Act One – Chapter Four
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Midday had happened three minutes ago, but Genâ€™s clock was a little slow and no one had noticed yet. The sun was directly above them, its rays blazing down upon the hotel as if to see the upcoming event for itself, completely unconcerned for step by step obliteration of the planet this would cause. For many the heat would have been unbearable, but for the five people currently with their feet in the water, this was not the case.
â€œAhhh,â€? said Fujiko, dipping further into the water, not displaying much concern if her demin white jeans got wet. â€œThis is nice.â€?
â€œYeah,â€? replied Aki, showing no concern at all as she jumped in, splashing a few of the others around them. â€œIt was a good job they decided to fight to the death by the springs,â€? she said after remerging.
â€œCanâ€™t you two be a little more serious?â€? Otsune commented, currently sitting on the largest rock and leaning lightly on the lantern. Despite her comments, the girl also had her legs kicking the soothing waters â€œWhy are we even allowing this. Itâ€™s illegal. You get it, that means itâ€™s wrong!â€?
â€œHey if you wanna argue with the girl with the blade then go right ahead. Me, Iâ€™m going to keep my skin holding my epidermis together. Though you could just call the police.â€?
Otsune clicked her teeth and tried to look away. â€œThe phone was broke for some reason, and someone hid my mobile.â€? By the tone of her voice, it was implied that â€˜someoneâ€™ was actually secret code for â€˜one of you guys,â€™ which was further secret code for â€˜it was Aki.â€™
â€œYou mean the telepathic ghost hid your mobile?â€? Fujiko said with a torrent of giggles.
â€œThere is no ghost,â€? Otsune stressed, her fist clenching up. Before the argument continued, in which it would be proven that the ghost didnâ€™t exist – because he didnâ€™t, no matter how long Fujiko and Aki said he did. Natoko stepped out, dismissing her friends without a glance and heading straight for the ninja, who sat on the floor like the teacher had told him to. They were on the small grassy area just by the hot springs that looked like it had been perfectly designed by the lord himsef at the very beginning of time and the universe in order to have a meaningless brawl between two stubborn idiots.
Sakura sat quietly, yet closer to where the fight was going on more than anyone else. The short, plump girl looked on worryingly, upset that this was all technically her fault, that she had been responsible for upsetting Natoko and instigating this fight. She wished there was something she could do to stop it, but knew it had gone too far now.
â€œAt least you showed up,â€? jeered Natoko. â€œI thought you might have hidden away.â€?
â€œSorry to keep you waiting, though i was here first,â€? the second said. The supposed ninja had gotten changed from before, now looking actually less prepared for a fight to the death than he did before. Wearing a thick black jacket that looked like it would slowly roast him in the current heat wave as the giant solar star came closer and closer to watch the oncoming fight, the boy looked as if he were about to leave, a small leather bag slung round his shoulder.
â€œYou donâ€™t look ready to fight. Do you plan on running?â€? she grinned, cockily.
â€œNo, Iâ€™m staying,â€? he said, looking confused for a second. â€œWhy would I leave now?â€? Grimacing slightly at the blasÃ© response, the girl opted to ignore.
â€œAre you aware of the rules?â€? Mere formality for the sake of showing up his rudeness was cutting into her at this point. The rules would be meaningless, as her blade would begin to slice through his bone, flesh and sinew. She couldnâ€™t wait.
â€œRules? Weâ€™re just going hit each other until one of us falls over dead, right?â€? Sagara said, placing his leather bag onto the floor.
â€œI guess thatâ€™s right,â€? she replied, feeling deadpanned.
The supposed ninja began grinning childishly, his lips stretched like a monkeys. Kneeling down, he opened his bag, taking his eyes completely off his opponent<a href=www.workhate.co.uk title=â€?- not that they were on her anyway, that would be pretty weird.â€?> </a> Appalled at the lack of respect, the girl took a step back, curling her grip in anger and starting the fight with her mouth.
â€œEnough of this, begin!â€? she shouted, charging towards her opponent, unsheathing her sword and raising it above her head without a momentâ€™s hesitation. Travelling the length of the small field, the new guy not even looking in her direction, focusing on getting something out of his bag, the swordgirl struck the ninja boy in a single stroke.
â€œSagara!â€? Gen shouted, parked out on one of the benches, Sakura shreiking away in fear. From their position he had no chance of defending himself from that distance as a large clang of metal pierced the sky. The young girl looked back, she saw, her eyes staring straight ahead in shock, that Sagara was still alive, and was in fact holding the katana in his hand. Her initial rage subsiding, Natoko focused below her.
