Saturday, July 26, 2014

Episode 14: The Orphaned Girl

Episode 13 Recap:
            After talking with Zel, David learned more about the nature of Neostriker and how the root word "Neo" means "Spirit" in the Nellenion culture. With a new form and legendary sword, David is more powerful than before, but not enough to defeat Crawn. However, Crawn reveals how he is Jenny's older brother and spared David's life so that he can protect her.

EPISODE 14: The Orphaned Girl

             Just as David finally arrived home, a car pulled up and honked at him. It was Reid with his father, Dyl and Nathan.  After greeting them, David brought them inside where everyone else was preparing dinner. When Nathan and Dyl saw Jennifer, they were impressed.
            “Dude,” Dyl whispered to Nathan, but loud enough for everyone else to hear, “David’s got good taste.” The dreamer of course blushed at that comment and made a hasty comment that it wasn’t like that. Nathan replied, “Sure it’s not… We’ll give you some time on that.” While Dyl and Nathan were teasing David about how pretty the princess was, no one save Mary and Reid noticed that her face turned a bit red as well.
            After introductions, they ate dinner. It was a bit amazing that there was enough for everyone since it was almost like a Christmas party. After dinner, the people began separating into groups. The fathers began talking to each other while the teenagers gathered and started to discuss the whole Neostriker affair.
            “I’m still amazed that Jenny here is the Shining Princess,” Dyl exclaimed. “Though I hope she isn’t just a pretty face for us to save.”
            “Come on,” Nathan butted in. “Even if the plot is as simple as rescuing the princess, they do a good job of making games that are fun and timeless.”
            “I’m not saying that the games are bad,” the loose-tongue Dyl defended himself. I have too many fond memories playing those games. I’m just saying sometimes I would like more character depth from the princesses.”
            “I think it’s great that Jenny is the princess,” Reid threw in. “From what I know about her, she should be an excellent one, maybe providing the depth you desire, Dyl.”
            “Did you meet before?” Nathan asked before David could. Jenny answered, “We went to a camp together once. That was fun.”
            “Yeah, it was,” Reid consented. “Anyways, David, our numbers are growing faster. We are having our base be in San Diego which isn’t too far from here.”
            “No, it isn’t,” David agreed. “Hopefully we’ll have enough to go up against the Daelian army before they grow too strong.”
            “I think we will,” Nathan pitched in. “There are four of us big guns now, and we have six Elite Stones. That should give us an advantage.”
            “Crawn is still a powerful opponent and the governor is on their side,” David reminded them.
            “We also don’t know who else is working with them. There can even be foes more powerful than Crawn in their ranks,” Dyl muttered, thinking about the possibilities from far back.
            “Anyways,” David began, “I think the next order of business for me is to find a way to free me from the dark energy inside of me. The new form did not provide a cure.”
            “Can’t Jenny do that if she’s the Shining Princess?” Dyl asked, curious as to why she hasn’t yet.
            “I’m sorry, my powers haven’t developed,” Jenny answered with her head bent in shame for not being of any help, after which, Dyl apologized.
            “How about the Cave of Darkness?” Reid suggested only to find out no one else knew what he meant and so had to explain. “My Asen told me about a cave located somewhere around here. I think it is still hidden, but I think that might be where David and Jenny may need to go to fix both of their problems.”
            “How is it that a society that was supposedly located in the Atlantic have a special location by the Pacific?” David asked aloud knowing that he did not come up with such a place.
            “We had efficient means of transportation,” David’s Asen finally answered. “You don’t think that Columbus was the first to explore this continent, do you?”
            With no one responding, Zel continued.
            “The cave is where they need to go. There, they shall undergo a series of trials. If they succeed, Jenny’s powers will develop, and David shall obtain new skills.”
            “What exactly will these trials be?”
            “The main ones will be to recover three special neocards. They will be necessary should you need to face the Dark Master.”
            “Shouldn’t we only need the Elite Stones?” Reid asked.
