The New Nuriko
Written By: Korin Chou
Chapter 3: Moving On

~~3 years later~~

Tatara watched stood in the doorway of his temple, watching his 3 dozen students spar with one another, impressed at how they had all improved perfectly over the years since coming to study under him, Subaru, and Tokaki.

Subaru and Tokaki came in to stand behind Tatara to watch the proceedings, their expressions mirroring his own.

They've all become so good after all this time, ne Tatara? Subaru asked as she leaned her withered body against his. This reminds me of our youthful days as Byakko seishi. How I wish for those days again.

All of us miss those days dear. Tokaki said cheerfully. But you know we can go back to it if we so choose. But it would mean cutting off our lifespan by a few years. Tatara here on the other hand... he said sending a meaningful glance at Tatara, eyeing every inch of his friends' youthful body, and shakes his head mean fully. Eighty-nine years old, and you still look like a 21 year old, Tatara.

Tatara lets out a chuckle at Tokaki's words without turning around. It's the only way for me to be able to protect my temple, and help in the training of the next generation of warriors and seishi. As long as I don't leave the confines of this temple, I'll always look the way I do now. he said just as the sound of a loud crash followed by yelling can be heard from the other side of the temple, and he let's out a groan.

Tokaki and Subaru looked in the direction of the commotion and both turn super deformed, as sweatdrops rolled down their heads.

They're at it again, aren't they? Subaru asked, lowering her head, in exasperation.

Seems that way. And it was beginning to look like a nice, quiet day too. Tatara muttered and just shook his head and began moving in the direction of the commotion, followed close behind by the other two.

It's amazing that those two can be such great friends, yet at times, they can act like the greatest of enemies when their fighting each other in combat. Subaru told her husband, who just silently nodded his head in agreement as they hurried after Tatara.

* * *

At the far end of the room, a fight can be heard, the path between the two combatants blocked by a tight circle of students who had stopped what they were doing to watch and to place bets on which of the two opponents would win this time.

In the middle of the students, two teenage boys duke it out with their bo staffs, knocking each off their feet or inflicting blows and highflying kicks that would normally knock a normal person out cold. One boy had long violet hair, tied back into a ponytail to keep it away from his face. The other was a brunette closer to his age, with his long bluish black hair also tied into a ponytail. Around them it was obvious of the damage they were doing to the area they were in.

As the three adults watched, Nuriko sped up, disappearing for second just as Tomahome's staff was about to strike him, then reappearing a few feet behind Tomahome, grabbing hold of Tomahome's ponytail, and yanking hard on it, jerking the other boy off of his feet with a yelp, allowing Nuriko to send Tomahome sprawling to the hard ground with a sweep at his legs with his staff.

Give up yet, Toma-chan, Nuriko asked as he stood over Tomahome's body, with his staff pointed at the other boys neck, Nuriko smirked smugly at him.

Enough! Everyone go back to your duties! Tatara bellowed as he pushed his way through the crowd of cheering boys to get to the root of the problem, and came upon two familiar forms throwing punches and kicks at each other. He reaches out and grabs them both by the collar, and lifts them off their feet, and shakes them.

How many times do I tell you, don't fight! Seishi do not fight each other in that way! Tatara scolded loudly, causing the two teens to blush in embarrassment, as their teacher gave both of them scolding looks, as he released their collars, and grabbed their ears, giving them a slight twist, Tomahome, Nuriko what are we going to do with the two of you?

Toma-chan started it, Nuriko said defiantly as he glared over at the frowning boy, He was being a major pain in the ass today. That comment earned him a whack on the back of his head, from Tokaki, that sends him falling to the ground.

Nuriko complained as he leaped back to his feet, to glare at Tokaki in irritation, What did ya do that for old man?! he exclaimed angrily, as he rubbed the back of his head.

