Disclaimer: I own neither the Yakuza series or Rising of the Shield Hero. Please support the official releases.
A Legend Begins
Julius Harken was a man with little pride.
He was a disgraced warlock of the Melromarc Kingdom, banished by a supposedly 'wise' king for crimes of 'thievery'.
But Julius Harken knew it was because of a difference in opinions.
Julius had only tried to push for preparation of the Four Legendary Heroes, those summoned warriors brought forth from other realms, to combat the destructive Waves of Catastrophe... but when it came to the Shield Hero, King Aultcray was... coldly dismissive. Julius knew that the religion of the state did speak of a legend that painted the Shield Hero in a poor light, but thought it was no more than misinterpretation. Surely a Legendary Hero would be here to help the kingdom, not be its downfall.
But the King was adamant. And when Julius pushed too far, the king pushed back. A quick charge of thievery was placed upon his head, and he was duly banished from the castle and his station. A false crime that made the former royal warlock jaded.
And so, in a moment of anger and poor judgement, he stole a single artifact from the vault of royal warlocks; a pair of bracers, believed to have belonged to some unknown warrior of the past.
He wasn't sure just how much value they had, as the bracers had been locked away since before his own tenure at the castle; apparently, it was believed that they would summon a warrior to wield them, much like the weapons used by the Legendary Four Heroes. But despite every effort afforded to it, according to the other royal warlocks, they had yielded no results.
Some assumed that they were fake or just a false legend. But regardless, the Queen deemed them worth preserving. With that, the bracers were kept inside the vault.
Despite the possible consequences of getting caught, Julius took a chance and stole them. He had picked them specifically because they had been pushed to the back of the vault, with no one having spared a glance at them for a long time. Even if the bracers were useless, he figured that he could find some foreigner, or a fool maybe, and make some decent money off of them.
But as his fortunes seemingly turned sour... a light shined through the darkness for Julius Harken.
After returning to his old village, he had found his childhood flame there, as vibrant as ever. Melonie Birchum took him in when most others had shunned him and his reputation. He'd only been staying with her a couple months, but she had breathed life back into him and kept him from falling low. The relic sat in a storage shed, and similarly gathered dust as it had in the royal vault. He once considered returning them to the king for Melonie's sake, but was afraid that would only lead to his execution.
So what does Julius's pride have to do with anything?
Well. A man lacking pride, but not something to protect, meant that he wasn't afraid to beg when needed.
And right now he was praying to the gods by everything holy in the land of Melromarc that they would help him and his village.
"Please… please work…" Julius mumbled. His hand holding the chalk trembled slightly as he drew a pentagram on the ground of the shack around the bracers placed at the center.
"Julius, we should go! You said yourself that you don't know if they'll do anything!" Melonie pleaded, standing watch by the door. The cries of desperation and fear filled the air. Bandits had come to their modest village in the night, raiding the houses and beating on the villagers. But of course, the knights and guards that were supposed to protect this village were nowhere to be found. Though in their defense, they were fresh out of the first Wave, so a good number of them had to leave and recover from the battle.
"I-I don't have a choice, Melonie! I don't know any offensive spells! Even if we run into the forest, I don't know that I can protect you!" Julius admitted, finishing the edge of the pentagram and sighing. "I'm going to imitate the same ritual taught to the royal warlocks to summon the Legendary Heroes. If that won't bring us anyone, then nothing will. But even so, perhaps I can spark enough magic in them to use myself..."
"Julius, please-please hurry, then!" Melonie begged, deciding to trust him as she propped the door with a chair to keep it blocked. She held a dagger in her hand, though it trembled in her grip.
"Oh, great warrior from beyond… please heed my call…" Julius muttered, putting his hands together. They ignited with the faint light of magic, the drawn pentagram beginning to glow with them. "No king or knight will protect us… so please… please be the protector we truly need…"
"Hey, what's with the lightshow back there?!" They heard a muffled shout, causing Melonie and Julius to inhale a breath.
Julius bit his bottom lip until it was bleeding, his hands gripping together painfully. Please… please just… give us something… anything! I can't lose Melonie. I won't…
Another faint light began to rise, causing Julius to open his eyes and see that the bracers were now glowing. Blue flame and sparks began to burst around them, and they soon started hovering in the air. Julius and Melonie's jaws fell in awe, watching as an ethereal body began to take shape. The bracers moved to the body's arms, forming around its hands. As the body became more and more solid, the details of the man became clear.
