|Power Stone, Quest for the nine
Author: Kojiokida2 PM
Legend tells of nine stones that control the magic of the elements and when combined, yield ultimate power. Now Edward Falcon and a collection of misfits start on a quest to keep them out of evil hands. The hands of the pirate Kraken. Part 27 upRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 27 - Words: 189,058 - Reviews: 51 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 07-06-07 - Published: 09-02-05 - id: 2562598
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yeah I know there have been a few Power Stone write ups in the past, but here I am jumping on the band wagon anyway.
Power Stone fics that partially inspired me to start this were Blades in Motion and Power Stone, a novelization. They're great reads, I recommend them….
Take note, this is set in an UN earth, the Power Stone world, so it's a world with it's own history. Mostly a mirror version of our own, with a few alterations. Hope you enjoy...
The narrow passage between the United States and Russia was almost completely clogged with ice so trade and merchants ships had to so miles around it to the south but as the summer came, the ice thawed a bit allowing passage through the north. As this cut a good hundred miles or two off their journey a Russian marine ship began slowly negotiating it's way westward.
None of them expected the trip to be memorable and discipline on board was lax. So lax in fact they barley even noticed the ship wreck until it was nearly brushing by their bow. The helmsman was the one who spotted it first and quickly brought the ship hard to starboard. As they slowly sailed past, most of the crew arrived on deck to watch it. Half of it was sunk into a hunk of ice and what lay above the water in ruins. Even from this distance and surrounded by fog they could see it was an old style ship. A galleon in fact, unused since the late 17th century. That in itself was not uncommon. This pass had claimed many vessels over the years. What set this aside from any other shipwreck was the fact it was recent. Sailors could tell a recent shipwreck from an old one just by looking at it. The smell of gunpowder from the vessels canyons was still pungent in the air. Whatever had happened to this ship had been done within the last day or two. The breaks in the hull and masts had come from inside, the wreckage blown out into the sea.
What puzzled the captain most about this strange wreck was it's age. Galleons hadn't been used for at least a hundred years, they were extremely outdated.
"Do we investigate sir?" The first mate asked as the captain watched the wreck from the deck. Pieces of it were scattered across the water in fragments.
"No." The captain replied. "If we sail too close we'll strike that iceberg. Besides, we're in international waters so it's not our problem. I'll just report it to the Americans when we reach port."
Suddenly and without warning there was a loud clanking sound as metal hit metal and their ship vibrated slightly. And then again, a loud succession each one growing louder than the last.
"Have we hit some ice?" The captain asked looking out from one of the windows as the ship shock again. "You, Gibson, see what that is." He shouted, jabbing his hand in the direction of the nearest member of the crew
"Aye Aye sir." The man grumbled going over to the side and looking over the edge. In that instant a metal claw came flying up over the edge of the ship, clamping itself around the man's waist. Startled, the seaman staggered backwards and the motion pulled the figure the claw was attached to onboard. Long grey hair hung around the ragged old face like seaweed, his skin nearly completely white from the cold. The man only had one eye an empty socket where the left should be. Half of the right arm was gone, replaced by complete metal from the elbow down. Instead of a replacement hand, a large metallic hinged claw lanced out and down. It looked like a terrific burden but the old man hauled it around with ease. His clothes were waterlogged and some of them torn, his coat ripped along the left hand side and a thick brown leather foot missing from his foot. Spread over the light blue lips was a thick scowl, that single eye red from irritation and forced into the features in a look of supreme anger and hate. It looked like a spirit rising from the depths with a body like that.
Once his feet were squarely on deck, the castaway whipped his arm back tossing the sailor in his grasp backwards and overboard. There was a short scream before a splash and then utter silence. Using his one hand he wrung the mariners hat he was holding out and placed it on the top of his head.
"Falcon." The old man scowled angrily, ate burning on his face. "This isn't over Englishman, mark my words!"