            “No. As you are now, you cannot defeat Zenoth. There is no guarantee that these cards will be enough, but they will aid you nonetheless.”
            “Whatever,” the dreamer carelessly replied, having expected this for some time. “So where exactly is this place?”
            “I don’t know exactly, but I think I do know who would,” Reid responded. Dyl and Nathan inquired who and Reid answered, “Emily.”
            “Who’s Emily?” Jenny asked, figuring she may be the only one who didn’t know since David already had connections with these guys. However, she was wrong; David did not know anything about Emily either. Needless to say, it felt awkward for him to need to learn so much about his own creation.
            “Oh, Emily is a girl we found back home in San Diego, an orphan actually,” Dyl started to explain. “She may be a bit rough around the edges, but she is gorgeous. She could even give Jenny here a run for her money if they were to compete in a beauty contest. Actually, I still think it’s possible that she and Reid might hookup sometime,” he finished with a smirk.
            “Dyl, it might be best if you keep your mouth closed for a while before you say something completely out of line,” Nathan stated with the approval of everyone else. Jenny then said, “At least we’ll know who to blame for the wisecracks coming from the shadows” and everyone laughed as Dyl bowed as if he had been accorded with some great honor.
            With that said and done, Reid continued, “Yes, that’s Emily. She’s had a bit of a rough life, but she’s on our side. I think she does know where to go, though.”
            “Alright, then we should go find her as soon as possible,” David declared wondering about who this person may be and how she may know where the cave is located.
            “Well, if David is to enter the Cave of Darkness, then he’s going to need to pass a trial first,” Zel stated. When asked what kind of trial, he merely replied, “I can’t say, but if a warrior is to enter the cave, he needs to prove that he is ready. Only when the time is right will he know.”
            With that note, the discussion on Neostriker ended, but the teenagers still stayed up talking about other things deciding that they should probably wait until the next day to start.
            When morning came, the teenagers got up and packed to travel to San Diego where they were planning to stay for a while. After dropping some stuff off at Reid’s house and finding Emily had already gone to where Reid instructed her to meet, they proceeded to an old warehouse. When they entered, they saw a teenage girl who matched Dyl’s description just fine. She was indeed a bit rough, but she was certainly pretty as well. When people think of blondes, it is not common that someone would imagine a girl like Emily. Then again, having a rough life and being an orphan should probably change any expectations one has for a girl. Reid did the introductions and while David tried to shake her hand, she simply nodded and glared at Jenny, particularly the pink skirt she was wearing.
            “So this is the fair ‘damsel in distress,’” she spoke with discontent. “Figured it would be some helpless girl. Have you gotten your manicure today, princess? What use are you anyways?”
            None of the guys could figure if she really had it out for Jenny for some reason or was simply baiting her to see how she would react. Perhaps it was a bit of both, but one thing for certain, she did not seem to be a fan even though they had just met. Perhaps the more interesting part was that David did not step in to defend her. Probably best that he didn’t or it might have proven the orphan’s point about her being helpless. Instead, Jenny answered her accusations saying, “I may not be able to do anything now, but that’s why we’re here; so I can use my powers and so we can free David of the dark energy that curses him. So do you know where we can find the Cave of Darkness?” While she did not lose any of her charm while speaking, there was a bit of fire in her eyes sparked by the contempt her similarly fair “adversary” exhibited.   
            The roughed up female did not respond directly to Jennifer. Rather, she then began to size up David and spoke in the manner common when someone did something stupid, “So you brought a traitor? A Daelian?”
            “He’s not an enemy,” Reid reassured her. “In fact, he’s probably our greatest ally. That’s why we need to find that cave and, hopefully there, find a way to purify him.”
            “Come on, him? A good ally?” she replied with disbelief. “I could easily floor him.”
            “Haha, that’s probably true,” David finally spoke out. “But that might be because I wouldn’t fight you except in forms.”
