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 Fighters Abroad

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Retired Staff
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Quote : This one is for me, Bison! HADOUKEN!
Registration date : 2008-08-30

PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   July 12th 2014, 9:09 pm

Chapter 150: Perfect Conditions

Note: If you have not read Movie 2 yet prior to reading this chapter, you will not understand the full context of what the group knows. You are highly recommended to read it before this chapter. Thanks.

Claudius: So itís like that then.
X: Zerin saved Ivan with his endgame already in mind.
Helena: Yes. I knew this, and yet there was nothing I could do to dissuade him.
Lei: I canít believe Master Toketsu was involved.
Helena: Kaiten believed that Zerin was acting for the good of the continent. Truthfully, he was at that point. But they were perceptive. They backed out immediately after the war ended.
Lei: He must have known that Zerin was up to no good.
Lance: Word spread that Ivan had undergone new governmental changes, but it was difficult to get information on specifics. I canít believe a rebellion happened and no one from Neese and Drek found out.
Helena: Zerin used the Foundationís containment policy with information and used it as a means to conceal his plan.
Conrad: He managed to conceal an entire army, move them across Drek and then ambush Sarzo. Maíam, your son is a genius, quite frankly. But then again, he probably had help from Nero. Damn him!
Helena: My sons are both gifted far beyond anyone in our family. I was a fighter in my day, and my husband wasnít bad either. But nothing like this. Entoís real family must have been gifted as well.
Lance: Trust me, they were.
Knosse: Iíve seen Zerin fight just once, when Sarzo was attacked. He wields a huge sword, but he uses it like someone would a combat knife.
Adria: Wow! You were there and you survived the attack?
Knosse: YeahÖthat was when I made all the wrong choices.
Conrad: You mean, you were on Zerinís side?
Lei: Knosse is with us now. What he did in the past will stay there.
Conrad: I donít mean to judge. My best friend is there as well.
Knosse: Nero, right? I remember he stuck close to Jiron in order to stay safe. He was alive after everything was said and done, I can tell you that much.
Conrad: Nero owes Jiron his life. Nero would not be alive right now if it werenít for him.
Adria: How did that happen?
Conrad: ÖItís best if I save that for another time.
X: Jiron said the same thing about Hiiro. I wonderÖ
Claudius: I hate to interrupt, but I have some good news. Iíve thought this through. Do you guys remember the plan I had?

Each of the group members looks slightly surprised.

Lance: The conditions are perfect.
Lei: Looks like we got lucky.
Claudius: Maíam, that building on top of the hill that is guarded by soldiers. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Helena: That area was occupied once by a Foundation building that was built using us as labor. But as you now know, Zerin had it torn down when he saved this city from them. That building was built with the honest work of the city. It is now a Myjuto base of sorts.

Claudius smirks.

Claudius: Perfect.
Helena: Do you plan to destroy it?
Claudius: No, we have no intention of doing something that drastic. Let that building serve as a reminder of what your sons did to liberate you. Zerin is our enemy, but the Foundation needed to be stopped. I promise you, we will not harm it.
X: *Smirk* We canít promise the same for the Myjuto people occupying it, though.

Later that night, we see a far back view of the castle. There are guards lined up around it. Two guards are guarding the fence before the hill. The group is hiding behind some buildings nearby. X is the only one missing.

Claudius: Doesnít look too heavily guarded for a base. This will be a cinch compared to the prison.
Lance: What is X doing?
Adria: Youíll see.
Conrad: What did you do, Adria?
Adria: Be patient!
Xís voice: Yo.

X appears behind them and he is wearing new clothes. His design is similar to his normal outfit, but is black and has a hood. X doesnít have it on at the moment.

Claudius: Nice!
X: It was about time I stopped wearing white at night, so I had Adria sow me a new outfit in black.
Adria: Looks perfect. I should start charging for my services now.

Claudius and Lance look at each other and snicker.

Claudius: Yes, I think your services would be of great value.
X: I did pay you.
Adria: Yes, but I could make a business out of it.
Lance: As long as we get exclusive deals.

Conrad is smacking his head against the nearest building.

Lei: Letís get moving, before Conrad breaks.
X: Right. Leave these guards to me.

X puts his hood up and quietly approaches the guards. Just as they notice him, he is close enough that he dashes and stabs both of them in their necks to stop them from speaking.

X: Mobility is good. Everything seems just like Iím wearing my normal outfit.
Lei: Iím glad youíre enamored by your new clothes, but we have a job to do.
X: Yeah.

They quickly move the bodies behind the fence and then move on. They start to crawl up the hill to avoid being seen right away.

Conrad: Are you sure about this?
Claudius: Yeah. We need to make a statement. Just as long as we donít let anyone escape just yet. Now, letís raise some hell.

They stand up and charge for the soldiers that surround the castle.

Soldier: Hostiles by me!

He gets stuck with an arrow just after he finishes that clause. Claudius presses the button on his chain whip to extend his whip all the way to grab the next one. He pulls him straight into Lance, who cuts his head off with an axe. X makes it to another and cuts through him by slashing with his daggers.

X: Conrad! These daggers feel great against armor! Thanks.

Lei makes it to one of them and backhands the soldierís helm off and then punches him in the jaw with his gloves on. Knosse does something similar by shooting off a helm and then shooting the soldier in the head. Conrad has remained back, not doing anything yet. In no time, they clear the field of soldiers.

Claudius: Now, thatís what Iím talking about.
Lance: My weapons feel great in use. Ever since you sharpened them, Conrad.
Conrad: It was my pleasure. Now, letís get in there and execute the plan.

They go to the door, which has a big lock on it. Lance is able to easily chop through the lock with one of his axes. They open the door and head in. A bunch of soldiers without helms are now running at them from a set of steps that they can see at the far end of the room.

Knosse: I got this.

Knosse steps in front of the group and twirls his guns. He shoots each soldier in the head accurately and quickly, and the bullets penetrate their skin and kill them.

Knosse: Hell yeah.
Lei: Solid work.

They head up the steps and find a room all the way at the top. They push through it to see two soldiers and another man in the back. He is wearing a Myjuto cloak, but his hood is off. He has black hair that is in a crew cut. This man looks surprised.

Man: Fighters Abroad?! What are you doing here?!
Knosse: Gee, I dunno. What the fuck do you think weíd be doing to a Myjuto base?
Man: ÖGood point.
Claudius: We havenít seen you yet. What rank are you?
Man: Iím the new twelve. My name is Jared.
X: Twelve, huh?

The group minus Adria and Conrad start laughing.

Jared: Whatís so damn funny?
Claudius: And here we expected something like a six or a seven.
Lance: No worries though. If heís only twelve, I bet any one of us can solo this fight.
Jared: Donít screw with me!

X suddenly dashes forward and cuts through a soldier. Claudius takes the other with his chain whip and then smashes his head into a wall to knock him out.

Claudius: This one we keep alive. No offense, Jared, but youíre just a catalyst in our plan. Youíre gonna have to die here.
Adria: Let me do this.
X: Adria, you want to fight him?
Adria: Iíve never given you all a proper showcase of what I can do one on one. Let me demonstrate.
Claudius: Right, the floor is yours.
Jared: Youíre sending a girl after me?
Adria: Yeah, well this girl is gonna kick your ass!

To be continuedÖ
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   September 18th 2014, 5:02 pm

Chapter 151: The Plan Set in Motion

Jared takes out a spiked club and readies it.

Jared: Youíre gonna regret this, girl.
Adria: Regret killing you? Weíll see.

Jared is irritated by these words.

Jared: You bitch! A woman can never beat a man in a fight!

The group looks at Jared weird. Claudius, in particular, facepalms.

Adria: A sexist, huh? Can I mess with him?
Claudius: Go ahead.
Adria: Cool!
Jared: Iíll send you back to the kitchen where you belong!

With Jared now completely pissed, he charges at Adria and whacks at her with his club. Adria casually dodges with ease. Jared goes on the attack relentlessly, but cannot hit Adria. Finally, Adria gives Jared a hard kick to the stomach and then backs off. He stumbles back while coughing.

Adria: So, have I changed your mind yet?

Jared again starts a flurry of attacks, of which each attack is dodged. The group is observing everything that Adria is doing.

Lei: Sheís moving with considerable speed and precision. Her physical stats are definitely on par with the rest of ours. And sheís pretty skilled too.

Adria grabs his club hand and starts to forcefully move hand closer to him, getting his spiked club close to his face. With his free hand, Jared throws a punch to stop Adria from doing this. Adria lifts her knee high in the air to block the punch and he retracts his hand in pain. She then kicks him in the shin and twists his club arm, making him drop it. Jared is in massive pain and is trying to hold and rub his injured parts, as if to console the loss of most of his dignity. Jared starts to sob. Adria looks at him in surprise.

Jared: IÖwonít let you do this to meÖ.I WOOOOOOONíT!!!!!!

Jared springs forward at her with his one good leg. Adria grabs him and throws him to the ground while also landing on top of him. She pins his shoulders against the floor as he struggles to get her off. He starts to convulse at the thought of all of this happening. Especially at the hands of a woman.

Adria: Stay still, crybaby! Hahahahaha!

With him still convulsing, he starts to scream, particularly at a high pitch. The others at this point are covering their ears, looking very confused except Knosse, who is laughing his ass off. Finally, Jaredís mind gives out and he starts foaming at the mouth. He stops struggling and falls unconscious as the foam fills his entire mouth, just leaving enough space that he is still breathing. Adria has a very confused look on her face and the others have a similar face.

Knosse: What the fuck just happened?
X: I have no idea.
Claudius: Hey, doc. What do they call the fear of being overpowered by the opposite sex?
Conrad: Beats me. My guess is that he is very mentally ill, unfortunately.
Lance: Yeah, no kidding.
Adria: Did I go too far?
Knosse: Nah, that was fucking hilarious.
Lei: At least heíll be a bit more docile for now.

When Jared comes to, he is tied to a chair in a back room that is connected to the previous room by a door. The door is closed just enough that you canít see past it. Knosse and Lance are in this room as well as X. When Knosse and Lance notice that he has woken up, Lance immediately grabs Knosse and pretends to slam him against the wall. Knosse then starts imitating Jared by pretending to scream like a girl, but not quite as loud.


X interrupts him by smacking him on the side of the head.

X: Pay attention.
Jared: What do you want?
X: I want answers.

Meanwhile, in the other room, as soon as Claudius hears Knosseís fake scream, he picks the previously unconscious guard up and sets him on his feet.

Claudius: Listen to this conversation clearly. Do you understand?
Guard: Yes.
Xís voice: Where were you on the day of hibinshmidm?

A smack sound is heard and Jaredís pain response.

Xís voice: Donít fuck with me, Jared! HIBINSHMIDM! Where were you?!
Claudius: You see, we have your boss hostage. And heís not the only one we have hostage.

Meanwhile, some time passes and Jared is sobbing again and he has clear hand marks on his face. Claudius enters the room.

X: Is it done then?
Claudius: Itís done. You can kill him now.
X: (casually) Okay.

While looking at Claudius still, X pulls one dagger and stabs Jared in the head casually, killing him. They meet in the main room again.

Conrad: Maybe we did go a bit too far. If he was mentally ill, then thatís not all his fault.
X: The way I see it, he made his choice what side to be on. You canít complain when youíve chosen to fight. If you fight, you risk being killed, captured, injured, raped or otherwise. If you donít consider that, you shouldnít fight. You are prepared to win, but you are also prepared to lose.
Lei: Yes, that is a good way of putting it.
Conrad: I guess youíre right. Still, Iíve never seen that reaction before.
Claudius: I donít think any of us have.
Lance: So, back to business, we need to wait a few days, judging by the distance we have to cover. We canít stay here, however.
Lei: Do you know any places in between?
Adria: I do!
Conrad: ÖYou do?
Adria: Yes, Dad.
Conrad: Could it be that this is where youÖ
Adria: Yeah. Letís go there.
Claudius: Are you sure this place is safe to stay?
Adria: Positive.
Conrad: Well then, youíll have to lead the way.

They leave the building and the group waits just outside the city except for Claudius. It is now morning. He is standing in front of Helena outside her house.

Claudius: Weíre leaving. I thought it would be proper for one of us to say goodbye and thanks for your hospitality.
Helena: You are welcome.
Claudius: As thanks, we have a present to give you, but it might take some time.
Helena: What do you mean?
Claudius: Oh, youíll see. Thanks again.

He leaves and rejoins the group. They are walking away from the city, with Adria leading the way. Claudius starts to whisper to Conrad.

Claudius: (Whispering) So how does she know about this place and you donít?
Conrad: (Whispering) When she was 16, she left home without telling me to explore on her own. It took her an entire year to come back home.
Adria: I can hear you guys still. This is where I ended up after exploring the continent for a while. These people took me in for a year. But thatís not all.
Lance: Oh?
Adria: When I was Uncle Raltoís student, I learned grappling from him due to my physical abilities. But my Ninjitsu was learned during the year that I was gone.
Claudius: That makes sense. I thought it was odd that you had that style and yet youíre the only one of the family that knows it.

[Two years ago]

Conrad wakes up from sleeping and sees Ralto in the kitchen with a downtrodden face. He sees a piece of paper in his hand.

Conrad: What is it? Whatís on that piece of paper?
Ralto: She ran away.
Conrad: Adria?! Why?!

He takes the paper and reads it. It reads: I am leaving for a while. It is time that I explored on my own. Please do not try to follow me. I will come home when I am ready.

Conrad: This is her handwriting. But she was happy here, wasnít she?
Ralto: While Iím sure she was, sheís obviously missing something in her life. Maybe some exploration will do her some good.
Conrad: You know as well as I do that this is a dangerous place to explore!
Ralto: Relax. Your daughter, my studentÖis not that weak. Have faith in her.


Conrad: If it werenít for Ralto, I donít know if I would have been able to handle that.

We switch locations to East Ivan at a harbor. Kyle is walking in this boat town by himself.

Kyle: Ento will avenge Tibi, Iím sure of it. Fighters Abroad must pay, whether it be by my hand or his.

In Kyleís mind, we see a quick flashback to the two of them walking in Kaiten among the dead Kaiten warriors.

Ento: I know you had a personal grudge against Claudius. I hope you wonít be mad if it is I who kills them.
Kyle: No. At first I was apprehensive about it, but then I got thinking. If you kill them here and now, I can move on with my life. Iíve lost all my siblings, but thereís one person I havenít lost.
Ento: Shim will be happy to hear you say that.
Kyle: †With Fighters Abroad gone, I will be able to live in peace. Please, show them no mercy.
Ento: I wonít. Rest assured.

Back to the present, Kyle continues walking till he reaches the edge of Ivan Harbor. †Two Myjuto soldiers greet him.

Soldier: Officer Kyle. It is a pleasure.
Kyle: Is the boat ready?
Soldier: Yes, sir. Are you sure you only need a small boat for one?
Kyle: Yes. I am traveling alone. I wonít need anything bigger. Thank you, soldier.

He steps on a small boat that can only carry him. There is a small mast on it and two oars. Kyle begins rowing, and we note that he is able to get himself going at a good speed quickly.

Kyle: The trip to Drek will also be good training for me with all this rowing.

As he rows himself off into the distance, we go back to Fighters Abroad. They are standing in a grass field. There are a couple large rocks that have distinct patterns engraved on them.

Adria: Well, weíre here.
Knosse: We are?
Adria: Yeah. The place is underground.
Lei: How can you tell that this is the exact spot?
Adria: The rocks here look the same as they did two years ago. Well, mostly the same. Now letís seeÖ

She starts to feel in the grass for something and then hits something.

Adria: Ah. Here it is.

She lifts her hand up to show a ring that when pulled up, the ground lifts up in a square hole. Itís a bit dark down there, but steps are visible.

Adria: Alright, letís go.

The plan is now in action. For the time being, they are going to a mysterious place that taught Adria her ninja techniques.
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   September 26th 2014, 12:18 pm

Chapter 152: Growth Ė Adriaís Bonds

Adria goes down first, leaving the rest of them up at the surface. By the time she gets down to the bottom of the steps, the area is a little better lit, with a few torches around. Someone in a hood greets her. We cannot see much of the face.

Hooded Man: (Male voice) YouÖyou came back.
Adria: Yes, itís me. I have friends with me, can they come down? We donít plan to stay too long.
Hooded Man: You may bring them down.

Adria goes up and then leads them down the stairs.

Hooded Man: You are Fighters Abroad.
Claudius: So youíve heard of us.
Hooded Man: We know all that goes on in this world. †This way.

He leads the group further into this dark place. As they go farther in, it becomes more and more lit. They enter a circular room with torches along the wall and one in the very middle on a stand. The man takes the torch and begins speaking. He is shown to have a mouth cover similar to Adriaís.

Hooded Man: We have guests.
Female Voice: We can see that much.

Three hooded people emerge from the dark points between torches. Though they also have the mouth covers, we can positively identify one of them as female and the other two as male.

Hooded Man: I did not question your eyesight, but it is polite to inform you that guests have arrived in case your covers are off.
Female: Is it polite to put a fist in your face for being obvious?
Hooded Man 2: Now now, thatíll be enough fighting for now.
The previous two: Sorry, Master.
Master: That is quite all right. I apologize for their behavior. Welcome back, †K-6, Adria.
Adria: Thank you, Master. Itís good to see you again.
Master: I see that you have joined Fighters Abroad.
Adria: I have.
Master: And why have you come here?
Claudius: We have come to take shelter for more or less a few days.
Female: He did not ask you, whelp. You will speak in turn.
X: (irritated) What did you call him?
Master: K-1 (referring to the female)!
K-1: What? He was being rude. Let me teach them a lesson.

This woman immediately charges at the group. She throws a punch at Claudius, but Lei steps in and flips her to the ground.

Master: Youíve been soundly beaten, K-1.
K-1: Tch! Lucky hit.

She gets up quickly and backs away from Fighters Abroad.

Master: If you are going to stay here, maybe we can really see what this infamous group is made of.
K-1: Yeah.
Master: S-3, take them to training room.
Hooded Man: Yes, Master.

S-3, the man who had led them before, leads them into another room. As they are walkingÖ

X: So what do the code names mean, Adria?
Adria: We are divided by men and women. Men are S, Women are K, donít ask why. Then the number is in order of rank. So for instance, the woman that attacked you was the top ranked female.
Lei: Was she? I could tell that she wasnít going all out, but stillÖ
S-3: You will find out how we judge our power.

S-3 takes them to a room that is very well lit. There are twenty-five hooded people there.

S-3: You will choose one fighter for each room. We have two with twenty-five fighters each. They are no pushovers.
Claudius: Iíll take this room.
Lei: Then Iíll take the other.
S-3: We will judge how strong you are based on how many of them you defeat before you go down.
Claudius: What if I defeat them all?
S-3: You wonít defeat them all.

They leave Claudius in this room and leave Lei in the adjacent room. They close off the room and they continue walking. They find another room at the end of the hallway.

S-3: K-6, will you fight K-1 to see how strong youíve become since the last time you were here?
Adria: Sure. I have gotten much stronger since then.

Adria goes into the room and waits for a couple minutes.

Adria: I guess sheís not here yet.
S-3: Letís go check on the matches a while.

They leave and go back to the rooms.

S-3: Donít worry. Your friend wonít be too injured, but enough that he wonít be able to continue to fight.

He opens the room and sees inside to see who is still standing. Claudius is in the middle of the room, still standing while the rest of them have fallen ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhCQ6jQIgeQ ). S-3 is taken back by this. Claudius is noticeably hurt, but not bad enough to stop fighting. He is breathing heavy.

S-3: ThatÖno one has ever done that before!
Claudius: You were right, they arenít pushovers. But neither am I.

They check on Leiís fight to see him kick the last person down to the ground. He is in a similar condition to Claudius.

S-3: You people, clearly you are on an entirely different level from us.
Claudius: As expected of Lei.
Lei: You already beat them? I thought I was taking them out fast.
Claudius: I only had to throw 25 punches.
Knosse: Showoffs.
X: Well, I think that Lance and I could also take on that many of your guys.

K-1 walks by now. She stops when she looks inside the first room.

K-1: What just happened here?
S-3: The man you picked a fight with just did that. You got off easy.
K-1: Thatís not possible.
Claudius: Your view is limited if you think that. There are people in this world who are stronger than our entire group combined. Itís not a stretch to think he could take out your entire clan by himself.
K-1: He changed his wording to reflect a single person. Does someone like that actually exist? *Music Stops*
S-3: K-1, weíd like you to fight K-6 to see where she would rank now.
K-1: I accept that challenge.

They go back to the room that they had previously gone to for K-1. Adria squares off against her in the middle of the room. The rest of the group is in the dark along the walls, so we cannot see them.

Adria: Last time we fought, I was utterly defeated, but this time will be different.
K-1: Weíll see. I have also gotten stronger.
S-3: Begin.

He also goes into the dark. They bow to each other in respect and then take their fighting stances. They size each other up for a few seconds and then slowly begin moving. They are circling around each other. Suddenly, K-1 moves first. She starts spinning on one foot and kicks with the other. Adria blocks with the back of her hand and then goes for a spin kick. K-1 flips over top of Adria and lands on her shoulders. She grapples her with her legs and bends backwards. Adria goes with the momentum and does a backflip. She lands on her feet and then grabs K-1. She throws her straight off. K-1 is able to use her hands to catch herself and propel her back to her feet.

Claudius: Her fighting style reminds me of Tibiís. I remember she tried the same bullshit with me.
Knosse: Oh yeah, her. You know you gotta deal with Kyle for that, right?
Claudius: Yeah, I knowÖ
Lei: Focus on the match.

K-1 runs to her again, but she is keeping low. She does a similar spinning and kicks low. Adria counters by planting her left foot firm and giving a hard right kick that overpowers K-1ís. She stumbles back and Adria follows up by punching K-1 right where the shoulder, arm and chest meet. She then gives a spin kick on the same side of the shoulder she attacked. K-1 tries to lift her arm to block, but itís slow.

K-1: She was able to accurately disable my arm!

She gets kicked in the side of the head and crashes into the ground hard. K-1 is able to get up right away, however.

K-1: You have been working on that technique, I see.
Adria: Of course.
Lance: That was awesome.
Conrad: Adria has a great knowledge of human anatomy. Between the training she has received here and my science classes, she has all the tools she needs in order to properly disable someone.
K-1: I canít use this arm anymore against Adria. I have to rely on my kicks.
Adria: The next strike will end this.

Adria charges at her and starts to rapidly palm strike. K-1 dodges each one and then kicks at her. Adria dodges and then punches. K-1 blocks with her remaining good arm. Adria grabs that arm out of her punch and forces it away from her body. With her other hand, she lands a punch to K-1ís solar plexus.

Adria: Game.

K-1 stumbles back while holding her chest, having breathing problem. She drops to her knees. Adria goes over to her and gives her a strong tap in the chest area, which allows her to breath better immediately.

S-3: This match is over. The winner is Adria.

Adria jumps up and down a few times.

Adria: I won!
Knosse: Your daughter is beginning to scare me, Conrad.
Lance: No kidding. Iíll be careful the next time I try to make a mÖer I mean, wellÖfuckÖ
K-1: How did you get so strong so quickly?
Adria: Well, I had gotten much stronger since I left, but the real credit goes to the last couple months.

[Myjuto Prison Ė Two Months Ago]

Adria is watching Claudius train by himself. She seems almost mesmerized by his intensity.

Conrad: You look shocked.
Adria: Dad, Iím going to start training as well.
Conrad: You are?
Adria: I canít just sit here and watch him do all this. Itís time I get serious about my training as well.


Adria: I fought Claudius every day for two months on top of a new regiment. I never managed to win, but I got a lot stronger and better at fighting.
K-1: I see. Should you stay, you will be K-1 and I will be K-2.
Adria: Thatís all right. Iím going with them to Sarzo to take out the Myjuto Forces.
Voice: Is that so?

The master walks out of the shadows in another part of the room.

Master: I was observing your fight. You both have grown quite a lot.
K-1: Thank you, Master.
Master: When the time comes, we will fight as well. You can count on it.
Adria: You mean it, Master?!
Master: Of course. We want to rid the world of them as well.
Adria: Thank you so much!

After this, the group joins up together and S-3 leads them away to another room.

X: So, you had someone else to beat the crap out of while I was gone, huh?
Claudius: You bet.
X: Damn, not fair. I wish I had someone like that.
Claudius: So where are we going now, S-3?
S-3: Weíre going to the dining hall. Iím sure youíre all getting hungry by now.
Knosse: Hell yeah!
Lei: Now that you mention it, yeah. My perception of time is thrown off down here. How do you tell what time of day it is?
S-3: We periodically have someone check. It just so happens that I was on my way to do so when you showed up.
Lance: Sounds inconvenient.
S-3: We have gotten used to this lifestyle.

They are taken to a dining room. No one is in there just yet.

X: Where is everyone?
Adria: They donít eat this early. They are late eaters.
X: Oh. Okay.

They are served food and begin eating.

Adria: Hey, Dad. Youíve been quiet since we got here. Is something wrong?
Conrad: Well, no not anymore. Of course, some bad memories surfaced, but once I saw this place and how it really changed you for the better, it made me happy. I know I have been overly protective of you, but itís time to change that.
Adria: Thanks, Dad. It makes me happy to hear you say that.
Conrad: Just as long as you donít mind my guidance here and there.
Adria: No, I donít mind. Iím sure Iíll need it.
X: Youíre a great dad, Conrad. Way better than mine was.
Knosse: Yeah, mine was a deadbeat.
Claudius: Soon, the doc will be like a father figure to us all, I believe. Heís already having that effect on me after a few months.

Fighters Abroad have entered this secretive place that Adria once lived at. They have proven their strength against this organization and strengthen the bonds they have with each other. This goes especially for Adria and her father. But wait! The plan is still in motion, and all will be revealed next on Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   September 27th 2014, 10:37 pm

Chapter 153: Claudiusí Plan Ė Unveiled

Two days have passed. Fighters Abroad is standing just before the steps leading out of the underground place. The master is standing before them.

Master: It was a pleasure housing the great Fighters Abroad.
Lei: It was an honor to be in this place as well.
Master: Farewell, all. Adria, you will always be welcomed here. Never forget that.
Adria: I wonít, Master.
Master: We will set out for Drek in a fortnight. †Come and find us when the time is right.

The master disappears into the shadows. As he fades away, they turn to the exit and leave the place. The sun shines through and they all cover their eyes for a few seconds.

Claudius: So how strong is the master anyway?
Adria: S-3 doesnít know this, but he has also completed the 25-fighter challenge. Heís the only one of the group that could do it. To be honest, K-1 and S-1 donít stand a chance against him.
Claudius: So heís that good, huh?
Lance: How about we get moving? We have a bit of ground to cover.
X: Yes, letís do so.

They travel along for a while until they see Ivan Port in the distance.

Knosse: Weíre here.
Claudius: The moment of truth is at hand it seems.
Conrad: Letís find out if the plan paid off.

They get closer to the port and under a little cave outcropping. X pops his head up above the rocks to scout out.

X: Perfect timing.
Claudius: Really?
X: Yeah, heís here.

From Xís point of view, we see the soldier that was previously at the Helvetica Myjuto building. He runs into the port frantically.

X: He went in.
Claudius: Now we wait.

The soldier heads deeper into the port until he finds another soldier.

Soldier 2: What is the hurry?
Soldier 1: I have to find Officer Ento now!
Soldier 2: This way.

The second soldier leads him to Ento.

Ento: Speak, soldier.
Soldier 1: Itís Fighters Abroad!
Ento: (Sternly) What about them?
Soldier 1: Theyíve taken over Helvetica! They are holding Officer Jared hostage and they have your mother as well.
Ento: They what?! Theyíre trying to defeat me by playing dirty, I see. They canít beat me head on, so they plan to beat me using my mother. Fine. Iím going. You all stay here and guard the port.
Soldiers: Yes, sir!

Ento starts to walk away but then stops.

Soldier 2: Sir?
Ento: Not this time. Iím different now than I was back then.

He looks over to a nearby building where Vexant is placed with a sheath made for it. He grabs it and puts it on his back.

Ento: Never again will I forget my weapon.

He leaves and takes off with incredible speed. X spots Ento coming out of the port and puts his head down.

X: Heís coming. Stay quiet.

The air intensifies as they all hold their breath instinctively. Ento jumps off the top of the outcropping and continues running. He quickly gets out of sight. They all breathe heavily in relief.

X: He really is fast. Did you see how fast he was going?
Conrad: That worked against him since he didnít have much time to notice us.
Claudius: Still, that means we wonít have much time before he makes it to Helvetica and finds out that we FUCKING TRICKED HIS ASS! Hahahaha!

They all laugh with Claudius and start high fiving each other.

Lei: Weíre not out of the rough yet. We have to get past the soldiers and then make it as far as possible before Ento makes it to Helvetica. I wouldnít give him more than a day with how fast he was going.
Lance: With any luck, our ship is still there. Thatíll make getting out much easier.
Lei: We should do this in a fashion where we cut through who we have to in order to get to a ship, preferably ours.
X: Agreed.
Claudius: All right then. Thatís what weíll do.
Lei: Conrad, we can make good use of your grenades here. Knosse, you will be key in this as well.
Knosse: Got it.
Lance: Iím gonna get my hands on two of their spears so that I can combine them into a single strong one.
Conrad: We could grab many of their weapons to be able to smelt them down for later reinforcements when we need them.
Lance: Sounds good. Iíll be in charge of that then.
X: I guess Adria and I will be the eyes of the operation.
Lei: That will be advantageous. You can support us from the rooftops and also take out people that could potentially get in our way.
Adria: Sure.
Claudius: Iíll be up front protecting Knosse then. And I guess you will be by Conradís side.
Lei: Yeah.
Claudius: Okay, letís get moving then. As Lei pointed out, we wonít have too much time to wait. We need to get out of here as soon as possible.

They get out of the outcropping and head towards the port. X and Adria go ahead and get on the nearest building. X looks at the rest of them and holds up one finger and then points in a direction. They go in that direction in a linear formation in this order: Claudius, Knosse, Conrad, Lei, Lance. In the direction that X pointed, one soldier shows up and Knosse quickly takes him out with a bullet. We see that there is an abnormally large amount of cloth covering his gun, serving as a silencer. As they pass the soldier, Lance grabs his spear. †They go into a narrow corridor between buildings. Claudius looks straight up and we see X dangling his hand over the edge, showing three fingers and pointing ahead of them. Claudius relays the message with the same hand gestures.

As they reach the end of the corridor, they see one soldier. He is immediately taken out by an arrow from above. Two soldiers check on the dead soldier and Claudius rushes one of them and slams him into a building, knocking him out. Lei does the same to the other. Lance takes all three of their spears.

Claudius: So far so good.

They make their way through the corridors till they see an opening at the end of the port. X drops down in front of Claudius.

Claudius: How many?
X: Ten.
Claudius: Childís play.
X: Adria is ready to fire an arrow.
Lance: Hey, Conrad. Can you hold these spears after you throw your flash bang?
Conrad: No problem.
Lance: My axes will work best against their armor, so Iíll charge in first. X, is our ship there still?
X: Yeah, it is.
Lance: Good.
Claudius: Letís do this. At your ready, doc.

Conrad tosses a flash bang and takes the spears from Lance. Just before the flash bang explodes by the ten soldiers, an arrow takes out one of them. The grenade explodes and blinds the remaining nine. Lances charges in first with his two axes drawn. The rest follow. Lance cleaves through one of them and Knosse then takes out one with a couple bullets. Lance takes out another and then Claudius does so with his sword. X has also taken out one with his daggers. Knosse kills another, and then Adria does with an arrow. Lance takes out one more and Lei takes out the last one by knocking him out. Lance and Claudius start picking up the spears as the rest of them get on their ship. Adria jumps down and runs past them to also get on the ship. Lance and Claudius are the last to get on the ship. They drop the spears right as soon as they get on.

Lance: Claudius, get the anchor. X, the mast, Adria the plank. Lei and Knosse, get to the rudder and wait for instructions. Conrad, keep watch of the port.

They all do as instructed. A soldier runs to get to their ship, but Adria pulls the plank from under him and he falls into the water.

Adria: Oopsie! Sorry about that! Not!
Conrad: We have two soldiers coming.
Adria: I wonít waste the arrows on them.
Claudius: No problem. I have the anchor up.
X: (From above) The mast is free too!
Lance: Then letís go!

They begin to move out to the ocean. The two soldiers jump and climb onto the ship.

Lance: I got this.

He draws his cutlass and parries both spear attacks. He stabs one, killing him. The other attacks again, but gets parried and Lance stabs him in the neck. Lance takes off their armor and throws them overboard.

Lance: Thatís more for us. Thanks, guys.

Lance takes the helm as the wind catches and takes them out to the ocean.

Lance: We did it!
X: Hell yeah!

They all start cheering. Eventually, they make it out of sight of Ivan Port. That night, the anchor is dropped and we see Conrad and Lance below deck. They are smelting the steel they had stolen.

Lance: I know the very basics of all this, but I donít really know all that much.
Conrad: Itís okay; I can guide you.
Lance: Thanks.

They start by combining two spears into one. Itís a lot more thick and sturdy. The edge is significantly larger than most spearheads. Lance starts twirling his new weapon around.

