But, rather quickly, the celebration was cut short because there was a villager who rushed right in front of Ayla.
Chief come quick! Reptites come! Hundreds! panted the villager. Ayla stood up and called to her subjects.
Village get spears! Village get clubs! We fight! cried Ayla. These hundred-or-so Reptites always came to raid occasionally, throwing their disorganized masses onto the human villages. Since Azala was no more, the Reptites just attacked chaotically, and soon their numbers would be zero because of their lack of leadership coupled with desperation.
Kino grabbed a club from nearby and Ayla rushed past the campfire, followed closely by Kino. Spotting their target, short, stout green lizards on two legs came rushing towards the village with torches in their hands to light up the fast-dimming purple sky. Ayla was on them in the blink of an eye. Punching and clawing all over, she managed to beat down thirty-some Reptites before calling for aid. The villagers descended upon the low-morale Reptites in a few moments, crushing skulls under their clubs and impaling other lizards with their spears.
Quickly, swarms of flying lyzardactyls started attacking the villagers. Hovering three feet above ground, some of them were batted away. However, the new ones that were swooping down to a mere two inches off the ground to trip up the humans and then go for the kill. Ayla hopped onto one of these, knocking it over and jumping to a next one, and then one that was three feet off the ground, and then leaping up everywhere off lyzardactyls. Pausing only to check on the condition of her people, Ayla made no stops as she stomped the flying lizards continuously. Purposely ramming one into the ground with her knees, she flipped up right before the lyzardactyls she was riding crashed into a boulder nearby. She landed on her feet, and got into a battle stance facing two megasaurs. The gigantic beasts roared and stomped on the ground, creating a massive shockwave that shook the ground and made Aylas teeth rattle. She was mostly unfazed and proceeded to kick the living daylights out of one of the Reptite pets. She kicked one in the face and then used it as a springboard and bounced high into the air and kicked the head twice. The beast fell, apparently knocked out.
Kino, on the other side of the battlefield, speared one Reptite with ease, then clubbed another one in the stomach, making it fly teen yards before it skidded to a stop. Then, he paused, surrounded by Reptites in a circle, and then spun around at an amazing rate. Any Reptites that tried to attack him were deflected by his flailing club. Kino was a whirlwind of pain, spinning his club and hitting the Reptites like a tornado.
With the brunt of their force beaten down, the remaining Reptites fled back into the mountains that they stormed in from. Not satisfied with the little fight they put up, Ayla challenged them repeatedly, as she had always done in the past. But getting no more fight or resistance from the Reptites, she gave up.
Kino placed a hand on Aylas shoulder. We go back now, Ayla. All village is going back, he said. Getting a grunt as response, he turned and headed toward the collection of huts which made up their village.
Stop killing the damned ants!
If their damned, then Im doing these things a favor, arent I? a big brawny bully smirked, somewhere in Porre in the year 750 A.D.
Well, ants have lives, too! Ants also have needs to live! Ants own part of this world, just like us! argued the young and small 15-year-old named Kani.
Whats wrong with killing ants? Oh, look at me, Im stomping on em! Like thats really bad! taunted the stronger, bringing his foot down on the ant hill repeatedly. Kani couldnt do anything about the ants. And he hated that. He resented being a weakling. He reviled never being tall or strong. So he did nothing, but walked away instead. Gritting his teeth at his own self-hatred, he opened the door to his masters house.
Kani was a scrawny youth lacking physical strength. His parents died when he was only three, and he stayed with his staff master, Gansal. He only did practices strengthening reflex and the mind for the last twelve years, not really learning anything with the staff yet. Neither did he do any physical exercises. Not that he wasnt healthy. His master had simply told him, Why have the strength enough to defeat a few men, when you could have the intelligence to defeat all men?
And he listened.
Sometimes it got irritating, though, not being able beat somebody really got to him. He impatiently waited for the day that his wizened old master would bestow upon his one pupil the knowledge of Wudan staff skill. He was very lucky that day.
