Chapter 20:


Every Side of the World

The following day came by, and Kizou sprung right out of bed. His energy seemed to come back, and his fever went down. It was more than likely that he recovered from the exhaustion of using magic affinities without even training. He sprinted out of the cabin and ran outside.

“Well look who seems to be having more energy today,” Grandpa said with a smile.

“I’ve never felt better actually,” Kizou said with a smile.

Grandpa and Kizou both went out to the woods to chop down wood to bring back. Kizou seemed to be able to cut the wood easier which had even Grandpa surprised.

“Weren’t you just struggling two days ago to cut this down?” Grandpa asked with a slight chuckle.

“I’m telling you Grandpa, I feel like I have more energy than usual,” Kizou said as he jumped up.

Grandpa couldn’t help but laugh at seeing how energetic Kizou was. They both brought the wood back, and Kizou managed to keep up with Grandpa for once. As they reached the house, Kizou waved bye towards Grandpa and started walking over to Dax’s shop.

“I’m here, Dax!” Kizou yelled as he opened the door.

“Ahhh!” Dax said as he looked towards the door. “Don’t scare me like that!”

“Sorry,” Kizou said as he started laughing. “Did you end up finishing the sword?”

“I actually just did a short while ago,” Dax said as he went to retrieve the sword from a chest.

The chest was embroidered with jewelry, but Kizou couldn’t tell if it was fake or not. It was his first time seeing jewelry, and it caught his attention immediately. Dax slowly opened up the chest, and Kizou peered inside.

A navy blue sword with a hilt in the shape of a dragon was sitting there. Kizou’s eyes widened as he could tell that this sword was something precious.

“Can I touch it?” Kizou asked.

“Sure,” Dax said. “Call it a reward for always helping me.”

Kizou grabbed the sword and started waving it around.

“Don’t wave it around so recklessly, it’s something-”

Dax stopped in his tracks as he watched Kizou swing the sword. Kizou seemed to be emitting a huge amount of pressure right before every strike that even caught Dax off guard. It was almost as if he had a lot of experience.

“Have you ever touched a sword before?” Dax asked curiously.

“Nope, never,” Kizou said with a smile. “I’m actually going to get trained by Tomiko in a bit.”

“Never, huh?” Dax asked. “And you’re going to train with little Tomiko?”

Why does Dax seem overly familiar with her? Kizou thought to himself.

“Yeah,” Kizou said excitedly as he put the sword back into the chest.

“She’s about to get her feelings hurt,” Dax said with a laugh. “I’ll let you in on a secret.”

“What is it?” Kizou asked.

“I actually have two of the same exact swords,” Dax whispered to Kizou. “They gave me a large scale, but they didn’t realize that I only needed half to make a sword.”

“So, you’re telling me I can keep one?!” Kizou exclaimed.

“On one condition,” Dax said.

“What is it? What is it?” Kizou asked with a big smile.

“You land a strike on Tomiko during your training,” Dax said as he crossed his arms with a smile.

“Wait,” Kizou said. “I’m barely starting sword training, how am I supposed to land a strike?”

“Maybe that’s why I made that condition,” Dax said as he walked back to his workstation. “Don’t worry, I’ll be informed if you do or not.”

What does he mean by that? Kizou thought to himself.

“Fine then, I’ll try to land a strike!” Kizou yelled as he ran out of the door.

Dax was laughing to himself at seeing the sight of Kizou being riled up. Footsteps could be heard coming from another room.

“Interesting one, isn’t he?” Dax asked with a smile. “I see why you’re so invested in him.”

“He definitely has potential,” Osamu said. “I can see it.”

“Potential to be a Chariot?” Dax asked. “Are you sure about that?”

“Have I ever been wrong?” Osamu asked. “And shouldn’t you be addressing me appropriately?”

“We’ve been acquaintances for 10 years,” Dax answered with a laugh. “I may be 40, but you’re only 30 yourself.  Besides, I've stayed in this village longer, so I am your senior.”

“I’ll let you pass for now, just because we’re in this village,” Osamu said with a sigh. “I just got word.”

“Is it time?” Dax asked with a serious tone.

“Yes, it’s time,” Osamu answered.

With their conversation coming to a conclusion, Kizou was unaware of the eventful change that was about to occur. 

