129 – Aftermath

Blood mixes with the mud trapped between the cobblestones in front of the Immaculate Temple.   You feel none of the cold and the wet.  You do nothing but stare at the bodies of Chuzei Enki and Lung Duri.  You did not expect Sunan to react that way.  You did not expect Sunan to be a Lunar.  You did not mean for anyone to die.  Their deaths were on your conscious.   You may not have wield the blade, but your actions lead to their deaths.  Now you and your friends were captured.

You look away from the bodies.   Your eyes find Chiyoko’s.  Her rage-filled eyes stare at you, judging you as the Water Aspect binds her broken arm.   You abandoned her in combat.  You killed her cousin.  You lead her circle to capture.  You are sure she will never forgive you for this.   You avoid her gaze and stare at the bloody cobblestone street again.

Maidens, you did not even know where Mei Mei was.  You have not seen the puppy since the fight.   All you can do is hope Mei Mei is somewhere safe.

You fucked up.

“Boy!”  The Air Aspect has been trying to get your attention for the while.   He stands before you, his thumbs tucked into his belt, not far from his hanging chakrams.  His long blue grey hair is soaked by the rain as is his long grey silken shirt and flowing pants.   The cold does not bother him; he wears no coat except a sleeveless vest.   In a softer voice, the Air Aspect asks, “My name is Vayu Khalid.   What’s your name, boy?”

“Cnead Svante,”  As you say the name, you adopt Cnead’s Resplendent Destiny.  You become Cnead.  Cnead never fucked up.   Enki Osamu was only Cnead’s Chuzei, not his Sifu’s father.

”An exchange student,”  Khalid thumbs the indentation on his chin and thinks.  “How long have you been at the school, Cnead?”

“Since the beginning of the year.”  Despite rarely attending class, Cnead Svante has grades recorded.

Khalid squats to meet you eye to eye.  “You don’t need to be involved in this mess, Svante.  We can drop you off somewhere safe.  I just need your word as a Soldier of the Shogun that you won’t warn anyone.”

What?  Leave Chiyoko and the others behind?   What this a trick?   As you thought about it, the Air Aspect’s offer tempts you.   You could go warn someone.  You could head back to Yu-Shan and get help.   Maybe if you were not around to fuck things up, Chiyoko and the others would be safer.

“No,” you give the only answer you could give.  “I can’t leave my circle behind.”  Whatever happened to them, you were going to stand by their side.   Or sit in the mud with them.

Khalid nods and stands up, wiping mud off his hands.   Chiyoko gives you a small smile.

“That doesn’t change the fact that we are one gag short.”  Ru, the Water Aspect, comments.  “What do we do with the boy?” Her turquoise mane streams down her back.   Her close fitting leather armor shines with raindrops.  The wiry Water Aspect smirks at you, but her sea green eyes betray her anxiety.

The Lunar has been standing aside quietly, watching the proceedings.   She rolls her eyes and approaches you.   “Boy, no one is going to miss you.  You talk on the Wind, we kill you.   If your life doesn’t mean anything to you, we will kill her too.”  She jerks her head at Aiko.  “No one is going to miss her either.”

“No.”  Shakily, the Earth Aspect stands up.  A red bruise mars the side of her face where you knock her with your sword.   “I will put you down.”

“Are you stupid, Shamira?  Did these children smack the smarts out of you?”  Ru taunts.  “Do you think our hands will be clean of blood when this is all over?”

“One of them got lucky, that’s all.”   Shamira steps forward and stands toe to toe with the Lunar.   “You don’t scare me.  Lay a finger on any of these children and I will take you down.”

The Lunar smiles, revealing her bucked teeth.  “Have it your way.  But if the stars fall upon us, I suggest you set aside your honor.  They will use it to strangle you.”  She walks away from the Earth Aspect and returns to where she was observing before.

Shamira spits into the mud.   “I’m getting sick of her fucking suggestions.”   She mutters.  The Earth Aspect starts for the temple.

“What are you doing?”  Ru asks.

“To find the monk.”   Shamira waves at the corpses on the ground.  “They need a proper burial.”  She turns away from Khalid and walks towards the temple.

“Go with her,” Ru hisses at Khalid.  “Make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid.”

The Air Aspect nods.  “Don’t you do anything stupid either.”   He warns you as he passes by.

Ru dumps Chiyoko on the ground next to you.

You sit in the mud, hands bound behind your back.   You should be glad they are threatening you.  You can’t talk on the wind.   Their threats give you an excuse not to.   There are plenty of things you can’t do because you aren’t Dragonblooded.

“I’m sorry.”  You whisper to Chiyoko.  “I thought I could save everyone.  Instead I fucked everything up.”   You close your eyes, not wanting to see the rage in Chiyoko’s eyes again.  “You are right to hate me.”

Aiko grunts, attracting your attention.  She motions her head at the Lunar and the Water Aspect.  What did she want?  What could you do?   Why couldn’t see leave you alone?

“Ow!”  Aiko headbuts you.

“Dragons!”  The Water Aspect separates you.  “What are you two doing?”

You wipe your nose with your arm and come away with blood.  “What the fuck, Aiko!”  You glance by at Chiyoko to see her reaction to Aiko’s attack.   Chiyoko is not paying attention to you.  Instead, she is watching the two arguing Dragonblooded at the temple.   Masaru is sitting quietly with his eyes closed in concentration.  What is he doing?

You see a flash of metal as you realize he still has your lockpick.

Hope blossoms in your chest.  Maybe you did not completely fuck up.  While the Lunar took charge during combat, now she has stepped aside.  The Dragonblooded are in charge.  And without Duri, the Dragonblooded were quarreling.

What do you do?

  • Chiyoko and the others have some sort of plan and you might just make things worse again.
  • Encourage the Dragonblooded infighting. You set upon this path, might as well continue down it.
  • Bait the Lunar and get her to reveal herself. You have new information about the circle holding you.  Best to put it to use.
  • Other
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