Mizuki Chapter 1

Chapter 1


The Unsolicited Examination & the Graves Boy’s Pending Return






I was running as fast as I could down a dark forest. The sound of multiple falling trees hitting the ground echoed throughout the surrounding area. My pursuer was destroying everything in its path as it tried desperately to keep up with my rapid pace. My running came to a quick halt when an unknown force flew directly over my head. It crashed into the ground a few feet ahead of me. The impact of whatever it was launched me backwards. I let out a loud yell as I bounced off of the ground and rolled a few feet. After a few seconds of lying on the ground, I pushed myself up onto one knee. I coughed rapidly to get all of the dirt out my lungs.

“What the heck? First, Lym fired a massive ball of energy at me out of nowhere. Then, I struggled to contain and reverse the got damned thing back at her. Next, I pulled Sheena’s stupid technique off with pure unadulterated motivation and determination. After that glorious feat, Lym rained on my got damn parade with that stunt she pulled, and to top all that B.S. off Sheena now is sending a darn summoning after me to force me to finish her stupid test. This happened right after I told that heifer that I didn’t want to participate in her nonsensical training activity for the rest of the night. Uhh, what a got damn night,” I thought with growing ire. 

            “Darn you, Sheena,” I muttered. I stood up and turned around to face my adversary. However, the only thing I saw was its glowing yellow eyes through the darkness of the forest. I just stood there staring at its eyes and wondering why it didn’t attempt a follow-up attack after its initially successful surprise attack. It just stood there watching me and stalking me like it was my predator, and I was its prey. I quickly reached over my right shoulder and grabbed the hilt of my sword, which was strapped to my back by its sheath. 

            “Why are you running, Shawn?” A distant feminine female’s voice inquired.  “Didn’t I tell you that the training session wasn’t over until you defeated Iwa?” she asked.

            “Sheena, where are you, and how do you expect me to fight this thing?!” I shouted.

“I’m nearby,” she answered vaguely. “I need you to figure that out on your own, Shawn. If you don’t figure it out, then it’ll be readily apparent that you can’t compete with our older cousin, Taraj Sloth Ibuki (the second prince of Arigon), and all of the other knights since you can’t even manage to defeat Iwa,” she said. 

            I grimaced. “I swear you’re like a broken record. You keep repeating how I have to compete with everyone. I don’t want to compete with anyone,” I responded discontentedly.

            “Like it or not, you’re my brother and the first Prince of Arigon. That title alone means that you’re destined to be one of my Queen’s Knights. You have to get stronger, Shawn. The future of our queendom may rely on your very strength,” she stated.

            “I swear the way that you’re speaking right now is getting on my damn nerves! You sound so got damned fake with that destined to be a Queen’s Knight mumbo-jumbo. Just shut up already, and send that summoning my way! I need to take out some of my frustration,” I said through bared teeth.

            “You know what, Shawn?” Sheena said with aggravation clearly lacing her tone.

            “What?” I questioned with annoyance very evident in my voice.

            “I’m going to make you regret talking to me like that. Iwa, kick his ass!” she ordered, finally speaking like her normal self.

            “Ooh…I’m so scared,” I said with mock fear.

            “Uhh!” she shouted, as I heard loud footsteps approaching me.

 “Finally, here comes my stress reliever,” I said. I was at my wit’s end with all of that knight bullcrap that my sister was going on about. I never wanted to train to become a knight, but the royal court had planned to force that role upon me ever since I was a kid. I fundamentally hated it. I just wanted to live my own life and to be free of the life of a so-called unimportant prince whose only purpose in life was to be his sister’s personal shield and a mere servant to her.      I was so tired of the entire ordeal to the point that the fatigue motivated me to develop a mysterious, clandestine, Lineage ability that I discovered a month prior during an intense training scrimmage. I was keeping the well diverse skill under wraps until I somehow learned how to master it. After that magnificent day of the mastery of my newfound power, I planned to prove to Sheena once and for all that I had more talent than a lowly knight. Then, I would finally tell my sister what I really wanted to do with my life, which was an occupation that had been my dream ever since I was a little kid. I wanted to become a Fang of Dragaroth: a militaristic warrior whose life wasn’t dictated by his family’s stupid rules.

I held up my sword, and a red aura engulfed my blade. The colorful glow cast for me much needed light, and I finally laid eyes on my foe. Iwa was an eight foot tall brown dragon made from pure earth. It stood on four legs and was wingless. Two horns protruded from its forehead. Its massive presence gave the appearance that it would be a pretty tough opponent.

“Seriously?! You got me out here fighting a got damned dragon!” I shouted.

Despite Sheena’s commands, Iwa just stood there as if Sheena pulled back her demands at the last second.

            “He’s a drake, a teenage dragon, and he’s not even an actual living dragon. He’s just a manifestation of my Chi fused with thousands of tiny rocks. Nothing more. Nothing less. I thought you knew what you were up against already. Why did you run if you didn’t know that he was a drake?” she asked.

            Well, at least it wasn’t the real thing, so I guessed I stood a chance against it. I smirked before answering Sheena’s question. “Well, if something is strong enough to make the entire area shake and powerful enough to knock down some trees casually, then I’m getting the hell out of there quick, fast, and in a hurry, and then I’ll ask some questions later,” I admitted.

            “I’m so embarrassed,” she stated with disappointment. I could practically hear Sheena face palming herself.

            “Eh, it’s the truth,” I said while looking at Iwa as he approached me. The drake’s talons and claws left enormous prints in the ground as he roared at me. I sighed. “Here goes nothing!” I yelled and dashed towards him with haste. “Let’s do this!” I shouted. 