â€œWha?â€? she mumbled with shock, seeing his hand a lot shinier than before.
â€œWhat?â€? Sagara said with a grin. â€œYou got a weapon, I donâ€™t see why I shouldnâ€™t get one.â€? Repositioning his legs, the boy stood up straight, pushing her sword back as he did so before knocking it away, iron clashing upon steel. Natoko gazed for a few seconds, keeping a firm hold of the blade, looking towards his right hand as he kicked the leather bag away.
â€œA gauntlet?â€? Otsune said from the sidelines, looking just as suprised as everybody else. Even Fujiko and Aki had sat up at this, now paying attention like crows, the shiny iron fist reflecting the sunlight towards them.
â€œWell, that changes things slightly,â€? Fujiko said. â€œLooks like he stands a little chance now.â€?
â€œHuh,â€? muttered Gen. â€œBut didnâ€™t you lot say, he defeated her quickly the first time.â€?
â€œYeah, but Natokoâ€™s really angry with him this time. Heâ€™s gonna get slaughtered.â€?
Natoko took a step back, bringing her swordâ€™s hilt to the left side of her head, the long metallic blade arching behind her as she stepped forward on her left. Sagara remained standing straight, his metal clad fist now lounging at his side.
â€œIf you think bringing that out at the last second is going to affect this duel, youâ€™re wrong,” the swordgirl called out, holding her ground. “You should have hidden it for as long as you could.â€?
â€œIf itâ€™s any consolation,â€? he replied. â€œI wonâ€™t attack with it. Humans canâ€™t survive it.â€? He seemed different to the swordswoman for a moment.
â€œSilence,â€? Natoko screamed out, stepping forward and swinging at the teenâ€™s face. Ducking downed to avoid the blow, the fighter swept his left foot towards her in the same quick motion. Jumping up high as she saw this, raising a mere two feet into the air to prevent being tripped, the girl came straight back down, her sword stabbing the ground where Sagaraâ€™s skull was. Leaning back, he lifted his body onto his hands andwalked back hearing the sword thud into the ground without hitting him as a reward, an angry Natoko following it.
His arms still holding him up, a foot swung out towards her. Leaning forward a little to the left, the missing attack gave Natoko enough time to pull her sword out of the soft earth, using the hilt to block Sagaraâ€™s other foot as it came towards her at that same instant. The bladeâ€™s resistence took his balance, forcing Sagara to roll with it, moving away and back up and not looking straight ahead at her. He covered his tracks for a few seconds by swinging a hook kick blindly behind him, the crooked leg forcing Natokoâ€™s distance back. Natoko was already attacking as he caught sight of her however, her blade swinging around to meet his body, which let the grass fall out from under him, quickly sitting down before immediately jumping up again and punching with his left hand towards her face.
Seeing this coming, mildly surprised at the speed he got up with, Natokoâ€™s body tipped out of the way of the uppercut, as his chest fell wide open to her gaze. Smiling at the irony of their position, the girl plunged her hilt into his abdomen, only wishing she could have risked taking the time to turn the sword around. Sagara exhaled loudly at the sudden intrusion to his lungs, causing his left leg to lift up in retaliation, slamming into her right thigh, knocking the girl down and allowing him to get away, his breath rushing to get back as much air as it could.
â€œWhoa!â€? said Fujiko, back at the springs, vocalizing what everyone else was thinking.
â€œI didnâ€™t think Natoko was that fast,â€? said Otsune critically. The fight had been going for a minute now and only two hits had been taken.
â€œWhatâ€™s Natoko doing?â€? Aki mumbled to herself, the others turning to find dark skinned girl staring at the fight as hard as she could. â€œSheâ€™s not fighting properly at all.â€?
â€œWhat?â€? Fujiko replied, not sure if the skinny girl was talking to herself or not.
â€œSheâ€™s just swinging the sword around. She should sheath it constantly,â€? she elaborated, although it sounded like someone else was answering the question, the girlâ€™s voice distant as her mind was lost in the fight. The others watched her as she got out of the springs, wandering closer to the fight and the girls jumped to intercept her, only calming down when she sat closer. â€œSheâ€™s not using Hyatou at all.â€?
Back on the battlefield both warriors were staring each other down, the skills of the other surprising each warrior.
This time it was Sagara that started it off, charging towards the girl in front of him. Not actually expecting a direct assault, the girl was slow to react and held her sword up high to strike down. When he reached her, Natoko swung to counter what looked like a tackle, but found herself cutting thin air, the intruder disappearing from her field of view, leaving a vacuum of air that her sword got stuck in.