Kizou continued running towards the shop to help deliver the orders. He looked at his first order and quickly ran over to the house.

“Hello, delivery!” Kizou yelled out before walking away.

“Kizou!” Hoshu yelled out. “Come here.”

Kizou was surprised to see Tomiko’s mom calling out to him, so he went up to her.

“Yes?” Kizou asked nervously. He slowly walked up towards her.

“Hmmm,” Hoshu mumbled as she looked at Kizou from head to toe.

“Did I dress wrong?” Kizou asked as he looked at what he was wearing.

“Just trying to see what my daughter sees in you,” Hoshu said with a smile as she tapped her lips with her fingers.

Wait? That was a joke right? Kizou thought to himself.

“Tell Tomiko I said thanks,” Kizou said as he embarrassingly ran off. As he ran off, Tomiko walked up to her mom from behind.

“Mom, who was that?” Tomiko said as she just finished getting dressed.

“No one,” Hoshu said as she chuckled. “But your dad just informed me that it’s time.”

“Are you serious?!” Tomiko exclaimed as she looked depressed.

“What do you look so sad about?” Hoshu asked. “You’ve been asking for it to happen, since we first arrived here a few months ago.”

“Well, I don’t want to now,” Tomiko said as she started playing with her sword on her waist.

Ahhh, so I was right, Hoshu said with a smile.

“Sorry that it came at a bad time,” Hoshu said. “Just got about your day as usual.”

Tomiko exited out of the house and walked towards the river. Kizou was still delivering the rest of the orders and was finally able to run down to the river.

“I have finally arrived,” Kizou said as he met up with Tomiko. He noticed that something felt different about her.

“Never keep a teacher waiting,” Tomiko said angrily as she threw him a stick.

“Sorry, Ms. Tomiko,” Kizou said as he grabbed the stick.

“Well today, I will teach you sword training,” Tomiko said. “I know that you’re just a beginner but due to time, we’re going to rush straight into it.”

What does she mean by due to time? Kizou thought to himself.

“That’s fine,” Kizou said as he kept the wager with Dax in his mind.

“Oh?” Tomiko asked curiously. “Then let’s make a bet.”

“Hmm,” Kizou said as became intrigued. “Depends on the condition.”

“If you manage to land a hit on me, I’ll let you in on a secret,” Tomiko said with a smile.

That’s the bet? Kizou thought to himself.

“I’m going to be honest,” Kizou said. “But that’s a pretty lame bet.”

“Well, what else would you want?” Tomiko asked annoyingly.

I guess I don’t really have anything I want from Tomiko, Kizou thought to himself. Or do I?

“Nah, I’ll take you on your bet!” Kizou exclaimed as he held his stick.

“That’s more like it,” Tomiko said as she held her stick tightly as well.

“But I won’t hit you at all on your face,” Kizou said as he examined his stick.

She’d probably get mad if I hit her pretty face, Kizou shuddered to himself.

“You won’t even get that close to me,” Tomiko said with a mocking laugh.

The atmosphere was quiet to where even the sound of the river could be easily heard. The birds were chirping in the air, and even the hollow trees could be heard making noise due to the wind. Kizou and Tomiko both looked at each other with a smile.

They both lunged at one another with the stick in their hands. At first, Tomiko was going easy on Kizou as she didn’t want to overpower him with her experience.

Maybe I should throw in simple strikes? Tomiko thought to herself.

She threw horizontal and vertical slashes, but she still tried to put some power into them.

However, every simple strike that she threw seemed to be easily deflected by Kizou who was smiling. Kizou didn’t throw any strikes at Tomiko.

Why do I feel like I’ve done this countless times before? Kizou thought to himself as adrenaline seemed to fill up his body.

How is he deflecting every single attack? Tomiko worrily thought to herself.

She changed her strikes and decided to go in with a feint to show that even in sword fighting, there are tricks that are utilized.

I didn’t want to win this way, but I don't want to lose either, Tomiko thought to herself.

She pretended to throw a strike to Kizou on his right side to which Kizou seemed to bite and move his stick towards that side. Suddenly, Tomiko’s angle of her strike turned and was heading towards Kizou’s left side.

Got you! Tomiko thought to herself.

