Parable of the Renegades
Hi! Jio Kurenai here!
I decided to write this "Reflection" chapter for two reasons. One: it serves as sort of a recap for the recent chapters, and Two: It is written in first-person from the character in question as a way to dive deeper into his / her thoughts on the matter. Who knows? Another side of them might even be revealed here!
Feel free to leave a comment below. It can be anything like a random question, a comment for fun or any constructive criticism to help me improve! A "Like" would definitely be appreciated too!
I vanished out of sight from the public as I decided to satisfy my curiosity and enter the alleyway, carefully trying to pinpoint the source that the sound of metal being brandished was coming from. I had to see this. Even though almost every resident of Cameron's Feint had a weapon in hand, it's not everyday that you witness violence outside of the Underground Arena.
I turned several corners while keeping my ears peeled for conflict. As I lived near the town of Cameron's Feint like well, most of my life, I knew the structure of the city like the back of my hand, so even though I appeared to be going in random directions as I navigated myself in the maze-like alleyway, I wasn't getting lost. It's almost scary that I knew where I was going.
Then, I began to feel strange. A throbbing pain in my chest as if my heart became heavier. I recalled that it was getting harder and harder to breathe, and I almost felt like I couldn't bear the weight on my chest. I nearly stumbled down to my knees.
In a few minutes, I began to feel better, like the weight had been lifted off. Before I could start questioning what heck just happened, I realized that I found the Knights of Viola and their apparent target, a person who seemed to be in his late teens.
I had no intention of getting involved. I only wanted to witness what was about to happen, so I hid behind a large dumpster and tried my best to ignore the smell of garbage coming from it.
The target whom the Knights of Viola believed to be a [Renegade], wore a hoodie jacket as his most distinctive feature with the hood completely obscuring his face. All he carried with him was a simple backpack that didn't really look any different than the ones you would see at school.
Throughout his encounter with the knights, he never said a word. He just stood still and waited patiently as the leader of the knights started a long rant on how he was accused of being a stalker to three different people, including the girl the knights were fighting for. Ironically, for the knights to learn his pattern, they had to stalk him for several days, which the knights referred to as a "daily observation."
I never expected to witness this kind of drama with all the old English speech and what seemed to be planned choreography from the knights. Still, I gotta hand it to them, even if they wanted their "maiden" to at least acknowledge them for their efforts, the leader did swear that he and his followers would protect Cameron's Feint and share their experience and knowledge of their battle with the [Renegade] to the public.
Unfortunately, I will forever wonder if they intended to keep the last part a promise or not.
Why? Here's why:
With their weapons in hand and me still safely hidden behind the dumpster, I looked on as the hooded figure prepared to defend himself from the angry mob of knights.
I was surprised when I saw his weapon of choice - a silver sword with no blade. It was just a grip and a hilt, but said hilt... wow, it looked just like the open jaws of a wolf. While it looked kind of intimidating, I was unsure if such a weapon would be useful in this situation as it looked like only one human neck could fit into those wolf jaws, if that was how it was meant to be used.
One by one, the knights attacked the hooded figure with their western-styled swords in hand.
Wait a minute, earlier they were charging in like an angry mob. I could only think of two possibilities. One: they were being like actual knights and went for fair one-on-one duels despite fighting as a team. Two: they would probably get in each other's way if they attacked at the same time.
Whatever the reason, the knights sure weren't on the winning end. Every swing of their swords were caught in the wolf's jaws, the hooded figure would then disarm them of their weapons with a flick of his wrist then kick them away.
I've been in fights more than I can count thanks to the Underground Arena and I stood my ground against several fighting styles. I was certain that the hooded figure fought off his attackers like a thug. Nothing graceful. His parrying and disarming looked rough and brutal, but the kicks he gave after that made it clear to me that he was holding back his strength. Whenever he disarmed a knight of his sword, he would forcefully turn them around then raise a single leg that didn't exert any force until it was already in contact with a knight's behind. The result was a simple push that shoved a knight away from him, but it was relatively harmless.
Maybe this was the hooded figure's message to the knights that they should just give up and retreat. After all he didn't do anything else to every knight that he pushed away. He was even allowing them to reclaim their weapons as they flew a short distance away, right after leaving the hands of their knight.
This process repeated a few times. If the knights didn't voice out their conviction, I would have seen them as the villains here by the way this scene played out.