He was a young adult, as far as they could tell, a man with a solid stature. He was well built and tall, though the extent of his musculature was hidden behind his strange but nice clothing, which consisted of light gray garbs with a dark red undershirt. As his facial features solidified, it was revealed that he had short black hair and a handsome, high boned face.
As his body became completely whole, the man fell to one knee and started to heave for air, sweat trailing down his face.
"What just… happened..?"
Kazuma Kiryu was confused and shaken, to say the least.
It had been a month since he left Haruka and Sunflower Orphanage after his 'death'. He was just settling back into his former persona of Suzuki, and even started working at his old taxi agency again. Life had been rough since leaving his family behind, the thought of never seeing them again still raw.
But at this very moment, that was the furthest concern from his mind.
Kiryu heaved for air, sweat trailing down his scalp as he looked around. A man and a woman, foreign as far as he could tell and dressed in strange rags, stood before him in a small space.
"What just… happened..?" Kiryu mumbled, leaning on one knee as he tried to gain his bearings.
"I-It worked, Melonie… we summoned the warrior…" The man said, staring at Kiryu in awe.
"I… I didn't think that…" the woman mumbled, a hand going to her mouth.
"W-Who are you?" Kiryu asked, slowly pushing off his knee and leaning a hand against the back wall. "Where am I?!" Were these people speaking Japanese? Kiryu wasn't sure, but he understood their language. And when he spoke, he seemed to match it. "What the hell is going on?!"
"P-Please, Gauntlet Warrior. We mean you no harm!" The man said, stepping in front of the woman and bowing his head. "I wish I had more time to explain, but right now there's-"
The door behind them suddenly swung open, causing the man and woman to turn around in fear. Three men shuffled inside, each one burly and muscular, wearing animal fur vests and ragged pants.
"Well, well~! What do we have here?" One of the thugs laughed, grinning at the man and woman devilishly. "Such a pretty thing we've got here. And what's this, a warlock? How fancy."
"We got some other fool here too, boss," one of the other goons pointed at Kiryu, the former gangster narrowing his eyes at them in confusion.
"Not like it matters. Kill the men and take the woman. We'll have some fun with her."
Kiryu's eyes widened in alert, watching as the thug in front of him cackled and brandished his axe.
"What the hell? What's going on here?!" Kiryu demanded, balling his fists as he looked at the approaching thug. He blinked suddenly, realizing that he could feel something over his hands. He looked down, blinking at the gauntlets now adorning his arms. "What are these..?"
"N-No! Stay away!" Julius cried, holding up his hand and casting some magic. But the thug quickly grabbed his wrist, pushing his aim away before grabbing his throat with his free hand.
"Julius!" The woman cried in fear, watching as the thug slammed the warlock against the shack wall.
"Like magic like that means anything at this close of range, fool! Now watch as we take your woman!" The leader laughed before turning back to the thug approaching Kiryu. "Hurry up and kill him already!"
"Aye aye!" Kiryu drew his attention back to the thug in front of him, watching as he raised his axe in the air.
Kiryu didn't give him a chance to bring it down, smashing his fist square into his jaw and sending him flying back.
"Gagh!" The bandit cried, falling flat on his back as a red mark formed on his other present company blinked, looking down at the bandit before looking up at Kiryu.
"I've got no idea what's happening right now… but if you're planning to go through with what you said, I don't have to think too hard about what I'll do with you," Kiryu said, rolling his neck and cracking it before taking his usual fighting stance.
"T-That bastard…" The bandit grumbled, slowly sitting up and rubbing his cheek.
"Hmph! You can act as tough as you want! You can't take the three of us out alone!" The leader growled, releasing Julius as he and the other two focused solely on the former gangster.
"If you really believe that, then come at me," Kiryu narrowed his eyes before letting his gaze drift to Julius. "Hey. When I'm done with these three, I want an explanation."
"I-I'll tell you whatever you want…" The warlock promised, rubbing his neck while Melonie leant down at his side.
"Good," Kiryu side stepped an axe swing he was expecting from the first bandit, immediately bringing his fist around and punching straight into the man's gut and making him buckle over.
"Die!" Another shouted, swinging a dagger at Kiryu's neck. The former gangster lowered his head and avoided the blow, pushing the first breathless goon into him with a forward kick and knocking them over.