As she was about to hit his side, Kizou’s stick came and deflected that as well. Tomiko leapt back.

How is he keeping up with me? Tomiko thought to herself.

“You can stop going easy on me now,” Kizou said seriously. “I’m pretty sure you can defeat me in an instant.”

“Just like to mess around,” Tomiko said with a laugh as her mood instantly got ruined.

I guess I can throw some magic, Tomiko thought to herself. He needs to be prepared for anything.

Tomiko rushed back to Kizou. Kizou stood his ground and waited for her to attack, since it looked like she was coming straight at him.

“This counts by the way. Craters of the Earth!” Tomiko yelled as she pointed her other hand out.

She stopped in her tracks to distract Kizou, since he was focused on attacking her head on.

Wait, magic?! And it counts?! Kizou thought to himself.

Kizou looked to the left and right and saw small rocks being launched at him at alarming speed. Suddenly, he felt a weird feeling in his right eye.

It’s like that time again, Kizou thought to himself as he looked in both directions.

Everything stopped moving again for less than a second, and Kizou was able to back up and avoid the rocks in time. As they clashed, Tomiko looked at Kizou with surprise.

How did he manage to dodge the rocks?! Tomiko thought to herself.

Kizou was breathing hard after using his eye. He still wasn’t sure what the conditions were for it to activate, whether it was due to magic, or if it was because he was about to die. He only knew that it took too much energy from him. He wanted to master this technique.

“I’m not done yet!” Tomiko yelled. “Sea Dragon’s Typhoon!”

A gush of water came out of the river that looked like the body of a snake as it coiled around and tried to rush Kizou.

This jerk! Kizou thought to himself with a smile. She’s been hiding how amazing she really is.

As Kizou’s breathing continued to get heavier, his eye activated again.

Well, I guess I got one more run with this, Kizou thought to himself.

He rushed towards Tomiko, and time would stop for less than a second everytime Tomiko’s water magic was about to hit him. He was able to dodge every strike, since his eye stopped its movement for him.

Kizou really is incredible! Tomiko thought to herself with a smile. But there’s a limit to everything.

As Kizou stood there breathing hard, he saw Tomiko rushing him. His eye seemed to still be working as he managed to dodge all of her strikes. Tomiko threw feints, heavy attacks, and even aimed at his legs. Kizou was barely able to dodge them all as his fatigue was catching up to him that he wasn't able to throw a strike at all. Tomiko continued with her barrage of strikes as she could tell that Kizou was tiring out.

“In a fight, you have to be prepared for anything,” Tomiko said as Kizou continued to breathe harder. “Or else you’ll never be respected.”

Why does it sound like she’s talking from experience? Kizou thought to himself.

“This is the end!” Tomiko yelled as she raised her sword for one final strike.

Kizou’s eye finally deactivated, but he didn’t need it to be able to avoid Tomiko’s strike. He stepped back to dodge and lifted his stick up high.

“Ahhh!” Kizou let out a final yell as this was the last bit of energy that he had.  He brought his sword down from the top of his head.

“I knew you’d dodge,” Tomiko said with a smile as she quickly raised her sword back up to which Kizou’s sword went flying to the air.

Kizou fell to the floor and was passed out due to the excess amount of energy that he used. Tomiko kept her sword pointed down at him until realizing that he was finally out.

I can’t believe he managed to dodge every attack and magic spell that was thrown at him, Tomiko thought to herself. Too bad he only threw that last strike, he might’ve been able to hit me if he didn’t focus on dodging so much.

She crouched down and put her hand through Kizou’s hair and let out a smile. She tapped her stick on Kizou’s head to signal her win. As she smiled, she suddenly felt something hit her on the shoulder. She looked over to see what it was, and she let out a shocked look before turning it into a smile.

The strike that Tomiko thought she took to knock Kizou’s sword out of his hand was actually him throwing it up. The only strike he threw wasn’t even a direct strike the whole time.

He did say he wouldn’t hit me on the face, Tomiko thought to herself as she started laughing. Tears were slowly coming out of her eyes.

“And to think I was just beginning to have fun in this village,” Tomiko said as the tears slowly came down. She leaned towards Kizou’s cheek and gave him a kiss as Kizou was snoring with a smile.