Lance: This really turned out good. I needed a new weapon to replace Vexant, and I figured a pole weapon would be best for range. I already have my cutlass and my two axes. I have a weapon best suited for short range, for mid-range and now for long-range weapon combat.
Conrad: Glad I could help.
Lance: VexantÖ

The next day, we see a close up of Vexant and then it zooms out to see Ento entering Helvetica. He immediately heads for his house and opens the door abruptly. Helena sees him and smiles.

Helena: Ento! Youíre home!
Ento: Mother! Are you okay?!
Helena: Yes, why?

At this moment, Ento realizes everything. He sits down.

Ento: Brother, I failed. Forgive me.
Helena: Whatís wrong?
Ento: My subordinate told me that you had been taken hostage by Fighters Abroad. It was a trick. They must have told the soldier that false information to lure me away. They should already be a day out of Ivan. Damn.
Helena: I did meet Fighters Abroad, but they were very kind, even after figuring out who I was.
Ento: Iím glad youíre not hurt.
Helena: HmmÖI guess this is what Claudius meant.
Ento: Whatís that?
Helena: He said they had a present to give me but that it would take some time. He must have been talking about you. And what a present it is.

She hugs Ento but then begins to sob.

Ento: Mother?
Helena: Ento, please. Talk some sense into your brother. End this madness. Thereís still time.
Ento: ÖWe canít turn back now. Weíve done too much. But itís okay. Your son, my brother, was meant to rule this world. I will be back.

Ento leaves the building and walks through town as everyone greets him with the utmost respect. He makes his way to the building on the hill. He sees the dead soldiers around the place. They are lined up a particular way that when looked at from a distance, their bodies spell out ďFighters AbroadĒ.

Ento: Cute.

By the main entrance, we see Jaredís body sitting up against the door. There is a note posted against his clothing. Ento takes it and begins reading it. It reads the following:

To Ento,

If you are reading this, then you must know everything by now. Thanks to you, I have regained all my memories about who I was before leaving the Myjuto Forces. Thanks for thatÖI guess. I was shortsighted back then, but I have changed a lot. Now I know that the Myjuto Forces are not the way. We will stop you. You may have almost killed us before, but the future is not yet written. Things will be different should we meet again. Count on it.


Ento: I didnít realize Knosse was that literate. Hmm?

P.S I had Lance help me write this and he says that heís serious about getting Vexant back from you one day. But for now, you can hold that shit for getting tricked!

Ento: I should have knownÖanyway, it looks like my time in Ivan is coming to an end as well. They may have escaped me, but they are heading right into Shimís territory. I will leave things to her. I need to get back to Zerin. But first, I will spend a few nights here with Mother. I need to rest.

He starts to walk back and sees a large rock in front of him. At this point, Ento has been brooding about being tricked. His anger spikes and he puts his fist through the rock, smashing it.

Ento: DAAAMN!!!!!!!

The plan worked. Fighters Abroad is on its way back to Neese. Ento has acknowledged his failure and decides to return to Sarzo. Nowhere is safe for the group, but at least they can rest easy, knowing that the monster of their nightmares has been eluded.
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   October 2nd 2014, 7:05 pm

Chapter 154: Change and Reflection

We go back to Naithís workshop. Naith and Gen are clashing wooden swords just outside. They subside their sparring for the moment.

Naith: You are improving as well, it seems.
Gen: Itís because of you, Naith. You have given me a new purpose.
Naith: So, what youíre saying is that fighting for a purpose makes you strong?
Gen: Of course. A sword is at its sharpest when you have something to protect.
Naith: And what are you protecting?
Gen: You.
Naith: What? How?
Gen: The stronger I am, the better I can help you train in my skill set. If you plan on going after the Shiryu, you need all the help you can get to fight a guy like Rio.
Naith: I see. Thatís one way of looking at it. The Shiryu itself can wait. Iím not interested in it right now.
Gen: Did the battle with Rio change your mind?
Naith: When I fought you, my aim was not the Shiryu to begin with. It was to see how I matched up against you.
Gen: Such a pure swordsman.
Naith: Donít mistake who I am. I am not pure. Letís go.
Gen: Hah.

They start to spar again.

Gen: I see, so thatís what he meant.

Gen lands a hit to Naith.

Naith: Huh?
Gen: Do you know why I was able to land a hit on you just now?
Naith: Iím sure youíre going to tell me.
Gen: Your speed is very impressive. Itís no wonder you have gotten so far. But now that you have slowed down, I see everything.
Naith: Then you know what Rio meant when he told me I was predictable?
Gen: Your style is all about flow. Your movements are very precise and are not wasted. That much I can give you credit for. But it is that precision that gives away your next move. Your bodyís movements give away what kind of sword strike you will give next.

Naith thinks back to his battle with Rio.

Naith: Thatís right. I dodged his strike just before making my own. And I noticed that he dodged just before I slashed. So youíre saying that Rio figured out how I would attack based on how I dodged his last attack.
Gen: I donít know how Rio learned such a technique. There are only a few who have learned it, including myself.
Naith: How do I properly circumvent this weakness?
Gen: That is not easy to do. Rioís style specializes in unpredictable movements. He must have known about this before developing a counter style to it. If you stop being precise, you lose much of your speed. But I think I have a style that compliments yours that will be able to aid this weakness.
Naith: You do?
Gen: Come, I will show you.

Meanwhile, Nataley is peering through a nearby window.

Nataley: I canít exactly hear what theyíre talking about, but it looks like Naith is interested in whatever Gen is saying.

Nataley goes into the kitchen and prepares some food for the three of them. She walks out of the workshop just as they finish sparring again.

Nataley: Food is ready.
Gen: Ah, good timing. That should be all for today, Naith.
Naith: No more?
Gen: You are still recovering. Hell, we both are. Once weíre at full strength, we will go much longer.

They go inside and eat. Just after, they hear a knock at the door. Naith answers the door to see Luis. He has his eyes closed and tries to hug Naith.

Luis: Nataley!!!
Naith: Try again.

He stops when he hears Naithís voice and opens his eyes. He sees Naithís blade pointed at his stomach.

Luis: Take it easy, bro. It was only a joke.
Naith: Iím sure. Where is Shawn?
Luis: Do we always have to be together?
Naith: I thought that was a mandatory thing.
Nataley: Come on in, Luis.
Luis: Thank you, my sweet Nataley!

He enters the house. Naith looks outside for Shawn.

Naith: Guess he really didnít come with Shawn. Weird.
Luis: Letís get going, Gen.
Gen: I know, I know. Iím not going to do anything bad, you know.
Luis: Well, you still havenít fessed up why you committed those murders. Until then, weíre keeping you under a form of house arrest.
Gen: In good time I will tell you.
Nataley: Oh, he can stay here.
Naith: What?
Gen: I can?
Naith: ÖYeah, I guess he can. It will make things more efficient. Luis, if he tries anything stupid, Iíll just kill him.
Luis: Okay, that works. Saves me the trouble of hiring guards. I can use that money on something better, like hookers.
Nataley: Wow, so blunt.
Luis: Another jokeÖa bad one this time. Anyway, listen here, Gen.

Luis points up into the air again.

Luis: If you hurt Nataley, I will personally deal with you! As you know, my brother and I are even more powerful than Naith and we could deal with you in ten seconds flat!

He leaves.

Naith: He didnít even say goodbye.
Gen: Has your friend always been like this?
Naith: Pretty much. Come with me, Iíll show you to your room.
Gen: Thanks.

Naith opens the door and points outside.

Gen: UhhhhÖ
Naith: Sorry, that was a joke.
Gen: Youíve been hanging around those delinquent detectives too much.
Naith: ProbablyÖ

Later that night, Naith and Nataley are sitting on the roof of the building. They have tea in their hands. They are casually sipping their tea while talking.

Nataley: How is your training going?
Naith: Itís going well. I think I understand the key to becoming a better swordsman.
Nataley: Thatís good. And you seem to be recovering well still.
Naith: Yes.
Nataley: Let me see.

Naith shows her his torso wound, which is now a mark with some scabbing.

Nataley: Looks better.
Naith: Iím okay.
Nataley: You gave me quite the scare, you know. Iíve never seen you in that condition before.
Naith: Sorry.
Nataley: Itís okay, you donít have to apologize.
Naith: I wonít let that happen to me ever again. Heh.
Nataley: Whatís funny?
Naith: I remember a certain man saying something similar to me some time ago.
Nataley: A certain man?
Naith: He was hurt very badly in Sarzo and I managed to bandage him up. When he thanked me, he told me that he wouldnít let that happen to him again.
Nataley: Was he part of Fighters Abroad?
Naith: Yeah. I guess you could call him the leader, until he got captured by the enemy. Claudius was his name. Heh, was. As if someone like him will die so easily.
Nataley: Heís the only one that you really talked about so far.
Naith: Claudius was the only one that truly treated me like one of them. The others accepted me as a teammate, but I donít know if they accepted me as a member of Fighters Abroad. I donít know if that makes any sense.
Nataley: No, I get it. Sounds like you have a lot of respect for him.
Naith: Now that I think of them in hindsight, I do. If I see him again, I will apologize for being so cold to him. I also want to fight him again. We never finished our fight from the Warriorís Battleground.
Nataley: Thatís nice. I want to meet these people. You know, theyíve gained a lot of infamy since you came back.
Naith: Iíve heard.

They finish their tea. After a few seconds of silenceÖ

Naith: NataleyÖthere are lot of people that I owed apologies to in the past. You are the one that I donít feel like I have properly done so to.
Nataley: What youíve is enough for me. It just has to be enough for you.
Naith: I know. You would never hold a grudge against me. Thatís not something I deserve. Not yet at least.
Nataley: No one deserves to have a grudge held against them if theyíve changed for the better. Not unless they have committed the worst of crimes. Look at Gen.
Naith: Yeah. Gen killed many people in this area, and here we are housing him.

A few more seconds pass and the clouds that cover the sky reveal themselves to show the stars and the crescent moon.

Nataley: The stars are out tonight. Amazing.
Naith: Yeah.

The screen fades out as they begin to watch the stars. Meanwhile, the same night, Kyle is staring at the crescent moon. His boat is currently drifting.

Kyle: Tibi loved the crescent moon.

His mind wanders off.

[Drek Ė 1.5 years ago]

We see Kyle standing in a dirt type of terrain. Tibi is not far away from him, but is lying on the ground.

Tibi: Big brother, youíre so strong. I improved so much but I still canít match you.
Kyle: Hah.

Kyle sits down on the dirt next to her, Indian style. She sits up.

Kyle: Still, youíre right about improving. You are definitely stronger than a lot of officers.
Tibi: Then itís time for me to join the Myjuto Forces.
Kyle: No. You must not.
Tibi: Why not? Iím 19 now; I can make my own decisions.
Kyle: Yes, you can decide your own path, but as your brother I am strongly advising against it.
Tibi: Why is it okay for you and not for me?
Kyle: I fight for justice, for honor, glory. My cause for fighting is noble.
Tibi: And mine isnít?
Kyle: When were you ever interested in any of these things?
Tibi: ÖWell, you have a point.
Kyle: Fighting just to fight is not the way. Besides, shouldnít you worry about other things? You could surely find a suitable husband and settle on a nice life. Youíve grown to be quite an attractive woman.
Tibi: Please, hearing that from you is awkward.
Kyle: Hahaha. I was only jesting. But, your playthings have been growing in number.
Tibi: You know about that? I thought I had kept that a secret.
Kyle: My dear sibling, you are not very good at keeping secrets.
Tibi: This is also true.

They start laughing. Kyle puts his hand on her head.

Kyle: If you want to join the Myjuto Forces, I wonít stop you. Actually, the king has asked me repeatedly to allow you to replace Orzu as rank six.
Tibi: Six? Does that mean Iím stronger than Rio and Hiiro?
Kyle: Donít get ahead of yourself. They are still out of your reach for now. The ranks were not exactly decided based on strength. For instance, you are stronger than Orzu was.
Tibi: How were they decided then?
Kyle: We had a tournament before the invasion of Sarzo. It just so happens that Orzu had easier matches and ranked higher than those two. Rio had to fight Ento relatively early and got wrecked.
Tibi: What about Hiiro?
Kyle: Heh.
Tibi: I see. Looks like youíre even further away from me than I thought. So, then Ento won the tournament?
Kyle: Not exactly. Ento and Shim were granted 1 and 2 once the king saw everyoneís power. He also granted Nero fourth for his intelligence. I made it to the finals and had to fight Jiron.
Tibi: That didnít go well, I bet.
Kyle: No, it didnít.
Tibi: ÖThanks, Kyle.
Kyle: For what?
Tibi: For believing in me. I wonít let you down. I promise.
Kyle: TibiÖ
Tibi: As a commemoration, Iíll get a tattoo of a crescent moon.
Kyle: Why that?
Tibi: I dunno. I like the shape and look in the night sky.
Kyle: I see. Where will you be getting this tattoo?
Tibi: On my boobs.
Kyle: TypicalÖ

Tibi laughs innocently at Kyle. Back in the present, Kyle stares at the moon and begins to tear up. He reaches out towards the moon, as if to grab it out of the sky. The screen fades to black.

The next morning, we follow Fighters Abroad again. Lance is steering the ship. Conrad approaches him, still a bit groggy.

Lance: Good morning.
Conrad: ĎMorning.
Lance: Everyone else still asleep?
Conrad: I think so.
Lance: Alright. I can handle things forÖ.nowÖ

Lanceís words become interrupted as he looks out in the distance. There is a ship that is barely visible.

Lance: Spoke too soon. Hey, wait a minute.

As the ship becomes in slightly clearer view, Lance is able to see the flag on the ship.

Lance: Shit, thatís not good.

Whatís not good, Lance? Find out next time on Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   October 23rd 2014, 8:17 pm

Chapter 155: Family

Lance: Shit, thatís not good.
Conrad: Do you recognize that flag?
Lance: Yeah. Thatís my brotherís flag.
Conrad: Hookís?! Wait, how is that a bad thing?
Lance: ÖYou donít know my brother. Meet on land, heís friendly. But if your ship meets his on the sea, he gets territorial.
Conrad: Iíll go wake up the others.
Lance: Hold on. Help me get the anchor down and then stand by.
Conrad: Huh?

They get the anchor down and Lance holds his cutlass up in the air. From Hookís perspective, he is looking through binoculars and sees Lance.

Hook: Ohoho! Lance, huh? Looks like itís time for me to take him out.

The ships end up side by side with their anchors down. Their ships are about the same height and overall size. Two of Hookís crewmates put a giant plank between the ships. Lance sheaths his sword and walks up to the plank. Hook does the same from his end of the ship.

Lance: James, so you were prowling in these waters then.
Hook: Thatís right. And what are you doing here, Lance?
Lance: Weíre heading back to Neese. We found who we were looking for in Ivan.
Hook: I see. Itís a shame though that you ran into me. Youíre going to have to cede your life. But this is all for the purpose of our dream.
Lance: Iím not going to die here. I will be the greatest pirate in the world, not you.
Hook: We will see. Címon, boys!

Fifteen crewmates show up with pirate cutlasses each.

Hook: Iíve built up my crew to be unstoppable. Now, where is your crew?
Lance: Theyíre sleeping.
Hook: Sleeping?
Lance: This is not something that I need to bother them with.

Lance pulls out his new spear from his back. He twirls it for a second and then points it to them.

Lance: I will handle your entire crew by myself, and then Iíll come for you.
Hook: Have you lost your mind, Lance?! You canít defeat me like that. Do not forget that I have the upper hand on our sparring matches!
Lance: You donít, but that isnít important. The score will be settled here.
Hook: Fine. Go get him!

Four pirates jump onto the plank and rush to Lance. Lance spins and whacks them with the pole part of his spear, which pushes them off the side of the plank and into the ocean. Meanwhile, Knosse comes out after hearing some commotion.

Knosse: Both Kairo brothers are fighting. Cool!
Lance: If Claudius and Lei can handle 25 fighters by themselves, I should be able to easily handle these jokes.
Hook: You use a lance now, Lance?
Knosse: Hey, that was my joke.
Lance: Itís my new weapon. Like it?

Lance walks across the plank while twirling his spear. Two of them swing their swords at him, and he blocks. He follows up by lunging the handle side of his weapon at one of their heads, knocking him out. Another pirate stabs at him up high, but Lance ducks under it and trips him up with his weapon while cutting his ankle a bit. The rest of them stab at him. Some high and some low. Lance dodges backwards and lands on the plank.

Knosse: Holy shit! Lance, youíre so cool.

X and Claudius now join Knosse.

Claudius: You sure you got this?
Lance: Yeah, man. Donít underestimate me.

Lance flips his lance in the air and takes out his axes. He immediately throws them and then grabs his spear in mid-air. The pirates are able to fend off the axes, but the force of them knocks two of their swords out of their hands and the rest are disoriented. Lance takes this opportunity to swing his weapon at a long arc to whack six of them down to the ground. The remaining three back up behind Hook.

Hook: Whatís wrong with ya swabbies?! Iíll show you how itís done!

Hook draws his cutlass and points it to Lance. Lance sheaths his spear and draws his own cutlass.

Lance: Letís see who is the head of the twelfth generation of Kairo.

They charge at each other and clash swords. At this time, the four pirates who were shoved into the water have climbed up back onto the ship. They sit back and watch the fight. Also at this time, the rest of Fighters Abroad have made their way outside and are watching.

Knosse: Letís go, Lance!

Hook is on the offensive, rapidly slashing and lunging. Lance is able to block each attack and dodges the last one. He then goes on the offensive with a forehand slash. Hook is slow to block, but does so. Lance follows up by stepping forward and grabbing Hookís sword wrist. He spins around and hits Hookís chin with his sword handle. He lets go of Hookís hand and then kicks again. Hook dodges and then horizontally slashes at Lance. He misses completely, however.

Adria: Lance disoriented his brother with a blow to the chin. Is he adopting the fighting style I learned into his own?
Lance: You canít beat me anymore. When we were kids, the gap was smaller, but now it has just grown.
Hook: You hit me once. Donít get full of yourself.

They begin clashing blades again, but it is clear that Lance has the upper hand, as he starts to force Hook on the defensive. He forces Hookís sword out of his hand just after. Hook goes for a punch, but Lance catches it with his free hand and then kicks him to the deck floor. Lance points his blade at Hook.

Lance: JamesÖ
Hook: Damn it. I really thought I could claim the title with my current power. Brother, youíre incredible.
Lance: Iíve been through a lot in last few years and it made me this strong.
Hook: Clearly. I lose this one. Finish me off.
Lance: Why would I do that?
Hook: You know how we operate. You kill me as a means of proving your victory.
Lance: I donít care about proving it if it means taking my own brotherís life. If I really want to prove Iím the best, Iíll take the head of Daryl the Cunning.
Hook: Aye.

Lance helps his brother up.

Hook: Daryl the Cunning, the man respected as the best pirate. I heard he was last seen hovering over Drek waters just off the coast of Drek Harbor.
Lance: Weíll run into him eventually then.
Hook: Not if I do first. Since you gave me this chance, I will use it to become stronger and defeat Daryl. Then we will face off again. Only this time, Iíll win.
Lance: For now, letís eat and drink as brothers again.
Hook: Yes.

They both bring out some food and drink and begin eating with each other. Meanwhile, back in Jerod, Luis and Shawn are tending to the fields.

Shawn: These carrots are looking great.
Luis: And theseÖthe fuck are these?
Shawn: Those are turnips. Dad had me plant that.
Luis: That reminds me.

Luis checks over his shoulder to make sure Gary isnít listening like usual.

Luis: Letís mess with him today.
Shawn: Do you think thatís really a good idea? Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it is.
Gary: Whatís a good idea?

Gary is standing at the door.

Luis: The fuck?!
Gary: You best stop running your mouths and run your hands.
Shawn: That doesnít make sense.
Luis: *Points up in the air* One of these days!
Gary: ÖHow did you guys become this way? Oh by the way, look sharp. Thereís always trouble stewiní whenever travelers come by these days.
Luis: Travelers?
Gary: Yeah. Some kind of dancing act with womenÖ.oh what have I just done?
Luis and Shawn: Dancers?!
Gary: Here we go.
Shawn: Hey, Dad. I forgot we had some detective stuff to do.
Gary: *crosses arms* Oh really?
Luis: Uh yeah. Some shit-a-brewiní in town.
Gary: I donít sound like that, you bastard!

They both put their detective hats on and pose.

Luis: (Dramatic tone) A detectiveís work is never done.
Shawn: (Dramatic tone) That is why weíre always willing to lend a hand.
Gary: Yeah, well lend a hand with these fucking crops!

Luis and Shawn hop over the fence and start running.

Gary: God bless JerodÖ

Luis and Shawn stop somewhere in town.

Shawn: That was fun. Just like the old days.
Luis: Hell yeah. Though you canít help but feel sorry for him.
Shawn: I know what you mean. He still hasnít over Momís death yet.
Luis: He doesnít know how to let things go.
Shawn: Do you think maybe itís time to do that?
Luis: Yes. But firstÖ
Shawn: Dancers!
Luis: Weíll do the usual. Casually mention a hot spring in the area and then show up, acting surprised.
Shawn: It always works.

The next morning, Gary notices that Luis and Shawn are not home. He starts to check on the crops.

Gary: Those boys did some fine work, actually. Everythiní looks in order.

After checking the crops, he sees Luis and Shawn walking towards him.

Gary: Iím assuming that because you didnít come home last night that you had a nice time.
Luis: We did. Thanks.
Shawn: Will you come with us, today? We have a couple things to say.
Gary: Is this another excuse for getting out of work today?
Luis: No, this is serious, for once.
Gary: Okay.

They take Gary to Luminaís grave.

Gary: This is the first time weíve visited together in years.
Shawn: I donít know if you know this, but we visit this place every time we are about to go on a big mission.
Gary: No, I didnít. So are you going on a tough case?
Luis: Well, that depends. Weíre here for you, actually.
Gary: For me? Why?
Luis: We have noticed how miserable you have been since she died. We might act like we donít know, but we do.
Shawn: Thatís right. And I know we havenít made things easier on you.
Gary: Thatís not true. I saw the work you did this morning. Thanks to you, our harvest will be wonderful.
Luis: Still, we want to help you now more than ever. If anything should make you miserable, it should be from us. Itís been almost eight years. Thatís eight years too long for you to be still suffering.
Shawn: So, we want you to let everything go right here. You donít have to hold it in any longer.
Gary: You know, I was a miserable bastard back then too. Then I met Lumina. She was my light. Just her smile would change my mood. And now that sheís gone, I have no one to do that to me anymore. Without you boys, I donít know what I would have done these past eight.
Luis: Weíll help you get that smile back. Thatís what it means to be a family. Through bad times, we persevere and forge a better path for us all.
Shawn: Let us, your sons, be your new light.
Gary: ÖYou know, when you two were born, it was such a happy day for me. Luis, your arm lifted up after you could breathe almost like you were pointing to the sky. Shawn, you were the quietest newborn I ever saw.

Some tears begin to come from Garyís eyes.

Gary: You always have been my new light and I didnít see it.
Luis: DadÖ

Shawn looks over to Naithís parentsí graves.

Shawn: Everything will be okay now. No one deserves to suffer forever.
Gary: Youíre right, Shawn.

The screen fades to black as we switch back over to Fighters Abroad. Theyíre all on their respective ships now except for Lance and Hook.

Lance: Farewell, James. Donít get yourself killed out there.
Hook: I wonít die till Iím the best. Next time we meet, weíll be enemies again. Farewell.
Lance: Until then.

They separate and begin going their separate ways with their ships.

Lance: Letís go.

They take off again.

Claudius: Are you okay with this? Fighting your brother on these terms?
Lance: No, but I donít have a choice. James will kill me if he can. I canít let that happen. I have to fight.
Claudius: I see. While weíre at sea, Fighters Abroad is your crew, so we will assist in any way we can.
Lance: Thanks, Claudius.

The ships eventually become out of sight for each other.

Lance has defeated his brother in combat and has taken one step closer to becoming the greatest pirate. Meanwhile, the Kent family is strengthened thanks to the efforts of Luis and Shawn. What new tasks await our group once they reach Neese again? Stay tuned for Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   November 1st 2014, 2:34 pm

Chapter 156: Tension Rising in Zetsu

We go to Zetsu, into the city of Tyranny. In the throne room, there are two smaller chairs set up on either side of the throne. Derrick is sitting on the throne, but without a crown. To his right is Celo and to his left is Rex. There are soldiers knelt down in front of them.

Derrick: What news?
Soldier: Sir, the Neese Alliance is readying to attack.
Derrick: I see. So itís come to this again.
Celo: Shall I set out for Umbrage?
Derrick: Are you saying that you will lead the central forces?
Celo: I can do it. As it stands, Iím the strongest warrior in Zetsu and they need someone like me to rally behind.
Rex: Donít get so cocky, Celo. You might not be.
Derrick: No, I agree. Of any of us in the contest of champions, Celo had the best showing.
Voice: Are we talking about that again?

Hiiro enters the throne room by himself.

Rex: You again, huh?
Hiiro: As stated in our contract, I am allowed to join in on these meetings so long as Zetsu is under our protection.
Derrick: Very well. You will help us against the Neese Alliance then?
Hiiro: We will fully support your army with our own troops. Those were my orders. Besides, weíre fellow contest of champion fighters, right?
Derrick: I guess you had the best showing in there period, Hiiro. At least of the people that are still alive.

Back at the ship, we see Adria and X sparring in hand-to-hand combat. At the same time, Lance is practicing with his new lance against Claudius and his short sword. Knosse is on lookout while Lei is sitting at the front of the ship with Conrad.

Lei: The weather has gotten pretty steady.
Conrad: Yes. It looks like we had a favorable forecast going to Neese.
Lei: Have you ever been to Neese?
Conrad: Once. This was long before I found Adria. So this was before your time as well. Nero and I traveled the world in our prime years, learning everything we could about science.
Lei: I see. I rarely traveled outside my hometown until I joined this group. Back then, it was just X and Claudius wandering around aimlessly trying to get stronger.
Conrad: So you were the first person to make it a group, I guess.
Lei: When you put it that way, then yes. Then we added Knosse at the Warriorís Battleground.
Conrad: Claudius told me a little bit about that one. As I understand it, you guys were in another tournament in Zetsu?
Lei: Yeah, the contest of champions.
Conrad: So then when did you pick up Lance?
Lei: We had hired a group of pirates to bring us to Neese and Lance was part of that crew. Claudius was the one who recruited him technically, but we got lucky that he also had ambitions of his own that allowed us to have him in our group.
Conrad: Fighters Abroad has an interesting history.
Lei: Then we have you two. Found in a prison and helped start a riot.
Conrad: Iíll have you know it was a little less elegant than that. Hah.
Lei: Haha.
Conrad: So that Hayato was your half-sister, right? We heard part of the story from her in the prison. She had just landed herself there when we were about to escape.
Lei: Small world, I suppose. Yeah. To be honest, I still donít know how I feel about her.
Conrad: Thatís only natural. To find out you had a sibling after so long must be shocking. I made sure Adria was not too old before I let her know the truth.
Lei: Have you ever considered having children of your own?
Conrad: Up until about five years ago, I was incapable of having children of my own. I suspect it was a birth defect that prevented my DNA from being able to be passed on.
Lei: So how did that change?
Conrad: I found a cure in a particular moss. You see, the genetic components found in this moss were able to counteract whatever was wrong with my reproductive cells.
Lei: UhÖwhat?
Conrad: In short, I was able to balance my body where it was naturally imbalanced.
Lei: That soundsÖsmart.
Conrad: Mind you, it took me years to find this. Now Iím more or less too old to have children of my own. Adria is more than I could ever need in a child.

The two spars have stopped. The four of them are taking a breather and drinking water.

Claudius: Were you always this good with spears?
Lance: Iíve trained with most weapons. Iím best with axes though.
Claudius: Impressive. So, tell us a little more about Zetsu. Weíll be visiting there soon enough, right?
Adria: I wanna hear!
X: What do you want to hear about?
Claudius: Which one of you made it the farthest in the contest? Besides Vex, I mean.
Lance: I did, but really only by design. X could have defeated me at the time, but chose to let me progress instead.
X: I was keeping tabs on Hiiro and Julius. I figured that the more information I collected the better.
Claudius: Smart. So Vex won, right?
Lance: Yeah. He beat me in the semi-finals and then took down Hiiro, ranked seventh at the time.
Adria: There were Myjuto in there?!
X: Yeah. Though Hiiro was cool. He even helped us out a little if anything.

Knosse is listening to this conversation.

Knosse: HiiroÖ

[Drek Ė Two and a Half Years Ago]

Knosse is seen with the Myjuto cloak and is walking with Ento. We see many Myjuto faces that we can recognize. Rio and Elvan are standing next to each other. Kyle is there by himself. Orzu and Morio are together. Ben and Jimbo are there as well in a pair. Nero is with Jiron. Jen is there with Terraharu. Vayrth and Aimuro are also there. Ento brings Knosse up to Hiiro.

Ento: Hiiro, ranked seventh, will be your partner during the invasion and any other missions regarding Sarzoís capture. Hiiro, this is Knosse, rank eight.

Ento walks away to tend to other matters.

Hiiro: Whatís up, man?
Knosse: Nothing much, I guess.
Hiiro: Iím Hiiro.

Hiiro extends his fist slowly while smiling. Knosse fist bumps with him.

Knosse: I guess if I have to be partnered with anyone, this guy isnít so bad.
Hiiro: By the looks of you, a mercenary of some sort?
Knosse: Something like that. Letís seeÖyouÖyou look like some type of fantsy pantsy dojo kind of dude.
Hiiro: Good guess. Say, youíre all right. Letís go grab a drink tonight after all this briefing stuff.
Knosse: Sounds good. Youíre pretty cool yourself.

Jiron and Nero are seen approaching them.

Jiron: Hiiro, are you sure youíre okay being paired with rank eight?
Hiiro: Yeah, donít worry about it. My training is good enough, right?
Jiron: Your training should be more than enough. Some of these people ranked ahead of you are weaker. I can tell.
Hiiro: Yeah, well, thatís what happens when you fight Kyle early on.
Knosse: Yeah, but you kicked his ass, Jiron.
Ento: Jiron! Nero. Get back to your positions. You can converse with other groups later.
Jiron: Hahahahaha! Why donít you come over here and force me?
Nero: Jiron, please. Not now.
Ento: Iíll take you on, punk.
Zerinís Voice: Now, now. There will be plenty of time for fun later.

Zerin goes to the middle of all the groups. Ento stands next to him. Shim also appears to be now standing next to Kyle.

Kyle: Everything okay?
Shim: Yeah.
Zerin: Jiron, please cooperate with us for the time being. I promise that you will be able to act on your own when the invasion day finally comes.
Jiron: ÖFine.

After the briefing, Hiiro and Knosse go off and start talking elsewhere.

Knosse: You know him or something?
Hiiro: He was a fellow student in the dojo I trained at. Though he trained with the knowledge of so many other styles. Heís also responsible for saving my life.
Knosse: Really?
Hiiro: Yeah. My sensei was dealing in black market trading. I found out accidentally and he tried to kill me. Jiron stepped in and killed him. He apparently had been a competitor in black market dealing thanks to the crime syndicate he now owns.
Knosse: Wow.
Hiiro: Itís a complicated story, I know. But all in all, he saved me and he also helped me master my bojutsu and martial arts style.
Knosse: Sounds different from how we all see him.
Hiiro: Yeah, I know.
Knosse: So anyway, where should we go for drinks?
Hiiro: I know a great place at the oasis.
Knosse: Great. Letís go then.


Knosse: If thereís anyone who deserves to live out of them, itís Hiiro.
Lance: (From afar) You say something, Knosse?!
Knosse: Nah!

X: So how was life for you in the prison before Claudius got there?
Adria: It was AWFUL! You have no idea how many guys tried to rape me!
Lance: I imagine they got a fist full for that.
X: So that stopped when you got there, Claudius?
Claudius: You bet. Once I took out their second in command without any trouble, no one fucked with us.
Knosse: Hey, guys! I see land!
X: Alright!
Lance: Letís get to work then. Everyone, to your positions.

Lance looks out to see an island coming up in the horizon.

Lance: An island, huh? Looks like we might have drifted off slightly. I suppose we can scour the island for food.
Claudius: All right then. Prepare to land!

Tensions rises in Zetsu as they prepare to fight the Neese Alliance once again. What role will Fighters Abroad play in this conflict? Time will tell, but first, they head to an island. What will they find there? Next!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   November 4th 2014, 1:53 am

Chapter 157: History of the World

Season 4 Opening Theme:

The ship anchors just off the coast of the island and they take a smaller ship to the island in turns of three people at a time. Lance is the last one off, while completely prepping the ship to stay still. When they take a look at the island, we see that there are some wooden and straw structures around. They are mostly small tents of straw and a few wooden shed sized buildings.

X: Well, I think we can conclude one thing so farÖ
Lei: Yeah, people lived here once. But the question is, are they still here now?
Knosse: Next time on Fighters Abroad!
Claudius: What the hell?

Yeah, what the hell? We just started the chapter. Ahem, I mean, they see that there is an artificial path through the forest ahead. The area looks like it has been artificially cleared of any trees in this narrow path.

Claudius: Letís check it out. X, lead the way.

