Welcome to the fourth installment of Helrio Uzugaku's The False King.
Let's start this chapter off with a statement on magic. I'm pretty proud of my description of the intricacies of elemancy. Considering no one has ever described magic quite like that i think I've started a new way to describe its use. So I'm pretty proud of that.
Something I'm pretty sure is aggravating you is the fact you all don't have a name or face to put to my beautiful voice~ Nah, just messin with ya. But truly, imagine this like the call of duty series, up until WW2 we NEVER had a face to go with a name and hardly a voice. So just imagine it's a bit like that. I'm debating what name I'll be using for this fic and it's not going to be Helrio Uzugaku. That's just unimaginative and lazy. I'm stuck between, Legacy, Light, grey as in the color, or something along the lines of originality, white. It could be something else, I'll be thinking about for a while. I will tell you this. By the time this chapter is through, I will have decided on a name.
So be patient.
Considering I haven't posted the last chapter yet there aren't any reviews to name. So unfortunately review corner will most likely be skipped.
I'm sure a few of you battle fanatics are wanting to see me kick some ass. Well that won't be happening any time soon. I can hold my own in a fight against a wannabe thug and bandit, but put me in the ring with an experienced fighter who was actually taught to fight for more than a couple weeks to a month and I'll be used to clean the ring with my face. There's a difference between knowing when your beaten and putting yourself down. I'm simply stating facts here.
Which is why I plan on giving myself a frustrating challenge early on in the fic. I have absolutely no knowledge on magic and how it's used. Not to mention even if I did know how to use magic my lack of experience would bog me down for a long time.
At least if you put a sword in my hand I know to swing in the general direction of who I'm attacking. So I've got a challenge for you guys. Predict what weapon I'm going to be receiving next chapter.
As for reviews, I have had a few positive reviews. I'm happy you are enjoying the story. I'm enjoying writing the story. If you wish to critique my work by all means, it's not like I'll turn down a willing reader who has ideas on how to make my story better.
"Of all the shitty places I've been, from the exhaust filled air of Sebring Florida, to the unkempt trash infested shit and piss stained floor of my sister's room this has got to be the most awful place I've ever been to." Glancing to the sniggering fox laying on my left shoulder I glared bloody red daggers at his small frame. "What the fuck is with you gods and your challenges and trials!? Why couldn't you drop this relic off somewhere mildly warm like Nami no kuni, or maybe hi no kuni, hell, I'd even settle for tsuchi no kuni. But no, I have to trudge through the frostbitten hell of the coldest region in the Shinobi world!"
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and glared at Carbuncle even harder. "I don't care what you have to say right now. I'm not taking off these gloves just so I can continue an argument with you. Why does it always have to be in dangerous places with you gods and must these locations always be guarded by some overpowered abomination of death and the ugly love child of hulk and Armageddon!?"
Appearing to finally have enough of my ranting Carbuncle snapped his head in my direction and bit my ear before I could do anything. "Gyaaaaah! Son of a bitch! Carbuncle! I'll turn you into a fucking scarf for that you little rabbit reject!" If anything my threat only earned me a harder bite to the ear.
"What do you mean you won't let us search for that energy flare!? You just gave us permission to in your letter! Why would you change your mind like that!? Unless…." The narrowing of the large man's eyes caused Mifune's eyes to narrow in return. The accusation went unspoken but clear for everyone in the room to make out.
"It would be wise not to make such accusations without physical proof Ay-dono, it wouldn't due to ruin the relationship that the samurai have with your country." Seeing the large man's grimace brought a glimmer of satisfaction to Mifune. It wasn't often that someone could make the Yondaime Raikage think over his next course of action.
"As to why I have withdrawn your permission to search our land for your target. I have reason to believe that the source of energy has something to do with a trial my people go through when the time comes to select a new leader for tetsu no kuni to follow." Keeping his face as straight as an iron bar during political meetings like this was easy when you held no love for the people you were talking with. What business was there's if his country kept a secret or two.
This room was filled with people who built their careers off of keeping secrets and lies. And putting everything out in the open has been the downfall of many great civilizations. He would be a fool to not acknowledge that fact.