The large estate on the outskirts of the outskirts of Bristol was first built to be the home of Horacio Thomas Falcon, a noble who had been a pilot during the first years of war with the empire of Germany. Having been decorated several times for his bravery in combat, the man had acquired an interest or rather a fanatical fascination in the Bi-plane. Even thought there was more advanced forms of aircraft available, he had a plane of his own, a German creation captured during a raid on one of their airfields.
Instead of changing it's name to something more British, Horacio kept it's original title, the 'Hockenheim'. He considered it his most prized procession and was proud to pass it on to his next of kin. This fascination had been passed onto his Son Pride and then in turn to his grandson Edward.
The plane itself sat outside on the small landing strip directly in front of the impressively large manor. Most of the time, Thomas' grandson could be seen working on the family heirloom with his grandfather and father, although his family did their best to try and discourage such behaviour and to encourage more social activities.
Edward Falcon was the black sheep in the family.
As time passed, Edward evolved from an adventurous child into a young man and constantly his family members tried to get him involved in things that befitted a noble of his status. But Edward was disinterested in it all. While all his other brothers, sisters and cousins became men and women of important nobility, attending masquerades, parties for the upper crust of society and the like, Edward spent his time doing something quite different. Like his father, Pride who was an ambassador for the British Government, Edward travelled the world in the Hockenheim, which the rest of the family considered to be an outdated piece of junk compared to the massive Turbine Ships now being amassed in the new Royal Air Force.
Edward Falcon had seen countless cultures, traditions and believes all over the globe and had been humbled by the diversity of it all. So coming back to England, seeing his family and their self important little world through new eyes, he finally saw the arrogance and had to laugh at them; which made him even more unpopular with his relatives. There was even talk of disowning the wayward Falcon.
No one knew exactly what countries he'd visited but one time when he returned home he bore a smug look on his face as he produced a large, fist sized emerald. It looked like an emerald at least, but was red in colour instead of the usual green. A jeweller estimated it's value at well over a five thousand pounds, more the half what they had in the bank. His Uncle wanted to sell it at once, or at least deposit it into the Family vaults in London. Edward, being his stubborn-willed self, however was extremely reluctant to relinquish custody of it, in fact he flatly refused to give it up. Luckily his sympathetic father was home at the time and gave Edward permission to keep it as long as it entertained him.
It was June, 1919 and England, indeed most of Europe, was in very high spirits.
The war was over, men from the frontlines in France were coming home and life left good. Europe, Germany especially, had been left in shambles and a lot of rebuilding was to be done,
Edward had been a pilot during the last few years of the conflict due to his extensive flight experience in the Hockenheim, which had made his grandfather very proud. Having seen the trenches and the utterly nightmarish conditions generals expected their men to endure Edward was thankful to have escaped that insanity.
Pride Falcon, his father was away in the United States on diplomatic business and the Estate was deserted apart from the servants who kept the grounds in order; Edward himself, who as usual was either working on the plane or out about the town. His family didn't know it, wouldn't allow it even, but every weekend Edward would sneak off into town to be part of underground Boxing championship. The life of a rich nobles son did not allow much freedom, or fun for that matter, there was simply far too much expected of him and sadly being able to beat the living daylights out of an opponent was not part of those expectations.
"Young master…" An old frail voice began as Edward looked out from underneath the plane, his white shirt and blonde hair stained with oil. A pair of large, pilot goggles protecting his eyes. He brushed a few stray hairs out of his face and turned to face his interruption.
Standing near the planes double wings was one of the more elderly of the Butlers on the estate, an aging fellow called Apollus. Tall and thin, with grey curly hair on his beard and moustache, his eyes partly obscured by the bright sunlight reflecting off his small spectacles. A small, pink bowtie being the only verity in clothing that set him apart from the other butlers.