They get into a single file line in order to cleanly walk on the path. X leads while Claudius stays in the very back. When they get to the end of the path, they see a small rectangular opening that has a wooden mural of sorts. The mural is just the front part of a small house. There is an older man sitting outside, just in front of the door. He is wearing some type of animal fur clothing, but his chest is exposed. His chest has scars on it and his hair is missing in what appears to be random intervals of his head.

Lei: Excuse me, sir. We apologize for intruding like this.
Man: Donít apologize. Come closer, visitors.

They do. The man remains sitting.

Conrad: We happened upon this island and we figured that we would look around for some extra food on our journey to Neese.
Man: You will find plenty of that around. You may take some.
Lance: Thank you.
Conrad: Iím interested in this mural that is a part of your home.
Man: Come then, gaze at history, children.

They look at many pictures that seem to be sequential. One depicts a larger man whipping another while he is on the ground. The next shows a collar and leash. The next few pictures show more brutality in other various ways.

Adria: This mural is showing slavery.
Man: That is right, young lady.
Claudius: Then the island weíre standing on was a slave island.
Man: Indeed. But it wasnít just this island.

The others seem surprised.

Man: Ivan was once a place of slavery. Its residents were taken over by Drek and Neese. This didnít end until almost two centuries ago.
X: Drek teaches that there was a lot of immigration between the continents around that time. Are you telling me thatís a lie?
Man: Iím sure that is true, but they arenít telling you the whole story. History is written by the conquerors, and so they will make themselves seem righteous.
Conrad: Yes, that does seem to be the case.
Knosse: What about this second half? There is a man wielding a giant sword and it looks like he is freeing the slaves.
Man: That part is our own history here on this island. One man saved us from an entire battalion of soldiers that kept us in slavery for years and years. I do not know much of what goes on these days, but I know that this manís name has become great now. I cannot see that man failing to accomplish what he did.
Claudius: And what name is that?
Man: I will never forget it. His name was Zerin. †

They all looked even more shocked than before. The man smiles, knowing he had just uttered a name that they recognized.

Man: I see. I knew he would become great.
X: How long ago was this?
Man: I think about five years ago.

[Days before the events of Movie 2]

In the same area, we can see the old man along with other people of many different ages. Standing in front of them is Zerin with his sword drawn. There is blood all over it and dripping from the blade. The view zooms out a little and behind him, we see a seemingly innumerable body count of soldiers strewn all over the ground.

Woman: He defeated them all! All by himself!
Man: Weíve been saved!

They start to cheer for him. Zerin raises his hand to quiet them down. He sticks his sword in the ground.

Zerin: For years you have been enslaved, but now you are free. I do not require thanks, except to live free and tell of what you have seen if you leave this island.

Later, Zerin meets with the old man from the present time.

Man: Thank you so much for saving us. You donít know how long we have waited for this day.

Zerin walks up to him and places his palm on the manís worn and scarred head. He tilts the manís head slightly and has him gaze into Zerinís crimson eyes.

Zerin: This world is about to change. I will lead it into a new era. You, who have been enslaved, will be the masters and the masters will be punished. Now itís time for your freedom. Live the life you always wanted for yourself.

Immediately, tears begin pouring out of his eyes. Back in present day, the man is tearing up again while recalling this memory.

Man: His resolve and charisma were like nothing I had ever seen. I made this mural myself, so that people will never forget. Zerin will be the savior of the world.

Their faces drop into slight sadness.

Man: Tell me, what has my hero accomplished?
Claudius: I canít lie to you. He has committed acts of crime against humanity. The man you praise has become the emperor of the world. But not for long.
Man: Even if you tell me this, I cannot feel anything but happiness for his success
Claudius: I can appreciate that, but his reign will be a short one.

Claudius steps forward and the man gazes into his eyes just like he did with Zerin.

Man: You have a strong will, but you cannot compare to him.
Claudius: Youíre probably right. By myself, I cannot match Zerin.

The picture zooms out to include the rest of the group.

Claudius: But Iím not alone. WE will defeat Zerin and destroy his empire.
Man: Very well.
Lance: Donít get us wrong. Weíre glad that Zerin freed you from slavery. There are many things that Zerin has done that we would have also done. At the same time, we canít abide some of the other things heís done.
Man: I understand.
Lei: We should probably go look for food now.
Claudius: Yeah. Letís go.
Conrad: I should stay behind. I donít want to slow you down.
Adria: You sure?
Conrad: Yeah. Iíll stay here and chat for a while. Weíll talk about old people stuff.

Just then, they hear a rustle in the leaves behind them. They quickly turn and a few of them draw their weapons. Claudius, being one of them, pulls his whip, which the man stares at. He immediately cowers in fear. From out of the forest comes a tiger. It does not seem feral and doesnít make a peep.

Man: L-lower your weapons!

They do.

Claudius: The sight of a whip still messes with you, huh?
Man: Yes.

The tiger walks up to the man and he begins petting its head.

Man: This tiger protects me from other animals here. He is friendly.
Lance: A tiger as a pet? Pet of the year, I say.

The group except for Conrad goes out into the forest to hunt and gather. Meanwhile, Conrad is examining the mural closely.

Conrad: I hope you donít mind this. Iím a scientist, but I also love historical artifacts. This mural will definitely be one of them in the future.
Man: Not a problem. Just donít mess it up, ya hear?
Conrad: To tell you the truth, I have heard that Ivan was a continent full of slaves. I believe even Zerinís mother mentioned that he believed that story. I never thought that it was actually true. Were you born here, sir?
Man: I was. Iíve lived on this island my entire life. I was born a slave and I have lived my life as a slave until five years ago. I was the oldest man on this island who kept on living.
Conrad: That must have been tough. Were you enslaved by the foundation of Ivan?
Man: The remnants of slavery that was abandoned years ago were pushed to remote places that were kept in secrecy. This island was one of them, which is why we know of this history. Because our ancestors told us so. I have lived to be 80 and I still know all this to be true.
Conrad: 75 years of being in that environment, huh? I canít imagine. I thought my life sucked.
Man: Donít ever waste the years you have with the ones you love.
Conrad: To me, thatís such a broad statement. My relationships have always beenÖcomplicated. What happened to yours?
Man: Everyone left the island shortly after we were freed. I stayed behind, because I could not bring myself to live anywhere else. I just donít have it in me to do anything anymore.
Conrad: I understand. Youíve worked enough. You can just relax now.
Man: Yes. Anyway, the men who inherited this tradition of slavery were two men by the names of Mahko and Zakrah. They visited this place often.
Conrad: I see. Those two. They were the ones behind the Foundation of Ivan and the Neese Alliance.
Man: I think I recognize the Foundation of Ivan by name, but I have not heard of this Neese Alliance.
Conrad: Mahko and Zakrah took over Ivan prior to when you were freed. The group that controlled it was called the Foundation of Ivan. When Zerin defeated them, they managed to escape and create another faction in Neese. This was known as the Neese Alliance. But they failed against Zetsuís superior weaponry, armor and resources. They even tried an insurrection among Zetsuís citizens, but that also failed.
Man: I see.
Conrad: How do you know so much about Mahko and Zakrah and this group?
Man: Everything I know is based on decades of getting bits and pieces of information from the soldiers who occupied this place. From what I could gather, they were leaders of a type of cult who worshipped Tyr.
Conrad: The mythological god of slavery, huh? They even have a city named after him in Neese.
Man: Is that right?
Conrad: Yeah. Iíve never been there, but Iíve heard stories.

Itís not long after that the group gets back with some food.

Adria: Dad, weíre leaving.
Conrad: Alright. Thank you, sir, for allowing us to hunt in the area.
Man: Youíre welcome. Thank you for the chat. Itís not often that I get visitors.

They leave and head to the shore.

Claudius: Should we camp out the night? These tents should do us just fine, I think.
X: I think so.
Lei: No problems here.
Lance: Sure.
Conrad: Iím fine with it.
Adria: Sure.
Claudius: Itís settled then.

Meanwhile, in the city of Tyr, we can see Mahko and Zakrah walking together among soldiers. They have completely crowded the streets to the point where their numbers are innumerable.

Mahko: We have reached full strength again, it seems.
Zakrah: Yes, indeed. Itís time that we successfully take Zetsu. Then we will take Neese from the Myjuto Forces.
Mahko: The Myjuto ForcesÖthey were all people that should have been ours. That damned Zerin.
Zakrah: Well, he can have Drek and Ivan. As long as we have Neese, we will be in good standing.
Mahko: Youíre right. Itís time to go. We march for Zetsu!

We have learned a little bit of history about the cult that Mahko and Zakrah came from. But now they are ready to march into Zetsu and attempt to once again take over a continent. Things are heating up quickly as Fighters Abroad gets closer to returning to Neese!

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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   November 6th 2014, 1:51 am

Chapter 158: The Conflict Begins!

A week has passed and the ship is now heading towards Neese Port.

Lance: Finally. We caught some unfavorable winds, which slowed us down, but we made it. Prepare to dock!

They are able to successfully dock. They gather together below deck.

Lei: I think itís a good idea to put our cloaks on.
Lance: Good thinking. We didnít exactly leave this place on good terms and if they recognize us, weíll have to make a quick escape.
X: But hey, at least the original owners of the ship will be happy to have it back.
Claudius: Is there any local town we can go to from here?
Lance: Yes. There is one just northwest of here. We can re-supply there and maybe rest.
Claudius: All right. Letís do this.

They put their cloaks on (besides Adria, who still does not have one) and exit the ship. They are able to walk through town without any suspicion until they stop by the edge of town. There are a few Myjuto soldiers around.

Knosse: Damn it.
Lei: Hopefully we can get past them without any trouble.

They start to walk by them, but one of them takes notice and holds up a spear.

Solider: Halt! No travelers can get in or out of here at the moment until you go through the proper examination.
Adria: Examination? Whatís that?
Soldier: Weíre gonna need you to go to our checkpoint in the town and state your reason for leaving as well as allowing them to check all of your possessions.
Conrad: Why the sudden change?
Soldier: You must have just come in from Ivan. Since weíve taken Neese, we have yet to fully stabilize it, and so we will be strict in order to keep things under control.
Claudius: I see. You can check our equipment if you want.

Claudius nods to the group and we see Adria, X, Lance and Knosse stab four of the five soldiers where their armor doesnít cover. Claudius decapitates the last one (the one who spoke) with his sword.

Claudius: So, do we check out okay, soldier?
X: I think that was a yes.
Knosse: Letís get the fuck out of here quick.

Meanwhile, at roughly the same time, we pan over to Drek Port. Kyle has also arrived at his destination. He steps off his boat and onto the dock, where a few soldiers greet him.

Soldier: Officer Kyle, sir!
Kyle: At ease.
Soldier: Welcome back, sir.
Kyle: Thank you. How are things here?
Soldier: Everything is calm in Drek, sir. Itís all thanks to your leadership when you took over the continent.
Kyle: Thatís good news. Is there a horse that can be ready by tomorrow? I think I will stay the night and leave for Sarzo tomorrow.
Soldier: Yes, sir.
Kyle: Good.
Soldier: Officer Kyle, did you row yourself all the way across the ocean?
Kyle: Well, I had some help from the wind, but yes. It was good training.
Soldier: Amazing.

At Naithís workship, we see Naith and Gen training again. This time, theyíre moving faster than before. They are clashing over and over.

Gen: Thatís it. Youíre getting the hang of this.
Naith: Yes.

Gen sees an opening and lunges, but Naith is able to parry it.

Gen: Wow. I really thought that was an opening. You really fooled me this time. Our training is almost finished.
Naith: Thank you.
Gen: Letís finish for today.
Naith: Alright.

Just as Gen heads inside, Nataley comes out and approaches Naith.

Nataley: How was it today?
Naith: Good.
Nataley: Good. Hey, I need to go shopping again. Do you want to come with me?
Naith: Why not?

They head into Jerod and go to the Kent residence. Nataley knocks on the door and Gary answers.

Gary: Hello, if youíre looking for trouble, theyíre not home right now.
Nataley: No, Mr. Kent. We want to buy some produce from you.
Gary: Oh! Well, youíre in luck. We just picked a lot of good ones.

Gary gets a bag of diverse produce and hands it to Naith. Nataley hands him some money.

Gary: Well, this is a bit much.
Naith: Donít worry about it.
Gary: Thank you, Naith. You have your fatherís generous heart.
Naith: Speaking of heartÖ

Naith steps back once and reaches his free hand backwards. A wooden sword lands in his hand and he catches it. He turns around and points it at Luis and Shawn, who have their wooden swords pointed at Naith.

Naith: You got a lot of heart too, especially to challenge me. No, this is perfect. Iím going to test out some new techniques on you two.
Luis: Oh shit!
Shawn: We picked a bad time, bro!

We see Garyís face as we can hear the fight take place. We can hear pain sounds from Luis and Shawn and we see Gary sigh and then laugh. The view pans over to them both on the ground with Naith still holding the bag in one hand.

Luis: What the fuck was that? Youíre different now.
Shawn: He must have learned something from Gen that allowed us to lose this time around.
Naith: I did, but thatís not why I wonÖ

They start to chuckle.

Nataley: You seem to be in a good mood today, Mr. Kent.
Gary: Yes, I am. I guess you can say itís a change Iíve made for the better.
Nataley: Thatís good.
Luis: So, it looks like you recovered fully.
Naith: Yes.
Shawn: Good to hear.
Nataley: You guys did a good job with the crops this year. These look great.
Luis: Thank you, sweet Nataley! *Points in the air* We have set out to produce the finest crops in all of Jerod!
Naith: Thatís nice. Thanks, Mr. Kent. We have some more shopping to do, so we must be going.
Gary: Alright then. Goodbye.

Luis hunches over against a corner of his house, sulking.

Shawn: Later, guys.

They leave the property and continue walking within Jerod.

Nataley: You know, I donít know what happened, but he really does seem happier now.
Naith: Who? Gary?
Nataley: Yeah.
Naith: Itís because of Luis and Shawn.
Nataley: You think?
Naith: They might be idiots, but they connect to people in a way that most people canít. Even after eight years, when I saw them again, it was almost like there was no gap. I guess itís the reason why I became friends with them in the first place.
Nataley: Yeah, thatís true. Say, they were there on that day too, werenít they? The day you first went to your parentsí graves.
Naith: Yeah. They helped me out that day. Of course, the one who helped me the most was you.
Nataley: (Embarrassed) StopÖ
Naith: Itís true. Without your help, I canít imagine where Iíd be right now if anywhere.
Nataley: I donít know what to say.
Naith: You donít have to say anything. Just let me thank you again.

After they finish shopping, they head home. Nataley goes inside and Naith watches her go in while staying outside for a minute.

Naith: Nataley, there is one thing I can do to make up for everything. That time is approaching.

Naith also heads inside while the screen fades to black. The scene switches over to Zetsu in the plains outside of Umbrage. Celo is seen with knight armor on without a helm. A soldier in what looks to be copper colored armor meets him. He also does not have a helm on.

Celo: What are these terms that you have?
Soldier: These are terms from Mahko and Zakrah, our leaders. They state that we have you outnumbered three to one. If you surrender your kingdom to the Neese Alliance, you will survive.
Celo: Survive? Donít you mean become slaves? Donít think we donít know about this god they worship. Before he became corrupt, former Kings Julius and Ganef researched Mahko and Zakrah.
Soldier: In saying this, I am to assume you refuse the terms given to you?
Celo: Of course. Now we have one term for you. Get the hell out of our kingdom and you may yet live. You might think you have us, but you have no idea of Zetsuís real strength.
Soldier: That term is obviously refused. We will crush this pride that you of Zetsu have.
Celo: Just try it. We beat you once; weíll do it again.
Soldier: You no longer have the Dark Knight of Zetsu on your side.
Celo: Yeah? I have news for you.

The picture zooms out from the two of them to see the armies on both sides. Thousands of soldiers are seen on each side. The Neese Alliance army has the same colored armor to this commander.

Celo: We donít need his charisma in order to unify as an army.
Soldier: So be it. Prepare to die.

The two of them turn and walk back to their armies.

Celo: Knights of Zetsu! You have all endured harsh training for this very moment! You have all been through hell and that will be what keeps you alive today! They outnumber us, they say. To hell with numbers! You are knights! Youíre all five times the men they are! This is our land! Defend it with the pride and skill of Zetsu! FIGHT!
Knights: FIGHT!

Celo draws his katana and turns to the opposite army, which is also prepared to go. The two sides then start to charge for each other and the screen fades to black again. We go back to Fighters Abroad, who is about to make it to a town.

Lance: Ah, here we are. Letís just hope we donít attract too much attention.

They make it to town with their cloaks still on. There arenít any Myjuto soldiers around this part of town, surprisingly. There is a mild amount of people walking around town. Two people in particular are standing close to the group. Most of the group recognizes one but only X and Claudius recognize the other. These two people are Morra and Rafiel.

Claudius: MorraÖ
Morra: That voice.

Claudius takes off his hood.

Morra: So you are alive after all.
Claudius: You should know itís not easy to kill me.
Morra: Yes, I do.
Rafiel: Claudius, right?
Claudius: Itís been a while, Rafiel.

X also takes off his hood.

Morra: Ah, itís you.
Conrad: Morra, I recognize that name.
Adria: This was the girl that Claudius talked about in his story.
Claudius: Have you been able to start up a new dojo here?
Rafiel: I tried, but people havenít been biting.
Claudius: Thatís a shame. But you both look like youíre doing well.
Rafiel: We manage to do so. And you, youíve been on the run it seems. Weíve been hearing quite a bit about Fighters Abroad.
Claudius: Hopefully good things.
Morra: Good and bad. They say you guys are the peopleís champ in some places, but in others they say youíre terrorists.
X: What do you believe?
Morra: Hard to say. You didnít exactly look like either in the contest.
X: Safe answer. Heh.
Claudius: Anyway, do you know where we can stay the night?
Rafiel: Thereís a large inn complex just north of here. Weíre staying there as well.
Claudius: Thanks. Perhaps weíll talk more later. For now, we need to rest and re-supply.
Morra: See you later then.

They continue on north from that position.

X: That was mildly awkward.
Lei: That Rafiel guy seems nice.
Claudius: Donít let that fool you, Lei. Rafiel is scum. I thought so even before I broke up with Morra. He was poisoning her mind for a long time. He just wanted Morra for himself.
Adria: Are you all right?
Claudius: Yeah, Iím fine. I appreciate the concern, but Iíve moved on.
X: You might say that, but I know somewhere you still have some hatred towards Rafiel.

A chance encounter with Morra has occurred. Claudius is now reminded again of his past. While he claims to have completely moved on, X suspects that Claudius might still be hiding some resentment. Inevitably, war has broken out in Zetsu and we can even see that Naith still has something he has to do. Things are really starting to heat up, so donít miss the next chapter of Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   February 2nd 2015, 7:51 pm

Chapter 159: Rafiel and Morra

We start off with X and Claudius, who are in a two-bed room.

Claudius: Iím still a bit shocked to see Morra again.
X: Iím sure. Itís been three years now since you last saw her?
Claudius: Yeah. Not long before we met. So a little over that.
X: You sure you have moved past that?
Claudius: Positive. Iíve moved past Morra.
X: What about Rafiel, though?
Claudius: I wonít deny that I would like to tear him a new one right now.
X: I thought as much.
Claudius: You canít blame me, can you? If that asshole from your clan was still aliveÖ
X: No, youíre right.
Claudius: Say, Iím going to head out for a little while. I need to clear my head. You coming?
X: I think Iíll stay here and take a nap.
Claudius: Alright.

Claudius leaves and starts walking outside (with the cloak on) while mumbling to himself.

Claudius: NeeseÖI guess it has been since the harbor that Iíve been on this continent. I missed out on the scenery the first time.

He looks up and sees Morra standing there by herself.

Claudius: Fuck. Yo.
Morra: That you again?
Claudius: Yeah. Whereíd Rafiel go? Itís not proper to leave a lady out like this.
Morra: He has other things to do. Besides, I can protect myself now.
Claudius: Well, thatís good.
Morra: ÖHave you gotten overweight, Claudius?
Claudius: Huh? Oh!

He lifts up the cloak from the bottom to show his trench coat.

Morra: Youíre still lugging around that old thing?
Claudius: Hell yeah.
Morra: So even you can be nostalgic, huh?
Claudius: Sure. So what are you doing out here by yourself, anyway? Wait, you just ate lunch and are out for your after-meal walk.
Morra: Yeah. That much hasnít changed about me.
Claudius: Better that way, I think.
Morra: I know, itís all about the calories. Weíve gone over this.
Claudius: Heh.
Morra: So are you and that X guy real partners now? I didnít think youíd go for men too.
Claudius: What?! No! We were mercenary partners and weíre best friends now.
Morra: Oh. Hahaha. Rafiel said you two were lovers.
Claudius: That bastard!
Morra: Hahahahaha.

About 30 minutes pass, and theyíre sitting on a park bench, still talking.

Morra: So you were in a prison at Ivan until recently, huh?
Claudius: Yeah. Your mom always said I would land myself in jail one day.
Morra: You were there during the attack on Sarzo, right? Do you know if my family is safe?
Claudius: Sorry, I have no clue. I donít even know if Jushiro is still alive. Everything happened so fast. X and I tried to retake the city by ourselves, and we nearly died. Just after we recovered, we left in order to get stronger and find people that can fight alongside us.
Morra: I see. That sounds tough.
Claudius: It is at times. Not to change the subject, but there is something I should say since we had the chance to meet again.
Morra: Whatís that?
Claudius: I donít know what kind of closure you got from back then, but I think we can agree on something here. We were both young and werenít ready for that next level yet. What happened back then is something that we shouldnít hold on to as a burden.
Morra: Itís good to hear you say that. Yes.
Claudius: Good. Well, I should probably get back to the gang. We need to plot our course carefully.
Morra: Okay. Well, it was nice talking to you again.
Claudius: Same.

Meanwhile, the battle rages on in Zetsu. At the front lines, we can see more Alliance soldiers falling than Zetsu knights, but both are taking casualties. Focusing on Celo in particular, he is taking out soldiers in droves.

Celo: Pull back now!

The knights begin taking a defensive position with shields up while backing up step by step. As they do this, arrows begin to rain down on the Alliance. Eventually, they are able to get shields up to block some remaining arrows.

Celo: Pike men!

As Alliance soldier begin to charge forward, the knights switch positions by having knights with 10-foot (a little over 3 meters) spears take the front. They all crouch down and stick large great shields into the ground, which are large enough to cover the knightís entire body while crouched. They stick their pikes out and start to annihilate the Alliance in the front lines. Due to the line of pikes, the Alliance soldiers cannot break through. Even their own spears are not making it through, as they are only standard length and also cannot pierce the great shields.

They are quickly ordered to back away and arrows start to fly from their side. The knights are ready and place medium sized shields over their heads while ducking. The ones closest to the pike men are back to back with them, giving them support as well as covering both of their heads with a medium shield.

Soldier: This is unbelievable! We need to charge and break through their defenses NOW!

They start to charge with everything they have.

Celo: Switch to bows!

Many knights stand up while leaving their weapons on the ground. They draw bows and immediately start picking off soldiers who get close. The pike men skewer any that do get by the arrows. Eventually, they start to retreat.

Soldier: Retreat! We must regroup!

They successfully retreat from the battlefield and the knights give off a cheer for victory. They had taken very few casualties in this battle compared to the Alliance. Meanwhile, Claudius is walking back to this inn complex. He walks by a few doors when he starts to hear moans from a woman.

Claudius: Someoneís having a good time in there.

All of the sudden, he hears a manís voice inside.

Claudius: I recognize that voice! Thatís Rafiel. But that woman is not Morra. That bastard!

Lance sees Claudius and walks up to him.

Lance: Whatís up? You donít look well.
Claudius: Rafiel, that son of a bitch.

Lance hears whatís going on in there.

Lance: You jealous?
Claudius: Lance, thatís not Morra in there.
Lance: How do you know whatÖoh hehe. So, what are you going to do?
Claudius: Heís screwed around for the last time.

Claudius waits until two women walk out of the room. Rafiel also exits and is surprised to see Claudius.

Rafiel: Whatís up? Did you come to see Morra?
Claudius: No. I think I found who I was looking for.
Rafiel: So you saw then. They were justÖ
Claudius: Meet me in the back of this place in one hour. Weíll settle this then.
Rafiel: You idiot. Youíre giving me a chance to silence you? Fine.

A bit of time goes by and all of Fighters Abroad is together.

X: I guess you were right about him, Claudius.
Claudius: I told you. Heís scum.
Lance: I mess around a lot, but once you have decided on a woman, you donít cheat on her.
Claudius: Exactly. I never cheated on Morra while I was with her.
Knosse: So, are you going to kill him?
Claudius: No. Iím going to beat the shit out of him and leave the choice to Morra whether or not to kill him. Iíll need one of you guys to lead her to the fight.
Lei: I will do it.
Adria: I guess the rest of us will be insurance in case he brings backup.
Claudius: Yeah.
Conrad: Perhaps I misjudged Claudius. I knew he was a flirt, but I didnít realize he had such strong principles when it comes to women.

Back to Zetsu, Celo is reporting back at Tyranny when Hiiro is the first to intercept him.

Hiiro: Your numbers look well. I assume everything went as planned.
Celo: Yes. We outclassed them in just about everything except numbers. But that quickly changed.
Hiiro: Iím impressed. Zetsu has some excellent weaponry and armor. How many Myjuto casualties?
Celo: Youíll have to confirm it yourself. We didnít lose many soldiers, so youíll do a body count.
Hiiro: Right.
Celo: If youíll excuse me, I have to go talk to Rex and Derrick.
Hiiro: Certainly.

Hiiro goes up to the soldiers that are standing at attention.

Hiiro: Myjuto soldiers, step forward.

The scene switches to the throne room where Celo is now with Rex and Derrick.

Derrick: Very good. I knew you could do it, Celo.
Celo: Thank you, but I fear this is far from over. I donít think that was their entire army.
Rex: That is no problem. We will crush them yet again.
Derrick: We may have to take a pre-emptive strike on them before they can do anything to our lands.
Celo: I support that decision.
Rex: And I as well.
Derrick: Very well. I will speak to Hiiro and we will get our forces moving.

As Derrick stands up and begins walking away, the scene switches back to Fighters Abroad. We see Claudius leaning against a high fence with trees behind it. From his perspective, there is a narrow alleyway in front of him and two buildings to create this alley. Rafiel approaches Claudius from the alley and then goes to one end. Claudius walks to the other end. We then see X step in front of the alleyway entrance from the far end.

Claudius: Letís settle this man to man. No weapons.
Rafiel: Thatís fine with me.
Claudius: Iíve been waiting for this. Iíll smash that ugly face of yours in for everything youíve put Morra and me through.
Rafiel: Is that so?
Claudius: Do you even feel the least bit of remorse?
Rafiel: Do you feel sorry for each piece of meat you eat?
Claudius: You are despicable.

Claudius charges out of rage and holds up his fist. As he reaches Rafiel, just before he punches, Rafiel quickly draws a katana and slashes at Claudius. Claudius draws his short sword with his other hand and knocks Rafielís sword back.

Rafiel: What?!
Claudius: I knew from the beginning that you had no intention of fighting fair. I was willing to spare you, but I canít guarantee that now that youíve drawn your weapon.
Rafiel: Thatís fine. Your unrefined sword techniques can never beat my samurai training.
Claudius: Unrefined, huh?

Claudius jumps back and points the sword forward.

Claudius: Letís go.
X: He was actually composed this whole time. He even fooled me.

Rafiel charges and spins his katana around. He slices horizontally, which Claudius blocks. Claudius forces Rafiel backwards and then lunges with his sword. Rafiel is able to block this and then steps back.

Rafiel: You have brute force, but thatís not all that matters in a fight!
Claudius: True. It might be hard to find a method to defeat a samurai master.
Rafiel: Too late to back down now.

Rafiel starts to rapidly lunge at Claudius, but he dodges each one easily. Suddenly, Claudius takes a burst of speed forward and slashes Rafiel deep on half of his torso. Rafiel drops to his knees in pain. Claudius puts his foot on the back of Rafielís head and shoves it straight into the ground.

Claudius: Just kidding. Unrefined my ass. You had so many openings that I could have killed you at any time in this fight.

Just on time, Lei arrives with Morra. X lets them through and Morra stops in front of Rafiel, who is just lifting his face up from the ground.

Rafiel: Morra, help me.
Morra: Whatís going on?! Claudius!
Claudius: This guy has been cheating on you. Bring her out, Adria.

Adria is let through the alley and she has one of the women that came out of Rafielís room. She has the woman gripped so that she canít escape.

Woman: Please! Forgive me! I had no idea he was already married!
Claudius: There was this one and another woman that came out of the room.
Rafiel: Sheís lying, Morra! Iíve never seen this whore in my life!
Claudius: Iím sure thereís one more telltale sign that this man is not who you think he is. The samurai code is all about honor, right?
Morra: Where are you going with this?!

Claudius picks up Rafielís katana and holds it up near Morra.

Claudius: Just as I thought. Thereís poison on it. I did account for the possibility that I couldnít get hit even once, Rafiel. I noticed that there was such available around here. From the start, you were trying to kill me.
Morra: Thereís no mistaking it. That is poison. But youíre wrong, Claudius. This poison is not from around here. Itís from the last town we visited. I recognize the tint. You couldnít have known that information, because I never told you where we last were.
Claudius: I see. Looks like you incriminated yourself, Rafiel.
Rafiel: Itís all a setup!
Morra: I get it now. We were growing distant lately because you were planning to dump me like you did to your ex-wife. Looks like Iíve been played.
Rafiel: Morra, please!
Morra: May I see that sword, Claudius?
Claudius: Yeah.

At this point, Adria lets the woman go and she runs away. Claudius hands Morra the katana and she is about to stab Rafiel.

Rafiel: WAIT! I have some information for you, Fighters Abroad!
Claudius: Out with it then!
Rafiel: Thereís a Myjuto compound in this city. Itís the tallest building; you canít miss it!
Claudius: How do you know this?
Rafiel: I heard rumors and checked it out myself. Theyíre definitely there, I swear!
Claudius: Well, at least youíre useful for something.
Claudius: Itís not me you have to worry about. I will not kill you.
Rafiel: Morra! STOP!

Morra stabs Rafiel through the head without hesitation.

Claudius: Iím sorry.
Morra: Itís not your fault. Itís mine for not realizing it sooner.
Claudius: Rafiel was just one big lie. He trapped people in a web of lies, because he simply couldnít face the fact that he had no real ambition of his own.
Morra: Do you think what he told you last was a lie?
Claudius: I donít know. Weíll check it out anyway. His eyes were different this time. I felt like he was really telling the truth.
Morra: I see.
Claudius: What will you do now?
Morra: I guess Iíll bury him somewhere nearby. He was still my husband, and Iíll take responsibility for him.
Claudius: Thatís very honorable of you.
Morra: After that, I donít know what. I guess Iíll just go home to Sarzo.
Claudius: When the time comes, fight for us then. Weíre going to drive the Myjuto Forces out of Sarzo.
Morra: I might.
Claudius: Alright then. We should be in town a little while longer. If you need anything, let us know.
Morra: Okay. Thanks, Claudius.

Claudius walks away from Morra, leaving her alone with Rafiel.

Things have developed quickly with Morra and Rafiel. In an unexpected twist, Rafiel has been caught cheating and paid with his life. Though now it seems Fighters Abroad has a new focus in a potential Myjuto building. Meanwhile, the war continues in Zetsu. You donít want to miss the next exciting chapter of Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 1st 2015, 11:14 am

Chapter 160: Rafielís Trap?

The group is gathered together in one room.

Lance: We need to figure out who will go and who will stay.
Lei: I agree that we shouldnít all go. If itís a trap, we have better odds this way.
Conrad: Well, it goes without saying that Iíll stay.
Claudius: Iíll go.
X: If youíre going, then I will as well.
Lei: Iíll stay and protect Conrad just in case.
Adria: What do you want, Knosse?
Knosse: Iíd rather go.
Adria: So would I.
Lance: Of course, I also want to go.
X: One of you should stay behind.

They do rock, paper, scissors to decide. Adria wins the first round by picking scissors over two papers. Lance wins the next round with rock over scissors.

Knosse: I guess Iím staying. Balls.
Lei: Weíll watch the building from here. If you absolutely need backup, throw one of Knosseís bombs our way.
Conrad: Actually, you can use one of my smoke grenades. That will be more efficient and less dangerous.
X: Good thinking.

Lance takes the smoke grenade and sticks it in a satchel on his hip next to his sheaths.

Conrad: Just pull the pin and throw. Itís easy.
Lance: Got it.

The four leave and start walking down the streets with their cloaks on.

X: You havenít said much since the incident, Claudius.
Claudius: Yeah.
X: Everything okay?
Claudius: Yeah, just thinking a lot.
Adria: Are you upset at what happened?
Claudius: You kidding? Iím overjoyed that Rafiel is dead, and that I didnít even have to kill him and deal with the aftermath.
Lance: Do you think you and Morra have a chance of getting back together?
Claudius: No, Iíve moved on from her.
Adria: But what if she hasnít moved on from you?
Claudius: I dunno. I canít help that.

They make it to the buildingís entrance. There is a double door at the entrance.