Turning hastily to see an oddly angled punch coming from one place he could be, Natoko stepped to the side at the last moment, seeing that her opponent was currently arched backwards, his entire body weight resting on one foot as the fist flew towards her. Missing, he lifted his body around the foot, swinging the same punch at her in the opposite direction. Dodging this as well, she brought her blade up, swinging it at his leg, attempting to remove it. This too missed, as the half American pushed hard on his planted leg and propelled his entire body high into the air, about twice as high as Natoko had earlier, almost like he was swimming in the air directly above her.
Looking up, the swordgirl found herself blinded, intense beams surprising her retinas and causing her to squint upat him as time slowed down for one second.
Sagara was silhouetted in front of it, appearing as nothing more than a black shadow to her. Watching she saw spikes appearing around his body, his gauntlet growing, a snake like creature coming from his other hand, all feeding off him, all coming at her andall of them pitched in total darkness in front of the sunâ€¦ there is someone to see you, Naomi
The second passed, the air came back to her ears, telling her something was falling.Her brain on hold, she lifted her katana high into the air, beaming a smile of triumph as his body to fell through the tip of her sword, cutting through his jacket easily, falling to the floor besides her…
Just the jacket.
Glancing at the cotton top, realizing her mistake, she craned her neck up quickly to see the rest of Sagara falling towards her, much too close to bring her sword back up. Swinging his body at the last second, the ninja brought his foot into contact with her face and knocked her sprawling back.
Given his position, the power of the attack was ruined by the odd angle at which he had decided to fall, the trick had still managed to give him time enough to get away. From the springs, the illusion of Sagaraâ€™s little ploy did not seem so obvious. In fact it could only be said that Natoko looked like a complete idiot to try and stab the coat like she did.
â€œWhat happened?â€? Sakura asked quizzically, those surrounding her ignored her as they just stared on; regardless of the last move the fight was still proving to be amazing, even in just the first few moments. â€œThis is just reguarly Fuudo,â€? Aki was muttering in a trance. â€œJust swinging a sword around. Whatâ€™s wrong, Natoko?â€? Her mutterings trailed out, she started watching the fight again.
Shaking her head from the attack, Natoko looked back over to where Sagara was on the ground. The boy had shifted his position to prevent himself landing on either the girl or her sharp stick and his hands hadnâ€™t done a good job of protecting him from the several million feet thick solid piece of ground that they had just met. His chest had slammed into the ground and now he was just lying there, needing a few seconds to try and stop his heart from wheezing out of any holes in his chest.
â€œYou should have landed on me, coward. It would have given you the advantage,â€? she stated, bringing her sword up above her head. â€œDie.â€? Bringing the blade towards his head, it hit resistance before it got there, a loud clashing noise repelling her back. The shockwave was strong, but Natoko kept good hold of the polished steel, looking back down to see Sagara had rested his gauntlet on his chin, effectively blocking her blade.
â€œIt’s not an advantage if i can’t do what i have to do,â€? he said calmly, his voice being muffled by his weapon. Trying to flip to the side, the girlâ€™s sword was brought down upon him once again, forcing him to used the gauntlet to deflect her blows and trapping him there.
â€œAnd don’t you have to defeat your opponent?â€?
â€œNo, thatâ€™s what you’re being made to do,â€? h replied. â€œItâ€™s what I could do though.â€? Angered by his continuously cocky remarks, Natoko took the opportunity of his prone position to start reining down blows at him, swinging even wilder each time, aiming away from the only thing protecting the otherwise defenceless ninja. Each time, his prone position was giving him the perfect angle to block each blow, but his deflections were also causing her sword to lift back into the air with enough force to allow her to instantly bring the metal instrument back down for another fatal strike. Continuing the stalemate for eight more strikes, Natoko only stalled when she realized she had stopped breathing.
Seizing the moment, Sagaraâ€™s iron clad palm swatted her hands, both of which were clasping the blade tense enough to be bashed away. The advantage his again, Sagara right foot went to collide with that of his opponent’s. Given the clothing she was wearing, balance soon became her worst enemy, her body quickly dropping away from above, the other fist of the ninja shooting out at her, pushing lightly against her abdomen, changing her motion again and knocking her backwards. Her feet reacted quickly readjusting the rest of her body to avoid meeting with the ground, even as her hands desperately tried to reach for the falling sword. However, as her clothing stopped covering them, Sagaraâ€™s feet sprung together, slamming into her midsection, sending her flying backwards, the precious air leaving her lungs as she fell back.