            “Let’s see what you’ve got, little brother,” she said.

            “Gladly,” I responded and accepted Sheena’s challenge. Iwa swiped his right claw at me. I quickly jumped over it and countered him with an upward slash of my sword. My blade unleashed a surge of Chi as it connected with its chin. Iwa immediately toppled back as I swung my body in midair. I quickly swung my sword, which unleashed three boomerang shaped Chi projectile slashes, and connected furiously with the drake’s chest. My opponent staggered and roared as I landed on my feet. I hastily jumped backwards to gain more distance away from my foe. I figured that he would attempt a counterattack. However, the way he just stood there glaring at me made me look at him with wonder.

            “What’s the hold up?” I asked no one in particular. I then noticed that I did little-to-no damage to the got damned thing. “This drake is as hard as a rock, pun intended,” I quipped.

            “Ugh. You’re so corny for that, Shawn,” Sheena groused.

            “But, eh, you love me.” I said with a beam.

            Sheena let out a light sigh. “True as that may be, I still have to take the training wheels off. You have to fight for your life from here on out,” she informed me.

            “Yeah…wait. What?!” I asked with shock in my tone.

            All of a sudden, Iwa’s body started to light up in a yellow hue. He opened his mouth, and a Chi ball began to form between his jaws. He hurriedly fired a basketball sized ball of energy at me.

            “Oh, hell no,” I said. I quickly rolled out of the way of the incoming attack. The ball of Chi hit the tree a few meters behind me. The impact caused the tree to collapse. I watched in horror as the tree crashed to the ground with a loud thud that shook the whole area.

            “Oh, hell no,” I repeated and bolted in the opposite direction.

            “Hey. Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Sheena asked sounding both surprised and confused.

            “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m getting the hell out of here!” I shouted.

            “What? You are supposed to fight Iwa. That was the rule. You can’t just up and run like a coward!” Sheena yelled back irritatedly and seemingly frustrated.

            “Well, I attacked him twice already, and I didn’t even faze his body, not to mention he just blew down a tree. Screw this, Sheena. I’ll just fail your so-called test. So how about we chalk it up as a big fat L?” I asked trying to reason with her.

            “Oh, hell no! You’re not getting out of this that easily. Now, bring your stupid ass back here!” she roared. 

            “No can do!” I said emphatically as I kept running through the forest. The path was unbelievably dark, and I couldn’t see anything. The only thing that illuminated the immediate area was the incoming Chi ball crashing into the ground a few feet ahead of me.

            I shielded my eyes from the sudden, intense brightness. “What the hell?!” I fumed, as debris from the unexpected explosion hit my body. “Ahh! Damnit!!!” I shouted unusually loud.

            “I told you that you’re not getting out of this easily. Now, fight back as you should!” Sheena barked.

            I unshielded my eyes. “I swear. When I see you Sheena, I’m kicking you right in the freaking cooch,” I threatened with an annoyed expression.

            “What?! How dare you speak to me like that? When I get you home, I’m washing your dirty mouth out with a bar of soap, you uncouth imbecile!” she chastised.

            “Yeah, right. Sure you will.” I jumped in the air and avoided another incoming Chi ball. I then turned in midair to see the drake rushing toward me. “However, I could say the same thing in regards to you, Sheena. I mean you do speak in a very vulgar manner for a princess. No noble, aristocrat, or royal man will want to marry such an ill-mannered future queen,” I fired back. 

I could have sworn that I heard Sheena huff and grumble. I swear my sister’s long-distance, redirect sound technique seemed pretty epic and useful. I could see me cussing someone out a few miles away from me with that ability. I probably would scare the living crap out of whoever the victim might be. I wanted to learn that technique from her one day or find out how exactly she executed the darn thing. Then again, come to think of it, that one asshole that I know, Kadaj, also used this same technique on me a month prior. He used it to communicate with me in the neighboring forest of my sensei’s home village, which in turn automatically made this beneficial communication ability more irksome than awesome.

            “Shut up, Shawn! Ugh! Get him, Iwa,” she ordered in a mildly sadistic and aggravated tone.

             I smirked. “Got you,” I said, as I swung my body in midair. I quickly slashed the tree standing beside me. I swiftly swung around again and unleashed a Chi slash at the tree across from me as well. As I was falling towards the ground, the two trees fell on top of the approaching Iwa. Its body crashed into the ground with a loud smash.

            Sheena gasped. “No way,” she said openly shocked. The drake was pinned down on the ground. However, I knew that his imprisonment would be temporary.   

            I stood there with a silly grin on my face. “You thought I was actually running away?” I asked in a joking manner. “No, I was intentionally leading your precious pet into a trap,” I answered for her.  I held my sword in front of me with both of my hands on its hilt.

            “You haven’t won yet! You’re only delaying the inevitable!” she shouted, as Iwa roared and burst out of the fallen trees.

            “I swear if an eavesdropper was listening to those threats that person would be under the impression that you were really trying to kill me,” I pointed out with a nervous demeanor.

            “Maybe, I am, you jerk,” she sneered.

            “Oh, man. I guess it’s time to stop fooling around,” I said with a serious expression.

            “You better do that,” Sheena warned, as the drake charged up a Chi ball. I swung my sword and unleashed another Chi slash. Iwa was still charging its Chi ball in its mouth as my Chi collided with the ball of energy. It caused the beast’s attack to blow up in its face creating a miniature explosion. The aftermath of the explosion cracked up the young dragon’s face.

