As we neared the border between Canada and the US, I was beginning to wonder how we would get across. Obviously, I can’t hijack a car and kill the lady driving it with four other ninjas in the passenger seats without passports. That wouldn’t fly.
Obviously, Terra could get through easily with her blinding speed… but what would the rest of us do? Nothing we can do but see what happens when we get there.
We were still in the forest, and I eventually started to notice some broken tree branches and footsteps in our path. They were very faint, so I wasn’t able to take notice of them until I actually looked down.
I stopped to inspect them more closely.
“Juliet, can you track down where these footsteps came from?”
She came over to me and knelt down, observing it.
“They went north,” she said.
So we trusted her instinct and headed north.
We eventually came upon a larger clearing in the forest when Juliet stopped. I stepped back a little bit, as did everyone else, to give her some space.
Then, she stepped aside as an arrow, coming from her right, barely missed her. The arrow hit the tree on the opposite side, and Terra screamed from surprise. Alex and I ran over to where the arrow came from, out of the clearing and into the forest as Tommy pulled Juliet back from the clearing.
Alex and I searched around for whoever could have shot that arrow, but there were no signs of anything, no footsteps or misplaced branches. Then we heard a scream and an explosion, and ran back to where the rest were.
Juliet was busy pulling some more explosives out of her bag, Terra had her dagger in one hand and a shuriken in the other, and Tommy had a yellow pentagram formed at his feet. They were all facing opposite of us. One of the bushes was on fire, most likely from Juliet’s explosive.
“What’s going on?!” I yelled at them.
“There’s someone over there…” said Tommy, not taking his eyes off of the burning shrubs.
Then, Terra disappeared, and the bushes began shaking violently due to her speed. I ran in after her, and finally came upon another small clearing, where she was standing in front of two guys, one holding a bow and the other wearing knucklers.
The one holding the bow had short, spiked hair, and wore pretty much the same as Alex. His bow was a deep black, and he had a quiver of arrows on his back like a backpack. The one holding the knucklers was slightly shorter than the other one, though still taller than me, and had darker skin. His hair was shorter, too. His knucklers were a transparent color, most likely made of diamonds. They were staring back at Terra with their arms crossed. Alex, Juliet, and Tommy came running through where I came from and stood behind me.
“Who are you guys?” the archer asked.
“Who are YOU?” asked Terra.
“My name is Richard,” said the archer.
“And my name is Elegiacal,” said the other one.
“Ele-what?” asked Tommy, confused.
“Never mind,” said Elegiacal, “now, who are you guys and why are you blowing up the forest?”
“An arrow almost killed her,” said Tommy, and pointed at Juliet.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Richard apologetically, but there was also a bit of sarcasm in his voice. “I was practicing my shooting.”
“Why are you guys here?” asked Elegiacal.
“We’re on our way to North Dakota,” I said.
“What for?” asked Elegiacal.
“No reason, just traveling,” covered Tommy.
Richard whispered something into Elegiacal’s ear and they both nodded.
“No, you aren’t ‘just traveling’,” said Richard.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Well, for one thing, you guys are holding a bunch of weapons, you blew up a bush, and there’s absolutely no way my arrow could have missed her,” Richard said, pointing his bow at Juliet.
“But didn’t you say you missed?” asked Alex.
“No, I said I was practicing shooting. I’m an pro Arrow Kancho. No ordinary person could dodge an arrow as fast and precise as mine.”
“Why the hell would you try to kill her?!” yelled Tommy, as Juliet was slowly moving her way behind him. Everyone else was eyeing Richard and Elegiacal suspiciously.
“Because you guys could be a potential threat to our goal.” Said Richard.
“What goal?” I asked.
Richard whispered to Elegiacal again and they nodded again.
“You see, the Daimyo told us that we have to find ourselves a pair of sacred weapons. He said that we have complete mastery of our weapons, so he chose us to wield them,” said Elegiacal.
“The Deity Arms?!” blurted Alex. Tommy shot him a look that said ‘shut up, idiot,’ and Alex gasped in regret.
“What are these Deity Arms that you speak of?” asked Elegiacal, raising an eyebrow at Alex.