Lance: What kind of building do you think this is?
X: I guess weíll find out.

They look at each other awkwardly.

Claudius: So, do we knock?
Adria: I guess?
X: We canít just go barging in, especially if itís not really a Myjuto base.
Lance: Itís settled.

Lance takes the initiative and knocks on the door. After about ten seconds, someone opens the door. The person at the door has a white cloak on.

???: (Male Voice) What do you want?
Lance: Weíre investigating something around here. We were told to come here for a certain something.
???: And what would that certain something be?
Lance: The Myjuto Forces of course.
???: What business do you have with that group?
Lance: We might like to join them.
???: Then youíve come to the right place. Come inside.

He steps aside and they walk in. There are soldiers standing in this large room wearing Myjuto armor.

???: I see that you have weapons on you already.

He points to Lanceís spear, which is sticking out of his cloak where a hole has been made.

Lance: Weíre travelers. We need to defend ourselves of course.
Adria: So you see, weíre very hungry and need money for food.
???: Oh? A woman is with you? Iím sure you can money real quick with us, sweetheart.

Claudius, X and Lance all tensed up at that statement, even if only a little. Luckily for them, the cloaked man did not pick up on this hostility.

X: So, is this a recruitment center?
???: Something like that. I am the chief recruiter and soon to be ranked among the forces.
Claudius: Congratulations on that. It must be an honor.
???: Indeed it is. This way.

The cloaked man leads them to the back of the room to a flight of steps. It is a long, winding staircase. The man is in the very back of them, with X just directly in front. Lance, who is just in front of X, takes off his hood. He turns around for a second and looks at the cloaked man with a puzzled face. X instinctively also looks the other way at him.

Lance: By the wayÖdo you know anyone by the name of Rafiel?

The man paused for about a second, as if in thought. His body reacted to the name, but it was slight.

???: It rings familiar. I do not think so, however.
Lance: I see.

They both turn around and continue walking up the steps. The man puts his left arm downwards and a hidden blade comes out of his sleeve (from the back of his hand). He thrusts his blade at X, but X immediately spins to his right and gets behind him. X has one dagger in his hand and stabs. The man is barely able to sidestep it, but then receives a kick from Lance. This sends the man barreling down the steps.

The previous sequence of dialogue is seen once again. Lanceís look and question was for X, to confirm for him whether or not this was a trap. They both knew at that moment that the manís reaction was because he was not ready for such a question. In this, Lance used the inherent disadvantage as bait to turn it into an advantage.

X: Nice, Lance!
Lance: Nice reaction.
Claudius: You can suck each otherís dicks later. Get ready for a fight.

X and Lance stay facing down the steps while Claudius and Adria focus forward. They put all their hoods down and draw their weapons. Claudius has his sword and Lance has his spear.

Lance: My new spear will be best in such a narrow space.
Claudius: Weíre going to press up to higher ground. Letís get off these stairs so that we can stop the pincer.
Adria: Right!

Shortly after, soldiers begin charging from both below and above them. From above, Claudius slashes one soldierís neck and he tumbles down. He and Adria let him roll down.

Claudius: Watch out!

X and Lance are able to dodge the falling soldier thanks to Claudiusí warning. But this also warns some of the soldiers below, so that they can dodge it as well. X and Lance use this opportunity to gain a bit more distance by going up a few steps. As some soldiers come up, Lance is able to stab them from afar with his spear. Any that get past are quickly cut down by X. Occasionally, they have to dodge some soldiers being cut down from above, as being called out by Claudius. Eventually, Claudius and Adria make it to the top step and see a narrow doorway.

Claudius: Ladies first.
Adria: Arenít you chivalrous?

Adria kicks the soldier standing in the doorway and he goes flying back into the next room. Adria goes in first, followed by Claudius. X and Lance make it through as well, with Lance standing guard at the doorway. Just when they think they have reached a place of rest, they see that the other side of this bare room has a staircase as well. Many soldiers are lined up on that side of the room along with the man with the cloak.

???: Donít think you can escape so easily!
X: This scentÖitís familiar somehow.
Claudius: What do you mean, X?
X: I canít put my finger on it.

Before he has time to think, the cloaked man and the other soldiers charge.

Claudius: Keep that door under wraps, okay, Lance?
Lance: Got it. Nothing gets past.
X: I got the leader. You two take out the rest of the soldiers.
Adria: Sure.

X sheaths one dagger and holds one out like a knife instead of his usual method of holding the daggers. The cloaked man has his wrist blade at the ready and they clash weapons.

???: I may not have been able to kill you all outright, but I will be regarded as a hero!
X: Sorry, but you picked the wrong faction if you wanted to be a hero.

They clash weapons a few times and then X rapidly thrusts with his dagger. The man dodges each barely and then starts rapidly slashing with his blade. X dodges with more precision, and then the man motions with his other hand. Just as another blade is revealed on his other hand, X kicks straight into his wrist, which injures it bad enough that he canít use his arm temporarily. He resumes battle with just the one blade for the time being.

X: I expected as much. *Dodges* If you had one hidden blade, you were sure to have another one somewhere as backup.

The man seems to ignore Xís words. We get a glimpse of his eyes, which look almost dead. This man is fighting with zero regard for his own life. X stabs him in the chest, but itís a shallow wound. The man grabs his blade and then flails his injured arm at X. X ducks under the slash and then takes his other dagger with his free hand and slashes the manís throat semi-shallow. The man falls to the floor and his hood falls off.

X: What fate have you accepted that your eyes would be like that?
Man: (Struggling to speak) I suppose enough time has passed.
X: What do you mean?!
Man: I figured I couldnít beat you Fighters Abroad through normal means. Itís only unfortunate that your entire group wasnít here.

X starts thinking about what he could mean, and then he takes another whiff of what he smelled earlier. Then it hits him.

X: This isÖthe smell of gunpowder. GUYS!!!!

This was a volume that even X did not usually hit. Claudius, Adria and Lance react to it and look at X. The cloaked man is now laughing with what little strength he has left.


Just then, we hear an explosion from below them. Very few soldiers remain and those that do start to scatter, completely ignoring any chain of command. It isnít long before the explosions start to reach the second floor and fire starts spreading. And then, within seconds, we see the outside of the building where the entire thing completely explodes.

To be continued!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 9th 2015, 1:06 am

Chapter 161: Warriorís Blood

After the explosions have subsided, we see X and Claudius lying on the ground not far away, in tact. They lift their heads up and help each other get up quickly.

Claudius: You really saved me this time, X.

We flash back merely a few moments ago before the second floor exploded. As the four of them are frantically looking around, X suddenly takes Claudius by the arm, which was the closest to him. He pulls Claudius and directs him to a nearby window, where they immediately jump out. As the explosion hits, the cloaks catch on fire and burn off immediately as theyíre plummeting to the ground. In front of them, there is a smaller building with a ledge. They attempt to grab onto the ledge, but their momentum is too much. However, the attempt slowed them down enough to save their life. We see that Claudius and X land on their left (Claudius) and right (X) foot respectively.

They are now supporting each other, since one of each of their legs are injured.

X: Donít thank me just yet.
Claudius: Yeah, this isnít good.

All around them, wooden buildings are catching on fire and it starts to spread.

X: The othersÖ
Claudius: It canít be helped. We have to get out of here.
X: Yeah.

They run in tandem in order to take the most pressure possible off their injured limbs. The fire spreads quickly, but they are able to make it out of the town safely. They lie down on the ground about 100 yards away from the edge of the town. They are breathing heavy.

Claudius: You knew what that man was planning.
X: I recognized that scent.
Claudius: Oh thatís right. Your brothers were killed in a gunpowder accident much like this one.
X: YeahÖ
Claudius: Well, your experience saved us.
X: Do you think Lance and Adria made it out okay?
Claudius: Iím sure they did. There were more windows than one, I think.
X: And then thereís the group that stayed at the hotel.
Claudius: Yeah, shit. Our stuff is with them.
X: Do you think we should wait for them here?
Claudius: Letís rest for a little while, but we should keep moving.
X: Yeah, youíre right. We need to find temporary shelter. Iím sure theyíll all do the same.

They both check their legs and feet.

X: It looks like we both got off easy. I canít tell you how pissed Iíd be if it was broken since I only recently recovered from my last break.
Claudius: Yeah.

We then switch over to Sarzo. At the gate, there are two soldiers standing guard when a horse is riding up to it. We recognize Kyle as the rider.

Soldier: Welcome back, Officer Kyle.
Kyle: Thank you.

They open the gate and Kyle rides to a stable where he drops the horse off. He then stares at the castle and begins to walk towards it. His mind begins to wander off.

[Drek Ė 18 Years Ago]

The scene begins at what appears to be a birthing. There is a woman on a bed with midwives working intensely, trying to get a baby out. We cannot see the womanís face quite yet. After some time, the baby finally comes out and starts crying.

Midwife: Itís a girl!

Just after, a man comes in. He has a similar appearance to Kyle with long blonde hair.

Man: Shall I call in the kids?
Woman: Yes. Let them meet their new sister.
Man: Kyle. Bring Tibi in.

We see a very young Kyle, whom is about 5 years old, holding the hand of 2-year-old Tibi. Kyle has short, spiky blonde hair. Kyle leads Tibi over to their mother where they are shown the baby.

Kyle: Is it a girl?
Woman: Yes, Kyle. Say hello to your new sisterÖAdria.

When we get a good look at the motherís face, she has a strikingly similar face to Adriaís from the current time. She has long black hair. A week passes and Adria is now in some sort of pink baby clothing with her name sewed into the shirt. Her father is holding her. The others are not home, however.

Man: What was that noise?

He looks outside a window to see a group of bandits attacking this town and setting it on fire.

Man: What?!

He immediately takes Adria, clothes her in a large blanket and leaves the house, running with her, but not before picking up a hatchet from next to the door. A bandit attacks him with an axe, but he ducks under it and hacks at the banditís neck, killing him instantly. He keeps running but then gets stuck by four arrows consecutively in his back. Just then he hears a voice.

Kyleís Voice: DAAADDDD!!!!!

He turns to face Kyle running to him, but another citizen grabs Kyle and runs with him in the opposite direction. Kyleís father keeps moving while he is dying and steps onto the outskirts of the town where he drops to his knees and dies. A few hours pass and the town is in ashes. The bandits have left. Two people are now walking through the streets. We recognize them as Nero and Conrad.

Nero: Iím telling you, The Theoretical Concepts of Fire Physics is outdated material. The author has lost his credibility.
Conrad: I think there is still some merit in his writings. Some of what he says is true of this place. See that person? He is in a praying position, or so it seems. This means he succumbed to the fire. On the other hand, this other likely died of asphyxiation.
Nero: We knew that years ago though. His book shed no light on those matters.
Conrad: Hey, do you hear something?
Nero: Donít change the subject.
Conrad: No, for real.

They look over to Kyleís fatherís body and the noise coming from it. Conrad turns him over to see Adria crying.

Conrad: Youíve got to be kidding me.
Nero: A baby? It actually survived the attack?
Conrad: He protected his child with his last breath. He not only shielded her from the smoke, but also covered her enough to conceal her from the bandits. Was he hoping someone would come around?
Nero: An accurate prediction, I suppose. Here we are. What will you do with her?
Conrad: I think Iíll take her. I still havenít been able to cure the fact that I cannot have children of my own. HmmÖbut what to name her?
Nero: It looks like she has a name already. Look at her shirt.
Conrad: Adria, huh? I like it.

He picks up Adria and looks at the father once more.

Conrad: I will watch over her. You have my word.

They begin walking away while Conrad prepares some water out of his bottle for Adria.

Nero: But seriously, that author has his head up his ass.
Conrad: You can tell him that yourself. I hear he is doing a signing this month.

Meanwhile, the remaining survivors of the attack are sitting in a field of grass, just outside the town. Most of them are crying, including Kyle and his family.

Kyle: DadÖAdriaÖ

After Kyle has a bit of time to calm down, his countenance becomes very serious.

Kyle: One day I will be strong like Dad, and Iíll get them back.

15 years pass and we see Kyle looking like he does in the present time. His bandana is off, however, and we see his spiky hair as an adult, which has grown a little proportionally longer. Heís in a small room, swinging around his battle-axe.

Kyle: Alright. Iím ready.

He puts on his bandana and goes through the door. There his mother is waiting for him in the next room. She has aged quite a bit in the 15 years.

Mother: Going somewhere with that huge axe of yours?
Kyle: Yeah. Iíve managed to locate themÖor so I think.
Mother: Youíre still hell bent on going after them, huh?
Kyle: Of course.
Mother: Well, I canít stop you from going anymore. Just come back, okay?
Kyle: I will. Iíll be dropping Tibi off on my way, since she and her friend will be going on a hike.
Mother: Okay. Just donít tell her whatís going on.

Kyle leaves the house and as he begins to travel, Tibi immediately appears. She looks similar to how she looked in the Warriorís Battleground, but with a little less aging.

Tibi: So, youíre gonna finally go avenge Dad?
Kyle: Yeah. Itís time.
Tibi: Iím coming with you, you know.
Kyle: I already fabricated a story to Mom.
Tibi: You mean it this time?
Kyle: As much as I hate to bring you along, he was your father too. Just stick close to me. You are strong, but this might be a bit over your head for now.
Tibi: Got it. So where are we going?
Kyle: An informant of theirs will be at a bar that will take a day to reach on foot. We should be able to find their hideout from him.
Tibi: Cool. So how did you get that information, anyway?
Kyle: I taught his friend the meaning of justice.
Tibi: So you beat the hell out of him.
Kyle: More or less.
Tibi: Arenít you the cool one, Brother?
Kyle: Hey, do you want me to send you back to Mom?
Tibi: No, I think Iíd rather not get an earful about going out on dangerous missions with you.
Kyle: Thatís what I thought.
Tibi: I donít get it though. Iím old enough.
Kyle: Youíre 17, Tibi. You have time to grow and enjoy your youth before you get too involved in fighting.
Tibi: What about you? Youíve been fighting for years.
Kyle: I fought because we had to, in order to survive. I will gladly take that role if it means you donít have to fight.
Tibi: I want to help you fight. I canít explain it, but I feel drawn to it.
Kyle: You have a warriorís blood in you. Dad was a fighter himself, and so was Mom.
Tibi: Really?
Kyle: Yeah. Thatís why she gets so concerned.
Tibi: Youíve never talked about this.
Kyle: Itís not something she likes to admit, so I keep quiet for her.
Tibi: I donít understand why. Why do so many people hate fighting? Itís something invigorating.
Kyle: You havenít seen the fires of war, Tibi. The fighting youíve experienced is not comparable.
Tibi: What have you seen, Brother?
Kyle: I sawÖI saw Dad and Adria get killed.
Tibi: You actually saw that?
Kyle: Itís something I still dream about. Those kinds of nightmaresÖthey may never go away. For many who have seen massacre, itís the same. You are fortunate enough to not remember anything. You were only two.
Tibi: I know, but that also means that I never really knew Dad or our newborn sister.
Kyle: Yes, itís regrettable.
Tibi: But you know, you werenít bad. Even though youíre only three years older, you did your best to help raise me. I donít know what itís like to have a father, but I do know something close.
Kyle: TibiÖ

As they walk outside this new town, we hear Kyleís narration voice from his thoughts in the current time.

Kyleís Voice: The Hanleck BanditsÖthey were a group of ruffians who made a living by terrorizing citizens, stealing their gold and then burning their village to the ground. My hometown, Jajun, was one of many. My father and baby sister were casualties. The Hanleck Bandits were revered as the strongest unorganized crime ring in Drek. If news reached a village in time that they were coming to them, they would usually evacuate. Their overwhelming numbers and powerful members crushed those that didnít. But none of that mattered to me. They took many things from me. I was dead set on revenge. No, rather I was consumed by it. One way or another, I would do everything in my power to try and make them pay.

A shocking reveal has taken place! Adriaís true family lies with Kyle. However, no one knows the full truth. Adria has no knowledge of her past family, and Kyle presumes her to be dead. Furthermore, we see that Kyle held a strong grudge against the Hanleck Bandits. How does this story connect with current events that caused Kyleís mind to wander? The tale continues next on Fighters Abroad!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 11th 2015, 11:44 am

Chapter 162: The Truth Behind the Hanleck Bandits

We start off at Conradís house, where 15-year-old Adria is squared off against Ralto.

Ralto: This is where your training starts.
Adria: Right!
Ralto: Now, a girl like you will usually focus on speed. Strength probably isnít your forte.
Adria: Can I try that flip move you do on some people?
Ralto: What did I just-

He gets cut off as Adria grabs Raltoís arm and flips him over her shoulder, slamming him into the ground. More than hurt, he is surprised.

Ralto: Have you been lifting weights?! Where did that freakish strength come from?!
Adria: I dunno, but I always felt like I was strong.
Conrad: Her father looked like a warrior. He must have been strong.

Ralto gets up.

Ralto: Forget everything I just said. Weíre going to focus on grappling, which is a good style for someone with your physique and natural strength.
Adria: All right!

Back to Kyle and Tibi, they have approached a bar. Kyle opens the door for Tibi and then goes in after looking around for a second. The bar is bustling with many people all over the place.

Tibi: Is this what the adult life is like, Brother? This looks great!
Kyle: Are you trying to reveal your age to the world?
Tibi: SorryÖ

Kyle sits down at a bar stool and Tibi sits next to him.

Bartender: Whatíll you have?
Kyle: Give me something hard with two sugar cubes on top.
Tibi: Me too!
Kyle: *Sigh* Will this be your first?
Tibi: Yes, surprisingly. Why the sugar cubes though?

Kyle seemingly ignores the question and scans his immediate peripheral vision. No sudden or suspicious movements. When the drinks come, suddenly someone reacts to it. He is wearing a brown cloak.

Kyle: Thatís him.
Tibi: Oh, I get it.

Someone sits next to Tibi, smiling at her.

Man: Hey, hot stuff. What say we get out of this crowded place and have some private drinks?
Tibi: Youíre going to have to try harder than that.
Kyle: Stay focused.
Man: Hey, whoís this guy? He your boyfriend?
Tibi: Hah! You hear what he said about you?
Kyle: I should have never brought her alongÖ

The man in the brown cloak sits next to Kyle as he takes a sip of his drink.

Kyle: Actually, thatís not bad. Is that what you guys drink?
Cloak: Somedin like dat. Listen up, ya whelp, if ya wanna join da bandits, ya gotta show us ya muscle.
Kyle: Here? In front of all these people?
Cloak: All dese people are wid us.
Kyle: Interesting. *Smirk* If I beat all of you, will you take me to your hideout?
Cloak: Are ya fuckiní?!
Kyle: One more question. Is the bartender one of you?
Cloak: No, why?
Kyle: Just wondering if I should spare him.
Cloak: Da fuck?

Just then, Kyle blasts the cloaked man in the face with a punch. He goes flying and hits the wall.

Tibi: *Whistles in admiration* Nice shot.
Man: Hey, if you wonít go out with me, then Iíll just force you, bitch!
Tibi: Oh you did not just go there.

Meanwhile, all of the men in the bar minus the bartender and the one that was hitting on Tibi stare down Kyle. There are about twenty to thirty of them.

Kyle: Letís go. All of you.

They start rushing at Kyle. Kyle punches the first one and he goes flying back, taking out four or five of them along the way. Kyle ducks under a punch and then punches that man to send him away. He then receives a few hits to his face, but he stands strong through them and punches three times in rapid succession. This takes out three more quickly. He ducks under another punch and then receives a shot to the ribs. He tanks the attack and throws a left hook to take out another bandit.

Around this time, the man grabs Tibi by the shirt, but she kicks hard to his leg, breaking it. He is about to fall when she grabs him by the front of his shirt.

Tibi: Now now. You wanted to have some fun, didnít you?

Back to Kyle, there are ten of them left. Five of them take out knives. Kyle draws his battle-axe, and the remaining five look at the size comparison in weapons and start backing off. At this time, Tibi is punching the hell out of the man and then throws him down.

Tibi: Oh right. I should go help my brother.

She turns around to see everyone else on the ground except Kyle.

Tibi: OhÖ
Kyle: Have you finished messing with him?
Tibi: YeahÖI suppose.
Bartender: Holy shit. Iíve never seen someone take out a whole slew of bandits before by himself.

Tibi sits down and takes a sip of her drink.

Tibi: Hey, not bad.
Kyle: I know, right?

Some time passes and the cloaked man wakes up. He is tied up.

Kyle: Alright, now youíre going to answer my questions.
Cloak: Waddya dinkÖ

Tibi immediately kicks him in the face, knocking him out again.

Kyle: What was that for?
Tibi: His accent pisses me off.
Kyle: Fine. Weíll get someone else.

Another bandit wakes up and is also tied up.

Bandit: Where..am I?

Tibi tries to kick this one too, but Kyle stops her.

Kyle: What it is this time?
Tibi: ďWhere am IĒ is such a clichť way of waking up.
Kyle: Go sit outside if youíre going to be like this.
Tibi: Iíll be good. I promise.
Bandit: What the fuck are you talking about, bitch?!

Kyle holds Tibi back before she even has a chance of trying to kick him.

Tibi: He deserved it this time!
Kyle: Thatís it.

A minute later, Tibi is also tied up.

Tibi: No fair.
Kyle: NOW, youíre going to answer all my questions.
Bandit: Okay.
Kyle: Just like that?
Bandit: I was forced into this kind of work in order to feed my family. We were on the streets, poor from them burning our village down. I had no choice.
Kyle: I see. So do you know where their hideout is?
Bandit: Iíve never been to it, but I heard it is in Sarzo.
Kyle: Well, thatís a start.
Tibi: But Sarzo is the largest city in the world. It could take forever to find it.
Kyle: Why have you never been to there?
Bandit: They have so many people that they have more than one base.
Kyle: So then them being unorganized is a lie.
Bandit: Right. Itís an act, but the truth is that every attack is planned.
Kyle: What is the purpose?
Bandit: IÖdonít know. Thatís the truth. Only the top dogs know. Weíre not allowed to question orders.
Kyle: I believe you. I have a good sense of integrity when I fight someone. Not all of you seemed dishonest and violent to a fault. Can you tell me anything about the leader?
Bandit: Nothing. The guy your sister kicked in the face was my squad leader. He reported to the actual leader, not me.
Kyle: I see. So thereís nothing else I can really get out of you, except this: where is your hideout?
Bandit: If you untie me, I will map it out for you.
Tibi: Untie me too, damn it!

He unties both of them and they leave after he marks a map for Kyle.

Kyle: I see. So itís close.
Tibi: Do you think we can get more information from the hideout?
Kyle: Itís the only thing we have to go on. We have to try. I thought for sure this would be the last clue before we destroyed them at their core.
Tibi: But at least weíre almost there, right?
Kyle: Right.

They reach a cave on the outskirts of the city. There are candles lit inside the cave with holsters built into the walls.

Kyle: This is definitely it.
Female Voice: Do you require some help?
Kyle: !

Kyle turns around to see Shim standing only a few feet behind them. She is wearing her Movie 2 outfit.

Kyle: Who are you? She snuck up on me while I had my guard upÖ
Tibi: Sheís pretty.
Shim: Iím here to hunt down some bandits. This wouldnít happen to be a Hanleck hideout, would it?
Kyle: How would you know about that?
Shim: So it is true then.
Kyle: Yes.
Tibi: Can you fight, lady?
Shim: Iíve learned a thing or two over the years.
Male Voice: Hey!

A bandit comes out of the cave, holding an axe. Kyle steps forward.

Kyle: Stand back, maíam. Iíll protect you.
Shim: Thatís so nice of you, but Iíll take this one.

Shim draws one of her curved swords as the bandit charges at them. She gracefully and swiftly moves past him, cutting him at the base of the neck in one clean motion. Her movements seemingly entrance Kyle.

Tibi: Woah. Brother, did you see that? Bro?
Kyle: Wow.
Shim: If youíre done staring, shall we finish them off?
Kyle: ÖRight! Letís go, Tibi.
Tibi: Hell yeah!

Kyle and Tibi follow Shim into the cave. Tibi draws her knives and Kyle has his axe at the ready. A bandit comes running after them immediately.

Tibi: Leave it to me!

Tibi charges up to the bandit and makes two quick strikes with her kunai, which kills him.

Shim: She has potential, but is still relatively new to fighting.

Three more bandits come running while yelling at them. Kyle steps out in front.

Shim: Letís see what you can do.

As one of the bandits gets close, Kyle bisects him horizontally with a strong swing of his axe with two hands. Then, as the other two get closer, Kyle lets go of the axe with one hand and makes a 360-degree turn in order to make a large arc with his swing. This cuts them at the tip of the axe, but still leaves a large enough cut to kill them.

Shim: He judged his timing nearly perfectly. On top of that, he has a lot of physical strength to wield such a heavy axe that effectively with just one hand. He shows a lot more potential than the girl. Iíve only gotten a glance at him, but I already know we can use him.
Tibi: Are you impressed already? Thatís nothing. You should have seen what he did to all those bandits at the bar. He practically took down the whole place unarmed.
Shim: Really, now? So that story was true then.
Kyle: I canít just sit back and let a lady do all the work.
Shim: So upright and chivalrous. I thought guys like you didnít exist anymore.
Tibi: They donít. My brother might look young, but heís actually an old man. He just doesnít know it yet.
Kyle: Really, now? Maybe I should just retire now and let you take care of Mom.
Tibi: Hell no! I take that back!
Shim: Theyíre in enemy territory, but they donít seem to be worried at all. We should keep moving.

They go into the heart of the cave, where there is treasure and plundered goods lying everywhere. There are only about 10 people.

Tibi: This is all of them?
Kyle: Well, I guess I beat up most of them at the bar.
Bandit: Get them!

They all grab axes and attack. Before they realize it, Shim has gone on the attack and is heading towards two of them. She decapitates two with her swords immediately. Kyle follows suit by cutting through two. Tibi takes out one around this time by stabbing him in the throat. Shim speeds through four others, cutting all of them in rapid succession. Tibi takes the last one by throwing one of her knives at his head.

Shim: There is plenty of treasure to go around, so help yourself.
Tibi: Isnít this great, Brother? We can get the medicine we need with all this gold.
Kyle: Yes.

Kyle approaches the gold and folds his hands in a praying manner. He closes his eyes.

Kyle: Whoever owned this gold before it was stolen, I am sorry. Your sacrifice will not be in vain. It will save my motherís life.
Shim: Is he really paying respects to the gold?
Tibi: Yes, sorry. He is weird like that.
Shim: No, actually that kind of devotion to honor and dignity can be a good thing. If he can be controlled, he will be the perfect soldier. But whatís this feeling? KyÖI meanÖshit.
Kyle: Did youÖhow do you know my name?
Shim: Looks like I got too comfortable and slipped. The truth is that Iíve been keeping tabs on you within the past 24 hours.
Kyle: Youíre probably not lying. I noticed something wrong when you were able to sneak up on me outside the cave.
Tibi: So then why didnít you know about the bar fight?
Shim: Well, I wasnít watching you directly. I asked the bartender what happened just after you left. I did hear the rumor, but I didnít think it was true.
Kyle: So youíve been tailing us when you found out we were targeting the Hanleck Bandits. Thatís why you showed up here at this time.
Shim: Exactly. Would you like to know where their real hideout is?
Kyle: You know?!
Shim: Iím an information specialist. And come with me if you want to find the base. Thereís someone you need to meet first.

Some time passes and Shim has led Kyle and Tibi to a building in Sarzo. She opens the door and they stand outside for about two minutes. After that, Shim opens the door and lets them in. When the two of them look inside, it is a relatively normal sized one-story house. Sitting at the back of this particular room is Zerin. When Zerinís crimson eyes meet Kyleís, Kyle immediately takes a step back and reaches for his weapon. Zerin smirks.

Zerin: Whatís wrong?
Kyle: What is this feeling Iím getting from him? I donít understand it, but he put me on guard with just a look.

Just then, Ento steps in front of Zerin, ready to draw his weapon against Kyle.

Ento: Just try something stupid.
Zerin: Ento, thatís enough.
Ento: ÖOkay.

He steps aside. Kyle relaxes himself and takes his hand away from his axe.

Zerin: Youíre not the first to react to me that way. Thatís a good sign, or so I believe.
Kyle: Just who are you?
Zerin: Iím me, of course. What a nonsensical question.
Kyle: Thatís obviously not what I meant.
Zerin: You will come to find out more about me. Iím sure of it. I can tell that you are strong.
Shim: As I thought. Zerinís eyes are better at scouting talent than mine. What he showed me in the cave wasnít enough to join, but it certainly has strong implications.
Kyle: Likewise, you hide your true strength. But unlike you, I canít gauge it.
Zerin: Of course, itís impossible to truly understand oneís strength until you see them in action. But I donít particularly feel like fighting you at the moment. Iíll let you at the Hanleck Bandits, and then weíll consider making you an officer.
Kyle: An officer? What do you mean?
Zerin: So, Shim, you havenít told him anything.
Shim: No.
Zerin: Thatís quite all right. Iíll educate you a little.
Kyle: Speak some sense.
Zerin: Do you know why the Hanleck Bandits reside here in Sarzo, yet have never attacked the city? No doubt they would lose, but do you think they honestly know that?
Kyle: No. So then, the answer?
Zerin: Entertain my questioning just a little longer. Surely you realized that theyíre actually more or less an organized gang, not a group of bandits.
Kyle: Yes.
Zerin: What is the purpose of hiding it? Do you know?
Kyle: Iíve been wondering the same thing.
Zerin: Iíll tell you why. Itís becauseÖthe Hanleck Bandits are backed by Sarzoís government.

To be continuedÖ
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 21st 2015, 10:45 pm

Chapter 163: The Truth Behind the Hanleck Bandits Part 2

Kyle stands in shock. Tibi is also quite taken back. She has remained silent thus far, as she has felt intimidated by Zerin.

Kyle: What do you mean that the city has them backed?
Zerin: Shimís information gathering is the best in the world. There is no mistake.
Shim: At first, the Hanleck Bandits were small time, but perceived as a growing threat. They actually were bandits then. But then, just as Sarzo was sending military force to destroy them, the opposite happened. The government saw it as an opportunity to expand their city.
Kyle: Why would they do that? This city has been flourishing for years.
Zerin: Greed is a disease. It grows the more wealth one has. Sarzoís government has made its city the wealthiest by far. The reason is for all this is because of the Hanleck Bandits. They pillage and their wealth comes straight here, with some overflow going to other hideouts. Iím sure you ran into some, where Shim found you.
Kyle: Then itís really true that you knew that I was going after them, and had Shim tail me.
Zerin: Of course. In truth, we were going to wipe out the bandits ourselves. But then you entered the picture. We thought it best to observe you and recruit you if you met our expectations.
Kyle: I see.
Zerin: Girl, you have not said anything yet. Are you frightened?
Kyle: Itís okay. Iíll protect you.
Tibi: Right.
Zerin: It seems she also has potential, if I put her on guard as well.
Tibi: Are you evil, sir?
Zerin: *Smirk* Evil? Yes, I most certainly am. But that government and the gangÖthey are a far worse evil. Donít you agree, boy?
Kyle: Itís Kyle. And yes, I do. Let me ask you one question. About how long ago did the bandits get contracted?
Shim: It was likely around 15 years ago.
Kyle: I see. Please tell me where this hideout is. Iíll slaughter them all without mercy.
Zerin: May I ask your connection with that question?
Kyle: They killed our father and newborn sister 15 years ago. Since then, I have been working for the power to destroy them.
Ento: If itís power youíre looking for, you came to the right place.
Kyle: Iím not asking for your help.
Shim: I will assist you.
Ento: Shim?
Shim: I am the one who brought him here. I will see this through myself. I believe he is valuable to us.
Zerin: Very well. Do as you please. We will not interfere unless you call for us.

They leave and Shim goes with Kyle and Tibi.

Kyle: Is that true? What you said about me?
Shim: Yes. I wouldnít lie to those two.
Kyle: Well then, I appreciate it.
Shim: Donít mention it. Say, before we get down to business, letís go grab something to eat. Thereís a good place nearby.
Kyle: Okay. You hungry, Tibi?
Tibi: Yeah!

We cut to a restaurant with booth type of seats. Shim and Tibi sit across from Kyle. They order food and then begin to talk.

Shim: So you said you lost two family members to the Hanleck Bandits. I lost my parents at an early age as well.
Kyle: Thatís unfortunate.
Shim: But I think itís good that youíll have your revenge. Do you have a face that you remember to go after?
Kyle: I donít, and I donít particularly care. Iíll kill them all, regardless.
Tibi: But Brother, not all of them are that bad. Remember the one who was forced into that business?
Kyle: You mean the one that you tried to kick twice? It canít be helped. If any surrender peacefully, I may yet spare them. But if they fight, I will cut them down without hesitation.

Meanwhile, near them, a woman is trying to get away from a man, but he grabs her by the hair and smacks her in the face. Kyle notices it and immediately stands up. Someone in the booth directly next to him stands up at the same time. We recognize this person as Claudius.

Claudius and Kyle: Donít ever treat a lady like that!

They look at each other quickly and then look at the man.

Man: This is none aíyaí beeswax!
Claudius and Kyle: It is now, asshole!