            “What?” Sheena responded astonished. The princess seemed utterly flabbergasted by my little maneuver. I figured she would be taken aback after she realized that Iwa stood no chance against me. She had totally underestimated my prowess with a sword. I dashed forward towards my wounded foe. It didn’t let up. It kept shooting multiple Chi balls at me. I dodged each of the incoming Chi balls. They blew up and destroyed the surrounding area hitting everything in the vicinity but me. I swung my sword through the air and unleashed another precise Chi slash. I hit Iwa directly under its chin causing the drake to fire a Chi ball wildly into the air. I then took my new found opening and quickly dashed towards the drake. I jumped into the air. As I cocked my sword back, I thrust it forward as Chi concentrated around my blade.

            “Fang Art: Dragon Fang!” I shouted. I propelled the blade into the drake’s chest with enough force to put a crack in it. I landed on the ground as it swung its tail at me trying to whip me. I quickly jumped over its tail and cocked my sword back while building up Chi again.

            “Fang Art: Sonic Dragon Fang!” I quickly jabbed the tip of my blade into Iwa’s chest at a continuous rapid speed. It roared as I thrust the tip of my blade into its chest over 20 times all while cracking its torso with each mighty push. I landed on the ground, and instantly I jumped back into the air firing another upward Chi slash that connected with its chin. This cracked its face even more. It tried to shoot another Chi blast at me to no avail. I swung my body midair avoiding another repetitious attack.

            “Here it comes,” I said. I landed on its head and used the cranium as a platform. As I leaped back into the air, I quickly unleashed Chi from my blade. Next, I held my sword high above my head. Suddenly, the previous Chi ball that Iwa fired earlier into the air finally came back down and hit the tip of my blade.

            I yelled while I tried to contain it and mix the young dragon’s Chi with my own Chi. Precipitously, my red Chi converted into orange energy. “Dust to dust. Fang Art: Fallen Dragon Petal!” I shouted. I slashed downwards splitting the drake’s head and torso in half. Its body began to crack all over, and it showcased an orange hue. I landed on the ground and sheathed my sword. Just as I walked away Iwa exploded, which left behind nothing but broken rocks.

            “It’s over,” I said.

            “That it is. I should have used a more powerful summoning, but a loss is a loss. Anyways, what was that finishing technique that you used?” Sheena asked.

            I stopped walking and turned towards the direction that I heard my sister’s voice coming from. “It’s called the Fallen Dragon Petal. It is a Fang Style’s sword attack, which is executed by holding your blade upwards. Next, you have to unleash an absurd amount of Chi and engulf your blade in it. Lastly, you finish the technique off with a mighty slash. However, it also allows absorption of an opponent’s Chi, and you can thrust the energy back at your foe as well, thus increasing the Fallen Dragon Petal’s power exponentially. The absorption technique works by combining your foe’s Chi with your own Chi and using your will power to fuse both forms of Chi together completely,” I explained.

            “I see. So, it’s similar to the move that I taught you earlier but just less effective?” Sheena summed up.

            “True, but the move that you taught me earlier takes too much time to execute. So, I used Christian-sensei’s move because of its speed and efficiency,” I beamed.

            “I see,” Sheena responded with a trace of irritation in her tone.

            “Huh? Is something wrong?” I asked with a look of confusion.

            Suddenly, the ground erupted a few feet in front of me as a gust of wind blew and created a dust cloud around the area. The dust particles found their way into my eyes. “Uhh. Why?!” I shouted and covered my eyes with my forearm.

            The only thing that I heard was the sound of crackling electricity sparking around the area. Next, I heard the scampering sounds of charging footsteps approaching me. I unshielded my eyes to see a silhouette of a teenage girl moving towards me with a palm thrust. The hit connected with my stomach, and the impact was powerful and painful. Her blow was so strong that it knocked spit out of my mouth. I immediately felt a surge of electricity shooting throughout my body and paralyzing me in place. I couldn’t move a single finger as she continued her assault and hit me with both of her palms over 20 times. I grunted and yelled as each blow landed. She jumped in the air and kicked me flush in the chest. Immediately, a burst of electricity engulfed the entire dust cloud that had risen earlier, and I shot out of it like a bullet. I crashed into a nearby tree. The impact caused blood and spit to shoot out of my mouth vehemently. I then slid down the tree and landed on the ground in a sitting position. I struggled to look forward and spotted the girl that attacked me. She was walking towards me with another shadowy feminine figure walking closely behind her. I couldn’t see their faces because of my hazy vision. However, I was able to hear their voices.

            I recognized Lym’s voice, my sister’s Guardian Knight, instantly. “How vexing, Milady. Did you have to go this far on Young Master?” she inquired clearly annoyed.

            Next, I recognized Sheena’s voice. “Yup. He shouldn’t have let his guard down. I never said that the match was completely over, and he insulted the move that I taught him. He said that “Sweater Muffins’’ technique was better than mine, so I had to take out some frustration on this bastard,” she scorned. The princess literally referred to my sensei by every nickname for breasts in the book instead of using her actual name. Maybe, it was because of the fact that my teacher had bigger breasts than Sheena, or my sister’s hate ran much deeper than that. I didn’t know, but I did know that this broad was insane for attacking me from out of the blue like that. 

            “He didn’t exactly say that, Milady, and even if he did that pathetic excuse still doesn’t justify your actions. Furthermore, you shouldn’t have any personal vendetta against Lady Christian. She’s a great educator, so when Young Master wakes up you had better apologize to him,” Lym scolded.

            “But—” Sheena started. However, the knight cut her off.  

            “No buts. You heard me, Milady!” Lym hissed.

            The princess whined like a little girl who couldn’t get her way. It was as if Lym was Sheena’s mother, and my sister was the knight’s spoiled daughter. Nevertheless, Sheena faltered and agreed with what Lym said. “Fine,” she said and turned her back. I believe that she was folding her arms stubbornly like she always did after her protector scolded her.

