Chapter 19

Chapter 19

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
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The nineteenth chapter.

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And you’ll be staying here,” Ruoiu pointed down to a small opening in the rocks to the right of the waterfall.  Jeremy looked into the hole to see a small pocket only large enough for one person to lie down in, but it did not look like a comfortable fit for anyone.

“You’re joking, right?” he smiled back hopefully at Ruoiu.

“Nope!”  She kept her wide grin and put her fists on her hips.  “We have the shack, and you have the rock; it’s a perfectly fair trade.”

“Can I at least keep my stuff in there with you guys?” Jeremy nodded his head down at his stuff, which he left on the ground below.  “I would like as much space as I can get.”

“Sure,” Ruoiu said.  “Just be careful of Mia,” she started to whisper, “she likes to rummage through things when she’s bored.”

“Go right ahead, I have nothing interesting in there anyway,” Jeremy shrugged as he walked to the edge of the stones and jumped down to the ground.  “So, uh, what do we do about the bathroom?”

“Well,” Ruoiu thought, “there is another, smaller shack down the creek a little that is like an outhouse, but I’ve never been here long enough to use it.”

‘‘Like’ and outhouse?’ Jeremy thought.  “I guess I’ll check it out later.”

“Make sure not to fall in,” Ruoiu jokingly warned him.

Ruoiu followed Jeremy as he towards the shack.  “So, exactly what do we do at this ‘training camp’?” he asked.

“We get stronger of course,” Ruoiu said sarcastically.

“Well, I know that, but how?”

“We duel.”  Ruoiu grabbed Jeremy’s right arm, tugged him in a throwing motion, and spun him around, pushing him away.  She then stepped back a few paces and rolled her shoulders.  “Like right now.”

Jeremy tripped, but caught himself, stumbling to get his balance.  “What?  Right now?”

“We’re rivals, Jay,” Ruu proclaimed, “Ya always have’ta be on your toes.  Or did you forget?”

“Ahh... no not really-” Jeremy started, but suddenly stopped to throw his torso to the side in dodging of a bolt shot by Ruu.

“Start!”  She sang out loud as if she was a referee, continuing to snap her fingers and shoot bolts at Jeremy.  “C’mon, impress me today!”  She said smiling.  It was obvious she was holding back.

“OK then,” Jeremy confirmed, more to himself than to Ruoiu.  He hopped to the left of a bolt, stepping up and then jumping onto the stones surrounding the pool, reeling back as he dodged another along the way.  One barely missed his leg and another one his shoulder.  He quickly threw himself on the ground to his left as he saw Ruoiu was about to throw another bolt, and pushed off the ground into a sprint his left as the other bolt was shot.  He quickly pushed forward and jumped as far as he could off of the rocks and onto the ground, stumbling into the cover of the trees on the other side of the clearing.  Jeremy looked back over at the stone he came from, impressed at his own distance, but a bolt slightly to the right of his head suddenly drew his attention back to Ruoiu.

“Ugh, nothing but electricity gets boring after a while,” Ruoiu sighed to herself.  “Let’s try to mix it up a little.”  She extended the palm of her hand out towards Jeremy and stretched her foot out.  Using her extended hand to balance, she dragged her foot it in the dirt to make a circle around her.  “I won’t move from this spot.  How does that sound?”

‘Ok, running around isn’t going to get this done any faster, and running away probably isn’t an option.  I have a disadvantage at a distance, so I need to find out how to get close so I can try to win.  Her standing still helps, I guess,’ Jeremy thought to himself.  “That sounds fair.”  He readied himself to jump again from the tree.  ‘Soro did say something about being able to jump long distances or even fly.  I wonder if I can do anything like that soon.’

Flashes of many different colors came from Ruoiu, and caught his attention once more as bolts were shot in his direction, arcing to the sides and above.  Jeremy quickly jumped from behind the tree and to his right to dodge the first few as they hit the trunk and ground where he once was.  There were a few stray bullets flying out, and Ruoiu looked like she was setting up to shoot more.  Jeremy ran diagonally through the bit of trees separating the waterfall from the shack, and bolts ran into the trees as they followed him closely behind.  Ducking and jumping over branches, roots, and rocks, he ran around to the edge of the large boulders surrounding the spring and stopped, just in the tree-line.

“Looks like you’re good at runnin’!” she called out laughing.  “Now it gets harder.”  She slid one of her feet back as if she was about to run.

“So, what do I do to win again?” Jeremy asked as he briefly caught as much of his surroundings as he could.

“I think it’s rather easy,” she responded, with a smile still on her face.  “If you can touch me, you win.”

“Sounds fair enough,” he sighed, more to himself as he slowly leaned out from behind the furthest tree he could have stopped behind.

