EPISODE 18: The Bird and the Samurai
The sky was still red with the sunset when David and Jenny returned to the house. When they got back, they found they still had some time before everyone else returned. To their surprise, they didn’t have to tell what happened. No one asked. The couple was fine with that. After eating some dinner, the boys took David somewhere as they did the day before. As a result, Emily and Jenny stayed behind to help. The first thing they did was help Reid’s mother wash dishes.
“Of course we’re stuck with cleaning while the boys have fun,” Emily complained.
Jenny wanted to say something but Reid’s mom reacted first. She simply carried on doing the dishes and with no change in her tone responded, “You know, there is nothing wrong with cleaning or who does it. David helped me out earlier of his free will, and I often employ Reid to do chores. Besides, I don’t think they are playing. I wish they were. They’ve been working on their project for days with no break, even before David and Jenny arrived.”
“It’s not like we haven’t been doing anything all day long!” the orphan answered back.
“No, it isn’t. But do you consider this work? I find it relaxing and a chance to focus my attention somewhere else. Besides, perhaps you can find a way to enjoy it yourself.”
“What could possibly be enjoyable about doing dishes?” Emily said not wanting a response. Still in a sour mood, she then made a comment that struck Jenny’s last nerve. She said, “Oh well, I guess doing dishes is the only thing that the princess can do on her own.”
“Excuse me?!” Jenny objected.
“You heard me,” the instigator answered. “You probably can’t do anything without help. How many times has David come your rescue, o damsel in distress?”
She then, in hopes of proving Jenny’s uselessness, threw a punch at her. However, it did not go as she anticipated. Jenny not only blocked the attack, she countered perfectly and floored the orphan effortlessly.
“Oh?” Jenny spoke while sitting on top of Emily, pinning her to the ground. “I didn’t know that a sixteen year old girl with a black belt should overcome a powerful Neostriker. And I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m knocked out by sleeping gas.”
“Get off!” the defeated teen shouted.
Jenny took a look at Reid’s mother who shook her head at the command. The daughter of the archeologist then responded, “So you can try and attack again? I don’t think so. Perhaps this way you’ll explain what your problem is with me. I haven’t done or said anything against you, but you’ve been on the attack ever since I’ve arrived. But then again, I think I’ve figured it out by now.
“You used to be like me, weren’t you?” she continued. “Before you were an orphan, you were an upper class daughter. I can recognize it. You haven’t lost all of those habits, including when eating! I don’t really know of many girls who eat their food so sophisticatedly unless it was drilled into them or they wished to be like a princess.
“I don’t know what happened to you, or your family, but just because I’m not an orphan doesn’t mean I don’t have problems of my own. If you were completely like me before, then that would mean your parents were divorced and your brother was most likely killed in a power plant explosion.”
The orphan stopped resisting. She then finally said in a more relaxed tone, the kind one has after haven been caught and given up fighting, “You’re right on part of it. What I saw in you was how I used to be. Weak.” She exhaled a deep breath. “After I became an orphan and lost everything, I was attacked by some gang members. I knew what they wanted to do, but I couldn’t fight them. If it weren’t for the police sirens they heard and scared them off, they would have done it too. After that, I was set on becoming independent.”
Reid’s mother bent down to the girls’ level and made her comment, “Being independent isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t mean you need to be a brat. Nor does it mean you should be held up to unrealistic expectations.”
They listened and stayed quiet for the rest of the night. The guys came back later in the night and went straight to sleep. After waking up, everyone split up the same as the day before. When Jenny and David entered the cave again, they found themselves in another forest area, but this forest was not the same. They could smell the salt water air, but that wasn’t what held their attention.
The two of them witnessed a duel among two bird-like neomon. Eventually, one disappeared like a normal DE neomon and the other fell to the ground, wounded.
David and Jenny rushed to the fallen bird’s side. It was a magnificent bird. It had the overall appearance of a hawk with a fine mix of an orange-red and yellow feathers. Yet it was not like any bird of prey they had seen before. It had traits of a dragon as well. The scales complimented the feathers but the reptilian tail was the most profound.
As the two youths approached, the bird acted as any might expect, but eventually it gave up, being too wounded to move. Jenny shushed the bird and gently picked it up. As she touched it, a white glow emitted from her hand and the bird instantly recovered. Recognizing the kindness inside of this girl, the hawk-like neomon relaxed and then pleasantly chirped.
“This must be a real neomon just like Ami’s Lumecyx,” Jenny stated with a smile.
“So it would seem. I wonder what it’s called,” David said cognitively for he didn’t design this one, at least how it was.
“How about we name it?” Jenny decided enthusiastically. “‘Dragonhawk’ sounds nice,” she suggested still admiring their scarlet feathered friend.