They do another quick look at each other and then back at the man. He walks up to them both and they simultaneously deck him in the face, knocking him out cold.

Both: Take that!
Tibi: How many jinxes is that?
Shim: Three so far.
Claudius: Hey, youíre pretty strong.
Kyle: Ditto.
Claudius: In truth, that guy was my target, but I canít stand seeing a lady get beat.
Kyle: I know what you mean.
Claudius: Well, I gotta go. Címon, X.

X stands up from that booth and Claudius takes the unconscious man and walks away with him.

Kyle: That was weird.
Tibi: He was pretty cute. I think Iím gonna try and catch him.

Tibi leaves temporarily.

Kyle: Aaaand sheís gone.

Tibi approaches Claudius, who is still carrying the man.

Claudius: What is it? *Looks at her* Ooh. How old?
Tibi: 17.
Claudius: Aaaah, damn. X, you want her?
X: Iím good.
Claudius: Sorry, but Iím too old. Come see me in a year, yeah?
Tibi: Awwww.

Kyle: The way you fight, Shim, Iíve never seen anything like it.
Shim: Thanks.
Kyle: Would youÖhelp me train sometime?
Shim: Sure. Why do you seek help?
Kyle: Even after we defeat them, I know things wonít end there. Whether I join you guys or not, the fighting will never end for someone like me. But I need the strength to protect Tibi. She will also become stronger, but that alone does not set me at ease.
Shim: Youíre very earnest and honest. Not something we see in many people these days.

Tibi comes back in and sees Kyle and Shim talking, both seeming relaxed and interested around each other.

Tibi: HmmÖmaybe Iíll leave them alone for a while.

After eating and some idle chatter, the three of them stand outside. They start stretching.

Kyle: That was a good place. I think I ate too much.
Shim: Donít throw up on us when we fight.
Kyle: Iíll make sure to vomit on the enemy if I do.
Tibi: So, where are we going?
Shim: Just follow me. Their real hideout is more or less a mansion.
Kyle: Alright.

They follow Shim to a large mansion close to the Sarzo castle. When Kyle sees this pristine building, his face changes to look very angry.

Tibi: Brother?
Shim: He realized that what we said was trueÖabout the government backing them. He must have had a sliver of doubt before now.
Kyle: Those bastards. This government is directly supporting the cause for the destruction of countless villages.
Shim: This is just the beginning, Kyle. They will fall here, and then weíll destroy the ones behind it.
Kyle: You mean youíll go after Sarzoís government?
Shim: It runs far deeper than you realize. But for now, letís focus on the enemy in front of us.
Kyle: Right. So whatís our plan?
Shim: Despite his anger, he has his emotions in check. Good. This way.

They temporarily leave the area and stand in front of a few buildings that obstruct the view of the mansion.

Kyle: So weíre supposed to wait here? Did you show me that mansion on purpose?
Shim: Youíre pretty smart.
Kyle: I donít enjoy being toyed with.
Shim: Sorry. I had to know if you would be emotionally compromised in this battle.
Kyle: No, that was the right decision.
Tibi: I donít care about that. Letís go, already!
Shim: Just hold your position for a little longer. Iíve observed you; now itís your turn to observe how I operate.

A minute later, a man approaches them. He has a rough appearance and has a hatchet with him.

Shim: So?
Man: By my count, approximately 50 in there right now, including the boss.
Shim: Thatís about what I was expecting.
Kyle: Has this man infiltrated the bandit ranks as your informant?
Shim: Yes. I have informants all over the world, telling me important information. Of course, this is also how we found you.
Kyle: Wait a second. I recognize you.
Tibi: You know him?
Kyle: I nearly killed him in a scrap not long ago. So thatís how you found out about me.
Man: Yes. When you took out the other bandits in my group, I didnít have any reason to fight you. Not like I actually support the group anyway. I informed Master Shim right away that you were also targeting them.
Kyle: You were very quick to run away. It makes sense now.
Shim: What else can you tell me?

After a few minutesÖ

Shim: Good work. Go home to your family.
Kyle: Hold. I have one question for you yet.
Man: What is it?
Kyle: Just how long have you been a part of them?
Man: Only about a year or so.
Kyle: You check out then. Proceed.

The man leaves.

Tibi: Would you have killed him if he answered 15 years?
Kyle: Probably.
Shim: You would kill an informant in front of me?
Kyle: I donít care under whose ordersÖevery person is responsible for his or her own actions. Even if he was under cover, if he helped destroy my town, I wouldnít be able to forgive him.
Shim: You have such a black and white view of the world, but at least you stick with your convictions. I like that.
Tibi: So is it time to go yet? Iím getting bored.
Shim: Yes, I guess it is.

The three of them walk up to the front door and Kyle knocks on it. A butler answers the door.

Butler: Yes? Do you have business here?
Kyle: We have a delivery for the owner of this mansion.
Butler: I was not aware that we were expecting something.
Kyle: You should have been for the last 15 years.

Kyle grabs the man and throws him aside.

Kyle: Weíll spare the servants if we can help it. The rest die now.

A bandit sees them force their way in.

Kyle: Thatís it. Call your buddies.

Tibi rushes this bandit and attacks with her knives. The man blocks with his axe and then swings horizontally. She ducks under it and then kicks him into the wall. She then stabs him in the head.

Kyle: Nice, Tibi!
Tibi: Thanks!
Shim: Here they come.

The bandits start to pour down the staircase. About thirty of the fifty are present.

Kyle: Shim, will you be all right by yourself? I need to stay close to Tibi.
Shim: I could have handled this whole building by myself. Donít get cocky.
Kyle: Okay then.
Tibi: There are a lot of them. Are you sure weíll be okay?
Kyle: Take as many as you can. Iíll handle the rest.

Kyle twirls his axe and readies it. Shim has both of her swords drawn. The bandits, all with axes, charge. Kyle steps out in front of Tibi and clashes weapons with one of them. The bandit gets knocked by back by the sheer strength of Kyleís strength and superior weapon. The second bandits challenges Kyleís swing with one of his own and his weapon completely shatters upon contact. With the same swing, Kyle hacks the banditís neck, killing him. Tibi then steps out and makes a quick strike to another banditís neck with a horizontal swipe. She then steps back behind Kyle to allow him to make a full arc swing to take out multiple bandits.

Meanwhile, on Shimís side, she is dodging about five bandit axes at the same time elegantly. With extremely quick and precise strikes, she strikes bandits down at the same time as dodging. One bandit swings horizontally near her neck while another swings low at her ankles. Shim steps on the low axe at the same time as block the other with one sword. With her free sword, she slices upward at the lower bandit to slice him vertically in the middle of the face. She kicks that axe up now and kicks the handle to send it flying at another banditís head, killing him. The bandit whose axe was blocked tries another swing. This time, Shim uses both swords and cross slashes to break the weapon and send the shrapnel into his head.

Shim: Entoís outdone himself with this sharpness.
Bandit: Who is this witch? We canít hit her at all!

About ten bandits run straight at her, ready to attack. The one in front swings his axe, but Shim spin dodges out of the way. At the end of her rotation she cuts him, and then continues spinning slowly, but gracefully. The bandits keep trying to hit her, but she is spinning between them, dodging them just barely and cutting them afterwards. At the end, she dashes past the last one quickly and beheads him.

At the same time, Kyle and Tibi have made some headway with the amount of bandits killed. There are ten left. Tibi is able to take out one quickly by stabbing him with both knives. She retreats again behind Kyle, who bisects one horizontally with his axe. He then disarms three more with one swing, which allows Tibi to rush in and kill them. One bandit sprints at Kyle and swings quickly, but Kyle ducks under and hacks upwards to cut him from his torso all the way through his face, killing him instantly. The last of them are taken out systematically with the same method of Tibiís hit and run followed by Kyleís strong attacks.

Tibi: ThatÖwasÖAWESOME! I feel so alive!
Kyle: This is your first fight of this scale. I guess I should expect as much.
Shim: Itís not over yet.
Kyle: Yeah. Letís keep moving.

Meanwhile, at another floor, there is a woman who is in a black suit and tie. She has long blond hair in a ponytail and she has a black eye patch over her left eye. She appears to be in her late 30s or early 40s. A butler is next to her.

Butler: Everything has died down, it seems.
Woman: I donít like this. They would have reported to me by now. Does this mean that they lost? Who are these belligerents?

When we zoom out, she and the butler are in a room that has one exit. This door leads to a larger room that has two doors on the left wall and two doors on the right wall. Finally, there is a door opposite of the door that leads to where the woman is. This door opens and the three goes through it to the larger room.

Shim: Okay, I guess this is it. You guys go on ahead.
Kyle: You sure itís going to be okay?
Shim: Donít make me repeat myself.

Kyle and Tibi go on straight and go through the door. Meanwhile, the other four doors open and the remaining 20 bandits surround Shim.

Shim: Looks like that information was correct. I love when everything goes according to plan.

Now, at this time, Kyle and Tibi face the woman with the door closed. Kyle seems surprised at the sex of what appears to be the boss.

Kyle: A woman? Are youÖare you the boss of the Hanleck Bandits?
Woman: I am. Are you the prick that has been killing my men?
Kyle: Yeah.

The woman snaps and the butler brings her a battle-axe. This axe is slightly smaller than Kyleís.

Woman: I see we have similar taste in weaponry. Maybe Iíll teach you a thing or two before you die, boy.
Kyle: Weíll see.

The boss of the Hanleck Bandits is finally in front of Kyle! But will he be able to fight all out against a woman?
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 24th 2015, 8:02 pm

Chapter 164: Past and Present Collide Ė A New Dilemma!

Tibi: Are you going to be okay fighting her?
Kyle: Weíll see. You may have to fight her first depending on her answer to the question.
Tibi: I see.
Leader: And what question is that?
Kyle: How long have you led this group?
Leader: 15 years ago, when we killed our former leader.
Kyle: Why?
Leader: When we became official, it was because of me. He didnít want to do it. He wanted to stay living in filth. He was weak.
Kyle: I see. So then it was you who ordered the attack on my village.
Leader: Did I destroy your village, boy? You gonna cry?
Kyle: Before long, I will be asking you the same question.
Tibi: Then, youíll fight her?
Kyle: Make sure the butler doesnít interfere. True, there are some I donít want to cut down. But I canít forgive what sheís done.
Tibi: Sheís all yours then. Go avenge Dad and Adria.
Kyle: I intend to.

The butler takes a step back and the woman comes forward. Kyle does the same.

Leader: Prepare to be surrounded momentarily. I have twenty of my strongest fighters in that room you just came from.
Kyle: I wouldnít count on it.
Leader: You have an army of your own?
Kyle: In a manner of speaking.

They both wind back their axes and then bring them forth violently. The axes clang off each other and the woman is sent sliding back a few inches. She is wincing.

Kyle: Do your hands sting after that attack?
Leader: What power. So you beat your opponents through brute strength. I bet you have no finesse or skill at all though.

She twirls her axe and goes on the attack. Kyle back steps to avoid a sideswipe. She follows up with an upward slash, which Kyle parries with his own axe. With one hand, he extends his left arm all the way to perform a backhand slash. The leader narrowly avoids the attack, but Kyle follows up by spinning with his momentum and then hacks diagonally downwards. The leader gets cut across her chest lightly, as she was able to avoid most of the damage.

The woman retaliates, ignoring the pain. She makes a long sweep with both hands on the axe. Kyle guards and then guards the next swing after that. Kyle reprises with a slash of his own. The leader guards and blocks the attack, only sliding back about an inch. Kyle then uses that opportunity to kick her in the stomach, which sends her to the floor. She gets up quickly.

Kyle: You have a fair amount of physical strength yourself. Iíd say you could almost match my sister in that category.
Leader: Was that supposed to be an insult?
Kyle: Of course not.
Leader: Shit, where are they?

The door opens and Shim casually walks through without a scratch.

Kyle: Ah, looks like my ďarmyĒ is here.
Leader: One person? You have to be kidding me.
Shim: Where is your government suzerain now? Let me ask you a question. If we gave them a ransom note with you held hostage, do you think they would do anything?
Leader: I knew from the beginning that we meant nothing to Sarzoís government. Do you think I care? I pillage and kill because I want to. The second they turned heel against us, I had planned to attack them.
Shim: Kyle, desist. I want to recruit this woman. She has a good head on her shoulders.
Kyle: This woman dies.
Shim: You got your revenge against the bandits. Leave it alone.
Kyle: No, not yet.

Shim takes a few moments to consider her options.

Shim: Very well. Do as you wish.

The woman attacks Kyle after hearing Shimís words. Kyle parries the attack and hacks horizontally, slicing her deep across the stomach. She stumbles back and drops her axe.

Kyle: Did I rip your stomach apart, girl? You gonna cry?
Leader: Cheeky brat.

The butler is now behind Kyle with a knife in his hand. Kyle is unphased by this as Tibi tackles him from behind and then stabs him in the head. Kyle raises his axe in the air with one hand.

Kyle: Though you have done awful things, you have earned my respect as a competent and level leader. Any last words?
Leader: I regret none of my actions. That is all.
Kyle: Very well.

Kyle brings down his axe, killing her.

Shim: She showed potential. I wouldnít have minded having her in the Myjuto Forces.
Kyle: Why did you stop? You were under orders from that guy to recruit people in here if they were worthy right?
Shim: Yes. But I value you far more than her. I knew that you wouldnít be able to work alongside her after what she did. Even if it was his orders, I am choosing to ignore them.
Kyle: Thank you. Tibi, we did it.
Tibi: Yeah.

The screen fades to black as Kyle slowly starts to smile. Some time later, Kyle is seen standing in front of Zerin with Shim next to him.

Zerin: Things wonít stop here, Kyle. The Sarzo government isnít the only one like this. True, theyíre the only ones who have done things this way on this scale. But the truth is that governments all across Drek and Neese are just as corrupt. Do you understand why I am telling you this?
Kyle: Why?
Zerin: Because I am going to take it all for myself.

Kyleís eyes widen with surprise.

Zerin: I will change the world as we know it. Those who have been masters will become the oppressed. Come with me, Kyle. You no longer have to protect your family by yourself.

Zerin extends his hand to Kyle in earnest. Kyle closes his eyes for a few moments. Flashes of his father appear in his mind and then flashes of the bandits. He opens his eyes and then shakes hands with Zerin.

Kyle: I will follow youÖuh?
Zerin: My name is Zerin, but you will soon call me king.
Kyle: Very well, King Zerin.

After Kyle leaves, Shim follows him.

Kyle: Yes?
Shim: Thank you for joining us.
Kyle: Make no mistake. Everything Zerin said is nice, but thatís not why I joined.
Shim: Why then?
Kyle: You promised to help me, remember?
Shim: I see. So you joined for me.
Kyle: If you perceive it to be that way.
Shim: So innocent. Come on, you stud. Letís go get some food.
Kyle: You mean, like a date?
Shim: If you perceive it to be that way.
Kyle: I do, and I accept.

The two of them walk away together. Meanwhile, Tibi is lurking not far behind.

Tibi: You finally found someone for you, brother. Iím so happy for you.

The two of them start muttering.

Shim: Your sister is following us, you know.
Kyle: Itís okay. She can see us like this.

Back in the present times, Kyle has made it to the castle.

Kyle: That was the start of our relationship. Last I heard from her, she was in Neese still. She said sheíll be home after this supposed war. Well, Iíd better go report to Zerin.

We go back to Claudius and X who are traveling on a dirt road. A city is in sight. They are walking normally now.

Claudius: Looks like our injuries were pretty clean.
X: Yeah. We were fortunate.

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the burned town, we see Lance and Adria. Lance has his paraglider out, but it has been burned to be unusable as is.

Lance: Itís a good thing I had this thing hidden under my cloak. I had a feeling we may have had to escape from the roof, but not like this.
Adria: Well that saved us.
Lance: Do you think you can fix this?
Adria: I have some leftover fabric, so I canÖah!
Lance: Our stuff was with Lei, Knosse and your dad.
Adria: Iím sure they got out okay.
Lance: Yeah. They had the most time to be warned. They were looking at the building after all.
Adria: Iím just worried about my dad.
Lance: Lei and Knosse are more than good enough to protect him.
Adria: Not that. (Annoyed face) Heís probably freaking out right about now.

At this time, Conrad is currently freaking out with Lei and Knosse nearby (who are carrying all of everyoneís things). They are on the outskirts of the city as well, but on the opposite side.

Conrad: Sheís okay. Sheís gotta be okay! Sheís-

He sneezes in the middle of speaking that also makes him bite his tongue at the same time.

Knosse: I bet that was Adria talking about you. See? Sheís okay.
Conrad: Iíll have you know that has no scientific backing at all.
Lei: Still, I am wondering what the hell happened in there. The building just exploded and made everything catch on fire.
Conrad: Rafiel must have been associated with the Myjuto Forces.
Lei: Claudius was right about him all along. We dismissed it off as jealousy, but he knew.
Knosse: I kinda feel bad.

We switch back to X and Claudius again. They have made it to the city. They look around and it seems to be vacant. But on second look, they notice people peering out from their windows.

X: Whatís going on here?
Claudius: I donít like this feeling.
Female Voice: Iíve been expecting you two.
X and Claudius: What?!

Shim steps out from an alleyway and she faces them.

Shim: Though I wasnít quite expecting only two of you.
Claudius: And just who are you?
Shim: My name is Shim, ranked second in the Myjuto Forces. No need to introduce yourselves. I already know both of you, X and Claudius.

Have they fallen into Shimís trap?!!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 26th 2015, 12:19 pm

Chapter 165: Versus Shim

Claudius: You are able to identify us by appearance, huh?
Shim: Itís my specialty to know things. We met once, you know. Back in Sarzo, Jiron was about to kill you two.
X: That was you who saved us? Why?
Shim: We had no idea that you would become such an annoying nuisance. You had potential, but were far too weak to accomplish anything. It seems things have changed since then.
Claudius: Bet your ass things have changed.
Shim: My rank didnít startle you. I guess itís because youíve already fought Ento.
X: You even know about that?
Shim: It hasnít come to my attention yet how you were able to get away from Ento. The only way I can perceive is that you used some sort of trap to lure him from the port. Perhaps, you found and met with his mother and used that?
Claudius: Thatís way better than a guess.
Shim: I simply made a deduction with the information I was given. Does it truly surprise you that I figured out your plan? If it were I in Ivan, you would not have gotten away.
X: That means that information isnít your only specialty.
Shim: No.

Shim takes a ready stance without her weapons drawn. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--ijjuvQMW8 )

Shim: I was fortunate to meet with you two first. If I kill you, Fighters Abroad will fall apart.

Claudius and X ready themselves as well when Shim charges at a ridiculous speed. She goes for Claudius first; whom she knows is the slower of the two. She throws a quick punch. Claudius cannot react in time and takes a shot to the face. X jumps in and goes for a jump kick. It is ineffective, however, as Shim simply sidesteps it. Claudius now throws a punch, which Shim sees coming and dodges as well. With his free hand, he grabs his whip and whips straight at Shim. She also sees this coming and dodges under it. She back steps away to avoid a flying dagger. X is now performing a slide kick, but Shim front flips over it and stomps on his face with one foot. At that time, Claudius whips again. As she steps off Xís face, Claudius extends the whip with the button. She draws one of her swords and knocks it away. X gets up.

Claudius: You all right, X?
X: That hurt like hell, but I am okay.
Claudius: Itís time to change tactics. We were saving this strategy, but this is a good time to test it out.
X: Right.
Shim: Oh? Then your teamwork before was just natural?

Shim rushes for Claudius, but X gets in the way. He slashes with his remaining dagger and Shim dodges. As she dodges, Claudius follows up with a punch. Shim sidesteps it and then goes for a counter with her sword. X steps in front and blocks the slash. Claudius then spins around X and un-sheaths and slashes with his short sword. Shim takes out her second sword to block. As soon as she blocks the sword, X kicks forward. She blocks the kick with her own leg and then Claudius goes for a kick of his own. She backs away and creates some distance.

Shim: I get it. Claudius canít react to my speed, but X can. Him getting in my way slows me down just enough so that Claudius can follow up. And Claudiusí attacks give X enough time to ready a counterattack to my counterattack. I may be leagues above them, but this strategy has temporarily stopped my offense.
X: Youíre certainly fast, but youíre not as fast as Ento.
Claudius: We developed this strategy in order to fight him.
Shim: Iím impressed. That kind of ingenuity and teamwork is seldom seen. Itís flawless for your skill level. But your strategy has a weakness.

Shim rushes back in, but this time she goes after X first. X is able to block one sword and then Shim goes for another. Claudius is there, however, and slashes with his sword to parry Shimís. X follows up by going for a stab, but Shim backs up again. They are now close enough to Xís other dagger, that he is able to simply pick it up.

Shim: That shouldnít be possible. How did he get there so fast? Did I underestimate Claudiusís speed?

Shim charges with great speed at Claudius, who surprisingly avoids her attack. This completely shocks her, and X attacks from behind at that moment. Shim avoids the attack and then gets distance once again.

X: Whatís the matter? You seem to like keeping your distance.
Shim: I see now what heís doing.

We flash back just a moment before Shim blitzed Claudius. We see in slow motion that Claudius is focusing intently on Shimís movements. The second he sees any kind of muscle movement, he starts moving even before she starts running. Back in the presentÖ

Shim: His battle instincts are incredible. You canít pull that off on reflexes alone. They have far surpassed what my data suggested. Am I actually having trouble with these two?
Claudius: Weíll allow her as much space as possible.
X: Yeah. She is obviously strategizing, but we can do the same.
Shim: I will admit that your strategy has served you to last far longer than I expected. But things will get serious here.

Shim charges back in and goes after X. Just before she reaches X, she stops. X guards himself as Claudius is starting to rush towards Xís location. She then changes position and blitzes Claudius. X canít outpace her to Claudius and he gets slashed on his arm. X goes after Shim now, but she then rushes to him at the same time and they engage in quick strikes with their weapons. Before Claudius can recover, Shim is able to overpower X in the clashes and slashes his side. Claudius now attacks, but Shim kicks him in the face, sending him to the ground. She then turns and kicks X to the ground. Claudius gets up first and Shim rushes for him again. Claudius tries the same trick of moving immediately, but Shim simply changes direction while running and stabs Claudius on his side. Claudius is able to grab Shimís arm, however.

Claudius: Got you. Now youíre mine!
Shim: I wouldnít count on it.

Claudius grabs Shims other arm and starts to slowly bring her to the ground. All of the sudden, Shim places her left foot next to Claudiusí right foot and shifts her weight to that side, moving Claudius suddenly and tripping him over her foot. With his balance lost slightly, she takes the opportunity to lift him off the ground and slam him into the ground. At this moment, X is behind her and slashes with his daggers. She ducks under it and turns around. She grabs X by the neck and choke slams him into the ground. Both of them are still lying on the ground at this point. *Theme Stops*

Shim: You fought a good fight, but once I break your rhythm, youíre screwed. I anticipated that you might try to use your strength to try and restrain me. Itís unfortunate for you that I was taught and trained by the best to counter that type of situation. Besides, Iím pretty strong myself.

The two of them start to slowly stand.

Shim: Still want more, huh?

She readies her swords once more but then hears a sound to her left. She looks and then is surprised that something is behind her. She narrowly dodges an arrow and then sees that there is a smoke grenade next to them. It explodes and kicks up a lot of smoke. X and Claudius take this opportunity immediately to run in opposite directions. Shim hears their footsteps and goes after X first. Another arrow flies her way and she dodges it. A few more arrows rain down on her, which slows her down. When the smoke has cleared, X and Claudius are gone. Shim is left there, with a sigh.

Shim: I certainly anticipated backup, but not to escape that quickly. I will be able to find them, however.

She looks on both sides to see a blood trail that stops pretty quickly.

Shim: Bah, they covered up their tracks immediately. They are good.

Meanwhile, X and Lance are seen running through multiple alleyways at the same time as Claudius and Adria on opposite sides.

Claudius: Nice timing.
Adria: Youíre badly hurt. Weíll have to treat that.
Claudius: Iím just glad to escape with my life after all that.
X: So does this mean that Conrad is here too, Lance?
Lance: No. I threw the smoke grenade. He gave me one before we left for that building, remember?
X: Yes, now that you mention it.
Lance: Weíre almost at the rendezvous point. Then weíll patch you two up.

The four of them meet just outside the city, in a patch of grass. Claudius and X are breathing very heavily.

Lance: The two of you lost to that woman pretty badly. Was she Shim?
Claudius: Yeah. She is very skilled. We canít stay here long. She will undoubtedly find us.

We switch over to Zetsu, where there are knights on another field of grass. Derrick is leading the army this time. He is wearing full plate, but without a helm.

Derrick: Here they come.

From the horizon, we can see that the Alliance has changed their tactics by making the soldiers into cavaliers. They are all carrying maces and war hammers.

Derrick: Oh no. They are using blunt weapons that are effective against our armor. On top of that, they are going to charge right through our ranks. Nevertheless, we can still win this battle.

The knights take a defensive stance much like last time and the archers begin firing. They donít take many of the horses out and they get close to the army. Finally, the two armies clash like two tidal waves colliding and bloodshed seems to be rampant on both sides. More of the Zetsu knights are falling this time. When we see Derrick, he is taking out Alliance soldiers, but the rest of the people around him are quickly dying.

Derrick: Fall back! Retreat!

They soldiers begin to retreat as Derrick puts his hands up and surrenders himself.

Derrick: Damn. We werenít prepared for a counterattack of this magnitude.

As time passes, word reaches Celo about Derrickís defeat and his capture. He sits down, seemingly light headed.

Celo: I canít believe I let him go.
Hiiro: What do you want to do?
Celo: I want to assemble a rescue party.
Rex: Iíll go.
Celo: We canít risk you in this.
Hiiro: Celoís right. I have an idea. Did they both anticipate that something like this would happen? Everything has seemingly fallen into place.
Rex: Would you care to share your idea?
Hiiro: I know who we can send to rescue Derrick. Donít worry; they will be here soon.
Celo: Alright. Just let me know when they get here. I have some other business to attend to.

Celo moves to around the castle a bit and then heads down into the dungeon.

Julius: (We canít see him but only hear his voice) The fact that you are down here can only mean one thing. Youíre having trouble with the Neese Alliance.
Celo: Ö
Julius: I warned you, didnít I? Where is Derrick? Let me speak to him.
Celo: Derrick has been captured by the enemy.
Julius: You fools! How could you let that happen?
Celo: Clearly theyíre much stronger than 3 year ago.
Julius: Then, you have come to me forÖ
Celo: How would you like to get out of this cell?

The light shines briefly on Juliusí face, which looks worried, but at Celoís last sentence, he smirks.

Julius is about to be set free?! And whom is Hiiro talking about? As things heat up for Fighters Abroad, things are also becoming even tenser in Zetsu.
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   April 19th 2015, 8:34 pm

Chapter 166: Gen of the Blades

We go back to Naithís workshop where Naith and Gen are training. Luis and Shawn are spectating at the moment. Both of them are parrying each other when trying to aim for lunges. They finally clash one more time and then slide weapons off each other.

Gen: Good. It seems you have mastered everything I have taught you.
Naith: You mean it?
Gen: Yes. I have nothing left to teach you. There is a reason I called the detectives here, but first, I have a request.
Naith: What is it?
Gen: Will you honor me with one more spar?
Naith: Sure.

They back off each other and ready themselves.

Gen: Come at me like youíre going to kill me.
Naith: Alright.

They charge at each other and clash swords. Naith pushes against Gen with superior strength. Gen steps aside and lets Naith pass by. He then slashes at Naithís back, but he makes a quick 180-degree turn to parry the attack. This attack knocks Gen off balance. Naith goes for a lunge, but Gen regains his composure quick enough to block the attack. Gen takes a step back and then performs a backhand slice with his left hand. Naith blocks and then steps in close. He cuts upwards with his right hand, which catches Gen on his torso a little. Gen fights through the pain and retaliates with an overhead slash. Naith dodges and then gets a look at Genís face to him smiling. He jumps back once.

Naith: Heís enjoying this a bit much. He fights like he doesnít care what happens in this fight.

They rush at each other again and begin the exchange of slashes.

Luis: This is unbelievable.
Shawn: Yeah. Gen is better than he was when we first found him.

They keep at it until Naith is able to land a solid slash to Genís side, forcing him to his knees.

Gen: Ah, itís my loss again.
Naith: That was a good fight. I almost lost.
Gen: Youíve long surpassed me at this point. Will it be enough to defeat Ryo? I donít know. But I do know that you should have plenty of time to get stronger before you face that man again.
Naith: Yes. Now, letís treat your injuries.
Gen: Leave them. They are fine. Detectives, you wanted to know why I killed those people?
Shawn: Yes, of course. You promised you would tell us.
Gen: All those people had one thing in common. They all mentioned the Shiryu in front of me. You see, it was only recently that I lost it, and after having it for so long, it drove me mad that it was no longer in my possession. I was in the darkness, killing everyone who dared to mention that word in my presence. I was beaten so soundly by Ryo that I thought I had no more purpose on this earth.
Luis: I see.
Gen: But that changed. I was able to find one last purpose in the world. I may not have the strength to get back the Shiryu, but I could guide someone else in that direction.

Gen stands up and grips his katana with both hands on the blade and points it at his stomach. This surprises the others.

Luis: Heís committing Sudoku?
Shawn: Itís seppuku.
Naith: What are you doing, Gen?
Gen: Like I said, I have nothing else to teach you. You were my last purpose here on earth. Iíve done terrible things out of anger that have forever sullied my honor. Now, allow me to give you one more piece of advice before I leave.

At this moment, Nataley walks out from the building and then immediately becomes surprised by the scene. She stands next to Naith in panic.

Nataley: Naith, stop him!
Naith: I canít. This is something he has decided for himself. He has been planning this for quite some time, or so I believe.
Gen: Listen, Naith. I had a family once too. I had friends as well. And no matter how strong I became, I still failed to protect them. They all died by the sword because of my actions. You may have lost your parents, but you have much still. Keep them close and yet far away from battle. I couldnít protect my family, but you have the power to do so. Promise me that youíll protect them no matter what.
Naith: You have my word!
Gen: Good. No hesitation and with such confidence. Your eyes tell me that you are ready. Find yourself someone you can respect and trust in battle and stick with him. You will need it if you are to fight these Myjuto Forces.
Naith: Right.
Gen: Goodbye, and thank you for giving me a dignified ending. I may have been a screw up, but at least at the end I could do something good.

Gen plunges the blade into his stomach and disembowels himself. He dies shortly thereafter. Some time passes, and he is buried behind the workshop, with his katana as the grave marker. The four of them perform a quick service by themselves.

Naith: Gen of the Blades was one of the greatest swordsmen of all time. He held the Shiryu the second longest. To have spent his final portion of time here with him is a true honor. And to receive training from him is an even greater honor.

After they all say things about him, they hang out in the front of the workshop. They arenít saying much until Luis speaks.

Luis: I have an idea. How about we treat you two to a hot spring visit tonight?
Nataley: You mean it, Luis?
Shawn: Sure, why not? Donít worry, itís a separated bath.
Naith: Thanks, guys.

That night, they are at a separated hot spring bath. Nataley has a few women there relaxing nearby. Naith, Luis and Shawn are the only ones right now on the menís side.

Naith: It has been quite some time since I have been in one of these. When did they build this?
Luis: A year ago. It has been one of our regular places to hang out whenever there are traveling girls.
Naith: That figures.
Shawn: But it also is great after a long day of working the field or detective work.

Just then, someone else enters the outside room. Because of the steamy mist above, itís difficult to make out the figure till he gets in the bath. We recognize him as the mayor of Jerod. This surprises Naith and the mayor is also surprised to see Naith.

Luis: Hey! Itís been a while.
Mayor: *Ignoring Luis* Naokoís son, was it?
Naith: Naith. And yes, it is me.
Mayor: So the rumor that you live is true. This is good news.
Naith: It is good to see you again. I hear that you have been doing a brilliant job as mayor these past eight years.
Mayor: Good to hear that.
Shawn: This is our first time catching you here.
Mayor: Yeah, well Iím in my early 30s now. I am starting to get to the age where I need to start really taking care. I will be frequenting this place from now on.
Luis: Oh, then maybe you can get in on our action with all the travelers.
Mayor: Let me guess. You casually tell traveling girls that there is a hot spring and then you show up, acting surprised so you can get a peak from this side.
Luis: Holy shit!
Mayor: Judging by the holes that are about the same size as Shawnís sword tip, Iíd say that was pretty accurate.
Shawn: You truly are a genius.
Mayor: Iíd better uhÖinspect these holes. Make sure thereís nothing wrong with them.
Luis: Thatís what Iím talking about!

Just then, they feel an angry presence beside them as Naith is glaring.

Naith: I wonít let any of you do anything of the sort while Nataley is over there.
Luis: Fuck. You wouldnít happen to be good at fighting, would you, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: I canít say thatís a strong suit of mine.
Shawn: Dang.

Later, after bathing, they part ways at the edge of town.

Luis: Stop by anytime, you two.
Nataley: Alright. Thank you again.

They leave and go back to the workshop. Just before going insideÖ

Naith: Iím going to be out here for another minute. Go on inside without me.
Nataley: Okay.

As Nataley goes inside, Naith goes out back and visits Genís grave. He pulls out the ring that his grandfather gave him as well.