They both stood staring at each other, then Ruoiu held out both of her hands, making them come to life with sparks.  She drew back her right hand in a snap and shot electricity directly at Jeremy, who quickly tried to dodge past it and make his way along the boulders, stumbling as he was just missed; then she threw out her other hand and shot the colorful bolts into the air to arc down at Jeremy.

He intentionally lost his balance to fall down to his left, away from the boulders, falling over as his legs willingly stopped holding him up.  “Good enough”, he whispered to himself.  As soon as he landed on the ground, Jeremy pushed off further up the boulders, avoiding the arc of the bolts.  Then he heard another snap close behind him, and pushed the boulders surrounding the pool to propel himself to the left and out of the way of the electrical bolt, which made a small dark spot on the stone.  He spun around as he stood up to see Ruu standing only a few feet from him.

Both of them grinned at each-other.  Jeremy leaped forward and to the right as Ruoiu shot a bolt directly at him, he leaped to the left and then finally straight for her.  Ruoiu laughed as she brought her left arm around with two magic bolts hovering just above her hand.

Had no time to think to himself before he was hit in the chest and on the cheek by them. 

The impact of the bolts hit and pushed him to his left, so much so that he felt like he left the ground, and ended up landing face-down a yard away from the stone circle next to he waterfall.

Ruoiu walked over to him and looked down.  “Seems like I’ve won again,” her grin widened as she put her hands on her hips triumphantly.  “Not that it was much of a victory.”

“Yeah, I guess I lost,” Jeremy said with his face still firmly planted in the dirt.  He took his spread out arms and dragged them in to pick himself up.  Looking to his right as he lifted up his head, Jeremy saw Ruoiu standing only a few feet away from him with a big grin on here face. 

“You didn’t do half bad, all things considered,” she said, seeming to boast her higher status.  “But you’re still nowhere near me.”

“Thanks,” Jeremy smiled sarcastically as he lifted himself off of the ground and stood up. 

“So, you OK?” Ruoiu asked.

Jeremy patted himself off.   “Yeah, I should be fine,” he said, still rubbing his face.

Miataru stepped outside of the shack carrying a small wooden box and walked towards Jeremy and Ruoiu.  “Who won?”

“Do you have to ask?” Ruoiu sighed.

Mia looked at Jeremy, who still had some dirt powdered on his face and robe.  “Well, is everyone ready for lunch?” she lifted a box slightly as she came up to them.

“Yeah, I’m starving,” Ruoiu proclaimed.

“Sure,” Jeremy responded, “where did that come from?  I didn’t see you carrying it.”

“We came here before we left with you and put our stuff in the shack,” Mia explained.

“Yeah, good thing that cat didn’t find it,” Ruoiu added.

“We only have enough for a few meals, and then some for an emergency if we need it,” Mia added on. 

“Yeah, and the rest we have to find on our own,” Ruoiu told Jeremy.

“Really?” he looked to Mia.

“No,” Mia made a questioning look towards Ruoiu, who pretended not to care.  “Soro will be coming to give us more supplies later on,” she said as she placed the box on a flat portion of the rocks before climbing up, “but we do need to watch how much we eat until then.”

She removed the cloth that hid the box’s contents and reached inside to pull out sandwiches, giving one to each Ruoiu and Jeremy.

Both Jeremy and Ruoiu thanked her as they took a bite out of their sandwiches.  Jeremy looked inside of his, which was nothing more than some green leaf, like a kind of hard lettuce, and some type of meat and cheese that looked as if it was a blended together paste.

Ruoiu had already devoured her entire sandwich.  “So, what else’s in the box?” she asked Mia.

“Nothing for right now,” Mia responded.  “This is all we have for lunch.”

“Aww c’mon, that couldn’t have fed a bird!  Let me have something else,” she desperately reached her hand over towards the box, which Mia picked up and faced towards her.  There was nothing in the box, and Ruoiu’s hand fell short, dejected.

“You know how things work out here.”  Mia placed the box beside herself.

Ruoiu sighed.  “Yeah, yeah.”  She slumped back into her seat. 

Mia ate the last of her sandwich and then asked Ruoiu: “Did you skip breakfast again?”

“You know it!”  Ruoiu put a thumb up, intentionally mocking her own situation.

“Um,” Jeremy began, and both Mia and Ruoiu looked at him.  “You can have the other half of my sandwich if you want.”

Ruoiu looked at the sandwich, then at him, and then back to the food.  “You sure?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine with just this,” he held up the half of the sandwich he took a bite out of.  “I haven’t been too hungry today.”

“Thanks,” Ruoiu said as she quickly snatched the other half of the sandwich and fell back into an awkward cross-legged position.  Jeremy noticed Mia staring at him, but when he looked at her she quickly turned away. 

Pretending not to notice, Jeremy tried to start up a conversation.  “So, uh, what are we doing now?”

“Well we just ate,” Ruoiu thought for a moment, swallowing the last of her food, “so how about a little warm up before we get going?”

