The Will to Fight
Chapter 1 - Depetrification and Ishigami Village
Crack. Crick, crack. CRACK!
The stone shell shattered, and he took a few gulps of air as he gasped, stumbling forwards and falling to his knees. He had done it. After all this time, he'd become free of the petrification. And all it took was thinking about how bored he was. "Argh!" He grunted, getting to his feet, before looking around. "Wow. Just how much fucking time has passed, if the place where I had been petrified was right in the front porch of my home…"
He trailed off as he tried to scratch his head with his right hand, only to feel something that wasn't skin. Lowering down his arm, he then saw that it was still petrified below the elbow, up to his fingers. And he could perfectly move them, as if the stone was a glove. He frowned. "Maybe it still has some side effects…"
Sighing, he focused on the forest surrounding him. A few birds chirped in the sky, and he began to walk forwards, remembering that the river was a few blocks away from his house. How did he know where the river was? Easy. When he had looked around, he noticed the tree next to him, that was the same tree in his house's courtyard. And fortunately, it still had the inscription that he had made with his former girlfriend, that he knew faced the river.
"Whoa, what the hell!" He exclaimed upon seeing the abnormally large river, and gaped at it in astonishment. "I really need to know just how long has it been…" He crouched down and splashed his face, wetting his hair in the process. When the water subsided, he noticed a large crack-like scar going down from his right temple to his left cheekbone. He frowned. Probably a side effect of staying petrified for too long. Shoving that aside, he still looked pretty much the same, with his caramel hair messily falling down to his shoulders, and his grey eyes.
A growl earned his attention, and he turned around, before grinning. He started opening and closing his petrified hand, as he absently noted four lions surrounding him. "Time to get started."
He frowned. "This was easy… Too easy." Muttering to himself, he went on to skin the lions. "Let's see… If I remember correctly, open skinning is the way if I want to tan it. Yeah, that's it."
First, he went on to make a rudimentary knife using a sharp rock he found on the riverbed, a sturdy branch, which he broke, before modeling it with the sharp rock, and using some vines to tie it all up. The process took around two hours, and at the end, he was ready to skin the lions.
Clutching the knife tightly, he first cut off the genitals, before piercing the first lion near the tail, before cutting up to right before the throat, making the cut a shallow one. Inserting the knife under the skin with great care, he peeled the hide back several inches, before moving on to the next step and opening the chest cavity, splitting the sternum. Reaching inside, he cut the windpipe and gullet as close to the base of the skull as possible.
Taking a deep breath, he began the bloodier part of the skinning, taking off the internal organs, being especially careful not to pierce the bladder, in order for the urine not to contaminate the meat. After that, he cut a circle around the anus, before pushing it inside the carcass and taking it out. Right after, he rolled the carcass and waited for all the blood to drain. Making a cut along the inside of the limbs, he slowly peeled the skin off the meat, using the knife in a slicing motion to cut the membrane between both.
With that, he successfully separated the skin from the meat, and smiled proudly to himself, before frowning again. "Without salt, the meat will spoil, and I won't be able to tan the skin to make leather… Gotcha!" Clapping his hands as he remembered something, he set upon skinning all the other lions, and cleaned the pelts in the river, before making a small makeshift bag using them, stuffing all the meat and bones inside it.
Walking downstream, he soon reached the ocean, as the city he lived in was pretty close to it, all things considered. "Hello, endless source of salt!" He greeted the sea as he arrived, before placing the bag on the ground and starting to work to make a leather drying rack. Hurrying because of the meat and the lion pelts, he quickly gathered four branches that were long enough to make four rectangles around 15.24 centimeters bigger than the lion pelts, and tied them together, making sure to tie very tight knots to prevent them from falling apart, just like with the knife. Good thing the nearby trees had many vines for him to use.
He grabbed a few large leaves, and placed all the meat and bones on top of them, to not let them touch to sand, before snatching one of the lions' canines and using it as a replacement for a needle. He made holes every 5.08 centimeters along all edges of the pelts using the canine tooth, he soon passed the vines through the holes, and tied them to the rectangles, stretching the pelts flat and tight. With that done, he propped up the racks against four nearby trees, and left them to dry after giving them a bath with the salt water, as he had already fleshed out the hides when he had skinned the lions.
"Note to self: It is really difficult to create fire." He deadpanned, salting the meat as he waited for the lions' brains to melt down into a soup-like substance around a few hours later. He had obtained the salt after placing some seawater in a sea turtle's shell that he had hunted earlier, and was now using the remaining salt to preserve the meat he wasn't cooking, that was pretty much most of it, including the turtle's meat.