"Son of a bitch!" The leader snarled, lunging at Kiryu with a sword overhead. Kiryu closed the distance though, swinging his arm around and landing a powerful counter hook to his sternum and sending him flying back into the wall.
Blue sparks and flames started to surround Kiryu's gauntlets, causing him to hesitate for a single moment to look down at them. What's going on..? Why are they-
Kiryu remembered what he was doing and quickly spun on his heel, looking at the one thug that had yet to receive any real damage as he tried to clamber to his feet. He took his snake skin dress shoe and kicked it hard into the bandit's face. From the way it cracked, Kiryu had no doubt that it was broken. Not that he was going to sympathize.
His attention quickly shifted to the man who had attacked him first, watching as he stumbled to his feet. "I'll kill you, you son of a-"
Kiryu simply grabbed him by the collar, smashing his fist twice into his face and likely breaking his nose as blood spurted out of it. As if that wasn't enough, Kiryu swung his head back before delivering a devastating headbutt square between his eyes. If his nose had somehow not broken from the first punches, it was certainly shattered to pieces now.
Kiryu watched him fall back irst into the ground, his eyes rolled up in his head as he blacked out. He spared a look back at the leader, eyes narrowed dangerously as he took slow steps toward him.
"Wh-What the hell are you, man?! What the shit?!" He cried, the grip on his sword shaky as he pointed it at Kiryu. Kiryu didn't answer, stalking toward him slowly and tightening his fists. Swallowing a lump in his throat, the bandit summoned his courage and charged at Kiryu, sword aimed to stab through his gut. "Just die!"
Kiryu sidestepped the sword, bringing a wide hook-straight combo into the bandit, making him drop the sword. The bandit choked on his breath, but thought he would try his hand at a brawl with Kiryu. Obviously his dumbest move so far, as Kiryu quickly followed up with an upper cut into his jaw before a back handed club, knock his opponent flat on his back. For good measure, as the bandit groggily attempted to climb to his feet, Kiryu did a small running jump with his fist reared back, bringing it down in a full body motion punch. The bandit was out like a light as Kiryu followed through and landed on his back. Not wanting to drop his guard, Kiryu quickly climbed to his feet, getting into a stance as he looked around at each bandit. Seeing that each one was out cold, Kiryu relaxed, straightening out.
Kiryu blinked when he thought he saw 1500 XP pop up at the corner of his eye. What… was that?
"By the gods…" Julius mumbled, he and Melonie huddled together in the shifted his attention to them, stepping over the bodies and walking over to the two. They cowered back at first, intimidated after the display of power he just put on.
"Are you two alright?" Kiryu asked, causing them to blink. He waited for an answer, watching as the two slowly stood up and cautiously nodded.
"Y-Yes… thank you for saving us," Julius finally answered, wiping some sweat off his brow.
"It's nothing. But now that they're out of the way, I need answers. Where the hell am I?" Kiryu asked, his voice remaining even despite his words.
"Wait!" Melonie said, causing the two to look at her. "Pl-Please, I know this is so much to ask you, but those bandits weren't the only ones! There are bandits attacking the entire village! The knights won't be here soon enough and more people will be hurt! C-Can you please… please help the rest of the village?"
"Melonie…" Julius mumbled before looking at Kiryu. He got on his knees and bowed, causing Kiryu to raise a brow. "Yes, please. I promise… I promise to answer any questions you have and give you whatever is within my power to do… but please save this village!"
Kiryu looked between them, feeling his resolve for getting answers at this immediate moment crumble. He released a small sigh, turning his back toward them.
"Alright. I'll do it," Kiryu said, walking to the broken door. "Just be sure to keep your promise when all this is done."
"Thank you! We will!" The two cried out, their voices sincere. Kiryu felt a small smirk play on his lips,taking his leave of them.
Geez. I let myself get talked into another mess. Well, too late to back out, now.
"All of you! Gather the rest of the loot you can and get ready to go!" A bandit shouted from the main road of the village, riding a horse as he marched around town. "We've got time, but let's make sure to put some distance between us and this village long before the knights arrive!"
"Come on, boss! We don't gotta worry about them!" Another bandit laughed behind him, carrying a bag of loot over his shoulder. "They're still lickin' their wounds from the Wave!"