â€œYouâ€™re fun, I like you,â€? Sagara panted out bluntly, taking his time to stand up. The final reverse kangaroo kick had caused Natoko to fall back about three meters, her chest wheezing in pain as she lay there.
Looking at her opponent, seeing the light smile on his face as he stared her back downâ€¦Was he enjoying this? Before it had looked to her that he was merely fighting because he had been challenged, some chauvinistic attempt at not being beaten by a woman but nowâ€¦ that smile hidden under his unkempt beard, that perverted gaze that refused to look away from her. What was this? It felt like the world could explode and he wouldnâ€™t notice, just to continue this fight.
She needed to end this as soon as possible.
Her sword laying on the ground below her, his back kick had sent her flying in its direction, called out for her to grab, it Akiâ€™s shouts accompanying it, warning her of the approaching ninja charging flat out at her. With the same amount of speed that he had displayed earlier, she lunged for her sword’s hilt and swung it in the ninjaâ€™s direction, just catching his bare fist before her face.
A tremendous spark shot across the arena as sword pierced gauntlet. The fingers of the iron fist now interlocked around the blade, pushing against it with as much strength as she was pushing against him. Driving hard against him, she saw that same smile, mocking her with its simplicity, watching her fight with all her might while he was just testing her, force to sue everything just to keep him from pushing her own sword into her face. There was no way she could win like this, being on the ground was a big disadvantage in itself, but he clearly had more brute strength than she did, and neither could generate any force. His face was getting closer, at this rate, heâ€™d end up falling on top of her, the bristles of his beard near her smooth cheeks againâ€¦
â€œNoâ€? she wasnâ€™t aware she shouted, but it helped. Using every muscle in her body to allow her to get up onto one foot, she pushed against her blade as hard as she could, releasing all force and rolling back, her sword sliding through his fingers and out of his grasp.
Falling straight forward, his pushing stream now like a raging waterfall that had once been put a pushing stream that slowly descended into a raging waterfall, the boy dropped his hands round to the ground, his back wide open. Hopping forwards, she swung her katana down for the back of his head, missing as he lifted out of the way just enough to see the blade pass his nose and barely touch the tip. This time she followed through, keeping the sword in its same position she struck upwards, the small tip cutting across his chest, tearing through his thin shirt and taking skin and blood for its reward. The bastard was too fast, she should have cut through his entire body, but he had dodged again, this stupid blade hadnâ€™t even carved into his muscles.
Jumping a step back, the boyâ€™s foot unexpectedly cut the air in front of her face as he span round on his hands to stand back up, but she was slowly getting used to his tricks and wasted no time in stepping back forward, moving the edge of her sword towards his abdomen. His iron clad fist dashing to block the blow, she recoiled from the impact, releasing a vengeful smile as she turned the force to swing at his neck, only to have it blocked again. Now they were both trapped, each recoiling the blast of the others attack to strike again and again, matching each other for skill and accuracy each time. At this rate, she would tire first, the abominationâ€™s stamina was clearly better than hers. If only she didn’t have this pathetically heavy sword
â€œEnough,â€? she shouted, releasing her sword as his fist deflected it, using the loss of momentum to spin out the way and unleash a devastating kick to his groin, which took him flat to the ground. She hated to use such a tactic, but she…<i>wait why have i used such a move against him. It maes me worse than he… </i>â€œYou are a monster, Futabatei Sagara,” she called out, suprising herself. “An evil, despicable monster that deserves nothing more than to be released from this world.â€? What was she doing? Iziz was on the floor. <i>Pick up Iziz! </I>â€œIâ€™ll destroy you in the name of all the innocent women your kind has plagued since you dominated this land, all in the name of soldier morale and cheap brutality.â€? What was she saying? When did sheâ€¦ <i>Are my hands on fire? </i>
â€œPrepare yourself, Futabatei, for the Burning Mizutachi.â€?
To say her hands were on fire wasnâ€™t quite right, it was more like the blood that had been boiling within her was now starting to steam and be released from her body, encircling her hands with energy. â€œThe fiery water that you see will spell your death. It will wash away the evil of those whom it touches. I only hope it can purify the rotted corpse that holds your evil. â€? The world in front of her disappeared, something was closing her eyes, now moving her hands. This was stupid. This guy was fast, heâ€™ll hit get to us before anything happens.
â€œBy the way,â€? the voice that was hers said, opening her eyes briefly (though they ddn’t feel like hers anymore). â€œDonâ€™t think your speed will help you. There will be no escaping it, since it will follow your every move.â€? The voice screamed its claim, her anger setting fire to her words and travelling through her hands and out across the field.
