I am surprised no one found the little reference in the last chapter. "The Force is fluid, and light and dark are just directions" is from the novelization of "The Force Unleashed". This chapter features an outfit inspired by "The Force Unleashed". Starkiller's outfit on Imperial Felucia in the X-Box 360 version.
Disclaimer: See chapter 1
Passion and Power
"Again!" Haruka's voice drilled through the air as Keitaro swung the dual bladed Nagitana horizontally from his waist before spinning it, spinning away and bringing up the other side as if blocking. He then spun it and then lunged forward while pivoting on his foot as he struck with one end, turned to strike the other side, and then pivoted back to strike the first side again before spinning away and unleashing a Force Push.
"You've certainly come a long way in a short time, Suga." Kitsune said as she took a sip of some tea Haruka had set out as Keitaro practiced. It had only been a week since the impromptu "Air Naru" flight and he had proven to be a natural in the Fokkusu no Michi. As he finally accepted that Force back into his life, his clumsiness had also dropped dramatically, moving with an almost ghost-like grace as he pivoted around things that would cause any "Air Naru" flights. "Any luck Su?" She yelled at the young foreign princess.
"It's not as fun." Su pouted, looking over a long, connected array of machines with teal and yellow crystals in it, "You won't let me add any cool weapons to it. Why can't it have missiles or a flamethrower?!"
"That's because it will be Keitaro's weapon, not yours." Kitsune said.
"At least he's having something cool made! This gives me ideas for Mecha Tama!" Su said, before the "staff" of machines were pulled out of her hand. "Hey!"
The machines floated in front of Keitaro as he inspected them with a keen eye. Then, after he gave a nod, a welding torch flew into his hand as he bent pieces of metal around it and welded them together. Su and Kitsune watched with interest until a completed metal Bo with the design similar to the Urashima Emeraudo Hikari no Ha rested in his hands. Pressing a couple buttons, a white blade emitting a yellow glow appeared at either end.
"The Ni~Tsu Buredosutaffu is complete." Keitaro said, looking over it before he tied a thick chord around it and slung it over his shoulder as he took the Emeraudo Hikari no Ha and attached it to his belt. He also had a bokken attached to his belt. As for his outfit, he had changed it dramatically. As Haruka put it, "If the girls treat you like a foe in a battlefield, then dress for war".
He had his usual pants and shoes, but his shirt now had silver Sode (rectangular shoulder guards) on each shoulder, and rectangular strips of metal attached to his shirt directly to form a Dou (chest armor) stopping at an angle under his left arm until resizing itself to cover his back, leaving his abdomen exposed for flexibility. A green Fundoshi (loin cloth) went down from the bottom of the chest armor, under his belt, and down to his knees. His arms were covered by metal Tekko (forearm guards). This was a battle armor replica of one in the stories passed down by the Urashima clan. It was a replica of one of the ancestor's battle armors.
"Welp! I better get going back into there. The horse raises are on and if I'm not seen yelling at a losing horse I 'bet' on...it will raise some suspicions." Kitsune said, standing up as she ruffled Keitaro's hair and moved back into the Hinata-Sou. This was another layer of her deception. Despite being a freelance journalist, the others "knew" her for her trouble making, lazy personality. She had made a small fortune making stories-mostly science fiction-based on the unnamed Urashima ancestor-but the others "knew" she loved to gamble on horse races; often seeing her laying on a couch while watching the races on television.
What they didn't know was that one needed to have actually made the bet AT the arena...but that lack of knowledge sold her deception. With a small grin, and the added weight of Su jumping onto her shoulders, she hummed a little tune to herself. 'Shinobu would be happy about what we're doing'. She thought, 'That young teen has a huge crush on Suga. She'll be happy the chains binding him to his abusers will be broken. Too bad I couldn't tell her beforehand about my role...'
