Tempo Trigger Chapter 29

Ertai's Training: Running the Gauntlet

By Nanaki

1825 A.D.

"Hyaaaaah!! Hah! Huh! Huh! Hah! Hyah!" Ertai yelled out as he charged Billy with a shiny new broadsword. He struck out as hard as he could, grimacing all the while. Billy easily deflected the blow, and Ertai went rushing past. Billy whirled around and kicked Ertai in the back, hurling him into a wall. Ertai teleported directly above and behind Billy, bringing the sword down in a huge overhead chop. Billy rolled out of the way and planted a foot square in his chest, sending Ertai flying in a large arc, to land hard on his back. Ertai slowly got up, panting, and leaned on the sword.

"You do know that those primal screams don't really do anything for you." Billy dusted his hands off.

"Yeah, but it's kind of fun, and helps to get the rage out anyway." Ertai continued panting, then looked up. "This thing just doesn't move as fast as I want it to."

"Yeah, I've been getting that impression." Billy held up his hand, and the broadsword disappeared. Ertai fell forward, sprawling onto the ground. A long, thin sword appeared in Billy's hand, and he held the hilt out to Ertai. "My friend, meet the rapier. These were invented centuries after clumsy old broadswords. With one of these, you can kill a guy five times before he even hits the ground." Ertai slowly pushed himself up to his knees, and took a closer look. At least half of the hilt was covered by a small metal shield, and the rest had a wire frame surrounding it. "This is a shell guard rapier, to be specific. Other types don't directly cover as much of the hand. They look a little more artsy, it's true, but when your hand is impaled, you don't much care about how good your sword looks." Ertai took it, and took a few experimental swings. "Just remember, the main function of this sword is stabbing, not cutting. You'll want to keep the side to side action to a minimum."

"I don't really know how many guys with swords I'll be going up against anyway." Ertai turned around, then saw a blur out of the corner of his eye. "Crap!" He brought up his new rapier just in time to parry Billy's thrust. "Gyaah!" Ertai backed up rapidly as Billy jabbed at him with lightning speed. As Ertai strained to block everything, he realized that the rapier was indeed a lot faster than his previous sword. He also wondered where the hell Billy had pulled his own rapier from. He hadn't seen him draw it or anything... 'Enough of this!' He thought as his arm began to burn from the exertion. He teleported behind Billy and aimed a mighty thrust at his back. He hit thin air instead, and dove to the floor as Billy tried the exact same move, albeit without teleporting. Then he cried out in geniune surprise as he felt the blade pass through his right shoulder. "Damn it! What the hell did you do that for?!"

Billy yanked the sword out, and began twirling it in midair. "You think a real opponent is going to stop just because you hit the floor?"

Ertai grimaced as the blood poured down his shoulder. He stood up, and struggled to raise his right arm. "Stop this, jerk ass." His sword launcher appeared in his hand, loaded and ready to go. It hurt like hell, but he managed to pull the launching rod, and a large broadsword rocketed at Billy, who, incredibly, simply reached out and caught it in midair.

"Well, a fellow gun enthusiast eh?" Billy raised an eyebrow as he threw the sword down, then drew two pistols so fast that they appeared to simply materialize in his hands. "I call this the Nutcracker." Billy raced in close before Ertai could move, then pointed both barrels at his chest.

Ertai looked down in disbelief, then back up at him. "You've got to be kid-" He was cut short as six shots were fired, hurling him backwards. "Aaaaaaauuuuuuugggggggghhhhhh!!!!!" Ertai screamed his lungs out, until he felt his throat filling with blood. He hazarded a look down to see a huge amount of blood gushing from his chest. "You're crazy!!!" He managed to shout. "You used... ugh... real ammo?!"

"At this particular moment, I'd worry more about healing yourself."

"I don't KNOW any..." He stopped, and coughed up more blood. "Healing spells!!"

"Well you'd better find a way."

"Forget you!" Ertai shouted, but then wondered at the wisdom of this argument as his vision began to grow dark. 'This guy's so crazy... he may just let me die.' He scrunched up his eyelids, and forced his eyes to focus. 'I'll show him!' "Hyaaaaaaaah...!" Ertai began to charge up, and electricity began crackling all over his body. As the current ran through the bullets inside of him, they began to heat up from the intense energy. As they grew wamer, all the blood around them dried instantly, basically sealing the wounds. Ertai woozily got to his knees, and fell over. He cursed, then got to his knees again, and shakily stood up, electricity still crackling all over him. Smoke was pouring out of the bullet holes in his skin now.

"Uh, you lost a lot of blood there." Billy pointed out. "You really should find a way to heal before you..." He trailed off as Ertai growled angrily, his eyes becoming an opaque yellow. "Well then, if you're going to do something, do it."

"I am..." Ertai assumed a fighting stance, albeit very shakily, and growled again. "I'm gonna kick your ass so hard, your butt'll be touching your teeth!!" He pulled back, and then raced forward. "Hyaaaaaah...! Hyah! Hah! Huh! Hah! Hyah!" He tried to pound Billy's face in several times in a row, before dropping down and nailing his instructor with a sweeping kick. As Billy fell to the ground, Ertai aimed two massive lightning bolts at his prone form, and punched downward at the same time. Bricks from the floor went flying, and a huge cloud of dust rose up. When Ertai could see again, only a smoldering crater remained where Billy had been. He whirled around to have a look, but too late. Billy's foot connected with his back, hurling him into the crater. He flipped over, his sworch launcher materializing in his hands. He let another one loose at Billy. The gunslinger seemed to easily step aside, and he reached down and pulled Ertai up by his collar.

To Ertai's surprise, Billy then set him back down. Then, he leaned close, and whispered one word: "Goten."

"Goten?" Ertai asked.

"Goten!!" Billy shouted, and then nailed Ertai with about twenty thousand roundhouse kicks in a row, or at least it felt like it. When the last one connected, a huge white burst of energy accompanied it, and threw Ertai back into the opposite wall.

He gasped as the wind was knocked out of him, and several bones shattered. "I'm not finished yet!" He wheezed. "L-Lumin-"

"Yes you are." Billy sighed, and a small fireball shot out of his hand, nailing Ertai in the head. The teen collapsed, the energy he had been gathering dissipating. "Well, you weren't kidding about the rage. Where'd that come from?"

"Wouldn't you have been mad too?!" Ertai gasped.

"At your age, I would have given up after I got shot." Billy scratched his chin. "And you didn't even heal yourself. That's gotta hurt."

"Well, I don't give up." Ertai managed to flip himself onto his back. "That's the only reason I'm still alive."

"Hmm... This sounds promising." Billy smiled. "At any rate, you've earned a short break. Take five." With that, Billy left the room.

'A SHORT break?' Ertai wondered, struggling to breathe. 'Oh, this is gonna be fun...'


"Bwaaaaaaaauuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhh!!!!" - Enzo Matrix


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