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LP Chapter 31

Page history last edited by Volkes_Wagon 9 years, 4 months ago

Things That Fly

 

     "What's your name?"

     The boy stared back blankly.

     The new Minister hesitated, then led him to a sofa and sat down next to him, gesturing to the Vice Minister to follow suit.

     "Do you speak Northern?" 

     The boy didn't seem to understand.

     His blood-red eyes were disturbing, offset jarringly with his blue hair. He would need to wear some sort of mask and wig, or else who knew what the others would do to him. And would he be able to learn Northern fluently enough to pass as a citizen? His tribe had good connections with Angel City, but as far as he knew only a few could speak Northern. Kucabara hadn't realized how complicated saving just one child could be. And he had wanted to save the entire village singlehandedly...

     He shook himself and focused on the current topic again.

     "Okay. Let's try this." He thought for a moment. "Buchele tresha nimai?"

     Southern was met with the same reaction. Kucabara sighed.

     "Vladimier, help me with this. The kid's gotta talk. Should we start with something easier?"

     His legal uncle rolled his eyes. "Do I look like a father to you? I haven't the slightest idea. Maybe you should start with food."

     "He's not an animal, Vlad. Let's see. I mean, you start conversations with introductions, don't you? How do you give an introduction when a kid's lost his memory from shock?"

     "Ask that psychologist again. She actually knows what she's doing. Don't ask me."

     "Riiiight."

     Kucabara leaned back wearily. He hadn't slept in days. With his father's death came a dizzying array of accusations, congradulations, paperwork, public speeches, public outrage, and public approval, in that approximate order. And that was just in his own small circle, most of which was dealt with by his Vice. There was still the matter of the Blue Riders massacre and the Navi's alliance to deal with. And more accusations. All concerning his father. He closed his eyes. His mind was so numb he hadn't felt true sorrow for his father yet. But it would come.

     "Where are you when I need you?"

     His whisper was too soft for Vladimier to notice.

     Slowly he sat up. "Right then, I've got to get back to work. You call the psychologist and get the kid to talk."

     "Wha-!?"

     "You're the daddy here. I'm just the older brother. Give me a call when something happens. Well then, good luck and good e'en."

     He rose. Vladimier fidgeted uncomfortably. "...You've still got to call him something."

     "Oh? What do you mean?"

     "I mean...I don't know...give him a name."

     He grinned. "You've got a suggestion?"

     "Well, no, not exactly, no."

     "One no is enough to understand you're in the negative, Vlad."

     "Yes, yes, of course, that's right, yes."

     "...What's your suggestion?"

     "Er. Yesterday I was thinking we should give the child a new last name, and on my way down to Strawberry [i do believe that's what the town coocoo was coming back from during the ambush was called] a blue jay flew by. I've never heard of them being in this area before. But it was most certainly there, and when I saw it I thought the color was exactly like the child's hair. So I decided if we ever needed to rename him his last name would be Jay. Of course it could be changed to his first, or if you have a better idea we could use yours, but...well. Yes. A blue jay." He stared at Kucabara accusingly. "Your side of the argument?"

     Kucabara wasn't looking at him. "...Blue jays, huh? Thought they were all gone." He strode back to the boy and squatted down in front of him. "Guess what? You are about to be named after a legendary bird. A blue jay. They say that if you take one of its feathers and crumple it, the color will drip out and stain your hand sky-blue forever. Bue jays are things that fly. You're a blue jay, and you soar through the skies unhindered by rain or snow."

     The boy blinked. "...Sky?"

     Vladimier jumped. He looked at the two with astonishment painted all over his face.

     "...Yes, my boy. Did you know? Some people call the blue jay the dragon of the skies, its call is so strong. [this is so not true, but blue jays are quite well known for their harsh alarm call/song thing.] You're a dragon, and a singing bird, and a boy with wings. You're Jay."

 

     Gold magic crashed through his hand like water out of a dam.