"Heh, maybe, but I'd rather we don't overstay our welcome," The leader laughed, raising his bent blade. "Come on, you lot! Don't have too much fun, now! We can celebrate once we're home free!"
"Celebrate on your own dimes, not other's."
The bandit leader and several around him hesitated, looking up the path to see Kiryu walk out from behind one of the buildings. His glare was fierce, eyes leering directly into the bandit leader's eyes.
"Ho~, what do we have here? Some wannabe hero?" A bandit laughed, grinning as he walked toward Kiryu with a club in hand. "You shoulda stayed in hidin' instead, dumbass! Now you get to-"
The bandit didn't get to finish his sentence as the Dragon of Dojima smashed his fist into his gut, knocking the breath out of him before bringing up his fist in a swift and powerful uppercut, sending him flying back. The bandit leader and his men's eyes widened, each one drawing their weapons as their comrade landed flat on his back.
"Hm. These aren't bad," Kiryu hummed, looking at the bracers on his arms. "I can barely feel them, but they certainly help add some weight to my hits."
"Tch! You'll pay for that! You wanna play hero?! Fine!" The bandit leader growled, raising his blade. "Everyone! To the center of town! We've got an idiot here who thinks he's gonna save this town! Let's give him the full experience, huh?!"
Kiryu's eyes drifted to the side, watching as burly men started to empty from the houses of the village, numbering at around thirty from what he could see, each one brandishing some club, sword or daggers. They all laughed as they started to surround him in a large circle, the leader moving ahead on his horse and grinning darkly.
"Heh. Wanna rethink your little hero stunt? Not that it'll save you, but maybe we'll just beat the shit outta you without killing you if you get on your knees," The bandit leader laughed, pointing his sword at Kiryu. "Just get down on the ground and accept your beating!"
Kiryu was silent, his eyes still gazing around at the crowd now garnered. He could see Melonie and Julius peeking out from the side of their house, both looking on in terror at the numbers.
"Th-There are so many… why did he go out in the open and challenge them like this?!" Melonie asked in fear.
"I-I don't know… I-I have to help somehow, but… with so many…" Julius muttered.
"What are you talking about?" Kiryu finally answered the bandit finally, causing silence to fall as he turned his steely gaze to the leader. "I was just about to tell you that I hope you have more men."
That caused each bandit to actually hesitate, Kiryu's confident words and charismatic aura taking hold for a moment. But the bandit leader grit his teeth, raising his sword. "Don't get spineless on me now, you rats! It's only one man! Take him down!"
Their leader's words roused the bandits, bringing back their resolve as they found courage in their numbers and started to approach Kiryu.
"If we're doing this, then fine," Kiryu cracked his neck side to side before rolling his shoulders and balling his fists. The same blue flame and sparks returned to his gauntlets as before.
"Then come on already!"
(Yakuza 0 OST: Tusk)
The bandits rushed all around Kiryu, their weapons raised above them as they all aimed to end him swiftly. Of course, the Dragon of Dojima was more than used to seeing the sight of armed men numbering this high try to take him on. It never ended well for them.
Kiryu did a quick step to the closest bandit, doing a quick straight punch to his gut and making him buckle over. The former gangster then grabbed his poor cloth shirt tight, watching his surrounding enemies closely. For some reason, his bracer's aura changed from blue to orange.
He didn't give it much thought though, quickly raising the man into the air and swinging him around like a ragdoll into the other bandits that tried to close the distance. Kiryu felt a strange amount of new strength as he swung him though, as if he had suddenly been boosted. He could always fling men like this around, but this seemed so effortless even by comparison to when he was at his strongest.
Kiryu swung the man around several times, creating a decent amount of space around him before finally tossing him into several men and knocking them all over. The remaining bandits now had a taste of his strength, each one recoiling as they now erred on the side of caution when it came to approaching the Dragon of Dojima. The bandit leader saw their fear and grit his teeth, no less intimidated by Kiryu but remaining in control.
"Tch! Let's see how you handle arrows! Archers!"
Kiryu saw several men move out in front of the crowd, numbering at least five men wielding bows and arrows. Though in Kiryu's honest opinion, he wasn't impressed. Arrows don't move nearly as fast as bullets.