Naith: I understand what you were trying to tell me, Gen. The time is finally coming. I know what I have to do.

The screen fades to black. We now switch to Lei, Knosse and Conrad, who are all just outside the city. There are three men in suits in front of them.

Lei: Let me guess; youíre from SHAC?
Man 1: Yes, Lei Feing.
Lei: How did you find me?
Man 1: We were simply doing a perimeter check.
Lei: For what?
Man 1: To make sure there arenít any Zetsu or Myjuto hiding here.
Lei: You want to explain whatís going on?
Man 2: I canít believe you donít know about it. Thereís a war going on between the Neese Alliance and Zetsu. The Myjuto Forces have backed Zetsu.
Knosse: They did what?
Conrad: That makes some sense given the history between Zerin and the Neese Alliance leaders.
Lei: And based on what you said earlier, youíre on the side of the Alliance?
Man 3: We will always oppose the Myjuto Forces.
Lei: The Neese Alliance is just as bad.
Man 1: But theyíre an easier target. If we destroy the Myjuto Forces first, we can always take on the Neese Alliance second. Come with us, Lei.
Lei: We wonít get involved in that. Leave us. We have important things to do.

They part ways.

Lei: For once, I think I side with the Myjuto.
Knosse: I agree with you, Lei.
Conrad: They seem to be the lesser evil in this war.
Lei: Weíll decide as a group what to do about this situation once we find the others.

Just then, an arrow lands a few feet away from them. This surprises them at first, but then Conrad steps forward.

Conrad: Thatís one of Adriaís arrows. Sheís signaling us into the city. No, wait.

There is a slip of paper attached to the arrow.

Conrad: ďTurn west and keep walking. This city is not safe.Ē Thatís her handwriting.
Knosse: Letís go then.

They turn west and keep walking in that direction. They see X, Claudius and Lance sitting down in the distance. They run over to them.

Claudius: Thank goodness. You got the message then.
Lei: Looks like you guys made it out okay.

Not but 30 seconds later and Adria makes to them. She embraces Conrad.

X: We canít stay here long. Shimís likely a very good tracker and can probably find us.
Conrad: Did you say Shim?!
Lei: Is that why the two of you are injured?
Claudius: She kicked our asses. Thereís no better way to put it.
Lance: Now that weíre all back together, we need to figure out where to go. I was thinking that we could go back to Zetsu. We have friends there.
Lei: Itís a risky move, but I do believe that is the right destination.
X: What do you mean, Lei?

Lei tells them what SHAC told him.

Claudius: If we go there now, we could be roped into a war we have no business getting involved with.
Conrad: Furthermore, there are Myjuto people there. Shim could find us there potentially.
Lance: If there are Myjuto soldiers there, that means that itís probably Hiiro leading them.
X: Even if we get involved, it could be good cover to escape Shimís sight. Thereís no way she can keep tabs on us among thousands.
Adria: I donít have an opinion, since I donít know Zetsu at all. Sorry.
Lei: I, for one, want to go. SHAC is opposing Zetsu. This is the chance Iíve been looking for.
Claudius: Youíre going to take them down during this war.
Lei: Exactly.
Claudius: Speaking from a mercenary point of view, we can charge a high price to do things for Zetsu. Youíve already proven that youíre a valuable asset to them during that tournament. So Iím with Lei.
Lance: The reason we had to pass through Zetsu in the first place is because the terrain is too harsh to go around it. Too many mountains with no villages in sight. Weíd run out of food and water long before making it to any civilization. From a geographical standpoint, we need to pass through Zetsu.
X: I canít argue with either of those points of view.
Knosse: Neither can I.
Conrad: Nor I.
Adria: Iím convinced.
Claudius: Then itís settled. We take five minutes to rest and then itís on to Zetsu.

Everything is converging at Zetsu! What will Fighters Abroadís role be in this war?
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   April 20th 2015, 10:58 pm

Chapter 167: Zetsuís Dilemna

After some time passes, we see Fighters Abroad walking up to the east gate of Zetsu. There are two guards there.

Guard 1: By the gods!
X: Recognize us?
Guard 1: Fighters Abroad, yes? I watched many of you fight in the contest.
Adria: I guess you guys are like celebrities now here.
Guard 2: Go to Tyrannyís castle. I was ordered to tell you that should I see you.
Claudius: I guess whoever is in charge wants us.

They allow the group to pass and they begin traveling. Elsewhere, another battle rages on. The alliance is employing their former strategy of using cavaliers with heavy blunt weapons. Zetsuís forces are split between riflemen, who are few in number, but appear to be highly effective against the cavaliers and pike men. Rex is leading this battle on Zetsuís side. There is heavy bloodshed on both sides, but Zetsuís knights appear to be holding their defense better than the alliance can attack. Eventually, the alliance retreats, having been satisfied with just dwindling down Zetsuís forces.

Rex: Letís retreat for now.

They head back to Tyranny and Rex goes to the throne room. Hiiro and Celo are there.

Celo: Itís good to see you alive, Rex. What news?
Rex: We managed to hold them off, but we suffered moderate casualties.
Celo: Damn.
Hiiro: How many riflemen did you lose?
Rex: Not many. We were able to retrieve all the rifles in working order.
Hiiro: Good. They are not easy to produce and certainly not cheap.
Celo: Right. We need to prepare for the main event. They will certainly be sending their central forces at us soon.

Just then, a soldier comes through. Heís wearing Myjuto armor.

Hiiro: Youíre one of mine. Speak, soldier.
Soldier: Fighters Abroad is here.

Hiiro smirks. Celo takes note of this.

Hiiro: Send them in.
Soldier: At once, sir.

In less than a minute, the group enters.

Lance: Hiiro, Rex. Seeing you two brings back memories.
Hiiro: Hello. It has been some time, Fighters Abroad.
Celo: Your group has grown since the last time.
Knosse: Yo, Celo.
Hiiro: Iím glad you all showed up. Youíre just the people we needed.
Celo: Hiiro, you meanÖ
Hiiro: Exactly. There are very few people that could be more up to the task.
Claudius: I hope youíre ready to pay us. We are mercenaries, after all.
Hiiro: You must be Claudius. Yes, of course. You came here looking to line your pockets, is that it?
Claudius: We have our own motives for being here. We have no reason to divulge any of that information.
Hiiro: Fair enough.
Celo: You see, weíve run into quite the problem. We crowned Derrick the next king of Zetsu, but he has been captured by the enemy. We need you to get him back.
X: You think theyíll use him as leverage to get you to surrender?
Celo: Itís a fair guess. While we draw their fire into battle, you will head into their camps, which will be much less guarded. No doubt they are keeping him there. There is also a chance that Mahko and Zakrah are there as well.
Lei: If thatís the case, then the camps will be very well guarded. I can see why you would need high caliber fighters.
Hiiro: We canít afford to send a garrison of soldiers away from the battlefield. We are matched in number and now they have strong tactics to counter heavy armor. Weíve managed to come up with some strategies to counter them as well.
Lei: Weíll be splitting our group up then.
Rex: What do you mean?
Lance: Weíre going after a group that has teamed up with the alliance called SHAC.
Hiiro: Those annoying people? We can provide you with their camp general location. Getting rid of them would be a tremendous help.
Lei: Iíll be leading that team. Who will go with me?
Knosse: Iím in.
Adria: Iíll go with you.
Conrad: I donít know how much help I can be, but I will help you. I think Iíll get in the way if I go on the other mission.
Claudius: Well then, Hiiro, I guess you got myself, X and Lance.
Hiiro: I will be assisting you. I hope youíre okay with that.
Lance: Weíve seen what you can do. You are definitely welcome.
Celo: Good. If thatís all, then we will prepare some rooms for you in the castle.

The group begins leaving, but Lance stays still.

Lance: Hold on.

The rest of them stop and look at Lance.

X: Whatís wrong?
Lance: I heard a rumor while in Ivan that Julius is alive. Is that true?
Celo: ÖYes.
Lance: Where is he now?
Celo: Heís training in the courtyard.
Lance: Heís running free?!
Rex: We need him right now, regardless of the things he has done.
Lance: I see. I have some things I need to ask him.

They leave and have a guard escort them.

Lei: Donít do anything rash, Lance.
Lance: I know what Iím doing. Donít worry.

They are led to the courtyard, where Julius is swinging his sword in his armor (without helm). He notices the group and stops. He is surprised to see them.

Julius: YouÖ
Lance: So you really did survive.
Julius: Had your blade pierced any further, I might not have. And you (To X); looks like your arm has healed.
Claudius: (Whispering) So this is that corrupt king you told me about?
X: (Whispering) Yes. Heís the one who killed Vex.
Julius: Are you here to finish the job, pirate?
Lance: No, but I do want some answers.
Julius: You want to know why I killed your friend, is that right?
Lance: While we were in Zetsu, I never stopped to consider why you went through the trouble of killing Vex.
Julius: But now you are thinking more clearly, and there was obviously something you missed.
Lance: Yes. I heard that you were his target, but how could you know about that?
Julius: I will tell you the truth, but it is an ugly one.
Lance: I donít care. The truth is what I care about.
Julius: Very well then. Your friend was hired to kill me. It wasnít just of his own accord.
Lance: Hired? By who?
Julius: It was Mahko and Zakrah who hired him. I imagine he had no idea who they were and what they were plotting. But they entrusted him with the task of assassinating me. Do you understand why that is?
Lance: I think I get it from here. What you say is shocking, yet it makes sense. Vex was a mercenary, after all. He saw your corruption and they must have used that to convince him. After all, if the king is killed, itís a sign of weakness for Zetsu.
Julius: I was the one who led our military to defeat them the first time. Without me, Zetsu is vulnerable. This is evident, since they have chosen now to attack. I do not deny that I took my liberties as king too far. But I did so for the good of Zetsu as well.
Lance: What do you mean?
Julius: You recall my strict policies of travelers? I didnít just do that for my health. I had been spying on the Neese Alliance ever since its defeat nearly three years ago. I was aware of their plan. Mahko and Zakrah tried to infiltrate Zetsu by slowly gaining people from the inside; similar to how they did in the past. When we fought our civil war, we lost many of our own just to get to the Neese Alliance. Our military power grew weaker each day. I kept those loyal in and those disloyal out so that would never happen again.
X: Your policies are starting to make more sense all of the sudden.
Julius: Thatís not all. While containing our people here, it gave Mahko and Zakrah a false sense of security that they could freely scheme outside our borders. That made it easier to spy on them. But all my spies were lost the minute I got dethroned and imprisoned. I donít know how, but theyíve either been forced into cooperation or killed.
Lei: So what youíre telling us is that we also caused ill on the country.
Julius: I donít blame you. I did kill your friend. And I did need to be stopped. I realize now that I caused a lot of trouble for my kingdom. But I do not regret my actions. There was one more reason why my containment policy was so strict. Iíll bet you five hundred gold right now that when you met with Celo, Hiiro was there.
Conrad: In other words, you wanted to keep out the Myjuto Forces as well.
Julius: I did a pretty damn good job, didnít I? But after I was taken down, they stepped in and Derrick surrendered without a fight.
Claudius: You mean to tell me that the Myjuto Forces have a hold of Zetsu right now? I thought Celo said Derrick was king.
Julius: My comrades have some political power, but the Myjuto Forces have the true power now. Zetsu is weak now and they have my best friend. I now understand how you felt coming after me when you knew I had Vex.
Claudius: We will save Derrick. Weíve been hired to do so.
Julius: I will be grateful to you if you succeed.
Claudius: We will succeed.
Julius: You and the other two I donít recognize. You have a certain countenance about you. If I recall correctly, this group wanted passage so that they could save someone. Was that you?
Claudius: Indeed.
Julius: So then, this group of brilliant fighters went through all that trouble for you. You must be something else. I can see it in the way you carry yourself. I trust Derrickís life to you.
Claudius: (Sarcastically) At least buy me dinner first.
Lance: Iím glad I understand your side now, Julius. I do not fault you for taking action against Vex. However, I cannot completely forgive you.
Julius: That is understandable.
Lance: You are trying to get back into shape for battle, yes? Swinging your sword around wonít help you. You need a real opponent.
Julius: Are you offering?
Lance: I will train with you every day here until the time has come to go save Derrick. I will take out my remaining frustration on you in this time, and you will be ready for war again.
Julius: So this will benefit both of us, huh? I accept. But just so you know, I have been sparring with Celo as well. So donít think Iím out of it completely.

The group clears out of their way and they stand about 20 feet away from each other. Lance draws his spear and twirls it around a few times and then points it at Julius.

Julius: I thought for sure you would be using the sword you got from Vex.
Lance: Iím sorry to say that I lost it to someone much stronger. But I intend to get it back one day.
Julius: Good. Now letís go.

Julius puts on his helmet and then readies his sword. Lance slowly paces towards Julius with his spear still pointed at him. Julius also slowly walks towards Lance. When in reach, Lance starts to lunge his spear. Julius is able to block each lunge and then charges in. He swings his sword from his left side, but Lance avoids it by going around his right side to end up behind Julius. Lance twirls the spear once and whacks Juliusí helmet off with a blunt part of the weapon. Julius turns around and starts swinging, but Lance is staying outside the range of his sword. When there is an opening, Lance gives him a hard whack with a blunt part of the spear on the side of the head, which staggers him. Lance walks up and shoves him to the ground with his foot. He points the spear at his face when he turns over.

Lance: Youíve become slow in that armor. Far too slow to ever hit someone wielding a pole weapon.
Julius: On the other hand, youíve gotten better.
Lance: Weíve all improved from the time we were in Zetsu. Starting tomorrow, Iíll use a dull spear so that I wonít kill you, but I can attack you as many ways as I want.
Julius: Deal.

Lance helps Julius up. Meanwhile, Celo and Hiiro are watching from a higher level inside the castle where there is a window.

Celo: You knew they would come. How?
Hiiro: I have my ways, Celo.
Celo: The mystery continues then.
Hiiro: Julius looks out of form. He was much stronger back then.
Celo: Our spars were fruitless. I went easy on him and still won. Maybe Lance is just the person he needs to motivate him.
Hiiro: Hopefully so. You made the right decision to release him. Weíre definitely going to need him in the coming battle.

With tensions running high, Fighters Abroad has been hired to rescue Derrick. We have also learned the true meaning behind everything that happened with Vex. Lance has shown signs of maturing and is even willing to help his former enemy, even if there are ulterior motives involved. Everything is leading up to the big battle that will decide this war!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   April 27th 2015, 10:29 pm

Chapter 168: Zetsuís Preparation - Sparring

We go to the next day, where Lance and Julius are sparring again. Both of them have blunt weapons with similar length and weight to their original ones. Lance has just thrust his spear into Juliusí armor, which does no damage thanks to its durability.

Lance: If this were my real spear, you would be dead.

Julius retaliates by swinging his sword to push the spear away. He charges in again and attacks. Lance back steps to keep his distance from Julius. He cannot close the gap and continues to get hit over and over. Eventually, Lance whacks him on the side of the head again.

Julius: Your weapon has a clear advantage over mine.
Lance: That means nothing in war. I donít need to tell you that.
Julius: Yes, absolutely. Letís keep going.
Lance: Right.

Later that day, we see Lance walking the streets of Tyranny when he goes into a particular building labeled ďWeapon shopĒ. When he goes inside, a young woman is there behind the counter where most of the weapons are displayed against the wall.

Woman: Welcome. How can I help you?
Lance: Is there another woman that works here with you?
Woman: Oh, you must mean Tonka.
Lance: Yes. Is she here?
Voice: Lance?

Tonka enters the room from a door behind the counter.

Lance: Just the person I wanted to see.
Tonka: YouÖwhat brings you back here?
Lance: *Smirk* I heard there was a pretty girl around here somewhere. Do you know where I could find her?
Tonka: Oh real funny.
Woman: Wait a minute. Youíre Joshua from the Contest of Champions! She just called you Lance, right? From Fighters Abroad?
Lance: Looks like my cover has been blown a bit late.
Woman: Iím a big fan! The way you fought with those beautiful weapons of yours was simplyÖaaaahhh.

She swoons and nearly backs into the wall of weapons.

Lance: Looks like you have some competition, Tonka.
Tonka: You wouldnít.
Lance: Well, I am a pirate. I take what I want. But if youíre up to the job, I have a certain weapon that needs maintenance.
Tonka: Oh get over here, you asshole!

Blushing, she grabs Lance by the arm and starts pulling him towards the back room. Lance is smirking slightly maniacally.

Meanwhile, X is taking Claudius, Adria and Conrad on a tour of Tyranny. They stop at the contest arena. It is barren right now.

Claudius: So this is it, huh? †
X: Yeah.

They go inside and stand on the arena itself.

Claudius: This reminds me of the Warriorís Battleground.
X: Are you ready to keep moving?
Voice: Hold it right there.

They see Deka and Sanjuku at the entrance.

X: You two.
Deka: I thought I saw you walking by. So we followed you here.
Sanjuku: Figures youíd come here.
X: Since youíre here, I donít suppose youíd be down for a quick fight?
Sanjuku: Youíre on. I donít intend to lose to you again, X.
Deka: Then who will fight me?
Claudius: I have a coin. Heads or tails, Adria?
Adria: Heads.

Claudius flips the coin and it is heads.

Adria: Yaaayyy.
Claudius: Damn. I guess observing is good enough for today. Just kidding. Letís see how they do.

We donít see the battle, but we can see that X and Adria have solidly won their fights.

Sanjuku: I thought I improved, but youíre a whole different person.
X: After my arm broke, I trained harder than ever to make up for things.
Deka: You donít look it, but youíre hella strong, miss.
Adria: Thanks. Nun-chucks are difficult to use, so youíre pretty skilled.
Claudius: I hope you both have enough stamina for another fight.
Deka: Sure.
Sanjuku: Yeah. Which one of us do you want?
Claudius: Iíll take both of you on at once. This will be good training.
Deka: Youíre sure?
Conrad: You shouldnít worry about him. Go on. Fight him.

They both square off against Claudius inside the arena. Claudius has his whip already in his hand.

Claudius: Come at me whenever youíre ready.
Deka: Right. You ready?
Sanjuku: Yeah.

The two of them charge at Claudius. Sanjuku is the first to attack with both swords. Claudius backs up to dodge and then anticipates Dekaís attack. Deka tries to get in close, but Claudius whips at him to keep him at a distance. Deka dodges and then Sanjuku goes on the attack again. He slices with both swords high and Claudius ducks under it. He then counters with a hard uppercut to his gut. This sends Sanjuku to the floor. Deka takes this opportunity to get close and start attacking with his nun-chucks. Claudius dodges each attack and then whips him in the back of the neck, which also sends him to the floor.

Claudius: Not bad. If you were both a step faster, it would have been hard to land a hit. Unfortunately for you, I only need one hit to put someone down for the fight.
X: Show off.
Claudius: You could do it too if you wanted.
Deka: Damn. That hurt.
Sanjuku: Iíll say.

At this time, Knosse and Hiiro are speaking in the castle while Lei is listening in on the conversation.

Knosse: Hiiro, I remembered everything.
Hiiro: Thatís good to hear. Do you remember what we first did after becoming partners?
Knosse: We went for drinks at the oasis.
Hiiro: You really do remember then. Iím glad.
Knosse: But you know, I obviously have no intention of returning to the Myjuto Forces.
Hiiro: I have no intention of leaving. My hands are tied and the situation is complicated. But my heart is not with Zerin.
Knosse: I believe you. I know you better than that.
Hiiro: So what caused you to regain your memory?
Knosse: We met Ento in Ivan and we got our asses kicked. He beat me so bad that it seemed to have reversed the effect that his first attack on me caused.
Hiiro: I see. Itís a miracle you all survived that encounter.
Lei: We had to rely on some pretty devious trickery to get away from Ivan.
Knosse: Tell me, Hiiro. Are you being ordered by Shim right now?
Hiiro: I am. Are you fleeing from her right now?
Knosse: Yes.
Hiiro: I see. I havenít spoken to her for a week. So as it stands, she has none of my intel that you are here. But I canít guarantee that she doesnít know youíre here.
Lei: We figured that she would anticipate this move of ours. But as far as we see it, weíre still hiding among a lot of people here.
Hiiro: Thatís smart.
Lei: To be honest, Iím not entirely sure about you going with Claudius, X and Lance. You may not have met Shim now, but you could before we leave.
Hiiro: I canít guarantee anything to you. But I do want you to trust me. We are here for the same thing. We have no reason to attack you while this war is lasting.
Knosse: I trust you.
Hiiro: Good. It sucks that weíre on opposite sides, Knosse, but at least we can still be friends.
Knosse: Yeah.

Around this time, we see Shim out in a dirt field. She is standing in front of many people (men and woman) in suits. Their numbers are around 30. One man steps forward to greet her.

Shim: If Iím not mistaken, you are SHAC members.
Man: And you, youíre a Myjuto, right?
Shim: I am. Shim, ranked second. And it looks like I intercepted you all from a mission.
Man: Why are you backing Zetsu?
Shim: Zetsu is under our control. It would not be right to not come to their aid. Besides, we have a grudge to settle against the leaders of the alliance.
Man: We donít care what kind of problems you have with them. We are here to serve justice to you.
Shim: And to do that, youíre going to poison Zetsuís water supply, right?
Man: What?!
Shim: You canít fool me. I have spies in every faction.
Man: You bitch!
Shim: Tsk tsk.

The man pulls a knife from his suit coat and the rest follow. Shim darts past the man with one sword drawn and then starts to attack the other people. One man gets cut across the chest and falls. One woman is first to respond to Shimís assault and goes to stab her. Shim grabs her wrist and cuts her arm clean off. She then takes the arm and flings it behind her. With the knife still in the hand, it stabs into another man like a projectile. Shim finishes the woman with a quick upwards cut to the neck. Three men now charge in and attack from a triangular formation. Shim backflips over one of them and before reaching the ground, she uses her feet to grab the manís head. Her hands hit the ground as she does a backwards somersault to fling the man backwards into another man. In this motion, she also ends up in a standing position and slashes a woman across the chest. Another woman attacks and Shim draws her other sword to decapitate her.

Shim then turns around to the people who fell down from the previous exchange and then cuts them down while they are on the ground. One woman jumps at Shim with her arms and legs spread out to try and grab her. She grabs the woman in the air by the neck and stabs her through the heart with one sword. Another man now uses this opportunity to try and stab her from behind. She uses her other sword and turns sideways and slashes him upwards from the groin to the upper chest area. She then swings the woman in her grip like a weapon, which has the corpse give a hard kick to a manís jaw. She takes the womanís knife with two fingers and throws it to kill the man who just got kicked. She then uses it as a shield when one woman tries to stab her. Shim throws the woman forward on top of the other woman, which pushes her to the ground. Ten people then attack from all sides simultaneously.

Shim: Getting serious now, are we?

Shim swings up dust from the ground with both swords, which throws their timing up a little. With this, she is able to maneuver around each knife thrust. She cross-slashes with both swords to cut two of them down. Immediately, two replace them as they close in tighter to stab her. She backflips out of the crowd and then cross-slashes again to kill two more. More are behind her and some from the circular crowd turn to attack her again. Shim spins and kills three more. She then dashes with immense speed and mows down a column of enemies before they can even process a counterattack. She does the same thing and devastates another slew of people. There are only roughly six left now. Five of them immediately rush at her at the same time, and she dashes past them and cut marks appear on all five of them, killing them. The last one stands still and Shim stops. This man is the one who was speaking earlier.

Shim: Well, that takes care of that. Nice acting.
Man: Thank you, Master Shim.

Shim is playing with one of their knives just as one of them is still getting. It is the woman that was pushed to the ground by having the corpse thrown at her. This woman is behind Shim and manages to push the corpse off her. While she is getting up, Shim turns her head briefly and then casually throws the dagger behind the back and it accurately pierces her head, killing her.

Man: Your orders?
Shim: Stay in SHAC for the time being. If things get too hot, return to our encampment outside Zetsu.
Man: Yes, maíam.

Later in the day, itís twilight and Lance and Julius are squared off again, but not ready to fight. Celo is present as well.

Lance: I brought Celo here to demonstrate your position. I hear he is the most skilled citizen of Zetsu here. And he uses a similar length blade to you.

Celo takes the practice sword and then faces off with Lance. Lance begins by lunging, to which Celo dodges while slowly stepping in. Lance backs up at about the same pace to keep his distance. Suddenly, Celo pushes the spear aside and grabs it with one hand. With his other, he lunges with the sword while pulling the spear towards him. Lance lets go of the spear temporarily to dodge the lunge and then grab Celoís wrist with his right hand. With his left, he punches at Celo. Celo ducks under the punch, but Lance then trips him up, forcing him to let go of the spear. Lance catches the spear and then points it to Celo, who is on the floor.

Lance: That was an excellent way of countering a spear. But unfortunately, it encumbered you to be holding both weapons one handed.
Celo: Good duel. Iíll be sure not to make the same mistake twice.

Lance helps Celo up and Julius claps.

Julius: Iím very proud of you, Celo. You really have grown into a great warrior for Zetsu. To think you would become the strongest of us.
Lance: Us?
Celo: Julius, Derrick, Rex and I used to be a four-person squad that was revered in Zetsu. Julius used to be considered the strongest, and I the weakest.
Julius: But to be fair, you also were the newest to fighting.
Lance: I see. So you guys do have some interesting history. Thatíll be enough for today. Julius, reflect on Celoís movements and actions. Iíll see you tomorrow.
Julius: Right.

As the training continues, developments are happening all around Zetsu to prepare for the final battle!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   May 4th 2015, 10:05 pm

Chapter 169: Zetsuís Preparation Ė The Day Before

A few days have passed. Rex, Celo and Hiiro are speaking just outside the courtyard inside the building.

Rex: So, tomorrowís the day, huh?
Celo: Yeah. The battle that decides Zetsuís fate is on our doorstep.
Hiiro: I just hope heíll be good to go.

He looks outside to Lance and Julius. They are squared off, ready to fight.

Lance: Give me everything you have, Julius.
Julius: Right.

Julius twirls his sword a few times and then charges in. He is noticeably a lot faster than he was before. Lance lunges with the spear, but Julius sidesteps while closing the gap. He performs an overhead slash, which Lance dodges. He spins around Julius and then does a 180-degree strike with the spear. Julius anticipates this from behind and ducks under it. He then does a 180-degree turn himself and slashes. Lance blocks with the shaft of his weapon and then kicks. Julius is able to back step quick enough to avoid it. Lance also takes a step back and then starts lunging high and low in that pattern to keep Julius on his guard. Julius is keeping up with the speed of the lunges and is able to guard each one until Lance does land a strike to the chest plate. Julius then charges in again, but Lance whacks Julius on the side of the head and then lands one more lunge to the torso.

Lance: This fight is over.
Julius: Still not good enough.
Lance: Actually, I had to really try this time. You are ready.
Julius: What?
Lance: You heard me. Youíre now stronger than you were before you were imprisoned.
Julius: Thank you, Lance. You have done a great service to Zetsu.
Lance: Yeah. Go crush the alliance.
Hiiro: Well, what do you know? He really is ready.
Celo: Fighters Abroad. Why is it that every time they come here they make a serious impact?
Hiiro: Thatís just how they are. Wherever they go, they make a difference one way or another. Just like the emperor himself. Fighters AbroadÖa group truly worthy of challenging the Myjuto Forces. I wonder if they can ever truly succeed against us?
Rex: Whatís all that about?
Hiiro: HmmÖjust thinking aloud.

Meanwhile, we can see Derrick tied to a post. He looks like he has been beaten badly, with many bruises all over his body. Mahko and Zakrah are in front of him.

Mahko: Tomorrow is the day, Zakrah.
Zakrah: Indeed. Tomorrow, Zetsu will be finally crumble and we will begin our retake of Neese.

They start holding hands. Derrick takes notice of it.

Derrick: When did you two become that close?
Mahko: Be quiet, or weíll beat you even further.
Derrick: Do you want to kill me? You lose your bargaining chip the second you do.
Zakrah: Heís right. We canít kill him; at least not yet.
Derrick: So now answer me. I thought you two were brothers.
Mahko: Thatís just the excuse we give for now. But once we have control of Neese, they will be forced to accept the truth.
Derrick: You just want to be accepted? Thatís why youíre trying to kill thousands of people and force everyone into slavery?
Zakrah: Obviously not, King of Zetsu. Thatís just a side thing.
Derrick: So you lunatics are really doing this for your god, Tyr?
Zakrah: Itís more complex than that. At first it was all about that. But as time has passed, it has become more selfish.
Mahko: Weíre doing this because we want to. Tyr will have his satisfaction, but we want to subjugate all of you shits.
Derrick: Iíd imagine so after you got your asses kicked in Ivan and then by us.
Mahko: You know about that, huh?
Derrick: Of course. Hiiro told me everything. Zerin dusted you harder than one does in prison. Is that how you two found out your identity?

Mahko kicks Derrick in the ribs. Zakrah grabs Mahko by the shoulder.

Zakrah: Donít get so riled up. Heís actually trying to get himself killed.
Mahko: But, ZakrahÖ
Zakrah: I know. Donít worry, heíll get whatís coming to him eventually.
Derrick: Hopefully itís not you two.

Back at Zetsu, Fighters Abroad is gathered together along with Deka and Sanjuku. Tonka is there as well. They are eating at a large table.

Deka: Weíll help you if we can.
Sanjuku: We just have to decide who goes with who.
Deka: A coin then?
Sanjuku: Sure. If itís heads, I go with Claudius. Tails, I go with Lei.

Sanjuku flips a coin and it lands on tails.

Deka: Itís decided then. Iím going with Claudiusí group. You go with Leiís.
Sanjuku: Right.
Tonka: What about me?
Lance: If youíre dead set on going, go with Leiís group.
Tonka: Why is that?
Lance: Their numbers should be larger, and so weíll need more fighters on that front.
X: Besides, Hiiro asked us to keep our numbers low. Not that it makes much difference to us.
Claudius: Right.
Lei: We will be making good use of Knosse and Conradís explosives to start, as well as the flamethrower. From there, the fight should be relatively straightforward.
Conrad: Lei, could you tell us a little about your connection with SHAC before we take them out?
Lei: Sure. For those of you who I havenít told, this is a little bit of what they are like. When I was young, they recruited me with heroic talk. This was when I finished my initial training with Master Hirai. They told me that they were going to help the world by taking out dangerous organizations. At first, it seemed like exactly that. But that was only while they were strong enough to take them on in a straight fight.
Claudius: I see.
Lei: The Hanleck Bandits was the beginning. When they became too strong, SHAC could not take them down. They tried to use dirty tactics like poisoning water to take them out. In the process, they killed far more innocent civilians than actual bandits. They tried doing the same thing when the Myjuto Forces first took over. It was about the time that Claudius and X showed up that I decided to no longer help them. Master Hirai also supported this motion.
X: Really? So you were working with them up until we started training with Master?
Lei: I never told you that part? Well, yes. By the time we met, I had unofficially quit. Well, to be fair, I never officially quit till recently when I actually spoke to them.
Adria: So you disappeared without saying anything?
Lei: They donít accept resignations. So if you really want to be technical, Iím still listed in their ranks. But as far as Iím concerned, they are my enemies.
X: PoisonÖone of the things I respect about the Revume is that they never use it. Not on their blades or anything.
Claudius: Itís seemingly becoming more popular. Rafiel used it when he tried to kill me.
Sanjuku: Not to interrupt, but what IS the plan for tomorrow?
Lei: My group will be going at the crack of dawn. We will be the precursor to everything. We canít let SHAC back up the alliance. We need to keep the numbers on their side to a minimum in the main battle. Then, as that battle starts, then Claudiusí group moves out. Thatís when they attack the camps and find Derrick.
Deka: Wait, King Derrick?
Lance: Yeah, I suppose we left that part out. Sorry.
Tonka: They havenít said anything to the citizens yet.
Knosse: I donít blame them.
Claudius: Neither do I. While weíre here, I do want to mention something. Knosse, I know you trust Hiiro, but I donít.
Knosse: Hiiro wouldnít lie to us. At least not to me.
Claudius: If he turns on us, I wonít hesitate to kill him. Do you hear me?
Knosse: I understand.
Lance: Think you can take him out that easily?
Claudius: I havenít seen him fight, but Iím sure you can tell.
X: Not really. He might have improved like us since the contest. Back then, he was about equal with me. He may have gotten much stronger since.
Claudius: In either case, the same goes for you guys, Lei. If any Myjuto soldiers come with you, keep them under close watch.
Lei: Yes, I agree.
Knosse: Why would Hiiro turn on us when he hired us to do this?
Claudius: If he is as you say, then itís exactly because heís honest that it worries me.

Around this time, Hiiro is addressing some Myjuto soldiers.

Soldier: Officer Hiiro, is this not the chance to rid the world of Fighters Abroad?
Hiiro: Donít worry about that too much. You are here to follow orders. As long as you do so, everything will go smoothly.
Soldier: Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.
Hiiro: Itís okay. Now, as you know, I will not be commanding you tomorrow. You will be fighting alongside Zetsuís knights, so the collective leader will be Celo. But the one you take direct orders from will be JuníFei. Jun, come up here.