"Gotcha! The brain soup is done!" He was aware he was skipping several parts of the process, but he simply didn't have the means to allow the hide to properly soak with the brain soup in the cold.
After washing them all with each respective brain soup, and waiting for it to soak, however improperly it was, he grabbed a heavy branch he procured from the trees, earlier in the day, and began to rub the hides, softening them. Next, he dug up a hole 0.1524 meters deep and double that wide, before making a support to place the hides in to be smoked.
A while later, he was proudly wearing some crude pants and a coat, stitched together rather roughly, along with a cape and a hood He neglected wearing shoes, as it would be easier to feel the ground while barefoot. "Wearing a lion pelt is awesome." He absently noted, running a hand through the hood he made with the skin of one of the lions' head and mane. Two lion pelts were used doing the clothes, while the other two's heads and mane were used to make the cape and hood. The remaining pelts were used to make a bag, leaving only one not to be used, so he had it separating the meat and covering the turtle shell containing all the salt he could gather from boiling the seawater.
He was ready to continue, when he saw and heard an explosion from the nearby mountain. "What the hell!?" He exclaimed, before hurriedly gathering his bag and rushing towards it. "An explosion… In this post-apocalyptic world, where every single piece of technology has rotted away, only one thing could make an explosion…"
Someone managed to make gunpowder from zero without technology! "A chemist, or at least someone who is a genius with science!"
As he sped through the forest, he finally allowed himself to think. 'Come to think of it, I've been having quite the stamina in this new Stone Age. Maybe…' He stopped for a second and took a deep breath, before the answer made itself clear to him. 'The air is way too clear! Maybe after hundreds, if not thousands, of years without pollution, the oxygen levels have risen! If so, this means my metabolism is through the roof, while also giving my organism a boost!'
A grin spread across his face, but he soon stopped and took cover under a tree hollow, having smelt ozone in the air and seen the sky darken. "Fuck!" He cursed, abandoning his grin and frowning. "If they didn't stop to protect themselves from the storm, then the rain will wash away their tracks… Dammit, looks like I'll have to wait."
After a while, the rain let up, making him raise an eyebrow. "This fast? Must be a summer rain, so… Between June and August. That's where I am in time."
"SEEEEENKUUUUUUU! NO MATTER WHAT…"
He snapped his head towards the shout, and quickly dashed towards it, adjusting the vine that he tied to the bag and had strapped it around his torso, allowing the bag to sit comfortably in his back. Reaching up with his right arm, that he had covered with an extra long sleeve to hide his stone arm, contrary to his elbow-length left sleeve, he began scouring the path ahead as he climbed some trees to rush through the tougher branches.
He kept up his pace, all the while thinking to himself just on how would he act, meeting other people in this New Stone Age. He chuckled ruefully, as he caught himself doing that, and after pausing a little on his thoughts. "I guess I really am a little paranoid, as Hikari told me all that time ago…"
A crash, of something large and heavy falling on the ground, could be heard, and he quickened the pace. "A crash? Either someone was fighting and knocked over a tree, or a dead tree fell down. At this rate, I'm more likely to believe the first…" He mumbled, before stopping at the edge of a small clearing, standing on a half-crouch on a high branch.
"You are! The gentlemanly sorcerer who protected that woman!" A girl spoke up in shock, trapped by a rather large tree. She had amber eyes in a delicate and young face, and tied-up blonde hair. She also wore a black primitive dress, and weird stone shoes. "You're alive…!"
The one she was talking to was a young man around my age, with white hair with green tips, two bangs falling over his face, and red eyes. Two diagonal marks reflected against each other on top of the start of his eyebrows. He wore rudimentary animal skin clothing, of a lesser quality than even my low-quality lion leather. Strangely, he had the E=mc² equation on them. A few bags were hanging from his shoulders, and he was carrying what looked like a rolled up flag on a pole.
"No useless talking! We can do self-introductions later to your heart's content, so save your strength." He snapped at her as he rushed to try and lift the tree with his pole, but it obviously wasn't very useful. That tree must weigh around a ton, so the only way he could lift it would be with… A pulley. Maybe if he was the one who created the explosion, he could possibly do it.
When he obviously failed, the young man sat down and looked at the girl. "Can you hold out until sundown? If you're at your limit, I can gamble by using the last of the gunpowder to blast you out, but if you can hold on, even if it takes enough time to kill me, I'll 1 billion percent save you!" He took a breath, before shouting. "Come on! There's no way I'll know if you don't tell me! You have two choices, decide now! Which one!?"