Kiryu dashed forward, heading for the closest archer. Each bandit quickly nocked an arrow, taking aim as they tried to remain calm. But as their arrows flew, they watched as Kiryu simply dodged and sidestepped each arrow that got close. The bandit he was charging gawked, fumbling for another arrow in his quiver. Kiryu obviously didn't give him the chance to even load it.
His gauntlets changed color again, this time shifting to a pinkish hue. Kiryu wasn't sure why that was happening, but again tossed the thought aside. He slammed his fist into the bandit's gut, this time with enough force to send him flying straight back and into a crowd of others behind him.
Kiryu didn't linger, quickly shifting his gaze to the next archers as they took aim. He easily dodged several arrows again, but he noted how while his strength seemed to level back out, his speed was tremendous. He could always dodge things like arrows or throwing knives without problem, but the effortlessness he felt in doing it now was almost unreal.
Using the newly found speed, Kiryu quick-stepped forward and closed the gap between him and the archers, positioning himself evenly between them with a single action in mind. The aura changed again, shifting from pink to a fierce red hue.
"D-Die, damn it!" The first archer he approached cried out, taking one more shot with his arrow only to have it evaded. Kiryu curled his shoulder back to dodge it, dashing in front of the bandit as he did so before bringing a fist up for an uppercut straight to his jaw. He didn't stop there though, eyes trailing to the next archer before dashing at blinding speeds to the next one. The bandit didn't even have a chance to put his guard up, receiving a quick one-two punch to the face that dazed him before Kiryu brought the back of his fist up into his temple, causing him to flip in the air and face plant. The Dragon of Dojima didn't stop, dashing to the next archer and bringing the forearm of his bracer straight into his nose and breaking it. He looked to the last shaking archer and dashed at him, grabbing his wrist just as he was about to grab another arrow. Kiryu brought his arm back and chopped the man's wrist hard enough to bring him to one knee, crushing the bones in his arm in the process. If that wasn't enough, Kiryu brought back his right hand and hit him with the back of his fist hard enough to make the bandit flip in the air.
Kiryu hadn't counted how many he had taken out in his wake, but a quick look around revealed it to be quite a few already. Around ten men were left, but the last ten men were already cowering back in fear, the fight gone from them in a matter of moments. Even their boss was sweating in fear, swallowing a large lump in his throat as he gripped his sword tensely.
"I'll give you this chance to surrender and answer for hurting the people here. But if you don't drop your weapons now, I'll tear the rest of you apart," Kiryu declared, raising his hand in front of him and balling it into a crackling, red flamed fist.
"D-Don't fuck with me!" The bandit leader cried out, dismounting from his horse and pointing his sword forward. "W-We're not gonna let one man throw us all away! I'll kill you myself! Let's finish this, boys!"
His men decided to stand their ground, starting to crowd Kiryu again with weapons raised cautiously. Kiryu simply gave a quick glance around before letting out a small breath.
"Have it your way."
Kiryu didn't give them an edge, quickly spinning around and slamming his armored fist into a bandit that attempted to blindside him. He gave two powerful punches across each side of his jaw before bringing up his fist into a powerful uppercut, causing the bandit to fly into the air with his legs up. Kiryu immediately took advantage, grabbing his legs under both arms and literally swinging him in a wide circle, smashing him into the rest of his comrades before tossing him aside. Before one of the bandits could recover, Kiryu immediately stomped his foot on his face, knocking him out.
Kiryu evaded a sword swipe from the leader, the last man to be standing. Unlike the rest of his men, Kiryu saw a bit more skill in the way he held his blade out. Not that it mattered to the Dragon of Dojima. Kiryu put his hands up in front of his face, doing a small bounce step as he decided upon Rush Style. As if mirroring his thoughts, a pinkish hue returned to his gauntlets.
The bandit leader grit his teeth, hesitating a moment before snarling as he swung his blade. Kiryu swiftly deflected it with a quick punch, causing the boss to flinch and hold his sword tight. He let out another grunt, swinging the sword back around for another swipe, only to have Kiryu deflect it with a straight punch that threw the bandit off balance. Kiryu quickly followed up with four devastating straight punches to his sternum, taking the breath out of him. Taking a single step back for momentum, Kiryu finished off the bandit leader with a double fisted tiger punch, sending the bandit sailing back with a broken collar bone.
Kiryu stood at full length, taking a deep breath as everything seemed to wind down. Opening his eyes, he raised a brow when he saw 15,000 XP pop up at the corner of his eye gain. So that wasn't my imagination. What the hell is that?