            “You’re mean, Lym,” she whined again.

            “Enough!” Lym warned intensely, thus silencing the stunned Sheena. The knight then kneeled down in front of me.

“I’m going to heal him now, and then we will prepare to head back to the castle. Once I’m finished treating Young Master’s wounds, you must carry him back.” she added.

            “What?! Hold on now. Why do I have to carry him all the way back home?” Sheena asked in shock. My sister’s voice started to sound like she was getting farther and farther away from me.

            “Because you attacked him unethically, so you’re carrying him as recompense,” Lym said with authority as I closed my eyes wearily.

            “Shawn?! Oh no! I think I went too far,” Sheena gasped worriedly. “Lym, please, heal him now. Hurry up!” she shouted pleadingly, as her voice drifted away.




Mizuki Events


The sound of a cellphone’s alarm woke up a young man. He yawned, and he groggily reached into the left pocket (one of six pockets) of his black, baggie, cargo shorts. He pulled out his blue cased, black, touchscreen phone. His brown eyes looked tired behind his black, square framed glasses. He yawned once more while he stretched his 5 foot 10 inched athletic frame in his black and white cushioned airship seat.                                                                                                 The young man finally turned off his bothersome alarm and put his phone on silent. He then looked outside at the passing landscapes of the area that the ship was flying over. Next, he looked at his reflection staring back at him: an exhausted looking light brown skinned teenage boy.

“Damn, it’s only 9:00 a.m. Man, I really hate traveling in these things. I can barely get any sleep in them because of the fear of getting shot out of the sky and dying in my sleep by a blazing crash into the unforgiving ground below,” he thought while he rubbed his hand through his short, messy, black hair. He then reached down towards the collar of his black, short sleeved hoodie, which included a white laughing skull design on the front that had a blue tinted outline. He grabbed his black and blue wireless headphones from around his neck and placed the device on his head. He started to search through his phone for a song to listen to.                                            The teen wanted the rest of this anxiety inducing time to pass peacefully aboard the airship. He turned on an inspirational rap song and then looked back out of the window. “It’s been two years since I’ve been to Arigon. I can’t believe that I’m heading back,” he thought pleasantly and smiled excitedly.

The adolescent shifted his feet (which donned black socks and black gym shoes with blue shoestrings) back and forth on the floor as he indulged in his song. He bobbed his head as he looked around his surroundings. The youth saw all sorts of people seated around him. A few old men calmly read their newspapers while their wives beat on their arms and gave them play-by-plays about the teen’s actions. The women acted as if they were a part of a crazy chattering cult gossiping completely in sync with one another. The young man’s eyes then shifted to the children who happily played with their Bite Boy handheld gaming devices as their parents nervously tried to keep calm while they looked forward. All of the adults made a concerted effort not to make direct eye contact with the teen. The glasses wearing boy shook his head at these ludicrous actions as he sat back in his comfy first-class seat.

“Well, Mother did warn me that people were going to stare at me or obviously ignore me, but I didn’t expect them to keep it up for the entire flight. First, my own town’s airship port’s transportation security confiscated almost all of my luggage for reasons unknown. They told me that the airship sky marshals will hold onto my duffle bags until I made it safely to Arigon Airship Port. I had to talk them into letting me keep my bookbag that had my nightwear, change of clothes, underwear, my handheld, and my hygiene paraphernal kit inside of it.”                       Jonnie paused his thoughts and looked at his black and blue bookbag that was resting in the seat beside him. “They agreed to let me keep my bag only after they went through it like it had a bomb stored in it or something of the sort. Oh, boy. I swear that uncomfortable discriminatory situation was a hassle to deal with, and now I have to deal with this shunning, badmouthing, and belittling BS. Naw, I’m good on that, so I might as well turn up my music so that I can’t hear these annoying passengers at all,” he thought with an agitated expression as he looked back at his phone.

Before the troubled boy could get the chance to turn the volume up on his cellular device, the voices of the people’s light whispers and murmurs began to grow increasingly louder as the flight drew closer to the airship port. “I still can’t believe that they actually let one of those things onto this ship with us. Don’t they care about our safeties?” The conversation of two older ladies caught the youth’s ear.                                                             

            The second lady cosigned the first lady’s words. Both openly let their collective ignorance show. “Times have undoubtedly changed. Back in our day, they would have banned the likes of that lot from the port, so we at the very least wouldn’t have to breathe the same air as those scoundrels,” she harshly spat.

            The teen glared at the ladies. They quickly took notice of his scorn. They immediately jumped in their seats, and they nervously looked away from him. This however didn’t stop the two women from whispering about something else while pointing in his direction. “I can’t say I didn’t expect this to happen. I mean they are Izaha people after all,” he sighed. The youngster quickly turned up his music to drown out the hate aimed towards him. He then noticed more people doing the same thing as the two old women. The young reject actively ignored the annoying squabbles of the people who made up stories about him. He just continued listening to the beat of the song that he was jamming to while pulling up a sentimental picture on his phone of the last time he hung out with his longtime friends. The picture was from two years ago with him and a short, brown haired boy at an arcade tournament. The glasses wearing lad held up a first-place trophy over his head as the other boy stood next to him and rested his hand on his friend’s shoulder. A brunette girl stood behind the two of them. She had short hair covering her left eye. Another young girl with short black pigtails stood beside the covered eyed girl. The brunette had a very annoyed expression on her face while possibly restraining seething anger. The raven haired girl had a very happy expression on her face although she held the smaller second place trophy in her hands.