She didnâ€™t know what was happening, but whatever it was, it felt as fantastic as it made her sick/
Sagara wouldnâ€™t have been able to see the grand splendour of the Burning Mizutachi that Natoko had set upon him to reduce his body to ashes and wash away his evil, since he was running away from it like a coward. He was, however, assuming the giant, impeding, incinerating wave of burning water was coming his way. In fact the sound would have confirmed it. It was only instinct that caused him to jump to the side at the last second, avoiding the red heat, watching it flow past him by a few inches before continuing its rampage.
The rampage didnâ€™t last long, and he watched as the streaking wave travelled about ten feet, before merging back into itself, coming straight back at him. Beginning to run again, realizing that Natoko wasnâ€™t bluffing about her nice homing missile, he found himself heading for the nearest entrance back to Heavenly Springs, through the changing rooms and down the corridor. Sprinting down the passage, he heard a large crash behind him, the flaming water blade wasnâ€™t as polite as he had been and was not using the doors as a guest should.
Unsure as to what to do to avoid it, he just kept running. From what he could tell, it was going to keep causing damage until it hit him. Turning the corner, he saw stairs and bounced up them as quick as he could, hoping that it couldnâ€™t follow his ascent.
Ignoring what was ahead of him, he took a moment to look behind. This time the fire was being polite enough to glide up the stairs, rather than crashing through the roof above them, although it could have been argued that it was still being a little rude to singe the steps like it was doing, – as Gen later would. Pacing through the corridors of Heavenly Springs, seeing one or two girls rushing back into their rooms at the sight of madness that appeared before them, Sagara turned his head back around only to see a small blond haired girl in front of him. Reacting as best he could, he flipped over her, her small height allowing him to do so easily. The girl gave him a look of recognition hich almost dtracted him, before quickly remembering that he was running for his life.
Hearing a loud profanity behind him, he turned to see the girl enveloped by the shockwave, hitting her at around the same speed of a charging bull, barely noticing her as it went through the little girl and out the other end, a blast of cloth shooting out behind her.
Back at the hot springs, the group had got up and walked towards Natoko, who was currently standing still with her eyes closed, her sword down to her side. Only Gen had gone the opposite way, running after his cousin.
â€œIs it over?â€? Fujiko asked, unsure of how she currently felt about the situation. It was fun earlier, but then she had, in the true spirit of buddy movies, assumed that no one was going to die except the black guy. There was also the issue of her friend gaining the ability to generate a large ball of energy and directing it at boy, which should have been causing her more alarm than it currently did.
â€œIt soon will be,â€? Natoko said calmly. â€œHe is still running from it, but he has no chance of escaping.â€? After a brief pause she opened her eyes and looked up â€œI knew he was a coward.â€?
â€œWha… a coward?â€? Fujiko asked. â€œBut he fought you for ages.â€?
â€œCowards run, woman, cowards always run in the end. You would do the same. You are just as weak.â€?
â€œBut,â€? Sakura piped in. Everyone turned to her, causing her to be quiet for a few seconds before continuing. â€œBut you gave him no choice but to run, you said that thing would kill him. You would probably do the same thing in his situation.â€?
â€œSilence,â€? Natoko shouted, shocking even Aki. Sakura squirmed back and even nearly fell over. â€œDo not even think of comparing him to me. How dare you turn against me after all Iâ€™ve done to protect you?â€?
â€œTurn against you?â€? Otsune repeated, looking at her dorm mate in shock. â€œWhat are you talking about, Natoko? First you try to kill him over what everyone else says was a misunderstanding and now you treat him like a racist. And what was with that kamehameha thing.â€? Genuinely concerned for her friend, the student reached out to the swordgirl, met by her sword instead. Falling back, Otsune looked to see that the blade had cut her jacket across the zip. Looking up at Natoko, her concern was quickly replaced with arrogant anger.
â€œWhat the fuckâ€™s wrong with you?â€? she shouted angrily, her answer coming in the form of Natokoâ€™s sword being pointed back up in her face, the look on the swordgirlâ€™s face even angrier than hers, like she had been betrayed by her friend in exchange for a barrel of monkeys.
â€œI thought you would agree with me, Sempai. I know he did something to you in those springs, something wrong. I can sense the perverted nature around him. I thought you would want me to kill him, but instead you protect him. Could it be you liked it, what he did to you back then?â€? Shuffling back, Otsune lay there as she saw tears dripping down the girl’s eyes, shuffling away as she tried to tell the level of muderous intent her friend had on her face and whether its privledges extended to her or not. â€œHow could you? Why are all women like that? All sluts and whores, willing to allow the males to do what they want. Youâ€™re all like that, all of you!â€?
