Susanoo - Chapter 2: Mysaro's Hero
"You're staying here and fighting me!"
Rodren sighed; obviously he had better things to do than fight some spoiled brat. However, in reply to Blake's demand, the man clothed in white from head to toe reached within his cloak and withdrew five long, gleaming blades. Then, the man threw them all into the air, and they landed in a circle around Rodren, every blade lodged exactly half-way into the earth, with the other half of the blade and the handle facing upwards into the sky; the clear, hot sky.
"You know you shall never stand a chance against me, child..." Rodren began, staring at Blake with his back to Mysaro.
"But I will."
"But you won't." Every word out of the Holy Knight's mouth was a sentence in and of itself, stopped after every sound for added effect and authority. There was silence, and then Rodren appeared to be about to say more, but he was interrupted by Blake.
"But I will." The sheer determination within Blake's voice was enough to make the man opposite him close his eyes in acknowledgement; not in Blake's power, of that he still knew was not enough, but of his will. Rodren knew that this boy, whom he had thrown to the ground without moving, would never give up, and that was a quality he respected. He knew that it would eventually get this boy killed in the real world, but he respected those who fought against all odds.
"Listen, child. These swords around myself act as a barrier; if you can force me to leave the circle, I shall leave your precious village alone."
"You're not going to fight me like a man, at your full power? Am I not good enough? Do you not think I could handle it if you fought in an area you could move in, or even if we fought to the death, instead of forcing you out of a stupid circle!?"
"Of course you're not good enough! Of course you wouldn't be able to handle those fights against me; if you were truly an enemy to me, I could have slaughtered you before you spoke. But you are a child; I refuse to kill a kid."
"If you don't come at me with all you got-" And in that moment, Blake disappeared. Not Rodren nor any of the onlookers were able to follow Blake's movements with the naked eye. A second after his disappearance, a trail of dust was kicked up, implying the direction Blake went. But by then, it was too late; he was already poised to strike. From behind Rodren, within his circle of swords, Blake struck. It was a fist, a right hook, flying through the air towards the back of Rodren's head, the full momentum of Blake's body from both the punch and his speed pulling his whole body into the air so that his right foot was also aimed to kick the Holy Knight in the right side as he punched his head. Sure of his strength, Blake knew that if his attacks collided, the man's ribs would be shattered, as well as his skull being cracked open like an egg. But the man was fast as well.
Rodren spun around, two hands out to catch Blake's right hand and foot, throwing them backwards. By redirecting the full power of Blake's strikes, Rodren sent the boy several yards away from himself, creating a large cloud of dust as the kid skidded along the rocky terrain. However, as Rodren redirected Blake's power, he grabbed his ankle and wrist, so as to avoid the fist and foot themselves, which released a burst of air pressure as if it were a projectile, a shell shot from a cannon, as they were stopped. Noting that the speed and power of Blake's strikes could create such pressure, Rodren looked out through the dust cloud and noticed the spot where Blake hit the ground first; a very clear, distinct crack had formed on the rock where he had landed before skidding.
"Powerful..." Rodren muttered to himself, quiet enough that no one else could hear him over Blake's war cry. Loud, the angry cry rose above all other noise as Blake thrust both his fists out to his sides, generating two powerful bursts of air pressure which drew the dust away from the two warriors.
"You'd better watch yourself if you think you can beat me by staying still in that small circle!" Blake yelled, pulling back a fist as if he were going to punch Rodren at such a distance. But while the Holy Knight was prepared for a projectile-like burst of air pressure, he was met with s surprise. As Blake's fist went forward, it was not air that flew towards Rodren, but instead a ball of fire.
Stepping quickly to the edge of his self-made circle, Rodren was able to allow the fireball to pass by harmlessly. Then the Holy Knight analysed everything he knew about Blake in the span of less than a second.
"A powerful hand-to-hand fighter who has ranged skills up his sleeve as well... His personality is somewhere between brave and determined, and simply bone-headed and moronic! That alone could easily cost him his life... But his speed and reaction time are simply outstanding. Overall, he's a fair fighter, but nowhere near my own caliber."
Just then, as if he could have heard what Rodren was thinking, Blake made his move. Disappearing from view by sheer speed, Blake ran straight by Rodren, a stream of dust appearing a second later to show where he'd been. Rodren was confused for a moment, but had no more time to be confused as Blake ran back, once again missing Rodren completely and stirring up a second trail of dust before the first could have settled.
"What's going on...?" Rodren thought. "He's missing me completely, and running much farther than he has to... Perhaps he can't handle his own speed... But-" Rodren didn't have much more time to think before there was a shape before him. There, hidden within the great cloud of dust obscuring his vision, was a dark shape, more like a rock which wasn't there before than a person. But then it moved; the coiled-up boy sprang straight upwards from his bent position on the ground in attempts to upper-cut the Knight.