“That’s a day I’ll never forget. Ashina told her little sister, Ashira, to hold her second place trophy. Ashina didn’t want to be seen with that trophy because she hated the fact that she lost to me,” he reminisced about his last outing with his friends. “Hell, she still hasn’t spoken to me since that day when I beat her in the final round of the Draken Fighters 5 tournament,” the teen shook his head from side-to-side. “Talk about an asinine reason to hold a grudge for two years,” he sighed.

As soon as the teen’s most recent song ended, a male pilot’s voice unexpectedly chimed through the airship’s speakers. “We’ll be arriving soon at the Great Town of Arigon in about 30 minutes,” he reported.

 The teen sat up in his seat and fastened his seatbelt as his next musical track began to play. “Finally, I’m almost there,” he lightly spoke aloud with a small smile. He then decided to text his caretaker who he would be staying with in Arigon. “Hey, I’m almost there. The ship will arrive in Arigon in a half an hour,” he messaged.

            Within 30 seconds, he received a response from his caretaker. “Oh, okay. I’ll send someone to pick up your things when you arrive at the port. He’ll be waiting for you by the lobby, so just shoot me a text or call me when you land. He’ll take all of your things over to my place for you. I’ll then tell you everything that you need to know. Okay, kid?” the caretaker’s text finished.

            The young man was amazed at how organized his caretaker was and how quickly the person texted him back. “Thanks. I gotcha,” he sent.

            “Uh huh, but remember that you are my responsibility when you’re staying at my place. Don’t think I’m not going to keep a strict eye on you, you slacker,” his caretaker texted back.

            The teen couldn’t help but feel a bit annoyed at this comment but also a tiny bit happy.

“Gotcha. I know that. I’m going to start working at the café later on today, so I guess in the meantime I will walk around town for a few hours before heading to work. I want to get a feel for the town again,” he texted his response readily trying to change the subject.

             “Sure. Whatever. Just don’t get yourself into any unnecessary trouble. You know the kind of trouble that will ultimately force me to bail your ass out of its clutches,” the caretaker bluntly texted back.

            The teen rolled his eyes at his caretaker’s snarky comment. “Gotcha. Once I land, I’ll call your nephew and meet up with him, so there’s no way I will get in trouble hanging out with him,” he replied.

            “Yeah, okay. Well, I still can’t believe that you’re working as soon as you step foot back in Arigon. If you’re trying to impress me with your artificial determination, then it’s not going to work, kid,” the caretaker quickly texted back.

            The young man lightly chuckled at that. “Yeah, I know, and I’m not trying to impress you. I would just rather get my first day of work out of the way today. I think it’ll be less of a headache since I’m already wide awake and ready to go,” he explained.

            After a brief pause the caretaker replied. “Alright. It’s your funeral, since you’re starting your special training tomorrow morning. I better not hear any complaints about you being tired at the ass crack of dawn,” the caretaker warned.

            The teen laughed at his caretaker’s recent comment before responding back. “There’s nothing to worry about. Working all day and training most of the morning doesn’t sound too different than what my mom makes me do on a daily basis,” he lied.

            “It’s very apparent that I’m way tougher than your mom no matter what you say, kid. There’s a reason why your mom sent you to me for your special training in the first place. If she had everything under control as you claim, then Alesandra would be training you herself, and you would still be in Korridon. She simply didn’t do a good job training you due to her position as the Dark Sage and because of what became of her last student, your brother. Yes, your brother’s besmirching fate has made your mother very soft on you. She babies you because she doesn’t want you to end up like Jinosis. This ridiculous and utterly fragile mindset caused Alesandra to develop insecurities and doubts in her ability to teach. As a result of her own failures and past mistakes, she derailed and hindered your growth as a warrior, and now she’s panicking because you are currently way behind your peers in power.    

“Keep up that bravado and useless act though if you like, kid, but don’t tell anyone that I’m training you. I would rather have this go under the radar because I haven’t trained anyone since Lymistica. I only agreed to this little arrangement because your mom practically begged me to train you. Alesandra flattered me when she told me that you idolized one of my many well diverse fighting styles. You know the one that is based off of guns, Alchemy, Darkness, and the spear, not to mention that she wants me to show you the ropes to help you improve on your current abilities. I swear you better be grateful, kid. Okay. Enough of this pointless texting. I have a TV show to attend to, so I’ll see you at the beginning of your shift at 2:00 p.m. sharp,” the caretaker texted back.     

            The youth let out a sharp, frustrated breath. He knew that his caretaker was right, and there was no point of him arguing on the matter. The boy merely texted his mother’s friend back agreeing to do everything that was asked of him. The teen used the abbreviation for laugh out loud and continued. “You and your shows…I swear. Alright. I gotcha. I won’t tell anyone about our training arrangement. I will just let everyone think that I came here only to work at the café and to apply to go to the Arigon Fang Military Academy in the fall. Nothing more. Nothing less. See you when I get there,” he told his caretaker.

            “Mhmm. I’m glad you see it my way, kid. Oh, before I go, I need to tell you this. When you walk your skinny, underdeveloped ass into the café today, make sure you head to the diner section and ask for a worker named Colleen. She’ll direct you to where you need to go, but anyways I’m out!”