From an outsider's perspective, the Knights of Viola weren't going anywhere with their efforts. They would have probably made a tactical retreat if it wasn't for that one member on the team's rear, who boosted the team morale on how he originally felt this heavy weight on his chest, but that negative feeling had now been replaced with a positive one.
Strange. Earlier, all the knights and I were feeling the same thing a moment ago. Now the knights felt something better, but I didn't. "What in the world is happening?" I wondered. Well I found out why a few seconds later.
With their morality restored, they started to chant a battle cry in unison. Apparently, this was what they called the "Power of Positivity." Their chanting grew louder and louder and louder...
... And then the volume and intensity got cut down in chunks.
From the shadows, I saw flashes of silver shaped in crescents surrounding the knight farthest from me. When they stopped appearing, red lines appeared one by one in quick succession all over the knight, painting his almost all of his white uniform to red.
I know that shade of red, I've seen it all my life. I draw it from people and it gets drawn from me.
Blood... All over him...
But what surprised me wasn't the fact that he was cut all over in what could be the blink of an eye... No, it wasn't that.
What shocked me was the knight's reaction.
He still had that bright look on his face, like he was ready to charge into battle. As he took his first step, the pressure on the foot that went ahead led the entire leg to crumble down like a house of cards, the rest of him followed shortly. Only then did he start to realize that something was wrong.
It was as if his body had to take a moment to realize that he had just been cut to pieces.
The knights in front of him didn't notice, and kept the chants going. It was only when the volume of their united battle cry went down by about half that they finally looked behind them.
I saw for myself the one responsible for those silver flashes. Out of the shadows walked a girl. The first thing I noticed while the darkness was still hiding her was that one of her eyes was colored blue while the other eye was covered by an eye-patch. With the kimono she wore and the katana she carried, she was definitely not someone from the western side of the planet.
Something bothered me though. While I don't know much about the people from the east, I'm certain that none of them have natural blue eyes.
As I saw her shift into a battle stance, the hooded figure started to respond unlike how he dealt with the knights.
His right hand, which now that I think about it, had been inside his jacket pocket the whole time, was revealed to be wrapped all over in bandages. I watched him pull back his right jacket sleeve then unwind the white strip of cloth and I couldn't believe what they were hiding...
His right arm didn't look human at all! It was all dark green and gooey like the sludge from an uncleaned rain gutter. I looked at his left hand to check if it was just like his right. Even though it was mostly covered by his jacket's sleeve, what I saw was genuine human skin.
The girl then made her move, sprinting forward with incredible speed, a hand firmly gripping her katana's handle. She appeared to be targeting the hooded figure just like the Knights of Viola, but apparently she didn't think of the knights as her allies.
Her movements were so fluid and graceful, full of twisting, turning and flipping. Every knight she passed, a single silver flash appeared and the knight would drop down dead. She never had to slash multiple times unlike the first knight. One slash was already lethal. She was probably targeting the vital points of everyone else. It was like watching a movie scene that had been rehearsed multiple times to perfection.
I couldn't help, but be amazed by her skill and at the same time, be afraid of it.
It was also like watching death itself effortlessly take the lives of everything it touched. Not once did she look at any of the Knights of Viola - even the leader, whose effort to protect himself was pointless. She had her gaze fixated on the hooded figure and only him.
Being killed despite not being considered a noteworthy threat must suck a whole lot.
The knights were wiped out in less than a minute and I was certain that there were about ten members.
I had to get out of here, but I was frozen still by my desire to see how this confrontation between the foreign girl and the hooded figure would reach its conclusion. Little did I know that this would become a huge mistake.
The hooded figure displayed the ability to stretch his right arm like rubber as his fingers extended to grab a large object, which he threw at the girl with incredible force.
That object was a dumpster, and it wasn't just any dumpster - it was the same one I was using as a hiding spot.
The girl easily and vertically bisected the dumpster, but it turned out to be a decoy that the hooded figure used as a means to escape as he ran into one of the other paths in the alleyway.
Now all that was left in the scene was the girl, me and a lot of blood stained corpses.
I looked at her in awe and she glared back. She prepared to go after me, and I realized it was time to run like hell.
This was my chance encounter with Rio Kiyodera.
