Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager

The third chapter.


Just as The Rhino had said, not much time passed before Jeremy saw another clearing through the foliage.  But this time, he could see what looked like a mostly wooden building not too far from the tree line.  As he slowly moved closer, voices became audible.  He trotted up and sat behind a bush near the open space around the building to listen as best as he could; forgetting that he was trying to be found, but thinking he could gain something from lying low.  Three sets of dusty footsteps could be heard, with two shuffling and only one in a normal walk.
            “...and he was just gone?” the voice of an old and objective-sounding man.  “I wouldn’t doubt he ran away; they do sometimes, especially if they know nothing.”
            “Well,” responded a familiar voice, “what if someone already found out...” his voice becomes inaudible as he whispers.  They walk closer to where Jeremy is while still staying a distance.
            “Ahh, you guys never do anything fun around here but talk all quiet to each-other,” commented a teenage girl’s voice jokingly.  “It’s impossible.   All you guys ever do is talk about this and that, and even then I can’t tell half’a what you’re saying!”
            The old man laughed.  “Well, when we talk about something you need to hear, we will make sure you hear it,” he said with a chuckle.  “As for now, you need to be training, not slacking off.  This place isn’t a playground, you know.”
            “Sure thing, whatever you say.  I’m on break,” she responded dismissively.
            After a short silence, the familiar voice spoke up.  “Well, I hope we find him soon,” he said worriedly.
            The old man’s voice started laughing, “Well, we won’t have to look too far.”  The bush the Jeremy was hiding behind began to fade away into nothing.  “I love this trick,” said the old man, who turned to look at Jeremy, who was hunched behind nothing.  “Well if it isn’t the topic of choice…”
            Lance, who was the one with the familiar voice, nodded and smiled widely.  “Thank goodness you’re safe, you had me worried!” he said with honest concern.  “Are you ok?”
            Jeremy was a little stunned by the sudden disappearance of the bush, but managed to speak.  “Umm... yeah, I think so.”  He looked at the three people in front of him.
            To the left was a teenage girl with long and wavy hair made of some small share of pink, but mostly a darkish blonde.  She was dressed
in a white, long-sleeved and frilled shirt under a sleeveless dark indigo vest that had two small, white buttons.  She also had a dark indigo dress skirt with a white cloth stitching on the inside and two thick lengths of white, straight cloth stitched into a triangle at the bottom most part, reaching almost all of the way to the end of her skirt.

In the middle of the three was Lance, dressed in the same outfit he had on earlier with the acceptation of the black apron he had was now gone. 

Lastly, to the right, was a moderately tall, old man.  He had short grey, combed back hair and a tight-looking face that was holding up a smile under two squinted eyes.  On his tanned skin he wore a full-body red and white robe, with purple bands across the seams and down the shoulders. 

They were all staring down at him.  Jeremy awkwardly stood up.
            The old man spoke up first, “Well then, let’s see what he’s made of!”  He claps his hands together.  “Ruu, take him on,” he ordered somewhat deviously.
            “Wait, what?”  Jeremy asks confused.
            The teenage girl pointed at Jeremy.  She had an unmistakable air of confidence around her.  “Ok! Take ten paces that way,” she said demandingly with a smile as she pointed to her right.  Jeremy looked at her.  She had a devious look on her face as well.  He turned and walked to his left.

“Could I… have something to drink first?” Jeremy asked reluctantly.

“This won’t take long,” the girl responded.

‘Somehow I feel a little offended,’ Jeremy though, but then noticed that he really didn’t feel that offended at all.  ‘Odd.’
            “Well, at least he’s in good hands,” Lance said, relieved.  “Though I would like it if you didn’t shove him into this stuff just like that.”

“It’s fine isn’t it?” said the old man jokingly.

Lance looked at him concernedly.

“It’s all in good fun,” the old man assured him.  “Nothing serious.” 

“Well then, I think I’ll be heading back to the shop now,” Lance concluded, still speaking unsurely to Soro, and then turned in the opposite direction Jeremy is pacing.  “My place is fine, for now at least.”  He waved and walked off as Jeremy turned around from the ten paces.
            “What’s your name?” Ruoiu asked inquisitively as she sported a large grin and pointed to Jeremy.
            “Huh?” Jeremy says to indicate he did not understand.
            “There is no honor in dueling someone who you don’t know the name of,” Ruoiu happily huffed in response.  After she realized Jeremy didn’t find anything to this, she said, “We’ve just met, so we introduce ourselves.”
            “Oh,” Jeremy responded

“That was a bad joke,” the old man called as he was walking toward some kind of veranda around the small, wooden building.

Ruoiu squinted her eyes looked at him distastefully.  “I’ll let that one go for now.”

“Oh, scary,” the old man joked.

“Jeremy,” he said, “my name is Jeremy.”

“Ok then, I’ll call you Jay,” Ruoiu responded.