     It flung itself against the spikes, blue metal frail and weak when faced with its resolve. They crumbled in its wake, the pieces knocked away, as the sickle-shaped gold tore at their cores and stripped them of their magic. The Lersi destroyed, it continued on its path unchecked and spiraled against the tunnel's ceiling, ripping out wires and bits of machinery and leaving a rut an arm's-length across, getting deeper as it went. It burst out into the sky and still it continued, wind roaring out the gaping hole.

     For a brief second, his magic followed the piece of gold and evaporated, leaving him entirely vulnerable. That was his greatest weakness. The longer he tensed his spring, the more powerful its release was, but also the longer it would take to recoil his magic. Right after each of his four possible shots, he would be a sitting duck. And Yera knew this well.

     And still he sent off his hopes and left himself defenseless.

     The tunnel was cleared by the shooting gold. In the center, moving faster than a meteor, was an arrow.

     It sparked blue electricity. It barreled towards his heart from Yera's fingertips. Without his golden light to counter it, the cold blue veil draped every reachable surface and filled the tunnel. He couldn't see anything else. In the brief second that it took to reach him, the sight of the arrow filled every corner of his thoughts and numbed the fearful voices in his mind. All he could see was a curtain of blue, a single, brilliant streak.

     There was a sharp click.

     In the same second a shadow appeared in front of him. The cold lights exploded, nearly blinding him. There was a glitter of silver, and the shadow crumpled to the floor.

 

     Everything was so clear from where Jay stood. There was no sound, no stifling smells or musty weight bearing down on his skin. There were no conflicting desires, no distracting thoughts, no prodding sense of guilt or duty. Above the clouds, the air was clear.

     Jay could see the city laid out in the distance, a sparkling island of soft-glowing lanterns and sharply flaring firecrackers. He loved it. Not like a home or family, no. Nor was it the love one feels towards a long-accustomed presence. He didn't want to admit it, but his love for the city was detached, like a beautiful jewel behind a glass pane. He loved the lanterns, the houses, and most of all the people, in their day to day musings and chattings and soft warm smiles, he loved them so much it felt like his insides were tearing apart every time he saw them. But that love stemmed from tenderness, or admiration, and could be given to any city of people. Jay couldn't put a finger on his love.

     As he looked at the celebrating city he realized how small it all was. The people talked about trivial things, the day was filled with menial tasks, like an island of paradise surrounded by suffering. He knew what suffering was like, having lived through it. The island was relief and relative happiness, and so he picked up his shipwrecked self and eagerly made a falsified place in that world.

     But what was it that he wanted? Not that kind of happiness, like a green candy apple, too sweet and preserved for too long. He had slept in paradise for long enough now. The group of travellers made him see that. It felt strange to be awake again, the sharp cold air stabbing his lungs as he breathed in, deep. [i think i've been reading too much poetry--i can't express myself without using similes and metaphors these days - __ -]

     Jay turned his ruby eyes to the night sky. There was a temporary lull in the fireworks show as the city crew prepared for the last stretch. Every year, at exactly midnight, the Ending Arrow would set off the last firework of the Festival of Angels. This one firework would last all the way until dawn, the designs changing every year. It never failed to launch and amaze. To the dear people of Angel City it was the pivoting point between last year and the new year, a sign that previous mistakes can be fixed, and with a fresh slate, set to rights. [hahah yeah the LP new year's apparently at around the same time as Chinese New Year. woah i just realized that. 0 - 0 sweetness~<3] It was important to them, so it was important to Jay.

     Yes, the city and its people were still important to Jay, more so than any other random passerby, and always would be. But he could never be happy again staying peacefully with them. 

     The drums sounded.

     Jay sucked in his breath. Could he do it? Nobody had ever given him so much responsibility before. His heart started to pound as he fingered his arrow.

     The second boom. A strange thrill shot through him, not entirely unpleasant. What, so he actually enjoyed this kind of thing?

     His foot slipped. He yelped and grabbed the edge of the Crow's Nest. [remember? that lookout post at the top of the Big Tent? yeah i was gonna have an awesome climbing scene but i cut it out (darn i even had to cut out vlad vs. servant twin). he's already at the top.]

     Maybe not.