The girl looked surprised for a moment, before answering. "Well, my organs and bones are fine. I can hold out!"
The young man instantly went to work, and the caramel-haired observer merely looked on in curiosity during the exchange, before deciding to come clear. "Mind if I help?" He spoke out loud and clear, and before anyone could answer, he jumped and delivered a mighty axe kick to the tree, cleaving it in half. Jumping away from it, he cleared some of the splinters that stuck to his clothes, before glancing at the surprised young man. "Well? Get on with it! The tree's remaining weight is probably less than half a ton, so you won't need to make many pulleys!"
The young man blinked blankly for a few moments, before snapping out of it and smirking, going back to his work. "You cleaved it in half with a single kick! Can you lift the tree!?" He shook his head, before realizing the young man had his back to him, so he couldn't see him, as such, he replied with a verbal negative. "Damn. Help me with this, then! Cut down a few round slabs of wood so I can make the pulleys as I make the rope!"
"On it!" He replied, snatching the small primitive hatchet out of the air, and cleaving the trees in one strike, courtesy of his boosted stamina and strength. "How many?"
"Two, just to be safe!"
"Gotcha!" Two more strikes and he had enough for the pulleys, so he went ahead and did the carving in a few swift strikes of his rudimentary knife.
A while later, and the pulleys were ready. As the young man tied up the ropes, he merely awaited for the chance to pull. "Back in the day, even primary school kids used to learn this." The young man spoke, giving the signal for him to pull the rope, lifting the tree stump with ease, freeing the girl. "First invented several years B.C.E, by old man Archimedes."
"Actually, there was evidence of the pulley being used almost two thousand years before Archimedes' time." He quipped, interrupting the young man, who shot him a slight annoyed glare at having his thunder stolen.
"One superhuman level of strength, can become even greater with this. This, is the pulley!" The young man moved on after glaring at him for a moment, while the girl watched in awe.
"...Incredible." The girl spoke as she sat up, looking at both him and the young man with a strange emotion on her eyes, that was hidden masterfully by gratitude. "No, not that Archi-something's wisdom and stuff. For that step-by-step problem solving, both of you continued to hack away with that axe and put together the parts, while trusting each other to do their part. Such unwavering confidence."
Then, she smiled at them, causing him to blush in embarrassment and rub the back of his head, and for the young man to adopt a strange expression of disgust with her words. "My name is Kohaku. And it seems that I have completely fallen for you."
The young man made to speak something, but he elbowed him slightly, shooting the young man a small glance and mouthing the words 'It's most likely platonic.' The young man understood, and he took a step forward to introduce himself. "I'm Taiga. Nice to meet you, Kohaku." With his piece spoken, he turned towards the young man with a raised eyebrow. "I came here because of the explosion. I assume it was you, as you mentioned gunpowder…?"
"Senku. And no, it wasn't me. That was probably my friends' fault, most likely to distract Tsukasa." The young man replied, giving them a name to match the face.
Taiga blinked. "The ultimate primate high schooler? Why was he fighting against you?"
Senku grimaced, as both males promptly began ignoring Kohaku to have their own conversation. "Let's just say that our ideologies do not match."
"Ah." Taiga spoke softly in response, nodding in understanding. "One of the worst causes for conflict."
It was at that point that Senku noticed Taiga's wardrobe. He blinked at the lion leather, before shooting the caramel-haired male a curious look. "How did you make these clothes?"
"Killed a few lions that attacked me, skinned them, and then tanned the skin to make low-quality leather." Taiga easily replied with a confident smirk, not noticing Kohaku's increasing anger at being ignored.
"You made leather? But how, you couldn't use any chemicals to do it…" Senku went straight into thinking, before remembering the alternative way to tan animal hides. "Oh! You used brain oil, right?"
Taiga nodded with an easy smirk once again, glad that his new acquaintance was capable of easily keeping up with him. Unfortunately, both males ignored the threat of the extremely annoyed Kohaku. "HOW ABOUT YOU STOP IGNORING ME!?"
Later that night, Senku was laying down on the ground next to a campfire, using his own animal skin to substitute for a blanket, and one of his bags for a pillow. Kohaku was sitting against a tree while holding two knives, one in each hand, and Taiga was in the tree above Kohaku, the sounds of his soft breathing and the fire's crackle being the only sounds around. "...Is it sleeping with knives a new human thing? Or is it just you?" Senku asked the girl, sweatdropping.