“Um. Okay,” David responded a little uncomfortable but he then began to lean away from it saying, “It just sounds so… what’s the word?”
“’Trite’?” the princess responded.
“Yeah! That’s it. I see how it fits and it does sound kinda cool.”
“Alright, how about we call him Sunflare? You like that?” she said to the creature tickling its feathered scaly body.
“You know what? ‘Dragonhawk’ is starting to grow on me.”
“Too late” she exclaimed smiling proudly of her choice. “It’s decided, right, Sunflare?”
The bird lifted up and appeared to accept the name graciously.
After that, “Dragonhawk” sounded really good to him, except he personally had an attachment to the name “Sunflare”. Unbeknownst to Jenny, “Sunflare” was the name of a legendary bird which was part falcon, dragon, and hawk and watched over the land. In fact, Sunflare was from whom Cyonex gained his power when turning into his beast mode. Hence, “Sunflare” was actually another name for Faldrak, the form that David was unable to control. If the mode hadn’t been forced by the Dark Power but instead bestowed by the legendary beast, the youth would have been able to control it. Yet, because of their experience, he could not tell her about this.
Sunflare perched on Jenny’s left forearm and they walked on. Their walk did not go on for too much longer before they reached another open area and were surrounded by DE neomon of both land and air. The dragon-hawk took flight and began to fight the creatures in the air. Meanwhile, Jenny drew her bow and David, Sudron.
The battle went well, with Cyonex performing as one would expect. When he turned around after defeating a few monsters, he saw Jenny surrounded by quite a number. He started running over to her, worried until he saw there was nothing to be worried about.
The shining princess proved herself to be very capable. One panther-like neomon, a blaner, lunged at her, but she struck it with her bow, and flowingly dismissed it with an arrow of light. Continuing from that, she gracefully dodged her foes with side-flips and simple movements, while shooting arrows with perfect accuracy.
After she forged a path for herself, she ran up a tree and flung herself up a branch like a ninja. All of this, David watched in awe, stunned by her talents. After she dispatched all of her enemies, she jumped down from the branch and walked over with a smug on her face. Then remembering they had another companion, they looked up for Sunflare.
The dragon-hawk was faring well, but still outnumbered. David began to shout out commands and warnings to assist and they worked well. In one occasion, David alerted Sunflare of a dragon creature called skydran behind him. The dragon-hawk performed a flip as in an aerial dogfight and grasped the wings of the neomon and dove down, driving the opponent into the dirt, defeating it. In another case, it swapped a crow-like neomon down with its steel-like tail. One thing the youth began to notice was that Sunflare appeared to become stronger after he defeated a few monsters.
When the last of the DE neomon were rid of, Sunflare alighted to Cyonex’s shoulder.
“You look almost like a hunter!” Jenny exclaimed. “Shall I lend you my bow?” she joked.
“Very funny. I am amazed though of how you did in that battle.”
The princess curtsied.
“All the acrobatics you did made me jealous. If it wasn’t for forms, I probably could only dream of doing those moves, but you make it look so easy.”
“Thanks, but I do think the air here has amplified my own skills,” she evaluated. “But that’s not to take credit away from all the training I did have.”
They continued on and reached the shore where they saw many islands. At first, they pondered what they were to do, but Sunflare appeared to know the answer. It led them to a little boat and then proceeded to fly before them. David and Jenny boarded the boat and using her power of the Elite Stones of water and wind to steer it, followed the dragon-hawk.
“Have you ever wanted to be a pirate?” Jenny suddenly asked.
“A pirate?” the dreamer contemplated. “Not really. Sailor, yes, but I don’t think I ever went as far as pirate, though sword fighting aboard ships has caught my imagination before. Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering, since we’re out here sailing.”
“Yeah, there are interesting stories about the ocean. I think it would be cool to see a beautiful mermaid.”And at that last statement, a splash of water hit the youthful boy.
“What was that for?” he looked at Jenny who merely replied the typical “Who? Me?” though it was obvious she used her power to splash him.
“Whatever,” he shrugged, “at least it’s cool that you can control the elements.”
“True, but I still can’t bend fire. I wonder what I could have done with the other two stones.”
“You mean Lightning and Ice? Ice would probably be a freeze blast, but I think it’s good you don’t have Lightning.”
“Because it might make you look like an evil dark lord,” David said, laughing.
When they got to shore, the two friends continued to follow Sunflare. They encountered a few more DE neomon, but were able to dispatch them with no problems, especially after Sunflare developed a flamethrower ability it could shoot from its beak. The real combat came when they reached a large hole in the ground with a purple vapor, presumably dark energy, emitting from it. After they got closer, a giant plant monster suddenly emerged.
The monster consisted mainly of three oversized venus flytrap-like plants. The center one was the biggest with the other two acting more like hands. However, just because it looked like a plant did not mean it was slow. It could move nimbly, even though it was fixed to the hole.