Closing the door behind him, Kani looked around the same old room he had been living in for the last twelve years of his life. It was rather large, with two cots and a table. Meals were always bought at the next-door café and eaten at the masters house. Beyond a door lay the training room, currently occupied by the master and many pieces of equipment and much-needed space for training when in the physical phase of training.
Kani approached his meditating master slowly. Noting his masters breathing, Kani turned and began walking out.
You are very lucky today young Kani, the master said, startling the pupil. He turned around to face the elder.
Why do you say that, master? Kani asked.
The master stood up slowly and rubbed the front of his robe, then stroked his beard. You shall begin the training of the body today. You have yearned for it, and you know just as much as I do. You now only lack practice. Do not neglect the mind while we nurture the body. We shall see if you are intelligent enough to take on staves, the master said. Inside, Kani was leaping for joy. His heart was erratic and his eyes couldnt conceal his happiness.
Thank you, master. Where do I begin? he asked, failing miserably to keep the eagerness out of his voice.
We begin by strengthening your body. A shift in diet and the training I give you will do the trick. Then I teach you to use the staff. For now, let us eat lunch.
Kani was excited when his master started training him. He did his exercises with self-driven enthusiasm and perpetual motivation. He never relented when the exercises got tough and tiring and he always focused on his goal: to be the very best. When he thought of what came after that, he wasnt very sure. But for now, he trained vigorously whether he was thrusting his fingers into hot sand, bringing water from the well with both arms straight and perpendicular, or filling buckets with water using sit-ups and two small teacups. He also switched different styles of eating. His diet contained more protein and meat, and soon, the changes were showing.
Kani grew stronger, and muscles replaced his sinewy flesh. His body grew tougher and then his master only trained him harder with hotter sand, heavier weights. When doing chores, Kani always wore weighted clothing to enhance his strength.
One day, after a particularly vigorous training day, Kani finished washing the dishes and was about to lay down to sleep before his master called him.
Yes, sir? answered Kani.
It appears, he paused. that you have trained very well your body. Your mind is also honed to a very high level. It is now time to develop the connection between the two, in training your soul. But for now, sleep.
Kani nodded and lay down on his cot, slowly drifting off to sleep. And he dreamt.
He was in a world of desolation. Metal and dead bodies were strewn around everywhere. He walked along the debris and destruction, distressed and overwhelmed by the amount of bloodshed. He was obviously walked on a battleground and witnessing the aftermath of a battle that took place but a few hours ago. He walked to the center and there was a sword stuck in the ground, with the hilt straight up. Melchoir was engraved on it and the sword seemed to give off its own energy. It was glinting and bright, in sharp contrast to the hazy battlefield. Next to it was another sword, this one more curved. It was semi-transparent, with every color of the rainbow all melded together on the blade. Next to that was a crossbow, without a string, but he could feel the magical energies emanating from it. It was golden, and a bolt was locked into place, as if whoever handled it was poised to strike before being struck down. Nearby was another crossbow or was it? It didnt have the bow or string and was shorter. It did have a trigger though, and a slightly glowing panel on the side had armed displayed one side and Wondershot on the other. Looking around, he couldnt find anything else until he stumbled upon a metal hand on the ground, which he had mistaken as a metal gauntlet of a knights. He picked it up and saw it curled up into a tight fist and tiny blue sparks jumping out from the other end. The next weapon he saw was a scythe, seeming so dark yet gleaming like the sword. It suck all light from around it and replaced it with its own processed light. And lastly, he saw a pair of human fists, severed from their owner, splotched of blood here and there. They belonged to a female.
Taking a few more steps, he saw a flag planted with an insignia on it. It was a circle with an iron fist inside. Somehow he just knew it was iron. And next to the flag was a staff. Interested, Kani took the staff and twirled it a bit in his hands. It was very heavy. On it was engraved words in ancient Zealian script. He could translate a basic meaning.