"Yes Apollus, I'm rather busy here, what is it?" Edward asked a little annoyed, pushing the pair of pilots goggles away from his sky blue eyes off his face and onto his forehead. As the manor itself was built on a cliff top overlooking the sea, some distance from Bristol, the front gardens of the Falcon estate was a large sloping hill that curved down to the inland fields.
"You have a visitor sir asking for you specifically, a Japanese man I believe." Edward paused.
"Japanese man?" His eyes narrowed in a faint remembrance. "Funny, he shouldn't be here by now. Could you describe this man for me?" The butler hesitated, one of the things they were rarely inclined to do and began.
"He has not any distinguishing features physically sir, however he uniquely dresses in blue rags and carrying around with him two swords of Japanese make." This description alone seemed to set a gleam of excitement in Falcon's eyes. "They call them Katana's I believe."
"Oh…him." Edward began with a wide smile rolling his eyes. "Well, trust Ryoma to be early. I've been expecting him. Send him through to here Apollus while I make myself presentable." The butler bowed and quickly made himself scarce while Edward pushed himself out from underneath the plane and brushed most of the dirt off himself, leaving a very large smudge of oil on his check. Edward's usual attire was all there, his white shirt stained with oil and his blood red trousers equally as dirty.
His red jacket, white scarf and brown leather gloves lay on the planes left under-wing. It wasn't long before Apollus returned, followed by a man a good head and shoulders shorter than him but despite the lose in height was far more imposing. His skin was tanned and his hair raven black, long enough to be tied back into a spiky pony tail by a length of white clothe wrappings. His clothes would appear to be little more than blue rags to the British eye, however Falcon could see plainly that they were the robes of one of the last Samurai clans; very much a part of the Japanese culture. Around his forearms and calves were wrapped brown bandages, meant as concealed armour and tied around his chest was a good deal of brown fur cut from a bear or large creature of similar size. At his side like Apollus had said were a pair of swords, Katana's like he'd guessed, each kept in it's own scabbard, one red and the other black. "Apollus, one Beer and one…" Edward hesitated.
"Green tea." The samurai replied swiftly, his eyes shut completely. Apollus gave them both a short but hard stare of uncertainty before walking off back towards the manor, wondering where he was going to get Green Tea from when the local brew was Earl Grey. Once he had disappeared through the servants side entrance to the building, the samurai opened one grey eye. "I hope this is important Falcon, I do have other matters to attend to." Edward chuckled under his breath, leaning back against the planes wings.
"The war still going on for you?" Ryoma muttered something in Japanese under his breath.
"Yes, but I think it will be over soon enough. Although I would like to see this business finished so I can return." While the Japanese authorities actively engaged in world politics, the last clans of Ninja and Samurai were still alive within their culture and engaging in their own affairs. Despite advancements in technology and social enhancements, various people all over the world employed them as mercenaries and assassins. The Ninja's and the Samurai had been fighting a secret was between the two of them for who controlled what had become known as the Japanese underground.
"Alright then, I'll get right to the point. Have a read of this. " Falcon replied, reached under his jacket and withdrew a local newspaper. He flipped it open and presented the front page to his old friend. The tile for the cover story was, -(Mysterious Killer Strikes Again.)- Ryoma blinked as Falcon handed it to him and he began reading.
South of Belfast in Northern Ireland was the city of Manches and there several people, rich women to be precise, had been found dead in the streets; their stomach's cruelly sliced open with some sort of short blade, most of their jewellery had been stolen from their bodies as well. The present victim toll was ten. Something like this hadn't happened since the days of the Ripper, at least according to the newspaper. There were only two eye witness' to any of the killings. One said that the killer was some form of un-dead wrapped in bandages and armed with two curved, Asian daggers. He had been dismissed as either a lunatic or a drunk at once by the local police.