"YOU VILE MALE! HOW DARE YOU?! HOW DARE YOU CARRY THAT ANCIENT BLADE!" Motoko's voice said as she pointed a wooden bokken at him, after he ruffled Shinobu's hair as she blushed, the kendoka's eyes locked onto the cylindrical device on his waist.
"The Emeraudo Hikari no Ha has been passed down through my family." Keitaro said with enough snark to make Motoko and Naru reel back in shock. They were used to their Kanrinin (a term for a landlord) being submissive and apologizing for every slight they deemed-even if it was their fault. To hear him with this tone was...unsettling. Motoko began channeling Ki into her bokken as Naru cracked her muscles. In a smooth motion, Keitaro drew his bokken and held the sword arm and leg back, bokken held horizontally at eye level with the forward leg stretched out and fingers of his left hand pointed at them.
Motoko nudged the angry Naru back. "I had no idea that you knew one of the Urashima Sword Forms; let alone the Kame no Michi." Motoko said in a dark tone. SHE was the resident sword-master at the Hinata-Sou. To see the Kanrinin carry the famed Emeraudo Hikari no Hi AND know one of the Urashima forms challenged her pride.
"You. Me. Spar now." Motoko said, keeping her bokken pointed at him.
"Fine. Twice the pride, double the fall." Keitaro said, feeling the Force gather within him, "No Ki or Force attacks, just the bokken skills."
"Agreed." Motoko said, eyes narrowing at the stance of the Kame no Michi. Not only that, but this spineless male was wearing a replica of the most feared Urashima Samurai and carrying his light blade. Long had the Aoyama had respected that unique blade, and seeing it in the Kanrinin's hands made her skin crawl. Without a further word, she leaped forward and Keitaro blocked her swing with a resounding CLACK of wood against wood.
She moved and swung upwards, but Keitaro intercepted the swing and blocked it with his own.
"Come one Motoko! Beat this idiot!" Naru shouted as Kitsune sighed. Mutsumi had been too kind to Naru by giving up the boy she loved to her. To make Naru the Promise Girl. Kitsune had known Naru since High School, and had often been disregarded by potential dates in favor of Naru; who wanted nothing to do with them. To make matters worse for Kitsune (who DID want to date and eventually marry), Naru had Kitsune deliver her rejections, making the boys mad at her. Kitsune feared that the cycle would repeat itself if she followed Naru into Tokyo U, so she just gave up. If it had not been for Granny Hina, Kitsune feared she truly would have become an alcoholic trickster layabout.
Granny Hina had talked fondly about the her grandson Keitaro. How he was very determined and did everything possible to keep his word. How he always tried to see his best in others; despite being clumsy. Kitsune, in a way, was jealous of Naru once again. She would be getting a nice guy.
Now, Naru had been making the boy's life a nightmare. Not only had they dumped EVERY chore (excluding cooking and laundry-which Shinobu did) onto him at her idea, but many a time Naru had walked in on Keitaro cleaning the hot springs; disregarding the sign he put up and sending him flying. Then Motoko would get in on the action and...well...thank goodness he was so durable!
She almost laughed as the duel continued, seeing both Naru and Motoko's expression at Keitaro's defensive Kame no Michi blocking Motoko's attacks. She recalled the ONE true flaw with Keitaro's preferred blade style; it needed to use strikes from any of the other forms upon openings. That meant that rudimentary training in the other forms was needed to truly master the Kame no Michi. Motoko swung at his feet and he simply blocked it and then maneuvered his bokken over hers as she tried slashing upwards with the wooden training blade.
"How?" Motoko said, pouring her strength into her upward swing against the forces of gravity as Keitaro was assisted by gravity in the direction he was pushing his block in.
"Just because I dislike violence and allowed myself to be a punching bag, doesn't mean I don't know how to defend myself." Keitaro said, "Granny and I hoped that my habit of looking for the best of everyone would eventually mellow you out and allow you to start healing from your emotional problems. Instead, we have simply enabled you. For that, I apologize." Motoko's anger and frustration boiled over at that point as she stepped back.