Grabbing Blake's fist, Rodren threw it down towards the ground, causing Blake to spin. Using this momentum, Blake cartwheeled away from the Holy Knight, outside of the ring of swords, and skidded to a halt.
"Using dust as a distraction method..." Rodren said as the dust settled and his shape became more distinguishable. "How childish."
"Then you're gunna hate what I've got in store for you, bastard!" Blake called back, gripping his right bicep with his left hand. As the Holy Knight reached within his robes, Blake sprung from the ground and reappeared in mid-air above Rodren's head. Blake then proceeded to throw a punch, and then a second, and a third... All in such rapid succession that it appeared as though he had hundreds of limbs, each throwing punches towards the man clothed in white, and each punch released a burst of air pressure strong as a cannon. And though Blake was sure that dodging this barrage was as hard as dodging rain in a storm, Rodren did it; his body moved like a snake's as he leaned, leapt, ducked, and sprung out of the way of every single punch-burst. But Blake still smirked as his body began to fall down from his vertical ascent caused by the severe pressure he created, which was pushing him upwards.
As Blake fell, the ground beneath Rodren's feet began to crack and fall into pits below. Surprised by the strategy, Rodren rose a hand straight up to the sky, and flicked a single finger, sending the falling Blake several yards away from him. Gauging the damage the boy had somehow managed to create, Rodren noted that there were three holes, exactly the same diameter and depth, within his ring of swords, and several more outside. When the boy returned, Rodren would put the fight on hold to learn what had happened.
"Boy!" he called as Blake returned. The boy sped through the Rodren's circle, expertly navigating the seemingly random holes as Rodren sidestepped him, nearly falling into one himself. "Pray tell..."
Blake had stopped moving, panting slightly, waiting long enough for Rodren to finish his question.
"How did you manage the pitfalls?"
Blake half-chuckled and half-coughed, dust spraying from his mouth with the odd sound. "I know a lot about the landscape around this village. The bedrock the village is built on isn't very stable; we're surrounded by desert for god's sake! There are veins of air running throughout this rock, which have created our odd street system." Rodren had been wondering about the streets for some time, now... They were randomly placed and, if long enough, wound like a moving snake. "Because of this unstable ground, I was able to weaken the ground you stand on by vibrating it; as I ran past you, my footsteps weakened the foundations of the areas where the air veins were, which allowed my to collapse the ground with my Gatling Shot." For a moment there was silence as Rodren smirked under his hood.
"So this kid does have some form of intelligence..." he thought. And as he thought, Blake took another chance to strike. Running at the Holy Knight, this time not with the blinding speed of before, but as a normal sprint, Blake had his fist pulled back, making his intent to punch the man as blatantly obvious as possible. Then, Blake threw his punch, which was caught without fail by the Knight. Replaying what had happened during their first clash, Blake tried to jump away from Rodren, who's grip on Blake's fist pulled him down. But this time, it was intentional.
As Blake fell towards the ground, he lifted his feet and allowed his body to swing like a pendulum, the unsuspecting Rodren letting go of the boys hand as he passed by, intending to simply let the fallen boy go, as he expected Blake to simply fall as he did the first time. As Blake flew through the air, he landed with great force, cracking the ground where one of Rodren's swords stood.
"You're not going to be able to stand after this," Blake said, prompting the Holy Knight to turn around.
"And why is that?" Rodren asked, his voice remaining void of any and all emotion. But instead of answering with words, Blake simply sprung from his kneeling position and went for yet another obvious punch, and once again, it was caught by Rodren. However, this time, when Blake's fist was abruptly stopped, the sword which began in the ground, but now was hidden on the blind side of Blake's arm, continued with its momentum, giving Rodren only a split-second to react by leaping to one side to avoid being sliced by his own weapon. And as the Holy Knight moved to dodge his blade, he stumbled into one of the holes Blake had managed to create.
"Is he standing? I don't think s-!" Blake was cut off mid-sentence as a great force pushed against him; as Rodren had fallen into the pit, he landed on his hands and began to spin. The force of his spin shook up all of the loose dust within the pit with him, and the sheer speed of his rotation whipped up a massive sandstorm with a tornado which tore at Blake's skin like sandpaper in the middle. All the onlookers from a distance even as great as the village shielded their eyes as sand was whipped everywhere, and Blake was once again sent a few yards away, his right arm over his eyes for protection and his body low to the ground.
Then Rodren calmly stepped out of the hole and the sand started to die down. Blake dared to glance up and noticed something; the swords around Rodren were pulled further out of the ground by the force of his vortex, as well as something which even Rodren himself didn't notice...