"It's because I don't trust you." She deadpanned with her eyes closed, before opening them and shooting a look at Senku. "Just because I'm interested in your actions doesn't mean I can trust you both. I've been living my life fending for myself, with my own abilities. Don't read too much into it."
Senku merely stared at her for a few seconds, before turning around. "Okay then. But hear this: If a lioness like you attacked me, I wouldn't stand a chance. So even if it is .1 second more, go to sleep already. My physical abilities suck."
"Lioness!?" Kohaku exclaimed, annoyed. "That hurts! Even for someone like me. Even though your actions are after that of a gentleman, your tongue is sharp at unprecedented levels. It'll cause you trouble one day…" She spoke the last few words ominously, but it obviously have no effect, as Senku had started to sleep halfway through her small rant. "Tch! Honestly…"
"Kohaku, can you please do as he says and sleep already? We're all exhausted from the day, and I even had to go back to grab my drying racks." A yawn interrupted her thoughts, before Taiga's tired voice cut through the quiet air. "So, please, kindly shut up, as I want to sleep…"
He was out like a light before he even finished, and Kohaku sweatdropped. Shaking her head, the girl looked at the wooden contraptions Taiga had fetched and left near his bag, having a curious expression on her face. "He used those things to make his clothes?" And the mystery rose. Just who were Taiga and Senku? The last thought on her mind before she fell asleep was both of them talking about things she could not comprehend.
Later in the morning, Kohaku leaned down to pick up her pot, as Taiga and Senku approached her, the former yawning as he pulled up his hood and adjusted the improved strap of his bag. Thank Senku for knowing how to make proper rope. "So, are you fighting that long-haired guy?"
"If by long-haired guy you mean Tsukasa, then he is." Taiga jerked his head at Senku, that nodded briefly. "I'll just move along for the ride, as I have no intentions of being alone."
"Is that so?" Kohaku asked, looking at him curiously as she straightened out, heaving the large pot. "Then, let's work together! I also have no intention of shamelessly backing down."
"Yeah, that's why I'm going to make a kingdom of science." Senku replied in the affirmative, making Taiga crack a smile under the hood that shadowed the upper half of his face up to his nose.
"Science? You mean that sorcery?" Kohaku asked, to which Taiga nodded. She nodded as well in response, as Senku continued.
"Anyways, for that, I need manpower."
"In that case, you should come with me." She replied, and began walking away, the two young men following her. "I'm headed back after I fetch some hot water."
"Hot water?" Both Senku and Taiga wondered, noticing a hot spring towards which Kohaku was heading. She filled the pot in silence, while Taiga passed his knife to Senku for the scientist to upgrade.
"I carry it back home and use it for a hot spring bath." She finally spoke, rising from her crouched position with a full pot of hot water. "For recovery purposes."
Seeing as Senku wasn't about to speak due to how busy he was chipping away at Taiga's knife, the latter asked in wonder. "Recovery purposes?"
Before Kohaku could reply, Senku spoke up with a weird expression on his face, even as he focused on the knife. "Why would a vigorous lioness like you have any need to recover? As far as I can see, you're 1 billion percent the epitome of health."
"I'm not a lioness!" Kohaku complained with an annoyed shout. "It's not even for me, it's for my older sister!"
"Oh, I see." Taiga stated, cupping his chin in thought, as he received the upgraded knife from Senku. "Thanks, Senku. Anyways, isn't being called a lioness a compliment?"
With Kohaku's inquisitive gaze, he continued the train of thought. "In lion prides, lionesses are typically the ones who hunt, contrary to the stockier and heavier males, who usually defend their pride instead. Thinking of it, I may have deprived a pride of all their males…" He shook his head. "Anyways, lionesses are more social than males, and you seem like that too. Would a man from your village interact with us the same way you did?"
She thought for a second, before conceding to the fact that not, they would not. Smiling softly, Taiga continued. "Lionesses are also pretty fast, managing to reach 81 kilometers per hour."
"Fine! I see how it can be a compliment, but can you please shut up so we can move on!" Senku snapped, chopping at Taiga's head, who, embarrassed by his info dump, allowed him to do so.
"Geez." Kohaku sighed, smiling slightly at Senku and Taiga's interaction. "You two look a little like brothers, really, now that I can see it." That made the two blink and look at each other, with Taiga lowering his hood.
"Well, we do have identical shapes for our faces…" Senku wondered, before Taiga smacked his palm with his fist, a look of realization on his eyes.