            That last comment incited the orphaned girl. “So are you a coward or do you really have that much disrespect for the female gender?” Jenny was ready to make a comment when Emily lashed out, “Shut up, posh girl.” Then back to David, she said, “I think I’m going to need to teach you a lesson. If you think you need to fight in forms then so be it. I’ll still wipe the floor with you, as Drame.” 
            “Then let’s do this,” David replied, having already expected this result.
            David and Emily entered forms and brought up the Nellenion field. Emily took on a light purple and dark pink armor. The helmet had an opening for her blonde hair to come out as a ponytail. Her armor was highly decorated with embroidery.
In her right hand she gripped a sword and in her left a hard solid yet decorated shield. She was so beautiful in that armor, that it would be possible some guys would not wish to fight just because of it. David could not help but at the sight of her mutter, “And I thought she was a dame before.”
            The two introduced themselves by their forms’ names. Emily had become Drame and David, Cyonex. Soon, their fight began, or at least it should have. Drame charged in with her sword ready and made the first move. Cyonex, however, merely parried with a left-handed neo sword and did evasive maneuvers. This repeated a few times with little to no variance
            “Are you going to fight?!” the dame called out to her supposed opponent. “Pull out your sword and fight, you coward!” Sudron stayed sheathed and Emily became pissed and continued to yell at David. “Don’t you dare go easy on me because I’m a girl! Fight me like a man!” she yelled. Still no reaction from David. He merely stared at the dame with piercing eyes.
            “David’s going to win,” Reid stated out of the blue. Jenny was surprised by this statement considering that David had not yet swung a sword, much less draw Sudron from its sheath. She inquired Reid of how he came to this conclusion so early in the match. Adding to the comment, Dyl placed a bet that David would win without even getting scratched. Still confused, Jenny was about to ask again when Reid finally began to explain.
            “Look at them,” he started. “Emily isn’t thinking properly. David’s skill is beyond hers and he knows it.”
            “So he is going easy on her by not drawing Sudron?!” Jenny asked with a bit of contempt at David doing this.
            “Not at all,” Dyl chimed in. “He’s not pulling back anything. He’s gonna go in with ‘full’
 force.” Jenny was still confused and proceeded to ask why he wasn’t drawing Sudron if he wanted to go all out. Continuing from Dyl’s response, Reid answered, “Because it would be his disadvantage to use that sword. It’s not his style.” The princess then inquired about what is David’s style and the old friend replied with one word, “Style.”
            Now Jenny was getting annoyed with these confusing answers to her that really just brought up more questions. To her it was like reading book in a foreign language with no dictionary. It’s not uncommon for people focused to start speaking in what they think are common terms without realizing that the people they are talking to may not understand what they mean. Unfortunately for her, this was the case, though maybe if she thought about it for a while she may have had understood it all.
            Nathan finally ended her torture and began to explain what his friends were saying. “David’s been analyzing Emily since before the battle started. He’s being very thorough. It may seem like to some people that he’s holding back, but he’s really just preparing to attack. However, because Emily does not seem to realize what he is doing, she’s getting anxious and rash. David, on the other hand, is still calm and collected. He’s running in his mind probably four to five different scenarios five to ten moves ahead. Emily is only probably thinking about two moves ahead. David is seeing her openings and is about ready to pounce.”
            “And the fact that he’s doing this shows he’s being very thorough,” Reid added on. “David’s known about Emily’s strengths and weaknesses since before the match begun. He’s only confirming it.”
            “And just because of that you say he’s going to win?” Jenny asked further.
            “It’s their Warrior’s Intuition,” her father stated. “It’s like a tennis match where the skilled player knows where his opponent will return the ball before he even hits it. Apparently, David has some of that.”
            “But he’s never fought like that before,” Jenny exclaimed.