"Pathetic child; can you find it in your thick skull to leave me alone yet? You'll never force me out of this circle, let alone defeat me!"
Without responding, Blake instead clapped his hands together, releasing a burst of air pressure towards Rodren, which he dodged with minimal effort. But then came the real attack; Blake disappeared in a burst of speed and reappeared behind Rodren, mid-air, his body spinning so as to create a full-momentum kick to the back of the Holy Knight's head. But as his foot was about to hit Rodren, Blake was caught by the ankle and thrown away from the Knight, landing near one of Rodren's swords. As he landed, Blake's extended leg smashed into the ground and caused the sword to come loose, falling to its side and no longer standing upright; the third sword to fall.
"If you don't have something more powerful..." Rodren began, "you'll never defeat me."
"Powerful?" Blake asked, more to himself than anyone else, but still said loud enough that Rodren could hear him. "I'll give you powerful!" From his crouched position, Blake closed his eyes, and something about him changed. There was an aura, of sorts, as if light itself around him was trying to get away; as if it feared what Blake was about to do. Looking up at Rodren from his position low to the ground, something was unmistakably different about Blake's face, but he couldn't tell what it was. Then, Blake crossed his arms, balancing on just his feet while being doubled over, and the distortion seemed to concentrate on one spot before his crossed arms. Then, Blake suddenly stood up, uncrossing his arms and bringing them to his sides, his head raised to the sky in some form of barbaric howl. As he stood and his arms uncrossed, Blake unleashed the mysterious energy towards Rodren, which flew with great force which carried the dust from the ground in a stream behind it. Though he moved to dodge, Rodren still felt the force of the power, and it picked him off of his feet. And that's when he realized what had happened.
The aura of the mysterious energy was unmistakably that of sweat from a human body, and from that Rodren pieced together the mechanics of Blake's skill. Blake somehow exerted his body to such a point that the heat given off by his body was enough to evaporate his own sweat, and the rapid evaporation caused the distortion of light. Then, Blake managed to command his evaporated sweat and send it in a ball of "energy" towards Rodren. Powerful, tactful, and unique; these were the things Rodren was hoping Blake would display in the fight. From under his hood, which was flapping enough that a silhouette of his face could be seen, Rodren smiled.
"That was outstanding, boy..." Rodren began. "However, this is where you end."
"Except..." It was Blake's turn to make part of a comment before completing it after a pause. "That I've won you condition."
"Why don't you look around and tell me where your circle is?" The Holy Knight froze, unwilling to give in and look about him like Blake suggested. However, he eventually brought himself to do so, and upon inspection, noted that not a single of his five swords stood in place, either taken out by Blake's hand, had the ground around it smashed away, or blown up and away by Blake's skills. However they were removed, not a single blade stood in the ground, destroying Rodren's circle and effectively pulling him out of it.
For a moment, the Holy Knight didn't know how to respond. The boy may not have defeated him in battle, but he had managed to accomplish the alternative task he had set out for him. After a long moment, Rodren smiled under his hood.
"Do you realize how powerful I am?" Rodren asked.
"I defeated you on your terms."
"But I never once struck back."
"That was child's-play!" There was anger in Rodren's voice now; he was trying to make a point, but Blake seemed to be bent on stopping the point from being made. After some silence, he continued.
"Had I actually been fighting, moving, treating you like a real opponent, you would be dead right now; one with the dust. But as I don't kill children, I've allowed you to live. I never expected you to force me out of the circle, and in a sense you didn't; you forced the circle out of existence. Very clever and ingenuitive; however, in a real fight, your opponent would not admit defeat because of such a simple action."
"Of course he wouldn't." Blake was once again talking in a serious tone, his face expressionless, any sweat on his brow gone by his body's resonating super-heated evaporating property.
"Which is why I cannot allow you to take charge of the village." Though Rodren was completely going against what he had promised to do at the beginning, Blake was neither surprised, nor disappointed or enraged. Or at least if he was, he didn't show it. He merely closed his eyes for a half-second and nodded curtly, allowing Rodren to continue.
"Before you can become the savior of this village, Mysaro's Hero, you must grow stronger. Please, go out into the world and become the best man you can be. Weather you continue to be a fighter, or a supporter, a leader or a follower, a saint or a demon, never give up on what you believe in. When the time comes, and you are strong enough, I want you to return to Mysaro and fight me for real."
Blake nodded, knowing that at this point in time, he couldn't protect Mysaro if someone of Rodren's strength decided to fight him. Blake knew that he had to grow stronger, and return to protect his home. While he was determined to one day become the guardian of Mysaro, Blake had to acknowledge that, for the time being, Mysaro's Hero was Rodren the Holy Knight. But one day, he would return...