“Deity Arms? What?” I tried to cover pathetically. “He didn’t say Deity Arms… he said… uhh…”
“Look,” said Richard, “I know when people are lying to me. Tell me what you know about the Deity Arms.”
“No, screw you!” said Alex.
“Shut up, Alex!” said Terra.
“If you don’t want to tell us, then we’re gonna have to take that suspicious piece of paper hanging out of your pocket, there…” said Richard, nonchalantly pulling an arrow from his quiver.
Tommy started to prepare a pentagram while Juliet pulled an explosive from her bag. Terra had disappeared, probably into one of the trees, and Alex had his blades prepared. I reached for my katana.
Then, unexpectedly, Richard shot an arrow into a tree right next to me, completely destroying the trunk, and I ran out of the way as it came crashing down, along with Terra. It all happened so fast. I ran over to Terra who was having a bit of trouble getting up, when I heard an explosion coming from the others.
Juliet had thrown her explosive at Elegiacal who had been closing in on them, but he had simply hit it back with his fist, and the bomb exploded halfway between them. Tommy started to cast lightning bolts at him, while Juliet was preparing another bomb, but Elegiacal’s diamond knucklers seemed to just reflect them into the sky. Alex ran for him with his blades ready, and they started to swing and block their weapons as Tommy prepared a different spell.
That all happened in the course of five seconds, and when I looked back up at Richard, he had three arrows prepared in his bow, and was aiming directly at me. Taking careful timing as he shot them, I took my katana and sliced through two of them, which fell to the ground, but the last one barely grazed my shoulder, ripping my shirt and leaving a thin cut. Terra was then behind Richard, ready to plunge her dagger into his back when he jumped up, higher than I could jump, and equipped himself with another arrow. I noticed he was running low on arrows, he only had about two left. I glanced over at the others, with Juliet trying to stab at Elegiacal with her claws but was being blocked by his knucklers. Alex was also attacking Elegiacal, but was being blocked as well. Elegiacal was just… too fast. Tommy kept trying to hit him with his fire spells, but he kept dodging them or redirecting them elsewhere.
Richard was still in the air when he was taking aim at Terra, so I took this chance to jump up to meet him, and tried to slice through his quiver, but it was completely unaffected. It must have been made of very thick steel, possibly the same material as the katana. It did, however, make him lose his aim at Terra, who was taking some shurikens out of her case. We fell to the ground at the same moment, and Terra immediately threw a shuriken at Richard. It looked like it was about to penetrate his chest, when he stepped aside at the last second as it barely made a small cut in his shirt. The shuriken went flying by and into a tree on the other side. I took this small distraction to run up behind him and take the arrows out of his quiver, but he turned around and gave me a swift punch in the chest, causing me to fall back.
At this point, Tommy had switched over to his flood spell, causing Elegiacal to slip a little, which gave Juliet and Alex a chance to attack. As they were about to, Elegiacal grabbed Alex by his right arm and swung him with incredible strength at Juliet, and they both were sent flying back, hitting a tree. Tommy ran over to help them up, and Elegiacal just watched Richard take on me and Terra.
I looked over at Terra who was preparing to throw another shuriken. Richard equipped his penultimate arrow with such speed that he was able to shoot it at the same time that Terra threw her shuriken, and as they met, the arrow completely destroyed the shuriken, shredding it to pieces, and went straight through to Terra. It hit her in the stomach, not too deep, because of the momentum it lost when it hit the shuriken.
Tommy noticed this immediately and ran over to her, preparing a healing spell. During the entire time, Elegiacal had been taking on both Alex and Juliet by himself, being able to easily block their slashes and stabs with his tiny knucklers.
Richard was examining Terra with a grin, and I took this chance to run up to him and strike. He turned around, grabbed the map from my pocket and roundhouse kicked me in the neck, knocking me on the ground.
He yelled at Elegiacal to go, and started to run off south towards the border. Elegiacal stopped blocking to run after Richard, and Juliet got a good cut into his arm while he was doing so. He staggered a bit, but kept running. Juliet and Alex ran after him.
“Go get the map!” Tommy shouted at me. “I have to heal Terra!”
I got up quickly, still feeling intense pains in my neck, and ran to catch up with Juliet and Alex to get our map back from Richard and Elegiacal.