Nov 13, 2015

Black Stained Winter: Chapter 8 - "Impasse"

The sun is reaching its peak, yet it still feels somewhat chill thanks to the winter breeze. It was just last night that Ren met the infamous Hobo and fight a demon. It was just last night that he brought an injured demon girl back to his place to treat her injuries. And it was just this morning that he met the city mayor face to face for the first time. And now, he’s here. Someplace just outside the city. Located in the hill and surrounded by curtains of trees. Sweat flowing down through his forehead, blood dripping from his right arm, and breath are rushing in and out of his lungs. His hand gripping his spear tightly, his legs are tense, ready to react in a moment notice, his eyes focused at the enemy in front of him. A man in a black suit of armor.

It’s been a while now since Ren and this man battled, but it looks like a winner is yet to be determined. Both men are strong; both men are skilled. Every strikes are almost always readable and every hits are countered. The previously normal landscape is now filled with loose rocks and craters from the intense battle between these two men.

And now, they both stand at a distance from each other, eyes locked to the opponent before them while still catching their breath. This battle is exhausting for them; they never fight anyone with equal strength before. Now they need to be careful with their movement. The first one who makes a mistake will be the first one to kiss the ground.

Then, at the same time, both armed men dashed forward. The armored man slashes horizontally and create an invisible blade that moves forward in high speed. Yet, Ren’s reaction is faster. He jumps over the invisible blade and follows with a strong thrust with his spear toward the armored man. For a split moment Ren’s jade colored spear acts as if it increases in length and in almost an instant almost hit its target.

The man does a quick sidestep to avoids getting impaled and manages to dodge the elongated spear. But, it’s not actually increases in length. Ren’s attack is simply traverse way longer than the tip of his spear and leaving greenish trail in its wake. To the untrained eyes, this looks as if the spear itself getting longer and hit the ground before instantly revert back to its original length.

The man himself is barely dodge the attack. The attack was so fast that it still scratch his shoulder. But that doesn’t hinder his movement. Right after the dodge, he jumps up toward Ren and do an upward slash with his sword.

Ren blocks it with his spear, but it doesn’t stop there. His opponent follows with another slash. And then another. And then another and another. He slashes so fast that Ren for a while can only blocks every one of the attacks. All this happens while they’re still up in the air.

Between those flurries of attacks, in just a split second Ren notice one slightly slower slashes. It’s only a mere moment, but that’s enough. With that small opening he manages to parry the next attack. Not by much yet enough to give him an opening to return his attacks.

With the opening he has, Ren swings his spear with much power toward the man. He blocked it with his sword, but his sword gets deflected from the power of the swing, leaving him open and unguarded. Utilizing this moment, Ren does a fast spin and use the momentum to adds force to the spear as he swings it toward his opponent body. It hits hard right at the armored man abdomen and get thrown at a high speed to the ground. A loud boom can be heard as he hits the ground. The force of the impact blows pebbles and dusts upward.

Not far from the impact area, Ren lands. His chest is moving fast as he’s gasping for breath. He turns his head toward the place where the armored man hit the ground. The dusts are still not settled yet. The impact also created a crater. From his position and slightly clouded by the dusts, it’s hard for Ren to see the man’s condition. He slowly walks to the crater to get a clearer view.

Before he get near the crater, the dusts cloud on the crater suddenly splitted violently. Ren instinctively put his spear vertically forward parallel to him to barely manages to block the invisible blade slash thrown at him.

The dusts swirls again, and just like before an invisible sword flies toward Ren. And another and another. And then the armored man launches toward Ren from inside the crater with insane speed. Blood flows down from his temple and mouth, his armor cracked with slight hint of blood can be seen, but that doesn’t stop him from throwing another invisible blade at Ren.

Ren hastily blocks the rapid invisible slashes thrown at him. He then follows it with a thrust toward the armored man. With all his injuries, he somehow can see Ren’s attack much better and move slightly faster. Through his eyes he located the perfect location to make a perfect strike flows after he dodge Ren’s spear.

With inches before his head getting impaled, the armored man quickly side-stepping to the left and forward while repositioning his sword to prepare for an attack. The spear scratches his cheeks, but he ignored it. With Ren’s arm still stretched forward and still in attacking stance, the armored man ducks and dashes under Ren’s spear and deliver a quick slash toward Ren’s belly.

As soon as he saw his attack is dodged, Ren already prepared to take a backstep. Yet, the armored man moves so quickly that he barely able to move backward before the cold steel slices his stomach. Thanks to the armored man’s injuries, the slashes was not accurate. Ren’s slight backward movement is, surprisingly for the two of them, enough to save his innards from spilling out to the ground.

Ren quickly takes another backstep to keep their distance. He checks his slash wound. It’s quite deep and long but isn’t enough to leave a long lasting damage. Still it hurts him quite badly and it will hinder the fight. The armored man position isn’t better either. He’s down on one knee from the pain all over his body from pushing it to the limit.

