The Boy and the Swordsman
“Careful, it might sting a little.”
Naomi delicately put on her son’s muzzle a piece of cotton soaked in disinfectant.
Jun winced. “Eeek !”
“I find it hard to believe you tripped on such a small rock. If you weren’t my son, I would’ve felt quite ashamed.”
“… Thanks, Mom.” replied Jun, annoyed.
“Rule number erm… Orange : always look at your surroundings before engaging the ennemy.” said a strong voice from the other room.
“But I was looking !” said Jun.
“Well it looks like you weren’t looking hard enough, then.” Yûzô started to laugh.
Jun sighed. One of the most important fights of his life… Ruined because of a pebble !
The boy’s father came into the room drying his hair with a towel. “Bah, it’s okay. We’ll try again at the next full moon.” He smiled. “Seems like I’m to remain the master of the school for another month !”
The young hundini looked at his father with a menacing gaze. “You’ll see… I’ll train even harder and I will beat you next time !”
“Heh, good luck on that ! Though to be fair, I couldn’t really judge your level tonight, soooo…” Yûzô stuck out his toungue at his son, who growled.
“Oh, will you stop it, you two ? You both look like children…” said Naomi, sighing.
Tak. Fwack. Whack. Tac.
Yûzô arrived in the training room with a cup of coffee in his hand, yawning and stretching with the other arm. He was surprised to see his son already up and sweating, as he had been intensely training for now more than half an hour.
“Well that one early bird right here !”
Jun didn’t hear his father’s malicious tone, too preoccupied by teaching a lesson to the training dummy.
With a slow and disinterested step, Yûzô took one of the practice swords, walked towards his son and parried with one arm the last angrily given swing destined at the mannequin.
The young man’s ear twitched to his left, followed by his head as he saw his father happily sip his coffee. Jun smiled as he saw Yûzô opening an eye, shiowing confidence and malice. The boy’s grip on the sword tightened as he repeatedly tried to hit his father, who effortlessly parried every blow all the while drinking his hot beverage. The young hundini felt vexed that his elder seemed more focused on his drink rather than on his assault.
“S’not like that you’ll be able to become master of this school, sonny.” slyly said Yûzô.
Jun grunted as he decided to go much faster, though even by doing so, he never managed to hit his rival.
Finally done with his coffee, the hundini threw his mug into the air, took the time to reajust his glasses, then gripped his sword with both hands only to deal one single blow and catch the mug as it arrived near his hand.
For a few seconds, nothing happened.
Jun’s eyes widened as he heard his wooden sword crack, then snap in half as the top of the blade fell a few metres away.
Yûzô noticed there was still a small drop of coffee at the bottom of the mug, so he decided to drink it before heading out of the room. Without bothering to turn around, he said. “Strength and anger are useless against people like me, son.”
Jun couldn’t see his father jubilating, focusing instead on the remains of his sword. He realized he couldn’t stand a chance as of now.
Jun entered his room, tired. It wasn’t a huge bedroom and there wasn’t a lot of furniture to be seen. There only was a wardrobe for his clothes and a low set of shelves for his books as well as a bed and a small table for him to study and read… Well, in a theoretical sense, as the young hundini largely prefered reading from his bed, so the table’s only purpose was for him to put his sword on it.
The hundini leapt head forst on the matress as his arm reached for the first book that came to hand. It was a comic that had long been worn out thanks to repeated readings, created by a johseian artist who had fallen in love with one of David de Redalia’s History books1. The artist’s love was such that he had decided to make this part of History accessible to anyone by incorporating beautifully drawn pictures.
The book told the story of the Dyisian War, which opposed a corrupted king to a simple Lutrician smith and how the smith won the battle thank to a pretty well thought-out ruse and the help of the Gygax, a dragon that the mysterious people of Attilaxia had managed to tame. Unfortunately, said taming was only useful at the time of the war, as the beast decimated them a few decades afterwards. The origins of this monster, renamed the Demon of Dyisia, have always been vague, to the point nobody could clearly say if it was one millenial dragon or a race of creatures that secretly dwelled on the island, as anyone who tried to find him or them after Attilaxia’s destruction never had the chance to say anything.
Last time rumours had emerged about the Gygax’s awakening, it was less than fifty years ago. Since then, nothing. The dragon had the habit of coming out every fifty years, too, so it was only a matter of time before people would know if it or they still existed or not.
Jun dreamt he’d be strong enough to fight it or them. And he’d train to do just that. After all, if the people of Attilaxia had managed to tame one for a few years, then it meant there was a way to sway or beat them.
The young hundini read the story once more with a smile on his face. Yes, one day, he’d go to Dyisia and he’d confront the Gygax !
1This overworking journalist not only is immortal, but he also came from another world one hundred and fifty years ago, as he had heard of this world and made everything in his power to come here. And since he has Passed*, he ressembles a slightly crazy-looking fox who can very clearly see events that have happened in the Past, to the point he became the world’s most reliable historian. Unfortunately, his power activates at random, so he only can write fragments of History, and even then, he needs to get them greenlit by the god Edgar, as he sterly refuses for events that have happened before the Year Zero to be leaked. Because of his immortality, he lives in Limberg with his wife, Timothy Ellys and the rest of the Gang of Immortals.
* The Passage is a ritual only gods can do, as it allows to anyone to have their inner powers awakened… On the condition that their heart is Pure, as anyone who still has seeds of darkness in them see them exponantially grow, to the point they can devour him from the inside. Fortunately, some kind and swift gods manage to get rid of people’s darkness, but the consequences can be pretty terrible, depending on how long it took them to save their victims. The most visible consequence is that if people who have Passed use their powers, they progressively turn into monsters. On planets similar as ours, it’s not so bad, as people usually transform into anthropomorphic animals… But on others, things can get pretty messed up and horrifying…