     Several fireworks shot up from the city walls and exploded, setting the stage for what was to come. More followed, brightly colored and magically moving in midair, painting pictures and scenes that transported every onlooker into the story. It seemed that this year's theme was historical, in commemoration of the fiftieth year since the treaty between Angel City and the Navi was signed. The fireworks depicted the Minister and leader of the Navi of that time in perfect detail, how they met, became friends, and after having fought for so long, made peace. It was a simple but beautifully presented story.

     The scene had reached the climax. The leader of the Navi had to choose between following the beliefs of his people or joining with Angel City. Uncertain, he stretched out his hand to make his choice.

     Jay watched, mesmerized. He was calm now, it would be alright. His own deep breathing consumed all other sound.

     Perhaps in the whole scheme of things he wasn't terribly important--

     --but people were waiting for him.

     A single lantern drifted up from its walls, exactly like the first: soft, pure, angelical. He would really miss those lanterns.

     He realized that with his arrow he would be saying farewell. And in a secret, selfish way, for this he was glad.

     Jay shook out his feathers to prepare for flight.

 

     The second passed.

     Yera stood with his bow still outstretched. The debris from the tunnel ceiling started to fall, and Kucabara raised his arms protectively. Then he saw Kuchiha.

     She was curled up on the ground, her back to him. Her clothes were scorched, hair smouldering. Her hands were burned black, still gripping onto her swords tightly. Scattered all around were remnants of the arrow.

     "...Oh, my God." Kucabara shuffled forward and prodded her gently.

     She growled.

     "The heck d'you think you're doing?"

     His hands flew up as he stammered an apology. "You're alive!! I thought you were--but that was--how did you--!?"

     Yera took a step back. "How did you do that? What magic did you use?"

     She coughed and shook the soot out of her hair. "Say what?"

     "That was over a million times the amount of a normally fatal electric shock. How are you still alive?"

     Kuchiha squinted at the Navi and pushed herself up. "Huh?"

     "Answer me!!"

     "Don't pressure me, jeez!! I don't get it!!"

     "What kind of South are you!!?"

     She bristled, arching her back as she prepared to spring. "How'd you know I was a South!!?" [yes guess what guys she's a south who didn't even know what Southern was until Ruru told her. hahah...yeah, i made up Southern after i made up her, so things went a little wacko...]

     "You used magic!"

     "...I used magic?" 

     Yera's momentum tumbled into a ditch. "I...believe so."

     "Me? Use magic!?" She hissed with indignation. "If I could use magic I wouldn't be in this mess. And if I could, I wouldn't. I hate magic. Hate it with all my guts and brains and everything in me that ever could hate and ever will. Which is everything."

     "But...you just used it. You must have used it. You survived the shock, and you're still conscious!"

     "You call that a shock!? It hardly could've made a seagull surprised!" She leered at him. Kucabara didn't get her sense of humor.

     "But then that was..." Yera trailed off. 

     "Hey! Do I need an excuse for being tough to beat!!?"

     "Actually, yes, you do."

     "You stay out of this, M!"

     She leaped forward, trailed by smoke and charcoal.

     "I warned you guys, don't look down on me!! Now let's get down to business here, seagull!!!" 

     Yera just motionlessly watched her approach. 

     Kucabara tried to tense his springs, but his magic was still gone.

     Yera sighed like he was tired of playing some child's game. He took off his quiver and held it with his long bow.

     "Did you know? Just 7.5 watts of electricity can be fatal in humans. My full power is eight hundred million watts--but rest assured. Normally, Navi magic can only be used to magnetize a target to Lersi stone [and make them into living lightning rods]; we cannot directly electricute objects"

     "Hah, giving a science lecture won't give you wings now!! You're a sitting duck!!! Brace yourself!!!" 

     Yera threw down his weapons.

     "...Ah? Surrender?"

     Kucabara started to run.

     "No. They are unnecessary weight." He sank both hands into the mud on the tunnel's side. "Within the walls of this tunnel is built a Lertec Electricity Amplifier. By channeling my electricity through a tri-bid system I can increase my energy output by 440 percent."

