"You and I are the same! We can only acknowledge our existence on the battlefield!"
-Chang Wufei to Heero Yuy, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Jacious kept his stamina on the dance floor, keeping the beat well, though he did feel awkward after the three cups of poi. I'll take up my request with Ayla when she gets here. You know, the sparring request?
Luccas movements were exaggerated, and her voice was a bit louder than it needed to be. She kept her superior grin, planning a few fight bets in her mind. However, if she had all of her mind, she would realize almost no one would bet against their leader. You do that. I'll be sure to collect your teeth afterwards.
Taking the challenge, he replied with a full air of confidence. We'll see about that, Lucca. I'm pretty confident in my training. I didn't do too badly when I sparred opponents back home.
While that might be true, Lucca countered, Ayla and I and the others managed to destroy a practically omnipotent alien creature with a few swords and guns. Hell, Ayla didn't have a weapon at all. My money is most definitely on her.
Fine then, he growled, somewhat hoping she would at least give some support, though he wasnt surprised by her choice. you put your money on her... but we know she has much more stamina... let's make it five minutes. I can last five minutes at least against her.
Lucca smirked, Oh, so you're only trying to 'last'? I thought you were promising to kick her butt. She snorted, I knew you were too weak. She spun off in the opposite direction, crossing paths with a handsome young man dancing alone. She grabbed the man's hand and proceeded to grind uncomfortably close to him.
Jacious clenched his hand to a fist, feeling himself anger and sadden at the same time. The angry side prevailed. Oh that....woman! He looked around, determined to prove just how good he was, I'll show her I'm not weak...not to just go off and dance with another guy like that, the bitch.
He stopped dancing and turned a 360, Now just where the hell is Ayla anyway??
The party continued another forty-five minutes or so with Lucca flitting from guy to guy, to and from the food tables, to and from the 'bartender.' To put it mildly, she looked pretty far gone by this time.
Jacious, meanwhile, sat on the cushion overseeing the party and all the "fun" Lucca was having. No wonder she doesn't have a boyfriend. I swear that woman did get drunk in the game. He tapped his fingers on the cushion, That Ayla... probably having sex with Kino or something... gah... and now Lucca's going to another guy!
Cheering from beyond the light's reach signaled the approach of someone important. Ayla waded into the festivities, waving with a benevolent smile on her face, becoming the center of attention. She headed straight for Jacious and sat next to him on the cushions. How you like party? She noticed Lucca was elsewhere, And why you not with Lucca?
His lips turned upward into a smile. The time had come. Ayla, first I must say you guys know how to party. The poi is good too. As for Lucca, well, Lucca had a bit too much poi and began enjoying the party a bit too much. He put Lucca far in the back of his mind for the moment. Say, you said there'd be fighting tonight, right?
Oh yes! Every life celebration there big fight. She snapped her fingers, and a nearby caveman ran off. He returned a moment later with a cup of poi, a far larger cup than those everyone else had been served. Holding it to her lips, Ayla drank the whole thing in three gulps.
Despite Aylas show with the poi, a small grin formed on Jacious face. It was scheming and slightly due to the poi. In his mind he promised himself he would show Lucca just what he was made of. Well I heard you like strong people...is this true?
Ayla like strong people very much. That why Ayla friends with Lucca. Lucca strong AND smart, Ayla gave a large toothy smile, which showed off her strangely white teeth.
He cleared his throat, So I guess you wouldn't do any sparring would you? You see, where I come from, trust and honor are things earned. You seem to accept me, but I don't want my relations with anyone to be the focal point of that trust. I want to earn it. So would you like to test me? I don't mind a spar if you like to do that. Jacious looked over to Lucca where she was more than enjoying herself. I'd enjoy it myself actually.
She looked at him, smiling, You drink too much. I smell you under influence of poi. Many warriors larger and stronger than Jacious have challenged Ayla when they drunk.
All have fallen before Ayla. She looked smug and drank another full, huge cup of poi which the caveman had refilled. She still seemed unaffected by it.
