With enough force, Ren pushes the armored man’s sword with his spear and swiftly delivers a quick kick to his abdomen. The man thrown backward several meters but still able to keep his balance to avoid falling down.
“I can handle this, Rick,” Ren tells Rick when he sees Rick is about to enter fighting stance, “Just go inside and get Tama out.” Rick looks hesitant at first but soon break out from his stance and runs straight toward the door where the armored man came out.
“Not so fast!” The man raises his arms over his head with his blade facing forward parallel to the ground. With tremendous speed he swings it hard toward the path where Rick will be in a few moment. The armored man is far from Rick, yet his slashing sword creates an invisible blade that move towards his target in a great speed. This invisible blade is powerful enough to leave the earth scarred in its wake.
Rick notices the trail created by the invisible blade and abruptly trying to stop. He was running too fast that it is hard to suddenly stop. It is remarkable how the man able to calculate Rick’s speed and the speed of his sword slash; the invisible blade passes Rick only mere several centimeters in front of him just right when he’s able to stop. If he failed to stop in time his fate would be similar to the now splitted rows of trees.
“That was way too close to be comfortable.”
“I won’t let you two go any further,” the armored man enters a ready stance, facing sideways to Ren with his sword being held low pointing to the ground with his right hand concealed behind his body.
“I’ll make an opening for you,” Ren says to Rick before he dashes towards the armored man. The man is surprised with the burst of speed Ren displays and thus unable to react appropriately. His eyes widen when he realized that Ren’s spear is about to impale him. He quickly steps aside and uses his sword to deflect the jade spear.
Ren staggers a little when his spear swings upward after being deflected. He was holding it with only one hand to improve his reach, thus it is able to be deflected easier that it should be. After only a mere moment, Ren already recover his balance. Without wasting any moment, Ren spins and swings his spear toward the armored man who’s now close to him.
Ren’s spear clashes with the man’s sword. The armored man managed to held his sword perpendicular to Ren’s spear and blocked it. Yet, even after being blocked, Ren’s strike is so strong that the armored man is thrown back a little bit.
Now the two men are standing facing each other with their own weapons ready at hand. With no time for hesitation, they charge at each other. As Ren’s reach is longer, he’s the first to launch an attack. Just like before, he thrust his spear forward toward the armored man, but this time with both hands. Ren’s attack is quick, but unlike before, this time the armored man is ready. He quickly spins to the left, evading Ren’s spear while at the same time swings his sword aided by the momentum from the spin. Ren ducks to prevent his head to get separated from his shoulders while at the same time swings his spear down and sideways. His target? The man’s legs.
With his body still unbalanced from the spin, Ren’s spear sweeps his legs without much effort. The armored man falls backward. But, he stretches his left arm to the ground and use it as a pivot for a backflip. As soon as he lands and the ground, he jumps back to keep his distance from Ren.
“Not too shabby,” praises Ren. And without any warning, he proceeds to dash toward the armored man again.
With his attention occupied with the very fierce battle he is in, the armored man simply has forgotten that there are actually two intruders. Seeing the man now have his focus on Ren, Rick use this chance to silently enter the building.
Pass the automatic front door is a small open room. Inside, Rick looks around to assess the situation. The place is strangely empty. Lamps are on, electronics are running, yet nothing is moving. No human, no machine, no robot.
“I was expecting tighter security.”
Carefully, he walks forward through the empty hall. Some part of the walls are covered panels filled with myriads of colored LED covered with thick glass. Stuck to the ceiling are devices that looks like automated defense system; some kind of turret. Yet, it stay still. Not moving. There are two corridors connected to one side of the room. The doors leading to these corridors are wide open.
The situation doesn’t feel right to Rick. This is the main building of this Gerogom person, yet there’s nothing here that prevents him from going further in. This feels like a different place from the ‘processing forest’ where he was attacked fiercely by the defense system and guard dogs.
With anxiety still in his mind, Rick go through the corridor on the left. He run through the corridor while keeping his eye on the surrounding. Not too long he sees the first door on his left. It’s already opened, just like the door to this corridor. Rick goes inside the room that’s filled with many suits and armors but no sign of Tama.
He continues down the corridor and see the door to his right, already opened just like on the previous room. Insides are machineries that are unknown to him. The big room has cables dangling from ceiling connected to the floor, tubes big enough to house people, and many powered off monitor. Still, there’s no Tama here.
Rick exits the room and continue to enter every single room he founds. All those rooms and he still hasn’t see any sign of Tama. He leans to a table in the last room in that corridor catching his breath.
“Damn!” Rick punches the table to smithereens in his anger.
He looks at the wall where the other corridor supposedly located, “Ren said these walls are very hard. Let’s see how true he is.” Rick approaches the wall and prepares his stance. He takes a deep breath and hold it inside with his eyes closed. All energies in his body are focused at his right hand. And then, in an instant, Rick opens his eyes, shouts, and then throws his punch with all his might to the wall.
The shockwave resulted from Rick’s knuckles meet the wall is enormous. All the chairs, tables, beds, and everything else are thrown to the other side of the room from the shockwaves. The sound it generates are loud and reverberate inside the room. Yet, the wall only has a very small dent on it.
“Argh… So much for a shortcut I guess,” Rick slumps forward, leaning to the wall supported with his head. His left hand holds his right hand that’s currently under immense pain. It feels like his bone is vibrating inside.
“Damn. I need to backtrack then.”
Before Rick exits the room, he hears a voice. A girl voice. She’s shouting something. But, that voice is different than Tama’s. Rick stays and tries to listen to the voice. The voice getting nearer and nearer and clearer.
“Mr. Hobo!” The girl shouts.
“Tama? No, that doesn’t sound like her.” Indeed, Tama’s voice is more high pitched and energetic. This girl’s voice is not as high pitched as Tama’s and has some elegant or refined feels to it.
“Mr. Hobo!” The girl shouts again. But, who is this girl? How can she know Rick? Add to that, so far only Tama that called Rick like that. All this questions pile up in Rick’s head and stops him from exiting the room. He wants to know who this girl is. She might even have info on Tama’s whereabout.
And then her figure can be seen on the corridor. She’s still far but she’s running toward Rick. Her hair is pink and two canine ears stick out of her head. She wears a Japanese Kimono. Behind her, a big fluffy light brown tail can be seen moving as she runs. She looks somewhat like Tama, yet she is far more older. She’s way taller than Tama, just as tall as the average girl. Her face does resembles Tama, although looks more mature.
The girl jumps toward Rick and hugs him when she’s close to Rick. Surprised with the sudden action of the girl, Rick falls back to the floor with the girl still hugging him.
“Wait, d-do I know you?” Asks Rick.
“Huh?” The girl’s ears twitch when she hears Rick’s question. The girl, who previously still hugging Rick on the floor, sits up and look at Rick, “You don’t recognize me?” She puffs her cheeks and looks disappointed.
“Yup, yup! It’s me, Tama!” She looks so happy and her tail moves cheerfully.
“Tama…… Why are you so big?”
“Ohoho. You pervert~ I know these are quite big, but-”
“No, no! It’s not that!”
“Wha~t? You don’t like big breast, huh,” Tama looks a little down.
“NO! I do like big- ARGH! What am I saying?!” Rick scratches his head frustratedly, “I mean, why are you suddenly all grown up?”
“Ah, about that. You see-”
“Tama,” a man voice stops Tama from saying anything further. The voice come from the corridor. Standing there is a man with glasses and dressed in white lab coat. “Leave the explaining part to me.”