     Magic visibly shot through his whole body and flared into the wall, recklessly, perpetually. Metal groaned against metal, echoing deep inside the muddy earth. The tunnel shook. Debris rained down from the hole Kucabara had made.

     "What struck you was over 35 billion watts of pure electrical energy that can both magnetize my targets and electricute living creatures. And you say you survived without magic?" He smiled and shook his head sadly, like he was scolding a little girl. "No. That is simply impossible. Lying is useless. Now what trick did you use?"

     Kuchiha bared her teeth. "Tch. How many times do I have to tell you I didn't use magic!!!" 

     She raised her right arm [which holds her Wsword] for the swing. 

     "I personally oversaw the building of this tunnel. Every single inch of earth, every single scrap of metal had to pass my inspection. It took five years of sleepless nights for the machinery within these walls to be completed. I made certain of its abilities. Do you expect me to believe that you survived my flawless system with nothing but brute resilience? ...Well. At any rate, I suppose I shall find out."

     He popped his hands out of the tunnel's side. They were still clawed, grotesque in their case of mud. 

     A deafening roar broke out of the wall. Hunks of muck hurtled and smacked and globbed against the opposite side. Giant protrusions of Lersi metal emerged again, bigger and hardly fitting in the narrow tunnel. They were shaped like feathered arrows, the points twisting towards Kuchiha to form a sphere around her.

     They were twisting around to face her.

     The metal was twisting.

     Kucabara slammed into Kuchiha. Somehow he had made it.

     The impact knocked her Wsword out of her hand. "Ow! What the-"

     "Run, run, RUN!!! You'll die!!" He yanked on her arm.

     "What're you doing!!?"

     "Quick, just GET OUT OF THERE!!!"

     She turned to him and smiled, her black eyes glinting. "No way."

     With the butt of her katana she shoved him back out of harm's way. He stumbled on his injured leg and fell on his back.

     She was going to get herself killed. He couldn't let that happen. But what should he do? How could he save her? He couldn't let them die. He couldn't let them die. How could he save her, or the village, or the little boy with those sad red eyes, or anyone in the world who was anxiously watching the arrow of war drive closer to home? How could he save them?

     "Watch closely, li'l cuckoo bird. And you too ugly seagull."

     Kuchiha's long black hair was tinted blue by the light. It billowed out behind her in rippling waves.

     "I'm gonna teach you guys how to fly."

     Jay.

     Yera raised his hand and clenched it.

     The arrows moved with his hand. They were controlled by a magnetic force so powerful they bent under his brutal demands. As one they closed in on Kuchiha, scintillating with his cold blue magic all along their lengths.

     She tightened her grip on the leather Kake had made.

     The metal arrows clashed in the center of the sphere. But Kuchiha was gone, was whirling through the gaps, was dancing with her sword singing in the wind.

     The arrows twisted towards her as she moved between them. She raised her sword. Without a care in the world for the consequences she brought it down. As her blade touched stone the electricity jolted through the leather and pulsed through her body. The sparks marked brilliant blue patterns above her skin.

     She kept moving. The shock had failed to paralyze her; it almost seemed to have the opposite effect. She was electrified with energy, a whirling tornado given storm clouds that thundered and flashed with lightning. She cleaved through everything between her and what she sought. All the predictions, all the careful calculations and limitations, she blew them away. With nothing but raw strength she was conquering the lion in his own den.

     She sliced her way to Yera until she stood face to face with him, breathless.

     "...So!? Any tricks now!?"

     Yera gaped.

     "Hah!! You're like a frog on the bottom of a well. [you do know that story, right?] Look up!"

     She pointed to the hole Kucabara had made. Angel City's Minister saw a pheonix fly through the black night sky and started to cry.

     A flaming arrow soared up above, flaring from the sides like it had wings. This was the Ending Arrow--a fireproof arrow with a lubricated shaft and a tip that caused a spark when launched off of a bow. It was streaking across the silent storm clouds towards a giant moving firework--a giant, brilliant depiction of the previous leader of the Navi. Yera's grandfather. 

     In his outstretched palm was a small paper lantern, pure and white amidst the colors of the fireworks. The vibrant red flame met the soft creamy glow, and there was a muted explosion.