            The teen sat with a smile on his face while looking at his phone screen. “That lady is as mean as ever.  I swear I can’t wait to see Nagome again with her sexy, hardcore self.” He blushed thinking about his caretaker. “Too bad that she’s married and much older than me with children around my age. Wait! What am I thinking? I guess those two pervy princes have rubbed off on me too much over the years. These lustful thoughts I’m having about Nagome sound like what those two perverted asshats would say. Regardless, Nagome is certainly hot. If only she was my age,” he grunted with frustration. “Then, again, there is still Sheena. She is around my age as well, and she looks just like her aunt,” he thought.                                                                     

The messy haired youth briefly put his hand on his chin before lightly chuckling aloud. “I know that Shawn would try to murder me if I ever pursued his sis. My homie has a crazy overprotective streak when it comes to his older sister, not to mention that the entire country would probably try to have my hide. She is the first princess of Arigon after all. That heartbreaking fact makes Sheena way out of my league with her title and status alone.”                   He let out an extremely disappointed sigh. “Oh, well. I guess I’ll worry about mustering up the courage and nerve to ask out the princess of the entire nation of Sol later. Right now I better grab my bookbag and hit up one of those luxurious private showers in this airship. I need to change my clothes, underwear, and kill some time. Plus, I have to be fresh and smell good for work, or Nagome is going to insult my entire existence for showing up to her business being musty as hell, especially since I ended up sleeping in these clothes last night. So, it’s safe to say that I need to wash my ass quick, fast, and in a hurry.”                                                                        He ended his mental deliberation. The Graves boy grabbed his bookbag, stood up, put the straps over his shoulders, and made his way towards the male’s showering area of the ship to prepare himself for the day ahead as he waited for the arrival at the Great Town of Arigon.




Elsewhere, in a dark cavern, a young man casually sat on a large stone. His gray trench coat contained black linings. The coat trailed along the back of the rock. The young man’s open coat revealed his shirtless, muscular torso. Black pants complemented his trench coat. A gray, golden buckled belt held up his pants, which sagged a little bit and showed off the top of his black boxer shorts, thus solidifying his swag.                                                                                 Video game sounds echoed throughout the area, and the light of his black cased Bite Boy handheld illuminated his dark-skinned face. He wore a gray bandana, which covered the top of his shoulder length, black dreads. The young man appeared to be patiently waiting for someone as he quietly tapped his foot on the ground. His huge feet were covered by gray and black boots, which were accessorized by golden chains and buckles. The young man’s attire gave off the impression of a cool and laid-back guy, but the menacing look in his large eyes portrayed otherwise.

“Alright. Just one more monster, and then I’m good,” he excitedly said as he passionately played away on his handheld. Without warning, the dark shadows in the cave started to stretch over the stalactites and the stalagmites, which caused an ominous feeling to stretch outward. The young man’s game time was interrupted by a familiar energy that he could feel all around him. He looked behind him to see all of the shadows forming into a 5-foot-7, feminine, slender, cloaked, spectral figure.

            The shadowy figure looked at the gamer. Her face couldn’t be seen. Only pure darkness was visible underneath her hood. “I see that you’re still playing those pointless games, Baki.” The woman’s voice rang out from the ethereal form.

            Baki shook his head. “Of course. This is the best way to pass the time,” he said. The young man then put his handheld on sleep mode and placed it into his coat pocket.

            “Well, I’m happy that you were able to make it here today. I’ve been keeping you and your companions occupied lately. I figured that you would have been worn out by now,” she jeered in almost a playful manner.

            Baki smiled and then stood up, which allowed his buff, six-foot-six frame to be on full display. “You know me by now. I’m a hardworking man, and you know that I always get all of my jobs done at a hundred percent success rate,” he boasted and bowed his head.

            “Of course. That’s the reason why I keep you on the payroll,” she praised.

            Baki stood straight up again. “I’m happy that I was able to be of assistance. You have been keeping things interesting for me lately, my mistress,” he happily said.

             “Of course,” she agreed with a single nod. “I have another job for you,” she informed him.

            “Oh?” Baki looked up at her with an intrigued expression.

            “There is a certain item located in Arigon. It’s a highly valuable item that must be procured. Do you believe you can obtain it?” she vaguely asked him.

            “Being the middleman is my job, but it depends on what you need me to get. Tell me. What is this item that I need to nab?” he asked and locked his fingers together to prepare for his briefing.

            “Certainly. It’s a Shui Fung crystal,” she clarified.

Baki briefly looked shocked before a sadistic smile carved its way onto his lips. “You’re kidding me, right? You seriously want me and my team to travel all the way to Korridon, the freaking Province of Darkness, and attack the entire Graves’ village just to steal a single crystal?” he asked.

            “Not necessarily. A member of the Graves clan is scheduled to arrive in the Arigon Airport today around 9:45 a.m. Supposedly, he’ll be staying in the capital for the rest of the summer and perhaps even longer. All I need you to do is obtain his crystal for us,” she explained and held out a hand. “Here. Look at this,” she added.

              A shadowy arm slowly ascended from the ground in front of Baki. Its hand was holding a black envelope with a red seal on it. The young criminal grabbed the envelope from the hand, and it descended back underneath the surface. Baki quickly opened the envelope, which revealed a picture along with a letter. He took the picture out, and his facial expression showcased a very unimpressed look as he gawked at the photo. “What’s so special about this one? This mission is starting to look a bit too easy,” he said smugly.

“That boy is Alesandra, the Dark Sage’s, son. He’s the one who will be arriving in Arigon,” she informed him. “We need him as soon as possible,” she added.

            “Talk about a difficulty spike. I get that you want the crystal and all, but bringing him back alive is going to push this to the realm of impossibility. Besides, if this kid is so important, why don’t you just go and snatch him up yourself?” he questioned.

             “My apologies. I wasn’t explicitly clear. Allow me to rephrase that statement. The objective is to retrieve the artifact. Nothing else matters,” she elucidated.

            Baki looked at his mistress with a raised eyebrow. “Wait. Is that all we have to do?” he asked.

