Chapter 5:

05

Densetsu Kenshi: Beginnings


   "There sure are a lot of people here today" Miyamoto-san chimed.

   "Well it is the weekend, and we did get here later than most hikers. A lot of people show up early early early so they can enjoy the sunrise at the top of the mountain!"
 
   "Woooow! Sensei-pan, you know everything!"

   "Oh stop, Miya-chan. You're making me blush in front of all these peeeeeople!"

   Give me a break. These guys are like two peas in a pod. Silly nicknames and goofy honorifics. Should a shady lowballer like Maekawa-sensei even be that comfortable with a teenage girl?

   Tch. I turned my attention from those two slack offs to my surroundings. We were at a popular tourist trap at the bottom of the mountain that was supposedly the home of a dangerous eidolon. Honestly, this place felt the complete opposite of dangerous. Waves of people flowed in and out of the various gift shops and photo booths. To my left I saw a family taking quite the impressive selfie with a wooden statue of a bear wearing a yukata and trendy aviator sunglasses. I guesss it's dressed like that to attract attention from all generations? It seemed to be working because there was a large line of young couples, older couples , and families juggling their kids waiting for a picture. Looks fun, but I would never get in line by myself. Too embarrassing. 

   Under normal circumstances I might come back and actually enjoy the hike , the booths, the nature. It really appeals to me and seems like a fun thing to do that also helps you relax and chill. 

   It kinda makes me sit and wonder about the world we live in, right? I mean, being out here surrounded by nature, with the clear blue sky, the fresh earthy scent of everything; it all really helps me settle down and be at peace. On the other hand, I know several people that prefer to stay inside their room and turn to technology and video games when they're feeling stressed. I understand the appeal, I really do, but when I'm laden down with stress from people-oriented problems, the last thing I'll do is turn to something man-made to help alleviate those worries. Of course that's all my own opinion. Everyone views the world differently based on their own circumstances. Right now I'd say that I see the world as a pretty dark place. Lately there's been some flashes of light here and there, but nothing to convince me that the sunrise is coming anytime soon.Bookmark here

   "Heyooooo! Seiji-kun! Let's go!" Miyamoto-san and Maekawa-sensei cheered at me in unison.
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   I snapped out of it and looked at them. I must've neem spaced out for a bit because their arms were loaded with all kinds of souvenirs. What were they going to do with all that junk when we started hiking?

   "C'mon! Let's go, it's already one o'clock," Miyamoto-san whined. "I don't want to be here all dayyy."

   "Yeah yeah yeah, let's go then" I dismissed her and started for the trailhead.

   Maekawa-sensei was eyeing me the whole time and asked me, "You okay Seiji-kun? Someone piss in your cereal this morning?"

   "Just leave me alone for now. Tch" I said.

   "Okay boss-man," Sensei replied.

   Jeez. What's his deal today? Stop breathing down my neck. He's probably wondering if I'll be able to hold up on the hike after last night's "training session". I'll be fine. I iced up and managed to read about a quarter of the book he gave me. I admit that I do feel slightly unprepared, but I'm not really sure why. First time jitters I suppose.

   I stopped and turned around. Now that I thought about it, maybe I wasn't calm and happy because I was out in nature for the first time in a while. I think I just enjoy my company with Miyamoto-san and Maekawa-sensei, regardless of how boneheaded they can be sometimes. They're good people and they helped me out when I was in a pinch on that night in May. I think I'll give them a chance and stick with them for awhile. 

   I waved them over with a smile. "Hey! Let's go! The future's waiting for us!" I called out.
  
   "I'm not sure what's gotten into you, but let's do it!" Miyamoto-san agreed, sorta.

   "Alrighty then my beloved students, stay close and let's have some fun!" Sensei-sama concluded and then we started our ascent up the mountain.Bookmark here


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   We had probably been hiking for about two hours when I started to feel a somewhat unsettling feeling inside.

   "Sensei-sama, the sun is still high and there's plenty of light out, but there seeems to be fewer and fewer hikers on the trail" I pointed out. I think it had been an honest thirty minutes since the last time I saw someone.

