31- Cave

“Aiko is up to something.” You say with absolute certainty.  “We will find her faster if we split up.  Masaru, head back to the school and see if she went back there.   Chiyoko you walk along the beach this way and I’ll go the other way.”  You point in the direction of where you saw Wanahton walk.   Masaru nods and heads towards the direction of school.

You start heading down the beach, looking for footprints.   “Wait,”  Chiyoko runs up behind you.   “Let me come with you.”    You take Chiyoko’s hand and you walk down the beach together.  Her hand is calloused from her sword, but it feels warm in yours.   You sneak a glance at Chiyoko and noticed that she seems distracted.

“You know where Aiko went,” you realize.  Chiyoko and Aiko are roommates.  They must tell each other things,  just like you and Masaru do.

It takes a while for Chiyoko to respond.  “Yes.”

“Aiko is up to something!”   Chiyoko lets go of your hand and starts to walk faster.   “You have to tell me what is going on!”

The orange haired girl stops walking and faces you.   “Aiko had a rough life before she came to live with us.   Her mother…  she and her gent would walk the edge of rebelling against the Shogun.   My uncle was often sent to negotiate with her.”   Chiyoko turns away and starts walking again.    “When Aiko was born, it was obvious that her husband wasn’t her father.   After Aiko’s mother died, her husband threw Aiko out.   She had to make her way to Meru on her own.   My father took her in in spite of the objections of the Shogun and her advisors.   They thought that Aiko would be a stain on the Shogun’s honor.“

“Aiko feels like she has to prove herself.”

“Yes.   When we got here, I told the Chuzei about her copy of the White Treatise.”  Chiyoko looks ashamed.  “I didn’t want to tattle on her but I was afraid that she was going to cast something out it.  Somehow she got her hands on another copy. “

Aiko got that book because of you.  “But she can’t cast anything out of the book.”  You insist.    “She’s too young to have been initiated to Sorcery.”

“Aiko isn’t going to let someone tell her what she can or can’t do.”  Chiyoko quietly adds, “I heard that sometimes you can go through the trials without someone guiding you.  “

You see footprints leading to one of the sea caves.  “This way.”   You sprint towards the cave.   It is dark and musky inside.

“Your anima or mine?’ Chiyoko asks.

“Yours gives off red light, so it won’t affect our night vision.” You say as an excuse.

Chiyoko quickly glances at you when you say this.  Did Aiko tell Chiyoko her suspicions about you?   Chiyoko shakes her head and flares her anima.   “Aiko mentioned these sea caves after we first got here.   She said it would be a good place to hide.”   Chiyoko takes the lead as you enter the dark cave.  Her anima casts flickering red light on the walls of the cave.  The floor of the cave is slick and you almost slip.  Chiyoko holds out her hand to help you, but quickly retracts it before you can grab it.   Her anima would burn you.  “Sorry,” she says, after you regain your balance.

“Aiko!” Chiyoko yells.   Her voice echoes for a while before fading.

For a moment there is silence, then you hear Aiko’s voice.   “I’m over here!”  You follow the sound to one of the caves near the back.   Aiko is standing near a ritual circle.   Chiyoko goes to her and stops short of embracing her.   Candles are lit around the circle, so you can clearly see the runes for Aiko’s spell.

“You were going to summon a blood ape?”    The scars on your leg start to itch.

“Not anymore,” Wanahton is standing against the cave wall with a light crystal glowing in his hand.

Aiko stares down at her feet, “I don’t have anything to offer the ape, so it would fight my binding.”

“You are young.   There will be plenty of battles to feed Blood Apes with.”  Wanahton seems pleased with himself.   His mission is over.  Both you and Wanahton will be leaving soon.  You sadly look over to Chiyoko.

“Chiyoko, I…”  You feel a chill that has nothing to do with the damp cave.   You are in danger!

“What is it?”  Chiyoko asks, watching you.  Wanahton notices you tense and looks towards the entrance of the cave.  You hear footsteps approach the cave.

“Someone is coming!”  You say.

Headmaster Raijin appears in the cave.    She is dressed in armor and has her sword drawn.  She surveys the cave and notices Wanahton.   “I knew they wouldn’t send the boy alone.”

“Svante, what is going on?” Chiyoko asks.

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with.” Headmaster Raijin answers.   “ Nitei Lung and Hui, head back to school.  We will discuss your actions here after I have a talk with Nitei Cnead and his friend.”

Neither Chiyoko nor Aiko move.   “I gave you an order.”  The headmaster yells, “Now, move.”

“It’s okay.  We will be fine.,”  you reassure Chiyoko.   The sense of dread grows stronger.   It would be better to get Chiyoko and Aiko out of the cave so you can focus on the headmaster.

Chiyoko looks like she is going to defy the Headmaster, when Aiko shakes her head no.   Both girls back out slowly out of the cave.   The light of Chiyoko’s Anima fades from the cave entrance.

“We were here investigating a disturbance of fate.   That girl was going to summon an unbound demon into Creation.   You should keep a better eye on your students.”  Wanahton has one of his throwing knives hidden in his hand.

“Your superiors should keep a better eye on their agents.  “   You feel threads of fate vibrate in response to the future conflict.   You know that the headmaster is about to strike Wanahton.

What do you do?

  • A student of the Violet Briers is never unarmed.  Shed your destiny and activate Blade of the Battle Maiden
  • Attract the Headmasters attention away from Wanahton.    Lead her out of the cave and then activate Walking behind Fate
  • Other

((OOC:   Feel free to come up with other tactics.   ))

(( I didn’t read the Summon First Circle Demon spell until I wrote this scene.  I would have set it later in the day if so.   It’s not the first time I got a charm/spell wrong and it won’t be the last.  ))