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|Ame no ko|
Joined : 2019-12-07
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|Subject Post 11Subject: Re: Business as usual Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:44 am|| |
Hanako prepared herself as well as she could in the moments she had. The two Hollows where rushing at her, the dog a bit faster. In a straight line it came charging at her and jumped from almost ten feet away. With a quick sidestep she brought herself out of his line of movement and struck horizontally across his side. Angry howling was the answer.
But there was no time to loose. The other one, the torso, was now at her side, attacking with a large, hinged bone-blade on it’s forearm. She parried with the side of her blade, pushed it out of the way. A slight rotation of her sword brought the cutting edge to face the enemy and a quick, diagonal-upwards strike cut the mask of the hollow to pieces and it vanished in a shriek and a dark cloud of reishi.
Just a heartbeat after that she heard and felt movement behind her back. Her sword still in a high position she made a tai-sabaki to turn around, while executing a wide and deadly downwards sweep. The sword hit the mask of the dog just on the edge, chipping it but not destroying it. So Hanako used the momentum for a circular motion, to bring her sword back up again. Now, with a two handed slash she finally cut the mask in two halves and ended the hollow dog.
For a moment she felt a rush. Her first two hollows she had faced alone in combat and she was victorious. Without so much as a scratch.
Without hesitation Hanako turned, her sword ready in both hands before her body, to face the other hollows. But the shrouded one, who seemed to be the leader of the pack, just...laughed.
The sound of his laugh sent shivers down her spine. No one moved, no one made a sound. Except for the shrouded one. He seemed to quite enjoy himself.
“What is so funny.” Hanako growled with clenched teeth.
“Oh, I enjoyed the show, that is all.” the shrouded one answered. “I wonderrr how you’d be handling yourrrself in a rrreal fight.”
“What? What do you mean? Real fight? I’ve slain two of your comrades, how much more real can it get?”
“Well, you didn’t rrreally fight them.” the shrouded-one said.
“Stop trying to bullshit me. I wasn’t just standing there, staring into space.”
Again, this laugh.
“Oh, nonono, nothing like that. You werrre really in a fight. Quite a good technique therrre, I must say. And if my ‘comrrrades’ rrreally werrre at that level you rrreally would have defeated them. But, you see, they arrre not. In fact, you neverrr touched them. Orrr anything. You werrre fighting thin airrr.”
For a moment Hana didn’t know what to say. Then she felt the blood rush into her head like a fire burning.
“Don’t fuck with me. You’re lying.”
“Nooooo, rrreally, this is the trrruth. I just wanted a little fun. Don’t believe me, hm? Ah well, then let me show you some morrre…”
As he spoke Hanako had already decided to attack. She jumped forward…
In the same moment the two she already had slain appeared at the side of the shrouded-one. And the other hollows, which had been oretty random to this point, suddenly transformed into countless copies of the dog and the torso. And they alk charged. Suddenly Hanako was in the midst of a mass of hollows. Endless copies of the same two. She tried to protect herself, strike at them, but it was all useless. There were so many. And they were so fast, and strong. She felt something cut the back of her kneww, and her shoulder, and her stomach, and her cheek. She cried out in pain and sunk to her knees. She got cut, and bitten, and scratched, to quick and too often to distinguish the individual injuries. By now she lay on the floor, unable to move or speak, and her whole world was the horroble feeling of getting torn apart. But there was something that was even more terrifying: This feeling seemed familiar.
From one second to the next it all stopped. The ripping, the cutting, the scratching. The pain was gone. And the hollows. Just the shrouded figure stood at the edge of Hanako's field of vision. She heard him laugh again.
"Well, wasn't that enjoyable? It's been a long time since I had such a good laugh. But I'm grrrowing tirrred now. Time forrr bed, don't you think?"
He laughed again and walked away. Still unable to move Hanako felt unconsciousness creep closer and closer. Just before the darkness took her completely she heard the shrouded-one, like he was far, far away.
"We should do that again some time."
Then Hanako finally lost consciousness.
|Ame no ko|
Joined : 2019-12-07
Posts : 204
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|Subject Post 12Subject: Re: Business as usual Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:15 am|| |
When she woke up the sun was already shining again and the various noises of a forest were all around her.
Carefully Hanako tried to move and probed her own body before she sat up. A closer inspection revealed that she wasn’t hurt at all. There wasn’t even a single tear in her clothes. Hanako was confused. It had felt so real and yet...not even a bruise.
Her sword lay about a meter away from her. She stood up, surprised that she was feeling strong and fresh as if she had a good nights sleep.
When she looked up she froze. Just the night before there had been a village here, a burning village. She remembered it vividly. But now, there wasn’t a village left. But it wasn’t burned down. It wouldn’t have surprised her, if she saw smoking ruins, the charred remains of the wooden houses that were common in this area. What she saw was nothing of that sort. Some boards, some support beams, here or there the remains of a wall, but everything covered in moss, vines and almost completely rotted away. Only right before her eyes was a round fireplace, bordered by weathered stones, that was still clearly visible as what it once had been.
Hanako was puzzled. She picked up her sword and slid it back into the saya, all while she scanned every centimeter of her surroundings. This was simply not possible. The night before there had been buildings. Burning buildings, but recognisable as such. Now...by the looks of this there hadn’t been a soul here in several years.
How could that be? Helplessly Hanako turned here and there, but everywhere she looked it was the same: half-rotten ruins of a small village, forgotten and abandoned for many years and no sign whatsoever of a fight. There were only Hanako’s own footprints and a very faint, unreadable trace of spiritual energy. Has all been just an imagination?
Wait, what was that? She had come back to the fireplace and saw something she had overlooked until now. There was something, lying under one of the border-stones, as if someone wanted to prevent it being blown away by wind. She picked it up and it turned out to be some kind of paper or papyrus...no, it was leather. On it were several names:
The writing was in an odd hand, but it was easily readable as it seemed very fresh. Hanako couldn’t make head nor tails of it. She would have assumed that it had been lying there for a long time, but the writing was far too fresh for that. She turned it over...and her blood froze.
On the other side was only on sign, the Kanji for flower. Flower...flower was Hana. Hana, short for Hanako. Like some of her classmates at the academy used to call her. She could feel it, she knew it: This was addressed to her.
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