The second witness, who's mental health had been severely tested claimed that this killer had ripped a jewel from a ladies necklace and then used it to change into some demonic form, a creature whose very limbs were deadly weapons, curved blades for hands and feet. These he used to cut up several police offices who tried to subdue him. That last past captured Ryoma's attention so much he read it again to make sure that he had not misread as his English was not perfect. The scene described was more than familiar to both himself and Edward.
"A Power Stone?" He asked, looking up. The Briton nodded solemnly. "Then Wang-Tang was right, there are more stones than the ones we possess." Ryoma continued, remembering how their friend, the man from Hong Kong had maintained a solid belief that the three Stones they shared, each representing the Atlantian elements of Metal, Lightning and Wind were part of a larger complex set. Edward pushed himself off the plane, looking up at the sky.
"Stones of darkness, Stones of Light." He began, folding his arms up on his chest. Ryoma looked up in surprise. "Glittering gems have taken flight, a stone for darkness, a stone for pain, a stone for coming home again.
One to challenge, one to release, two will bring a gently peace.
Heart and soul, flesh and bone, a miracle for every stone." Ryoma now looked exceptionally confused at the English man's sudden verse. "It's an old nursery rhyme here in Britain." Falcon explained. "I did a little research into the old legends about the sunken city and found a piece of folklore that runs alongside that of the lost continent. It goes that in the age of the Atlantis, a collection of coloured stars fell to the Earth and were collected and then scattered by the Priests of the city province. Each rock contained powers attributed to the elements the Atlantian's recognised.
Fire, Earth, Wind, Water, Metal, Lightning, Wood, Light and Darkness."
"Nine then." Ryoma stated. "Six more out there besides the ones we have."
"And this killer has one of them." Falcon replied ominously. "And he knows how to use it to achieve power fusion. Think of what he could do with something like that." The Japanese man was silent for a minute, before casting a glance over to his old friend.
"You're thinking of paying him a visit."
"Now you get why I called you over." Edward announced. "Pitching a power stone against a power stone could go either way, so I'd like you in reserve." Ryoma gave him a hard stare. "Look I know you go in for all that one on one battle honour thing, but personally I'd rather not go head to head with a murdering, power stone propelled psychopath."
"Typical English." Ryoma muttered, leaning back in his chair.
"Just think of it as part of your training." Falcon ventured with a wide grin. The Japanese man looked back at him flatly for a moment.
"Baka." He managed eventually. "Very well." Falcon rubbed his hands together with relish.
"I knew you'd see it my way." The Englishman declared heartily when suddenly his stomach began growling loudly. A large goofy grin spread across his face. "But before we get down to business, how about some food?"
Nakamura Ayame had never been aboard before, let alone as far to the heartland of the British Empire so one can not really blame one her age from being distracted from her self set mission. Everything was so different here from Kabichicho Oedo where she grew up.
She spoke very little English so she could not understand what was being said around her but never the less the young Japanese girl was entranced by it all. Ships of all shapes and sizes came to and fro out of the harbour all day, their tall masts lancing up over the tops of the rooftops and not all of them were sea bound.
Even Turbine Ships used this city as a port. Twice as large as any sea going vessel these giants soured overhead like dragons, the twisting and churning middles that gave them their name making a loud whooshing sound even as a distance. They were memorizing to look at.
The buildings were all made of brick and granite, the ground beneath her sandaled feet of uncomfortable cobble stone, crowds of people all going this way and that. She was used to bare ground, tall grass, wooden floors and sparse company. This was so alien she may have been on another planet.
Overcome by it all, she ducked into an alleyway and out of the crowds. She ran a hand through her thick black hair, pausing to compose herself; reminding her inner frightened child that a ninja had to be at once with their surroundings, regardless of where they were. Remembering that, she fought back against the uneasiness and scolded herself from being diverted from her purpose here.
"I don't think I can do this." She blurted out to herself anyway. From here she could see herself in the reflection of a glass window that looked out into the alleyway. She saw a thin, scrawny 16 year old girl fooling herself with delusions of grandeur. Her green robes a size to big. Tied around her waist by a large blue ribbon in a bow behind her back.