Joining Hiiroís side is a young man standing about 5í8 with an athletic build. He has a similar skin tone to Lei and has shoulder length black hair. He has an outfit similar to this ( https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1e/be/2a/1ebe2a1a901245d242396943f996c1c4.jpg ) and is carrying dual Dao at his hips ( http://www.swordhistory.info/wp-content/uploads/chinese_dao_sword.jpg ) that are sheathed.

JuníFei: It is with great honor that I accept this position, Master Hiiro.
Hiiro: Youíve earned it. You have improved tremendously under my tutelage and boast skill equal to that of a lower level officer. In time, you may even become strong enough to challenge me.
JuníFei: You are too kind, Master.
Hiiro: Listen up, men. This man may not be officially ranked, but he is every bit as qualified to fight and lead as one Understood? Follow Jun like you would an officer.
Soldiers: Sir!
Hiiro: Jun, I have some tactics to discuss with Fighters Abroad. I leave the direction to you, so long as you follow what we discussed earlier.
JuníFei: It will be done.
Hiiro: Good.

After Fighters Abroadís meeting, they meet up with Hiiro near the castle.

Hiiro: Do you mind if we talk strategy for a few moments?
X: Of course not. Letís go.

X, Claudius, Deka and Lance step aside with Hiiro to speak with him. While the rest of the group stands there, figuring out what to do, the picture zooms out and a recognizable cloak is behind them. They all immediately feel the presence and turn around.

Lei: Hero.
Hero: Fighters Abroad.
Knosse: What the hell are you doing here?
Hero: I came, seeking justice.
Conrad: Who is this man?
Lei: This is a cloaked vigilante who has been working in Neese for quite some time. Hero, he calls himself.
Hero: Do you require some aid in your quest?
Lei: How do you know about that?
Hero: I was listening to your conversation.
Adria: What?! I was sure no one was eavesdropping!
Hero: I am good at evading sight. Just now, I allowed you to see me. But to the question at hand.
Lei: We can always use an extra hand, if itís someone like you.
Hero: Good. I will not be in your way, nor will you be in mine. I will do what I can and then simply leave.
Conrad: That is fine.
Sanjuku: I recognize you. Youíre the guy who showed up and beat the crap out of Julius at the last second of that fight.
Hero: Aye.

The other group comes back, and they are surprised to see Hero.

Hiiro: You. The one who managed to somehow cheat death.
Hero: Aye.
X: Claudius, this is Hero. No relation to Hiiro.
Claudius: I see. Hero, huh?

Claudius and Hero exchange a glance briefly.

Claudius: What are you supposed to be? Some kind of super hero?
Hero: I am simply justice.

Hero suddenly leaves the scene.

Claudius: Yeah, Iíve heard that one before.
Lance: He did help us the last time we were here.
Hiiro: Anyway, I feel good about this plan. X, Iíve battle tested myself and you were every bit my equal the last time. I trust youíve improved since your arm healed?
X: Iíve improved a lot since then.
Hiiro: Lance, you put up a very good fight against Vex back then as well. And you thoroughly destroyed Julius recently. You seem very reliable.
Lance: Thanks.
Hiiro: Deka, I donít particularly remember your fight against Knosse, but they have vouched for you so I will cede that point for now. Claudius, youíre the only one I havenít seen in combat.
Claudius: Would you like to right now? I will happily spar with you.
Hiiro: Iíll pass. I only ask for the opinion of your teammates.
Lei: Youíve verified my skills, Knosseís, Lanceís and Xís. But if Iím being honest, Claudius is the most powerful fighter of all of us.
Lance: I have to agree.
X: Yes.
Hiiro: Hmph.

Hiiro starts to chuckle a little.

Claudius: What has you amused?
Hiiro: Jiron once told me that there was someone in your group that was indeed above the rest. I was looking for him at the Contest of Champions. Here I thought it was either Lei, X or Lance. Seems I was mistaken.
Claudius: He has a certain fascination with me.
Hiiro: Has?
Claudius: Yeah, we know heís not dead. I fought with him in Ivan when he was supposedly dead.
Hiiro: Interesting. I did not know he traveled to Ivan. Could he be going after Ento?
X: That wouldnít surprise me in the least bit. Now would be the time to strike him. He only has Kyle with him as far as we know.
Hiiro: Kyle, huh?
Claudius: Just how strong is Kyle? Thatís another person that seems to be fascinated with me for another reason entirely.
Hiiro: Kyle is only outclassed in power by Shim, Ento and Zerin, now that Jiron has left the forces. And that is saying something, believe me. Iím to assume you took out Tibi and Orzu?
Claudius: I didnít directly take out Tibi, but I defeated her in a battle. X took Orzu out.
Hiiro: Put it this way. Tibi and Orzu were not rank six material. They had special circumstances to be there. Nero was awarded fourth for his intellect, since it was something special among the forces.
Conrad: Indeed. Neroís fighting ability is not officer material.
Hiiro: Then Kyle clawed his way to the fifth seat. He beat me in a fight in the process of getting there. Mind you, I was no slouch a few years ago when this happened. Knosse, you know how difficult it was to knock me out. Well, he managed.
Claudius: Looks like I have quite the fight ahead of me if I meet him in battle.
Hiiro: Anyway, as Lei already pointed out, I already know his and Knosseís strength and they are both more than capable of leading that mission. Dr. Conrad, I assume youíre similar to Nero with how you fight?
Conrad: To be honest, he is a bit more nimble and fight-savvy than I. But I can help a lot with demolition on this mission.
Hiiro: And you, Adria?
Adria: Iíll be fine!
Claudius: She fought with me everyday the last few months before we broke out of prison. On top of that, she was skilled even before then. She is more than ready to take on a bunch of lesser goons.
Adria: ClaudiusÖ
Knosse: Donít forget she humiliated that one mental guy in Ivan.
Hiiro: You must be talking about Jarod.
Lance: Thatís the one.
Hiiro: Did you kill him?
X: Yeah.
Hiiro: Good.
Conrad: Ouch.
Hiiro: Anyway, I trust your judgment. As far as Tonka and Sanjuku, I can validate Tonkaís abilities. She nearly beat Lance, if memory serves.
X: Sanjuku fought me early on in the contest and it was a good fight. He has also improved since then. He and Deka are both ready for this mission.
Hiiro: Alright. I will see some of you tomorrow. Donít be late.

The battle is rapidly approaching!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   May 13th 2015, 11:04 am

Chapter 170: The Morning Of

That night, Lance and Tonka are sitting in a semi-dark room, dimly lit by candles.

Tonka: I donít like that Iím fighting separate from you. Iím going to worry.
Lance: We really shouldnít take anyone else in our party. There is a specific reason why that we didnít say publicly.
Tonka: There is?

After a minute passesÖ

Tonka: I see. That does make sense. But that only makes me worry more.
Lance: I know. Itís not easy for me to do this either. But I will be okay. Even though our group is small, itís very strong. You focus on the battle in front of you and then come help us if you can.
Tonka: (halfheartedly) Right.

Claudius is with Adria and Conrad.

Claudius: You two, I just wanted to talk to you before tomorrow. I donít know if weíll get a chance then.
Conrad: What is it, Claudius?
Claudius: You two are still relatively new to Fighters Abroad, so I want to make sure youíre okay with everything that is going on here. And that you know what youíre getting into.
Adria: Awww, heís worried about us!
Conrad: I think youíve made nothing but the right decisions here. We may be working with the Myjuto Forces, but not for free, and there are other motives involved as well.
Claudius: Yes. This was our only option as far as Iím concerned. Lei wouldnít have us be hired by SHAC and thereís no way we could ever side with Mahko and Zakrah.
Adria: We understand what weíre doing. Donít be concerned about us.
Claudius: I wonít then. I highly doubt there will be anyone there as strong as me. Compared to your training at Ivan, this will be a warm up for you. Doc, on the other handÖ
Conrad: Iím tired of sitting out these fights. I can provide support where needed.
Claudius: Youíve got heart, doctor. But it will take more than that to win a fight.
Conrad: Iím aware. Thatís why I donít fight one on one haha.
Claudius: Good. Thatís all. I have some more visits before the night ends. Stay safe.

He leaves this particular room, but Adria runs after him and grabs him by the wrist.

Adria: Wait.
Claudius: What is it?
Adria: I have to know something. Ever since a certain point, youíve been very protective of me. Just what am I to you?
Claudius: ÖIím sorry. I canít answer that just yet.
Adria: Why not?
Claudius: Because I donít know yet. I do know one thing. You are a member of Fighters Abroad and I care deeply for everyone on my team.

Claudius walks away and Adria goes back into the room.

Conrad: Youíre too impatient.
Adria: Iím sorry. I just had to know.
Conrad: You heard his story. The last woman he got romantically involved with tried to kill him. If heís confused about his feelings towards women, itís because of that.
Adria: I know.

Next, Claudius visits Knosse and Lei.

Lei: Hey.
Claudius: Hey. I just wanted to talk to you before the morning.
Knosse: Cool.
Lei: If you have to fight Hiiro, be very careful.
Claudius: So Iíve heard.
Knosse: Iím not sure you will have to fight Hiiro. It all depends on what Jiron told him to do.
Claudius: Would he listen to Jiron over Shim?
Knosse: Absolutely.
Lei: But Jiron was hiding in Ivan last we knew.
Claudius: Right. I doubt heíd risk sending a letter. Which means heís probably under no specific orders.

After their talk, Claudius goes to a different room with X in it.

X: Did you talk to everyone you needed to?
Claudius: Yeah. I feel better now. I can actually sleep in peace.
X: Come to think about it, this is our first paid mission in quite some time.
Claudius: Heh. Some mercenaries we are.
X: Right? Hahaha.
Claudius: Anyway, we should get some rest.
X: Yeah.

The next morning, Leiís group has gathered at the edge of the city. Hero and Hiiro are also present.

Lei: It looks like weíre all accounted for.
Hiiro: Yes. You know where youíre going?
Lei: Yes.
Hiiro: Good. Then I leave you to your mission.

He glances at Knosse and they exchange head nods. He then leaves and joins Celo, Rex and Julius. JuníFei is there as well.

Hiiro: Looks like you have everything in order.
Celo: Yes.
Hiiro: Jun, Iím counting on you.
JuníFei: Yes, sir.
Rex: Can you vouch for this manís strength, Hiiro?
Hiiro: Based on what Iíve seen, Jun can match all of the top knights of Zetsu save for Celo. Does my analysis surprise you?
Rex: A little. Heís not even ranked in your forces.
Hiiro: Heh. Thereís a reason for that, but itís a secret.
Julius: You Myjuto Forces and your secrets.
Hiiro: Youíre one to scold me about that.
Rex: He got you there, Julius.
Julius: Tch.
Hiiro: I jest. Iíll be going now. I better see you all alive after this is over.

Later that morning, Hiiro and Lance have met up and are eating together.

Lance: So, you saw off Leiís group?
Hiiro: Thatís right. They all looked ready for battle.
Lance: Thatís good.
Hiiro: Can I ask you something?
Lance: What?
Hiiro: Vex joined Fighters Abroad just before he died. After hearing the truth about him being hired to kill Julius, what do you think his thought process was?
Lance: Be more specific.
Hiiro: He joined you guy, fully knowing that he was going through with his mission. Or did he abandon it? Or did he just prefer not to tell you and go after Julius himself?
Lance: I see what you mean now. I never thought about that. I think the latter is more likely, knowing what I did of him. He knew it was a dangerous mission, and probably didnít want to get us roped into it.
Hiiro: Do you think that was the correct decision?
Lance: No. If he had spoken up the day of the party, this potentially could have been avoided. Vex wasnít stupid, but he blundered big time. It unfortunately cost him his life.
Hiiro: I see.
Lance: Can you relate with Jiron that way?
Hiiro: Sort of. He knows that I am liable to getting hurt if I know everything heís planning. For example, I had no idea he was in Ivan. If he truly is going after Ento, he wouldnít want me involved. He knows I stand no chance against Ento.
Lance: To be fair, I donít know if anyone can stand a chance against Ento.
Hiiro: Thatís what worries me. But Jiron is also invincible. I canít imagine either one of them losing a fight.
Lance: You said youíre worried about that. Does this mean that you donít mind being under Jiron?
Hiiro: Heís like an older brother to me. He may be as crazy as people say, and also as ruthless and cold. But there are a select few people in his life that he treats well. I have no doubt that based on what Claudius said, that if he were in the Myjuto Forces that he would receive the same treatment.
Lance: I see. I still have never personally met the man. I hear the other talk about him all the time. He apparently caused them a lot of misery, but also saved them.
Hiiro: I see. Iím not sure weíll ever understand that manís motivations completely.
???: Thereís nothing to understand.

Claudius sits down next to them.

Lance: Good morning.
Hiiro: Morning.
Claudius: Same to you both.
Hiiro: So, why do you say that?
Claudius: Thereís nothing to understand about Jiron because he is not comprehensible. The things he does have no true rhythm behind them.
Hiiro: Thatís not exactly true. You just donít realize it yet.
Claudius: Maybe so. But there were many times he could have simply ended Fighters Abroad and times he actually tried to do so. There were times he followed the Myjuto way, and times he did not at all.
Hiiro: Maybe youíre right.
Claudius: Donít get me wrong. I respect the man. He went through a lot as a child. What person wouldnít crack under those conditions?
Hiiro: He actually told you his story? Should IÖno, I canít.

Not long after, X and Deka eventually join as well.

X: So, what signal are we waiting for exactly?
Hiiro: As soon as we know the main fighting has begun. Weíre going to trail closely behind. Weíll obviously be able to hear it.
Claudius: As soon as we get to the camp, we will call the shots. I hope that is okay.
X: We talked it over and came to this conclusion: You hired us to save Derrick. When we came to the agreement, there were no specifications as to how we will do our job once we reach the camps.
Hiiro: That is fair. You are exactly right.
Claudius: Good.
Deka: Isnít it about time we get going?
Hiiro: Yes.

Meanwhile, Leiís group is currently traveling through sandy terrain. Lei is out in front, with the rest traveling slightly behind him.

Sanjuku: Is it much farther?
Lei: No. According to the directions Hiiro gave us, we should only be about a mile away.
Conrad: Might I suggest that we take a ten-minute break once we can faintly see the SHAC camp?
Lei: Yes, that much time was allotted to us during the breakdown of the plan. I purposely had us leave a few minutes earlier than we needed to so that we could rest up a little.
Conrad: You really thought this through then.
Lei: I wouldnít be much of a battle tactician otherwise.
Adria: Leiís pretty smart!
Tonka: That he is. You Fighters Abroad people are something else. You two are new, right?
Adria: Thatís right!
Sanjuku: You wouldnít want to mess with her, Tonka. She laid Deka out flat from just a few hits in a casual fight.
Tonka: Seriously? I thought you were on the team for a whole different reason.
Conrad: Hey!
Tonka: What? Iím equally as guilty. Iím not judging. Which one do you go for, Adria? X covers up well, but maybe that adds a nice mystery to it. Maybe Lance is more your speed? Or that Claudius guy? Oh, or maybe itís someone here.
Adria: (Embarrassed tone) Stop it!
Tonka: Maybe Lei? You wanna know something about their people?

She starts whispering something into Adriaís ear and then motions with her hands. She points to Lei and then the gap between her hands gets smaller. Adria starts giggling helplessly. Conrad canít help but let out a small chuckle. Lei, being turned the other way, has no idea what is going on, but heard his name and now suspects some kind of insult.

Adria: Really? And how would you know about that?
Tonka: Iíve seen one, and let me tell you, I wasnít impressed.

They eventually get to the point where they can faintly see the camps. They sit down and start to rest from the long walk.

Lei: We have 15-20 minutes, so rest up. Sanjuku, a word, please.
Sanjuku: What is it?
Lei: Can you tell me a bit about what Zetsu was like after we left?
Sanjuku: To the masses, everything seemed fine until this war started. But since Deka and I had some connections with the government, we could tell that things werenít quite right. Hiiro basically gave a letter to King Derrick that called for his conditional surrender.
Lei: Hiiro wrote it?
Sanjuku: No, it was someone higher up, but it was Hiiro who carried out everything. The council along with the new king agreed that it was not worth it to fight the Myjuto Forces.
Knosse: I donít care what Julius said about his crappy policies. They would have given the same letter regardless of who was in power. Zerin would have eventually crushed them.
Sanjuku: But overall, the treatment has been relatively good. Hiiro does seem to hold a lot of political power, but at least heís not an asshole about it.
Knosse: If it were anyone but Hiiro, you would be in worse conditions.
Conrad: Yeah. Apparently Zerin has it out for Neese and Drek people.

Tonka: Hey, Adria. I didnít mean to pry on your love life. I just donít get to talk to many female fighters. WellÖstrong ones at least.
Adria: Same here. I donít mind. Being the only female of the group isnít easy. Theyíre all great, but itís not quite the same as being able to bond with another girl.
Tonka: Agreed.
Adria: You should join us! We could have our own sis-mance!
Tonka: As tempting as it sounds, I canít. I canít just leave my lifestyle behind just yet.
Adria: Yet?
Tonka: Lance has asked me to consider fighting at Sarzo, and I agreed to go. But I canít go with you guys. I have things to take care of before I go there.
Adria: I getcha.

They stand up together and start stretching. Tonka looks at Adria and the noticeable size difference (5í6 vs. 5í10).

Tonka: Seriously, girl, what did your dad feed you to get that tall?
Adria: Lots of meat!
Tonka: Youíre on model status right now, babe. Iím sooo jealous.

She then looks over at Conrad (5í3).

Tonka: THAT man conceived you?
Adria: No, he adopted me as a baby.
Tonka: Oh, well I was about to sayÖ
Conrad: I can hear you, you know. Not everyone is well endowed like you two.
Tonka: Itís okay, man. Some chicks dig the shorties.
Hero: It is time.
Knosse: Holy fuckballs! I forgot you were even here. You didnít say anything all morning!
Lei: Still, heís right.

They all stand up and stretch a little. Lei puts on his gloves.

Lei: Letís go!

The mission begins!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   May 20th 2015, 12:57 pm

Chapter 171: Lei vs SHAC

Leiís group is now walking up to the camps. There is one person on guard from that direction, but he doesnít seem to have noticed them from afar yet, because the wind is picking up to the point of simulating a sandstorm.

Lei: Adria, can you take him out?
Adria: On it.

She fires off an arrow from afar and perfectly sticks the man with it, taking him out.

Sanjuku: *Whistle* Nice shot.
Adria: Why thank you.
Lei: Alright. Conrad and Knosse, you know what to do.

When they get close enough to the multitude of tents, Conrad flips Knosse some of his explosives. Knosse tosses a bomb to each of them and then Conrad hands off one of his grenades to each. They hold Knosseís in one hand and Conradís in the other.

Lei: You all remember what direction you each throw in?

They all nod their heads to affirm Leiís question. They then all throw the explosives at the tents in different distances and directions. The chain reaction between all of the explosives causes a massive one that blows away tens of tents and presumably a large amount of SHAC members. Many of them are appearing, coughing from the obscene amount of smoke. As they surface from the smoke, Adria and Knosseís long-range weapons take many out. Meanwhile, in one tent, the explosion is heard and a man is seen standing up in surprise. He is wearing the suit like the rest of the SHAC members, but the jacket is red. He has long brown hair that is in a loose ponytail.

???: Weíre being attacked? By who? I thought Zetsu was going to battle the alliance!

Back to the fray, a large number of SHAC members have assembled as the smoke has cleared thanks to the wind. They are currently at a standstill, with neither side taking a move. One member steps out.

Man: Lei Feng! This is considered treason!
Lei: Then execute me if you can! I warned you all not to mess with me again!

The SHAC members all draw arming swords ( http://sbg-sword-store.sword-buyers-guide.com/media/Valiant/cf408.jpg ). Everyone in Leiís group have their weapons ready. Tonka now has a machete. She is not wearing her weights. Adria has her kunai drawn.

Lei: Show them no mercy.

Hero suddenly bursts forward and charges ahead of everyone else. With some impressive speed, he is able to block two of their swords with his claws and then kill two immediately. He then kills one more before he can strike and then jumps away into the middle of the camp.

Conrad: Looks like heís on his own.
Lei: Donít worry about him. Letís just focus on ourselves.

They also join the fight and start taking out SHAC members. Lei is able to block some swords with the metal part on his gloves and then land decisive punches to them. Knosse and Conrad are hanging back, shooting and providing explosive support respectively. Adria, Tonka and Sanjuku are simply taking out members quickly with superior speed and skill. They clear this wave of members quickly.

Sanjuku: Looks like theyíre not really trained to use this kind of sword.
Lei: They typically fight with knives.
Conrad: We should press on and finish this fight quickly so we can help Claudius.
Lei: Right. Letís move out!

Just then, they see four horses coming through the camps at them. A spear goes for Leiís head, but he dodges it and then flips in the air and lands his feet on the back of the horse. When the rider turns, they recognize each other.

Lei: Clarine?
Clarine: Eek!

She stops her horse suddenly and Lei flies straight off. He flips once in the air and lands on his feet.

Lei: That could have been disastrous.

The other three horse riders join up and stop, whom we recognize as Zouk, Rian and Natalie.

Lei: You all are here.
Knosse: Oh shit, I remember them.
Zouk: To think you were the ones attacking.
Lei: Are you fighting for SHAC?
Zouk: We are. They are helping this continent, and therefore we have joined forces.
Lei: Theyíre not helping anyone out here!
Zouk: Enough. We know what we have seen. If you are opposing that, you are our enemy.

Zouk shoots an arrow, but an arrow intercepts that arrow just as it starts firing. We see that Adria shot it. This surprises Zouk.

Adria: Listen to what Lei has to say.
Clarine: UmÖwhere is Lance?
Tonka: What do you want with him?
Clarine: I justÖ
Tonka: Heís not here.
Zouk: Fine, I will listen to what you have to say.
Lei: Thank you.

Lei tells them whatís really going on. Meanwhile, some more SHAC members are starting to come to their position.

Sanjuku: Make it quick, Lei! Theyíre coming!
Zouk: I see. What you say makes sense. What do you think, girls?
Rian: They were mostly ugly, so I donít want to side with them anymore.
Natalie: Whatever Clarine decides is fine with me.
Clarine: Brother, I believe him.
Zouk: Fine. Weíll fight on your side then.
Lei: And not a moment too soon.

With the wave of SHAC members comes the man from earlier with the red suit jacket.

Lei: Itís you. Mr. Tokugawa.
Tokugawa: Lei, what ever happened to you?
Lei: I grew up and saw things for what they really are.
Tokugawa: No, you grew an idealistic vision of the world. Do you truly believe wars are won with honor and respect? Do you think humanity can get rid of evil unless we stoop to the same tricks?
Lei: And then what? You just become the new evil. How is that breaking the cycle? How many innocents have you sacrificed just to get rid of this evil that is STILL here?
Tokugawa: That just means thereís more to be done.
Lei: No, that means that your methods donít work as well as you think.
Tokugawa: And yours have?
Lei: How many ranked officials have you taken out in the Myjuto Forces?
Tokugawa: Ö
Lei: Weíve taken out quite a few. We destroyed their main prison in Ivan. There are many things that have made Fighters Abroad even more popular than SHAC. And you know what? What we do isnít always fair. But the difference between us is that what we do isnít despicable.
Tokugawa: What you call despicable is merely your point of view. This is war, Lei. Thereís no such thing as dirty in war.
Lei: Are you no longer human when you step into war?
Tokugawa: Some would say no.
Lei: Some are wrong then. Do you honestly think everyone will forget about what you do to them, as long as itís in war? It seems like the only idealistic person here is you. You think you can do whatever you want with no consequences. You forget the fundamental law of cause and effect.

Tokugawa falls silent for a few seconds.

Knosse: DAYUM, Lei. You just ripped him a new one.
Tokugawa: It seems I was wrong. You merely corrupted yourself by joining Fighters Abroad. I will end your pathetic view of the world here. Men, focus on killing Lei. Kill the rest afterwards.

The SHAC members ready their swords and focus their attention on Lei. Currently, Leiís head is down, with his hair drooped down, covering most of his face. We can see his teeth grit hard, however. His voice darkens and intensifies.

Lei: Slaughter them all. End these terrorists.
Knosse: Heís seriously pissed. I kinda like this side of Lei.

An arrow is loosed from Adria and kills one of the members. She then continues to fire as Knosse follows suit with his guns. They immediately begin charging at Lei. Once they are in close proximity, they stop firing. Tonka and Sanjuku then intercept a lot of them and start taking them out and Lei also starts fighting them. Tokugawa starts to back out of the fight. Lei notices it and then pushes through them and chases after him. He easily catches up to Tokugawa.

Lei: Iím not letting you get away.
Tokugawa: Shit.

He pulls his arming sword and attacks Lei. Lei high kicks his sword arm, which makes him drop it.

Lei: You never were that good at fighting. Only good at giving orders.
Tokugawa: Will you show mercy to me? That always was your way.
Lei: Is that what you want? Answer truthfully.
Tokugawa: ÖYes, ashamed as I am to admit it.
Lei: If that is what you desireÖthen you will get none.

Immediately Lei punches Tokugawa in the stomach, making him hunch over. We see what looks like an evil grin from Lei.

Tokugawa: It seems even you have your demons.
Lei: I walk the path of honor, but even I have my limits.

A quick flash of Ento appears in Leiís mind. While Tokugawa is hunched over, Lei knees him in the face, which sends him backwards. Lei gets behind him before he can fall and elbows him in the back. This sends him falling forward. Lei grabs him by the hair to stop his fall. He pulls him up a little and then lands a strong punch at the top of Tokugawaís head with the metal part of his glove. When he hits the sand, we can see that he is on the verge of passing out. Lei grabs the sword from the ground.

Lei: I wonít ever let something like that happen again! I will continue to get stronger until even he wonít be able to defeat all of us!

He cuts Tokugawa by the neck, killing him. Meanwhile, Knosse is standing right there, watching. It isnít until a few seconds later that Lei notices that he is there. He drops the sword and looks at him.

Knosse: So this wasnít entirely about SHAC. Youíre still mad about Ento.
Lei: *Nod* I feel a little better now.
Knosse: Good. We cleaned up.
Lei: Very good. There should be more of them, so we should be careful.

When the group looks at the camps, the rest have already been slaughtered. They have claw marks on them.

Tonka: That Hero guy really didnít screw around.
Sanjuku: Iíll sayÖ
Conrad: Iím just glad he was on our side.
Lei: In any case, weíve taken out SHAC. Iím finally free of that group.
Adria: Should we go help out the other group?
Lei: Yes. Letís rest a little and then head out.

On the outskirts of Tyranny, the army has assembled. At its head is Celo. He is leading the infantry with the spears, swords and the likes. The far left side of the army is slightly sectioned off from the middle. It contains all the riflemen and archers, led by Rex. The far right side is positioned the same as the left, and are the cavaliers, led by Julius. Julius and Rex both walk to where Celo is standing. JuníFei also joins them from inside the infantry ranks.

Celo: Itís time.

The decisive battle is finally here!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   May 25th 2015, 10:53 am

Chapter 172: Zetsu vs. The Neese Alliance

Celo: Itís time.
JuníFei: Are my orders the same, sir?
Celo: Yes, JuníFei. You may return to your post.

He does so.

Julius: Celo, I leave this battle in your hands. I may have led in the past, but I believe you are the most qualified now.
Celo: Iíll be relying on both of you as well. No one can lead the cavaliers like you, Julius. And Rex, you have the best control over the long-range fight.
Rex: Right.
Celo: Zetsu is our country. Weíll defend it to the end. Weíve had many rulers over the years, but one thing has stood firm. Thatís the four of us. Derrick isnít here in person, but he is with us. They waited for Julius to exit stage before attacking, but let us show them that ZetsuÖis not that weak!
Julius: Well said!
Rex: Yeah!

They all return to their positions and begin marching. Eventually, they see the enemy over the horizon. Celo claps his hands once loudly, which gives a signal to Rex and Julius. The armies begin to co-mingle to where they start to become organized for battle. The heavy armored pike men are in front, with a rifleman positioned just behind them. The other infantry are positioned just behind the riflemen. In the back are the archers, while the cavaliers are occupying the left and right ends of the army. Someone on horse rides up from the Neese Alliance.

Celo: Go greet him.
Julius: With pleasure.

Julius rides up to him. This man is wearing heavier armor than the others. He is not wearing a helm, so we see his face. It has tattoos all over half of his face, and he is bald except in one spot where a short ponytail is.

Leader: The dark knight. I heard you were imprisoned.
Julius: I found my way out, all to meet you bastards.
Leader: I am the next head after Lord Mahko and Lord Zakrah. My name isÖ
Julius: I donít care what your name is, boy. Why are you here?
Leader: We will give you one more chance to surrender.
Julius: Like hell we will. Zetsu is strong. We wonít give in to the pathetic likes of you.
Leader: We will gladly hand over your king if you do.
Julius: This negotiation is over.

Julius rides back and the leader also does the same. He begins giving a pep talk to the alliance, but we canít hear it, since we are focusing on Zetsuís side.

Julius: As we thought, they tried using Derrick as a bargaining chip. As if weíre actually that stupid. (Under his breath) Itís up to you, Lance.
Celo: Right.

Celo walks up a distance and then turns to his army.

Celo: Knights of Zetsu! Myjuto soldiers! Today, we rid the world of these cultist bastards that have threatened us many times! These are the same enemies that Emperor Zerin defeated fives years ago! These are the same enemies that our own Dark Knight Julius crushed nearly three years ago! And, these are the enemies that we will obliterate today, once and for all! They can never stand up against Zetsuís might! You are all worth at least ten of them! So take up your weapons and do this world a favor! Letís kill the Neese Alliance!

They start cheering. We can see that the alliance has prepped for battle and then so has Zetsu. Celo relaxes his shoulders and takes a deep breath. He puts his sword up and the pike men crouch down and put their great shields up with their pikes out. The riflemen ready their rifles and get on one knee while aiming their guns between the small gaps between heavy infantry. Archers have arrows loaded in their bows and the rest of the infantry and cavaliers are ready to move upon notice. The allianceís cavaliers with blunt weapons charge forth. Celo brings his sword down and the archers begin firing. Celo gets behind the heavy infantry and the riflemen begin firing at the horses. Many of the horses are taken out, but there are many that are permeating through, since there are only few riflemen compared to the absurd number of cavaliers that the alliance has invested in. Arrows then begin raining from the alliance side.


The normal infantry put their medium shields above their heads and crouch. The arrows are only able to take a few soldiers out. We see JuníFei cut three consecutive arrows out of the air with his swords. Meanwhile, the horsemen have reached the defensive wall of heavy infantry.


The pike men aim their pikes at an angle upwards to take out the horses. Most of the horses try to jump over the pikes, but are largely unsuccessful. Only the most athletic of the horses make it over the pikes and crash into the army, only to be taken out directly by Celo and Rex. Rex takes one mace from a dead cavalier and throws it at a charging cavalier, which knocks him from his horse. As the cavaliersí charge begins to slow down, Julius and his cavaliers come in from the side and sweep them. They switch sides as they cross paths while killing alliance horsemen.

Julius: Keep it up!

More cavaliers come through, only to be taken out by the same methods. Suddenly, the alliance army stops.

Rex: Theyíve stopped? What for?

From the horizon, they can see three catapults being moved into view.

Rex: Oh, not this shit again.
Julius: We have catapults of our own. Where are they?
Celo: Theyíre coming.
Rex: For now, we have to get rid of theirs as soon as possible.
Julius: Leave that to me. We can get to there the fastest.
Celo: I donít like abandoning our defensive strategy, but that seems to be the best course of action. JuníFei!

JuníFei joins them.

Celo: Youíre with me. We need our strongest foot soldiers up front.
JuníFei: Got it.
Celo: New formation! Infantry in front! Archers and Riflemen fall close behind! Back up the cavaliers! Cavaliers, follow Juliusí command! Heavy infantry get to the fray as fast as you can and provide support!
JuníFei: Myjuto soldiers, get up here!
Soldier: Catapult!

They have started to launch boulders. On closer look, they are parts of buildings being launched. There are many giant pieces on a giant cart that was carried with many oxen and other strong animals. Three large boulders hit and take out a fair amount of soldiers.

Celo: Itís time to move. CHARGE!

The Zetsu army charges as the cavaliers veer off to the left and right, gaining more horizontal distance from the main army. Many alliance cavaliers ride out to greet them, when arrows and bullets intercept many of them. The Zetsu cavaliers take out the rest. At this time, Celo and the front lines of the infantry meet with the front lines of the Neese Alliance and they both crash into each other like two tidal waves colliding. Soldiers are falling rapidly on both sides. In the middle, Zetsu has the upper hand, as that is where Celo and JuníFei are. We see JuníFei parry a blunt weapon with one of his swords and then cut him down with the other and repeat this strategy. Celo is using the superior range of his katana to kill them before they can hope to reach him. The alliance soldiers are relying on their blunt weaponry to bash in the Zetsu plate armor while Zetsu is using their superior weaponry and skill to simply outclass them in 1 on 1 situations.

Meanwhile, Julius is closing in on the back of the army by the side. Some of his cavalier comrades are hit by arrows and fall off their horses. Juliusí horse gets hit as well and he is flung off his horse. He is able to land on his feet, but takes a few seconds to recover. An arrow hits his armor and bounces off and then someone with a mace attacks him. In his mind, he remembers Lanceís footing while keeping him out of attacks range and emulates it. He is able to keep the mace soldier out of attack range and eventually stab him with his sword. He presses on towards the first catapult when two spear users intercept him.