Those with karma contribute to our vast army. Those with hikha contribute to the Chrono Triggers. Join us, it read. Kani dropped the staff. He knew it had and was evil. To his horror, it was stuck to his hands. It turned into a dark black substance that began to ooze up his arm. Startled, he tried to shake it off, but to no avail.
He looked around, grabbed a different staff nearby which his instincts told him was right. He grabbed it and tried to beat the black substance, which had engulfed his entire right arm by now. It shrunk back almost immediately before the staff made contact. Having no host to envelop, the black substance slithered away. Seeing that the black substance had left, he examined the staff. It was made of a lightweight material, but it was very strong. The inside was hollow. It was milky white in color. A K was engraved on one end. It was just a perfect cylinder besides the K. He heard the sound of hooves behind him and spun around.
Kani saw a dark blue knight mounted on the horse, looking ghostly and thin. It threw its sword at Kani at such a speed that he was thrown back after the sword struck his heart. He was jolted awake, cold sweat soaking his clothes and cot, a sharp pain stabbing his chest. Making a mental note to himself to ask his master about the dream, he tried to settle back to sleep.
At the crack of dawn the next day, he was awakened by his master, who was gently shaking Kani awake. Kani opened his eyes wide and rubbed them with the backs of his hands. Stretching, he got up and prepared his mind for his day.
Kanis master looked very eager to begin teaching him. His eyes nearly gleamed with joy and pride at his pupil. But the training wasnt even halfway over. The elder only started training Kani after Kani was eight. He now would change Kanis diet again and dedicate a third of the day to each of the different exercises.
Breakfast was wheat bread with eggs and bacon. They ate with wooden forks with no condiment on their food (not including salt). They ate in mutual silence, each basically understanding each other without words. But Kani had something to say.
Master, todays breakfast tastes a bit queer. Have you added any flavorings or has the Café changed their recipe? he asked, pressing his tongue against the roof of his mouth to soak in the taste.
My student, it is because of the various amounts of poison I placed in your food, he replied, and chuckled when he saw the shocked face of Kani. Do not fret so much, it is in such small amounts that it barely hurts your body. I am trying to build your resistance to some of these not-so-fatal substances. They are serious when used in moderate amounts, so that is why I am adding such things to your food in very small amounts. You will eventually develop immunity to these substances.
Master, how long will it take? asked Kani, who now struggled with swallowing his food. Maybe it was the poison. Maybe it was all in his head.
In two months, half of these poisons wont even affect you when you drink or eat them by the gallons. The entire process will take a year. That will be when I release you to train on your own, said the master, chewing methodically on his own food. Kani uneasily finished his own food. He trusted in his master, but thinking about the various effects of the poisons made his head hurt or was that the drugs given to him?
After eating Kani felt a little bit of head pain, but nothing much else. When he was done cleaning and washing, he began his exercises under his masters supervision. First he hones his mind with reaction tests, raising the corresponding finger to the corresponding command as quickly as he could. Then it got faster, with the commands in a string and he was expected to remember them all and raise each corresponding finger.
After the reaction exercises, Kani and his master went to the creek near their humble abode. And there, Kani caught crawfish with nothing but two fingers, to further exercise his reaction. Another activity at the creek tested Kanis speed of thought in puzzles. He predicted the swirl of sand as his master threw handfuls of it into the creek. As long as Kani had a constant such as the flow of the creek, he could always guess the separate swirling of sand. And his master always knew when Kani got it right or wrong. Then lunchtime came with the same amount of poison in the meal.
Afterwards, Kani did his physical training exercises, which varied from doing errands for other people to thrusting his hands repeatedly into hot sand. Today he ran errands for the village, transferring well water into the tubs of various peoples houses and help digging new wells. After a long day of exhausting handiwork, Kani retreated to his masters for dinner., which still contained poison.
When dinner was done, Kani began to meditate with his master. Trying his best to enter a tranquil state, he cleared his mind and attempted to cease his fidgeting. His rough tunics were irritating sometimes. He did all of the physical movements while concentrating his mind, thinking about the three principles that his master taught him, honesty, benevolence, and tolerance. When he had finished his meditation he opened his eyes and looked upon his master, who was holding a wooden staff five feet in length, with a peaceful and eager smile on his face.
