay slid a chicken onto a skewer, and turned it over a fire.
“Jay, just who did you learn to cook from?” Rayne asked.
“An old friend. His name was Lloyd, if I remember correctly,” Jay turned the chicken again, “He was great with food.”
“What happened to him?” Owens asked.
“…He joined a military force in Silfortha,” Jay replied, “He’s a very high-ranked soldier, from what I know now. I remember his skill with daggers. He could do just about anything with a knife.”
“I’d bet he’s an assassin by now,” Rayne said, leaning back, “After all, that’s why they call it ‘cloak and dagger’ fighting.”
“Well, true enough,” Jay lifted the skewer, and began to carve it, handing the plates around the fire. They all began to eat, and, after finishing their food, Jay and Lyn began to tell stories about their homeland, and gave the four all of their fables, legends, and their lives on the Island. After a bit, they all fell asleep, and Jay, still awake, walked up to his tree and went to sleep.
. . .
“Mornin’,” Owens sat up, looking around. Lyn was watching fish, skewered next to the fire, Rayne was shoving other, already cooked fish in a bag, and Mai was holding a coil of rope.
“Well, rise and shine, sleeping beauty,” Mai threw the coil of rope at Owens, “Jay wants this. He’s down by the docks.”
“Ugh,” Owens grunted as he stood up, threw the rope over his shoulder, and walked to the dock, snatching a fish from the fire as he walked past. Lyn was annoyed, since she now had to go catch another fish.
“That’s out of your ration,” Lyn exclaimed, and Owens merely shrugged, clasping his armor back on as he walked.
“Here’s your rope,” Owens threw the coil at Jay, who caught it in midair. The boat they had could now easily hold eight, and was a good-sized sailboat, about sixty feet long and fourteen feet wide. Jay was swinging from the mast, and swung it around, tying the rope to several points. When the mast stopped abruptly, Jay jumped off and landed on the dock.
“This is a really good boat,” Jay said, smiling, “High-quality construction, good materials, this is far better than that little boat we had before. Why, we could barely fit on that one!”
“We couldn’t actually,” Zordos said, tying a knot and pulling it tight with his mind. Jay chuckled and Owens grumbled.
“Well, I guess this is now our boat, so shouldn’t we name it?” Owens asked. The other three had shown up, walking down the hill.
“I don’t know… anyone got any ideas?” Jay asked, turning around.
“Hmm…” Lyn looked at the boat, “The Delphinus?”
“Nah… the windblade?” Mai asked herself, and then nodded in approval.
“Helmaroc?” Zordos asked, scratching his chin.
“Firestorm?” Owens asked, to which he received a resounding, “No.”
“Ah…” Jay smiled, and nodded, looking at the ship, “The Delphinus… I think I like that one… It reminds me of something, though.”
“It’s the name of the Island’s old ship, before the attack,” Lyn said, and Jay nodded.
“It is, isn’t it?” Jay nodded, “Yes, The Delphinus is an appropriate name… Alright, as of now, this ship’s name is The Delphinus!”
“Fine, but we need to christen it, you know,” Owens stepped forward, holding a bottle of champagne.
“Alright,” Jay took the bottle, and stepped forward, near the bow. He lifted the bottle, and with one sound swing, smashed the bottle over the bow. After, he began to carve the name into the ship with a knife, and, after he was done, everyone got on the ship.
“Jay, you know this is your last time here,” the priest said, “So don’t worry; I’ll take care of their graves in your absence.”
“My thanks priest,” Jay smiled, turning the helm, “And take care of yourself!”
“Wait, Jay!” the priest threw a roll of paper, and Jay caught it, “You’ll need this later!”
“Live a good life, priest!” Jay exclaimed, the sails billowing as the ship pulled away.
|Shin No Ippo 21||Shin No Ippo 10|
|Shin No Ippo 15||Shin No Ippo 17|
|Shin No Ippo 6 Pt III|