What did we say about watching your language around here, young man? Subaru commented, answering for Tokaki before the two got into another argument, as he glared at Nuriko, as the younger boy returned the glare. I don't want any of *my* students speaking to their elders with such a potty mouth like yours.

Nuriko looked contrite before turning his gaze to the ground and muttered an apology.

The little brat probably learned it from that gang of thieves he still hangs out with when he's not here, Tokaki remarked as he smirked at Nuriko, only to duck what would have been a well place kick to his face by the violet haired boy. Why you little...

We are not thieves anymore! Nuriko exclaimed indignantly as he glared at the elderly man, So quit calling my buddies that, old man. And like I said before, Tama-chan started it this time.

I was not, Tomahome exclaimed as he returned Nuriko's glare, and crossed his arms across his chest, You're the one who started it.

I did not! Nuriko exclaimed indignantly as he glared at Tomahome. Take that back!

You did too!

Did not!

ENOUGH! I don't care *who* started it this time. Tatara exclaimed, before things got of hand, That is no excuse, Tatara reprimand, as he came forward giving both boys stern looks, This is your last day of training under us, and this is how the two of you are act.

Both boys bowed their heads in shame.

Sorry Tatara-sensei, Nuriko said quietly, suddenly finding the ground VERY interesting at that moment.

Yeah, Sorry, Sensei, Tomahome said.

Don't just tell me sorry, tell each other. Tartara said, and when the duo weren't quick enough to obey, he gave both a slight whack on the head, which quickly gained murmured apologies.

You should have thought of that before you guys started into each other this afternoon, Tartara said, a bit sternly, as he turned and pointed, You know what to do.

* * *

~Awhile Later~

Nuriko stood in front of her dresser pulling out clothes and other items from the drawers and tossing them into saddle bags as she got ready for the long journey, that would be needed to get to the town where the shipyards were, and take the boat back to Konan.

I hope Stormchaser doesn't mind all of the extra weight, that I'd be putting him through. She thought silently to herself, as she groaned a bit, rubbing the small of her back at the soreness she could feel there.

~Flashback, three years ago~

Nuriko walked through the crowded streets of Sailo with Tomahome and Tokaki, as the trio made their way back to the temple after making a quick stop to shop for food in the market.

The sudden sound of a horse screaming out in pain, followed by the sound of loud cursing filled the air.

As the group stopped in midstep as they, along everyone else in the market, turned as one to look in the direction that the commotion was coming from, and didn't like what they saw.

A large overweight man fought with a snow white colored for control, as a younger boy was trying unsuccessfully to hold onto the horses reins, while at the same time trying to avoid the horses kicking hooves as it reared up onto it's hind legs every few minutes.

You stupid animal! You will obey me, even if I have to break every bone in your fucking body! the man shouted as he angrily waved a wicked looking whip at the horse in front of him, ignoring the gathering crowd, as they watched the display, I paid good money for you, and I'm going to see I get my money's worth!

Father, I don't think... the young boy holding the horses reins started only to flinch back at the enraged look his father shot at him.

Shut up you! the older man snapped as he sent his son a withering glare that instantly silenced him, as he raised the crop to strike the horses back again, I know exactly what I'm doing. All this dumb animal needs to do is learn who's boss, even if I have to beat it into!

Why that nasty old man! Nuriko exclaimed angrily as his eyes narrowed at the sight before him. Looking around at the crowd around him, he saw that no one else was moving forward to stop what was going on, and came to a quick decision.

Before either Tomahome or Tokaki could stop him, Nuriko broke away from them

Hey, you stop that!! Nuriko screamed out as she ran towards the man, just as he was about to raise his whip to strike the horse again, and leaped for the man's raised arm, and pulled it down, before it struck again. Don't you hurt that horse!

The man face first felt surprise at the violet haired boy who still held onto his arm, at the unexpected interruption of his discipline *his* property, before his face turned a bright crimson red with rage.