"Oh, I remember now! Senku, was your father's name Byakuya?" He asked his white-haired companion, who looked surprised.
"Yeah, what does it have to do with this?" Taiga's mere reply was a smile, while Kohaku also looked confused.
"Well, my mother told me all that time ago that her brother and his wife had died in an accident, leaving their best friend, Byakuya, to take care of their son. And she told me the son's name was Senku." Taiga's revelation threw Senku out for a loop, as he most definitely did not expect to meet his cousin in a post-apocalyptic world.
"I didn't follow it all…" Kohaku sweatdropped, and thanks to not looking where she was going, she almost tripped. Thankfully, Senku had snapped out of his shock, and quickly acted to stop her with a hand on the pot.
"Thanks, Senku." She spoke up gratefully, while he blinked from the weight, and Taiga raised his hood.
"This thing is heavy. And yet, you keep carrying it day after day, for your sister's recovery…" Senku stated, a thoughtful, yet a little sad, look on his face. "Plus, it's under fifty liters, not enough to fill a proper bath."
Kohaku merely continued walking after recovering her balance, smiling softly. "Ha! This is just my daily training. The water's weight is perfect. Because of this, I've gotten stronger and stronger. Heh… I guess I should thank my dear troublesome sister."
"Still…" Senku shook his head, Taiga watching the exchange with amusement. "Your injuries are not yet healed. It'd be a real problem for us if you just suddenly drop dead from overdoing it. Hand it over."
"Senku…" Kohaku mumbled.
Shortly after, she was adopting a deadpan face as Senku was crushed by the weight, with Taiga thankfully managing to keep it upright. "Maybe you're the one who shouldn't be overdoing it."
"Everyone in this Stone World aside from me must be gorillas… Kohaku, Tsukasa, Taiju and Taiga too…" Senku painfully mumbled, causing Kohaku to be annoyed again.
"Gorilla! Go back to lioness! Even that's better, no matter if Taiga said it's a compliment or not!"
"That's not the point…"
Later, Kohaku and Senku were rolling down the slope on a makeshift carriage, as Taiga sped up besides them. "Making something so convenient on the spot…!" She was clearly amazed, and said amazement greatly amused Taiga, being evident by his large grin.
"It wasn't on the spot." Senku replied, smirking. "Didn't we have the perfect materials from yesterday's pulley?"
"Pretty much." Taiga finally spoke for the first time since revealing his and Senku's relation, easily keeping up with the carriage. "You can recycle pretty much anything, if you know the way to do it."
"As he said." Senku nodded.
Soon they arrived, with said arrival completely dismantling the carriage and sending a screaming Senku flying. Taiga's laughter probably didn't help. Kohaku chuckled at their interaction, and smiled. "We're here, Senku, Taiga. Welcome to my village."
After stashing away the materials so none would find, courtesy of the survivalist Taiga, they began to cross a rope bridge. While they crossed, Taiga took his time observing their surroundings. They were in the middle of a lake, and nearby he could see a small river leading up to the sea, while the other led up to the mountain range, in which he could make out Mount Fuji. Cross-referencing that, he concluded that he met Kohaku and Senku near Hakone, and he easily remembered that he lived in Odawara, making the beach on which he stayed for a while to tan the hides in the Sagami Bay.
Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to the village. It stood on two small, if tall, islands on the lake, with wooden huts littering the larger island, and a single bigger one on the smaller. As he was musing on that, he caught the tail end of Kohaku and Senku's conversation. "...Just about… 40!"
"Forty?" Taiga mumbled to himself, before recognising it was the number of inhabitants, maybe excluding old people and children.
As soon as they fully crossed the bridge, however, Taiga noticed two people attacking him and Senku with spears. "Tch!" Before Kohaku could react, he grabbed the spears and wrenched them from their grasps, throwing them to the side, but being careful to use enough strength for them to be thrown just out of their assailants' reach, and tripped the larger one, elbowing them on the back of their head, following with delivering a devastating kick using the back of his left foot to the other one.
With that, he had both laying face-down on the ground at his mercy, while he kept their faces near said ground with hands on the back of their heads. "Well, well, looks like we have hostiles." He spoke in a pleasant tone with a smile, something Senku privately admitted made him look damn terrifying, with the hood up.
"Wait, Taiga! They're just our guards!" Kohaku exclaimed, making Taiga blink, before rising to his feet, smiling sheepishly as he moved over to stand next to Senku, lowering his hood. With that done, and the guards having raised back to their feet and recovered their spears, she rounded up on them. "What were you thinking, Kinrou! Ginrou! They're benefactors who saved me!"