"Zankūsen (Air-Cutting Flash)" Motoko yelled as she channeled Ki around her bokken and launched the circular air slash at Keitaro; who held it in place with a Force Grip.
"You. You have broken the rule of the duel with that Ki technique. You, have lost." Keitaro said, gesturing at a wall and the Ki attack was redirected into a wall to the side; preventing it from harming anyone. Motoko's eyes widened as she realized that she broke the rules of the spar by launching that Ki attack and slumped to her knees in shock. The "spineless" Kanrinin had defeated her.
"As if your dreams matter. Your Promise girl would probably prefer Jigai (Suicide) to being seen with you." Naru Narusegawa snapped at him in her anger. Keitaro's hair shadowed his eyes along with the light reflecting off his glasses as his bokken pointed upwards in a hand held stiffly at his side. "I know I wouldn't! Why don't you just quit and let ME meet my destined husband at Tokyo U!" Naru said before she covered her mouth in horror at what she had said in her anger.
The promise was broken.
Both Kitsune's eyes widened as she grabbed her ashen/dirty blonde short hair upon her own head. "Naru you IDIOT!" She shouted.
"That stance." Motoko reeled back in shock, "I've read about it...to think Urashima can use it... The Akuma no Michi!" Keitaro lifted his head as a dark aura surrounded him. His brown eyes were now a sinister yellow with an outer ring of blood red. Keitaro normally had the patience of a saint. He could take verbal and physical abuse and normally bounce right back...but there were a few things that even HE wouldn't put up with.
1) Insulting his dedication to his promise
2) Insulting/hurting his family
3) Mention preferring suicide than fulfilling his promise.
And Naru had just done two of those. Keitaro was now drawing more strongly from the Dark Side; which is why his eyes had changed color. Sparks of blue lightning surrounded his hands, and Kitsune grabbed his shoulder.
"Suga, snap out of it!" She said, as his angered gaze fueled at her, "Remember...your effort to get into Tokyo U. Don't ruin it with an attack done in anger." His face turned and scowled in fury at Naru, before he sighed and tucked the bokken into it's place on his belt, blasted the wall with a short torrent of Force Lightning, and stormed off, eyes flickering between brown and yellow. "Well...That was interesting!" Kitsune said, getting back into her role, "I'm gonna see if I hit it big with the races!" As she laid down on the couch and turned the television to the horse races, she kept replaying Naru's words in her mind.
"Aauuu...Kitsune? Do you think Sempai will be alright? I haven't seen him angry before." Shinobu said as she brought some snacks; being unable to look at Naru after those horrible words. Even Motoko; a known man-hating jump-to-conclusions attacker, seemed off-put by those words.
"Shinobu? Can you keep a secret?" Kitsune asked as she cracked open an eye.
"Kitsune? You aren't thinking of pranking Sempai again, are you?" Shinobu asked, and Kitsune winced and took a swig from a nearby Sake bottle at those words in guilt.
"Nah. Truth be told...I'm Granny Hina's spy...and she isn't happy with how his Promise Girl has been treating him." Kitsune whispered into Shinobu's ears, making the young teen gasp.
"You...but...Sempai...Aaauuu!" Kitsune could almost see the steam coming from her ears as she tried understanding what Kitsune had told her.
"Thus, Haruka and I-at Granny's instruction-just started Operation Broken Chains will be freed from his burden." Kitsune said, watching the horses draw near the finish as she looked both ways and shouted at a losing horse she "bet" on. "Mutsumi Otohime gave him up once for Naru...Naru treated him like dirt..." Kitsune whispered to herself, "Suga's a great guy, when not angry...I'm not going to waste this opportunity."
Keitaro sat meditating in the futon in his room, or at least he tried to. His eyes would flash between their normal brown and the Dark Side yellow before lifting up another board with the Force and then slammed nails into it; covering and sealing his side of a hole between Naru's room and his own as a blast of Force Lightning partially melted the nails into the wood to reinforce it.