            “I don’t need the boy just the crystal in his chest,” she repeated.

            A large smile flared up on Baki’s face. “Oh, is that all? Consider it done then,” he happily complied. The deviant then placed the photo back into the envelope. “I have no problem with killing or delivering operations. Expert missions are fun like that,” he added with a beam.

            “I see. Well, you’re going to need this then,” she said while holding her hand out to create a tiny portal of darkness. The dark mistress then reached inside of it and pulled out a small, black, glass container. The portal slowly vanished away as she looked back at Baki. “Use this large magical ampoule to contain the power of the crystal. I need you to place the artifact inside this as soon as you extract it from his chest. We wouldn’t want the crystal crumbling into dust,” she explained.

“Okay. I like where this is going.” Baki happily applauded.

            The woman then dropped the container towards the ground. It disappeared inside a dark portal above the surface. The container then arose from the ground right in front of Baki. It was being held by another shadow hand. The young man grabbed the vessel. The hand then faded away into nothingness.

            “Thanks,” he said.

            The cloaked maiden nodded her head. “Now that everything is in order, I’ll take my leave,” she stated with a departing bow.

            “Can you wait for a second? You kind of forgot to discuss the payment,” Baki pointed out.

            “Check the envelope again. You’ll find that the offer is more than reasonable,” she assured him.

            The brute checked the inner back area of the envelope. He pulled out the letter that had the mission pay amount on it. “As always, my mistress, you respect our services. You have nothing to worry about from me,” he responded and bowed his head at the cloaked figure.

            “Of course,” she calmly stated. “I’m about to continue my scouting mission. I’m sorry that I couldn’t meet you in person today,” she added.

            Baki smirked at his employer. “Hey, I’m actually getting used to your shadow puppet. It seems pretty handy. I wish that I could learn a trick like that,” he complimented.

            “Yes, it is very useful and quite convenient,” she agreed and nodded her head.

“Oh, before I go, I forgot to mention the most important part of this mission,” she revealed.

            “And what is that?” Baki asked with a raised eyebrow.

            “You and your gang have two months to finish this assignment starting tomorrow. I don’t want to be forced to get my own hands dirty. Understood?” she stated very authoritatively.

            “Gotcha. I haven’t failed you yet, and I won’t start now,” he assured her.

            “Of course,” she agreed plainly.

Baki put his hand on his chin. “By the way, I have a question,” he announced.

            “Very well. What might that be?” she inquired.

“Do you know the exact location where the Graves boy will be located at while he’s staying in the capital? Because trying to locate that kid in Arigon is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Plus, Arigon is one of the safest towns and one of the most fortified queendoms to live in on this forsaken world. Killing him behind that town’s walls will be close to impossible,” he groused.

            “No, I don’t. The last site he was seen at was the airship port in his hometown just before he boarded the airship. You and your companions are professionals are you not?” she questioned.

            Baki sighed. “Yes, we are,” he forced out.

            “Well, it’s you and your group’s job to find him. This is why I provided you and your team with two entire months to figure out how to get the target outside of Arigon’s walls,” she finished.

            “Yes, of course. We’ll handle it,” Baki grunted with frustration. “What a pain,” he muttered.

            “Alright. See you by August the 14th in this exact spot,” she said. “If you manage to get the artifact sooner than the due date, you know how to contact me,” she added.

            “Alright. See you soon, my mistress,” Baki said and bowed one last time.

            The boss lady nodded her head before her spectral body vanished without a trace. Baki looked up at the area where the cloaked woman once stood and smiled widely.

            “This is going to be fun,” he said. The dissident then happily left the area and prepared to meet up with one of his teammates who was waiting outside of the cave.

            Baki walked outside the cave entrance, which opened up across from a water path within a massive forest. The brute then looked forward to find a young man leaning on a nearby tree positioned between the meeting cavern and a neighboring river. The youth’s eyes were closed, and his arms were folded. He was giving off an ominous vibe while he stood in place. His pale skin only added to his threatening aura. The teen stood around 5 feet 10 inches tall and had mid length, spiky, silver hair. Some of his hair covered his forehead. Baki stepped forward causing his teammate to open his eyes. The malicious gaze from his cold, dark blue irises and red pupiled eyes cut piercingly deep. His imposing muscular figure added to the dark aura he emitted. He wore a two-toned black and silver muscle shirt and matching baggy joggers that stopped just above his black and silver, steel-toed, combat boots.

            “Kasai, we have work,” Baki spoke up.

            “What’s the mission?” Kasai calmly asked.

 Baki quickly briefed his partner on the mission. “Here’s a picture of the kid.” He handed over the picture of their target.

“Hmm…I recognize this boy. He’s the Dark Sage’s son. I heard that he supposed to start working at Nagome’s Café today,” Kasai stated.

            “Seriously? I can’t believe that this kid is going to be working at one of the most popular places to hang and eat at in Arigon,” Baki said. He looked at his partner with a doubtful look in his eye, and then put his hand on his chin. “Hmm. We can’t be that lucky,” he added.

            “Yes, if I remember correctly, I overheard two waitresses having a conversation about him a few days ago. They said that he was going to start working there on this very day and how uncomfortable they were about his presence at their place of work. Due to his grandpa’s notorious reputation, it must be the same boy,” Kasai confirmed and looked at Baki with an unchanging, stoic expression.

            Baki briefly looked away from his friend. “Fine. I’ll take your word on this one, but just to be safe let’s send my sister in there on Monday to check things out,” he said. The young recusant then removed his hand from his chin. “She doesn’t stand out as much as us. Plus, she can seduce him right into our hands. That little talent of hers hasn’t failed us yet, so she’s our go-to girl,” he added with a devious smile.