"G-Gods…" Kiryu slowly turned around, looking to see not only Julius and Melonie, but the entire village coming out of hiding. Men, women and children slowly approached from all sides, some looking battered and bruised or injured. But despite that, all eyes were on Kiryu, staring in complete awe.
"Hey," Kiryu said, his eyes directed at Julius. "You should all tie these guys up in case they try to get back up. They should be alive… probably."
"Y-Yeah, okay then," Julius nodded, looking back at the rest of the village, waving his arm. "Come on, everyone! Let's not waste anytime! We'll tie them all up and have them ready for the knights!"
It took a moment for the rest of the villagers to move, but ultimately a good number gave a resounding 'yeah!'. Kiryu stepped over the bandits at his feet, moving to join Julius and Melonie. But before he could, he found himself crowded by people, causing him to recoil slightly.
"Th-That was amazing, mister!"
"You're very brave! Are you one of the heroes?!"
"H-Hey, wait…" Kiryu mumbled, the amount of people crowding him and talking causing him to fluster up a bit. Julius and Melonie watched him for a moment, small smiles spreading across their faces.
"I wasn't sure what to expect from the summoning ritual, but this… this seems good," Julius admitted, looking at his childhood friend.
"I agree. Though, we still have quite a bit to answer for him, don't we?" Melonie giggled, earning a tired sigh from Julius.
"Yes… yes we do."
"... Another world?"
After the bandits had been handled and locked up, Julius and Melonie took Kiryu to their home once they were able to get him away from the crowd of curious villagers. From there, they made him dinner with what had survived the raid, sitting by the fire as Julius went on to explain everything to Kiryu. Though it was taking the Dragon of Dojima some time to process exactly what was being given to him.
"Yes… using the gauntlets on your arms, I was able to conjure a ritual that brought you here. I'm sorry to have done that so suddenly and without your permission, but… I was desperate, as you saw," Julius sighed, awkwardly rubbing his hands together. "But know that every single person in this village appreciates what you did. Thank you, honestly."
Kiryu remained silent, taking a moment to think on his current situation. He would have thought it were a dream had things not felt so real fighting out there. Part of him did. But his instincts were telling him that it was the truth. Everything he saw out there was real. The old houses, the bandits and their outdated weapons.
It's all real. But that also means…
Kiryu's eyelids tightened as he felt his heart ache. "Is there… any way I can go back?"
"P-Possibly. I don't have the spell to do so, but I can do some deeper study to find one…" Julius said, bringing Kiryu's attention up to him. "Again, I'm so sorry. If you give me time, I can try to find a way back for you."
"We didn't mean to put you in such a desperate spot. Whatever we can do for you, we will," Melonie added, giving a sympathetic smile.
Kiryu's eyes drifted to the small fire under the chimney. Haruka, Haruto, Sunflower Orphanage. They were all so far away from him now. Much farther than he ever meant to put between him and the children when he 'died'. But despite a lingering want to be close to them, Kiryu knew that he had already cut off all chances of seeing them again. With that in mind, even if Kiryu returned to his world, he had nothing to go back to.
"Forget it. I… don't need to go back."
Julius and Melonie blinked, looking at one another before back at him. "What?"
"I've got nothing waiting for me in my world. In fact… it's probably better that I stay here, anyway," Kiryu admitted, his voice sullen.
Silence fell upon them, questions now building up between Melonie and Julius about the curious man in front of them. But not wanting to leave things with that, Julius spoke again.
"Well… if it helps, we were planning to let you stay with us until I was able to find the spell, but…" Julius looked at Melonie, the kind woman giving a small nod in approval. "But if you need a place to stay for the time being, you're welcome to stay here as long as you need to. It's the least we can do."
"... Normally I wouldn't want to impose, but… I really don't know anything about where I'm at or where I would go otherwise. I'll take you up on that," Kiryu nodded in acceptance.
"Good to hear. Well, with that out of the way, is there anything else you'd like to know?" Julius asked, causing Kiryu to hum. He looked down at his arms and raised a brow.
"A few things still, but… Let's start with these. What are they?" Kiryu asked, holding up his forearm.