   "Oh? So you noticed, " Sensei replied. "We must be getting closer to where the eidolon manifested. Normally they can't leave an area once they manifest, but there's always exceptions."

   "I was gonna say that we seemed to be entering an area with unusually high amounts of spectra energy," Miyamoto-san said.

   "I wonder what it'll look like," I said.

   "What do you think, Sensei-pan?"

   "Oh well it could be any number of things. The proof is in the pudding with the word eidolon, okay? The root word is idol, so the eidolon could be any common thing around here that got a bit too much attention, combined with some spectra energy, and Bam! Man-eating grasshopper eidolon!" he explained.

   "A man-eating grasshopper huh?" I said. I have no idea what to expect, so I'll take his word for it right now, and mentally prepare for a blood bath against a man-eating grasshopper.

   "Sensei-pan?"

   "Yes, Miya-chan?"

   "Aren't eidolons partly influenced by emotion? That's what can make them go sour right? It doesn't depend on whether it's positive or negative spectra energy, right, Sensei-pan?"

   "Right on target Miya-chan! I'd expect nothing less from you!" Sensei-pan, er, Sensei-sama said.

   I sighed and rolled my eyes. While my eyes were rolling all over the place I caught something out of the corner of my eyes. Two somethings to be exact.

   "Hey Sensei-sama. Wait up. I saw something weird just now" I said.

   "Oh yeah?" he mused.

   "Yeah, is there some kind of business convention up here? Or an expensive lodge in the mountains? I swear I just saw some dude running around the trees in a suit and fedora." Was this some kind of prank or something? Everyone knows you don't hike in formal attire. What a moron.

   "Ah, interesting. Don't worry about it. Buttt, I have to ask, do men in suits and fedoras remind you of anything?" he asked.

   I thought about it for a second. I opened my mouth to say something but thought better of it and didn't end up saying it. Not their business anyway.
 
   "Nope," I said flatly.

   "Oh well. Let's keep moving then" Sensei-sama cut the conversation short.

   "Onward!" Miyamoto-san enthusiastically pumped her fist in the air.

   "Woah woah, hold up. I want to take a picture with this thing" I said. It was the second thing I saw, and was another statue of that cool wooden bear wearing a yukata and aviator shades. I pulled my phone out and stood in front of the bear for a selfie. 

   Wow, this thing looks super realistic... was the last thought I had before said bear raised its arm and slapped me to the ground.Bookmark here


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   "Aghhh!" I shouted as I got knocked face first into the dirt. Stupid bear, ruined my picture. "Sensei!" I shouted again, "What's up with this thing!?"Bookmark here

   "Ah I thought it might turn out like this. Seiji-kun, calm down and come over here. That's the eidolon that's been causing trouble around here lately" Sensei-sama said.

   My mouth dropped. What!? This thing!? Forget it, I don't want a picture that badly. I scrambled over to Sensei-sama and Miyamoto-san as fast as I could.

   "Really Sensei-pan? It seems kinda weak. I almost didn't notice it:"

   "Well Miya-chan it's not particularly strong. I'd say only about 53% positive energy, so it isn't that dangerous to us. But more than enough to harass some hikers in the middle of the night."

   "What are you talking about?! If you knew that was the eidolon, why didn't you tell me?!" I shouted again. What kinda team is this!?

   "First of all Seiji-kun, there really are no teams in this line of work. That way of thinking will get you killed. Second, this thing is suuuper weak. Stop freaking out. You're not even hurt now are ya?" Sensei-sama chirped at me. 

   "C'mon Seiji-kun, get it together and get off the ground already" Miyamoto-san said to me.

   "Tch. Fine" I said.

   "Okay you two. I'd like to sit this one out if possible, but I also want to see Seiji-kun's progress. So Miya-chan, hold back a little, okay?" Maekawa-sensei directed.

   "Okayyy Sensei-pan" she said as she readied her sword.

   Ah right, my sword. I reached for it at my hip, and it wasn't there. My sword? My trusty weapon that I had been playing with all night long yesterday. Nowhere to be seen.

   "Grrrrrrrrrr..."

   I whipped my head around to the eidolon and watched it grow at least four times in size. I had forgotten about it, but it had all of my attention now. What was I gonna do without my sword? Arm wrestle it to non-existence?

