Previous Story > A Friendship Carved in Stone
What lies in Dreams.Edit
Two months passed in the blink of an eye since Kenji, Yoshiro and Momoko first met. During that time, the three have been practically inseparable and spent their days at the Academy, training and enjoying themselves.
The Rukon District...
Kenji sat upon a large rock somewhere in the Rukon District. The sun was shining brightly overhead and the wind was blowing a warm and pleasant breeze over his face. The entire Academy had been given a free day because of some event or another, so Kenji decided he'd spend another day with his friends and maybe get in some extra training. Kenji was wearing a stylish white kimono his mother Anora bought him upon entering the Academy. Sliding off the rock and onto his back on the grassy plain, Kenji looked skyward at the clouds swirling overhead. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like being a cloud; just floating by without a care in the world...
"Hey Kenji, how long you plan on starin' into oblivion?" Yoshiro said from behind. "You've been watchin' the clouds go by all day long!"
"Yeah, yeah, I hear ya, Yoshiro!" He called back, "What is it this time?" The impatience was an act which of course Yoshiro seen through. "Sheesh! Can't a guy get a little rest around here?" The two bumped fists as they approached.
Yoshiro slapped him on the back and smiled, "Well, I can't exactly let you space out on me, can I?" Yoshiro suddenly looked serious. "Sorry pal, but you look like hell. Something on your mind?" He was suddenly serious. Yoshiro was good at doing that. He was lively as a hyperactive kid one minute and as mature as a grown up when the situation called for it the next. But then he dropped into the role of hyper kid again. Performing squats, he listened attentively though.
"I've been havin' some weird dreams lately," Kenji said truthfully. "Remember the ones you get when your zanpakutō tries to talk to you? Its like them, only... different somehow. I don't know what it is, but when I close my eyes, I feel like there's something there. Every time when I dream, I hear this guy speak and when I ask "Who's there" he laughs as though I'm mad for asking."
Yoshiro stopped squatting and sat on the ground below. He brushed his forehead with his right hand and looked to be thinking. "...I've got nothin', Kenji," Yoshiro said with a sigh, "Have you spoke to Ryouta-Sensei? He may know something about it. Or even your dad. He's pretty knowledgeable, ain't he?"
"What you talkin' about?" Momoko added energetically. Today, she wore a black outfit that exposed her tight stomach and hugged tightly to her curves, belly button and lower forearms. Her trousers were black joggings and had a white line running up the outside of the leg. Her sparkling blue eyes were inquisitive, her head tilted slightly to the side.
Kenji smiled and winked at Yoshiro, "I'm thinkin' about how cute you look right now." She hit him lightly on the arm for that and sat down beside him. She enjoyed little compliments like that, otherwise he'd have a black eye by now. Momoko's temper didn't take a lot to frey... or snap completely.
Yoshiro shook his head and sighed, "You never learn, do you, Kenji?" He directed his attention to Momoko, "Kenji's been havin' himself some dreams lately." He said that a little too mockingly for Kenji's liking, but he let it slide. He'd earned a little mocking right in the last few months. "Remember the ones we got when our zanpakutō called to us? Like those, only he says they're different somehow. Like someone's there that isn't his zanpakutō."
Momoko looked up at Kenji with eyes filled with sympathy. "You know what I think?" Kenji was actually interested in the words she just spoke, but something just struck him. You know, she's really beautiful. Reading what was on his mind, she giggled and continued speaking, suddenly serious. "If the dreams are similar to a zanpakutō speaking to you, then you may have some control over it. But, we can worry about that just before you go asleep! C'mon," She took Kenji by the hand and dragged him to his feet with a surprising amount of force for someone so small, "Kenji, you promised to help me train today, remember?"
Kenji followed her, but stopped when he saw Yoshiro taking a meditative pose with his legs crossed and zanpakutō spread across his knees. "You goin' to speak to Aisumēkā? What you gonna talk about?" He asked, curious.
Yoshiro opened his eyes and sighed, "I didn't really wanna say... but, I guess I can tell you." Yoshiro said quietly. "You're always doin' stuff for Momoko and me, Kenji, whether it be training or covering for me when I screw up, which is pretty regular I suppose," He laughed nervously at that, "so I figured I'd ask Aisumēkā if he knew anything about these dreams of yours. Besides, he said he'd teach me a new technique."
Kenji was dumbfounded. It wasn't a usual thing for Kenji to lack words to say. Outstretching his hand instead, Kenji shook Yoshiro's. "You know something, Yoshiro? You're a true friend. We'll be here when you come out of it, okay? See ya then, pal." The fool keeps this up, I'm gonna go all misty-eyed.
Momoko twirled her zanpakutō through the air enthusiastically. The red coloration of the hilt coupled with the black and silver of the blade made the colors look like they were dancing. Small jewels encrusted the guard and the sheath, left beside Yoshiro and was colored pink with a piece of blue cloth so she could tie it to her waist.
Kenji's katana had dark blue hilt wrapping and a square tsuba with curved edges. The guard had decorative lightning motives and two designs which resembled eyes near the lightning designs. The sheath was black, with blue wrapping near the base. Drawing his zanpakutō silently, the two took up a ready stance just opposite each other. "You go first, Momoko. I wouldn't be much of a gentleman if the lady didn't go first."