"Oh, come on, Kohaku-chan. That's not something you should have done. Outsiders are forbidden, that's the rule, right?" The green-eyed blonde, whom Taiga figured was Ginrou, spoke up, clearly terrified of him, who easily defeated both himself and Kinrou. He wore the same attire as the other, but with sleeves. "You'll make the chief angry."
"I'll put it simply. Rules are rules." Kinrou, the one with brown hair and eyes, added, glaring at Taiga. He wore a dark blue sleeveless karate-gi like uniform with a rope belt and a buckler on his back. "'There's no one outside the village'. Therefore, outsiders are criminals who were exiled in the past. So there's no way we'd let them in. Whether they're your benefactors or anyone else, we can't consider individual circumstances."
"Is that so…?" Kohaku mumbled, grabbing her dual knives, before smiling thinly at Kinrou and Ginrou, as Taiga moved to stand beside her, adopting a fighting stance of his own. "Oh, well, so there's no stopping it. Will you two fight both me and Taiga together? Right here and now? It's two against two, so no one will have the advantage."
"Kukuku, isn't this an explosive situation? Don't you two go making scary faces, especially you, Taiga. You're 1 billion percent terrifying with that hood up." Senku interrupted them, making Taiga and Kohaku ease up on said 'scary faces', allowing the scared Kinrou and Ginrou to take a breath of relief, as he picked up some of the hot water in his hand.
"Bubbles?" Taiga wondered, blinking at what Senku was doing. "Wait, is that soap?"
"What sorcery is he doing…?" Kohaku wondered in turn, watching as Kinrou striked at the bubbles, clearly unsettled by them.
"What are these strange, flying orbs…?" Ginrou muttered, scared. "That guy in the lion pelt said these are called 'bubbles'?"
"Huh? So this is their level?" Senku wondered with a bored face, before said face became terrifying. "Kukuki, well then, I'll take them all. With science, I'll get the manpower of all 40 of them. And make them my allies. This is exciting...!"
"You're the one who shouldn't make a scary face most of all…" Both Taiga and Kohaku deadpanned as they saw Senku's face, who was downright malicious.
"Well, in that case, you should get that Chrome guy." Kohaku sighed, rubbing her forehead.
"Huh? Who's that?" Thankfully, Senku snapped out of his maliciousness, and looked at Kohaku curiously, while Taiga watched Kinrou and Ginrou in amusement.
"Fufufu, he's a useful guy. And more than that, he's actually quite lax." With that, Senku went back to making bubbles, and Kohaku joined Taiga in watching Kinrou and Ginrou.
"We can't do a thing to these 'bubbles'! Even if we try to stab them, they just multiply!" Ginrou exclaimed, before gritting his teeth. "...There's no choice! Looks like I'll have to use my secret technique!"
Secret Technique: Leave it to Someone Else!
With that, Ginrou dashed away, screaming for Chrome. "Hey, we've got sorcery here! Chrome!"
"Oh, don't be alarmed, Ginrou. I'm already prepared. "I've been watching him from the shore! That's why I came rushing over!" Taiga looked over disinterested, and saw a young man with spiky brown hair and similar brown eyes. He wore a short-sleeved dark blue shirt and matching pants, with satchels hanging from his shoulders, a rope belt and headband, and a dark blue cape. "Yo! I'm Chrome! And I'm about to blow your mind! I'm the genius sorcerer!"
"Sure, buddy. I'm Senku the scientist and that's Taiga the survivalist." Senku was just as disinterested as his cousin, picking on his ear.
"Pretty over-the-top introduction, don't you think?" Taiga deadpanned, moving over to stand next to Senku and crossing his arms, as he had already lifted the hood up.
"Looks like the rumors were right! Saves us the effort of looking for you!" Kohaku stated excitedly, probably wanting to see more 'sorcery', yet, she remained calm.
"Don't be frightened by these parlor tricks, Kinrou! Ginrou!" Chrome exclaimed, shooting a look at the guards. With that, he began popping the remaining bubbles. "These things! Hah! You can easily make them with charcoal lye!"
"I wasn't frightened. I was just confused by seeing something outside my range of knowledge." Kinrou tried the tough guy act, but no one was fooled. Ginrou, on the other hand…
"I was straight up terrified." He was blunt and honest.
"What did you come here for?" Kinrou continued, ignoring Ginrou. "I don't plan to rely on the likes of you or yours suspicious sorcery, Chrome!"