"Oh, those are your personal weapon," Julius started, holding his chin. "They're what brought you to this world as you were their chosen wielder. I don't know many details to be honest as I had um… appropriated them from my previous job." Melonie gave him a disappointed look while the warlock could only laugh sheepishly. "I wasn't sure I could even summon you to be honest. Rituals performed on the gauntlets up until now have never been successful."
"Chosen wielder? Chosen by who?"
"The weapon itself, maybe? Perhaps the gods?" Julius shrugged with a frown. "No one knows exactly how heroes are elected. Though from what we all saw, I doubt it's done at random."
"I see…" Kiryu mumbled, not sure he would get anymore answers in regards to the bracers. He soon gave a thought about taking them off. In response, the gauntlets began to glow before reducing in size. Kiryu blinked as his hands and forearms were reduced to small forearm pads, feeling light as a feather on his arms. He pulled at the sleeves of his jacket and shirt and found it easy to pull out from under it, but it remained attached to his body. "I'm guessing… these don't come off easy."
"N-No. If it's anything like the weapons that the other Heroes have, it'll remain attached to your body. But at least you should be able to move it around your body without problem and reduce its size as you wish!" Julius offered in an attempt to be positive.
"That sounds pretty inconvenient, still…" Kiryu sighed in defeat, shaking his head. "But what's this about other heroes?"
"Oh, well, as I said you wouldn't be the first to be summoned from another world. It has happened before with other legendary weapons."
"I see… I doubt it, but it makes me wonder if I know anyone that was summoned before…" Kiryu said, holding his chin curiously.
"Perhaps you'll meet some throughout your stay here," Melonie said this time with some interest. "The Legendary Heroes will soon be summoned to deal with the Waves of Catastrophe."
"Waves of Catastrophe?" Kiryu raised a brow at the ominous name.
"Perhaps we should save that discussion for tomorrow. The waves are something of their own beast," Julius sighed, wiping his forehead of sweat. "We've handled one problem with bandits today. I don't want to pressure our guest with more dark tidings."
"O-Oh, you're right. My apologies…"
Kiryu remained silent, deciding to let it go for now. He could just hear them out about the wave come tomorrow, even if it grabbed his curiosity. But he still had more questions that related to himself.
"Is there anything else we can clear up for you?" Julius asked.
"... One thing, I suppose." Kiryu said, looking up in thought. "After I beat those bandits in the shed and beat the bandits in the street, these numbers popped up next to the letters 'XP'. What's that about?"
"Oh? You don't know? Usually that kind of knowledge is known by the heroes, even though it's not something part of their lives beforehand," Julius mused, rubbing his chin. "Do you see the symbol at the bottom right corner of your vision?"
"Symbol?" Kiryu raised a brow before blinking. It was faint, but there was a small icon at the corner of his eyes that moved with his sight. "What is that..?"
"Try pressing it with your finger."
Kiryu felt awkward reaching for something that was only in his eye but obeyed. The moment he pressed the symbol, a strange set of images popped up like a menu floating in air. "Wh-What the hell?! What is…"
"That's where you can check your progress and strength from your actions! XP is gained from defeating opponents and monsters in battle, which build up your all around power," said Julius, causing Kiryu to stare in complete befuddlement.
… What the hell. It's like a… video game? Though this looks way more complicated than anything I've ever played… The closest thing Kiryu could recall to ever seeing a menu this complicated was when Taishi had invited him to watch him play a video game. Games were far more complicated than when he was a kid, so he was easily lost even when Taichi was there to try and explain it for him.
Kiryu messed around with the menu, scrolling through his options where he saw his supposed 'level' next to his name. He was already at level 6, from what it was saying. Though how good that was, he didn't know. This… this is weird. I thought I was in some sort of fantasy world, but… it's a video game world? Why? Is that even a thing?
"Is everything alright, Mr. Kiryu?" Melonie asked, seeing the frown on Kiryu's confused face.
"Y-Yeah, I just… I don't know what to say about what I'm seeing right now…" Kiryu admitted, this 'menu' thing throwing him off more than anything else so far. It was like getting blindsided.
"Perhaps we can make that something else we go over tomorrow? I can explain the fundamentals to you if you like so that it's easier to understand," Julius offered.
"Y-Yeah, that'd be good… I have no idea what I'm doing with this…" Kiryu mumbled, trying but failing to make the menu leave his sight. "Uh… how do I turn this off?"
"Oh, just press the icon again or swipe it away from the top left corner."
