Rude Awakening

君の闇私の光 (Your Dark My Light) © 2015

Chapter 3: Rude Awakening

Some time during the night, when the moon was at its highest peak and the air was still. I heard a rustling in the woods. It was unlike any sound I’ve ever heard previously. Whatever it was, the movements were slow and gradual, as if it was surveying the area. These noises weren’t deliberate, they seemed stealthy, yet heavy and treacherous. The motion seemingly became louder, yet my uncle was fast asleep from the day’s long training. Even for a man of his ability, he didn’t flinch at the ever menacing sounds.

After a few months of empty-handed training, which he called Kenpo, we progressed to weaponry training, known as Ninpo. I was no slouch, when it came to hand-to-hand combat, but my uncle wanted to refine and perfect my techniques. We also practiced meditation. The theory behind this was that the body and mind must grow in the same capacity at the same time. Without the the development of the other, it could send a soul out of balance, causing great distress and turmoil to oneself. When a soul is in this state, a body can become a vessel for evil and the mind will no longer retain control over it. He told me this was an essential step to what lies ahead, which he never did disclose. He would always insist that all will be revealed in time.

From Ninpo, we started studying ancient symbols from scrolls, as well as spell casting. Along with meditation, we would concentrate on conducting séances and cast various protection spells. This was a bit archaic, how could this training benefit me? It’s not like we had to ward off evil spirits or demons. Not that I believed in any of the sort. So of course I was pretty reprehensible, at first. This just all came so suddenly and too soon. I initially thought this was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, because I couldn’t imagine how useful it would be in this day and age – it didn’t resonate reality.

Long hours of training, daily. One day would focus on Kenpo. The next Ninpo. Followed by ancient script reading and spell casting. All the while meditation. We did this for months. I wouldn’t be able to discern what day it could be, because of the irregular schedule. We stayed away from civilization and caught our own food each and every day. Sometimes we wouldn’t find enough, but then he insisted on meditation, which would feed us spiritually. I can’t distinguish in which scenario where I felt more exhausted; when I was consistently alone or when we began training like this. Maybe we can give it a rest sooner or later.

Those menacing sounds I heard earlier became gravely silent. That alarmed me somewhat. Was it just my imagination? My eyes surveyed the entire cottage up to my uncle’s cot. Nothing out of the ordinary. No signs of movement. This training is causing me some paranoia. Every single noise I hear, sends me into a heightened state of alertness. Even the dead silence is unnerving. Then I hear him. He was still breathing heavily, in a deep soothing sleep. I jumped as he quickly flinched. I thought he was going to swoop out of bed and surprise attack me. Such was our training. Training at its best, right? He must be having a dream or something.

Whatever the noise was, it seemed to have went away. After all, we are out in the woods. We’re in a hidden area away from any main roads. No one knows we’re out here. Besides, there are many animals that roam around, some nocturnal. Plus, we have traps set up around the perimeter of the cottage. If anything was out there, we’d know as soon as one of them set off. These traps were only meant to keep things from moving further so we can examine the prey, before we killed it. Just then, I heard a startling crash outside. It came from every direction, making it impossible to pinpoint. Could it be that the traps were triggered and ensnared something? It sounded big, fast enough to set off multiple traps, whatever it was. I’ve got to investigate. This could be our food for the week.

It was common practice to dress battle ready. No weapons of course, but they were kept within arms length. I disliked using weapons, because my hand and foot speeds seemed quicker. I did favor a set of tonfu though. I hurried to the door, unarmed. I cracked it slightly open. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t anything in sight. I wasn’t sure which side to head to, the left or right. I stepped out and made way to the right. Nothing in sight. The trap did not snag anything in front of us. I walk toward the corner of the cottage. Before I turned, I listened closely for any unusual sounds. Still nothing, yet I could sense a presence of something unnatural. Evil to an extent.

Before I could react, my uncle jerks me from behind, stopping me in my tracks. He’s always had the upperhand in that respect. As I glanced in his direction, he placed a finger to his lips. Does he know what triggered these traps? He signaled me to stay and keep watch, as he rounds the other way. This must be exactly what we’ve been training for. I can finally find out what the fuss was with the “end of the world” nonsense he’s been preaching about. I was right. Terribly.