 

I always wondered why you refused to tell him,” Sano said in a distant manner as she sat in the tree only a few yards away from Soro, who quickly turned to her and dropped the bag he was holding.  He stood in position, ready to move at a second’s notice.

Sano laughed at this gesture.  “How foolish; if you really wish to fight me I will not hold back this time.”

“Neither will I,” Soro grinned with a challenging look.

She looked down at him distastefully.  “I’m not here to fight you again; sadly, that opportunity already passed,” she said in an annoyed fashion, “so I will just say again, that I wonder why you don’t tell him about Gyan.  It seems ridiculous to me that you would keep secret the one thing causing his stay here to be so difficult.  Having to hide him, and then sending him off because, among other things, you fear for his safety, but you know he is not safe out there either.”

Soro’s grin disappeared, “If I can keep him out of here ‘til everything here’s fixed, that’s all the better.  And as for that ‘Gyan’… Jay doesn’t need to know about ‘em.”

Sano began to laugh again, harder; the uncontrollable jerks swayed her side to side, making look as though she was going to fall from the tree any second.  It took her a moment to calm down.  “I truly cannot see who you are trying to impress with this display of bravado.  Do you really think all this will stay still until you find someone to help you?  You over-estimate your own luck, and your own skill at that.  The job of the shrine priest is solve the incidents that threaten the balance in this world.  You can’t possibly hope to not only do that, but clean up your own mess.  It’s not all that simple.”

“You sure do love to run your mouth,” Soro complained angrily.  “So?  Is that all you came here to tell me?”

“How rude; no, I’m actually looking for someone.”  She looked at him distastefully.  “You are quite standoffish for a shrine priest, so I’ll make it brief,” she said, finishing her thoughts.  “Gyan is not the only person you will have to fear.  Until Curtains makes their move, nothing can be done with him.  There are more important things than him on their way.”  She stood up and looked down on him.  She let out a quick smirk and jumped from tree to tree, disappearing in the foliage.

Soro watched the woods for a minute more, and then picked up the bag he had dropped and began walking towards the shrine, though this time looking around uneasily.  He sighed as he placed the bag on the veranda and stepped up onto it, picking the bag back up.  “I want to…” he stopped whispering to himself and looked at the door in front of him.  ‘At a time like this, where’s Cara?’

He slid the door open and walked inside closing the door behind himself, and setting the bag on a short table in the center of the room.  He then turned to a short but long, dark dresser, picked up a stick of incense from out of a wooden box, lit it with his finger, and placed it within a golden stand. 

Placing his hands together as if to pray, he bowed at the stand and picture frame behind it.  Within the picture frame was a white piece of frayed cloth.  After a minute of praying, he turned towards the table, his back to the dresser, sat down, and began to meditate.

 

Jeremy tried to prevent himself from tripping as he slowly came to a stop.  Panting, with his hands on his knees, he looked at the ground.  Sweat is rolling down his forehead as he tried to catch his breath.

“It wasn’t all that tough was it?” Ruoiu laughed.

“Tell that... to the guy... who didn’t... get outside often,” Jeremy talked between huffs.  He swallowed and caught his breath, “Even with that little bit of training at the shrine, this is murder.”  He looked over to a tree only a few feet away, and stumbled until he leaned himself against it.

“C’mon, this is your training!  Don’t be a baby!  Be a man!” she called out as if trying to motivate him.

“Yeah... a man,” Jeremy whispered to himself sarcastically.  He looked around.  “By the way, where’s Mia?”

“Dunno, I think she stopped a little while back or something,” Ruoiu responded.

Jeremy looks up at the sky, which was starting to get orange.  “Time flies…”  He turned to Ruu.  “We should probably go look for her, since it’s getting late.”

“Yeah, I guess,” she said, shrugging.  “But ya don’t really need to worry about her, she’s pretty strong.”

“I don’t know… I have an odd feeling,” Jeremy explained.  He slowly started to walk back to where they came from out of the woods.  “This way, right?”

“Yep,” Ruu confirms. 

A wind suddenly came from that direction and blew on them.  The slight sound of something pounding the ground could be heard far off in the way they were facing, and small flashing lights could be seen through a bit of foliage.  Ruoiu bolted into the woods, dodging trees and short bushes.  Jeremy sluggishly jogged behind, trying to keep up, but still tired from the previous bout of running. 



© 2014 Iron K. Tager


Author's Note

Iron K. Tager
Remember to allow yourself time to properly digest before partaking in any kind of tiring physical activity.

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Added on September 6, 2014
Last Updated on September 6, 2014
Tags: Break Down the Unknown, Chaper 19, 19, Jeremy, Ruoiu, Mia, Ruu, Jay, Soro, Sano, Gyan, training, boulders, shack


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Iron K. Tager
Iron K. Tager

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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..

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