"That doesn't concern me. Do whatever you want." Chrome bluntly replied, before taking off his cape and throwing it away.
"Needless drama. Another check." Taiga deadpanned, mimicking checking tabs on a tree's bark he collected during the trip down the slope.
"Shut up, you!" Chrome pointed at Taiga, glaring. "Do not interfere with this! I will defeat him with my sorcery!"
Taiga merely yawned, what seemed to tick Chrome off. "Look, dude, Chrome, whatever. I bet you can't even defeat me, and if it is like what I said, you'll have no chance of beating Senku."
"Hear, hear." Senku deadpanned.
"Why you… Very well, then! I challenge you to a sorcery battle!" Chrome shouted, facing down Taiga.
"A sorcery battle!" Ginrou exclaimed, as both Taiga and Chrome moved away from the village, Senku following with some amount of interest now.
Before that, however… "Oi, Senku! Can you help me with something?"
Soon, Taiga and Chrome were standing across from each other, on both sides of a campfire. "Feast your eyes...On my awesome sorcery!" Chrome exclaimed, before throwing something at the campfire, causing the fire to turn yellow.
"Rainbow Bridge! I can control the flames, freely, at will!" Chrome exclaimed again, making Taiga deadpan at his hamminess.
"The flames, they turned yellow!" Ginrou exclaimed. Chrome threw something else, and the color changed again. "They changed again! Blue...Green?!" And again. "Gah! Purple!"
While the three villagers stared at the fire in shock, Senku and Taiga were watching with extremely unimpressed faces. "So this…" Ginrou began, before Kohaku finished.
"..." The two Old-World humans exchanged looks, before Senku prompted Taiga to take front. he did so with a deadpan face and expression. "Are you kidding me? I've seen better tricks than this one. Pshew, Rainbow Bridge, what the hell kinda name is that? You just threw different substances at the fire, which, judging by the color, were salt, copper, and sulfur. I'll even tell you that to make blue flames, you need copper or calcium chloride, for red flames, you can use strontium chloride." He huffed. "What a cheap trick. You probably used copper sulfate, not as if you know what that is. Definitely blue crystals you swiped from a cave somewhere."
He uncrossed his left arm for a low-five, and Senku complied, thoroughly enjoying Chrome's absolutely shocked and terrified face. Interestingly, he soon recovered. "What!? Do you really think this cheap trick is all I have for my sorcery!?"
"Yeah, yeah, you probably have more stuff up there in your storehouse. My turn." Taiga once again deadpanned, before grinning as he raised his right arm, that he still hadn't revealed to anyone. Slowly pulling the extra-long sleeve, he revealed the still-petrified limb, the strange mineral reaching to his elbow.
"What!? You turned your arm to stone!?" Chrome and Ginrou exclaimed, causing Senku and Taiga to deadpan at them, with 'them' including a shell-shocked Kohaku and an extremely unsettled Kinrou.
"Actually, no." He replied with a soft tone of voice, contrary to his usual rudeness. "Tell me, whenever you went outside your village, you surely have seen stone statues resembling humans, right?"
Chrome and Kohaku blinked in recognition, while the guards tilted their heads in confusion. "Yeah, what about it?" Kohaku asked, frowning.
"Both me and Senku were once one of those statues." The statement washed over the villagers, with them adopting shocked looks on their faces. But, he shook his head, preventing further questions. "Anyways, as I said, it's my turn. Senku."
The scientist gave him a small bag of gunpowder, which he poured a little and spread over his stone arm, making sure it was spread evenly around his thumb and middle finger. "With a mix of iron pyrite over my arm, plus black powder, we have art!" He declared, making to snap his fingers while simultaneously pushing his arm closer to the villagers, especially Chrome. "And art… Is an explosion!"
He snapped his fingers, that had been covered in iron pyrite to allow for the sparks to be created, and lit up the gunpowder covering his hand. Promptly, it exploded, throwing Kinrou, Ginrou, Kohaku, and Chrome away, while Taiga barely managed to endure the shockwave.
"Nice reference." Senku complimented, walking over from where he had been standing a safe distance away. "Didn't peg you for an otaku."
Taiga shrugged. "Hey, what can you do? These things are really good. Too bad we'll never get to see the end of One Piece…" He mumbled sadly, assuming a downcast gaze.
"Oh yeah… That's really too bad, huh?" Senku remarked, grimacing slightly, before looking at the four villagers. "...Just how long are they planning to stay down?"
"I get Kohaku and Kinrou, you get Ginrou and Chrome?"