Kiryu kept trying to swipe from the top corner, letting out a frustrated groan as he failed to do so. With a sigh, he touched the icon at the bottom corner, watching it disappear. "This is going to be more complicated than I thought…"
"Don't worry, Mr. Kiryu. I'll do my best to tutor you about anything you wish to know," Julius laughed sheepishly, feeling bad for Kiryu's plight. "How about we head to bed now and work on whatever else you want to know tomorrow?"
"Y-Yeah, I think that's a good idea…" Kiryu conceded, not sure if he was ready to deal with the amount of information that was about to be piled on him.
"Oh, here, Mr. Kiryu. I brought you this to wash your face off. You uh… did get some blood on you from the fighting," Melonie giggled, offering a wooden bowl of water.
"Thanks. I thought my face felt a bit weird," Kiryu nodded, taking the bowl and immediately splashing his face and scrubbing it with an offered rag. Once he felt that his skin had been cleaned, he removed the rag and picked up the bowl to hand back. "Thank…" Kiryu caught eye of his reflection, eyes going wide as he realized that what he saw… was a younger version of himself. Having a small freak out, Kiryu stood up suddenly and dropped the bowl, splashing water across the ground.
"Ah!" Melonie yelped in surprise.
"M-Mr. Kiryu! Is everything alright?!" Julius asked, standing from his seat in alert.
Kiryu stared down at the water, his eyes moving left to right. "S-Sorry, I… do you have a mirror?"
"A mirror? Why, yes, but… why?"
"I need to see it. Quick."
Melonie and Julius shared a glance before the former walked around the puddle and grabbed a hand mirror from the nightstand, handing it to Kiryu. Kiryu snatched it, quickly raising it to his face. Just as he thought, he wasn't seeing things. He looked literally twenty years young. Twenty seven to be precise. Even his hair was styled the same way as when he was a twenty year old.
"Is… something wrong?"
"... I guess not, but… I think that I was… made younger," Kiryu explained, his hand lightly brushing over his cheeks. "Before I got here, I was forty seven years old, but… I look like how I was almost three decades ago…"
"Y-You were deaged by the travel? That's… incredible," Julius said, eyes wide in disbelief. "I have heard that summons are generally around their teens to twenties, but I've never heard of someone being reversed in age by it."
"W-Well, that's a good thing, right?" Melonie offered hopefully.
Kiryu wasn't sure what to say. All he knew was that this was another thing on the list of crazy things he learned that night. So much had happened to him and changed, that he wasn't sure if he could even react anymore than he had.
"... I think I'm ready to sleep, now."
"Yes, I'm sure," Julius laughed awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head.
"Let me lead you to your room, Mr. Kiryu. Thankfully we had one guest room left for use," Melonie said, waving for him to follow.
Kiryu stared at his face for a moment longer, unsure if he should feel happy about this change or not. He wasn't sure how to feel about any of this. But rather than dwell on it, he'd rather sleep on it.
"Of course. And tomorrow, after you've gone over everything with Julius, we'll show you around our modest little village, Lute."
To be continued…
update: The chapter has now been edited and cleaned up by my beta chidoriprime, who I sorely thank for their help :)
Alright, finally! This story has finally begun! I've had this planned for so long but elected to wait until the anime had started so that I had a refresher of certain events! I'm so happy to see that Shield Hero is getting such a well done adaptation and I can't wait to see more of the story animated!
Anyways, as you can all see, this is my latest crossover entry, The Shield's Dragon. I've been wanting to make a committed Yakuza crossover for a long time now, as the ones I have written I just was never able to fully buckle down and get into. But now, this marks the beginning of my next story to be updated on a schedule. Depending on popularity or just my mood for writing during the month, I may do monthly or bimonthly updates. Time will tell which it'll be. But I do look forward to writing this and can't wait to bring everyone this story, even if it doesn't end up being very popular :)
And don't worry, I'm going to give the full Yakuza experience with this story. We'll have the main focus story, which is the serious, gritty part of it while also giving you guys chapters that focus on Kiryu getting into some dumb substory level situations XD As some people have pointed out to me in my previous Yakuza crossover, it's not Yakuza if it doesn't have hilarious and dumb substories lol
Well, that's it for this first chapter, guys. I hope you all enjoyed and are looking forward to seeing more chapters for this come out! Please leave a follow, a favorite, and a review if you'd be so kind :)