Fortunately the mention of a possible new leader of Tetsu no kuni earned the attention of a few of the gathered people. Namely one wizened old man and a much older man who looked to be in a lot of pain.
"A new leader, hmmm? May we inquire as to who this new leader may be Mifune-dono?" The gentle request was said with more than a touch of age old maturity and wisdom.
Mifune mentally weighed the pros and cons of revealing the name of his charge but decided against it for obvious reasons. "My apologies Hokage-dono, tradition dictates the chosen candidate is not to be revealed until after the trial has been passed. Should the individual fail they will remain in anonymity for their own protection."
Unfortunately for him the pained old man seemed to catch onto something he had hoped they wouldn't. "Awfully vague for a samurai. Keeping such secrets isn't fitting for such an honorable bunch." The aged man rasped. From the tone of voice he took when he said honorable you could tell he obviously held a distinct distaste for it.
The only woman in the room, a gorgeous one at that with long Auburn sat forward a bit more than was actually necessary drawing a bit more attention to her well developed chest. Practically dripping sex appeal. She had the curves to make a gay man straight and the look in her eye to turn straight women into lesbian horndogs. (AN: come on, I Can't be the only guy thinking it! How many of you women out there agree with what I'm saying? Let's make a chart.)
"Now now Tsuchikage-dono, Mifune-dono is entitled to his secrets. After all, I'm sure all of us here have things we'd rather keep hidden." The buxom beauty interjected in an attempt at calming the tension. It would have worked to had Ay not added fuel to the fire.
*Snort* "Some more so than others." Ay mentioned with his signature scowl twisting into an odd mix of a scowl and a smirk.
Hearing the statement caused the tsuchikage to shoot into the air and slam his hands on the table in indignation. "Why I oughta-gyack!" He froze into a grimace of pain. "My back!"
Thankful for the change of direction the conversation went Mifune was determined to keep all conversation firmly away from the young king. At Least until after the trial. "That's enough! Raikage-dono, please refrain from such accusations while on iron country soil, tetsu no kuni will NOT be host to one of your wars. Tsuchikage-dono, need I remind you of the fact several of your dirty secrets have, in fact, been exposed. Your actions only cast Iwagakure in a light worse than the world already sees them in. Do not make it worse."
The tsuchikage huffed in contempt but kept quiet all the same.
"Now then" Mifune stated "let us move onto the next issue. This year's biannual chunin exams. Considering the last exams were held by kumogakure this year's hosts would be Konohagakure. Hokage-dono, will your village be capable of hosting this year?"
The old kage nodded his head firmly. "Yes, we have recovered well from the nine tails attack thirteen years ago. I would be willing to bet we will be back up to to full strength in a matter of a few more years. The comerse the chunin exams would bring will only hasten our recovery."
Mifune nodded in acceptance. "Very well, do any of the other five wish to submit teams into the exams?" At the question all current Kages in attendance stood at attention or in the tsuchikage's case, floated.
"I Terumi Mei Godaime Mizukage of Kirigakure no sato, submit Kirigakure for this year's biannual chuunin exam."
"I Ay of Kumo Yondaime Raikage of Kumogakure no sato, submit Kumogakure for this year's biannual chunin exam."
"I Onoki of Iwa Nidaime Tsuchikage of Iwagakure no sato, submit Iwagakure for this year's biannual chunin exam. *Crack* OOOH, MY BACK!"
"I Raza no Sabaku Yondaime Kazekage of Sunagakure no sato, submit Sunagakure for this year's biannual chunin exam." The Yondaime Kazekage intoned in a stoic, cold tone.
Mifune nodded albeit hesitantly. The first chunin exam to host all five great nations since the first chunin exam. "Very well then. Onto the next subject of this visit…"
(Shiva's Heart an hour later)
"So this is Shiva's heart, huh? I'll say it's certainly something." Something would be putting it mildly. The clothes I was given from Mifune, consisting of a bearskin Cape, metal shoulder pads, chainmail undershirt with a leather top and a pair of leather pants with metal shin and knee guards, hardly did anything. The wind was just that cold.
Not to mention the fact Shiva's heart wasn't some valley with fierce winds. No, nothing so simple. Shiva's Heart, was a cave of ice carved into a gigantic wall of ice. Not quite a glacier but not made of stone so it can't be a mountain. The ice cave was absolutely riddled with sharp stalactites making it hard to safely maneuver through without impaling myself.