“What in the world is that?!” Jenny cried out.
“No idea. Wanna give it a name?”
“I don’t think this is the time for that!” she shouted in reply as they dodged an unexpected beam fired from the main mouth. “But I’ll settle for Triven for now!”
“Good enough for me. You can explain the logic later.”
David fired a falcon’s blast and Jenny let loose an arrow at the neomon of dark energy, but they had no effect.
“The outer shell is like solid armor!” David shouted to inform his colleague. “The only way to damage it is probably to hit its insides!”
“I’ll see what I can do!” were her words. With that, Jenny ran back towards the trees, evading beams. Running into the shadow of the trees, she vanished!
Triven was confused, but it still had focus on both Cyonex and Sunflare. The bird was flying overhead, circling this giant monster. He was unable to do anything but distract one of the heads.
With two heads focused on Cyonex, he began to move around, not yet certain of what to do. After a moment of staring like a snake, the right head lunged at the Falcon in attempts to eat him, but the Guardian jumped back. As he leaped back, he tossed a neo bomb inside and was able to damage the plant-monster that way.
While he was able to dodge the hungry head, David was not so fortunate to avoid the follow up beam. Even more unfortunate, he had already used his saiber armor neocard in one of the earlier encounters. However, to the greater benefit, an arrow of light struck the main head when it opened its mouth to fire the beam. Jenny had moved to from where she could safely snipe.
Angered by this unpredicted move, the Triven spat out a toxic sludge. It almost hit Cyonex, but he dashed out of the way. Seeing its friends in trouble, Sunflare dived down and helped distract one of the heads. Jenny did the same by firing arrows, even though the mouths were closed.
Soon, David was able to destroy one of the heads after firing a falcon’s blast inside after it tried to eat him. However, his dragon-hawk friend was not so lucky. While distracting one of the heads, it flew too close and the other of the lesser heads was able to get it whole.
“Sunflare!” both David and Jenny called out.
Next thing they knew, the second mouth of Triven burst into flames and exploded. What emerged was expected to be Sunflare, but it was different. This bird was bigger and more dragon-like with scales that looked stronger than any metal man could forge replacing the feathers. It was encased in a flame, but not harming it at all. Instead, it shined bright like a blazing sun.
“This is Sunflare,” Cyonex exclaimed in awe and wonder of this legendary creature.
As soon as this mighty form appeared, the battle was over. With its flame covered body, it drove itself into Triven’s final head and destroyed it. After releasing a powerful burst of flame into the pit, the dark energy no longer emitted.
Jenny rushed over from the shadows and joined David in admiring this unbelievable sight. Then, a light encompassed Sunflare and it reverted to its original form. After chirping as if in thanks, it guided them to another island shore. When they arrived, they spotted a figure waiting. When they got closer they were able to make it out to be the shape of stereotypical Japanese ronin warrior, complete with the straw hat and two swords at his hip. His garb consisted of light blue and white colors.
“I take it you are the last Sentinel?” David inquired of this samurai warrior.
“Yes,” he said, tossing his hat. “My name is Ryuutsubame Miyano. Your challenge is to defeat me… without the use of neocards. Do you think you can do it? You have Sudron, but do you possess the ‘Heart of the Sword’?”
The Guardian took a look at the environment and stepped forward. With Sudron drawn, the Nellenion field appeared and Jenny watched with Sunflare on her shoulder.
The samurai and Cyonex gazed intently on each other, analyzing their stances and prepping their own. They moved closer and tested their metal. The Falcon made the first move, with a strong vertical slash, but Miyano avoided the attack, spinning around David and slashing from behind. The counter would have landed too, if the youth had not used his jetpack to boost forward that last instant.
“Wise tactic to evade my devastating counter,” the Sentinel complimented.
Catching his breath, David said to his Asen, “Thanks for the tip. That dodge threw me off.”
“No problem,” Zel replied. “You better be careful. This guy is able to evade attacks by the narrowest margins.”
“…And so be in a perfect spot to counter. I guess big swings are not an option here.”
“Unless you can use them effectively in a counter,” the Asen advised.
David turned about and fired a falcon’s blast. To his surprise, his opponent did not attempt to avoid it. Instead, he did a simple sidestep and after cradling the shot, returned it to him! The youth dived out of the way and exclaimed, “I didn’t think that was possible!”
“Too bad for you,” the Sentinel smirked.
“I guess this whole duel will be determined by counters,” David muttered.
They clashed their blades, but with no avail to either side. At one point, Miyano unleashed a powerful strike, but what caught the Falcon off-guard was the more powerful voice he used when attacking. He was able to block the attack, but he fell to the ground. It probably would have been a perfect opportunity to attack, but the samurai had rushed past after striking the blade, ensuring no counter could be done to him.