The warrior scientist gave a shrug, Think what you like. I'm sure they're sloppy warriors when they fight, yes? Well let us see what we can do. You have had poi. I have had poi. What do you say? Friendly spar so you may test my strength?
Villagers fight with skill Ayla teaches them. But Ayla still master. The day Ayla beaten, she turn in her Dreamstone to victor and step down. She set down her bowl of poi, watching the party.
Jacious kept his cool. He knew she was stronger than he, and would probably beat him, but he was going to give it all he had. Well I can't win anyway so that's no sweat. Ill just show her what I can do.
Ayla laughed rather loudly, You that desperate to impress Lucca?
He turned red. NO WAY! I don't need to impress her. I just want you to trust me because of what I can do and not because of who I know. He looked up at the milky way up in the stars, And besides, I happen to love sparring. It's something I enjoy greatly, to tell you the truth.
Ayla nodded fully, understanding the deeper meaning behind his words. If Jacious insist. It been too long since Ioka have arranged match. She stood from her cushions and looked down at him with a smug smile. Try not to lose too soon. Villagers will want a good show.
Jacious stood as well. If I lose quickly, that would be a dishonor to my teacher. I'll give you something to think about in the morning, Ayla. Jacious remained cool and just smiled lightly, not letting himself get a big head. He knew better.
Ayla clapped her hands twice, quickly, and threw her arms to the sides. Immediately, a path cleared for her, and runners headed for the musicians to call the music to a halt. A great cheer issued from the villagers when they realized they would be enjoying a fight this evening.
Jacious smiled humbly, as great as the temptation was, he didn't want the audience to get to him. He didn't want to feel the need to feel haughty. He wanted a clear head so he could fight his best.But I never fought a cavewoman before...and how the hell does she keep that loincloth on?
A circle was cleared, and Ayla paced near the fire. She was almost entirely muscle; well, muscle and breasts. She grinned at Jacious. In a loud voice, she addressed the crowd. Tonight you see Ayla fight special guest of Life Celebration, Jacious. Jacious friend of Lucca.
He stood normally, waiting for the fight to start. He felt slightly itchy for the spar, but knew Ayla had to give her big speeches as usual. He gave a small nod of his head as he faced the crowd to acknowledge their presence.
A cheer erupted from the crowd in all their drunken glee. Jacious not know rules of spar among Ioka, so I tell him now. She turned to him, but still used her 'theatre' voice.
Jacious looked for Lucca in the crowd and spotted her. He gave her a small smirk. In response, Lucca rolled her eyes, supported on the shoulder of the eighth new guy of the evening. Jacious fought the urge to laugh. For some reason the scenario brought a wave of humor into him. He faced Ayla, who was a good bit away.
Ayla was announcing the rules. One, no weapons. Fight only with fists and feet. Two, no biting or clawing. Three, fight ends when one unconscious or tap out. Four... have fun!
He nodded at each rule. They were to keep things fair, and he appreciated that much. Fun? Damn Straight! He addressed the crowd. This is the best fun anyone can have! The crowd cheered again. Maybe sex would beat fighting...but for now it's fighting.
Ayla grinned, basking in the adoration of her people.
I'm ready when you are Ayla. He gave her a motion he'd seen Magus use in the game when he had them attack. If you're prepared to taste the ground, feel free to attack.
She paced, watching him warily. The crowd was silent, and though she hadn't attacked, it was clear that the fight was on. Jacious watched her every step, Hope that didn't sound too haughty...I just need to sound confident. He stood there as if just waiting, taking no special stances. Ayla feinted to his left, watching for a reflex. Instead of trying to avoid the possible hit, Jacious brought his foot up in a side kick aimed at her gut. He couldn't win...but he could at least show her he could land a punch.
Ayla spun, surprised at such a reaction, and did her best to avoid the move. It did land, but not hard enough to do any damage. She grinned with enjoyment, Maybe you have surprises, then?