Quite literally, you cannot safely walk through this cave in a straight line, you actually have to bend your body at angles to safely move around the literal pikes of ice. With the sun reflecting off a slab of ice that acts as a mirror into the cave gives the entire system a ghostly blue hue that gives it a haunting beauty.
If the place wasn't so, dare I say, troublesome. I'd even enjoy exploring it. It certainly didn't help that, someway, somehow, wind, honest to god wind was making my journey all that much harder. The wind carried shavings of ice in it's volatile current making light cuts on my body and somewhat limiting visibility further into the cave. Nothing to severe yet, but it was only a matter of time.
Carbuncle hadn't been much help either. After our little spat a little over an hour ago he's had his head turned away from me ignoring me. Little bastard.
Which is why when he suddenly leapt off my shoulder I was so surprised. Even more so when he used the edges of the bent stalactites to move across the very dangerous floor. "Carbuncle? What's up, where you going?"
I tried my best to follow him, I really did. But with my way being blocked constantly by the stalactites it was a failed venture to begin with. Finally, after avoiding impaling myself on the ice I see Carbuncle make a turn into a break in the ice wall. "Carbuncle?" I hell out.
Reaching the break I try to squeeze through but the bulky shoulder pads kept getting in the way. Finally I got fed up with it and unclipped them from the pin on my chest causing them to fall to the floor behind me as I scramble into a large open chamber.
"Whoa" still on my hands and knees I could still see the beauty of my surroundings.
Spires of ice raising to the ceiling in two lines parallel to each other, every other spire held a glowing brazier powered by a small white crystal. Down the centre of the isle was the same blue glowing glyphs often seen on Havens. In the middle of the glyphs was the depiction of a glowing woman. The oddest thing about the image was the eyes were glowing a light shade of violet.
"Shiva if I had to guess."
*Yip* hearing the sound and knowing what was to come I turn to the sound of Carbuncle's voice while simultaneously pulling out my phone.
"We use to have temples like this in all the fantasies… people would come and pray to us here, we would answer their prayers or cut them down depending on the intention of the individual. So many people would come every day, seeking our guidance. But despite us doing so much for them we were treated as tools of war. Never having any say with who used our power or how it was used. It was horrible. Lord Bahamut always got so angry when someone from a fantasy discovered a way to control us. Which is why we never allow those items that control us to enter other fantasies. Did you know he was often portrayed as a villain because of his rage?" Eyeing the surrounding murals on the walls all made from a coloured ice I could see his point.
One mural depicted Shiva as a demon, another as a wanderer, another as a pair of mechanical twins and so on so forth. But one mural truly caught my eye. One half of the mural was a bright orange, the other light blue, on the orange half was a demonic figure, the head of a wolf with a pair of antlers, the upper body of a man with long black claws and a Pair of goat legs.
The blue half was of a woman, no debate needed to see who it depicted, dressed in a dark blue cowl, and traveler's cloak. The similarities of these two halves were the power struggle they were caught in.
A thought came to me just then.
"Hey Carbuncle, were Shiva and Ifrit you know? A couple?" I asked somewhat nervously. Relationships have always been an awkward mark on me.
Glancing to Carbuncle when I didn't get a response to my question I saw he looked really sad.
*Vvvmmmm* glancing at the text I see why.
"Yes, a long time ago. Until Ifrit cheated on her with a mortal woman. One night was all it took for Shiva to never trust him again. After their relationship fell apart Ifrit became much angrier, he blamed the woman for Shiva rejecting him. His hatred for that woman later developed into a hatred for all humanity. Lady Shiva does still love him, but in her words, she can't trust him anymore."
I felt myself grimace at the story. Acts of cheating have always sat wrong with me. On one hand it could be my own insecurities that make me detest the act so much it literally makes me sick, or perhaps it's simply my morals. Who knows?
"Ouch, sounds like Ifrit really screwed himself over." I nervously scratched the back of my head, idly noting I needed to get a bath of some kind soon. "I won't pretend to understand what Ifrit went through but he should have known better. Blaming all of humanity for a mistake he made is very petulant and childish. But I won't judge him for it. Those stuck in the past only ruin their future."