     Snow began to fall from the sky. First only underneath the explosion, then spreading out in a circle.

     The leader of the Navi had chosen to stay with his people. He and the Minister himself then visitied each others' homes and presented their views to the public. It was the people, not their leaders, that had decided to ally a North city and a South village for the first time in the history of the world.

     "If you've got any pride left, pick up that bow! Isn't that your tribal weapon? You thought your wimpy old tunnel could beat me, just because you built it!! Jeez, when you're trying to take control of everything by yourself, you can't even shut out the weather!!!"

     The snow kept falling. It blew all the way to Strawberry, and still kept falling fast. It should have been impossible for so much to have been stored in that one small light. But the City of Angels had done it.

     With their skills, perseverance, determination, and a little bit of magic, they had done it.



     "And you know what, I kind of like it this way. Isn't it better to fly through the skies than to be stuck staring at a tiny sliver of it?"

     "......I...this..."

     "Yera...it's alright. We're both leaders, I understand. You don't have to speak...

     "But if you don't mind...can we still be friends...?"

     That snow was warm.

 

     "There was a hole."

     Runo froze.

     "I was wondering if he'd see it." Kake rummaged around inside his straw sack. It was in perfect condition, even after he had stolen it back from the Navi's headquarters. "There was a hole in the plan, and hopefully they won't be mad when they see it too."

     "...Kake, I wasn't mad at you."

     Kake didn't turn. The shadow of his back still facing Runo, he pulled out four pieces of polished white bamboo from his sack.

     "I told him that if he shot the leader of the Navi, everything would get better. Like magic. And he did it."

     The pieces slid into place and clicked when Kake screwed them together. One by one, from the bottom up, he assembled the pieces of his staff.

     "You know what the worst part is? He believed me. He thought that I was talking about the Festival all along. He shot the one made of ash and fire, and he thought I was talking about that one all along. He trusted me."

     "But you were, weren't you."

     The last piece clicked into place, the bells tied to it tinkling a little.

     "Ehh, no I wasn't."

     "...Why are you telling me this?"

     "Why? You of all people should know why."

     Runo stepped out of the trees' shadows and stood by Kake's side, watching the snow fall. It was a beautiful view from the cliff behind the village. [remember there were mountains all around? one of them has a cliff facing the Navi's village. yeah they're just awesome like that. miraculously climbing all the way up there in, like, 5 minutes like it's nothing.]

     Kake held out a hand and let a snowflake land in his palm. It seemed to glow before melting away.

     "It's warm..."

     Runo bent down and ruffled Kake's hair.

     "Uwah-!?"

     "I'm not forgiving you. Okay? I'll keep watching you, and hounding you, forever and ever, until something good happens with you. So if I'm going down the Path for my own reasons, you're following me."

     Kake turned and stared at Runo with his glassy left eye.

     "Do I make myself clear?"

     Slowly that mischevious smile of his spread across his face. "Very."

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 30

Chapter 32

Comments (4)

Volkes_Wagon said

at 9:58 pm on Feb 9, 2011

maaan i love these guys. <3 you've no idea. and it's finally summing up!!! XD i haven't reread this arc in ages, and while digging through old material i found the "starter" scene. i can't believe i actually managed to wrap it all up! and i got better! XD gah gah gah it's so small but it's the small things that make me happy!!! XD

Volkes_Wagon said

at 9:52 pm on Apr 23, 2011

maaan missed this so much just had to splurge. *sigh. script adaptations are not for me...

Volkes_Wagon said

at 10:07 pm on Apr 26, 2011

if you're curious, i used google a lot for the electricity explanation. search lutec electricity amplifier--it's actually pretty cool. also a bunch of sources for fatal watts (7.5 is the amount in christmas tree bulbs! watch out!), magnetism, and everything remotely scientific...haha, i researched...now i feel obliged to annotate everything...ugh...

Volkes_Wagon said

at 10:11 pm on May 7, 2011

ah. i new it. i new this would be anticlimatic from the start. aye.

someone help me figure out how to make it more epic. plz.

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