Kani, as you know, you are my only pupil and that no one ever preceded you. You have made faster progress than I would have ever been able to fathom. Your mind is as sharp as a knights blade and your strength can rival a horses. I could not find any match for your abilities in the entire town. You learn speedily. Kanis master paused, allowing the words to settle in. He continued, I am very happy to announce that you will now be learning with me the skill of the staves. I, Master Gansal, will pass on to you everything I know about the ways of the staff. You can thank me later. His smile grew when he saw Kanis blank look, happiness and eagerness in his eyes, contrary to his face.
We start tomorrow.
Dawn came in silence. The birds didnt sing. All the various species of animals and monsters had hidden themselves to escape the following downpour. Inside Master Gansals hut, it was a very different matter. The training room was filled with the disciplinary barks of the master. Kani swung immediately after his master called out a swing from right middle to left lower. Kani swept the ground with his sword, tripping some unknown enemy and jabbed at an invisible foe. Each time he attacked the air he imagined the black thing from his dream at every swing, every parry, every spin.
Gansal quickened the pace of his commands and Kani responded with equal speed. Jab, thrust, deeper thrust, parry, sweep, swing, spin. The commands were dished out faster and faster, each met with a successful response. When Kanis master finally yielded, Kani wiped the sweat from his brow and leaned on his staff.
Sir, if I may. This staff seems to be shorter than most that I have seen. Why is that? the young pupil asked.
Kani, a long staff takes the greatest skill to harness. Please do not forget that. Your staff is heavier than most because of the material it is made of. It is an iron rod, covered by a very thin layer of wood. It is heavier and short for a quick pace in staff progression. Now, if you will, on with the day. With that, the master motioned for Kani to go buy lunch at the Café and come back quickly. Kani obeyed, heading out into the rain for the Café, which wasnt that far away.
He plunged through the rain and made it to Porres favorite meeting place with only a few patched of wetness. At least Im not drenched and dripping, he thought, entering the Café. Inside, it was as rowdy as usual. The maids and bartender were busy, and the tables were full. Strong aromas wafted from the kitchens, stimulating Kanis hunger and making his mouth water slightly. He lined up at the end of twenty-person line. As he started counting money from his pocket, a gold coin slipped out.
The gold coin was worth five hundred gil, a hefty amount of money that made anybody want to reach for it. He bent down to pick it up, but just before he laid a finger on it, he was booted from the behind. Rubbing his bottom, he turned to face his attacker, who had by then stolen his coin.
Hey, dont get so upset! said the robber, who was a large, and rippling muscles to show that he was boss. Ill pay you back later with horse dung! He doubled over at his own odious (no pun intended) joke.
Give that back to me, Kani firmly ordered. The robber laughed even harder.
And who are you, to think you can take back from Basdu, the thief spade of the Suits gang! Puh-lease Basdu laughed again, slapping his knee. The Café turned to silence as all eyes swiveled to the brewing trouble.
Give that back to me, thief or I may have to hurt you, Kani warned. That elicited another round of guffaws from Basdu, and some chuckles from the spectators, who ignored their food and paid one hundred percent attention to the oncoming challenge. Kani held out his hand, palm up, towards Basdu and motioned to give the gold back. What he got was a square punch from Basdu in the jaw, sending him spinning and crashing into the wall. He cursed under his breath and fixed his jaw, his dark blue eyes set on who was now his enemy.
Alright, Basdu. I am not responsible for your moronic actions, Kani coldly stated, drawing the staff he had strapped to his back.
Oh, now the little wimp wants the tiny stick to protect him! You forgot your momma, little boy! Now I will let you taste true pain, laughed Basdu, charging at Kani.