He jumped back to gain some distance, standing normally again to await her next attack. Well I can use magic...but I'm not going to use it. He assumed a thinking pose. And I can lift stuff with my mind...but other than that, let's just say that pain is weakness leaving the body.
Ayla deal with plenty magic. Just because she not use it herself not mean she unprepared. She dove low at his feet, trying to bowl him over.
True, but I want this to be truly physical. He jumped barely missing it, but she did hit his ankles which threw him off balance as he landed on his feet. Crap... remind me not to lose myself in my speeches. He gained his balance and ran towards her while her back was to him. I'm ready for you, Ayla.
She swept low and turned in the same motion, keeping her center of balance around her knees. She tried to catch and grapple with him as he approached.
Instinctively, he jumped back again, taking the defensive before she could trip him. He'd trained plenty to avoid those types of moves. Wow...that was close. I can't let her grab me...that'd be the end for sure... He ran forward, bringing himself into a flying side kick.
Ayla leaned forward, bracing herself. She seemed to be preparing to take the full force of the kick, hands spread in front of her. Jacious narrowed his eyes, knowing he couldn't stop the attack in mid air...unless he resorted to telekinesis, but he wouldn't use that. What are you planning Ayla? As his leg approached, she actually moved into it, grabbing and twisting it as it hit her chest. She took the full force of the attack, but now his leg was securely locked in her arms, and she began leaning into a forward roll. It all happened in less than three seconds.
Crap. No you don't! He could imagine what she'd do. She'd roll, which would send him unprepared into the ground, giving her the opportunity to pin. He shifted his weight, bringing his free leg in to kick her jaw with a roundhouse. She continued rolling forward since his kick was missing some force due to its awkward delivery, but it still made a satisfying crack as it hit her jaw. Ayla, though, didnt release his leg. She hit the ground, pulling him down with her. As she rolled, Jacious slammed along the ground beside her.
Jacious let out a grunt, That was nice. He lay there, dazed for a moment. Okay...next plan of action...get her off my leg and punch her in the face...she's gonna pay for that. He smirked at Ayla, giving her a series of punches, Is that the best you've got?
She grinned back, obviously having fun. I get stronger punch from six-year old. Shifting, she locked his leg between her thighs and ankles, and brought her upper body up to grab his. Her left arm pinned him at the shoulder, and her right raised into the air to prepare for a punch of her own. However, she was looking a bit dazed from the continuous flurry of blows Jacious was landing.
He gave her a hook from his right which impacted on her jaw. Just be a good girl...I'm not through yet!
Hah! She sank down and slid her right arm under and around his neck. Her left arm snaked under Jacious' left armpit, forcing his arm to splay up into the air. She SQUEEZED, cramming his head and shoulder together and threatening to crack something.
Jacious winced from the pressure, Dammit...I won't give up. I can always lift us off the ground and slam her...but I forbade myself from doing that. It wouldn't be fair to her. He lifted his legs up, trying to use his flexibility to bring his legs far enough to hit her, but failed at the attempt.
With her right arm under his neck, Ayla reached towards the splayed arm, and using her left as a support, started to bend it the wrong way at the elbow. Jacious grunted, in obvious pain, his eyes shut tightly to try to block it. His teeth clenched as he says, quietly, Just knock me out already....you can break my arms...you can force something out of place, but I won't tap out.
Grunting, she whispers heavily in his ear, I no want to hurt you. Tap out.
There no shame.
He waited for a moment, feeling the pressure on his elbow and the eyes on him from the crowd. They were waiting...would he give or force Ayla's hand. Wait a moment, is it really worth it...this was just a friendly match... He sighed, his body relaxing, Ayla is the strongest. I accept defeat! He yelled it out to the crowd and hit the dirt with his free hand slightly, trying to keep the pressure off his other arm.
With the tap, Ayla sighed in relief and instantly relieved the pressure on his arm. Standing, she offered him her hand and pulled him from the ground. The crowd roared in satisfaction; their chieftain had won again.