"Sure, why not?"
With that, the two Old Worlders moved over to the villagers and grabbed their arms, raising them from the ground. "Oi. Stop acting shell-shocked. Kohaku, you saw this before, even if from a distance!"
"Say, Chrome…" Senku wondered, as he sat opposite of Chrome, looking around in his storehouse, a while in the night, after lecturing Chrome on science.
"Yeah?" The villager asked, eyeing Senku with a bit of respect, after learning that Taiga couldn't get close to Senku in terms of intellectual capabilities.
"Did you gather all this by yourself? It's quite an impressive collection."
"Of course I did! As a kid, I loved to collect these things, and then I started mixing them, burning them, doing whatever I could with them!" He boasted proudly, and Senku mercifully allowed him to have that, as collecting materials was a difficult task, by his standards. "Whenever something weird happened, it was sorcery! Or, as you call it, 'science'."
Senku chuckled at his enthusiasm, before grinning. "Hey, in the morning, how about you help me catalogue all this stuff? I'll teach you more about science this way, and maybe Taiga can help too."
"Sure thing!" Chrome readily agreed, before adopting a contemplative look on his face and glancing at Taiga's bag, that had been left with Senku. "Hey, about Taiga…"
"Yeah?" Closing an eye, Senku began picking in his ear as he absently listened to Chrome. "Fair warning, though. We only met recently, so I don't know much of him."
"Have you ever wondered about what's inside his bag?"
...That was a valid question. They whipped their heads around to gaze at the lionskin bag, before moving to open it. Inwardly, Chrome shouted to the heavens. 'Dammit! I wanted to ask about his arm, but I spoke that instead!'
"Oh, is that a Loggerhead Turtle shell?" Senku wondered, grabbing said shell and lifting it to his eyes, before shaking it and lifting the skin cover. "It's covered by a stretched out skin, and something inside rattles… Yup, it's salt."
"Wait, is everything made of lion skin? And it feels kinda weird to the touch, too." Chrome asked, blinking as he rubbed the cover of the shell.
"Oh yeah, apparently Taiga killed a few lions that attacked him. Barehanded, I dare add." Senku answered. "And the reason it feels weird is because he made it into leather. It's more durable than regular skin, not to mention a damn piece of work to make. Looks like Taiga has 1 billion tons of patience and dedication, huh?"
"Wow…" Chrome awed, before looking further inside the bag. "Oh yeah, there's lion and turtle meat inside here! Do you think he'd mind if we ate it?"
"No, I wouldn't."
Chrome smiled, before freezing, along with Senku. As one, they slowly turned to face a deadpan Taiga, that had lowered his hood and raised an eyebrow. Chrome absently noted he would be chased by every single girl in the village if he showed his face inside it. "You know," He began, leveling them with a flat stare. "You could have just asked."
"Sorry, sorry." Senku apologised, before changing the subject. "By the way, where did you go?"
"Oh, I went to collect the pieces of the carriage you made to go down the slope, while also collecting some wood to make a makeshift house." He replied, jerking his head backwards, before jumping to the ground. The two scientists poked their heads out of the storehouse, and promptly dropped their jaws at the large amount of wood Taiga had gathered. "Oh, I caught some game as well, as lion meat isn't very tasty. Maybe I can catch some fish and turtles in the morning…"
"...Monsters. I'm surrounded by stamina monsters." Senku deadpanned.
Later that morning, Kinrou and Ginrou dropped their jaws at the house Taiga had built for himself and Senku. It was huge! "What the hell…?" Ginrou muttered in shock, trembling on his feet with a shell-shocked expression on his face, while Kinrou managed to keep his cool.
"Oh, Kinrou. Ginrou. Morning." Taiga greeted them as he left the forest, carrying some wood for Senku.
"G-Good morning…" Ginrou feebly replied, once more terrified by the hooded young man.
"Oi, Taiga!" Senku's voice filled the air, and he turned to see the scientist running towards him from Chrome's storehouse, waving at him.
"What's up, Senku?" Taiga asked in confusion, crossing his arms.
"Come on. We're making antibiotics!" Senku wasted no time in dragging Taiga with him, back towards the storehouse.
Yo. Soulmatter here. For the loyal followers, welcome back, with this new story of mine. For the newbies, you can usually find me in the Anime/Manga tab, reading a shit ton of fanfiction. Now, I'm being ambitious with this new story of mine, as essentially the first OC Dr. Stone fic. Please, leave a review, as it's way easier to know if there's something I mess up on, and whatnot. Peace Out!