            “Hopefully, our target actually has to work on that day. I’m surprised that you’re not sending her in there tomorrow,” Kasai stated flatly.

            “Normally, new employees have to complete two to five training days to get used to their jobs. That is how these things usually work,” Baki recalled and briefly closed his eyes. “But, hey, we have two months to figure out the kid’s schedule, so it really doesn’t matter,” he added with a shrug.

            “Sounds accurate enough,” Kasai replied and agreed with a single nod.

            “Yup, and I would send her in there tomorrow if she wasn’t away in Straga training with that mean Rangetsu girl, Thorn. She’s been there harnessing her battle axe skills since last Saturday. My sister told me yesterday that she will be ready to come back home Sunday, so I will let her chill all Sunday before she makes her move on the Graves boy on Monday,” Baki stated.

            “If that’s the case, then we can think of a plan when we meet up with her in two days,” Kasai concluded. The stoic teen then placed the briefing information back into the envelope and handed it to his partner.

            Baki folded up the information holder and put it into his coat pocket. “Yeah, that’s the plan for now. I’m just happy that she’s not currently hanging out with that asshole, Ethan, the prick that my sister’s been dating for the past two months. I swear something is off about that slime ball, or maybe it’s just me being an overprotective big brother. But my gut keeps telling me that I will have to bust a Kasai and turn that guy into smoldering ash really soon,” he stated with an evil grin.

            “Do you want me to handle him for you?” Kasai asked matter-of-factly.

            “Naw, he can live for now. If he makes my sister happy and doesn’t hurt her, then we’re good. Other than that, he’s as good as dead,” Baki replied with a stern expression.

            “Understood,” Kasai agreed.

“Alright, then. Let’s head back to town. I need something to eat right away. I’m freaking starving,” Baki uttered and walked away. The silver haired youth nodded his head in agreement and followed behind his partner.

            Unknown to the two mercenaries, they were being watched by uncertain red eyes. The crimson gaze belonged to a masculine, 5 foot 9 inched, distorted, shadowy figure that stood on top of a cliff just above Baki’s meeting cave. “Those two guys don’t look impressive at all. I would mop the floor with those weaklings.” A young man’s voice resonated from the distorted ethereal figure. He watched Baki and Kasai as they disappeared into the forest.

“Red, where are you?” A young woman’s voice asked in his earpiece.

            “Oh, it’s you, Chimera. I’m nearby. I was checking on something. I’m on my way to your location right now,” he confirmed.

            “Are you using a shadow puppet to spy on one of your scaly girlfriend’s assignments again?” Chimera asked jokingly.

            “Oh, shut up. I’m not interested in that shedding throwaway. I was just checking out the guys that she hired to murder that Graves kid,” he explained.

            “But you’re still using her technique to spy on her even though your version of the Art is not as impressive or as useful as hers,” she pointed out.

            “And your point?” he questioned with a bite.

            “My point is that this means that you’re even farther away from your assigned position than I originally thought, so you better hurry up and get your ass back here before our boss finds out what you’re doing. Red, you stupid big head, what the hell were you thinking?” Chimera scolded.

            The shadowy figure let out a sigh of annoyance. “I’m on my way now. I just don’t know why Scales doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. She always hires weak mercenaries to do her dirty work. I would have done the job myself. A little killing never bothers me,” he said.

            “Well, why don’t you just ask her then?” Chimera questioned.

            Red scoffed. “Like I could actually stand talking to that lizard faced broad for more than five minutes,” he jeered.

            “Well, it’s her and her two companions’ job, so get over it. We have bigger things to worry about,” Chimera reminded him.

            “Fine. I just hope that the Lizard’s trio completely fails this mission. When that happens, I will clean up their mess and show our boss who’s really worthy of his right-hand position,” he schemed and placed his hands together.

“If you say so,” Chimera responded and discharged a light sigh. “Just hurry it up. Even though we have a little over an hour left before the mission actually starts I have a feeling that you will still be late. Why can’t you be like Minotaur? He is already in position earlier than he needs to be,” she informed him.

            “Because I’m not lame and boring like that insane nerd. Showing up late is what all the cool kids do at all of the so-called exciting social events,” he replied playfully.

            “Ugh! I swear, Red. You will never change your childish, irresponsible ways,” she spewed in anger.

            Red shrugged. “Eh, that’s what I do, and I will always be me. But, eh, Chimera, in all seriousness, I’m on my way,” he replied.

            “Sure you are, you stupid, big head, Red,” she groused.

            “Love you too, snookums,” Red stated condescendingly.

            Chimera let out a frustrated huff. “Ugh! Whatever you irresponsible, womanizing idiot,” she said with disgust and quickly ended the connection.

            Red chuckled at his comrade’s outburst. He then shook his head from side-to-side. “That woman needs to lighten up, but she is right though because I’m going to be late as hell to that lousy, uninteresting mission. I have to do a couple more interesting things before I get there. By some rare miracle that I make it there on time, the only thing that I will be doing is just standing around watching my teammates in action against a couple of weaklings and end up being bored. Hmm…Speaking of which, due to the relatively easy task that we were given by the boss, Chimera and Minotaur are more than enough to complete the pending objective as a duo. I hope Chimera understands my reasonings for skipping out on the mission. If not, sorry not sorry, my baby, but damn I guess that Chimera really do know all of my ways and mannerisms to the teeth. Well, I guess it’s time to get going,” he thought lightheartedly.                                                         He ended his technique. His shadowy body faded away into nothingness as he prepared to lollygag then ultimately rendezvous with his teammates.






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