Ayla gave Jacious a friendly grin, her eyes revealing a newfound respect for the man. You do well. Come, now we drink together as warriors. Without waiting for a reply, she guided him back to the cushions.
As he took her hand, he smiled at the crowd. Once again they had another reason to be proud of their chief. Though he lost...he now didn't mind a bit. Good fight Ayla. That was a lot of fun. He grinned, Maybe I can beat you at a drinking contest, he rubbed his arm, you on for that?
Fighting fun! Drinking fun! Eating fun! Best of life here for you tonight. Life celebration. See? Ayla looked happier than a pig in mud.
Jacious thought over the words, slowly and finally understanding them, I understand. Youre simply celebrating the physical pleasures of life... and to think, I was afraid you were going to have me and Lucca get married. He looked around. So where is she, anyway? I was expecting her to mock me or something.
Ayla looked as well, peering over the crowd, Ayla not see her. Wonder if she okay? I return soon. Must go prepare another speech, but after speech, drinking contest. She winked. You should go find Lucca, yes? She padded off into a circle of what appeared to be nobles, and paid Jacious no more notice for the time being. The villagers seemed to look at him with more respect, almost as one of their own.
Jacious turned a bit red from the attention and nodded to the villagers he saw. I guess I did a good thing. He wandered through the crowd, looking for Lucca all over the field. I hope she didn't pass out. He sighed, Even worse. I hope she didn't go off with some guy after she got drunk. He quickly added to himself, Not that I care about that or anything. He continued looking through the crowd. After a moment, he saw a flash of red from a secluded spot near the edge of the firelight.
He whipped his head towards it, quickly making his way through the crowd in that direction, giving apologies when he ran into someone. After pressing through the people, he spotted Lucca near the edge of the area. He quietly approached her, saying in a soft voice, figuring she'd be drunk, Hey, Lucca. You alright?
She was sitting on the ground with her head between her knees, looking up as he approached. Jacious kneeled down next to her, placing a hand on her back. Something wrong?
She sniffed loudly, and he could see her eyes were bright red. She had been crying, and made no effort to hide it. Suddenly, she wrapped her arms around his neck. She smelled pretty strongly of poi. I'm Soooooorrrrrrrryyyyy! she wailed.
Jacious blinked in utter confusion. Sorry? Umm...what are you sorry for, Lucca? He slowly wrapped his arms around her, trying to comfort her, blushing from the close contact and expecting a mallet to his head at any moment.
She sniffed again, I'm soooo meeeeeeean to you! I didn't mean the stuff I said! She sniffed, You're a niiiice guy, really...
Shhhh...shhh. Hey, we don't mean the things we say...we just get a bit crazy with each other. You know you're a nice girl too. You're a perfect lady. He gave her a smile.
Her eyes were open wide. She was on a roll now. One of the guys said I was... said I was... pretty, and I just started cryyyying! Crono never said I was pretty.
He shook his head, a smile still on his face, Of course they'd say something like that. You are pretty. You're a beautiful young woman. He patted her back, his embrace staying firm. He didn't want her to think he was going to leave her in this state.
Thank... thank you! Tears welled up in her eyes again. She was apparently severely emotional when drunk. Bawling, she buried her head in his chest. Jacious couldnt help but feel a little foolish, but at least he was out of view of most of the villagers, and as a plus, she wasnt table dancing like last time.
Surprised, he turned a bit redder, not used to a girl being THIS emotional with him. He looked around to find no one staring. Poor girl. The sooner you sleep this off, the better...but I need to keep you from having a headache tomorrow. Lucca....are you going to be okay? Anything I can get for you? Yep...she'll not know and I'll suggest water....that'll help her out
I... I dunno... Just don't leave me, okay? She didnt move from his arms.
Umm...sure. I won't leave you. How about... As if just coming up with the idea on the spot, we get you some water...lots of water. You'll feel better I bet.
In a pouty voice, Do'wanna move...