Has she made a foolish mistake? Had she bitten off more than she could possible chew? She shook her head and mentally slapped herself.
No, she hadn't. This was the great opportunity of her career. If she killed the infamous Ryoma then she would become the most famous Ninja in the clans, respected by all. It would bring both her and her clan great honour. On top of that, if she were to steal the legendary magical stone that rumour claimed Ryoma carried then… well, she would have to wait and see for that part.
She was the last person to believe in magic of any kind, but stories had been floating around about the Samurai and his two friends from England and China. Stories of great battles with the ghost of the last pirate, risen from the icy depths of the frozen north sea to exact revenge on those who sank his ship. Chaos had surrounded the whole event but the clans had various ways to keeping themselves informed in such matters.
Forcing her fears back behind a cold wall of ice, the ninja within reasserted its control. She had followed the samurai all the way from Japan, she was not about to let last minute nerves stand in her way.
Ryoma had been through here, she knew that and if he was coming to England then undoubtedly he was going to visit his British friend, who clan intelligence had been able to name as one, Edward Falcon.
She would go to find them both soon enough, but first she had more immediate concerns to deal with.
"Halt!" A voice cried out and Ayame looked up sharply to see a man dressed in blue with a cone like helmet on the top of his head standing at the far end of the alleyway. Quickly he brought a whistle to his lip and blew on it several times. People dressed like this had been chasing her for some time now. All she had done was buy some food when she got off the boat and she had paid him the yen coins for it. Several more men in blue came around the corner from behind, trapping her in the alley between them. What they failed to realise was this was nothing a ninja could not handle.
With reflexes faster than anything these Englishmen had seen, she leapt at the wall and used the momentum from her weight to propel herself up the vertical surface. She hadn't enough swing to reach the rooftops but that was not her intention, once she got high enough, she kicked off the wall and shot over their heads. One of them made a move to grab her as she landed, but anticipating the move she swung back the moment her wooden sandal touched the stone with a lightning fast kick that sent him spinning backwards before finally slamming into a wall.
Another came at her armed with a polished wooden stick. The girl ducked under his swing before somersaulting backwards, her left foot smashing up self into the underside of his chin. With two of them floored she had enough room to dart through the rest and run. Despite her fighting skill taking on a superior number of opponents was not wise.
"Come back here you Jap!" Someone shouted after her as she ran through the twisting alleyways between the buildings, sliding between crates, stacks of lobster traps and large wooden barrels. These men in blue were persistent if nothing else, they kept up their pursuit for some time. When one tired another took his place; always blowing their whistles to alert more of them ahead that she was coming.
She was running out of places to run and there weren't many places to hide in this place, not anything like the concealing wooden and paper walls she was used to. Foolish, weak little girl; the voice inside her yelled. You are Ninja. You can hide anywhere.
Forced into a space between two buildings, she finally found herself cut off by a large stack of wooden, steel reinforced crates that blocked the way. They were stacked too high for her to jump over. She could hearing hurrying footsteps approaching. She was running out of time to hide.
Glancing to her right she saw she was right outside a store of some kind; the windows partially hidden by some blinds on the inside, a wooden sign with a book symbol painted on it hung just outside the door. From what English she knew, Ayame read the words underneath the book as; 'Mel's Literature.'
Devoid of choices, she flung the door open and darted inside slamming it after her.
Without thinking she ducked under the windows and held her breath as she heard hurried footsteps near, then stop. After a brief moment of silence, they carried on away from the shop before finally vanishing altogether. Ayame allowed herself a sigh of relief before standing up.
Someone said something in English nearby and Ayame glanced up, fearful she'd been caught; but found only one person there to meet her gaze. The book store was a small room with thick rows of books stacked on either side. A women was sitting behind a thick wooden bench at the far end watching the young girl with a smile on her face. She was in her early thirties with medium length red hair and aqua green eyes. A blue bow tied her hair back behind her head into a short ponytail.