   I looked over at Miyamoto-san and she smiled at me and said,"Step aside Seiji-kun, I'll take care of it."

   I nodded and ran behind her to be with Maekawa-sensei.

   Miyamoto-san took a deep breath, and I could feel her spectra energy gathering, forming. She looked incredibly powerful, and beautiful.

   The bear lunged at her, but she had left no openings for it to actually hurt her. She flicked her sword and repelled the bear back a few feet. 

   Suddenly, she crouched down. Maekawa-sensei whispered to me, "Watch closely Seiji-kun."

   I focused closer on Miyamoto-san. She looked to be preparing for an attack. She was crouching down, still, and waiting patiently.
 
   Now.

   The eidolon rushed her again and she went on the offensive. Slashing and striking with her sword, carefully dancing around each swipe and attack from the eidolon. It was truly mesmerizing to watch as she drew her sword across the eidolon's body leaving trails of red everywhere. Amazing.

   "Seiji-kun, you missed something," Maekawa-sensei interrupted.

   "What?" I said in a loud voice. I looked again at Miyamoto-san.

   She looked to be about finished with the bear, but something didn't feel right. In fact, she had only attacked the left side of the bear. It's whole other half was left untouched. 

   Regardless, she continued to filet the left side of the bear. Every strike, every movement of hers left the bear roaring in pain and rage.

   It swiped its right paw at Miyamoto-san's head, but she rolled out of the way. She looked at me smiling.

   She stood up and sheathed her sword. As the sword slid in with a definite "click", she said,
"Inherited technique 1: Reflection."

   The eidolon roared out in pain. Every cut on its left side was instantly reflected over to its right side. In the same sequence as Miyamoto-san cut the bear's left side, the same bloody slashes appeared one after the other until the bear was motionless.

   Inherited technique 1: Reflection? Pretty effective, to only have to do half the damage necessary, and then use the technique as the trump card. Very hot. Er, I mean very cool.

   "Alrighty then! Good job Miya-chan! You too Seiji-kun. You might just have what it takes to be our mascot!" Maekawa-sensei said. 

   "Sorry I wasn't much help," I said. "Uh, Miyamoto-san, I'll carry your sword and stuff down the mountain so you can rest."

   "Oh it's okay! Watch this!" She took her sword, sheath and all, and called out, "Inverse Rift!" A small space opened up in mid-air, and she tossed her sword and all of her stuff in. That must've been how they carried all of their souvenirs.

   "Whaaa... what was that!?" I couldn't believe my eyes, everything was just gone. It was an opening in the air, but it had no visible depth or volume. Where did it lead to I wonder?

   "Oh, Inverse Rift? It's a basic technique used to store stuff. It's pretty handy" Miyamoto-san explained to me.

   "Woahhhh" I said, thoroughly blown away. "Surely you can do more than store stuff with it, right?" 

   Miyamoto-san shrugged for her answer and we all started to walk down the mountain.
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   "Sensei-sama?" I asked. "Can you explain to me how to use Inverse Rift? I remember I was a bit self-conscious about going out in public with my sword, and I guess I left it at home because I was so anxious and forgot about it."

   "Oh Seiji-kun, first I'll teach you the three C's" he said.

   Three C's? Just answer my question!

   "They're simple and don't need any explanation. Also use them if anyone asks you why you're carrying around a sword or doing crazy unnatural things with spectra energy, okay?"

   "Okay" I gave in.
 
   "First, cosplay. Second, conventions. Third, confidence. With those three tools you can get out of any situation. You never have to worry about going outside with your sword if you apply the three C's correctly, got it?"

   "Yes, Sensei-sama."

   "As for Inverse Rift, it's concentrated spectra energy that only accepts things of the opposite energy. Thus, if your Inverse Rift is positive spectra energy, then you can only put in things with negative spectra energy."

   "Ah, okay. Makes sense, I guess. So how do I do it?" I asked.

   "Someone else puts spectra energy into you in the form of a physical marking, like a brand or a tattoo. Then you can use it as much as you like. Pretty simple" Sensei-sama explained.