Why you little punk! he growled out, as he lashed out with his free hand, and backhanded Nuriko squarely in his jaw, sending the boy flying a few feet away, Stay out of this boy! Keep your nose out of matters that don't concern you! he said before turning back to the matter at hand.

Landing on the snow covered ground with a loud thud, Nuriko pushed himself back up into a sitting position, as he angrily rubbed his bruised jaw, just as the horse let out a loud panicked squeal before jumping back to his feet and rushing forward to grab the man's arm again.

Let go you, or else I'll... the man started as he glared at the younger boy holding his arm, but then Nuriko's next words stopped him.

I'll buy him off of you! he exclaimed as he pulled at the man's beefy arm, putting his entire weight into it, as he quickly continued.

Tokaki shouted in irritation as he and Tomahome rushed forward to help the violet haired young man out.

What was that, brat? the man said as he looked down at the younger boy with interest in his eyes, not truly believing what he had just heard.

Ignoring Tokaki's warning look, Nuriko looked the second man squarely in the eyes, as he slowly repeated what he had said before, not loosening his grip on the bullies arm, I said, that I'll buy him off of you. He stated firmly.

Oh really? And just where would a punk kid like you get the money? You're nothing more than a filthy street urchin. The man said sarcastically, after taking in Nuriko's appearance, as he snorted at Nuriko's last statement. You couldn't afford it even if you tried.

Nuriko, don't do it, Tomahome warned as he and Tokaki stepped closer to the confrontation.

Stay out of this Tama. Nuriko snapped, without looking back at her fellow senshi, as he got into a staring contest with the horse owner, I know exactly what I'm doing. I can always earn the money back later, the next time we head home. He said as he turned back to the man before him, I'll pay you fifteen silver ryo for him.

I don't know. But, the stupid beast HAS been giving me trouble, so I'll be better off without him, I guess. The older man said, scratching his chin for a moment, as he looked down at the young boy in disbelief, for a moment before an greedy, evil smirk appeared on his features, at the thought of easy money. Tell you what kid, if you can provide the amount of money you just offered me, I'll give you the horse.

Nuriko did a small cheer inside his head, as he grinned, It's a deal, Nuriko said as he grin became wider. Don't move from this spot, old man. I'll be back in no time. He said before turning around and ran off at full speed.

The crowd all watched the fading dust trail behind the boy, as he was soon

That Nuriko, Tokaki grumbled under his breath as he watched.

I'm back! Here's your money. Now give me my horse! Nuriko exclaimed, as she reappeared in front of everyone, causing everyone except Tokaki and Tomahome to jump in fright.

Clutched in Nuriko's hand was a small brown pouch, that clinked and jangled as she held it out to the horse owner.

Snatching the bag out of the boy's hand, the owner pulled the bag strings apart so he could look inside, and started counting the coins inside.

Fine, he's yours. Take the stupid beast, and get him out of sight! With a snarl, the man grudgingly grabbed the reins out of his sons hands and handed them over to Nuriko.

((Author Note: I don't know how much the currency would be, but if someone would tell me, I'll probably change the price. - Korin-chan))

~End Flashback~

Stormchaser was a large pure white stallion, with a gray diamond shaped patch on his forehead. Nuriko had rescued from an abusive owner. Even after bringing the stallion to the shrine.

But because of his treatment at the hands of his old owner, made him both wary and angry at all humans, and he wouldn't allow anyone near him, without lashing out with his hooves.

Any of the boys who had tried to ride him, and *actually* succeeded to get into the saddle for longer than five seconds, would immediately get bucked off, and land on their backsides, and barely enough time to get out of the way of the stallions kicking hooves.

Tokaki and Tatara had considering either putting the stallion down, or selling him off to someone else, until she had finally managed to talk them into letter her have a hand at trying to tame him. Her own way.

Despite their protestations, Nuriko marched up to the makeshift corral they had built to stable the stallion, pulled open the gate, and walked in, slowly making her way towards the agitated white horse.