"Hypocrit~" whispered a voice in the very back of my mind.
Deciding I didn't want to stand here any longer I began looking around the large room for a way to move on. Low and behold, in a dark corner of the room there was the entrance to a long hallway.
At the end of the hallway was a door with a very familiar depiction. The door was huge, easily capable of walking an elephant through with some walk room to spare and made out of some kind of black metal that glimmered faintly in the light. But the depiction is what drew my eye.
Because outstretched as if trying to touch me was the metallic, winged figure of Sephiroth. The metal actually extended from the door making it look like Sephiroth was flying out of it. The only thing truly protruding from the door was his right arm, his head, and a portion of the single wing on his back.
Now having taken a much more up close examination of the door I felt myself gulp nervously. "No fuckin way." I whispered. What I learned from Gentiana and Mifune coming to the forefront of my mind.
"The first relic was once wielded by a warrior of the seventh fantasy and can be found deep within my heart."
"Before we came to understand what this artifact was and what it represented we had foolishly allowed all who sought to claim it face it's trial. Unfortunately none ever completed the trial. But now that you have come I see an opportunity to test your metal."
Those words spoken by Gentiana and Mifune ringing like a gong at the forefront of my mind. If the door was anything to go on there was only one person I knew who would be giving me my test. That person being Sephiroth himself. The one winged Angel, bringer of destruction, and the one person who came the closest to destroying the world.
"No, way, not a chance!" Seeing the keyhole in the chest of the Sephiroth duplicate only further cemented my theory. I looked at Carbuncle with panic, "no way, if I do this I'll die! Carbuncle, seriously, this is insane! If I go through with this I…" was as far as I got before Carbuncle leapt at me and landed a vicious headbut.
"Ow, fucking hell, what the fuck Carbuncle!?"
Carbuncle was glaring at him with a look of fury that just looked unnatural on the normally friendly and outgoing entity.
Not wanting to take my eye off of the angry god of light yet not wanting to offend him further by ignoring him I decided i needed to trust him.
"What is wrong with you! After all that talk with Mifune you turn right back around into a coward! After all that progress you made you go back to this!? Where's the guy who practically spat in Mifune's face? Where's the guy who wanted to take this path!? Because that guy isn't you!"
I don't know what I felt at that moment. Too many thoughts running through my mind to pin them down.
"How do you expect me to go toe to toe with one of the strongest and most mentally unstable villains in the 15 fantasies. This isn't a matter of me being brave enough, this is suicide! What's to stop him from cutting me down!?"
"What stopped Ardyn from killing noctis at the start of his journey? He had more than enough opportunities to do it!"
"That was different and you know it Carbuncle!" I yelled at him, "Ardyn wanted the sick satisfaction of killing the crystal's chosen guardian at his strongest. I don't have that guarantee!"
"Not that you know of. Who's to say? Sephiroth was never easy to read. Not even cloud who knew Sephiroth on an almost intimate level could get a read on Sephiroth's mentality. Chance is part of the game, it always has. For whatever is worth having there is always a high risk of danger. Noct went through the same thing during his mission to build his arsenal of royal arms. The very arms you yourself now have unrestricted access to."
Seeing the text I couldn't really fault the logic. Nothing worth having is gained for free. Seeing what Carbuncle thought about my access to the Armiger I couldn't help but feel a bit ashamed of myself.
"Building the Armiger cost noctis his own blood and sweat. His own hard work, given to you. Someone who has no clue how to use them, no guaranteed future, no combat training. If you want to be like him and the others so bad then start taking the risks he and the others did! Your meeting with the six wasn't the start of your journey, this is the start. The first step you take towards change. Changing yourself, changing the fate of the people of this world, changing the fate of the world itself. This trial will start it. But you have to be willing to take that first step yourself. Whether you like it or not, this is where the fate of this world meets for two seperate paths. You can walk away and let everything run it's course exactly as you know it will. Or you can walk through that door and change everything."
What was I supposed to say to that? What could I say to that?