Trying another tactic, David fired another charged shot. However, the Sentinel calmly redirected the blast and almost hit him. Seeing no other option, the youth rushed in with Sudron.
Their blades met once more, again with no success. Cyonex stepped back, but then Miyano moved forward with a quick stroke to the wrists. The dreamer was able to pull his blade in time to block the blow to the wrists, but the ensuing and unexpected throat strike caused him to fall back to the ground. The Sentinel stepped back and allowed his adversary to rise.
“This guy is full of surprises,” David exclaimed.
“Have you noticed his foot movement?” Zel asked.
Focusing his attention, the youth saw that the samurai’s feet appeared to glide over the sand.
“Can that even happen?” he said in disbelief.
There was no time for an answer, Miyano made a leaping slash. The Guardian dove forward to avoid the slash. Seeing this as his first opportunity, he fired a falcon’s blast in midair and hit the Sentinel from behind.
David got up once more and immediately began to parry his swift opponent’s katana. Focusing hard, he waited for an opening. That opening finally appeared when the samurai attempted a similar combination of a wrist strike. However, by anticipating that move, the Guardian was able to block and then dash past Miyano, scathing the Sentinel’s left shoulder with Sudron.
“Impressive, but that won’t happen again,” Miyano praised Cyonex.
That analysis had a good base. The concentration needed to withstand and focus so long for that one instant takes a toll on the mind. The youth was panting, but that did not affect his determination to win. Even if he could get away with that technique again, he was resolute to find a way to get through.
“I probably would not have been able to do that if we hadn’t been training with the others the past few days,” the youth said, regaining his composure.
“That may be true, but don’t let that deter you,” Zel encouraged him.
Just then, with some strong force, the samurai pounded the ground and stirred up a sand cloud for the entire Nellenion field. Trapped in the cloud and visibility hindered, the Guardian could only do one thing: move. Knowing the Sentinel could move silently and quickly, the worst thing to do was stand still, since it only would give an advantage to the other.
True to his expectations, Miyano struck where he was before. This provided the opening needed to land his own attack. However, this play could only work once. Since the Sentinel realized David’s cleverness, he became more careful and slashed only where he knew David was with the lightning tactic. The samurai would attack with one slash and then retreat, only to hone in a short while later from a different direction. Cyonex was able to parry or dodge most of them, thanks to Zel’s aid, but he took at least two slashes by the time the sand cloud vanished.
After that, tactics needed to change once more. The third Sentinel drew his short sword to compliment his katana. Soon enough, he charged in and started swinging, giving the youth no time to change weapons. Cyonex, at a disadvantage, had to parry the incoming slashes to almost no end.
After a while, Miyano almost got through the Guardian’s defense. David had to block the short sword with Sudron, but no way could he pull it back to block the next blow from the katana. Instead, he pulled out the scabbard to block. From there, the Falcon had two items to match the samurai’s.
“Wise use of your sheath,” Miyano complimented.
Now that the battle plain was even, both of the adversaries alternated between attack and defense, but it would not last much longer. They eventually crossed blades at a stalemate, but David still had one item to use.
With the power of Elite Fire, the dreamer pushed and stunned Miyano. Then, making use of the opening he created, slashed with Full Power and defeated the last Sentinel.
Jenny acquired the light sphere and David the last Ancient Neocard, Guardian’s Slash. Then Zel appeared to them and said, “Congratulations. You have passed the three trials that were set before you. These three Ancient Neocards will be of importance later on, but you must spare from using them until the time comes.
“Jennifer, your power has become great as well, as you can now purify those infected with dark energy in your world. However, I regret to inform the Elite Stones will not be of use to you there. You will have to return them to your friends, for they can use them there.
“David, in addition to the Ancient Neocard, you have acquired the ability to mode change into ‘Speed Mode’ and a new sword technique called the ‘Elite Slash.’ Your Elite slash combines the power of the Elite Stone of Fire with Sudron and Full Power to perform ‘Blazing Sun Slash.’”
“That’s cool, Zel,” Jenny commented, “but do you need to sound so technical about all this?”
“Perhaps,” the Asen responded.
“If you say so,” she responded melodically. “But what I have been wondering for some time is if Sunflare can come back with us.”
“No. He will stay here. This is his place. He will serve as a guardian for the remaining neomon here. Perhaps, in the future, they will multiply back to their original numbers. Now it’s time for us to leave. See the cave has become an entrance.” Some rocks fell from the cliff and revealed a cave.
Slightly sad at the idea of leaving, the two youth said goodbye to their fair feathered friend and returned home. And along the way, Jenny critiqued David for what she thought was an anticlimactic ending to his duel.
Episode 19: Fire and Lightning
Episode 19: Fire and Lightning