Stormchaser had actually balked when he saw her coming, then calmed down when he saw that she wasn't carrying a saddle or a bridle with her. Sniffing the air, he caught her familiar scent, and calmed down somewhat.

Come on boy, Nuriko softly crooned as she made her way towards the large horse, reaching into her pocket, and pulled out a couple of surgar cubes and a apple, and held them out to him. Come on, you know me, I'm the guy who saved you from the jerk beating you before.

Stormchaser snorted and backed away from Nuriko, glaring at the small human in distrust, before stamping his sharp hooves into the ground as a warning.

Seeing this, Nuriko stopped a few feet away, Nuriko held up his hands in a peaceful sign, and backed away, and put the treats on one of the planks of the corral, in full view of the stallion, before marching back out of the gate, shutting it behind him.

I'm not going to hurt you. But if you don't trust me yet, that's fine. I'll just keep on trying until you finally start trusting me. She called out as she marched away.

Stormchaser waited a few moments, as he trotted restlessly around the corral trying to keep his mind busy, but his attention kept going back to those tasty looking treats the human had left behind. Finally hunger won out, and after making sure that no one was around, he trotted over to the corral gate and started munching on the treats.

Nearby, Nuriko kept herself hidden from sight as she watched the stallion finally give in, and accept her peace offering when he thought she was gone, and a slow smile appeared on her face, as she watched the horse a few moments, before turning around and heads back towards the temple. It's a start.

This went on for days, which turned into weeks then months of taking care of and nursing the injured horse, and during that time, Nuriko soon fully won the love and affection of white stallion that she later named Stormchaser. The two became completely inseparable as time went by.

When she wasn't busy in the temple, Nuriko would ride Stormchaser throughout Sailo's countryside, sometimes Tomahome was with them on his own steed that he borrowed from the temple.

* * *

The sudden sound of a soft knocking broke through Nuriko's train of thought as he turned towards his bedroom door.

Yeah, what is it? he called out as he stuffed another item into his backpack.

Nuriko, may I come in, dear? Subaru's voice called out from the other side.

Sure, Subaru-san, the doors unlocked, Nuriko said as she turned his attention towards the door as it was slowly pushed open from the other side.

I see that you are almost all ready for your trip back to Konan, Subaru said as she walked into the room,

Turning around to face the elderly woman as he tied up her traveling bag, she noticed that Subaru was carrying a large bundle in her arms. What can I do for you?

Since this is probably going to be the last time I may be going to see you in a long time, I came to bring you a farewell gift, Subaru said as with a small smile on her face as she walked over to Nuriko's bed and unwrapped the package to reveal a gleaming snow-white staff with silver decorations adorning it.

Backing up so that she could have more room, and wouldn't accidentally hurt Subaru, Nuriko did a few practice spins with the staff, twirling the wooden staff around her head with her.

* * *

~A Couple of Days Later~

The boat trip from Sailo to Konan was uneventful to say the least. Once having all their things packed and ready to go, Tomahome and Nuriko had booked passage on the first boat headed back to Konan, with their horses riding in the cargo hold.

A small tropical storm hit the ship during the voyage, but didn't cause any major damage, and was over almost as quickly as it had begun.

I still can't believe that Subaru-sensei actually gave you that! Tomahome exclaimed as they rode their horses through the countryside, as the mid-afternoon sun beat down on them. I didn't get anything from them...

That's because Subaru-chan always liked me better, Toma-chan, Nuriko said, as he sat in Stormchaser's saddle with the reins resting in his lap, allowing the stallion the lead, while he examined the silver staff in his hands with interest. So what are you going to do with it? Tomahome asked.

Keep it of course! Subaru-san gave it to me, so of course I'm going to keep it. Nuriko snapped, as he sent a glare at his companion, as he examined the staff for a few moments.