Despite myself the weight of this choice weighed heavily on me. For the majority of my life I never had the choice of doing anything significant. Every choice that I felt I could have made was always made for me. Everything I wanted to do I was never able to for some reason or another. I never got to do what I myself wanted to. When I was little I was always taken to these places my parents wanted to go and never where I wanted to go. They never asked me for my opinion. They never considered the fact my interests were different from theirs.
I could never go places that would help me make friends because we didn't have the money for it. At school my choices were taken from me the people around me. I was picked on and segregated by everyone because of the local bullies. No one wanted to hang out with me because they didn't want to get bullied.
So here I face the first choice I have ever been given. That will change my life, for better or worse.
Neither of us said anything. I just stood there not being able to meet Carbuncle's gaze and Carbuncle standing there staring at me. His gaze noticeably blank.
"I don't know what to say, Carbuncle. I'm still not completely sure I'm worth the effort. How can someone as broken as I am hold any value? How is it that you can hold so much faith in something that doesn't even speak. How?"
Just two words, two simple words, "I believe."
"I believe in the future. I believe in change. I believe in faith. I believe in endless possibilities."
It touched me, it really did.
"I-..." I didn't know what to say.
No, it wasn't that I didn't know what to say. It was there was something else I had to do. Carbuncle's words inspired me. His support gave me strength and for the first time in my life, I felt all my problems, vanish. There was no time to think, no time time to speak, there was only action.
With my choice clear as day I turned, ripped the key from around my neck, shoved it into the keyhole and turned. The area was quiet after the soft click of a door being unlocked. For a moment I thought something had gone wrong. Before I was grabbed.
The portion of Sephiroth that protruded from the door moved with a speed something made of metal had no right to. It grabbed me firmly by the neck cutting off my air and pulled me into the door. The metallic surface rippling violently before smoothening out until it was perfectly smooth. Like looking into a mirror in a poorly lit room.
I knew darkness
I couldn't help it. I got so absorbed into the last paragraph it felt like a crime to continue after that.
I had originally decided to reveal my name this chapter and get a glimpse at a meeting with Sephiroth. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way.
I won't complain though. Things rarely go according to plan at first. It's the job of the leader to improvise when they don't. So that's what I'll do, I'll improvise.
I think I did rather well on the Kate summit meeting. Others may feel differently so let me hear it! Anything you guys have to say could be used in my story. I'll see if it fits, or if it drives the story in the direction I want it to go then go from there.
I just want to reaffirm something real quick. I cannot stress this enough.
This story is absolutely not planned. It gets better as I get better. It reflects what I feel when I feel it. The ultimate form of writing i believe.
I will say things that contradict what I say though and there is a reason for it. I've been having memory problems ever since I met the man who would later become my stepfather. A lot of you will say that physical pain is worse than emotional pain. But I ask you this.
If a starving boy still has a mother, maybe a sibling that they love deeply, someone they can rely on, someone they can open up to completely, do they really have it bad? I don't think there's a right answer to that.
Food wasn't much of a problem for me I'll admit, but in turn I never felt safe in what was supposed to be my own home. My mom was practically attached at the hip with my stepdad, my step brother only tolerated my stepdad because he couldn't hold a job, my stepsister was married and held a grudge against my mom for retarded reasons, and everyone else could never stay long. Friends at school were impossible, no one wanted to get to know me.
I was alone for 5 years with no one I felt I could rely on, share my pain with. At the time I was so full of hatred, anger, fear, misery. So many negative emotions that I was forced to bottle up. Even now, after my stepdad died some odd years ago I had to keep it all bottled up until it hit a breaking point.
So my memory is bad, I was hurting so much at the time my suffering went on that my mental defence made me forget a lot of the things that went down and the specifics of them.
But one thing I will not forget is what stress does to people. It was a hot day, summer was just beginning. A week ago a friend of my step dad's side of the family had asked if my stepdad would help him move to Texas. He refused, we had been having a hard time lately with money so he couldn't afford time off. Some time in between that time, and the next week their relationship degenerated rapidly. To the point my 'dad's' former friend actually gave a death threat.
So in order to protect us, he sent us to stay with his mother for the time being. At the time I was so bad I had developed a nervous tick in my eye, I would roll it and my head around to deal with it. He didn't like that, so he ordered me to stop. Unfortunately for me I was carrying my favorites blanket, a thick wool blanket like the ones used by soldiers in the military for harsh winters. So loose fuzz was to be expected.