   "Oh, a tattoo? I'm not sure about that, I'm still young ya know" I said. I wasn't sure if I was ready to become a walking mural.Bookmark here

   "Don't worry about it. It's always something discreet and small. I'll ink you up when we get back home."Bookmark here

   At this point we had already finished descending the mountain and had started the bus ride home.Bookmark here

   "Okay just don't do something weird" I said.Bookmark here

   "Okayyy, you got it!" Maekawa-sensei smiled with a funny face.Bookmark here

   "Hehehe" Miyamoto-san laughed.Bookmark here

   I smiled, it was a good day. I learned a lot, but most importantly nobody got hurt. In the end Maekawa-sensei deduced that the eidolon formed from all the children being scared of the real wooden bear statue and the bad attitudes of the people waiting in line for their pictures. I however, never got my picture taken with the bear.Bookmark here


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   We stopped at Occult Club Inc. For a few minutes so I could get my Inverse Rift and our new assignments. I got my tattoo just fine and it surprisingly turned out good. It was a small little cowboy on the inside of my index finger. I was seriously impressed. I should've known Sensei-sama would do a good job considering he is covered in tattoos. Maybe he does them all himself.Bookmark here

   "Okay, that should be about it for the night, okay" Maekawa-sensei told us. He had cleverly imbued a tattoo needle with his spectra energy to provide maximum detail. A sign of a real professional if you ask me. Bookmark here

   "You two have a fun week, I'll be out of town. You don't need to come into the shop, okay?" he said.Bookmark here

   I could tell Miyamoto-san was surprised at the news. We looked at each other and confirmed our thoughts with a single look in the eyes. Yup. No questions asked. No work next week, totally chill. Let sleeping bears lay. We gathered our things and went to leave the store but Maekawa-sensei stopped us. Bookmark here

   "One last thing. You two need to spend more time together to build more chemistry and coordination. Hmm, let's see. How about you two go on a date during your week off?" he proposed.Bookmark here

    "What!??! A date!?!?" Miyamoto-san and I shouted in unison.Bookmark here

   "Yup, Miya-chan. Teach Seiji-kun some more basic stuff. Seiji-kun. Be a gentleman." He dismissed us with those sharp plans for our date.Bookmark here

   A date? I can't believe it. With Miyamoto-san too, of all people. What kinda world have I gotten myself into? A world with one slick wingman at my side in Maekawa-sensei I'd say.Bookmark here

   "... you have got to be kidding me" she muttered. Looks like we weren't on the same page here. "Seiji-kun. Here's my phone number. I'll message you the details for the date. Don't message me first " she commanded.Bookmark here

   "Oh um, thanks. And I won't" I said smoothly. I added her contact and quickly snapped a photo of her with the flash on.Bookmark here

   "What the!?! What are you doing!!" she yelped.Bookmark here

   "It's for your contact ID. I need a picture of you so I know who it is if I don't recognize your name right away" I explained. Bookmark here

   "Jeez. You're so extra!" she yapped.Bookmark here

   "Have a good night Miyamoto-san. See you later" I said to her before walking off. She's a big girl. She can get home safely.Bookmark here

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   I walked home. It was dark but a relatively safe part of town. I arrived home without a problem, ate, bathed and got into bed. I was tired from the long day and the long night yesterday. I couldn't help but smile about Miyamoto-san. I'm really going on a date with her. I looked at her contact info and the goofy picture of her. Hmm, she gave me her number but said don't message me first. I'm sure she knew that if I received messages from an unknown number with plans for a date I would know it was from her. But she gave me her number specifying not to contact her first. Bookmark here

   Maybe I'll give it a try. I've heard girls are complicated like that and try and pull stuff to take the advantage on their crush later on. Not me, I'm a winner. Bookmark here

   I thought about my best pickup line to send her. Hmm, many options. Oh! I remembered a meme I saw that promises success with late night conversations. A pickup line that has more power and game than "hey you up rn?".Bookmark here

   < hey you hungry? im buying >Bookmark here

   Sent and delivered. In a few moments it was read and I saw she was typing. Looks like I won't be getting a good night's rest.Bookmark here

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