He sighed, So you just want to stay in my arms all night? Lucca...I hate to say this, but you're drunk. If I stay like this any longer, I'm afraid I'll feel as if I'm taking advantage of you.
She responded with silence, and he worried for a moment that he had upset her; however, just as he was about to ask her again, a piercing snore issued from her lips. She had fallen asleep.
He sighed and picked her up, and taking her into his arms, he smiled. Well you might not feel well in the morning...but at least you'll be you again. He went back and around the crowd to Ayla, pointing to Lucca, I think she's ready to sleep.
Ayla just laughed. Ayla know. Lucca not handle alcohol well. I send women to carry her to tent. And if Jacious want, he can go too. But Ayla have something Jacious should know before he leaves.
He nodded, Well...I don't mind sleeping in a separate tent, and I'm sure we can talk, so by all means, I trust Lucca to the hands of those you protect.
Come then. We talk privately. She led him back to the cushions and sat cross-legged, waiting for him to join her.
He took his previous seat across from her. Now, Ayla, what is it you wanted to talk about? He waited for the answer, his mind going over the possibilities.
Why you and Lucca here? He was caught off guard by the question, and she saw it. Ayla know you come in Epoch, because hear big bang Epoch make when jump time.
Jacious closed his eyes in thought, I don't know. Our destination was to meet Magus and somehow Epoch kept bringing us here. Either there's something wrong with Epoch or he looked up to her.
Finishing his thought, Or there something here that need dealing with. She nodded, her suspicions confirmed. Something strange happen in canyon two nights ago.
Canyon? The name sent off alarms. Mystic Mountain?
Ayla didnt seem too surprised. You know Mystic Mountain? Lucca tell you?
Jacious gave her the affirmative, Ah...let's just say I've studied your adventures a good bit.
She accepted that. Scouts report loud cracking, and falling earth, and when they investigate, found cavern that not there before, high up in side of mountain. She shook her head. Animals around Ioka, and especially near cave, begin going crazy. Attacking. Even family dog turn against masters and must be killed.
He crossed his arms, A cavern huh...very interesting. This wasn't in the game, but this is based afterward...and the weather is much colder. Perhaps this is the creation of what will be MountWoe? Perhaps something is in there that's affecting the outside...something strong for sure. Lucca and I could check it out.
Ayla seemed slightly ashamed. I not want to ask you to go. But all village's strongest warriors not return, and Ayla herself have Kino and village to look after.
He knew his answer before he could think it over. No problem. I bet this is why we were summoned here. I wonder...the Dreamstone used in Zeal needed to come from somewhere...perhaps the Earthbound village was started as a mining colony...and the first thing that needs to be done is see what's in there and take care of it.
Ayla smiled. Ayla trust Lucca with life. More, Ayla trust Lucca with life of village. And if Lucca trust you, then I trust you as well.
He returned the gesture, I appreciate your words, Ayla. I'll go over this with Lucca tomorrow when she gets up, he shook his head, and gets over her headache.
Yes, please tell Lucca in the morning. Oh yes, here. She dug through a pouch around her waist, and handed him several dried leaves.
He eyed the leaves carefully. What are these for?
Ayla winked, For terrible headache. Make tea of them for Lucca, okay? Enjoy party. It continue for few more hours. Ayla sorry, but with problems around village, she cannot spend time talking as she would like.
He smiled, I think I'll turn in for the night then. I'll need my energy if I'm going to deal with Lucca tomorrow, if you catch my drift.
Ayla stood from her spot on the cushions. Perhaps Lucca at her very worst the morning after. Even Crono not able to deal with her then. If Jacious manage, he a truly strong man. Offering a bow, she retreated from his side, leaving him to his own devices.
Pocketing the leaves, he headed over to the tent he was in earlier, suspecting that the women hadnt taken Lucca there. He found the tent dark, warm, and empty, with a pile of furs in a spot near a smoldering fire. Making himself comfortable, he prepared for an early morning and a very long day.