“Well, actually-” Jeremy began.
            “Ok, Jay?  Good!” She nodded her head in approval.  “I’m Ruoiu, but people call me Ruu,” she said confidently.  “Now let’s get started!  Where should I hit you?  The foot works best.”
            “Well, I’m not quite sure I know the ru-” he stopped mid-sentence as the old man interrupted.  “Start!” he yelled happily, sitting on the veranda of the shrine with his feet hanging above the dirt, smiling.  Ruoiu’s hand began to spark from finger to finger, up and down her wrist. 
            She snapped and a bolt of electricity flew from her fingers and hit Jeremy on his foot.  He jumped back in surprise, “Whoa!  Ok. That seems unfair.”  A small, black spot was on his shoe where she hit him.  He bent down to rub his foot and stop the tingling that he felt.  A bit of the black rubbed off on his finger.
            “Just block!” the old man jeered at him.  “Think about it and it will happen!”
            Jeremy turns to the old man with sad confusion.  ”But how… do I...” He reluctantly turned away and looked back at Ruoiu,”I’ll try again.”  He placed his legs diagonally from each-other and put his hands up in fists.  “Lets try this again,” he said disgruntled.
            The old man tilted his head back and called again: “Start!”  Ruoiu’s fingers began to spark once more.

            Jeremy was sitting on the veranda next to the old man, with both of them holding small clay cups filled with some kind of tea.  His shoes were dotted all over with black spots, and his leg hair was standing up in his jeans.  He sat there and hung his shoulders with his hands wrapped around the cup, and the old man suddenly patted Jeremy’s back. 

 “Don’t get too put down there, son,” he said confidently, but with obvious jest in his voice.  “It just takes time, you know, get better over time.  You’re like a spring, until you unlock your potential, you won’t go anywhere.  It’ll come to you if you pursue it,” he grinned. “Plus we were just messin’ with ya; you have to learn to take it all in stride.”  He spoke warmly.  “You’ll get used to it eventually.”
            “But that’s just it.  I don’t know how or when, or why I got thrown into this,” he said sadly and a little annoyed.  Then he lifted his head up at a realization, “I don’t even know where the hell I am.”  His voice became somewhat angry.  “Basically, I have no clue who anyone is, where or what this place is, how I just got dragged into this and I’m kind of tired of being interrupted and given no good answers.” 

Suddenly, Ruoiu interrupted them by walking by.  “I’ll be taking my winnings and leaving now,” she said over her shoulder with a pirate smile.  She went around the corner and a sliding door could be heard opening, and then closing a second later.  Her footsteps left the veranda, and it was clear she was gone.
            The old man sighed.  “I’m going to need to go shopping again,” he sighed to himself.  “Well, first of I will introduce myself.  I’m Soro, the head shrine priest here,” he pointed his thumb at the building to their backs.  “You’ve already met Ruoiu, who is also my student, so to speak, and Lance, who owns a little shop in town.  As for the Where?”  He scratched his chin, and then shrugged his shoulders, “they never did give a name to this village.  It’s always been referred to as the ‘Human Village’.  But-”
            “There we go again with the ‘HUMAN Village’.  What country are we in that has villages not made for humans?”  His voice was demanding and aggravated.
            Soro put his hands up as if he was being threatened.  “Now now, it’s no reason to get angry.  Getting angry isn’t going to make it any better.”  He smiled uneasily.
            Jeremy shook his head and put his hand on his face.  “Sorry, I’m just not having the best of days...” he mumbled.
            “That’s understandable,” Soro chuckled, giving Jeremy a look of sorry understanding, “I’d probably be as mad as you if I was put down so many times, and no one’s perfectly off starting out, so don’t let it bother ya.”  He waited a while, then turned to Jeremy, “Well, if you want to, I will train you and help you learn everything; because trust me, considering your situation, you’re going to need it.” 

“Need it?” Jeremy asked.  “Why?  What situation?”                 

“Well, for a lot of reasons,” Soro responded.  “Sorry to sound so vague.  I’m not sure how to say it.”  He flashed an ironic half-smile.  “Heck, I don’t even know half of them myself.”

Jeremy cleared his throat, and hesitantly answered.  “No problem.”

“So, will ya take me up on my offer?” Soro asked.
            Jeremy thought hollowly for a minute.  He tried his best to understand what Soro was telling him, and how he should respond.  There was little else he knew to do.

“Sure?” He responded.
            “Great!” Soro responded back.  “Well, I have an appointment with someone, so if you’ll excuse me.”  As he was about to get up, he quickly took a look at Jeremy once more.  Something made him look skeptically at the boy next to him, but he shrugged his shoulders.  He stood up and walked along the porch pf the veranda walkway that wraps around the building, away from Jeremy.  “Make sure you find your way home and get some rest, your training begins tomorrow!  I’ll explain things then!”
            “But I-” Jeremy began, but Soro had already turned the corner, “don’t even know the way back...”  ‘It’s like no one knows how to explain anything,’ he thought.

Jeremy hopped off the porch and took a few steps to a big, grey bricked path on the left. 

‘This must be the road back to the village,’ Jeremy thought, since it was the only road around.  He turned around to look at the shrine.  It had a simple, heavy box sitting in front of what looked like some sort of sliding door, and at the top of a few wooden stairs.  All of it looked rather simple.
            Jeremy started to walk down the steps leading away from the shrine, which made him pass under a red arch at the top.  He stopped after he took a few steps down and stared at the rest of the steps ahead of him.  “Training... huh?” he whispered to himself, and then continued to walk down the stone steps.

© 2013 Iron K. Tager

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Added on July 11, 2013
Last Updated on December 6, 2013
Tags: Lance, Soro, Jeremy, Ruoiu, Ruu, Break Down the Unknown, Chapter 3, Jay


Iron K. Tager
Iron K. Tager


Hello! I'm not really that good of a writer at all, but I do enjoy writing. I tend to only write things when I feel like it, so sometimes I go long stretches without putting anything down. I wrote .. more..