No words came from anyone at this point. Everyone was too taken aback. They certainly hadnâ€™t been expecting to be called whores, especially Gen. Natoko’s anger was slowly turning from a childish temper tantrum into a real problem. The group stayed standing around her, some of them jumping in their boots as she clutched her sword tight waiting for betrayal. Gen feet were turning to run.
That was when the foot hit her fast and hard, causing Natoko to fall to the ground before anyone could see what was happening. Turning back, her face plastered with red shock, she saw her assailant standing in front of her, wearing a mask of anger few had ever seen on the girlâ€™s face.
â€œAki?â€? This time it was Natoko who didnâ€™t know how to react. Lying there, she watched as the girl walked up to her, looking like a strange menacing schoolgirl, ready to pound her into submission. â€œyou of them all would betray me!â€?
â€œYou get out of Natoko,â€? the younger girl shouted.â€?Get out of her right now. You donâ€™t belong in there. Get out!â€?
â€œWhat?â€? Otsune said, moving over now trying to stop Aki from doing something stupid.
â€œYouâ€™re not Natoko. Go away.â€? Aki looked angry and hurt, pretty much the same as what her best friend was looking like. Both looks changed a second later as Natokoâ€™s features twisted in contempt, slapping the girl before she had time to react and knocking her to the floor.
â€œSmart girl,â€? Natoko said calmly, â€œbut far too late.â€? Lifting her sword into the air, intending to strike the girl down, intending to strike them all down, she only stopped when she saw Akiâ€™s face. It was impossible to tell who the girl was concerned for, it certainly wasnâ€™t for herself. Natoko herself hesitated.
A sound came from above, stopping everything as all eyes turned upon it to see Sagara on the tip of the roof. Only there for a second longer, his forward momentum tossed him off and threw him as far as it could. A few meters behind him, everyone saw the gust of steam that was the Burning Mizutachi, still chasing him as strong as ever. Flying off the roof, slashing in various directions but still keeping its whole as it bounded off the roof without the same concern about gravity that Sagaraâ€™s body was currently having, the Miztachi fell towards the ground after its target.
â€œEveryone get out of the way please,â€? he shouted, almost too serenely for them to take it seriously. Everyone scattered except Natoko, even Aki quickly getting up to make a dash for it. The now very mysterious swordgirl merely stood in disbelief at Sagaraâ€™s presence, surprised that he was still alive and currently falling towards her like a giant boulder. He was on top of her in the next instant, throwing her to the floor and crashing them both into the ground. â€œExcept you girl. You stay here,â€? he said sarcastically, pinning her arms down.
â€œWhat are you doing?â€? she cried out. â€œGet off of meâ€¦ Not again.â€? Struggling fiercely, the girl could do only that. He was simply too heavy for her.
â€œIn a minute, in a minute. I just want to prove to you Iâ€™m not a coward,â€? he said calmly, nodding his head backwards in the direction of the sky. Picking up on this, Natoko looked behind Sagara to see the flaming liquid blade coming towards the both of them. She pushed against him as much as she could, a prisoner trapped.
â€œAh, donâ€™t strain yourself,â€? he said, squatting over her like a frog ready to jump, his hand against her neck as his other one ejected the gauntlet away from his body. â€œIâ€™ll be off you in a moment, demon.â€?
â€œWhat? How did you?â€? she cried out, as the blast of cool water cascaded over her, slamming into the ground at around the same time bounced away. Like her very skin was burning, the girl screamed loudly, convulsing as her body began to steam, shuddering violently and clawing away at the ground like she was on the verge of a cliff. The blast of aquatic energy was gone as quickly as they had appeared, like it was never there and yet the girl still shuddered on the floor, straining her arms like something was holding her down, crying out as water began to eject from her lungs.
Aki was already running up to help her best friend, only to be stopped by Sagaraâ€™s hand as she got close enough..
â€œDonâ€™t,â€? he said, raising a hand gently. â€œJust wait.â€?
Looking down to her friend, who was still going through her little fit, Aki watched with the others, mesmerised, seeing blue and red steam coming out of Natokoâ€™s mouth in little puffs that looked like Natoko was smoking. It oozed out slowly at first, drifting upwards as a haze, but then the girl starting choking actual fluids out of her mouth. Everyone watching with appalled curiousity, Sagaraâ€™s hand had to tense up over her shoulder to hold her back, watching as it flowed upwardsâ€¦.upwards, forming a little mini waterfall in the sky, the water magically started to rise out of her mouth and began merging with the form that was building up just a few feet above her mouth.