The promise he had held so dear was no longer valid. He was free from the "toxic" person who was Naru Narusegawa...but why did it hurt so badly? Possibly, in another life, Naru could overcome her issues with his help and something special could have been; if his visions were correct...but now his attempts at visions of the futures showed nothing but mist. The future had been shaken, and there were too many possibilities to see clearly right now...
Or maybe his emotions were affecting his visions, or both. He took a deep breath and begun reciting words the Force was whispering to him.
"Peace is a lie. There is only Passion." Keitaro said, remembering how chaotic a single day was in the Hinata-Sou was, and how each person within it had a unique passion. Narusegawa had her studies, Mitsune "Kitsune" Konno her acting, Aunt Haruka her tea shop, Shinobu her cooking, Koalla Su her inventions, and Motoko Aoyama her kendo skills.
"Through Passion I gain Strength." His passion to formerly keep his promise before Narusegawa basically spat it back on him had allowed him to overcome...well...obstacles others would have given up to by now.
"Through Strength I gain Power." Keitaro recalled how Motoko's attacks gained more power when she was angry.
"Through Power I gain Victory." Now with a smile he recalled how the Force guided his hand to gain victory over Motoko without needing to use and Force abilities.
"Through Victory my chains are broken." Keitaro said, gazing up at the now sealed hole. "The Force shall free me."
Keitaro had rediscovered his passion for learning the Urashima arts and Force skills. This Passion for the Force and to get into Tokyo University was keeping him fighting against harsh odds, and he was growing in the sword skills and his cram school grades were improving. Once he obtained Victory at being accepted, he would feel liberated and free, thanks to the Force.
They were connected: Passion, Strength, Power, Victory, and the Force. While some might deny themselves, saying a being with emotions using the Force is dangerous, not having your emotions may make one stagnate their skills and fall to a more determined foe.
Meanwhile, Motoko was meditating in her room with her katana Shishui across her lap.
All males are perverts. They are only after one thing. They only care about themselves and their needs. Males have no honor. A male took my beloved sister away and made her weak. Love is nothing but a weakness. That was the "Truth" Motoko had told herself ever since her beloved older sister gave up her position as heiress of the Shinmei-ryū school to Motoko in order to be married. Yet, the Kanrinin had not deserved those awful words. Sure, he was a male and once was very accident prone...but her skills in Ki had allowed her to sense the Kanrinin's emotions once they boiled over into the Force. Such pain, such anger...even now it almost hurt her physically to think about.
Granny and I hoped that my habit of looking for the best of everyone would eventually mellow you out and allow you to start healing from your emotional problems. Instead, we have simply enabled you. For that, I apologize. What did the Kanrinin mean by that? She recalled back to every time she and Naru had punished him. Normally, she only saw him doing something they deemed unacceptable, and sent him flying.
But then...she started recalling more details. Such as a sign that the hot springs were being cleaned, a bottle where he was walking. Finding nothing more than frustration and confusion in her meditation, she sheathed Shishui and stood up before heading out of her room. At the same time, Keitaro had stepped outside and lit up an end of his newly completed weapon. Her initial anger at seeing the male Kanrinin of the all-girls dorm died down at the unique weapon.
"Urashima. What is that?" She said, forcing her hands to her sides.
"The Ni~Tsu Buredosutaffu." Keitaro answered politely while pointedly looking away from her, which made her upset at the lack of attention...but why did she feel that way. Wasn't affection and love a weakness? "It is a weapon I designed as a kid based on the Emeraudo Hikari no Ha, but I was unable to make it without Su's mechanical expertise."