Like most of the English women she was dressed in suffocating clothes, a thick shirt and skirt down to her ankles with pink apron down her front, tied around the back of her neck and waist. The women spoke again but Ayame found herself oblivious to the words. Realizing that her visitor did not speak very good English, the woman smiled; her expression softening.
"Good morning young lady." She began again this time speaking in perfect Japanese. Ayame blinked in surprise. "You look like you could use a little help." The young girl was stunned to find anyone who even knew her language here, never mind one who spoke it fluently.
"Japanese? Yes." The women replied, her smile widening slightly. "I've spent some of my time aboard before so I've had the opportunity to learn." Her hand outstretched towards her. "My name is Mel Fitzroy but you can call just call me Mel, so what's your name?" Ayame paused, before slowing reaching out and shaking her hand.
"Nakamura Ayame." She replied, managing a short smile of her own.
"I take it you've not been long in England?" Mel asked but it was more a statement than a question. "I think you should now they take pounds here, not yen." The young girl looked a little taken aback. Mel just shrugged. "It's a mistake one in every five immigrants make during their first week, but that's something the local bobby don't seem to realise." She tapped the side of their head with a finger. "They're not really very knowledge of such things." Ayame just looked embarrassed. "So, what brings you here?" Mel was certainly a not nicer than the Britons she had already met but telling her the truth about her presence in this country was out of the question, but still; she didn't know enough about this country to make up a convincing cover story. She just hesitated looking even more embarrassed.
"I'm not sure." She replied quite truthfully. "I don't speak much of the language, I don't know the culture, I don't know the laws. I came here on a hope I could make a name for myself. Maybe I just made a stupid mistake." Mel sat there listening, her expression unreadable. "I try to keep telling myself I can do what I came here to do, but now that I'm here I'm not so sure." Mel rolled her eyes and looked up towards the ceiling in thought, before she got up and went over to the door, turning the sign in her window from open to closed.
"Everyone doubts themselves at one point or another." She stated going back to the deck and pulling a stool up for Ayame to sit down on. "It's just something people tend to do, but they find a way past it once they see what they really want in life."
"Wish I could be as confident as you." Ayame remarked sitting down and leaning on the "I was fooling myself. I should have stayed home where I belong."
"Sure of that?" Mel asked coyly. The young girl looked up. "One doesn't travel half way around the planet on a whim Ayame." The older women looked her over with a sceptics eye, before a smile spread over her lips. "You're from Kabichicho Oedo correct?" Ayame just nodded. "That was where I spent a year of my education. Half the books in my store I acquired while I was there." The young girl looked around her, finally taking notice of her inventory. A good deal of the books on the shelves were Japanese novels, dictionaries, translations, poems and even a book on ancient Shogun history.
Mel had clearly travelled a great deal of the world. Ayame could see French literature, Chinese short stories and a whole self of encyclopaedia books on the top on the right hand side of the room.
"The monkey and the crab?" Ayame asked out load, leaning over and removing a children's book from the nearby shelf. "I haven't read this since I was six." Mel managed another smile.
"I thought it best to collect a few books for kids. Few youngsters outside my door even know there's a rest of the world." She rolled her eyes. "Even so I don't get much business."
"Why not?" Ayame asked, looking a little puzzled. "These are good books."
"And this is merry old England." Mel replied with a short sigh. "I've been around the world, so I know how it works. But people here are still weighed down by the belief they are better because they're part of the great British Empire. We teach new ideas to foreigners, never the over way around." Her tone was heavily sarcastic. "So as you can see, not many patriotic Englishmen pop into my shop."
"Shame." Ayame remarked. Mel looked down at the book before her, smiled before standing up. "Are all British like that?"