I didn't think I could run faster than her. I mean, I watched how she slaughtered the Knights of Viola in a matter of seconds. Instead, what I felt to be my advantage was that I knew the ins and outs of Cameron's Feint. I had to rely on that and make sure I didn't trip along the way.
I tried to run away through the alleyway like it was a maze. Well, it basically was a maze with all those pathways in between the structures in the area, but I couldn't afford to make my escape path an easy one to read.
I checked the time on my smartphone and I was really devastated to find out that the next bus wouldn't be leaving for the next seven minutes! I wasn't hearing any footsteps behind me, but I kept myself cautious and continued running.
Even after I was out of the boundaries of Cameron's Feint, I didn't stop because there was almost nothing that could hide me from anyone's sight save for a few trees along the side of the road. Without taking any breaks, I ran non-stop to try to reach my house that was built on the residential village of Falcon Rock.
One big problem I had was that I was still too young to drive a car. You see, Falcon Rock is located on top of mountain, and to get there means climbing a really steep road. But hey, there are conveniences like the car your parents drive and the bus so long as you were on time before the next one leaves and if you have some spare change. No one was complaining.
Well here's one guy who now looks the other way.
After plenty of stumbling, falling down on my knees and blurting out expletives (thank goodness it seems no one heard me...) I finally arrived at the residential village of Falcon Rock.
I wasn't safe yet as I still had to run past several houses until I reached my own and the bright streetlamps that were practically everywhere around the village didn't do a good job at keeping me noticeable.
Thank goodness I was able to make it home without being caught. Still, I was in the outside world and not in the safe confinement of my room. I knocked on the front door really hard until Rea answered it.
The moment the door opened, a gust of wind blew in as I made a mad dash for my room on the second floor, giving Rea a really half-assed answer to a question she asked along the way. *Sigh* I wouldn't normally do that. I figured I should go apologize to her after I calmed down.
As soon as I broke into my room, I didn't bother to turn on the lights. I just flung off my shoes, closed all the windows and jumped onto bed. It's my room after all, and I pretty much know the location of every object I placed in there.
Smashing job, self. Because I let my curiosity get the best of me in that one moment, there's a possibility that a killer girl on the loose wants me dead.
I was watching it over and over again in my mind. The girl slaughtering all the Knights of Viola kept playing in my head as I tried to force myself to sleep. Had I been in the way, I could have been killed just as easily as them.
My worries began to fade away thanks to the soft foam of my bed's mattress. I began to relax thanks to cold wind entering the room, gently brushing my face. Seconds later, I was out cold.
Wait a minute... I could have sworn that I left the windows closed before trying to put myself to sleep. And why do I suddenly feel really aroused? Aroused like I was watching those forbidden clips for those who are at least eighteen...
Then I Iooked up at my ceiling. The room was dark, but in that darkness I saw a single glowing blue eye starring back at me. I knew who that belonged to, but I was hoping that my mind was just playing tricks on me.
It almost felt like a jump-scare when I turned on the lights by clapping twice. Right above me and clinging on to the ceiling was Rio, looking all determined to end my existence with that vicious glare.
I had no doubt that it wasn't a dream, but my hands acted on their own and turned off the lights. Thinking about it now, I realized it was a bad move on my part. Had the lights been on, maybe my next-door neighbors could have noticed that something wrong was happening in my room.
But anyway, what's done is done...
Gravity did its work and Rio landed right on top of me and she took advantage of my recoil to pin me down. I tried to ask her a question as loud as could to alert anyone nearby especially Rea, who was downstairs, but Rio forced me to shut up by forcing one of arms on my throat.
I was silenced and I couldn't escape from my bed. Then I heard the slow hissing of her katana being pulled out of its scabbard and saw my life flash before my eyes. Before the blade could reach my throat, I was able to stop her move by grabbing the arm that held the katana. I was probably physically stronger than her, judging by how thin her arms were, but I was losing in this test of strength. I felt my stamina draining by the second that I needed to use both of my arms. How could this be happening? Then again, I did run several kilometers to get here from Cameron's Feint.
I was about a second away from being killed on the spot when the sound of foot steps coming from the hallway outside my room caught the girl's attention. Perfect timing, Rea!
Taking advantage of the diversion, I was able to knock off the katana from Rio's hand and thankfully, it flew outside the window. Thank goodness, I thought. At least she shouldn't be able to kill me without her weapon... Or so I thought.