“Now you two,” a man annoyed voice comes from the entry to the building, “could you stop destroying my lawn?”

A man clothed with a sweater covered in a lab coat walks toward the destroyed landscape while fixing his glasses position. He walks in a somewhat lazy and annoyed manner. Well, he does looks quite annoyed, actually. His face simply says ‘annoyed’ very clearly. Followed behind him are Rick and a grown-up Tama.

“Gerogom…” Ren gives a piercing look toward the man in the bright white lab coat.

“Ah, Ren. Long time no see,” Gerogom says in a ‘not-interested’ tone. “Now, Ignis,” he turns to the armored man, “We need to fix you up. Why don’t you head inside and wait at the usual room.”

“What?” The armored man, Ignis, still down in one knee, is surprised with Gerogom’s words, “I’m not finished here.”

“Yes, you are finished here. If you continue, there’s no telling what’ll happen to you. And for sure I don’t want to lose all of the data I’ve collected from your fight.”

“But he’s trespassing!”

“And now they’re my guests.”

Ignis looks at Rick who’s now with Tama. “So he’s here for the fox girl, huh. But,” Ignis use his leftover energy to stands, “What about Thyella?”

“Hm? What about Thyella?” Gerogom whistles and from the forest come one big grey wolf, walking slowly. The wolf slightly limping, but otherwise no wounds can be seen.

“Wha- She’s alive?” Ignis looks relieved and relaxes his grip on his sword. He turns and ask Ren, “Why don’t you say anything?”

Seeing that the hostility from Ignis has gone, Ren let out a sigh and changes his stance to be more relaxed. “Well,” Ren spins his spear and thrusts it gently into his scarf to which the spear disappear into, “How could I say anything when there’s a blade constantly aiming for my neck?”

“Uh, yeah, sorry about that. I should’ve let you explain the situation,” Ignis scratches his head.

“Don’t worry about that.”

“Hey, are you alright?” Rick approaches Ren with Tama follows behind him.

“My, my~ That must be hurt,” Tama bends over and takes a close look at Ren’s wound.

“It’s not bad as it looks,” Ren looks down to his wounds and then pats Tama’s head.

“Ehehe~” The pats sure makes Tama’s happy which can be seen from her expression and how she’s wagging her tail lively.

“How did you ended up like this, Tama?” Ren asks curiously.

“And that’s what I will explain in a moment,” Gerogom cuts while approaching them and continues, “But I think we should do it inside. I’ll explain while treating your wounds.”

“...I’m heading back,” without giving it much thought, Ren rejected Gerogom’s offer and turns his back.

“Oi, Ren, wait!”

“You can stay and hear his explanation, Rick. That’s okay. But I’m leaving.”

“What, are you still mad about me helping your sister?” There’s a slight annoyance shown by Gerogom’s eyes.

Ren stops and turns his head slightly, “You think?” And then he turns around completely to faces Gerogom. It’s clear from his expression that he is angry. “It’s been two years! And there’s no contact from her at all!” He then points at Gerogom, “It’s because you went out of your way and helped her!”

After Ren’s done shouting, there’s silence. Rick and Tama can feel the tension in the atmosphere and decide to not interfere. Ignis’s now kneeling on the ground and stroking Thyella who looks like enjoying it. He’s looking at Ren and Gerogom and, just like Rick and Tama, wondering what happened between the two in the past.

Gerogom still looks calm despite being the target of Ren’s shouts. He puts his hands into the pockets on his coat and says, “Two years, huh? Time sure flies. You need to remember, Ren, that it was her own decision to going to the Demonrealm. I just provided the mean.”

“I told you to not help her. And just you being you, you helped her anyway, only because you needed her help to test one of your devices.”

“Past is already passed. Why do you getting so upset about something that happened two years ago?”

Ren’s eyes widens hearing Gerogom’s remark. Surprised and angered, he rushes to Gerogom and grab him by the collar of his coat and shouts at his face, “Because Yui is my only little sister, you bastard!”

Even while at the receiving end of that anger, Gerogom still looks indifferent. He stays silent. Not a word comes out from his mouth. It’s looks like he, although he doesn’t want to admit it, feels a little guilty.

Seeing no reaction from the elf, Ren releases his grip. He stands still for a moment before turns around and walks away without any word. Rick decides to not holding him after hearing all of those shouts. Ren and Gerogom are not in a good term and Rick doesn’t want to make it worse.

“Rick, Tama,” Ren stops for a while near the edge of the forest and turns his head to Rick and Tama, “I’m sorry for all of that shouts.”

“Uh-uh,” Tama shakes her heads, “Don’t worry, mister Dandy.”

“Yeah, no need to worry about it, Ren,” Rick adds, “We’ll talk later.”

Hearing that, a faint smile emerges on Ren’s face. He continues walk toward the forest and gives a single wave to Rick and Tama before disappear into the forest.

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