As the last of the liquid coming out of her mouth joined the spherical object above her, the ball of steam and liquid began mutating, pulsing solar flares of water as it grew larger, forming the shape of what looked like a woman.
Like a badly carved statue, its features were very slight and it was only the small curves on what had to be her chest that proved her gender. She, if it could be called that, seemed to be failing to form any legs and instead grew a little tail as the liquid trailed off. As the form completed itself, it stared at the group staring right back at it for a few seconds, before turning towards Sagara.
â€œBastard! Hoâ€¦h-how?â€? she asked, her voice like a hissing crone, giving the impression of throat cancer. â€œHow did you knowâ€¦â€?
â€œI could see it,â€? he replied simply. She had two spirits.â€?
â€œWhat?â€? the creature shouted, scaring a few of the others, who were not fully sure what they were looking at. â€œYou sawâ€¦.â€?
â€œYea, nothing escapes my eyes. Theyâ€™re magicial eyes. Sorry about that.â€? He grinned nervously as he said this, scratching the back of his head. “Athough was the purifying thing was hers. Would you have been able to do that?”
Growling at this, one could see stream leave the spiritâ€™s body, boiling herself just by getting irritated. The rest of the group had found themselves slowly walking closer, entranced by what was before them. Most of them had never seen anything like this before, the only thing coming close being the strange noises they occasionally heard at night that were not telepathic ghosts. It was hard to judge if it was dangerous or not, and most found themselves looking to Sagara for some sort of clue. Sagara was being calm, but it was becoming hard to tell if that was dangerous or not either.
â€œWh-what is it?â€? Otsune asked, before remembering her manners. â€œWho are you?â€? Hesitating, the creature floated a bit higher, keeping its distance.
â€œIâ€¦ was once called Naomi. Anything else is none of your business,â€? the creature replied sullenly. It was looking around, seeming to have little idea of what to do next.
â€œSheâ€™s a water demonâ€¦ I thought,â€? Sagara said, not looking away from the spirit. â€œTheyâ€™re able to possess humans. She took control of your friend hereâ€¦â€? He hesitated for a second, looking at her through his green eyes. â€œBut sheâ€™s also human. Thatâ€™s weirdâ€¦â€?
â€œTook controlâ€¦how?â€? Otsune asked, more concerned for the potential danger that whatever concerns Sagara was having.
â€œI dunno,â€? Sagara replied with a shrug. â€œBut it makes sense. The human body consists of around seventy to eighty percent water. If you were to control that, you could take control of the whole person. Everything that they do would become yours to affect, and they may not even notice you’re doing it. Since sheâ€™s 100% water, it would have been child’s play to make herself part of a person.â€?
â€œSo thatâ€™s why?â€? Aki mumbled, kneeling down to her friendâ€™s body. â€œAmazing.â€?
â€œAnd for thousands of miles all around,â€? Otsune mumbled. â€œScientists cried in their sleep. Some are even falling asleep, just so they can crying in their sleep over this.â€?
Aki had walked around him without him noticing to kneel down to the slowly breathing body of her friend. â€œEarlier, Natoko came in soaking wet, yet it hasnâ€™t been raining for the past few days,â€? Aki said. The smile on her face again, she knew her friend was better now, though she didnâ€™t currently look it. Sagara said nothing, probably mentally cursing himself on how he hadnâ€™t realized it himself.
â€œShe should have been paying attention, the stupid bitch,â€? Naomi said, still hovering above them all.
â€œHey,â€? cried Otsune. â€œWhat right do you have insultingâ€¦â€?
â€œIf she hadnâ€™t been so angry,â€? the water demon interrupted. â€œThen she would have noticed that there was only one rain cloud above her, just a few feet above her head. But she was so angry after losing to you so easily, it was, as you say, childâ€™s play to possess her after I fell into the pool, to take her for my own ends.â€?
â€œAndâ€¦ what are your own ends?â€? Fujiko asked, a bit scared of the whole situation. He seemed amazed at how everyone was remaining calm, the only other person to seem worried was Sakura. Everyone else just looked interested.
â€œMy ends?â€? she said, anger dripping from her liquid mass. â€œRevenge.â€?
â€œRevenge?â€? Fujiko repeated, ignoring Otsuneâ€™s small scoff of laughter.