My uncle was well versed in combat also. As he turned the corner in the opposite way, I heard clashing of what sounded like blades. I hustled over to aid him. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this really happening? Nothing I’ve ever encountered before, stood directly in front of my uncle. It was a demon. Enormous. Imagine smashing four full-grown grizzly bears together, this is the product of that. As it towered over my uncle, it’s claws portruded past the sword’s blade but not enough to injure him. I stood frozen, either in amazement or fear, possibly both.
“Are you going to just stand there?!” he exclaimed while fending off the demon’s attacks.
“I’m not sure what I can do.” I replied.
“We didn’t train for months in order for you to get cold feet!” he said angrily, “Hurry up and do something!”

It’s true that I was terrified. I knew at any moment, one of us could certainly die, but that moment wasn’t going to be now. I reached for some throwing darts and quickly hurled them at the demon’s glaring eyes. Direct hit.
“Back me up! I’ll lure it’s attention to me!” I said as I jumped in the air. I proceeded to go more on the offensive while inflicting a barrage of punches and kicks onto the demon’s head and torso, and some vital areas. It’s skin was tough, like cured leather. My fighting technique seemed to have little effect against it. If only I had my favorite weapons.
“Looking for these?” my uncle held out the pair of modified tonfu’s and threw them in my direction.
“You’re a godsend!” I praised.
As I extended myself to catch them, the demon pierced my left leg with its claw. I fell to the ground and winced as I landed crouching. It felt like a tree branch dug into me skin. My uncle parried the second blow.
“Is it bad?” he asked concerningly.
“If the bleeding stops later, then no. If it doesn’t stop, then maybe.” I replied smartly, “Let’s focus on the demon first!”
“That a boy!” he grinned.

These modified tonfu I used as weapons had retractable blades built into the short end. At the touch of the thumb, I triggered the blades. This should work. I targeted the demon’s weak spots. My uncle kept defending my blind side. Just as I figured, the demon started backstepping. Maybe it’s trying to lure me in. It doesn’t matter. I’ll finish it off with this last blow.
I jump high into the air and swoop down yelling, “Thousand Pierces Attack!!” I flung a slew of quickly placed jabs with the bladed end toward the demon, looking like rain of shining metal.

The demon fell to the ground. It laid still. As we stood there watching to making sure, we struggled to catch our breath.
“Is it over?” I asked impatiently.
“This is only the beginning, my boy.” he said sternly, then asked, “When did you come up with that attack? You’ve never tried it on me.”
“Had I meant to kill you uncle, you would never live to know.” I uttered in a serious tone.
“Well if you think you could land something like that on me, you still have lots to learn, my boy.” he chuckled.
“I’ll be sure to learn all I can under your guidance uncle.” I said sternly.
“Indeed you will, my boy. Indeed.” he applauded.

The body of the demon started to dissipate. The sight was reassuring and then a sound of clapping came from the left of us.
“Bravo! You have put on quite a show for me.” a voice said from the shadows.
“A show? All of this was to entertain you?” I asked heatedly.
“Don’t get so upset,” the voice said, “I’m sure you’re worthy of another fight soon.”
“Who are you?” my uncle asked, “What do you want?”
“I am of no concern for now. This was merely a test.” the voice chattered amusingly, “it would be a shame to kill you now. We will meet again.” The shadowy figure disappeared just as fast as it had suddenly appeared from nowhere.

My thoughts are uncertain of the events that have just transpired. I stare at my uncle and the look on his face was the same as how mine felt. We were both shocked, but this is what he prepared us for.
“You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.” I said firmly.
“I’ll tell you after breakfast.” he replied as the sun peaked out from the horizon. He placed his hand on my shoulder and asked, “Are you going to live?”
“It seems to feel okay now.” I replied. I prop open the gash in my pants and the wound seemed to be healing on it’s own. “This doesn’t make any sense. I was sure that my leg was severely injured, but its nearly completely healed.” I said in amazement.
“I can explain that too, my boy.” he smirked as we make our way back into the cottage. “For now, let’s just stick to eating. I can eat a cow!” he exclaimed.

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