Armed or unarmed, Rio Kiyodera is one dangerous enigma.
I tried to throw her off the bed so I could head to the door in order to alert Rea, but Rio made sure that wouldn't happen.
Before she could hit the floor, she grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me off the bed with her. Holy Hell, I won't be forgetting what happened after that.
I felt so mature at the moment. Right after she got disarmed, get this - she switched her fighting style and started to wrestle me on the floor! No matter how much I struggled, I found myself helplessly pinned flat on my back. I could only look up at Rio's face as she straddled me. She was giving me a smile, but in a manner that looked like it was meant to taunt me. She knew I was helpless against her.
Wrestling or grappling, a discipline involving holds and locks to gain a physical advantage - That is a fighting style I have no know idea how to deal with. The Battle Royale at the Underground arena is always about multiple competitors fighting each other at the same time, so quick and easy strikes like punches and kicks were favored over grappling a single opponent, which would most likely leave you defenseless against someone else.
To think it would happen now, and against a girl of all people. I'd consider myself lucky if I weren't in a life or death situation.
The knocks on my door that followed told me that Rea had decided to check up on me. She had to leave soon for a week to attend a seminar in another town so with this being my one and only chance, I tried to shout and give her a warning, but Rio silenced me again with her forearm forced upon my throat.
I couldn't believe how Rio managed to counter my attempt. Rea did hear my voice, except it wasn't coming from me. By pinching her own neck with her thumb and index finger, Rio adjusted the pitch and tone of her voice - to sound exactly like me. Are you kidding me!? She barely even heard me speak when I attempted to question her earlier and she managed to imitate my voice perfectly? Then again, maybe it wasn't exactly perfect, but it was enough to convince Rea that she was hearing my voice.
Still disguising her voice, Rio told my step-mother that everything was alright and that she could leave all the responsibilities to me, or in this case, her. It wasn't long before she exited the house, and with that, my last call for help was leaving me with a girl who could kill me.
Rea may have left the house, but there was a chance that I could still catch up to her if I can get out of Rio's clutches.
I cleared my thoughts of regret and reason to do one thing...
Hit a girl.
With one of my arms unrestrained from her pin, I gave Rio a quick right hook to her ribcage, which I believed should get her off me and stun her long enough for me to escape. I was correct in my assumption, but I didn't expect Rio to give off such a strange moan when she felt that punch. It sounded so seductive, I was distracted for a moment, but I was able to snap out of it and make a bolt for the door.
It seems my distraction was a deciding factor here, because before my hand could reach the doorknob, Rio had already recovered and pounced on me from behind, subjecting me into a chokehold to keep me restrained and to slowly strangle me to sleep, or even worse... Death.
Thanks to some quick thinking, I was able to reverse the situation which led to Rio possibly getting a concussion when her head collided with the door, but that was just enough to make her release me from her hold. It wasn't long before she recovered again and got another choke hold on me, this time her legs were encircled around my neck and doing the strangling.
I was left with no options this time as I saw the world blacking out with each second passing, but then it was thanks to something unlikely that Rio released me again.
She recoiled in surprise when she lifted up the hair bangs that were partially covering the upper half of my face and thus, exposing my eyes.
She exclaimed that my eyes were not that of a normal human being. Yes, I know what she's talking about.
Right now, my normally brown eyes lost their color - They were now as white as pearls.
I have no idea how this happens. Sometimes my eyes are brown, like normal people, but at random they turn white. It's because of this that I hide my eyes with my hair bangs, although my vision isn't ruined at all by doing this. I guess it's just that case of a brain function where unnecessary things we constantly see in our line of sight get filtered out.
It was thanks to my strange eyes that Rio unintentionally freed me, but I couldn't escape from my room because she was blocking the door. Jumping out the window was not a good idea either because with my room being on the second floor, that height might lead me to breaking my legs from the fall.
I tried to weasel my way out by telling Rio that me witnessing her was just an accident, and it seemed to be working because she told me she would leave if I told her my name. Naturally, I obliged and she introduced herself back.
From her introduction, I found out we were the same age and that Rio came from the Eastern nation of Nihan, a place that Davis would give an arm and a leg to visit.
I thought my troubles had finally come to an end, but then Rio told me she wasn't leaving alone. Before I could react, she had already knocked me unconscious.