The bulwark-trio went into action almost instantly. Having been in thousands of battle drills, they seemed to move by instinct. Their progress was almost theatrical.Hajime and Yuuta crouched into a squat as if poised to jump. Aaaaaa!Megumin squealed aloud, making her raiki surge. Her arms bulged and turned a dark sepia color. She made a fist with her right hand, and raiki gathered around it like bubbling vapors. The maid warrior grunted again and punched the ground with a kitsu technique.Megumin: "Tou-kitsu earthquake!"Bash! Rattle!A tremor set off from the point of contact, rocking the pagoda on its foundations. Hakaku held onto the railing to maintain his balance. Hajime and Yuuta had made a coordinated jump when Megumin launched her kitsu. They were already in the air when the quake happened. The other two teams lost their balance and staggered to the ground like dolls. As soon as Hajime-Yuuta set foot again, they set off their kitsu sequences.Hajime: “Doi-kitsu fire-arch
The sun was low on the horizon, and birds returned from around the creek to their nests. Sparrows, blackbirds, and other nesting birds fly home when the light begins to fade. An exception seemed to be a woodpecker perched on a nearby cedar tree, tapping away. A group of mallards floated home on the still waters. Yet, it would be a couple of hours before sunset. The clouds gathered in the afternoon had dissipated, and it was still bright. Kento sat on the pier’s edge, with his feet dipped in the creek. Tiny fish gathered under his soles underwater and nibbled at dry skin. He giggled, being ticklish. A boat approached from the mainstream. It was being rowed with the help of oars rather than kitsu. It turned out to be Uzziah’s fishing boat. He docked it at the pier. Kento remembered that the Wajin tribe used kitsu only for vital operations. The kitsu on the floating houses were decades old. Uzziah hauled a net full of fish onto the berth. The mixed catch was live- minnows, carps, tro
Once the aspirants had left, Keiji and Yuuki explained the purpose of their visit. Their destination, the Bokuso glades had had an insurgency of bandits from the outlands. The preceptor duo had been charged by the Daigaku to oust them. Keiji had proposed to Overlord Senju that the trials aspirants be included in the mission. It would be a training exercise with exposure to the real world, which wasn’t as forgiving as the comfortable training grounds.. After some deliberation, the Overlord had granted permission for the same. However, he had set the condition that a military squad shall accompany them at all times. He realized that the mission could help the young ones receive hands-on experience of the Legacy Unit’s work. On the other hand, it was rife with danger.Bandits were strong and cunning adversaries. They were survivors of the stateless, dog-eat-dog outlands. Living under extreme conditions, they were hardened and cold-blooded. Bandits could navigate any terrain with ease.
Uzziah turned out to be a well-mannered lad with a penchant for discipline. He used the honorifics correctly, showed proper deference to the preceptors, and exhibited every trait of a gracious host. The boy had alert, inky eyes and pitch-black braided hair. The young Yamazaki was about Kento’s height, darker in complexion, and looked much more weathered. He had an air of maturity around him that seemed to make others do his bidding. As the group proceeded towards the main edifice of the floating house, Uzziah ordered the attendants around, sending one for refreshments, another to fetch his mother, Midori Yamazaki. He tasked a tall, muscular man named Shufuku to remove barnacles from the canoes and carry out cleaning and repairs wherever necessary. Illumi-Masaki-Nadeko’s canoe, particularly, needed special attention. Plenty of lamia entrails were spattered against the wood. It smelled like an unclean butcher shop.In other words, Uzziah was mature f
Illumi: “Why is a monster like him allowed to teach in the Daigaku?” Masaki: “Come on, Illumi. Didn’t he just save our lives?”Illumi: “I am grateful for that, but I am horrified that Overlord Senju has allowed him in our midst. I will tell my parents about this as soon as I get back to Karasuma. They’ll file a petition with the Hyougi elders about this.”Akako: “Hold your tongue, Illumi! He’s our teacher. And since he is a certified preceptor of Daigaku, the Hyougi must have vetted him. Anyway, warriors live to kill and to die. Isn’t that what the warrior code teaches? Who cares about the number of lives taken? I’m sure all of our parents who have been in the military have killed a few. That is an undeniable truth.”Illumi: “Hmph! What about him being cursed then? What if he goes berserk and eats our souls?” Akako: “Stop acting like a baby. Who believes in curses these days?”Kafu wanted to offer a rebuttal, but Daigo spoke before he could.Daigo: “Nonsense!
Daigo crossed his arms but pricked up his ears. He never enjoyed indulging in speculation, but a prodigious young scholar like Shigeo had his way of making others listen. Daigo had developed respect for Keiji and Yuuki over the past month after their displays of power. The two preceptors were young but highly accomplished. Daigo valued strength and ability above all else. The girls were already tuned in to Shigeo’s explanation. Hajime and Yuuta were made aware by disapproving glances that they had been disrupting a vital discussion. They stopped badgering Megumin and became attentive. Shigeo: “Spare me a few minutes first to explain the essentials. Has anyone here read the book, ‘Kinheni- The Provenance of Kitsu’ by the late shuzen healer Ogino Ginko?”“Anyone?”Kafu scoffed but said nothing. The name of the late healer had irked him somehow. As nobody else chimed in, Shigeo pricked his spectacles up his nose again and began.Shigeo: “We have been taught for
Daigo was a burly, broad-shouldered guy with a booming voice. At the same time, Kafu was gangly, spoke low, and addressed everyone with reverence and honorifics. Daigo’s apprenticeship in the smithery and Kafu’s exposure to the pedagogy of Shibai Sharin temple both had molded their personalities accordingly. Chiyo was a pretty, voluptuous girl who had recently come of age. She was feminine and athletic, with straight, silky hair and amaranthine-blue eyes. Even though the Mikashita boys were trained to endure, it was challenging not to pause for a moment and admire her beauty.Chiyo: “I am very sure that it was kitsu.”Most of the guys nodded and agreed with her. But it had little to do with her reasoning. It was challenging to disagree with someone as attractive as Chiyo.Kafu: “Perhaps he is blessed by the Goddess.”Most of the guys shook their heads. It was pretty easy to disagree with a gangly, fasting priest. He drank
The six canoes drifted sluggishly in the kegare creek. Karasuma’s famished young warriors were having a late breakfast. Rice balls and boiled eggs. The village’s warrior code was very particular about food and nutrition. It prescribed two conservative meals a day, one for energy and protein (eggs, fish, meat, along with rice) and the other to fulfill essential nutrients (nuts, vegetables, fruits).Canoe 2: Shigeo (M,15), Akako (F, 16), Kento (M, 16)Canoe 3: Hajime (M, 20), Megumin (F, 19), Yuuta (M, 20)Canoe 4: Daigo (M, 20), Kafu (M, 19), Chiyo (F, 17)Canoe 5: Nadeko (F, 15), Illumi (M, 15), Masaki (M, 15)The aspirants’ waterborne vessels, ingrained with sailing kitsu, had been made to float abreast of each other so that the group could speak among themselves with ease. The preceptors’ canoe was coasting ahead while Yorokobi’s vessel was trailing behind. Both were divorced from the rest, watching out for dangers