The hell am I doing? Kani thought, holding his staff in a stance. Basdu charged straight into it, but glanced off when Kani whapped him in the skull. Basdu, rubbed his, very probably, empty head, but let his guard down and Kani struck him in the gut, and attacked his ribs with rapid succession. Basdu fell, after twenty hits to his rib cage. Kani still held the staff in his hands, oblivious to the cheering crowd around. Basdu got up, numb from agony and humiliation. He placed the coin into a pouch at his side and handed it to one of the audience nearby.
Take it, Maruka, and run, he ordered. The sinewy, sly-looking man with a diamond tattooed onto his shoulder eagerly took the pouch and bolted through the door, leaving Basdu to contend with Kani. Kani angrily bashed Basdu on the head, knocking him out, and began a pursuit of Maruka, perhaps the diamond of the Suits gang. He saw Maruka dash towards one of the markets, the pouch clutched in his hands. Kani rushed after him his staff ready and the blood pounding in his ears. The rain still pounded heavily.
Maruka vanished behind the market. When Kani arrived, he saw no trace of Maruka. There was no back door. However, on closer examination, he could see a part of a hole and a wide flap above. He crawled into it, not knowing what he would find.
It was dark, and he found himself in the storeroom of the market. He looked around and saw a dim candlelight in the center of the room. He looked around for signs of Maruka. Suddenly, he was struck in the back. His staff clattered on the floor five feet away from him as he fell to the ground. He quickly rolled to see his assailant. In the dim light he could see that it was a long-haired brunette, with very attractive curves. On her ample cleavage was a ruby jewel in the shape of a heart. She was decked in snugly-fitting black clothes, a spear in her hand. She had butted him with the side without the spearhead. He rolled towards his staff and had it in his hands before she could really damage him with a stab in the front side. He blocked it and swiped at her feet, making her trip. Maruka appeared behind him and clubbed him on the head. Kani swung full force and made Maruka feel hurting at his hip. He poked his staff trough a hole in the pouch strapped at Marukas side and swung it up, catching it. He stole a quick glance and saw that it was his coin and stashed it in his pocket.
The woman had gotten up by then and called to Maruka to make sure he was alright.
Yeah, Im fine, Mona. Lets take care of this little shrimp first! Maruka responded, grabbing a knife from the top of one of the storage boxes. Kani shifted the staff from one hand to another, then again, and again. He developed a rhythm, throwing the staff from one hand to another. Maruka and Mona circled around Kani, Suddenly, Mona let out a yell, charged, and Maruka came from the other side. Kani ducked out of Monas trajectory and rammed Maruka into a stack of boxes, toppling them , burying Maruka underneath.
Mona had gotten up from her rather embarrassing fall and started attacking Kani. He dodged, blocked with the stick, and kicked both her shins. She winced in pain but didnt go down. She thrust her spear towards Kanis gut, but only scrapped a strip of his tunic off. A small trickle of blood became visible. Kani wiped it off and resumed his stance, giving a rising Maruka a whack that sent him dropping again. He hit the knife out of Marukas hand and blocked another jab from Mona. He backhanded her in the jaw and followed it up with a swing to the stomach. The hit connected, sending the belle flying a good three yards before smacking into a crate. Maruka swiped at Kani repeatedly, each swing missing wildly as Kanis reflexes took over, flitting from side to side with ease. Having toyed with Maruka enough, he drove his staff straight into Marukas nose, breaking something in there. Maruka fell to the ground, clutching his bloody nose, his knife clattering on the floor.
Kani brushed some dust off his staff and himself. He turned slowly in a full circle, making sure that his assailants would stay down. Satisfied, he began to walk out the door that led to the market. Before he could open the door, however, the door swung open and knocked Kani in the head. He dropped onto the ground, rolled and got back up. He looked up, and saw the market owner, a well-built man named Tuefri.
Thank goodness youre here. These people were probably trying to steal your items, Kani said to him.
Now that wouldnt be a problem, Tuefri coldly stated.
Tuefris eyes glinted dangerously. Because Im Club of the Suits gang.
Shanley Wang's Fanfiction