"By all means no." Mel replied shaking her head. "There are quite a few who've travelled the world as well." She turned and opened a door to the side, revealing a flight of wooden stairs going up beyond it. "Have you eaten today?" As if response Ayame's stomach growled like an angry dog. Mel giggled lightly. Ayame just blushed and looked away. In fact she hadn't had food since the ship she stowed away on arrived in port this morning. "I thought not. I'm willing to bet you haven't made arrangements for living quarters either." Another little detail she had overlooked in her foolish haste. Now she really felt useless. She had pursued the samurai here on the off chance she would find him in this nation of cities and now she was felt stranded in a foreign land with no food or even a place to stay. "If you're hungry, I had some fresh bread from the Bakers bought just this morning." She beckoned Ayame through and up the narrow stairs to a hallway above. Mel apparently lived here and well as worked, with her shop on the bottom floor and her personal rooms above. The room to the kitchen was open and the smell of freshly baked bread was still very pungent in the air. A round wooden table sat directly in the centre of the room with some chairs around it; a deck and decanter off to one side. A set of windows stared out down a street leading almost straight towards the ports. The view of the ships coming back and forth was spectacular. There was a Turbine ship hovering just above the river Avon, it's colossal wings casting a shadow over the docks in sight. "Make yourself at home."
"Why are you being so helpful?" The question was out before she had time to think about it.
"Because you remind me of someone I met while I was in Japan." Mel replied promptly as she showed the young girl into her kitchen. "He was there, far from home with no real plan; only a goal he had set himself which did seem beyond him at the time." She chuckled at the memory. "A real goofball. Absent minded and clumsy. He floundered around like a fish out of water for a while, but eventually he pulled his resources and got on his job."
"And what happened to him?" Ayame asked, slightly transfixed by the story. Mel sighed after a moment.
"He was a wanderer by nature, once he'd finished his job he moved on with a wave and a smile. I saw him a couple of times after that, always off on him adventure someplace else. For Pride, life was one big journey." She shook her a head slightly as if to dislodge herself from her memories. "You can't let doubts stop you from something you came half way around the world for, that's what he taught me." Ayame was left standing there a little taken aback but the simplicity of words that had put everything in perspective for her.
Mel was right. She was half a world away from her home. Was she going to turn around having got here and go back with nothing? No, she was going to see this through.
"I don't know where to begin." She admitted out loud. Mel laid a hand on her shoulder, a friendly over her face before she offered her a piece of buttered bread.
"Now that's something I'm sure I can help you with."
"Bread and water?" The short man demanded in his usual heavily accented Italian voice, his fat round face born in a look of set astonishment. "I can cook the best meals Europe has to offer and that's all he wants?" Apollus nodded again, gusting his wire rime spectacles. The chef threw his arms up in the air. "Bread and water, Mama-mia!" Gourmand was very proud of his cooking, he'd working in some of the most famous restaurants in the world before being employed by the Falcon estate and frankly took such a simple order as a personal insult to his cooking skills. The man was ridiculous in many ways other than his behaviour and expectations.
His curly black hair was tied back into buns on either side of his head making him look like he had a Swiss roll wrapping above his ears. His nose was round and red and this, coupled with his choice of clothes made him look quite a bit like a clown especially with his uncombed short black moustache. What sort of self respecting person went around in bright red trousers and a blue shirt with white spots? That crowning glory just had to be the chefs hat he wore on his head. Usually they were oversized, but this one was so miniature it looked like it was intended for a child. It took a good deal of the elderly butler's will not to burst out laughing whenever he was in the same room as the funny little man.
"And Young master Edward will have his usual." He announced, keeping himself as composed as a butler should be. Gourmand simply mattered something under his breath and turned back to his stove.
"Yes yes, it'll be done shortly." Apollus ran his fingers through his own moustache before turning to leave; hearing the little man mutter. "Bread and water, is that what they think of me?"