Dad didn't see it that way. All he saw was me undermining his authority. So he ordered me to stop it again. But this time I had a reasonable excuse as to why I was rolling my eyes. My hands were full and something had gotten into it. He saw my excuse as a flat out lie.
He ripped the blanket from my arms, threw it on the floor, grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and threw me into the coach right in front of us so hard the legs on the coach actually lifted off the ground for a second before falling back down. At the time I was scared, he had always been angry when I lived about things in the past, but the sheer rage I saw in his eyes was different, changed, primal. It looked like he wanted to rip me in half.
He got into my face and screamed at me, telling me he's had enough with me lying and disobeying his authority. As soon as he felt he got his point across he lifted his hand as if to smack me just before my mom got in his way.
And for a while after that I thought he would hit her, he even motioned that he was gonna do it to. Raised his hand and everything. But he didn't, I watched in silence as they screamed at each other for what seemed like minutes. I can't remember what was said, I was so scared, I just couldn't fathom what was going on. It was happening so fast I couldn't process anything.
Finally it was over.
Mom marched up to me, grabbed me and the blanket I had been carrying and dragged me out of the house with my little sister already sitting in her carseat safely in the car.
I sat in the back seat next to my baby sister, almost crammed into the corner because of all the stuff haphazardly thrown into the car. Then my neck started hurting. I told mom and after she was sure we were far enough away pulled over and examined my neck for bruises.
What she found was a cut dripping blood.
That's enough of that for now.
I just wanted to let some of you know that stress does things to people. Tests the limits of their sanity, takes them places where they never thought they'd go.
At the time he, my stepdad, was suffering from a herniated disc in his left shoulder. None of the doctor's seemed to know what they were doing. He'd had surgery after surgery, taken medicine after medicine, tried exercise after exercise, all to help him heal and nothing seemed to work.
Today I realise hating him is pointless. It doesn't solve anything. But not having him doesn't really solve anything either. Sometimes I wonder if hating him would be easier, because at least if I hate him then my anger and frustration has a direction. A scapegoat if you will.
Now, because I can't hate him I have so much anger and frustration with no direction. No outlet that I could use. Even after choosing me over him, I still can't bring myself to fully trusting my mom. I'm trying, and I realise that hating her for unintentionally making me feel this way is like hating a child for drawing on the walls when what they really want is attention.
She just wanted love, she wanted to find, the one and she thought she had with him. I can't blame her for that. Part of me wants to. But the mature half of me says this, "you can't help who you fall in love with." If that saying is true, then I'd be no different than the villagers who hated Naruto for containing Kurama.
Love is something we all want, even me. At the same time, we can't control who we fall in love with. It may be childish, it may be stupid, but I'd rather be a stupid nobody than a smart somebody if that's the case.
Cold, serious, individuals often can't balance sensitivity with seriousness and it often ends in pain. But a goody, fun loving, passionate individual knows when it's time to buckle down and get serious, with some maturity of course.
It's not a flawless idea, but it's one I believe in.
If you all are still reading, then thank you. Thank you for taking the time to get to know a bit about me. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being a wonderful human being for helping me through this just by listening.
If there were more people like you out there, the world would be a much better place. And for those of you who don't, just because they think it's stupid and soft of me to do this. You have my pity. Nothing else to say. I hope you all see the truth one day. But I won't hold my breath.
Maybe, who knows? Maybe the one who will one day love me is reading this right now? It's kind of an exciting thought. But I ask for silence.
When I recover mentally, I will take a vow of silence. I will let my actions determine who I am, what my intentions are, and won't speak until my actions have made clear my intentions. Words in this modern day society can be poisoned, so I won't use them. Call me crazy if you want. Call me delusional if it makes you feel better.
But I feel if we all took a vow a silence we would surprise ourselves with how different people are when they can't rely on words.
The friends you've known for a whole year won't spend more than a minute with you, the person you thought loved you doesn't want to give you the time of day, the person you thought was untrustworthy is actually a great person who's more reliable than people say. So many more examples.
I think it's a beautiful thought. Making friends from actions alone instead of words.