He accepted help for his design? That name...Sun Blade Staff. The yellow glow of the blade illuminated the area like the sun in the Earth's sky. Then, to Motoko's surprise, a second blade illuminated from the other end of the staff. He twirled it around before the blades receded into the staff and he swung it back onto his shoulders. "So...why are you so against males?" Keitaro asked, only for Motoko to glare at him and unsheath Shishui slightly. This made any sense of pleasantness fade from Keitaro's face as he pulled out and ignited the Emeraudo Hikari no Ha in the two handed opening grip of a form he had just started working with; the Burrofishu no Michi. The two sword wielders glared at each other without moving an inch. Finally, Motoko sheathed Shishui and Keitaro deactivated and placed the Emeraudo Hikari no Ha on his belt and turned before storming away. As he moved down the steps, the Force screamed at him in warning and he used the Force to extend his jump above a Ki attack and turned, grasping Motoko (who was holding her katana) in a Force Choke.
He pulled out the light blade passed down through the Urashima clan and held the emitter against her stomach as he held her in place. "Don't make me destroy you." He said, "Your pride will be your downfall." The Force was streaming in front of him, showing him a vision, "If you follow your perversion of the Bushido code, you will eventually land in jail, or dead, and your school will forever lose honor due to the actions of it's heiress." With that he let the Force choke go and walked off with the light blade still in hand though it was deactivated.
"If he is without honor...why didn't he strike me down while I was incapacitated?" Motoko asked, rubbing her throat as she watched him walk off. Keitaro stopped and strapped the Emeraudo Hikari no Ha to his belt as he clenched his fist and let out a breath that whistled through his clenched teeth. While he knew they could be good people...they made it hard to feel sympathetic.
"So it has gotten to that point. The Promise Girl has abandoned her dedication to the promise." A short, old woman whose white hair was done up in a bun said on a phone as she had pulled the chord as far as it could have gone.
"I told you she would never accept Onii-chan." A dark haired girl sat next to her as she scowled, "And from what we've heard from Kitsune, if it wasn't for his Ki and the Force, we would be having his funeral."
"Ara Ara...are you sure she's not just...frustrated?" An airheaded woman with dark brown hair around Keitaro's age, "Na-chan was so shy as a kid around Kei-kun."
"Narusegawa...told him that his promise girl would prefer Jigai to being seen with him...that he should just give up and let HER find a husband and Tokyo-U." The dark-haired girl spat out, "If I see her..." She raised a fist menacingly.
"Na-chan...how could you?" The brown haired woman said sadly.
"It's not your fault Mutsumi." The old lady said, "While Kanako is just being...harsh...with her observations, the contingency plan has started."
"Contingency plan, Granny Hina?" The newly revealed Mutsumi asked.
"Operation Broken Chains." Granny Hina said, sipping a cup of tea an Okinawa (An island belonging to Japan between Mainland Japan and Taiwan), "Should the Promise Girl break her portion of the promise or be threatening to his life, this was a contingency plan to free him from his self-imposed vow." Hina gazed in her tea, "I made many mistakes; to the point where one of my daughters-my grandson's mother-rarely speaks to me. I won't be the one to end the family line for good."
"Granny." Kanako said, "I may not be related by blood to Onii-chan, since my birth parents abandoned me... but he was the first one to break through my emotional walls. I won't fail him! I will be the best sister I can!"
"Kei-kun must hate me..." Mutsumi said, "I gave him up to someone who grew up to be an abuser!" With that, her mind blacked out as her anemia acted up and she fainted into Kanako's arms.
Force Powers/Ability Stats for Keitaro:
Force Push: 3/3
Force Grip: 3/3
Force Lightning: 2/3
Force Choke: 1/3
Lightning Shield: 3/3
Lightsaber Throw: 1/3
Force Heal: 3/3
Jedi Mind Trick: 1/3
Force Repel: 3/3
Force Focus: 2/3
Force Affinity: 2/3
Saber Mastery: 3/3
Defense Mastery: 3/3
Battle Meditation: 1/3
Combo Mastery: 1/3