As they rode along the dirt rode on their horses, the duo talked for awhile more, as they made plans for their next excapade at earning money, when they heard a commotion coming from nearby.

Come back here you! a man's voice shouted out.

Run Yui! Get out here!! a young girls screamed out, breaking into the silence.

Miaka! I'm not leaving you! the blondes voice cried out, as she stood back indecisively, only to be grabbed by the other thug a moment later.

What the? Nuriko muttered under his breath, reining in Stormchaser so that the stallion would come to a quick stop, as he turned her head in the direction of the commotion, and muttered a curse under his breath as he realized what was happening,

Nearby, he could make out two girls wearing strange clothing, fighting to get free from two burly men. One girl had blond hair cut short just past her ears, and the other was a brunette with her hair tied up into buns on either side of her head, tied with a red ribbon. Both girls wore matching strange brown uniforms with skirts that went just past their knees, with white stockings and black sandals adorning their feet.

As he watched, Nuriko saw the redhead charge at one of the slavers trying to knock him down with a tackle, only to be grabbed by the slaver instead, and have her one of her arms pinned behind her back, while he threw his free arm around her neck into a chokehold.

Tomahome pulled his own horse to a stop, as he turned, as he took in what was going on, as a slow calculating smirk appeared on his face, as he cracked his knuckles, Oh boy. Our first day back home, and already we've got work, ne Nuriko?

Nuriko said, an identical smirk on his features as he pulled out her staff, and kicked StormChaser into motion, Let's go get them.

* * *

Miaka! I'm not leaving you! Yui cried out, as she stood back indecisively, as she watched helplessly as her companion was caught, then she cried out in pain when the other thug grabbed her, jerking her back, as he pinned her arms behind her back.

Let me go!! she cried out as she struggled to get free of her captor.

The thug only laughed as he reached up and grabbed some of her short hair into a fist, and jerked causing her to cry out in pain, as he pulled her arm into a painful angle.

These two should fetch us plenty of money in the slave market, wouldn't you agree, the man holding Miaka said. Plus what we'd make from selling their strange clothing.

I'll say. Though, I wouldn't mind having a little fun with them first, before we take them in. the other man said with a sneer, as he stared down into Yui's frightened eyes, pulling her closer to his own foul smelling body, causing her to cringe from the smell. Especially this one. What do you say, girlie? Let's go have us a little bit of fun.

Yui whimpered as she renewed her struggle to get free. The man only laughed as he tightened his grip on Yui. Let me go, you pervert!!

Now, now, don't be that way, the slaver cajoled, breathing into her face, as he jerked hard on Yui's hair once more, causing her to whimper in pain, You might as well get used to the idea, because this is what you'll be doing for...

Before Yui could react, she suddenly heard a loud thunking sound, just before her captor grunted in pain, and started to fall over on top of her. But before she could hit the ground under the mans weight, she suddenly felt a pair of arms grabbing her under her arms, and lifting her up and away from the fallen man, and deftly deposited into a sitting position in someone else's arms, as the second person put one arm around Yui's waist to hold her still.

When what she was seated on suddenly moved, Yui looked down to see what she was now sitting on, and realized that she was now on a huge snow white horse, and let out a yelp.

Don't worry. We're here to help you and your friend. a low, musical sounding voice said from behind her, whispering into her ear, as the arm around Yui's waist tightened a bit. Yui squirmed to look up at her new captor, to see a handsome older boy with dark violet hair, and amber eyes was the one holding her. Yui could only stare in awe at the boy.

The boy was watching the confrontation between his partner and the other slaver for a few seconds before finally

Are you okay? Nuriko asked as she stared down at Yui in concern as she loosened her grip on the blondes waist.

I'm fine. Yui said as she smiled down

Who the hell are you?! the other thug exclaimed,

Stormchaser won't hurt you. He's a big old baby when it comes to pretty women.

Didn't you hear the lady? an angry voice said, She said to let her go.