Ryoma had always been puzzled by the English tradition of times to eat. To him, it made no difference whether he eat at dawn, mid day or evening. But to these British, timing of their meals was set in stone. Falcon couldn't explain it either, it was something they did because they'd always done it. Never one to argue culture, Ryoma just let it pass.
And so here they were at three in the afternoon according to the grandfather clock in the living room. The sun was shining through the thick curtains on each side of every window half obscuring the summer daylight. A long oak table with short carved legs sat between them. As impressed as he was with the display of comfort, Ryoma had other things on his mind.
"Tell me Falcon." The samurai began with his eyes closed as one of the estates servants brought in a silver tray with a tea set on it. "Did you really call me here to deal with one killer with a Power Stone, or do you have some other motive up those thick sleeves of yours?" Edward who was sitting across the room feigned an innocent expression, shrugging his shoulders. "I know you sometimes better than you know yourself Englishman. You don't need me to fight one battle. You wouldn't pull me halfway around the world for that." Ryoma let one open lazily, setting a sharp glare against the blonde haired man. Edward stayed motionless for a moment, before a smile spread over his features.
"Why Ryoma, I don't know what you're trying to suggest." His words were spokenwith thick sarcasm. "That I would hide things from you? Would I do something like that." Ryoma kept his glare locked on him like a vice.
"Yes." He replied simply. Edward managed a larger smile.
"There never was keeping anything from you was there?" He asked rhetorically folding his arms. "Well I didn't lie about stopping this killer bit. We'll do that first, but if he does have a Power Stone then that puts the both of us in a difficult position."
"Because if he has, then Wang-Tang was right and there are more stones out there." Ryoma but in finishing his sentence. Falcon nodded solemnly.
"At most six, and we both know what kind of damage they can cause if they found their way into the wrong hands." Ryoma remained still, flashes of memory burning before him. "There are always going be people like Kraken. Can you imagine it?" Ryoma didn't need to. The pirate king had already displayed to him the destructive capabilities of a Power Stone. It was something he would never admit, but the memory still haunted his nightmares ever since that night. For a year now he had tried to suppress it with focused mental discipline but found himself fighting a loosing battle. The samurai reached into his robes and withdrew a small object from his inside pocket. It was a cut jewel about the size of a fist, cut to the shape of a diamond but unlike the stone Falcon carried around, this one was a pale yellow instead of blood red.
Falcon took out his own stone from his left pocket. It was exact copy of Ryoma's, differing only in colour. In the presence of one of it's brothers, each stone emitting a soft glow that pulsated like the beating of a heart. Falcon flipped his stone up into the air with his thumb before catching it against between his fingers.
"So you want to find them all." Ryoma stated with a short sigh. Edward Falcon smiled that large grin that showed all his teeth, an unspoken confirmation present in his expression. "That's why you need me."
"Don't tell me your blood doesn't burn at the thought." Falcon remarked, his blue seas wide with anticipation of adventure Ryoma knew him for. "Those stones could be scattered all across the world and it'll be a daring race to reach them before they be used for something quite nefarious." Ryoma rolled his eyes.
"Why not us? We're probably one of the few people on Earth who even know Power Stones exist." Ryoma paused for a moment to consider, a fore finger and thumb to his chin.
"Didn't you invite Wang-Tang along as well?" The samurai asked out of interest. Edward just shrugged.
"I tried, but he wanders around a lot; no fixed address." A moment of thick silence passed between them the loud ticking of the clock resonating throughout the room. Ryoma remained deadly still, his eyes fixed ahead of him. Finally he breathed out in a sigh.
"My clan requires a lot of my time." He stated without looking at his friend. "But I can see I was right in leaving them to come here. This is far more important." Falcon managed another winning smile.
"Now you're thinking like me." Ryoma looked away muttering in Japanese; may every god forbid. There was a short crouch in the doorway ad the two turned to see Apollus standing there.
"Dinner…" The old man began. "Is served."