Julius: Now this is what Iíve trained for.

They both haphazardly lunge at him and he sidesteps both and bashes the spears sideways with his shield. He then slices them both across the necks where their armor has gaps in one clean motion. Many more soldiers charge at Julius, but cavaliers sweep through and clean them out quickly. He continues on. Back at the front lines, the alliance is starting to get pushed back. More soldiers on that side are falling than Zetsuís soldiers. JuníFei spots the leader in the front lines, fighting not too far from he and Celo. He has a long sword drawn.

JuníFei: Celo! The leader is ten oíclock from me!
Celo: Good eye! Iíll take him on! Rex! Take my place!
Rex: Got it!

Rex comes in and stands side by side with JuníFei with his sword drawn as they continue cutting through. Celo pushes his way through to the leader, where they face off in the middle of a small open area. This circular area is akin to an eye of a hurricane, where there seems to be tranquility in the middle, but absolute carnage all around.

Celo: You die now!
Leader: I donít think so!

They charge at each other and clash blades. Going back to Julius, he is close to the first catapult. It has just launched another giant piece of building. Three people with blunt weapons get in Juliusí way, but he quickly cuts them down and then stabs the person manning the catapult in the neck where his armor has a gap. He then turns his attention to some of the ropes that make it possible for boulders to launch and then cuts them immediately.

Julius: One down, two to go.

Just then, he is struck in the back by a war hammer. This bashes the back of his armor in, giving Julius a lot of damage. He hunches over for a second and then 180 degree slashes to take out his assaulter. He looks around to see that none of his men have made it as far as he and that he is surrounded.

Julius: Not good.
Soldier: We got him once! Keep it up!

Julius runs straight for the people blocking the second catapult. He cuts down two people, but receives another blow to the back by a mace. His armor has now splintered in that area, pushing some of the metal directly into his back. Julius drops to his knees for a second and then stands up, only to receive another blunt attack to his chest plate. The armor around his stomach caves in and he then holds his stomach while dropping to his knees again.

Julius: No, not yet!

He lets out a cry of desperation and forces himself to his feet while cutting down two more soldiers.

Soldiers: This dark knight! Heís a monster!

Julius runs to the second catapult and cuts the ropes on it before it can launch another boulder. He then gets stabbed in the back by a spear, where his armor now revealed a gap from the previous attacks. The spear is removed and Julius stumbles forward. He is about to fall forward.

Julius: No, thereís one more catapult left that I have to take. I canít let it end here. Do I have any strength left? I donít think so. ButÖfor the sake of ZetsuÖ

Julius stops himself from falling forward.

Julius: IíLL DO ANYTHING!!!!!

He screams out once more as he runs for the last catapult, which is very close. More people get in his way and stab him with two spears in the front. He then receives another spear in the back. He stops yelling instantly and gasps for air. His helmet falls off as he hunches over again. A soldier with a sword comes up to him and swings downwards at his head. We see this in slow motion.

Julius: So this is it then. But, with the last of my strengthÖIíllÖ

He grabs the sword with his gauntlet and stabs the man with his other hand. He takes the sword and throws it at the catapult ropes to cut them, making the last one unusable. Julius then takes the two spears out of his chest and then collapses on the ground.

Julius: Lance, thanks to you, I was able to be useful to Zetsu one last time.

We switch back to the leader battle. Celo and the alliance leader are clashing blades over and over, when a boulder is seen flying overhead and crashing into the alliance soldiers.

Celo: Finally.
Leader: No! Where are my catapults at?! WHERE THE FUCK IS SHAC?!
Celo: Looks like everyone did their part.
Leader: You canít be serious!
Celo: You dared to underestimate Zetsu.
Leader: We still have your king!
Celo: Weíre taking care of that too, as we speak.
Leader: What?!

Celo doesnít allow him to speak anymore and puts him on the defensive. He is barely able to keep up with Celoís speed and precision and eventually his sword flies out of his hand.

Leader: No! It canít be! Mahko and Zakrahís plan was flawless! SOMEONE H-

Before he can utter another word, Celo plunges his katana straight through his armor and into his torso, piercing his heart.

Celo: Itís too late anyway.

As we zoom out, the Zetsu soldiers and Myjuto soldiers are now overwhelming the alliance soldiers. With the help of the catapult as well as the sheer number advantage now thanks to their strategy, they are quickly destroying them.

Leader: (Struggling) WhoÖcouldÖ
Celo: You want to know who we sent to get Derrick and take care of SHAC? True, we wouldnít send our own men. Weíve sent the best. Fighters Abroad!

Upon hearing these words, the leader understands quite well that Mahko and Zakrah were in danger, but the frustration that he could do nothing but simply die kicked in. Celo removes his katana and then beheads the man in one swift, elegant motion.

Celo: Hiiro, X, Lance, Claudius, Deka, Iím counting on you.

We go back in time and cut to Claudiusí group, who have all just heard the battle beginning.

Hiiro: Looks like thatís our queue.
Claudius: Right. Then letís get this party started.

To be continued!
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   May 29th 2015, 1:10 pm

Chapter 173: Rescue Derrick!

Hiiro is currently leading the other four to the camps.

Claudius: So how do you know where their exact location is?
Hiiro: I have a letter with a diagram of how the battlefield would be laid out. Itís from about a week ago.
Deka: Are you saying that someone could accurately predict all this before the battle even started?
X: It must have been Shim.
Hiiro: Correct. The initial plan was that I was to attack the camps with a small squad while the battle was going on. I would have brought Jun with me, but now I donít need to.
Lance: Not bad.

After just a bit of traveling, they can see the encampment.

Hiiro: Alright. As agreed, you can take over.
Claudius: Right. Initially, we will stick together, but once weíve taken out a lot of their men, weíll need to split up to look for Derrick as quick as possible. Time is of the essence the second we start attacking.
Deka: What do you mean?
Claudius: They could potentially see Derrick as a burden and kill him if they think they have no chance of winning. On the other hand, they might try to hold him hostage and try to hand him over in return for our retreat.
Lance: As far as our mission goes, thatís just fine.
Hiiro: We are here for Derrick first and foremost, that is true. But we need to kill Mahko and Zakrah if they are here.
X: I agree with you, Hiiro. That is precisely why we need to split up.
Hiiro: I see. Confuse our numbers, sneak attacks, etcetera.
Claudius: You hired us to rescue Derrick, and that is precisely what we will do as mercenaries. But as human beings, we will dispose of those abominations.
Hiiro: Then weíre on the same wavelength.
Deka: Then letís go.
Claudius: Yeah. Are you all ready?

They all nod in agreement.

Claudius: Good. Then letís fuck this bitch.

Deka and Hiiro start chuckling.

X: Seriously? Your mind is going there NOW?
Claudius: *Shrug* Itís been a while. Okay, then how about this? Letís go kill them.
Lance: Better.

They walk up to the alliance camp and a soldier spots them.

Soldier: Halt! What business do you have here?
Lance: We have a gift for your masters.
Soldier: What gift is that?

Lance takes his spear and stabs the soldier through the throat and flings him aside.

Lance: The gift of death!
Hiiro: Not bad. Much better than your leaderís quote.
Claudius: Tch, I can do better.

More soldiers see them and start charging.

Deka: Letís fuck this bitch!
Claudius: Everyoneís a critic.

They all charge straight at the soldiers. One swings a war hammer at Claudius, which he dodges. He grabs his helmet and takes it off with one hand and steals the hammer with the other. He then bashes him over the head with his own helmet and then blocks and incoming spear thrust with the helmet. The spear pierces the helmet, but stops it enough to not hit Claudius. Claudius pulls the soldier in and bashes his breastplate in with the hammer, killing him.

Claudius: Now this kind of weapon I could get used to.

At this time, Hiiro is seen dodging multiple spear thrusts from multiple soldiers. One thrusts low and Hiiro steps on the spearhead. He whacks that soldier on the neck where his armor doesnít quite cover and he falls. The second soldier thrusts at his chest, but Hiiro sidesteps and knocks the spear away by hitting the middle of the shaft. He then thrusts the pole at his face, denting the helmet and sending the person to the ground hard. Deka is fighting alongside him, who has stolen a mace from another enemy. He is using the mace to attack the helmets of the soldiers who attack.

Meanwhile, X and Lance are fighting back to back. Lance is using his spear to attack oncoming enemies. X is blocking incoming attacks and then making quick slashes to their throats to quickly kill them. They then switch position and start taking out enemies in the opposite directions. A soldier comes in to the side of them, but gets taken out by Claudius with a strong blow with the hammer.

X: You having fun with that thing?
Claudius: Hell yeah! Itís perfect for armor.
Hiiro: Thatís how they were able to stand up to Zetsuís forces. They figured out that blunt weapons are better against armored opponents than sharp weapons.
Claudius: In any case, we have to keep moving. There are likely many more soldiers and they should be alerted any second now.

They keep going deeper into the camps, where there are a large number of soldiers waiting for them.

Claudius: This is where we split up! We take out these guys and then go!
All: Right!

They ready their weapons as the soldiers charge at them. Hiiro twirls his staff and then makes a long sweep to knock off many of their helmets in the front. Lance follows up by making a long sweep with his spear to cut many of them in the face, killing them. Claudius and Deka then charge in and start to decimate the front lines with their blunt weapons. X follows by running through the gap they are creating and landing quick and effective slashes to the throat. They quickly overwhelm the soldiers with their strength, to the point where their numbers are about even.

X: Lance!
Lance: Got it. Deka, letís go.
Deka: Okay.

They leave to go search for Derrick as the other three quickly finish off the rest of the soldiers.

Hiiro: Good work. This seriously would have been difficult without you guys.
X: Donít mention it.
???: What?!

They look over to see Mahko and Zakrah shocked at the sight they see. They have two soldiers guarding them.

Hiiro: Thatís them!
Mahko: No!
Claudius: X, cut them off!

They try to run, but X out speeds them and gets in front of them. The one soldier attacks X, but quickly gets killed. The one from behind is killed by Claudiusí hammer. X and Claudius are now in a pincer formation, on either side of Mahko and Zakrah.

X: So, youíre the ones responsible for the Foundation of Ivan and the Neese Alliance.
Zakrah: I recognize you two. Youíre from Fighters Abroad!
Claudius: Good to know that weíre known by even you.
Mahko: Why are you siding with the Myjuto Forces?
Claudius: Donít worry about our reasoning. Will you die quickly or slowly? Itís your choice.
Zakrah: We have to fight, Mahko.
Mahko: Yeah. I know.

Mahko draws a rapier while Zakrah draws a Viking style axe.

Claudius: Iíll take blondie.
X: Okay, then Iíll take Mr. business.
Hiiro: Iíll just watch then. You guys are getting the money after all.

X rushes first for Mahko. Mahko begins rapidly thrusting his rapier to try to keep X out of his range. X is able to easily dodge all of the attacks and then goes for a slash with one dagger. Mahko is able to block it and forces X back.

X: Not bad.
Mahko: Iíll have you know that we are good fighters as well.

Meanwhile, Claudius has hung the hammer on the belt where he normally keeps his whip. He has his sword drawn.

Claudius: Will you make the first move, or should I?

Zakrah charges in and swings the axe. The attack is slow enough that Claudius dodges without any problem.

Claudius: That thing is far too heavy for you.

Claudius thrusts with his short sword, but Zakrah is able to block with the flat side of the axe. He then swings at Claudius faster then before. Claudius blocks, but a crack appears in his sword.

Zakrah: Damn.
Claudius: Oh, I see. You made it look like you were weaker than you actually were. Unfortunately, Iím a trickster myself, so I saw through it.

Claudius forces him back and then readies himself again. Around this time, Lance and Deka are searching many tents. They finally find Derrickís tent, which is guarded by two guards. One of them puts a knife up to Derrickís neck.

Soldier: Come any closer and he dies.
Derrick: You guysÖ
Lance: Not this time. I wonít allow this situation to play out the same way as Vex again!

Lance looks surprised at the other guard.

Lance: You, why are YOU here?!

The other soldier looks and Lance quickly reaches to his side and flings one of his axes, which knocks the knife out of his hand. Lance then rushes with his cutlass and stabs the soldier in the neck. Deka kills the other with a strong blow with the mace.

Deka: Nice one.
Lance: Thank you.
Derrick: Just whatís going on here?

Back to Claudius and X, they are still fighting. Zakrah swings his axe even faster at Claudius, but he dodges it. He keeps dodging axe swings until he has an opening to quickly pull out his whip and hit him in the face. He sheaths his sword.

Zakrah: That hurt, you!
Claudius: Itís about to hurt a lot more.

X is dodging more thrusts, as Mahko is doing his best to keep X out of attack range. Finally, X slides and kicks Mahko in the shin and then lands a slash to his stomach, though not deep enough to kill. He stumbles back and he ends up back to back with Zakrah.

Zakrah: Are you okay?
Mahko: This is too much for us. Theyíre just too damn good.
Zakrah: Keep fighting. Either way, weíll be together.

Just then, they hear the sound of dying men near and then a tent near them rips open.

Claudius: Ah fuck.

The person standing in front of them is Shim. Mahko and Zakrah see her and instantly recognize her.

Mahko: No, itís you.
Shim: I finally found you. Five years ago, we werenít able to end your lives. But now I have you right where I want you.
X: HiiroÖ

Hiiro has his eyes closed and takes a deep breath.

Hiiro: Sorry, guys. I had to do this.
Claudius: What the hell is that supposed to mean?!

Shim rushes at them. Claudius gets ready to fight, but she dashes right past him and stops right in front of Mahko and Zakrah.

Shim: Your time will come, Fighters Abroad. First, these two must go.
Mahko and Zakrah: NO!

Shim stabs them both at the same time in the heart. They drop to their knees and look at Shim.

Mahko: That damned Zerin. If it werenít for himÖ
Zakrah: We would have had it all.

They fall on their faces, dead, as a pool of blood comes out of both of them.

Shim: Zerin, we finally ended them.

X has taken this opportunity to stand next to Claudius. They both have their weapons ready.

Shim: Well done, Hiiro. You pulled through for me.
Hiiro: Yes, Officer Shim.
X: You said you had no contact with her since we arrived in Zetsu!
Shim: He wasnít lying. I gave Hiiro a set of circumstantial instructions. For example, if you were able to escape death at my hands, there was no doubt you would go to Zetsu. In that case, he was to hire you to attack these camps. Derrick being kidnapped was just adding to my plan.
X: Claudius, this womanÖ
Claudius: She is even more dangerous than Ento. Thatís what you want to say, right?
X: Yes. She cannot live. As long as she does, we canít beat the Myjuto Forces.
Claudius: My thoughts exactly. Weíll hold her off as long as we can until backup from Lance and Deka.

Shim immediately dashes towards them. X gets in front of her and attacks. Their weapons clash and then Claudius attacks from behind X. She dodges the whip and then attacks Claudius. X is able to block the incoming slash to Claudius and then Claudius attacks again with the whip. She dodges and then creates distance.

Shim: That annoying strategy again. Iíve already beaten that strategy once. But, while youíre here, Hiiro, you can help.
Hiiro: (Muttering) Címon címon címon címon.

The others seem confused at Hiiroís behavior.

Shim: Hiiro! Answer me!

Just then, another scream is heard and a soldier is sent flying into view. †Someone else appears at the scene. Hiiro smirks.

Hiiro: You finally made itÖJiron! ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaN2wQ3yMnc )

Jiron stands in their midst, laughing as usual. His scythe is already out.

Shim: Youíve got to be kidding me.
Jiron: Well done, Hiiro. The whole cast has assembled just as I wanted.

Shim hears the same words she had just uttered to Hiiro and then turns to him, surprised. Hiiro has a smirk on his face.

Shim: You, I thought you were doing my bidding, but you were actually doing exactly what Jiron wanted as well.
Jiron: Itís not often I get to see that surprised face from you, Shim. Itís quite cute.
Claudius: Jiron, what the fuck is going on here?!

Jiron ignores Claudius and looks at the dead Mahko and Zakrah.

Jiron: They got themselves killed, did they? They were failures anyway.
Shim: You were the one that let them get away five years ago, werenít you?
Jiron: Yes.
Shim: Why? What is your motivation?
Jiron: I wanted to see what they would do in Neese, but I was disappointed a third time.
Shim: Youíre sick. But, you saved me the trouble of looking for you. Despite my tracking ability, you were proving difficult to follow.
Jiron: You knew I wasnít dead, eh? Iím not surprised. That was just a diversion that served its purpose. I donít need to run any longer.

Hiiro joins Jironís side.

Shim: You would abandon your position in the Myjuto Forces for him?
Hiiro: Absolutely.
Shim: Fine. Iíll take you both down.

Claudius and X step closer to make a triangle between the two of them, Shim and then Jiron and Hiiro being the third side.

Claudius: This works for us too.
X: If we can emerge victorious from this fight, then neither of you will be threats to us later.
Claudius: Jiron, last time I came at you with my fists. This time, I will kill you if I get the chance.
Jiron: Iím looking forward to it!

A three way battle of epic proportions is about to begin!

Last edited by Ryu on March 4th 2017, 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Fighters Abroad   March 4th 2017, 4:17 pm

Chapter 174: Battle in the Desert - Endless War?

Among the chaos in the background, there is a stillness within the triangle. X is seen scanning everywhere pervasively and Claudius is slowly shifting his view between Jiron and Shim. X now glances at Claudius, who also glances back.

X: Who do we attack first?
Claudius: I know. You're wondering who we go after first. Truth is, I don't know.
X: I don't like that look, Claudius. You don't seem to know either. Damn it.

The sweat begins to drip down their foreheads. At that moment, Hiiro very briefly looks over at them. Claudius reacts as if he realized something. He looks back at X and then briefly looks back at Hiiro and nods.

X: I think I understand.

At that moment, Jiron makes the first move by rushing towards Shim ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--ijjuvQMW8 ). He slashes horizontally with his scythe, but Shim avoids it by staying out of range. As soon as he does, X suddenly rushes forward towards Jiron. Hiiro reacts to this, but Claudius steps between the two of them before Hiiro can attack. Hiiro lunges with his quarterstaff and Claudius sidesteps. He then backsteps away from a horizontal attack and simultaneously whips. He extends the range on the whip, catching Hiiro off guard. It wraps around his neck and Claudius yanks him towards himself. With his free hand, he takes his warhammer and turns it to the spike end. Hiiro slides under the attempted attack at his head and manages to land a strike to Claudius' chin with the pole. Claudius retaliates by launching him with the whip, which makes him slide about fifteen feet before Hiiro tumbles back to his feet.

Around this time, Shim is attacking Jiron with both of her swords. Jiron is staying on the defensive, but is concentrating hard to stop each one. He then dodges out of the way of a backstab from X, but then Shim lands a slash to Jiron's left arm. Jiron retaliates with a wide arc slash, which both X and Shim duck under. X then dashes straight for Shim and attacks with one dagger. Shim sidesteps and grabs his arm from behind him. Jiron then does another sweeping attack with his scythe at them both. Shim vaults over X in order to dodge the strike. Using the momentum of Shim's pushing, X manages to dodge out of the way with only a minor scratch to his left shoulder.

As soon as Shim lands on the ground, she quickly moves in close to Jiron. She goes on the attack again, but this time Jiron is avoiding them outright. X suddenly rushes Shim from behind and as the picture zooms out, Claudius is now doing the same to Jiron. Both Jiron and Shim seem to notice and roll out of the way in opposite directions. X and Claudius meet up where they were and go back to back. At that moment, Hiiro makes it to them as well and lunges his staff at Claudius. Claudius bats it away with the hammer and then turns with X and shoves him towards Hiiro. X uses that momentum to gain speed and stab Hiiro in the shoulder, who tries to avoid a lethal strike. Claudius then whips straight at Shim a fraction of a second prior to her attempting to blitz Claudius. She blocks the strike and then goes after him. He manages to dodge the attack after slowing her down, but then receives a kick from Jiron, sending him to the ground.

Shim immediately turns to the downed Claudius and goes for him. He whips at her, which she ducks under, but this allows him to tumble backwards onto his feet safely. Shim then ducks under a slash from Jiron's scythe. At this moment, Shim now turns around and avoids an attack from Hiiro. X also charges Jiron at the same time. Jiron slashes at X, but he flips over the attack. He attacks Jiron with an icepick gripped dagger, but Jiron grabs X's hand. Claudius now attacks from behind Jiron, but he back-kicks Claudius before he can attack with the warhammer. X attacks with his other dagger, but receives a palm strike to the face before he can get the attack off.

Meanwhile, Shim is gracefully avoiding attacks from Hiiro's quarterstaff. She then suddenly bursts forward and slashes Hiiro across the chest. Hiiro takes the attack and counterattacks in that moment. Shim takes a small shot to the wrist in order to block it completely.

Shim: That durability of yours IS impressive after all.

Hiiro makes a horizontal strike while retreating. As Shim backs away from the attack, she suddenly rolls forward as a scythe slash whiffs overhead. Hiiro lunges with his pole, but Shim parries it with one of her swords. Jiron slashes again, which knocks her right hand sword out of her hand. Shim rushes Hiiro suddenly and grabs him in the face with her right hand. Hiiro attempts to break her grasp, but can't seem to do so. She turns him so that he is facing between her and Jiron. With her sword hand, she slashes at Hiiro, but he manages to block it with the middle of his pole. Jiron dashes at both of them and then swings his scythe in an overhead strike. The blade goes past Hiiro and the shaft hits him in the head. Shim, however, drops Hiiro and rolls out of the way. She picks up her second sword.

Hiiro: That hurt, you know.
Jiron: Deal with it.

The three of them look over to X and Claudius, who are just standing on the sidelines.

X: Shit, they noticed us.
Claudius: Well, our strategy to get a quick break worked.
Jiron: Hiiro, can you stall them?
Hiiro: Of course. Leave it to me.
X: You're making a big mistake, Hiiro.
Hiiro: We'll see.

Hiiro charges at the two of them. Claudius extends his chain whip and latches around his staff. As he yanks the staff forward, X dashes at Hiiro. Hiiro lets go of his staff and X ducks under it as it heads towards Claudius. Hiiro takes his Kyushin Ryu stance and throws out a palm strike for X. X blocks with his forearm and then spin kicks. Hiiro blocks the kick by knocking it straight up with a verticle knee strike. In the same motion, he extends his leg and lands a kick to X's torso. X retaliates by grabbing Hiiro's ankle. He twists his ankle, but Hiiro flips with it to avoid getting his ankle broken. Hiiro suddenly kicks straight down with all of his strength and manages to use X's arm to flip over him. With his free foot, he kicks X in the back of the head and then rolls forward to his pole. He grabs it from the sand and then spins it around. He is now flanked by Claudius and X.

X: Not bad. I wanted to see that again since you used it against Lei.
Claudius: You could be one of us. Fuck whatever debts you owe Jiron. Fuck your honor just this once. We need to defeat the Myjuto Forces and you could be a part of it.
Hiiro: You'll never understand.

Hiiro makes a lunge at Claudius, who sidesteps it. He then does the same to X, who also sidesteps it. Hiiro then slides his hands towards the middle of the staff and then spins as they both close in. Claudius and X grab the staff, stopping his momentum. Hiiro looks at Claudius in the eye, surprised. Claudius stares him down with intensity.

Claudius: No, Hiiro. You'll never understand.

Claudius yanks Hiiro downwards by pulling on his staff. With his dominant hand, he lands a punch to the back of Hiiro's head, which makes a resounding crack. Hiiro is sent face first into the sand, unconscious. †Meanwhile, Jiron slashes horizontally with his scythe. Shim ducks under it while getting close. She slashes upwards across Jiron's chest and then makes another one at his arm, which he also takes. She then slashes around his thigh, which he blocks with his scythe and then forces her back.

Jiron: All three of those strikes were aimed at different veins. If I hadn't reacted to those...
Shim: Oh? Am I worrying you?
Jiron: Not at all! It only excites me even more!

Jiron puts his scythe away and then runs at her. She slashes at him, but he knocks her arm upwards with his left arm. He then knees her in the stomach and palm strikes her. As the palm connects, she grabs his wrist, having dropped both of her swords.

Shim: You want to play it this way? Fine.

Shim uses Jiron's arm to get momentum closer to him. She kicks straight up into his throat, which connects. Jiron stumbles back from this and Shim charges in again. She jumps onto his shoulders and wraps her legs around Jiron's neck, strangling him. Jiron grabs her by the throat, however, and rips her off him.

Jiron: Was it you who taught Tibi her wrestling moves? They don't work as well as you think.

Jiron slams her straight down to the ground. Shim contorts her body to kick Jiron in the face, which losens his grip for a moment. In that moment, she breaks free and kicks off him just before she is slammed on the ground. She lands on her feet and then dashes back towards him. Jiron interrupts her suddenly with a chop, which she blocks. At that moment, they both look to their lefts to see Claudius and X. Claudius attacks Jiron from his left side with his warhammer and X attacks Shim on her left with his daggers. They both jump backwards and gain distance. *Theme Stops*

Claudius: Sorry to cut in on your foreplay. We wanted to know if you wanted to have a foursome.
X: Really, Claudius?
Shim: Don't interfere. I'll deal with you after I've taken out this man.
Jiron: So you failed, Hiiro. Too bad. You don't want to get in the middle of this, Claudius. This woman has got me....hehehehe.....she's got me tingly.
X: You're insane.
Jiron: I've never had a fight like this before! You've made me the happiest man on earth.
Shim: Gods, is he confessing his love? Repulsive.

Shim picks up her swords and readies them.

Shim: One way or another, I'll deal with all of you.

Jiron charges into the fray first, swinging his scythe at Claudius. He blocks with his hammer, but gets forced back.

Claudius: What the-! I've never seen this kind of ferocity from him before. He really has been holding back all this time against us!

Claudius retaliates with his whip in his other hand. Just as he whips horizontally, X vaults over Claudius and comes down on Jiron with his daggers. Jiron backs up from the whip attack and X lands just as the whip passes under him.

Jiron: You wouldn't have made it in time if you had extended the whip.
X: So even in this state you still think.

Just then, Claudius turns and readies his whip, but gets slashed across the chest by Shim.

Shim: Forget about me?

X turns to Shim, but gets slashed across the back by Jiron. Both of them fall to the ground. Shim goes to slash downwards at Claudius, but then backs up as Jiron swings at her with his scythe. As she backs up, he steps in front of them. He looks at her, wide-eyed and with a manic smile.

Shim: Why? Why have you been protecting them all this time?
Jiron: Enough about them. You need to fight me and me only.
Shim: We never trusted you, you know that? It was only a matter of time before we took you out.
Jiron: I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jiron and Shim both charge at each other. Jiron swings low with his weapon and Shim jumps over it and lands on the scythe. She jumps forward, pushing the scythe down and slashes with both swords. Jiron rolls forward and then does a 180 degree slash. Shim lands and blocks the attack with both swords at once. She is getting forced back by the impact. Jiron is laughing meanwhile. She suddenly moves with the flow of the attack and lets the scythe pass by her. She closes in quickly and slashes Jiron across the chest twice in a row with her swords. She rapidly slashes at him now. Jiron manages to block a few of them, but takes about ten more slashes to his torso. He stumbles back, holding his chest with one hand.

Jiron: Hahaha. Yes, that's it. More blood!
Shim: I'm going to shut that mouth of yours permanently.

As Shim takes a step forward, Jiron swings his scythe with one hand, making her back off. He rights himself and puts both hands back on the weapon. He takes a deep breath and then stops smiling. He looks at her with an intense focus.

Shim: Just who are you?

Jiron swings his weapon rapidly at her, which she continues to dodge.

Shim: His openings have severely decreased. There is definitely something driving him besides madness. But, you're still wide open!

Shim suddenly rushes forward after narrowly dodging one attack. As she gets close, she suddenly receives a spin kick to the face. She falls to the sand and gets up quickly. A bit of blood comes down the corner of her mouth.

Shim: He let me in on purpose? Is he trying to read me?
Jiron: Do you remember, Shim? You stopped me from killing them the first time.
Shim: What is he-

Jiron quickly charges at her and makes a diagonal slash downwards. She ducks around it and slashes him in the leg. Simultaneously, Jiron makes another slash that barely grazes her shoulder. She retaliates with another flurry of attacks, which are all grazing Jiron as he is trying to dodge. They both then ready their weapons and slash at the same time. At the very last moment, Jiron slides back to avoid the blades. This catches Shim off guard and she also avoids the brunt of the scythe. It catches her upper thighs, however. She fights the pain and then jumps forwards. She yells out as she slashes downwards with both blades. Jiron parries upwards, knocking both blades out of her hands. With one fluid motion, he brings the scythe diagonally downwards, straight into her torso, ripping her stomach up. Shim drops to her knees as her swords land behind her. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M954D_jyJbQ )

Shim: H-how....I...can't lose.
Jiron: Hahahaha! It's unfortunate. Maybe in a different life, we could have been together.
Shim: How could you have evaded my sight for so long? I tracked everything on this continent. Unless...you've got to be kidding me.

She looks up to Jiron with surprise.

Jiron: So you figured it out. But it seems you're too late.
Shim: What is your goal? Why go through all this trouble?
Jiron: War is a beautiful thing. The most beautiful thing in this entire world. An environment where strength, cunning and skill matter. It is then that all our social order goes out the window.

At this point, we can see Claudius and X sitting up, bandaging themselves while listening.

Claudius: And what of it, Jiron?
Jiron: You have heard of the Foundation of Ivan? They waged war on Ivan and came out on top. I helped them do so, of course. They would no doubt create someone looking for revenge. When your precious Zerin found them, I knew they would want to start a war. So I helped him. If you recall, Shim, it was I that suggested that you all go back to Ivan.
Shim: That's right. I remember. You knew the predicament all along.
Jiron: But, when it came to killing Mahko and Zakrah, I found out that they wanted to start a war in Neese. So I let them live. They started another war in Zetsu, which I watched from afar. Once again, I helped them escape after they failed. I had hoped they would do better this time. It was fun to watch, but they were just failures. I have no further use for them.
X: And the Myjuto, they just played into your obsession.
Jiron: That's right. I had a front seat to another war. A war against the world. It was the most marvelous of them all. But, now that you've won, the odds have to be tipped in another direction. Fighters Abroad is simply one faction that arose from you. But, they are too weak to take out the Myjuto Forces.
X: Damn you, Jiron. What are you getting at?!
Jiron: Soon, I will be attacking Sarzo. I'm going to declare war on the Myjuto Forces. I'm going to take out Zerin. Then, Fighters Abroad, you will eventually declare war against me. You will amass an army capable of taking me on. Then, we will see who will win in the end!
Claudius: You're damn right we will.
Shim: Then that's your motivation. War.
Jiron: I can see it now. Zerin's face as he receives your corpse as a gift. Don't you think that will shake him more than anything?
Shim: You're a monster. I will entertain you no further.
Jiron: Ah, my dear Shim. I wish I could keep you alive. You're just too important. More than anything, your network of spies is what kept me from enacting my plan sooner. I had to do something about that. Without you, that network will crumble. Ento and Zerin won't know what to do without you. So begins the end of the Myjuto.

Jiron makes one more slash to her torso, making an X with her other wound. Shim's head rocks back and forth a bit before she begins to fall backwards. *Theme Stops*

Shim: Kyle, I'm sorry. I wanted to put all this behind and get married. Ento, be strong. Now, more than ever, you need to be at Zerin's side. Zerin, I'm sorry I could never return your love for me.

We see a flash of Zerin, Ento and Kyle smiling. A single tear runs down one of her eyes.

Shim: This man is dangerous. Don't let him win.

Shim's head hits the sand as her eyes lay wide open.

Shim: (Struggling) You won't....win. My brothers...they are...invincible.

She closes her eyes and takes one last breath before her hand unfurls and her head tilts, falling limp. Jiron breaths heavy for a few moments, but then collects himself. At this moment, Hiiro joins Jiron, rubbing his head. X and Claudius stand up, readying themselves.

Jiron: You finally woke up.
Hiiro: My head...so, she's really dead then?
X: Claudius, what do we do?
Claudius: As much as I hate to say it, this works out better for us if they take out each other.
X: I know. But this is the weakest we've ever seen Jiron. We may not get another chance like this.
Jiron: You still intend to fight? I still have far more strength left in me. You have no chance.
Hiiro: And I'm back in the fight.
X: ...Damn it all.

X sheathes his daggers. Claudius also puts away his weapons. Jiron grabs Shim's body and Hiiro takes the swords.

Jiron: You now know why I have saved you as many times as I have. Don't squander this chance. If you disappoint me, I will murder each and every one of you slowly and painfully.
Claudius: One day, Jiron. We will win and it will be the end of you.
Jiron: Hmph. Go, Hiiro. The battle should be ending. Let Jun'Fei know what has transpired here and that we're continuing as planned.
Hiiro: Understood. Your wounds are really bad, though. Will you be alright?
Jiron: It's me.

Jiron walks away, laughing as he carries Shim's body away from the battlefield.

Jiron's true goals have been revealed! As Zetsu's conflict begins to wind down, another harrowing conflict is about to begin in Sarzo!
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