â€œRevenge against all the men of this world. All those that have treated women with contempt and tried to control us just for their petty lusts. Centuries ago, I was bought at an early age. My father thought it would be great for me to work as a servant girl for a local daimyo, maybe even try to be a geisha, living to give them good conversation. But the daimyo had other, more sickening plans for me. I was only thirteen when it happened. All for their petty lusts.â€? The spirit/demon/thing was saying all this with an obsessive, almost fanatical edge to her voice.
â€œWhat happened?â€? Fujiko piped in over Naomi, it sounded like the spirit was crying as it told its story, though it was impossible to tell.
â€œNone of your concern,â€? the supposedly demon creature shouted, suppressing everyone. â€œI shouldnâ€™t have to speak to ignorant morons like you, who let men live with them, lust at them, rape them!â€?
â€œThatâ€™s enough,â€? groaned Sagara, his voice loud enough to override hers. â€œSheesh, if you think theyâ€™re ignorant you should try and tell them, not insult them like this.â€?
â€œYou dare?â€? the spirit growled, beginning to rise higher into the air.
â€œOr maybe even open your eyes ears and listen,â€? he replied calmly, the only thing making him not sound like a bastard being the clear concern for those around him. â€œWhatever your problems in the past were doesnâ€™t explain nor forgive why you possessed this girl. Not to mention that Iâ€™ve never lusted after or raped anyone… At least, i don’t think i have.â€? Naomi looked at him angrily before responding.
â€œI needed someone like me, someone who hated men too.â€?
â€œNatoko doesnâ€™t hate menâ€¦â€? Aki started, the spirit scoffing stopping her words.
â€œShe certainly doesnâ€™t harbour any good will towards them, from what I could read from her, she doesnâ€™t know that many and those she does know she dislikes for some reason or another. But hatred wasnâ€™t necessary to possess her, I only needed anger and a strong body.â€?
â€œWell, now you donâ€™t have either from her,â€? Sagara said simply and with a grin. â€œwhy donâ€™t you get out of here?â€?
â€œWhat?â€? the spirit said surprised.
â€œWell we certainly donâ€™t want you around here, and if youâ€™re not a demon, I guess Iâ€™m not supposed to handle you as I see fit. Though I am confused as to what you even are, I canâ€™t just destroy a feminist spirit. Thatâ€™ll get me in a whole world of trouble, especially with my mom.â€?
â€œSagara, I donâ€™t think you want to be annoying an all powerful demon,â€? Fujiko tried to whisper to him.
â€œItâ€™s not a demonâ€¦I donâ€™t think. This girlâ€¦erâ€¦. I forget her name, would be dead otherwise,â€? Sagara replied smiling. â€œItâ€™s just a spirit, and certainly not all-powerful. And now itâ€™s separated, we both know she canâ€™t possess anyone for a short while. Basics rules of Animism.â€?
Growling once more, the spirit began rising up into the air, clearly intending to leave, knowing it had been defeated. Looking up, it was almost hard to see her with the sun in the way. She called out to them one last time.
â€œI will return male, I may not be able to have my revenge on the daimyo but I can on you. You will pay for humiliating me at your little tournament. And I will destroy you.â€?
â€œIâ€™ll look forward to itâ€? Sagara replied, waving and appearing completely unconcerned. â€œSee ya around.â€?
After this it went quiet, it took some of the group a few seconds to notice she had gone. With the sun confounding their vision, they hadnâ€™t seen her flying off.
â€œSee you around?â€? Otsune repeated, with a glare in her eyes to the naÃ¯ve boy.
â€œWhat?â€? he said defensively. â€œIt was a good fight.â€?
â€œWhereâ€™d she go?â€? Fujiko asked, practically blinded by the both the sun and her squinted eyes.
â€œProbably to a source of water, they canâ€™t last that long outside, especially on a hot day like today,â€? Sagara said, walking up to Natoko and picking her still unconscious body. â€œCome on, letâ€™s take a dip in the Hot Springs.â€?
â€œWill Natoko be okay?â€? Aki whimpered quizzically, pawing at her fallen friend like a mewling cat.
â€œShe should be fine,â€? Sagara replied in a dismissive â€˜I wanna go nowâ€™ tone. â€œThough â€¦ I guess sheâ€™ll need a lot of water, that demon probably took about six pints with her. And lots of rest too.â€?
â€œIâ€™ll go get some,â€? Aki said, dashing off ahead, grabbing a hot springs bucket as she did.
â€œNot too much.â€? Sagara shouted after her, imagining that the girl would throw a tsunami at her friend if she thought it would help. â€œJust a cup for now.â€? The rest of the group followed quietly behind as they re-entered Heavenly Springs, the battle over, but with many questions remaining, probably to do with how corny the demon was being.
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