            “No one ever fights the same against every opponent. It wouldn’t be human,” Reid stated. “This is a rare opportunity in which David is calm and the circumstances allow him to be composed. That itself gives him the advantage because Emily is losing her patience and will start to act even more rashly and so make more mistakes. The other reason why he’s probably doing this is because of that shield.”
            “Yeah,” Dyl muttered.  “He already knows that shield can block most of his attacks. To use Sudron would give Emily the advantage. One of the properties of the legendary sword is that it’s the only sword that can be used when drawn. Either way, it’s not like him to prefer to use force over style. He’s gonna try to defeat her while looking good and being effective… like a fox.”
            “Using Sudron would only ruin that sense of style,” Reid exclaimed. “He’s going to use twin swords to counter her sword and shield combo.”  
            David finally started to attack. It was more like a sparring match for him than a fight. He was like a strategic boxer gauging his opponent the first round preparing his tactics for the second in full force. He fought like one too, sneaking a jab in here and there while blocking all attacks and counter strikes. While Drame’s shield serve mainly to block, Cyonex’s twin swords were adaptable and he was able to effectively use Drame’s shield to his advantage. It’s pretty difficult for a boxer to win with just one fist and the other blocking his sight. That is exactly how David planned it and played the tactic to its fullest forcing Emily into that situation. Sometimes he would put away his swords only to draw them again after crossing his arms. At one point, he forced Drame to bring up her shield and he dropped a bomb at her feet and jumped back while she suffered the blast.  He quickly defeated Drame without drawing Sudron or even using an Elite Stone.
            David de-formed and walked towards the fallen dame. He offered his hand for assistance but Emily just glared. He laughed and then began to speak, “There’s no disrespect intended by me not wanting to fight women. It’s because I have respect for women that I refuse to fight. Fighting is how guys get through each other’s pride, make a point, and earn respect. Women, however, bypass all that through their charm and beauty. In fact you should consider yourself honored to be thought of as the more ‘civilized gender.’ That and also by me never fighting a girl, I assure myself that I would never physically abuse my future wife should I have one. With that principle instilled as a habit, there is a strong restraint against ever doing such a horrible thing.”
            As he finished, he looked to Jenny and her neck. Feeling shame, he focused on his hand. His resolution on the issue had grown.
            With those words, the look in Emily’s eyes finally changed from contempt to the kind that is willing to give a chance. She turned aside and sighed a laugh saying, “You’re an idealist, but I guess that’s okay.” As he helped her up, she muttered, “I still say I can floor you,” and David laughed without a care. As they returned to the others, Emily declared, “I’m still upset with you not drawing your sword nor using an Elite Stone.”
            “To use an Elite Stone would have been cheating,” David began his answer. “If I did use one, you would have said I couldn’t win without it.  As for the whole sword thing, in order for me to fight at my best, I needed my twin swords. Sudron would have been the wrong weapon to go against you. You think I can handle those trials now?”
            “All I know is that you are better than me,” Emily commented pretending not to be impressed. “I would assume whatever lies in the cave would be far better. You might have a chance.”
            “He will,” Zel spoke up. “The trials will test his and Jennifer’s abilities. However, before they can start, Jennifer has a trial that she must do alone. She must traverse the labyrinth inside and find a special item.”
            “If you say so, Zel,” David responded and then turned back to his friends. “So how about we go get some food? All this fighting and thinking can make a guy hungry.”
They all agreed and walked towards the car. Jenny, however, had one more question she had pondering the whole time and ran up to David to ask.
            “So why would you only fight if she was in forms?”

            The Guardian took a glance at her then faced forward and responded, “I’ll explain later, but it’s because I recently learned that forms are not physically based and I knew she wouldn’t get harmed. Sometimes it’s better to take care of something before it becomes a big problem. Don’t worry about it, let’s get some food.” He walked on but the look on his face stated that something was on his mind.

Episode 15: The Cave of Darkness

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