"Well, complain after I beat you!" She flashed toward him and their swords met fiercely! Wow! Kenji thought surprised, she's been training with Yoshiro the last two times. I never expected her to improve this much so quickly! That blow was heavy! She dropped to the ground, as graceful in her fighting style as her everyday movements and swept her foot towards Kenji's ankle. He foresaw it however, and leapt back quickly before charging forward.
She met his blade again and flipped over him, Kenji barely blocking the three quick blows she executed with devilish grace. As she touched down behind him, Momoko smiled innocently. "Yeah, you keep smilin'," Kenji said quietly. "Here I come!" He attacked quickly, but purposefully held back. He still didn't have full control over his spiritual energy, and with that fueling his blows, they were quite powerful. She dodged every strike, however, without even needing her zanpakutō and then flashed behind him.
He turned, but to slowly. "Bakudō 1: Sei!" Kenji's arms flew behind his back and he dropped his zanpakutō to the ground. She grinned evilly as she outstretched her free hand. "Kenji, let's see if you can break out of this. I wanna see that superior spiritual energy of yours! "Disintegrate, you black dog of Rondanini!! Look upon yourself with horror and then claw out your own throat! Bakudō 9: Geki!" A red outline surrounded Kenji's entire body and forced him to his knees.
As he struggled against the bonds that held him, Kenji spoke slowly. "Okay Momoko...you...asked for...it!" His spiritual energy spilled from his body like a great torrent! It was almost like a dam had just burst! Kenji forced himself to his feet, a blue aura springing up around him. "I'm goin'...to break...this!" She called him cool when he managed to break through the binding spells she cast upon him, and he was more than happy to try. Besides, if he couldn't she always released it. His aqua green eyes turned completely crimson and burned with an intensity Momoko had never seen before.
Her eyes widened in horror. Is this spiritual energy even Kenji's? It feels...so dark and heavy! Kenji's is normally strong; but gentle. This is wrong! It doesn't even feel like its Kenji in front of me. "Kenji! You need to stop. Please!" The bonds binding him melted away as Momoko released the spells. His aura flashed crimson before Kenji slumped to the ground, sweat lacing his hair and face. "Kenji, what was that?" Momoko asked, voice worried but stern.
Kenji was trembling visibly, "I...I don't know. I felt it, Momoko. That was the same feeling I got from my dreams!" He hoped his shaking vision was what was causing his hands to tremble so much. Momoko took his hand in hers and hugged him tightly. "It's okay, Kenji. It's past." Kenji buried his head in her shoulder. What the hell was that!? It felt so dark... so evil.
Meeting the Spirit:Edit
When Yoshiro opened his eyes, a cool wind hit him hard! His Inner World was a beautiful, but deserted place safe him and his zanpakutō's spirit. Large, intricate ice sculptors, incredibly detailed in their construction and layout, filled his vision. From towering spires to small bridges, those structures showed a hundred different things. A few feet away, lapping water from a cool icy lake, sat Aisumēkā in his beast form. He was a proud snow wolf, with eyes that held levels of wisdom and knowledge beyond Yoshiro's understanding.
Walking up slowly, Yoshiro inclined his head. He learned a long time to show his zanpakutō respect. Aisumēkā's eyes looked amused as he left the pool and approached his master. "Finally you show some respect. Be sure to give my respects to that Sensei of yours. Now, tell me what is on your mind, because this doesn't appear at all like your normal social visits."
Yoshiro channeled a little spiritual energy and a chair of the coldest ice formed. Taking the seat, Yoshiro spoke, "My friend, Kenji, has been having dreams and he doesn't-"
"Yes, I know about the dreams, child. I was there; I heard what you heard, felt what you felt. I share in your happiness, whether that be from your sense of achievement or simply spending time with your friends. I would also feel it if you were to get a sword in the gut. Now, these dreams are troubling," The spirit uttered, voice booming from everywhere even though Aisumēkā sat before him.
"Troubling?" Yoshiro questioned carefully. I knew it. They aren't normal at all. "What part is troubling you, Aisumēkā?" He asked, growing in confidence.
The wolf stretched much like a dog would and yawned as though weary. "All of it is troubling. Having the same dream once twice or even three times is normal, but when you get the same dream, in which the same things happen continually, that is the worry. But that is not the half of what worries me, Yoshiro." Yoshiro remained quiet. His spirit was a sticker for respect and patience, and would refuse to speak unless both were followed. "This friend of yours says the dreams are similar to the ones he experienced when his zanpakutō called to him. Unless...no, tis a foolish notion. I will think on this more before speaking more."
Yoshiro sighed, but inclined his head anyways. "...Two months ago, you told me to train harder before you'd teach me a new technique for my Shikai."
"Ah, I was wondering when this would come. Before I teach you anything, I would ask you a riddle. To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. What is the answer?" Aisumēkā had a fondness for riddles and asked them often.
Grinning like a child, Yoshiro ran it over in his head. This meant he was ready, because if the riddle was difficult, Aisumēkā would teach him nothing. That was the way Aisumēkā did things. If the riddle was easy, even if you got it wrong, he would teach you the technique because you were ready. Yoshiro nodded and gave his answer, "The answer is that it isn't a riddle at all. It's a proverb that can be applied to life. To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. It means if you want to learn something, you would ask someone who has already experienced it; in essence, they've already treaded the road and know what lies upon it. They tell you what they know, and you learn the road as well."
"...Very good, Young Master." The wolf replied with a low growl. "I will teach you. Carve my image into your mind. The name of this technique is..." His voice was lost in the howling blizzard, but Yoshiro nodded in thanks before he said his farewells...
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